Project Remnant Redo’s Muse

room

office, oasis, studio, space, with cat

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is “Muse.” My muse is most often Grayzie the cat, sleeping there in the chair. I take more pictures of him than anything else, mostly because he’s so darn a-muse-ing. But hey, as far as muses go, this recent redo to my sewing room/home office has provided lots of creative inspiration.

I don’t have a “before” pic to show you, and if I did I might not post it because I don’t want to see it later as a Hoarder’s Worst Nightmare …

But it is a remnant redo project, too. My old desk, which was attached to the armoire there on the right, stretched to the corner then right-angled in an L shape along the back wall. That window on the right wall was almost completely blocked by the back of the desk, which had a shelf unit for CD’s, storage of all sorts. On top of the desk shelf were stacks of books, and baskets on top, which went almost all the way to the top of the window.

Proponents of feng shui might say that you should never have your desk facing the back of the room, you should have it situated so that when you are seated at your desk, you can see the door when someone comes in. But notice, there is a sunburst mirror on the wall, so that when I’m seated at the desk I can check the mirror and see if someone is sneaking up on me through the doorway. Plus, I can open the blinds and see the beautiful neighborhood while I’m working, which gives me a new sense of expansion, as if I’m part of the outside world as well as operating inside my cave of creativity. The best of both worlds…

The desk had a nice faux-granite top that was hard and sturdy. But the rest of it was particle-board with a paper-thin veneer on top, and when I moved it here, it didn’t survive the trip very well. Many of the bolts that held it together got jostled and ripped out chunks of particle board, so DH had to rig it with many shims and clamps and such. I actually worked at the desk for over a year, with a big pipe-clamp stretched across my keyboard from the window to the end of the armoire. If I ever had to open the armoire to retrieve something, my keyboard tray would fall to the floor with a loud, agonizing crash.

What I added:

3 filing cabinets

shelf even with top of armoire, moved plastic file boxes to this shelf

a new store-bought keyboard tray (hasn’t been installed yet)

new plastic chair mat

new ink for printer that has been spewing out documents in shades of pink lately

3 shelves and brackets on back wall (some of the brackets we already had)

white spray-painted cans on lower back shelf (cans were former Christmas gifts of popcorn or cookies or butter-rum life-savers)

corner shelf DH put together from desk remnants and spray-painted white

a new Clear Sounds phone DH got me from FTRI

 

In some ways it’s like a kindergarten classroom*, with “stations” for each activity: sewing, cutting, serging, embroidery, quilting, drawing, painting, photography, jewelry-making, knitting, other crafts, writing, the volunteer work that I do, genealogy, processing mail.

*This thought is distilled from my memories of a couple of organizational books by Julie Morganstern.

There’s a bookcase over to the right of the armoire, now filled about half and half with fabric and books. Why have books stacked up all over when they could be in the bookcase where they belong?

Grayzie loves the new redo. He has plenty of serene new surfaces to lie down on, and when he gets bored he can jump up to the serger table and mangle all the thread paths for a fun activity. And how quick can my hand travel across the room to his furry neck? J/K, he’s my muse.

Have Cat; Wish Happy Mother’s Day

Some of the beautiful flowers I got for Mother’s Day/birthday…

flowers

Beautiful tribute from some of the young’ns

cat

Yikes! the CAT

cat

cat

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Grayzie enjoys being a part of everything that goes on. Party? he’s in the middle! Glass of water? He wants some, too. Container of water left unattended on a flat surface? It’s just his job to knock it over. Here, the flowers are gone, so he parks his carcass on the cards. It’s a Grayzie day! Even though he’s not a mother, and I’m not his mother, he’s not only a pet, he’s our housemate and friend.

IMG_3535

flowers

more flowers from loving progeny!

Have a beautiful, sweet Mother’s Day! Even if you’re not a mother, or have lost your mother, share the love as best you can… ❤

A Trying Day, with Twin Needles and a Demented Cat

I saw a sewing blog post this morning with this leading question as the title: What is your Achilles Heel of sewing? But when I read the post, the content had nothing to do with the title, as far as I could see. But that’s the way these last couple of days have been for me. I checked, and Mercury is not in retrograde at the moment. Nevertheless, things are going slow, not at all, or incredibly botched-up.

I wanted to do something new in the sewing category, so I dragged out a twin needle from the stash to do some topstitching and hemming on this pair of Jalie yoga shorts, as the pattern directs. Turned out to be quite a learning curve. The fabrics used are two-way stretch performance remnants.

thread bird-nesting

thread bird-nesting

I looked in the manual that came with the machine, and threaded the two spools as directed. One spool had red Gutermann thread, the other had a brick-red color polyester thread, a pricey thread that I ordered online from Superior Threads. Got the double-thread seam going for a while, then the Superior thread kept disappearing. Upon investigation, it was apparently shredding up into a fuzzy ball inside the thread path of the machine. Changed to a red rayon Robison-Anton thread. That’s when the bird-nesting marathon began. Needle-less to say, I had to re-thread every time an undesirable seam was sewn, and go through lots of picking and clipping. Grrrr. I switched to an extra-wide twin needle. Bad idea! The seam pulled the two rows of stitching together with a big loopy pucker in between. More seam-ripping ensued. So finally I got an inkling: maybe there’s a setting for twin-needle sewing on this machine, even though I didn’t see a word about it in the manual.

Et voilá! There was.

Twin-needle sewing

Twin-needle setting under Tools

Even so, with machine on the special setting, it didn’t go completely well forever after. I still had to thread and re-thread, and there were other glitches as well.

The poor cat had his thyroid burned out with radioactive iodine, and he hasn’t been himself. Or maybe he’s been a crazed, geriatric version of himself, with advanced dementia. He’s been staggering around the house moaning and wailing LOUDLY at every door, and he will only lap broth from cat food and ignore the solid food completely. We got him some meat-flavored baby food, like the vet suggested, and he took a few slurps of that and then he was done. Next try: canned fish stock at $3.50 a pop. I hope we don’t end up having to give it to him through an IV!

Finally finished the shorts, but I feel I must make another pair that is better. Not sure how the fabric will hold up with so many needle holes in it from stitching and restitching with double the number of needle!

Jalie yoga shorts

Jalie yoga shorts



Grayzie in his new favorite place to nap.

SHHHH! a remnant Quiet Book!

Fabric remnants: what do you do with all of them?

I made some Quiet Books for three of the youngest grandkids.

cloth books

Quiet Books

I did happen to find a pattern in the pattern stash.

Rather generic-lookin', isn't it?

Rather generic-lookin’, isn’t it?

I decided to change mine up from the one in the pattern. I made the pages out of a big length of muslin I had on hand. I used some of the ideas, changed some of them, and added some completely off-beat ones. [Hi Bob! 🐱 ]

cloth book

Tying and buttoning

cloth book

Pages from a book

cloth book

Zip up the corn

cloth book

One finished

cloth book

Walk the dog

cloth books

(Velcro bird sitting on candy eggs)

Hmmm, Cadbury eggs and it can be sort of an Easter treat…

Using up remnants, not just of fabric but remnants of notions, too: ribbon, zippers, buttons, fibers. They look a little bit goofy, but I had fun. I hope the little ones have some fun with them!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

This week’s photo challenge theme is all about Three. First, my take on the Three-fer:

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Grayzie and his catnip toys. Lately Grayzie has been found to have a thyroid condition, so we have to give him meds for that and it sometimes makes him gallop around the house and treat the other cats like he’s the villain in a spaghetti western.

Meanwhile, I did finish a remnant project so I haven’t been completely worthless. This is my 4th nappy mat, and first girly one.

nap mat

pink purrfect precious nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

The mat isn’t for the cat. It’s for a cute little toddler girl. I would be deathly afraid to even show it to the cats. Bob got sick a few months ago with pancreatitis, then we found out he has diabetes. And ring-worm. So we’ve (that is, DH) been administering insulin, oral fungicide, antibiotics, milk thistle extract, and for a considerable amount of time, pain meds. Bob did like the pain med. He would saunter up to DH and meow plaintively when he thought it was time for another dose. And then he got extreme constipation. As a result of that, he got a couple of hernias from trying to poop, and the vet said his colon was the size of two softballs. I thought about drawing you a sketch of what his colon might look like, but there are obscenity laws….So when he came home from staying at the vet’s and getting a whole regime of enemas, he started pooping in the living room over by the piano instead of in his cat box. Needless to say the room that has the piano in it is now blocked off to ALL the cats, sorry, they must all suffer for the sins of the one. And Bob is the Alpha cat here so we can’t give him an inch. I am not making this up…so no, I don’t let Bob see cute little toddler nappy mats right now.

Holiday Gifting Damage Control

Are you like I am? Do you like to make things for people and give them as gifts for a holiday occasion? But do you sometimes fall short of your projected gift list goals?

When the holiday got really close, I narrowed my to-do list down to 2 basic things: shopping bags and dish towels. I still fell short…

Mostly because of this little number…which by the way, is a fabric remnant project. Another Kwik Sew shopping bag.

Snow White shopping bag

the diabolical Snow White bag

In retrospect, I can see where the red flags should have driven me back, but I was very distracted. A lot of things happened that I didn’t expect.

Red flag #1: the embroidery was too big for the pattern piece.
Red flag #2: the embroidery was too complicated for the design and function of the item.
Red flag #3: my available time was cut short when people dropped by and I was asked to do things I hadn’t planned, so I set the embroidery going and left it to go and do other things…

So that I ended up with a finished embroidery that is a poster child for what NOT to do.

Snow White machine embroidery

the puckered and distorted embroidery

The complex, busy, heavy embroidery was no match for the thin cotton center panel of the shopping bag, even with a sturdy tear-away stabilizer underneath. When finished, the shopping bag fabric was considerably drawn-up and needed some adjustments if the pattern pieces were ever going to fit together. I had to add extra fabric and cobble it together with some stitching. The straps went on a little crooked and covered some of the thick embroidered flowers, but what else was there to do? Aargh, some of the fabric ended up not exactly on the straight of the grain. I was in a hurry and it shows. Sigh. But the recipient will still get it (in January!) and she can decide whether or not she thinks it is too shoddy to use! I think she can use it for something though, as she loves anything Snow White.

Here are some shots of other holiday things that (in retrospect) seem a bit weird or short of their mark:

deflated Santa

Bad Santa, lying on the neighbor’s lawn sleeping

under the Christmas tree pic

Grayzie, hiding from Psycho Granny Claus, who’s holding her candle upside-down

Nativity set

tiny crystal Nativity Scene overseen by a giant cardinal that is the wrong color

religious decoration

Madonna and Child with large turtle over a brass buddha

A little eccentric, perhaps, but I have room for all.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community…Gossamer

Holiday flings…party things….gossamer wings

Images of Christmas season in my little community: headed to the office party, living in my community of cats, fashioning gifts from remnants. Dragonfly pattern from 5D Embroidery. Sulky metallic embroidery thread. Shopping bag pattern is Kwik Sew K3612. Happy holidays, all!

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Community click here (and go ahead, add your own!)

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