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, August 30, 2021

16, 17 and a new start

 Do you see the number counting up to 24?  That means I'm nearing the end of this particular cross stitch marathon.  I will have to stop at 23 though - at least until I know what the baby's name will be and I can do her initial.  

I have started a new sweater to replace the previous debacle and so far so good.  I've made this particular pattern before so I don't foresee any issues.  Never say never though!!!

Over the weekend we decided that we would bite the proverbial bullet (or bank account!) and order a new mattress.  Not at all sure about the mattress-in-a-box thing but we'll see.  Right now we're simply not comfortable going and doing the in-person thing in stores so this is the next best that's available.  Oddly, when I did a 'google' and researched the best mattresses for side sleepers the various sites didn't so much as mention the old standbys and instead, to a one, they recommended those that come in a box.  That came as a bit of a surprise. The deciding factor was that we found one that's made in Canada.  Now I suppose I should do the smart thing and get a new pillow too.  I've been using the same water pillow for well over ten years and I know it's probably overdue to spring a leak and it wouldn't be nice if that were to happen on the brand new mattress.  Next up in the process will be trying to figure how to man/woman-handle the old heavy unwieldy mattress out for pick up.  I'm all for throwing it over the balcony but Resident Chef is afraid that would be the very moment somebody would choose to walk beneath.  Would give a whole new meaning to the sky is falling I'm sure!  

- There's an interesting article HERE with some tips about using beads in your designs. 

- Do you suppose I should transfer my current obsession with cross stitching with needle and thread to THIS?  And just in case you want to know how it's done, go HERE.  

- Have a look through the gallery of THIS talented artist!

- and THIS one too.

Today's quote is from Lisa Hickman..."In a society that has you counting money, pounds, calories, and steps, be a rebel and count your blessings instead"

Friday, August 27, 2021

14, 15, and whatever else comes to mind

 I know - yawn worthy post once again!  As I've said, it's obvious I'm obsessed.  

The original design for the holly showed the berries also cross stitched but I opted to use sequins instead.  The elf is part of another much bigger design and once he's damp stretched I have a little jingle bell to sew onto his hat.  

The pile of yarn has grown again after this arrived in the mail yesterday. 

 The two smaller balls will be turned into something baby-ish (not sure what just yet) and the bigger balls are destined to be a shawl for  my wheelchair-bound friend.  I suspect I won't need both balls so perhaps there will be a baby project from the leftovers.  At this point I must sit on my fingers and not allow them to do any peeking into yarn sites (or fabric sites for that matter!).  Shhhh - I'm not tellin' you that there's a piece of kitchen-themed fabric on the way.....nope, not tellin'.......

And, just to prove that your beloved Magpie ( if!) sometimes gets in over her head....I mentioned the other day that I was attempting to teach myself to do German short rows on a 2x2 rib pattern for a sweater for #1 grandson.  Well....after numerous watchings of videos and numerous readings of instructions it made sense.  Sort of.  The sense it made, however, did not in any way translate to the sweater in question.  So being of not quite sound mind and somewhat hysterical by this point, I undertook to rip out offending sweater in favour of a pattern I could handle.  Several more evenings ensued as I struggled to find ends of yarn and finally Resident Chef made the ever-so-gentle suggestion that I should just cut my losses and  order some more yarn.  I soldiered on for at least another hour and finally got up and deposited the entire thing in the appropriate receptacle.  Do I want to admit defeat....oh no...., but sometimes, as Resident Chef put it, it's better to weigh the time lost against the cost of a fresh allotment of yarn.  I could have likely knit at least one other sweater in the time I took trying to figure this out.  Remind me - if a pattern says German Short Rows....don't try it!  Oh, and just so you know....I didn't utter even one swear word.  At least not out loud.  

- I was totally unaware that such a thing as THESE even existed and they do look like fun (and a great use for scrap yarns!).  Thanks Lyn for the heads up on this one.

- Have a look at THESE - wow!

- THIS is something cute you could make for fall - would make great gifts too!

- THIS would make a great gift too - especially if you included some makeup or nail polish....perfect for a teen perhaps?

Today's quote...."One tree can start a forest
One smile can begin a friendship
One hand can lift a soul
One word can frame the goal
One candle can wipe out darkness
One laugh can conquer gloom
One touch can show you care
One life can make a difference
Be that one today

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

#12 and #13 and a hmmmm.....

 First of all, the obsession is continuing  and here are #12 and 13 of the mini-stitcheries.....

I'm really happy with Rudolph and the candy canes were a section of a larger design I found on the internet.

You likely remember the box of yarn I showed you the other day and these....

Well, that yarn, although really pretty in the ball doesn't translate very well into fact.  The yarn quality is great so no problems there.  BUT.....the colour changes within the ball are too close together.  I had hoped to crochet a little blanket with it but it was a complete disaster and looked dreadful.  So....I switched to knit and have started this....

Pattern is THIS one.

I still don't know if I'm overly happy with it because to my eye it looks rather muddy.  I'll carry on and finish the project but I suspect there might just be another one made that will look better.  The pattern I'm using is yet another of my 'cobbles' - the original pattern is for a scarf but I thought it would translate into a blanket as well.  

- If you are searching for possible substitutions for yarns, THIS site is invaluable.

- There are a number of printable graph papers HERE (I like the virtual one that lets you design with the computer)

- Have a peek through the galleries of THIS artist!

- I normally try not to send you to commercial sites but THIS caught my eye.  I haven't seen this particular technique done in quite this way before.  Be sure to scroll down to see some of her variations.  

- Oh goodness, my grandma-heart did a flip when I saw THIS.  I SO want to make that bunny to go along with that wonderful fabric I bought for the quilt backing that I showed you previously.  I am not, however, about to pay that for the materials to make it.  I can buy the pattern separately but the yarn doesn't seem to be available here.  

Today's quote is from Paulo Coelho...."The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion"

Monday, August 23, 2021

10, 11 and.....

 Here's # 10 and #11 of the latest cross stitcheries....

Both of these designs were cobbled together using several different ones to achieve what I wanted. 


-There are some interesting ideas HERE for using up some of your button collection.  The bag caught my eye but then I realized that all those buttons would make it awfully heavy to haul around.  Would sure be a great conversation piece though!

- THIS leads to a PDF file of an adorable mouse doll.  Very cute!

- And you can go HERE to see a whole lot more free patterns from the same designer....quilts AND toys.

- There's an interesting article HERE about using pool noodles in the sewing room.

Today's quote...."Sometimes we need a bridge and sometimes we are the bridge.  No one I know has escaped troubled waters, rough seas and challenging, scary days.  There are times in our lives when we could use a little help, and other times when we are given the chance to be that help for someone else.  It really doesn't matter where you are right now.  What matters is that you remember that we are stronger together, and taking a hand is just as important as offering one"

Friday, August 20, 2021

8, 9 - and fodder

 After my rant yesterday about the post office I suppose I should somewhat eat my words because he did deliver the fabric you'll see in the pictures below.  I had to go and collect the yarn shipment though so I'm still a tad miffed.  At any rate, I have some fodder for further creativity....

This pile will be turned into a blanket, a wee dress, a sweater, a toy and something else that has yet to identify itself....all for our new baby that will be arriving in January.

These will become three pillowcases ( fabrics in the back) and the pretty bunny fabric that is SOOO incredibly soft will be the backing for a baby quilt - front of which is yet to be determined!  Don't know if you can tell, but there's also teeny flutter-byes flying amongst the bunnies.  

Proving that my hands haven't been idle, here are #8 and 9 of the latest cross stitcheries....

- I'd like to hear your opinion on THESE....creepy or fun? Be sure to scroll down.

- THIS is a different take on English Paper Piecing - or at least I think it's different because I've not seen it before.

- There's an interesting post HERE that discusses why we love to knit (I suppose it would apply to pretty much anything else we love to do too).

- HERE is another of those awww-worthy moments.  

Today's quote...."The funny thing about getting older is your eyesight starts getting weaker but your ability to see through people gets much better"

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

5, 6 & 7 and a rant

 Three more to add to the collection....

Not quite sure if you can see the steam and black smoke issuing forth from my ears from where you are, but if not, you should be able to.  Many of you know that I have had 'issues' with our postal system over the years (previous rants will attest to that)....and today they managed to reinforce their lack of brilliance once again.  I was expecting two parcels - one from Walmart and the other from Yarn Canada.  Luckily I thought to check the status online to see where/when they might be delivered.  Well, it appeared that the Walmart one had arrived so I trundled down to the lobby, expecting to find it in one of the lockboxes.  Nope.  It was sitting in the middle of the floor - for any and all to walk off with.  Not that it was that valuable (a quilt batting) but the fact remained - if I hadn't thought to check the status I wouldn't have known it was there.  And then.....and this is what REALLY set me off!.....I turned around to open our mailbox and noticed a sticker on the outside very nicely telling me that my Yarn Canada order had been taken to the pickup location for ME TO PICK UP - because - get this - we weren't home when they tried to deliver it!!!!    Ummmmm.......WE WERE HOME.  So yet again, proof positive that the postal employees simply can't be bothered making any sort of attempt to deliver anything.  For what they charge they should be delivering it to your door on a silver platter with chocolate bonbons on top for good measure.  Argh!

End of Rant # 3,347

- There's a really cute freebie cross stich fall design HERE 

- Have a look through the 5 pages of creations by THIS artist!

- THIS little guy is very cute!!

-  I've never seen THIS done before but it's definitely an intriguing concept!

Today's quote is from Leon Brown..."One day you will realize material things mean nothing.  All that matters is the well being of the people in your life"

Monday, August 16, 2021

3 & 4

I think I'm obsessed.  As a matter of fact, I know I am.  These little cross stitcheries are so addicting, at least for me.  I was going to switch over and do something else for awhile but I can't seem to give up on these so I guess you're going to have to suffer through until I can manage to change gears.   

Again, these haven't been damp stretched yet, so please forgive the wrinkles!

AND - just to prove that I do create something other than just cross stitches, how about the fourth (and final, at least for now!) mile-a-minute afghan?  Another destined for the Christmas box.

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS amazing artist.

- THIS is a rather cool idea for those of you/us who use the quilters clips.  Note that there's a link there to the original design for further reference too.

- THESE made me smile, especially the fellow in the top hat and tails.

Today's quote, from Rachel Remen....."The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen, just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.  A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect, than the most well-intentioned words"

Friday, August 13, 2021

Ah, one, ah, two...

 .....and, another advent is underway!  This one is using all the colours in that pile of threads I showed you last time (with a few more added, of course).  I will be using the same ornaments (ie. there will be a snowman, a Christmas pudding, etc.) but the cross stitching will be different from the ones I've used already.  I want the calendars to be the same in construction but different in ornaments....sort of.  If that makes any sense whatsoever? are the first two (not blocked yet....sorry!)....

The last chance to get one of my landscapes for a reduced price!  The sale is over on the 15th.   You can see what's on offer by clicking on the 'Landscapes For Sale' category in my sidebar.  

- THIS is another one of those things that made me smile.

- Scroll down HERE to be wowed by some impressive art!

- HERE is a great use-up-stash project that would make great gifts.

- Have a look at the work of THIS artist as well!

Todays quote - "Sitting alone is better than walking with the wrong people"

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


First of all, the mailman brought a lovely selection of new threads for me to use on the new advent calendar....

If you live in Canada and are searching for all sorts of things needlework (including fabric) have a look at THIS wonderful site.  I emailed them the photo of the colours our little one is going to have in her room and Jennifer very kindly chose all of these for me.  That's going above and beyond what's in her job description I'm sure!  No affiliation - just a happy customer!

And just look at all that fabric goodness piled on my sewing room floor!  A friend invited me to come and 'relieve' her of some of her stash, which I was more than happy to do.  There's lots of inspiration in that wonderful pile.  Thank you Connie!!!

Over the weekend I put together this fabric panel which is going into the box for our #3 'Grand' for his birthday.  It, along with the perfect set of toy 'diggers', should be fun for him.

This is the fabric I found in one of the online shops that is perfect for the backing.

Just a little bit of outline quilting and it was done.

There's only four more days to take advantage of my sale on Landscapes!  Check out the 'Landscapes for Sale' category in my sidebar to see what I have available.

- I'm always thinking ahead to THAT date in December and I thought THIS was really cute!!  

- I'm sure by now you've all seen/heard about the sweater the Olympian Tom Daley was making during the games so perhaps you might find THIS of interest.

- THIS is another of those awwww-worthy things!

Today your quote is from Amy Weatherly..."Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it.  Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it.  Perception is a key component to gratitude, and gratitude is a key component to joy"

Monday, August 09, 2021

Well, I tried!

 Here are the promised videos, such as they are (!), for your viewing pleasure.  Obviously I'm not a video 'person' so they are pretty much on the amateur side, but I think you can get the general idea.  

Now, I'm crossing my fingers that these will actually be viewable on your end!!

Don't forget the landscape sale that's going on....check out the 'Landscapes For Sale' category in my sidebar to see what's on offer.  

- Although THIS is called a pencil case I don't see why it wouldn't serve all sorts of uses (sewing supplies, perhaps?)

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

- And THIS one too!!  Be sure to open his gallery!

- Never let it be said that this is not a full-service blog!  Yet again, THIS will prove that you never know what you might find here!

Today's quote..."Never change your originality for the sake of others because no one can play your role better than you"

Friday, August 06, 2021

Don't forget the ongoing sale (until the 15th) of landscapes.  You can see the current selection if you check the title 'Landscapes For Sale' in my sidebar.  It's not too early to be thinking about Christmas gifts!

 I'm nearly ready for the final reveal of the advent calendars and hopefully I'll be able to do a little video to share in the next post.  In the meantime, this is the colourway I will be basing the third advent on...

I will be using the same process and design elements as the other two and the Christmas tree will be identical to the others as well.  The ornaments themselves will be stitched using these colours as my inspiration.   A little more feminine in look I think.  Now the hunt is on to find a piece of Christmas-themed fabric in these colours.  Might not be so easy to find!

I made a pocket for the back of each of the calendars which will hold the ornaments when they're not in use.  As per my norm (!) I ended up cobbling together leftover bits of fabrics to make them.  Luckily I was able to find JUST enough scraps!  

- Have a look through some of the fun pieces created by THIS artist!

- THESE are SO pretty!!!

- If you know someone who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, perhaps making something like THIS would be welcome.  Or, you could always approach your local nursing home and see if they would like them for use with their residents.

Today's quote...."The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now"

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

 Don't forget - I'm having a sale on my landscapes and you can find out more in the post previous to this!


The work on the advent calendars continues with the buttons being sewn on that will hold the cross stitched ornaments.  Next comes figuring out what to use for the binding and then create the pockets that will go on the back to keep track of the ornaments.  These are nearing completion!

Once again, horrible pictures and I do apologize!

This one has gold buttons to hold the ornaments and, although the stars in the quilting are the same as the second advent, the quilting beneath the tree is presents.  And of course the backing is different.

 This one has red buttons, the same quilted stars, but the quilting beneath the tree is a row of stars...and a different backing.

Next 'up' is the binding and at this point I'm rather hoping my stash will yield enough gold for the upper version and red for this one.  We'll see what I can unearth!

- If you're a fan of the 'Outlander' books or tv series AND happen to be a knitter, perhaps you'd find THIS of great interest.  And while you're there, have a look at her selection of free patterns (HERE)

- She also has a great article (and pattern links) to making some interesting temperature blankets HERE.  

- There are several free quilt designs HERE.  

- There's another involuntary awwwww to be found HERE.  

Today's quote..."A nation that forgets its past has no future.  Understand that learning about your history is not about making any one person or people group feel guilty.  You cannot be guilty of actions that took place before you were born"

Monday, August 02, 2021

A sale!


 I'm having  a landscape sale here at Chez Magpie!  Until the 15th of August you can purchase one of my landscapes and receive $20 off!  If you've been thinking of either owning one yourself or giving one as a gift, now would be a great time.  Simply go to the 'Landscapes For Sale' category in my sidebar (or you can click HERE) and you can see the ones on offer.  I accept PayPal for payment and please note that shipping will be added to your cost.  


The work on the advent calendars continues with the ornaments finished for the first calendar and a start on the second ones.  I'm also in the process of collecting 'fodder' to do the third, more girlie, version.  I know the baby isn't due until after Christmas but I want to get a good start on her advent before I forget how I made the first two....mainly because I want them to be the same and yet different.  The trees will be the same in colours/fabrics but the quilting and background/backing fabrics will be different, as well as the ornaments.  The colourway for the ones for the boys was pretty much the traditional green and red whereas the third version will be more Victorian in colours.  I will use the same design ideas for the ornaments (ie. there will be a little house, a gingerbread man, etc) but, like the other two advents, they will be different.

Here's a closeup of one of the ornaments so you can see how I'm finishing them - a row of buttonhole stitch and then 'whipping' with gold.

- With recycling being of such importance these days, have a look at the incredible creations of THIS artist!!

- I'd love a set of THESE!!!!  

- I know THAT day in December is still a dirty word for many of you, but some of you might find you'd like to make THIS.  

- The August issue of the 'Crazy Quilt Magazine' can be found HERE.  It's another good one!!

- There's a great article HERE on how to finish a needlepoint ornament.  

- Check out THIS site for some really pretty quilt patterns.

Today's quote...."If you're not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you're determined to learn, no one can stop you"