a leg to stand on

My sewing table has seen better days. It wasn’t expensive in the first place (due to the use of lots of coupons and discounts) and we’ve moved it many more times than is probably reasonable. But one of the casters has had issues since, I think, the first time we moved it – the casing on the caster snapped (cheap plastic) and though we glued it every time it rebroke, it finally gave up the ghost when we moved into our home last year. I had some random pieces of craft board stuffed under there until recently when I finally decided that it was leaning too far to that side and needed a better solution. We haven’t done very many DIY projects involving wood at this house yet, so we don’t have a lot around in the way of scraps. K found one lone piece down in the Harley Room and used that to construct a foot of sorts.

Caster fix

It also has felt on the bottom so we don’t scratch the wood floors, and a few scraps of a paint stirrer to bring it up to the correct height. It’s not pretty, but it works! My table is now level again and I’m not in fear of things sliding or rolling off the edge.

Eventually, of course, I’d like to find a solution with storage so I don’t have all these bins of yarn shoved under and around the table. I trip on them on an almost daily basis! Ridiculous! Ideally, I’d find a vintage piece that was big enough for my needs (I’d like to keep my cutting mat from this table, which means the surface needs to be about 60″ x 36″) but that seems like a pipe dream. Plus we don’t have any way to transport such a piece of furniture home from a yard or estate sale or wherever I might ostensibly find it, and we would need it to fit up the stairs, which might be a challenge with a heavy old piece. I found this dresser on the IKEA website – if I put two of them back to back (and secured them together), it would work! But sadly the website lists it as not in stock at any of the stores in our vicinity (Michigan and Illinois) – I’ve been checking back periodically over the last few months, but so far no luck. We’ll see what we find – in the meantime, though, I’m delighted to have a sturdy table with a level surface again! Big thanks go to K for putting it together for me.

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getting it together, Blythe clothing edition

I have finally, finally gotten a system of organization going for my Blythe wardrobe.

via GIPHY

I started out with the shoes. Prior to now, I was storing these in a smaller plastic organizer box, but I decided to switch them out to this larger one since it wasn’t full with what it was holding before.

Blythe shoes and socks have been gathered and organized! 👍👟😃 #blythe #blythedoll

Isn’t that pleasingly tidy? Of course, practically right after I did that, I got some new socks, so I ended up with far more than would fit in that one section of the shoe box.

Blythe wardrobe reorganization

Luckily, Joann happened to be having a big sale (which they almost always are), so I was able to use a combination of sales and coupons to get another organizer box for 80% off!

Blythe socks reorganized

Ahhh, so soothing, having them all just so. I am also finding it much easier to use them when I can actually find what I’m looking for and see what I have.

On to the clothing! I used some more Joann discounts to get two three-drawer units for Blythe clothing.

More Blythe clothes reorganized

Before this, I was storing all of my Blythe wardrobe in one scrapbook paper box. Each item was in a ziploc bag, which kept them well protected, but made it difficult to see what I have.

Blythe wardrobe reorganization

It was also crowded and I’d always have to empty the whole thing to find any one piece. Frustrating!

I was originally thinking I only needed one three-drawer unit, but after filling those three drawers I quickly decided to get a second one. Stacked, they fit right under my photo table, and this way I have things well organized and I can find what I’m looking for very quickly.

Blythe clothing drawers collage

Going clockwise from the upper left above, we have one drawer each for:

  • Middie clothes (I need many more of these! Must start sewing and designing and knitting) (the few petite clothes I have are also in here)
  • accessories including scarves, bags, and kerchiefs
  • costumes (huzzah for Blythe Swap! I love these costumes that people have made me over the years)
  • hats and sweaters (I have kept surprisingly few sweaters for myself, though I’ve knit over two hundred! must remedy this) (most of the hats I have were made by others for me as well – gotta get knitting)
  • separates, including tops, skirts, and pants
  • dresses

  • I am so excited to have things so organized! Have you noticed the joy that organization brings me? It’s not to be underestimated.

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    FO Friday: more catch-up and a lot of sewing

    Two weekends ago I was on a sewing spree! I not only made the iPad Gadget Guard I posted about last week, I also made two cross-body bags. That was a lot of sewing! It made me super happy!

    First, though, let’s back up.

    A couple weeks ago I discovered that our Joann had the new Doctor Who print fabrics in stock (apparently not to be found on the Joann website anymore – if you see it in your store, buy it up quick!). YES! I also finalized plans for the professional trips I have coming up and decided that it was officially time for me to make a Take Off Tote.

    TARDIS Take Off Tote

    I am SO HAPPY with how this bag turned out. I was a little unsure about mixing these two prints, but I feel like it really works. Also I will never, ever lose track of this bag because this print is not blend-in-able with any background.

    TARDIS Take Off Tote

    I’m really quite excited to use this tote! It’s spacious and has the outside zippered pocket as well as a divided large pocket on the inside.

    TARDIS Take Off Tote

    It also has this handy sleeve that fits just right over the extended handle of a rolling suitcase (note: this suitcase is the tiniest! It’s a bit shorter than your average carry-on suitcase). This will replace my purse while I’m traveling, since it can fit everything I need to have with me and is so handy.

    That said, I still want a smaller purse to take with me to use while I’m at my destination. I was having trouble deciding between the Zip and Go and the Two Zip Hipster, so I decided to make both.

    Grey Zip and Go

    The Zip and Go is quite petite – it’s flat and has two zippered sections so you can separate your phone from your keys, or whatever.

    Birds Two Zip Hipster

    And this is the Two Zip Hipster, which is larger and has more pockets: a zippered pocket and a non-zippered pocket on the outside, as well as a large divided pocket on the inside.

    Even having made both of these, I’m still torn! I love the streamlinedness and small size of the Zip and Go, but can I really manage with such a small bag? I think I probably can, given that I’ll only really need a minimal amount of wallet contents, my phone, and maybe some mints while I’m at these conferences. BUT I am so accustomed to carrying a gigantic purse with every possible thing that I might possibly need or want inside, and even the Two Zip Hipster is a LOT smaller than what I usually carry. My current wallet will actually fit in the Two Zip Hipster and leave room for other non-necessities, so I will likely end up using that. Maybe the Zip and Go can be an eventual goal for me to strive toward!

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    Happy Scrabble-versary!

    My lovely sister and her husband recently celebrated their wedding anniversary. My lovely husband and I had an idea for a neat gift for them, which turned out even better than we anticipated.

    Anniversary Scrabble gift

    Both of them are big fans of Scrabble and are among the most aggressive/skilled Scrabble players you’re likely to meet, so we felt that a Scrabble themed gift would be perfect! I acquired a basic Scrabble game online and picked up a shadowbox frame at Joann. A little E-6000 and drying time later, it was done! K gets the credit for doing almost all the work on this project. He’s just so good at precise layout projects like this one.

    Anniversary Scrabble gift

    I’m so pleased with it! I think it will be a lovely thing to be displayed in their home and will hopefully bring good thoughts and memories with it. Happy Anniversary, Susan and David!

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    Hallo-ween-ween-ween

    So! I’ve landed on Goldilocks for my Halloween costume. It’s a character I haven’t done before and I got some great inspiration from illustrations I found in our J398.2s and online. Speaking of inspiration, I’ve been tracking mine using Pinterest. Have you used this site yet? It’s ridiculously addicting once you get going.

    So I set up a board there to keep track of my costume inspirations and materials and so forth.

    2011 Halloween costume pinterest

    Somewhere along the way as I was looking at various illustrations of Goldilocks, I realized that I really wanted to go with a yellow and grey color scheme. Despite the fact that none of the illustrations feature this color scheme, I think it’ll really work and I’m quite pleased with my choice. Of course pinterest had a TON of yellow/grey inspiration to offer.

    After playing with that for a few days I headed to Joann to pick out patterns and fabrics. As usual for me, I didn’t find any patterns specifically designed for costumes that suited me, so I picked some other ones that I think will work well. I chose a dress (main view):

    McCalls dress pattern M5619

    and an apron (view B):

    Simplicity apron pattern 2162

    and these fabrics:

    fabric for Goldilocks costume

    And I even found a satisfactory wig! The actual wig is a bit more strawberry blonde than the photo would lead you to believe.

    wig for Goldilocks costume

    My plan is to knit three bear finger puppets, too. I hope it all comes together!

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    many mani

    I’ve been experimenting more with different ways of doing my nails. I found some Halloween nail stickers in the $1 bins at Joann and couldn’t resist picking some up. They’re designed for kids to use, to just be stickers you put on your nails, but I put some top coat over them so that they’ll stay put longer, and it works pretty well.

    For this one, I used Midori and Envy, and added a Frankenstein sticker on each middle fingernail.

    Frankenstein manicure

    I didn’t manage to remember to take a photo of this mani until after over a week, so it’s not looking super awesome in these shots, and you can see how dry my skin is. Live with it, Internet!

    Frankenstein manicure

    After that, I went with a bat/Dracula theme, using Carmen and Ibiza.

    Dracula and Bat manicure

    Dracula and Bat manicure

    Given that these stickers are designed for kids to use, they are actually a bit on the large side. I had to trim off a little tip of the bat’s wing in order to fit it on my nail, and the vampire would only fit on my thumbnail.

    Dracula and Bat manicure

    Dracula and Bat manicure

    He’s so cute, though, isn’t he? His grin is a thousand miles wide – I like to picture that he’s saying “ta-da!”

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    Songbird

    My latest dress for Blythe is this, the Songbird Dress:

    Songbird Dress for Blythe

    I found this supercute birdie fabric at JoAnn (I know!) and the trim is from a mixed bag I got at the dollar store (even better, right?). I lined the bodice with a red w/white polka dot fabric that I think provides a lovely contrast. I’m still learning how to get good shots with the light box, and I haven’t quite gotten the lighting to where I’d like it yet. It’s getting there, but I can’t seem to get it bright enough inside the box without flash glare. I have two 3000K 110V lights on either side (they came with the box) and a halogen desk lamp pointed in at the box. If I use the halogen I have to hold a piece of tissue paper in front of it in order to avoid glare and shadows, but without the halogen it seems too dark. Any photographers out there have any suggestions?

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    make a little birdhouse in your soul

    I have a birdhouse hanging on the red maple outside our front window, but it has never attracted any actual birds.

    radish bird house

    It’s a cheapy from Joann, and I don’t doubt that it was manufactured without any thought to the actual needs of birds. I thought it was cute without being cutesy, though, and it does bring a little bit of color during the winter. It’s getting less and less red over time, but anyway.

    I’d like to get some more birdhouses to try to attract more birds to our yard. I don’t doubt that planting a garden out front will help, but I think that having birds nest in our vicinity would be neat. So, of course I head for Etsy to see what lovely items people have created.

    birdhouse
    This ceramic birdhouse by npayne is appealing in its simplicity. I generally prefer ceramics with a shiny glaze but I do like this one.

    Speaking of simplicity, this mushroom shaped ceramic pottery birdhouse by mudpuppy is nothing but:
    mushroom birdhouse
    It’s slightly on the retro side but I really love the all-white glaze and the contrast of the crackle on the cap.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m enamored with the idea of keeping bees, but I totally dig this beehive birdhouse gourd by HouseofGourds.
    beehive birdhouse

    Speaking of keeping bees, I’m not convinced that I’ll be able to make that happen anytime soon. In the meantime, though, I might pick up one of these Mason Bee Box Hives by andrewsreclaimed to attract them to the gardens.
    mason bee box hive

    Finally, I’m not a cat person but this one was too creepy not to share:
    cat birdhouse
    The Bad Cat Calls Birdies Birdhouse is by GourdKin. I wonder if they’d do a custom Boston Terrier one for me?

    I’m still on the hunt for skull birdhouses but they seem to be pretty hard to come by. If you see one, please let me know!

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    Thermosave curtains

    We have a not-particularly-new sliding glass door in our den, a door which is also not particularly energy efficient. In the winter months, you can feel the cold air when you get remotely near it. We’d love to replace it and will eventually, but in the meantime we just replaced the old vertical blinds (bleh!) with some new curtains.

    Thermosave curtains

    They are Thermosave curtains which are designed to have insulating properties and theoretically will help us save money on our heating bills. You can tell that we put them up just before taking these photos, as they are still pretty wrinkled as pictured (the wrinkles are working themselves out as they hang).

    Thermosave curtains

    We got a big ol’ curtain rod at Joann (hooray for 50% off sale + 10% additional off coupon! We actually saved more than we spent on this) and, shockingly, we were able to use some of the same screw holes that already existed for the vertical blinds. That never happens! I’m not the biggest fan of the grommets on these curtains, but they do blend in mostly and these curtains were the best deal, all things considered (insulating properties, size, style, color, price).

    Thermosave curtains

    We still want to paint this back room and now that we’ve commited to curtain fabric color, perhaps we can pick out some paint. There’s also no overhead lighting in the den, which we intend to remedy eventually (there’s no overlead lighting in the living room, either, and we’d like to have an electrician do a couple of other little projects when we have him out – another thing to get around to). Hooray for home improvement.

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    hand bagged

    handmade fabric gift bags for xmas

    I decided that I wouldn’t use any disposable gift wrap last year, and I did the same this year. I forgot to take photos of most of the stuff I made gift bags for, but I did snap pics of a few items before sending them to relatives we wouldn’t see in person. I actually used a lot of stash fabric this year, which is a bonus. A few of the bags I made were from fabric I bought as remnants at Joann – I would never usually pay for expensive silk, but in remnant form, it’s quite affordable and the right amount for gift bags. I also got some holiday napkins at quite a discount and used them in pairs to make bags. Joann also had their usual pre-holiday markdown on holiday ribbons.

    I’m quite pleased with how my holiday gift-giving came together this year. I made gift bags for everything, I gave many hand-knitted gifts, and I purchased quite a few other gifts on Etsy. I love finding gifts that are unique and supporting handcrafters is awesome!

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