Very Nice Mice

A guild member gifted me some amazing fabric – lots of it. I cannot wait to get going on a crazy quilt design! To thank her, I wanted to make her an ornament. The guild had a holiday dinner with an ornament exchange so I was hopeful to make two. Alas, I had zero ready. For shame! I had the ornament picked out but you know what the problem was? I couldn’t get to my felt! Remember my last post, about organizing everything? Blame it all on these very nice mice!

I have been following Ann Wood Handmade now for years – maybe even, dare I say, something like a decade? One day, I hope to be able to support her work and have a little piece of it in my home as I absolutely adore her little camper birdies! Anyway, she so kindly put out a free pattern for Very Nice Mice so I had a couple of goes at it.

The first mouse was given away just after completing it to a friend of ours to take home to his wife. I don’t even really remember what it looked like, ha! The second came out too strongly in it’s face so for the third, I used two strands of embroidery thread rather than a piece of perl cotton. But that face came out too lightly, so on the fourth mouse I did a combination and I really liked it.

On the fourth mouse, I also changed the whiskers (which are not included in the pattern) from fishing line to regular sewing thread. I am not sure which I like better; I may still experiment or remove them. On this last mouse, I also decided to add a little nose with satin stitch. I liked that so much, I added the nose to the other two. Then I decided to fix the third mouse’s face by adding bolder eyes. I regretting not color-matching the belly thread better on the other two, but you live and learn, and that’s the point!

I was just finishing these guys up at the candy store, becoming satisfied with my workmanship and planning how to go about the gift for my fellow guildswoman when another shopkeep came in for her afternoon popcorn pick-me-up and adored them. After a quick chat, she asked if I’d be interested in putting them in her shop. After some thinking, I reached out to Ann to ask about selling off of her free pattern. Happily, she was fine with my selling them. To thank her, please go check out her lovelies!

And so thus, I made them fit the Scandinavian shop’s theme. One got a red and white cord for a scarf that I made with yarn. One got a red Nordic snowflake (definitely not my best work since I was trying to embroidery on a mouse belly rather than on a flat piece of felt!). One got a red and white Danish heart basket. The shopkeep made a little tiny door for them to stand by on display. Super cute!

Alas, this is the only photo I have of them finished:

If they don’t sell, these little mice can just decorate the shop:) It was neat to have someone approach me to sell something so I think that’s certainly a fair trade! Another shopkeep, who deals in “primitive” style goods, saw my mice and then asked me what else I do. I’m thinking I may take these offers a little more seriously and explore some options in the future, who knows!

Organization overhaul

Throughout the years I have been lucky enough to inherit so many crafting things. Add to that all the things I was also fortunate enough to budget for, and it became a lot! I try to confine everything into my craft room closet, but that became a messy hoard that turned me off from crafting. What to do? Well, sometimes going through a work-life balance transition gets so boring that inspiration hits, and before you know it, you’re knee deep in a chaotic pile of goodies for days. No, I am serious. Piles of goodie madness.

I began by removing everything out of the sewing half.

The other half of my closet is dedicated to scrapbooking; I have small bins in the window seat for other crafting things like clay or painting.

I needed to see everything I had to formulate a plan. I added another shelf, and spaced the ones I had already a tad differently so that I could fit in more organized tubs. Then I tackled one “type” at a time.

I purged as I went but surprisingly, most of the stuff I had was still in great shape (some being quite, quite older then my own self!). With a little more OCD-like organization, my closet became like the Tardis and I could keep almost all of it. But rather than just stashing it to never see the light of day again, it would become perfectly sorted for ease of use!

I realized I needed more storage. I already had an Iris storage cart for my scrapbooking and it was great (not the drawered version, but the kind with independent bins that slide in and fully out of the cart). Why not buy one more for sewing? Turned out I needed two, but hey – I had some coupons! I also purchased two more Iris photo and craft storage bins. I am not sure if they are out of production (I could not find them at the Iris site to link up) but they are around the interwebz. The scrapbooking one isn’t as neatly organized, but it goes like this: sticker letters, chipboard letters, chipboard shapes, other stickers, WIP #1, WIP #2, and WIP#3. Up next is my sewing supplies: DMC threads, craft threads, beads, zippers, binding & piping, and finally tools like clasps, button tape, grommets, fabric weights, magnetic closures, and so on. The third cart is trims: metallic and colorful trims; crocheted and fancy trims; scrap ribbons, cords, pipecleaners, wires, leather cords, sturdy twill tapes, and patches; lace ruffle trims; crocheted and fabric ruffle trims; pom-poms and specialty trims.

I originally intended to just toss things in the bins but I quickly realized that if they weren’t orderly, I would need yet more storage! So I looked to my ever-growing pile of cardboard I collect from the kitties’ wet food boxes. I cut them down to an appropriate size, measured every single piece of ribbon and lace and trim, wrote the measurement on the card, wrapped and pinned them, and then organized by type and color. Yes, that is absolutely crazy, and yes, I have way too much time on my hands. But looking back, I am super proud of how accessible everything is now!

Even the buttons are color-coded. How did this happen to me?!

You’d think that I’d be over organizing after the many days that this took! Au contraire! I tackled my fabrics next, as I had newly inherited way more than I had space for. I have five now dedicated to that purpose. 1) Interfacing + stuffing 2) felts + leathers + velvets + corduroys 3) specialty fabrics like upholsteries 4) stiff fabrics like canvases and 5) cottons.

All sorted by types and colors in (unzipped) ziplock bags so I can just remove the color way I am interested in and easily keep things organized.

It was a lot of work, no joke. It is not something I would have ever done in better weather or when I had a job or anything of the sort, but the stars aligned and it is done, huzzah! I can’t wait to tackle some new projects from the inspiration looking through those items has granted me! And, since that dragged on for as long as it did, I became OCD elsewhere. Junk drawer? Check. Bathroom cabinets? Check. Bedroom closet? Check. Other closets up next!



Latch Hook Hummingbird

I am not sure where this project came from – either when my MIL gave me her old stuff, or when my paternal gramma downsized, or when my parents moved into an RV, or when my maternal gramma was gifting things she thought I might like. I found it when I recently decided to give my craft room a massive overhaul in organization and purge all sorts of things (more on that later). It is an old latch hook kit from Natura National Yarn Crafts sporting a hummingbird (item #p511 if you are curious).

I was a wee bit frustrated because to me, the darker pink yarn is “rose” colored, while the lighter pink yarn is “bright pink”. I even polled Boy just to be sure before I began. He agreed. So more than half-way through, once I realized I was quickly running out of the darker pink, I had to re-do all the pinks! I did not snap a before photo, but this is how much I had done that I had to fix. Grrr!

It was slow going at first, but once I got the dexterity right, it whipped up pretty fast! It only took me a few days to complete, and it is a really easy project for travel.

I do prefer the backside, though. It is reminiscent of needle point, and just looks a lot less messy. I know latch hook was super trendy a while back, and maybe it will become so again. But I am curious if I couldn’t take the same pattern and make a tiny cross stitch design. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work! So that might land itself on my 2018 to-do list.

I have no idea what to do with this now. Any ideas?