Catching Up On Photos

March 30, 2014

I have lost/spent so many hours working on my photo albums this week.  About 3 years ago, I printed out all my photos from 2009.  They’ve been sitting in their shutterfly envelopes for a very long time.  I recently put them in order with plans to actually put them in an album.

I had been trying to figure out how I wanted to organize and/or scrapbook them.  I’ve been intrigued by Project Life (PL), a journaling system.  What I didn’t like about PL was the 12×12 format.  My albums are for 8 1/2 x 11 sized pages (although they can accommodate slightly larger pages).  I did a lot of research (thank you, Pinterest) on PL and found some people who had done it in my preferred size.  I already had a lot of photo pages, but I invested in a couple of new types of pages.  I bought PL Photo Pocket Pages Design F, H and J.  With Design F, I used my rotary cutter and handy ruler to cut off the right most column on 3×4 pockets and it fits in my binder perfectly.  That makes my layout choices:


I bought two of the Project Life Core Kits, one from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon and another from Amazon that was deeply discounted on Amazon.  Then I searched Pinterest for free printable journaling cards and ideas.  I’ve ended up making quite a few of my own cards and inserts which is deeply satisfying and time consuming.  I have learned how to do a lot of new things on Photoshop Elements.  It just takes a long time.  It also makes me wonder how we ever figured these things out before the internet. I have googled “how to” on so many different techniques.  How to outline a shape, make a dotted line, make a scallop.  I’m sure there’s more.

I’ve really enjoyed working on the album.  It’s reliving such a stressful and exciting time in our lives (our move across the country).  I like the idea of the Project Life system, though I’m adapting it.  I’m trying to decide if I want to use this system for our 2013 album or if I want to stick with the photo books I’ve done for 2012.  I’m still going to go back and add pages like this to 2012.  There’s a lot o pictures that I love and are special that I want to highlight.  I bought 2 more Core Kits and spent a lot of time yesterday organizing my PL station so I have made a commitment to my adapted PL system.

Here’s a sampling of my pages:

pl 1

pl 2





I’m 25% done with 2009.  It’s starting to go a little faster now that I know what I’m doing and where things are.  I still create a huge mess while I’m working though.

Do you have any PL/scrapbooking tips for me?



Working Outside

March 28, 2014

My little goose is in his bed, most definitely not napping.  He sounds so happy and cheerful, babbling away but come back at 6pm and ask me how he’s doing.  Chances are 98% that he will be crabby with zero patience.  In the meantime his not napping is giving me a chance to blog.

Joshua, Casey and I spent some time outside, working on our planters in the front of the house.  No pictures yet.  They look kinda sad actually, since they (the planters) are big and the flowers are small right now.  We’ll see in a week or two.  Joshua was a helper, trying to help me carry bags of rocks and dirt.  He actually did help me dump dirt in the pots.  Pure sweetness.  I’d fill up a small pot with dirt and he’d dump it in the big pot.  (The bag of dirt was too heavy for me to lift and pour.)  He helped me put the flowers in the pots, which entailed him putting the entire flower and container in the pot.  But then he took the empty containers and put them “away” in my car.

I have been spending a bit of time working outside.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really enjoy doing it but I enjoy how it looks when I am done.  Over the weekend I was pulling weeds and a lizard jumped out, surprising the crap out of me.  Then he ran off.  I told Casey to keep an eye on Mr. Lizard for me but Casey did not.  I put new flowers in my hanging pots on the side yard.  Cleared out some of the dead stuff.  Made room for our garden boxes.  Set up some compost bins.  I have a new system that I’m hoping we can manage as we have not been very good about maintaining our compost pile.  I bought 2 new, cheap, containers, about 5 gallons each.  Drilled lots of holes in the sides.  I bought 2 trays (the things the pots normally sit in) to use as lids and drilled some holes in those.  We will have one that we are actively adding to and one that is “cooking”.  Turning it was kind of a pain, and then my dad suggested I get a third pot to empty one of my other pots into.   So we will constantly be rotating pots.  I have these in a warm spot by my lemon tree, so hopefully we get some good results.

I realized that I hadn’t posted any pictures of the yard work we had done.  I tried to find some pictures of the original yard.  The Japanese maple tree was originally shaped like a half circle on the top, half the yard was ivy, and we had a half circle patio.  These were the 2 best pictures I found.


Here’s the yard after we had the work done.  Please pardon my furniture covers.  I was too lazy to take them off.  We had the maple professionally pruned.  There were lots of crossing branches, little stumps that waste tree energy and some dead stuff.  They also helped us lift the ceiling so to speak so that Bill can almost walk under it without taking a branch to the head.  We didn’t want to go too aggressive with the trimming so it is still a little low in parts.  We also aren’t shaping the top as I prefer a more natural organic shape.  It’s a beautiful tree and I’m glad we kept it.

yard againbackyard aftet

I like the space.  There’s lots of room for furniture, and lots of room to play.  We have a clothes line because I love to hang my sheets to dry.  But we can also take it out and store it in the garage.  There are bulbs coming up which makes me very happy.  They’ve been coming up for years and I wasn’t sure if they still would after everything had been dug up.  Apparently, not everything, and I’m interested to see what survived.

This is the side yard I’ve spent a lot of time on.  I can see these hanging baskets from my kitchen which is why I work so hard on this part of the yard.  (Please ignore the mess on my table.)

side yard againview from the kitchen

I still have some projects to work on in the back, but it’s getting there.  There’s always going to be something, right?  In the meantime, I have a wonderful space to relax.

enjoying the yard


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March 18, 2014


As I mentioned in my last post, spring has sprung.  I really love walking this time of year.  It smells so good, and I’m always so amazed that I can smell it as I’ve always had such terrible allergies.  The flowers are blooming in such vivid colors.  The front of our house looks so nice this year with green grass, as least for now.  I need to take some time to pull weeds and finish papering the beds, put out some rocks.  Always lots to do.  Joshua and I went to the nursery this morning and bought some flowers.  We need more color!

Speaking of color, I finished a shawl this weekend.  I’m very happy with it.  It’s the Bella Shawl and I really enjoyed the pattern.  It was simple enough with just the right amount of lace.  The pattern doesn’t overpower the yarn and vice versa.  The yarn is Perfect Wreckless by Miss Babs and I love it!!  I’m so happy with the whole thing.

que bella

And speaking of I’m so happy, that’s one of Joshua’s new sayings.  He’ll go up to Bill and say “Papa, I’m so happy.”  That little boy…  I think it started because I would Joshua that he should tell Bill “Papa, I’m so happy to see you” when Bill came home from work.  And two months later Joshua starts telling Papa he’s so happy.



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Clean Sheets

March 10, 2014

There is nothing so wonderful post vacation as getting home to your own bed and slipping between clean sheets.  Your own bed, own pillows, own tv remote on the bedside table.  No matter how great the vacation and fabulous the accommodations, it is wonderful to sleep in your own bed.

papa and songreat grana skyline I will never tire ofgrabdma youngspring has sprung

We spent a week visiting family, first in Nashville then in Chicago.  It was brisk and even downright cold, but we didn’t notice.  It is so wonderful to see Joshua with his great grandmothers, and for us to spend time with them and the extended family.  It was busy enough yet we still had down time to relax.  We needed to get away from our daily routines and enjoy time together.  I didn’t realize that until now.  It’s not like I dying to get away or that I needed a vacation, but I feel like it came at a good time.  It gave us a chance to think and relax, gain some perspective on life and come back recharged and refreshed.

It helps that spring is absolutely, completely in bloom here in Northern California.  We’ve gotten a little rain, not nearly enough, but my Japanese maple in back went from pre-bud on February 28th to pretty green leaves on March 10th.  The “spring forward” had no impact on us since we were changing time zones anyway.  I woke up on my own at 7:15 which is about the perfect time for me to get up.  Joshua went to playgroup and I tackled a couple of projects on the to do list I wrote up last night.  It’s a good start to the week.  Must be those the clean sheets.


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Kitchen Fun

January 29, 2014

Well, fun may be a bit of an exaggeration.  The background is this:  We have 2 pretty deep cabinets in our kitchen.  They hold a ton of stuff but are a giant PITA because it’s hard to get the stuff in the back.  Everything in the front has to get pulled out.  I have most of the stuff in bins so I’m only pulling out 2 bins to get the stuff in the back, but I’m still pulling out 2 bins.  Blah blah blah.  After much deliberation we ordered 2 sliders (one for each cabinet) to test it out.  The installation was easy.  The hard part was getting everything put away again.  It ended up being a huge kitchen reorganization project.  If you’ve been here before, good luck finding things.  We shuffled a lot of stuff around.  But it works.  There’s space for Joshua sippy cups which we’d been jamming in next to our bowls and wine glasses.  Bowls are easier to get to because they aren’t nested anymore.  Etc, etc, etc.  And then there’s the cabinets where the sliders were installed.  I am happier.  I am approaching happy.

Why my hesitation with the cabinet sliders?  Loss of usable space.  I should say a “perceived” loss of space.  In reality I have gained a lot of space because I can now easily access the entire depth of the cabinet.  But I lose about 2.5 inches on each side for the slider rails.  I think it is just me being me and I need to get over it.  We had a little trouble fitting everything that was originally on the shelf on the new sliding shelf but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.  I think it helped when we threw away the expired and stale stuff.





What Bill thought was going to be an afternoon project turned out to be an afternoon, next day, following morning project.  But it is hugely improved and we are going to order sliders for the remaining shelves.  I’m so close to being able to check this off my to-do list.

And because I hadn’t done enough organizing already, I shuffled the furniture around in my craft room.  My sewing tables are back to back now, going out of the wall instead of side by side against it.  It will make quilting a lot easier.  If I like this set-up, I am going to get new tables from IKEA that we can hack to sink my machines.  There’s a great tutorial on it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it like this.  It doesn’t feel like the tables are taking up more floor space.  My seating area seems a little more cramped, but that’s also because I have a bigger chair there now.  We shuffled some chairs around in this process.  (Joshua was getting a little crazy on the rocking chair in his room so it’s now in our room, the chair from our room in my craft room, the craft room chair in Joshua’s room.)  I’m also planning on getting a new coffee table for the craft room/playroom which will be a much better surface for Joshua and his cars and garage.




As a result of my craft room shuffle-roo, I started going through all my stuff.  (It’s a WIP so pardon my mess in the photos.)  I have so much scrapbooking stuff that I need to get on top of.  Stuff from when I was in high school.  Ugh.  I went through a couple of binders and threw a lot of stuff out.  I’m also going to get rid of a bunch of my magazines.  They’re now available on CD or for download and that will take up a lot less space.  I have to give my mom credit for that idea.  I have decisions to make – fabric scraps, scraps and more scraps, more clipped articles, and let’s not even discuss yarn.  Overall, progress is being made.


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Birthday Wishes

January 23, 2014



to dos

I just celebrated the last birthday of my thirties.  Crazy.  Where has the time gone?  I can hardly believe I’m this old.  I don’t feel old, and I’ll always be Young, ha ha.  (A little bit of an inside joke, sorry.)  It was very fun, except for the cold that I’m still getting over.  Bill and I saw a movie, we had a nice family dinner (2 of them, actually).  Lots of the most delicious cake, made from scratch by my sweet husband.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

I’ve been knitting a lot.  I’m doing Ysolda’s mystery KAL and spent way too much time trying to pick out yarn from my stash.  It would have been so much easier to buy new yarn but I am truly committed to reducing my stash this year!  The beading bug has bitten me.  I’ve started some new jewelry projects.  Fusion Beads has some amazing inspirational projects.  Most importantly, I’ve begun to “catch up” (my resolution for 2014).  I started by writing down all my to-dos.  They are separated into different categories: house projects, financial, craft, etc.  I even checked something off the list already!

Suffice it to say, I’m feeling good.  Keeping busy, wonderful birthday.

I leave you with a funny picture of my cutie pie.


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Happy New Year!

January 8, 2014

Yikes!  It’s already a week into the New Year.  Where has the time gone?  I lost a couple of days to the Virus of Death.  Bill was on vacation so we were trying to knock a few things off the to-do list and get in our last bit of relaxing family time.  We had such plans for Bill’s time off.  We had planned on watching a couple of movies, catching up on tv.  A couple of days a go, Bill said to me “I’m so glad we were able to watch all those movies.”  We laughed.  We did not watch a single movie.  But we did watch a bit of tv, cleared some space off the DVR, and got to relax.

Christmas table runner

I was thinking about my last post and realizing that despite how busy I was, I found some time for holiday crafting.  I managed a Christmas table runner.  I have bought so much cute Christmas fabric over the last couple of years and I finally managed to do something with it.  It’s a simple runner, strips of varying width, quilted with diagonal lines, hand sewn binding.

christmas hats

And I managed to knit us all Christmas hats.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the three of us in our hats, but we all have them.  It was a fun knit.  The hardest part was the pompom and getting one that was full enough.  Bill and Joshua wore them to the farmer’s market ever Sunday in December and got a lot of compliments.  Yay!

Of course with the new year, I’ve been thinking resolutions, but I’m not sure I’m going to make any formal ones this year.  I need to finish some from last year, unfortunately.  Now that I’m thinking about it, my resolution for 2014 is to Get Caught Up.  Catch up on projects I’ve had on my to-do list for a couple of years, catch up on last year’s resolutions, and projects that have been on my mind.  I feel pretty good about this.  Wish me luck!

Happy 2 Days After Christmas

December 28, 2013











I feel like the time between Thanksgiving and now has been a crazy scramble. Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me, though not as much this year. Not sure why exactly except that I was trying to be a little more prepared for my holiday season.

It worked. Mainly because I didn’t do it alone. My mom arrived six days before Joshua’s birthday and was, of course, super helpful. Joshua’s party was a smaller affair this year. We invited our friends with kids and made it more of a kids’ party. It was a great group of parents and children and Joshua had a blast. The weather was wonderful. It warmed up and we were able to take advantage of our newly re-done backyard. I can’t even tell you how great it was to see the kids running around, playing in Joshua’s house, parents chatting.

We had a few hours of downtime and then headed into the city for Bill’s holiday party. It was…interesting. A fire alarm went off about an hour into the party and we had to walk down five flights of stairs. And then walk back up when we were allowed back in. But after that, it was a lot of fun. We drank and chatted and caught up with some friends we hadn’t seen in awhile. We might have had a wee bit too much to drink, but that didn’t stop us from hitting an after party. It was nice to get dressed up and let loose.

I spent Sunday recovering and got up bright and early on Monday to get a dental implant put in. That went much better than expected and I was good as new the next day. Just in time to get in to Christmas mode. Thanks to my mom, we got some Christmas baking done, gifts wrapped well before Christmas Eve, photo with Santa taken, and Christmas cards sent. Christmas cards sent before Christmas even! A miracle!

We had a relatively relaxing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The weather was beautiful and we went for a Christmas Eve hike. Even Joshua did some hiking and was so proud. Later in the day, we loaded up Joshua’s wagon and Joshua and I delivered plates of cookies to our neighbor friends. Bill made a delicious dinner and we enjoyed an amazing feast. Christmas Day was a lot of fun, watching Joshua open a very large pile of gifts. He really started to get into it. He had more fun playing with some of his new gifts, and was pretty patient while we put them together.

Now we’re recovering from the month. I could lay in bed for three days and not move. Except for maybe a little knitting. Of course that’s not possible, but it’s nice to dream. Bill is home and we have no set plans for the next couple of days which is very nice. I hope that you enjoyed the holiday season and have a wonderful rest of 2013.

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December 2, 2013

union square with grandpa 'Tis the season for giving thanks. I do have so much to be thankful for. We've been fighting colds. Again. Joshua caught a second cold, gave it to my dad and eventually gave it to me. Ugh. Thankfully the adults didn't get hit as hard as Joshua but still. Ugh. The woman who cleans my house has become a friend and she and her son dropped off the most amazing soup and spaghetti for us. She knew we were feeling terrible and was so thoughtful. That is so special. Did I mention the food was awesome?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. My dad's been in town and we had a great visit. We spent Thanksgiving with some of my dad's extended family. It was nice to catch up after thirty some years. And the food was awesome. Again.

On Black Friday, we played tourist in San Francisco. Took Joshua for a cable car ride. He loved it. We had fun too. It was a gorgeous day and nice to be spent outside.

Since we weren't home for Thanksgiving, we decided to make our own turkey dinner over the weekend. We needed leftovers. This was possibly the best Thanksgiving dinner Bill ever made. The turkey was magazine cover beautiful. And the rest of the dishes turned out so well. It's a ton of work, but it was so good.

We're now in Christmas and birthday mode. Decorating. Shopping. Planning. I am trying hard to not get overwhelmed, to enjoy it all. It's all supposed to be fun, right?

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October 11, 2013

Sorry I’ve been away from here for so long. I’ve written so many posts in my head, they just never make it to the computer. We’re keeping busy.  Same old, same old.  My little goose is at such a fun age.  Sometimes, challenging, but mostly a joy.  joshua and friends
He’s figured out how to take pictures.  And he takes a lot.  I have about 13 of this breakfast.  Pretty artistic for a little guy who has no concept of photo composition.
joshua's self portrait of breakfast
In my free time, I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of crafting, knitting mostly. I’ve got so many projects that I want to do, and of course I keep adding to the list. It got to the point where I made a physical list of my top priority projects. It’s been helping me focus.
my knitting to do list
I’ve been knitting pumpkins out the wazoo.  I started at the beach, when we went East for vacation.  I’m leading a KAL at work so I wanted to practice before the workshop.  Now I’m creating a pumpkin patch in front of my tv.  I do like pumpkins as decorations since they work through Thanksgiving.  I have an idea for a table runner for my pumpkins to sit in.  See, how the list just keeps growing?!
pumpkins for felting
Those pumpkins got felted and shrunk down.  They still need some finishing touches which I will do at our workshop on Wednesday and then I am done with pumpkins.  It’s been fun but the last one was just tedious.  It was also my 10th.  Yup, done with pumpkins.
herringbone cowl
One project that I finished up that was super fun was a cowl/infinity scarf for my cousin.  She is very stylish and wears a lot of scarves so I made her a neutral scarf for winter.  This is out of Misti Alpaca and super warm.  The pattern makes a really dense fabric.  Good thing she lives in Wisconsin.  I think it turned out well.  My only concern is that it seemed a little sheddy, but I’m hoping that the bath I gave it helped.  It was well received!
cloudy day
And my most recent finished project is this cute little beret.  It was a fast knit (less than a week).  The yarn was Elfin Tweed by Knit One Crochet Too and I love, LOVE this yarn.  I’m very happy with my beret.  I think I’m going to wear it to work tomorrow.

Well, it’s 10pm so I’m going to say goodnight and knit a few row of my next project.  Gotta get through the list!

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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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