What I Should Be Doing

March 19, 2012

is moving furniture back into this room.

Craft room with ceiling

From this room.

the guest bedroom

Because my mom is arriving from Brazil tomorrow morning.  And this is where she’s supposed to sleep.  We do have a futon where I can put her for a couple of days if I need to, but that’s not ideal.

We had my craft room painted sort of suddenly.  I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile and we got a couple of estimates and found someone who had room in her schedule which gave us 4 days to empty a very full room.  And it had to be empty because of the ceiling (it required a lot of brush work because of the beams and slats, etc.).  Moving the stuff went pretty quickly although we were rushing around at the last minute, as always.  Gracie wasn’t sure what to make of things.  Where’d all her toys go?

The craft room pre painting

Now the room is painted and it looks amazing!  (no photos yet.  you have to wait for the finished product.  the first photo is the “before” picture.)  The shelves will be put up next weekend (giving the paint plenty of time to dry).  We can’t move all the furniture in because we are hoping to have the floor replaced in about two weeks.  Currently, it’s linoleum which is okay, but it has a large indentation in the middle from a rug, and my chairs and furniture have put a ton of dents in the floor.  We are going to go with wood laminate which will hold up better for us.  I’m only bring back the stuff on wheels (which is a lot of the furniture), my big fabric dresser, and the stuff that will go on the shelves.  That’s 80% of the stuff.

I’d better get to it.

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Would You Like To See My Craft Room?

October 19, 2010

Because it is finally in a state suitable for visitors.  It has taken about about 18.5 months to get it set up the way I want it.  All my fabric is put away, for the first time ever.  Well, I do have some fabric on my table, but I plan on working with it over the next few days.  The key was finally having enough storage.  I am at the point now where everything has a place where it is considered put away. Some might think an option was to purge, and I have done a fair amount of that.  But really, I just kept adding shelving solutions until I had enough.


This is my favorite corner.  It’s got my wall of favorite framed things and the comfy chair.  But my absolute favorite part of the corner is the light.  I bought it at Target about three years ago.  It was in January when they hold their Bazaar.  (Target has some pretty cool stuff in that display/promotion.)  This is the first time the light has actually hung and been plugged in, and I love it!


See, isn’t it pretty?!  But getting back to the rest of the corner, I have a tall Billy Bookcase to take advantage of verticle space.  I use it to store empty frames, photo albums, embroidery threads and projects, some books, and there’s one shelf for display.  The shelves behind the chair store things I hardly ever need access to so that I don’t have to move the chair often.  Not that it’s hard, but it would be obnoxious if I needed to get in there every day.  I have a Besta shelving unit in front of the fire place.  There’s a couple of bins to store fabric scraps and fabric for projects, yarn for a granny square quilt, and holiday fabrics. There’s also more embroidery thread in the white boxes and a shelf for displaying some boxes that I also use for storage.  You can’t really see it, but on the far left side of the picture is our microwave.  It’s sorta weird having it in my craft room, but it’s right by the door that leads to the kitchen.  We have hardly any counter space and the other places we’ve tried it have been in the way, so this is really the best spot for it.  We’re renters so we’re looking for the best option as opposed to the perfect solution.  We got the table for less than $20 at Target and under it is a crate on it’s side so that we can store the cookbooks.  The added benefit is that the microwave is now on a different fuse so we don’t accidentally blow the fuse when we accidentally have the toaster and microwave going at the same time.  You don’t do that more than twice.


This is the view of my room from the kitchen looking towards Gracie’s bathroom.  She’s now extended her living space to my craft room so we have her scratching post and some toys out for her.  This isn’t a very exciting part of the room, but it gets a lot of use.  That’s the dresser that I redid (as blogged about here).  It holds TONS of fabric and most of my sewing notions. On top, I have my collection of vases, two that Bill brought back from Copenhagen, two were wedding gifts, one was my first gift from Bill’s grandmother…  Special stuff.

Then there’s my cutting table.  It’s up on bed risers to make it a bit more comfortable for cutting fabric.  The added height also lets me store more stuff under it.  I have my laundry sorting baskets/hampers and our new second comfy chair of the room, newly purchased from Ikea.  Occasionally both Bill and I like to sit in here and watch tv or a movie, but there was only one comfy chair.  But now there’s two, with one that can easily be stored to not take up extra floor space.  When I’ve got the ironing board out and I’m working on a project and the laundry is sorted into piles all over the floor rather than using the handy baskets I have, it gets a little tight in here.  There’s also a lot of doors in this room (6 including the sliding glass door) which makes furniture layout tricky.


Here’s the view from the garage door.  Why do you care?  I only show this view because I want to point out how I try and use every bit of space I can.  For example, I hung my dustbuster out of sight but easy to access.  It was either there or the garage and this is definitely more convenient for me.  Can you see it?  It’s to the right, next to my can of tubey things.


This wall is my pi¨ce de r©sistance.  This is my worktable.  The shelving is Elfa’s freestanding shelving.  As I mentioned, we are renting so this is a great option for us.  It’s not attached to the wall so we can pack it up and take it with us when we move.  Because it’s Elfa, it is incredibly flexible and will work in any kind of room.  It gives me tons of storage and lets me take advantage of the vertical space which is often underutilized.  I’d say that we had about half of the shelves and brackets from our previous house.  We had Elfa in every closet and room and before we put our house on the market, we packed up a lot of stuff leaving out the bare minimum and taking the rest with us. In addition to half the shelves, we already owned three drawer units and one of the desktops.  Buying the rest of the components was an investment, but I love all the storage it provides.  I have lots of my plushies on the top shelf.  They keep me company while I work.  Then I have a bunch of boxes, from Ikea, storing (more) fabric scraps, speciality fabrics and materials, and WIPs.  I really like the size of the Ikea boxes which are slightly larger than shoe boxes.  The next shelf is mainly books and patterns.  There’s sections.  From left to right we have sewing, knitting, decorating, beading, general crafting, decorating, and other misc. stuff.  The bottom shelf is part display part storage.  I have scrapbooking stuff, my owl collection, beads and buttons, and then my ribbons and electronics.

Then there’s my work table.  One side is for sewing, the other is for beading or working on my computer, or a spot for Bill to sit and work at his computer.  I like having a second flexible station. For about 8 months, I didn’t have the second desk but it has gotten a lot of use and I like having one side dedicated to sewing. With my three drawer units, I use the left one for art and scrapbooking, the middle one is for sewing and stores more fabric.  This is fabric for apparel as opposed to quilting/crafting fabric stored in the dresser.  And the left most drawer unit is for my much neglected etsy store.  One of my little tricks for the work area was to put a power strip up on one of the brackets, above the work table.  If you look to the right of my sewing machine, you can see it.  When I started taking sewing classes, I spent a lot of time on the floor plugging in and unplugging my machine.  It was a pain.  Plus, I move my laptop around the house and sometimes I need my charger.  This is out of the way and easier to get to.  I used Command Strips to hang it.


Last but not least is my closet.  It holds copious amounts of yarn, general craft supplies, batting and stuffing, pillow forms, and more fabric.  Plus, it gives my Tom Cruise poster, which I have owned since 1986, a home.

So that’s my craft room.  Some might say “holy crap there’s a lot of stuff in that room.”  To me, I see things that I love that bring back special memories.  They inspire me instead of overwhelm me.  This type of room wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.  It’s finally the way I want it to be and will probably be a complete disaster this time next week.

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Will I Have More Energy In California?

March 10, 2009

I surely hope so. The last couple of weeks have found me a little zapped; further proof that I am so ready to be done with this dual household situation. Alas, it is not in my control, but it doesn’t stop me from hoping that it will end soon and that I’ll feel myself again. I have tried getting up in the mornings to go to the gym, hoping that some activity will get the blood and energy flowing again. I have even, uncharacteristically too, sat in front of the television and not had a project in my hands (gasp!). So I’m balancing doing the things I need to do (like eating some fruits and veggies and getting some exercise) and listening to my body which appears to be telling me it would like some down time.

The good news is that I was motivated to work on my kitchen curtain this weekend. I had all the materials and a game plan, thanks to the book Sunset Curtains, Draperis & Shades. I went with the London Shade (thought I made it as a valance). I am very pleased with the end result. I had a little trouble with the pleats, and fought with them and the iron for a good amount of time, but it was worth the effort. They are fully lined and I just love the beaded trim accent. You can see the full curtain here though it doesn’t do it justice as it’s laying down versus hanging. I also hand-stitched the gather in place so I could control how it looked and I don’t think you’d be able to notice except that I told you. And it is in need of a good ironing, but since it’s just going to be packed up in a box, I figured I’d iron it once I get it unpacked.

I am just loving the fabric though which will fit well in my 1960′s – 70′s kitchen. I have some new cushions to make with more fabric in this line (Anna Maria Horner’s Drawing Room), so that’s my next project. And after that, I will work on my living room curtains.

I know that I will be in California eventually and I will be quite pleased that I’ve gotten through as many of these projects as I could. But for the rest of tonight, I think I’m going to read a little and get up early tomorrow.

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Counting Blessings

February 18, 2009

Things have been kinda rough the last few weeks with Bill on the West Coast and me being on the East Coast. And things don’t look like they will be changing very soon. Plus, he has CJ and Sabrina and the orange tree and I have…the big screen tv? It’s really annoying when people tell you to “count your blessings”. What you really want to hear is “you’re right, it sucks, treat yourself to a mani/pedi” or “you know what helps when you’re feeling crappy, Cold Stone strawberry ice cream with double graham cracker crust in a chocolate covered waffle bowl.” But in the spirit of being positive, I will count my blessings:

1. I am lucky to have a job so that I can afford to treat myself to a mani/pedi.
2. And some new articles of clothing.
3. And shoes.
4. And fabric.
5. And yarn.
6. Bill was visiting this weekend so I didn’t have to get my own Starbucks.
7. I have good, patient friends and a slightly irritating but well-intentioned, loving, healthy family.
8. I’ve confirmed that I really, really love my husband and don’t want to trade him in for a newer model.
9. I have more free time on my hands to work on projects, read, relax and chill.
10. This is only a temporary situation.

Okay so maybe I didn’t take this too seriously, but at the moment it’s all I got.

I have been working on some new pillows for my living room. Here they are in progress. The finished product looks a little more interesting and hopefully I’ll finish them up this weekend. I’ve had a hard time picking out fabric to go with my chairs; I’m a little concerned that the cotton fabric is too casual for the chairs, but I think the green works well.

I also casted on a new project, Peony Knits’ circular shrug. I’m going to knit it in Sundara’s fingering silky merino. The yarn feels amazing and I LOVE the color (caramel apple), but I’ve been stressing that it is going to take me forever to knit up the vest in fingering weight yarn. I’ve been telling myself to enjoy the process and not focus on the result. If you see someone rocking back and forth chanting “knitting is supposed to be fun”, it’s probably me.

My mom and Jacob are visiting this weekend and I have brunch scheduled with the girls on Sunday.

Yes, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

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The Extent of My Drawing Ability

February 4, 2009

So this post started out with my using the word “artistic” instead of drawing in the title of my post. And while I think it is a stretch to call me an artist, I do feel that I’m creative and someone told me if you create you are an artist. So I changed my title and am going with “drawing”. And I really struggle with drawing. Maybe if I practiced more. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me.

Anyhoo, I am obsessed with bed linens and furniture layout for my house in California. (Still don’t know when I’ll be going out there; fingers crossed that it will be soon.) If I had my druthers I would go with a new look (same furniture, different color scheme) but with the economy the way it is, it doesn’t seem responsible. And I really do like the linens I have. But it doesn’t stop me from wanting something new.

So what does this have to do with my drawing ability? I decided that I would be happy if I had a new pillow for my bed. Something pink to break up the black and white. Pink is my accent color, after all. But what kind of pillow do I want? Hmmmm… And then I remembered this post from ages ago and that sent the wheels a turnin’. I looked on-line to buy some patterns but couldn’t find anything that did anything for me. I did see some cute ones, but not for my bed. And then I decided to draw my own. (A scary thought.)

This gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my birthday present. Bill got me this pen because he remember that I had mentioned wanting one over a year ago. I certainly don’t need it, but birthday gifts are meant to be stuff you wouldn’t normally get yourself, right? What I was hoping the pen would let me do is easily upload my sketch to the computer and then I could manipulate it in photoshop. And yay! That’s exactly what I was able to do (after a bunch of practice sketches that I eventually ended up tracing with my pen).

So my little picture is part of the design for my new pillow. I know it’s not much, but I think when you see the whole thing, you will be more impressed (I hope). I will give you a hint though, those are love birds…

Have I mentioned that this is my first foray into embroidery? I do lots of other needlework, but never straight embroidery. This will be very interesting.

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5 Months Later…

October 8, 2008

Yikes, it’s really been 5 months since I started my bedroom redo. Well, at last it is finally done. It did take awhile to find all the pieces and then even longer to get it put together. Where to start? First, I do have to point out that due to the lighting, the walls photograph much pinker than they are in real life. The color is much more subtle.

Moving on, the wall art is fabric stretched over canvas. The wall is big and I needed something of a decent size to hold its own on the wall. This worked well and was easy to due.

The curtains and comforter are from Target, as are the flowered pillows. I wanted something to break up all the flowers so I made the small striped pillows out of kitchen towels.

The big project was the bedskirt. Apparently, my box spring is a little taller than a normal box spring so the bedskirt hung nowhere close to the floor. Bill found some striped fabric at Joanne’s and I added a border to the bottom of the store-bought bedskirt. It actually turned out pretty well. And the mirror which you can see better in this picture, was hanging in a different room but it works perfectly in here. If you are eagle eyes, you might notice my other framed artwork. And it’s souvenir from a trip my mom and I took to Cabo san Lucas. I also took some stuff off the walls and that made a big difference. Less is more.

I am enjoying the “new” room and am very pleased with my efforts! As is CJ!


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When A Card Isn’t Just A Card

July 24, 2008

IMG_0670I started my master bedroom update last century, at least that’s what it feels like. In reality, it’s been a little over two months. I did some work, lost inspiration, and recently found it. I had been shopping for Papyrus cards for a friend, and saw two that I loved. Loved them. I decided that I would frame them and hang them in my master bedroom. I bought simple black frames at Michaels, and finally got around to washing the glass and framing the cards. I have to say that the pictures look great. They make me smile when I see them. Bill approves too. Since they were cards, I put double-sided tape inside the card to keep it closed. This was more important for the square card which is framed in kind of a floating frame. The card is an odd shape and I wasn’t interested in having a mat custom cut, or having it custom framed. I found an inexpensive Format Frame with a black background. Originally, I thought I should use the same type of frame for symmetry, but the card on top has three dimensional flowers and needed a mat. I also decided everything doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. I am thrilled with how the bouquet girl looks with the mat. I splurged on a precut double mat (approx. $2), as opposed to the plain cream one that came with the frame. A couple bucks well spent, in my opinion.

I guess the point of this post is to open up your mind. If you see something and it makes you happy, then you can decorate with it. It may take some creativity, but it can be done. And we need to be surrounded by things that make us happy.

IMG_0623Speaking of happy, my mom called me the other day and asked me to be her “joy buddy”. I crinkled up my nose and said, this doesn’t mean I have to be happy, does it? What an odd response! Shouldn’t we welcome all opportunities to find joy and happiness? I’m not exactly sure what my responsibilities are as a “joy buddy” but maybe it’s just to let her know when I find things that make my happy. The truly interesting thing is that earlier that morning, in my car, reluctantly on my way to work, I realized that I was (am) very lucky. Honest to goodness, I looked around (at a red light), saw the sun shining, enjoyed a cool breeze and thought that I was (am) lucky to be alive on such a beautiful day, that I had (have) a wonderful husband, a loving family, a job when others don’t, and all-in-all, much to be thankful for. I shared that revelation with her and we officially became “joy buddies”.

I found some joy at Joann Fabric this afternoon. I went to pick up a few supplies for the bedroom update (bias tape and buttons). They also had some containers that I thought would work for button storage. And I was also going to pick up a pillow form but realized I left my 40% off coupon at home. I held off on the pillow form (plus I had an idea and might not need to buy one). While waiting in line, I noticed the woman in front of me had a page of coupons so I picked up a flyer which they had by the door. I thought I might be able to use one coupon on my order but for everything that rang up that wasn’t already on sale, the cashier scanned a coupon. I got 40% off everything!!! It was like Christmas in July. So go check our your local Joann.

I’m very close on finishing the bedroom update. So close, but this last bit will be the most time consuming I think. Pictures to be posted soon, I promise!

Most importantly, go forth and be joyful.

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Phlegm Sucks, But Keep Reading

January 3, 2008

Ugh, I’ve been sick again. But thanks to better living through chemistry, I am on the road to recovery. Really. Honest. I caught another cold, or perhaps I never really got over my last one, and this was the worse one yet. Really knocked me on my hind-quarters. I was uber congested which aggravated my asthma so I felt like I had a 30-50 pound weight on my chest all the time. I was in urgent care on Monday getting a breathing treatment. And then yesterday I saw my doctor who gave me the good stuff – antibiotics. I am feeling so much better. Still phlegmy, but definitely on the mend. Yay. Unfortunately that also means back to work.

cjgoodwillIn non-phlegmy news, this is an interesting article about where to donate items. Most of it is specific to the metro DC area, but maybe it will give you ideas. I wish I had this article two weeks ago. In a fit of (frustration, productivity, and an urgent need for space) I threw out a bunch of old sheets. Most were in good condition but it seemed weird to goodwill them. I could have asked our German Shepard Rescue if they needed them. And speaking of the rescue, or rescue pup is guarding one of my many bags to go to Purple Heart.

Also, one of my favorite articles to read in the Washington Post is Housecalls. People submit rooms they would like a professional interior designer’s help with. There’s “before” pictures and an “after” sketch by the designer with a list of improvements. It’s cool and a great way to get some ideas.

If you’re sick, and it seems like so many are, I hope that you’re feeling better; sick enough to be curled up in bed, but well enough to work on a fun, relaxing project (or surf the internet for inspiration!).

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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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