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, 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!

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Jabba Jabba Do!!!

 I have a matched set of sore arms thanks be to being jabbed, not once, but twice.  Covid booster in the left arm and flu shot in the right.  Always glad to get that over with!

A trip to the fabric store yielded PJ makin's as you can see from this photo.  My goodness, sewing patterns have gotten outlandishly expensive!!  I have to wash and dry them before I sew them up (or at least so the kind lady in the fabric shop suggested).  

Sorry folks, life got in my way and I'm afraid I only have one link for you this time.  It's a biggie so hopefully it will be enough to keep you amused for awhile.

- Never let it be said that I am not an enabler, and you'll find out why when you go HERE (don't say I didn't warn you!)

This great quote was found via Field and Fen (thank you!)...

Monday, November 06, 2023

Too late smart?

First of all - if I'm lax in  making comments on your blogs,  please know that I'm still reading, but I'm having to curtail some of my surfing so I can get other things accomplished.  I will return to the regular system soon (I hope!). 

 As you know, the knitting needles are a smokin' here at Chez Magpie, to the detriment of my hands.  I made an executive decision over the weekend that next THIS year Grandma will not be making sweaters (at least not for the older three grandies who have a disconcerting habit of getting bigger every year).  Instead I plan on making PJ's that, as RC very wisely pointed out, would get a whole lot more wear than sweaters anyway.  He went on to point out that I need to get good use out of that new sewing machine.  Good point.  Hindsight being what it is, I rather wish I'd come to this plan before I attempted to knit  three sweaters this year.  After I reverse knitted part of the second one at least four times, the RC convinced me to cut my losses and walk run away. I'm trying not to feel too relieved.

I did finish this set over the weekend...

Hat pattern is my usual go-to HERE and the fingerless mittens are THESE.  One more set to go (once my reflective yarn arrives).

And...just to prove I wasn't slacking, I made these, also heading for the Christmas box...

Before you get TOO excited, I use
melt and pour soap base and 
just add colouring and scent.  Easy peasy!
(they still have to be 'gussied' up for giving)

- THIS scarf looks pretty easy to create and I like that it's actually practical.

- I've never heard of being able to purl (knitting) backwards but apparently you can and you can read about it HERE.  I don't think I actually understand how the process works but it will be fun to try it.

- There are lots of free patterns available HERE (some are paid as well)

- THIS takes you to a PDF file for a fun 30-day gratitude journal.

- Those of you who quilt, perhaps you'd like to check out the myriad of free patterns HERE (thank you to Canadian Needle Nana for this one!)

Today's quote is from Bernard M Baruch (a very wise man, as it turns out)...."If you have made a mistake cut your losses as quickly as possible"

Friday, November 03, 2023

Just a knittin' away

 Not going to bother showing you a picture of the four hats I've made over the past've seen them before and these are the same pattern just in different colours.  Currently lamenting the fact that knitwear designers aren't exactly uniform in their measurements.  There's something called 'positive ease' that is supposed to be built in to sweaters but some pattern designers don't tell you if it's included in their pattern or if you need to choose a different size in order to get that 'ease'.  Well, one of the sweaters I'm doing for a grandie is, I know, going to be really big.  I went by his chest measurement and his age and crossed my fingers.  Now that I have it pretty much finished I see that it's going to be 3" too big in the chest.  Oops.  At this stage I'm not about to start over so I guess he'll just have to grow in to it (sometime in the next three years!!).  Sadly, it has a Minecraft design I added to it and chances are, by the time the sweater actually fits, he'll have outgrown the Minecraft phase.  

- If you have fabric scraps and happen to need to make a Christmas stocking, how about THIS?

- And, if you have to fill said stocking, HERE are some great ideas.

- THIS is rather cute (and calorie-free too!)

- And THIS is another one of those things that proves you never quite know what you'll find when you visit here!

Today's quote..."Life's biggest tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late"

Wednesday, November 01, 2023


 Yes, working with two different kinds of pepper will make you sneeze...guaranteed!  Yesterday I muddled together the ingredients to make no-salt seasoning which will be part of the Christmas boxes this year.  If you're interested in the recipe I used, here it is...

No-Salt Seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 1/2 tsp. thyme
2 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 1/4 tsp. celery seed
2 1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 1/4 tsp. dried fine chopped lemon peel
1 tablespoon black pepper

Combine and jar (don't sneeze in it!)
I multiplied the recipe 10x so I had enough
for several gifts.

- If I hadn't already made the button tree last year, I would want to try making one of THESE.  (if you want to see the button tree, you can see it in THIS post).

- THIS is a really pretty scarf pattern that looks easy to create (scroll down for the free pattern)

- There are some really pretty snowflake patterns HERE, most of which are free.

- THIS might be something you'd like to create for gift giving.

Today's quote..."If I knit fast enough does it count as aerobics?"