Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Check out this fun stuffed animal--the "Beastie!"

Beasties are made in the Netherlands, by an artist named Wendy Wezendonk, a graduate of ArtEZ academy of visual arts Arnhem.

She creates a couple kinds of plush animals, but I think this design in particular is very free and fun.  As she says on her website:

Beastie is a soft, huggable and cute friend for everybody.
He is available in different sizes and different colors.
        His fur is always changing color, so stay tuned to keep up with new colors!
For a gallery of her work, check out her two shops:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


How do I make my ongoing projects more portable?

AT HOME (The Macro-Tote)

Before I add stuffing to the mix, plushie construction is very compact and amenable to being folded up and tucked out of the way (my looms and bins of supplies on the other hand, will always expand beyond their designated sections of floor and shelf space...)

What I usually do is this: I have a large portable work station  that I can cart around the house (it's a BIN DRAWER--so convenient!).  This box of items contains all of the smaller odds and ends that I would need to work on a plushie: a few pieces of fleece and felt, my boxes of thread, my bag of scraps, my bag of patchwork eyes, my idea notebook, my sewing notions, extra scissors and pens.  I should note that I have several boxes of colored thread and several bins of fleece, so I only include the colors that are relevant to my current projects in "THE BIN."

All smaller scraps of fabric and my numerous tiny items (like my ever-growing piles of hand-sewn eyes, my thread, and my sewing notions) are kept in clear Ziploc bags, to facilitate organization and sorting.

Current Brainstorm: Mini-Ornaments or Keychain Fobs

I usually keep my sewing machine and my gigantic bag of stuffing tucked away in the corner until I need them, although they are technically also portable.
The sewing machine usually lives on a worktable or tucked away in a corner.
Only need a little stuffing? I'll just unclamp the bag and grab a handful!

OUT AND ABOUT (The Mini-Tote)
When I go out and want to bring a craft project with me, I of course cannot take quite so much in the way of supplies.  That is when these Ziploc bags perform their second function--I can take a couple of these small, categorized baggies with me in a crafting tote, and know that I have everything I'll need to work on that specific sub-project if I find myself with extra time on my hands.

All of this fit into two baggies?!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


You have sooo many craft supplies!  You pack them away in boxes and then you can't find anything!  Someone needs to borrow your scrapbooking supplies and you can't find them!

Now, I'll readily admit that I have more craft supplies than I can handle.  But I have found a couple home-organization techniques to be very helpful.
Must have more stacking!

No, this is not the most elegant storage solution.  Yes, it is plastic.  But I can see what is in each drawer, and I can even unsnap the drawers and re-order them if I need to.  And I can add SMALLER drawer bins on top!  The small, three-drawer bin in the upper left holds most of my sewing equipment, so in a pinch I can just take it with me to my craft table or out to a crafting party.



An otherwise empty corner of my closet:
Wrapping paper, fabric, and my misc. bin.
I used to randomly buy attractive or cheap bins and boxes whenever I needed more storage space, and I would hoard and reuse cardboard boxes that were lying around the house.  But I eventually realized that it really does make a difference if your containers A) are clear, B) are stackable, C) are relatively airtight, and D) have comfortable handles. 
You can immediately see what is stored in each bin or drawer, and you can be sure that all of your bins, new and old, will stack on each other (and you'll have the bonus of having them match). 

My main stash (8 bins of yarn, fleece and felt).
You don't have to worry about creepy bugs nesting in your yarn and waiting to surprise you, and you know that when you need to carry the filled bins around, the handles won't cut into your fingers.  It's also probably a good idea to choose bins that E) will not be too large or heavy when filled for you to lift and carry on your own, when necessary.


Left: Jewelry and embroidery supplies, my bag of buttons...
Right: My ribbon box; very sparkly!
I am not as super-organized with all parts of my life, but I do find it helpful to keep my crafting supplies somewhat organized.  Through accumulated headaches and experience, I eventually realized that it can be very helpful to have each bin or bag contain one category of supply, so that you can easily find or reorganize your stash.  Small, clear packaging, like food containers and sealable baggies, can help you keep your piles of beads and buttons under control.  These can even be stored in a larger bin or drawer to streamline storage and sorting even more.


Frequently-used items.
We still use a couple of these for storing everyday clothing.  But I am paranoid about leaving crafting supplies sitting out for months at a time in an open container, steadily accumulating dust and bugs. 
A friend's storage solution for
all those tiny craft supplies.
I ended up buying two of the clear, hanging sweater shelves that had a zip-up front for this reason.  I stored my yarn in them, and it was nice to be able to see what I had.  But one of the zippers broke early on, and I found that I had to be careful not to overload each of the little shelves.  These shelving units would probably work best for more lightweight supplies like ribbon or stuffing.
As a shorter person, I cannot actually use the top shelves of a bookcase.  This means that they either get designated as someone else's book territory, or they get commandeered as a display and storage zone.  Here, I have a difficult-to-store belt loom with an unfinished piece that becomes an instant art piece.  Throw in a few finished plushies and some framed pictures, and we have tons of personality.


This storage method is nice if you have lots of a pretty and perhaps difficult to store item, like extra-long knitting needles or dozens of chopsticks and drink stirs.  It does take up counter space, if you are short on that, but it can turn your compulsive knitting-needle-buying habit into a decorative bouquet.   Simply find an attractively narrow yet sturdy jar, and voila! 

For more customization: select a narrow food jar or box that is strong enough to hold your items and has a clean lip that will not rust or scratch.  Lightly paint the container in craft glue, then wrap it in decorative paper or fabric (a friend uses hoarded scraps of wrapping paper and origami paper to great effect).  Cover a couple inches at a time, and smooth away all of the air bubbles as you wrap.  Cover the rough edges at the top with a thin strip of matching paper or ribbon, and you have an instant accent piece.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog Statistics!

I think blog statistics can be very interesting.

I started working on my very first blog post on May 2nd, 2013.  It has been fun to watch the number of viewers for my blog climb, and to see where my viewers are from.  Hello!  What brought you here?

Current Snapshot:
Total Page Views from 05/03/2013 to 02/10/2014: 843
Most Viewed Blog Post: "Anatomy of a Plushie" (May 8, 2013)

PAGEVIEWS (as of 02/10/2014)
United States
South Korea
United Kingdom

FYI: I've got a two-part piece on home organization starting this Wednesday.  Maybe we can pass the 1,000 views mark by the end of my first year on Blogger!  --Jackie