A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For something a little different....

Sorry to say there is no stitching to share today, so...How about a recipe?  This week the resident chef here at Chez Magpie made this wonderful soup.  This is a recipe I created many moons ago when I was doing all the cooking.

1 pkg dry beans (any kind will do)
Leftover ham pieces
3 large onions, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 T. chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 T. Worcestershire
2 T. parsley (dry or fresh)
28 oz. can tomatoes
Large can tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Water to fill pot

The night before you plan to make the soup, cover the dry beans with water and let stand overnight. Rinse,  drain and return beans to pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer for three hours (or even better if it's simmered for five hours).  This makes a lot, so be prepared!  We portion it into freezer containers and freeze for when we need a quick meal.

Today's mumblings...

- Judy has posted a great list of free block-of-the-month projects.  There are a couple of really beautiful designs and they are *almost* enough to make me want to be a sane quilter.  Notice I said *almost*!!  Go HERE to see her post.

- THIS is a beautiful scarf pattern!  And HERE's another, and another one HERE.

- If you have need of attaching a zipper to a knitted or crocheted garment, perhaps you might find this tutorial handy.

Today the quote is from Marge Kennedy...."Soup is a lot like a family.  Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavour"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More progress on block 4

My photography skills on this one obviously are sadly lacking, but here you go anyway...

This one is all straight stitches with either a French knot or a bead in the center

Another one that is entirely made up of straight stitches.  You could replace the red stitches with lazy daisies.


- Just a reminder that we're searching for entries for the crazy quilt calendar contest for 2018.  The theme is 'Musicals' and you can read more about it below... 

I'm the lucky person that gets to see the entries first and I'm looking forward to seeing what you create arriving in my inbox.  You don't have to send your creation in person - just good photos. 

- THESE fit under the awwwww category!

- THESE are a great way to use up your sock yarn stash AND learn some new stitches at the same time.  Ending up with something useful at the end is just an added bonus.

- How about some really cute mouse mittens for a toddler?  And if you have mice, perhaps a CAT might be necessary?

Today the quote is from Elizabeth Zimmermann..."Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either"  (and I think the same thing could be said about crazy quilting!)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Block 4 beginning

Over the weekend I started working on block four of my courtship project and now here are some seam treatments for you...

Herringbone (black); straight stitch (green); lazy daisy (pink) and either French knots or beads.

Straight stitch (black, blue and pink);  lazy daisy (green) and French knots (or beads).

- Go HERE to see some pretty amazing knitted moths.  Not something I would have ever thought to do!

- There's a nice fabric basket tutorial HERE.  Handy for a number of uses.

- I found THIS very interesting way to cast on for toe up socks.  I plan to give this a try!!

Instead of your quote today, I thought I'd share this beautiful poem written by Joseph J. Mazzella...


The television news was droning on and on this evening.
It was full of every bad thing that happened in the world today.
Finally I had to turn the set off.
It wasn't that I couldn't handle the bad news.
It was just that I knew all that was being left out.
I knew what else happened today.

Today a mother held her newborn baby in her arms for the first time and felt her heart open with a love she never knew she had.
Today mothers and fathers both played with their children, hugged them tight, and kissed them goodnight when they tucked them into bed.
Today animals were petted, fed, and cared for by loving owners.
Today a child learned how to be kind when he saw his Mom hold a door open for an elderly lady.
Today wise words were spoken and minds were opened in a million school classrooms across the world.
Today clothes, food and money were collected to be shared with the poor and hungry.  
Today the sick were cared for, the disabled were helped, and the crying were comforted by so many caring souls.
Today smiles were shared and kind acts performed with no thought of reward.
Today songs were sung, sweet words were said, and laughter was heard.
Today adult children gathered around their Mom's deathbed to hold her hand, tell her they love her, and kiss her for one last time.
Today someone finally realized just how much God loves them.
Today a million prayers went up to Heaven on the wings of faith and a million 'Thank You's' were said to God with hearts full of love.
Today this world was made better by the good we did, the kindness we shared, and the love we gave to others. 
Today all the angels of Heaven joyfully smiled as they watched us strive to love each other, to help each other, and to live as God's children here on earth. 
That is what happened today.
That is what happens every day of our lives here.
Don't let the bad news bring you down.
Its hate and darkness can never stand against our love and light.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Block three - complete

I finished the last section of block three....

and here is the completed block...

Now, on to block 4!!

- There's a beautiful free pattern HERE by Trish Burr  (found via Judy...thank you).

- If you enjoy working with hexxies, there's an interesting tutorial HERE showing how to use plastic templates (which she happens to sell, but I have no affiliation) and ensuring that your joining stitches are invisible.

- THIS isn't a free pattern, but I'm sharing it anyway, simply because it's so cute.

- You can find a good quilt binding tutorial HERE.

Today the quote is from Jackson Brown..."Today give a stranger on of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More fillers

I apologize in advance for these pictures - one is blurry and in another I realized that I hadn't picked out all the little bits of tissue paper I used for the pattern.  Oops.  Oh well, you get the general idea anyway!

- I know potholders aren't necessarily 'in' these days, but the pattern for THIS one is so pretty and would brighten up any kitchen, whether it be used as intended or not.

- If you crochet and have been mystified by some of the charted patterns using symbols out there, perhaps THIS might be helpful to keep on hand.

- Oh wow!  THIS is absolutely gorgeous!!!  And there's a link to the free pattern there too.  I'm not a fan of pink, but this is stunning.

- THESE would make such pretty flowers on a crazy quilt if they were made using a finer thread (pearl cotton or crochet cotton) and done individually...perhaps with a bead in the centre.

Your quote of the day..."You can't reach what's in front of you until you let go of what's behind you"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Filling in

Today I have filled in three sections on block three...

It seems I'm living proof that things happen in three's (and I'm not talking about the embroidery examples above!!).  First, I managed to break a piece off a tooth....then I noticed the band on my watch was hanging by a mere thread....and then I cracked the glass cover on our old mantel clock while I was changing the battery.  I think that should be it for awhile!!

Some mumblings...

- if you have someone in your family who likes Batman, there are some free patterns HERE that could be adapted quite easily to cross stitch or beading.

- HERE is a cute little bookmark project - easy and quick to make!

- If you are like me and have wondered how to get a thread knot to snug up to something like a bead, have a look at THIS.  It's easy if you know how!!

- I know THIS is a jewelry piece, but wouldn't it be perfect stitched onto a crazy quilt?  Or how about some of THESE?  By simply doing an online search for beading patterns for jewelry you can find hundreds of possibilities for additions to your crazy quilting!

Today the quote is from Hans Hansen...."It takes nothing to join the crowd.  It takes everything to stand alone"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I don't have any stitching to share - yesterday was a bit of a lost day and nothing much happened with my needle and threads.  I do, however, have a few mumblings...

- If you happen to be expecting a baby girl, there's a beautiful vintage hat pattern HERE.

- HERE's a tutorial for making a cover for your iron.

- If you are a watercolour painter, perhaps you might find THIS little portable kit handy.

- THIS just falls under the category of 'awwwwww'!