Archive for the ‘Decor and Organization’ Category

I decided to close my little etsy shop a few weeks ago because I’m back in school now and my free time…well, I need to be careful with it and not “give” it away to strangers who want Yoda hats or fairy wings or castle tents and such.  Although it wasn’t a huge time-sucker (except for around the holidays), I figured just closing it up would be best for the time being.  I miss it though, not the sewing since I’m always sewing, but the seeing…the seeing of finished projects all tied up neatly with a bow (figuratively and literally sometimes).

What people don’t tell you when you go into stay-at-home parenting is that you will actually complete about 2 things per year that actually stay done, well maybe more than that, but still. Not that the temporary things aren’t sometimes more important: the dinners that will be eaten, the made bed that will instantly become un-made in a single pounce, the faces that will become re-covered with pesto in two seconds, etc.. But a person likes to look around sometimes and see that something got done and stayed done for more than a minute.  And for me, the “around” was my etsy shop.  So, more for me than for anyone else, I’m setting up a window into my old shop/ brain right here on this blog. That way, I can look at this stuff whenever I feel like I’m running in circles….because I will tell you what: I know I (can) do more than wipe faces, but sometimes I forget.

The Plush Fireplace Project

My father builds fires at his house and the kids help a little, but my mother and I like to think that fire and kids isn’t always a match (sorry) made in heaven.  Thus, I made a soft, plush, kid-friendly version.

The logs are just stuffed, tube-shaped sticks, but I halved one log and did the flat side in a wood grain fabric (just to be extra nerdy about it).

The fire comes on thanks to battery operated tea lights that we had left over from Halloween lanterns we made one year.


I got the idea from this magazine snippet and thought I could go reeeally low budget if I went with flannel instead of stone or marble for the hearth;)


The hearth is basically a slip cover for a tallish table we were given.  I created a casing and filled it with a swim noodle to make the arch. then I added batting to the back and sort of quilted the design of the flower and the moldings.



Now before you decide that I have too much time on my hands, I would like to remind you that it would take me much longer to find a babysitter and then go out and somehow earn the thousands of dollars it would cost to build a real fireplace, so in effect this is quite practical if you do the math.

(Although as a heat source, it’s pathetic.)


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One year for Christmas, I asked for a printer’s drawer and my father got this one for me.  (He was happy to tell me that this particular one was in great shape.) I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for. Naturally, it sat unpainted and empty in apartment after apartment, move after move.  In our family we refer to this as “time to season.”  It would seem, many items need to “season” before they are ready to use: for instance,  the  slicing tool my husband bought for me (on late night TV?) that slices your carrots or potatoes with ridges or  bizarre, waffle-like textures.  You need to let something like that sit in the cabinet for a good long while before trying it out. If ever.

Eventually, once I had a house with walls I could destroy/hang heavy objects on, I made this with paint and hot glue. The shells are from all different places I’ve been, but the only one that really matters is the orange chip in the top left. (It has VI on it…do you see it?)  I found it, along with lots of little pieces like it while at  the beach in Sicily with my grandfather. I was seven.  I remember he was going on and on about the Latin word for this and the Romans’ influence on that and how Odysseus himself  had traveled through the very water we were wading in. He also noticed the orange piece I’d just picked up and talked about how “maybe that’s a little piece of something from Odysseus’ ship!”

So stupid me carried those little piece of potentially historic pottery EVERYWHERE for a month until I got back home. Then I squirreled them away in the safest place I knew (the little tin suitcase covered in a pink plaid that I kept under my bed) and only peeked at them (but only for a minute) on special occasions. I figured I’d wait until I could drive and then take go to a museum.

Many years later, a friend’s husband saw the last, unlost piece on a shelf in our house and said, “Hey do you shoot?”

“Why would I shoot?  Shoot what?”

He looked at me, “Well, do you collect old sporting clays then?”

My mouth went dry. And even though I had long stopped believing that it was something that belonged to a bunch of very lost, legendary Greeks, I just felt empty for a minute.  I punished it for a while by putting it at the bottom of a flower pot to keep the dirt from running out with the draining water, but I always found it again. That stupid bright orange thing.  It kept coming back. Then when I started putting this shelf together, I decided to glue it up there with everything else.

I can look at it any time I want now that’s stuck in one place and it actually makes me really happy, that stupid piece of whatever. I feel warm when I see it,  especially if I’m missing that water…and boring lectures about Latin words and old Roman things.

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