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, July 31, 2020

A finish!

Well folks, I can check off another landscape project from my list!  What do you think?....


Here is the original photo for you
to compare...

Used with the always-kind
permission of 
Dale Stewart

- There are all sorts of bag patterns for pretty much anything you can think of HERE.  Better pour yourself a cuppa before you go though!

- The San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (SNAD) has a new challenge entitled 'Choices' and you may read more about it HERE.  

- Have a look through the portfolio of......................


It's been one of THOSE days.  You know the ones - the ones where you start the day off badly and then it goes pretty much down the pooper even more as the day goes on?

Well, to explain further - I normally try to get my blog post ready to go the day before I am planning to publish so yesterday was THE DAY.  It all began, as days sometimes do here at Chez Magpie, with the dead-asleep-bolt-out-of-bed-at-the-inhumane-hour-of-6:23am telephone call.  A near-death experience let me tell you - on BOTH sides of the phone!  Telemarketers should face the firing squad if they call at that hour of the morning.

Just after breakfast a knock at the door which yielded a contractor, here to look at the long-awaited (over two years!) need for paint on our very peeling balcony.  Good news.   
We were told (by a very in-your-face but masked individual) that they would be back in less than two hours and could we move everything off the balcony before then.  So....Resident Chef and I, being the obedient (and gullible) sorts that we are, undertook the Grande Removal caper and hauled all the furniture and heavy pots of vegetables into the living room.  And we waited.  After supper we hauled them all back out again.   The astute of you will have noticed there has been nothing said about any painting having been done.  It's Friday now and common sense dictates that they won't be here today either - after all it's Friday and reason enough for them not to show but they're also, we suspect, coming from the city so they won't want to bother.  But....just in case....we have to be here, poised to do the heavy lifting....again.  

Fast forward to this morning (Friday) and my smug thoughts of being able to simply go to my blog, push the publish button and all would be well.  Hmmm.  Somehow a gremlin got into my computer and removed over half of my post - including all but one of the links I had for you.  I could, if I were a good blogger, have gone and found you more but instead I chose to rant. 

And what, I wonder, does that tell you about me?

I went searching for a good quote about frustration and found this instead....

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pace change, part two

Today I'll carry on with the studio photos so you can see some more of the evolution. The first set of pictures are from the re-do of the basement studio I had at our previous house (the one that was previously purple and green).....

L - I don't own an ironing board per se and the top of the cupboard on the left worked very well with an ironing pad on top.  
M - The redone dresser, along with two dolls.  The one on the left was one I received from a round robin, the other I made.
R - Same configuration as in the previous photo

Closeups of a couple of my organizational 'things'.  These have stayed with me throughout several different studio revamps over the years. for the current look of my studio space.  It's in the second bedroom of our apartment and must share the space with the computer as well as there being a pull-out couch for guests.  

L - This is more or less an overview of my room.  You can see the pullout couch, my computer station (which also serves as my ironing board) and my office chair.
M - The same cutting table as I had at the house along with the shelves above that still hold those oh so many jars of buttons!
R - The same cupboard with one of the two thread holders I had at the house - painted now.  The little shelf below my son made for me when he was in school.  

L - This area has changed somewhat since this photo was taken.  The filing cabinet remains the same but the area to the left has been overtaken by large Rubbermaid totes which hold my landscaping fabrics.
M & R - These show the organization inside my closet which has two sliding doors.  

And finally, the book shelf.  Hard to get a decent photo of it because I can't stand back far enough to get it all in.  Guess I could knock a hole in the wall but methinks the building management might frown on that.  

- Some of you might be looking for an idea to use a fabric panel and perhaps THIS might give you an idea.

- Have a look at the creations by THIS artist (click on his 'Works' label).  

- And HERE is another artist that works outside the box.  Be sure to peek through all her galleries.

- And just for fun, HERE is another one!

Today's quote..."In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to"

Monday, July 27, 2020

and now, for a change of pace....

I really enjoyed reading the blog post that Ida of 'My Sister Made Me Do It' did where she showed some of the evolutionary process of her sewing studio and that got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, to alleviate all the sameness of the blog here at Chez Magpie, perhaps you might enjoy something similar.  Unfortunately (or maybe quite fortunately depending on your viewpoint!) I don't have pictures of my studio spaces previous to the last house we lived in but here goes...

I'll publish the photos in a small size so as not to overload your
computer.  Please feel free to click to see more details.

L. some of the collection of dolls I had at the time (all made by me) - the drawers held fabric.
M. - more fabric storage on the open shelves
R - this unit held a bunch of different 'stuff'.  Plastic shoeboxes are invaluable!

At that time my studio was in the basement of our house and for some reason I thought purple and green was the way to go.  Now I would NEVER do such a thing but at the time I thought I was quite clever!

L - ironing station and the necessary dehumidifier.  Drawers held assorted stuff
M - I had a plastic folding table I used for sewing on, with display space above
R - This sort of shows the middle of the room - the table was an old kitchen table that
Resident Chef raised up so it was the perfect height for a cutting table.

L - I had two thread holders on the wall, one of which I downsized when wemoved here and now I wish I had it!
M - more display area
R - this cabinet held my bead supplies and more storage in the bottom part (can'tremember what was in there now)


In 2010 I revamped the entire thing because that paint color was too much, even for me!

I will just show you pictures of this part - it's in the same room so the layout was much the same...

I expect this is picture heavy for some of you, so I will stop here and show you a further update on Wednesday.


I told you recently that Pam Kellogg had made the difficult decision to retire from being owner and publisher of the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine in order to pursue her cross stitch designing career.  The magazine was put up for sale and I'm happy to announce that, effective with the Winter issue, Lisa P. Boni will be taking over.  I would like to thank Pam for all the work she has put into the magazine over the past few years and welcome Lisa.  We all look forward to seeing the new and fresh ideas she will bring to the magazine.  I have enjoyed my role as proofreader (good or bad!) as well as acting as Assistant Editor and I want to thank Pam for the opportunity. 

Further on that subject, this is the last issue of 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly'  under Pam's guidance and you may get your copy from MagCloud HERE or from Etsy HERE.  


- HERE is something you might like to do with the kids over the summer (or do it for yourself just for fun!).  

- THIS is a pattern some of you might like to try making.  I think, it it were me, I would be tempted to make the front tab just a wee bit longer to ensure it would stay in place.

- Have a scroll through THIS Pinterest board for some amazing textural inspiration.  (be sure to scroll down).

- Who knew the lowly clothes peg could be so much fun....have a look HERE.

Today's quote...."It's okay to cry when there's too much on your mind.  The clouds rain when they get too heavy too"

Friday, July 24, 2020

66 - and counting

Hah!   I'll bet if any of you are keeping track of my posts and remember the title of my last post you'll be suitably impressed by how rapidly I'm creating hexie flowers.  34 to 66....a herculean task you think? 

w-e-l-l you can just un-impress yourself because that's not what I'm referring to at all (hee hee).  No.  It's been a week of celebration here at Chez Magpie started off by Resident Chef celebrating his birthday followed a day later by me celebrating mine.  Mind you, we don't celebrate beyond wishing each other a 'happy day' umpteen dozen times throughout the day.  The most exciting thing was that one of my friends invited me over yesterday to enjoy our first (socially distanced and sanitized!) coffee date.  Took my own coffee and my own chair but it was SO nice to see her in person.  We've been doing the online video chat thing but that's not as good as the real thing.  This friend and I have gotten together pretty much every week for over 30 years so it's hard not to see her in person.  The two hours just flew by.  Another friend dropped off a little gift for me so we met in the parking lot for a few minutes.  All of those things, plus a couple of (oopsie) online fabric shopping retail therapy sessions made for a great week.

Now, on to what I've accomplished on the landscape...

I think you can see that the hand embroidery is starting.  This is when the entire thing starts to come to life.  Lots more to do yet though!

- I loved THIS - not sure where to get a door but perhaps there's another way to create one.  So cute!

- Lots of eye candy in the galleries HERE.  

- And how about the ones found HERE.  

- You might enjoy a virtual stroll through THIS blog.  

- And do check out the galleries of THIS great artist!

And your quote of the day is a smile....

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

34 - and counting

The landscape is coming along but showing you a picture today would be rather useless because, to the naked eye, it doesn't look much different than what I showed previously.  So....instead of about a picture of the growing pile of hexie flowers?

I think there are 34 in this grouping - with more to come (not too many more though).  

TECHNICAL NOTE:  If you, like me, are noticing an increase in x-rated spam comments you can report it to Blog-grrr by simply looking for the ? mark in the taskbar and there's a place there to register your concern.  You don't need to include a screenshot unless you choose to.  I have received lots of spam but never anything like what's getting through currently.  Hopefully they're working on it and will be able to rectify it shortly.

- I know many of you read Mary Corbet's blog, but in case you don't (or if you missed it) you might find THIS post of particular interest.

- THIS cheap and cheerful idea for a mini easel you can create caught my eye (scroll down to see the easel part of the post).

- HERE is a rather cute crocheted dog pattern (some ads on the site but not too many).  

- I try not to post too many links to commercial sites but sometimes something just needs to be shared and THIS is one of them.  My question for you is this....would you wear it?

- Fun tutorial HERE if you'd like to attempt to do an animal portrait in fabric.

Today's quote...."Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were"

Monday, July 20, 2020

Three bricks short....

Yes, some would say I'm three bricks short of load or that my elevator is stuck on the ground floor or that I'm several pickles short of the jar...well, you get the drift I'm sure!  When it comes to the landscapes I do things that simply take hours and hours and really, when it comes right down to it, don't show all that much.  Case in point....

Can you see that pretty much two entire afternoons will have been spent stitching the waves in the water?  No?  I thought not.  It wouldn't have taken that long except for the fact that my sewing machine balked** at stitching with silver metallic threads.  I really WANTED those silver metallic threads to give life to the water.  What to do?  After much ponderment I ended up stitching the lines with regular sewing thread (longer stitch length) and now I'm in the process of overlapping each machine stitch by hand with the metallic.  Looks good but as I said...3 bricks short...

**and, before you all tell me this - yes, I know I can put the special thread in the bobbin and work that way, but....that involves changing the tension on my bobbin and that will just create more problems than it's worth.  Someday I will have to invest in a second bobbin assembly that is safe to monkey around with.  

- THIS is a really cute little cross stitch design - very appropriate for the times I think.  And HERE is a pretty Christmas-themed biscornu design you might like to try.

- I'm not a dye-er so can't speak to how valuable THIS might be but some of you might be interested.

- It seems that a lot of bloggers are playing along with the 'Christmas in July' theme so perhaps you might like to check out the links in THIS blog hop.  Lots of fun Christmas projects - most free - for you.

- THIS is a fun tutorial to make a round zippered pouch. It's meant for pencils but I can think of several other uses.

Today's quote...."Of all the people on the planet, you talk to yourself more than anyone.  Make sure you are saying the right things"

Friday, July 17, 2020

Better, I think

I think this looks a bit better now....quilting will make a difference too...

Resident Chef has been playing about in the kitchen again.  How I wish we had smell-o-vision on computers because these smelled absolutely divine (taste pretty good too!)...

Sourdough - mmmmm!!!

It appears there is an end to all things and I'm sorry to announce that Pam Kellogg has decided to give up publishing the 'Crazy Quilt Quarterly' magazine.  It's sad to see it end but she has other things she would like to pursue and there are only so many available hours in a day.  You can find out more if you go to her blog post found HERE. Those of us who love crazy quilting owe Pam a huge debt of gratitude for all she's done to encourage the development of crazy well as Pat Winter who originated the magazine.  

- THIS is something that would be very handy to have, particularly these days!  The tutorial is there (scroll down)  or you can purchase a PDF for a small fee.  

- HERE is some fun eye candy for you to scroll through.

- There are some good tips HERE (plus links to some patterns) for using jelly roll fabrics.   And a whole raft of links HERE to more pattern ideas!

- THIS quilt (scroll down to see the red plaid) caught my eye as being something fun for guys....or it would be wonderful for at the cottage or cabin.

Today the quote is from Jane Goodall..."My hope for the future is that we learn wisdom again"

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

One of those things

The progress on the landscape is happening but right now I'm at a crossroads and wondering if I will tear part of it away and start over.  Trying to create a reflection in water is, I'm discovering, not as easy as it looks!

 AND - just to add a little more interest to our lives, it seems as though the latest changes in the format at Blog-grrr has ended up allowing some pretty disgusting spam comments to get through their system.  Perhaps, if you don't already, it's time to set your blog so that you have to moderate comments just to stop any of the 'ick' from slipping through.  

- Never let it be said that this isn't a full-service blog!  Or some would say that it's more like it's totally out in left field.  Either way....did you know there is such a thing as poisonous courgettes/zucchini???  Pretty much any type of squash really.  I know I certainly didn't!  You might want to check out THIS to find out more.  

- And further on the out-in-left-field items that you often find here, how about checking THESE out.  Something to do with your spare time??

- A further note to the ongoing 'discussion' about Ravelry, please go and read the comment from Quinn that appears on my previous post.  

- Just for some sheer fun, scroll down through THIS blog.  

- And scrolling down through THESE is fun too!

- I don't know if any of you would find THIS to be useful.

Today's quote...."The secret to happiness is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be"

Monday, July 13, 2020

A little bit

Well, it seems that Blog-grrrr has fallen down on the job again and for some reason some of the tool bar features have gone awol.  Hmmm....the plot, it thickens....

Never mind, there's been a little bit of progress on the latest landscape...

There's a long way to go with this one but at least there's been a little bit added.  

- I've noticed a lot of discussion about the changes that have been made on the Ravelry site and some people are rather upset by it all.  I can't voice an option because I haven't gone and checked it out.  At any rate, I stumbled across THIS and thought some of you might like to see some alternatives that are available.

- If you like a rustic decor perhaps some of the links found HERE might be of interest.

- HERE is a cute little project that features hexies.  

- Have a peek through the galleries of THIS amazing artist!

Today's quote..."One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say"

Friday, July 10, 2020


I could have entitled this post 'HOT' but I'm choosing to think cool thoughts.  Mind over matter and all that.  Yesterday it was really *cool* and I didn't manage to do a darned thing but sit and enjoy the *cool*.  Today just might be more of the same.  So...because of all that *cool* there isn't a photo of any progress on anything to share with you today.  I'm sorry.  (Just to let you know how cool it is - current temperature is 84F with a humidity level of 30% and it's not quite 10 in the morning.  

Sounds as though the wearing of masks is becoming mandatory here and that's a good thing, despite the fact that I hate them and have a hard time wearing them.  Many of the beaches are closing down simply to stop the tourists and their insistence on over crowding and leaving their messes behind for locals to have to deal with.  It's understandable but yet on the other hand it's making the few areas that are still open grossly overcrowded which only leads to more issues.  There are two sides to everything and honestly I don't know what the answer is.  I know if I lived in a hot city I would want to get out and enjoy nature and the beaches (although when it's this *cool* I can't possibly imagine why anyone in their right mind would think sitting on *cool* sand in the *cool* sun would be the least bit enticing).  There was a report on the news last night that they were parking on side streets because they're not allowed to park near the beaches and to the degree that they were entirely filling the streets to emergency vehicles couldn't get through.  That's endangering the lives of the local residents and flagrant disregard for the law.  I don't know - it seems this pandemic is bringing out the worst in a lot of people. 

Now, that's my two cents worth for today and on to some links....

- Have a peek at the work done by THIS artist.  She is quite prolific and there are several pages of her work you can browse through.

- Those of you who make journals might find THIS of interest.  While you're there you might like to read THIS about the making of junk journals.

- If you have a fabric panel and are wondering what you might do with it, perhaps THIS might spark an idea for you.

- If you like hexies perhaps you might find the article HERE fun to read.  

Today's quote is from James Dent..."A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken"

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

A start

Still hot here and still juggling fuses and lights but I must say we're grateful to have fans and even a small a/c unit so there's at least one cool-ish room in the house.  I wait until the sun gets around and then I can spend some time working on my landscape project.  I keep the curtains drawn early in the day so it's pretty dark in here to be working. Here's the progress so far....

-THESE are rather cute, useful and look as though they would be fun to make.

- There's some fun eye candy HERE!  And even more HERE.  

- There are some cute ideas if you scroll down HERE.  

- For those who like hexies and have some scrap fabrics to use up, perhaps making one (or more!) of THESE would be perfect.

- There's more beautiful eye candy HERE.  

Found this cute quote to share with you today..."Heat makes things expand.  So I don't have a weight problem.  I'm just hot"

Monday, July 06, 2020

And so it nauseum.....

Yes, the post title says it all.  I don't have OCD but I'm obsessed with doing landscapes and I don't see it ending anytime soon.  Good thing I intersperse other things into the mix or I'd seriously run the risk of becoming boring.  Now, don't bother to make a comment on THAT statement because I already know I'm boring and you won't be telling me anything I'm not well aware of!  At least I am nothing if not predictable!

So...without further mumbling, here is the next photo that will be subjected to my play time....

Original photo once again
shared with the kind permission
of Dale Stewart

The pile of hexie flowers is growing too....

Sorry about the washed out bit on the right - a
patch of sun on my floor

And speaking of the sun - and heat.  We've been having several very hot days here and this year, here at Chez Magpie, it's proving to be quite the juggling act to keep cool.  Our apartment faces east so we get the morning sun and we keep the windows covered to keep it out as much as possible.  In the living room we have a portable a/c unit and also a tower fan which we aim down the hall towards the bedroom and my sewing room.  There's another tower fan in the doorway of my sewing room which helps to aim the cooler air into my workspace.  Then we have ceiling fans in both the bedroom and the sewing room.  Well this year, for reasons entirely unknown, we apparently don't dare run the a/c and the two tower fans alongside my ceiling fan OR the bathroom light without blowing a fuse.  I've never been able to plug in my iron with the a/c unit running since the day we moved here.  Why we suddenly have to either piddle in the dark OR remember to turn off the a/c before we use the bathroom is a complete mystery.  And of course the building management just says well don't run the a/c because it's drawing too much power.  But - it never was an issue before!!!?????  Resident Chef thinks I'm a conspiracy theorist because I suspect the entire issue has developed because they installed 'hydro usage meters' in all the units last year...supposedly to monitor our usage.  I wonder if it reaches a certain level of usage it triggers something that blows the fuse.  Just my theory which he thinks is ridiculous.  

- Thought I'd share a really simple mask design I came across when I was searching for an easy version to make for kids.  Go HERE for that (also has adult sizes in the pattern).

- When and if we ever get to do any travelling again, perhaps one of THESE would be a good thing to have (would make great gifts too!).

- I don't know the artist behind THIS but it's so pretty that I just had to share.

- Have a look at the eye candy found HERE!  Oh, and HERE!!!!

Today's quote is from Walter Winchell..."It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do"

Friday, July 03, 2020

Not much

There hasn't been much happening here at Chez Magpie that's worth sharing.  I finished the backing on the latest landscape and put the label on (boring);  I tidied up my sewing studio (yawn);  and I cut out and started making a bunch of elastic masks for my family (tedious).  The only highlight over the past couple of days was a flying trip to the  little local fabric shop this morning to pick up some 'kid' fabric to make some masks for our grandsons.  It's sounding like there's a distinct possibility that the kids will have to wear masks if they go back to school in September so a grandma needs to be prepared.  

It's a horrible dark picture but here's the fodder I got
for masks....

It's been quite hot here the past few days so I have the curtains drawn to attempt to keep the heat at bay as much as possible so that explains the darkness of the photo.

- If you have kids, perhaps THIS would be a fun summer activity for them.

- THIS is a cute idea for your balcony or patio.  I'm sure you could come up with other themes as well.

- HERE is a  little wallet pattern that could serve a number of uses (carrying a tea bag for instance!).

- HERE is another cute little idea that would use up scraps and take no time to make!

Today, instead of a quote, how about a little cartoon....

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Birthdays and finishes


The birthday celebrations in Canada will certainly be a whole lot different this year than normal but no matter what we're proud of our country and we will celebrate it as much as we can.

And - there are TWO finishes to show you today!  I finished the landscape!


Here is the original photo I used for 
inspiration, shared with the kind 
permission of Dale Stewart...

Photo taken at Dunvegan, Alberta

And, Resident Chef finished the latest puzzle he's been working on. Now he will put away his puzzle table for the summer and take a break.  At least doing puzzles has kept him occupied the past while!

- THIS takes you to a PDF download of a sweet little design that's perfect to work up for Canada Day.  I know Canada Day is today but it might be fun to create it.  

- You all save your used dryer sheets, right?  Well, HERE is an idea to use them!

- Have a look at the eye candy found HERE.  

- And the eye candy HERE as well!  (be sure to scroll down)

Today's quote is from Pierre Elliot Trudeau..."Our hopes are high.  Our faith in the people is great.  Our courage is strong.  And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die".