Mar 19, 2017

Have You Seen My Craft Room?

What's been on my mind lately?  The fact that it seems a tornado has made it's way through my craft room.  Some of you *know* what I mean... barely being able to walk through it, or having a path to the areas you access most.  Don't try denying it... you know, I know.  ::sigh::  The struggle is real!

When I first moved to The Homestead, it was a junk storage room for all the things I couldn't figure out what to do with.  In looking back at THIS post, it's interesting to see what things I've gotten rid of and what things are still in the room.  One would've thought I'd have blogged about it after I cleaned it and showed photos of a clean room, but nooooo.  So, you'll have to take my word for it.  I did have an organized craft room with a remodeled closet where I added removable shelves on one side.  The closet needs destashing.  Shhhh!   Don't tell anyone.  I'm saving that for another time.

I think gremlins go into my craft room when I'm not looking and wreak havoc which is why it ends up looking like this:

See that white box in the lower right corner?  I've been looking for the contents in the box for a very long time.  I thought the box was in the attic!
As you can see, the closet is still relatively clean and organized.
 Seriously, there's a desk back there... somewhere!

My poor treadle machine...
I pushed, pulled, and dragged (Do I sound like a used car commercial?) everything into my dining room with the exception of the filing cabinets, armoire, and desk.
I have framed stitching hung on walls throughout my house, but I still had quite a few sitting in a bin.  So, first things first... I made a stitching wall.
If you've been a long time reader, you probably recognize all of them.
I put a bulletin board above the desk to display smalls. With the exception of the hummingbird bookmark, the rest were exchanges from other stitchers. I'm debating whether to paint the frame to match the filing cabinets.  What do you think?
I told you there was a desk!  My Dad made that shelf for me when I was a teenager in the mid 1980's.  It's hung in every place I lived since I left home.
I've had the desk for about 25 years.  Originally, it was a golden rod yellow.  I repainted it, added new pulls, and a glass top around 2002-2003.  Now that it's clean, I can use it to sew on instead of dragging my machine to the dining room.  The sewing machine is in the closet behind the curtain.  If you scroll back up, you can see it peeking around the curtain.
The filing cabinet area needs a bit more organization, but looks better than it did.  Now that the floor is clean, I can open the drawers without shoving things out of the way, lol.  My filing cabinet makeover HERE is the most visited post I've ever written with over 17,000 views!
How many remember when I found the armoire at a thrift store?  After replacing a couple broken pulls, I filled it with most of my stash.  You can see more photos HERE.  I need to destash this area a bit more, too.
And, here's the treadle sewing machine!  I still need to put the curtains up, and want to put a peg board on the wall above the treadle.  The plan is to hang the thread/ribbon rack on it along with all my crafty gadgets.
 I still have several boxes in the dining room that I need to figure out what to do with, and 3 boxes that will be donated to the thrift store.
It took me all day, but progress was made!  Now, it's your turn... what's your craft room/area look like?
Until next time...

Mar 7, 2017

So Much Stitchy Goodness... and More

Who's old enough to know the original "cougar" Mrs. Robinson?  For those not familiar.... Benjamin   Braddock has just finished college and, back at his parents' house he's trying to avoid answering the question everyone asks: "What does he want to do with his life?"  An unexpected diversion comes about when he is seduced by Mrs. Robinson who is a friend of his parents.  What begins as a fun tryst turns complicated when Ben falls for Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine.

My local community theatre put on The Graduate.  As always, the actors and actresses put on a good show. Before the play started, I overheard the young woman next to me (in her early 20's) say, "I have no idea what this play is about."  Even though the movie came out a year before I was born, it still made me feel old, lol.  In between the acts, music from the 60's played.  I had my very own chorus line behind me... The older women sang every single song!  I guess they're old enough to know what the play is about!

I couldn't even tell you when the last time was that I saw one of these things.  Probably at least 15 years.  Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to a gas station in my area and saw it.  How about you... when was the last time you saw a PAY PHONE?

One of my favorite exchanges is called Stitchers Day Exchange coordinated on the Friendly Stitchers Yahoo group.  My partner, Viv in Canada, likes fall colors.  I dug through my stash and found a rogue piece of linen and limited edition skein of GAST.

Designer:  Neustras Miniaturas
Fabric: 28ct linen
Fibers: GAST Burlap Nap Sack
Embellishments: Lace weaved with DMC

To finish this little pillow, I joined a piece of coordinating floral fabric.  When I saw the fabric fat quarter in JoAnn Fabrics, I thought, "This is it!"  I had a piece of cream flat lace in my stash and thought I needed to add a little something extra so I weaved a piece of DMC 618 through it.  It turned out exactly as I pictured it in my head.  Love when that happens!

I've stitched this freebie two other times as scissor fobs.  If you're interested, you can see them HERE and HERE.

I posted this on Facebook as a finish, and my post was the subject of misinformation as to where the design came from.  You see, when I posted I said I couldn't remember which blog the design came from since I had saved the freebie back in 2012 and didn't notate it.  At first, a viewer on my facebook post commented it was a Homespun Elegance chart, which I quickly looked up and confirmed it WAS NOT.  Then the same viewer posted my blog telling everyone it was a certain post which again WAS NOT.  To circumvent further misinformation, I spent over two hours finding the blog and exact post where this freebie came from.  All I can say is WOW -- it's true what they say... Do not believe everything you read on Facebook!.

*Note:  The design doesn't have a name on the originator's blog so I named it "Stitchers Sampler".

I received my exchange package from Viv and just love, love, LOVE it.  Did I say I love it?!  She used such pretty colors and even personalized it with my initial.

Hmmm... What could it be?
Isn't the handmade card adorable?  Everything from the card to the tissue paper to the stitched exchange piece was coordinated.  Wish I would've thought of that!

Oh my goodness!  Look at that little "M"...
Scissor Case, Fob, and Matching Scissors!
I've always wanted to make a scissor case like this.  Viv did such a wonderful job of finishing.  Thank you, Viv!
Now, I'm on to my next exchange: A spring mailart.  Here's my floss toss...

Since I received a scissor fob, I thought it was appropriate to share a scissor fob freebie!  This cute scissor fob is by Merry Cox.  The chart can be found HERE.

Until next time...

Feb 10, 2017

Perserverance Pays Off

Here we are... almost halfway through February.... and another month closer to Spring... warmer weather.  Ahh!  I cannot wait.  Even though, my area has not had much snow this year (thank goodness)....

In addition to having the perseverance year after year to deal with the cold and snow, over the past few months I've been dealing with a challenge of my own stupidity making.  I came across a recipe that called for apple molasses.  I'd never heard of it before, so of course I Google'd it.  Ten dollars for a small jar... are they crazy?  In retrospect, it may have been cheaper if I'd just paid the $10.  Why you ask?  Read on:
Long time readers know how I'm into DIY.  Again, Google was my friend.  I found out I could make my own apple molasses by boiling down apple cider. Growing up, my Dad and uncle made maple syrup by tapping maple trees and boiling it down so I knew what was involved.  Piece of cake.  This journey started last fall.
As I was boiling down the cider on the stove, my brother called me and said he had time to replace the brakes on my car.  When bro calls and says he has time, I have to go.  I decided to put the cider in the crockpot and let it boil down -- safe enough and I didn't have to "babysit".  The next day was a Monday, so I had to go to work.  The cider was soooo close to being done, but not quite.  Since I had a doctor's appointment that day, the plan was to let it cook in the crock and stop at home on my way back to work to shut it off.  Well..... I forgot.  When I got home that night, I found this:
What surprised me was that when I left the house in the morning, there was only about 3" of liquid in the bottom of the crockpot.  When I got home, there was an expansion of crusty, crunchy, sponge-like blob in the crockpot!  Ewww.
It was all I could do to get the solid part out of the crockpot. Then I soaked it. Guess what?  No amount of soaking will remove burnt on apple cider!  Barkeeper's Friend... Nope.  Softscrub... Nope.  I tried all the obvious cleansers to get the stuff off to no avail.  I Google'd burnt crockpot and found a blog... Yes, a blog! Vinegar and baking soda.  It took a long, long, LONG time (perserverance) to get all the burnt out of my crockpot, but it worked!  Big thanks to The Acid Truth

What else have I been up to?  I've been stitching, but there isn't anything I can show since both projects are for exchanges.  What I can show is my finished "masterpiece" watercolor painting.  I kind of chuckle when I say masterpiece because it's far from, but that's what the instructor for the class I took referred to our project as.

This painting is based off a photograph I took in 2002 of the Pecatonica River near where I live.  I don't think I did the photograph justice, but I'm pretty happy with how the painting turned out seeing as I'm still a newbie.  I'm a much better photographer, lol.

Until next time....


Jan 3, 2017

Out With The Old, In With The New

Recently, I had a really nice surprise come in the mail.  My stitching friend, Deb, asked me if I would like an adult coloring book featuring Japanese Woodblock Prints.  Yes!  Japanese artwork is so beautiful.  Most of my long time readers know that I have an Okinawan (Japan) heritage so this coloring book was right up my alley.  This isn't just any coloring book, though.  It shows a color print of the actual artwork and the history of the artist as well as a corresponding coloring page.  It's VERY cool!
Thank you so much, Deb!

The end of 2016 brought several finishes. 

Handmade Charlotte kit by Buscilla
Wood ornament stitched with cotton threads

Designer: Alita Designs
Fabric: 14ct Cream Gold Lurex Aida
Fibers:  Cotton threads leftover from misc kits
Embellishments: Ricrac, Grosgrain Ribbon, Gold Seed Beads
Woolly & Cosy Ornament
Designer: Valentina Sardu 
Fabric: 28ct Antique White Cashel Linen 
Fibers: Cotton threads leftover from misc kits
Embellishments: Ricrac
I ended 2016 with a total of ten finishes. Not as many as I'd like, but a stitch is a stitch, right?  My finishes can be seen HERE.

The beginning of 2017 started off with stitching on Japanese Garden.  You heard it right... I pulled out JG.  The last time I worked on it, it looked like this:
As of today, I finished all the gold brackets and most of the purple Jessica stitches.
After having 11 PTO days off work, today was my first day back.  Talk about busy!  Tomorrow will be just as busy.  I don't know if I mentioned it... a few months ago, I took over project billings for the office I work out of.  It has consumed my days at work.  It's challenging and I seem to learn something new every day. I thought it was ironic that the first day back for the new year is Festival of Sleep Day. LOL
How many of you made a New Year's resolution to lose weight, exercise more, blah, blah, blah?  I joined a gym a few months ago... a nice perk provided by my employer.  I had been going 3-4 times a week until December hit... holidays and cold weather have thrown my schedule off.  I seem to do better when I go to the gym directly after work. Zumba classes, weight training, swimming, stationary bike, and elliptical are the things I do in rotation.  Tonight was my first night back... weight training, biking, and elliptical.
I'm going to leave off by saying that I wish all of my readers the very best 2017. May the new year be everything you wish for.

Dec 25, 2016

12 Days of Christmas

I'm participating in a 12 Days of Christmas gift exchange coordinated on one of the Yahoo cross stitch groups.  I received 12 wrapped and numbered gifts from Pam K in TN.  It seems I've known her forever online, but this is the first time I've been in an exchange with her.  :)  Without further adieu....

Day one brought me a pack of highlighter markers in neon yellow.  I love office supplies so I'm sure these will come in handy.

Day two brought me a bright, flower pin cushion made of felt.  It brings a little spring/summer into the day as the temperatures here are in the negatives and the ground is covered in snow.  This will come in handy when I sew as I usually just throw my pins on the table, lol.

I'm not sure of the other gifts since I haven't opened them yet, but with the first two gifts there were handwritten notes from Pam.  Very nice touch!

Day three brought me a pretty peacock thread organizer. I've not seen one like it... very pretty.

On day four, I received two mini flashlights with a note about never having too many.  I'd have to agree.  I'm going to put one in my car and one in my bedroom.

Pam taped the note on the outside of the wrapped gift for day five. I was excited to unwrap it... a sparky infinity scarf made by Pam!

Day six brought me a wooden owl stitchable kit.  I've always want to try one of these!  Owls are so in vogue now, too.

I have always wanted one of these!  Whenever I went to Harbor Freight, I thought about getting one, but never did.  Now, I have one. Yay!

Earlier this year, I involved myself in yet another creative hobby... adult coloring.  Day eight brought me two new coloring books.  How fun is that??

The smell of lilacs brings back loving memories of childhood. I had to LOL when I read Pam's note about how difficult it was to find "anything" that had the scent of lilacs.  At this time of year, I imagine so.  :)  I already have the gifts in use. The house smells great!

DAY 11

This day brought me the letter "M".  I'm looking forward to personalizing it and hanging it in my craft room.

DAY 12
Imagine my surprise when I opened this gift and found Victorian Pansies kits... I did a couple of these years ago: a needlebook and a scissor fob.  I am so excited to have more matching accessories. I didn't even know these existed!

I had so much fun opening these gifts.  Pam did a really great job of choosing gifts that fit ME.  I loved the handwritten notes that came with each gift.  Thank you to Pam for everything!