Another Project In The Books

May 28, 2009

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I feel a little strange saying that as the new weekend is upon us, but I’m behind (shocking, I know). This was the first Memorial Day that I haven’t gone to the (National) Mall and paid my respects at that the Vietnam War Memorial. I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t find a wreath laying ceremony or something, but my thoughts were patriotic. Memorial Day makes me think of my dad and grandfather, and Bill’s grandfather as well the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed forces. Thank you for your service.

My weekend flew by. Bill’s parents were in from Philly for a visit. Their coming was impetus to finish a few final projects around the house. I am very pleased with how the guest room turned out. I thought it looked rather inviting, as did CJ who got kicked off the bed a few times.

We did a lot in a few short days. Watched movies, watched hockey and baseball, played a game, took in the sights, ate, and even did some home improvements. Did I mention we ate? And we walked a little to try and work off a bite or two or what we ate. It was a most pleasant visit.

We spent some time relaxing on our porch. Thanks to Bill’s mom, we tackled a project I wanted to work on but was going to put off. We pulled the green plastic off one of the windows on the patio and put in wood shades. It makes such a difference. The shades still block the sun but now we can take advantage of the breeze and the view. I love it! Bill and his dad put up some trim to frame out the window and I spent Wednesday painting it. It looks good, though I sort of wish I had gone with painting the trim green instead of orange. What is it with me that I would always do something different? That’s so obnoxious. It does look very good. I think I did a good job with the actual painting, though I could have done without spilling half a can of paint on myself (and the sidewalk). Thankfully most of it landed on my arm, leg, and shoes.

Oh, I almost forgot! One of the best things about the project is that we used a lot of things we already had! We moved trim and 2x4s from Maryland and it was perfect for this project! We only had to but about 2 additional feet of trim (which our Home Depot had in stock). And we did have to but the shades and paint, but I found a use for some stuff I thought would never get used.

It was cool to see Bill and his dad work together. And I didn’t hear any curse words. GranBob was with us in spirit, as lessons he taught John were passed on to Bill. Thanks, GranBob.

I do feel a little guilty putting my FIL to work, especially on the last day of his visit, but my delight at the finished project outweighs my guilt! And maybe the orange paint I am still pulling out of my hair is karmic justice.


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A Relaxing Weekend…

May 19, 2009

I think not. But we did take some time on Sunday to get outside. I had been wanting to do a bike ride near Santa Cruz, on the cliffs along the Pacific Ocean. it was really beautiful. And about 10 degrees cooler than it was in San Jose. It was a warm weekend, in the upper 90s.

We were really pretty busy around the house, again. Bill had some projects around the house and I did some work in the garage, inventorying and estimating value for some Goodwill donations. I decided to go with the tax deduction of a donation rather than the cash in hand of a garage sale. I’d say a good trade off. We have a few things left to sell on Craigs List and ebay, but after all the work this weekend, I can now park my car in the garage. Yay!!!! It is a major accomplishment considering how the garage looked 7 weeks ago.

We also finished hanging the pictures this weekend. Well, almost all of them. I just remembered I have to put up my travel needlepoints. And the guest room is almost ready for our first house guests.

The exhaustion continued when I took CJ to visit Bill at work. She is a pretty high strung dog, but thankfully she didn’t embarrass Bill. She settled down enough for us to enjoy lunch, and Bill even got to take her up to see his desk. (Yes, we do know she’s a dog.) We (CJ and I) were both wiped out from the excitement that we napped this afternoon. CJ’s been sleeping pretty steadily since 2. I’m sure that she’ll be herself by the morning. As will I.


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Today I Baked A Cake

May 15, 2009

After finishing my table runner I decided to take the day off. I “read” on the porch for a bit. I knew as soon as I sat down that I would most likely end up napping, but I deserved a break. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and a lovely breeze. I had a nice nap. I did do some laundry too, so I wasn’t a total slacker.

After my nap, I was motivated to bake. Bill went out before work to get walnuts for me so I felt obligated to make the banana nut bread I had promised. It’s my mother-in-law’s recipe and is pretty easy. I love banana bread. Especially with peanut butter which was a favorite snack of mine growing up. I recollect my mom baking a lot of banana bread in my youth. My bread smelled It smelled so delicious while it was baking! I was very happy with the end result. It has been awhile since I’ve baked and I enjoyed it. I didn’t mind the cleaning up too much either.

Then I decided to make a pineapple mango upside down cake from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. I’ve made it once before and it was very good. Bill had bought a pineapple and mangos for smoothies but wasn’t going to stop me if I used them to make a cake. It’s not a particularly hard cake to make, but it was messy cutting up all the fresh fruit. I used the extra fruit and juice to make smoothies as a pre-dinner snack.

The cake was delicious. I like that the batter uses sour cream and isn’t super sweet which obviously it doesn’t need given the sweet pineapple and mango. I cut the cake into quarters and froze three of the quarters for later. We had a small piece for desert and have a little left for tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s going to be in the 90s so I’m glad I got my baking out of the way. Do you have any plans for the weekend?


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My New Table Runner

May 14, 2009

AKA a much larger project than I thought it would be. But I’m very happy with the final result. I started it on Sunday afternoon and thought I would be done by Monday. What planet was I on?

I finished the first two squares on Sunday after a lot of ripping out and redoing. I finished the second two squares on Monday and sewed it into one piece. I started the quilting on Tuesday and didn’t like how it was looking so I undid it. Then I restarted it and was much happier with the results. I did diagonal lines and my idea was that one side would go one way, the other side would go the other and they would meet in the middle forming a chevron. Sounds easy right?

The first half went well. Really well. Couldn’t have been happier with the result. The second half was a nightmare. A nightmare I tell you. Getting the lines to be even and symmetrical was a pain in the ass. I did about half of the second half and had to undo it. It was horrible. Then I tried again and got through another half of it and it still wasn’t working out and need to be undone. Again. For the second time. But at least this time it was a respectable drinking hour and my glass of wine made ripping it out not as horrible as it was the first time. So when I finally resumed the quilting (for the third time on this side) I drew the lines and went very slowly. Oh, and I ran out of the color thread I was using for the quilting so the second half is done in a different (yet very similar) color than the first half. Then the binding looks like a three year old did it because I couldn’t stitch straight to save my life. But it kinda works for the table runner and the crazy uneven squares. You can see more detailed photos here and here. (Sorry for the poor quality)

Despite the difficulties, I am very happy with the end result. My table has character and I’ve brought some color to that side of the room. I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn about quilting. I am also appreciating all its imperfections because they give it character. Personal growth; it’s a good thing.


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I Don’t Want You To Blog, I Want You To Love Me

May 8, 2009

How can I resist those eyes? The eyes of an unspoiled, unloved, unplayed with puppy… Yeah, right!

I can’t believe that I have been in California for a month. So far, I am loving it. California smells so good. Seriously. It’s perfume, but not overpowering, just incredibly pleasant. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to actually be able to smell it. I have some bad allergies and can be pretty congested which makes the sniffer pretty useless. But my allergies are in check, and I am enjoying the scent of California. I asked Bill what Maryland smelled like and he said it was more piney and mossy. I’ve never really noticed how a place smells (except for New Jersey and parts of Delaware). I’ve talked to a couple of locals and they don’t notice it, but it is wonderful.

Moving one, we have made excellent progress on the unpacking department. As in, we are fully unpacked and almost everything is put away. Yay! We really pushed last weekend, starting in one end of the house and moved to the other end, not leaving a room until it was done. There are little projects here and there that need to be completed, but isn’t that always the case. It feels like home now and that’s a very good feeling.

A big project that we have left is the garage. Yikes. I started to work in there and get it organized but it scares me. Part of the problem is that we have put all the garage sale stuff in there and that’s a lot of stuff. I’m thinking about doing the garage sale next weekend so that we can just be done with it. I’ll see how I feel on Monday. I think a couple of hours everyday would have me ready by Saturday AM.

This is the first week that I’ve really been able to get into an ideal routine. Get up in the AM and go for a walk, take the dog to the park, get cleaned and dressed, and then work on sewing or knitting, or whatever I feel like. Little break for lunch, some more “work” and then wait for Bill to come home for dinner. It has been very pleasant.

I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. Go Blackhawks!!! And my schedule also revolves around the Cubs games. Cubs day games start at 11am here which I am still getting used to. I like to have the games on while I “work” and the early start time does work well with my schedule.

My sewing has been pillow-centric of late. It has been a long time since I’ve sat at my sewing machine. I think it got packed away in mid-March. In that time, I’ve forgotten how to do zippers. I’m experimenting with zippered pillows because you can get a tighter fit, and I made my first zippered cover in March and that was it. So it took me a little bit of time to figure it out again. Zippers perplex me. My first zippered cover of today took an hour and a half. My second took me about 45 minutes. Hopefully the next once takes even less time.

The zippered covers are for my kitchen. I’ve also been working on pillows for the guest room. I have big 26×26 inch pillows which were naked, but now they have covers. And I embellished some pillow cases. Which will send me off on a tangent. Martha Stewart has some interesting bedroom decorating ideas on her website. One of them was to embroider a pillowcase with the initials of your guest. Lovely, but WHO has time to do that. Seriously. WHO? It’s bugging me because I can’t find it on her website but I know I read it. The rest of the ideas were good, but that one just didn’t seem reasonable to me.

Moving on, I can’t finish the pillows for the guest room because I ran out of fabric. Thank goodness for Sew Mama Sew. My fabric will be here early next week and then I can finish up that room.

I’ve also started making some reusable shopping bags for my etsy store. I hope to have those ready early next week!

Busy busy busy!


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The More You Spend The More You Save

May 1, 2009

Oh, one of my favorite sayings. But it’s true…in a way. Anyhoo, I’m having a grand reopening of my etsy store and to celebrate, everything is 25% off. There’s all sorts of goodies in the shop including earrings, necklaces, pillows… Check it out!

I’ve got tons more ideas and a little bit of time right now to work on those things, so I hope to keep adding to the store all month. It is really nice to have some time to be creative (although my craft studio is still a work in progress).

I’ve also been working on the house, trying to get the last things put away. I have sewing to do for the house too, but I need Bill to work on my curtain rods, so I’ve got a little time. And I’ve got a punch of pillows to make. And some tops I want to make myself. And a skirt.

What am I blogging for, I’ve got work to do!?!

Don’t forget to check out my store!


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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!

My Etsy Shop

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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