Thursday, January 31, 2008

864 Clamshells

I wore out my stencil (I didn't even think that was possible, but look at this thing! sad.)

The pouncer's seen happier days.

I breathed in enough "chalk" dust that my lungs are probably coated in white, and my studio's floor certainly was.

But it's done.

I would like to donate it to charity. Does anyone know of one that might be able to use it?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thread in the Freezer

Nope, it's not a typo. And it's not a funny story about how I once went to get ice cream while I was quilting and left the thread in the freezer. Though I've been known to do things similar to that (I've left it in my purse when I went to get my keys, and left it on the counter countless times when getting a snack or drink), it's not that sort of thing. This is thread that my mom bought to quilt her flannel quilt with, but it kept breaking. Understandably, she got very frustrated. Every 6 inches of stitches she made, the thread would break and she'd have to re-thread the machine and start all over again. Super annoying stuff. So she put her quilt aside and only worked on it in bits and pieces until she got super annoyed again and stopped. Finally one day she told me she was stopping for good. She put the quilt aside and went on to other things.

When she told me this, I volunteered to quilt it myself. This quilt is very my mother. The colors are her, the subject is her, the warmth of the flannel is her, it's just a quilt that if you knew my mom and didn't know she made the quilt, you'd still look at it and say "I know she made that quilt". It's just so HER. One of the snowpeople even kind of looks like her--NOT that she looks like a snowperson, it's just that it's got on this hat like my mom would wear and a scarf that my mom would wear and it's holding a BIRDHOUSE, which is SO my mom it's not even funny. (She's crazy about feeding the birds and housing the birds and keeps 100 pounds of seed in the yard at all times.) So it's just so my mom. This is why I volunteered. But, like any mom (or woman for that matter), she turned me down, with a "no, I'll get to it eventually, I'll just do it in bits and pieces". What is the matter with us women? We never want to put anyone out.

Anyway, I let it go for a while and then asked again a couple of weeks later. She said yes. I took home the quilt, and the thread she had wanted to use, put the quilt in my studio, and put the thread in the freezer. Ok, this is why: I know two secrets about thread and sewing machines that most people don't. Wanna hear?? First: they won't tell you this when you go shopping, but not all machines will work with all types of thread. They won't. Don't let anyone tell you they will, either, because they lie. I have owned 4 different machines in the time I have sewn, and I can tell you that with the Elna machine I used to use, Sulky thread breaks like it's made of glass. It doesn't matter how many different types/sizes of needles I use, how many different tension settings I try, it doesn't even matter what I sew on, Sulky threads break and break. I can tell you that on the machine I own now-a Janome-it still breaks, but not as often. I can tell you that on my Kenmore, which is the machine I use for classes, it doesn't break at all. I can tell you that Coats and Clark, which I use for piecing and all purpose sewing, never had a problem in my Elna or my Kenmore, but if I site it the wrong way in my Janome, it will break, so I have to be careful. And I can tell you that the Singer Featherweight I started sewing on when I was a kid up until about the year 2000 will sew without a problem with any type of thread at all, as long as it's a 50 weight or better (which makes sense, since it's a machine from 1920 or so). So it really is true. But this leads to secret number two: if the thread keeps breaking on you, put it in the freezer. Some thread, when you get it, is old. It sat on the shelf for 1000 years under lights in the air because no one bought it until you came in, and it's old and dry and cracky. And who knows how long it sat in whatever warehouse before it even got to the store. It needs humidity, and the freezer is the ticket. Take the thread, put it in the freezer for a couple of days. Then take it out. Put it in a plastic baggie and let it defrost. By being cold in the freezer and then warming up in a confined space, it absorbs moisture back into itself and it will break less. It works. So, I put the thread in the freezer for two days and let it thaw for one, and voila! The quilt, she is quilted!

I think it came out well. I am not a professional, obviously. I only have a home machine, so there's the inevitable little jig-jags here and there from stopping to reposition now and again. The stitches are pretty even, but here and there there's one that's not. Flannel is heavy and doesn't move nicely all the time. And the thread was still ugly. It only broke twice (woo hoo), but look at that fuzz!! ICK!! I was cleaning the needle every 10 minutes or so. Pretty yucky. I don't even want to open up the throat plate. I'm afraid there'll be a whole fuzz tumbleweed in there. But I hope my mom is happy with the quilt. And I'm thrilled it's done. It makes me happy to have done something for her (and I'm thrilled that she trusted me with it), and I'm really glad that something that is so HER is going to be able to be used and loved.

That's my story and my secrets for today. So if you have a problem with your thread, know it could be your machine, but also try the freezer trick. It really does work!!
I hope you all are having a great weekend! Thank you for all your comments!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Just a Quick Note...

It seems to be so busy here lately! Every time I sit down to write, I seem to have to get back up again.

Thought I'd post a couple o' pics of the Valentine's wreath I made last weekend. For some reason this year I felt we needed a Valentine wreath, though I must admit I never felt that way before. It was a quick project, I just used a Styrofoam wreath form, some (read: very many)"silk" flowers, cute ribbon, and a bit of hot glue. I'm very pleased with it, but I think the best part of all is that when it was done, both children and my husband said "Wow, that is pretty!". Generally, the children ignore the things I make and the only response I get from my husband is either "That's nice", or "That's really nice". So "that is pretty" is pretty over the top for them.

In other news, today is report card day! Dum de dum dum!! Nah, I'm not worried. I'm not even sure that Kindergartners get report cards, but I think so. My daughter had a test a couple of weeks back, and I'm thinking that it was for the report card (I know, tests in Kindergarten, sheesh), so we'll see. Kindergarten sure has come a long way from when I was in it!! I remember going there and -I don't know- playing and coloring and whatnot. But my daughter is learning to read (very well, I might add), she's learned a bit of addition, and they were working on money a little while ago. Things have changed. And so now report cards. Hmmmm....

I also wanted to share a cool find with you that I-well-found recently. Olde America Antiques is a company that makes quilt blocks that are printed with vintage pictures. They are so cool! I was in contact with the owners a couple of times asking questions, and they were very quick to get back to me. The blocks come in different sizes, in many subjects. They are printed with a half-inch white border around them so you don't have to sew on the actual print, and they are fade-resistant (though they advise you to keep them out of direct sun), and can be washed in cold water. Too cool! I think they are really interesting, and I'm planning on using a few in a project or two. That would be so unique! I will definitely share with you what I make with them.

Ok, my son is informing me he "needs" juice, so I'll leave it there for today! I hope you all have a great one!

PS--I opened comments to anyone, even if you're not registered with Blogger. It was brought to my attention (thank you) that people would like to comment, but can't because of the registration. Now you can! Thank you all for your comments!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fish IN the Water

Hello everyone!

I finished the "water" quilting on my fish quilt, so I thought I might share some pics. Out of the two stencils I had chosen for the quilt, it was the easier of the two. It went quickly, mainly because I converted the stencil to a continuous line design, rather than the stop/start design it was supposed to be. I think it worked out fine. This is a shot of the whole quilt (with Percy as accessior). It's good and bumpy.

This is a close up of the quilting, with the fish block and the copper frame unquilted.

This is a shot of the water quilting and the clamshell quilting added to the fish block. I got two of them done. It's going to take a while, though. It's the harder of the two stencils to work, not to mention that the pounce pad that I'm using to mark the stencil has chalk in it that's supposed to stay on until I iron it off, except for the fact that my hand seems to brush it away really easily. I wind up marking the block in sections, and in some cases re-marking again. It's super frustrating.

I'm sorry it's difficult to see the quilting with all the chalk on it. I find it crazy distracting myself. But Percy likes it. That's enough for me. :)

Thank you for your comments about Bill. I feel we hardly knew him, but I had thought my kids would be upset about his passing. They were not. In fact, after scooping Bill's little body out of his bowl, my son plopped him in the toilet and said "Well, bye.", and then flushed. I guess no love lost there. Kids are so resilient :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This and That

Today I did my part for the local economy and did some shopping in town. First I went to the local hardware store and got some paint chips for the bathroom redo we're about to embark upon, so there's a promise of a future purchase, and then I went to the local candle store (which is more like a stuff store with some candles in it) and bought two new candles to put on the buffet. Then I took my son to Dunkin Donuts (in town) and bought him a muffin...Ok, so I did a very small part for the local economy. I guess I'm definitely not helping to send anyone's kids through college. But I did shop in town, and that just feels good.

I bought two little African Violets and potted them up. I put one in our bedroom and one in the living room. It's like having little pieces of Spring in the house.

I'm thinking I might know what to do with that Jocelyn fabric after all, but I'm still working on it. At least I'm not drawing a blank anymore. I definitely have to use it in something, don't you agree?

I got a little further on my shiny fish quilt, so that's something. It's going slowly just because of the amount of quilting to be done, but at least I've stopped stopping and looking at it and asking myself what I'm going to do with it when I'm done. Actually I sort of like it now, though it is shiny. That's progress.

Speaking of fish, Bill the fish died today. We knew he was about to, because he's been mopier than usual and didn't look too good. However, I feel I should say something about him, just because he was with us for a few months. So, here goes...

Bill, you were a good fish from Wal-Mart or whatever store we got you from. You didn't ask for much except to be fed once a day and have your bowl cleaned once a week. You didn't do much but hang out under your little plastic plant and look ferocious. But you were a pretty Siamese Fighting Fish. We didn't know you very well, because you were only around for a few months, but your presence certainly added to the -er- decor. You will be missed.
Bill is survived by Jack the Siamese Fighting Fish who lived in the bowl next to his, and by Goldie, my daughter's extremely well-fed goldfish who lives in her room.

I'd like to think we gave Bill a good life for the little time we had him. We fed him daily, and he lived in a big bowl, as opposed to the tiny little plastic tanks people usually put them in. I cleaned his tank every week. He had a plant. I hope he was happy. Rest in peace, Bill, there in fishy heaven.
************************************************************************************* I am hoping that there will be some changes to this blog in the near future. I am re-writing my "about me" section, I finally have a picture I think I want to add, and I am hoping to have someone who knows a lot more than me dress my blog up because it's not too me. I am also thinking of changing the name of this blog, just because I haven't been doing as much stitching as I have other things, though it's still a big part of my life. So if you come one day, and the name's different or it looks different, don't be alarmed. I don't think it'll be too different, no matter what.
Also, I just figured out that I can to reply to comments (yeay!). I had no idea I could do such a thing. So if you comment here, I will now get back to you. And if you haven't commented here because I haven't been replying, please know that it's because I didn't realize I could. Your comments are SO important to me, and I welcome each and every one of them. Please let me know your opinions!
Again, as always, thank you all for coming by!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What the...????

Oh, I HAVE arrived, baby!! My very own fabric line named after little old me!! OOH OOH!!

Though, had Moda asked me, I would have told them I am just not that sunny and cheerful. But I appreciate the sentiment. ....I am kind of digging those pink daisies, though.

I think I will have to buy some (oooh, twist my arm). How often do you find a fabric line with your name on it??

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Story of My Seduction

What a title, huh?? Racy!! Unfortunately this is not that kind of blog. This is about fabric seduction. You know, the type where you go to a store that is set up so well that you buy fabric that you would normally not? This is the object of my tawdry affair:

FISH!! Oh, I think I may have lost my mind that day. Let me explain. Last year in (I want to say) March, my mom and I went to Woodstock. We live in Orange county, so Woodstock isn't all that far away. What a cool town! It's all hills and turns and small stores and sidewalks and little cafes. The object of our schmoozing was Woodstock Quilt Supply. From the outside, it just looks like a little country store. But we walked in and wow! So not what you'd expect. The inside was light and bright with lots of windows, clean and open, and then the fabric was presented so beautifully. It was organized by type, with some fabrics being elevated and draped above the bolts like a display. Each bolt was tucked neatly in the shelving, with fat quarters of the same fabric cut and put directly above it if you didn't need/want a yard.

The store carries Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Batiks, Laurel Burch, metallics, and Oriental prints. Guess what types of fabric I don't particularly care for? Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Batiks, Laurel Burch, metallics and Oriental prints. But I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. And I don't get taken easily. I am skeptical of everything. But oh, I was so enamored!! And worse yet, I bought a pattern, too!! Ugh! I NEVER buy patterns. But these guys are such masters, they had pieced this pattern in an amazing black and white scheme, and it was hard not to notice it. I had looked at the pattern on the rack and skipped right over it, because it wasn't grabbing me. But the quilt on the wall did. When I put together that the quilt on the wall was the quilt on the pattern, I just went right for it.

You can see the quilt that is the fruit of my tawdry affair. This is that BQ quilt, done in metallic Oriental prints!! The blue is the one with the fish (which are outlined in metallic gold), then the copper has copper metallic, and the white is one of those Fairy Frosts, which is---metallic. I pieced it last year, almost immediately after getting home from Woodstock while I was so in love, and then upon finishing it, remembered that I don't really like Oriental print fabrics, and I really don't like metallics. It was like coming out of a spell. So it sat pieced and unquilted on my ladder (I have an old wooden ladder to hold my UFOs) for however long it's been, until I got tired of looking at it last week. And I then had a hard decision to make: get rid of it, because it's not my style, or keep it as a reminder of my indiscretion. I decided to keep it. What you see here is the process of it being basted, and then some of the quilting. The blue lines are the chalk lines for the quilting. It's not done--it's going to take a little while. And it doesn't help that occasionally I'll stop and look at it and think "What am I going to DO with this thing?". ...I've been trying to stop myself from doing that. Now I'm focusing on the quilting itself. I figure I'll quilt the begeezus out of the thing, and see if I feel any better about it that way. The quilting you see is a water design which I will use for the whole white background, and then the clamshell you see on top here I'm thinking for the fish fabric itself. The copper fabric I plan to leave unquilted (it's ditch quilted now, but not decorative quilted) until I finish the other two parts, and then I'll see if it needs it. I think it will be interesting to have the two textures juxtapose. We'll see.

And that's my story: part one. Part two will be what it looks like when it's done, I suppose. But I will say if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Woodstock Quilt Supply, go ahead and visit the evil geniuses that own it. They are brilliant. The store really is worth the trip, and if you are a quilter who likes the fabrics I mentioned above, it'll be heaven! And if you don't like those fabrics, go anyway, because the store really is beautiful. It's not particularly large, but it's one of those that you need to walk around a few times just to take everything in, because it's not possible to really see it all at one time. Plus, the town is so cool. I wonder when I'll go back...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Thrifting I Did Go!

Yes, I admit it. I am a thrift-shop addict. I keep myself in check by not going near them as much as possible, because as soon as I am near one, I just cannot help myself. In I go and stuff I buy. Like I need more stuff.

This is an obsession that neither my mother nor my husband understands. My mother is strictly of the belief that if someone is getting rid of it, it's garbage and not something to be coveted. "Why would you want something someone has thrown out?", she's asked me many times. The only time I think she's gone against this particular mantra was when she went through an Ebay addiction phase a few years back. The object of her desire at the time was enamelware. She was crazy!! She bought up piece after piece. She owns a number of beauties--and even gave me a piece, which I love. But this was the extent of the thrifting on her part. I haven't ever known her to go into a thrift store, and anytime I've extended the invitation, she politely declines.

My husband is of similar ilk, but less vocal about it. Instead of asking why I'd want something someone threw out, he gets quiet when I mention thrift stores and that I'd been in them. Just really quiet. Which usually means he doesn't agree, but doesn't want to start a fight. He's a smart man.

Me, though, I'm hopeless. I love them. Come on, what's not to love?? Where else can you find stuff that people had kicking around for years that you can't find in stores because it's not being made?? And then get it for not a whole lot of money? A thrift store, that's where!! It's the way to go. And I do like digging through the 70's retro chic stuff to find the treasures. Doesn't bother me in the least. It's like a hunt where nothing gets killed. Win-win all the way.

Anywho, my diatribe is because I caved today and went thrifting. I have been wanting to make sweater pillow covers for the pillows in the family room, and spending a lot of money on sweaters I'm about to chop up makes no sense whatsoever. So, where do I go?? The thrift store, of course!! Woo hoo!! Fun, fun!!
Anyway, I bought a few, as you can see. I needed 4 sweaters for the pillows, and a couple more just followed me home because they had an interesting texture to them. I have to say that the store was chock-full of sweaters. And the colors were just something to see. I resisted quite a few that were colors that would not have worked in the room, but after I got home I thought about possibly going back to get them to make blankets out of. Hmmmm..... I think I may. Some of those colors were just TOO irresistible. A feast for the eyes, no joke.

When I got home, I looked on the net to see if there was some information about making pillows out of sweaters, just in case there was something I didn't know that I needed to. I didn't find much information, but I could buy a video all about it for only $19.95, if I wanted to!! So, being the savvy sewing-lady I am, I just did it myself. And I thought I'd share with you how to do it, in case you thought about this yourself. It's super-simple. Here are my instructions. I hope they make sense!

Sweater Pillows with Envelope Backs

1. Go and buy sweaters. Or go in your closet and find sweaters. It matters not. Just make sure they are big enough to cover your pillow. If they are not, you can seam them together (I had to do this with the yellow one you see below). However, the seam is going to be super-obvious on a plain weave, monochrome sweater. It's not obvious on a sweater with cables and braidy-design thingers on it. So if it's a plain weave monochrome that's too small, put it down and walk away. Or find a smaller pillow to cover. Whatever works for you. I would think that you could seam a plain weave striped sweater and have it be less noticeable, but just be aware that the seam will keep some bulk no matter what, so the seam will stand out a bit. Those cable-braidy things really do help. Plus they look cool too.

2. Go and buy backing material if you're making pillow covers you can remove and wash. If you are just covering the pillows and they can stay covered forever (you have no kids or pets to make them dirty, or you just like to have a lot of pillows), then you wouldn't need this. Also, if you have a small enough pillow, you can probably back it with the rest of the sweater you're using for the front. However, sweaters are bulky. And folding them over to make an envelope back will make a bulky blump on the back of your pillow. So, I don't know if I'd recommend that. I used flannel for the backs of the pillows I made, which is still soft and nice, but doesn't make a blump at the seam. Cotton homespun would be just as soft and also be non-blumping. It's up to you!!

3. Ok, this is where it gets faster. Determine where your pillow needs to be on the sweater so that you have enough to cover it. For example, can you center the pillow on the sweater and have enough for a seam allowance? Does the neck get in the way? If it's a V-neck, you may need to use the back of the sweater instead of the front. Figure that out now.

4. Cut off the arms of the sweater.

5. Cut off the neck of the sweater.

6. Cut along the side seams to separate the sweater halves. Cut off the bottom band as well. Measure your pillow and determine how much more you need to cut off of the sweater to get the correct size piece for your pillow (plus your seam allowance--don't forget to add that in).

For example, if your pillow is 20 inches square, and you want to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance, you would need to cut a 21 inch square to properly cover your pillow. Do that now. Once you've got this, leave it alone and work on the back.

7. Cut two pieces of backing fabric. Their width should be the width of your pillow+seam allowance (so, going back to the example above, it should be 21 inches wide) and the length should be half of your pillow's length+3 inches (again referring to the example, it should be 13 inches--20 divided by 2 plus 3). The three inches are for the fold to finish the edge of the envelope, plus overlap. It's a generous number, but more overlap on the back is better than not enough.

8. Fold over one side of your backing piece 1/2 an inch. Press and then fold it over again another 1/2 inch so that the raw edge is inside the folds.

9. Sew down your folded-over edge, and then press it again.

10. With right sides together (very important), and one of the backing pieces overlapping the other, position the backing on the sweater piece for the front. Get the center seam straight and the overlapping part even. Here I hadn't gotten it straightened out just yet. I had to fiddle with it a bit.

11. Once the backing is straight on the front and overlapping nicely, pin it! Use big pins. I started with silk pins because I like them, but they were just lost in the weave of the sweater. It's better to use a bigger pin with a big head so you can see them.

12. Sew the backing onto the front, using your predetermined seam allowance. After it's sewn together, remove the pins (if you didn't already), and then trim the seam if it's not even all the way around. Cut the corners on the diagonal, if you'd like to make them a little crisper (it will only make them a little crisper--the sweater material is bulky and rounds the corner naturally).

13. Turn the cover right side out and stuff your pillow into it. Viola!! A sweater-covered pillow!!

And the back!

A whole pile of sweater-covered pillows!! So pretty!

I hope that all made sense! If it didn't, please let me know and I'll fix it. Enjoy your thrifted sweaters, everyone!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Do you crochet?

I don't. But I'm learning to. For the past 3 years, I have wanted to make scarves for my kids for the winter. Honestly, I'm not good at it. I forget the stitches and make up my own, I lose count, the sides are all lumpy, it's really pathetic. The scarves get finished, but they are not particularly pretty. My kids like them, but I'm always disappointed in how they turn out. But then this past Christmas my husband bought me this book, and now I am in love with crochet. Oh, I need another hobby like a hole in my head.

Firstly, I want to say, I LOVE this book. I am such a handmade person it's not even funny, and this book is all about handmade. It is a lovely book, filled with pictures of handmade things and lovely flowers and wide open spaces. I have looked through it so many times and I could look through it a million more. The book talks about making aprons, yo yos, tatting, embroidery, and crochet. I had no idea crochet could be that beautiful. I really did not. For example, I just stopped dead at this picture. Isn't that scarf just lovely?? Well, I am in love, so I wanted to learn to make it. I bought yarn and hooks and have sat down for many hours to figure out how to do it. The instructions in this book are excellent, I will say that. I went from not knowing anything but a single crochet (kind of) to being able to read a crochet pattern, which previously looked like Greek to me. I can also now do a triple crochet and make a loop and a slipknot. I've got the trellis stitch licked. But it's not easy. I can't yet make a hexagon, which is what this scarf is made of. I start, and can do three rows, but it always looks wobbly to me, so I pull out the stitches. I also need to jump into using the tiny, tiny yarn the scarf is made of. It uses a size 10. That's small!! I'm a little intimidated and definitely not ready for it. But I will get there.

Of course, like any good completely obsessed person, once I "discovered" crochet, I had to delve completely into it. Let's just not dip one toe into the water and try it out, let's just jump headfirst, you know? So I just ordered another book to help further my learning experience. Isn't that front picture yummy? Boy, do I want to learn to make that!! Pretty, pretty. And then I did an internet search on free crochet patterns and WHOA! There are tons! Laces and scarves and shawls of all kinds. I had no idea. And of course, the laces all use a thread that's size 30 or 50. I don't even know what that looks like, because no one by me carries it. It's probably tiny. Microscopic, even. But that didn't stop me. I printed out at least 50 pages of instructions for things that I liked. Now, I just need to learn how to make them. There's a goal for this year, I guess.

Has this happened to anyone else? You get a book and in it is something you never noticed before or knew about (or paid any attention to) and then it becomes something you HAVE to learn? What's your unexpected obsession? Did it work out and become a new hobby? Or was it a quick "fling"? I'd love to hear about it!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Show and Tell

Ok, I had a few minutes and the camera was charged, so I thought I'd share with you pictures of what I've been up to. Are you ready??? On your mark... get set... GO!!

First, I made two little "holders" for the tools I use next to my sewing machine. One tool is a small pair of embroidery scissors I use as thread snips, and the other is a seam ripper. They are small, and were a pain to pick up from off the table, and if I put them in a container I'd have to feel around for them. Honestly, I don't like to search for my tools, I like to reach and get them and use them when I need to. So, I was, for a while, sticking them into the tops of old, empty thread spools. This works really well, but it's not particularly attractive. So I dressed the spools up a bit. Now they are cute little bits of frou! I used some pieces of felt, little bits of trims and lace, and a couple rhinestones (just because that pink one seemed to need them). The tools are upright and easy to grasp and right within reach whenever I need them. So, if you have little tools that you use, dressing up an empty thread spool will do the trick. Just be sure you make the hole in the top again, if you cover it. Also, I would suggest putting a piece of cardboard under whatever the spool sits on, just for extra stability. These work really well!!

I also pressed that blue silk cross stitch piece I had finished while I was sick back in December.

Oooooh, flat!!

And I finished a second silk piece, this one with a pinkish silk on Dirty linen. The silk is also that Soie de Paris. So pretty!!

I made an apron for Christmas. It's a Butterick pattern, and I really like it. I finished it on the 23rd--right under the "deadline".

Sorry that it's not a picture ON a person. I put it on for my daughter to take a picture of, but she kept taking a picture of my feet--or half the apron--or the picture was completely crooked. Oh well. She's still learning.

I made a pincushion for my ginormous glass head pins that I use only occasionally but still need a pincushion for. I was keeping them in a drawer in a container, but when I did need them, I had to fish for them, and that's a pain (Did I mention I like to have my tools close at hand all the time?? I may have...).

I like it because it looks like an ottoman, and because it's flat, pulling the pins out and putting them back in is a piece of cake. I can do it without looking, because it doesn't roll away or move like the tomato pin cushions sometimes do. Also, it's large enough to accomodate the pins without being too crowded. Plus, it's got cute stacked buttons in the middle. How can you go wrong??

I also finished and then hung the little shelf I've had for over my cutting table. It took a while (ahem) to get around to it, but it's done (yeay) and now my space is clear. I put my pens and pencils, marking tools, and cutting tools on it. Before that, they were all over the table and always in the way. I used old cache pots to put the things in. The white one is mine, and the green ones were found in the house.

Found? Yep, found. Back when we moved into this house, we found a bunch of things "hidden" in the attic and the basement that I think were left by the original owners (which is interesting, since we are the third owners of this house. What were the people we bought the house from doing?? Not looking in the attic and basement, I guess). They left 4 hubcaps for an Oldsmobile (very helpful if I owned one), a bunch of 70's curtain rods (ugh), and these odd 70's flower pots that were "hidden" in the basement on top of the wall. Being as though I am a staunch recycler/reuser, I couldn't throw them out. I thought about it, because they are SO 70's, but I just couldn't do it. So I thought I'd use them in my studio instead. They've come in very handy, and don't look as 70's as they did (well, mostly--that polka dot one is still screaming 70's retro chic to me). Then when the top of the shelf was full, I thought the pegs looked naked, so I made this little crazy quilted little heart (which I really like)to hang on one of them.

Whew! I think that catches us up a bit. Thanks so much for looking, everyone! Have the greatest day!