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Studio re-do (again!) and organization

So, it's actually been suggested that I bury my studio in stuff because I love to organize crap. This may actually be true... I have often thought that it would be fun to help people clear out clutter and get what remains organized - sort of like Clean Sweep (one of my all-time favorite shows - I miss it!). A big problem with that is I would end up bringing half of their stuff home! Also, I could only do it if there were a guarantee that I would not have to clean up anyone's filth (like you see on Hoarders... (I have tried to watch that show... can't do it! It makes me nauseous just thinking about it *gag*).

Anyway... I decided to tackle my studio mess this past week. I've been psyching myself up for it since the New Year and my resolution to put a moratorium on buying craft supplies or vintage stuff. Seriously, I AM NOT GOING TO BUY ANY ART/CRAFT SUPPLIES OR INVENTORY FOR MY ETSY SHOP IN 2017!! I'm doing my best to ignore the little voice in my head saying "yeah... right..."

I did take some "before" photos - I had already cleaned off the studio table, so they were "slightly-less-than-before" photos but I think you will get the idea re: the amount of stuff I have in a relatively small room.

Here is my table - usually piled so high with stuff that I can't see the top of it - amazingly clutter-free! Next to it is one of my favorite pieces of studio furniture: a 24-drawer steel cabinet I bought when a local store was clearing out their surplus office furniture. A literal steal at just $40 which I happily paid and whistled all the way home!

Here's a shot of it (or what you can see of it over the box of crap sitting in front of it!):
The drawers are color-coded and stuffed to the gills with pretty things like ribbon, lace, silk flowers, beads, etc.

 Here is a shot of the North wall - again, piled high with stuff. You couldn't even walk through because of boxes on the floor. I'm such a slob...

 Here is the walk-in closet. I keep inventory overflow in here as well as craft show stuff (tent, displays, etc). It's always a bit of a mess. Anytime I need the tent (which leans against one of the back corners) I have to move 10 things out of the way first. *sheesh*

 Here is my photo and shipping station. It also looks pretty good because I'd cleaned a bit before deciding to take some pics. Underneath are bins with shipping supplies, a file cabinet where I keep my accounting info (one thing I DO keep organized! Must be my banking background...) and a plastic bin where I keep the cordless drill, staple gun and yarn winder.

 My desk, elevated so I have to stand - it's easier on my arthritic body than slouching in a desk chair.

The "dog chair". Our dogs, Freckles and Ogie, like to hang out in the studio when I'm in there and this chair is their domain. It's a mess! Under the cover are layers of dog hair that I couldn't get out of the upholstery if my life depended on it. I threw some fabric over for a make-shift cover but it's all dug up - my dogs like to dig! Because of that, the seat cushion needed replacing a while ago - it's now just a pillow in a quilted sham.

Stuffed in next to the chair are my ukulele's which I never play because I have to relocate the dogs and the chair to get to them. Not conducive to practicing...

 I did finally get Ogie to lift his head to say "Hi" but, as you can tell, he wasn't too thrilled about it. He's much friendlier in person. :)

So, those are my "before" photos. Stay tuned for some "in-progress" as well as some "almost-after" to come later!

See you soon... :)


Crochet Flowers and the Beginnings of a Scrumble - just a few pics

 I have been making time each morning to do an hour of freeform crochet. Sometimes I also find time in the evenings but if I consciously carve out time in the mornings, I'm sure to do some "making" every day. I decided to check out a couple of crochet books by Nicky Epstein from the local library. I'm starting with "Crocheted Flowers" and simply going through the book and trying every flower I find interesting. Last night I started embellishing - the makings if a scrumble!


Pic of the Day - Yarn Wound

Actually, it's Pics of the Day because I liked them both! I'm so in love with the colors in this new lot of yarns I bought yesterday. Arranged in this vintage tin, I could probably just sit and look at them all day! But it's wound and ready to go so I guess I know what I'm going to be doing to tonight after work... Yay! :)


Pretty Yarn and a new Crochet Hook

I've been doing lots of freeform crochet lately. None of it (thus far) is destined to become a finished project - just practicing. Something I began to notice during my practice was that my hand and arm would get really tired and often hurt after crocheting. Since I have arthritis in my neck which affects my right arm and crafting ability (I can no longer do bead embroidery - holding that tiny needle just about KILLS me!) the pain was not unexpected. An ergonomic crochet hook was fast becoming a necessity!

My search for the right hook lead me to my local indie yarn shop - Yarn Soup - owned by my friend Sara. She let me try out a couple different hooks and I found one I liked - a 3.5mm Addi hook! I think it will work great for me and make crocheting WAY more comfortable. I also found some beautiful yarn being sold in luscious color collections. I bought two "Beautiful Soup" collections from Wonderland Yarns: Pot No. 2 and Pot No. 8. Not only did I find exactly the new hook I needed and some incredible yarn to create with, it also felt pretty dang awesome to support a small local shop. Please always try to shop small and local - the extra cost is SOOOO worth it. Cities and towns with small independently owned shops are simply nicer places to live.

Here are some pics of my treasures - can't wait to get started!


A few more Freeform Crochet Scrumbles and some tutorials!

Here are a couple more attempts at freeform crochet from yesterday evening. They look more like doilies than scrumbles but maybe I will add some bits around the outside to make them more interesting.

The first starts with a puffy button (tutorial from sheruknitting.com) and then a round of popcorn stitches (tutorial from Crochet Guru). I added a round of double crochet (spacing as needed to keep the round laying flat), a round of single crochet and then a wavy trim which combined popcorn stitches, chain stitches and single crochet (I'm pretty sure I didn't invent this one but I couldn't find a tutorial on it - sorry!).

The second one started with a magic circle (yes, it's actually called a "magic circle"! Here's a nice tutorial on that from Crochet Guru) and then a ruffle (this stitch I learned while following along with the tutorial from sheruknitting.com on YouTube). When watching the video, make sure to keep going so you can learn how to add a framework behind the ruffle. Then you have something to build the next layer on. Next came a layer of double crochet - again, spaced so the round would lie flat. And finally, a granny square sort of trim around the outside using double crochet and chain stitches.

I'm still learning how to change yarn colors. I'd love it if you couldn't pick out where the new color starts. I'll just keep checking out tutorials and books - I'm sure that info is out there! Let me know if you find it, OK?


Some Freeform crochet

After the rush, rush, rush of the holidays, it was nice to settle in on the couch with a hot toddy, "Sleepless in Seattle" and my trusty poodle, Ogie, to try my hand at some freeform crochet. Having done some in the past, I just needed a little refresher course that didn't require too much mental energy on my part. There is a great series of videos on YouTube by sheruknittingcom that I enjoy. She crochets SO FAST it's almost mesmerizing to watch! Luckily, I can pause and rewind as needed.

I picked out one of her freeform scrumble tutorials and followed along (click for part 1 and part 2). It was a nice kick-start.

Here's what I ended up with - not as pretty as hers (really, what did I expect?) but fun none-the-less!

Do you know of anyone who has some great freeform crochet tutorials available online? Please share links in the comments! Cheers :)


Pic of the Day - Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas - photo by Cindy Caraway