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, January 24, 2022

And....another interruption I'm afraid!

 Most of you are aware that my computer has been limping along getting prepped for what I suspect might be a massive melt down any day. computer has been purchased and it and my old faithful will be spending some quality time together at an undetermined location in order for files to be transferred and all sorts of mysterious 'computer-y processes' that completely befuddle your author will hopefully be performed.  All of that simply means that I'm about to be gone for a few days.  Do try to play nicely amongst yourselves. I will try to use my tablet to keep up with you but comments are likely to be non-existent from here.

- I think THESE are fun!  Scrap buster but different than what you normally see.

- I really like THIS idea - another great use for scraps!

- I sometimes come across novel ideas and THIS is one of them.  Even if you don't join in the challenge at least it should give you food for thought.

- Like many of you I'm sure, I'm seeing all sorts of quilted coats around the internet, so if you're contemplating making one, perhaps THESE tips might come in handy.

- There are some great exercises HERE that are supposed to be for knitters, but I think all of us could benefit, no matter what our area of art might be.

- Karen Ruane is taking registrations for her latest wonderful online class and you can find more details HERE.  

Thursday, January 20, 2022

We interrupt this blog......


Our new family member!!!

Isla - Jan. 20, 2022
8 lb., 19 3/4" long

Isla surprised us all by making an
arrival just a little bit ahead of
her scheduled birth date.

Big brother Evan got a pretty
amazing 2nd birthday present!

Mother, baby, Daddy 
AND grandparents are all doing well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Some WIP's

 Today I don't have any finishes to show you but there are several projects that are being worked on somewhat simultaneously. 

First up, is a crocheted basket using the pattern/formula I linked to about a couple of posts ago. I'm working with three different yarns and it's already gobbled up one partial ball - woo hoo!  

Next up is a knitting project that has been lurking in my stash basket for nearly ten years.  When our #2 son and daughter-in-love moved out to BC they stopped at a yarn shop along the way and bought me a VERY expensive ball of muskox yarn (very very expensive yarn!) and I haven't been able to bring myself to actually USE it.  Fondling, yes....mustering the courage to knit with it was a whole 'nother story.  I would have the best of intentions but I never could quite find THE perfect pattern that would a) do it justice and b) suited my plain Jane knitting skills.  It's taken me ten years to decide that the pattern that came with the ball of yarn was perfect.  It's lace weight and isn't a fast knit by any means but oh how luxurious!  I first thought a scarf would be ideal but I would be so afraid I'd lose it so a cowl is a much better choice I think.  

The third project is, of course, the quiet book and here is the back cover.  I will save the front cover to show you until after Monday because I'm not supposed to reveal her name until she's born.  

- In these times of often lacking customer service I have to do a shout out to a wonderful company that goes above and beyond.  Before Christmas I ordered a stuffed animal from HERE and was impressed that they shipped it to our #2 son and daughter-in-love very quickly.  However, Canada Post fell down on the job and although it arrived to the postal sorting station in BC within a day or two, there it has languished....since Dec. 20th.  The company has put a tracer on the package and it's nowhere to be found so they very promptly have shipped another one at no further cost to me, despite my offer to pay half the cost.  After all, it's not their fault and so I thought it was only fair that I help with the costs.  Now - one wonders....will Canada Post do their job this time?  

- If you like chickens, have a scroll through THESE!

- THIS takes you to a PDF pattern for a really cute little bird pincushion.

- Have a peek through the colourful designs of THIS amazing artist.

- And THIS artist as well!  First read about how she creates her designs and then explore her portfolio.  

Today's quote..."To be kind is more important than to be right.  Many times what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens"

Monday, January 17, 2022

More of the quiet book

 I spent much of the weekend working on the quiet book and finished a couple more pages....

First was the train which has several finger puppets to play with.  There's a zipper across the top of the page for storing the puppets.

Second was the fish bowl.  There's really not an aspect of 'play' with this one although I had originally thought there would be.  I had planned to make sort of a 'snow globe' but once I got the little fish sewn on (buttons) I realized that any sort of glitter would just get caught on the fish and the sandpaper I used for the sand.  So, it evolved into more of a peek through the 'glass' to see what's behind sort of thing.  

Now I just have to finish the cover and decide what method I will use to put it all together.  

- Some of you might find THIS article on sales cycles of interest.

- If you're like me and have a collection of doilies you don't know what to do with, perhaps one of the ideas HERE might spark an idea.  I especially like the headboard! While you're there, check out her 'Upcycled and DIY' category - lots of fun ideas.

- HERE is another cute idea you could consider making for Valentine's Day.

- I talked about temperature blankets last time, and HERE are some links to crocheted versions.

- For the knitters who are a little reticent about attempting colour work, perhaps THIS might intrigue you.

- And I'm sure you have lots of scrap yarns left over from your Christmas knitting/crocheting so perhaps using some of them to make THIS might be fun (you'll have to scroll down to get the pattern).

Today's quote is from Nanea Hoffman..."If today gets difficult, remember the smell of coffee, the way sunlight bounces off a window, the sound of your favourite person's laugh, the feeling when a song you love comes on, the colour of the sky at dusk, and that we are here to take care of each other"

Friday, January 14, 2022

Another page

Took me two days to make this page but I had fun anyway.  The doors and windows lift up and there are family pictures behind...her mommy and daddy are behind the doors and her brothers are 'in' the windows on either side - the three grandparents are in the top windows.  You can't tell from the picture but the roof on the house is heavily textured upholstery fabric - gives a realistic 'shingles' effect I think.   

- There are some great patterns HERE for stash busting your yarn collection!  While you're there have a peek at the listings of free patterns at the top of the blog - lots to keep you busy for awhile!

- Some of you may have heard about 'Temperature Blankets' or quilts and if you're interested in knowing more, or making one yourself, perhaps the quilted versions found HERE and HERE might be helpful.  Those links are to quilted versions, but there are oodles of design ideas to either knit or crochet.  Do a Google and you'll find lots of ideas!

- THIS link takes you to a tutorial for sewing vinyl bags.  The tutorial is geared towards toy storage, but I know for a fact that they're also wonderful as project bags for us too!  They'd be perfect to store small items in the car too - lots of different uses!

- HERE is a cute little tutorial to make quilted hearts - perhaps for Valentine's Day or just because!

Today's quote is from Robert Swan..."The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it"

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Is it possible to have too much fun?

 Yes, this Grandma is certainly having fun creating pages for the latest quiet book!  I wonder if I'm having even more fun than the intended recipient will.  At any rate, here are the pages I've just completed...

This page is a jigsaw puzzle - the pieces are held together with velcro.

This page features a picnic basket filled with different fruits and vegetables.  The basket is woven felt strips and of course the produce is also made from felt.  The handle is held shut with a dome fastener.

You will be happy to know (!!) that I finally managed, with the help of a friend, to get the vaccine codes onto the New Phone.  Now I just have to remember how to access them when I need them.

In other news here at Chez Magpie, the decision has been made...due to the huge uptick in covid cases here....that we won't be flying out to visit our #2 son and his family next month.  We had so hoped to be able to get some baby cuddles but decided that, even though we're both triple vaccinated, we could still be carriers of the disease and simply couldn't run the risk of taking it to our little ones.  Two little boys (5 & 2) and a brand new baby are just too precious to take any kind of chances with, just because we are selfish enough to want to see our family.  

I'm afraid that I don't have any links for you today (I know, what's this world coming to!!) but over the past couple of days I haven't had time to search any out for you.  I promise to do better next time!

Thought I'd show you this to make up for not having any links...I have never had an amaryllis do what this one did.  You can see the tall beautiful flower in the photo above, but do you see what's starting at the bottom?  The flowers on the top gave way to three massive blooms that are just peeking above the pot.  Strange, but wonderful!

Today, instead of a quote, I thought I'd pass this along.  It's supposed to be a joke....but.....if you're into a frugal lifestyle, or simply don't want to create a lot of 'stuff' for the person that has everything, wouldn't this be a fun exercise?  Just pick out books you think someone would like, wrap them up, and perhaps also offer to return them when they're done.  You would have the fun of 'shopping', they could enjoy reading, and there would be nothing to have to store, dust, or display.  

Sunday, January 09, 2022

A story - with several chapters


by Frustrated

Chapter One (or is it Chapter Seven?)

The scene opens upon your invaluable Correspondent standing inside the apartment door with new cell phone in hand.  She turns...and spies old cell phone sitting dejectedly upon the bench inside the door.  Your Correspondent feels sorry for the poor thing and scoops it up, putting it in her pocket, saying to herself that maybe, just maybe, the new cell phone might not work when she arrives at the grocery store for her curb-side pickup.

Chapter Two

The scene then changes to the parking lot of a nameless grocery store.  It's cold.  Your ever-optimistic Correspondent opens New Cell Phone and, after a rather lengthy amount of fumbling, managed to call the store.  

Chapter Three

"Oh, oh' said your Correspondent as she peered hopefully at New Cell Phone in complete mystification over how to manage to dial the '6' the store required to get from the main phone to the curb-side pick up option.  'Hmmm'....said Correspondent.  'Nah, nah, nah' said New Cell Phone, accompanied by noises much resembling 'P on you'.  Back to the beginning, while simultaneously turning on Old Cell Phone, and Correspondent began the process again, only to be thwarted once more.  Accompanied by words from said Correspondent that were entirely unbecoming to a lady. And a sincere wish for a copy of the lengthy tome - 'Cell Phones For Dummies'.  

Chapter Four

Said Correspondent, in a complete fit of pique, throws down New Cell Phone in complete disgust and uses Old Cell Phone (nice cell phone, good cell phone....) to arrive at proper area of Grocery Store list of options.

Chapter Five

Groceries appear, get loaded into car, and off goes your Correspondent and her Resident Chef towards home where New Cell Phone is in yet another time out - and might never be used to collect groceries ever again.  In the meantime, please just call me 'Two Phone McGraw'.  


Saturday, January 08, 2022

HEAD's UP!!!!


Friday, January 07, 2022

More pages

 I've been spending lots of hours playing  making more pages for the quiet book.  These take more time than what you'd think!

This will be the centre spread.  The dresser has a zipper at the top which allows the clothing (shown below) to be stored.  

This page features shapes and colours that are held together with velcro.  

- If you want to get an early start on Easter - or even if you just happen to like them - THIS pattern is the cutest chicken!!

- Some things are just too cute not to share, paid pattern or not!  THIS is one of them.

- For those who are interested in quilting, the January issue of the 'Online Quilt Magazine' is available now.  You can choose the free option or, for a nominal fee, go to the enhanced subscription which has more content....go HERE to find out more.

- Further on the subject of subscriptions - I think many of you are aware of the wonderful embroidery magazine 'Inspirations' from Australia but maybe you don't know that they have a really great weekly free newsletter too.  Go HERE to see back issues of the newsletter and also to subscribe (scroll down and you'll see the box to enter your information).  

I don't know if you're aware that our #1 son is a chef and so I hear firsthand about the struggles that restaurants are going through since Covid became a scourge.  Right now, here in Ontario, they are back to only being allowed to do take outs and deliveries and most of the staff has been laid off.  Fortunately our son still has a job but he's stressed, just like so many people are these days.  I came across this and thought it was worth sharing, if only to spread knowledge about some of the challenges restaurant owners are facing and to explain why so many of them are being forced to close their doors.....

Wednesday, January 05, 2022



Long-time readers of my mumblings will perhaps remember that I created a quiet book for each of our older grandies and this baby will be no exception, only this version can be a little more feminine than the other three.  Here are the first pages I've worked on...

This page is textures - things to touch!

Do kids even learn to tell time with real clocks anymore?  Oh well.....

A peek-a-boo page

Hard to believe just how time-consuming these can be!  But....oh such fun to do!! (If you want to see the other quiet book pages I created, just go to that category in my sidebar, click on it, and scroll through the posts)

- Sometimes I stumble across something that I think is quite thought-provoking and THIS struck a chord with me so I thought I'd share with all of you.  I'm going to be reading more of her posts!  One category on her blog that I want to explore is found HERE - some of you might find it of interest as well.  I know there's been a conscious movement amongst crafters/artists to reduce and reuse their stashes and it looks as though there's some very good points throughout her posts that might assist with that goal.  

- If you would like to add to your skills with embroidery stitches, Sharon Boggon is doing her TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesdays) again this year.  You can find more details on how it works HERE.  

- There's a cute idea HERE for a quick-to-make gift for Valentine's Day (or any day, really).

- For the quilters among you - some interesting ways to quilt 9 patches found HERE.

- I rather like THIS idea!  Would be fun to experiment with I think.

Instead of a quote, I thought I'd share something that made me smile....

Monday, January 03, 2022

Another finish for the wee one

 Over the past few days I finished off a little blanket I had on my list for the new baby.  The center is knit and then I added a crocheted border around the outside because I wanted it a bit larger.  There's only one more thing on my Grandma-Make list for her and it will take awhile.  I'll show you the start of that in my next post.

Pattern is the 'Sunny Baby Blanket' and can be found HERE.  The edging is simply a pretty simple crocheted shell pattern.  Yarn is 'Baby Coordinates' by Bernat.

In other news - the ongoing debacle surrounding the new cell phone is another step closer to being accomplished.  I managed to get the thing (Motorola Pure) set up but only with the help of the amazingly patient Karen from their help line.  I've managed to make a call with it and even managed to text our #2 son, although he hadn't better get used to it because it's not going to happen often.  Now I have to muster my courage to see if I can figure out how to download the vaccination QR code to it.  Somehow I don't think I can call on Karen to help with that one!

- THIS is a cute little winter cross stitch design.

- If you would like to make placemats with a little different shape, perhaps THIS tutorial might be of interest.

- THESE are so cute!

Today's quote...."When a flashlight grows dim or quits working, do you just throw it away?  Of course not.  You change the batteries.  When a person messes up or finds themselves in a dark place, do you cast them aside?  Of course not!  You help them change their batteries.  Some need AA - attention and affection;  some need AAA - attention, affection and acceptance.  Some need C - compassion; and some need D - direction.  And if they still don't seem to shine, simply sit with them quietly and share your light"