Happy New Year!

January 8, 2014

Yikes!  It’s already a week into the New Year.  Where has the time gone?  I lost a couple of days to the Virus of Death.  Bill was on vacation so we were trying to knock a few things off the to-do list and get in our last bit of relaxing family time.  We had such plans for Bill’s time off.  We had planned on watching a couple of movies, catching up on tv.  A couple of days a go, Bill said to me “I’m so glad we were able to watch all those movies.”  We laughed.  We did not watch a single movie.  But we did watch a bit of tv, cleared some space off the DVR, and got to relax.

Christmas table runner

I was thinking about my last post and realizing that despite how busy I was, I found some time for holiday crafting.  I managed a Christmas table runner.  I have bought so much cute Christmas fabric over the last couple of years and I finally managed to do something with it.  It’s a simple runner, strips of varying width, quilted with diagonal lines, hand sewn binding.

christmas hats

And I managed to knit us all Christmas hats.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the three of us in our hats, but we all have them.  It was a fun knit.  The hardest part was the pompom and getting one that was full enough.  Bill and Joshua wore them to the farmer’s market ever Sunday in December and got a lot of compliments.  Yay!

Of course with the new year, I’ve been thinking resolutions, but I’m not sure I’m going to make any formal ones this year.  I need to finish some from last year, unfortunately.  Now that I’m thinking about it, my resolution for 2014 is to Get Caught Up.  Catch up on projects I’ve had on my to-do list for a couple of years, catch up on last year’s resolutions, and projects that have been on my mind.  I feel pretty good about this.  Wish me luck!

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 First Knitting Project

January 10, 2013

I had a couple of friends over last week for knitting and Downton Abbey.  We starting from the first season and doing some knitting while we hang out.  If we chatted a bit less, we’d probably be through the first season, but the chatting is oh so fun.  To top it off, I’ve been making progress on a project that’s been languishing.  In the course of our chatting, I realized that I’ve known how to knit almost as long as one of my friends has been alive.  That makes me feel old.

first project

first project 1

A couple of days later, I found some photos that show my first ever knitting project.  It was some kind of feather and fan blanket.  I guess my mom taught me how to do the pattern.  It seems like a rather challenging project for a first, but I don’t remember ever doing a hat or scarf.  At least not in those early years.  I distinctly remember sitting on our red couch knitting that blanket during football games.

I’m hoping that somewhere, I have a better picture of the blanket.  Clearly, these photos are really of my cat, Maggie.  Such a sweet kitty.  Anyway, it’s kinda cool to see some of my early work.

As for later work, I’ve been working on my colorwheel quilt.  Bill bought me the fat eighths kit four years ago and I’m finally getting to it.  The timing is perfect though, because I’m going to hang it in Joshua’s room.  I think it’s perfect for a little one.  I pulled out some of the more floral fabrics and used some stuff from my stash instead.  There’s still some flowers in it, since my boy is going to appreciate nature.  Sewing the quilt has been fun and I’m really excited about how it’s coming together.  I think I should be able to finish it this weekend.

colorwheel quilt

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I Just Got Soooo Lucky

October 19, 2012

Now that my craft room is clean, I’ve been able to check off a couple of projects from my to do list.  One was another panel of my kitchen curtains.  I screwed up with the grommets, doing the first 3 panels  with an odd number and that was no good.  FYI, use an even number.  You don’t want the end of one panel finish pointing out, you want them pointing in.  Confused?  I was able to make it work by taking the middle panel and cutting off a grommet and refinishing it.  Then I was able to overlap the end of the other two panels  and make it look finished.  Still confused?  Trust me, it worked.  But the problem was that the panels weren’t wide enough to cover the end brackets.  And I didn’t have enough fabric left to make a 4th panel.  I finally got around to ordering another yard and this afternoon I made the panel.  I wasn’t rushing.  It turned out well.  One end was about a quarter to half inch longer than the panel it was meeting but I switched panels around and they worked.  And it was at that point that I gasped and prayed that the fabric was right side up because I never checked before I put the grommets in.

kitchen curtains

The universe was smiling down on me because the fabric was right side up.  I cannot express how relieved I am.  Because once again, I don’t have enough fabric to make another panel.

While I’m at it, here’s my other set of valances.  I never posted a picture, just complained about what a pain they were.  I do think they look nice.

my other kitchen curtains

The kitchen is very nearly done.  I have just two or three more small projects to work on and then I will deem it complete!


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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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Three Little Hats Plus A Fourth

May 20, 2012

For some (unknown) reason, last weekend I cast on three hats.  Not one right after the other, but over the course of two days.  I was playing with some of my newly purchased yarn, Finito by Malabrigo, and it was sooo soft so I decided to do a little gauge swatch and then I cast on a hat for Joshua.

baby hat

Then, not too long after that, I was inspired to pull out some stash yarn and cast on a hat for myself.  I really don’t know why I decided to do it at the instant but I did.  That was Saturday.  On Sunday, I realized that I needed to get started on a hat for one of Bill’s coworkers whose wife is expecting a little girl.  Enter hat number three.  It looks sort of small but is super stretchy because of the ribbing.

ribbed newborn hat

I finished the pinch hat (my hat) on Friday.  I used some Debbie Bliss Andes that I had, held double.  I had just enough.  My mom is going to bring me a brooch when she visits next.  She is the queen of brooches.  It’s a cute hat though I’m hoping that it will stretch the tiniest little bit when I block it.  It’s a winter hat.  I have no idea why I knit myself a winter hat except that I liked the pattern and I had the yarn.

pinch hat

I’m also realizing I never blogged about a different hat I knit Joshua.  One of the women I work with at the yarn store designed a giraffe hat and I had to knit it.  I made some modifications to it (knit it with a ribbed band and knitted the ears and nubbies) but otherwise I followed the pattern.  It worked up pretty quickly although I need to work on my tension when I do colorwork.

giraffe hat

sporting his giraffe hat

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will be down to one hat (Joshua’s Finito) and I’m not in  a big hurry to get that done.  He won’t need it for a while.  And there’s so many other projects I want/need to work on!

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Happy Day After Mother’s Day

May 14, 2012

I hope all the mommies out there had a wonderful day.  My first Mother’s Day was excellent!  We got some stuff done around the house, spent quality time with Joshua who has started rolling over and is cutting his first tooth (I can see it popping up!) and I did lots of knitting!

your card tastes good mama

happy mother's day

I putzed around my craft room playing with some yarn I just bought.  Planning out projects.  Admiring all the pretty colors.  Oh the dangers of working in a yarn store…

the dangers of working in a yarn store

And I worked on my craft project.  It’s a project I saw on pinterest and I really like how it’s coming together although it seems to be taking forever.  Bill says I’ve made a lot of progress over the last few days it just doesn’t feel like it.  I can’t wait to be done so I can finally tell Bill what I’m going to do with it.  For now, it’s a secret.

art project

Bill and I worked on the garage this weekend and I can finally pull my car into it!!  Yippee.  Still a lot to be done in there, but we’ve made significant progress!

That was the weekend!

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August 20, 2011

of things in progress…

a quilt…

quilting in progress

some scrapbooking…

scrapbooking in progress

granny squares…

sunshine day squares in progress

and playing…

playing in progress

more playing in progress

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Mystery Revealed

August 7, 2011

Back in March, I went to Minnesota and did a mystery quilting weekend with my girlfriend.  It was the first time I’ve done anything like it, and it was very fun.  A bit challenging for me as I would categorize myself as an “adventurous beginniner” but I muddled through.  I worked on the project off and on, but really picked it up again in June and July.  Last week, I mentioned how I was considering redoing a portion of the quilt because my squares were wonky.  It took me a week to redo the stars and last Monday I was able to lay out all my pieces.  Of course before I was able to do the layout, I had to quickly make myself some design boards, a la Oh, Frannson!’s awesome tutorial.  Bill helped me of course and my design boards made everything so much easier.  Most importantly, they freed up my floor space so I was still able to walk in my craft room, and it’s a much better viewing angle.

quilt on display boards

And here she is.  I spent all afternoon Monday placing pieces.  Bill asked me how long it would take to finish and I guessed a week.  I was right on target!  It came together much more easily than I anticipated it would.  My remaking on the sawtooth stars squares was the absolute right decision.  I was amazed at how many of my corners were matching up as I put the rows together.  Experienced quilters wouldn’t be surprised by that, but I was!  There are, of course, some ugly spots but I figured that once it’s all quilted and washed you won’t be able to see those problem areas.

you can't resist the belly

This is from Thursday or Friday.  I’m actually surprised she doesn’t have random threads on her belly because she did have a lot of those on her this week.  I have to be super careful when I’m working at my machine.  My chair is on wheels and unfortunately, Gracie’s survival instinct does not include how to avoid wheels.  She likes to stretch out next to me, begging for pets, or sit at my feet, or sneak up behind my chair.  She’s a fun distraction though.  Anyway, back to the quilt.

Today, I was able to finish up my quilt top.  I sewed together the last seam, down the middle and I open it up to iron it and WHAM!  Two squares of the same fabric, right next to each other.  Noooooo….  Despite my hours of staring at the design boards, I still make a “mistake.”  At that point, I took a nap.  I woke up and decided to replace one of the offending squares.  I contemplated living with it, but thankfully, the mistake was in the easiest possible place for me to fix it and so I did.  Had it been more complicated, I would have let it go.  I think.  Anyway, twenty minutes later and she was really done.

my mystery quilt top completed

The pattern is Sew Many Stars by Glad Creations.  It’s currently not listed in the online store, but I’m sure you could contact them and I’m sure they would be able to help.  This is by far the most complicated thing I have ever done.  I can’t believe I made it.  I love how it looks in the mod, bright prints.  I used a lot of Amy Butler, some Anna Maria Horner…  I saved the print names from the selvedges so that I could put them on the back of my quilt.  I blogged about my fabric choices here.  The finished quilt should be queen bed sized, but I haven’t measured it.  I’m going to put this aside for a little bit and finish some of the other quilts I have going on.  But I’m anxious to get this one done, so I don’t think it will sit for long.

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360 Degrees

February 23, 2011

I went from not being able to make a decision to not being able to turn down a project.  Yesterday, I started a new type of embroidery.  It’s Sashiko, which I read about on The Purl Bee. They have a great tutorial.  It’s not hard and moves quickly.


On Monday, I started some Granny Squares.  I’m going to start with two pillows, having been inspired by this project.  I’m using Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK.  It is D-Vine.  So soft. I luuuuv the way it feels in my fingers.  I can’t wait to squoosh my face up against this pillow for a mid-afternoon nap.

the start of some granny squares

I also started working on my February to-do list.  I finished my mom’s bag today.  I’m mulling over the “thing” I’m going to “create”.  And I’ve been working on my scrapbook which turns the coffee table into a paper filled disaster area.


Finally, in my last post I mentioned how Gracie likes the mohair I’m using for my scarf.  I had the project on the couch while I sat on the floor.  At some point, I turned around to find this:

gracie finds the mohair scarf

That cat cracks me up.

That’s it for me.  I’ve got projects to finish.


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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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