A blog about my interests, which include fabric landscapes and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mysteries, bread and such

Oh, sweet mysteries of life - or maybe it's ghosts?  Lately there have been some decidedly 'odd' things happening here at Chez Magpie.  First of all, I discovered quite a sizeable chunk of the countertop veneer in the our bathroom had disappeared.  Gone.  You'd think it would be on the floor and be swept up, but no.  Resident Chef claims no knowledge of what happened and I certainly didn't do it.  So...gone, who knows where.  Incident #2 - a brand new (only washed a couple of times) kitchen towel developed a rather large hole in the middle.  Can't figure THAT one out either.  AND....the biggest mystery of all.....we were both engrossed in something (he - jigsaw puzzle, me - sewing) when suddenly there was a gigantic crash.  After checked to be sure the other of us was okay we started to investigate and discovered a plastic tote had quite literally jumped off the shelf in our storage room.....launched itself halfway across the room....and landed upside down on the floor.  Okay.  Hmmm.  First of all nobody was near it, nobody had touched it for months, and nobody had touched anything even remotely near it for months (top shelf - rarely used stuff).  Secondly....just HOW did it get to the edge and leap off?  Thirdly, and the biggest mystery of all, HOW in the world did it not only fall off the shelf but launch itself half way across the room while it was at it?  The contents were heavy so you'd think it would simply pretty much fall straight down.  Yep....spooks.  Now, if they'd just decide to leave a bunch of money lying around.....
Over the past couple of days I've done a 'oh look, squirrel!' and sidetracked myself into making this little guy....

He's a baby Baby Yoda, measuring about 9" tall,  to accompany the big Baby Yoda I already made for our #2 grandson (altho' I secretly think it was for his daddy!).  Anyway, my thought process was that maybe, because he has a new baby brother, perhaps he would like to play 'big bro, little bro' with the Yoda's.  And besides, I used up some stash yarn!  The pattern came from HERE.  

The question arose about the beer bread recipe we've been making so thought I'd share it here...

4 c. all purpose flour
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 heaping tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. white sugar
473 ml can beer (regular, not the light)

Sift dry ingredients together REALLY well.  Mix with
beer and pour into greased loaf pan.  Brush with
melted butter.  Bake 1 hour @ 375 degrees.  
Remove from pan and cool at least 15 mins.
NOTE:  do not use light beer or it won't rise.

Today's quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson..."Knowledge is knowing that we  cannot know"
Stay safe. Stay well.

Monday, April 27, 2020

A finish!

Yes, there has been something happening here at Chez Magpie - at least in the evenings in front of the tv anyway.  I finally treated myself to a pair of hand knitted socks....

Please note my artsy-fartsy attempt
at photography!

The pattern is my favourite sock pattern...the ' Basic Ribbed Sock' by Kate Atherley which can be found HERE.  I LOVE this sock pattern!  It's basic and yet not boring to knit.  I do change the toe to one that's a little more rounded but otherwise I stick to Kate's pattern.  (if you're interested in the toe pattern I use, let me know and I'll share it).  The yarn for this pair is Regia from Schachenmayr in one of the colorways by Arne and Carlos.  One ball made a size 11 pair of socks.  

Next 'up' on the needles is a sweater for #2 grandson - a stash dive yielded enough odds and ends of blues that will look okay in a striped pattern.  At least I hope there's enough!  Also found enough to make #3 'grand' a sweater too.  Alas the stash let me down for making anything for #1 'grand' so will have to place an order I guess.  

Today's quote is from Oscar Wilde..."To give and not expect return, that is what lies at the heart of love"

Stay safe, stay well.

Friday, April 24, 2020

A whole lot of wheel spinning, waffling, and fuzzling....among other things

You will gather from the title of this post that there's not much been happening here at Chez Magpie over the past couple of days.  After hearing that my chiropractor is wanting 40 more masks I think my mind shut down just a little.  I know they're needed - and he's buying the fabric I need because he knows my stash is pretty much down to zilch - but that's not to say I really want to mentally cope with making more.  I know I've talked about my issues with depression here before but I don't dwell on it.  I've been good for a number of years but I know when I need to pull back and not go 'there' (wherever 'there' might happen to be) and I must admit that making masks is one of those 'there's'.  Not the physical making of them, but the thoughts that accompany the making.  Oh well, my issues are minuscule when the greater picture comes into play and I will make what he needs and make the best of the situation.

On a brighter note - his wife, who happens to be one of my best friends, appeared outside our building with this beauty....

Apparently she misses our coffee 'dates' every Thursday morning and thought I needed some flowers.  I have never in my life seen such HUGE flower heads on a hydrangea!  The biggest one has to be as large as a dinner plate.  It takes up nearly half of our dining room table.  Now I just have to hope I don't kill it!

I've done a little knitting on my latest pair of socks....nothing to show for that as yet....I started crocheting a miniature Baby Yoda....I hauled out what's left of my yarn stash wondering what else I might be able to make out of it.....I looked at my landscape design and pondered.....I putzed on Ancestry for awhile....I watched a bunch of online videos on various subjects....I thought about how much I really miss going to fabric shops and thrift stores....

Yep....wheel spinning, waffling and fuzzling....

And here (insert drum roll) 
for your viewing titillation....

A picture of my yarn stash!

Aren't you excited?
Do try to contain yourselves.

Today's quote is from Lucianodi Crescenzo..."We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another"

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A bit of a play

I mentioned in my last post that Monday should have been our local quilt guild meeting (canceled for obvious reasons) and that one of the members had issued a challenge for us to all sit and sew something earmarked for one of the charitable causes the guild supports.  I opted to make Christmas placemats which will be included with all the meals delivered through Meals on Wheels on Christmas day.  This is the result....

This used up pretty much all the Christmas fabric I had in my stash because I made the backsides 'Christmas-y' too.

Today's quote is from Donna Hedges..."Having a place to go is home.  Having someone to love is family.  Having both is a blessing."

Monday, April 20, 2020

A semi finish, and a challenge of sorts

Today would have been our monthly quilt guild meeting and obviously that's not happening, so one of the members has issued a challenge to spend the time we normally would have been at the meeting to sew one of the donation projects that we support.  I will be making one (or more) Christmas-themed placemats that will be given to the recipients of Meals On Wheels deliveries on Christmas day.  Pictures will show in my next post!

Over the weekend I didn't do what I intended (start on the landscape) and instead chose to finish the final bits on the green crazy quilt block...

That led to starting on the pink block...

Just realized that bottom seam looks out of sorts!

I'm sticking to the original idea of using a triad colour scheme and I must say it's making me mighty uncomfortable because it's outside the zone of where I would normally go.  However, in the interest of learning, I'm sticking to it. So....these are the colours pulled for the pink block....

Today the quote is from Margaret Mead..."Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world for, indeed, that's all who ever have"

Friday, April 17, 2020

Who knew....

Yes, who knew that a shower would feel so good?  Yes, we have (shhhh, don't say it too loudly!) hot-ish water.  After nearly six days without it's a luxury we aren't going to take for granted anytime soon!  Now we have laundry drying everywhere as we're playing catch up with that too.  

I finished the dreaded alteration caper of spring 2020 - and I must admit I wanted to celebrate that one.  But then I returned to earth with a thump when my friend requested I make some masks for her family.  So I guess it's back to mask-making for another couple of days. will gather from all that mumbling that there's nothing exciting happening here at Chez Magpie that's worth sharing at the moment.  Next week I hope to rectify that (of course, THAT depends on your viewpoint!) and start another landscape.  Stay tuned!  Here is the one I am hoping to do...
Image courtesy of Jeff Fuhre (thank you!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Kinda boring

Well folks - it's hardly worth bothering to stop for a visit at Chez Magpie. 

 Boring, boring, boring.  

There's a growing pile of altered t-shirts 
but you don't want to see that. 
There's been some advancements on the family tree in Ancestry, but you don't want to see that.  
There were big snowflakes falling from the sky last night, 
but I KNOW you don't want to see that.  
There's still no hot water,
but you REALLY don't want to know that.


Yep, boring.

OH - I took my sewing machine 
apart and cleaned it!!

Oh right, boring.

The quote..."I'm not messy.  I'm simply marking my territory with my craft supplies"

Stay safe. Stay well.  

Monday, April 13, 2020

A hodge podge of mumblings

I won't bother showing you another picture of the mask pile because they all look the same, other than being made out of different colours of fabric.  I think I created approximately a hundred overall but lost count somewhere along the line.  They were hard to make, not from the sense of the difficulty in their physical creation, but the mental toll as I wondered who would be needing them and if they would protect them or make them feel better about their circumstances and what was happening in their lives.  I tried not to dwell on those thoughts but they couldn't help creeping in far more than I wanted to deal with.  My mind would then turn to giving myself a pep talk and reminding myself that who am I to think of myself when there are so many in need.  Oh, I had quite the conversations with myself throughout!  

I would be remiss in not giving huge amounts of credit to my long-suffering Resident Chef who knew my back wasn't happy about all the tie pressing and volunteered to help.  Without him I wouldn't have been able to make nearly as many.  I do love that man!

And....just to add some more intrigue to our daily lives, we've been without hot water for three days.  One wonders if repair people simply aren't working during this crisis.  One also wonders when it might get fixed.  

Haven't done a recipe here for a long time so how about this one that Resident Chef made on the weekend...

2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease a muffin pan.
Beat eggs until creamy.  Add milk, salt and
flour, beating until smooth. Note: batter will be thin.
Fill each muffin cavity half full
with batter.  Bake 35 mins.  

Today's quote..."You have to be at your strongest when you're feeling at your weakest"

Stay safe. Stay well.

Friday, April 10, 2020

The reason - and the necessary

The reason there's a holiday this weekend is often lost for so many people.  I don't often discuss religion or politics on this blog but right now I feel it's important that I do.  I believe in Jesus - I believe he gave his life for me - and during these current times I am more sure of that than ever.  I'm grateful for the blessings He has given me.

Mask making is continuing here at Chez Magpie, as it is in so many places right now.  
This pile is waiting for the ties to be sewn on

At Christmas #2 son and his family sent us a beautiful planter filled with many different succulents which I ultimately transplanted into their own individual pots.  I was rewarded by this little flower....

and this is the plant it came from...

You can also see a few of Resident Chef's tomato plants in the background

Today's quote is from Mother Teresa..."I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish he didn't trust me so much"
Stay safe. Stay well.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Necessary, losses and a general mish mash

The 'necessary' part of this post is, of course, the growing pile of face masks that is common to many of our sewing spaces, mine being no exception...

This is a pile that are partially completed.

The 'losses' part - I think I mentioned awhile ago that Resident Chef and I have been attempting to lose some extra poundage.  I'm happy to say I've lost 33 lbs and have reached my goal and, even better, Resident Chef has lost 47 lbs.  Not too shabby!  And, I have to admit it's been easy to do too.  We've made four basic 'changes' to our lives.... we watch our portion sizes more than we used to (but we're not anal about it);  we don't snack after 7 pm at night; we don't eat dessert beyond a small square of fudge on Saturday and Sunday's; and (probably the most significant thing) we've been drinking a small juice glass filled with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and water each morning before breakfast.  That's it.  All this has been happening since the end of September so I think we've done well.  As of now I'm going 'off' the vinegar and will continue to weigh myself weekly and if I see the weight creeping on I will re-instate it.  

BUT - now what to do with the fact that ALL our 
summer clothes no longer fit and we can't go out
to get more.
I HATE doing alterations,

hate it I tell you

Today's quote..."Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created"

Monday, April 06, 2020

A diversion

Like many people I've turned my attention towards making masks and yesterday I delivered these to my chiropractor..

Now I'm turning my attention to making more which will be heading to a central drop off being spearheaded by our local quilt guilt.  There they will be sanitized, sorted, and then shared throughout the community to organizations that are in need.  I'm using the pattern from Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I don't have elastic in my stash so I am making the fabric tie version which I understand is preferred by many people (evidently the elastic hurts ears over time).  

Today's quote..."Sometimes we need to fall apart to realize how much we need to fall back together"

Stay safe. Stay well.  

Friday, April 03, 2020

A little bit of progress

As you can see there's been some more progress on the latest block...

I would have been able to finish it yesterday except for the fact that I did a little side trip and made some face masks for my chiropractor (who also happens to be a friend).  He is trying really hard to keep his office open for those with acute-needs  but he's working with no protection, for either him or for his patients.  I made him half a dozen masks and he was very grateful and asked if I could manage to make him more so that he could have them in the office for patients to use so I guess I know what I'll be doing for the next few days.  Luckily there's a washer/dryer in the office so they can be washed after each use.  

Altho' I do try to keep this blog away from dwelling on the current situation, I thought perhaps I would share something that might be useful for those of you who are unable to find disposable gloves.  My friend came across an idea and shared with me and now I'm sharing with you - go to your local pet food store and buy a large package of dog poop bags and use those on your hands.  Yes, it might look a little silly, but who cares as long as they work!  I got a package of 300 yesterday for about $16.  Hey, maybe we'll start a new trend?  Poop Couture!

Today's quote..."Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not obsess.  Just breathe and have faith that all will work out for the best"
Stay safe, stay well.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Just a bit more

There has been a bit of progress on the second quilt block as you can see from this photo...

If you look closely you can see the
template I'm using for one of the

- And this is an idea I did this morning - if you have grandkids how about checking out the myriad of free coloring pages available on the internet?   I printed out a couple of Easter-themed ones and put them in an envelope to mail to my grandsons, along with a short letter.  Remember to NOT seal the envelope with saliva and use tape instead!  We maybe can't see them right now, but I know they get excited when something comes in the mail.

Today's quote..."The best thing to hold onto in life is each other" (practicing social distance of course, but you can certainly hug your housemates and give each other emotional support.  Holding on via distance can be phone calls, emails, letters and online chats).
Stay safe.  Stay well.