My Craft Station

10 days ago I took this picture. I was in my crafting/storage/laundry room, working on some necklaces for my Etsy store. I made myself a lunch of blackberries, cherries, and grapes, and a huge cup of coffee. I was listening to NPR while I worked, I was content, and I thought I should snap a shot of the gorgeous colors. That blue surface is my cutting mat. My nice, clean, devoid of clutter cutting mat.

The next day I decided that my crafting/storage/laundry room just had too much stuff in it for me to continue to be productive. So I set out to solve the problem. I removed everything that was in the room, threw away half, and resolved to put the rest back in a more organized and accessible manner.

I spent the better part of last week trying to accomplish that goal. I assembled furniture, unpacked and repacked tons of stuff, threw away a mountain of papers and boxes, and sneezed 2,000 times from all of the dust.

The room I live in is complete, but my craft station looks like this:

I don’t yet know what to do with the water pump, I don’t have anywhere useful

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Old Into New

My mother-in-law gave me a gift card to JoAnn, along with a coupon for 40% off an item. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get some jewelry making supplies.

For years I’ve been collecting odds and ends that I’ve intended to make into necklaces, bracelets, hair clips, and such. Today I went through my jewelry box, and took out everything that had been saved for that purpose. I also took old jewelry that I don’t really wear anymore, so that I may turn that into new things as well.

I’ll need to get some more tools, and I certainly need some wire. Today, though, was a day of cleaning out, organizing, and taking apart. I broke down a lot of pieces into their individual parts, and next week I’ll set to the task of putting things together in new ways.

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More Felted Handbags

It’s Mother’s Day!

This bag is for my mother-in-law, Paula. She is hands-down the coolest lady you could ever have as an in-law. She is smart, hilarious, crafty, talented, creative, and her cooking blows mine out of the water.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have Paula as a part of my life.

This bag is for my mom, Kathie. She’s witty, intelligent, funny, caring, responsible, beautiful, and incredibly generous.

The button is special, because she’s married to a sailor.

This bag is for my sister. She’s not a mom, thankfully, she’s only 23. I could hang on to it for 6 weeks until her birthday, but If I see her before then I’ll probably just give it to her.

I’m very impatient, you see, when it comes to gift giving. I don’t think my husband and I have successfully waited for Christmas or a birthday once since we met 8 years ago. This past year we didn’t even wait until “Christmas Eve Eve” as we usually do. I think we gave our gifts to each other on December 7th.

I don’t know who this one is for. I might give my sister a choice as to which one she

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Creating Gifts

I’ve been busy making bags, fixing bags, embellishing bags, and working on my sewing skills. Mother’s day is tomorrow and I have gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I’ve always believed that giving something handmade is far better than giving something purchased.

When I was a kid I would draw on tissues with washable marker, then either splash them with or quickly dunk them in water. The ink would run all over the place, the colors would mix, and I’d end up with a multicolored tissue that could double as abstract art. I called these things “gleeches” (Why? Because I was 7.) and I’d use them to wrap gifts or stuff into gift bags. In case you were wondering, tissues don’t make good wrapping paper, even if they’re beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean beautiful through the eyes of a 7-year-old child, which could actually mean ugly.

As a pre-teen, I would make and give friendship bracelets to everyone I knew. That evolved into anklets, necklaces, headbands, chokers, rings – basically knotted string or gimp for every appendage possible. Keychains, too. I loved making keychains. I would take apart jewelry that I got from a kiosk my aunt owned

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Felted Wool Handbags

Inspired by this tutorial, and stuck with a shrunken sweater, I decided to make a bag. I enjoyed it so much that I went to the thrift store and purchased a dozen or so wool sweaters, some of them for only $1! I made a bag for my friend, then one for my mother-in-law. Then I made myself another, and I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest I’m going to make. Maybe I should open an Etsy store? It was a fun and relaxing way to pass time, so I plan to make a bunch.

The first one I made, with the stripes, used to be my husband’s sweater and now it is holding all of the newly felted sweaters. The bag with the dots is pretty small. It’s funny shaped, but I like it. I’m using it now for my knitting bag. It holds two skeins nicely. The black one went to my friend, who is using it as a knitting bag as well.

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Learning to Knit

I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, so a few weeks ago I took a beginners knitting class with my friend and my mother-in-law. During the course of that lesson, I learned knit stitch, and also learned that I am a very slow learner. I mean, I have some seriously stupid fingers. After the first 45 minutes or so, I was still making so many mistakes that our instructor, Denise, was basically hovering behind me with corrections flowing from her lips. The other girls got to move ahead and learn purl, but not me. In fact, in the last 25 minutes, she in desperation decided to teach me Continental, because she didn’t want me to leave with zero skills. It was rough, let me tell you. I am not a natural knitter.

Despite the rough start, I went home and diligently knit a few rows a day until I got the hang of it. I now know how to do the most basic knitting. Not perfectly, by any means, but it’s a definite start. My mother-in-law has volunteered to teach me purl, and I’m excited to learn. I want to make sweaters and hats and fuzzy

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