Taking It Up a Notch

For years my craft organization has been hit-and-miss. I’d buy some shoes and notice that the box looked pretty cute and put it to use.

While that works fairly well, it’s not a perfect system. Boxes come in all different sizes; nothing matches; it can end up quite a jumble.

But the other day, I was doing a little “window shopping” on Joss & Main—dangerous, I know—and came across some lovely storage options. Artsy with a hit of color; I was smitten.

Maybe I’ll organize yarn in boxes in baskets. There are so many options.

I did hijack one for the French doors by the master bedroom. Sometimes Cocoa can’t be bothered to use the stairs and squeezes under the rails. This is her first stop, and it can take a bit of persuading to get her to the other doors.

When you have a dirty dog, a towel to wipe her off is so helpful.

Keeping dirt off the floors and looking chic—sounds like a win-win to me.

Any organizing tips you’d like to share?

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Planning Ahead

If you’re a regular, you’ll know I have a thing for daffodils.

When me and the MR bought our first home, it was fall. The next spring we watched bulbs sprout and waited for blooms with eager anticipation.

Here too, we moved in during the dead of winter. The yard was overgrown and desolate. We had problems with the heat, problems with the well, problems with pests… Let’s just say problems and leave it at that.

Maybe that’s why when a bevy of golden blooms sprung up next to the deck I was was so happy. They gave me hope that this crazy place could really be home.

We’ve added a few bulbs here and there the last few years, but I wanted to step up our game.

So last week when I was picking up a few things at Costco and saw these, I knew they were going home with me.

Looks like I have some planting to do. It’ll be well worth it next spring.

Any fall plantings at your house?

It Feels Like Fall

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning colors, and the nights are cool; it feels like fall.

Labor Day usually marks the beginning of the school year for kids around here. While back to school isn’t quite the same with the last one in college, I do enjoy all those sales the weekend boasts. With the internet, I don’t even have leave home to get some great deals.

To mark the change of seasons, I picked up this lovely pillow.

Tree Pillow

Me and the MR do love our trees. I saw some beautiful wreaths at HomeGoods last week. At $60 a piece, I may have to wait for another sale. That’s the beauty of life; it doesn’t all have to happen in a day.

Are you adding a little of the season to your home? 

The Right Fit

Sometimes, you buy something, you have a plan, and it’s going to be amazing; till it’s not.

A few years ago, I was up in Bellingham on the Local Yarn Shop tour and was totally drawn to this sock yarn with beautiful torquoise, and brown, and carmel, and cream. I was going to make the best socks ever. Then as I was paying for my yarn, the man behind the counter proudly showed me his socks and told me this is how the yarn was going to knit up. Hopefully, I kept a smile on my face and didn’t look totally crest-fallen. His socks looked brown. I wanted cream, and carmel, and pops of color. How could it all go so wrong?

Perhaps that’s why the yarn sat in my stash for two, three, four years? I didn’t want to ruin the illusion. Then I heard people talk about the Sockhead Hat. This might be the answer to my problem. I could make a hat, and it would look totally different than that nice man’s socks. So I got to knitting.

While me and Baby Girl did have fun at Molbak’s last Christmas, my hat was still quite brown, and I’m not really the sloppy hat kind of person.

So what could I do? Stick to my plan and make socks? or go another way? I decided this yarn would be great for the Hexagon Sweater. So I forged on and made a motif. The color runs of yarn were just too short. All of the motifs would look totally the same. I needed to think some more.

That’s when my brand-new, amazing crochet stitch dictionary arrived with oodles of inspiration. OK, that could be a bit of an oversell, but Sarah Hazell has put together 200 stitch patterns that go from the ordinary to holy cow! (It’s available on Amazon in case you were wondering.)

Maybe I just needed to make something that would pool the yarn more, so that’s just what I did. I made a simple rectangular scarf using the Crosshatch stitch pattern (#169 if you’re counting), and finally have the effect I was looking for. By adding two buttons and matching buttonholes, my scarf works as a poncho/shawl/cowl/scarf. Four for the price of one—not bad.

I know I look crazy, but this is as good as it gets running back and forth, setting the timer, and taking pictures of myself. You get the idea of how the scarf works. Next time I’m going to put the MR to work.

And now for a side by side of the two applications. One skein was knit the other was crocheted, and yes this is the exact same yarn. I think knitting using the entrelac technique could create a similar effect as the crocheted project. (This is Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Bourbon.)

So you may be wondering why in the world I’m going into all this—especially if you don’t knit or crochet. Don’t worry. This isn’t about yarn; it’s about having a vision and making it happen. Maybe your first attempt doesn’t work out; rethink, replan, retry. You’ve got this; I have faith in you and a new scarf.

Happy creating.

 

 

 

 

 

Loving My Local Farmers

Me and Baby Girl stopped for groceries on the way home from church, but instead of buying everything at our local market, I saved a few things on my list for the farmstand in the valley.

While they had run out of a few things over the weekend, I did grab a bag of fresh green beans. Somehow, I managed to buy seeds for bush beans instead of pole, and we’ve been feeling the shortage.

While we were there, BG noticed the field of flowers next to the stand. So I gladly forked out $5, so we could pick a beautiful bouquet.

I do love fresh flowers and helping my local farmers.

In our valley, we are lucky to have lots of farms and two farmers markets.

Does every farmstand seem to call your name?

Strange Days Indeed

Wildfires are raging throughout the west, while Houston is recovering from massive flooding left in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and southern Florida is evacuating in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

Looking at all the struggles others are facing, it seems petty complaing about the smoke that has filled the valley this week. The sun shines redly, and the hills disappear in the white skies.

The air quality is so bad, children aren’t allowed outside for recess. An hour run is like smoking a pack of cigarettes.

Praying for those in storm-ravaged places, praying for people impacted by the wildfires, praying for rain and wind to clean our air again.

Hoping this finds you safe in your little part of the world.

 

Pillow Talk

So once upon a time, ages ago, I recovered some pillows for our outide seating area, and then I promised you a tutorial. I bought some fabric and was totally ready to do it. And then I didn’t. Sweet Miss graduated from college, a year came and went, and I fell down on the job.

So thank you for waiting, and here’s a basic pillow tutorial.

First measure the pillow you’d like to cover. If it’s a down pillow form, you can use that exact measurement, if it’s fiberfill, add an inch.

Now you have to ask yourself permanent or seasonal? Do I want to shake things up on a regular basis or is this something I want to see forever (or at least for a good bit)?

If you want to change it up often, buttons are your friend. Zippers can also be quite useful, but we’re going to focus on buttons for today.

The pillows I wanted to cover were 20 inches square. So I grabbed my fabric, gave it a quick iron and cut out a 21-inch square in the diamond material.

For the polka-dotted gray, I cut a 21 x 27-inch rectangle. I know that doesn’t add up at all. Hold your horses. Now, you need to decide what you want. Are the buttons going to be a design element? Do you want it totally symmetrical, or do you want a band off to the side?

I wanted the buttons off to the side but looking intentional so not too far off to the side. After thinking it through, I cut a 7-inch piece off of one length. These two pieces would make up the back.

In home dec projects, the iron is your friend. This isn’t rocket science. I eyeballed about an inch, folded it under and pressed. Then folded again and pressed. I did this on both pieces of fabric making sure to use the adjacent ends.

Let’s move on to the sewing machine. Simply stitch the folded sides down close to the turned edge. Add a couple buttonholes or as many as the number of buttons you’d like to use on the smaller piece of fabric.

Over lap and stitch the top and bottom edges together being certain that the buttonholes are on the outer side.

Now if you’ve been doing your math along the way, you may have noticed that I added and extra 6 inches, but only folded under 2 on each side. If 2+2=4, that means I have an extra 2 inches. Yes you do, but let’s say you’re really bad at guestimating an inch and folded under 1 1/2-inches on each side, you’d have exactly the right amount. Now, if you turned under 1 5/8-inches on each side, suddenly you’d be scurrying around without enough fabric. This way you have a fudge factor. And in my imprecise world, it has come in handy more than once.

We’re almost there. Just face right sides together, and sew around the edge. Sew on your buttons and get ready for a quick and easy update.

Whether I feel like winter or summer, I’m set.

I didn’t use pillow forms, I just recoverd some old green feather pillows that the pin feathers kept poking out of.  I bought the fabric when Hancock’s was going out of business, so it was quite reasonable. For around $20, I added a little style and color to our couch.

How you do you like to update your sofa? Any sewing tips to share?