Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My "Labor" Day

I spent this holiday as the name suggests ...."laboring"....to straighten the huge entanglement of fabric that had become of our sewing nook.  One always wishes they had taken a "before" shot of the finished project when it is completed to satisfaction...but one is usually too embarrassed to take the shot and document just how bad it really was.  That was the story here.  After several hours of dedicated organizational effort,  you can now see that beautiful wood floor!  Our sewing nook, is once again, inviting us in to make fabulous creations.  

Our scrap material now has a home other than the floor and is residing in the wicker baskets; as well as projects that are in progress.  Knitting is in baskets, notions, zipper, thread, buttons - it is all organized! 

Some of this material still remains from my ("shhh") covert shopping trip to Baltizaar's Sewing Shop when I was pregnant with Elizabeth eighteen years ago.   Thrilled at the prospect of being able to smock an outfit for my newborn babe, I was taking beginning smocking lessons.  I did not know what I was having, but deep down, my heart knew it was a girl.  Mamas are pretty smart that way. Then Baltizaars had an awesome sale on fine material and lace, and I bought enough material, lace and patterns to make 20 dresses!  It is probably the only thing I have ever purchased that I couldn't bring myself to tell Gary about....all that material and not even really knowing if I was truly having a girl.  He would have thought I was crazy! The first thought that came into my mind when the doctor announced it was a girl was...now the material can come out from under the bed! 

So as I was picking up, folding and putting away (and rather enjoying myself  ~ I must say, I do love material!)  I came across so many of Sara's little projects.  Many of these, I had not seen ~ they were buried under piles of material and scraps!  The letters above were not made by her, but were given to her by her very good friend Rachael.  Since we are highlighting cool, craft ideas,
 I thought this one fit the bill. 
Sara is my seamstress and loves to sew - I have already written several posts about her...
see - "Sew cute" and "Sew Storm".  She has been able to work a sewing machine since she was in 2nd grade and can now design and sew anything (dresses, skirts, pillows) without even using a pattern. 
Here is a little pin cushion roll made of felt and ribbon ties.

It is hand stitched with green contrasting thread and you can roll it up when you aren't using it. 
Pretty nifty I'd say!

I love this headband!  Sara took gros-grain ribbon and wrapped a plain, old, ugly, plastic headband ~ made roses from the ribbon and hot glued them onto the headband. 
Maybe she is like one of those "sleep eaters" but she is a "sleep crafter" ~ is that is how she manages to accomplish making so much?
Here was another surprise ~ I bought some sheets and they came in a nice bag - the one you see here.   I tossed it to Sara and said, "This is too pretty to throw away, there must be something to do with it."

Apparently there was....she braided a strap of white material and sewed some buttons on the back.....

and there you go ~ a fashionable tote bag.
(please ignore my unfashionable cleaning garb)

Yes, she can also knit up a storm....and knitted all of her friends scarves for Christmas.
This is a pocket scarf that she knitted for herself and I guess I really never took a long look at it.  
It is quite cute! I will have to borrow it.  Very handy to teach your daughter these skills! 

I actually found a picture of  the scarves she knitted for her friends......

Here is a baby sweater that does need a bit more work....buttons and one of the sleeves need to be sewn together.  But that is all.....glad I discovered this so we can get-er-done! 

There are many more projects ~ I am not even scratching the surface here but these are some that I uncovered during the "GREAT LABOR DAY CLEAN UP"!  This is a Laptop case - padded with batting .  Again, no pattern, no tutorial....she just visualises and makes it. 

OK - back to my next "Labor" Day accomplishment!  The art area...another scary place.  Not because art is scary; because, like the sewing nook - it has been used and ignored for quite some time.  

Everything was organized and tucked back into it's plastic bin on it's rightful shelf (YAY)! 
You may ask, "Why do those curtain panels not match?" Good Question!  Well, I changed one out and when I went to change the next, the dowel was screwed in so tightly I couldn't get it out....so I never did!  Several times I have tried to get it out and failed....one day the stars will align ~ I will think about doing it, Gary will be here, with the right tools and it will happen.  Funny story about that material panel - Elizabeth really loved that material (the tan and orange) and had her best friend, Katie,  make her a fitted skirt out of it.  It looks fabulous on her!  If I ever get the other panels of material off, Katie is waiting in line for it! Talk about recycling or is that upcycling?

Next stop - Book shelves

I was nearing the end of the day by the time I got to the bookshelf, so it isn't quite as particular as it should be - ie all series together, hardbacks together, soft backs together....basically I made it look neat and orderly and called it a day!  But while I am here, I thought you might want some titles that the girls have enjoyed through the years....there are way too many for this one post, and now that I am up here organizing, I realize how many books we are missing from loaning them to friends.  However, maybe I will come back and do another post from time to time if you need some book suggestions.  These girls are well read and we love suggestions too! 
 If you have any for them, please leave a comment.

The Charlie Bones Series was a big hit with all three girls - Twilight was OK - they read them but not something they fell in love with.  Charlie Bones was read and reread. 
 The Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
Loved by Sara and Elizabeth - Ellen just couldn't get into them
 Nancy Drew - LOVED by all three girls!  They read every single one written at least once if not twice and scoured the library for any they may have missed...best around the third, fourth and fifth grades. 

The Secret Garden - Loved by all
Big Book of Tell Me Why - Loved when they were younger
The BFG - Loved by Sara
Great Glass Elevator - Loved by Sara
Chronicles of Narnia - Loved by all  - They all read whole series
A Wrinkle in Time - Loved by all - Read all books by Madeline Engle
Diary of Anne Frank - Loved by Sara 
Water Dog - Read by All - Great if you are training a dog
 Shel Silverstein - Loved by all
Far Side of the Mountain - Loved by all  - if you have boys this is an awesome book too!
Inkheart Series - Loved by all

Harry Potter just goes without saying - if you have read my blog! In fact ~ check out the bottom of the blog for a post on a very cool book craft to use  a book that has seen better days....all three girls have read, reread, reread, at least seven times ~ the whole series. 

But equally as popular -all time favorite - read and reread - the whole series by all three girls

Well - that was my labor day and I have a clean house to show for it, and you
have some crafty ideas and good books to buy!


  1. What a lovely post.I love the feeling of going through a room and getting it reorganised and clean. Your sewing nook is so cute and sunny.Sara is very clever. Good on you for being such a wonderful guiding star!

  2. WOW! What a day! your sewing nook looks AWESOME!

  3. LOVE the ORGANIZING!! Show us your spice cabinet next! haha It all looks so great and neat, and there is nothing better than the feeling of knowing where EVERYTHING is, right? Come visit and help me- I can't even find our baby toys...

    Okay, Sara is amazing. My mom was great about sharing her sewing machine, fabrics, etc, with me, and always made sure that our art supplies were in stock- they always encouraged my creativity. They didn't even care that I painted my walls, canvases, anything around... regularly! I try to encourage my gang, too, and I respect my mom for it more and more, as it takes a brave parent to let their kids' creative juices flow!

    Oh, and that baby sweater... well, I'm just sayin'... cute little cousin up north... ;) And I mean in PA!!!

    I've always loved that wall of books. Your own private library for the girls. I want one for my kids- ours are scattered between 4 different rooms so that everyone has their own set for nighttime. Tell the girls to check out the HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY. They are fantastic.

    Tell Rachel that those letters are adorable! Each of my kids (well, not Mag yet) has their letters in their room, and so maybe one snowy day we'll spend a few hours mod podging pictures of Charlie to his name. Very cute!

    Okay, off to try to organize myself. I'm inspired!

  4. Have to rest up and regroup to tacke the old spice cabinet...it isn't quite as nice as when you reorganized it! You can now see why I so appreciated your not only babysitting, but also organizing services! They were unbelievable.

    Oh ~ we have ALL (even me) read the Hungar Games! But thanks to modern technology, (the Kindle), I can't photograph them on my book shelf! Great series ~ captivating.

    If there is one thing I can't stand is to have the idea and not have the items you need to do it! It is so frustrating...however, that leads to a lot of clutter....so you have to pick your poison. I choose to have it at my fingertips and thus seem to always have a house that is bursting at the seams ~ but we can always make a project when the mood hits! Anyway, once in a while, it all goes back into its place...for a little while :)

    As I was cleaning upstairs it reminded me of the "ten commandments" that she wrote out for upstairs when she was little...one of them was "Thou shall find what I have lost!" Remember that one! I did a lot of that!

    Have a great day!

  5. Awesome Layne. I want to spend a weekend in your "attic." And thanks for reminding me about "Thou shall find what I have lost." I have always loved that one so much.

    We read a lot of Beverly Cleary to the kids. I know your kids have outgrown that, but remember it for the grandchildren (in 10 years...) Also Roald Dahl, which I see on your shelves as well.

  6. WOW! I would die for a space like that! Great work!


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