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

- THIS is quite simply one of the most adorable Christmas ornaments I've seen so far this year (scroll down a bit to see the cute little owl!).  

- Some of you might find THIS technique to make your own vellum paper of interest.

- Have a look at the work by THIS artist.

- And the work of THIS artist too!

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.  Instead, there's yet more mumblings....

- There are some cute small Christmas cross-stitch designs HERE.

- Seeing THIS was another awwwww moment.

- THIS is a sweet little project you might like to make - either for a little tuck-in gift or for decorating the tree.

- Those who crochet might find THIS tip of value.

- THESE would be fun to knit.  And THESE would be fun to make to use up scrap fabrics.

- I know that Thanksgiving is now over for both Canada and the US, but THIS caught my eye and wouldn't he  be fun to make to have ready for next year?  

- The quilters among you will most likely enjoy seeing THIS and might want to take part!

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!

This week I managed to find a few more items for the 'Making Space' challenge that Becki is spearheading on her blog.

Let's see - there's a computer 'thingie' that's supposed to back up everything (but doesn't work any more);  a hood from a coat I no longer own that was unearthed in the hall closet; 3 Christmas gift bags and 3 rolls of Christmas wrap.  Oh, and 2 packages of Christmas cards.  Before you say it, I know I could technically hold onto the wrap and the cards for next year but I know myself well enough to know I would put them away and forget I had them and buy more.  Might as well bless someone else!

That's ten items, bringing my total up to 37.  

- THESE are so cute - and the pattern comes in several different sizes.  

- I thought THIS was rather a wonderful tribute to Ruth  Bader Ginsburg.  Something to make for all the strong women in your life perhaps?  And HERE is a crochet version that could easily be adapted.  

- Have a scroll through the amazing work by THIS artist.

- THIS is a really sweet pillow design.

- There are some really cute free knitting patterns HERE.

The 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.  

And all this to tell you that (yep, you guessed it) another post of mumblings is heading your way....

- I happen to love The Grinch so of course THIS caught my eye!

- Those who enjoy cross stitching might find THIS of interest.

- Making one (or several!) of THESE little guys would be a fun addition to a Christmas tree.

- Have a look at the creations of THIS artist.  Make sure you also click on her 'pet portraits' category!

- And HERE is another artist that has wonderful creations (and several different galleries to peek into).

- THIS is a great idea to use old sewing patterns.  

- THIS was one of those things that elicited an involuntary 'awwww' from me.  I know it's shown as being used for a baby shower - but I'm thinking in terms of Christmas ornaments too!

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.

- THESE are quite pretty - you'll need to use the translate feature for the pattern although I think it can be done just from the pictures alone.

- Have a look at the amazing quilts made by THIS artist!  You'll have to click on the pictures to advance to the next one in his gallery.

- THIS is a really cute little CAL that some of you might like to play along with.

- Mary Corbet posted a notice about THIS and some of you might find it interesting.  

- THIS is a cute Christmas project that would use up scraps from your stash - or could be made in non-Christmas fabrics for use any time of the year. And while you're there check out the rest of her Christmas-themed tutorials HERE.  

- There's a detailed how-to HERE for building a gingerbread house. OR if you'd prefer to make one out of felt, how about THIS?  And for further inspiration, check out THIS Pinterest board.

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!

This week the number of items leaving isn't that large but at least it's a step in the right direction.

A practically full can of auto touch up paint (certainly doesn't match the new car!); a miniature orchid that refuses to bloom and is slowly dying (time to put it out of its misery); a well-loved hair comb that I have used daily since I was in my teens - poor thing deserves a proper funeral!;  AND, because I had to buy two in order to get a new one, a new comb that can bless someone else;  And finally, two hand towels destined for the humane society.  Item count now stands at 27.

- Those of you who like applique will enjoy seeing THIS and might want to play along.  (Thank you Jocelyn for the head's up on this one!)

- THIS would make a great gift - and be a win/win in using up scrap fabrics too.

- Those who like fabrics by Tilda might enjoy seeing THIS (and even if you don't like Tilda fabrics, it's a gorgeous quilt anyway!)

- THIS is a really nice cowl design that someone might like to find under the Christmas tree.  THIS one too!  

- THESE caught my eye - not necessarily because of the way they're originally presented, but I wonder about applique onto a quilt for a child?

Today's quote....Jeanne posted this on her blog and I had to share it with you....

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.  

- THIS is for the fans of chocolate oranges!

- There's some beautiful work in the galleries of THIS artist.

- THIS would be a lovely gift for someone who feels the cold.

- Wouldn't it be fun to make up both the adult and kid sizes of THESE?  And while you're there she has a ton of great gift ideas 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.

- Resident Chef has an issue with his glasses fogging up dreadfully when he's wearing a mask so I've been on a search for something that will work for him and came across THIS video.  After a bit of 'pausing' on the video I managed to figure it out (it's really easy!!) and made him one.  The request has come in for more so I just might have hit upon the solution!  Thought I should share in case any of you are having the same problem.  

- THESE adorable little guys would be fun to make.  The link isn't in English but there's a translate feature available.

- Mary Corbet (always an interesting read!) has posted a fun discussion and how to about making your own beeswax for stitching.  You can find it HERE.  

- Those of you who knit might find THIS of interest. And HERE is another one.

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS wonderful artist!

- The sewers (sewists?) among you might like to keep an eye on what's going to be happening on THIS blog over the next while (and you'll maybe find the current post has something you'll be able to use as well).  

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).  

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist!  And THIS one too!!

- THIS is a variation for those of you who make Izzy Dolls.  And THESE are a slightly different variation (you'll have to scroll down).

- Some of you might be interested in knowing about THIS (no affiliation but I do admire Sharon's work!).

- Some things just absolutely defy description and some of THESE certainly fit that criteria.  The ingenuity of some people is astounding!  Be sure to scroll down!

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.  

- There's a nice design HERE for a Christmas stocking (scroll down for the tutorial).

- I've seen a lot of junk journals around the internet, but never one made using file folders as was done HERE.

- THESE are just plain cute - with or without adding catnip for a kitty. 

- And THESE are really cute too!

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)

- THIS is a free tutorial for a cute star quilt block that could be used in various sizes for all sorts of things.  

- THIS is a great project to use up scraps of yarn, including the ugly stuff you wonder why on earth is continuing to reside in your stash! I like her idea of using it as a plant holder (plus it would make great gifts!).

- Sometimes I come across something that just plain makes me smile and THIS is one of them.  

Today's quote..."Sometimes not saying anything is the best answer.  You see, silence can never be misquoted"

And I thought I'd share this...

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!!

I don't know if I'll be able to keep doing the challenge, but here's a good start...
Terrible photo I know, but there's a black metal coffee table with a combination glass & slate top;  an oval frame; a bunch of artificial greenery and 3 packages of paper napkins that are currently in the process of being used up on a daily basis rather than cluttering up the drawer.  On top of what you see  here, there's a long skirt that's too difficult to alter; and there's also two queen-sized sheets (headed to the humane society).  Oh, and a duplicate phone book (why on earth did we have two??!!).  
Making Space item count.....10

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.  

- There are a number of free cross stitch designs HERE.  

- C & T Publishing has announced the launch of their new online learning platform and there's several interesting-looking courses on offer.  You can read more about it HERE

- THIS is a rather cute little Christmas tree design that would be fun to make.  And while you're there, be sure to scroll through all the other great tutorials (HERE)

Today's quote...."Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day"

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.  


Most of you know that Pam Kellogg has passed the reins of the crazy quilting magazine over to the capable hands of Lisa Boni.  The first issue under her guidance is now available HERE!  I'm listed as one of the Editorial Assistants on this publication so please check it out!


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!!


- The weekly newsletter from Inspirations had a bit about THIS artist and I must admit I was wowed by what she does!  Be sure to look through all her galleries.

- THESE are really cute - and would make great decorations (and gifts too!)

- Bonnie Hunter has just announced the beginning of her new mystery Quiltalong and you can read all about it HERE.  

- I'm seeing a lot of pocket shawls showing up 'round and about the internet so thought I'd share an easy crochet version HERE that looks like it would be a quick-make for Christmas giving.

- If you're in the gnome-liking camp, perhaps one of THESE would be fun to have on display over the Christmas season - and with a simple change of colour, any time of the year.

- THIS takes you to part one of a great tutorial to make fabric moths (no - not the type the eats your woolens!!).  If you scroll to the bottom of the post you will find links to the remaining parts of the tutorial.

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…….............…..”