Checking Out The Fishies

June 29, 2010

IMG_0028 Bill received free tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.  The tickets expire on Thursday so Bill took the afternoon off and we went to check out the fishies.  (I probably shouldn’t mention that we’ve had these tickets for about 3 months.)  It was a beautiful day and the perfect day to not be stuck in the office.  As for the aquarium, it seemed on the smaller side (though it’s been awhile since I’ve been to one), but pretty cool.  They had some nice displays of jelly fish, tropical fish, a pool where I touched a leopard shark and bat rays.  Bill kept his hands in his pockets.  They had two tunnels where the fish swam next to and over you.  One tunnel displayed fish found in the shallower waters, and the other had larger fish found in deeper waters, including a 9 foot shark.  We upgraded our tickets to take a behind the scenes tour.  It cost us $5 each and was totally worth it! IMG_0034 With our behind the scenes tour, we got to see the food preparation area (stinky!) and the refrigerator where the food is thawed.  We saw the feeding schedule.  I thought that they just dumped the food in the water and the fish/sharks ate what they like, but actually, some of the fish/sharks are hand fed.  Then we got to see some quarantine pools, and pools where some fish hang out while not on display.  I didn’t realize how curious some of the rays and sharks were.  We came up to this pool and one of the rays kept popping his (or her) head out of the water to check us out!  Can you find her in the photo above?  When we went over to another acclimation pool, a ray had popped out to see us, but when we started walking toward her she quickly went back under water.  She was a big ray too, about three feet across. Beautiful!  We also got to see the fish in the tunnels, but from overhead.  And one of the sharks, I think it was a spiny dogfish shark, came up to the surface and stuck his nose out to see what was going on.  When he swam away, he swam away on his side, keeping one of his big eyes out of the water.  The tour was the highlight of our visit and worth the money! IMG_0021

And that was my afternoon!


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A Little Of This, A Little Of That

June 26, 2010

I’m sure you’re wondering what’s going on in the Casa Napier these days.  Well, it’s a little of this and a little of that.

pile o squares

I’m making progress on my twin size quilt.  I need a name for it, other than twin size quilt.  I’m sure something will come to me.  I finished cutting all my white squares and have made a very good dent on the patterned squares.  I took this picture Thursday afternoon and I think I’ve doubled the number of cut squares since then.  I don’t really have a plan for this quilt, other than I will alternate white squares and patterned squares.  I’m just cutting a ton of squares and hoping that they will somehow all come together.  My focus is on yellow and white, with bits of other colors thrown in.  Doesn’t look like there’s much yellow in that pile, but that has changed.

meandering vines in the early stages

I started a new knitting project, the meandering vines shawl (rav link here).  I’m knitting it in Sweet Georgia Cashsilk Lace which is Divine.    Yes, with a capital D!  I love how it feels moving through my fingers.  It is 45% cashmere and 55% silk.  Soooo soft.  The color is a beautiful, vivid  aquamarine, with bits of green throughout.  I’m also enjoying the pattern, thanks in large part to my stitch markers.  The pattern is easy to memorize and ends up looking a lot more complicated than it is.

tuckered out

And of course, there’s been time to relax outside.


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A Little Birdie

June 21, 2010

finished birdie sling

You should have heard the squeal that I let out when I saw my finished birdie sling!  I’m SOOOOOO happy with how it turned out.  I saw the fabric a few weeks ago and loved it.  It’s so summery and happy and just perfect!  That Heather Bailey sure knows how to design fabric.  Anyway, the fabric practically told me it wanted to be a birdie sling, so who was I to say no.

I cut the fabric on Tuesday.  Ironed the interfacing on Wednesday.  Started sewing on Friday and finished sewing on Saturday!

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I thought I had read a pattern review that said the construction was a little fiddly, but all in all, I thought it was pretty straightforward.  My only hiccup was that I sewed the top bands on upside down and had to rip them out.  But that was really my fault for not taking the time to double check the pattern.

Almost immediately after I finished, I started to dig through my fabric to make another one.  I think it would make a great beach bag if done in a darker fabric to better mask inadvertent stains.

Have I mentioned how much I love this bag???


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In Agony, But In A Good Way

June 18, 2010

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I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug these days.  I’m not a very experienced quilter; I can count the number of quilts I’ve sewn, in my life, on one hand.  I do enjoy the process of seeing bits of fabric turn into beautiful works of art and family heirlooms.  I’ve also started reading the blog, Red Pepper Quilts, and am inspired!

A good friend adopted a baby girl almost two years ago.  I’m so happy for my friend as this was a long process, filled with ups and downs.  It’s so wonderful to see this family together and happy.   The baby, who’s not really a baby anymore, is going to get a big girl bed soon and I wanted to do something special for both my friend and the baby, so I’m going to sew a quilt for the new bed.  I am VERY excited about making this quilt.  But I am also agonizing over it.  I want it to be near perfect and loved and cheerful…

I started to second guess myself.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Like yesterday, when I called my mom in a dither about using white fabric when I think the walls in the room are cream.   (Mom says you can’t go wrong with white.)  Today, I sent my friend a near frantic email:  You have two choices for fabric. funky/whimsical (as shown above) or girly/floral.  My original instinct, knowing my friend, was funky and that’s what she chose.   I can incorporate some of the florals in with the funky/whimsical, but it wouldn’t really have worked the other way around.  In addition to the fabric, I’ve been obsessing about what kind of pattern to use.  Last week, I decided to do something based on this beautiful quilt.   Two nights ago, I browsed quilt photos on flickr and started reconsidering my pattern.  I’m loving the triangles.  And then there’s this tutorial.

After some calming breaths (and a discussion with Mom), I’ve decided to stick with the squares.  I think it will work best with the fabrics I’ve chosen and is more suited to my experience level. I’ve been prewashing my fabrics and am ready to start cutting fabric!!  The fun begins.


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Celebrating In Style

June 10, 2010

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Last week, Bill and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  I can hardly believe it.  I don’t feel old enough to be married for 10 years, unless I got married at 12, which I didn’t.  And 10 years seems like a long time, but it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed.  When I think back thru the last decade and all that’s happened in the world and in our lives, I’m surprised we haven’t been married longer.  I’m just so lucky to have found the perfect partner and best friend in my husband.

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We felt we needed to do something special to celebrate 10 years together, but within a reasonable budget.  I had been wanting to go to Las Vegas to stay at the Wynn|Encore and see the show there, La Reve.  We visited the casino last fall when we were in Vegas with my in-laws and I immediately wanted to go back. During that first visit, we joined the players club where you earn points for your gambling.  (And you can earn points pretty easily at the penny and nickel slots.)  Since then, we’ve been receiving emails with special hotel room rates, especially for weekday stays.  What better way to celebrate our anniversary than do something I’ve been wanting to do?

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It felt like the trip was a total splurge, a break the bank weekend. But it wasn’t, they just made you feel like you were in the lap of luxury.  We got a great deal on the room for our stay, because we stayed overnight Wednesday – Friday and checked out on Saturday.  Bill’s parents paid for our show tickets, a fantastic romantic dinner on our anniversary (at Hugo’s Cellar), and breakfast at our favorite place (Hash House A G0 Go).  We hiked two mornings (free!), spent time at the penny and nickel slots where we took advantage of the free drinks (budget friendly and free!), sat by the pool (free!).  That left us to pick up our air fare (Southwest and cheap!) and a few meals. Oh, and we both earned complimentary meals at the buffet from our players card, so we stuffed our faces for free!

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This is by far the nicest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.  The attention to detail was amazing.  The elevator lobbies were gorgeous!

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All the rooms in the Encore are suites.  It was a shame we didn’t spend more time in our room, because it was really beautiful. Really, it was just a place for us to sleep and change.  We had a nice view down the strip, which was much more impressive at night.  We saw fireworks and special effects from the outdoor show at Treasure Island.  My favorite accessory was the console next to the bed which controlled the lights and the shades.  The sun woke us up on our first morning and I rolled over to hit the shades closed button.  It was a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous moment.  Our bathroom was huge!  There was a separate tub which I wanted to utilize for a relaxing bath, but we didn’t have time.

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We did go hiking during our trip.   Red Rocks National Conservation Area was about a 35 minute drive, and though it was hot!!!, we did hike on two mornings.  We hiked four miles each morning.  Not too far, but enough that we felt better about the large meals were were going to eat.  It is a beautiful area which a new and informative visitor’s center.  There are at least 20 trails for hikers at all levels, and a nice scenic drive for cars and bikes.  We were surprised at how lush some areas were, and that the streams still had water above ground.  I’m also surprised by the flashes of color and flowers in the desert.

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We saw the show, La Reve, which is hard to describe.  From their website:  ”LE RŠVE, presented exclusively at Wynn Las Vegas, offers breathtaking performances in an intimate aqua theater-in-the-round. The show features aerial acrobatics, provocative choreography and artistic athleticism.  The cast of 85 captures the imagination with their outrageous antics and daring feats of strength and agility. Live music and elaborate special effects immerse the audience into a world of fantasy, adventure and intrigue.”  I was most interested in the show because of the synchronized swimming which I did in high school.  That was just a small part of it.  There was dancing, aerial acrobatics, diving, humor.  It was a unique experience.

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We did find some time to relax by the pool.  We found a spot in the shade, but that only lasted for an hour (maybe 90 minutes) and then we roasted in the sun.  Then we went in the pool where we only boiled in the sun.

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We’ve had a lot of fun over the past week remembering our wedding, and the fantastic weekend my parents gave us.  We have a lot to be thankful for, and we celebrated all of it!


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Welcome to Chicago, Lord Stanley

June 9, 2010

I am a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan.  I remember the first Hawks game my dad took me to in the old Chicago Stadium.  I almost cried because it was such a special moment.  Dad told me to watch the new player, #7, because he was really fast.  And that #7, Chris Chelios, became my favorite player.

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Tonight, I was filled with a lot of pride for these boys as they won Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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It was a fantastic hockey series.  Fast paced, end to end play, a really great series.  It was so exciting, I couldn’t knit a stitch during the games.

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The only bad thing was that it took about a minute to realize the Blackhawks won the game!  Nobody saw the puck go in so it was a delayed celebration.  But a celebration nonetheless!

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We did our part to cheer the Blackhawks to victory.  We ordered two pizzas from my favorite place in Chicago, and had them sent 2,166 miles.  The Hawks won every game we had that pizza for dinner.  I’m just sayin’.

Congratulations, Chicago Blackhawks!!


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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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