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.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Christmas decor at Chez Magpie

I must admit it's unheard of for Christmas decorating to happen here at Chez Magpie before the beginning of December (most often even mid-December) but we hauled everything out and did the deed.  There was a great deal of muttering and even a teeny little bit of swearing involved (mainly Resident Chef as he wrestled the "easy-peasy lift from the bottom, hook at the top" pre-lit Christmas tree into submission.  The 'hook at the top' was an issue because for some mysterious reason said hook part had evaporated since last year.  There was another bit of blue air over the fact that some of the lights had quit working.  Luckily we happened to have a spare strand so that disaster was averted.  Every year we swear we're going to buy a new tree and every year it doesn't happen.  We can only have an artificial tree due to fire regulations and the one we have is/was too tall for the space we have for it now so at some point the Chef lobbed off part of the top.  The entire thing makes Charlie Brown's tree look positively lush, at least until I stuff a fluffy, shedding all the while, hunk of garland into the middle of it.  

Please note you can click to embiggen the photos!

This sits atop our tv cabinet.  The sleigh once held a floral arrangement.  

Some assorted ornaments 

Our tree sits atop an old treadle sewing machine in front of our only living room window.  Beneath you can just catch a glimpse of the wooden nativity Resident Chef made a number of years ago.
The nativity is a set that Avon produced a number of years ago - purchased while I was a rep.

The tree - bad lighting and all.

The topper ended up being a teddy bear - because, after much searching, it was determined that we got rid of our previous one and had intended to buy something new.  Obviously - intent and doing are two different things!

This is a Belsnickel Santa that I made for our friends back in 2002.  We inherited it back again and he now resides at our house.  

If you would like to know more about the history of this particular type of Santa go HERE.  

This sits on top of a cabinet in the living room.  I made the lamp shade in a workshop years ago and the angel (which lights up) was a gift

Today, instead of a quote...

Friday, November 27, 2020

A hive of industriousness!

 A hive of industry?


Well, as the picture below will attest...

What?  You don't see a picture?


Could that possibly be because
my mojo is on hiatus?

Yes, for some reason my creative mojo is refusing to mojo.  I'm flitting from one thing to another and not coming to roost on anything.  Even I'm bored with myself!  

Bored enough that I'm contemplating hauling out the Christmas decorations - a full two weeks earlier than I would normally even start thinking about it.  

I'm sure you wish I would get off my duff and start actually doing something that would even remotely prove to be interesting.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


 I'm too old for this!

Or at the very least, the mind is willing, 
but oh the body is weak.

Crawling about on the living room floor for an
entire afternoon pinning hexies onto a king-sized
bedsheet is not something for the faint of heart
as my aching knees, hips and thighs will attest!

And to add more angst to the equation I cannot
manage to get a decent picture to show you what I did!

However, this is the best I can do...

There will be more hexies created to add to this
which will mean more crawling about.

On the MUCH brighter side, the mailman earned his stripes and brought this yesterday.  I was lucky enough to win one of Kim's most amazing creations and it came all the way to Canada from Australia.  This is what I saw when I removed the outer wrapper....

Even the box and the wrapping was beautiful!

But the main event was inside!  When I carefully undid the packaging I was rewarded with this ....

The prettiest Christmas stocking I have ever seen!

The sheer amount of detail in this is incredible and it most definitely will not only enjoy being on view during the Christmas season but all year round.

Thank you Kim - you're such a good friend and I will treasure this, and our friendship, ever more!

Quote of the day..."Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's impossible"

Monday, November 23, 2020

The best of plans....

 Yes, the best of plans are bound to run aground more often than I'd care to admit.  I had great plans on Saturday to lay out all those hexies I made awhile ago (remember those?) onto the king-sized bed sheet I planned to use for the background.  The sheet, alas, was wrinkled - badly.  OK - I have an iron and an itty-bitty teeny-tiny wee small (well you get the idea!) ironing board.  Despite my noble plan to wrestle those wrinkles into submission the minute I moved the sheet to iron the next section it promptly wrinkled some more.  Argh.  So.... after some ponderment I hit upon the plan to hang said sheet over the dual rods in our bathroom, spritz it with water, and then turn the shower on with the door closed to build up steam.  Nobody could have been more surprised than me when it actually worked!  However, it took most of the day to dry so the 'Grande Plan' came to no fruition.  

So...on to Grande Plan # 2 - designing the next landscape.  Of course the first attempt didn't work and I changed my mind in mid-go anyway.  So a re-design happened.  By this time the day was gone.  

Today's quote.."If you don't do wild things while you're young, you'll have nothing to smile about when you're old"

Friday, November 20, 2020


 Question for you use washaway stabilizer?  If so, what brand works well?  I have some 'Unique' and it will not dissolve no matter what I do.  Obviously not what you want after you've spent several hours creating something and then can't get the stabilizer out!!  Over to you....opinions please....


Yes, today there is nothing but mumblings because I got nuttin'.  You do NOT want to see a picture of my pile of addressed Christmas cards - you do NOT want to see gift wrapped presents - you do NOT want to see all the little things I managed to actually DO over the past couple of days because there is not one single thing that isn't yawn-worthy.

Today's quote is from Wilson Kanadi..."If you really think again, there are actually so many things to be thankful for in every single day of your life"

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A return to regularly scheduled programming - perhaps?

 You will remember that I asked you in THIS post to vote for which landscape I will attempt next and this one was the clear winner (don't worry, I'll be doing both!).  

Stay tuned, because a new landscape is about to begin!

Today's quote....

Monday, November 16, 2020

The last one? Maybe.....

 This is the last of the scheduled Christmas gifts being created this year at Chez Magpie.  I think.  Maybe.  Or maybe not???

He's not quite as cute as the original but I don't think our grandson will care, do you?  Our boys, and now our grandson, love 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak and this is the monster from the story.  

Pattern is found HERE.  

Today's quote is from Helen Keller..."Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence"

Friday, November 13, 2020

One more little finish

 This is the final pair of socks being made this year....these hopefully will fit our 6 year old grandson...

I used the same 'recipe' as for the other socks I did, only this time I cast on 60 stitches.

Today's quote..."If you have a family that loves you, a few good friends, food on the table and a roof over your head, you are richer than you think"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

 On Monday our #1 son and his family came for a long-awaited (yet socially distanced!) visit and we went for a hike through some of the local conservation area.  Imagine our surprise when we rounded the corner in the middle of the forest and discovered this...

Rather unexpected for sure!  The day was perfect - who ever expected we could be out with no jackets on the 9th of November.

I'm continuing on with the 'Making Space For What Matters' challenge but managed to fall down on the job somewhat by forgetting to take pictures of what's exiting.  I did, however, remember to make a list.  

So....what exited....6 bottles of fragrance oil (not in like with the scents); 2 pillow covers; 1 Deep Heat Patch which had expired in 2010 (2010??? REALLY?????);  5 dried up alcohol swab packets; and 1 artificial rose.  

Item count to date 21 (I'm counting the alcohol swabs as 1 item).  

Monday, November 09, 2020

More additions

 Yes, more additions to the Christmas box (don't worry I'm close to the end!!)

Three book bags for three little grandsons.
Each feature a t-shirt front and the word 
'Books' on the back.  
No pattern to speak of, just went with the
available t-shirt front sizes. 

Today's quote is from Norman Vincent Peale..."Optimism is a philosophy based on the belief that basically life is good, that in the long run, the good in life overbalances the evil"

Friday, November 06, 2020

Little knitting

 Remember all those mittens I made earlier?  Well, some of the leftover yarn has been turned into a couple of pairs of socks for the littlest grandsons.  

These are pretty simple to make - they're a 'take' on the spiral socks that apparently will fit kids better/longer than those with proper heels knitted in. They look really skinny, but I can get my whole hand inside them so they stretch really well. I started at the top with 48 stitches for our 1 year old and 56 stitches for our 4 year old (and I'll use 60 stitches for our 6 year old)...did about half an inch of K1, Pl at the top and then switched to K2, P2 until I got to the toe.  

Here's what I did for the toe...
1.  (K6, k2tog)
2. (and all even rows) K
3. (K5, K2tog)
5. (K4, K2tog)
7. (K3, K2tog)
9. (K2, K2tog)
11. (K1, K2tog)
12. K
Weave yarn through stitches left on the needle, tighten and weave ends in.    ****Just remember, if you're making these, the number of cast on stitches has to be divisible by 6**** (UPDATED TO ADD:  I used sock yarn (fingering weight) and 2.5 mm needles)

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

An oops - sort of (well, actually there's two!)

 The oops # 1....

Resident Chef made a mess!  The jar on the right is sourdough that has escaped the bonds of the jar and the jar on the left has the lid perilously perched on top about ready to follow suite.  He tried a different method of feeding it and discovered that a much bigger jar is needed.  What was even better is that he cleaned it all up, lowered the level in the jars and then went back a couple of hours later to discover it did it again!  The stuff is alive and trying to take over the world I tell you!!

AND....the second oops (more like a 'what have we DONE' moment) is that we got up on Monday and went about our lives in the normal way only suddenly found ourselves in possession of a new-to-us car.  Furthest thing from our minds!!  The salesman called saying he had an anxious buyer for a car just like ours...a 2011 Rav4 and (the universe aligning as it does at times) he had a trade-in come in on a car he knew we'd like. of next Monday we'll be the proud owners of a 2016 Toyota Rav4 XLE complete with sunroof (who knew 2 old fogies like us would have a car with a sunroof!!).  We're still in shock.  

Monday, November 02, 2020

Mumblings, of a random nature

 Today, because I have lots of mumblings to share, I think I won't subject you to what I've been working on.  Suffice to say one ball of yarn does not a pair of socks make (argh!) and on a positive note, applesauce happened

AND - many of you will remember me posting a link to the latest '30 Days To Less' challenge that was happening all throughout October on Becki's blog.  Now she has come up with another challenge that will last all year and help with your decluttering and downsizing (AND it's fun too!).  Go HERE to read her post to find out more.


AND, in the interests of it never being said that this is not a full-service blog (hah!), I've discovered something (with thanks to Maureen!) that I thought I should share with you.  If you, like me, are having a hard time reading some of the small print online, try simultaneously using your 'Ctrl' and the '+' buttons on your keyboard.  Click until you reach the size that's comfortable for reading.  My cataracts are thanking you Maureen!

Today, instead of a quote, I'm going to share something that had both Resident Chef and I in tears of laughter.  Hopefully you will enjoy it too!

Do you fart in bed ?
If this story doesn't make you cry for laughing so hard, let me know and I’ll pray for you. This is a story about a couple who had been happily married for years, the only friction in their marriage was the husband’s habit of farting loudly every morning when he awoke the noise would wake his wife and the smell would make her eyes water and make her gasp for air.
Every morning
she would plead with him to stop ripping them off because it was making her sick. He told her he couldn't stop it and that it was perfectly natural. She told him to see a doctor, she was concerned that one day he would blow his guts out. The years went by and he continued to rip them out. Then one Christmas day morning, as she was preparing the turkey for dinner and he was upstairs sound asleep, she looked at the innards, neck, gizzard, liver and all the spare parts, and a malicious thought came to her. She took the bowl and went upstairs where her husband was sound asleep and, gently pulling the bed covers back, she pulled back the elastic waistband of his underpants and emptied the bowl of turkey guts into his shorts. Sometime later she heard her husband waken with his usual trumpeting which was followed by a blood curdling scream and the sound of frantic footsteps as he ran into the bath room. The wife could hardly control herself as she rolled on the floor laughing, tears in her eyes! After years of torture she reckoned she had got him back pretty good. About twenty minutes later, her husband came downstairs in his blood stained underpants with a look of horror on his face. She bit her lip as she asked him what was the matter. He said, “Honey you were right… all these years you have warned me and I didn't listen to you.” “What do you mean?” asked his wife. “Well, you always told me that one day I would end up farting my guts out, and today it finally happened, but by the grace of god, some Vaseline and two fingers. I think I got most of them back in…….............…..”