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, January 31, 2024


Now how did THAT happen??!!  

Two pairs of lounging pants seem to have jumped the line and gotten sewn up.  Strange how that happens. I use McCall's 4244 for these.  Easy and fairly fast to make.

- an awwwww thing is HERE.  

- If you have need of cleaning a cutting board, there are some good tips HERE.

- THESE would be fun to make and wouldn't have to be used for plants unless you wanted to.

- I'm sure there are lots of uses for THIS as well.

Today the quote is from Emile Zola..."We are like books.  Most people only see our cover, the minority read only the introduction, many people believe the critics.  Few will know our content"


Monday, January 29, 2024

Ongoing quest

 Like many of you, I'm on a mission to use as much of my stash as I possibly can so as not to leave it to our kids to deal with.  No, I'm not planning on keeling over anytime soon, but then again, I have enough stash to far outlast my abilities to use it up.  So, to that end, I'm using the pattern I pointed you to a few days ago and holding worsted weight doubled to make hats for donation.  Number one off the needles turned out a tad too large which was my own fault because I thought I'd be a rebel and increase the size of the needles because surely the pattern designer didn't know what she was talking about.  Well, wonder of wonders, she did.  Oh well, hat might fit someone with a bigger head.

And, of course you know I've started on another landscape!  Details will follow.

- If you're like me and hate tying in yarn ends, perhaps give THIS a try (I know I'm going to!)

- There are lots of free printables HERE to help with all sorts of organization.  And you might want to check THESE out too.

- Of course you know I would love the work of THIS artist!

- There's a very interesting article HERE about how to get accurate 1/4" (or a scant 1/4") seam allowances when you're sewing.

Friday, January 26, 2024


 The latest landscape is done!!


"Storm On The Horizon"

measures approx. 22x26"

Applique, machine embroidery,
paint, coloured pencil

- Too late (or perhaps too early??) for Christmas, but perhaps making some of THESE to tuck away might be fun.

- I thought THIS article was fascinating and perhaps one day I might get inspired to attempt to make one.

- If you have scrap pieces of fleece in your stash, perhaps making THESE would be fun.

- HERE is another of my awwww moments!

- There are lots of things HERE that would make quick gifts throughout the year (or even help you get organized)

Today your quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt..."Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

And...we have a quilted sky

 I finally decided that I would do simple stipple quilting throughout the sky using invisible thread so it wouldn't show overly much.  Then I progressed to doing more on the shed/barn and added some stitch detailing and some paint and coloured pencil.  Finally I worked on thread painting the trees.  

- If you have a dry-erase board, perhaps THESE tips might come in handy.

- There might be something HERE that would inspire you.

- I doubt I would attempt to make THESE but they sure are pretty!

- If you use DMC floss perhaps you'd find THIS little tip interesting.  While you're there have a peek at the 'Free Tools' category where you will find colour charts for various types of floss as well as Kreinik threads.

Today's quote is from Winston Churchill..."Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm"

Monday, January 22, 2024

The evolution of a shed

 Work continues on the latest landscape with some additions to the shed/barn - still a ways to go there.  I also quilted the border but it's impossible to see because I used gold thread which blends in.  I've outlined the lightning with silver and now am pondering what I'll do with the rest of the sky/clouds.

- If you're wanting to declutter, perhaps THIS simple approach might be inspiring.

-....and....another awwwwww HERE.  And how about THIS one?

- Have a look at THIS and be prepared to be awed!

- Although THIS is a paid pattern, it caught my eye.  

- THIS could be done for Valentine's, but would be a wonderful gift anytime of the year.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Soup - for you?

 It's been awhile since I shared a recipe so thought you might like to give this one a try....

Resident Chef's Cabbage Soup
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
4 carrots, sliced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 lb. frozen (or fresh) green beans
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/2 T. smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 c. chopped cabbage
6 c. vegetable broth
1 tsp. salt
1 T. lemon juice
     Saute onion & garlic in oil.  Add carrots, celery & pepper & saute.  Add tomatoes, beans, spices & cabbage & broth and bring to boil.  Simmer on med-low abt. 40 mins.  Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.
Remember me telling you about attempting to make the blanket using all my leftover bits of yarn?  I tried knitting it with 3 strands and it was too hot...I frogged it and started over with 2 strands and it's still going to be too over-the-top and I'm sure it's going to hurt my hands if I carry on.  So...frogged again.  Just happened to have THIS pop up in one of my mailings and I think...maybe, just maybe...I might just have had a Goldilocks-moment.

- If you're thinking about making something for Valentine's Day, perhaps THIS design might catch your fancy.

- Or maybe, if you're really ambitious (!), you might like to give THIS one a try.

- If I had a real barn or even a shed, I would want to try making one of THESE.

- The crocheters among you might be interested in THIS crochet-a-long (scroll down to see the designs that will be available over the coming year).

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

You knew it wouldn't last!

 My hiatus from doing landscapes is over and we all know it was only a matter of time.  Finding that piece of  lightning fabric in my stash was the impetous and you can see my progress....

- THIS is another of my awwwww things!  Each one is cuter than the last.

- Those of you who enjoy water colours might find THIS of interest.

- I've never made a sock monkey but I thought THIS was really cute.

- THESE little fellows are another awwwww thing.

Today's quote..."Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they pretend to be"

Monday, January 15, 2024

Two new projects

 In my ongoing quest to get rid of stash I finally got around to dumping ALL my landscape fabrics out of the bins and sorting them into loose categories to hopefully make them easier to find. 

In doing so, I came across this piece that had been lurking in there probably since before dirt and truthfully it was in my hand, poised over the garbage can, when I thought wait a minute...maybe I could use it as a background for a landscape.  Maybe I can, maybe I can't, but I haven't saved it for all this time unless something was telling me it would come in handy one day.  

And....I've been bothered by all the part-balls of yarn I have also lurking in my stash.  What to do with them is an ongoing problem and they just keep multiplying.  So several hours out of my life I won't be able to get back were spent surfing Ravelry until I stumbled across THIS idea.  Hmmm - now THAT might just work to use a lot of it up and this is the beginning....

So far 5 part balls of yarn are outta here.  However, now the question is, because this is worked using 3 or 4 strands of yarn held together, will the blanket be too heavy to even use.  Time will tell.  Either way, I'll get rid of excess yarn and if it ends up too heavy for our use I will simply donate it.


For those who are in the deep freeze and/or 
dealing with snow - be safe!


- I've seen mile-a-minute crochet patterns (and done several), but THIS is the first time I've seen it done in quilting.  

- Further on the 'temperature' items I've seen, HERE is an interesting quilt pattern.  This one is certainly doable considering you only make one block each week.

- THIS is an awwww worthy thing!

- I think THIS would be a fun project if you want to hone your embroidery skills.

- There's another fun quilt-a-long happening HERE 

Here's your quote for today..."Sometimes you have to eat your words, chew your ego, swallow your pride and accept your mistakes.  It's not giving up, it's called growing up"

Friday, January 12, 2024

Another finish!

 Our wee granddaughter is turning two this month and what grandmother doesn't know that a little girl needs wardrobe enhancement?  So, this happened...

Pattern is the Infinite A-line Dress from Bonnie and Blithe and can be found HERE.    

- If you're on a quest to use up fabric scraps, perhaps THIS might catch your eye.

- If you're a fan of chai tea, perhaps you'd like to try THIS?

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

A finish - and finished

 Trunk show - done and dusted.  Possibility though of a couple more for other local guilds depending on the timing.  Workshop I was supposed to teach yesterday was postponed due to a winter storm and hopefully will happen next week, provided the weather cooperates.

Over the past week or so I completed a wee little dollie for our wee little girl whose birthday is the end of this month.  I used scraps from my stash (primarily Paton's Canadiana) and THIS pattern.  

And, just for a bit of pretty on yet another dull morning here, how about a picture of this...

- THIS looks like a nice tote bag.

- If you're thinking about making any projects for Valentine's Day (or even if you just like hearts) check THESE out for some ideas.

- THIS is really pretty!  I know it was first done in 2021 but it certainly will still work now (scroll down to get all the patterns and to see the completed project).  And if you read THIS post there are some great tips about doing something similar only as a 'diary' of sorts accompanied by a temperature aspect.  Fun way to practice embroidery!

Today's quote..."If you don't separate yourself from your distractions, your distraction will separate you from your goals"

Monday, January 08, 2024

Shovel, shovel, aaaack.....

 Another blogger and I have been having a small discussion about downsizing/cleaning and, because January seems to be the time that many of us decide that we need to 'do something' about our collections of stuff, I thought I'd share a few of the things I've discovered along the line.  Now before you get all amazed, my house is NOT perfect but it's a whole lot more organized than it used to be.  There's still a ways to go and I don't suppose I'll ever be under consideration for a featured spread in 'House Beautiful' magazine.

When our boys were small our house should have been condemned.  It was a constant mess and I would spend hours every day just trying to keep a path cleared to the bathroom.  I'd start at the front door and put things away and progress to the next room and so on until I returned to the front door, only to find the entire thing was a mess again.  It was discouraging.  I even went so far as to put a sign on the front door one day when I conducted a full-on strike and refused to do housework of any kind.  Sure gave the UPS delivery guy pause for thought when he read that!  

Right about that time our next door neighbour (whose house was always spotless and I hated her) kindly gave me a book to read that addressed the issues I was having.  After I got over my initial snit about her thinking I was a messy housekeeper (however true it was),  I read the book and had an epiphany.  The book, entitled 'Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen To Paradise' by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, was just what I needed to get on track.  It boiled down to a card system for housework which at first I thought was the silliest thing I'd ever heard of.  My neighbour informed me that she'd been using the system for quite awhile and that it worked.  OK, why not try it.  The main gist of a card system is this:  you decide on the jobs/chores you want (and need!) to do in your house and how often you need to do them  (ie. sweep the kitchen floor daily) and create a card for each, being sure to mark them with how often the chore should be done.  File them into a recipe card box that has a divider for each day of the month and another set of dividers for each month of the year.  Some chores you will only be doing once or twice a year so choose which months and file accordingly.  Then, each morning, simply get out the cards for that day and do them....not worrying about ANY of the other chores that you might feel guilty about.  You know, with this system, that you WILL get to those chores but just not right this instant.  Suffice to say, after a few months of being on the system, Resident Chef threatened me with divorce if I ever stopped using it.  An additional bonus is that he sees the cards laid out for the day and pitches in to help.  

Fast forward to about a year ago when I happened to stumble across another great author/blogger who has some really great ideas to help with downsizing and control of clutter.  Her name is Dana K. White and she has written at least two books.  I requested 'Decluttering At The Speed of Life' from our library and really like her approach.  The basic takeaway I got is that you should have a 'container' for everything - whether that be a box/a tote/a shelf depends on the item you're trying to organize - and then to downsize to fit that space.  Then nothing else can be added unless something else gets removed so it continues to fit the asigned space.  Of course there was a whole lot more in the book but that was my main takeaway and something I'm trying to implement.  I signed up for her blog posts (she does podcasts as well) and find that she's very down-to-earth with her suggestions (and reading through the comments are always enlightening too).  You can check her web site HERE  (no affiliation on my part beyond liking her approach).  


Today is THE DAY that I have to present my trunk show at the quilt guild.  I think I have all my ducks (projects) in a row but remains to be seen how well it goes.  To say I'm not looking forward to it is a massive understatement.  Why I ever agreed to this in the first place defies logic when I know how much I hate public speaking.  Tomorrow I have to teach the first (of two) workshops and that's not a prospect I'm relishing either.  Oh well, it can't last forever...right??

Friday, January 05, 2024

Cleaning up - and out

 Yesterday was the day to take down the Christmas decorations and hopefully meet my goal of getting everything (but the tree) into one large Rubbermaid tote.  I managed to shoehorn everything but one Santa Claus into the box so I was happy.  Resident Chef solved the mystery of how to get the new tree back into the original box (no easy task because he forgot what it looked like when it first arrived).  It was nice while it lasted but I was more than ready to get it put away and get back to what passes for normal here at Chez Magpie.
Image from 'Threads'

Then I turned my attention to the not-so-large pile of Famiy Tree magazines I had.  Most of the content is of no real use to me so I'm biting the bullet and tearing out what I might want to reference and...gasp....recycling the rest.  Now I'm eyeing four large Rubbermaid totes that are chuck to overflowing with fabric fodder for landscapes.  When the lids won't go down it's time to cull a lot of it.  Still haven't figured out a way to sort it effectively but I'm thinking that maybe I could put 'sky' fabrics in one tote;  'land and water' fabrics in another; and fabrics suitable for buildings and vehicles in another.  Noble goal but will it happen?  Oh...look....squirrel......

- HERE is a somewhat different 'take' on the temperature projects.

- There's another quilt-along happening HERE.

- For those of you who want to do a little Valentine's project and want to play with your paper piecing skills, how about THIS?

- If you received a minky blanket for Christmas perhaps THESE instructions for washing them will be handy to have.

- There are some great tips HERE for fabric scraps storage solutions.

Today's quote..."When you're going through hard times and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test"

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Smokin' needles

 The so-called 'break' turned out to be not so much because I received a rush order for 13 knitted dish scrubbies.  See?....

The yarn is from Loops and Threads called Squeaky Clean ...4.5 mm needles.  Cast on 28 stitches and knit until square.  

- There are a few fun things happening 'round and about the internet.  If you're wanting to brush up on your embroidery skills, have a look at THIS challenge (I've taken part in this in the past and it's great fun).  She's added an additional 'twist' this year that looks like fun too.

- Thanks to Julierose for giving me a heads up on THIS challenge.  I expect most of us would like to clean up our sewing spaces and perhaps this might be the perfect kick in the patuskus that we need!

- There's a quilt-a-long HERE that you might want to check out.  HERE too.  Lots of them HERE!

- And another stitch-along HERE.

- You might want to check your local library online to see if they subscribe to Creativbug.  If they do, you can access tons (!!) of online classes ranging over all sorts of genres simply using your library card.

- There are lots of free designs HERE that might be useful (and a head start on....dare I say it....the Christmas box?)

Today's quote is from David Icke...."The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think"

Monday, January 01, 2024

Happy New Year!


May the New Year bring you peace, success, and the strength to overcome any challenges that come your way and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year"