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.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Yet another does of mumblings

 I really don't understand how days can go by and I have absolutely nothing to show for it.  It seems I'm busy all the time but doing what?  Certainly nothing worth showing to you!!  Spending altogether too many hours trying to research birthday gift ideas for our soon-to-be-8-year old grandie and hours trying to tell my computer printer that yes, I really DO want to print pictures and that I'm not happy with it gobbling up nearly $80 worth of ink and only printing 27 pictures.  What's up with that?  It's had yet another influx of ink and still not printing correctly despite having had a good cleaning and alignment.  Argh.  Oh, and I won't mention the fact that we had to haul in all our balcony furniture and plants so they could paint the balcony railing which in turn led to us getting  a floor mat to cover the unsightly cement floor out there.  How does one show pictures of any of that?  

Knitting?  Well, I'm making dish scrubbies which are simply 4" squares out of nylon yarn.  B-o-r-i-n-g.  
Crocheting?  Nada.
Cross Stitching?  Some done on one of the little houses but nothing worth showing you.
Landscape?  Stuck in place on the latest one and don't know what I need to do next.  Maybe I should call it done??
Watching grass grow?  Yep, lots of that.....

- The creations of THIS artist are rather fun to see.

- And THIS one too!

- If you happen to have any interest in needle felting (or felting of any form) have a scroll through the inspiration found HERE.

Today's quote..."What is strength?  Strength is forgiving people that don't even feel sorry for their actions.  Strength is putting a smile on your face when you want to cry a river.  Strength is not hurting those who hurt you.  Strength is forgiving others"

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Mumblings and a project

 First of all, I must tell you that we had a wonderful time away but, as is true of all trips, we are glad to be home.  Time spent with our #2 son, daughter-in-love and three grandies was precious and went by far too fast.  The flight to BC was relatively uneventful but we had listened to the news reports of massive lineups and arrived at the airport four hours before we needed to.  Luckily we made it through the check in/security areas in good time and had lots of time to people watch.  Coming home, due to circumstances beyond our control, we arrived at the airport just 2 hours before our flight was due and we barely made it through the check points in time...they were calling boarding for our flight just leaving barely enough time for a quick piddle break and run for the plane.  That's cutting it a little too fine!  Word to the wise - if you're flying anywhere make sure you allow at least two hours more than what the recommendation is.  And make sure you have some food in your carry on because you're going to need it.

We enjoyed family time with our kids and got to see where their school/daycare is.  5 year old goes to kindergarten and the 2 year old goes to daycare so when they were there we had lots of time to indulge ourselves with baby cuddles.  There might, or might not, have been several ice cream cones and there certainly were lots of stories to be read.  Grandpa baked cookies (twice), muffins and made our favourite oatmeal with two eager little helpers, and his scalloped potatoes were such a success that there were two 'makings' of those.  Grandma was happy to celebrate Mother's Day with family, something that hasn't happened in recent years.

One day we traveled to a wonderful orchid growers and this is just one of the beautiful flowers we saw there.  Must say that the plants they had for sale were a whole lot cheaper than what we have to pay here.  Wish we could have packed a few into our suitcases!

It's taken a few days (particularly with all the excitement of the big storm in the middle) to get back into the groove of things here.  I finally busted out the crochet hook, tackled a commission, and made these...

Pattern is the Snowman Gnome
by Jen Hayes Creations
and can be found HERE

This photo shows just some of the damage from the storm.  This tree is just a few feet north of our building...

The storm spread a swath of destruction and power outages spreading across a lot of southern Ontario.  Many areas are still without power and doubtful it will be back for several more days.  We are very fortunate that we were only dark for 25 hours.  Oddly, I had a friend who lives about 2 blocks away here for coffee yesterday and their power didn't go out at all.  When Resident Chef and I got married he thought it was highly amusing to see me rush around filling the bathtub and every available receptacle with water but coming from a farming background it's just what we did because we knew if the power went out we had no means to pump water.  Well I think I'm going to go back to doing that, just to be on the safe side.

- Some of you may enjoy scrolling through THIS blog.  

- And have a look at the amazing creations from THIS artist!

- And THIS one too!  Or how about THIS one?

- THIS takes you to a PDF showing  a different take on a knitted log cabin design that would be great for using up stash.

Today's quote is from Brene Brown...."Many of us will spend our entire lives trying to slog through the shame swampland to get to a place where we can give ourselves permission to both be imperfect and to believe we are enough"

Monday, May 23, 2022

The best of plans

 I know I promised you a post this morning but Mother Nature put somewhat of a damper on my plans.  A massive summer storm blew (!!!) through and knocked our power out for over 25 hours.  It just came back on mid-afternoon yesterday so I haven't had enough time to prepare a post for you.  There was a lot of local damage from the storm (yet to be determined if a tornado touched down but all indications point in that direction).  I've never heard a sound quite like it - continuous thunder that didn't stop.  We count ourselves most fortunate though because not too far from here a town is under a state of emergency with massive damage and power outage that is reported might be lasting for days before it can be repaired.  At last count 8 lives have been lost.  The winds uprooted a big tree just a few feet north of our building so it was pretty scary.  

So, I'm sorry, but there's not much else to share for you today.  I have been working on a crochet project which hopefully I'll be able to show you in my next post.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

and........we're back.........

 This is just a quick note to tell you that we're back. I know you ALL were just waiting to hear that particular news item.  You weren't?  Well then....

Since I'm still suffering from jet lag and nothing is getting done beyond ever-so-thrilling things like restocking the groceries and buying plants for the balcony and doing laundry, I will make this short and will hopefully return to the regularly-scheduled drivel postings on Monday.

Hope all has been well in your world!

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Flying away!

 This will be my last blog post for a couple of weeks because tomorrow we're heading out to visit our #2 son and his family.  I don't know how much time I'll have to visit you all but I will try to keep up, but don't be surprised if I'm not commenting.  Not sure how well my aging tablet will cooperate for such things.  

Neither of us is relishing the angst of dealing with airports and flights but how else will we get to see our kids - there's three little grandies out there that are most deserving of grandparent-ly cuddling and story reading.  Having to be masked for what will probably end up being more than ten hours for a person (me) who is highly claustrophobic is going to be SUCH a delight, but it is what it is.  We're hearing on the news that there are currently large delays in the check in process at airports due to lack of staffing (they have the same issues as are happening everywhere else) so that means we'll have to get to the airport at least two hours earlier than we'd planned - which means 4 hours ahead of time - and no guarantees even then of making the flight in time.  

So....we might be going - and we might miss the flight through no fault of our own.  Not the LEAST bit stressful!!!  

Image by Steve Kelley 
(Washington Post)

We, all going well, should be home again on the 17th.  So, in the meantime, play amongst yourselves and remember to be nice.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Cross - but not in a bad way

 Yes, I've been continuing with the cross stitch projects and now can mark four done....four more to go.  I not only finished the stitching of the Santa House, but also added the garland and beading to the rest of the houses.  Don't know if the sparkle from the garland shows in the photos though.  It's a Kreinik Micro Ice Chenille.  

On another note, this one falls under a great mystery.  I had ordered a container of a sealant by Jacquard from Amazon and it seemed to take slightly longer than usual to arrive.  It finally appeared and tucked inside was a package of really nice paintbrushes which were labeled as being a 'gift'.  Not sure what precipitated that because I've never known Amazon to be that generous.  Who am I, however, to look a gift horse  paintbrush in the mouth!  If you could see the sorry state of my brushes you'd understand how happy I was.

And....because I haven't shared a recipe here for awhile, how about the one Resident Chef uses for oatmeal?  I don't much care for regular oatmeal so he's come up with this version that he does in the rice cooker (it can be made on the stove top too, but it takes longer).

1  1/2 c. steel cut oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. maple syrup
1/2 c. raisins, dried cranberries and/or coconut
1/3 c. sunflower seeds

Cook in rice cooker.

NOTES:  You can use regular rolled oats, but we prefer steel cut.  You don't need to use maple syrup if you don't have any - brown sugar will do (if you have a bit of maple flavouring you can throw that in with the brown sugar).  This makes enough to eat over several days, so just refrigerate and warm up as needed.  Good cold too!

Sorry to say, I haven't had a chance to search out any links for you today...will try to do better next time!

Today's quote:  "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority"

Friday, April 29, 2022

A discourse on the spinning of wheels

 I know, I know, everything happening here at Chez Magpie is just about as inspiring as watching grass grow and I get it, truly I do.  However, how do I show you that I spent umpteen hours trying to wrestle my printer into printing correctly (I lost) and THEN I switched my attention to trying to figure out why Resident Chef's camera was refusing to talk to the new computer.  They didn't want to play nicely at all and kicked sand at each other just like kids in a playground.  They pouted and they hurled insults (oh wait - the insults were being hurled by yours truly).  Finally, after much bumbling and most unladylike utterances of words, I managed to get them to talk to each other.  I think.  

As for the printer issue I've finally narrowed that one down to it being a faulty ink cartridge.  My printer is an Epson and uses 4 cartridges, all of which need to be spitting ink at the same time in order to perform correctly.  The blue is refusing to cooperate (the other colours are working fine) so it leads me to believe that it's faulty.  

I can show you a tiny bit of progress on the latest cross stitch - the background on this one is done now and I'm currently adding the top stitching and little details.  

Oh, and I can also show you a photo of my Resident Chef...

- THIS is well worth seeing and reading about.  

- There's an article/how to HERE for making a jacket from a quilt.

- Some of you might find THIS site of interest.

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

- If you're searching for a natural homemade weed killer (have I mentioned that this is a full-service blog???) go HERE.  

Instead of your quote today....

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

up, down and in and out

There's been a lot of up and downing and inning and outing going on in the studio here at Chez Magpie - all accompanied by the occasional ouch.  Not much to tell you other that stitching continues on the latest ornament.  Pondering continues over the current landscape at the same time.  

- HERE is a cute little project you might like. 

- Have a peek through THESE (click on the pictures to be taken to the next one)

- THIS is a fun project that you might like to use to add to your decor.

- Have a look (be sure to scroll down) at the amazing embroidery done by THIS artist!

- I thought THIS was a really interesting article.

Today's quote:  "Be careful when you follow the masses.  Sometimes the M is silent"

Monday, April 25, 2022

Twenty nine thousand, two hundred and fifty eight

 Yes, you read that correctly.  29,258 half cross stitches to get to the point where I'm at on the Christmas ornaments (3 done, working on the 4th).  I thought I'd amuse myself by figuring it out and I astounded even myself.  Who knew?

Well, now YOU do and I'm sure you couldn't
possibly NOT want to know that little 
tidbit of information!

- A friend of mine does the most amazing short films and she graciously is allowing me to share her latest creation with you.  Her work is incredible and she has won several awards for her filmmaking and deservedly so.  I suspect this one will win her more accolades. Go HERE (have your sound on).

- I must admit that when I saw THESE there was an involuntary awwww on my part.

- HERE is another great use for odd bits of yarn.

- There's a semi-tutorial here for THIS - lots of room for interpretation.

Today, instead of a quote....

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Nada, nuttin, and not a thing

 Yep, that about explains my past couple of days.  I finished going through most of the rest of my crazy quilting fodder and there's nothing noteworthy about that - nor are there photos.  

There's nothing noteworthy about the fact that I added the shirt buttons (beads) to the cross stitched chef I already showed you.

There equally nothing noteworthy about my starting another cross stitch in the same line - this one is Santa's house.  No photos of that either.

There hasn't been a single stitch taken in the latest landscape but there's been some pondering going on.  Obviously there are no photos of the inner workings of my mind and you should be grateful for that let me tell you.

There also nothing noteworthy about the fact that I've started knitting yet another 1898 hat just like the other ones only a different colour.  

Yeah, even I'm managing to feel bored about all of that. about some links....

- Have you heard of book nooks?  Apparently they're taking the internet by storm and this is the first I've heard of them.  Go HERE for more info (and 'do a google' if you want to see even more!).  If you want to attempt making one yourself perhaps THIS could be a jumping off point.

- There's been some discussion going on about kantha stitching and I came across THIS and thought some of you might be interested in seeing it.  I won't, however, be paying that much for one for myself!

- HERE is another of those things that's really eye-catching but I'm not about to make one.

- If you want to be astounded at some needlework - watch THIS video. (Thanks Boud for the head's up on this one!).  Franklin chats a bit at the beginning and then the video moves into the patchwork pieces.  Amazing pieces!

Today the quote is from Amar Dave..."Too many people are thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, when they ought to just water the grass they're standing on"

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Just a knittin' away

 The landscape, although being worked on somewhat sporadically (blame Arthur who seems to have attacked once again), has a little done but not noticeable in a phone,  so I've been knitting a little bit and completed another 1898 hat and mitten ensemble which is destined for the Christmas box.

And...I've almost finished the cross stitching on the chef - just a little more topstitching to do.

- There's an interesting article HERE about boro patchwork.

- I think anyone who knits or crochets would love one of THESE cakes!

- THIS is something that's really pretty that would make a wonderful gift for you - or for someone else.

- Maybe THIS technique might intrigue you - just be cautious when working with bleach.

Today's quote is from Martin Luther King..."When evil men plot, good men must plan.  When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.  When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love"

Monday, April 18, 2022

On backhoes, shovels, and bags

 I mentioned in my previous post that I was going through my stash of crazy quilt 'fodder' and downsizing dramatically.  Well, you might be interested to know that 2 garbage bags are outta here and that's just the fabric alone (need I say, I have a LOT?!!!).  Don't worry, I still kept some.

Then I turned my attention to the tote bin I had filled with bits of lace.  The lid was perilously close to not going on so it was past time.  Most of it was 'bits' that were saved for CQ but not useful for anything else. I kept the longer pieces that would maybe be useful for adding to baby dresses along with a few sentimental pieces of knitted lace that my maternal grandmother made.  Still more than plenty for making crazy quilts!  

Not my stash but you get the idea!

Next up was the shoebox filled with small lace bits - I kept a lot of those but cut out motifs I might use from the larger bits and got rid of the rest.  Funny thing - the shoebox lid now closes!  Interesting concept.

Today I'm delving into a shoebox that's filled with broken bits of jewelry and embellishments.  I could have likely dumped the entire lot and not missed any of it but my conscience dictates that I at least go through it.


Don't worry, I am not giving up on crazy quilting entirely and I've kept things that I know there's a chance of getting used.  I don't foresee doing any more large projects and will instead concentrate on small things like greeting cards and perhaps some of hearts for the 'I Found A Quilted Heart' initiative.  I suspect, beyond the aspect of needing the space for other things, that I burned myself out when I was on staff of the crazy quilt magazine.  I came up with a project four times each year I was involved and the idea well has dried up.  Being able to just do small things is appealing now.

And don't worry that I'm wasting money on all the trash stash I've gotten rid of...most of it was dumped on  gifted to me or came from thrift stores back when thrifting was really cheap.  

The space I gained from doing all this shoveling means I can now move my more-often-than-not-on-the-floor yarn stash into drawers and, gasp, actually be able to FIND what I'm looking for.  Same goes for the fabrics...what I have kept I love and I know there's a good chance I will use it.  Even better?  I won't have to paw through it all in order to find what I know I have somewhere if only I can find it.  In theory, all of this should mean that no longer will I buy fabric or yarn because I'm certain I don't have anything suitable for the project I'm contemplating, only to discover that it was lurking somewhere all along.  

- THESE would be a great use for brooches and would look pretty on a collar or on a tote bag.

- THIS looks to be a very quick and easy pattern for a scarf that would be perfect for spring and summer. THIS one too! Or how about THIS one?

- And...just because I've been going through my yarn stash, THIS might be a good idea.

- And THIS is so pretty!

Today's quote:  "Don't waste words on people who deserve your silence.  Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all"

Friday, April 15, 2022

A question for you.....

Question for you..... are any of you getting a message that looks like this when you try to leave comments?  One reader has been and I'm trying to sort it out.  Your feedback would be welcome!

In case you have difficulty reading the above:  "Reply Not Supported - The reply address (no reply @ does not appear to be a monitored address. Messages to this address will likely not be read by anyone"

And, having said that, do any of you have any idea why this is happening??  And better yet, how to fix it?  Or is it simply Blog-grrrr being a bully in the playground again?

On another front (and sorry, no pictures) I am finally making the plunge and getting rid of most of my crazy quilt fabric stash.  I've come to the slow realization that it's taking up precious real estate in my sewing room and I have no (yes, absolutely none) desire to crazy quilt again.  All that space would be better utilized to store my yarns so The Grande Sort is underway and I feel happy.

- If you have vintage linens lurking about in the bowels of your storage system, perhaps you might  enjoy this blog hop, beginning with THIS one.  At the bottom of her post you can click to visit the other participants.

- If you have kids, or just have a curious mind yourself, prepare to get lost in THESE!

- THESE are such pretty Easter eggs and not the least bit fattening either.

Your quote today is from Mahatma Gandhi..." A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies and became the ransom of the world"

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

C - ouch OR c- oooch???

 Couch or cooch, that is the question.  One more instance of the English language being a mystery. Never mind, I suppose both are right and it's what I've been doing for the past few days as you can (hopefully) see from this photo....

- Have you heard of low-volume quilts?  I certainly hadn't, so THIS article was interesting.  Another thing that falls under the 'who knew?' category!

- THIS is so cute!

- Never let it be said that this is not a full-service blog!  Have a look HERE (and I'm not responsible for what you do afterwards....just sayin')

- If you crochet, perhaps THIS might catch your eye.

- I thought THESE were intriguing and not all that hard to do.

Today's quote is from Thomas Sowell..."Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not responsible for what they themselves are doing today?"

Monday, April 11, 2022

Treats and tots

 Today, rather than boring you with the landscape that doesn't show all that much at the moment, I thought I'd show you the spring flowers I treated myself to over the weekend...

And....just as a little fun thing for our youngest grandies - three little Izzy dolls for them to play with...

- THIS link takes you to a PDF of some really cute Easter cross stitch designs 

- I like what THIS person did to transform cheap planters for use in her garden.  Doesn't look all that difficult to do.

- Perhaps you'd like to pay her a return visit and check out the many pages of fun recycling ideas (go HERE).

- Have fun peeking through the gallery of THIS artist!

- If we still lived in a house with a workshop I would SO be trying out some of THESE!  (be sure to scroll down to see the projects)

Here's your quote of the day..."Before saying something that may hurt someone, take a piece of paper and crumple it up.  Now try to make it the way it was can't, right?  People's hearts are like that piece of paper.  Once hurt, it's difficult to leave them the way you found them.  Before saying something hurtful, think hard about what you're saying.  Always be considerate.  Always be kind"

Friday, April 08, 2022

Little bit more

 There's been a little more done on the landscape, mostly on the house itself.  I think (key word, think!) the house part is done and now it's on to the sky.

I also made a couple hearts to take into the wild (so to speak) from inspiration found HERE.  The "I Found A Quilted Heart' initiative is just plain fun to do.  I don't know if I'll ever hear that someone found these but it doesn't matter.  The fun is in finding places outdoors to hide them in plain sight.  I plan to make more over the summer months, just because I can!

- I know there are multitudes of blanket patterns out there but THIS one caught my eye primarily because of the wonderful colours. 

- There's a really pretty sunflower cross stitch design HERE.

- THIS would be something cute to make for Easter.

- I found THIS an interesting read even though I don't do needle felting.  Some of you probably do, so I'm sharing!

- An interesting article HERE re how important getting gauge is when knitting or crocheting.

Today the quote is from Leo Buscaglia..."Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around"

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Can you see it now?

 Hopefully you can see the changes I've made in the landscape now because I think they're a little bit more noticeable.  I still have some work to do in the 'windows' and on the roof before I can call the house part done.  

- THIS is a sweet little cross stitch design that would make perfect gifts (especially if a book went along with it!)

- There's an interesting article HERE regarding water colour painting on fabric.

- And if you go HERE there's another tutorial that might be fun to experiment with.

- If you go HERE there's a tutorial for making a blanket that would be perfect for using up scraps.

Today the quote is from William Faulkner... "Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.  If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth"

Monday, April 04, 2022

Bit by bit

 There's been a little more accomplished on the landscape and I don't know if it's really noticeable.  The house itself has been darkened in places and I've started to stitch the detail into the wood areas.  Once I've finished stitching that I will decide if I need to do more shading.  

- Have a click through the gallery of THIS amazing artist!

- We've all seen fabric beads before but THIS tutorial takes them a step further.

- And a scroll through  THESE is pretty inspiring!

- If you're interested in the beautiful resin projects that are popping up on the internet, have a look at THIS.

Today's quote is an old poem but one that I love....

Friday, April 01, 2022

A little progress, noticeable or not!

 I know it's hard to see in this photo but the grass area has been 'quilted' (there will be more details added later on) and I've started filling in the house details.

- There is a wealth of information HERE for both knitters and crocheters.  This link takes you to their main page - then look in their sidebar on the right to click on areas of interest to you.

- THIS would be a fun gift to make for a family.

- If you hate to throw away scraps of fabrics or yarns perhaps THIS might be something fun to try doing. 

- Go HERE for a wonderful online 'show' of amazing quilts.

Today's quote...."When you find no solution to a problem, it's probably not a problem to be solved but rather a truth to be accepted"