Baskets!

For the last few months, I've been working on what I've been calling "Operation Organized Sewing Room". At all the houses we've lived in so far, I've only had a corner of a room for all my crafting things, and now that I have a whole room, I've had a hard time trying to figure out where to put everything, with storage being an especially big issue. I like to have stuff at least partially visible, because I often don't know what I need until I see it. It basically always looks like fabric just exploded in there, especially the scraps everywhere that I refuse to throw away. I wanted to sort them by color (I've found that works better for me than say, by shape), so I needed a lot of containers, and those containers had to be pretty but functional - this is going to be my studio for the foreseeable future, so I want it to look nice! I tried a few different variations on a basket, but my absolute favorite is rope bowls. MeasuredandSlow_1

I'd seen some pictures around Pinterest and they looked fun, so I grabbed a couple of packages of clothesline and started experimenting...and now I'm hooked! If you've ever made coil bowls out of pottery, it's a very similar build process; you slowly coil the rope, zigzaging with your sewing machine as you go, and then when you feel the base is big enough, you just tip the whole thing up to be parallel with your machine and keep sewing. It's like magic! This is the shape you get with no manipulation at all, just letting the bowl shape how it wants to:

Rope Baskets 9

But you can also vary the tension of the rope as you sew to make more deliberate shapes:

MeasuredandSlow_5

Rope Baskets 3

And, to make cool patterns, you can cover the rope in scraps of fabric:

White Bowl Pink and White Basket

I finish my bowls with embroidery thread to close the ends, but lots of people just go back and forth with the thread to secure it, which looks cute too.

Rope Baskets 8

I use variegated thread on most of mine, because I really like the way it looks, but really any thread works (I'd recommend 40 weight or thicker; anything thinner than that kind of disappears into the rope). I'm having a lot of fun working out how to different shapes, adding handles, and (maybe my favorite thing), making yarn bowls!

tumblr_ntrpsi44e01t6ct2xo1_1280Basket 29

Some of these are already listed in the Etsy shop, and there will be a lot more in my future, so keep checking back for new listings. Happy Friday and have a good weekend, everyone!

Wine Cork Bulletin Board

A while ago my friend Destiny gave me a bunch of wine corks, which she had been saving but didn't have a reason to keep. I looked around for things to make from them, and we both really liked the idea of a bulletin board. You'll see about a thousand of these if you type it into Pinterest; I didn't use any particular tutorial as it's easy enough to wing on your own, but if decide to do this and you want some concrete steps, that's where I'd look! I started out with some thrifted frames (there are two of them because I'm making another one for a different friend of ours, but ran out of corks, so you'll only see one!), and some paint.

Thrift store picture frames before being painted

Now, I'm going to recommend that if you do this step, you spray paint it. I used regular craft paint and a paint brush, and while they turned out okay in the end, it was a lot more work than I'd been intending and took forever to dry. They also turned out a bit brighter than I wanted, but I think it still works.

Thrift store picture frames after being painted, one red, one yellow

Now, on to the corks! I knew starting out that I wanted to cut the them in half lengthwise, but it turns out that's a lot more difficult to do than I had assumed. After some false starts and a round of Googling, I decided to steam them to soften them up, so I filled a pot with a few inches of boiling water and set a strainer on top, with the lid over it (the lid is off for the purposes of the picture, but you'll need it, trust me).

Wine corks being steamed

I found that about 5 minutes was long enough to soften them; you should be able to cut them with a regular old kitchen knife at this point. Be careful, though! They'll be slippery after this step and you'll want to watch where your fingers are in relation to the knife. This pile was just enough for one cork board.

Wine corks cut in half

You'll also want to try to weed out the corks that are too short or too tall, since they'll make spacing more difficult. You can use the discarded ones to fill in any gaps at the end.

After all the corks were cut, I glued the back of the picture frame back on the front, arranged the corks in a pattern I liked, and glued them down with my hot glue gun. I'd advise arranging the pattern before you glue anything down, both for the sake of spacing and making sure you have enough corks. My pattern was really simple - I tried a bunch of fancier ones but they didn't fit as well, so I ended up just doing single lines all the way across. They didn't quite fit with whole corks all the way across, so I filled those gaps in with ones I'd cut in half (they should be very easy to cut with scissors after they've already been cut lengthwise). I think it turned out pretty well!

Finished wine cork bulletin board, frame painted yellow

I tried to make sure all the corks were facing the same direction, because it bothers me otherwise, but it doesn't particularly matter. It will be seen from a distance most of the time, and hopefully will have things pinned to it anyway. I would watch the amount of glue you squeeze out though - too much and you'll have a bunch of visible spots between the corks. This one will be going to it's new home this weekend, but I think I might just have to make another one for me!

Close up of wine cork bulletin board, frame painted yellow

Pincushions!

One of the many fun things we do at the Modern Quilt Guild is swaps; everyone makes a small project, puts it in a paper bag, and puts it on a table. Then everyone picks a random bag so that they end up with someone else's project. It's fun to see what everyone comes up with, and you end up with something cute to take home! This month's swap was pincushions, and I had a lot of fun following Yellow Spool's tutorial for this one with a cute embroidery hoop: Pincushion made from yellow and green text fabric, with embroidery hoop base and heart pins stuck in it

The fabric is from a Michael Miller line called Just My Type (in "Letterpress"). I am somewhat obsessed with these prints at the moment; my love for Michael Miller's cottons is well documented, and the colors are fantastic. I used a bunch of them for the hexie quilt (coincidentally they were just the colors I needed!) and have plans to make some modern baby quilts out of them soon - luckily my local fabric store has most of the prints in stock still. A fat quarter was more than enough to make this little guy, with enough left over for probably one more if I'm lucky. I was really tempted to keep it, but I'm glad I decided to swap, because I got the cutest strawberry!

Pincushion shaped like a strawberry

It was made by the lovely and talented Kam (she blogs over at http://www.needleplusthread.com and you should go visit). I just got my strawberry patch in a few days ago, so it was good timing! I also love that it's hanging; I have a little row of hooks that sits just to my left when I sew, and this is perfect to hang off of one of them for easy pin access.

While I was at it, I made a second pincushion that goes over the wrist, to wear when I hand sew. I wasn't sure if this was a thing other people would want or need, so I didn't want to make one to swap until I've tested it out. I've been doing a lot of hand sewing lately, and have a really bad habit of sticking needles and pins into the arm of the couch. Not only is this bad for the couch, but not too long ago I managed to get a needle puncture to the wrist after bringing my hand down in the wrong spot. I've been trying to keep them in a bowl since then, but it's a pain to have to reach over every time I need a pin or a place to put my needle temporarily. I'm pretty much constantly finding needles in the laundry that have fallen off of shirts I've stuck them into, so I'm hoping this eliminates that problem!

Wrist pincushion with pink sewing machine on it

This print is a fabulous one from Timeless Treasures called Adult Novelty (in Sewing Machines). It has a bunch of sewing machines from different decades, in really bright colors; this one is one of the 1930s ones. It was pretty simple to make, although I think next time I'll put some cardboard in the bottom to make sure nothing sharp gets through. I've been using it for a couple of days though, and so far no puncture wounds for either me or the couch :P.

If you're curious about what goes on at the guild (or want to join!), you can see more over at the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild's Instagram feed or visit the blog, where there's lots of pictures and information!

Dapper Ghosties!

Meet Boo and Eek, the dapper ghosts!

IMG_2927

The inspiration for these little guys came from the current issue of Stuffed Magazine. It's pretty much a big book of softies eye candy, so if you're into making stuffed toys or decorations, you should definitely check it out. They publish twice a year and while not every one of the projects was my cup of tea, a lot of them are to cute enough make it worth the sticker price. One of the artists featured was Candice Wirth; I wasn't able to find a picture of her original ghosts, but they are cuter than mine, I assure you!

They are crazy simple to make, if you're so inclined. I traced a ghost shape onto some white felt that I had laying around - I wasn't precise about it, just freehanded it and then cut out four pieces (since I was making two).

IMG_2889

On the side that would be the front, I free motioned the faces and the "Boo" and "Eek" with black thread. And, of course, the bow ties! The original ghosties had arms and no bow ties, but I couldn't find a good place on mine to put arms. The eyes are just tiny circles of black felt that I hot glued on.

IMG_2912

I left the ends raw and continued to use my free motion foot to sew an outline. It gives it a little bit of a "my five year old drew this" vibe, but I think it works :P. The bottom is a circle of more white felt, so that each ghost will stand up on his own.

IMG_2903

I tried to give them different faces, at least a little bit. None of it was drawn on or planned ahead, which is sort of scary and fun at the same time.

IMG_2913

I'm really happy with how cute they turned out, so I kind of wanted to keep them, but they found a new home with my mother-in-law, Leslie. She loves Autumn and Halloween, so they were a nice addition to her collection of decorations :). Guess I'll just have to make more!

Knitted Star Blocks

We finally have a guest room with an actual real bed, but right now it's a little naked. I decided to start a blanket for it, and settled on these blocks from Knitty. I like the idea of knitting a quilt block, as those continue to be my two main obsessions :). For the yarn, I went with Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in these colors: IMG_2878

My youngest brother is the one who stays in the guest room the most often (in fact, he calls it his room), so he got to pick the colors. He originally wanted red and black, since he's a huge Manchester United fan, but that got vetoed pretty quickly...other people might want to stay in the guest room someday :P. So, we settled on green and blue (incidentally, green and blue are the colors for our local soccer team, the Sounders, of which he is also a fan, but I'm willing to compromise). The test block is pretty, although I think I may want a slightly smaller gauge. The drape is great, but it's a bit looser than I'd like for a blanket.

IMG_2931

I also think I've changed my mind about what I want for upstairs; a knitted blanket won't be heavy enough, I think, and is also a bit more likely to get snagged by a small boy and the large dog who sleeps with him when he's here. So, I think I'm going to re-knit the blocks with smaller needles and make them into a baby blanket.  For upstairs, I think I'll make a quilt in blues and greens. But that's a project for another day!

I also got a lovely package in the mail yesterday: a bundle of Stella Dot fabric!

IMG_2942

Pink Castle Fabrics (they are awesome, and their sale section is on extra sale this weekend!) has a deal of the day thing going; you sign up for the newsletter, and they email you each morning with one thing that is on super sale. It's always incredibly tempting! The bundle of Stella Dot ran a few weeks ago, but by the time I got around to ordering, they were out. I was really bummed, so when it came around again a little while ago, I jumped right on it. I am so in love with these patterns, and I already have plans for these pretties.

So that's what's new in the craft room ; here's what's new in the backyard:

1383650_10153382722245271_1900349583_n

The chickens are officially moved outside, and we got a big exercise pen so that they can hang out with the bunnies - this is them meeting for the first time without a gate in between them! A bigger update (with better pictures) is coming next week :).

Chicken update!

Our chickens turned one month old yesterday!

Image

Image

They are now officially teenagers, and have most of their big girl feathers. Bea (the Rhode Island Red) is the ruler of the roost, and looks the most like a tiny dinosaur:

Image

She's a beautiful red-brown color and is usually the first to try out something new.

Image

Image

Addie (the Buff Orpington) is the smallest of the three and seems to be getting her feathers a bit slower than the other two.

Image

She's still pretty fuzzy, and we thought at first she might be getting picked on and was getting less food, but she seems to be holding her own. She's just the runt :P.

Image

And last but not least we have Cleo (the Ameraucana), who is our biggest chick and the most vocal.

Image

She's kept her black eyeliner, and has pretty black feathers on her back. She also has blue feet, which is interesting because we're told she'll lay blue eggs. She used to be the one who loved to cuddle and be held, but now she's the first to make it known that she does not care to be tied down.

Image

They're learning how to fly, so this is happening a lot more lately:

Image

We're going to have to put some chicken wire on the top of their box soon, but right now they mostly use their wings to flap at each other over the food dish. As soon as they loose the last bit of their baby fuzz, they'll move out to the coop and be neighbors with the bunnies, and they should start laying eggs by early to mid January. I'm excited for the eggs (fresh ones really do taste better), but I'm also just happy we got them; they're so entertaining and it's been really fun to watch them grow so quickly.

And, just because I can never resist a picture of feet, even if they are chicken feet:

Image

We got chickens!

This is obviously not really a craft related post, but I'm so excited about the newest members of our family that I just had to share. Yesterday we went to our local grange and got three baby (just hatched a few days ago) chicks!

Image

We got three different breeds and after much discussion, we decided to name them after royalty. This one is the Buff Orpington, named Adelaide:

Image

This one is Cleopatra (she looks handy with the eyeliner, right?) the Ameraucana:

Image

And this one is Beatrice the Rhode Island Red:

Image

They are so teeny that all three of them could fit in one of my hands at once (not that they would ever be still for that long!), but they're already getting some big girl feathers on their wings:

Image

We have them all set up in the bathroom with their heat lamp and they are happily cheeping away in there. We're trying to spend a lot of time with them so that they get very well socialized and used to human contact - our yard is bigger, but not huge, so they'll have to interact with us on a fairly regular basis. So far they all seem to be healthy and happy, and Beatrice is already establishing herself as the head honcho. In about a week or so they can start having some outside play time, supervised of course, and I'm excited to see how much they'll enjoy the yard. And how many little buggies they'll eat out there :P.

Leibster Award

So the amazing and talented avienadawn (Hi Aviena! I looooooove your granny square pillow from last month's May Made it...I need more granny squares in my life!) nominated me for a Leibster Award! Here are the rules (totally bootlegged from Aviena's post, you should go read it).

Bloggers with less than 300 followers are nominated by other bloggers to draw attention to the awesomeness being shared and to form a community.

The Rules:

1. List 11 random facts about yourself

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers, and link to their blogs

3. Notify the bloggers of their nomination

4. Ask 11 questions for your nominees to answer

5. Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you, thank them for the nomination, and link back to their blog

So, some random facts about me:

1. I have my library card number memorized. It's left over from the days when I was poor and we had no money for our own internet, so I used the library's A LOT and had to log in A LOT.

2. My husband and I got married at our local zoo. It was fantastic, and I have a pictures of us holding hands on the carousel and waving to penguins.

3. I can french braid like a BOSS, even though my hair has never been more than 6 inches for a good 10 years now.

4. I've mentioned this before, but I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 14 years. That means I've been sick longer than I was healthy, which is still sort of weird and surreal to me.

5. Along those lines, I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis when I was 21...so I haven't been able to drink alcohol since I turned legal. It doesn't bother me much, and ordering Shirley Temples in a bar is great (Red Robin makes the best ones, in case you were wondering).

6. I have a not so secret ambition to be a master gardener. I started growing roses using bunny poo as fertilizer this year, and they are beautiful!

7. I live in a cohousing community. Basically it's an intentional community where we share lots of stuff, but have our own (slightly smaller) spaces. We have a huge common house where there are community dinners, a big garden and woods, and chickens. We will be moving soon to be closer to where we both work, but it's been a great experience (for the curious, more info on cohousing here).

8. Speaking of chickens, my husband and I are planning on doing the urban farm thing when we buy our house (hopefully in the next year or so). We want chickens and bees, and I'm trying to convince Kyle that we need a goat and some angora bunnies.

9. I fold origami as a sort of stress relieving tic. I make cranes when I'm bored or stressed, which is how we ended up with enough of them to decorate our wedding.

10. I still have the baby quilt my grandma made me when I was born. My blankie lives on our bed, and my husband has long since accepted that it will be that way until it falls apart. Which will probably be soon, and I have no idea what I'll do when that happens.

11. I make pretty darned good fried chicken, but I hate to cook, so I hardly ever make it.

People I've nominated:

CoopCrafts

Fibercrush

Stitch and Purl

Miss Muffet Quilts

Hook and Linen

Knitting Revolution

Little and Lots 

ipatch

Lucie the Happy Quilter

Quirks Ltd.

Erica Parker

Please do NOT feet like you have to respond, and I apologize if you've already been nominated/posted about it!

Questions for my nominees:

1. What would you do right now if you had a million bucks?

2. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

3. What was your most recent trip of more than 50 miles?

4. What's the best bargain you've ever found at a garage sale or thrift store?

5. What's your favorite breakfast food?

6.  Name five songs to which you know all the lyrics.

7. What’s the best present you ever gave someone?

8. What was your worst job?

9. Do you like roller coasters?

10. Do you have any pets? (This is the same as one below, but I love to hear about other people's pets :P)

11. What is the best advice you ever received?

Questions from the person who nominated me:

1. What’s your favorite movie? I depends on my mood, but my go to feel better movie is The Sound of Music. I know, it's totally corny, but it's also really comforting, and I like to sing along (terribly :P).

2. What’s your go-to comfort food? My mom's chicken pie. Followed by this chicken and stuffing thing that my husband makes.

3. Who’s your favorite musician? Right now I am completely obsessed with April Smith. Her voice is amazing and her tunes are seriously catchy.

4. What’s one of your life’s biggest accomplishments? Having a pattern on Ravelry that people are actually downloading! It may seem like a really small thing, but it's taken a really long time to get to a space where I felt confident putting my stuff out there, and I'm really overwhelmed by the response.

5. Where’s your favorite spot to be outdoors? Near the ocean, anywhere here in Seattle. The smell of saltwater is one of my favorite things ever.

6. Who is someone you would like to pay honor to through gratitude? There are several someones; my mom and my brothers, my tight circle of friends, and my husband. They are all amazing and supportive and so, so encouraging.

7. What are you feeling grateful for today? Today I'm grateful that I have awesome doctors. I've been sick for the last 6 months or so and we still haven't figured out what's going on, but they never give up on me and always make me feel like I'm not alone. I have absolute faith that they will figure it out and that's a really nice feeling.

8. What/who inspires you? These days, everything! Once I started putting ideas to paper, so to speak, I started getting so many more. The color of a flower or the pattern of a fern, or even a smell or a sound, will inspire me.

9. Do you have any pets? We have a lot of pets...a friend of ours calls our house "Pet Ranch". We have a dog named Zoey, a kitty named Stella, and two bunnies named Penelope and Annabelle. We also have some fish, named Sherbet, Gelato, and The Machine (The Machine are a group of tetras that we can't tell apart, and we had a fish named Florence who is no longer with us, so...they were Florence and The Machine. Because my husband and I are really big dorks). We also have a snail named Finn. He cleans the tank.

10. What’s your favorite beverage on a hot summer’s day? Lemonade. Especially strawberry lemonade.

11. What’s your favorite beverage on a cold winter’s day? Lavender Earl Grey tea from the Perennial Tea Room in Pike Place Market. It. Is. The best.

So there are my answers, hope you enjoyed the little detour today :). Thanks Aviena for the nomination!