Ripple Effect

Lilac in Bloom via

Kitty on a Blanket via

Years ago, when I used to watch TV, I used to watch a lot of This Old House, and one of the episodes they had advice on how to survive when you’re living in your home while renovating. The biggest tip was, “Make sure you have a Switzerland and a Germany,” meaning: make sure you have at least one room that “doesn’t get involved” (stays unaffected by the chaos, a retreat or sanctuary from the mess) and one that is super organized to hold all of your tools and equipment for your projects.

We knew instantly that this was brilliant, genius advice. We ignored it. Steadfastly. For years.

I think we’re finally listening. Mr. Magpie is determined to finish (yes, actually FINISH) our home office, and that is going to be our Switzerland. I admit I would have preferred to have our Switzerland be our master bedroom, but we’d vowed we wouldn’t start any new projects, so the office it is. Technically it was already under construction. Meanwhile, I’m trying to work on a space for our Germany.

Wainscoting in Progress via

Meanwhile, of course, there are repercussions to all of this. The contents of the office is in the family room. All of our other projects are still waiting for attention and Miss Butterfly picked all of the tulips. Again. It’s becoming an annual tradition.

Tulip Quilt in Progress via cottagemagpie.comPainted Frame Picking Colors via cottagemagpie.comVintage Dishes to Hang via cottagemagpie.comTulips in Mason Jar via

Our bikes were stolen from out of our backyard over the winter, so as we slowly acquire new ones we’re finding places to store them inside. It makes me feel very young and urban to have bikes in the house.

On the upside, our garden is growing. It’s full of weeds, but growing. I managed to weed the Gazebo Thing and Miss Butterfly and Mr. Magpie brought home some pretty flowers for our front pots. The plum trees are covered with fruit, and the tree peony is blooming with massive huge blooms. If only I had planted it in a better spot! It’s cantilevered out to reach the sun, the poor thing.

Gravel Patio via cottagemagpie.comAnnuals for Containers via cottagemagpie.comTiny Fruit on a Santa Rosa Plum via cottagemagpie.comTree Peony in Bloom via

So it goes in the haphazard world of Cottage Magpie. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t seem to operate on the classic “blog” type of schedule. You know, pick one room, work on it exclusively, show all the projects you did then show the room all done? That schedule. It sounds great. It makes for a great reading experience, it makes for a nice linear progress in the home, it makes for easy categorization of posts…. But alas, we just don’t work that way. We’re so busy and it really is a lot of work. Satisfying work, sure, but still a lot of work. So we follow the muse, and since our muse has ADD, it’s never going to be one straight line from start to finish around here. I’m okay with that.

Speaking of, did I ever show you my little sewing table? I rearranged the living-room-slash-sewing-room last month so it would feel less crowded, and I put the sewing machine on a little table with an end table for a seat. It’s right in front of my design wall and I’m really loving it so far. I was going to show more pictures but there’s still boxes and boxes of stuff to try and sort through, and I just don’t have that kind of nerve. But soon, I promise.

Sewing Table and Design Wall via

Speaking of promises, I’m going to write part 2 of the moulding story next. So I won’t leave you hanging for too much longer. But in the meantime, I hope it’s beautiful where you are. Are you working on a project? Do you do things in order or all over the place?

With love,

~Angela :-)

Birthday Goodness

Birthday Goodness via

Birthday Goodness via

Last week was my birthday. I love this time of year. Not just because it’s my birthday, of course, but also because everything seems to be bursting forth outside. The big cherry tree on our street always blooms about now. It always seems like it’s blooming just for me.

I’ve been continuing to fuss with the front room art wall above my new-to-me couch. This poor wall has been patched and re-patched so many times from all the various art wall attempts it’s a wonder it doesn’t just fall down. So many holes!! This last time I was absolutely, positively certain that I had it just right, and then the next day realized that the arrangement was way too high. And cluttered. And, well, I’m doing it over again.

Here it is, the bottom half moved down. Still working on the top half–painting frames, that sort of thing. I’m stuck on a color for one of the frames, so that might take awhile. [Read more…]

The Moulding Saga, Part 1

The Moulding Saga, Part 1 via

Those of you who’ve been around awhile might remember that four years ago (FOUR!!!) I worked really hard to put new moulding into my daughter’s room.

Today? Today, I ripped all of it out. Which I admit is pretty shocking. But here’s the thing. When we put that moulding up four years ago? I knew within days that it was the wrong choice, but I didn’t know what to do about it. [Read more…]

The Pillows that Just Happened

Pink Quilted Pillow Covers via

Pink Quilted Pillow Covers via

Last fall I made some pillow covers for my little loveseat in the front room (where I sew), and I never really loved them. I had been seduced by a bold print at the fabric store. I actually still love the fabric, but I didn’t like how it made my little nest feel. So last week I decided to make something new.

A friend of mine (who has an amazing food blog) had given me some leftover fabric that I just fell in love with and knew I wanted as my pillows. But I didn’t have enough. I hadn’t originally thought of quilting the pillows, since I already have SO MUCH going on in that room, but I decided to play with fabric and just let it happen.

Yes, I decided to let the process just happen.

I almost hyperventilated just contemplating this thought of wild abandon.

[Read more…]

More Squares and Even More Waiting

More Squares and Even More Waiting via

More Squares and Even More Waiting via

My blanket is growing, little by little. I love this pattern. Since you work the blanket in strips only 30 stitches wide, you make lots of progress. And each square is only 16 rows, so I can finish a square pretty quickly. Then it’s on to the next color and it’s so satisfying!!

I remember years and years ago I decided to try and crochet a blanket for my Dad. I used double-strands of worsted cotton and some stitch that worked up pretty fast, I don’t remember which one. But after a few days I had only done about 6 inches of blanket and I just crashed. I couldn’t bear the idea of working on each loooooong row for weeks and weeks on end. [Read more…]

A New Crochet Project

A New Crochet Project via

A New Crochet Project via

Tthe last few days I’ve been laid up on the couch with a bad back. Those of you who have been around awhile know that I’m not particularly good at being ill. It’s not that I don’t like to relax on the couch, I do. I love a good cozy book and blanket, or a bit of handwork, anytime. But when I’m ill I’m stuck and I’m using up all of the good will of Mr. Magpie and the kids, and for what? So I can sit here, being frustrated. That’s when I get cranky. [Read more…]

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing (Pink) – FREE PRINTABLE

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing (Pink) - FREE PRINTABLE via

Printable Download .PDF File

You know I wouldn’t make one of these without making a pink one, too, right? Of course not!! Inspired by the “Keep Calm” posters that are all over the blogosphere, I decided that yes, indeed, there was room for one more. :-) I am planning to print one for my sewing space, I hope you print one, too. If you do, please leave a link or share a photo on Pinterest and let me know. Thank you!

If you’re more of a modern type, there’s also a sassy, rainbow-colored version of this printable!

~Angela :-)

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing (Rainbow) – FREE PRINTABLE

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing (Pink) - FREE PRINTABLE via

Printable Download .PDF File

Well, it took a bit of figuring out on my part, but I was able to finally turn the little graphics I made the other day into actual printables! I hope you enjoy them. Just clicky the linky and download your .PDF file and enjoy! If you end up hanging it in your home, please send me a picture or leave a link so I can see it!

If you’re more of a vintage-y type, there’s also a “Keep Calm” style printable in pink.

~Angela :-)

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing via

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing via

You can always tell when I am coping with a large amount of stress in my life because my sewing output, like, quadruples or something. It’s not that I spend particularly more or less time sewing, it’s just that when I am sewing I am in Full Production Mode. You know what I mean? I’m all about getting things D. O. N. E. Done.

I don’t know why I find that so helpful in stressful times. Maybe because it helps me to feel like in some small measure I am still in control in the midst of the chaos around me. I was in the same mode when I finished the patchwork on The Happy Quilt last summer. At any rate, it is what it is, and as anyone who walks through my front door can tell, now is one of those times. [Read more…]

A Pillow Cover for Fall

A Pillow Cover for Fall via

A Pillow Cover for Fall via

While spending the summer going through someone else’s things isn’t exactly what I’d call the funnest summer ever, there are sometimes perks. For example, my Dad had bought each of us kids a $100 US Treasury Bond back in the 70’s. I had forgotten all about them, but we found them in the bottom of a box, and voila! Some fun money.

I was going to use it responsibly, to pay bills or something, but Mr. Magpie said not to. He said I should take it and buy something special, as a reward for all the hard work I’m doing this summer. It didn’t take long for him to convince me. So I promptly ordered some bedding for my bed and then got myself to the local quilt shop to see what I could find. [Read more…]