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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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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Holy Crapoly!

June 7, 2012

This post is going to be about something crafty!  Hold on to your hats!  Long ago, when I first decided to blog, it was meant to be about my crafty endeavors but really it’s just become a bit of an online journal.  Not that you seem to mind, which I appreciate.  It seems so hard to get to the crafty stuff these days.  Such is life.  But it is with lots of excitement that I share a recent project I finished.

A little background.  We moved into a new house about 7 months ago and had the kitchen remodeled.  I have a dresser in the kitchen now that I use to store some china, table linens, etc.  It was naked on top.  I also keep the dog’s food and water bowls in the kitchen.  I was using a piece of cardboard as her “placemat.”  Yup, classy.

dog bowls, before

I decided to do a short of table runner/large placemat for the dresser, and a placemat for the dog’s bowls.  Jumping on the hexagon craze, I handstitched some hexagon flowers.  Mom helped me when she was here in March.  In April, I sewed them to a piece of linen.  In May, I finally got to the quilting and finishing.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.  I sort of outlined the pattern of the flowers and used three different colors of thread to give it sort of an ombre effect.

table runnertable runner

I quickly put together the placemats.  Nothing fancy.  A very simple and easy look which I was able to get done fast!  I made two so that I can wash one/have one.

dog bowls, after

I decided to use linen as my main fabric.  I am very interested to see how these wash up and wear over time.  I read a tip that linen is absorbant and good to use for kitchen type stuff.  I think I read a tip like that which gave me the idea, but I have no idea where I read it or if I dreamt it.  We shall see.  In the meantime, I’m very happy with how my projects turned out!

P.S.  The dog does not seem to notice the different between her cardboard placemat and her linen one.  Ungrateful mutt!

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Progress Made

November 9, 2011

I finally finished Julia’s quilt and shipped it off to her, along with a few gifts for her new daughter.  I’m happy with how the quilting turned out.  I was super torn with how to do the actual quilting, especially since I’ve only done a total of 4 quilts.  I knew I wanted to emphasize the diagonals in the middle section, and I thought outlining the large stars would look good.  At the last minute, I decided to do the small stars too.  They were actually easier than the big stars and went quickly.  I wasn’t able to get any good photographs that really show my work, but that’s okay.  I also did the binding, agonizing over the correct shade of red.  I sent my friend photos with 3 choices, but the lighting in the house is bad so the photos weren’t super accurate and she left it to my judgement. In the end, I think I went with the right shade of orangey-red.  Gracie misses this quilt.  She took every opportunity to curl up on it.

Julia's quiltGracie find a warm place to nap

Along with the quilt, I sent a little sweater dress I knit.  The pattern was super easy, although I made some modifications based on feedback from other Ravelry users.  (Here’s the ravelry info.)  I used some leftover Sundara yarn which is super soft.  The only downside is that it’s hand wash, but hopefully that isn’t a big deal.

sweater dress

I also sent a little elephant which I made from the book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.  The elephant was relatively easy to make and I think it turned out well.  In fact, I made two of them.  One is for another friend who is having a baby in a few weeks.  I think the hardest part of the elephant was stuffing it.  I took my time doing it, and once it was done, it looked like I should have stuffed it some more.  My only complaint with the finished product is that they are hard to photograph.  It doesn’t help that in both cases, I was in a hurry too.

An elephant for ellieElephant for Baby Lee

The last thing I included in the box for Julia was a cotton hat.  A basic roll brimmed hat, but with nice soft Blue Sky Organic Cotton Yarn.

It’s a big relief to get those things out to Julia.  She received the box and was very happy with how her quilt turned out and she like the gifts.  Yay!  Now I can focus on packing which is good, because we are moving in about 10 days.  Ack!

Things That Make Me Happy

July 29, 2011

happy flowers

Bill walked through the door on Sunday morning with this super cheerful bouquet of sunflowers.  I have been enjoying them all week.  Sunflowers make me smile.  This morning I moved them into my craft room to make me happy while I persevered through my mystery quilt sawtooth star squares.  I thought I had finished these squares last week but when I looked at them, they were terrible.  They weren’t the right measurements and they were messy and after mulling it over for a couple of days, I decided to make a new set of them.  I saw them making my life difficult as I tried to put the quilt together.  It’s totally my choice to redo them, but it also kinda sucks.  They are the hardest, most time consuming part of the quilt.  The good news is that the second set is looking much better.  I am using my wing clipper ruler (which I forgot I had the first time around) and this batch is actually coming out square and they are the right size.  So while it’s tedious and boring, it was the right decision and my sunflowers make it a wee bit less painful.  I’m also going to do something with my reject squares, I’m just not sure what.

stretching kitters

The other thing that makes my resewing less painful is this little kitty.  She makes me laugh ever day, if not multiple times a day.  She’s just so darn cute.  Gracie loves to stretch out on her back and show me her belly.  The best thing is that she lets me rub it.  I love the belly.

strawberry lemonade

This summer has been the summer of lemonade.  I’ve pretty much cut out all soda (diet and regular) from my diet.  I kinda miss it because I do enjoy an ice cold Pepsi every now and then, but I know it’s not good for me.  And actually, I’ve gotten to the point where regular Pepsi is just too sweet for me.  Weird.  So this summer, my drink of choice has been lemonade.  And really only at dinner time.  But sometimes we go out, and an extra special treat is a strawberry lemonade.  Panera has a very delicious frozen strawberry lemonade.  We had some strawberries in the fridge and I decided to make my own strawberry lemonade.  I blended up a pint of very ripe strawberries with about 2 teaspoons sugar and ended up with strawberry puree which I poured over a glass of iced Simply Lemonade.  That pint of strawberries made about 4 or 5 glasses of strawberry lemonade, and I stored the puree in the fridge in a covered container.  I might also try it without the sugar; it all depends on how sweet the strawberries are and your sweet to tart preference.  Yum!

There’s lots of other things that make me happy, but I don’t have any more photographs of them.  I’ll have to work on that.

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Don’t Fence Me In

May 6, 2011




Here’s my finished Innocent Crush quilt top, in the Fenced In pattern.  I like how it turned out but my big dilemma is how to quilt it.  My comfort level lies with straight lines, but the quilt is dominated by straight lines.  I am considering trying to free motion it but that has me a wee bit nervous. I really want to do the quilting myself but all that fabric has me concerned about my ability to maneuver the fabric.  We will see.

Gracie is enjoying the quilt.  First she played in her fort and then she rolled around on it after I spread it on the bed.  Gracie tested, Gracie approved.

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Fruits Of Our Labor

March 26, 2011



This is what we accomplished today.  Mine is on top,  Julia’s is the second photo.

I am exhausted.


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I Am A Fabric Cutting Machine

March 15, 2011


I have cut enough fabric to last me awhile.  My first priority was cutting the fabric for my mystery quilt weekend which is coming up.  I’m excited and nervous!  I took my time cutting but was able to finish it in two afternoons and one marathon afternoon and evening session.  It wasn’t as tedious as I thought it would be and it went quickly.  What surprised me was how much fun I had playing with the fabrics.  It was fun to see them all spread out and then see them in little pieces.  Some of the fabrics are so beautiful. That’s an Amy Butler Soul Blossoms fabric above and I just love it!  I love it so much it will be in my quilt three times in three different colorways.

mystery quilt fabric packs

I’ve never done a mystery quilt.  The instructions have you cut each piece of fabric into a certain sizes.  All my different cuts are organized in ziploc bags.  I’m so curious to see how this comes together.

all ready for my mystery quilt weekend

I’m ready for my quilting weekend!  I packed up everything right away so that I wouldn’t lose track of anything.


And then, because I hadn’t spent enough time cutting fabric, I cut fabric for another quilt.  I’m going to make the Fenced In quilt from The Practical Guide to Patchwork.  It’s going to be for our guest bedroom and I’m using the entire collection of Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush Line.  I made throw pillows out of one of Ms. Horner’s other lines of fabric (Good Folks)and I was thinking I would have to remake all those pillows (and I really like them so this was not a happy thought).  Thank goodness for Bill who helped me realize the pillows would work with the new quilt I’m making.  The existing fabrics compliment the ones I’m going to use. That was a huge relief.  He’s pretty handy to keep around and helps me when I want to make more work for myself. Anyhoo, back to the quilt.  I’m deviating from the instructions a bit because I’m using 22 different prints instead of the 9 suggested in the books, but I’ve got a plan.  And have I mentioned this is going to be a *King* size quilt?!?

I also cut fabric for a new top which is on my to do list for the month.  Now that all this fabric is cut, I better spend some quality time in front of my machine.  I think it will be a miracle if I finish both these quilt this year though, based on how long Amy’s quilt took.  Thankfully, I believe in miracles.


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Setting March Goals

March 1, 2011

my final creation

Here is my final finished “creation” for February.  I thought I was done with it last night when it looked like this.  It felt kinda blah to me.  But now, I’m super happy with it.  I filled in the “white” space and now it looks finished.


It was a fun project.  And now here’s what I hope to accomplish this March:

1.  Make new pillows for the living room.

2.  Finish my basketweave afghan.

3.  Finish mohair scarf (so that the cat stops pulling it out of my knitting basket during the night).

4.  Cut Innocent Crush Fabric for a new quilt.

5.  Make a top.

6.  Knit a sweater.

7.  Keep my schedule at the gym.

8.  Read 3 books.

9.  Finish Valentine socks.

10.  Make some tablet pouches.

We’ll see how I do.  I’ve got other things that I have to do, like cut fabric for my mystery quilt weekend.  And I will be out of town for a few days.  But the point of this exercise isn’t meant for me to accomplish everything, it’s to keep me focused.  So I’ll be like a laser beam this month.  Happy March!

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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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