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I have had a nice but rather large spice rack for some time. I recently traded with someone who had this cute vintage black spice rack that I intended to give to the girl. But when it arrived, well, I decided to keep it for its intended purpose. Good thing I didn’t tell her. It guilted me into finding her a bigger, more suitable shelf for her little stuffies that we already had in the basement anyway.

Before and after pictures. Just cleaned up the new (old) rack and put only the most used spices on it. It looked immediately at home in our c. 1952 kitchen. Not sure how I’ll use the little drawer but it will easily hold 4×6 or probably even 5×7 recipe cards. Now if I could just clean up the rest of that counter . . .

large wood spice rack vintage painted black wooden spice rack


drapes: finally had some uninterrupted daytime hours to do the math for the living room pinch pleat drapes. (Thank you God for MIL.) Even started cutting and seaming panels. It’s going to be tight but it will work. 21 yards of fabric. This is definitely my biggest project ever. Deadline approaching—delivery of new couch—March 15ish.

socks for me: off to a great start with a hand-dyed handspun that I really like and stalled big time on the heel. I’ve turned a short row heel several times now without incident. In fact I think I have turned this same heel as many times as I’ve made socks total. Not good. I really don’t know what the problem is. I’m about ready to give up and find a toe-up heel flap even though I don’t care for the look. Dissappointing because this is my Ravelympics project and otherwise I am confident I would have been done by now with both socks. three days left, I don’t think I’m going to make it.

mailing: I know this is ridiculous but I have three things here that need to be mailed, two of which have been sitting for more than a month. I just need to seal, label and get to the post office. We have a very nice post office here. I don’t know what my problem is. Same as Annie’s.

cleaning/organizing: yeah, lots of that. at times it seems hopeless but I think things are getting better. I’m still seriously considering borrowing a pick-up and just hauling everything to the dump. Okay, not really seriously. I can’t stand to waste anything someone could use. So I pick through at a turtle’s pace, giving away, freecycling, etc. This could be so much easier if I didn’t care!

I think that’s all I’m actively working on. There is a rather long list jumping around on the back burner of my brain as usual. It will all have to wait. I’m going to SPA Knit and Spin this Saturday and I intend to enjoy myself, meet up with some new friends and learn some new tricks.

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and everything in its place. I don’t know who originally said that but I am certainly finding wisdom in it.

I’ve been working here and there on organizing parts of the house and trying to find a home for everything, whether that is in our house or in someone else’s. I’m hoping that we can keep what is really needful and dear to us and let go of everything else. So far this is working best in the kids’ room. But I did make a little addition to the kitchen today.

There is often a piece of fruit or two out on the counter in the way and I decided that this odd corner under an upper cabinet was a good place to hang this wire basket. It’s collapsible and has two handles on it that when held together cause the top of the basket to close almost completely around the contents. I’m sure it has some distinct purpose but I can’t even remember where I got it or why. The girl and I strung some wire through the rim, screwed a hook into the underside of the cabinet and hung our new fruit basket. It looks quite at home already.

collapsible mesh basket with fruit

Earlier in the week or was it last week? I did some serious work with the miter saw. The girl donned a favorite outfit to help me with the sanding and assembly of a ladder for the bunkbeds. See her hammer there?

sanding and assembling ladder

I just have to include this picture of her outfit, don’t you love her style? Vintage ’70s brown floral (originally made by my mother for me) with the leopard pants from her Halloween costume. She makes me smile. I would never have worn anything half so fun.

vintage '70s brown floral dress with new leopard pants

bunkbed ladder

I recently found out that this is actually the third generation to sleep in these bunkbeds. Everyone else has done just fine without a ladder but this allows me to use the space at the foot of the bed for the organizer that holds all the dress-up accessories. It’s not pretty but it’s functional and the kids like it. Maybe it will get painted as well if we get around to painting the walls.

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hand made wooden thread and ribbon organizer

Yes, I just put that photo in at the largest size because I am that excited about this. I haven’t been sewing but I have been cutting! With the power miter saw. Okay, no angles but still. I’ve been planning this organizer for a while. I wanted something functional but reasonably nice to look at as well. I finally made this custom fit thread and ribbon organizer to the same length as my sewing table (5 feet long). By myself! Of course the kids insisted on helping me paint it. That was fun, no really, they are starting to be truly helpful. My dad helped me hang it on the wall. Plaster walls confuse those stud finding gadgets.

Almost all of the wood came from leftovers in the basement, all I bought was some screws, a skinny dowel and a piece of quarter round trim. Building the main parts of the shelf went really fast. The thread rack part did not, mostly because I was trying to recycle pieces of a store bought wooden thread rack that was too small and not made all that well. Sometimes it does not pay to recycle.

I now have twice as many pegs for thread, a space for my serger thread spools and dowels for my handmade bias trim and assorted ribbons. I can easily add some more dowels for ribbons and such later. The serger spools can also be stacked two deep so there is plenty of room.

In the glass jars above are buttons, vintage wooden thread spools and clothespins. I’ll probably add some more jars as needed. Of course there is a reason you can’t see anything else in the picture. Everything below four feet is a mess. But here is one other bit of organizing that I did quite a while ago actually but it has been working out very well. Behind the door I put up a shortened length of coat rack with a few extra nails to hold my various rulers, triangles, T-squares, etc. And the cutting mat hangs on a nail on the back of the door.

cutting mat and ruler organization

PS. I have been doing some knitting but it may be difficult to get a picture of the latest finished project. I’ll try.

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I suppose every generation lives through some great cultural or technological change. I think the most significant change I’ve seen has been the advent of personal computers and how their presence in every home has changed so many aspects of how we communicate with each other and how we store our thoughts and memories as well. I am just old enough to remember the first Apple computers coming into elementary schools. Although we were one of the first families I knew to get a personal computer at home, it was not until I was in high school. Most of my school papers were written out by hand or typed on a typewriter. Letters were written out by hand and sent by postal mail. I didn’t have e-mail until I was several years into college, and that was mostly because my husband and I started our own advertising design business, not for personal use. Throughout college and even afterwards I kept notebooks full of clothing designs, occasional poetry, sometimes house plans, ideas for Sunday school lessons and kids crafts, recipes, etc.

I was talking with an elderly neighbor the other day and she asked if I kept a journal. It was sort of out of the blue and I said no and we went on to talk of other things. Later I realized that I do sort of keep a journal, it’s this blog! But it’s not really the same as having a book that one can thumb through and share with someone who doesn’t have internet. There is something quite pleasing to me about the printed page, whether typed or handwritten.

Just before the boy was born we purchased our first digital camera and I had high hopes of carefully scrapbooking and journalling those early days. Ha! I’m not sure when but I realized that those things were going to have to wait, probably until the kids are in school and I can have uninterrupted time to sort pictures and memorabilia and force myself to glue them down for posterity. Meanwhile we enjoy looking at the pictures and little movies on the computer every so often.

So about the blog . . . I do have it set up to email me each post so I have a copy on my hard drive as well as on the server. But it’s not necessarily the same as having a paper copy. Someday, I’ll be doing something else and this blog will end (not soon). Since I like to try so many new things I often find myself going back to my own blog to see how I did something before. So I think that it might be nice to have it printed out in a notebook format that could sit on the shelf in my sewing/crafting room. And I can’t imagine not ever having a sewing/crafting space. Of course the photographs are all sized for viewing on the web so they won’t print very nicely. But still I’d have the words and the ideas. Hmmm . . .

I’m working on brown paper package projects! It takes me a while to decide what I want to do in these sort of circumstances. But I have three of my five projects underway. I am taking pictures but I’ll post them after they get mailed out.

I’ve also been savoring my birthday present, a dozen DVDs of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries, starring the admirable David Suchet. Agatha Christie has been my favorite author since I first read one of her mysteries in the third grade. I don’t often care for filmed versions of books but these are really well done—lovely sets, gorgeous costumes, good casting.

I’m enjoying spinning with my new spindle now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that my left hand is just going to do what it wants to do. The boy has been quite interested and “helped” a bit. He can actually give it a good steady flick. Now if I could just get him to wind the spun wool . . .

I’ve been playing around with reorganizing the sewing room. We moved some furniture out so I’m hoping to get a cutting/work table in. I’ve actually set up a temporary one to test the height and such. Lots of plans, not so much skill or time to accomplish them. Although I did get a great book with lots of ideas for building storage/furniture that doesn’t require a lot of fancy tools, Quick and Easy Handmade Storage by Philip and Kate Haxell. I laughed when I got home as I realized I already have another book by the same authors. I do think that I could actually do most of the projects in this book given the materials and some child free time with power tools. BZZZZ! BZZZZ!

Another reason there are no pictures is that my computer was having some issues so I’m temporarily geared down until dear hubby can patch it up again. And it’s been raining frogs here. I like a nice rainy day inside but the kids are getting a little crazy.


I posted a little about organizing my sewing space a while back. I did manage to clean up the shelves and they are already looking completely unorganized again. Hmmm. But some things have improved. I put the thread rack on the wall and found a place for all of my rulers in the space behind the door. Much easier to keep track of now that they have a home. I did not mount the ironing board to the closet door, I can’t get out in a hurry if I do that and with young kids, I need to be able to. Back to the drawing board.
ruler rack idea board

I also put up a temporary idea board, it’s just a 2’x3′ piece of black foamcore but I can pin or thumbtack my little notes and swatches to it. Unfortunately it’s made me realize that I am incapable of cutting a swatch out of uncut yardage. Just . . . can’t . . . do it. So the swatches that are up there are all from completed projects. Oh well. I’m working on it.

I’ve also realized that I desperately need a large flat space for two reasons. Drafting and cutting, and ironing. I find myself on the floor for both of those tasks and that’s not so great on the knees. Given the constraints of this room, I think the only possibility may be to horizontally hinge a door to the wall over the futon that can be latched up against the wall when not in use. Might be a bit too much carpentry for my poor skills.


It’s far worse than I thought. It took me all of three minutes to fill an index card with all the projects that I want to do in the immediate future! 22 in all. This does not include projects that are on the back burner, ack.

On a good note, 14 of them are things I’ve never done or are largely new ideas. A few of them are tutorials I want to do and at least half of them are for the girl. Oops.

I don’t feel too bad though because I’ve been making a lot of things for the boy lately. He needed them. Today I finished a pair of navy twill pants, start to finish. Yay me! Hopefully they are long enough. He seems to be growing an inch every month lately.

Boy’s pants are a pain. And I didn’t even put a zipper in. Elastic waist with fake fly. Two patch pockets and twin needle topstitching. Why do boy’s pants take more time than girl’s pants? Because the fabric is so plain you have to give it some detail in the design of the pattern or pockets, seams, etc. I did try out a new way to do the patch pockets which I liked and will do a better job with next time. Maybe that will become a tutorial as well. I don’t think I’ve seen this method anywhere.

boy's navy twill pants

boy's navy twill pants

boy's navy twill pants pocket detail

boy's navy twill pants pocket detail

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I wrote a while back that I wanted to do a few things to start organizing my sewing/craft room. I have done two of those three things, yay me! The third just needs a trip to the hardware store for some hinges. I also semi-reorganized the large shelves. Made me think I need to bring the other set up from the basement. Then I could have a massive wall of cubbies to really dominate this little room. I still have at least a dozen clear shoeboxes to go through. And let’s not mention all the clear plastic tubs in the basement.

But I’ve been looking at some images and blogs for ideas on how to further organize and improve the function of my space. The Domestic Diva has a very thorough and helpful listing of ideas on organizing your sewing and crafting room. Her info is categorized into several very logical steps and includes hundreds of pictures of all kinds of organizers, big and small. Start here. And I thought I had a lot of stuff!

Before I tackle a new room arrangement though, I’ve decided that I really need an idea board or a muse board. Obviously I could simply make a list on paper but I think it would be more motivating to tack up my rough scribble of a dress with a swatch of the actual fabric. Or whatever. I had two great ideas in the shower this morning that I don’t want to lose. (The shower is the only place I can think for more than two minutes without getting interrupted. Reminds me of Harrison Bergeron’s headphones.)

Anyway, stay tuned for a picture of my idea board, a fire swan and soapfulls. I’m writing this down here because I don’t have that idea board yet and it does help me (eventually) get projects done if I know someone else knows about them. So the first person to comment besides DH will get a soapfull!

PS. While I was writing I heard the sweet voices of my children busy at some project. In walks the girl with ten tiny barrettes in her hair, all coordinated to her dress, courtesy of her brother, the hairdresser! Unfortunately she declined to be photographed.

PPS. The first person to comment and a random person who comments before midnight EST Friday 3/6/08 will both get soapfulls.

I’ve been feeling reluctant to make any permanent changes to the room where I have my work space. Because I no longer have my business I think I’ve been feeling guilty about having a room all to myself for my sewing and crafting. Okay, the guest bed is in there too. But today I’ve decided that this house is too small not to use the space well. At some point this will probably be a bedroom for one of the kids but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use it fully now for storing and using my tools and machines. I do plenty of utilitarian sewing and fixing in here as well as creative pieces and it’s good to have a place to keep those projects away from little hands and prying eyes. Not to say that I don’t let the kids in here because I do. And the cat. I like to hear him peacefully snoring away. The kids have taken over the living room and the cat owns the whole house anyway . . .

So, all that to say:

  • I will screw the thread rack to the wall.
  • I will mount the ironing board on the closet door.
  • I will figure out a way to store my rulers and t-squares on the wall.

That’s a good start, don’t you think?