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, July 22, 2024

If at first you don't succeed....

I've spent the better part of two afternoons knitting these...

None of which worked.  There was something wrong with every single pattern I tried or it could have been because I was trying to use sock yarn which obviously doesn't translate well into mittens for kids.  So much for me wanting to use up those pesky part-balls of sock yarn!  Then I switched to worsted weight (the grey mitten) but the thumb was waaaaaaay too small.  I am nothing if not stubborn so we'll see if the next version works out.

Yesterday my Resident Chef celebrated his birthday and today I suppose I'm forced to admit that I've done seventy trips around the sun.  Personally I'd like to forget the whole thing but it seems that the RC has decreed that I am being treated to a steak dinner tonight whether I like it or not.

- I must admit my mouth fell open when I saw THIS - can you imagine all the itty bitty pieces it would require?  It would certainly be a showpiece when it's done!

- For those of you who are quilters, perhaps THIS design might catch your eye (and the fact that it uses a ton of scraps makes it even more fun).

- There are some good tips HERE for creating the satin stitch.

- I love the work of THIS artist.

Today's quote suits both RC and I.... "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional"

Friday, July 19, 2024

Evening knitting

 I just finished knitting these mittens, also destined for the Christmas box.  Used a basic knitting pattern for the main body with only 4 rows of rib to start and then picked up stitches and added the faux fur cuff.  

Lion Brand Jeans yarn for the main body and Lion Brand Go For Faux for the cuffs.

- It seems like issues of copyright come up now and then so perhaps you might find THIS article of interest.

- THIS is a sweet little project you might like to do (provided you keep a bowl of ice water handy!)

- I also found THIS on the same site.

Today's quote..."Don't offer a lecture to a person who needs a hug"

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A rant and a doll

 Well folks, that's half a day of my life I won't be able to get back.  Was rudely awakened by a robo-call from our credit card company informing me that my card had been compromised.  Me, being of soundly suspicious nature, went off on a wild goose chase trying to ascertain if the number they wanted me to call was legit.  Couldn't find it anywhere so I went to the credit card statement and called that to report what I thought was a scam.  Well turned out it wasn't and yes my card is compromised and they would issue me a new one.  Fine.  And then......then.....

I have an automatic debit for my cell phone from Public Mobile which is due to come off in the next day or two.  So...I needed to inform them, right?  Well, talk about being sent into online purgatory!!!  I ended up in a continous loop of 'push this in order to do that' and of course none of the options were what I needed.  So one of the options was to 'push this to contact them' - which I dutifully did.  Only to be told that my account password was no longer valid.  Say wha???  Ok - reset password (multi-step process that required yet more pushing of this and that) only to be sent back to the beginning of the loop.  Me, being a lady-like person, refused to turn the air blue as I went through it AGAIN only to be sent to the same loop as before and outright refusal to allow me to find the teeny-tiny-little button that allowed me to leave any sort of message outside of their allowable options.  Finally (did I mention that all this has taken pretty close to two hours?)....I left a private message and I await their pleasure of a response.  Good thing my cell phone plan is cheap!  


Part the 16,453 of the ongoing saga/rant - I got a response!  And you'll never believe what it was.  They sent me back my own message and so, in effect, I'm talking to myself.   AND.....This morning I got another copy of my original message from them...still with no actual response.  


On to other things that are more fun.  The doll is finished!  I'm searching for a pair of socks for her but that can wait.  In the meantime, here she is (she measures 32" high)

Not bad for a nearly 70-year old pattern!

- I enjoyed clicking through THESE so thought I'd share.

- Of course you know I liked seeing THESE!

- When I scrolled down through THESE I laughed at some and had an 'awwwww-moment' over others.

- There are lots of free quilt designs HERE.

- I thought THIS concept was rather intriguing and some of you might like to give it a try.

Today this quote is very fitting..."I'm not angry.  I'm just very enthusiastic about expressing my frustration"

Monday, July 15, 2024

Doll dress and random stuff

 Over the weekend I finished the dress for the doll I've been working on.  Took some finangling to re-size-vamp-cobble a 'real' little girl dress pattern to fit the doll but I think I managed it.  Next time you see her, I hope she'll be done and headed for the Christmas box.  

There's enough fabric left to make a semi-matching dress for our grandie too.

- Joy sent me down THIS rabbit hole and I managed to spend far too much time exploring.  I do suggest you pour a cuppa and make sure you scatter lots of bread crumbs so you can find your way out!  Thanks Joy!

- THESE made me smile!  Be sure to keep scrolling down.

- Have a peek through the gallery of THIS artist.

- THESE are definitely awwww-worthy.

- You know I would like THIS (part one) and part two HERE

Today's quote... "Be grateful that no matter how much chocolate you eat, your earrings will still fit"

Friday, July 12, 2024

Side notes and faces

 As a little side note to those of you who use stuffing for dolls or other projects, check out your local discount stores and look at bed pillows.  The last bag of stuffing I bought at Fabricland was over $15 and the doll ate that up in a hurry.  Not having easy access to Fabricland here I had to get creative and ended up buying a pillow for $5 at Giant Tiger.  The stuffing inside was a little 'fluffier' than the so-called proper stuff but it actually worked better.  Saving myself $10 AND the gas to travel 45 minutes to get to Fabricland was a win/win.  Just be careful to buy a pillow that's filled with fibrefill and not foam.

Next up on the doll was to do more for her face.  The original pattern calls for the eyes to be embroidered and I did outline them that way.  I emboidered the mouth and nose, eyebrows and eyelashes but chose to use paint to do the actual eyesI put a light coating of white glue/water on the inside of the wig to make certain the yarn would stay in place and then glued/stitched it onto her head.  Now it's on to trying to figure out the dress and some underwear.


Most of you might remember the huge storm we had last August where our car was badly damaged by hail.  We finally have/had a date (Aug. 20th, more than a year after the storm) for the repairs to start with an estimate of nearly $14,000.  Sadly, we've been hearing from other people that, despite having been originally told that their vehicle was repairable, the costs in the interim have risen dramatically and the insurance companies are now writing them off.  Our car is a 2016 Rav4 so it's in the danger-zone.  After much to-and-fro'ing with our insurance adjustor and much ponderment and sleeplessness we decided not to go through with the repairs and will drive our 'dimply' car as is.  The insurance company, I think, is in full awareness that the price has gone up hugely and were happy to offer us a cheque in the amount of the original estimate.  Thank you, we'll take it, put it in the bank and not have to worry about going into debt for a new-to-us vehicle that, chances are, I won't be driving for too many more years.  RC is giving up driving in the next couple of weeks (a good decision on his part) and it will all fall to me and truthfully I don't care if the car doesn't look absolutely pristine.  Huge relief to have that decision behind us!


- THIS looks like a fun project that would be quite useful for many things.

- If I was planning to make another afghan I would seriously consider THIS one.

- THIS is another thing that would be handy to have  - or to give.

- A lot of THESE made me smile.

Today's quote..."The best teachers are those who tell you where to look, but don't tell you what to see"

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Don't Look Ethel!

🎶...lookit that, lookit that...don't look Ethel!🎝  (and if you now have an ear worm, you're welcome)....   And for those of you who haven't a clue what I'm going on about, watch THIS (and once again, you're welcome).

and this pile of yarn is her wig...

The original pattern calls for making long hair but I 
think it's too thick, so I decided I would crochet a 'cap' and then
add doubled strands of yarn to create the hair.  I knew I
would run out of the lighter brown before I was done so
I added in some strands of darker which I think gives it
more realism.  It's my idea and I'm stickin' to it!

- If you wear makeup, or know someone who does, THIS would make a great gift.

- There's an interesting article HERE about one of my favourite artists.  If you're unfamiliar with his work and want to know more, check out his galleries HERE.  

- THIS made me smile.

- If you're REALLY looking for something to do with yourself, how about making some of THESE?

Today the quote made me laugh..."The fact that jellyfish have survived for 650 million years despite not having brains gives hope to many people"

Monday, July 08, 2024

Further on body parts...

 Remember the body parts I showed you last time?  Well I have discovered that I'm pretty sure the original pattern is by Laura Wheeler - at least the design certainly looks like hers.  I found this page from a catalog of her designs which shows dolls pretty much like the one I'm making...

Image came from here.

- Perhaps you'd like to give THIS process a try.

- I thought THESE were interesting.

- I don't think I shared THIS before but if I have, blame my memory!

- Have a peek through the gallery of THIS artist.

The quote today is by Joseph Joubert..."The aim of argument or of discussion should not be victory, but progress"

Friday, July 05, 2024

Body parts!!!!

 Yep - I have a pile of body parts on my sewing table.  No bones though so I guess it's all good.  Back when I was a little'n my mother made me a life-sized doll and I still have the pattern so what can a Grandma do but make it for her little grandie for Christmas?  It will measure about 32" tall when it's done.  Sadly there isn't a pattern for a dress included but I think I can come up with something that will fit.  Plan is to make matching dresses for the doll and our grandie.  Hate to say it, but the pattern is almost 70 years old.  The directions aren't great but I think I can figure it out.  The doll is quite similar to THIS one.

- HERE is a fun technique you might like to play with.

- I thought THIS was intriguing.

- And THIS as well.

Today's quote..."To have the right to do a thing is not at all the same as being right doing it"

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Prototype done

 This is the prototype for the intermediate workshop I've been asked to teach...

Similar to the first one I did but simplified somewhat.

- THIS might be a handy thing to have for yourself or make for a gift.

- One can but drool over THIS!

- Have a peek through the gallery of THIS artist.

- Some of you might enjoy doing some exploration through THIS.

Today's quote..."Tolerance will reach such a level that intelligent people will be banned from thinking so as not to offend the imbeciles"

Monday, July 01, 2024

Working on a prototype

 I've been asked if I would teach an 'intermediate' landscape workshop in the fall so I've been working on a prototype of something the participants could do.  I decided that most everybody has ready access to denim so that's my beginning and I thought I would repeat the windmill I did on the quilt I did awhile ago.  Hopefully it will work out and there will be enough interest to warrant teaching how to make it.  No picture to share with you just yet, so instead I have a day guessed it....

And....Happy Canada Day to those of us in Canada and Happy Fourth of July to my friends in the US.

- If you happen to be searching for a border design for a crochet project (could also be used on knitting or as a border on a fabric throw), go HERE and scroll down.

- THIS made me smile.

- Have a look through the gallery of THIS artist!

- And THIS amazing artist too (how I wish I could be a fly on the wall and watch her creating!!)

- If you scroll through THESE, I dare you not to say at least one or two 'awwww's'

Today's quote..."If you avoid the conflict to keep the peace, you start a war inside yourself"

Friday, June 28, 2024

Sometimes I surprise myself

 I challenged myself with this landscape and managed to pull it off which came as somewhat of a surprise.  There were techniques and challenges but where there's a will there's a way.  What do you think?

'The Red Chair (Muskoka Tuberculosis Sanitarium)'

Measures approx. 22x29"


The original photo is this one by Michael Lalonde and used with his kind permission...

- THIS concept is intriguing.

- HERE is something you might like to try.

- And HERE is a rather clever idea.

- There are tons of really great tips HERE (some of which I intend to implement!)

Today's quote is from Rob Bell..."What every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential"

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

There's been more

 Yes, more progress on the landscape, namely some areas have been quilted, others have had netting added to tone down some of the fabrics, and there's been a layer of Mod Podge and crumpled tissue paper highlighted with paint to create  the cement floor.

- THIS is one of those awwwww things.

- Have a look through the galleries of THIS artist!  And THIS one too!!

- THIS process intrigues me and if we still had a garden I'd be tempted.

- THIS made me laugh.

Today the quote is from Jon Acuff..."Be brave enough to be bad at something new"

Monday, June 24, 2024

Progress and another addition to the Christmas box

 First of all, these came off my knitting needles over the weekend...

Pattern is my generic one and the yarn was Paton's Kroy Socks FX in the geranium colourway.  Already added to the Christmas box.

And...I've made a good start at the current landscape as you can see from this...

- There are a number of ideas HERE for using lavender from your garden.  And have a peek at THIS (sorry, can't find the original creator, but I liked the idea anyway)

- I haven't shared an 'awwwww' lately, so how about THIS one?

- Have a peek through the gallery pages HERE.

- And the creations of THIS amazing artist too!

Today's quote...'There's really not a difficult thing unless you decide it's a difficult thing.  Otherwise, it's just the next thing you're figuring out"

Friday, June 21, 2024

Never let it be said....

 Yes, never let it be said that I don't attempt to challenge myself with each landscape I do.  This next one is definitely falling under the 'challenge' category!  

Photo used with the kind permission of
Michael Lalonde
( Talking Walls Photography )  

Stay tuned to watch the evolution of this one!

A little back-history to explain my interest in this particular subject... this photo was taken inside the Muskoka Sanitarium which was once a hospital used for victims of tuberculosis.  My mother was one of those patients and spent four years of her life starting when she was 18 as a resident there.  She was one of the lucky ones in that my grandparents were able to afford for her to be housed in the building itself.  Many others weren't so fortunate and were left to reside in tents on the grounds where many of them died from a combination of TB and exposure to the elements.  At the time pretty much all they had for treatment was fresh air, so the patients were required to sleep outside - winter and summer.  My mother often said she had to shovel herself out from under snow in the winter time.  If you are interested in reading more about the history of the building, read Michael's post HERE

This picture was taken of my Mom when she was a patient - taken in 1941...

- THIS link takes you to a ton of fun crocheted bookmarks that would be a great summer project.

- Of course you know I would be intrigued by THIS!

- Have a look through the gallery of THIS artist!

- THIS artist does interesting work as well.

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?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


 Yes, I had a squirrel moment and I'm not the least bit ashamed.  Some of you might remember the tea towels I made to put in the Christmas box and from those I had some leftover fabric, just enough to make hot pads as an add-on to the original gift idea.  At least I used up the fabric AND pretty much put an end to the Insul-Bright I had too.  Win/win!

- Do you remember making pillows using THIS technique? I know my mother had several.

- Have a peek through the creations by THIS artist!

- And scroll down through the works by THIS artist too!

- Nann left a comment on my previous post pointing me to a fun YouTube video that discusses making crumb blocks (and her storage system is genius!).  Go HERE.  Thank you Nann!

- THIS is really pretty (I know it's labeled as 'winter' but I think it would be perfect for summer evenings too).

Today's quote..."I make art to show my soul that I am listening"

Monday, June 17, 2024

Who'd a thunk it

 You will have noticed a definite lack of crazy quilting here at Chez Magpie and that's by design.  After spending so many years doing projects for publication in the Crazy Quilt Quarterly magazine I think I was burnt out.  Even went so far as to get rid of a lot of my CQ stash in favour of fabrics more suited to landscapes.  Ebb and flow of life, I guess.  Well, there's a rumour that I might get asked to teach a workshop in the fall so I had to come up with a prototype.  Several years ago I taught making a hussif * but it takes two sessions to even come close to completing.  So my thoughts turned to doing the entire thing by machine and this cover for a hard-backed notebook is the result...


Opened, to show the back

* if you don't know what a hussif is, check out the links in my sidebar.

- I think THIS process would be fun to attack those pesky fabrics scraps you have been saving for a rainy day.

- THIS is such a pretty pattern that would work in so many different sizes and yarns.

- Although the pattern isn't with THIS, I thought it was worth sharing anyway.

- I love the creativity of THIS artist.

Today the quote is from Caroline Myss..."Perfectionism is the fear of being criticized"

Friday, June 14, 2024

A completion

 Yes, I completed the latest landscape - never to be repeated again, at least not this way...

Based on this photo by Dale Stewart,
and used with his kind permission...

I liked the idea of using a map but (and here's the issue I had) I tried to use a paper map because I didn't have the capability of printing it onto fabric.  Methinks the copy shop would frown on trying to put fabric through their printer.  My search for a decent 'map' already on fabric didn't bear fruit so I attempted to change the 'hand' of the paper using different products I had in my stash, finally settling on Golden Soft Gel.  It left the paper feeling somewhat like plastic which wasn't the texture I hoped for.  My stash didn't yield anything else however so I went with it.  Lesson out of all this?  Don't do it again.

- Have a look at the amazing creations of THIS artist!  I can't imagine working with that many individual pieces of fabric!

- And the creations of THIS artist too (be sure to check her other galleries while you're there).

- I thought THIS article was quite interesting.

- THIS is a really cool idea!!  And HERE is something else you can do with the same material.

- I don't think I would wear any of THESE but they are definitely interesting to see.

The quote is by Paul Klee..."Art does not reproduce what we see.  It makes us see"

Wednesday, June 12, 2024



Well, the grandiose idea of using map thought bubbles on the latest landscape evaporated due to sheer ugliness.  Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  We won't mention the fact that it took me an entire day to come to realization that it looked just plain stooooopid.   It's now back to what you saw in my previous post and I'm struggling with quilting it now.

- Have a peek at THESE.

- And THESE are interesting (be sure to scroll down)

- The knitters among you might find that THIS is quite pretty (and would be a good stashbuster too).

- You know that THIS would catch my eye.

Today's quote.."Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour"

Monday, June 10, 2024

There's more

 I really wish I had kept track of how many hours have gone into the embroidery on this landscape, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say close to 40.  Am I obsessed much??!!!

Now, it comes to an executive decision and part of my 'experimentation' process that sometimes leads to dismal failure.  I initially had the map embiggened at the copy shop and thought I would use the paper version in my landscape.  What to do to change the 'hand' of the paper to make it softer.  Some experiments later, I decided that I'd use Soft Gel medium brushed over top.  It sort of worked but more on the side the sort of didn't.  I could use it, but stitching it was going to be a chore.  Another consideration would be how durable it would be over a period of years...would it change colour and yellow with time...or worse, turn hard?  A search through my stash has (wonder of wonders!) yielded a couple packages of T-Shirt Transfer paper by Avery which has led me to wonder if...big if....I could print the map onto that and then iron it onto the fabric to make it the texture I'm wanting.  Next ponderment would be how to join the pieces together because, of course, the transfer sheets are only 8 1/2x11".  Then my mind wandered over to wondering what it would look like if I simply went with that size and appliqued them willy nilly over top of a blue sky background....or maybe....what about using them as 'thought bubbles' of a sort, so that my working title for the project of 'The Roads No Longer Travelled' would reflect the old truck thinking about its past life.  Sometimes I really marvel at how my mind works (or doesn't!).  Stay tuned!

- THIS is something you might like to try making.

- You'd best have at least a loaf of bread crumbs to find your way back out of THESE resources.  If you click on the older issues, they're free and you can read to your heart's content.  So much inspiration!!!

- I'm being serenaded outside my window.  You can have a listen to a recording of what I'm enjoying by going HERE.  

- Seeing THIS sent me hareing off to look at my needles.  Hmmm....who knew? 

- Have a peek through THIS gallery of embroidery art!

Today your quote is from Pablo Picasso..."It takes a long time to become young"

Friday, June 07, 2024

A little glimpse

 Here is a teeny little glimpse of what I have been working on for several days now.  There are several more days before this part will be complete...

-  THIS would make great gifts!

- THESE wee birdies are definitely awwww-worthy.

- I hope THIS will work for about amazing!

- Some of THESE are quite incredible.

This quote made me smile..."Some people are so poor, all they have is money"

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Just a stitchin' away

 Yes, stitching is happening but it's not at a point where I can share quite yet.  Serves me right for thinking that the current landscape needed embroidery.  I'm obsessed, I tell you.

So, instead of a photo of what I'm working on, you no doubt know what I shall do instead....

- THIS is a little sumthin' you might like to try making.

- I know at least one of my readers is playing with pin looms, so perhaps THIS might be of interest.

- HERE is another technique that would be fun to try.

- THIS proves you can recycle pretty much anything!

This oh-so-true meme was snagged from Boud's blog (thank you!)....

Monday, June 03, 2024

Somebody's feet

 Yes, somebody's feet will be warm this winter because these are headed for the Christmas box.  Sock recipe is the generic one I always use and the yarn is Paton's Kroy Sock yarn.

I had a fun Saturday spent teaching a landscape workshop for one of the local guilds.  I'm never quite sure when I go into these things whether I can instill even a small percentage of my passion for landscapes but they seemed happy enough to want to know if I would teach an intermediate workshop in the fall.  

- You might enjoy having a peek through THESE.

- Finally found a good use for vodka (heartily dislike the stuff)!  Go HERE.

- THIS is a technique some of you might like to play with.

- And THIS would be a fun thing to experiment with.

- THIS technique might appear in one of my landscapes at some point.

Today the quote is from Ray Bradbury..."So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from war, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all"