Category Archives: craft supplies

Figuring It Out

I think I know what I want to do for our new bedroom curtains. I’m going to make them. I knew that, curtains are too expensive to buy otherwise, unless you use sheets. However, I had no idea what I’d do, but think I do now. I will buy enough to do a double window. If that works? I’ll buy about the same amount again, to do the 2 single windows.

Then we’ll see!

The living room has the same window configuration, almost exactly, so if it works in the bedroom, it should in the living room too. Cost per room? About $50, if I have it figured correctly.

Could be I’ll hate the fabric when I get it. Could be. We’ll see!muslin

Office 1.1

Did more organization in the office. Had a loose file folder or two, looked through them. We need our copy of a w2 from 1997 why? I had the very first one I had ever gotten, from the 1970s. OMG.

Out they went!

That was an easy (and fast) 25 papers into the shred/dump bins! If there’s more of that sort of thing in my office, it will be a snap to clear out. The first shelf was cleared/organized. The second is about 1/2 done.

The last time I reorganized/cleared my office was when I first started this blog and took pics of all the bead containers in pop crates in the bookshelves. My current plan (after I get the bookshelves in the closet dealt with and the filing cabinet) is to cull/clean/clear off the bookcase which has all the beads and pop crates. Not sure what I’ll keep?

I started in the closet. For years when I wanted to clean something, I’d clean a closet or cabinet, so it couldn’t be seen. I don’t think this was because of that — all the interesting paper was in the closet, in a mess. So, I started in a closet, again. I’ve gotten through the interesting big pieces and started going through/culling the books and magazines, which take up more than 1/2 the bookcase. The goal is for them to take up 1/4th of the case, one shelf. We’ll see if I can do that!

Yesterday we went to a funeral and did some antiquing on the way home. Bought nothing, just looked. Today is dump day, so more stuff (if nothing else the recycles) will go away.

Cheap & Nonconsumer Holiday Season

My mom was a working mom. Because of that, for a few years, she was really broke and couldn’t buy into the whole consumer thing for her son (my older brother). She found ways to make it work.

At various times, for a lot of reasons, there have been periods when money was tight and a lot of stuff or spending a lot of money just wasn’t possible.

Given who we are, my husband and I, we have kept or discarded many of the usual “traditions” and do the following, not all of them, not all the time, but a mix and match as time and resources allow.

TREES & DECORATIONS:

  1. Buy your tree on Christmas Eve, they are usually 1/2 off.
  2. Or, if you have more space than money and can swing it, buy a good fake tree AFTER the holiday when they’re on sale, and use it forever after. You’ll save the gas, time, and money you’d have spent locating, buying, bringing home, and then discarding a tree.
  3. If you have land and the right sort of tree, then cut one of course!
  4. Make decorations and garland and keep them rather than buying glass or other fragile ornaments. Or, if you must buy them, get metal, plastic, wood or paper ornaments which will last, rather than fragile ones.
  5. Cut snowflakes for the tree from the end of last year’s wrapping paper, if you have any. We did that when I was a kid, but I don’t keep wrapping paper around any more.
  6. Make bead “icicles” (or buy permanent ones) rather than tinsel. Doesn’t take much room, costs less over time and there’s less waste.

TRADITIONS:

  1. Start traditions which are cheaper and less consumer oriented. The Aunt who hosts the largest family Christmas in our family has a “Yankee swap” where you gift a gag or nice gift, or several.
  2. Buying a tree on Christmas Eve fits here too.
  3. One year, DH was out of work. We just couldn’t afford to spend the $ we’d spent before making cookies etc. for the neighbors, so we made bread on Christmas Eve. Twenty plus years later, we’re still making bread. The recipe we make takes 1.5 hours start to finish and we’ve made up to 14 loaves on Christmas Eve,families with kids get 2 loaves, couples without kids get a single loaf. A fave memory of mine is going up and down the street with a bag of still-warm bread to give away on Christmas Eve. Everyone seems to like it and it costs us much less than the expensive cookies we used to make. (One of my acquaintances here made a large array of cookies every Christmas. She used the cheapest ingredients she could find — the cookies were awful. I refuse to do that. I’d rather make ONE cookie or something that’s decent than a plate full of unpalatable stuff.)
  4. Last year, I gifted my SIL, her husband and 2 kids with decorated cookie tins.  They aren’t all that large, but at my request, she sent the tins back to me after the holidays. During the year, I’ve put the little bits I found for everyone in their tin. Next week, I’ll mail them. It isn’t their large gift, but it’s a piece of it and it means that I don’t have to buy wrapping paper, boxes, and ribbons for these. I just have to tape them shut and put a tag on them. I might put ribbon on them, but that’s because I have a lot of ribbon and I’m trying to use it up.
  5. We put up the tree on Christmas Eve and take it down on New Year’s Eve. My family’s tradition was that we burned the tree in the fireplace on New Year’s. Since we heat with wood and the tree is almost always pine, we don’t do that. We adapted my family’s tradition: when we take down the tree, we cut a log off the bottom and tie a bow on it. It gets put in a bag and put away in the trunk with the ornaments. The following year on Christmas day, we burn the log. This costs us nothing but the space to store the log and it links us to our past in a nice way.

WRAPPING AND TAGS:

  1. Design your wrapping/gift tags to use (and use up) as much of what you already own as possible. I frequently use metallic or printed tissue for wrapping paper. It’s light, looks great over a layer of white tissue and it’s pretty cheap and takes little space to store.
  2. I’ve been whittling down my yarn/cord stash for some time with my Christmas wrapping. Last year I wrapped everything in black and white striped paper and then used a collection of blue, green and teal cords for “ribbon.” It worked. One year I used a ball or two of yarn I’d bought to make a sweater . You can, if you save them, make new tags out of last years’ Christmas cards. (I’m always afraid I’ll give the person back the card they sent me, so I’ve never done this.)
  3. Wax paper is great for making “snowy” cards.

Removing Bricks & Others

Because we both have old-fashioned hobbies, where you make something, and we’re of an age, we have big and cumbersome hobby equipment. We both appreciate the heft of a professional chef’s whisk say, even if we never actually USE such a thing. [Yes, I had one. I also had a professional rolling pin — largest one I ever saw. Couldn’t store the rolling pin anywhere. The whisk never got used. I tried to sell them, no luck. I gave them to a friend who has a food truck! (She was delighted.)]

But we do that kind of thing, a lot. If it’s a hobby or skill we do or are interested in, over the years, we’ve acquired large pieces of equipment, sometimes many of them, to use. This means we’ve got various bits & pieces here: high-end equipment which no longer works or is completely old tech, and frequently — they’re steel– which makes them heavy as well.

So, there’s been a shift now. Instead of simply storing these pieces, we’re both shedding them. Mostly they go to the booth for sale, first. If they don’t sell, they get donated. DH has a piece he gave someone which had been in our attic literally since we moved here, it and its associated pieces are gone. We bought me a new piece of hobby equipment, but I have two others: one working, the other not. The working piece is slated to go to the booth very soon. The nonworking piece will go too, but not at the same time. There’s a wonderful, funky adding machine, with a glass window going soon too. My idea for it was to turn it into a night light, but it’s huge and heavy — it’s going to the booth, soon.

Aside from the “bricks” which are leaving our home, the other categories of stuff which are going out of here are books and Christmas stuff. I’m dribbling the Christmas pieces into the booth a tiny bit at a time. Yes, this is way too early for Christmas, unless you’re a dealer.

When you’re a dealer, then you want to have the pieces early so that you can design your retail/selling space at the right time. So, I’ve sold 2 feather trees and 1 metal tree thing. I’m not doing Christmas in the booth in large scale, but I am doing it. I want to sell the stuff and if I can get it sold by putting an odd piece or two out early, then I will. I hate being bombarded with Christmas after Labor Day, but my job is to sell the stuff, not keep it!

So, we’re on a mission here: get rid of large, heavy pieces we don’t use, bricks I call them. Also out of season stuff, if we think it will sell. This has created a chunk of empty space here, and that’s good!

The 100 Item Rule, Bent to My Needs

I ran into a minimalism blog about how to become one. I had looked at it for ideas. I really like the idea, but. . . I am a recovering hoarder AND I have no intention of doing some of the things they talk about: i.e., not having a car or mortgage, just to start with.

But given the “have 100 things or less” idea? I decided that I could use that as a guide to help me pare things down.

Realistically, it will NOT apply here to these things: books or beads. Otherwise? I think I can probably pare my stuff down or won’t need it.

Classes of “stuff” where I might use this: clothes, shelf-stable foods, frozen foods, cleaning products, tools, decorative geegaws, items for future rennovation. (There’s probably more I’ve missed!) [Yep — office supplies!]

Clothes: includes shoes, socks, winter wear, etc. I’m not willing to freeze for this, but I haven’t really kept up with the pared-down capsule clothes idea I had with the French Dressing post, so a cull is not a bad idea at all. Recently, I’ve been playing with the idea of buying some cheap cotton dresses for everyday spring/summer/early fall, but I haven’t actually done that yet. I know what I want and where to get it, but I haven’t done it — yet, if I do it at all. I’m wearing: 2, remainder available = 98.

I realize this may have to be 100 per season because I’m not going to freeze to be a minimalist!

  • Pens & pencils: I expected this to be around 40, nope! Just counting the pieces which are “put away,” that is, in a drawer, cup or whatever where they should be, the total is 120! This obviously doesn’t count all the pieces littered through the house, in boxes, etc. Guess? We’ve got 100 or more in various places I didn’t count. I counted what was in the office and in the kitchen’s pencil cup. In all fairness, this does include things like technical pens, colored pencils, the sharpie used to mark frozen foods, etc. Those I consider either special use (and therefore really can’t be purged) or things which are frequently used. The obvious cull here is markers which don’t work, but we do purge those fairly often. I’ll check them later today, so the 120 total should be reduced. But I  don’t expect that I’ll cull 20 — or more!

pens-pencils

We’ll see how this goes later today! Exactly what I expected, I got rid of one dead marker!

New total = 119.

Found 2 in the bedroom.

New total = 121

Twelve more in one of the art spaces.

New total = 133.

Five found a new home, out of the day to day storage. New total = 128.

Thirty-one colored pencils put in special pages into binder. New total = 99.

And that’s that, until I locate more!

One pen ran out of ink while I was using it (disposable type) New total = 98. (9/21)

Found a working pen in a box. New total = 99.(9/22)

I did a really stupid thing

I told someone I’d bring a rug for them to see Monday. The only rug I have partly done isn’t mine; it’s for a friend, and I’m not going to drag it around the state to show others.

All the rugs I have here which I made are either 1)my original prototype, with all the errors and it’s dirty  — it’s been in continual use for the past 8 months. Or, 2) the laundry room rug, which isn’t completely finished, and oh yeah, I spilled a small bit of bleach on it. The laundry room rug is also much bigger than the others, about 5′ wide so it’s heavy and awkward to carry.

Sigh.

I do have about 50 t shirt “crop tops” to make into either coasters or stair tread rugs. I could probably do that, or some of that?

Dunno what I’ll do — we’ll see!

The History of Denim Strips

The denim strips I’ve been turning into decorations (hearts) have been in my life oh for more than 10 years now. Originally, they were legs cut off of jeans to make shorts by the seamstress for a fellow I knew. He sold jeans and denim shorts at a flea market where I had a booth. I took the trash bag full of denim leg pieces and had no idea wtf I was going to do with them. Years later, I decided to turn them into a rug.

The first attempt didn’t work. (1)

I gave them to someone else to turn into a rug, which worked fine, except that it curled. The third time I tripped over it I stopped using it. (2)

Then I came up with a brilliant idea of how I was going to use them to make a different kind of rug. I took apart (2) and charged ahead — except that didn’t work either. (3)

I came up with yet another technique. And, since I have never dismantled (3), I started buying jeans at flea markets, picking them up at the swap shop at the dump, etc. btw, this one didn’t work either (4).

So, I have a LARGE box in the attic labelled “denim for rugs” which is probably uncut jeans and I had somewhere around 1,000 denim strips in the house, mostly still in failed rugs (3) and (4).

While this was going on, I kept trying to figure out how to finger weave a rug, no loom, no sewing, but never found one. Instead, I had figured out how to handweave hearts. Lately, what I’ve been doing is making those hearts for resale. If they don’t sell? Well, that’s too bad, I’ll scatter them around the house, use them as booth decorations or just toss them. Right now there’s two with felt backs (another failed idea) hanging on the front door. I really should remove the not-so-great felt backs, but  haven’t yet. I probably will — eventually.

Also, eventually, and sooner than later, I need to make up a tutorial for these or someone will buy them, undo one or two and post a tutorial for something that literally took me months to figure out. I’m not proud, but I do want credit for the many hours of  trial & error I did until I got it right!

Just so you know, I took apart rug (4) to make these. It doesn’t exist any more. Rug (3) is still here. My intention is to take that apart and make more hearts. I haven’t decided what to do about the box, yet.