Friday, August 30, 2019

Bee, Myself and I in August

Between the heat and the headaches there hasn't been much going on here in The Magpie's Nest. I've done some needlepoint, which is what I do for myself lately. And that's the whole point of Bee, Myself and I. Instead of working on a gift or something that will eventually be donated somewhere B,M&I gives us an opportunity(or an excuse!) to spend time of a project we want to do for ourselves. For me that's been needlepoint.

I've finished up Jack in his party hat.

Well, except for the background. I've got a couple of skeins of Nancy's hand dyed floss on hand, I just have to figure out where I want to start. You can't tell by looking, even in person, but I used a DMC floss that's supposed to shimmer for the dots at the top of his hat. Maybe if the light hits 'em just right it'll show up.

I've also done quite a bit on my sugar skull cat:

The green parts of the eyes and other details are all that's left to do on this. And then the background of course. πŸ˜‰

I've been reading and working on a jigsaw puzzle instead of stitching the last couple of days. Not sure I'll have something fresh to show for our Stitch Along post on Sunday.

There was some excitement here in The Magpie's Nest yesterday. It was time to do a thorough cleaning on Pippen's home.

Sorry, that's the best picture I could get!

When I separated the wired upper from the plastic bottom of the cage he slipped out and flew to the windowsill. He's not a strong flyer since he doesn't have much opportunity to practice. Still, there are a lot of places for him to hide or even get hurt in the studio. I quickly closed the hallway and bathroom doors so at least he wouldn't escape this one room. I kept an eye on him while I finished up cleaning the cage and put everything back the way it needed to be, leaving the cage door wide open so he could return easily.

Canaries are not trainable like parakeets or cockatiels. In the world of pet birds they're the cats rather than dogs. To encourage him to return to his cage I found a dowel I'd used for hanging small quilts and tried to get him to use it as a perch with the idea that I could ferry him back home without getting too close. It looked like it was going to work until I moved too quickly or something and he spooked. At least he was closer to the goal so I thought I'd leave the room and see if he could find his own way home.

When I returned I couldn't find him anywhere. I looked high and low, making sure he wasn't in trouble in the more dangerous places. No bird. I still don't have a clue where he was hiding. I left the room again, breathing deep to calm my nerves.The next time I returned to the studio I spotted him perched on my scrap basket on the floor. He's very nearly the same color as that basket! This time I grabbed a lightweight piece of fabric and threw it over him, wrapping him lightly in it so I could carry him over to his cage. Whew! That's the first time this bird has gotten away from me. Mr. Bingley got out a couple of times while he was with me. He was easier to find though, being that lovely bright yellow. 😊

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Scrap Happy in August

Scrap Happy Day is hosted each month by Kate and Gun, half way across the world from each other. It's open to anyone using their scrap materials, whatever they may be. Mine tend to be fabric scraps from the quilts I make. This time of year, however, it's hard for me to do any patchwork. If I have the windows open to cool the house toxic fumes or particulates drift in and make it hard for me to function. When we close the windows and run our small air conditioning unit the studio doesn't get cool enough to have the iron on for pressing seams. Not comfortably anyway. So I've been doing more needlework of late. They've been primarily new-to-me canvases and linens but not always brand new. On one canvas, which I won't show in full because it will be a gift later this year, I've been able to use some cotton floss leftover from the needlepoint kits I was doing last year.

All the white is scrap floss. The green is what's left of a skein that's been in my stash for decades so it could be counted as well. πŸ˜‰

The pile of scrap patches for 6" Ship blocks had grown considerably before my piecing endeavors were put on hold. I cut backgrounds for them and have managed to get this fleet assembled early in the mornings.

The postage stamp star was partially constructed back when I was still working on the plaid Wrench quilt. Got that finished up too. 😁

Scrap Happy Day is the 15th of each month. To see what others have done with their scrap materials click on the links below.

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEva, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stitching Along in August

It's time for our tri-weekly stitch along check-in. In this group we work on our own projects rather than everyone doing the same piece. Last time I showed you the stamped pillowcase I'd begun to embroider. Unfortunately, I'd stitched the back of the pillowcase to the front in the first sitting.

Since then I've removed those stitches and done quite a bit of additional work.

All the stems and leaves have been stitched in back stitch. The flowers have a combination of lazy daisy petals and chain stitched petals with some accent straight stitches. 

Those leaves and stems have been stitched since this photo was taken, I promise you!
I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do in the centers of those big blossoms. I have a color picked out for the little flowers but haven't stitched any of them yet either. 

The other bit of embroidery I've done lately is to finish up the gingerbread house from Joy McDonald's series.

I did rather a lot of improvising with this one. You can see what the original design looks like here.  Most of my changes were to the upper half of the house: the chimney, the two windows, and the floral vine. 

There's only one more house in Joy's gingerbread house quilt project. Since I won't be making that particular quilt I'm thinking I may not do a third house - as much fun as it is to dress them up. 😊 Instead I may combine the two I've made with the Fruits of the Spirit panels from her that I stitched last year. We shall see. 

There's also been rather a lot of needlepoint going on lately here in The Magpie's Nest. I believe I will save that for the Bee, Myself and I post at the end of the month. Our next SAL post will be the first of September... So maybe I'll combine the two posts into one. You'll just have to wait and see. 😁

The others participating in this Stitch Along are all over the globe and will be posting according to their local time zone. You can see what they've got going by clicking on their links below.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, 
Cindy, Helen, LindaHeidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, 
Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny,Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

Monday, August 5, 2019


And the livin' ain't easy, at least not around here. I open the windows overnight or when I get up in the mornings to bring in as much cool air as possible. Unfortunately, that also brings in toxins I don't always detect until it's too late. So I've been living with the consequences: headaches, irritability, and lethargy. We have a portable air conditioning unit but it doesn't reach to my studio space effectively. I have to say that it does a nice job of cleaning the air of pollutants though. I just don't like running it. It's noisy for one thing. And natural air conditioning is cheaper. Still, I'm lucky to have it.

My two quilts have come back from the quilt show and been turned in to the county fair. No ribbons from the quilt show, and I don't expect any from the fair. I'm very pleased with them though, and wanted to give them as much exposure as possible. πŸ˜‰

I've been doing a lot of needlework this past week. Most of it would qualify for the next SAL or a Bee, Myself and I post so I'm reluctant to share it with you until then. Once this spate of embroidery passes I may not do any more for quite some time!

You might remember I was waiting for a frame on which to mount my sugar skull cat canvas.

Since it arrived I've done quite a bit of work on her:

It's just the mindless sort of stitching I need at times like this. Of course I'll be using Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe flosses, aside from the DMC black. I've only chosen the orange for the cat's head so far. One thing at a time. 😊

I know quilters and stitchers alike enjoy audiobooks while they work. I prefer to have my little television set to the classic movie channel, TCM. I can generally follow the story without getting so involved that I stop stitching - which would likely happen with an audiobook. I think I've mentioned that I recently discovered a couple of podcasts I also enjoy, Fiber Talk and Stitchery Stories. Stitchery Stories is out of England and recently celebrated her 2nd anniversary. Fiber Talk has provided listeners with the perfect excuse for the purchases they end up making as a result of their podcasts: #fibertalkmademedoit. If I were on Instagram I would totally be using that hashtag!