Christmas In July

July 14, 2011

About the only thing able to hold my attention these days is le Tour de France and needlepoint.  I went through my pile of canvases and was inspired by some of the projects in my queue.  I was also a bit overwhelmed.  I dug through my electronic files and found a spreadsheet where I listed all the canvases and projects I owned.  Yet another scary number.  Over a hundred in both needlepoint and cross stitch.  If I finished 10 projects a year, it would take me over 10 years to stitch what I have.  Crap!  And I’m not sure there was ever a year I finished 10 projects.  Double crap!  I did pull out a few projects, seven, that I bought that I’m no longer interested in and I am going to try and find a place to donate them.  I’m going to have to go through the pile again with a more critical eye.  The good news is that I rediscovered some awesome projects that I can’t wait to get to.

Right now, I’m focusing on some little projects.  I have two medium sized projects in progress that aren’t interesting me at the moment.  I pulled out a couple of Christmas ornaments to start instead.  In fact, I finished three ornaments in a week!  I can only show you two because one is a gift.

mitten ornament

A mitten…

reindeer ornament

A reindeer…  I really enjoyed stitching up this guy.  I started with red part of the ornament, and used some Vineyard Silk thread from my stash.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working with that fiber.  It is so much more enjoyable to stitch with a high quality material.  It lays so nicely, the colors are vivid…  I used alpaca to make my reindeer a little nubby and he turned out well.

Before the ornaments, I worked on two Halloween projects.

spooky house needlepoint

A spooky window…

boo! needlepoint

A cute ghost…

All these projects are with the finisher and I can’t wait to get them back!

I’ve now picked up a very special needlepoint project.  More on that later.

Sleep Is Overrated

June 14, 2011

We, at Casa Napier, are suffering from some pretty obnoxious jet lag.  We’ve been asleep by 8:45 and up between 4:30 and 5 am. It’s been like that for five days.  It’s horrible.  Last night, we managed to stay up until 10:30 and I slept in until 6:30!  Actually, my ideal time to wake up would be 7:30ish so I’m almost there. 5am is a tad early.  Especially on a Saturday.  But on Saturday, I gave up and pulled out a notepad to jot down a to do list.  I’ve had a bunch of little projects on my mind and I finally got them on paper.  We made a decent dent in the list this weekend.

to do list

I can’t say I contributed overly much to the project list.  I came back from vacation with a nasty cold and though every day I felt a little better, I still took things very easy.  But I helped a bit. Sunday was a much more productive day for me.  Saturday, we went shopping for two new chairs for our patio.  We have two comfy chairs with a footrest and one not as comfortable love seat. I’ve always wanted a chair where you could lean back and close your eyes for a little nap.  At one of our hotels in Greece, they had a papasan chair on the patio, and it got me thinking.  We are now the proud owners of two comfy papasan chairs and I can easily see myself putting my feet up, reading, and taking a little nap.  We wiped down all our patio furniture, vacuumed the “lovely” green carpeting that covers the concrete, and rearranged the furniture.  I think it looks very cozy out there.  (There’s no cushions in the chairs because I’m waiting for my covers to arrive.  I’m a big fan of covers; things get pretty dirty otherwise.) We turned our dining table and chairs 90 degrees and it gives us a little more room.  And the finishing touch is a colorful new doormat from Pier 1.  We still have a few more things to put away.  I’ll have to post a better picture later, cushions and all.


I’ve also had the attention span of a gnat lately, but one project that I’ve been able to concentrate on is needlepoint.  I’m finding it very relaxing and it requires less concentration than knitting.  It’s been at least two years since I’ve done any needlepoint and I’m really enjoying it.

needlepoint project

I wish we could blame our lack of sleep on Bill’s minor biking mishap yesterday.  Unfortunately I think it was just bad luck.  Bill was biking to work on a trail, coming off a bridge, and he hit a slippery spot and ended up on the ground.  He thought he was okay at first and finished the remaining mile and a half.  Once the adrenaline wore off and he tried moving his left elbow, he realized he wasn’t 100%.  I picked him up at the office, dropped him at the ER, went to an appointment (I never have anything going on, but of course this happens on the one day I have something scheduled), picked him up at the ER, took him out for a special lunch, stopped  for dog food, and then brought him home to relax.  He’s doing pretty well, but not enjoying the inconvenience.  Thankfully, it’s temporary.

one armed willie

And that’s all for Casa Napier.  I think it’s enough, don’t you?

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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.)

IMG_0638 IMG_0643 IMG_0647

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?

Stocking Woes…

February 27, 2008

You know when you finally get the urge to work on something you haven’t touched in a very long time? I finally got that feeling and I did some work on my Christmas stocking over the weekend. I bought the stocking in January 2005 so I’ve had it for 3 years and made very little progress on it. It’s such a cute stocking! I loved it the second I saw it.

I think that when I started on it, I wasn’t experienced enough. I am a good needlepointer. I’ve done some experimenting with different stitches and textures but my stocking took it to a new level and it was a bit overwhelming.

stocking0308 stockingclose0308

You can click on the photos for a bigger picture. In looking at it now, I’m thinking that I am doing too much tent stitch. I love how the little gingerbread house shutters have turned out, and my border at the top. The name is my handwriting and I think I made the right choice doing that whole section in basketweave. But I think the little heart lollipop and cookies need some texture. I like my snow, simple with nice shading. I LOVE my popcorn and cranberries. My pink gumdrop will have french knots to give it some texture. I’m a little disapointed with the green peppermint stick. On one hand, I really like the shading. But on the other hand, it doesn’t pop.

I am contemplating undoing the lollipop, cookies and the green peppermint stick to give them some texture. I kinda hesitate because I it doesn’t look bad, it could just look a lot better. I’ve got some ideas for other stitches to use. I’m open to suggestions though if anyone has any.

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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!

Needlepoint Alley

February 1, 2007

When I travel, I like to try and find a needlepoint store so that I can buy a souvenir. It’s also fun to check out different stores because they all specialize in different thing, and I can usually find something I haven’t seen before. A couple of weeks ago, Bill and I spent a long weekend in Jensen Beach, Florida, and of course, we found our way to a new store, Needlepoint Alley in North Palm Beach.

I had so much fun looking at the canvases and admiring their huge selection of finished pieces. My husband did not enjoy it as much as I did, but he so great and didn’t rush me at all. And most importantly, he didn’t have a heart attack at the register.

lotus-flower-ndlptI found exactly what I was looking for and then some. I was able to get my souvenir, a needlepoint of two alligators. A beautiful lotus flower needlepoint caught my eye and I was introduced to a new fiber, Vineyard Silk threads.

paris-ndlpt-and-lacq-boxAnd finally, the store had an amazing selection of laquer boxes. They were so beautiful. They get finished with a needlepoint and it puffs out of the top a little, looking quite lovely. I had never seen the laquer boxes before and I couldn’t leave without one. Bill and I picked out a needlepoint of a French hotel since it reminded us of the place we stayed in Paris. I may even try and change the name of the hotel on the canvas.

I left very pleased with my treasures. And I would highly recommend Needlepoint Alley if anyone is in that area!


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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.

Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2006

I hope that everyone is enjoying Boxing Day! That sounds so much better than “the day after Christmas”. My husband has taken my mom and Jacob to Mount Vernon, giving me some time to work on my Christmas cards. But I had to check my email for some addresses, and then I checked my yahoo to see what was going on in the world, which led to checking out my favorite blogs, which made me realize I haven’t blogged in a few days, and here I am.

As my holiday post, I thought I would share my favorite decoration with you. I hang all my needlepoint ornaments from my dining room chandelier. I’m sure they would look lovely on the tree, but I’m worried about getting tree sap on them, or having the dog or a cat knock it off… Plus I think it’s a nice touch in my dining room. The only problem is that I’ve run out of spots for ornaments so I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish the two I have in my stash…

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas and that Santa was generous!

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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.

Finished Ornaments

August 2, 2006

It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas! Well, with the 100+ degree weather we’ve been having this week, maybe it is.

Earlier this summer I finished three Christmas ornaments and I took them to The Needlewoman East in Falls Church, VA, to have them “finished”. As I’ve said before, needlepoint finishing is an art in itself, and not something I have tried. Maybe in a few years.

On the white Christmas lights ornament, I used a new fiber – Flair by Rainbow Gallery. It’s a sheer nylon fiber which I thought was perfect for the lights. The challenge with this fiber is that it stretched and I pulled it too tight which biased my canvas. This piece definitely need to be blocked which restored it to its proper shape. I also used Snow by Caron and was told that Snow can also sometimes lead to pulling your pattern out of shape. My suggestion is if you stitch large areas in these fibers, stitch your piece in a frame.

Rudolph turned out well. I am very happy with him. The only thing I would have done differently is shortened the scarf and added some fringe to his scarf. I think that would have been a nice effect. Maybe next time.

Finally, Santa was a challenge. What I loved about the canvas was all the shading, but I couldn’t find the right shades of read, so I decided to ignore the shading. But then the piece wasn’t interesting enough so I pulled everything out. I pulled things out 3 times which eventually lead to me cutting the canvas. Not good. I was able to fix it and you’d never know where I made my mistake (what a relief). Lesson learned – pull it out once, pull it out twice, but you are asking for trouble if you go for a third time. I did eventually find the right shades for the project. I used Splendor for Santa’s suit, and used Neon Rays for the sleigh. The difference in texture is subtle, but I can tell the difference which is what really matters.

For more information on Rainbow Gallery fibers, check out their website. They have color cards as well as stitching tips.

My ornaments will go into storage for now, but Christmas will be here before I know it and I’ll be able to enjoy the decorations this holiday season.


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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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