A Penny For My Thoughts

June 24, 2016

A penny for my thoughts

Recent news events have been weighing on me. Not on a moment to moment basis but passing through my mind every now and then. The sentencing in the Stanford rape case. Orlando. Disney.  They are completely unrelated but highlight the fragility of life.  You just never know what’s going to happen when you step out the door.  So I have a request. Realize each day is a blessing. It is also an opportunity to put love and kindness and compassion into the universe.  Hug your loved ones and take every opportunity you can to snuggle. And maybe do something to bring a smile to someone’s face.  Thank you.



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Working Outside

March 28, 2014

My little goose is in his bed, most definitely not napping.  He sounds so happy and cheerful, babbling away but come back at 6pm and ask me how he’s doing.  Chances are 98% that he will be crabby with zero patience.  In the meantime his not napping is giving me a chance to blog.

Joshua, Casey and I spent some time outside, working on our planters in the front of the house.  No pictures yet.  They look kinda sad actually, since they (the planters) are big and the flowers are small right now.  We’ll see in a week or two.  Joshua was a helper, trying to help me carry bags of rocks and dirt.  He actually did help me dump dirt in the pots.  Pure sweetness.  I’d fill up a small pot with dirt and he’d dump it in the big pot.  (The bag of dirt was too heavy for me to lift and pour.)  He helped me put the flowers in the pots, which entailed him putting the entire flower and container in the pot.  But then he took the empty containers and put them “away” in my car.

I have been spending a bit of time working outside.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really enjoy doing it but I enjoy how it looks when I am done.  Over the weekend I was pulling weeds and a lizard jumped out, surprising the crap out of me.  Then he ran off.  I told Casey to keep an eye on Mr. Lizard for me but Casey did not.  I put new flowers in my hanging pots on the side yard.  Cleared out some of the dead stuff.  Made room for our garden boxes.  Set up some compost bins.  I have a new system that I’m hoping we can manage as we have not been very good about maintaining our compost pile.  I bought 2 new, cheap, containers, about 5 gallons each.  Drilled lots of holes in the sides.  I bought 2 trays (the things the pots normally sit in) to use as lids and drilled some holes in those.  We will have one that we are actively adding to and one that is “cooking”.  Turning it was kind of a pain, and then my dad suggested I get a third pot to empty one of my other pots into.   So we will constantly be rotating pots.  I have these in a warm spot by my lemon tree, so hopefully we get some good results.

I realized that I hadn’t posted any pictures of the yard work we had done.  I tried to find some pictures of the original yard.  The Japanese maple tree was originally shaped like a half circle on the top, half the yard was ivy, and we had a half circle patio.  These were the 2 best pictures I found.


Here’s the yard after we had the work done.  Please pardon my furniture covers.  I was too lazy to take them off.  We had the maple professionally pruned.  There were lots of crossing branches, little stumps that waste tree energy and some dead stuff.  They also helped us lift the ceiling so to speak so that Bill can almost walk under it without taking a branch to the head.  We didn’t want to go too aggressive with the trimming so it is still a little low in parts.  We also aren’t shaping the top as I prefer a more natural organic shape.  It’s a beautiful tree and I’m glad we kept it.

yard againbackyard aftet

I like the space.  There’s lots of room for furniture, and lots of room to play.  We have a clothes line because I love to hang my sheets to dry.  But we can also take it out and store it in the garage.  There are bulbs coming up which makes me very happy.  They’ve been coming up for years and I wasn’t sure if they still would after everything had been dug up.  Apparently, not everything, and I’m interested to see what survived.

This is the side yard I’ve spent a lot of time on.  I can see these hanging baskets from my kitchen which is why I work so hard on this part of the yard.  (Please ignore the mess on my table.)

side yard againview from the kitchen

I still have some projects to work on in the back, but it’s getting there.  There’s always going to be something, right?  In the meantime, I have a wonderful space to relax.

enjoying the yard


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March 18, 2014


As I mentioned in my last post, spring has sprung.  I really love walking this time of year.  It smells so good, and I’m always so amazed that I can smell it as I’ve always had such terrible allergies.  The flowers are blooming in such vivid colors.  The front of our house looks so nice this year with green grass, as least for now.  I need to take some time to pull weeds and finish papering the beds, put out some rocks.  Always lots to do.  Joshua and I went to the nursery this morning and bought some flowers.  We need more color!

Speaking of color, I finished a shawl this weekend.  I’m very happy with it.  It’s the Bella Shawl and I really enjoyed the pattern.  It was simple enough with just the right amount of lace.  The pattern doesn’t overpower the yarn and vice versa.  The yarn is Perfect Wreckless by Miss Babs and I love it!!  I’m so happy with the whole thing.

que bella

And speaking of I’m so happy, that’s one of Joshua’s new sayings.  He’ll go up to Bill and say “Papa, I’m so happy.”  That little boy…  I think it started because I would Joshua that he should tell Bill “Papa, I’m so happy to see you” when Bill came home from work.  And two months later Joshua starts telling Papa he’s so happy.



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Clean Sheets

March 10, 2014

There is nothing so wonderful post vacation as getting home to your own bed and slipping between clean sheets.  Your own bed, own pillows, own tv remote on the bedside table.  No matter how great the vacation and fabulous the accommodations, it is wonderful to sleep in your own bed.

papa and songreat grana skyline I will never tire ofgrabdma youngspring has sprung

We spent a week visiting family, first in Nashville then in Chicago.  It was brisk and even downright cold, but we didn’t notice.  It is so wonderful to see Joshua with his great grandmothers, and for us to spend time with them and the extended family.  It was busy enough yet we still had down time to relax.  We needed to get away from our daily routines and enjoy time together.  I didn’t realize that until now.  It’s not like I dying to get away or that I needed a vacation, but I feel like it came at a good time.  It gave us a chance to think and relax, gain some perspective on life and come back recharged and refreshed.

It helps that spring is absolutely, completely in bloom here in Northern California.  We’ve gotten a little rain, not nearly enough, but my Japanese maple in back went from pre-bud on February 28th to pretty green leaves on March 10th.  The “spring forward” had no impact on us since we were changing time zones anyway.  I woke up on my own at 7:15 which is about the perfect time for me to get up.  Joshua went to playgroup and I tackled a couple of projects on the to do list I wrote up last night.  It’s a good start to the week.  Must be those the clean sheets.


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October 11, 2013

Sorry I’ve been away from here for so long. I’ve written so many posts in my head, they just never make it to the computer. We’re keeping busy.  Same old, same old.  My little goose is at such a fun age.  Sometimes, challenging, but mostly a joy.  joshua and friends
He’s figured out how to take pictures.  And he takes a lot.  I have about 13 of this breakfast.  Pretty artistic for a little guy who has no concept of photo composition.
joshua's self portrait of breakfast
In my free time, I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of crafting, knitting mostly. I’ve got so many projects that I want to do, and of course I keep adding to the list. It got to the point where I made a physical list of my top priority projects. It’s been helping me focus.
my knitting to do list
I’ve been knitting pumpkins out the wazoo.  I started at the beach, when we went East for vacation.  I’m leading a KAL at work so I wanted to practice before the workshop.  Now I’m creating a pumpkin patch in front of my tv.  I do like pumpkins as decorations since they work through Thanksgiving.  I have an idea for a table runner for my pumpkins to sit in.  See, how the list just keeps growing?!
pumpkins for felting
Those pumpkins got felted and shrunk down.  They still need some finishing touches which I will do at our workshop on Wednesday and then I am done with pumpkins.  It’s been fun but the last one was just tedious.  It was also my 10th.  Yup, done with pumpkins.
herringbone cowl
One project that I finished up that was super fun was a cowl/infinity scarf for my cousin.  She is very stylish and wears a lot of scarves so I made her a neutral scarf for winter.  This is out of Misti Alpaca and super warm.  The pattern makes a really dense fabric.  Good thing she lives in Wisconsin.  I think it turned out well.  My only concern is that it seemed a little sheddy, but I’m hoping that the bath I gave it helped.  It was well received!
cloudy day
And my most recent finished project is this cute little beret.  It was a fast knit (less than a week).  The yarn was Elfin Tweed by Knit One Crochet Too and I love, LOVE this yarn.  I’m very happy with my beret.  I think I’m going to wear it to work tomorrow.

Well, it’s 10pm so I’m going to say goodnight and knit a few row of my next project.  Gotta get through the list!

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August 8, 2013

I feel like I am in a constant state of shuffling. Shuffling stuff around my work table so I can work. Shuffling stuff around the table so we can eat. Shuffling furniture around the house and garage. These things need homes so they can be put away. Why is it so hard? ‘Cuz there’s too much stuff. Oye.

I’m making progress. We sold a couple of things at Bill’s office. The stained glass supplies are actually out of the garage. It’s almost a miracle. I brought in a bedside table from the garage and am going to use it for Joshua. I think it will be a good place to store his puzzles and duplo blocks and flash cards. (So sometimes it is nice to have “extra” stuff.) The first thing Joshua did when he saw it was open up all the drawers. The bedside table cleared up space in the garage so I moved (shuffled!) things around and put some stuff away. I moved some things outside that need to be broken down and thrown away. We need as much space as possible in the garage to store our outdoor furniture because we will be having the backyard redone next month. (yay!!!) My goal is that when the yard is done and all the furniture moved back outside, I’ll immediately be able to park a car in the garage. Permanently. Once I get to that point, I’m going to start going through the garage cabinets and thinning out the stuff in there. It’s just neverending.
joshua's table

I should probably clean up the kitchen but I can’t. Honest. I have part of a sweater blocking on the counter. What a shame. I guess I’ll just have to sit in my craft room and knit while contemplating homes for the stuff on my worktable.
sweater blocking

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Hot Dog!

July 9, 2013

I just had a leftover hotdog for lunch.  It was soooo good.  We discovered these hotdogs at Whole Foods.  We originally got them for Joshua since it’s the only meat he’ll eat (aside from sausage on pizza).  I tried them and they are Margaret approved.  I’m actually not a fan of hotdogs at home.  They never live up to ballpark hotdogs.  Except for these.  The one I had was left over from our 4th of July cookout.

headed to parade


Speaking of which, our 4th of July weekend was great.  We took Joshua to his first parade.  He was so precious.  The parade started with firetrucks and their sirens.  Joshua was unsure about this.  He liked the trucks but not the noise.  He enjoyed all of the rest of it though.  He loved waving at the people, and he’d occasionally look at his hand to make sure it was doing the right thing.  Too stinkin’ cute.  He was pretty tired after all the excitement.  He took a long nap and then we took a quick trip to the pool.  Bill and I watched a movie while Joshua slept.  No fireworks for us.  He’s still too young.

The next day we took a trip out to Pigeon Point lighthouse.  Crazy drive through the mountains but a gorgeous view of the coast once we were on the other side.  The lighthouse was pretty, and Joshua walked with us.  He’d point at a path and that’s where went.  It is such a fun age.  We took the “long way” home via Santa Cruz.  A less hair drive over the mountains.  We were on CA-1 and we rounded a curve and voila, tons of kite surfers.  It was really cool.


pigeon point lighthouse

all smiles

Saturday we relaxed and did some stuff around the house, then went to Vasona Park to explore.  Joshua finally went down a slide.  When my mom was here, he went down a hot slide and didn’t like it.  Weeks later, he still remembered it.  He pointed at it and said “hot” but we showed him it wasn’t and down he went.  We had to do it over again for his second trip down the slide but he did it.

Sunday was a typical Sunday.  Getting ready for a new week.  It’ll be a good one.

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A Break From The Heat

July 3, 2013

It is currently a gorgeous 81 degrees out now, on its way up to 91.  It feels delightful out and for the first time in about a week, we have the windows open during the day.  We’ve been running the a/c during the day and were able to turn it off at night except for 2 nights.  It did cool off but there was no breeze whatsoever so we kept the air on overnight.  We are fortunate to have a/c as not all the houses here do.

Things are slowly returning to normal.  We are something of empty-nesters these days.  We’ve had houseguests since mid-May and now everyone has returned home.  A mixed blessing.  We got a lot accomplished with the extra help and of course we enjoyed the company.  My mom was in town for about a month and she overlapped a weekend with my inlaws who stayed on for a week.  We kept busy.  Park, pool, reading, playing, building, watering, sleeping, playing, reading, building, etc.  Really delightful visits.

reading time

not so sure about this

it is fun after all

jumping in

bubbles in the air

how do i look?

Now I’m getting back into the swing of things.  We got off our routine of walking every morning and it feels good to be doing that again.  We started swim lessons this week, every day this week although we are off until Monday.  It’s not exactly fun yet.  Joshua is…resisting?  He likes the pool and will jump in off the side (into your arms) as shown in a photo above.  But he doesn’t really want to work in the pool.  He’d rather just hang on and watch everyone else.  Take things in.  He can kick and he does it for a second as if to say “see, I can do it” but then he tucks his legs in and pulls back up into my arm to observe.

I’m ready to veg.  There’s so many things to do, but I’m still recovering from all my hostess responsibilities (ha ha), and all the activity from this morning…  If I do the kitchen, I can let myself relax guilt free.  One, two, three…  here I go…


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Something Is Amiss

June 7, 2013

something is not right here...

Unfortunately it took us a little bit to realize what the problem was…

I am hoping to finish a beautiful but oh-so-frustrating scarf today.  It’s one of those projects that I have made as difficult as possible, unintentionally of course.  I had planned on doing a second one, and I will.  In a bit.

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Pure Sweetness

April 30, 2013

It is often said that being a parent is amazing and wonderful but I don’t think you can realize how true it is until you are living it.  The thing that I like best is seeing my son try and do things that he’s seen done.  Or apply something he’s learned to something else.  Children’s minds are so amazing.  I’m always wondering what’s going on in there because I see him taking things in and processing them.  Every so often my son does something that is so utterly sweet and special and he has no idea.  To me, witnessing those moments is the joy of being a parent.

Joshua has been helping me water the outdoor plants.  It’s been so hot (already), really I use it as a way for him to cool off and have some fun.  My plants are getting a wee bit trampled in the process but they’ll grow back.  I hope.  Anyway, he watches me with the hose and the watering can and he helps me fill the watering can and carry it and tip it over.  And he loves to put his hands in the water as it pours out.  Typical little kid things.

Yesterday, I was watering some of the indoor plants and when the watering can was empty (I’m no fool) I let him play with it.  I turned around to see this.


watering 2

watering 3

It was one of those squeeze your heart type moments.  I don’t know why he thought to “water” the books, but he was so methodical and careful about it.  He did all three shelves, and hit various books on each shelf.  I think it is one of the absolute sweetest things I’ve seen.  And of course it doesn’t hurt that he was showing off those baby thighs which are my favorite baby part!

Again, I wondered what was going through that little brain of his.  What made him apply what he’s seen me do with the plants and flowers to the books.  It doesn’t really matter.  I’m just glad I saw it happen.


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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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