Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Creating My Knitting Studio - The Big Reveal


I'm calling it done!  If you have followed me this far, maybe you'll go a little farther.  

The cabinet is almost full...


a $25.00 thrift store mirror gets a little paint.....


pardon my "fluffy" self.....


and.....


another gift from my bestie!  An antique stroller to use as a photo prop for my baby blankets.  It awaits some new fabric on the inside.


I think I need to buy more knitting needles....not!


"Oh no, Mr. Bill"!  This is funny if you watched Saturday Night Live in the '70's!


A giant diamond ring paper weight, just because!


Some of my cross stitch dusted off from the attic....



and a white folding table, we use for summer parties outside, in the middle of the room ready for the yarn swift and winder.  The white bookcase we've had for years.  It was just holding junk in "the junk room".


If you look closely you can see the table folded up behind my basinet photo prop.


This is a very cool hologram type poster!  If you look at it straight on, it shows Des Moines, Iowa in 2005.  If you view it from the side.....


it shows what the city looked like in 1919.  No, I did NOT find it in a thrift store, but in a shop called Tandem Brick in Des Moines.  Cool isn't it?


I brought in an extra chair we had in the living room.  This was a hand-me-down from my parents when I first moved away from home 30 plus years ago!  I reupholstered in myself some time ago.  The pillow is the zip code I lived in when we lived in Des Moines, Iowa.  Some of my happiest years were spent there.

The music stand has been in the closet since my daughter took violin lessons for 5 minutes in middle school.  It works great for holding a book open for reading the pattern.

The area rug was rolled up and in the attic.

Oh, and the chandelier was free!  Years ago, a friend of mine moved into a new house and she hated it.  I told her I'd be happy to take it off her hands!  It was dripping with crystals, which was a bit much, even for me.  I removed three fourths of them and it has been in our daughters room ever since.  If you are just catching up, this was her room until she moved out a few weeks ago.


A wire dress form in the corner, another free find that someone had for the trash man!
The vintage, plastic trash bin was a thrift store find for $6.00 and the crystal stand next to the chair is actually an ashtray....



The dress form on the floor was found at a garage sale a few years ago for $6.00.  I still need something for that corner.


So that's it done!  It's not professional and the closet holds WIPS, baskets full of tools like needles, blocking paraphernalia and such, but it'll do for me.  The whole thing cost me $155.00.  The paint was the most expensive at $100.00 for one gallon of primer and two gallons of white paint.  The rest of it was for the thrift store finds.  Now, I did not add in the cost for the things I already had, like the white table, area rug, basinet, my cross stitch projects and so on.  

Granted, I had a whole room to work with.  Maybe you have a little space you can carve out for yourself.  A storage room maybe?  A basement or a large closet or even a corner of the laundry room.  You can easily do it without spending any money at all.  Look around your house for things to use.  
Poke around in your kitchen and dining room cupboards.  Do you really need all those coffee mugs in the cabinet?  Need a yarn bowl?  Use a large soup bowl.  Do you have china and crystal in your dining room hutch that only comes out twice a year?  What can you use in that stash?

Dig out old photos, posters, art work, baskets and such.  

If you store all your yarn in big plastic bins, stack them up and throw a tablecloth over them to use as a big table.  Or, get out your ironing board and put it to use.

Have your children outgrown their plastic toy box?  Give it a coat of paint.  Yes, you can paint that stuff!

Don't have an extra side chair around, bring in one of your plastic patio chairs and toss one of your throw pillows from the family room couch.

Paint does wonders for an old trash bin, too!

I really could go on and on!  Just ask any of my girlfriends.  I'm always helping them with conundrums like this and I LOVE it.

Thank you so much for coming along.  If you are just finding this post, I did two prior posts if you'd like to catch up!

Best,
Sheila

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Creating My Knitting Studio Part Two


I'm making great progress on my studio!  This past week, my husband and I and finished painting the walls and pulled up the carpet to reveal the lovely hardwood floor underneath.  

Nice, right?  Below is the before....



 We brought in a china cabinet that will hold my yarn stash.  This actually belongs to my daughter, who just moved out.  She left it at home as she lives in a 3 story walk up and we weren't about to carry it up three flights of stairs!  She will retrieve it when she moves to a larger place or someplace with an elevator!

She bought this with her own money when she was in high school.  We found it at a thrift store for $80.00.  She just loved it but was concerned about the cost.  I reminded her that she would have it her whole life and it was a good investment.  She agreed.  


A simple white bookcase was next.  We have had this since 1994ish which was 3 houses ago.  We are in our 6th house, so it has seen many rooms!   A fraction of my bins of endless yarn start to stack up!  


After I pulled out the yarn I loved, liked and would use, this was left.  I sorted them by color and will be selling them by the bag in my Etsy shop after the studio is finished.  

TONS of yarny goodness.  Pom Pom, worsted, lace, sock, eyelash, fun fur, DK, wool, cotton, acrylic and "yummy" yarns.  Some full skeins, some balls and some partial skeins, great for making a "magic ball".  The yellow/orange box even has a completed shawlette in it!  

After I take photos, bag and weigh them, I'll let you know when they are ready for sale.


A linen tablecloth, which still needs to be ironed, goes up in the closet.  Two sliding doors were there, but they are so useless!  Only a man would invent something like that.

I put up a tension curtain rod and some hooks that you pinch to open.  You then place the fabric in and it closes over the fabric like teeth.


Some of the yarn goes in the cabinet.  It's hard to see, but there are glass shelves and doors.  The doors also have a mesh like chicken wire in front of the glass as to keep the dust out of the cabinet.


Inside, on the bottom shelf are clear containers that hold yarn balls.  These are actually bread containers I found at a thrift store for $2.00 each.  They are intended to hold bread that was baked in a bread machine and are expandable.....



 More clear plastic bins.  This is on the white bookshelf.  Again, a thrift store find for $.39!  And a small tray I bought years ago in my moms hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, to hold bits and bobs.


A little, 3 drawer, plastic thingy for buttons, blocking pins and some ribbons.  On top, a cupcake pin cushion and a hand felted polar bear pin cushion from my bestie!


A few blank journals, a cracked, but much loved, glass that reads Iowa and hold crochet hooks.  A painting from my bestie Melinda, yarn bowl and a ceramic olive server from my sis-in-law.


A lovely, black ceramic container, a velvet painting I did as a child, goldish Oklahoma cigarette tin, rose tin and a Chimes candy tin.  I do love little tins!


An old glass pill jar for small rubber bands that I use for little yarn balls to keep the tail in check.  A crystal shot glass to hold hair barrettes for the same reason.  Also, another $2.00 thrift store find to keep all my reading glasses.


I love this plastic clam shell.  Again, from a thrift store for $3.00.


I'm not exactly sure what this was made for, but I love it!

Well, I've got to get off this computer and get busy on getting more things moved in to my new room.  I'd love to know what you think so far and what tips you have for organizing all your yarny goodness!

Best,
Sheila

Tip:
Think out of the box when you see something you adore, especially if you shop at second hand or thrift stores.  Like the bread containers....what is it?  What else can it be used for?  Look around your house too!  Like the shot glass and olive server....how can I repurpose this or that.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Creating My Knitting Studio Part One


Some of you may know that my daughter graduated from college this past December.  She is working full time and moved out and into her own apartment this month.  I really thought I would be heartbroken, crying buckets of tears and so on.  To my surprise, I did not.  She is an only child and to keep from being overly possessive, I have been saying to myself these last 22 years.....
"you're training your replacement"!  

Really, isn't that what we are doing as parents?  And what is one of the first few words we teach them, as they are learning to talk?

Bye, bye!

Anyhoo, her bedroom is being transformed into my much needed, wanted and dreamed of knitting studio!

You can see in the top photo, the before.  A deep pink and to make the windows seem larger, I painted a border around them in white.  The room is on the small side so, no curtains, but white shutters.  She painted the flowers and leaves.  She was about 9 years old when we moved in this house.

And yes, that is a crystal chandelier!  I love them and have one in the master bedroom as well.  No ceiling fans for me!


She kept track of her height over the years on one of the closet walls.  Cute, but I did have to paint over it.


Here is the first coat of primer paint and we pulled up the blue carpet too.  We have left the carpet pad to protect the lovely hardwood floors underneath.  

I'm going to be painting it white.  Boring, I know, but I need good light for photos.  I take my own photos of all my items that I sell in my Etsy shop and good photos are a must for the patterns I sell too.  I like to have a white background.  I'll talk more about that in a future post.


So here is my daughter, her boyfriend and I celebrating on moving day with a glass of wine.  She lives in a 1920, 3 story walk-up.  In case you don't know, that is a 3 story building with no elevator!  Fine if you are in your 20's, but a killer for her dad and I!


I thought you might like to see some of the things she has bought at a few thrift stores in town.  An African like cat sort of creature.  It's a little side table made of wood.  I love it and well worth $10.00!


This is the broom cupboard in the kitchen.  We found a $4.00 white shelf and she put her coffee maker on it as it didn't fit under the cabinet on the kitchen counter.  She has her canned goods on the shelves now.


This black "leaf" she uses as a spoon rest on the stove.  We use alot of olive oil in our cooking being half Greek.  She keeps it in an old wine bottle with a pourer type of spout.  We found the Calphalon pans at a thrift store too.....$2.99 each!  


I found this mirrored cabinet at TJ Maxx,  on clearance for $30.00 (regular price $80.00).  She has it in her bathroom to store all the curling irons, hairdryer and makeup.


Tons of room!

This is an old storage ottoman of mine and she recovered it in fabric scraps and black faux fur that I had. I think it's just darling.  She keeps a few lightweight blankets in it.  Also serves as extra seating.

Well, that's it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'll have more photos of my studio and Zoe's cute apartment next week.

Best,
Sheila

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Pattern - Bunny Toy


As you can see, this crocheted bunny and blanket is my logo.  It has been for about 12 years.  I have had many requests over the years to write up the pattern for the bunny and I thank you for the love!  

The Bunny Toy pattern is for sale here 

Etsy
and

The blanket pattern is also available in all my pattern stores and is titled Uptown Stroller Blanket.  

The Uptown Stroller Blanket pattern is for sale here

and 


Many times I have given the set as a gift for a new baby is all sorts of different colors.  The set would be cute presented in an Easter basket.  The Bunny Toy is super easy to crochet and I love adding ribbon to the neck that matches the yarn color.


Long, floppy ears and a faceless face, as it were, is my favorite.  Simple and classic.  I love the old fashioned look of it.  One color, no face and simple construction.  The ribbon is what "makes it".  Wide is better than narrow here.  If all you have is rather skimpy, just double it up and then tie it on.

Be sure to remove the ribbon before giving to baby as it might present a choking hazard. 


You construct  a tube for the body, a round head (fill with fiberfil) and two ears then just put it all together.  Easy peasy!  

I have written the pattern for the beginner, using worsted weight (4) yarn and spelled out the instructions.  Meaning, no abbreviations....
"single crochet" instead of "sc"

Terms are in both American and UK.

You can certainly embroider  a face or add plastic eyes if you wish.  It's totally up to you.

Have a great week,
Sheila

Yarn tip:
When knitting or crocheting toys for little ones, use small needles or hook to get a tight finished product.  You don't want the fiberfil to show or poke through.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chocolate Box Reinvent and Make Your Own Sock Blockers


 
Did any of you receive a box of chocolates from your Valentine?  Me neither!  My daughter did, however, from her boyfriend.  She gave me this heart shaped box when she finished the treats as she knows my love of reusing things.  


It's perfect for holding my knitting/crochet bits and bobs.  Stitch markers, plastic bread bag ties for fair isle bobbins, buttons, needle protectors, ribbon, small rubber bands for keeping small balls of yarn from unraveling, hair barrettes for the same use, an empty dental floss container for cutting thread or yarn, row counters and circular needle cord stoppers.

All perfectly nestled in the box for easy access.


I also put to use some wire hangers.  "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS"!  That's funny if you know about movie actress Joan Crawford and her distain for wire hangers.

Anyhoos, to make some affordable, wire hanger sock blockers, just give it a pull in the middle then bend back the top point towards the opposite point.  I covered the hanger part with electrical tape so as not to snag the socks.  Slide your just washed socks over them and hang outside, over a shower curtain rod or in your laundry room.  

They dry super fast with all that open space the hanger provides and the sock fits great after.


These are Mary Maxim Step It Up in Tie died 

I hope you have a rainbow in your day,
Sheila

Yarn tip:
Be brave with color when you make socks.  I would never knit a rainbow sweater, but I definitely would wear them on my feet!





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