The getting organized bug

Now that the big sale is over, and we have taken two of the left over boxes out of the house, I have the “bug” to start digging out more and more, but I am not really willing to live in the midst of junk like we had to last week when we were setting up for the sale. I would like to do the rest of the clearing away in a more methodical and organized way. I stopped in at an antique store in Eureka today and mentioned that I have the old wedding dress of a former resident and I would be willing to give it to them if they would take it. The owner said she would take it and check if the museum would like it and if not they would be happy to have it in their store. One more item gone. Now where to start with the rest. I think the first thing I need to do is begin with an itinerary and a list and mostly a deadline. And, I need to just keep picking at it.

Stack of projects in progress

One exciting issue is that James and I have decided to turn the small back bedroom into my sewing/crafting room. We actually discussed taking out the wall between that room and the office, but neither one of us has carried the sledge-hammer up the steps yet. On the other hand, we have agreed that it won’t happen until there is a replacement bedroom in the basement area, so it will probably be about a year before I get that room. My real motivation for switching out that room is so that no one ever has to sleep on those old beds ever again. I found out the hard way this week that they are terrible. They have served their purpose, but really need to go.

Bag of Vic’s material

In the meantime, I will need to do a little better job of organizing the space in my bedroom to house the stuff I have. Actually I am starting to see the best idea would be to get started at completing a few of the projects and moving them on, as in out of the house. The other thing that I need to stop doing is allowing new items in. Since I still have Victoria’s sewing machine, she decided it would be a good idea to bring me her material for me to use in the projects she had planned. Like I need anymore ideas. Perhaps the best place to start would be a totally complete list of everything here. Yikes, that alone could take two months to complete.

Perhaps my plans for tomorrow after laundry, dishes, start the Sunday message and weed in the garden will be an inventory of material and items in progress. Right after that I will map out a plan for world peace because if I can get that list finished, I should be able to accomplish anything.

Jan. 14: Sorting some Christmas items

James and I finally put away the Christmas tree. If you read any of my previous posts, you have seen our little white tree. I posted a picture of this year’s version on both Dec. 25, 2016 and Dec. 29, 2016. We bought it a few years back for several reasons the number one being that there really isn’t any room in this house for a large tree. I also really dislike putting lights on the tree. Each year it was getting more annoying to do that, and when we saw this little table top tree with the lights already in place, it was a no brainer. After we got it home we decided to pick a different color theme each year and decorate accordingly. The first year it was read (picture found on Nov. 29, 2014 post), and candy canes were all over that tree. I think I even replaced them once. Last year the color was blue (picture of this found on Nov. 27, 2015 on my old lucindagardens site) and that was really pretty.

All the old ornaments boxed for storage.

This year we did gold, and I like that one too. So now rather than have to dig through the big box of ornaments and try to remember where the garland and string beads are located in the storage area, we boxed up the items by color and marked the outside of the box. I think next year we will start all over with green. I know we have a few bulbs, and if we are willing to use the old wooden ornaments that are mostly green, I think it will work. Pretty soon we can just pull out the box with the label and leave the rest in place under the steps. Yipee!!! We also did some rearranging in the boxes that we were using for storage, and found that we could get by with smaller containers. Sometimes sorting isn’t necessarily tossing anything out, it is just organizing more efficiently. That was our main focus today. We also fixed items that were damaged for example James glued the head back on a wooden soldier.

Blue decorations

Blue decorations

Red decorations

Red decorations

One of the things that makes our basement look way more cluttered than it needs to is all the cardboard boxes that I save. I keep telling myself that I need them for days like today (and I did find just the ones I needed) so I can find something better to relocate and repack items to keep. It is cheaper than purchasing fancy plastic tubs or baskets. It is also better for the environment than the plastic storage items. However, as a bit of advice to the young people out there, the best thing would be not to accumulate and especially not to purchase so much junk in the first place, and then you don’t need the storage containers or the space.  And think of all the money you save from: #1 not purchasing the stuff and #2 not purchasing the storage container and #3 not needing to spend money at the clinic or hospital on a sprained ankle from tripping over all the junk or worse yet a counselor or psychiatrist to get over your hording addiction. OK, so maybe #3 didn’t come out quite as funny as it was intended.

The bottom line on all of this refers to the third part of my philosophy of frugal/organized living, where I list that thing about ask yourself if you really need this. Most of these Christmas items I ended up getting at various auction sales. Almost nothing other than that little white tree were purchased at full retail price. This is where I get myself into the most trouble. I always think that if I am getting a bargain then of course it is fine to buy it. I have to stay away from auction sales because bidding becomes a high in itself, and if an auctioneer ignores me for a couple of items that I might think are ok, and I might actually use, then I get carried away on junk things and bid just for the fun of bidding. You might see why I never step foot inside a gambling casino. I am too afraid of participating in that form of recreation. Now if only I could get myself to find the high in exercising or cleaning, that might be a good thing.

Homemade ornaments!

Homemade ornaments!

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

So enough of my true confessions. During our sorting today, I also pulled out all of the little handmade ornaments from many years past. I now have them in a small container in my sewing area. I see that some of them are little felt items and others are made with the plastic canvass that was so popular years ago. I have a stash of each, and figured these would be great small projects that I can work on during long nights of watching television. They can then be used as gifts for the grandchildren later on down the road. Oh and those crocheted snowflakes, I have to figure out how to make those to give each of my girls some of their very own. These were a gift from my Aunt Sylvia the first year we were married. I have treasured them each year that I put them on the tree.

We also found a few items with Paulina’s name on the back, and they have been added to her box of Christmas ornaments that hopefully will disappear to her home when she graduates and gets out on her own. Someday…. Well enough for now. What have you organized at your place lately???

Frugal project: covered hangers

img_8871

Samples from Irene

Today I decided to dig into a project I have been thinking of for over a year. It is a crochet covered wire hanger. I have several of them in my closet and have given others away in the past. I purchased them at the local thrift store and at an auction sale of one of our parishioners. Irene made many of them and I bought them in her honor. I have wanted to make them to honor her more. I have an entire laundry soap pail of wire hangers that could be used for this project, so no shortage of working on these. I took a few pictures, but not enough to explain the exact how to’s. I found a couple of places with good explanations and have posted them here: http://craftknowitall.blogspot.com/2013/01/crochet-cover-your-wire-hangers.html and the other one, which is a video is found at this site, but I don’t understand why it doesn’t show up in blue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q6AOTU2-4c by Sandy Shockley

img_8872I considered using the idea to tape the wires together and start at the hook, but then was too lazy to go down the steps for the tape, and convinced myself that if I ever wanted to wash them, I wouldn’t want the tape in it. So, I started by winding the yarn around the top of the hook tightly a few times then making a loop and beginning to crochet in a single crochet stitch taking the first loop under the wire and the second over and then pulling both through the loop on the hook. I won’t try to make this sound like a wonderful easy craft. The hangers are awkward to hold and the stitch is tough at best. The only redeeming factor is that even though it isn’t easy, it doesn’t take long to complete and it would be a great way to use up scraps of yarn.

Chosen wires

Chosen wires

Final project!!

Final project!!

Before I began, I spent some time choosing a couple of hangers that matched. I ended up grabbing a pliers and doing a bit of bending to get the little hook on the neck tight to the neck wire. They were not a perfect match, but as close as I could find. I think that might be part of the difficulty, finding two hangers that match. I do recommend using two hangers rather than just one for this project. One of the sample instructions that I shared suggests using two strands of yarn, and I feel that might be hard to manipulate, though maybe it was that I was using too small of a hook. I used a size G.

Roger about to nap!

Roger about to nap!

In terms of frugal living, this is a perfect project. It saves wire hangers from being tossed in the garbage and turns them into very useful hangers. I like these much better than plastic because there are no sharp edges that can snag a delicate garment. Also the yarn holds your garment in place and prevents it from falling off the hanger. Besides that it is a good way to use up extra yarn. These are tough to make, but actually a fairly quick craft and a nice extra little gift to throw into a gift basket at Christmas or birthday or some other time. I did have a little help while crocheting. Roger sat tight against me and held the yarn until she fell asleep. I guess she needed attention.

Hope you enjoyed the frugal project idea. I guess it could also count in de-cluttering because it gives you a place for all those wire hangers you want to toss out.

Projects on the needles

T-shirt rug

T-shirt rug

Since we finally installed the new television in my bedroom/sitting room/craft room I have been unable to stand being in almost any other room of the house. I have been glued to the TV because I have been watching the Cedar Cove series that I was so excited about it when it was on, but now it has stopped and so at least I can watch the old stuff. Anyway, as I am sitting, I don’t just sit, I have been knitting or crocheting as the whim hits me. I now have a stack of the cotton knit dish cloths (love them because they don’t get that ugly sour smell so fast), and have gotten a bit further on the crocheted t-shit rug.

The rug that is shown to the left so far has been made entirely from the cut off sleeves of Paulina’s sports t-shirts. When she was in volleyball, she always ripped the sleeves off the shirts she wore to practice because they bothered her. I never let her throw them away, and now I have gotten a good start on this rug. I have a bit more to go in the ball of t-shirt yarn that I made, but when that is gone, we will decide together if she wants me to make it any larger. I have just been going around in an oval (well as best I can) using a single crochet stitch. The dark grey middle section was a bit tentative and I put it under the sewing machine needle and reinforced it a bit with a wide zigzag stitch and that seems to be good. I am thinking that I will put some sort of backing on the rug when it is finished to prevent it from slipping, but something cloth so that it is washable. I will keep the updates coming as I am able to work on this. Somehow the bulk of some of this yarn is hard on my wrists, so I don’t do this very often.

Cotton knit dishcloths

Cotton knit dish cloths

The dish clothes are a much easier project for me and I find myself working on these much more often. I am able to use shorter needles and by making them a tish smaller than most, I can finish them up in one sitting (three shows) if I stay at it. The pattern I use is pretty simple. With a size 9 needle I cast on three. Row 1 is knit one (garter stitch all the way) then yarn over for an increase and knit the next two. The whole first part of the pattern is knit 1, YO, knit to the end of the row. Do this until you have 40 stitches. Now the decrease starts. Knit 2 together, YO, Knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row. Do this until you get to 3 stitches then cast off. I have found because of the way I pull and such this can turn out to be a rhombus instead of a neat square. I have compensated on a few by doing an extra knit 2 together once or twice near the end of the decreasing work, and I put that decrease in at the 4th and 3rd stitches from the end of the row and never two rows in a row. Hope this makes sense. If anyone has any better ideas for me about why my pattern isn’t coming out to the perfect square as I see in the pattern books and on the websites, give me a hint. I could use all of the hints you have. Ha!

So happy knitting and crocheting to all of you!!

Finished headband

Last night at the basketball game, I finally finished the headband I was making for Alyse. I hope it fits. I could have sent it with Paulina, but I know how the sister thing goes. I am not finished with the scarf for Kenlee, and so they will wait until both are finished.

Close up with sparkly button.

Close up with sparkly button.

Purple headband.

Purple headband.

This was a simple to make headband. I worked it in double crochet. It is about 12 double crochet (dc) wide, so I am thinking that I started by chaining 15, turning and using the one on the hook plus the next two as the first dc. I did double crochet in the next 11 or so across, not sure what was left in the chain, I probably couldn’t go into the last one and that is too tight when I crochet. I just kept going back and forth across the rows until it reached a reasonable length. I dug in the button jar to find a matching button that would fit into the slots and sewed it on with matching thinner yarn. I wove all of the hanging strands into the middle of the double crochets and here it is. The size is actually adjustable because you close it with the button in whichever row makes it fit. I sure hope it works for her. It was very thick yarn which I have never used before, but I loved it for this type of project. I also love that button because it sparkles.

Have a good one and let us know what yarn goodies you are currently working on.

 

Putting away…but not all

Today we took down the Christmas tree, the wreaths and most of the items with a true Christmas theme. I left up the Nativity scenes as we haven’t celebrated Epiphany yet. I have also left up the Angels, Father Christmas/Santa display and the snowmen. I realize in looking back that I never did take a picture of the Snowmen. How sad that is. I must do that right now to share.

The Snowmen in the TV stand

The Snowmen in the TV stand

Lights on the three LED pieces

Lights on the three LED pieces

The newest Joy Snowman I received from Susan at church

The newest Joy Snowman I received from Susan at church

There are a few other things that never made the blog in December when we were decorating. Perhaps I should have gotten out of my funk sooner. Good grief grow up and get to it is what I needed to hear. Our Great Aunt Mandy would have said, Nem dich stumma.” It was a German-Russian saying which means, pull yourself together. Wow, I could use one of her speeches again. So here is the “H” block that we got from Jess and Tony. I put a blinker into the set of lights that goes with it, so I took several shots before I got one dark and one lit.

"H" in place of the tree. I will need to dig out a few other items to put with it for some sort of winter display.

“H” in place of the tree. I will need to dig out a few other items to put with it for some sort of winter display.

Lights are on.

Lights are on.

Also setting around are a few other winter items.

The stuffed snowman and the igloo from many long years ago.

The stuffed snowman and the igloo from many long years ago.

Peace on Earth and the gourd snowman that Paulina is supposed to be using as a pattern to make her gazillion gourds in the box in the carshed.

Peace on Earth and the gourd snowman that Paulina is supposed to be using as a pattern to make her gazillion gourds in the box in the carshed.

Oh then upstairs I found the Snow globes on the bookshelf. One of my resolutions, well not really a resolution, just a goal for 2015 is to read the books in that bookshelf. I keep putting them in there in alphabetical order, but never taking any out to read. I have the whole thing filled  plus a good start on a large box. I guess it is time to put down the iPad with the games and begin reading again. Why was it so much easier to read in Linton? Perhaps because there was no TV in the bedroom, and I had to read myself to sleep. Yikes!

Snow globes and top row of bookshelf.

Snow globes and top row of bookshelf.

It was also easier to read and do knitting and such in Linton because I was basically jobless. Sitting at home gives you lots of time to do those sort of things. Now I just squeeze those items in between required items. Here is what I have been working on in the past couple of days.

The item on the left is the headband for Alyse and the item on the right is the scarf for Kenlee.

The item on the left is the headband for Alyse and the item on the right is the scarf for Kenlee.

Of course time spent on puzzle making also takes away from reading and even from knitting and crocheting. Paulina and I spent New Year’s Eve putting together the 200 piece that I got from Victoria. We still have not finished the windmill puzzle, but Sophia seems to think it is ok for her to sit on it and move things around, and I don’t know if we will ever get that one completed.

Sophia sleeping on the puzzel

Sophia sleeping on the puzzle

Sophia on the puzzle again!

Sophia on the puzzle again!

Disney Villain puzzle from Victoria

Disney Villain puzzle from Victoria

Well, not much else to mention for now. Hope you are all having a great Friday before the year begins in earnest. I am looking forward to this weekend and two more days off before life begins to get really crazy. With another year beginning at the church (annual reports due, Mission Fest, Annual meeting, Lent just around the corner) and a long-term sub position for the off days, life in this household could get very wild. Again, Happy New Year to you all!!

Crochet works in progress

A few years ago, and I literally mean years, I found information about turning t-shirts into rugs. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about, but most of you have already figured out just how much work is involved. I got all excited about it, and actually started on it, but haven’t produced much. If only I could find a way to make this faster, less time intensive, and find more really stained up in bad shape shirts. I would crochet a rug for every member of the family. I even went to thrift stores to purchase rag bags. What did I find? Mostly t-shirts with (ok, so watch that version of typing shirts without the “r” please.) logos on them were in the bag. The shirts did NOT have holes in. I could cut up a shirt with holes in. The shirts were not stained or bleached. I could happily destroy something like that. Nope, I got perfectly good shirts with team logos on them.

The other part of the bag was cotton pj’s mostly for children. Interestingly, one was for a little boy, the perfect size of Jaxon last winter. His mother and I sewed him new pj’s using that set as a pattern. I would love to do more of them if I had patterns for his current size. I believe the rest of that rag-bag is in my basement hoping beyond hope that it will be salvaged into some remade item rather than thrown into the dump at the next garbage pick up day. I am guessing that at the very least, they may end up as padding inside some quilt or pillow or something of the sort.

I have pictures to share of the amount of what I have completed so far. This rug will go to Paulina for one reason only. It has been made from the sleeves that she cut out of her t-shirts in order to make them more comfortable to compete in athletic practices. It seems that the cut off was always more comfortable than the full shirt. I cut several of the sleeves into strips today. I had cut some of the others a few months ago and rolled them into balls of t-shirt yarn. I even did some crocheting with a few of them when we still lived in Linton. See, living outside of this big house allowed me to craft more. There is just too much yard here to craft, and not enough time to work on the other things. On the other hand, it might be the amount of discipline. I need to get some order to my day, and then perhaps, I will get some things accomplished. At any rate. Here is what I have so far. Hopefully, I will get this finished by Christmas. But don’t tell Paulina, she hates knowing what she is getting.

Piles of sleeves to be cut, and cut up strips to be sewed together into t-shirt yarns.

Piles of sleeves to be cut, and cut up strips to be sewed together into t-shirt yarns.

Balls of t-shirt yarn.

Balls of t-shirt yarn.

Rug in progress, minimal progress.

Rug in progress, minimal progress.

What crafts have you been up to lately, or has your garden kept you away from the other creative fun stuff??

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