A Needle Emergency

March 31, 2013

And it would have to happen on a national holiday.  I was sitting down with my knitting and the Blackhawks game when “crack”.  knitting needle in two pieces.  Bugger.

a needle emergency

My interchangeable tip cracked.  And that was my only set of size 5s.  Grrr…  Thankfully it is not the end of the world, just an inconvenience.  I am knitting off a size 4 tip, and knitting with the size 5 tip.  After every row, I have to remember to switch the tips.  Grrr…  I’m so close to finishing a project that I didn’t want to lose a few ours of precious knitting time.

On a happier note, Happy Easter!

happy easter

Hope you had a lovely day!

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Weeds And Such

March 14, 2013

Spring has sprung here in the South Bay area.  Actually, things have been blooming for about a month already.  Including weeds in my yard.  We’ve really only landscaped one part of the front of the house so that’s all I really pay attention to.  There’s rocks around the plants, but we never put liner down first so weeks pop up.  I’m paying the price for not keeping up with the weeding during the last couple of months.  Surprise, surprise, now I’m finding the job overwhelming.  I just do not like to do it.  I don’t like worms and bugs and I especially do not spiders.  YUCK.   Anyway, last week I finally decided to get started on the job.  I’m doing it in short bursts, sections at a time.  15 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever time I’ve got.  Today I finished the front of the landscaped part.  Now the “yard” area is bad.  It’s all rocks, but there’s tons of weeds there and I don’t really want to use weed killer (chemicals) and I don’t really want to pull all those weeds which won’t kill them either it will just make it look better.  I’ve still got to figure out what to do there.


Hmmm…  Which part is done, and which part isn’t?



See those green tufts in the rocks?  Weeds.  What is visible in the photo is nothing compared to what you don’t see.  But aren’t my guys cute?

And the backyard.  I can’t even stand it.  We’re going to have the backyard redone this year, but I don’t know what to do in the mean time.  It is out of control.

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I Finished A Project

February 22, 2013

landing strip

landing strip project

landing strip project

I needed some sort of protector for my landing strip.  It’s the place where we toss our keys, loose change, things we need to grab as we head out the door…  A lacey thing didn’t really fit, and I wasn’t feeling something very quilted and I’m loving the chevrons right now.  So I made a simple little crocheted edge placemat.  Thank goodness for this tutorial.  This was about a 4 day project, abut 2 hours a day, that took a week.  One day to cut fabric, one day to sew it together, one day for part 3 of the tutorial and a final day for part 4.  I like it a lot.  Certainly not perfect (not sure it’s truly rectangular but am too lazy to check) but it makes me happy.

I finished a shawl this week.  Started cutting fabric for a new quilt, inspired by this one.  Picked up a sweater I started about 2 years ago.  Have done a ton of laundry.  And have been constantly entertained by my family.

silly boy heading to bath time

sweet sweet boy

like minds

I’m going to go peek in on my little guy who’s fast asleep and then spend some time on my sweater now.  Later!

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My Days

February 8, 2013

When Joshua naps, most days I want to curl up in bed with the kitty and nap too.  Sometimes I do.  This week, however, I have “forced” myself to stay awake and spend some time on projects.  I’ve been getting my digital photos for 2012 organized so that I can work on my 2012 album.  That’s tedious.  Important, but tedious.  The first album I did, which only covers two weeks of Joshua’s life, took me two weeks to make.  I’m hoping the 2012 album doesn’t take me a year.  I did the first album on Shutterfly and it’s perfect!  

I’ve also spent naptime working on some quilting projects.  I finished, Finished, FINISHED my colorwheel quilt.  As I think I mentioned before, it’s larger than I expected it to be, but I found a spot to put it.  I’m a little concerned that a certain little boy might pull it down, but we’ll see.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  As I look at the picture, I see a couple of segments that maybe weren’t put in the exact right place but I’m okay with that.  The only use for this quilt though is to hang on a wall.  It got a couple of stains on it just in the course of my working on it.  The white looks great but so not practical.

colorwheel quilt

I also finally got around to working on a paper-pieced quilt square.  I bought the book 50 fabulous paper-pieced stars with the intention of making all 50 (over the course of a very long time).  I pulled fabric for my first square months ago (last summer) and I just now made that first square.  I love it!  I used some Heather Bailey and Amy Butler fabrics.  It looks so different from the traditional fabrics used in the book (yay!).  I’m trying to make these squares with stash fabrics.  I’ve got some good stuff.  I spent some time pulling fabrics for the next two blocks.  I’m also going to be doing a QAL with a girlfriend (Swoon!) and I pulled some fabric for that too.  I actually already have fabric cut for it (my halloween quilt) but I might do another one if I can find the fabric in my stash.

delaware square

The rest of my days with Joshua really fly by.  We do a walk almost every day in between Joshua’s first breakfast and second breakfast.  Then we play.  He’s getting so fun now that he’s walking.  When the weather’s nice we go out in the afternoon and he walks to the corner with me and Casey.  We were out for our walk when Bill came home from work and joined us.

family walk

Once Joshua goes to bed I pull out my knitting.  I finished my honey cowl (finally!) and started my second Marin with some Malabrigo I bought at the store.  We got a new shipment a couple of weeks ago and a couple of skeins asked to come home with me.  I’m halfway done with my scarf and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming out.

marin #2

And then, sometimes I manage to read a few pages before bed.  I’m working on Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence.

And that’s that.

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Another Year Closer to 40

January 26, 2013

Yuck.  I don’t mind my birthday, but I do not like that the number is getting dangerously close to 4-0.  Thankfully I have the most adorable little boy to keep me young.

happy birthday to me

making cookies

pretty cookie

And that’s been the excitement.  Bill’s parents were in town visiting and it was nice to have a crowd for my big day.  We had a lovely visit with them that just flew by.  It didn’t help that I worked which always makes the weekend pass in a blink.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we got lots of outdoor time.  We walked and played with Joshua in the back.  It was a lot of fun.

I requested sugar cookies for my birthay, with icing!  They are my favorite and we don’t have much time to make them.  Bill and his mom spent a bit of time rolling them out and decorating.  They were delicious.  I felt a little guilty eating them because of all the time and effort put into making them look so nice, but they were so good.  I told Bill I wanted cookies instead of a cake, but he didn’t listen and surprised me with a beautiful and delicious cake from Sweet Tooth Confections.  It’s the bakery that did Joshua’s birthday cake.  My birthday cake was awesome!  A white cake with whip cream frosting and strawberries.  My favorite combination.  Although usually I go buttercream frosting, but the whip cream was a nice change of pace.  Anyway, I was really surprised!  Bill had some co-conspirators which made it easier on his end.  My in-laws babysat (and picked up the cake) while Bill and I saw a movie.  What a treat!  I chose Lincoln which was really good and thought provoking.  We took it easy in the afternoon and then all of us went out for dinner.  It was a really great day.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Bill’s parents left on Tuesday and we took Joshua to have his one year portraits taken.  I can not wait to see them!  I’ve seen a preview of two photos and am loving what I saw so far.  I know that I am not going to be able to narrow it down to a reasonable number of pictures.

On Wednesday, Bill left for Tahoe on a work ski trip.  Must be nice (she mutters jealously).  Joshua and I had a lot of fun by ourselves.  He’s such happy little boy, I really don’t remember him crying once.  I let myself chill out while he slept althought I did get some laundry done at night.  That was the extent of my productivity but at least it was something.  I thought about doing something crafty, but I didn’t actually get to the doing.  I have so many projects that I’m close to finishing, I just have to carve out some time.

I’ll leave you with this photo I took a week ago as I was leaving work.  The sky was so beautiful I had to pull out my phone and take a picture.  Cheers!



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Here We Go A-Wassailing…

December 4, 2012

family outing to tree farm

papa does most of the work

mama takes a turn

Joshua watches us cut down our Christmas treesuccess!

among the trees so green.  I got that carol in my head from the moment we stepped out of the car.

Yesterday we went to a tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree.  It is the first time we’ve ever cut down our own tree.  Bill is a natural tree guy so we have gotten a fresh tree in the years we’ve been together.  Driving back from Santa Cruz the day after Thanksgiving, almost every car had a fresh tree on its roof so we got the idea to cut down our own.  It was very fun.  I think Joshua will really enjoy it when he’s older.  Bill took yesterday off of work and the weather was gorgeous making it the perfect day for our outing.  We even took little Casey who was very well behaved.  He was a little nervous in the car on the way there, but more relaxed on the way home.  I’d say that was because he was a little tired but this little puppers has endless energy.

Such a fun day.  We are between visitors at the moment.  Trying to get things picked up and ready for the next one.  Time to flip some laundry…

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A Blur

November 29, 2012

That is life at the moment.  The days seem so busy and when I think back about what I did, I have no idea.  I think the only thing I accomplish is living.  That’s not true exactly.  The baby gets fed and changed and played with.  During his nap I sit and check my email, read some blogs, take care of “business.”  Today I took care of a Pottery Barn return.  That kind of “business.”  My dad has been visiting and he’s been helping keep an eye on the little guy which has enabled me to get more stuff done but heck if I know what that stuff is.

joshua and his grandpa enjoy the pacific

I participated in a craft swap.  I just got my gift wrapped up for the mail tomorrow.  I hope she likes it.  It had to be a handmade item.  It took awhile for me to get inspired and then the implementation was tough but the final product turned out well.  I think.

I have been working on Joshua’s first birthday party.  Monster themed.  I got the invitations out a little later than I had planned on but people are coming!  I can’t believe my little guy is turning one.  He’s cruising around with his little walker.  Or his high chair.  Or a kitchen chair.  Or our rolly stool.  If he can push it, he’ll walk with it.  He’s such a smiley little one.  Makes me one happy mama, that is for certain.

walking with the stool

I thought I had cleaned up my craft room but as I look around it, it’s sort of disastrous again.

We adopted a little dog at the beginning of the month and he is a little nut.  I’ve missed having a dog.  Casey, the puppers, is a corgi mix and very patient with the baby.  But sometimes a little jealous too.  We’ve all got doggie school tomorrow.  I’ve been looking forward to it.  I’ve forgotten what it is like to have a young dog.  A better name for him would have been Shadow.  If I’m home, it’s pretty much at my hip.

casey is always close by


Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We made all our favorites.  After not cooking last year (because we had just moved in and were having the kitchen renovated) we remembered how to do it.  It was delicious!

That’s life over here.  Enjoy your last day of November!


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An Exciting Trip Out East

November 3, 2012

We just got back from a beautiful, and somewhat exciting, trip east.  It had been planned for several months, centered around Homecoming at Penn.  We arrived to news reports about a tropical storm/hurricane heading for Philadelphia due to arrive sometime Monday or Tuesday.  No problem.  We were flying back home early Monday and would miss it.  Guess again.  Our flight was canceled on Sunday afternoon and we were rebooked for a flight two days later.  In the end, it was a win for us.  We had no problems with the hurricane, never lost power, had no damage to the in-laws house, and had a few extra days to relax and visit with family.  Others were not so lucky and it is so sad to see such damage to the Jersey Shore and parts of New York and Connecticut.  Driving around Bill’s parents neighborhood, we saw many established, old trees uprooted and some even snapped in half in the middle of solid trunks.  Please send prayers and/or positive thoughts to those whose lives have been impacted so harshly by mother nature.

a real cheesesteak!!

what am I supposed to do with this?

thanks mama

fun with papa



enjoying the band

the flag from behind college hall

asleep during halftime

On a more positive and less somber note, we had a wonderful visit.  We stayed at Bill’s parents and took a side trip to MD and VA to visit friends.  We had quality time with family and old friends in Philly, and relived our college days with the Penn Band at the football game.  Joshua got to play in leaves and be spoiled by his grandparents.  I’m sure the highlight of his trip was meeting the Penn Band.  He was totally unfazed by all the loud noise, I mean music.  He feel asleep for halftime and the entire second half of the game.  He was sleeping right in front of the drum section and didn’t stir when the band played.  When he wants to, he can sleep through anything.  Our extra days gave us some time to relax which was a treat since our visit had been pretty hectic.  Bill’s brother and girlfriend came back down from NYC where they were without power and water, and we had a fabulous family dinner at one of the few restaurants that were open, though it was running on generators.  Bill’s cousins joined us and it was one of those perfect evenings that wouldn’t have been as much fun had it been planned.  The flight home was one of the first to leave Philly for San Francisco.  We arrived home tired and content.

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Projects From Hell

August 6, 2012

Ugh.  That’s all I can say.  Ugh.

project from hell

We bought a new entertainment unit.  Something a little more interesting than the ikea unit we had.  I saw this one (in the rust color) in a catalog and the concern was that it was all open.  I asked Bill if he thought we could do something to make it work for us and he thought we could.  My original thought was peg board.  I ordered it, it arrived, it sat in its box in my craft room for a couple of weeks.  We finally opened it and really liked it.  Bill confirmed we could make it work.  We bought the peg board, cut the peg board, painted the peg board, attached it with zip ties and put all the electronics inside it.  It was a horrible weekend trying to get that done.  So many cords.  SO.  MANY.  CORDS.  It was one of those projects where there was never going to be a good solution.  I was miserable last Sunday.  And I hated the looks of it.  The arrangement of the electronics looked terrible and it looked like peg board on the back of the unit.  A lot of work and I wasn’t happy.

So on my walk on Monday (a week ago) I was pondering the project.  And I came up with a solution.  I called Bill at work (just what he needs) and told him I knew how to fix it.  Take everything off, take everything apart, use thin plywood, recut it, drill a butt-load of holes, repaint it, redo all the electronics and voila!  To which he replied “ok.”  I think it was awesome job of “selling” the project.  I also told him I did not want to work on this all weekend like the previous weekend so we broke it up over a couple of days.  We still are not finished yet but I am so much happier.  It looks a lot better.  I think we’ve also tackled some of the cord control.  (Have I mentioned that there are just so many cords?)  I’ll post a photo when it’s finally complete.  Hopefully tomorrow.  Bill did look at me with sad baby blue eyes and said “please don’t make me do this again.”  He’s been such a good sport and shown more patience than I thought he had.

My other project from hell was a valance for my large kitchen window.  I had an idea of a London Valance but when I hung it up, I was very unhappy.  It covered the window but wasn’t wide enough.  I had made my pleats too big.  Ugh.  Saturday I started over.  Lots of seam ripping.  Fix the pleats, lots of ironing, a little sewing, and once they were hung they were better but not great.  They just weren’t attractive.  I left them hanging and went to bed.  I pondered them the next morning and came up with a new plan.  I explained it to Bill.  He wasn’t that interested.  More seam ripping, more ironing, lots more sewing and when I hung them up I was happy.  It’s a miracle!  I really wasn’t not expecting the valance to be a three day project.  I haven’t taken any pictures because the kitchen was a bit of a disaster.  I also want to get my pictures hung so that the kitchen can be “done” and then I’ll post some photos.


To get away from the miserable projects, we took Joshua to the park.  Nothing like a little one laughing to improve the mood!

My mom arrives tomorrow.  We’ve been trying to get the house into a presentable state for her.  I’m so excited for her visit.  Bill told me a couple of weeks ago that he was looking forward to my mom’s visit.  When I asked him why (I know he likes my mom but it was a statement out of the blue) and he said “maybe I’ll get to take a nap.”  Poor guy.  He’s gotten in a couple of naps, but we both have a list of things we’re hoping to accomplish while my mom is here.  And hopefully we’ll get in a few naps (if we’re lucky).

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Color Affection Accomplished

August 1, 2012

I finished my color affection shawl today.  It’s blocking.  It’s a little itchy.  For some reason, I got it in my head that I was knitting with alpaca.  I didn’t.  It’s merino and mohair.  Hence the itchiness.  I think it is a little better.  I picked the yarn more for the colors.  Love the colors.  It turned out well.

color affection blocking

I even made time to make some spaghetti sauce.  Joshua played in his playpen and watched me chop.  I love this sauce.  Most of the stuff is from our garden, supplemented by some farmer’s market tomatoes and an onion from the whole foods.  But mostly from the garden.  :-)

making spaghetti sauce

Lastly, my little man helped me fold laundry.  And he showed off his teeth.  Such a sweet little boy.  Melts my heart every day.

my little helper showing off his teeth

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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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