Category Archives: family

Happy Thanksgiving!


This year it’s just me, hubby and the boy.  The girl is with her grandparents in Northern California.  She’ll be flying in on Saturday and will be staying for the rest of the semester until spring semester starts in January (I think).  

We drove back from Northern CA Tuesday and it’s been a nice few days getting some work in, some crafting in, and even a trip to Ikea.  

The trip up north was nice too.  We ended up not doing too much in the garage as it was mostly my sister’s stuff that my mom wanted out.  The remaining items were already things my parents had gone through and decided to keep. So I sat around and knit for the most part.  My mom has been collecting fruit trees for me too.  Now that we have our own place I am being given fruit trees to plant and nurture.  I have a Meyer lemon tree, 3 banana plants – one of which is a java banana (ice cream banana), brazilian guava, mexican mango (2), dragon fruit, sugar apples, and cherimoya.  Hopefully they bear fruit and they are yummy.  I planted the trees in pots for right now until I can figure out where I want them to go.  Since the 2 big trees were trimmed we have a lot more sun now and I have more planting options. 

Here’s what I’ve been doing today while the turkey is in the oven. 

I was practice quilting. I have 1 more orphan block to quilt and then on to the quilt tops I’ve finished this past year!

But first, tomorrow is the start of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt and I can’t wait!!!

~Happy quilting!


Day 46, What I miss most …

#1 – hanging out with friends and our craft days. Generally we have knit nights on Thursday nights. And every few weeks we do a craft Saturday or a craft Friday. We are doing zoom to meet virtually but it is just not the same.

#2 – I miss my retreats. There is something about taking all my quilty stuff and working on just quilts for 3 or 5 days.  I get so much done.

#3 – Popping over to the store – my LQS for some fabric, my LYS for some yarn, and even my LNS to hang out and stitch with my stitchy ladies. And, even Joann’s or CVS or Petco for that one thing that I need.  The hubby is our point person when going out in public and those things I needed before – well, I don’t need them so much anymore.

#4 – Making plans. It’s hard to make plans for the future because we don’t know what it will bring. How life will be and how we will need to adjust when we are allowed to go out again. International travel is definitely not in the books this year but what about domestic? I’m itching to go camping which we haven’t done in YEARS but for some reason I am feeling the call to do.  Anyone else?

#5 – Food, eating out, going out to eat with friends and chatting about our lives

and I’m sure there are more… but these are just the top 5 that come to mind.



Happy Thanksgiving!



This year, we stayed home and kept things easy.  It seems that as I get older I’m all for easy.  We ordered everything from Claim Jumpers and Kayla decided to make candied yams and Jacob wanted to make pumpkin pie.  Both came out surprisingly tasty.  But the hard stuff – turkey and ham – came already made so nothing for me to stress about on my end.  I did buy a turkey and I’m baking it today, Saturday, so we can have turkey everything over the next few weeks.  I know, it’s weird.  But it works for me so that’s how I do it.  I remember my mom doing the same when we were younger.  A huge turkey on Thanksgiving for the big family gathering and a smaller turkey just for us to enjoy over the next few weeks.

I spent the holiday break crafting on my projects and spent Black Friday on the first clue of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery QAL (Quilt-a-long).  There’s only 50-9 patches so I hope I can get those done by Monday!

~Happy crafting!



Being thankful on a rainy Saturday morning

I live in Southern California and we’ve been in a drought for so long.  This year is the most rain I’ve seen in a long time.  I forgot how to live in rain.  It’s not fun.  I know for those of you in more wintery weather laugh at us SoCal people but we’re just not used to it.  When we got the first rain, I was thankful, grateful for it.  Now I can’t wait to see the end of it.  We’ve got flooding.  I had to buy my boy pants to wear to school!  He lives in his basketball shorts and he absolutely hates to wear pants.  But with the weather being what it has been, he’s grateful for them.  Yesterday, it was storming so bad and I had to drive in it!  lol.  Okay, there’s enough complaining.  Now that I’m snug in my home with my coffee and my computer I am okay with the rain.  I am grateful that it’s here and hopefully it’s one step closer to being out of this drought.  I’m not sure what the status is on that and I don’t care.  I will continue to conserve water as I do and not be wasteful with it.

I’m getting into a groove again.  I think I said this last week.  But it’s still true.  I’m starting to recognize my routines.  The best thing is jotting them down and finagling them to find the best routine and habits.  It’s working and helping me get myself organized again.  One of my team members submitted her resignation yesterday.  There’s another change but it is what it is.  I wish her the best and hope it doesn’t cause too much disruption in the overall scheme of things.  Thankfully we have two weeks to plan and adjust.  Other than that, I didn’t get to yoga all week and I’m really sad about that.  I enjoy going to yoga.  I’m hoping I’m able to go this coming week.

Today, I’m helping a friend move and then this evening a group of us are gathering at a friend’s house to get together post-Valentines.  I can count on good food, good conversation, and one of our friends will be continuing her lessons on crocheting a slipper.  I got one slipper done during the SuperBowl.  I tried to do the second slipper since then on my own but could not figure out how to do a Half Doube Chain?  I know I could have googled it but it’s not high on my crafty to do list so I chose to wait until we see each other again tonight.  Thank goodness it’s a 3 day weekend.  I can be social tonight and spend the following two days secluded in my craft room (office).  🙂

On the crafty side of things, I got a lot of knitting done this week.  I’m well on my way to finishing the magenta socks and if all goes as planned I should be finished by next weekend.  I haven’t done any quilting related stuff and very little cross stitching.  I did get my drawstring bags prepped and partially put together.  I need to figure out what the next step is and do it.  I hope to have time this weekend to go through my closet.  I am a bit disorganized with my quilty stuff which is why I’m not able to do much on that end of things.  To be fair, I’m finishing the top for Have yourself a quilty little Christmas and I’m not mentally ready to do my next project.

Have yourself a quilty little Christmas! 2/13/2017

Have yourself a quilty little Christmas!

So on the crafty agenda for this weekend is:

  1. go through and organize my closet
  2. finish putting together my drawstring bags
  3. do the zipper pouch project
  4. Border on Quilty Little Christmas
  5. Pull out Provence and see where I’m at.
  6. knit, knit, knit
  7. Rainbow Garden for Slow Stich Sunday
  8. Cross Stitch a bit

I’m back!

The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster.  With the girl going away for the first time, the elections, and then the hubby and I going on our first couple vacay with no kids, I didn’t find the energy to do any blogging.

First, the girl had fun.  A ton of fun.  It made the expense, the fears, and just general upheaval in our day to day lives worth it.  She visited a number of colleges over the week located in the NorthEast United States.  The elections came and as a parent, I worried about her not being with me during the post-election shock.  It didn’t help that she texted me from NYC to say she was in an anti-Trump rally or to tell me how she was crying and upset about the results.  But had I been where she was at her age, I would have done the same thing.  So I put my fears aside and hopefully she had no idea.  By the end of the trip, she loved Boston University and Emerson College.  There were others but those were her top two.  I am thrilled, scared, and hopeful that everything comes out all right in her journey.

Second, the elections.  As a woman of color, I’m sad, angry, and fearful of the results.  I know racism exists in this country.  I experience it regularly.  But I’m hurt and shocked to realize that it is still loud and big enough to elect someone who spouts racist and sexist comments as Trump has.  I really thought that we were growing as a country.  I really thought we were becoming a better people and a better society.  I know there were bad apples.  There are always bad apples.  But apparently, they are enough to get Trump voted in.  I lived through the George W. Bush presidency and the fear and war and division he spread during his 8 years as president and the resulting economic downturn.  I am hopeful that President-Elect Trump doesn’t do what he said during his campaigning and does what most politicians end up doing after becoming elected (nothing, flip flops, learns to work with others).  I hope that although the Republican party dominates the house and senate, they don’t bend over backward and let Trump do whatever he wants just because he’s a so-called Republican now.  I am really afraid that they do.  I don’t usually write about politics on this blog but it’s the main reason why I haven’t blogged these past couple of weeks.  I know there a lot of people who will disagree with me and I’ll probably lose some readers.  But this is who I am and I will not apologize for it or pretend that what is going on in the US is not happening.

And on to better topics, third, our first couple vacay without the kiddos!  The Wednesday after the election, the hubby and I boarded a plane to Colorado and spent about a week in a cocoon in Breckenridge with another couple.  We’d never been to Breckenridge (or Breck as the locals call it) or even to Colorado.  Actually, I was in Colorado for a business trip but I didn’t see anything but the ride to the hotel for a conference and then the ride back to the hotel so I don’t count that. ;0  The snow hadn’t hit yet so there was very little snow and we had to go even further up the mountain to see it.  It was a wonderful visit.  I enjoyed it a lot and would love to go back with the kids to play in the snow or even during the summer for river rafting and other outdoor activities.




I plan to get back to my regular posting now that I’ve got a weekend at home.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving week since we’ll have time off.  My son is off the entire week and I’m really excited about that.  My daughter is still in school until Tuesday so we’re planning on heading to Northern CA to be with family Wednesday morning.

Until next time,

keep quilting, knitting, crafting

<3, Melanie

Saturday Ramblings – wish I was quilting

Today, the family and I are heading off to the Los Angeles County Fair.  I think I went once a long time ago when I was in college.  I know it wasn’t a memorable experience when I went so never really wanted to go again but I felt that the kiddos should probably go once to experience it themselves and figure out if they ever want to go back.  We’ve been to a bunch of fairs before – Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, Garlic Festival in Gilroy, the State Fair in Sacramento, but never to our own county fair.  I’ve heard that the Orange County Fair is so much better than the LA fair but we’ve never been to that one either.  Maybe we’ll go next time around.

Anyway, no quilting going on here today.   Follow me on Instagram @thousandneedles as I’ll probably be posting up a storm with pictures from the fair.

I still need to get the binding on to Hampton Ridge but need to get the foot #57D for my new machine so I can properly use it.  On my Bernina 330, I used to use a walking foot to attach the binding to the front.  With all those layers the walking foot helped a bunch to get things on smoothly.  With the new machine, which I am calling Luna (as in Luna Lovegood for those Harry Potter fans) I didn’t know if I do the same thing or something different.  So I made a trip to my Bernina dealer (thank goodness it’s only 5 minutes away) and asked them.  With the dual feed on the 790, all I need is either the #37D or #57D which is the quarter inch foot.  Both feet are similar to the #37 and the #57.  For non-Bernina people, they are the Bernina’s quarter inch feet.

img_2417The #57 has the little hedge on the right so that your fabric really stays within the quarter inch.  I love this thing and use it 95% of the time.  The #37 is the quarter inch foot without that little hedge so you can slip off and not stay within the quarter inch.  The #37D and #57D are pretty much the same feet but is created to be used with the dual feed on the Bernina.  My dealer ran out of the #57D so I got the #37D for now until they get more in stock.


I started the binding on Hampton Ridge as you can see in the background but still need to do a bit more to finish it up.  I hope to get the binding attached to the front this weekend and spend next week hand sewing the binding to the back.

In the meantime, I’ve been planning with bullet journals for the past few months and I’m absolutely loving it.  I didn’t blog much about it before because my earlier pages were very plain.  I wish I had taken pictures so I could show it but now they’re filled with sensitive information and I can’t.  Slowly I’ve added pens and washi tapes to my bullet journal arsenal and my pages are getting more colorful and more artsy.  Here’s a pic of my weekly page last week:



And here it is now:


I got the original inspiration from a you tube tutorial made by  “Alexandra Plans“.  But as I used it for a couple of weeks I figured out what I liked and what I wanted and changed it a bit.  I have tried different weekly spreads over the past few months but I’m really liking this one right now.

Happy Saturday!

~Living life, Melanie!

Summer is over… :(

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas! August kit - Block 3 8/20/2016

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas!
August kit –
Block 3

Happy Saturday, friends!  It’s a wonderful thing to be caught up!  Here is Block 3 of my current LQS’ BOM Have Yourself a Little Quilty Christmas! based on the blocks in Lori Holt’s Quilty Fun! Now I can put it away and not think about it until 9/14 when we pick up the next kit.  If I remember correctly, this is a 6 month project so we’re halfway through.  If you missed the previous posts from this week, here’s a quick peak at the previous finishes:

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas! August kit - Block 2 8/19/2016

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas!
August kit –
Block 2

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas! August kit - Block 1 8/17/2016

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas!
August kit –
Block 1

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas! 8/15/2016

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas!

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas! 8/15/2016

Have yourself a little quilty Christmas!

Sorry for the shadows on the pics.  Now that I’m caught up with this BOM, I’m going to focus next on my Spooky Halloween blocks.  This is another BOM offered through my LQS.  It started a month or two before the Christmas one and the idea is that we will have the top done by Halloween.  hahahaha… I don’t think so.  To be fair, there is a lot of appliquè in this project and I’m not a fast appliquè-er.  And, I’d rather enjoy the process than try to get this thing done quickly.  So, I plan to concentrate next on all the blocks I can piece together.  I’ll still appliquè a bit when I have time which tends to be on the weekends.  I believe I have the 4th kit in my project bin but I haven’t yet pieced all the blocks in the 3rd kit.  I’ll be working on those next. As I’ve been mentioning, I’ve been piecing the pieced border for Missing Ivy as a leader/ender for the last week or so.  It’s almost done.  I probably have 4-5 more to put together and it will be ready to finish and put on to Missing Ivy.  Once that is ready, I plan to finish that step and move on to the next one. 🙂 Things are progressing very nicely.

Back to school hit us hard this past week.  It’s the girl’s second week of school and the boy’s first week.  And sheesh were we all tired.  We had a couple of school meetings to attend in the evenings – a volunteer mixer at my girl’s school for those of us interested in volunteering and looking to find out what kind of opportunities there were.  And a new parent to my boy’s middle school.  And a couple of dinners with friends.  I think I overscheduled and I’ll need to be more careful now that we’re back to school.  Children grow up so fast and I’m trying not to think to hard on that.  So, today we’re hosting an End of Summer BBQ and Swim Party at our house.  🙂  Later today, I’ll be driving around picking up all the food I ordered while the hubby gets the grill going.  I am going to enjoy the heat before it starts cooling down!

~happy quilting friends!


Day 4 in Vegas

It’s been one day too many… in that I should have posted this yesterday but we were rushing/ driving back to LA for our friends’ August birthday celebration.  But I wanted to get this in because I’ve done such a great job documenting our Vegas travels this time around.  I wish I had done this when we were off on our Florida/Georgia/South Carolina visit.

Day 4 was Friday and as I did all week, spent the morning working while the rest of the family slept in.  The kiddos finally got up some time in the afternoon and the hubby took them to walk the strip and catch Pokemon’s.  I took the time to putter around, watch some videos, and get ready for our afternoon adventures.  I even got to enjoy the luxurious bath tub in our hotel room. Sometimes it’s nice to have some “me-time” and working while my family sleeps is not “me-time”.  🙂   I often forget that and have to remind myself of that all the time!  When they got back from their adventures, I was ready to rock and roll.  The kids decided to stay in and take their turns in the bath tub and do their me-times while us grown ups did our thing.

The hubby and I trekked it over to the Palms even though we generally don’t like to go to big casinos on the strip.  Evidently it’s not really a big casino and we actually had some fun playing at the blackjack tables.  We ended up at Cafe 6 at Palms Place for dinner.  I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t like it, it was overpriced and a little too snooty for me.  Now that I’ve got that out of the way here’s my disclaimer.  We normally don’t go to places like this because they’re usually overpriced and not very good food anyway.  We like smaller off strip joints better and that may cloud my impressions on this place.  And the only reason why we went was because we had a $15 coupon that we wanted to use.

First, it’s far from the casino.  You have to walk through the casino, take an elevator up to a “skytube” floor, walk through the skytube – which helpfully had a moving walkway, then another elevator up to the floor with the restaurant.  I think it was the 6th floor but I can’t remember now.  If you’re new like we were, we asked a lot of people if we were going the right way.

Second, the food was overpriced!

onion rings  @ Cafe 6 8/5/2016

onion rings
@ Cafe 6

There were originally 4 pieces of onion rings (you read right, just 4 pieces) and it was $6.95!  They’re normal onion rings.  They don’t taste any better than any other onion rings. The rest of the food was whatever.  Nothing memorable.

Bacon Bleu Sliders Cafe 6 8/5/2016

Bacon Bleu Sliders – $13.95
Cafe 6

BLTA Stack with Sweet Potato Fries Cafe 6 8/5/2016

BLTA Stack with Sweet Potato Fries – $10.95
Cafe 6

Don’t come here even if you have a $15 coupon!  Maybe if we kept it at our order it would have been okay but we ordered a couple of other items to bring back to the kiddos and then the whole thing ended up costing us close to $100.  😦

After we dropped their dinner off, the hubby and I spent our last night at our favorite casino off the strip!

Day 3 in Vegas

The best thing we did yesterday was eat at Rollin Smoke BBQ.  We found out that it’s just minutes from our hotel and we absolutely loved it.  I don’t know if I’d say it’s the BBQ in the United States but it is pretty darn good and if you’re in Vegas and you like BBQ, you have to check it out.


It’s located in this little strip mall that looks kind of shady.  Sometimes those are the best finds.  And in this case, it was.  We got there at the perfect time, right before the rush.  We ordered at the register and we ordered way too much food for the 4 of us.  I wished we could order a sample  of everything because I wanted to try everything but obviously we wouldn’t be able to finish it.  But of what we got, we had plenty of leftovers to take back to the hotel and eat at a later time.

Waiting for our food

Waiting for our food

We really enjoyed the food and my pictures do not represent how good it was.

Brisket Sandwich and corn nuggets

Brisket Sandwich and corn nuggets

I didn’t try the Brisket Sandwich but the boy really liked it.  The corn nuggets were an absolute hit at our table.  It’s creamed corn fried like nuggets.


Brisket, hot links and bbq beans.  All of these were SO good but I can’t eat spicy so I took a bite of the hot links and gave the boy the rest of my piece.


Here’s brisket 3 ways (chopped, sliced and I think pulled).  All ways were absolutely delicious.  The yams were just as good as they were on our trip to Florida/Georgia/South Carolina.


Here’s a baked potato with pulled pork and the works.  It was good but I’m probably not going to get this again here unless I was craving it.

img_2092Smoked Meatloaf – This is the featured item from the Travel Channel and seemed like the item that we HAD to get above everything else.  I must say that I was disappointed by it.  It’s hard to see the meatloaf because there are onion rings on top, then the meatloaf, then mashed potatoes.  It was okay.  The brisket any way you preferred was the best item we got and would happily go back and get again.  We would also like to try their ribs and other items.

We also tried their dessert, of course!  I didn’t take pictures because we got them in to go containers and they wouldn’t look good getting their picture taken.  But we got banana pudding and peach cobbler.  I’m not much of a banana pudding gal but this banana pudding was really good.  The peach cobbler, unfortunately, was way too sweet.

This place was a great find and we’re thankful to our waiter at a cafe who recommended checking this place out when we asked him about local bbq.

Update: All in all, we spent about $110 for all of that food.  Not a bad deal considering we were full the rest of the day and had leftovers for today.

Here’s what I’d go back and get:

  • corn nuggets
  • yams
  • banana pudding
  • corn bread
  • briskets (any which way)
  • I’d like to try the ribs and probably other stuff too…

After our hearty meal, we went back to the hotel to drop off our leftovers and then went to the nearby mall to walk off our meal.  The kiddos played Pokemon Go while the hubby and I guided them around safely.  Then the kiddos went to watch Suicide Squad and went bowling afterwards while the hubby and I gambled at our favorite casino off the strip.

It rained/drizzled yesterday and it was overcast so the kids weren’t able to go to the pool like we had originally planned.  It looks like today’s weather will be much better.  The plan is to walk the strip so the kids can catch Pokemon’s and then go swimming at the pool.  Afterwards, they want to just hang out at the hotel room to read, take luxurious baths in the fancy bath tub, watch netflix, and basically relax and do whatever they want to do.  We’ve got plenty of leftovers to keep their tummy’s full.  If I get a chance, I would like to drop by the local quilt shop and check out their clearance room. 🙂