Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Welcome to my Scrappy, Happy Place!  I am so glad you are here for a tour.  I expect this to be a long tour so I might suggest a quick trip to the kitchen to get a cool drink or hot cuppa before we begin.  

My Scrappy Happy Place (Sewing Room)

When illness forced me to shut down my business, I decided that my old "office" would become my new sewing room where I could create, rest and renew my body.  In the year and 10 months since I retired I have spent many hours in here, dreaming, creating, resting, relaxing, crying, laughing, learning, and sometimes re-learning, how to live my "new" life on a daily basis.  It truly is my sanctuary. 

My sewing room is the smallest of the second floor bedrooms.  Honestly, I wish it was on the first floor to limit my trips up and down the steps.  But, given that the stairs are my only exercise, I guess the second floor location is a good thing.  The room is approximately 11' x 11'.  It's tiny...but I have managed to pack an awful lot into these constraints (with some overflow as you will see later in this post)! 

message white board
As you approach my sewing room the first thing you will see is my hand made message board.  Back when J was still living at home our schedules could be incredibly hectic, sometimes going a week without seeing each other face to face!  I put the message board on the outside of my door to facilitate communication between Dear Hubby, Dear Son and Me.  If either of my guys came home after I had already gone to bed (sometimes quite early if I am having a bad day), they could simply leave a message on my door and know that I would see it first thing the next morning.   Since J has moved out it hasn't been used much and may be removed at some point down the line.  

Hanging on my doorknob is a small bag I made (pattern from Happy Zombie) to hold my Nook book, Nook book accessories and the accessories for my MP3 player.  It is easy to grab if Dear Hubby and I are heading out for a drive or an appointment and I need something to keep me occupied. 

The next thing you will see is the most important thing in the room, save for my sewing machine.  My coffee maker!  A steaming hot cup of coffee can get me going first thing on a bleary-eyed morning or a mild Chamomile tea can sooth me to dreamland on a sleepless night.  Next to the coffee maker is a small TV that I use to watch DVD's while I rest.  We don't have cable connected to this room, but I am happy to be watching movies instead.  Sometimes there isn't much good on TV anyway!  The green box under the TV performs two duties:  raising the TV to a height I can see easily, and storing Christmas gifts as I make them, hidden away from sight of family and friends!  Shhhh...the walls have ears!  The rattan boxes from Ikea hold my miscellaneous uncut fat quarters (bundles are kept elsewhere).  There is also one box that contains all of my charms, whether miscellaneous or design charm packs.  The blue batter bowl holds my first ball of "tarn" (t-shirt yarn).  I have a few more t-shirts to convert to tarn and am sure eventually my tarn collection will outgrow the bowl.  But I will deal with that when the tarn balls start rolling around the room, lol.  The clear plastic box under the bowl holds all of my completed hexies and the cardboard box below that holds items that are for sale in my shop.  

Next comes my all-in-one printer.  This machine gets LOTS of use, whether I am printing out patterns I have downloaded, scanning in my hand drawn embroidery designs for printing onto fabric or faxing important paperwork to my insurance company or lawyer.  The drawers below hold all of the paperwork dealing with my disability, etc.  

My desk area is quite unkempt at the moment, but we all have our "junk piles".  Right?  My paper monster has expanded to TWO piles.  I really need to tame this monster and trash at least 12" of paperwork!  On the lower left hand corner of the picture you can see a white metal container.  The container was a thrift shop score and holds all of my scratch pads.  The pink metal tin above it is the bottom of a tin that once held perfume.  It currently holds my envelopes, buried under "important" paperwork that I may need in the next week.  The top of my desk holds pictures of loved ones, a vase and flowers that J bought me as a young child (he picked it out at the Dollar Store).  Next to my smaller "paper monster" you will see a pencil holder that I upcycled from an old milk vase.  On the wall, is a pin board upcycled from an old picture frame.  
 Valances to match my border

You can't really see the fabric of the pinboard, but it matches the hand made valences and tie backs on my windows and the border on the walls.  

In front of the window is a brass trunk that is absolutely FILLED with denim cut from old jeans.  I have made two denim quilts for J (a twin sized for his dorm room in college and one for his queen sized bed at home/in his apartment).  On top of the brass trunk is a patchwork runner to keep the reflected sunshine in check, my "tea for one" pot, various loose teas and tea holders, teabags, and a jelly jar vase decorated with hand crocheted flowers.  

Finally!  The side of the room where all of the craftiness happens!  My sewing table was found on Craigslist for $60.  Both chairs (the one at the desk and the one at the sewing table) are Ikea finds.  I was so thrilled with how well they match my room.  Speaking of matching...  I have tried my best to bring mismatched items together into one cohesive feel...mostly with the help of a can of pink spray paint and some patterns found online and printed onto sticky back paper.  The two pictures were found online, printed out and framed.  One of the pictures even has a matting made from the same pretty paper that covers the lids of my stacking storage boxes.  The boxes themselves were a get well gift received by my husband after surgery.  I spray painted them and covered the lids.  The teal colored lids you see in the storage bin to the left of my machine are empty peanut butter jars used to store basting pins and two types of pony tail elastics.

On top of my storage boxes is a cute little basket I found in Target's $1 aisles.  It holds all of the sewing machine feet that did not come with my sewing machine.  


Inside the basket is a small purse which holds my empty bobbins.  The kit was included in a Mollie Makes magazine that I got for a great deal at my local quilt shop.  I didn't mind that the magazine was a few months old...the patterns and instructions didn't age, lol.   
Sewing Machine Cover
Sewing machine cover and matching lumbar pillow in my sewing room 
My sewing machine cover and  lumbar pillow were made from a few charm packs of Teacakes material, and the pillow was stuffed with old (but new) stockings so it maintains a very pliable configuration, able to sink into the curved back of my chair.  

Under my sewing table is a galvanized bucket that I use to hold scraps.  Remember, this is my 'SCRAPPY, Happy Place".  I just LOVE scrappy quilts, although I have only made one so far!

 On the wall above my sewing machine is a thrift store find to hold my pens and post-its.  It is just so sweet and girly!

sewing tool organizer and magnetic pin holder

Next to my sewing machine is a divided container to hold my sewing stuff.  When I got this container it was white with a pharmaceutical company logo on it.  Useful, but UGLY!  So once again I turned to my trusty spray paint and transformed it into something that fits beautifully in my room.  The paint didn't cover the company logo well, so I printed out an adorable label to cover the wording.  As much as I LOVE pincushions and use them in my portable sewing projects, I find it much easier to routinely utilize a shotglass with a magnet attached to the side.  Dear J removed the high power magnet from inside two computer hard drives that were being destroyed and I epoxied them to the shotglasses.  They are REALLY strong and practically "grab" the pin as it leaves my fingers.  I have two shotglasses, one filled with pins and one empty one.  The full shotglass sits on my cutting table and the empty next to my machine to store pins as I remove them from my sewn pieces.  I just switch them back and fourth as needed.  The cute purple pail was found in Target's $1 aisle and is my thread catcher.  There is an identical one stored on the rocking chair side of my cutting table to use when I am hand sewing. 

Forming an "L" with my sewing table is a gate-leg table from Ikea.  It has three drawers on my sewing side and three drawers on my rocking chair side.  The top drawer on the sewing side holds all of my rotary cutters.  The second drawer holds my sewing machine manual.  The bottom drawer holds hardware and 3M products.  On top of the cutting table is my tabletop ironing board and iron.  This iron/board was originally bought for J when he went away to college.  It returned home from college still in its plastic wrapper.  How could I EVER have thought a teen boy would "IRON" his clothing, lol?  I confiscated his ironing board and iron.  The board was covered with plain muslin (ugly), so I covered it in a pretty green material that I received on Freecycle.  Underneath I keep the box from a free container of Cottonelle Wet Wipes.  It holds water and an old hankie in case I need to "erase" mistakes in my quilt markings.  Underneath the table is a six drawer cabinet from Ikea.  It holds all of my threads...cotton, sulky, poly, etc.  

On the other side of my cutting table is my rocking chair.  This chair was bought when I was pregnant with J...26 years ago.  It is still my favorite place to rest, relax and hand sew when I'm able.  The afghan on the rocker was made for Dear Hubby back in 1981 when we were dating!

 Under the table on the rocker side is a basket to hold my sewing magazines and the most current book I am reading.  There is a matching basket next to my desk to store recyclables until they are due to be put out in the trash.  I AM a tree hugger, lol.  

Next to this basket is the tool kit Dear Hubby bought me for Mother's Day.  Finally, my own set of tools...all in PINK!

Beside the rocker is my closet.  It was once VERY organized but has fallen into some disorganization.  I really need to bite the bullet and clean it all up!  In front of the closet I have my "design wall".  While it seemed like a good idea to put a flannel curtain in front of the closet (there when you need and pulled back behind the rocker when you don't), the waviness of the curtain makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the blocks to stick.  I end up having to pin them in place, which makes it a royal pain when rearranging blocks.  Some day I WILL have a SOLID design WALL, lol.

Next to the closet is an upcycled kitchen cart.  On top is my new Sizzix Big Shot, a small case to hold some miscellaneous embroidery supplies and a pincushion to use when pinning blocks to my design curtain.  All of my sewing notions, trims and Sizzix supplies are in the drawers.  

Finally we are back to the beginning, the back of the entrance door, on which hangs my favorite sweater, my super soft, super warm "Woobie" (that is the honest-to-goodness name of the sweater on the company's website, lol).  

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my Scrappy Happy Place.  

Stop back soon for a tour of my Expanded Sewing Room (ESR).  I told you I had overflowed my space!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Just a quick post today.  A few minutes ago my mailman delivered a package that I had been waiting for with bated breath.  If you have never ordered from Quilt Fabric Closeouts I would suggest you scoot over there as fast as your little fingers can type and take a look at their FABULOUS fabrics.

Their website is:  http://www.quiltfabriccloseouts.com.

I was a little worried when I placed my first order.  How could I possibly get nine (9) good quality half yard cuts of fabric, plus one (1) panel for only $27.63...including shipping?  Nah....can't be done...or so I thought!

Imagine my joy when I opened the big puffy envelope to find nine of the most GORGEOUS fabrics imaginable...and the panel?  Well, it is just sweetness to die for! 

Quilt Fabric Closeouts has now risen to the top of my "shopping" list and I am sure I will be buying lots of fabrics from them in the future.  (Oh, by the way, they have no idea I am writing this post so no worries that this is a paid endorsement, lol)

So grab a nice cool iced tea, or hot cuppa if you are in the lower hemisphere, and spend some quality time surfing their website.  I guarantee you will find lots to love!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

GRRRRRrrrrrrrrr.....RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!

Bear Stock Photo

It is 6:38 on Sunday night and I am hiding in my sewing room, more for my husband's safety than anything else.  For some reason I have descended into a dreadfully foul mood.  I don't know why, really.  I had a pretty good day!  I slept in this morning...NO alarm at all.  Ahh.... it was total bliss.  Then I enjoyed a wonderful steaming mug of free coffee, accompanied by some delicious English Muffin Bread spread with home made cherry jam.  Yum.....  I spent the morning doing laundry, which is my usual Sunday chore.  Nothing there that should have triggered such a mood.  I haven't folded the laundry yet, that would be just too much for one day.  While doing laundry I assembled three blocks for my guest room quilt...something I haven't worked on in at least a week!  THAT made me happy!!!

When I was done the laundry I finished up my yellow button container and placed it into my cubby, eliciting more grins; and then I cut the 2.5 inch squares for the next container in line...pink.  All in all, a great day!  Even my tremor has been pretty good today!

At 4:00 I went into the kitchen to make dinner.  Yesterday I had planned out the whole meal...steaks on the counter-top grill, sauteed garlic mushrooms, packaged garlic noodles and canned peas.  I even found a peanut butter pie in the freezer yesterday.  I honestly don't remember when I bought it as it was buried under packages of frozen chicken, but a skinny slice for each of us would make a nice dessert.  It is really RARE that I make a full meal...even one incorporating several prepackaged items!  Completely from scratch is a total impossibility.  But Dear Hubby and I were spending the day in the house and I wanted to make him a nice quasi home-cooked meal. 

It was while making dinner that my mood plummeted.  After doing the laundry and some crafting I'm tired.  Totally exhausted really.  I guess I should have been intelligent and not planned a meal for laundry day.  I should have left the "meal" go until tomorrow and just suggested cheese sandwiches for dinner considering my physical exhaustion. But I had already defrosted everything, and it is likely the last time Dear Hubby and I will eat together for the rest of the week!  His work schedule and physical therapy schedule is NUTS!  So I pushed myself to do it and now I'm miserable...both physically and mentally.  Every time hubby talks to me I have to bite my tongue to make sure I don't snap at him.  Poor guy.  There is no absolutely no reason why I should snap at him...but I just know I will if we have too much contact.  The front doorbell rang a few minutes ago and I didn't even go to answer it.  I just ignored it completely.  I don't want to see or talk to anyone!  And if it was some type of solicitation at my door, I doubt I could have maintained my temper if they were a little too pushy.

So I have banished myself to my sewing room in a much needed "time out".  Not the upbeat writing I hope to post on my blog, but this is life (my life anyway) and it's important that I am honest in my representations.  Life isn't always fun, or easy, or fair and no matter how hard I strive to maintain a positive outlook, Pollyanna I'm not. I CAN understand the physical exhaustion...I pushed myself too hard.  But the emotional state I am in is a bit surprising.  I have the horrible urge to pound my fists, stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs.  Yea...a real "terrible twos" type temper tantrum. And I don't even know why!

So, in order to avoid such a ridiculous display,  I think I am going to snuggle down in my rocking chair and try some relaxation techniques.  Hopefully some deep breathing and visualization can pull me out of this funk.

Hmmmmmm.  I just looked out the window and the skies have darkened and deep thunder is rumbling through our neighborhood.  It matches my mood exactly.  But maybe it is a partial explanation?  I know my pain level increases as the barometric pressure changes, maybe it can also impact my mood.  I can only hope that the clean and refreshing post-rain atmosphere brightens my spirits!  In the meantime it might be best if my Dear Hubby runs for the hills as this bear is far from a happy camper!


Thursday, July 25, 2013


ME!  And they are getting organized!!
I hate to admit it, but I have finished VERY little this month.  Whether the result of days of inability, laziness, or a generalized feeling of being pulled in too many directions at the same time...little has actually been completed.  Started?  Yes.  Finished?  Not so much.  But I have set out a goal of organizing one of the most frustrating aspects of my sewing room storage.  Buttons.

Many moons ago (1986 to be exact) Dear Hubby and I went to Walt Disney World on vacation.  We bought this adorable glass container filled with candy as a remembrance of our wonderful vacation.  Once the candy was gone I began filling the jar with buttons.  All kinds and all colors of buttons.  

As my collection has grown, so has my frustration with trying to find just the right button for any project.  It means pouring out all of the buttons, searching for the right one and then putting all of the buttons back in the jar... invariably dropping quite a few in the process.  Doing any type of fine motor action when I am having a bad tremor day is like trying to catch a greased pig...dang near impossible.  But I really didn't have a good solution in mind. 

Then I went to our local thrift store's monthly sale.  My biggest score was three matching cubby units.  At the time that I bought them I really didn't know WHAT I was going to use them for...I just knew they HAD to be mine!

Shortly after bringing them home I began working on the prototype of an idea that had been floating around in my head for a while...a collapsible craft container that could be used as a thread catcher, and a host of other things! 

After completing my first container I happened to glance at one of the cubbies and realized that the container would fit perfectly!  But what to store in all of those little containers?  BUTTONS!!!  

I decided I would divide my buttons by color, each hue in an individual color matched container.  EUREKA! An easier way to find just the button I wanted.  And if I dropped the container I would be dropping a WHOLE lot less buttons to be picked up!

Yesterday I finished my first button container.    Red.

Doesn't it look cute?  

Each cubby is capable of holding two of the containers so I have room to expand my button collection. 

And with all of these cubbies I have more than enough room to store LOTS of different colors!  (Please excuse the slightly blurry picture...I'm really shaky today and I have yet to figure out how to enable stabilization on my new camera, lol). 

Hands willing, maybe tomorrow I can start on my yellow container, then pink, then green...

Anyone recognize the pattern?  I'm sure I can't be the only one who remembers singing the song, same time every day...

"Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue.  I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, too!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Back in February 2013 I began work on  Hand Stitching Bags and Accessories for my shop.  I fell particularly hard for this purple, orange and green combination and decided to keep it for my own!

It didn't take long to finish the Stitching Kit and I hung it on the door in my Expanded Sewing Room waiting for hand stitching inspiration to strike.  And there it hung...

Then in June 2013 an idea for a Collapsible Craft Container began to take shape in my mind.  After completing my prototype and being very happy with the result, I set about to make a Collapsible Craft Container to use as a thread catcher in my Hand Stitching Kit. 

Ah...more purple, orange and green love!

Then in July I began to "doodle" on a piece of scrap paper.  My "doodle" became a full fledged design that I scanned into my computer and printed onto a piece of light gray cotton.  Finally!  Something to hand stitch.  But, could I do it?
Several years ago when my Essential Tremor became worse I gave away the last of my embroidery and cross stitch supplies.  I didn't think I would EVER be able to do hand stitching again.  But, I have discovered that my ability to stitch comes in tiny "steady hands" chunks of time.  Five minutes here, 10 minutes there.  I can't do much at any one time...maybe four inches?  But I CAN still hand stitch...just differently!  
I decided to use my "doodle" design as the centerpiece of a throw pillow.  I went to the store and purchased the appropriately colored embroidery floss to match a charm pack of "Happy-go-lucky" fabric, which would make up the pieced portion of my pillow cover.  I used my Sizzix Big Shot to cut out some embroidery floss cards to hold my thread. 

 I then found a small plastic sleeve (it once held a fold up embrella) to hold the floss inside of my Stitching Kit. 

Last evening I spent a few minutes with my Stitching Kit and completed about 4 inches on my project.  I have to say, the kit worked wonderfully.  Everything I needed was right at my hand and it was easy to set up and get started and easy to put it all away when I finished.  Hopefully today I will have another chunk of time to do a bit more stitching.  

If I do, I know my Stitching Kit will be ready and waiting for me! 

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