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, December 22, 2023

Christmas wishes

I will be taking a little festive break from blogging
to enjoy Christmas with my beloved.
I should return late next week (or
maybe not until after Jan 1st).

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas,
healthy and safe!

I will leave you with my gift to you...

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Cleaning - and winnowing

 A number of bloggers have been working on getting rid of 'stuff' so I was inspired to start tackling my sewing space.  So far - one big garbage bag filled - one big bag of paper for recycling - and one bag of plastics for recycling - two books gone to the Friends of the Library.  One 4-drawer filing cabinet housecleaned (who knew it was possible to get your fingers in the files without a struggle??) and one side of the closet.  During my excavations I stumbled across my very first sewing project - probably done when I was about 6.  My maternal grandmother made me a quilt for my doll and I decided I should 'sew' the quilting stitches on the back.  Picture is of the front - and the back (showing my childish efforts at stitching).  

- There are some fun ideas HERE for last-minute gift giving.

- THIS is something pretty much any knitter or crocheter would love to find under the tree.

- There are some great ideas HERE for gifts.

- Wouldn't some of THESE (along with a jar of homemade jam) make a great gift?

- Or maybe even some of any of THESE?

- HERE is another quick little gift you could make.

- And, just because of the awwwwww moment, check THIS out!

Monday, December 18, 2023

Christmas get-togethers and wheel-spinning

 Remember that Christmas cactus I bought myself that I showed you a picture of?  And remember how I said it was likely to meet its demise in short order?  Well, it's happily shedding all those buds you saw, without a single one opening.  I knew I should have left the poor thing in the store!

Had lunch with a good friend on Friday and exchanged our Christmas gifts.  She finds the most intriguing sewing 'things' and gave me a set of these...

They're little silicone brushes for cleaning my sewing machine.  Can't wait to try them because I think they'll be great.  She also gave me a 'White Christmas' amaryllis which looks like it will be spectacular.  And, there just *might* have been a bottle of my favourite alcoholic beverage tucked in there too (already tested for quality control!).  Thank you MEK!  

I've been spinning my wheels in my studio, not quite sure what to tackle next.  Of course there's lots of landscape possibilities waiting for attention, but there's also a nagging thought that I really need to go through my sewing space and get rid of a lot of excess 'stuff' that I know I'll never use.  I'm also trying to decide if a wee grandie who will be turning 2 next month is still too young for a rag doll 'made by Grandma'.  I'm toying with the thought of maybe making  matching little girl/dollie dresses.  I suspect I should wait until she turns 3 for that one.  (If you want to see examples of the rag dolls I usually make, have a look HERE.)

- I'm a fan of the old original cartoon version of the Grinch, so of course THIS caught my eye.

- There are lots of quick gift ideas HERE.

- I know some of you might be aware of THIS but in case you haven't seen it before, it's a great method to make quick gifts.

- Making some of THIS would be easy and a welcome gift for either yourself or others.  

 Today the quote is from Peg Bracken..."Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredient of a truly merry Christmas"

Friday, December 15, 2023

Assembly line

 I thought, since the landscape was done, I should turn my attention towards the fact that I'm doing a trunk show for the local quilt guild in January, followed by teaching a workshop the next day.  So....I spent most of a day making up 18 kits that contain the pattern for the barn, the fabrics to make same, along with some little bits and bobs, including  a wee little cardinal.  I don't know exactly how many kits will be needed so hopefully this will be enough.  Apparently there were enough people interested in the workshop that they will be running in January and one in the spring.  I also spent considerable time attempting to write a 'presentation/speech' for the trunk show.  I am NOT a public speaker and the thought, quite honestly, scares me to death.  It seemed like a good idea to agree to do it months ago when I was first asked, but now that it's looming closer I'm seriously regretting the entire thing.  I know how difficult it is for guilds to obtain speakers and teachers so I guess I'm going to do my part.  

- I thought THIS was intriguing.  THIS too!

- THESE look pretty easy to make (and, instead of cards I wonder if you could use old calendar pages...but perhaps they wouldn't be stiff enough)

- Anyone who makes Izzy dolls might find THIS of interest.

- If you do the 'Elf on The Shelf' with your family, perhaps some of the  ideas HERE will be fun.  If nothing else, some of them are good for a giggle.

- THESE are great memory ornaments that would be a special keepsake.

- There are some cute gift ideas HERE.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


 The landscape is finished!  I'm sorry that you can't really tell in the photo that the snow has some areas that sparkle in the light but you'll have to trust me on that one.  It measures approx.  29x25".

This is the photo I used for inspiration (full credit, and my thanks, to Dale Stewart!)

I took lots of artisitic liberties with this one, as
you can see!


- THIS link takes you to a tutorial to make a reversible tote bag.

- THIS is a really cute idea and wouldn't be too difficult to make.

- Giving jars of some of THESE would make a nice gift.

- Another great gift idea HERE.

- THIS gave me food for thought.

Today's quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson.."The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well"

Monday, December 11, 2023

Leaps and bounds!

 ...well, maybe short hops 'cause I wouldn't want to hurt myself!  As you can see from the photo quite a bit was accomplished on the landscape over the weekend.  I still have to finish the border and then add the 'sparkle' here and there to the snow.  Sadly that won't likely show up very well in pictures.  When next you see this it should be done.

And, I succumbed and bought myself a Christmas cactus.  Feel sorry for the poor thing because no doubt it will meet its demise in short order but in the meantime...

- THIS would make a really nice gift!

- There are lots of sewable gift ideas HERE.

- THIS is pretty for any time of the year.

- There are lots of fun ideas HERE too!

- I've just returned from a rabbit hole and, simply because I'd love company there, how about checking out THIS (and while you're there, be prepared to poke about in all the 'roots' in that hole!).

Today's quote..."Dance like no one is watching, but text and email like it will be read in court one day"  (I suppose the same could be said for blogging too!)

Friday, December 08, 2023

Nothing but links


I've been working on the landscape but truthfully nothing that you can see in a about a few extra links to explore today instead of a photo?

- THIS takes you to a PDF of a really pretty shawl.  If I were a shawl person, I'd love this one.

- There are some fun ideas for gifting HERE.

- THIS would make a cute little gift.

- As a little further note on the chocolate orange cover I showed you last time, perhaps you'd like to check out THESE designs as well.  OR if you'd like to cover bath bombs, have a look HERE.  

- There's a great tutorial HERE for making really nice gift bags that you could fill with all sorts of Christmas treats, edible or otherwise!

- I came across THIS very excellent post about temperature blankets (and I love the colours she chose!!).  I would really love to make one and the time commitment to only having to do one row each day wouldn't be too bad.  But THEN, I price out the yarn and it gives me huge pause for thought.  

- If you have a tea-lover on your list, perhaps one of THESE would be a welcome gift.

- THIS would be fun to both serve AND to gift.

- There are some fun ideas HERE too.

- THESE are really pretty and would make a nice gift with a candle tucked inside.

- Some cute ideas HERE too.

Today's quote..."May your day be filled with glitter than someone else cleans up"

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

A little bit of progress

 I think you can see some progress on the landscape - namely in the truck itself.  I've also 'done something' with the birch trees although they're by no means finished yet.  Quilting has started in the snow as well.

It looks somewhat 'bumpy' but that's because it's held together by lines of basting at the moment.

I thought I'd add a Terry's Chocolate Orange to our oldest grandie's gift and came across some ideas for making fun covers for them.  This is the result.

Pattern is HERE

- Sharon Boggon is running 'TAST' (Take A Stitch Tuesday) in 2024 and if you want to learn some new-to-you embroidery stitches or brush up on some familiar ones, check out her FAQ's page HERE.  

- THIS is a really cute and easy to make ornament.

- As is THIS.

- I know it might be a tad late for THESE for this year, but perhaps get an early start on next year?

- It seems that every year THESE come up and every year I contemplate making one.

- Never let it be said that I don't lead you down some massive rabbit holes!  All I can say, is be prepared with lots of bread crumbs when you go HERE.

- There are a number of fun gift ideas HERE, some of which I haven't seen before.

- And, to finish off the links for today, how about making some of THIS??  Please invite me over to help you eat it!

Today the quote is from Rumi..."Raise your words, not your voice.   It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder"

Monday, December 04, 2023 begins....again

 Another landscape has begun.  This one, because it's snowy outside, has a winter theme although the original photo I'm using for inspiration was in B&W and not winter.  Here's the photo (once again by Dale Stewart and used with his kind permission)...

I have taken the liberty of moving the truck into the snow as you can see from the beginning here...

Over the weekend the Resident Chef and I decided we should do some Christmas decorating so he hauled out the box of decorations and the box that holds our Artificial Shedder (thinly disguised as a Christmas tree).  I had decided that I wanted to seriously downsize our decorations and was surprised that he was on board.  We got rid of just about half of what we had and I feel hugely relieved.  THEN, he tackled the Artificial Shedder and immediately started muttering about how much of a pain it was, all the while dodging the shower of 'shed'.  Once upon a time it was a pre-lit tree but over the years the lights burned out so he has been adding lights.  All in all, not a fun experience. being a firm believer in making things easier, suggested that we should just go and buy a new tree that fit our space and was actually working.  He, being a firm believer that happy wife/happy life was quick to agree (I rather suspect there might have been a tad bit of relief on his part as well).  So...we relieved ourselves of some money and came home with a new one - much smaller than the other and, best of all, it won't shed...and the lights actually work!  It's hard to take a picture of a lit tree but here's the best I could come up with...

Our local food bank has published this reverse advent and I thought I would share in case you'd like to participate in your area..

- The ingenuity of some people simply astounds as THIS will attest!

- There might be some ideas HERE that you would like to do for Christmas gifting.

- If you're interested in textiles, perhaps you might find something in THIS listing that would intrigue you.

- I think THIS would be fun to do.

Today the quote is from George Orwell..."The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it"

Friday, December 01, 2023

Look at what came in the mail!!!


This little darling hopped all the way here and was created by the clever fingers of Donna who chose to give him away and I was the lucky winner!  I've never attempted to do goldwork and when I saw this little charmer I know the odds are pretty high I never will because all those  little beads (chips?) are SO tiny and I know I'd never be able to see well enough to even begin.  Donna does incredible needlework so do pay her a visit HERE.  

Thank you Donna!!!!💕

- THESE are quite pretty and don't look too difficult to create.

- THIS would make a great gift for someone with a sweet tooth.

- You might want to have a go at making THESE.

- THIS is something you can have fun with yourself or with younger family members.

Today's quote..."Don't change so people will like you.  Be yourself, and the right people will love the real you"

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Finally mustered enough courage

 I've been procrastinating over putting the zipper in the sweater I made for our oldest grandie.  Turned out I really didn't need to fuss over it because it wasn't as difficult as I thought (who knew!!).  The sweater isn't wonderful but I doubt he will care because, after all, Grandma figured out how to use the same Minecraft design I did on his hat and translate it into the sweater.  This, as of this moment (barring any unforseen idiocy on my part), will be the last sweater the grandsons will get because they insist on getting bigger and my hands just won't agree with me knitting that large.  I *might* still make one for our littlest one but that remains to be seen.

- THIS is a cute wee gift that you might like to create.

- THIS is a pretty little tree project.

- Pour yourself a cuppa and have a look through the ideas found HERE.

- THIS is cute too.

- There are lots of ideas for snowflakes HERE.

- THESE are pretty and would look nice either on your tree or used as gifts.

Today's quote..."Don't let anyone who hasn't been in your shoes tell you how to tie your laces"

Monday, November 27, 2023


 The last Christmas present is finished!!  The butter tarts are baked (and, for once, RC listened to me and only made a small batch).  Heaven help him if there are no butter tarts.  I even completed most of the wrapping over the weekend AND the Christmas cards are addressed and ready to mail.  Now I can exhale and play with my new sewing machine to see how it performs doing landscapes.

One of the final gifts to be completed is this...

Pattern is THIS one and I added a bit more length to the dress.  Paton's Canadiana yarn from my stash.

Complete change of topic but I wanted to share something I wrote in an email in response to a comment Jocelyn made...."..enjoyment is totally in the making..."  That resonates with me because that's exactly how I feel.  My friends are often astounded that I will spend hours and hours on a project, only to happily give it away without a second thought.  Of course, having said that, I'm a complete lesson in contradictions because I truly do want to sell my landscapes rather than give them away (although I have given some).  For me, it comes down to the distinction between 'craft' (thus giveable) and 'art' (saleable).  I don't suppose that makes a whole lot of sense does it!!  

Please share in the comments how you feel about this because I would be interested in knowing your thoughts.

- If you like fudge, or plan to make some for gifting, perhaps THIS round up of recipies might intrique you (scroll down to see all the different varieties).  And, if you have a hankering for some truffles, perhaps one of THESE might be just what you'd like.

- THIS would be a fun little project!

- THESE would make a lovely little gift.

- So would THESE!

- I know THIS is a paid pattern but I thought it was worth sharing anyway.

Today's quote..."We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea, and you don't believe in miracles?

Friday, November 24, 2023

Losing my mind...or a screw loose...take your pick!

 Well, it's now a proven fact that I'm losing what's left of my mind...and the Resident Chef isn't much better.  We just spent over four hours searching this small apartment for two Minecraft-themed pillowcases that I distinctly remember making for the two oldest grandies that were supposed to be for Christmas.  We turned everything upside down (oh, the dust elephants....and the sneezing!) but they were nowhere to be found in the bedroom. they get scooped up with loose fabric and get put away somehow?  Well....a grand dumpage of buckets and bins and sorting on a grandiose scale certainly neatened things up but no pillowcases. 

It wasn't until we were on the LAST drawer of fabric that the RC had a brainwave and wondered, just maybe, did we give them to the boys for their BIRTHDAYS earlier in the year? 

Surely we didn't.  

Did we??

A mad dash to the computer to message our respective families begging them to put us out of our misery and tell us that we'd already gifted them.  

Crisis averted.
Apartment cleaned.
Dust elephants wrangled.

Back to the regularly scheduled chaos
here at Chez Magpie.

- THIS is a nice design that would look wonderful as a banner.

-THIS takes you to Part One of how to make an adorable gingerbread house. There are further links to Parts Two and Three.

- THIS is an easy and quick little gift you could make (and fill with goodies!)

- HERE is another of those things that just made me laugh.

Today's quote is from Sue Fitzmaurice..."Next time I lose my mind I swear I'm not even going to look for it anymore"

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Well, that wasn't very smart!

 I finished making five postcards and a greeting card and, in a fit of no-brains, I sealed them into envelopes ready to mail without taking pictures to show you.  Oh well, suffice to say, they're done.  

You'll just have to imagine what they looked like!

- I know THIS is a paid pattern, but it made me laugh.

- I apologize if I've sent you to THIS before but I think it's a great gift idea that's quick and easy to make.

- I think THIS is cute and a great use for that package of specialty buttons you haven't been able to find a use for (scroll down for the pattern).

- If you're giving gift cards this year, perhaps you'd like to make THESE to go with them.

- THESE are different and don't look hard to make.  Good use for some scrap yarn or that over-sized ball of twine you've been saving.

Monday, November 20, 2023

More additions to the Christmas box!

 PJ's for two out of four grandies - check!!  Well, almost - still have to add the elastic in the waist and awaiting measurements for that so I can finish them up.  There is enough fabric left to make them each a matching pillowcase too...bonus.

- Some small ideas HERE for quickie gifts.

- THIS is meant for a baby but I don't see why, with different colours, it couldn't be embiggened for adults too.

- THESE would be fun to make with kids (or without!)

- Perhaps you might like to make one of THESE for your December decor.

- Some things use the simplest of supplies and turn out rather cute, as THIS shows.

- I absolutely need to make one of THESE now that I have a new sewing machine!

Today's quote is from E. Joseph Coffman..."If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today"

Friday, November 17, 2023

Another thing checked off my list

 One of our grandies loves Catboy from PJ Masks so of course what is a grandma to do but try to make him one for Christmas.  This is the result...

Pattern is THIS one, yarn from my stash (mostly Paton's Canadiana I think). 

I also made one of these - again using scrap yarn I had on hand.  Pattern for that is HERE.  I liked that this one has a bottom which many of them don't.

- Perhaps you'll find an idea HERE for some gift-giving this year (thanks to Jocelyn for this one!).

- Although THIS is a to-purchase pattern, it made me laugh so I had to share.

- I've been curious how THESE are made and this tutorial spells it out.

- Scroll down HERE to see just what caught my eye!

Today's quote is one of those things about words that I find interesting...

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

 Someone left a comment asking how I made the lip balms and I must admit I cheated somewhat this time by buying pre-made lip balm in a tub that I simply melted down and added flavouring to. You can find it HERE.  I used peppermint and chocolate flavours (make sure they are safe for use on the body... not kitchen flavouring you use to bake with). You can find a selection HERE.   As a further note, you can make it a little more involved and make the balm 'from scratch'.  I've used this recipe...

Homemade Lip Balm
                                            5 T. coconut oil
                                        3 T. beeswax pellets
                                       12 drops essential oil
     Melt oil and beeswax in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.  Add essential oil.  Pour into containers and let cool.  Makes about 4 small containers.

- THIS caught my eye.  I won't be making it, however. 

- THESE would make nice gifts.  She also has a number of other great gift ideas HERE.

- More ideas can be found HERE.  

- THIS is really cute (scroll down for the English version)

Today's quote is from George R R Martin..."A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one"

Monday, November 13, 2023

Mr and Mrs Santa's workshop

 Over the weekend RC and his Mrs were quite busy in the kitchen as you can see from this list...

Chocolates ✔
Fudge ✔
One batch of cookies ✔
Lip balm for ladies ✔
Lip balm for men ✔
Beard oil ✔
Dry chili jarred gifts ✔
Labels for the above items ✔

- Although THESE are made with fancy papers, I think they could easily be translated into fabric and perhaps a brown paper bag?  I found that idea among THESE.  

- THESE would add the perfect touch to a handmade gift.  There are more HERE. And HERE.

- THIS is really pretty and a great use for scraps.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Having fun

 I'm having fun playing with yarn and a crochet hook and working on a couple of wee toys for the grandies.  This is the first one...

Pattern is THIS one.  Jury is out whether or not it actually looks like the Creeper from Minecraft and I'm trying to figure a way to make the head appear 'square-er'.  Had I thought ahead (hah, pun not intended there!) I should have put something like plastic canvas inside to help it hold the shape.  Thinking hat is on....

- THIS is a rather cute little Santa cross stitch design.  And there are more cute ones HERE.  

- THIS was an awww moment (alas no instructions or even who made it).

- THIS would make a nice little gift if it were accompanied by a new mug and perhaps filled with hot chocolate packets.

When I came across this I had to share it - there are some good ones!