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Still in the rarely seen sewing room…

As I said, the light in there is really bad, all glare and shadows. But the table top, while rotated into the correct position, was still quite full of …. well, everything really. I shoved everything into bins and baskets and moved it out of the way so I could address a few areas one at a time. I began with something a bit fun – my stitch markers.

You might recall I make stitch markers for knitting. My lovely friend Susie had a shop, and she sold them there. No shop now, so I have a few left over. I kinda dumped all of them out on the desk to sort them into groups. Lots were loose in little bowls and tins and bags so they needed to be grouped.

I like to have sets of three or four with one special one, as well as some pairs. That covers most of my knitting needs. It took AGES to get them matched up, and once I did, well, then what?

You may recall I have my ribbons stored in baggies, all hanging from those display strips you see hanging from the shelves in grocery stores.

Well I had a couple of those strips left unused so I attached one to the edge of that canvas covered bookshelf I mentioned yesterday and:

Again, easy as pie to see and select. And look at all that bare real estate to the right! I really think a hanger for the cables and needles will be just the ticket. I might need to wait till I can go to a store, but still, the idea is a good ‘un.

I also decided it was time for a better way to house my threads. They were scattered about and it was hard to find what I needed. An hour or so and:

The threads are grouped by colour and all the bobbins are in a dedicated holder. And the final three drawers have also been sorted, so I have all my sewing machine tools in one, buttons and snaps and stuff for clothing repairs in one, and spare needles, seam rippers and marking tools in the last.

I also mover the Addi knitting machines off to a large tray table, instead of on the large desk

and I think in the chaos the got up to a little hanky panky – they seem to have had a baby!

This one actually works, unlike the wretched Prym one. Lovely cording, in a flash, and while I thought I was buying a no-name brand that LOOKED like the Embellish-knit (for so cheap, less than half the price) it turns out it was the actual branded one – albeit with a disassembled clamp. Cheeky seller! Took me 10 minutes with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver to sort it but now I have it works like a dream. So I guess it was worth it!

WOYWW tomorrow and it will be all clean desk shots or both rooms. That HAS to be a first!

Thanks for bearing with me as I sort things out.


The mess has been sorted, and a few things to mention…

Gosh. It has been a very busy weekend. I have been shuttling back and forth between my craft room (which houses all my art journal and paper-type craft stuff) and my knitting/sewing/ironing room (which also houses the Christmas tree and decorations) in an effort to get them sorted. You might have seen the state of them late last week. If so my guess is you thought How can anyone work in that chaos? May I remind you?

Even the desk that holds my computer was in such a state. And the sewing room, which I almost never share, was in as bad a state as it ever has been, partly due to the table being in it’s pulled-out state so the Xmas decs could be accessed. Yes. I know. It’s March. It should have been moved back into it’s usual spot long before now, but life gets busy. Sorry for virtually all the photos in there being a bit rubbish – the light is terrible and I use an old phone as a camera.

I managed to get all the stuff that was in the wrong place re-located from my craft room to the sewing room, and vice versa, and the table turned around to the correct position. There is that yellow colander that so many people mentioned the other day! This time it is full of…wait for it…knitting needles on their cables.

Dear lord. It took me HOURS to sort them out. Really. And here is the interesting thing. Stay with me – it’ll all come together in the end, I promise!

In the UK we get Lateral Flow Test Kits. As of now, the government gives them away for free (for now, but not for long) and my daughter, who goes to a special needs school, must test twice a week. One test must be timed so it also covers her attendance at the disability skating group. These kits have seven each of tests, tubes with a dropper top, nasal swabs, fluid and little plastic bags to seal the tests up in before you put them in the bin. This is the thing – if we do three tests, all the debris for all three fit in one bag. Easily. We have been doing testing for MONTHS. We have a LOT of little plastic bags. A LOT.

They are pretty useless for most things, due to how tall and thin they are (maybe 3 x 7 inches) but they do work incredibly well for knitting supplies! Wanna see?

Here are all my fixed circular needles, sorted:

The top row is larger needles, and the bottom are my sock needles. I had a couple of slightly larger bags saved from some past purchase for the bigger, longer needles and below for the biggest group of cables.

And here are all those cables for my interchangeable needles, grouped by length.

Nice, humm?

At the moment I have them in larger bags, and am considering how best to store them. I suspect I might make use of a large canvas-covered set of shelves that houses my yarn. I am already using that in an interesting way. More on that tomorrow!

And apologies, as it will be a few more days before I manage an actual craft post – I am still behind on my WOYWW visits (AGAIN!) and must devote my free time in the weekdays to that. I HATE not seeing every desk.

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ATC book finished

Not really much to crow about as it was basically drying time that held me up form being able to share the final item yesterday. But with the holidays looming and time short, I am just about keeping my head above water. I still have the DIY calendars in Spanish to sort out and I and woefully behind on my WOYWW visits. That is my top priority this morning! But here are a couple of quick shots for you:

It’s quite minimalist really, just the great collage collective paper and some letters. But I quite like it and it was great for storing all the trades:

and that leaves the other one I made to store the coins that I keep from my sets!

All in all that found folder from 2003 really worked out well!

Moral of the story? Hoarding is not always a bad thing….. LOL!


Because I never throw things away….

One of my knitting mates kindly gifted me with a folder for housing ATC cards – I am kinda running out of loose sleeves so very timely. At the same time, while having a bit of a tidy up during the Christmas decorating, I found another little notes book. It was part of one of those monthly magazines, where you get a really good set of gifts to begin with for a bit of money, then they aim to get you to spend a ton on things like collectible cards. This one was a tie in, if I recall, to a Jackie Chan animated series and was dated 2003! It is pretty compact and I like the little flaps that keep things inside.

I wanted to re-purpose it to hold ATC coins and I wanted to do it fairly simply. Those vinyl covered notebooks are hard to decorate, for me. The last one, the large format one I am using for cards, I stripped off the vinyl and painted the inside cardboard, but that proved to be problematic! Anyway for this one I decided to make use of a sheet from the Collage Collective papers.

I trimmed it to fit the flat front, leaving the black border intact and stuck it using matte medium. I brushed another layer of matte medium over the top to seal it.

Then back to the “never throwing stuff away” and I riffled thru my stash of scrapbooking letters. Problem is most of these sets came with a single letter, maybe if lucky a few extra vowels. These, I literally had all but the final C to spell ATC Coins.

I had a solution but the size on those wasn’t quite right. It worked with these two sets combined tho’. I can only assume all the Cs were consumed by many many spellings of JACKSON LOL!

I had the small-set Cs but no space. So where I am now is waiting for it all to dry, weighted down with stamping blocks. I’ll finish it up in the AM and share, but I am also deep in the weeds trying to sort out my PDFs for one of my children’s books. It’s sending me round the bend…

I am trying to find decent (preferably either free or at least a one-time fee rather than a monthly fee) flip book software because I would love to share a flip-thru of a book at some point. Not having a lot of luck with that.

I also got a request for Spanish language Sun-Mon DIY calendars for a long-time follower who uses them year after year. I should be able to sort them out for next week (I hope) and with luck then I will have all the rest of the time between now and Boxing day scheduled so we can have some very much needed Family down time.

Stay safe and well this holiday season.


Just a little walk into my crafting space….

Enter my chaotic room! It is functional but not pretty – I have far too much stuff to have a pretty space, beautifully curated, with only lovely things on display. My room is never going to win a beauty prize.

I had to add a fake wall of bookshelves in order to fit everything in. The big win is I got all my scrapbook albums and old Scrapbooking magazine into my room. The sort of Kallax unit is to the left, the albums in a bookcase on the right:

So many albums….

Then turning the corner the room opens out a bit! The printer, an desk I use for diecutting, and the computer desk – with my big “racing car seat” chair. Very comfy.

The computer desk from the other side, minus my hoodie!

The new bookshelves back the fake wall one, and it still needs a bit of work. BUT it is right by the desk where I do most of my crafting so handy.

And the desk by the window. Still with the If You HAD To… cards and the ATC binder that still needs…something, just not sure what.

I fear one day the whole room will collapse the ceiling below and crush poor Hubster as he works. Hopefully this old Victorian house is well made and sturdy. In the new year perhaps I will get rid of some more stuff… or not.

I made a start on the 3d card pack and I have to say there are some fun things in there and I can surely use the bases as a template to make more. I think that will be my first experiment – then I really must get things packaged up for mailing back to the USA. Most gifts will be shipped from the USA within the USA but some things will have to come from here (like proper UK mad Terry’s Chocolate Oranges for my son – just not Christmas without them.)


Well, that was a surprise!

Sorry about the snafu and super late post yesterday! I had created a post, and thought I saved it and scheduled it, but them The Hubster came home from skating and I asked him to do a back-up on my machine (he keeps the back-up disk in the car so if the house burns down the disk is safe) and I guess I messed up the date and time of the post. It might have published but been placed in early November rather than December. Oh well. It’s in the right place now.

So today I am able to share some progress on the cover:

I want to add the word STORAGE under ATC and maybe edge the whole thing with the gold, but it needs a little bit longer to dry.

The big news is…Christmas cards! Going back to a tried and true design, printed the embellished.

Some Happy Christmas and some Merry, depending on which side of the pond they go. I did a post AGES ago on how to make these. Maybe it will be of interest? And there is a set of kraft-background printables as well as the white background here. You can see these (made from the kraft version) are cute too.

I have to get a wriggle on because stuff mailed to the USA is taking a while and I want to make sure they arrive before Xmas. Most will go in packaged with the gifts, but the odd one might go on it’s own.

WOYWW tomorrow!

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Far too busy to blog…..

I have been in an absolute whirlwind of activity for the last 4 days. Now Thanksgiving is over, that Big-C holiday is looming and there is a lot to do to prep for it. The biggest problem is my sewing room. There is a massive, heavy table, that had all of my sewing stuff and my machine on it, that blocks the cabinet where the Christmas tree and all the decorations are. I had to more it all around to access the festive goodies. And believe me, before the turkey was cold and the last bite of pumpkin pie eaten, Darling Daughter was all “So when will we put up the tree?” Sorry to say that simple task created a cascade or shuffling and sorting and rearranging. The Hubster and I toted an entire bookcase of books up a level, I moved two more bookcases into my craft room, moving out one piece of furniture of limited use, then of course had to populate those shelves with things from elsewhere. Then there was a massive effort in the kitchen to better organize and relocate my cookbooks, and make room for the now ex-dvd shelf to become a pantry. We have no idea what food we may have squirreled away from buying multiples of something we use a lot of when we find it on sale, or when we stock up on something during a rare Costco run. This is the only explanation for eight bottles of green pest and four bottles of red! OK, so they are small bottles, and good into 2022, but still….

Boring right? especially with no photos. You will see some on WOYWW day as I photo my desk, but I fear it won’t look startlingly different, even though there is an additional 6foot bookcase that will be on view.

I do have one thing I will share – I have been keeping my ATCs to trade in clear envelopes, but I am finding that unmanageable. I have a stash of baseball card sleeves but what I don’t have, and what is rare as hen’s teeth in the UK, is three (THREE – not two, not four, THREE) ring binders. I managed to find one very ugly one that was falling apart, and I am in the middle of decorating the cover of it so I can use that for my ready-to-trade ATCs, cards and coins both.

I have to stick this cardboard piece to the vinyl lining and am going to see how very strong and thinck double-sided tape works. Unclear at this point what else I will do. but hopefully by tomorrow I will feel ready to take it on.

I have all of my ready-for-trade items inside already. I have been very bad about sharing them on the trade sites I usually use. I might just plan on waiting till after the holidays at this point. Happy mail in the new year will be something to look forward to, and all the mail delays (and potential theft if someone mistakes an ATC for a gift card!) will then be avoided. Wanna see how many I have?

Now the horizontal ones:

Nothing that I have not shared, I don’t think, but any photos ill make this post a lot less boring, for sure.

As soon as I sort out the cover, a quick share and then it has to be Christmas cards! Oh dear!

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Prototype ATC coin storage book

You might recall I have made a blizzard book ATC coin storage book, which I think is very cute, but has some down-sides. Mostly that yo have to take the coin out to see the info on the back. I wanted something that let the front and back be seen easily, kinda like the ATC card hanging displays I made.

Of course that was always going to involve baseball card (ATC card) sleeves. I began with two 9-pocket sheets, cutting them in to three three-pocket strips. I trimmed them neatly, leaving the binder-hole strip intact.

Next, I folded an accordion, starting with a 1 1/2 inch piece at the beginning, then scoring and folding every 1/2 inch. Obviously it is easy to add further strips by overlapping at then end, but this is a prototype to work out the kinks. End with 1 1/2 inches.

I am undecided if it is better to stick one sleeve section between two folds, then SKIP a section and add the next, or if adding them between two, then the next sleeve between the previous section and the very next section is OK. I’ve done a page each way to see how it works in use.

I used the red-line tape which is very strong. Then I just covered some stripes of heavy cardboard and did a quick decoration

I like it pretty well. Initial reaction is leaving the blank accordion fold between pages is better but I also an considering a different sort of spine. Not sure. What I do like is that I can see the front and the back of the coins with a flip.

I’ll report back on any refinements, but I wouldn’t say that this first attempt is in any way unusable. It works fine, I just feel like it could be a little bit better.

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My ribbon storage system

Back in 2012 I made a ribbon storage system that I quite liked, one using a long strip of matboard and some brads, the other velcro. It was all a bit time-consuming and while it worked great, it was a pain.

At some point, I discovered those little plastic strips that you see at the grocery store, hanging on the shelves, with useful related things you can grab (like packs of straws near the juice boxes) and I started using them to organize my ribbons. I still make use of the space behind the door for this:

Apparently they are called Hook Clip Strips and you can buy them pretty cheap from Amazon (if you can’t get them free from your grocery store like I have always done) and I suspect you might already be thinking of 100 other ways you can use them!

I use zip-lock bags, sort the ribbons by colour, and then use the wire pinches from a binder clip to hang the bags from the hooks on the strip.

I think I mentioned this system to Shoshi on WOYWW last week or perhaps the week before, so thought I might share it this week for her to see. It disclosed a major annoyance, as I was working on finishing my junk journal with the covers. I wanted a ribbon tie but I wanted it to wrap a few times around the journal and looking at my ribbons I found that perhaps 80% of them are from a scrapbooking kit I used to get and annoyingly no longer than 13 inches. I was pretty limited in the choices for longer ribbon. But I did find some and will finish that off. I decided I will show my desk as it is NOW today and share my tidied up desk tomorrow for WOYWW.

Let’s see – there is the journal with the back cover in progress, the little ATC(oins) envelopes from yesterday, the watercolours from the Mixed Media Emporium challenges, the ribbons and various scraps and tools. Pretty messy and clearly time for a good tidy up!! WOYWW tomorrow…

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More gloss spray, labels, and Day 44

When I was making that dark gloss-spray-over-brown page I used one of the label sheets I have leftover from my HiTi dye-sub printer that died. I have been using them for cutting stencils, as the sheets are perfect for that. I had the pack out and grabbed one to use to mop up the gloss spray. It came out so pretty!

The stamp is one I got from China, via Amazon, and it took weeks to arrive but I love it. So many nifty areas, perfect for art journaling.

I could cut it up but it’s easy to stamp just one area while it is on the flexible backing sheet or press fully to stamp the whole image

After peeling away the surround, I printed some little words – I don’t have a template for this oddly shaped sheet and too lazy to make one, but I don’t even know if I could print directly on to the gloss sprays. The labels are about .75 x 1.5 inches so not big enough for most of my stamp sets that have interesting fonts. They work great to label the drawers on my desk.

I also have the surround, and it is SO pretty as well I just want to use it but I have no idea how at the moment. Maybe cut it and add some bits to tags? If I was doing any sort of ATC swap I might use them for that. I just know the surround far too pretty to throw away!

And here is Day 44. Maybe not as balanced as it could be but I love the colours: