The Helper

April 9, 2010

I’m all about the zig zags these days.  Zig zag patterns are very popular these days.  As a beginner quilter, I found this tutorial that achieves the zig zags without using triangles.  Yay!  I had a bunch of Heather Bailey Pop Garden fabric and I added to my collection and found a great green to break up the prints.  I’m making this quilt for my living room, and green is my accent color in that room.  I love to have a quilt on my lap while I watch tv or nap on the couch.

I started cutting the fabric last week and finally finished it up the cutting and piecing Wednesday night.  Yesterday I washed the floor in my craft room so that I could lay out the quilt.  When will Margaret wash the floor in her craft room?  Once she needs to lay fabric on it.

Bill came home from work to this.


See my helper?  Doesn’t she look all innocent?  She got bored and hopped up into her chair.  Bill and I headed out for a bite to eat.  We came home to this.


I think she’s saying “don’t you like this better, Mom?”

I’m starting to put the quilt together and am very pleased with it!

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An Unexpected Trip

August 19, 2009

As Gran said, when I woke up on Sunday, I had no idea I would find myself in Nashville on Monday. We had a little kitty cat issue that needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but Harrison (Bill’s cat) has been living with Gran (Bill’s grandmother) since September. When Bill got his new job and we had to put our house on the market, our children (the dog and three cats) were farmed out to various family members. Gran offered to take Harrison to help out, and while we love him, we were hoping that Gran would want to keep him. He’s super sweet, but we thought he would be better in a single cat situation. Working full time and having 4 animals was really not ideal as I don’t think we gave them as much attention as they deserved.

Anyway, the new living situation has worked out and Harrison (or Harry as he is known in Nashville), is spoiled rotten. I think Gran is finding Harrison to be a nice companion. He’s a little skittish, affectionate but not cuddly, well behaved when it comes to the furniture, low key and sweet. All of which is a good mix for Gran (in my opinion). The only problem is that Gran can’t manage it if he needs to go to the vet. Nicknamed the Big Cat, he is 16 pounds and long. He’s also got his back claws and does NOT like his carrier. Gran’s an itty-bitty thing and she’s never had cats before. There was really no way for her to get him into his carrier, and then once in his carrier it would be too heavy for her to lift. So I flew in to help out.

I spent two pleasant minutes with Harrison where he contemplated licking my nose by didn’t. And then I made the mistake of jiggling his crate which sent him under the bed, where I had to semi drag him out, and then we spent 10 minutes (bloody minutes) trying to get him in his crate, finally succeeding. With some beautiful scratches to remember him by, and on my leg of all places. Gran got scratched on the arm which makes a little more sense. Did I mention the blood? And let’s not even talk about the howling/crying which was heartbreaking.

I’m not sure if it was more traumatizing for Harrison or for Gran.

But we got him to the vet. Bill worked the internet and phone from CA to get an appointment set up for us. As it turns out, Harrison had bladder stones. He had an operation. The vet said he had never taken out that many stones. Yikes!

The reason for my trip was not the best, but I’m so glad I got to make the trip (and not Bill). We had such a lovely visit. On Tuesday I drove Gran around town to run a few errands (in a car that is about 2 1/2 times longer than my little bug). I checked to make sure Gran didn’t have a death grip on her seat, so my driving was passable. Driving aside, it was a relatively unexciting day, but still so nice. Now, we did hit all the hot spots: Big Lots, the library, and Kroger. Gran made a yummy lunch, gave me a tour of the grounds (a fancy way of saying her different flower beds), and I read and napped and knitted…

And on Wednesday I came home. Shorter than I would have liked but we have some stuff going on at home that I have to take care of so I couldn’t stay longer. We do have to figure out how to handle these kinds of situations in the future, without someone having to fly out. (Not that we mind, but there does have to be a cheaper way.) I’ll think about that tomorrow (channeling my inner Scarlet as I did just come from the South). In the meantime, I’m just thankful that I got to see Gran and help with Harrison and have a really, Really nice visit.

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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?

The Furminator and The Widowmaker

April 28, 2008

furminatorBill discovered a new brush at the Pet Smart last weekend. With 3 cats and a dog, I have my fair share (and probably yours too!) worth of animal hair in my house. One of my cats is particularly hairy. She’s full-figured and has trouble cleaning herself so her hair is greasy and has more dander than the other cats. She does love to be brushed but I am most allergic to her so I don’t do it often. Bill tries, but he’s busy and so it just doesn’t get done. Anyhoo, at the pet store, Bill saw a new tool and decided to give it a try: The Furminator. It’s available on amazon for $22 (for the small, more for the medium and large) and change which is less than we paid, admitedly a lot for a brush for a pet. But let me tell you. The amount of hair that came off of her, and the other cats which we didn’t really think of as big shedders, was amazing. AMAZING, I tell you. That’s a picture of CJ and her hair, after only half of her had been brushed. We do have other brushes we use on CJ and get a lot of hair off, but I think this does a better job. For the cats, hands down it is better than anything we’ve used. For the dog it is as good but probably better, than other tools.

widowmakerLet me show you a picture of what we now call The Widowmaker. Originally named The Divorcemaker, this little organizing tool let to a few arguments in my house. We bought it a few years ago because we didn’t have a good place for our foil, saran wrap and wax paper. (We need to stock up on parchment paper.) It’s one of those relatively easy jobs that never gets done. The roadblock was probably the disorganization of the garage which made it difficult, or at least very frustrating, to get to Bill’s tools, and I believe he did need a drill and a screwdriver. When we cleaned the garage last week, we came across The Divorcemaker. I asked Bill if we should just get rid of it. I joked about it’s name and we laughed and then he came up with the new name. He also said that he would put it up and I think we both knew if it didn’t end up in a cabinet soon, I would be a single woman. Good news, he’s still alive, and our little organizer is up. Isn’t it doing a good job?

yumLastly, I thought I would share one of my favorite meals with you. Last week, on Admin’s Day, we had a special breakfast for our secretaries. Donuts. Bagels. Cinnamon Rolls. Fruit salad. Donut holes. Ugh. Of course I showed no resistance and came home from work feeling like garbage. I needed something nutritious and light. Perfect time for my tomato-mozzarella-basil salad. It’s very easy, simply spiced and tastes very “fresh” to me. I once ate this at a little cafe in Switzerland so when I have it at home, it takes me back. I get a container of cherry or grape tomatoes and slice them in half and put them in a big bowl. Slice up a hunk of fresh mozzarella cheese and put it in with the tomatoes. Chop up some fresh basil, add to the bowl. Coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors set. I serve it with a hunk of crusty bread. It’s all to taste, there are no measurements. An optional ingredient is balsamic vinegar, but I usually don’t put it in. It’s got calcium, vegetables, good fats. It would probably be healthier without the bread, or with a whole grain bread.

Well, that’s all I have for today. Hope you enjoyed your weekends and that you have a good Monday!

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Saturday, Glorious Saturday

April 21, 2008

The weather on Friday and Saturday was amazing. Unfortunately, Friday was spent indoors at work, but Saturday was mine. Friday night I suggested we do something fun and outside since the weather would be nice. (We had previously planned on doing some cleaning/organizing inside.) Bill wakes up on Saturday and gets on the internet looking up local hiking trails. I get up and decide that I feel like cleaning the garage. This is much to Bill’s disappointment. And now Bill is flashing back to previous garage cleaning experiences, all of which ended with much yelling, someone throwing something and many hours of the silent treatment. Great way to spend a glorious Saturday.

It was actually great. I only got mad at Bill once and it was brief (a miracle!). We tossed, we put away, we swept, we rearranged, we created a goodwill pile, we made 2 trips to the dump and then we rewarded ourselves with some delicious and refreshing Rita’s Water Ice. There is actually space on the shelves (gasp!). There still is some work to be done. We have one set of shelves that is for stuff to Ebay as well as extra pantry storage. The stuff to Ebay needs to be gone through, organized and Ebayed. There is a rogue box that isn’t in the Ebay corner than needs to be addressed and a box of Bill’s stuff to be gone through. But all in all, a huge improvement and a relatively pleasant experience.

After Rita’s, we decided we had to do something for the pups as she had been cooped up inside all day. It was a perfect day for her first swim of the year.

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Isn’t she a good girl, carrying her own towel. When she got tired of waiting, she started to whip it around and it became all unfolded and I’d roll it up again and she’d sit for 10 seconds and then start to whip it around. We have a lake about 10 minutes from our house and as we get close, she can smell it and she starts to cry and get all excited. Was she a happy girl. We took her leash off and she ran to the water, but surprisingly didn’t jump right in. Normally, we don’t let her swim here which might have been why she hesitated. But it didn’t take long for her to realize that she could get wet and we wouldn’t yell. We threw some sticks for her to retrieve. Sometimes they came back, sometimes not. She’d run back onto the shore and then throw herself into the dirt and leaves and grass and roll around. Bill wanted to correct this behavior but I said that it’s what dogs do. He let it go, pointing out that if we were getting into my car I’d probably be singing a different tune. (How true!) After about 20 minutes, CJ looked to be done and we got her leash on her before she had a chance to get dirty. She trotted happily to the car, let Bill dry her and we headed home. Once at home, Bill tossed the towel on the stairs to be taken up to the laundry. He went to the kitchen and I headed upstairs. I walked past the towel (not really seeing it otherwise I would have picked it up). Behind me, CJ paused on the stairs and then ran past me, towel in her mouth. What a good girl, putting away her towel. Actually, she stood on her bed whipping it around, but at least she brought it upstairs.

Dinner was boneless chicken wings. Bill went out to pick them up and I thought that I could fit in a quick trip to Michaels. Of course he gets back, I’m not home, there’s no note and now he thinks that I have been kidnapped, never to return again. Mental note: there is no such thing as a “quick” trip to Michael’s. Especially if they don’t have what you need and you decide to run into Hallmark for a quick look-see. Relived to not be a single-father, Bill set up dinner in front of the tv and we relaxed with some Eli Stone.

Sunday was not quite as beautiful but very pleasant. Bill and I thought we could get a quick walk in before the rain started. We were very, very wrong. We cut our walk short but still got caught in the storm and made it back to the house soaked to the skin. We were so wet we took our clothes off at the front door and carried them to the laundry in a bucket. It was worth a laugh. I showered and decided it was the perfect morning to curl up on the couch with some tea and my book (Laurie R. King’s, The Moor). One of the cats joined me and CJ was at my feet while Bill did chores around the house. Bill made a run to Costco and I did get up to flip laundry (our term for moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer and starting a new load). And I brought down the mini vac to clean out my car from one of our trips to the dump. But Bill returned to see me on the couch in much the same position as when he left. Once I finished my book, I puttered around the house while watching the Cubs. I started a new book, Baldacci’s The Camel Club. We had dinner, I picked up my craft room and then we sat down to catch up on Galactica. I worked on my lizard ridge afghan and Bill balled up some yarn for me and then it was time for bed. Another weekend over.

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iPhone Annoyance, and the Kids

October 4, 2007

Today, I planned to take a few minutes at work to post a couple of pictures of my kids. Photos I had taken with my iPhone. But when I went to look at them, they were no longer on the iPhone.

Last night, I updated iTunes, and had a new version of the software for my iPhone. The only reason I wanted to sync was to put some new episode of Criminal Minds on my phone. Should have been simple, but of course it wasn’t. I update the software, and in the course of doing so, it crashes my phone. Now I have to restore my phone. Takes forever and then everything has to re-sync. Fine. It’s not like I have to sit there and watch it. I make sure my new Bruce Springsteen pre-order downloads and make sure it finds its way to my iPod. A few hours later, my phone is safely back in my purse and ready for today. Or so I thought. I go to watch Criminal Minds and there’s no Criminal Minds. All this hullaballoo, and the one thing I wanted on my phone is not on my phone. That stupid update…

I haven’t blogged about my phone before. It was a surprise from my husband. I love it. First of all, it saves me space and weight. I used to carry two separate devices, both larger than the iPhone. One for music and video, one as a phone. Now I have one device. The iPhone has considerably less space than my iPod, but I am adjusting. I have also lost a little bit of functionality with my phone, but the iPhone has some cool features too. I love the bigger tv viewing screen. I love the map feature. I was able to dial my local pizza place directly from the map. I like the text messaging. I’m getting used to the keyboard. The web browser is nice. All in all, 1.5 thumbs up. It needs a To Do list that works with the To Dos in iCal. Sometimes moving between screens isn’t intuitive. And I’m getting used to managing my music, tv and videos. Lastly, it is a luxury item. You can be surprised with these things when you don’t have to worry about sending the cats and dog to college.

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And speaking of the kids, they crack me up. Sabrina’s favorite room is the bathroom. She always hangs out in there. One Saturday morning, she was airing it out. Happy as a clam, all by herself. I had to take a picture.

CJ came back from TN and had a lupus flair-up. Her joints ache and she gets itchy and licks. So she had to be a cone head. As happy as she looks, she really does not like a cone head. It’s really funny to watch her try and walk through doorways.

And finally, is the little seat thief. We had been hanging out, and he had actually been sitting up on the top of the couch, hanging out by my head, enjoying the breeze from the window. I got up to throw something out and by the time I got to the door, about 4 second and 3 steps, I looked back and I had lost my seat. Chel was so proud of himself…

Harrison was camera shy…

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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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