What To Do?

May 27, 2008

One of my mom’s closest friends was recently diagnosed with cancer. What do you do, especially being out-of-state? The only thing I could think of is to pamper her and try and make it as “pleasant” experience as possible. I had a new bag idea in mind and I picked out some of my favorite fabric, part of Amy Butler’s new collection. I sketched it out, cut the pieces and put it together. I am extremely happy with how it turned out. I hope she likes it. I always get nervous about my fabric choices as my taste is not necessarily the same as someone else’s taste but I think it is cheerful and fun and hip. Fingers crossed.

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I never intended to send the bag by itself. In fact, I put together what I dubbed “the cancer kit”. Three brain candy magazines, two easy reads, an aluminum water bottle (as #7 plastic leeches toxins which probably isn’t good for someone going through chemo), my favorite lotion and chapstick, and a pashmina shawl in deep coral for cold doctors’ offices.

My intention is to send a card with magazines and books every two weeks or so. (Did you know you can get papyrus cards at target?) It’s about the only thing I can think of to do. If anyone has suggestions please let me know; I would greatly appreciate it.

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Memorial Day Thoughts

May 26, 2008

hikeIt’s Memorial Day, which always makes me think of two of the most honorable men I have ever known: my dad and Bill’s grandfather, Gran Bob. Gran Bob served in WWII and as Bill said earlier today, the Navy changed his life. They sent him to an accelerated engineering program at Drexel so he could join the SeaBees and build things. Without the Navy, he might not have gone to college.

I am sure the Army changed my dad’s life. My dad was a “ground pounder” in Vietnam (slang for a member of the infantry) and the term isn’t exactly correct since he was flown everywhere. He enlisted at a time when mean, boys really, were praying not to get drafted.

That leads to an interesting comparison. Bill’s grandfather joined the military at a time when there was great public support for WWII. And my dad joined at a time when public support wasn’t on his side. Either way, both men believed in something strongly enough to put their lives on the line to fight for it. My hope is that however you feel about war, or a specific war, that you respect the courage of the people fighting in it. We take our freedom and rights for granted, and this day reminds us that that freedom is not without sacrifice.

Thank you for your Service.


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Penn Pride, etc.

May 24, 2008

Last night was the NCAA women’s lacrosse semifinal game. My dad has been “following” Northwestern’s lacrosse team. They are pretty interesting; the program is only about 4 or 5 years old and they started from nothing, with the coach recruiting players from other sports. The midwest is not a hotbed of lacrosse. I hadn’t heard of the sport until I went to college. Anyhoo, it’s a good story for Northwestern and my dad saw that they would be in the semifinal so we decided to go. Then, we found out Penn would be playing too! And Penn women’s lacrosse has been having a great year too. The Northwestern game was okay. The dominated Syracuse. The Penn game was AWESOME!!! They came from behind to win in OT. Go Quakers!! They play on Sunday at 7pm (against Northwestern – I know who I’ll be cheering for!).

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In other excitement, we went to the Phillies – Nationals game on Wednesday. Bill got free tickets from his office. We sat 20 rows behind homeplate. The tickets came with a $35 food credit per person which we used towards the buffet in the Diamond Club. Very good food. The desert buffet was the best part, in my opinion. Bill’s dad drove down for the game and saw the Phillies put on a show. We lucked out with the weather because it looked like it was going to pour, but it didn’t.

And finally, I got my hair cut. It’s shorter and less bulky and feels great!

That’s all folks!

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Finished Pillows

May 16, 2008

Yippee skippee, I have finished something. And it only took me 3 months! In late February I blogged about coveting pillows. I had the fabric, knew what I wanted to do, just needed to do it. I started with the idea that 3 18×18 pillows, and 3 12×12 pillows would be enough for my couch and chair. When I finished them, it didn’t look right. I realized that my other pillows must have been 20×20. I bought the new pillow forms and after work this week, I worked on the bigger pillows. I am very happy with how they turned out. They are placed in the tv room and I am very happy. You can find pictures of the old room here and here. These are photos of the new and improved room: the couch, the chair, closeups of the two big pillows, and a shot of my tv.

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Why am I showing you my tv? First of all, we had some complaints from people (my mom) about never knowing what time it is when she’s in the tv room. Also I’ve heard that one design tip is to have a step down effect in a room. So we have the tall armoire in the corner and then from there the pictures step down. I don’t know if I achieved the effect or not, but I am happy with the result. Bill and I also worked on our terrarium which is in the center of our coffee table. I am horrible with plants so I am concerned about our killing the cactus and succulents, but I llike the feature. All the changes add warmth and color and I like the new feel of the room.

Also, if you look at the picture of my chair you can see the custom art created by Ellia, and above it is the picture that inspired the artwork. Bill has told me a couple of times that the illustration is his favorite part of the room. Next to it is a frame we got at Disneyworld and pictures our of trip there to celebrate my 30th birthday. That is one of our best souvenirs. What you aren’t seeing is our wall-o-books-and-dvds-and-games. We have elfa shelving hanging on one wall and it’s a good way to be functional and stylish.

I have to say that I am very proud of the pillows, especially the 20×20 ones. What I know about quilting isn’t much but I think I did a pretty good job. I did two different styles of machine quilting, one with a continuous growing box starting at the center and building, and the other with 90 degree angles. Confused? Yeah, I’m having trouble describing it, but if you click on the pictures you can see a bigger, more detailed version. The 18×18 pillows are lightly quilted (is that a term?). I just stiched 1/4 inch from the edge of each strip of fabric. I like the different strips of fabric and colors go together, and each pillow has the fabric in a different order. The only thing I don’t like about the small pillows is that they are pet hair magnets and the hair really shows on the light fabric. Such is life.

It’s amazing what new pillows and some finishing touches can do to improve a room.

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Garage Sale Success

May 12, 2008

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We woke up on Saturday morning to a miserable, rainy, generally yucky day. Not what I was hoping for on the day of our garage sale. We bought balloons to put out and as soon as they got outside, they just flopped over. Thankfully, it was a true garage sale and we were inside. We advertised on Craig’s List and got some people from that ad. We also put out signs in the major intersections and got a few people from those. It helps that we live across the street from a shopping center so there’s a fair amount of traffic coming through on Saturday.

We had a steady stream of people come through. My favorite were the ladies who came in speaking Spanish criticizing some of my prices. I had $30 for a piece of luggage and they said “$30? Who is going to pay $30?” To which I replied, “Hola, como estas?” I think they were a little surprised. They did buy something for $1 which I thought was out of obligation. It made me panic for a second and question my pricing, but since it was only 8:15 I decided to relax. The luggage sold for $30 a few hours later.

I think we sold about 60% of our stuff. Most of the stuff that didn’t sell was all the knick-knacky stuff, scrapbooking stuff, picture frames, sweaters and handbags. I will say that I probably priced the handbags high because I thought I could get a good price for them on Ebay. We divided up the stuff into goodwill and Ebay. The goodwill pile is considerably smaller than it was pre-garage sale. The Ebay pile is also smaller than it was. Yay!

So, you’re probably curious as to how much money we made. And the answer is (drumroll please) $287. It exceeded my breakeven point. And I feel it was a fair return on the amount of time I put into it. And I did put a lot of time into the preparation. The last two photos are of a “table” I put together. I was needing more horizontal space and couldn’t find another table so I balanced two planks of wood on our recycling bins and then threw a bedsheet over it. Actually, it did the trick even though it looks pretty unstable.

I’ll put together some garage sale tips and put those in another post. It was successful this time, but I’m not going to be doing this for a few years.


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What a Week!

May 9, 2008

littlebooksOh my goodness! I am looking forward to tomorrow at 3 o’clock when the garage sale is over and the unsold items are boxed up for Purple Heart. This garage sale has been a lot of work. It’s one of those things that is as much work at you want it to be and I’m hoping we see some results. I’ve decided that $150 is my breakeven point. We shall see. Almost everything has been priced and arranged. Pretty much all we have to do on Saturday is open up the garage. Yay!

This hasn’t left much time for crafting. I did pull out my scraps and machine for an hour on Monday to make the cute little books in the picture. They are from Joelle Hoverson’s book Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. The book on the right is my favorite. I’m usually pretty matchy-matchy and with this one, I didn’t obsess as much. But this was a very fun project, easy to do, and a great way to use up scraps. I love Joelle’s book!

Lastly, I have been doing some planning for a master bedroom redesign. The walls are pink, not bright pink but more like the lightest pink in this fabric. I’ve been toying with the idea of repainting the room a neutral khaki color but haven’t done anything about it. I’d have to hire a painter because the room has cathedral ceilings and that’s beyond my comfort level. Plus I really need new floors and the money would be better spent there. Anyhoo, the lastest issue of Country Living gave me an idea – black and white. And I’m inspired by my absolute new favorite show, Find Your Style on HGTV. In the show, the designer, Karen McAloon, goes to the house, looks around the room and identifies their style based on what she sees in the room. Then, the homeowner picks 4 design elements and then they shop based on those elements, arrange the furniture and Karen provides advice and does last minute finishing touches. Most people learn by doing and that’s the foundation of the show. Love it! Anyway, my four design elements would be the pink on the walls and as an accent in throw pillows, honey colored wood furniture, black and white fabric, and dark metal finish (my headboard). I’ve done some shopping (at the Target) but I already have a lot of what I need. I’ve got ideas for custom art pieces which I’m hoping with cost me about $20. I should set a budget and see what I can do for $200. Okay, I’m going to have to tally up what I’ve already spent. This is fun!

I’m hoping that Sunday will be spent relaxing with my feet up. Bill too. We deserve it. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone (pet mommies count too!).

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Another One Bites The Dust

May 6, 2008

Another weekend, that is. And actually, the title sounds kind of negative but the weekend was wonderful. Here’s what I did:

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Saturday started at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It was a dilemma – go or not go – given that I previously posted about not needing anything and trying to go two months using what I have. BUT, I was very curious because I’ve read a lot about it and who knows if next year I’ll be able to go. So I set a budget and set off for the festival which was only 45 minutes from my house. Holy cow, it was huge! Bill and I were both shocked at how crowded it was. I found some very cool stuff. First, I have wanted red and blue (Penn colors) variegated yarn for at least year. I’ve been looking and haven’t found anything. Until now. So I bought enough to make myself a ruffle scarf. Then I found some yarn for Fiddlehead Mittens. Maybe they will be a gift for someone. Not sure yet. And lastly, I found some yarn that I just loved. I think it will be a shawl. I bought a couple of patterns. I was under budget and came home with cash, even after springing for lunch.

The rest of Saturday was spent… maybe playing MarioKart on the Wii and picking up? Hmm… That’s a blur…

Sunday morning was spent in the great outdoors. Okay, it was spent our our postage stamp sized lawn. Things just needed to be cleaned up, trimmed, mulched, weeded, etc. We spent three hours out there! That’s about 30 minutes per square foot. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but a lot of time considering it is a pretty small space. At least now we have curb appeal. More time was spent playing on the Wii, and cleaning up. I’ve been pulling things out right and left for the garage sale. I find it hard to part with things, but the word of the week is ruthless. I feel like I’m living a final closeout sale at a big department store – “Everything must go!”.

I’ve started to use a new program for my to do list. The iphone doesn’t have a tast list (probably my biggest complaint; that and no multimedia text messages). To get around it, I’m using toodledo. I picked toodledo after reading this article. I had been using TaDa lists which worked. I wanted to upgrade to something with a few more features. We’ll see how it goes. So far, I’ve just used the web interface which I like. And I can share it with Bill. Actually, I can share it with everyone, but he’s probably the only one who really cares.

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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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