Are Deer Colorblind?

March 3, 2008

Here’s a few things rattling around my brain:

1. Are deer colorblind? It was an unseasonable 67 degrees today so I hurried home from work to take the pups for a walk. Our house abuts a wildlife fen and there are some deer who call the fen home. While walking, I saw my buds. As I always do, I told the deer to be careful when crossing the road and to stay away from orange VW Bugs. But then I wondered if they are colorblind. I guess I’ll have to give them my license plate number.

pearfinisheda2. Finished projects make me happy. Here’s a closeup (click on the thumbnail for a bigger picture) of the quilted pear that I finished in TN. I stitched this up pretty quickly (a week). It came with a stitch guide and a materials list. The different sections used different fibers and stitches. Once I was done, I stitched a small border around the pair to get rid of the nooks and crannies so that it can be finished in a pear shape. Now to take it to the finisher!

3. Destashing makes me sad inside. It’s like dreams going unfulfilled. Everything was purchased with such good intentions… So rather than focus on that depressing thought, I’m focusing on the dough. I made some tough choices and am getting rid of some yarn and cross stitch projects. You can check it out here. Even Bill is destashing. Guess what’s his.

4. Heather Bailey is doing this cool theme for March about her favorite tools. I’d like to join in but I’m totally drawing a blank… But be sure to check our her faves.

5. Can you tell a real smile from a fake smile? I can 16 out of 20 times and Bill can 14 out of 20 times. I read about this fun quiz on How About Orange. If you have 5 – 10 minutes, take the quiz.

chelinbasket6. The difference between boys and girls. Last week, Bill brought down a laundry basket filled with my clean sweaters. It was upright, on the bed and when I saw the laundry basket and thought it should be moved as a cat was sure to find it an inviting place for a nap. Bill saw the laundry basket and thought there was no way a cat could get into it. Guess who was right.

7. Have you read Martha’s blog on witch hazel? It makes me wonder if she knew all that or if she had to consult a book. Oh, and it makes me wonder if she wrote it herself of had a minion do it. I have a lot of respect for the woman and can’t help but be impressed by how much she Knows. So, do you think she writes her blog posts herself?

8. I love blogging. Ellia told me I Make Her Day. She is a brilliant artist, a fantastic mom, and a wonderful person. And, she Makes My Day.

Hasta la vista, Baby. Oh, I think I’m mixing up my Mr. Eastwood and the Govinator. See, my brain is a scary place.


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Handmade Holidays

December 28, 2007

I hope that you all enjoyed Christmas and have recovered from the holidays. I am getting there. This was my most ambitious holiday season yet; I made the most Christmas gifts by hand that I have ever made. This made for one very tired me. But I was thrilled with how the gifts turned out and the recipients’ reactions. Here’s pictures of some of the goodies (some made it out the door without getting photographed – that’s what happens when you’re last minute):

coasters fingerless lynnsearrings momsbag
momsearrings shadesredshawl wristlet chicks

The black and white bag with the flower was inspired by a design by Lisa at Pink Lemonade Boutique. I just loved the appliqued flower on the black and white background. I am very happy with how my version turned out. I made the bag for my mom hoping she would be able to use it as a work tote. It’s pretty big and would make a nice travel bag too.

Then there are the fetching gloves I knit. And a wristlet I designed. Plus some earrings to match a necklace my mom received from her husband (that he bought from my etsy store). Then there’s the pearl earrings for my aunt Lynn. And coasters and ornaments that I made for secretary gifts and my dad. And lastly, there’s the shawl I knit for my mom, in front of my mom, that I finished at 1am on Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, there’s some things that didn’t get photographed. I made a necklace for my mother-in-law and another necklace for my number one salesgirl. There’s probably others but I’ve forgotten in all the craziness.

My next post will be about some of the beautiful handmade gifts my husband got me from etsy.


It’s Back To Work

September 3, 2007

On Saturday, I got back from a fabulous week at the beach. I rented an apartment in Ocean City, MD, for a week with a girlfriend because my husband had a big work deadline and couldn’t take any time off. He and another friend were able to join us for a weekend. It wasn’t long enough but he was able to recharge his batteries. The week was so relaxing. My days were spent on the beach under an umbrella reading. And napping. And getting a cannoli and coffee for a late-morning snack. For a change of scenery, we drove to Assateague and parked our umbrellas on a different island. It did have a different feel being a national park and not having a boardwalk. Plus there were the wild ponies and evidence of wild ponies. It was beautiful for a day, but it was so much easier to drag our chairs, umbrellas, mini cooler, towels and books a block and a half. And I swam with dolphins again! They were about a hundred feet offshore but it was the same water. They are so beautiful! I saw a pod on Friday and they seemed to be only 50 feet offshore. It seemed so close. I’m not sure if the dolphins were my favorite, or the amazing moonrise we watched. The moon was full and huge and bright orange. As it rose, at the very end it seemed like a drop was going to fall off but then it got sucked back in as the moon cleared the horizon. It was amazing.

Aside from my moonrise, my evenings were spent with Ugly Betty Season 1 on DVD and a project on my lap. If there was one thing I wanted to get done on vacation, it was Cozy. I am pleased to report that Cozy is complete!! More on Cozy in another post.

It was hard to say goodbye to the beach. As fabulous as vacation was, it is great to be home with my hubby and the dog and cats. Bill and I talked on the phone but it’s just not the same. And I missed my snuggly critters. It was especially nice to have two days to get ready for work instead of just one. And even with the extra day, I’m still not ready for work. I did get started on some ironing though.

framingAfter having spent 4 hours in the car driving home on Saturday, Bill and I got in the car and drove 50 minutes to The Stitching Post to pick up my custom framing. The pieces were ready on Friday and I had to get them ASAP. It was worth every minute in the car. Everything turned out so well! They do a great job. There will be pictures of the framed pieces, once they get hung. I’m so happy!! And of course I had to pick up a new project and I’m trying out a new fiber. So exciting!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day. My day was labor free. Except for the picking up and ironing. Poor me… I certainly enjoyed my time off. I foresee Bill putting me in the car kicking and screaming tomorrow…


The Experiment…The End

August 21, 2007

And I believe in happy endings. Here is my burlap experiment: a beach bag.

BeachBag1 beachbag2

I am extremely happy with how it turned out. Of course I would do a couple of things differently, but isn’t that always the case. My original plan for the bag was to only have one zippered pocket. As of last night, all that needed to be done was for the straps to be sewn in place. As I was laying in bed, ready to go to sleep, I thought that for the next bag, I would add in a pocket for my book. That’s one of the things that always gets buried in my beach bag. I knew exactly how I would do it so when I got home from work, I ripped out yet another seam and put in the pocket. I’m glad I did.

When I make another, I’m going to make sure I measure things. Most noticeable is my zippered pocket which is not centered. Or maybe it’s centered but the straps aren’t? Oh, details!


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I Have Done My Wifely Duty

August 15, 2007

My husband’s head will be warm this winter. What were you thinking? This is not that kind of blog. Maybe it should be…

billhatSeriously folks, I have finally knit my husband a hat. Actually, it is the third hat I’ve made him but the only one that fits. For Christmas 2005 I knit him a scarf. It is very hard to surprise a spouse with a handmade gift. There was a lot of “Gee, Dear. You look tired. You should go to bed early.” and “Honey, can you run a few (six hours of) errands for me?” I finished the scarf late one night and realized what good is a scarf without a matching hat? One thing you must realize is that my husband has a big head. Regular size hats do not fit. Rather than eyeball it, I decided to sneak up to the bedroom and measure his sleeping head. It was late, I was tired, and this seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time. Except that my husband woke up mid measure. I scared the crap out of him, he scared the crap out of me, but I was able to convince him I was just giving him a good night kiss. We got a lot of laughs out of this later.

Suffice it to say, the hat did not fit. It was huge. Then I tried again, with real measurements. Knit a gauge swatch. Again, huge. What is going on? I took that hat and figured out how many stitches I needed to reduce and tried again. I finished it late last night while Bill was still at work. It was sitting on his bedside table for him when he got home. I was sleeping when he got home, but woke up enough to ask if the hat fit. It did! Success! Thank goodness because I was really not up for doing it a fourth time.

The hat is knit in Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Yarn. It’s 100% cotton which is a little unusual for a hat. Most people do it in wool, but I like that this is softer, and I think it will still keep his head warm. It should be good for the milder Maryland temperatures in winter. It may not be warm enough for a harsh Chicago winter. But that’s okay because we don’t live in Chicago.

Here are the boring details for those who are interested. The pattern is my own. I cast on 88 stitches on size 8 circulars. At 4 stitches per inch, this gave me a measurement of 22 stitches. With the stretch, it fits his 25 inch head. (I think that my problem was not taking the give into consideration. But I’ve knit other hats without taking it into consideration and had no problems. Anyway…) I did a rib of knit 3, purl 1 for 10 rounds (or rows). On the 11th round I changed to size 9 needles and started to knit every stitch. I changed colors when I felt like it. My rough formula was to change to the white when the hat measured 3 inches, and then changed back to the caramel color at 5.5 inches. Total hat length is 7.5 inches. When the hat measured about 6 – 6.25 inches I started decreasing. To decrease, I knit 2 together (k2tog), knit 6 stitches repeated to the end of the round. Then I k2tog, k5 and repeated through the round. Then k2tog and k4… etc. until I was left with 8 stitches. (When you get to 24 stitches left, you need to switch to double pointed needles, it is too tight to knit on the circulars. Or you can use two circulars, knitting off one onto the other. In my opinion, the double pointed needles are easier.) My decreases took 10 rows. I prefer to have more decreases in a row to give the hat a more rounded look on the top. You could decrease every 16 stitches (k2tog, k14 and repeat) and have the top be more pointy. It is all personal preference and experimentation. My only suggestion is to make your decrease factor a whole number. To finish up, I threaded the yarn through the stitches, pulled it closed, secured it, and wove in the ends. Hat complete!

Husband is happy, I’m relieved, the dog is adorable. My wifely duty is complete. For today at least.


No More Beads…

August 13, 2007

IMG_3709-1She’s done!!! I have completed my Christmas Elf Fairy. It only took me a year. Almost exactly a year. I believe I started this project in Tennessee last Labor Day. I finished about a third of it there, brought it home and worked on it a little and then it sat. And sat. And sat. And it was sitting in a Target bag next to my tv so I saw it constantly. But never picked it up.

Recently, I’ve been on a tear to finish up projects and picked her up, finally. It took me two weeks of weekends and working in the evenings after work. That’s really not that long. Maybe three (four at the most) weeks of actual time spent on the project.

It really was fun to work on. I know all the “rules” say to keep the outlining and beading to the end, but that always drives me crazy so I work on the beads and outlining as I go. And I wish I had done more of that because on Saturday, I was in bead H-E-double hockey sticks. It’s hard to see in the photo I took, but there is a lot of bead detail in there. Trust me. Sunday morning, I finished up the boots and the beading on the bottom and was then able to sign and date it. And then she got a bath.

I was nervous about washing her because the floss was not color safe but after being on a frame for a year, she needed it. I cleaned out my sink, and then used a little of my most gentle shampoo (just a little) and used cold water, ice cubes and a color catcher sheet. I rinsed her in ice water twice and then rolled her up in a towel to get rid of the excess water. She went straight to the ironing board after that and was ironed into a plush towel wrong-side up.

I could not be more pleased with the results. I had no problems with colors running and she looks fantastic all washed and pressed. I can’t wait to take her to the finisher.

IMG_3712-1Then, since there were chores to do, I started this Heart in Hand project and worked on it all afternoon until it was done. I love my hearts. The original project says “One Love” and it was cute, but I didn’t want the words there, so I changed the pattern. The fabric I used was lighter than the one recommended and I am concerned that the border gets lost, but I didn’t discover this until I was over halfway done. I will have to live with it. Bill thinks I will like it more once it is framed and there is less fabric around the border. The project is only about 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches. It will go on a wall with all my other hearts.

Oh, and the chores were started at 9pm on Sunday, having put them off as long as possible.


Can’t Stop, Gotta Finish…

August 8, 2007

This was my mantra Friday night. I had a bunch of finished projects that were ready to go to the finisher. I wanted to get my Christmas ornaments in early so I decided that I would make a trip to The Stitching Post on Saturday. On Thursday, I decided to try and get one more ornament done before my trip.

IMG_3696The ornament projects tend to go quickly, but I knew this one would be pushing it. I started the candy canes Thursday night and brought the project to work so I could finish the candy canes at lunch on Friday. Then the plan was to stitch, stitch, stitch Friday night until complete. Bill was out with friends and I had the tivo to myself. He rolled in around 11 and I threw him a kiss with a “can’t stop, gotta stitch.” Finally, at 2 am I had to stop. I had found 2 missed stitches due to my rushing. I put it away knowing I had about two hours worth of work to finish up before being able to head out to the store. As it turned out, I had an hour of stitching work, and then spent an hour scrutizing all my finished projects for missed stitches. I found one missed stitch on four of six projects. Does anyone else have this problem? It makes me nervous that I’m going to get it back from the finisher and find another missed stitch. I think I have a way to correct it, but it’s not easy and really shouldn’t happen. I do think that I was rushing on most of these projects though. In the end, I sent four projects to be finished into ornaments and six projects to be framed:

I am now working on my Christmas Elf Fairy and my goal is to finish her so that I can take her to be framed when I pick up my finished framed pieces. I’m hoping to get to two other things before then too. But I have to let myself relax and breathe because finishing that ornament was more stressful than fun and this is supposed to relax me! In the end it will be worth it because I will enjoy seeing them hang in my house this December!


Lizard Ridge & Besotted Hat and Scarf

January 16, 2007

lizard-ridge-part-1I have a new obsession! It’s the Lizard Ridge Afghan from knitty.com. I saw the pattern and new I had to knit it up. Bill and I went to my local knitting store, Woolwinders, where they are having a great January sale and as luck would have it, I got 21 skeins of Noro for 40% off! Bill bought it for me as an early birthday present, and so far I have completed 4 squares.

Upon further inspection, I have to do some more shopping. I didn’t plan very well, and when I took a closer look I didn’t like how some of the colors went together. I think I am going to end up making two blankets. Someone may get a nice Christmas present.

This has been fun to work on. The first two squares took twice as long as they should have, but now I’ve got the pattern down. I also like that it’s broken up into 24 small squares. I’ve been telling friends that it will give me 24 senses of accomplishments and one large sense of accomplishment.

besotted-finalAnd finally, here’s my finished Besotted Hat and Scarf. The scarf pattern is from helloyarn.com and I created the hat pattern, incorporating the x and o cable from the scarf. This was fun to make and is one warm scarf! The cables make it dense and it’s heavy and comforting on a cold winter day!


Finished Projects!

January 7, 2007

Purple Colorblock ScarfI have been a knitting machine this weekend! I finally finished my besotted scarf and hat. Not that I am sure I will need it since yesterday it was in the seventies (and I don’t live in Florida). It turned out well. The scarf is heavy; it will be very cozy on a cold winter day. I created the hat pattern, putting a band of the x and o.

Inspired by that finished project, I picked up my purple hat and scarf, also known as the color block scarf. And I finished that today! This was a scarf and hat I started about 14 months ago. Better late than never.

But my first finished prioject of the year was a needlepoint project. I finished Bodie Lighthouse, a souvenir of our family trip to North Carolina in 2005. It’s a simple project, but I am pleased with how it turned out.

Since I’m on a roll, I’m going to continue to finish some things that have been on the backburner. Next up is Bill’s hat. This should be a quick one.

I’ll post pictures tomorrow.


New Finished Projects

November 4, 2006

Finally, proof that I do actually finish projects!

I have started buying needlepoint canvases as travel souvenirs. The canvas I liked the most was meant to be an ornament, but I wanted something to frame. As I have posted before, the canvas is only a suggestion. The pattern was simple enough that I was comfortable modifying it to suit my purposes. I drew in the square and then extended the coast line (while consulting a map) and added in some additional waves. Voil ! My friends at The Stitching Post outside of Baltimore, MD did a fantastic job with the framing (again). This piece was stitched in DMC Perle 5 cotton.

The next piece was a commissioned piece. That’s my fancy was of saying that I asked a friend to draw it for me because I’ve been going through a dragonfly phase. She gave me some guidance with colors, and then I used metallics and overdyed silk threads. I stitched the background in Caron Impressions. This piece had a lot of blank space so I chose to use the milanese stitch for my background stitch because it would be interesting but not ovewhelming. Overall, I’m very please with how this project turned out. The only thing I would have done differently was use a dark colored canvas because I can sometimes see the white canvas peeking through in some places. Again, the framing was done at The Stitching Post. I’m so pleased with their custom framing department; they have a lot of framing choices, and this is THE perfect frame.

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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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