Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pain relief.

I recently joined our local freecycle network. A neighbor told me about it during the holidays. It is a great way to share the things you don't want or need anymore, and help others in the community at the same time. It seems like the items listed get snatched up pretty fast. I had the amazing good fortune of being the first to reply to an offer of some metal lockers. A couple of years ago I had to pass up some free ones by the side of the road, because my car was full of work stuff, and I was very sad about that.

I used to keep my fabrics and scraps in big plastic bins stacked up in the garage, so whenever I wanted to use them, it was a major pain to find what I was looking for. Now with different colored fabrics in different lockers, being creative just got a little easier. I now need to make a master list, so that I don't end up opening every door looking for that one particular fabric.

I have some things that I want to list on the network now. I'll let you know how it goes.

Earlier this week I went to my second favorite thrift store (Savers) in a neighboring town, since we don't have one here. It makes travlleling to the next county on business more exciting. I got some great deals on some crafting supplies, and this cute little lunch box. It has a business logo on it, so it needs some kind of sprucing up.

The fun stuff I found actually helped me get through my teeth-cleaning appointment this morning. Imagining some of the things I could make with that pretty ribbon and embroidery thread took my mind off of the poking and scraping that was going on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New business idea: Human Slipcovers

I found this great jacket on the sale rack at Target and love it. It is really warm and comfy, and I get frequent compliments. Two or three people have asked me if I made it?! I haven't made any clothes in years. I haven't followed a pattern in years. I tried to make a tote bag with a pattern, and only made it through step 2.( I guess I have way less patience than I always thought I did.) Seems like I remember removing the pattern from the cutting table with one sweep of my arm, and then just going at it on my own. A project involves more hit or miss that way, but that's what sewing has become for me. An adventure. I have done so much ripping and re-sewing over the years, that I don't even mind it that much, if it means I can just take off sewing without a map. So unless there is a wedding coming up or some other real need for me to sew in a civilized manner, I'll be sewing by the seat of my pants.

I tried to imagine what a garment made by me would look like and this is what I came up with:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Those other useful things I found.

How nice it is to receive encouragement from the blogging world. Thanks for cheering me on. I hope that I can be an encouragement as well.

When I was at my favorite thrift store the other day I found these cute little frames.

After a short crafting session, they became labels for my "home-made" magnetic storage cans. A couple of years ago I found these black cans at a yard sale and they made me think of those great magnetic storage containers with the clear tops. I regularly buy these magnetic pin holders, and when I drop them for the forth time and they break, there are two big strong magnets inside. That is what holds these containers to a metal strip.These work just as well as the store-bought containers except that I was always forgetting which one was hiding what. Like the "shell game". Now I will know which can to look in for my index tabs, or the doggie treats, when Max is being a good boy, etc.

At an earlier trip to the same store I found this old red tool box. I love red and thought it was so cute. I already have my tools in an old suitcase, so I put it on top of my handy little fold-down desk that I found at, you guessed it, my favorite thrift store. (Hey, how can you NOT spend money at a place that helps to feed the elderly in the community?)

The desk is a great addition since it can hide the unruly pile of mail and other paper items, and with the toolbox on top (usually closed), it can't become the catch all surface by the door.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting there....

Actually there is no there. I will never have the feeling that I have arrived where organization is concerned because the mess-maker in me will continue to fight my efforts at creating order.But.. I put my book sorting on hold because I found a shelf for my sewing room. A very talented lady who is taking a break from sewing lives in a cute little house between two antique stores, and my friends and I jump for joy when she has one of her frequent yard sales. (Good stuff!) I bought a weathered baker's rack from her that has been treated so that it only looks kind of rusty. (none rubs off) It is a much better size to fit my space and now it has ZONES. Before, I had baskets to hold jobs I'm working on, etc. but they always ended up filled with unironed shirts and fabric scraps.

Here is a picture of the old shelf. A very nice shelf, but too narrow, leaving another too narrow space that I was trying to make use of.

And this is the window sill before with all those jars of buttons!

This is the new shelf with ZONES.

The top shelf is for jobs in progress. The next shelf has baskets for thread, velcro, and other sewing supplies. Shelf 3 has totes with pattern-making materials ( when I make a slipcover, I first make a pattern of the furniture.) Next.. two baskets for personal projects I am working on (quilts), and the bottom shelf has some craft supplies in baskets and hat boxes. (unironed shirts are in a cute white laundry basket that can be moved around)

This is where those buttons went, into a hanging jewelry holder. There are more on the other side.

I will post a couple of other useful things I found later. And I have to confess that I did push a couple of unruly piles off to the side when I took pictures. Those darn unruly piles!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Four things I learned this week....

1. I love chimichurri. It is an Argentinian sauce made from blended up flat-leaf parsley, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, etc. (Rachel Ray made it on her show.)

2. The book Life of Pi by Yann Martel is NOT a true story, even though he makes it sound that way in the author's note in the beginning. As my husband pointed out, it says "a novel" right there on the front of the book, and an on-line search of similar shipwreck survivors from that period of time came up empty. (sigh) I was convinced it was all real.

3. Eating candy canes after dinner can become habit forming. (Why did I give those left-over candy canes to my husband to take to work?!)

4.Candy canes taken off of a three week old gingerbread house are edible, but slightly chewy.

Scrambling to unscramble...

One thing that the wintry weather does is that it makes me look around at my immediate surroundings, since it is less convenient to go out and away from them. Then I start feeling frustrated with my organization failures. I have the ability to make a place for things and put them in their place,

but there isn't always a logic to the master plan. Hmmm, I guess there is no master plan. That's what I need.....A MASTER PLAN! No wonder it never feels orderly. I have containers of similar things spread out all over the place. Buttons on the shelf, buttons on the window sill, buttons in the closet. Tools in an old suitcase, tools in a drawer, tools (small ones) in the pencil cup. Fabric on the shelf, fabric on under my cutting table, fabric across the room on another shelf, fabric in the craft storage, fabric in the garage, fabric in a basket, fabric in a tote bag, does anyone need some fabric?

So...I have concluded that I need to formulate ZONES for my stuff. I'm sure that this is probably in every organizing book ever written, but sometimes we just don't get things until we've worn ourselves out looking for something, and the puddle of tears we are sitting in turns cold and shocks us into action!

Now......where to start this unscrambling process.? I have decided to start with the enormous collection of books that I have, again, spread out all over the house in no particular order. Boy am I glad the Public Library does a better job than I do. Can you imagine what that would be like? I am making three piles:

1.Books that I use for reference in my sewing business, and other sewing adventures.

2.Books that I have collected with instructions for things I want to try.

3.Books that I have collected with instructions for things I want to try, but know I never will.

...make that 4 piles.

4.Books on gardening that I really need to read so that my plants will have a chance at a better life.

...five piles?

5.Art books.

And of course the Give Away pile. ( which includes pile # 3.)

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It was a dark and stormy day....

Here is what I wrote around noon yesterday just before the lights went out:

We've had such a mild year so far that it's hard to believe that the storm we've been hearing about for days has actually arrived. I thought I should do a quick post in case the power goes out.

Big Monterey Cypress trees all over the neighborhood like these across the street, usually guarantee that we are among the first to lose power because of falling branches, but so far we are among the few who still have lights and can watch the weather reports on tv.

But while I was proofreading, all went quiet.

The lights came back on around 4 am. HELLO. While the power was still off, but the weather had calmed down, I took Max for a walk around the block and took a few pictures. These are all from a one block area.

The husband and I were sitting in the dark last night with our handy and oh-so-stylish head lamps on talking about all the things we could do if we had a lantern, so we took a trip to the outdoor store in an area of town that conveniently still had power. Silly us to think that there would be even one lantern left on the shelf. I was there looking at the lanterns a couple of months ago and, believe me, they had a lot of lanterns of every variety imaginable. Hopefully there are more on order and we will go buy one on a sunny day.