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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Some days are just like that

 Yesterday was a dud when it came to getting any stitching done.  Instead we spent much of the morning slugging boxes, furniture and detritus from one spot to another (and this morning, we slugged them back again).  Reason, you ask? (and I know you were asking....ahem)  Well, the carpet cleaners came to deal with our grungy carpet (most especially the site of the Grande Liquid Laundry Soap Spill of 2021).  That meant everything that could be moved, had to be - and away from the carpeted areas.  Take into consideration that the ONLY parts of our apartment that aren't carpet are the bathroom, kitchen and the front hallway (that wasn't useable for storage because, you know...they had to get in and out?).  So there were piles in Resident Chef's kitchen and had anyone pulled back the shower curtain in the bathroom they would have been horrified to see the stacks of bins and boxes piled in the tub.  No pictures - I'll spare you the horror of the sight.  

Two young men (fresh out of grade school,  I swear) arrived and cheerfully tackled the job, leaving behind a MUCH cleaner looking carpet and a much lighter bank account.  Oh well, at least the GLLSS2021 is no more, so it was worth it.  Once that was over, we vacated the premises to let it dry and managed (how, I can't even begin to imagine) to succumb to the valiant efforts of our car to just happen to drive by the ice cream manufacturing plant.  What's worse, I can't understand how a double-scoop, two-flavoured, waffle cone managed to jump into our hands.  What were we to do?  It was dripping all over so the only thing left was to eat it.  We are nothing if not obedient to the circumstances.  

- I love THESE (scroll down for the free pattern)....lots of uses and could be made in all sorts of colours.

- THESE would make great little gifts particularly if you included a nice pair of scissors.

- There are some cute pincushions ideas HERE.  

- Have a look at the amazing work by THIS artist!

Today's quote is from Mae West.."I generally avoid temptation.  Unless I can't resist it"

Monday, June 28, 2021

Adding some more


I guess the title of this post should simply be 'more, more, more' - more crocheted afghan and more stitcheries.  Over the  weekend I completed the third mile-a-minute afghan; this one longer than the other two because our son is tall and I wanted it long enough to cover him if he wanted to be cozy.  

Here's a close-up of the pattern - certainly an easy-peasy one to do and it works up quickly.

And....three more little stitcheries have been added to the growing pile (I think there's only 8 more to go)...

- THIS looks like so much fun to do.  Unfortunately I don't have any wool in my stash and certainly not in the pretty yellows that are needed.  If I ever get to a thrift store again.....

- THESE would be fun to make - using small fun fabrics from your stash.  She also has a great tutorial for making yourself a new ironing board cover (HERE).

- I like THIS quilt pattern - there's a link there to get the patterns to create your own.

- THIS would be a perfect pincushion and thread catcher set for someone who is a tea drinker.

Today's quote..."If there is no randomness in the universe, then what do we mean by chaos?"

Friday, June 25, 2021


 There's only one problem with working on these little Christmas stitcheries - there are more designs I want to do than I have room for in the calendars.  As a result, I decided to replace the lanterns with these cute little birds.  Somehow I think little boys will find them far more recognizable.  So these are the additions to the collection over the past couple of days...

And, another bit of tastiness has magically appeared from the kitchen of the Resident Chef and I thought I'd share the recipe in case any of you would like to try it as well.  It makes quite a bit - but we love it for breakfast and also (gasp!) sprinkled on some ice cream.  

NOTE:  It makes a lot so don't be daunted by the amount of ingredients - we go to the bulk food store for most of it.  The recipe is easily halved if you prefer.

8 c. rolled oats (the regular, not instant)
1 1/2 cups EACH wheat germ and oat bran
1 cup EACH sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, rye flakes, coconut, chopped walnuts, cashews (we often don't bother with the nuts)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. honey
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tablespoon EACH of vanilla and cinnamon
2 cups dried cranberries, raisins or coconut (we use a combination of them) - NOTE - these are added after cooking
    Line two large baking (cookie) sheets with parchment or foil.  Combine dry ingredients.  Combine salt, sugar, syrup, honey, oil & cinnamon and bring to a boil over medium heat (stir regularly so it doesn't burn!).  Add vanilla and pour over dry ingredients and stir to coat.  Spread on cookie sheets and bake at 325 until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes.  Stir at least once.  Cool and then add the cranberries, raisins and/or coconut.  Store in airtight container(s) and enjoy!

- THESE would make great gifts - or useful in your own home (and...they use up stash!!)

- The work of THIS artist caught my eye (be sure to scroll down)

- There are a number of handy charts HERE.  

- THIS is a really pretty cross stitched house (and at the bottom of the post there are links to others in her series).  AND I love THIS little sampler and might have to add one to the Christmas box for friends who have honey bees on their property.  

Here is the quote for today..."My goal is to create a life I don't need a vacation from"

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

 It was Father's Day on Sunday here and I decided that, if I were a good wife, I should bestir myself and cook supper for Resident Chef.  Daunting task, but I thought I was up to it.  For those of you who don't know, Resident Chef does all the cooking here and has since he retired in 1999.  Prior to that it was my chore responsibility.  So, simply because you never know what you might find here at Chez Magpie, here are the recipes I used...


4 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
chopped fresh oregano/basil (combination)
1 thinly sliced onion

1/ 4 c. olive oil                       3 T. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijohn mustard          2 tsp. honey
2 cloves minced garlic
S & P to taste


1 ea.  green, yellow & orange pepper
   cut into 1” chunks
1 pkg. smoked sausage – cut in ½” slices
2 large potatoes – 1” chunks
3 Onions – chunked as above
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. each lemon juice & olive oil
½ tsp. pepper
chopped fresh basil, oregano & Parsley (to taste)
    combine all and divide into four large
pieces of foil.  Seal and bake (on cookie
Sheet) at 425 for 35 mins.


2 ¾ c. icing sugar
½ c plus 1/3 c. peanut butter
½ c. melted butter
2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
½ tsp. shortening or margarine
     Beat sugar, peanut butter & melted
butter til smooth.  Roll into 1” balls.
Melt choc & shortening in Microwave  til
melted.  Dip balls & place on wire rack
over waxed paper.  Refrigerate. 

-  Be prepared for an involuntary 'awwwww' when you look at what's HERE.  

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist!

- And THIS artist as well.

Today's quote..."There comes a day when you look around and realize happiness is where you are"

Monday, June 21, 2021


 Yes, there are 34 of 48 little stitcheries completed (albeit there's also been three that were re-done because if the thread debacle).  

- I've often toyed with making one of THESE but just haven't gotten beyond the stage of thinking about it.  

- Have a peek at the work in the galleries of THIS artist.

- Be sure to scroll down through the gallery of THIS artist too.

- I'm sure, after being at home so much over the past year and a half, many are getting heartily sick and tired of their clothes, so perhaps using some t-shirts in THIS manner might be fun.

Today's quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt..."Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"

Friday, June 18, 2021

On Pig Stys and other things

 I guess this post is falling under the 'mumblings' of a random nature - poor you!

Random Thing # 1 - Booked the carpet cleaners to come and 'do something' with our well-worn but not replaceable carpets (apartment life, what can I say).  There was a small accident in the hallway outside the bathroom door that may or may not have involved much of a container of liquid laundry soap getting up close and personal with the floor.  It may or may *not* have involved moi.  

Random Thing # 2 - Regarding the above - have to figure out how to move everything that's moveable and stash it somewhere else so they have the most access possible.

Random Thing #3 - Thought fleetingly of attending the local pop-up clinic for vaccines tonight to get our 2nd dose sooner than it's scheduled.   Good thing we didn't because it wasn't scheduled to start until 4 and by 3:30 they were completely full.  DH attempted to get his moved closer via the phone and he would only have saved himself 2 weeks and he would have had to drive over an hour to get to the closest available.  Nope, not gonna happen.  As for me, I'm not even going to try after all the debacle I went through to get the first  two scheduled.  Sept. 1 will come soon enough.

Random Thing # 4 - I'm continuing with the little stitcheries and have 32 completed (out of 48).  Here's the latest....

Random Thing # 5 - It pays to be loyal.  For several years now I've requested a loyalty discount from our internet/tv/phone provider and they always come through with something in order to keep our business.  This time I saved $50/month for the next 3 years and a free rental of the receiver/box for the next 15 years.  Not bad....proving that you just have to ask and you might be surprised what they'll offer you.

Random Thing #6 - It's a small-ish town and we really don't expect to have to deal with big city rules but it seems we're being dragged into it no matter what.  Seems imminent that we will no longer have free parking for our guests at our building which is most likely just going to lead to people parking in the park to avoid paying.  The almighty need for the most bucks at work.

- Those of you who embroider and use DMC floss will find THIS PDF chart of color numbers/names invaluable.  

- THIS is a cute (and handy!) little project!

- If you have a little girl to sew for, perhaps you'd like to make her one of THESE.

- THIS is something that caught my eye, just because!

- Have a look through all the galleries of THIS fabric artist.

Today's quote - "The greatest danger to our future is apathy"

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Motoring onwards

 I've been plugging away at the little Christmas stitcheries, as you can see from this photo....

Yesterday was a banner, red-letter, exciting day - we had coffee with our friends that we haven't seen for over a year!  We met in a local park and socially distanced and it was wonderful.  Funny how something so small as having a cup of coffee together ends up feeling like the thrill of a lifetime!

- As a general service (and in case you didn't see the comments from last time), Cathy said that she has her blog printed using THIS company.  If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know and I'll update this post.

- THIS might be of interest if you're thinking of caring for the environment.

- Have a peek at the creations by THIS amazing artist!

- For those of you who work with water colors, perhaps you might like THIS nifty little travel idea!

Today's quote..."A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent"

Monday, June 14, 2021

Crosses - of the fun kind

 I'm so much enjoying creating these little stitcheries for the advent calendars.  After a couple of years of deteriorating eyesight due to the cataracts I haven't been able to do any cross stitching and I've certainly missed it.  Here are the latest additions to the collection....


A question for those of you who are in the know about these things....the question has arisen and my memory is such that I remember someone saying that there's some sort of printing service that will take your entire blog for a year and print it into a book form.  Does anybody know who/how/where that can be done??  Please comment if you do and I'll pass the information along.


- There's a most interesting post HERE concerning the sheer amount of garbage we manage to produce.  The post itself is interesting but be sure you also check out the comments.  Some interesting ideas and commentary.  Someone suggested that all school-aged children should be taken on a field trip to the local landfill to just see for themselves just how much garbage their community generates.  Sure would be an eye-opener and might make them better stewards of our planet in the future.

- Some of you might find THIS project a fun thing to do with older kids. 

- If you would like to improve (or just play around!) your photography skills, perhaps you might be interested in THIS.  

- And seeing all of THESE was just plain fun!  (be sure to scroll down)  I had to take it one step further with the first artist and checked out her website - go HERE to see more!

- I may have sent you to see the works of THIS artist before but even if I did, they are well worth another look!

Today's quote is from Nido Qubein...."Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start"

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

A few more additions to the collection

 I've been working steadily on the little stitcheries for the advents and have completed a few more (and also re-stitching the offending 'bleeders' from the other day).....

Some of you may be familiar with the children's book 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs...

I must admit the book itself is rather underwhelming because there's no story and it's all small pictures....not something that I think would enthrall a 2 year old.  However....the snowman himself is adorable and Sirdar has a pattern!  So....I had to make one for the Christmas box.  I used Bernat Velvet yarn because the original Sirdar yarn is no longer available.  Sooooooo soft and cuddly!!!!

A short update - I saw the specialist again this morning and the lesion on my tongue is, as he thought, labeled as being 'pre-cancerous'.  I am now part of a new study that will further access my risk for actually developing cancer.  The results of that assessment won't be back until mid-September at which point it will be decided if I will need to be seen by him on a 4xyear basis or whether the risk level is low enough to be looked at once a year.  Either way, I am confident this was caught in time and now we go on to the next step.  Evidently tongue issues such as mine are on the rise, so please - check yourself and if anything doesn't look or feel right, get seen by a professional.  

- Wouldn't a bowl of THESE look pretty for your fall decor?

- If you have a little girl in your life, perhaps making her one (or more!) of THESE would be special.

- THIS is another of those things that make you want to say 'awwwww' right out loud.

- Have a look at THESE marvelous sculptures!

Today's quote is from Glenn Close..."What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation"

Monday, June 07, 2021

A needle - in a haystack....or.....

 The Saga of the Red Thread

by Your Intrepid Stitcher

Chapter One

As we enter the sewing studio of your intrepid stitcher  (hereinafter known as IS) we are greeted by many different little piles.  Here a pile of yarn, there a pile of little stitcheries, and over there - yes, over there - we see a pile of plastic boxes chuck full of embroidery flosses.  As the scene unfolds we see our IS stitching merrily away but coming to the realization that if she were a clever person she would damp stretch the little stitcheries as she goes along.  "Yes, a marvelous plan" said she to herself and proceeded to pin out a number of little bits onto her board.  A spritz of water and our IS went back to stitching more.  "This is fun" she thought.  

Chapter Two

Time unfolds.  Drying happens and our IS decided it was time to remove her freshly stretched stitcheries.  But wait!  What's this?  "Oh, no...... (bleep, bleep)...."  Just look at this....

Some of the red embroidery floss has run!!  It's made a huge mess.  And now our not-so-thrilled IS will be re-stitching several of the wee stitcheries.  Good thing she's stubborn!

Chapter Three

As this tale unfolds, the IS is eyeing her plastic box chock full of different shades of red threads and wondering 'Which one is the Culprit".  "Which one needs to be thrown into the Great Wastebasket Collector?"  Our IS is also bemoaning the fact that for once in her stitching life she actually put something AWAY as she went and therefore the offending culprit is now merrily sticking their tongue out at her and saying 'catch me, if you can'.



As this story goes to press, your IS is pleased to inform you that the offending stitcheries have been re-stitched....with non bleeding thread AND the little blighter has been banished to the Wastebasket Collector.


- have a look at the gallery HERE.  

- THIS is a really cute design and could use some scraps from your stash - and would make great gifts too (or used as the gift bag with something else tucked inside).

- Have a peek at the work done by THIS amazing artist.

Today your quote is courtesy of Winston Churchill... "Success is not final, failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts"

Friday, June 04, 2021

A box of inspiration and progress

 This box of yarn-y goodness appeared in the mail and will evolve into two more mile-a-minute afghans at some point between now and Christmas.....

And, there's been a little more progress on the Christmas stitcheries too....

You will note that I'm doing two of each 'theme', but each of them is different from the other.

- Not that we adults would know this for a fact (ahem) but the kids in your life that enjoy those Freeze Pops would probably benefit from some of THESE.  

- Some of THESE would be fun for summer use.

- I've been on the lookout for the directions to make THESE for quite awhile.  Perfect addition to tuck inside a letter to our grandsons!

- Have a look at THESE and be prepared for an involuntary 'awwwww'.

- If there's a nurse or a doctor in your life, they might appreciate a thank you in the form of one of THESE.  

Today's quote from C. Beaudin Hamada:  "The happiest people don't have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything.  Live simply, care deeply, speak kindly, love generously and leave the rest to God"

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

More, and a lack

 Over the past couple of days I completed another two little stitcheries for the advents, as you can see...

I blinked and miscounted the number of stitches so I'll be redoing the Mrs. Santa on the right so she's centered.  Oops.

This time I'm not giving you any links because I haven't had the time to search for any (I know, be still your beating hearts.  Do try to curtail your disappointment).  BUT - instead of that how about a few photos from our walk along the river?  For those of you who don't know, our apartment building overlooks the local river and there's a nice walkway all the way from here to the downtown core.  These things caught my eye...

These are the locks and on the left (out of frame) is where the boats go through.

A little snapping turtle sunning himself on the rocks

The Old Mill that burned many years ago and now is a 'Heritage' site (some would say eyesore).  I maintain it should be revamped as a restaurant on the lower level, the Art Gallery on the middle level, and artist studios/shops on the upper.  Of course the town fathers don't agree with my opinion!

And, finally, some fun mail!  

These will be used in the Advent calendar creation when I get to that point.

Today's quote is from David Russell..."The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn"