Clearly, I Am Meant To Live In Chaos

July 30, 2008

Last night’s activity, though I really wanted nothing more than vegetating on the couch watching the Cubs, was to work on the garage a bit. I go into the garage at least twice a day, once in the morning to get into my car to go to work, and once at the end of the day when I park my car in the garage. It is a horrible way to start the day, walking through a disaster zone.

My focus was the shelving unit that holds our To-Be-Ebayed items and our pantry over flow. I had plenty of plastic containers around which makes the job much easier. Things still need to be labeled, but at least they are in a spot, like things grouped together. Now they are easier to access and the plastic containers make things stackable and that creates more room. Beverage storage is tough for us. I’ve tried keeping soda in the cases but that creates a different kind of mess. We’ll see how this works. For now, it is 100 times better.

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Next up was the trunk of my car. The trunk of my car is tiny to begin with and when it’s messy, even less fits in there. I like to keep a pair of old sneakers and clean socks in my trunk in case I have car problems. Now that I drive to work, I wear my “work” shoes. When I took the train, I always wore sneakers and changed shoes at the office. I just want to make sure I have comfy shoes in case I find myself in a situation where I have to walk. And I put two bottles of water in the box just in case. Again, 100 times better. And it only took 5 minutes.

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This is the next bit that I have to tackle. It is already better now that Bill and I broke down the cardboard boxes for recycling and put the trash and recycling out. Still a little more to do, but isn’t there always.

Garagenext office chaos

So at home, things are looking better. Then I come to work. Summer time at work means cleaning up the files and getting ready for the start of the next budget season. On to of it, I was waiting for another piece of furniture to give me additional storage. Well, the furniture was delivered and it was huge. So I spent most of the morning moving things around. Now that the furniture is in it’s place, I’ve started putting stuff away and it looks about 50 times better, but still needs some work.


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Sunny Beach, Wild Ponies, Hungry Mosquitoes, Oh My!

July 29, 2008


Bill and I spent a near perfect weekend camping in Assateague. The only “bad” thing was mosquitoes who enjoyed a Christmas in July Buffet, courtesy of yours truly. Despite, what I thought was, a healthy coating of bug spray, I got a bunch of mosquito bites. Huge bites. But I digress.

The weather was fabulous, in the 80s. It was sunny and breezy. Truly we couldn’t have ordered better weather. Assateague is a very cool place. We were on the national park side (there’s a state park as well). It’s an island with bayside camping (that’s where we were) as well as ocean side camping (popular, hard to get spots). Wild ponies inhabit the island, but as yiou can see, they aren’t really scared of people. They are wild so I kept my distance. They are also smart, knowing where to go (and when) to get fresh water. Three of them were huddled around the fresh water pump and people would come to fill up their water bottles and the ponies would get fresh water.

Bill was surprised when I suggested a camping weekend. You may not know this about me, but I am not really into roughing it and am pretty high maintenance. But I thought this would be fun and relaxing, hence my suggesting the outing. It was unbelievable relaxing. There was no rush, no schedule. We sat by the fire waiting for dinner to cook. When it was done, it was done. And then we sat and read until it was too dark and then we lit our LCD lantern and read a little more. The stars were unbelievable. And in the far distance, you could see the glow in the sky of Ocean City. I even slept pretty well too, though I may investigate a thicker air mattress.

We spent the day at the beach, reading under our umbrella. The water was cold. We went all the way in on Friday and were having fun until a wave threw us down and deposited a ton of sand on us. A ton of sand. Saturday we just got our feet wet. The waves were strong and we were on a beach without lifeguards so I played it cautious. Plus, I did not want a repeat of the sand incident. People, I am talking a ton of sand. I was picking sand off my scalp all day…

As for the camping facilities, they were great. Very nice, pretty private sites. Some with amazing views. The washing and lavatory facilities were clean and well maintained. We really couldn’t have asked for anything more.


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When A Card Isn’t Just A Card

July 24, 2008

IMG_0670I started my master bedroom update last century, at least that’s what it feels like. In reality, it’s been a little over two months. I did some work, lost inspiration, and recently found it. I had been shopping for Papyrus cards for a friend, and saw two that I loved. Loved them. I decided that I would frame them and hang them in my master bedroom. I bought simple black frames at Michaels, and finally got around to washing the glass and framing the cards. I have to say that the pictures look great. They make me smile when I see them. Bill approves too. Since they were cards, I put double-sided tape inside the card to keep it closed. This was more important for the square card which is framed in kind of a floating frame. The card is an odd shape and I wasn’t interested in having a mat custom cut, or having it custom framed. I found an inexpensive Format Frame with a black background. Originally, I thought I should use the same type of frame for symmetry, but the card on top has three dimensional flowers and needed a mat. I also decided everything doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. I am thrilled with how the bouquet girl looks with the mat. I splurged on a precut double mat (approx. $2), as opposed to the plain cream one that came with the frame. A couple bucks well spent, in my opinion.

I guess the point of this post is to open up your mind. If you see something and it makes you happy, then you can decorate with it. It may take some creativity, but it can be done. And we need to be surrounded by things that make us happy.

IMG_0623Speaking of happy, my mom called me the other day and asked me to be her “joy buddy”. I crinkled up my nose and said, this doesn’t mean I have to be happy, does it? What an odd response! Shouldn’t we welcome all opportunities to find joy and happiness? I’m not exactly sure what my responsibilities are as a “joy buddy” but maybe it’s just to let her know when I find things that make my happy. The truly interesting thing is that earlier that morning, in my car, reluctantly on my way to work, I realized that I was (am) very lucky. Honest to goodness, I looked around (at a red light), saw the sun shining, enjoyed a cool breeze and thought that I was (am) lucky to be alive on such a beautiful day, that I had (have) a wonderful husband, a loving family, a job when others don’t, and all-in-all, much to be thankful for. I shared that revelation with her and we officially became “joy buddies”.

I found some joy at Joann Fabric this afternoon. I went to pick up a few supplies for the bedroom update (bias tape and buttons). They also had some containers that I thought would work for button storage. And I was also going to pick up a pillow form but realized I left my 40% off coupon at home. I held off on the pillow form (plus I had an idea and might not need to buy one). While waiting in line, I noticed the woman in front of me had a page of coupons so I picked up a flyer which they had by the door. I thought I might be able to use one coupon on my order but for everything that rang up that wasn’t already on sale, the cashier scanned a coupon. I got 40% off everything!!! It was like Christmas in July. So go check our your local Joann.

I’m very close on finishing the bedroom update. So close, but this last bit will be the most time consuming I think. Pictures to be posted soon, I promise!

Most importantly, go forth and be joyful.


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It Was Fun, Near Death Experience Notwithstanding

July 22, 2008

IMG_0656This past weekend, Bill and I went to my friend’s sister’s house at the beach. It was the perfect time to go as it had gotten hot, Hot, HOT. It was a full house with the sister (Mary) and her husband (Ron), my friend Suzie, Suzie and Mary’s nieces Katherine and Emily, Ron’s son, Louie, and then Bill and myself. Oh, and don’t let me forget Suzie and Mary’s dogs, Isabelle and Sam. (Names have been misspelled to protect the innocent.) The photograph is the gift basket I put together as a hostell gift. I had wanted to put it in a sand pail but when you want to find a decent sized one, you can’t. All I could find were small ones. So I had to settle for a basket. I embellished kitchen towels myself with fabric. Bill made homemade granola from this recipe, and we put in some fresh fruit to round it out. I thought it looked nice.

We arrived late on Friday and after a full day of work, Bill and I hit the hay. Saturday started with a hearty breakfast and one of the neighborhood cafes. We were well-fortified for a kayaking adventure. And adventure it was. Bill and I had brought our two-man kayak with us. We rented to kayaks and a small two-person sailboat. And out onto the water we went. Bill and I ended up going our separate way, not for any particular reason except I was interested on what the shore looked like on the other side of the bay. So we headed straight across the choppy water. Suzie and Katherine caught up with us at one point to let us know that they had run over Mary on a kayak, but she was okay. The retelling of the story involved a lot of laughing so it hadn’t been serious. Then they went their own way and Bill and I decided to head back to where we started. Heading back, we were going into the wind and the paddling was a lot harder. We ended up taking on some water as the swells crashed onto us, and then we turned a little and the water started to swish in the kayak and a wave hit us and out of the kayak went me and Bill. We both knew it was going to happen, I was laughing and Bill trying to plan his exit so as to not get hit by the kayak, paddles, water bottles, sea turtles, etc. We had our life jackets on so there was no panic. But we did bob up and down for a good ten minutes not really knowing how we were going to get back to shore. The kayak was completely full of water and the only way to unfill it was to take it to shore and dump it. Shore was a good distance away and the kayak was not very dragable at this point. Bill tried to use a water bottle to get the water out and it worked for about two seconds until a wave hit and filled the kayak again. Thankfully, a guy on a jet ski came to see if we needed help (Yes!) and radioed for another guy to bring a rope to tow the kayak in. (Yay!) We got the kayak attached, Bill got on the back of one jet ski, leaving me bobbing in the water with the paddles and water bottles. (Thanks) I used the rope to pull myself to the jetski, got everything loaded on, pulled myself up and off we went. Well, off Bill went. The guy who rescued him was the guy who went around to tell jetski renters their time was up and they had to return the jetski. The guy took off full throttle and Bill thought he was going to die. His hat flew in front of his face, he couldn’t see, had no idea where he was going or who was in the way. On the other jetski, I was going a whopping mile an hour, towing my sad, water logged kayak. I thought Bill was going to get off his jet ski and kiss the sand.

We did make it back to shore and dragged the kayak on to the sand, talking about how everyone else was going to laugh at us once we shared the experience. Except that there was Katherine to tell us Mary and Suzie were stranded because the mast of their sailboat snapped and they were waiting for help. That help too an hour because the boat that was sent out to rescue them was breaking down and had to turn back and they had to radio for another boat. In the meantime, Emily is aiding in the rescue, trying to direct the cute rescuers to Suzie and Mary who ended up having drifted a great distance.

However, Bill and I were not at the beach where the car is parked. Bill was very prepared to walk to the car, but I thought we could dump the water from the kayak and paddle back to the car. He politely disagreed feeling that one rescue per day was enough. I thought we would be fine, giving him at least two reasons why I believed so. First, it took an hour for the kayak to fill up last time and we would only be in the water for 20 minutes maximum, and second, we would stay close to shore which we should have done in the first place so that if we filled up again (unlikely) we could this time swim to shore. He was not as convinced as I was, but got back in the kayak and you will be relieved to know we made it back without incident. I think he was also reassured because we had told Katherine if she didn’t see us in an hour to call the Coast Guard.

Once back at the beach where the car was parked, Bill, Katherine and I sat around for an hour waiting for Suzie, Mary, and Emily and eventually we were all reunited, exhausted from near-death experiences. The rest of the weekend was much less life threatening. We relaxed on the beach for a few hours Sunday, then relaxed at the pool, then went out to dinner, and then drove home.

Sadly, there are no pictures of the near death experiences. But it happened. And, I have to say that while Bill and I were spilling our of our kayak and bobbing hopelessly in the water, not a harsh word was said. Yay us!


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Always Look In Your Snack Bag

July 15, 2008

billsipodcaseIt was nice to have no real plans this weekend. I did have to clean up my craft room this weekend. It was a disaster. I wish I had taken a picture of it beforehand. In the course of cleaning up, I got inspired to work on a special project. Bill had a meeting Monday that he was making him a little nervous. I decided to whip up a new ipod case for him. He had picked out the fabric and I purchased it in New York. While he was downstairs, I started cutting fabric and sewing. Which of course meant that he found seventeen reasons to have to come upstairs and talk to me. I thought he had to know that something was up because each time he came upstairs, I met him at the door of my craft room and steered him toward our bedroom. How could he not know I was being sneaky? (‘Cuz he’s a sweetie) I did finish the project, wrapped it up, and hid it in a bag filled with snacks for his flights. Well, after six hours in an airport, three of them on an airplane, he never got wheels up. So at one point, I told him to look in his snack bag and he found his surprise. The work meeting has to get rescheduled and I don’t know what new little treat I can whip up for the next trip. (But Cheli will be available to help him pack.)

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I spent Sunday relaxing and organizing drawers (don’t be jealous), watching tv and working on some projects. It was a nice day. Then yesterday I wasn’t feeling 100% so I stayed home from work. I planted my butt on the couch and watched the Tour de France (very exciting mountain stage), Law & Order Criminal Intent and Mi-5 (awesome British spy show). I did some needlepoint and was able to finish my pear canvas (here’s the before picture). I am uber-happy with how it turned out.

I also got my ravelry invite yesterday and spent a little time playing around on the site. The timing is perfect because I’ve been inventorying my stash and planning out my projects. And is anyone else thinking about Christmas gifts yet or am I the only geek?


A Fabulous Fourth

July 8, 2008

IMG_1382I’m back at work after a wonderful long weekend! Bill, CJ and I drove up to visit my mom and Jacob and Jacob’s parents for the 4th of July weekend. We left Thursday after work and the drive wasn’t bad. Maybe an hour longer than it should have been, but that was bearable. CJ was well behaved in the car. I saw at least 5 different towns setting off their fireworks. It was fun. We arrived late, but to my favorite homemade cake (yay, Mom!).

The weekend was a great balance of busy/relaxing. We spent the 4th relaxing on the beach, reading, eating… That evening we had a wonderful barbeque dinner a la Chef Bill. Saturday, we went shopping in New York City while Bill saw Spamalot. Mom and I checked out fabric stores in the fashion district (talk about overwhelming) and then took the subway to Purl. Bill took the subway and met up with us, then we walked from Purl to Pier 17 (about 3 miles) which gave us a great opportunity to check out the waterfalls. We sat outside and enjoyed beers and dinner. Then it was the subway back to Grand Central Station and onto another train and back home.

Sunday was relaxing. I found a quiet spot to read while Mom and Mrs. Jacob cooked an Indian feast. We had aloo gobi at my request and chole and some other yummy goodness that I can’t remember the names of. The best thing about the meal, was that we got to bring the leftovers home with us!!! It was so delicious. Bill took a long nap while Mom and I did arts and crafts (making recycled paper books) and then he helped us. In the evening, we sat around the table eating popcorn and playing Ticket to Ride (Europe Edition) (very fun game for the family).

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Monday was drive home and get settled. The dog was exhausted. She slept from the moment we walked in the door (3pm), through the night. She was a decent house guest. Jacob’s parents aren’t dog people and they were very patient with our hyper pups. She is cute and friendly, but if you’re not used to a wet nose and a drooly dog, it can be tough and we appreciated them putting up with her. She was pretty well behaved considering the circumstances. Mom may be cursing us in 9 months though, when she’s still finding CJ hair in her house!

It was great to visit with Jacob’s parents, Jacob and Mom. Bill actually had some time to relax and rest. I got to spend quality time with my mom. We got to read, shop, go to the beach. CJ got to play outside in the yard… Suffice it to say, being back at work is a shock to my system. But on the plus side, I got to sleep in. On vacation, CJ had us up starting at 5:30, then 6, then 6:30… Too much excitement for her to sleep.

Hope y’all had fabulous fourths too!

P.S. I finished 3 books this weekend.


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I Am So Ready For The Weekend

July 3, 2008

So ready, I tell you. I am looking forward to the long weekend, quality time with the family. Curled up with books, craft projects, movies, and no household to-dos. My only goal is to relax and read as much as possible. But of course I’ll have some craft projects handy if the mood strikes.

As for reading, I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. My magic number is down to 99. I have read 17 books in the last month. That’s more than I read all last year. It’s been fun and relaxing, but of course if I’m reading that takes away from sewing, needlework, doing stuff around the house. Sigh…there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I have been reading a wide range of books. Mystery, suspense, romance, historical romance, and children’s books. In my to read pile were Hardy Boys books and Trixie Belden mysteries. I remember reading them when I was a kid; they bring back good memories. I’ve been focusing on books that I plan on donating so as to get rid of clutter, but this weekend I’m “letting” myself read some books that will probably be added to my library. It will be a nice change of pace from the mass market paperbacks I’ve been focusing on. Of course I have a few of those lined up too. Does anyone else get this excited about spending a weekend reading???

I’m hoping to get back to blogging more. But at least I’ve been getting things done during my time away. Our latest house project has been redoing our powder room. (Pictures next week once it’s done) It will have taken us 3 weeks from start to finish which seems like a long time for a powder room, but since it’s been on my to do list since last year, I’m just thrilled to be doing it.

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Bill and I also had been working on refinishing a dresser which ended up not going very well. It wasn’t the great find I had hoped it would be, and because it was cheap it didn’t respond well to some of our efforts. On the glass is half full side of things, we did learn a lot about how to refinish furniture and what to look for when buying a new piece. And we put that knowledge to use and went shopping. We ended up with an antique from around 1850. It’s mahagony, and solid, and beautiful. It has little key holes so you can lock the drawers, and it even had the key. Getting it home was a bit of a challenge; we had to strap it to the roof of a friend’s car. Thankfully we didn’t have far to go. I’ve started to get it organized. It’s going to be used as a sideboard in my dining room. I have another sideboard that’s full of my crystal, china and other fine dining accessories (for lack of a better word). My silver is buried under some stuff in another cabinet and my table linens are stored in an extra bedroom. Let’s just say I’m enjoying the extra storage space, but not looking forward to polishing my silver which desperately needs to be done. Enough about that.

Believe it or not, there’s even been a little time for needlework. I started and finished a needlepoint frog that will be finished into a frame weight. That took 7 days from start to finish.

I hope that you all have wonderful plans for the weekend. Whether it’s relaxing, or getting things done, spending quiet time alone, or catching up with family, I hope it’s fabulous! Happy 4th of July!


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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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A place for me to sell my handmade goods. My style? It's fun and funky with a hint of romance.

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