Baby Steps, Figuratively Speaking

December 31, 2009

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the new year. I am a fan of new year’s goals. (I like goals more than resolutions.) To me, it’s an opportunity to start fresh and re-energized, with a clear focus and full of optimism. Perhaps a little schmaltzy, but that’s me.

I think my mantra for the year is going to be “baby steps.” When I get an idea, I tend to think I have to dive in. For example, exercising. I have these grand plans for daily hour long walks. A healthy aspiration, to be sure, but for soemone just starting out it can be a bit ambitious. And easy to lose motivation. Last month, I read the editor’s letter in my fitness magazine and she said that she started jogging fifteen minutes a day and now she’s running marathons. I might be wrong about the marathons but the bottom line is, she started with baby steps.

My theory is that by starting small you gain strength and confidence. The better you get at it, the more you want to do it. The stronger you get the farther you can go. I think this applies to more than just exercise. I mentioned in my previous post that I needed to work on the guest bedroom, the wrapping room, the garage (which I didn’t mention but was on the list). So I tackled one project a day and I still had time for the other fun stuff I wanted to do. Baby steps.

While looking forward, I’ve been looking back too. 2009 was a pretty darn good year. We sold our house and I moved to California. I knit my first sweater. I knit my first triangle shawl (and second, and third, and am on my fourth). I read 42 books this year with 104 in my queue. I attended the inauguration of the 44th President. I did some of my most challenging hikes at Yosemite this year. I know there are other highlights but these are the ones that stand out.

As for what I want to accomplish in 2010…

1. Continue to try and live a more simple life. Get rid of stuff, eat local, use what I have, waste less, stop and smell the roses.

2. Use up my stash. I have bought a lot of yarn lately. I’m going to allow myself one more shopping spree (there’s a birthday special at my LYS) and then I’m going to work from what I’ve got.

3. Read more. I love reading. I’d like to get the number of books in my queue to under 70 by this time next year.

4. Spend more time outside. Knitting outside works, but biking, walking, or hiking would be better.

5. Eat more fruits and veggies. This should be pretty easy living in California where they are quite plentiful. It’s more a matter of choosing the fruits and veggies instead of the carbs.

6. Remember that life is a precious gift.

There could be more, but I think this is a fair start. I hope that 2009 was good to you and that 2010 is better! Happy New Year!

P.S. The photo is me and Bill, in the kitchen, preparing our New Year’s Eve feast of hors d’oeuvres. I think Bill looks really good in the photo.

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Basking In Post-Christmas Bliss And Movie Reviews

December 28, 2009

Yes, I am. Hopefully you are too! Our Christmas was as I expected: low-key and wonderful! Bill made a delicious dinner Christmas Eve which included a Honeybaked Ham, broccoli rice casserole, creamed spinach, applesauce (homemade) and cranberry orange relish. It was super delish and we are still enjoying it!

Christmas morning was gift opening, skyping with family and opening presents via the web, Sherlock Holmes, playing with our Christmas presents, and a little bit of knitting. Bill got a blu-ray player so we had to watch a movie (Transformers 2 which looked amazing) during which I started a new shawl (rav link here).

I got some great gifts. Just a few books (nicely stacked in the photo), including a really cool book on wallpaper projects. Bill got me a purty new necklace and my big gift from him was a parrot. Not a bird, but bluetooth for my car. It’s installed and automatically connects to my phone so that I can talk wirelessly. AND, I can play music off my iphone through my car speakers. It’s pretty cool. I got some sequined chuck taylor’s from my in-laws. My mom bought me a pretty piece of artwork that I picked out when we were in Monterey. It’s a beautiful small floral oil painting and I like supporting local artists. There’s other stuff, but these are some of my favorites.

The rest of the weekend seemed to fly by. Bill got some new wii games that we haven’t even opened yet. We did see Avatar in digital 3D. It was amazing. James Cameron created the most beautiful world and with the 3D I felt like I was floating in it. But the movie also had a very good storyline and it was really, really enjoyable. The bad guys are so bad you just hate them. Visually stunning, excellent film.

As I mentioned, we saw Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day. I am partial to Basil Rathbone as Mr. Holmes and don’t watch any other Holmeses. Robert Downey Jr. was excellent and Jude Law as Watson was surprisingly good. It was action packed, funny, kinda violent, with a bit of a love story. I really liked it.

Today we saw Nine. I might mention that these movies double the number of movies we have seen in a theatre all year. As for Nine, it was okay. Daniel Day Lewis was excellent but his character wasn’t someone I was particularly rooting for. The females in the movie are amazing and the dance numbers were spectacular, my favorites being Fergie’s and Kate Hudson’s. It was good, but not my favorite of the three.

There’s one more movie I’d like to see, The Blind Side. I’ve cleaned off my cutting table and am thinking about some sewing projects. I’m enjoying my shawl which I’m knitting up in delicious Sundara silky cashmere yarn (one of my top 5 favorite yarns). I’ve got some organizing to do in our wrapping room and our guest bedroom, and want to do a goodwill run before the end of the year. That’s what I’ll be up to these next few days.

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I’m Ready-ish For Christmas

December 23, 2009

I feel like there’s always something else that could be done. Plus, I’ve had to adjust my expectations just a little. Not in a bad way, but in a it doesn’t have to be perfect way. For instance, my tree skirt. It’s not done, but it is done enough for this Christmas. I’d like to do some quilting on it for a final finishing touch but I just ran out of time. I had gifts stacked on the coffee table so I decided the quilting could wait until next year. I still have my fun tree skirt with my giant ric rac so I’m happy. What else? My Christmas tree only has lights on it. I’m okay with that. Maybe we’ll put ornaments on it, maybe not. That may sound crazy to some people, but I’m enjoying the tree, even ornament free.

The things that are really important to me are done. I have my favorite decorations around the house. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. The cookies have been baked. There’s maybe one more batch we might do (nut cups, which are a bit labor intensive) this weekend. Movie tickets have been purchased (Sherlock Holmes, Avatar, Nine).

We are changing things up a little this year. We are going to cook our “big” dinner on Christmas Eve. We’ll do a nice breakfast on Christmas morning (although maybe not since I have to have room for popcorn and we’re seeing a movie!). But by doing dinner on Christmas Eve, we can nosh on leftovers Christmas day and the rest of the weekend, keeping things easy for ourselves. We’ll do our special backed brie on Christmas Day and Bill’s ordered cheese from the Italian Market in Philly. We love cheese, can you tell? We’ll skype with our family. I’m sure one of us is going to get a DVD or wii game that will be watched or played. And of course I’ll be knitting.

Those are my plans for Christmas and the weekend. I hope that whatever your plans are that you have a very Merry Christmas!


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The Baby Alpacas Make A Nice Pillow

December 8, 2009

Sabrina seems to think so. This little gal cracks me up. It’s not the first time she’s used my yarn cake as a pillow.

I’m making another Luscious Cabled Cowl for a friend as a Christmas Gift. The clock is ticking!

This one is being knit out of Cascade Yarns Baby Chunky Alpaca. It is Divine yarn. Three years ago I knit myself a scarf with this yarn and it still looks good as new. Let me tell you, that baby has been worn!I think this is my all time favorite fiber.

I finished the LC cowl I made with the Baby Llamas and it is everything I hoped it would be! I still need to take pictures. I finished it just in time as we’re having a bit of a cold snap here.

I can’t believe that Christmas is 17 days away! I did some decorating over the weekend but we still need to get our tree! This weekend, I hope!

I’ve been working on lots of Christmas presents. Smallish projects. I’m trying to enjoy the process and not get stressed. I don’t get it; it seems that no matter how much I plan, I’m still rushing at the end. What’s up with that?


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Don’t Chew On The Baby Llamas!

December 4, 2009

I love the baby alpacas so I thought I would see if I like the baby llamas. And I do! I do!

Baby alpaca yarn is by far my favorite fiber. It is sooooo soft… I recently knit myself a beret out of Blue Sky Melange yarn, aka baby alpaca. It needs to be washed and blocked which requires me to wash out my sink. Not the hardest thing in the world; I just need to get it done.

I have lots of baby alpaca yarn in my stash and my friend brought me some alpaca yarn from Bolivia which I am very excited to knit up!

When my mom was visiting 6 or 8 weeks ago, we discovered baby llama yarn! It was so deliciously soft. Last week, I bought a few skeins to knit up a cowl for myself. Cowls are in, you know. Rachel Bilson told me.

I’m excited about the cowl. It is knitting up quickly. The yarn is a purpley-blue color and will look great with a new down vest I ordered on the internets.

Sabrina was helping me knit earlier today. She thinks the baby llamas are tasty. She is not allowed near the baby llamas anymore.


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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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