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.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Whipping and cross eye-edness

And yes, before you tell me I do know that 'eye-edness' isn't in the dictionary but in this case it fits!  First of all, I'll show you a photo of what's been happening on the landscape....

Do you see the fence in the foreground?  Firstly, I stitched the wire part with the machine using a grey thread but it wasn't the colour or the texture I peruse of my embroidery flosses yielded one that rather looked (at least to me!) that it might represent a rusty fence.  One strand of floss - and I undertook to whip.  Every.  Single. Machine. Stitch. On. That. blankety blank. Fence.  Over 5 hours later and I'm about half done.  

Am I crazy?
Am I obsessed?
(don't answer that)
But is it worth it?
Oh yeah!

(and what's worse - trying to actually SEE
those little stitches while my eyes are percolating
cataracts - just another level of idiocy!)

- THIS is a really pretty coaster pattern.

- And if you have a bunch of scrap sock yarns, perhaps THESE might interest you.

- THIS is something that some of you might like to  make to thank medical personnel right now.

- I came across THIS and thought you might enjoy looking through them and seeing just how much things have changed!

Today's quote...."If you want to know how rich you are, find out how many things you have that money cannot buy"

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Here we go again!

This morning I received a notification from Blog-grrrrrrr that they're changing things.  Again.  Why mess with something that's working....and telling us it's going to be 'improved' and oh so much 'better'.  Guess they don't subscribe to the old adage that if it ain't broke don't fix it!!  I'm testing it out right now so we'll see.  By the way it appears all of us will be over to the new format by sometime in June.    As of this moment it doesn't look TOO bad although I had a hard time figuring out how to continue working on this post (I add things to it as I come across them and then just finish it off prior to hitting 'publish').  I finally pushed the right button, but now darned if I can remember which one it was!!  I also prefer working with large print now (growing cataracts means I can't see as well as I used to) and it flatly refuses to give it to me.  Who knows what it will appear like when I do hit publish!

Okay - now THAT particular rant is over, how about an updated view of the landscape?  Here goes.....

Well, that was an interesting experiment in frustration!  Actually it didn't cause me too much angst to figure it out, but from what I can see at this moment I no longer have the option to embiggen the photo and I also can't caption it.  Hmmm.  Oh well, you can simply click on the picture to embiggen it.  I think.  I hope.  (will somebody let me know please??)

- I came across THIS and thought that anyone who weaves might find it interesting.

- There's a tutorial HERE for adding a pocket when you're making a bag or purse.

- Sometimes I come across a little something that I just feel the need to share.  I'm sure you all have need of knowing THIS (and why didn't I think of it??!!).

- I expect most little girls would love one of THESE (big girls too, most likely!).

Today's quote (appropriate perhaps?)....."Don't be afraid of change.  You may end up losing something good, but you will probably end up gaining something better"

Stay safe. Stay well.

Okay - hitting publish.....fingers crossed.....
If you don't hear from me, you'll know the entire thing blew up.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A little more

There's been a little more progress on the landscape - hard to tell from the photo but there's pretty much two days of work gone into this since you last saw it.  

It's now ready to start quilting so hopefully that will happen today - or at least partially. 

- You have to have a scroll through THIS blog to see the utterly amazing knitting she does!  Thank you to Mary Ann for the head's up on this one!  And also thank you to Boud for noting that the designer's name is Claire Garland.

- I rather like THIS idea - although I would be tempted to cover an ugly rain barrel.

- Have a look at THIS fun art!  And you might like to scroll down through THESE and be amazed at what people can do with trees!

- Some of you have probably heard this already, but it seems that Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) is going to be closing which could (and probably will) mean that any of us who purchased classes will lose access to them.  Go HERE for more information.  

Today's quote....I don't know how many of you read all the comments on my posts but after my mentioning in my previous post that I was at the point with my landscape where I wondered about the advisability of scuttling it and starting over, Liz (Boud) left one of the best.  She said "that stage where you wonder why you thought this might work. Then you go on and see? I told me so!'.  Today the quote is from her (with my thanks) and will become my new mantra...."I told me so!"

Stay safe, stay well.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A progress report

I finally got back to putting a few hours in to the latest landscape and this is the result...

It's pretty much at the stage when I'm not sure whether to scuttle it and start over.  I know from experience now that I need to just work through it and (hopefully!) it will come out okay in the end.  Time will tell!

- HERE is something fun you can try doing - or perhaps would be good for older kids too.

- I thought the work of THIS artist is interesting.  Not planning on doing it myself though!

- THIS is a really pretty crocheted afghan design originally released as a CAL but now available in its entirety.  Perhaps you could make one as your own CAL by doing one block every month (or every couple of weeks) over the summer.

- If you have need to make little tiny fabric circles ( you do.  Don't you?) then have a look at THIS great tutorial.

- There are a number of great articles HERE about choosing colours and fabrics.

Today's quote is from Nikita Gil...."Be the kind of person who is not afraid to ask someone if they are okay twice if they say they are, but look like they are not.  Be the kind of person who smiles at people even if they don't smile back.  Be the kind of person you wished for when no one was there for you.  Be the kind of person who is brave enough to stand alone in a crowd for what is right.  Be that person because we need more people like that in the world.  Be that person because people like that are rarer than the rarest diamonds and gold"

Be safe. Be well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Another little finish

I had fun making this little fellow for our grandson and it's now in the mail heading out to live with him....

I used Paton's Canadiana yarn and the pattern came from HERE.  

I also finished making a little crocheted Harry Potter 'scarf' bookmark for our oldest grandson and of course put it in the mail before remembering to take a picture!  I had the appropriate coloured crochet cotton in my stash so it was a simple make.  That pattern can be found HERE.  I did the red and yellow version and worked it flat and then seamed it.  

- There are tons of uses for THIS pouch I think.

- Have a look through the portfolio of THIS amazing artist!  And how about THIS one?

- And if you fancy attempting to make skeleton leaves yourself, HERE is a tutorial.

- And THIS is under the 'oh wow!' category!  Be sure to check out her portfolio (especially the flowers!).

The quote today is from David Iche...."The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think"

Monday, May 18, 2020

A finish!

Yes, a finish, but not of my making!  Resident Chef has been working on this jigsaw puzzle for nearly two months and there was a resounding cheer when he completed it over the weekend.  It is THE hardest puzzle he has ever done, not because the picture itself is that difficult but the pieces themselves are all different  He would search and search for a certain-shaped piece and then discover it was actually two, or sometimes even three.  More than once he wanted to scuttle the entire thing but the end result was worth it....

He, being of diabolical mind, is now mailing it to my aunt for her to struggle  have fun with.  I wonder if she'll still be speaking to him afterwards?!!

The weather finally warmed up over the weekend as well (fingers crossed it lasts!) and so he planted his 'garden' on the balcony.  Cherry tomatoes, lettuce, chives, oregano and parsley and the hope of tracking down a basil plant on our next trip out.  There's also a beautiful geranium that has already attracted a hummingbird.  Now I want a hummer feeder!  

- I thought there were some great recycling/decor ideas HERE

- And THIS list is just for fun!

- HERE are some ideas for finishing bindings that might make your quilt look great.

- If you're searching for a fun crocheted edging for a blanket or afghan, have a peek at the ones found HERE.

- If your stash has a lonely skein of sock yarn lurking around and you're wondering what you might be able to make with it, have a look at the possibilities found HERE.  Might be wise to pour a cuppa before you go!

Today's quote is from Bill Murray..."So, if we lie to the government it's a felony.  But if they lie to us, it's politics"

Stay safe.  Stay well.

Friday, May 15, 2020

For grandson #3

Used up some more of my scrap yarn to make a wee sweater for our #3 grandson....some of the colours are the same as the sweater I just made for his older brother....

The pattern is the same as the sweater I posted about a couple of days ago and the yarn is also Paton's Canadiana.  I know it's going to be too large for him to wear for a little while but perhaps by next winter it will be perfect.  

And....the mailman brought this.....

Enough for two pairs of socks (on the left);  upper middle is Scrubby yarn to make some dish scrubbers (perhaps for the Christmas box);  the green on the right is for a sweater for #1 grandson; and the orange....well, you're just going to have to wait and see what I'm making!.

- Some of you might find THESE decorating ideas using dollar store find interesting.

- HERE is something that sounds like fun to participate in over the summer months.

- THIS is just plain fun (and rather brilliant too).  

- THIS is a really pretty shawl pattern that uses only one ball of yarn.  And THIS one is too!

- For those of you who are organizing your sewing spaces, perhaps one of the fabric storage ideas found HERE might help.

- I don't usually send you to a 'paid' link, but when something makes me smile like the expression on THESE faces, I can't resist!

Today the quote is from Desmond Tutu..."Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world"

Stay safe. Stay well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A new beginning - finally

Never let it be said that I don't procrastinate!  Sort of.'s a start at the next landscape....

The past few days I've been at odds it seems - perhaps this enforced stay-at-home-ism is getting to me.  Who knows, but I don't seem to have been able to settle into doing any one thing and have spent FAR too much time engrossed in the computer.  It's still cool here, with snow flurries over the past weekend, so I'm more than ready for spring.  This afternoon the plan is to do some more on this landscape and see where it goes.  

Before I send you off to explore the links,
I *think* I'm doing them now so that 
they work well for everyone.
Let me know?

- HERE is a great free pattern for someone who likes Harry Potter!

- I drooled all over the beautiful resin tables on THIS Pinterest board.  Oh how I covet!!  (be sure to scroll down)

- For those of you who enjoy weaving, perhaps the chart found HERE might be useful.

- HERE's another of those 'you-never-know-what-you're-going-to-discover' items on Chez Magpie!

- If you like chickens, I bet you'll like THESE

- Have a look at the wonderful work done by THIS artist.

- You might also want to spend a bit of time exploring the pages of wonderful artists found HERE (along with having a peek around the site as well - there's lots of interesting 'tidbits' there).  

Today's quote is from Christine Caine..."Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried, but you've actually been planted"

Monday, May 11, 2020

Well, the vote count is in and it 
seems that Option #2 is the 
clear winner.
So....ever a slave to my
readers, I will change my ways.
Please remind me if I happen to forget!
As I mentioned the other day I finished knitting a sweater for our #2 grandson using some of my stash yarn and this is the result...

The pattern is a paid one  -   'Wonder Years' by Elizabeth Smith Knits and can be found HERE.    I used Paton's Canadiana yarn for most of it, but I think the textured/patterned one is Vanna's Choice.  I'm using the same pattern to make one for  #3 grandson (the pattern ranges from size 2T up to 8-10 years) and am currently playing yarn chicken.  Fingers crossed I have enough!

- If you're having problems with comments left on Blog-grrr not appearing in your email inbox, perhaps you'd like to follow the tips from Mary Ann HERE.  I know I get roughly half of the comments in my inbox so I just make sure I check the blog itself where I can approve them.

- Our #1 grandson is currently enthralled by Harry Potter so Grandma was quite excited to discover THIS  great bookmark pattern set which just happens to include Harry himself!

- Never let it be said that the links here at Chez Magpie aren't somewhat odd!  THIS one caught my eye.  We don't drink and we don't have a piano but I thought someone was really clever to think of it!

- If you are searching for a new quilt pattern to try, have a look at the myriad of choices found HERE!  Maybe you'd better pour a cuppa before you go though!!

- Some of you may have been following Jenny's blog and seen her wonderful free projects over the past while.  Her latest one caught my eye HERE.  

Today's quote..."Only when normal things are not normal anymore do we realize how special normal things are"

Friday, May 08, 2020

A fore...and an aft....

Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention (or maybe desperation?).  As most of you know we live in a four story apartment building and have a small balcony which has a solid metal 'railing'.  Several years ago the building management decided to paint the outside of the building which included the balconies.  Unfortunately the day they chose to paint our balcony it was snowing and raining (there was at least a couple of inches of snow on the upper part of the railing).  Compounding that, they didn't use proper metal paint.  So of course it all started peeling.  Dreadfully.  Last spring we put in a work order for a re-painting and just knowing that they would be along 'any day' to do the job we didn't put any plants out  nor did we set up our chairs so we could sit out there.  Summer came.  And went.  No paint.  So....before the virus hit another work order went in for THIS year.  Good luck with that happening now. 

This is the peeling paint mess we've been looking at.  The dark brown is the 'new' paint and beneath that there are at least two more layers of other paint...all in varying degrees of peel.

Not at all appealing!

So, Resident Chef and I put our thinking caps on and ordered (via curb-side pickup) a 4'x15' canvas painter's drop cloth and three expandable tension curtain rods.  I cut the drop cloth into three sections, did some hemming, and voila....

At least it's not quite so hurtful to the eyes.  The chairs are set up and now we wait for warmer weather.  There will be several planters with tomatoes and some herbs added later on.

A further note regarding the discussion about ease-of-use for the links here at Magpie's Mumblings and it seems the general consensus is that the current system seems to be working for most.  All you need to do, in order to come back here after peeking at one of the links, is to simply click on your 'back' arrow button (which should appear on the upper left of your computer screen).  If you click on the 'x' when you're at the link itself, it won't end up taking you back here.  Clear as mud?!!

Now, as a further footnote to all of this, I'm going to send you to two done my original way, and one (to the same site) as the 'other' way.  Please check both and tell me which you like the best! Majority will rule, so get your vote in!!!

Link # 1 HERE

Link #2  HERE 

Please let  me know whether you
prefer Link #1  or Link # 2

- I know I've given you the link to THIS online quilt magazine before but I think it's worth sharing once again.  Jody does an incredible job of providing really interesting articles and quilting content each month.  There's a free online version as well as a more in-depth paid version (very nominal charge!).    This month there are some great articles about free motion quilting with some handy tips to make it easier.  I have no affiliation with this magazine, other than I contribute the odd photo of my work for her Reader's Showcase. 

- Those of you who like to sew clothes might find THESE links to be useful.

Instead of a quote today, I'm sending you (particularly if you're a mom) to listen to THIS .  Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Just hangin' out in the sun

PLEASE NOTE............ 
 Please read Becki's comment below and let me know 
what you think of her suggestions re checking out my links.  Is anyone else having
going back and forth between the links 
and my blog? 
 Majority will rule because I can do it either way.  
I'm here to serve!

I made this little guy for our #3 grandson.  He's only about 3" high (the penguin, not our grandson!).  

All scrap yarn and the pattern is free from Lion Brand Yarn and can be found HERE.  

- Be sure to have a look through the galleries of THIS amazing artist!

- And THIS amazing artist too!!!! (note - you'll have to scroll down and it might take a few extra seconds to load but it's so worth it)

- Ida of 'My Sister Made Me Do It' blog is looking for people who might be interested in playing along in her 'Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade' - a virtual 'show' of your favourite pincushions.  If you're interested please check out her blog post HERE (scroll down for the info about the party) and let her know in the comments if you'd like to play along.

- THESE patterns are available free for a short time.  All you have to do is select the 'Digital Pattern' option in the menu to get them for free.   

-THIS is a great mask you can make that has a visor for additional protection.

This quote is from Jesse Jackson..."Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up"

Monday, May 04, 2020

Not much

There hasn't been much of interest happening around Chez Magpie I'm afraid.  I did finish knitting a sweater for #2 grandson but I will wait until it's blocked and the buttons are on to share a photo.  So...instead of that....

Resident Chef served this yesterday afternoon and it was SOOO good, so thought I'd share a photo and the recipe in case you'd like to try it over the warmer months....

2 c. cold coffee
2 c. milk (we used unsweetened almond milk)
3 1/2 T. chocolate syrup (we make our own)
1 3/4 T. white sugar
whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish

Freeze coffee in ice cube trays.  Add frozen cubes, milk,
chocolate syrup and sugar to blender and blend until
it's the texture you like.  Top with whipped cream, a 
drizzle of choc. syrup and shaved chocolate.

I happened to be talking about my clock in my sewing room and took a picture to share with my friend, so thought I'd also share it with you.  This was a Christmas gift from a friend a number of years ago and was found in a thrift store.  She added the bits of lace and buttons before she gave it to me.  

- There's an absolutely stunning CAL afghan design HERE!  As of this writing the site is a wee bit finicky but I expect it's because there's lots of people signing up and downloading the first pattern.  If I had enough stash I'd surely be tempted to try this one!

- Karen Ruane (one of the most amazing embroidery artists I know) has announced her new online class and you can find more information HERE.

- Donna has posted a really detailed how-to HERE for making masks.  And HERE's something else that is really proving to be important to anyone needing to wear the masks made with elastic over the ears.

- THIS is an adorable pattern for a bunny - so cute!

- If you like birds, you might enjoy  THIS you tube 'video', turn your sound up and listen.  If you look on you tube there are tons of similar videos/sounds that you can enjoy.  Very soothing!

- THIS site has super handy calculators that knitters will find really useful!

Today's quote is from Harold Kushner..."Do things for people, not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of YOU are"

Friday, May 01, 2020

Just hangin' out......

Yep, I'm just hangin' out - with the likes of Neil Diamond, Kenny G, and Garth Brooks.  Bet you didn't know I moved in such exalted circles!!  They're all crooning in my ear as I stitch on this pile.....

All of this I hope will be turned into 40 face masks in short order, with the ironing prowess of Resident Chef who gallantly has volunteered to press the ties.....80 of them!  That man is a keeper.  
Pam Kellogg has released the latest issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' a few days early and,  as always, it's filled with some great ideas and eye candy.  Here's the quote about this issue from Pam....

The Summer 2020 issue of Crazy Quilt Quarterly Magazine features Margaret Rolfe as our cover artist.
Deborah Higgins shares her prize winning crazy quilt inspired by classic literature.
Pam Peugh shows her Shades Of Red quilt .
We have an antique crazy quilt with gorgeous embroidery from Teri Young as well as some gorgeous projects by Helen White.
We also have some tutorials by tutorials by Mary Anne Richardson and some patterns by Kathy Shaw.
Our contributors have given us a truly beautiful issue of CQQ!!

You can get your issue from either MagCloud HERE  or from Etsy HERE.  

- THIS is a small project that some of you might find useful.  

- Have a look through the galleries of the beautiful work by THIS artist!

- HERE is a fun technique that some of you might like to have a go at.

- THIS is a really pretty crochet motif design that not only could be used for a throw but I think would make really great coasters.

I laughed when I saw this so thought I'd share in hopes it would make you smile too...

Today's quote is from David Thomas...."Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls"