Friday, September 27, 2013

More Storage

I might as well finish out the week with another post on how I store things in my craft room.  This time, I'm showing off my button storage.

Anything that has a paper back and is still in a set gets put into little sewing box, but the loose buttons are sorted by color and then they get put in jars or canisters.  The brown buttons all go in a brown tin that once held a watch.  Sometimes I try to use special jars, like this one:
I picked up a jar of this jelly on a trip to Alaska and kept the jar.  Green buttons go in this one.

To remember some good dairy from California, I kept a glass bottle that once held delicious heavy cream:
Otherwise, I just use random jelly jars.

Oh, and that jar on the left is not filled with buttons, but strings of vintage rhinestones.  I found a blue velvet dress tossed to the curb a number of years ago.  The dress was ugly, but the rhinestones were cool and some of the velvet with still usable, so I cut the thing up and have been looking to use it up every since.

Because I am a hoarder.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Speaking of Japan...

On Monday, I featured a suitcase modpodged with paper from Japan.  I keep some of my patterns in there.  I have various things from Japan that hold my other crafting supplies, as well.

Take this little tin, for example:
"I'm Happy Cat:  The stomach becomes empty and it is not possible to walk any longer."
This is just classic Japanese silly English.  I always thought it would be a great business idea  to proofread everything in Japan, but then you would not get such nonsense phrases.

Anyway, I keep my sequins and seed beads in this tin:
And, stuck in the pink felt, is the only needle that goes through some of those seed beads with an eye that I can actually thread.  I have to keep track of that thing.

We had an early honeymoon a month before our wedding.  I met my husband in Japan for about ten days.  We went to Tokyo and some other fun places, but what really made the trip for me, was a visit back to Ohasama.  I had not been back for nearly ten years, so it was great to visit with old friends, climb Mt. Hayachine, and show my husband all the fun sights.

We also had some drinkable yogurt that is made in my hometown.  I love this stuff.  It is rivaled only by the drinkable yogurt from Ronnybrook.  I used to get that at the farmer's markets in the NYC area.  So good.  Anyway, on my last visit to Ohasama, I kept a little empty Drink Yogurt container...
I keep little beads in it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pattern Storage

For two years, from 1999 to 2001, I lived in Ohasama, Japan, a small town of maybe 7,000 people, and I taught English to junior high and elementary school kids.  Technically, I was an Assistant English Teacher.  Anyway, while there, I collected all sorts of pamphlets, bags, tickets, stampled postcards, stickers, etc... When I got back to the U.S. I had this giant pile of ephemera and I did not want to just toss it.  I think my mom suggested that I take an old suitcase and decoupage it with all those bits of paper.  And that is just what I did.

I don't have a before photo, but ten years later this is what that suitcase looks like.

It's held up pretty well all these years, from living in Brooklyn, moving to California and three different places there, and now at its current home in Minnesota.  There are some scuff marks, but nothing has peeled away.
I even had some photos printed out on paper, so I stuck those to the box.  Here I am, at the O-bon festival with two of my students.  
See that photo in the middle with the flag?  That's me on the top of Mt. Fuji.  It's funny, but even after all these years, I can remember where I got certain pieces of paper. I even stuck business cards on there. 

As for the interior, well, that leaves something to be desired.  I tried using some spray adhesive and some sort of paper, but it didn't work, so I just tore it out.  But it works for my pattern storage.
I keep aprons, costumes, bags, and home decor patterns in this suitcase.  I have a cardboard box for everything else.  It'd be cool to have another suitcase for the other patterns, but I haven't seen any that I like at the thrift stores.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Two Out of Three

The bulk of the handiwork for two out of the three retro space stockings is finished.  I embellished with sequins, because Xmas stockings need to sparkle.  I will also add a little red bell to the end of each when the time comes.  

These are so incredibly easy to whip together.  I thought for sure it would take a month...for each, but it really only takes a few evenings while watching mindless television.  Whew.  Makes my life a lot easier come Chistmas crunch time.  Plus I'm handstitching these.  I did not fuse the parts into one applique like the instructions told me.  I just stitched each piece by hand right onto the stocking.  I wonder how fast it would go if I followed the directions.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Look at all these fun doodads I found on supersale at Hancock's.  Awesome.  The green dotted things were 60% off the lowest ticketed price and all of the other bits, with the exception of the feathers and mini clothespins, were 30-50% off.  Awesomeness.  It's all for quiet booking.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Last week I took a few days off to get some things done around the house.  On one of those mornings I went to the Goodwill and discovered a nearby coffeeshop called Lucy Coffee Cafe.  I was completely smitten with the decor.  She bedazzled the walls...

And the main attraction was this mannequin with all sorts of bits glued to her from her head to her toes...

Just fabulous.   I shared the Bras For a Cause information with the owner.  I think she should join me in my bra-making adventures.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fairy Quiet Book: Lacing Bee

I got it in my head a long time ago to do a quiet book and, as mentioned a few days ago, I'm considering an A to Z Dinosaur-themed one for my nephew.  The first thought was to do a pirate-themed one for my niece, but I think I want to do an A to Z one for the pirate and I thought it would be too much to do two A to Z books.  That's a lot of pages.  So she's getting a generic fairy book.

Inspired by the Quiet Book Goddess over at Imagine Our Life, I did the first batch of pages for the fairy book, the bumble bee lacing page.  I did not use her (free) pattern, but I pretty much replicated her page.

My hive is a little different, especially that opening, which looks to me like a vagina.  Yes, I put a vagina in a quiet book and with that little bee in it, I wonder if I could start using the phrase, "What bee flew into your vagina this morning?" when people give me attitude.

As for that little fella...I found him in with a button stash that was sent from my mom.  Perfect..  And he fits through those little white rings, which I call potholder rings.  I think my mom also supplied me with packs of those.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


My husband and I were brainstorming all of the possibilities for a dinosaur-themed-alphabet quiet book for our nephew.  The artwork belongs to my husband and it explains carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.  The last photo got cut off a bit, but that Omnivorsaurus is eating both a chicken leg and a tree.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Featured: MiL

My mother-in-law made me this little zip sewing kit a few years ago...without a pattern!  I cannot even imagine doing that.  I have no concept of things without a clear set of instructions.
 She put a ton of sewing accessories in it...little scissors, ribbons, a measuring tape, and a bunch of other little things.  I pretty much removed everything and have commandeered this pouch to store my babyville snap installer.  It fits perfectly!  The snaps go in the side pocket and all of the other accessories get tied up on the right panel.

And check out the sweet little ribbon detail...

Thank you!  

Friday, September 6, 2013

So It Begins

I just came off a huge wave of projects, so I think the next number of posts are going to be a hodgepodge of things or just snippets of upcoming projects.  Nothing's finished.
I've started those retro space stockings.  I want to get one done a month (I have to make three) in time for Christmas.  I don't know why those points are not meeting in the middle.  Maybe the little space icon will cover it up.  I hope so.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I went crazy with installing snaps in things last week.

Snaps in the smocks...
On my umbrella...finally...
And then a bunch of bibs for a new baby...(sorry for the low light, I finished them at 11pm and had to send them out at 8am and there was no good light at either time):

And I was really excited by my choice of coordinating ribbons on these bibs.  Usually I just throw on some ric-rac, but these had some fun choices:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tomato Jam

My little grape tomato plant has yielded approximately 20 pounds of fruit so far this season.  Um, yeah, that's a lot of little red balls to tackle.  I took five pounds the other day and made this tomato jam.  For visual reference here are four pounds in a colander:
The jam is pretty delicious.  I got 4.5 pints, which is a lot, especially since I did it in the tiny jelly jars.  I served it up to my book club ladies last Monday and they really liked it, but suggested that I call it a tomato spread or a tomato chutney.  We'll see.  I still have a number of months to name it.

UPDATE:  For the tomato jam recipe...I made one batch with half the red pepper flakes and the other batch (yes, another five pounds of these buggers) with the full dose of red pepper flakes.  It made quite a difference.  The second batch has got some kick to it.  Which do I prefer?  Probably the less kicky one.