Friday, June 29, 2012

Tour de Fleece Eve...

...for Eye Candy Friday.

Tired of apricot pictures yet? I'm not! I've been eating fresh apricots all week.

Blenheim apricots, cut

We have another set of petunias blooming:

Petunia with dew drop

And the Asiatic lilies have started blooming:

Asiatic Lily

Up this weekend: Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow!   I have yet to pick a theme or a chalenge to spn during the tour. I have an idea--I'm thinking of spinning exotic fibers, like yak, and some of the pther specialty wools like the Heritage wool samplet pack I got at last year's Stitches Wes. Howver, given the state of the studio, I'll need  stash dive to find the fibers. I hope I can come up with enought to spin for the whole tour!

While I'm stash-diving, I'll pull the fibers I'll need for the Ravellenic Games  (formerly the Ravel****cs). I am entering the Handspun Heptathlon and hope to spin 7 yarns during the games. I did it last time. However, that was the winter games and I didn't have Tour de Fleece immediately before them. My hands might not be happy with this much spinning! If it looks like I'll have to give my hands a break from spinning, my backup plan is to enter the Weaving Vault and weave something from the yarn I created (or hope to create) during TdF.

Also this weekend, I want to start looking for my studio chair. I'm going to look at the consignment store first and hope to find one that isn't too expensive. then there are always the 4th of July sales.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

missed WIP-it Wednesday...

...I had a work project that was due yesterday. Something had to give and it was the blog, again. It's just as well, because my only active WIP is the studio.

I was able to start loading the wall opposite the sewing table. (Finally!) Because Target no longer carries the modular furniture in the birch color, I must make do with what I have. I pirated a shelf unit from my closet and a couple of units from the Daughter's old closet to make a new case to hold yarn and other items. I already had two bookcases in the room to use for the remainder of my library and some yarn.

Here's what the corner looks like now:

First look: Studio corner

  • On the right, the tall bookcase holds books on aromatherapy, spa products, soap making, and  needlework, and a few class binders. 
  • In the middle, cloth drawers contain wool-based yarns (in plastic zip bags); the bottom shelf holds my project binders, class binders, and sock club binders.
  • On  the left, photo boxes hold  tapestry and sharp needles, stickers, pearl cottons,  needlework supplies, and other craft supplies that are too bulky for drawers. At the bottom are cotton and other non-wool-based yarns. I don't plan on displaying any wool because I'm too afraid of moths!
  • The baskets hold some of my handspun yarn and some spinning fiber. There are two more of these baskets that did not make it in the picture. When my benches arrive, I'll see how much fiber I can store in them and might be able to free up one or more of the baskets.
One of my future projects is to decoupage the photo boxes and all other cardboard boxes I'm using to store things. I bought a nice turquoise and brown wrapping paper from Cost Plus that I'll use as the covering.  I plan on trying it on one box first. The guinea pig box is the one I hate the the picture, it's the right-hand box in the second row. You can't see it in the picture, but the lid has a picture that I really dislike. :)

This corner will probably evolve as I complete more of the room. I intend on putting a comphy char in this general are and that will impact the final arrangement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Studio update...

... lots of invisible progress and some visible progress. The Husband finished installing the threshold yesterday.

New threshold for the studio door

This picture also shows the grids that are on the side sections of the atrium door; you can see the hydrangea behind it.  I'm waiting until he says it's OK to start loading the other side of the room. Soon!

In the meantime, I've been arranging (and rearranging) items in the cabinet drawers and shelves. I've tried 4 different ways to handle my thread, none of which are the ideal arrangement. The last attempt was better that the first 3, so I'll leave it for now. The problem is that the old Coats & Clark spools are different in shape and size from the Gutermann and Mettler spools. And I have many of the smaller Gutermann spools, too.  For some reason, I have about 20 spools of Christmas red. I need to purge those,  because I just have too many. Anyway, I'm going to live with the current arrangement for a while.

I pared down my circular needle and straight needle inventory. I'm going to hang on to the DPNs for now, but may purge some of those later.

I ordered my benches on Sunday. I decided on two 48-inch long benches. They should store a lot of fiber, although not all of it.  I really should either spin or purge some of the fiber, but I really hate to lose any of it!  Something to think about.

In the meantime, I need to stash dive for my Tour de Fleece fiber. It starts Saturday...I'd better hurry up and pick out some fiber!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eye Candy Friday...'s eye candy is brought to you by the color orange.

Orange freesia:

Orange freesia

Nearly-ripe apricots:

Blenheim apricots are almost ripe

I've already been munching on the apricots...they are ripe enough for me!

Up this weekend: We are helping the Husband's parents with their birthday/anniversary party tomorrow. So tonight, we have some prep work to do. We're making a caprese-on-a-stick appetizer that I saw on Pinterest. We're also making a cheese tortellini appetizer...another on-a-stick presentation. We are trying to keep the appetizers simple and easy to eat. These two seemed like they'd fit that category.

Fortunately for me, the Husband has been doing a lot of the leg work for this party. He's tracking down the basil we need for the caprese and a couple of other things. I have some things to get on my way home from work. Tomorrow will be consumed by the remaining prep and the party. I plan on crashing when we get home Saturday night!

On Sunday, it's back to the studio. I still have quite a bit to go through and put away. The Husband had a little set-back with the threshold he's been staining. It got too hot one day and the finish coat started bubbling up. He's had to sand down the bubbles and re-finish the wood. That means I still can't work on getting that side of the room put together.

On the good news side, I think I've found a bench! ( I just need to measure the space and see what size I should get—36" or 48". Then I need to look for an inexpensive, but comfortable chair.

One thing at a time...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

quick WIPs...

...that's about all I can handle right now.

I started this little embroidery project on Sunday while I waited for the Husband and Daughter to return form their hike:

Oriental Dragonfly WIP

It's an old Dimensions kit I found in my stash. After working on it for an hour or so, I remembered why I don't do a lot of embroidery (or crewel for that matter). I don't like having to cover those pre-drawn lines and I don't enjoy working on this kind of fabric.  The only saving grace on this project is that it's small and I'm almost done with it.  It will need a really good pressing and then I can put it in its glass frame.

Another kit I found in my stash was a limited edition pillow kit from Pine Mountain Designs called Recipe for Summer. I love their pillow kits! They are usually fun to stitch and after a quick press with the iron, they are ready to go. I have a thing for summer items, so this was a good choice to start last night.

Recipe for Summer WIP

I decided that working on stitching projects was the best use of my craft time for now. With Tour de Fleece from 6/30 through 7/22, followed by Ravelympics from 7/27-8/12, I'll be doing a lot of spinning. Best save up for that!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday studio update...

...there is still a lot to do, but I'm beginning to see a studio emerge from the chaos. As an added bonus, pieces of the dining table and living room are also emerging!

My goal last weekend was to finish emptying the closet in my old room and moving the stuff into the studio. Well, I didn't quite make that goal...there was a lot more there than I thought and I had less time to spend organizing than I expected.

The less time was because of Father's Day. The Daughter and Husband went on a 6+ mile hike not far from where she lives. After that we went to lunch. Because she lives about 35 minutes away, it made sense for The Husband and I to drive to her house together. That meant I had to chill at her place until they were done. I took a small embroidery project and worked on that while they were gone. It was a peaceful way to spend the morning, but it didn't get anything accomplished in the studio!

I probably could be making faster progress of I didn't go through everything before I put it away. Like the cross stitch supplies...I have a lot of those! I went through all of my containers and culled out a banker's box full of kits and fabric to donate to the EGA (Embroiderer's Guild of America). I have a friend in the San Diego chapter of the EGA and I think I'll spread the wealth to them this time.

The Husband and I got the back wall organized on Saturday. One issue we had was that the floor is slanted. Remember, this used to be the garage...the slant is from the old entrance to about halfway into the room. Of course, no one thought to level the floor before they closed off the garage. (I'm not a fan of the people the ex hired to redo this room. This was just one of the issues in this room.) We had to shim the smaller bookcases and cut a piece of MDF for the armoire to level things out.  It's looking good!

Studio work table

In the front is the trial run of my work table. It is an IKEA Galant desk top sitting on two Cubeicals bookcases from Target (yup, these are the ones I mentioned last week). The height is good. We need to work on the placement...I think we're close.

In this shot, you can see that I finally got the rest of the fabric out of the boxes and up on the shelves. The fabric drawers hold some weaving supplies, interfacing, and some small completed cross stitch projects.

Fabric wall

The armoire is closest to the sink so I decided it will house all of the crafts that require water for cleanup...soap, paints, clay, and rubber stamps. Here's an inside view of the aromatherapy and soap supplies, irons, blocking mats, and the other craft supplies. There's a little area on the left where I can hang fabric binding strips until they are used.

Inside the armoire

I'm still working on the alcove. I'm not completely satisfied with the organization of it, but I'm going to keep it this way for a bit so I can see just how much I have. Then a reorganization might be in order. At least I found the work surface in there!

Updated alcove view

Opposite the sewing area will be a couple of bookcases and my quilt wall. They are on hold until The Husband installs a threshold along the atrium door. We need to keep the area clear until he's done. He has to finish staining the threshold before he can install it, so it might be a few days.

I still haven't found any benches that meet my criteria. I think I'm going to give up on the "bench with a back" spec and see if I can find some backless benches. I have a bunch of spinning fiber that needs a home, so I need to find some soon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Eye Candy Friday again...

...I'm glad that week's done. Not that it was particularly bad or anything. It's just that I'd rather be organizing my studio and getting my house out of the Chaos Zone. More on that later. (Note: Cookie A Sock Club Spoiler below!)

This morning, I picked berries:

This morning's harvest

and a close up:

Marionberries, close up

The Blenheim apricots are turning pink and orange:

Blenheim apricots, 2012

Here's a look at how packed the branches are. No, we didn't thin them...I want as many apricots as I can get!

Blenheim apricots, a closer look

Also, I'm a little behind on showing my yarn acquisitions. I've received two club installments and a co-worker shared some free yarn she received.

Here is the Rockin' Sock Club installment for May:

Rockin' Sock Club, May 2012

The Cookie A Sock Club installment for June, Vintage Icebox from The Plucky Knitter:

Vintage Icebox Primo! yarn, close up

My yarn gift is Punta Handpainted Merino:

Punta Handpainted Merino

Up this weekend: More work on the studio. There is still so much stuff to go through.We still have boxes everywhere and I have yet to empty the closet in my old room. [sigh]

I had a minor set-back yesterday, which I will remedy tonight. I thought I had two of the same size bookcases to use for the base of my work table. As it turned out, one was wider than the other, and it was wider than the table top. Last night, I went back to Target to get another bookcase in the same size. The Mountain View Target only had the black version of the bookcase. I found the light-wood version at the Sunnyvale Target. When I unwrapped it, I realized that the manufacturer had changed the color of the's darker and warmer now. And totally does not match the older bookcase, except in size. Arg!

Tonight, I'll go back to Target and get another one to match the darker wood. As it turns out, it will look nice to have a darker wood base under the birch table top. And I have a place for the old bookcase along the fabric wall. It will fill in the last empty spot and will almost match the color of the Expedit.

The Daughter and the Husband are going on a hike or something equally outdoorsy for Father's Day. Yes, just the two of them. I'll meet up with them later during the day. It will be good for them to spend time together without me because they don't get to do that very often. It's nice to have Father-Daughter bonding time. :)

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Look...a WIP!

...and it's an old one at that. I started this last summer as a travel project and only work on it when I remember that I have it:

PIlgrim, spindle 1

I needed a project to take to Craft Night last night that wasn't needlepoint (on a time-out) or knitting (not in the mood). This was perfect! It's paler in real life.

I'm still sorting through all the papers I had tucked away in my sewing room. I decided that I really didn't need to have that many free knitting charts printed out when I have them online. Better to make them PDFs that I can then upload to my iPad.  Between those patterns, the recipes I tore out of magazines (that I'll never make...not that much time in my world!), and many duplicate copies of recipes, I recycled almost a ream of paper.  Now that I'll have a place for all my things, I hope to avoid keeping duplicates.

Tonight, we're going to move a bookcase or two into the studio. We want my stuff out of the Husband's office so he can arrange it the way he wants it.

I'm still trying to figure out a good method to store my spinning fiber. I still like the storage bench idea, but I'm not finding any that meet my criteria: white or birch/maple/beech; bench with a back; does not use baskets or fabric drawers; has a lid that lifts up or doors that open in the front; not too expensive because I want at least two. I can find some without backs, but my dream is to have people come over and craft with me. It's easier to sit on something with a back. I'll just keep looking...

Monday, June 11, 2012

productive weekend...

...just not long enough!

Spin-In on Saturday was great! In addition to catching up with my spinning peeps, I actually worked on a craft. It's been a while since I had the attention-span and the time to sit down and make something with my hands. In this case, I was spinning some Corriedale from my stash.

Here's what I spun on Saturday:

Sierra Sunrise, bobbin #1

On Sunday, the Husband and I assembled my Expedit unit that we bought last weekend. I was finally able to get the fabric out of the dining area!  I started shelving the mini-bolts first

When I refolded the fabric, I didn't  spend much time sorting the mini-bolts.So I opened up my sewing table to its full width and sorted the bolts as they came out of the boxes. (Note to self: You  don't need any more blue fabric right now.) Once I had them sorted, I started filling the shelves.

When I finished with the mini-bolts, I started with the smaller folded cuts. I had already sorter the smaller cuts into color stacks and type stacks (kids, animals, Southwestern, food, flowers...). I started putting them vertically and soon realized that I was wasting space on the shelf. I decided to stack a second row on top of the first. I cut up some old file folders to use as a separator between the two rows. It worked pretty well.  Here's what it looks like:

Expedit holding my fabric stash

I'm not sure that the vertical orientation will work for me, given that I have to stack the rows. I might try one section in the other direction and see which one I like beast.

The craft supply purge continues. I'm collecting another box of items for Loretta's pre-school. I'm so glad someone can put all this stuff to good use!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Eye Candy Friday, camera fail...

...I took pictures this morning, but none of them turned out, at least not good enough to post.  So the following picture is from a couple of weeks ago:


[sigh] It's been that kind of a week.  Lots and lots of work. so much so that I crashed on the couch at 9pm last night...I usually make it until 10pm.

I haven't done anymore in the studio this week because the Husband was removing the old wet bar cabinet and sink. They are over 30 years old and really needed replacing.  He's ordered a new cabinet because it's a non-standard opening...why they made it 33" (standard cabinets are  30" or 36"), I'll never know. The cabinet isn't cheap, but at least it will be better quality than the old one. We still have to get a counter top and sink...

Up this weekend: Spin-In tomorrow!  I need to bake something to take and unearth my poor wheel. It's been shoved behind the dining room table for safety. I need to find something to spin, too!

The rest of the weekend will be spent in the studio. Maybe we'll get the Expedit shelves together and I can start moving fabric in. Wouldn't that be great!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

WIP-it Wednesday, studio update...'s getting there.

The floor still has a few places that need caulking, but it was done enough that we could move furniture in.  I moved all of the remaining furniture in my old sewing room into the studio. Not everything is in its right place yet (assuming I've figured out where they are!).

After mopping the floor, we moved all of the teak bookcases into the old sewing room. There was enough room left in there to move in the organ. Yay! While it won't be a guest room anytime soon, it's a good temporary storage area. Anyway, I still haven't emptied the closet in there.

Once the organ was out of the studio, we determined that the IKEA shelving unit I chose would fit. I also decided to rearrange the white cube units and make a work area next to the sewing table:

Studio progress 6/4/12

I have some tweaking to do to deal with the power to the sewing machine. The power strip cord currently runs in front of the storage cabinets, making it difficult to open the bottom drawers. I think we have a solution for that, but I need to try it out.

I bought two more cubes as I decided that I still needed a rolling cart under the sewing machine cabinet. Since I wasn't going to pay $600+ for the Horn Cabinet version, I made my own. I did a little cube swapping and now have a configuration that will work for now. Here's a view from behind the table:

Sewing table plus cube units

One big issue is where to put the TV, cable box, DVD player, and their mass of cables so I can watch movies. So far, we don't have a good solution.

On Sunday, we made our trip to IKEA. Note to self: Never go to IKEA on a Sunday afternoon. There are lots of screaming kids running up and down the aisles while their parents/caregivers shop. My mom would have never let me do that when I was a kid and I certainly didn't let my kid do that!

Anyway...We decided that the Expedit shelves in beech would work well in the space and should hold a lot of fabric. We also scoped out the table and desk tops. We found a desk top that is a good size for my work table. At $70 with a nice beech finish, it was an easy sell. One less thing for the Husband to paint!

I also looked at the Stuva benches for fiber storage, but they were too short. The CD/DVD organizers I want to use for the smaller cuts of fabric were out of stock in beech, so we have to wait on them. It's probably just as well. Until we get the Expedit unit in place, I won't know how much more space I'll need for fabric.

Our IKEA stuff is still in boxes until the Husband and I have time to put it together.

Expedit shelves-to-be

I'm working on organizing my supplies in the alcove and in the rolling carts I've created to fit under its shelf. This could take a while!

Getting closer and closer...

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

May 2012 Recap...

..where nothing project-wise was finished, but a lot was accomplished in the soon-to-be studio!

  • 5/3 The Great Fabric Refolding Project
  • Books:
    1. At Graves End, Jeaniene Frost
    2. One Foot in the Grave, Jeaniene Frost
    3. 11th Hour, James Patterson
    4. Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris
    5. Shadow Walker, Allyson James
    6. Firewalker, Allyson James
    7. Stormwalker, Allyson James
    8. Witchfire, Anya Bast
  • 5/3 Purging unwanted items: books, CDs VHS tapes, clothes, towels...

Worked on:
  • Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  • Carousel Socks  (knitting) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  • Cazadero Mist handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]
  • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Isonzo Merino-Bamboo top (spinning) [Ravelry
  • Jungle Songs quilt
  • Natural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm [Ravelry]
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry

  1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  2. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  3. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

Friday, June 01, 2012

June is bustin' out all over...

...yeah, I'll go through the whole month with that song in my head!  Guess it's time to watch Carousel again...LOL!

For Eye Candy Friday we have some tomatoes...


A hydrangea

Somewhat pink hydrangea

or two

Purple hydrangea

an the bush roses are going crazy in the front yard.

Bush rose

Up this weekend: We're keeping our fingers crossed that the floor will be done. I know the Husband is very frustrated with the whole thing and would love to be finished with it.

Once we declare the floor done, we can donate the rest of the cookbooks to the library. Right now, they are stacked in bakers boxes, which make excellent weights on the newly caulked floor tiles.

I'd like to make a run to IKEA to scope things out. We have an idea for a work table top that we can make with a hollow-core door from Home Depot. It's only $30, but it means that the door has to be painted and finished before I can use it as a table top. IKEA has table tops you can buy, so it's a matter of checking the dimensions and comparing the IKEA cost to the cost+prep needed to make the hollow-core door work. Also, I'd love a worktable on casters and IKEA might have some that will work.

If I can get most of the furniture out of the old sewing room, we can get the teak bookcases out of the atrium. There's a chance of rain showers on Monday...I don't want the bookcases to get wet!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm looking forward to the weekend! This week we harvested plums from one of our trees: Corncockles have sprouted up all o...