A Knitter’s Dilemma

August 31, 2015

I’m in a snit with my knitting which has made me not want to blog. There are few things that I find more irritating than working on a project for a month only to have to rip it out. That really, really bothers me. Yes, it’s my choice to scrap the project but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I would rather start over than be unhappy with a finished product, but it feels like I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time. Thankfully, it’s not something that happens very often. But it did in July.

I was working on this scarf, a pattern recommended by a friend. It wasn’t even on my radar, and I have a lot of patterns in my queue, but I was looking for something mindless to give me a break from a complicated pattern I’ve got on the needles. And I already had the perfect yarn wound up. So I cast it on.

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At this point, I remember thinking it was a little too loose. But my friend convinced me it wasn’t so I continued. That was my mistake. I should have listened to my instincts. It took me about 3 weeks to get through half the yarn and that’s when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to make the scarf long enough. And it was way too wide. I was going to rip it out.

Banana leaf...

In the picture, it looks pretty beautiful. Once blocked, it would probably end up about 25 inches wide, maybe 70 inches long. I’d rather have more length and less width. I like the pattern, and it’s been an enjoyable knit so I will make another one. In fact, I bought a beautiful green yarn for it so that I could make it longer. I’m also debating whether I want to go down one needle size or two. I’m not going to start it for a bit though. As with any breakup, I need some space before I can see it again.

I did finish one project this month, and am almost done with another. I’m getting my groove back.


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Ten on Tuesday. The Thursday Edition.

July 2, 2015

Today’s “ten” from caroleknits is 10 things I love about my home. And while I’m a little late to the party, this is a topic I had to post about. So here goes.

My house

1. My neighbors. We have lucked into a great little community here. Not everyone is the best neighbor in the world, and we don’t know all our neighbors, but we have made friends with several families that have made living here a great experience.

2. The size of our house. For a family of 3, plus a dog and cat, it’s probably a little bigger than we need (by California standards). But all our family is out of state so we spent the extra money for more space and a dedicated guest room and it has been worth it. Especially because it means I have a…

3. Craft room. I love that I have a dedicated space for my crafting and supplies. I share it with Joshua and some of his toys, but I have my own work space.

4. The backyard. For San Jose, we have a good size yard. We put grass in (which is not doing so well right now) but we can play baseball and soccer and chase and play the way 3 year olds should play. And we have a nice amount of space for the grill and relaxing.

5. My side yard. Which I’ve talked about here.

6. The bones of our house. We rented before we bought and while a cute house, I was not a fan of the layout. Before buying, we looked at a lot of houses with crazier layouts. Not this house. Bedrooms all together on one side of the house, living spaces on the other. Lots of windows and good light.

7. Laundry room. It is pretty common for the washer and dryer to be in the garage, but we are fortunate to have a small laundry room. Emphasis on small, but at least it is inside the house. A big plus, in my opinion.

8. Our kitchen. It was the first thing we updated before moving in. It was original to the house and while the layout was good, we made it better, fully utilizing the space by adding cabinets and a breakfast peninsula and all new everything. I love it.

9. The guest room. I have wanted to paint a room navy blue for years. And I finally did! People told me it would be too dark, but it’s really not. The furniture is a light wood, the headboard, closet doors and shades are white, and we have bright colors on the bed and in the art work. It’s just what I had hoped it would be.

10. The master suite. Our latest project. Suite makes is sound grander than it is, since most people’s closets are bigger than our bathroom. But it has really come together and is becoming a really beautiful, restful space. And we can’t wait for this project to be DONE.

There you have it. I hope you have ten things you can love about your home.


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In A Blur

June 26, 2015

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This picture perfectly illustrates how the past seven or eight weeks feel to me. Life in a blur. We’ve been under construction, having our master bedroom and bathroom renovated. It feels wrong to complain about it as it is truly a luxury to be able to have this work done. Yet it is such an inconvenience. It’s messy. I have to worry about whether or not I need to be home to let a worker in. I have to be presentable at an earlier than normal hour. I have to lock my cat up all day, and yell at the dog who (in the beginning) barked every time someone came in or out (which can easily be 10 times in 2 hours). So the renovation has just completely thrown us off.

On top of that, Bill in the course of two weeks, Bill found out about the deaths of two coworkers. Youngish men, with families and children. Due to completely different reasons, on different sides of the country. I’m sad for their families. Sad for these men and what they will not be able to experience. And it makes me sad to see how things can change. In. An. Instant.

So we give our loved ones extra big hugs.

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And we think about all we have to be grateful for.

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And we take as much pleasure and joy as we can in each day.

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Procrastination

May 12, 2015

I’m participating in the Ten on Tuesday over at Caroleknits.net. I love the topics she comes up with but I usually don’t get to it fast enough. Ironically, I was motivated to get to the procrastination topic in a timely manner. So here are 10 things I need to stop putting off, and my little Procrastination Enforcer to keep me on track.
My little procrastination enforcer
1. Cleaning out my email inbox. Way to much junk in there.

2. Help Bill hang my Warner Brothers picture. It was an anniversary gift from years ago that we’ve been meaning to put up.

3. Work on some jewelry projects. I hear them calling me.

4. Project Life. Project Life. Project Life. So many photos. So little time.

5. Take my skirt making class on Craftsy. I have some great fabrics that I want to use.

6. Sew a couple of tops. Again, so many great fabrics in my stash.
My DVD project
7. Finishing up my DVD project. I recently “lost” my DVD closet with our master bedroom renovation. Whilst perusing the Container Store, I found Disc Sox and liked how I could keep the cover artwork. My mom, bless her, helped me get through 95% of my collection. I have a few more movies to finish putting away.

8. Set a date for a big barbeque and other time with friends. We have great intentions of doing this every summer and never set a date and get to it.

9. Work on my Wheaten wrap. It’s such a great project but I keep picking up other projects instead of this one.

10.  Order my new dresser for the master bedroom.  It is on sale for 20% off and I will be unhappy if I do not take advantage of the price reduction.

I’m actually kinda motivated now to get to work!


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Reading

April 27, 2015

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I love to read.  Always have.  I don’t get to do it as much anymore, but it is how I unwind every evening and once in awhile I am able to curl up in the middle of the day and read.  I enjoy reading to escape.  Nothing too serious or heavy.  I used to read a lot of police procedurals but those can be too close to real life.  I do read about murder and war and crime.  I guess I’m just picky about it.  I can’t and don’t want to hide from the realities of the world, but I also don’t want to be brought down by them.  I have to be able to enjoy it and I think you can enjoy a certain level of uncomfortableness.

Anyway, I recently finished two fantastic books.  And those books have renewed my appreciation for the library.  When I go to the library, it’s always with Joshua and I have about two minutes to peruse the new fiction before he gets bored.  That’s how I found one of the books.  The other, I found on my library’s electronic version of new fiction.

My first recommendation is Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty. I describe it as a story about bullying. It’s a mystery, it’s chic lit, it’s serious and it’s fun.  It tackles such a serious and important topic in a fun way that keeps you turning page after page. I just loved it.  I finished it while we were on our weekend in Hungtington Beach and I think it is the perfect summer read.

Last night, or more accurately this morning, I finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I’ve been reading a couple of chapters before bed for the past four nights and last night I had to finish the last 280 pages.  What a story.  Set in World War II Occupied France, it is about two sisters and their lives during the war.  I had to reread the last couple of chapters again this morning, after Joshua went to school.  It is sad and beautiful, a story of love, strength, bravery. I learned a lot. I don’t think I ever really understood what “Occupied France” meant. I know it’s a fiction book, but it still opened my eyes to that part of world history.  It is a book that will stay with me for awhile.

If you read either book, I hope you enjoy them.  They are very different, but great stories.  Now I’m ready for something a little “lighter” and I have a couple of books from the library to choose from.  Ahh, decisions!

P.S. The pictures really have nothing to do with the topic, but I can’t post without a photo.


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Double Decker Table

April 18, 2015

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What’s up, Buttercup? I’ve been doing a lot of rhyming lately. Joshua brings out the whimsy in me I guess.  We just got back from a trip to Philadelphia and I was super productive those first few days back. Perhaps to make up for my lack of productivity the month before.  Not that we haven’t done stuff. We took a relaxing trip to Huntington Beach, have done a couple of bike rides, got ready for our Master Bedroom Renovation. Blah blah blah. The first thing I did when we got back from our trip was scrub scrub scrub the refrigerator from top to bottom. It’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to do for so long and now it’s done. Whew. I really dislike the job but Bill had done a purge before our trip so the fridge was pretty empty and that make life much easier.

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And then the fun began. We had bought this table (ignore the lazy bums on the couch) when we got our new sofa.  I had visions of some fabulous DIY project that would be an internet sensation.  Alas, the table was too small and too tall and I didn’t like it in the living room. But I thought it had potential for my craft room and Joshua’s toys. It just needed a shelf. His plastic container stack but they don’t always close (overstuffed) and they are cumbersome for a 3 year old to stack and unstack.  I knew how I wanted to do the shelf and Bill bought the wood but I lacked the motivation to work on the project. Until Friday. I pulled out the 1 inch corner braces or “L” brackets and the drill.  I made a little paper template for where to drill the hole and I went to town. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I don’t know how to use the saw or even know which one I should use, so I waited for Bill to come home and cut the wood.  He did that pretty quickly and then while he was making a trip to Home Depot to get half-inch screws, I covered the wood in fabric and drilled pilot holes. 20 minutes after he came back I was done. It would have been 2 minutes, but there were 18 minutes left in my show and I had to finish watching.

Double decker table

When Joshua woke up he noticed his double decker table. His words. Honest. I’m happy with how it turned out. His bins slide easily in and out. No more stacking! He has a matchbox toy that can hang off the shelf instead of my desk or sewing table.

Yay! I did something! Hmmmm…what to tackle next?


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Luck Of The Irish

March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you are having a lovely day whether you’re celebrating St. Patty of not. St. Patricks day always makes me think Spring, even though growing up in Chicago there was still a good chance I was wearing my winter coat. We are enjoying an unseasonably warm and sunny day here in Northern California. I have been working my tail off the last couple of weeks getting my yard cleaned up. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I do get a lot of satisfaction out of the finished product.  I still have one more set of bushes to prune back, we need to remulch and that’s about it. We even have our garden started. I feel like we are a couple weeks ahead of the game because it has been such a warm winter.

I thought I would share some pictures of my side yard, which is my pride and joy. It’s the part of the yard that I see from the kitchen, and it was so blah when we first moved in.  It’s taken three years for it to really come together.  Every year I make some tweaks.

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The big addition this year was to a  table under the kitchen windows where I could put some additional flowers. I didn’t want to make a significant investment in this table so I modified a design I saw on pinterest. A lot of people have made benches with cinderblocks and fence posts, I just make mine a little taller. I’d like to cut some wood to lay across the fence posts to have a better surface for my pots; we just haven’t gotten around to that. The table is also providing some storage for extra pots. I’m pretty happy with it.

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This is also the first summer that we aren’t using earth boxes for our garden. We’ve grown some great veggies in earth boxes, but they aren’t the prettiest things to look at.  We went with cedar raised beds. We bought the corners from gardeners.com and the wood from home depot. We are going to use a drip system to automatically water which will hopefully help as we haven’t always been consistent with watering in the past. We’ve got 2 tomato plants, 2 bush beans, basil, oregano and more peppers than our family of 3 needs. I went a little crazy with pepper plants. We’ve got fresno, anaheim, joe e parker, jalapeno, red and green pepper plants.

Everything is fully in bloom here.  It’s only mid march and my Japanese maple is completely green. The birds are frolicking and building nests. It smells so lovely in the neighborhood. I think this is my favorite time of year.

I leave you with this beautiful Irish Blessing: “Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.”


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Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015

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Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day!  I regret that January ran away from me.  And most of February too.  I have just rejoined the land of the living after being sick for over two weeks.  Both Joshua and I caught colds and mine knocked me on my behind and Joshua’s just made him crabby with no visible deficit in his energy level.  Thank goodness Bill stayed healthy.  I actually think I had 2 colds because I was really sick (with different symptoms than Joshua), I started to feel better for a couple of days and then was knocked down again.  Anyway, land of the living.  Just in time for some beautiful weather though I would trade it in an instant for rain.

I got away from my January theme of getting organized.  I wanted a party for my 40th birthday and we took the party as an opportunity to tackle a bunch of little projects around the house.  Dumb little jobs that we had been putting off for over a year.  We got through an amazing number of things on my to do list.  Add to that the relatively deep cleaning we gave the house and it was a busy month.  My party was everything I wanted it to be.  We used a party planner and had it catered so we had almost nothing to do on the day of the party which was so great because I had a couple of surprise guests and I got to relax and enjoy time with them.  Even during the party, there was someone here to help out and refill food plates, take coats, help with drinks.  That said, I still don’t feel like I had enough time to chat with people and visit.  But it was fun.  The next day we took our house party to Santa Cruz and enjoyed a glorious, warm, sunny day at the beach and had dinner at the pier.  I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.  If there was anything I would do differently it would be to have taken more pictures.  I have no pictures of most of our guests, not a single picture of just me and my mom who was one of my surprises.  That’s the only thing I would improve upon.

And now we are midway through February.  It has been a lovely Valentine’s Day.  We all slept in, ate a relaxing breakfast, bought flowers and dirt at Home Depot, went to look at fire pits and finally bought one, played at the park, and went out to lunch.  It’s been a very pleasant, enjoyable day with my two best valentines.


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Tile One On

January 6, 2015

Tile

I lose my keys all the time.  All. The. Time.  I never put them in the same place twice.  I have a spot where they should go, but…  In fact, the funny thing is that on Monday, I couldn’t find them because they were put in that away spot.  I found them by using my new Tile.  They were a Christmas gift from Bill, at my request.

So on Monday, when I started the great key hunt, I quickly stopped and used the app on my phone.  It made my keys play a song which led me to the drawer where my keys were hidden.  So far, the Tile is working great in the house.  It didn’t work as well this evening, when Bill tried to see if my keys were in the house or with me on a walk (when he was trying to make sure I didn’t get locked out of the house).

The downside of the Tile is that they will only last about a year.  Maybe in that year, I can learn to put my keys where they belong, every time.  That would be the completely organized solution.


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Keep It Organized

January 3, 2015

Keep

As much as I prefer pen and paper, sometimes electronic lists are the way to go.  My favorite app for my Android phone is Google Keep.  I can share my list with other Google users and both can update and modify the list.  I found this especially helpful when Bill and I were working on Joshua’s birthday party.  There are also times when pen and paper aren’t close but I almost always have my phone handy.

I also use Google Keep for keeping notes on things I never remember, like the size of our furnace filter.

And that is today’s tip.


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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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