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.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Happy New Year wishes

 Today I have a little something different to share with you.  I came across this and thought it would be something that you would enjoy - and it is my wish for you, and for all of us, as we enter into a new year that I hope will be a happy, healthy and safe one for all.

By Jack Levine 

Here’s my 20-item Emotional Gift Guide which I hope will be meaningful for you in this season of celebration. 

To yourself....respect, confidence, faith and fortitude. 

To a family member....communication and understanding, even if there have been relationship challenges. 

To a friend....a heartfelt, caring spirit and appreciation. 

To our natural world, animal and plant life....admiration, protection, and preservation. 

To a good cause....generosity of time and treasure and ardent advocacy.

 To a open door of hospitality. 

To our military forces, first responders and their loved ones....honor, admiration, and support to heal the wounds.

 To the ill and hurting....conscientious concern and comfort. 

To the hungry and homeless....compassion, emergency services, and creative community solutions. 

To the abused, neglected and abandoned....representation, security, and hope.

 To someone with a special challenge....recognition, acceptance, and a path to independence. 

To the addicted and arms, forgiveness, and a positive path to recovery.

 To an infant and toddler....attention, attachment, safety, and learning opportunities.

 To a child or teen....patience, guidance, and a positive example through mentoring.

 To a parent in need....a helping hand and guidance. 

To an elder....reverence, gratitude, and dignified care. 

To a customer or client....excellent service and lasting value. 

To everyone you see, friends and strangers alike....a warm smile, acts of kindness, and positive energy. 

To people of every age....unconditional love and sincere gratitude. 

To all the peoples of the world....justice, and peace.

written by Jack Levine

and found via 'Grand Magazine' online

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Mystery solved?

 Remember that pile of 'mystery' I showed you before Christmas?  Well, I had a special request from Daughter-In-Love #2 for some Asian-themed felt foods for our grandies to play with.  How could I refuse?  Here's the results (there's at least 5 pieces of each food, sometimes 10, but I'm not showing you the entire lot).  

and some closeups....

Today's quote is from A.A. Milne..."Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude"

Monday, December 27, 2021

Post-Christmas Post

 I hope your Christmas celebrations, in whatever form they took, were happy ones.  Here at Chez Magpie it was just the two of us so very low key.  We were able to enjoy a video chat session with #2 son and his family in BC and watch the grandies opening their gifts Christmas morning.  Yesterday we did another short video session with #1 son and his family.  We're still hoping to be able to get together with them for a short visit when he has a day off (he's the chef so therefore has to work on Christmas).  Resident Chef and I gave each other that 'blasted' new phone for Christmas so now I guess I have the huge learning curve in store figuring out how to use it.  He won't touch it because he knows absolutely nothing about technology.  I'm not much better but I'm stubborn so I will figure it out.  Maybe.

Over the break I did complete a couple of projects for the baby....

The sweater pattern is THIS one,  the hat came from HERE, and the toy is the one I make for all new babies and is THIS one.  

This morning there are big snowflakes coming down outside and we rather wish we weren't booked for our booster shots this afternoon. At least we don't have to go too far to get them.  

Today the quote is from Bob Hope..."When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things, not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness"

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Happy Christmas Wishes!


Resident Chef and I would like to

wish all of you - and those you love -

a very happy and blessed Christmas.

Be safe, be well, and enjoy your

celebration in whatever form it

may take

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Grandma's pride

 Today, in lieu of something by me, I thought I'd like to share a piece of art created by one of the youngest members  of our family - our 5 year old grandson....

Today the quote is from Billy Graham..."The very purpose of Christ's coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men.  He came to die.  This is the heart of Christmas"

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Oh yes, FINALLY a finished finish!!

 At long last, here is the finished landscape!  It took a lot of reverse stitching and a lot more new stitching but I'm finally happy with least now it's lying flat!  

"Ghostly Memories"
measures approx. 28 1/2" x 24"


My inspiration came from this photo of 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' in Raymore, Saskatchewan and kindly shared with me by Dale Stewart, a wonderful photographer!

When I first saw this photo I immediately wanted to see if I could create it as a ghostly image of the church.  Not sure how successful I was, but I certainly learned a lot.  
Some closeups...

I think you can click on them to embiggen

Today the quote is from Maya Angelou.... "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things:  a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights"

Sunday, December 12, 2021

A finished finish? But then again....

 Well, those of you who have been holding your breath waiting for the reveal of the landscape will just have to wait a teeny bit longer.  There has been much avail made of the stitch ripper and much 'discussion' with the sewing machine regarding my insistence that I truly DO want to use invisible thread.  At the moment it remains to be seen just which one of us is more stubborn than the other.  

So....instead of THAT finish, how about another one?  A wee baby sweater using leftover yarn and gifted buttons.  

and a close up of the buttons...

Pattern is the Little Coffee Bean by 
Elizabeth Smith and can be found HERE.  

Today's quote...

Friday, December 10, 2021

A frustrating finish!

 It took me awhile but I finally almost finished the latest landscape called 'Ghostly Memories', inspired once again by a photograph kindly shared by Dale Stewart.  When I saw his photo of the 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' church in Raymore, Saskatchewan I immediately was inspired to try to create it as a ghostly image.  Not exactly sure how successful I was but I certainly had a blast working on it.  Now, having said that, I'm late posting today because everything I have attempted to do has been accompanied by frustration.  This still isn't finished and at the moment is adamantly refusing to lie flat.  Never had that happen before so I know there will be some more stitching to try to wrestle it into submission.  In the meantime you can get the general idea for now and I'll post another 'Finished Finish' later on.


We interrupt the current dose of mumblings for a news flash!  Due to circumstances beyond your not-so-savvy writer's control (and no doubt there's a degree of stupidity involved) today there will be no pictures of finished objects - unfinished objects - or much of anything else.  Camera doesn't want to talk to the doesn't want to talk to the camera.....both are throwing hissy fits of grande proportions.  Your intrepid correspondent has been seen joining in with the general hissiness of the entire thing.'s not even Friday the 13th OR a full moon!

Today's quote is from R. H. Swaney..."I wish we could talk about our hearts like we talk about the weather, because whether or not we are okay is more important than the chance of rain"

Wednesday, December 08, 2021


 I almost forgot to post today!  What would happen to the world if I didn't?!!!  Surely it would come to a halt in complete consternation?

Anyway....this post centres around food.  First of all - how about a recipe?  Resident Chef served this for supper tonight and it's definitely a keeper!  The original recipe is on the menu at Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot but of course the Resident Chef changed it somewhat to more suit our tastes..


1/ 2 lb. bacon, 1/2" pieces
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4" pieces
4 T. butter
1 c. flour
3 c. chicken stock
4 c. milk
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 T. hot pepper sauce
1 T. Worcestershire
1/2 c. warm beer (the rest goes to the cook)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté bacon until lightly browned.  Add onion, celery and butter and sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for about 4 mins.  Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add milk
and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.  Do not boil after milk is added.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients (reserving beer).  Blend with immersion blender until cheese is melted.  Add warm beer.  If soup is too thick you can thin with a little milk.    

Another thing that has come forth from Resident Chef's kitchen are these....
These are about the size of a small pizza and are topped with M&M's.  

Today's quote..."There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words and still not understand you.  There are others who will understand you - without you even speaking a word"

Monday, December 06, 2021

A little cowl

 Over the weekend I finished knitting myself a new cowl.  I'm ashamed to say how old my previous scarf is and I still love it, but I think people are heartily sick of seeing it, so....a new cowl.....

Mr. Crow makes a good model, don't you think?  Pattern is The Copycat Cowl by Verna Glass and can be found HERE.  I used a regular long-tail cast on and some Maximum Value yarn from Mary Maxim. 

Today's quote..."If my body was a car, I would be trading it in for a newer model.  I've got bumps, dents, scratches, and my headlights are out of focus.  My gearbox is seizing up and it takes me hours to reach maximum speed.  I overheat for no reason and every time I sneeze, cough or laugh either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires"

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Putz, futz, fuddle....pfft

 So I've been putzing and not one bit of what I've done is of the least bit of interest to you.  I know you were just sitting there wanting to know that I finished wrapping all but two gifts.  You really wanted to know that I re-vamped a vest for Resident Chef so it fits him better.  I know you were absolutely holding your breath to know that I blocked a wee sweater for the baby, a process which requires crawling about on the floor.  I'm sure you REALLY wanted to know that I managed to get up off said floor.  You also, I know, wanted to know that I made the label and sewed it on the back of the baby quilt.  More importantly, I'm sure you had the knowing that I put a precious few stitches into the latest landscape high on your wish list.  

AND....drumroll please....I know, beyond a shadow of any doubt whatsoever, that you are just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear that I spent over an hour searching for pictures of              

....wait for it.....


Gosh, I'm glad all your waiting is now over and you can go back to your regularly scheduled life.  You're welcome.

  Instead of a quote, this came up on facebook and it made me laugh so I thought I'd share (there IS a wee bit of 'language' so be prepared)...

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

I do get around to things - eventually!

 Resident Chef carved this Santa many years ago and there it sat.  Unloved, unpainted, and stuffed in a drawer.  I finally decided that I was going to get it painted if it was the last thing I do.  Only took me over ten years....

Today's quote is from Victoria Erickson..."There's a turning point.  It arrives when we find ourselves quietly hovering inside the realization that the choice is between two pains:  the pain of the jump or the pain of regret"

Monday, November 29, 2021

House beautiful - hah!~

Resident Chef hauled out the Christmas decorations on the weekend so I dutifully 'decorated'.  Our tree is perilously close to running competition with Charlie Brown's tree and is most definitely showing its age.  Two strings of lights are burnt out necessitating a trip to the store to buy more and it's shedding 'needles' in a vast shower all over the carpet.  It needs a fluffy green/gold garland to be stuffed all around the 'trunk' to make it look as if it might actually BE a tree and not just some sticks stuck into a broom handle.   Yeah, as I said - pitiful.  

No  matchy-poo ornaments or fancy beaded garlands for us either - it's a collection of mis-matched ornies that have been accumulated carefully chosen over our years of marriage.  Needless to say 'House Beautiful' magazine won't be knocking on our door for a photo shoot anytime soon.  

This is one of my favourite Santas that I made a number of years ago.  He depicts a Besnickle and for those of you who don't know, here's a description I found on Wikipedia....Belsnickel is a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine

He has a real fur coat and is mounted on a log.

I love our nativity set - it's one I collected that was once sold by Avon.  At the time I was a rep and I treated myself to these.  It's not the complete set, sadly.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Continuing on

 I'm back to working on the 'ghostly' landscape and adding to the embroidery in the foreground....

Today's quote..."I've finally reached the wonder years....wonder where I parked the car?....wonder where I left my phone?....wonder where my glasses are?....wonder what day it is?

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Where angels fear to tread?

I was casting about to find something to post about today and so I thought I'd be brave and show you my little corner of the living room where I sit in front of the tv and either knit, crochet or read at nights.  

Just a few words of explanation - the blue 'blob' on the left is a corner of my chair and the black 'blob' on the right is the corner of the end table.  In between is my mess - the pink and grey (back left) is a sweater I'm working on for the baby and the Janet basket to the right is *supposed* to hold my knitting project but instead it currently has my zippered pouch I use when I'm knitting socks, my yarn bowl and a plastic sectioned container that holds such important things as cable needles and stitch markers.  In front of that is a ball of red yarn I'm auditioning to maybe make myself a scarf of some sort, and the bag to the right of that is currently holding a baby afghan I'm working on.  

And speaking of baby things, I just finished putting the binding on the wee baby quilt and this is the result....

Nothing spectacular about it - just a panel and coordinating 5" squares.  Here's the backing....

It's a lovely soft minky fabric.  Soft, but a brute to hand stitch through.  Good thing I machine quilted the quilt and only had to hand stitch the binding!

The quote, from Gandhi..."When the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace"

Monday, November 22, 2021

On waistlines and silliness

 Resident Chef appeared in my sewing room doorway on the weekend bearing these....

Homemade chocolates.
AND there isn't a single calorie to them!!
Uh huh.
They're bound for the freezer, minus
one or two for testing for quality control purposes.

For reasons even I can't explain I returned to making this....

I have absolutely NO use for reason to make it....and nobody to give it to. Sheer silliness to spend that much time working on something utterly useless, but what can I say!

Pattern can be found HERE .  I used 16 mm wooden beads and Sugar 'n Cream crochet cotton (100 beads!)

Today's quote...

Friday, November 19, 2021

The last one!.....?

 This is the last Christmas present I'm making for this year.  Yes, it is - uh huh - yep - done.  

My friend has a habit of keeping notes about her knitting on random pieces of paper that tend to go AWOL so I thought she might have a use for a notebook.  I couldn't give her just any ol' notebook so I gussied it up with embroidery on the front.  

The back cover was created using a piece from a blouse she once gave me for use in crafting.  She loved it so hopefully she will like it here too.  The spine is made from a scrap of musical fabric I had (she's musical so I thought it was fitting).  Hope she likes it and gives up on her bits of paper!!

Today's quote..."Conformity is doing what you're told regardless of what's right.  Morality is doing what's right regardless of what you're told"

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Another baby knit and granola

 Last weekend I finished working on another little sweater for our expected grandie that's due to arrive in January.  Pattern is THIS one - I did the short-sleeved version because I didn't think I had enough yarn to do long sleeves...

Yarn label is missing but I think it's Caron Simply Soft.

A couple of you have expressed interest in the granola recipe Resident Chef uses, so here you go....


(NOTE: This makes a lot but it keeps
a very long time if you seal it well)

8 c. rolled oats (not the instant kind)
1 1/2 cups EACH: wheat germ and oat bran
1 cup EACH: sunflower seeds; rye flakes; 
cashews or pecans (finely chopped); almonds 
(finely chopped)

1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. maple syrup
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. dried cranberries or raisins (or combination)
1 c. coconut

Preheat oven to 325.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil.  Combine dry ingredients.  Combine remaining ingredients with the exception of the vanilla, cranberries, raisins and coconut and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add vanilla and pour over dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread evenly on baking sheets.  Bake until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes.  Stir once halfway through.  Cool, and then add the cranberries, raisins and coconut.  

Today's quote..."When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them.  It may take a second to say, but for them it could last a lifetime"

Monday, November 15, 2021

oops and kitchen doings and no more drips!

 I'm sorry, but I can't show you pictures of the completed sleep pants because they're already wrapped up and residing in the box ready to be picked up by UPS tomorrow. I fully intended to take pictures to show you but completely forgot until it was too late.

While I had the sewing machine running full throttle, Resident Chef was busy in the kitchen, as you can see from these photos...

Homemade granola which will be gifted this year instead of tins of all kinds of baking.  This is easier on Resident Chef and doesn't need freezer space to store.  Win/win?  I hope so!

If you're interested in our recipe, let me know and I'll publish it for you.

And butter tarts.  There ALWAYS has to be butter tarts for our kids and a couple other close friends.  Heaven help Resident Chef if he doesn't make some!!

We've been dealing with a leaky kitchen tap for quite some time and finally managed to get someone to come to make a repair.  Or at least we expected a repair, but instead we got a new tap.  A rather Rolls-Roy-ish tap too!  Before we had the cheapest possible junky tap that the building management put in but this one is a huge leap forward.  It even has a pull out spray thingie.  Some things just make us ridiculously happy and this is one of them...

The quote for today..."Sometimes you get what you want.  Other times you get a lesson in patience, timing, alignment, empathy, compassion, faith, perseverance, resilience, humility, trust, meaning, awareness, resistance, purpose, clarity, grief, beauty and life.  Either way you win"

Friday, November 12, 2021

Revving up the sewing machine

 This pile of fabric is about to be turned into sleep pants so you know what I'll be doing for the next few days!

Today's quote is from Michael C. Clark...."Negativity is contagious.  Unhappiness is contagious.  Fear is contagious.  But so is happiness.  So is optimism.  So is love.  Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive"

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Public service announcement - and baby thing




There is a universal hand gesture signal for
people to use when they're in trouble and if 
you've watched the news in the past few days you
will have heard that it saved a young girl from
a kidnapping.
This is vital information we ALL need to
be aware of.
Please go HERE for further information.

Please also share this on your blogs
because this needs to be known!


Here is another completed 'evening project' ...

The crochet pattern is one I've had in my files for years and I don't have any idea where I found it.  The original pattern calls for long sleeves but I opted for sleeveless and just trimmed them with some picots.  Yarn is 'Baby Marble' from James C. Brett....another one I've had in my stash for too many years to count.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Hard to see but there's progress - and a little sumthin''

 I know it's very difficult to see but yes there HAS been progress on the landscape....probably about ten hours worth of embroidery so far.  I know - I need to get a life!

Another of my evening projects involved making this little guy...

He will accompany a copy of THIS book that will be gifted at Christmas to #2 grandie.  Pattern is from HERE.  

Today's quote is from John Lennon..."When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down 'happy'.  They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life"