Tuesday, January 29, 2008

De-Stashing the Craft Room

Can you please take some of this junk off my hands? I mean, it's good quality junk, but it really has to go. I am getting rid of the old to make way for the new. Did I hear you say you needed some great vintage patterns? How about a new recipe card box? Kids, I got what you need. Check my shop and please get this stuff outta here!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crossing Off the List

Do you ever feel like your weekend is a marathon, in which you desperately, madly sprint as fast as you can to cross all the to-dos off your list? That was my weekend. I amazed myself. I will admit, though, when I had the baby I became 100 times more productive. I know that I have between 7 PM and 10 PM (when I crash out exhausted for the night, usually) to get everything done.

So Friday night after I finished a knitted gift I'm working on...check...I ran to Ikea to buy some stuff for my new craft room...check. Saturday we went to Home Depot and ordered carpet for the upstairs...check. We also painted a wall upstairs...check and then I wrapped some birthday gifts...check...and planted some bulbs for forcing...check. Today, I listed some things on Ebay and Etsy as part of my de-stashing efforts...check. Phew! I'm exhausted!

But we managed to fit in some fun, too. We wandered around antique stores yesterday and saw the Winter Carnival ice sculptures today. I think going back to work tomorrow will feel like a vacation!

This week I'll be posting more ideas for organizing your craft room, so stay tuned!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Craft Room Organization: Ribbon

The hubby and I decided recently that we're going to take the plunge and carpet our upstairs 1/2 story. This is a decidedly complex task involving packing up and moving roughly 800 million records and also my craft room. My craft room has, in the last few years, also shared quarters with the guest room, making it a little tight. Okay, that's an understatement. I'd have more room if I set up shop in my bathtub. And since roughtly 1.8 people visit every year, we decided that the guest room goes and the craft room expands. Besides, that's what futons are for, and we still have one of those. With that plushy new carpet people can just crash on the floor, right?

I started thinking about how I could expand my little space (which will still be cramped, but will be much better now) and be more organized than ever. Each thing needs a place. That tangled mass of thread thrown in a shoebox (albeit a different shoe box than the one that most of it came in, handed down from my mom) is going to get a nice wall organizer. The fabric in drawers is going to get shelving so I can see what I have. Same for the yarn.

The ribbon that takes up most of my sewing desk was my first deliverable (to use my work-speak). I set out researching how others do it. Martha does it with a fancy neutral box and a dowel rod. This is essentially the idea that I ran with, except since I'm not Martha, mine is much more pedestrian. It's the box my camera came in, covered with paper, decoupaged, with a long knitting needle stuck through the middle of it because I don't have dowel rods just laying around handy (and I do have lots of random knitting needles, but that organizational project is next week!).

If you only have a handful of spools, you can buy one from Pottery Barn that looks pretty sweet and kind of vintage shabby chic. This is a pretty neat handmade one posted by mewpaperarts on Flickr. If you have enough ribbon to fill a ribbon store, try the galvanized gutter method by Skitzo Leezra on Flickr. And, if I had done a little bit more research before delving into this project, I would have made what SewPixie made and hung some dowel rods on a ribbon. Hers is so simple and sophisticated, and she can clearly hang more than I can shove in my tiny box.

Now, much of my ribbon is not neatly wound around a cardboard dealie any more. So, I will next be implementing the glass jar method of organization. Stay tuned for more crafty craft room ideas! And they will all be on the cheap or handmade, because I am doing DIY design on a dime!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Super Easy Kid Gift: Crayon Keeper

We had a birthday party today for the sweetest little girl named Valentine, who is turning three. The invite said "no gifts" and since that's contrary to my very nature, I had to come up with a gift that was so inexpensive and so easy, that it was sort of a non-gift. Does that make any sense? I think in my head if it's cheap and easy, it doesn't count.

Here's what I did. I took a box of 8 fatty crayons and laid the crayons out on a piece of neutral linen fabric. I left about 1 1/2 inches between each crayon to measure. Then, I measured about twice the height of the crayons and cut. I used this piece (roughly square) to cut another identical piece out of a vintage kid's fabric I had. Then, for the pocket, I cut a piece that was the same width as my first two pieces, but only half as tall.

To assemble it, I first folded over, pressed and sewed a nice seam on the top of my pocket fabric. Then, I took it and pinned it to the bottom half of my linen. Then, I measured and market the pockets. Each one was about 1 1/4 inch wide. I sewed the pocket to the linen starting at the middle pockets and working my way to the outside edges.

Once the pockets were sewn in, I took my vintage fabric and pinned it's right side to the pocket side of my linen/pocket piece. I also cut two ribbons and pinned them to the right side of the pocket/linen/vintage fabric sandwich and made sure that the ribbon was all tucked inside so it didn't get caught up as I sewed it all together. I made sure to place the ribbon towards the top of my pocket. Then, I sewed around the whole thing, leaving just a couple of inches to turn it right side out.

Before turning, I made sure to clip my corners. Then, I turned it right side out, and edge stitched all the way around. To make the flap, I just pressed it several times to make a crease.

I think it turned out rather cute! And it took me under an hour to make from start to finish.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Of Wine and Wallpaper

Sometimes you just need to reconnect with people. I mean, like leave the house, invite people over. Move beyond immediate family. Amazing that I have to remind myself of that, but I do. This month has been all about friends. So Friday night, two of my best girlfriends came over. We watched The Notebook, at Thai Somethingorother soup, and did our nails. It was fantastic. So simple, but so nice.

Today, the whole clan visited our friends who also have a wee one the same age as Baby Pumpkin. They tried to taste each other's hands and we ate some yummy ice cream. The wallpaper I posted is in their bathroom and I seriously wanted to sneak in and steal it. It's so retro...what, like 70's? But it looks like it could be modern. I love the deep orange and golds. If only I could find it in fabric, I could make some pretty sweet curtains!

Now we're tucked inside because it's about 15 below zero outside. Yikes! If you're a schnauzer (and we have two of them) your little paws freeze in about 5 mintues in this weather.

Tomorrow, we're off to a little birthday party, being celebrated in what I think is probably one of the best possible ways -- with a waffle brunch. We're supposed to bring our favorite waffle topping, but I'm not sure what mine is. Whipped cream? Strawberries? Chocoloate sprinkles? Fried chicken? So many options!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Moment of Silent Reflection

Today, I'm posting only a photo for your amusement and contemplation.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Happy weekend to all. As it winds down, I have to say "Where the hell did my weekend go?!" It seems that as soon as I can get work out of my mind for 15 minutes, I start thinking about the fact that I have to go back in a mere matter of hours. But the weekend was good. No complaints there.

I fit in quite a few of my favorite things, including a thrift store, purchasing of some bulbs for forcing and a lot of good eats. We even managed to check out the YMCA facilities where Baby P is going to get his first taste of swimming lessons in February.

This morning we had company for brunch. They brought the Bloody Mary fixin's (in their "Mobile BM Unit" which consisted of a bunch of stuff in a giant Target bag) and we prepared Monkey Bread and a "quiche" made of puff pastry dough, ham, Emanthaler swiss and mushrooms. Yum yum. That is a meal that sticks with you, I say. I'm not sure if Baby P just got overloaded with stimuli, or what, but he never naps, yet he's been sleeping since they left. That was over two hours ago! Yikes!

I hope your weekend was fun-filled, too. And just stop thinking about going back to work tomorrow, geez!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


If someone is “yellow” they are a chicken, a scaredy cat, or, in the case of babies, they have jaundice. This disturbs me. Why? Because today I woke up with the most intense color fixation on yellow. Bright, sunshiny, fantastic, optimistic, vibrant yellow. Not butter yellow, not neon yellow, not egg yolk or jaundice yellow, but warm, happy yellow. I can’t really say why exactly, but my guess it has something to do with the long, gray, chilly Minnesota January that has worked its way into my bones. Yellow is the perfect foil to the cold monochromatic winter.

Today I spent a while looking for some great yellow clothes to buy, because of course I don’t own a stitch of anything yellow. I found some really great rain boots which obviously had to buy. I also found an extremely cute shirt by MoxieMadness on Etsy (pictured) which I might also have to snatch up. I hope I don’t go completely overboard and start looking like a clown. But on some level, looking like a clown is what I’m after. I need to liven things up around here, dangit!

Here are some of my favorite yellow things. I hope they brighten up your day!

Pale Yellow Earrings by ocbaby
Jumbo Tote with Yellow Handle by bonnabag
Yellow Cabled Mittens by morava
Sunny Yarn by knitmommy
Yellow and Gray Mary Jane Crocheted Hat by dahliasoleil

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Corner at Home

These are from one of my favorite corners of the house. We took an antique birdcage and put a little planter inside. And a friend of Mr.Pumpkin's made this great motorcycle rider out of (I think) some old vacuum cleaner parts. Now that the Christmas tree is down these guys aren't being squished and outshined. I love how they are weathered and worn looking. Like they have a story to tell. Now hopefully that poor sickly plant comes back to life...

Not much else to tell in my world. I've had a busy week at work, and my cubicle is still tan and still tedious. I wish I could be home playing with Baby Pumpkin, but it's not in the cards for me. I know he's in good hands at home with his daddy. Speaking of which, I am going to sign up Baby and Daddy for "Sea Turtles" swimming class at the YMCA. Anyone have any experience with babies and swimming? I think that they could both use some interaction outside of each other, so hopefully it will work out. There's a new class starting at the end of February, so just in time for real serious cabin fever to set in. Perfect! Anyone know of any stay at home dad playgroups in the Twin Cities area?

Monday, January 07, 2008

You Know You're From Wisconsin When...

No, this isn't a Jeff Foxworthy joke. It's the real life birdhouse made by my dad that looks like an outhouse. Now, what you can't see is the inscription inside, which references a "two holer." If you've ever been to a rustic cabin, or been out to a campground, you are probably familiar with a two holer. Why the "two-holer" was ever made, I just can't quite get my head around. Like, "Hey honey, I really gotta go!" to which the response might be, "Well, there's room in here for the both of us, I mean it is a two-holer after all!" It just seems wrong. I understand double sinks, enabling two people to brush their teeth simultaneously, but that is where I draw the line.

All that aside, this birdhouse is pretty darn cute, and I think the birds won't mind at all taking up residence in the sh*%ter, so to speak. I hope they will not try to open the side door, but go in the little "hole" they are supposed to. The new birdhouse is going to live with Willa and her honey now. Enjoy it guys! My dad had a real devious twinkle in his eye when he conceived of it!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Resolve to be Crafty and Good

One thing I would like to "resolve" to do this year is to apply craft to good causes. I've thought about working out a way for all of the vendors at No Coast Craft-o-rama to donate handmade items to families in need of holiday gifts. I've always wanted to attend Crafty Planet and the Rollergirl's Charity Knit Nights. But this year, I'm really hoping to do something. Maybe not something grand or world-changing, but something.

If you think you might want to do the same, I have compiled some interesting resources that bring together doing good and doing craft.

--Here's an academic cause -- a professor at Gustavus Adolfus teaching a course on the Geography of Knitting.
--Check out the Craftivism.com website for a list of crafty causes
--Mother Bear Project, run by a woman in Minnesota
--MN Rollergirls Knit for Charity (next meeting is tomorrow, 1/5)
--Project Linus makes blankets for kids who are seriously ill or otherwise in need (all kinds, knit, crochet, whatever!)
--CareWear provides handmade items to hospitals
--Chemo Caps

What others are out there? Any recommendations or additions?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Meep Meep! Robot Vest for Baby!

I had so much fun making my very first felted project ever. It's the "boy's robot vest" out of the lovely and talented Betz White's new book Warm Fuzzies. I had a stash of wool sweaters of my own that were overly hot or ill-fitting, so I sent them through the washer and dryer a few times and voila! felted sweaters! At first it felt a little weird "ruining" something that was "perfectly good" but the end result is worth it, I think.

In her book, Betz says she thinks that the top-loader washing machines work better than the front loaders for felting purposes. I have a front loader (my luck, of course) and it definitely took more than one washing and drying on hot. The applique part of this was really satisfying, although it probably took me a good 3 - 6 hours to get it all cut out and sewn on.

The next project I want to tackle is the Elmer Fudd style earflap hat out of this book. I have the perfect pastel sweater waiting to become a hat!