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A Triumphant Return and a Craft Room Disaster

Do you want to know the secret to finding the time and inspiration to make things?

Publicly declare that you have neither the time nor the inspiration to make things, and then you’ll have crafty mojo coming out your ears.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks crafting up a storm and I’m excited to share about it here. Natalie’s quilt is a large part of what I’ve been working on, and I’m making really good progress (update coming soon!).

But today I wanted to post about a genius organization idea I found (not my own; I’m not clever enough by half to have thought of this!) and lament about the state of my craft room.

“Craft room” is a rather slippery term; this room is an office/guest room as well as where most of the supplies for my creative pursuits live. And this is what it looks like today:

2013-11-04 09.37.15Oy. And that’s after I spent several hours in there yesterday working on an organization project. 

My mom stayed in that room for a week after Natalie was born (I assure you it was in better shape then and the bed was cat-free), but ever since then we’ve just been piling more and more things into it. Obviously I don’t spend any time in there; how could I? You can barely navigate around all the boxes!

I can’t tell you how badly I wish I had an “after” photo that’s Pinterest-worthy. I drool over other people’s craft spaces, but sadly, that’s not how this post ends. This is the “before” photo, the one that happens at the beginning of a fantastic HGTV makeover.

(HGTV, if you’re reading this, please send the Kitchen Cousins to my house. They don’t even have to renovate anything; just standing around and looking pretty would be enough.)

Ok, let’s get to the glimmer of hope: I started organizing my fabric. I stumbled on the amazing idea of using pendaflex file folders and filing cabinets to organize my stash, and got to work straight away.

What used to look like this:

2013-11-03 13.30.12-1Now looks like this!

2013-11-04 09.36.29Oooooh. Aaaaaah.

Granted, this only works if you have a very small fabric stash. It turns out that I have a lot more fabric than I realized (show of hands, who’s surprised? Anyone? Bueller?) and it’s not all going to fit in that cabinet. The filing cabinet just to the left is occupied by honest-to-god files and important papers, so as much as I’d like to completely take it over, I just can’t.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat filing cabinet.

This is what I have left to store:

2013-11-04 09.36.56

Yeah, quite a bit.

So, more thinking is required about where to go from here.

Do I buy cardboard file boxes? (ugly)
Another filing cabinet? (not sure where I’d put it)
Get rid of some fabric? (you shut your mouth)

I think if I pulled the metal part out of the folders, I could stack the fabric nicely on a shelf or in a bookcase (neither of which currently lives in that room).

Stay tuned. I’ll figure something out.

My parents will be staying with us for a day when they fly into Boston for Christmas, so that’s my deadline. At that point there has to at least be a path from the door to the bed.

But really, what do they think this is? The Holiday Inn?

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Fight Pregnancy Brain with a Home Idea Book

There’s so much to think about when you move, especially when going from a two-bedroom apartment to a much bigger single family house (YAY HOUSE).  I knew that with my major case of pregnancy brain, I didn’t stand a chance at remembering all the little details that I’d need to keep in mind when we’re out shopping – how many windows in the bedroom? How big is that closet? What color is the paint in the baby’s room?

I made this little home idea book to help me keep track of everything and it’s been working swimmingly so far.


I’d been looking at fancy binders and realized I had a plain mini binder (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) that I could spiffy up myself, and it would fit perfectly in my purse. I made the cover in Photoshop by using background paper from the Seafoam Project Life kit and a paint splatter from the free Story Teller kit, printed it on regular paper, and stuck it in the binder. Ta-da!


I also made a spine and a back cover, because it just wouldn’t work if the whole thing weren’t pretty. Naturally.

Fonts are…actually I’m not sure what the fonts are, but I know I got them for free from Amazing resource for cool fonts. I used the eye dropper tool to sample the color from the pink paint splatter and used that same color for the text. Design unity, yo.

I also happened to have a set of tab dividers for this binder. I’d like to have a few more tabs so that each bedroom could have its own section, but this is just fine for now. My handy-dandy label maker saves me from having illegible tabs. My handwriting is a problem.

home-idea-book-2So. What’s in the book?

Excellent question. The short answer is, everything! It’s my brain in book form, so anything that I think will be useful information to have is in there.

home-idea-book-3Room dimensions.

How many windows, what walls they’re on, and how big they are.

Paint colors, if I know what they are. The size of any rugs that the previous owners had, or big pieces of furniture.


The previous owners were awesome and left behind a stack of paint chips, so I hole-punched all the chips and put them in the appropriate section. Page protectors would be quicker and more convenient, but I don’t have any of those on hand right now. *shrug* I also hole-punched info sheets from Ikea for different pieces of furniture we’re considering and added those, too.



I’m nesting like a crazy person right now, so of course the size of the baby’s closet is of vital importance to me. Plus diagrams are fun and make me feel productive.

PS. Don’t be thrown off by the blue paint in Baby H’s room – we still don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl; we just like this color and think it’s great for any baby!

PPS. Also, am lazy. Do not feel like painting.

Since we haven’t moved in yet (that’s happening this weekend YAYYYY!) this book has been so helpful for online shopping. We’ve had no doubts if a certain rug we’re considering will fit in that particular room, or if our washer and dryer will work in our teeny-tiny laundry room (that is not to sound ungrateful about the laundry room at all; for the first time in 6 years we won’t have to use coin-op facilities. ERHMAGERD LAUNDRY).

Do you keep track of stuff like this, or am I just OCD? Got any last minute moving tips for me?

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Crafty Sheep Headquarters

I’m afraid I have no projects to show you at the moment. What I’m working on right now is a gift and can’t be blogged quite yet.

But I don’t want to leave you hanging for a week while I dash back and forth taking care of dentist appointments (for me), vet visits (not for me), and general life stuff.

So, how about you take a mini tour of the Crafty Sheep headquarters?


This is about half of the office and where I do most of my blogging (“ooh honey take a picture, it’s where she blogs!!“). The other half has been taken over by a bunch of enormous plastic totes that we can’t seem to get rid of even though we moved a year ago, the cat box (how exciting!), and a random golf bag that my husband hasn’t used since we got married.

You can see some remnants of my pet photography days (yep, I used to sort-of be a pet photographer) – the sample above the desk, the Professional Photographer magazine with a William Wegman image on the cover. Ah, back in the day.

The boxes were from Joanns for a whopping $6 each – they’re big enough to hold 12×12 paper, so my felt and all of the paper I use for backgrounds fit nicely. The third one is empty, but I’m sure I’ll find something to fill it with eventually.

The bin to the right is where I keep my measly fabric stash and my embroidery floss. The floss is loosely organized by color, but I can never put things back in exactly the right place. *shrugs* For me, not worth the energy to put them PRECISELY in color order.

I love this chalkboard. Got it at a yard sale for $2. It’s really handy for holding onto my embroidery hoops.

And then beside that we have…

Sheep! Naturally. I made the one on the bottom, and the little one was from the Wild Olive Stitch Swap.

So, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this mini tour.

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Yarn Wrangling – How I Corral My Stash

When I first learned how to knit, I bought yarn for one project at a time.

Of course I do the same thing now, as it is the sane and logical way to create.


Over the last several years my stash acquisition has slowed down drastically, but it’s still large enough to require some kind of organization. Until a couple weeks ago, everything was stuffed in underbed storage containers and sterilite plastic bins. The half-finished projects mingled with the yarn I had wound but never got around to using, creating monstrous tangles threatening to burst out of their containers.

It wasn’t pretty.

When I was home sick recently, I decided that getting my knitting supplies under control would be a great project – I could sit on the floor and watch the Top Chef marathon on Bravo (do they have any other shows? It’s always on!).

Several hours later, this is what I ended up with:

yarn stash
Helper cats to the rescue!

Everything is corralled in ziploc baggies. Everything. It’s the only way I’ve found to make sure that the yarn stays untangled.

The bin above is for all the yarn not currently assigned to a project. The stash is sorted roughly in order from lightest weight to heaviest. I put index cards in most of the baggies identifying what weight it is (and in some cases, how much of it I have – I wasn’t very consistent about that), so I can tell at a glance whether I have the right yarn for a certain project.

yarn stash

yarn stash

yarn stash

Here we see Beckham, intently deliberating which baggie he’d like to shred and spread all over the living room floor:
yarn stash and helper cat

Here are my current projects. I use the term loosely, because some of these have been “current” for 5+ years. Everything I know I won’t pick up  and work on again (there were far more of those projects than I care to admit) got frogged and tossed back into the regular stash. The result is I have a fair amount of noodly yarn in the bin, but I prefer that to staring at an ill-fated attempt at God knows what that I’ll never finish as long as I live.

current projects bin

If a project’s pattern has been printed out, it lives in the bag with the work in progress and related materials. If the pattern is in a book, I noted which book and on what page on the back of the index card. (I feel the need to note that I’m not typically this organized – this kind of thing will probably happen with the same frequency as Halley’s comet)

Once that was done, I turned my attention to all the other stuff that knitters accumulate: stray cats needles, buttons, stitch markers, that sort of thing. Before, I had absolutely no system. All my DPNs got thrown into a box and it would take me 10 minutes to find the right size (and that was assuming I could find my needle gauge so I’d actually know what the right size was). It’s really, really difficult to knit a sock from 4 different needle sizes. Not that I’d know from experience. Ahem.

Once again I turned to the love of my life, ziploc baggies (Ziploc didn’t sponsor this post but they sure should have). Now they’re all sorted by size and labeled and live in this cute little bag I bought at Target forever ago. All the baggies sit in the middle compartment – I feel like some kind of binder or something would be better, but I like that all of my supplies (except for the big needle case) fit in one bag. Makes it portable and much more likely that I’ll keep things organized.

knitting bag


knitting bag

My favorite part? I know exactly where my T-pins are, so hopefully I can stop stabbing myself whenever I reach into the side pockets of the bag. GODDAMNMOTHERFRACKINGSONOFA — ahem. Found the last one.

The last thing I did was organize my straight needles in a regular old needle case. So pretty!

straight needles

So, there you have it. A relatively modest stash (although I’m slightly confused as to how I ended up with SO MANY DPNs – I think I stole some from my grandmother. Sorry, Nana!)

How do you organize your stash? Link up in the comments – pics or it didn’t happen! :)

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