Craft Room Metamorphosis, Continued

Since beginning my craft room makeover last summer, it has slowly and steadily continued to take shape.  After getting the room painted, I was able to sweet talk Todd into making me a myriad of woodworking treasures.  I featured his fine woodworking prowess in a pervious post.  But, to refresh your memory — he fashioned me a wonderful sewing/cutting table out of a 5-panel door.

Sewing/Cutting table out of 5-Panel Door

He created a coffee table and end table out of my grandmother’s vintage Lady Baltimore luggage.  Classy, no?

Lady Baltimore Luggage Table 2

After getting my serger, he quickly answered my spool storage issue by making me a spool rack from tongue-and-groove flooring.  Really, my craft room wouldn’t be much of anything without his help.

Serger thread spool rack, which now is hanging on the wall

The only thing I was left with, after all that, was figuring out how to organize the rest of my craft room “Krackatoa” — spinning paraphernalia, loads and loads of fabric, patterns, paints, sewing notions, etc.

First, I decided to tackle the sewing notions.  I had seen a friend use an IKEA bar and bucket system over her craft table and I really like the look.  I made a trip to IKEA with Deb and we were able to put the bar and buckets on lock down.  Todd helped me hang them over the craft table and in a matter of about an hour, I was already more organized! (Pay no attention to the painter’s tape marking where the shelves will go.)

IKEA bar system above my sewing table

While this did much to free up space on my sewing table, I quickly realized that I wasn’t finished wielding my feminine whiles.  I was in desperate need of more shelving!  After some additional pleading, Todd agreed to more mandatory woodworking fun.  He decided to start with the easier of the two areas for shelving – the closet.  Since he’d already created shelves for one of our other closets, he had a good idea of how to go about it.  My only stipulation was that he leave enough room at the bottom that I could store my sewing machine in it when my craft room morphs into our guest bedroom.  It literally took him no time at all before I had glorious, glorious shelves.  Can you hear the angels singing?

Shelves for my fabric storage

On the shelves, I decided to solve my fabric addiction quandary by creating my own little fabric store.  I cut foam core board into mini-bolts and placed all my fabric on them.  Now, I can see what fabric I have AND it’s easily accessible.  I can now store more fabric than ever!  Todd already thinks I have more fabric than I could ever possibly sew up in one lifetime.  What a naysayer.  Geesh.

My mini-bolt fabric storage system

My lovely organized closet!

Next up, was the more difficult job of creating shelves that would be placed over the sewing/cutting table.  After much brainstorming and sketching, we decided upon two long shelves, centered directly over the table.  The top one would be four inches narrower than the bottom.  Todd even designed a curved bracket for the shelves so that they’d look a little less industrial.

My shapely shelf brackets

After everything was assembled, we took them out to the back deck and gave them a few coats of white, glossy spray paint.  While it was quick, I don’t think I’d go with spray paint again.  It just doesn’t ever turn out as nice as when you paint by hand.  Then, they were ready for hanging.  We live in an old house with plaster walls.  And let me tell you, plaster it a bitch.  It doesn’t like to have its integrity compromised and if not careful, will answer your unwelcome advances by splintering and cracking .  This is probably one of the reasons that the decor on our walls hardly ever changes.  If it does, it usually involves placing pieces on already existing nails – regardless of whether that means something is centered.  What can you do?  Thankfully, Todd has now worked his way up to “plaster black belt” and knows how to hang just about anything in the stuff.  While I do not understand these jedi mind tricks, I do know that it involves fantastical items like “cams” and “mollybolts.”

So with the aid of his mollybolts, Todd and I (but, really I just held things) put the shelves up.

Up go the shelves

Toddley being a goof

And, then they were up!  They are utterly fantastic and now give me just enough space to have everything in my craft room organized.

The finished shelves

I have to pause a moment here to tell you about a special addition to my craft room.  I had been feeling a little sad about the fact that I have no bicycle representation in my craft room.  For those of you that know me well, bicycling is a huge part of my life (  So, DH talked to his brother, who made me the most special addition to my craft room EVER – a mini bike!  Trent is a metal artist.  I love it SO MUCH.  It makes me happy just looking at it.  So, it had to be the very first thing that I put on my new shelves.

My newest bicycle!

Everything in its place.

While we had the plaster-wrangling tools out, I also finally hung up my grandmother’s little antique shelves and added her pitcher collection to it.  It reminds me of playing “tea” when we were kids.

Grangi’s Pitcher Collection

I organized all of my patterns into the bottom drawers of my filing cabinet.  I need to make dividers for them.  But, it’s been a perfect storage solution for now.

My pattern collection

I also was so lucky to find this awesome ironing board/chair at an antique store near here.  It was only $45!  It’s an ironing board!  It’s a chair!  It’s a step stool!   (It folds up.)  Too cool.  So, one of my next sewing projects needs to be making a custom cover for this little baby.

It’s an ironing board!

Having a space that I can call my own for creating has drastically changed how often I craft.  Because I love my room, I spend as much time in it as possible.  Moral of the story:  if you’ve been thinking about a craft room makeover, do it!  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  Do it.  You won’t be sorry!


The Antiquing Roller Coaster

Friday after checking out of our hotel, we were super excited to go check out the annual Antique and Garden Show at the Nashville Convention Center (located conveniently right across from our hotel.)  We’d heard from a few fellow-confrencers that it was a good show and the Beefy Broads are always on the lookout for crafty things.  So, we headed over….stopping at a few Nashville landmarks on the way:

Nashville Visitor Center

Kiss a hero? Ummm, yes please.

Oh, the Ryman. Where art thou, Emmy Lou?

Finally, we arrived at the convention center.  And, everything started off fantastically……

Nasville Antique & Garden Show

We were immediately wowed by some of the artistic garden installations.  The first one, right as you walk in, was wild…..These green human forms were hanging over a garden pool.  Upon closer examination, I realized that they were human chia pets.  Way cool!  The flower’s fragrances were also intoxicating.  

Garden Installation #1

Human Chia Pet. I want one.

Surrounding the chia pets, were a bunch of floral arrangements in stumps.  Each had its own color scheme.  Among the flowers were some interesting additions — apples and artichokes.

Flower arrangements

The last beautiful garden installation was called the “Moon Bridge.”  It was really spectacular, as well.  The reflection into the pool below really sealed the deal.

Moon Bridge

We began walking around the vendor maze on an artistic high.  We were chomping at the bit to find vintage treasures.  What we should have noticed when we first walked in, but we were instead distracted by the beautiful garden installations, was that we were surrounded by obscenely rich people.  That should have been our first clue that this wasn’t our gig.  After walking by three booths where every piece was priced at over $5,000, we finally admitted that we were way out of our league.

I cannot describe to you the antique roller coaster low that we fell into.  We had been able to survive nauseating school bus rides and mind-numbing conference workshops only because we knew that this show was waiting for us.  We had giggled into the night about what we’d hoped to find — vintage sewing machines, eclectic knick-knacks, more sewing notions.  What we found instead were stuffy antiques and measly garden representation.  We were dejected.

We got our $15 worth by taking pictures of stuffy antiques that we, or my DH, could DIY.  Here are some of those:

We could totally make that. Price there? $250. Wow.

Sweet wooden bicycle

Great storage buffet...antique meets industrial.

Railroad Coffee Table at Convention, $8500. Same table at Duke's in Lexington, $350. Stuffy.

My favorite of the day.....

We tried to bolster our spirits by telling each other that we would stop at some fun antique stores on drive home.  So, we loaded up the car and rolled out of Nashville.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find any additional antique stores that looked worth a stop.  What we did see was a sign for Dollywood.  And, I don’t know how we didn’t realize it before, but Dolly’s hometown is only 5 miles off of I-40.

As we pulled off the interstate headed for Seiverville, TN, we began seeing all kinds of antique store signs.  Things were looking up.  And then, upon cresting a hill, we saw the great Smoky Mountains before us.  Good God almighty, they are majestic.  That alone was worth getting off of I-40 for.  Welcome back, antique high!  We decided that the first order of business needed to be food.  We were both starved.  With that simple decision, we sealed our antiquated fates.  What we had failed to realize was that it was close to 5pm.  After we finished our “lunch” and pulled up in front of our first antique store (which looked AMAZING BTW–old claw foot tubs and wagon wheels in the front yard, tons of glassware and old gasoline signs in the windows), we were greeted by the shopkeeper turning the “open” sign over to “closed”.  We tried another store and another store, where we were met with the same thing.  Oh Dolly Parton, why hast thou hometown forsaken us?!?  We even payed you homage by listening to “Jolene” on the way in……

We did the only thing we could, tucked our tail between our legs and pointed our trusty steed north.  The whole drive back to Virginia was accompanied by a raincloud, both literally and figuratively.   All of those enticing and mysterious antique stores just out of our reach……We were so let down.  But, the Beefy Broads are resilient and we were not about to give up.  Upon saying goodbye to our rental car and each other, we made a pledge before God and Shaggy that we would antique again the next day AND we would triumph.

If you build it, she will craft.

I found her.  My crafting muse.  She was hiding in the troves of junk in a dilapidated antique store on the Outer Banks.  I knew immediately that she was going to be the focal point for designing my new craft room.  She was beautiful AND she had a spinning wheel.  (Just butter on my biscuit!)  Between that and her sepia tones and inked in blue hues, I knew that we were MFEO.  It didn’t even matter to me that she wasn’t cheap.  (I mean, who likes a cheap woman?)  I quickly named her Loreli, and now she graces my craft room permanently.

Loreli-My muse

One of the first signs that you have reached adulthood is that you no longer have hordes of second-hand and mismatched furniture that was passed down to your from dead relatives, parental moves, or irresponsible hippie roommates that don’t take shit with them when they move.  Well, let me just say, it has taken me a long time to become an adult.  So, my craft room renovation/cathartic Craigslist purging not only gave me and Loreli a clean slate to work with, but it also helped to also usher me into adulthood.  And might I mention that you meet very interesting (read: weird, socially awkward, a little scary) people through these two online purviews.

Since my childhood desk was one of the first pieces of furniture to go, I needed to start with a crafting table.  It needed to serve triple duty as a sewing table, cutting table, and desk.  I had seen lots gorgeous farm tables online, but they were always WAY out of my price range.  Finally, I saw a unique table that someone had made out of a five panel door.  Since DH had just begun his woodworking hobby in ernest, I though what better way to test his love for me than demanding that he build me furniture.  Not only that, but I would do so right before leaving for France for a month.  Plenty of quiet time for perfecting his craft.  Well, I was astounded upon coming home.  The table he had built was elegant and sturdy.  I think he might just love me.

My DH loves me, and it getting quite good at the woodwoking!

Aren't I so lucky! What a table!

Before leaving for France, my mother had been desperately trying to rid herself of all the junk above their garage.  It a fit of regression from adulthood, I saved a lot of the junk to prevent it from going to the landfill.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker.  Two of the things saved were my Grangi’s (our name for our grandmother) blue, Lady Baltimore suitcases with purple interior.  I thought they would make fantastic coffee and end tables.  I was right, no?

The Lady Baltimore makes a fine end table.

And the lil' Lady Baltimore isn't too shabby, either.

A craft room always needs space for brainstorming.  Again, so as not to add to a landfill, I decided to repurpose a gaudy gold picture frame that an old roommate had left here.  A little silver spray paint and it went from gaudi to freakin’ sweet.

Not yet a chalk board, but pretty and silver.

On to the storage wars……I decided to keep another old rommates shelving unit that she had left upon her move across the country.  It’s not ideal, but functional for now.  Eventually, DH (he doesn’t know it yet) will be building me some custom shelves.

Not ideal, but functional shelves for now.

For my thread, I decided to use an old printer’s cabinet that was also found amongst my mother’s junk.  It makes the perfect home for all my cute wooden spools.

A printer's drawer makes a lovely thread shelf.

Now, my serger cones were another issue.  They’re too big for this kind of shelf.  Once again, I turned to DH to save the day.  And, once again he brought his A game.

DH's spool/cone thread holder

While there are still projects to be done, like painting the chalk in the silver frame and putting up the antique postman’s cabinet that we found over the craft table, its coming along.  And I love nothing more than coming home, pouring myself a glass of wine and crafting in my new oasis.

4 Day Weekends – Hooray!

Yummy radishes!

Well, it’s been a busy week and weekend around the farmlette.  It’s been nice to have an extra day….but, that day was solely spent doing more work.  What’s the phrase?  Oh yes….”Sleep when you’re dead.”  Lots of work to the yard, garden and chicken coop.  Unfortunately, there is still much work to be done.

On the garden front:  The last raised bed is finished!  I planted sweet potatoes, lima beans, a pumpkin, and some more tomatoes, beets, and peppers.  I finally got all of the new raspberries and blackberries in the ground as well.  They seem to be over the transplant shock and are already growing.  I finished laying down newspaper, straw and concrete aisles in the aisles of the garden and it’s starting to actually look like a garden that’s behaving itself instead of a garden-gone-wild exhibition.

The garden - new raised beds!

And our lovely new compost bin - thanks DH!

I got the potatoes squared away.  They had gotten so big and so heavy that they’d all toppled over and were laying in the walkway to the compost.  So, I put up some fencing along the edge of the bed and tied them up to it.  Since doing that, I think they’ve grown another 6 inches.  I picked the first bushel of beans (contender) and can’t wait to fry them up with some basil, garlic and butter!  I think an early row of beans followed a month later by two more rows is the perfect way to space out their bounty.  I’ll get a bunch more just when I’m ready to begin the canning season.  (Oh, I got a new pressure canner this week, too!)

Headed for the canner....

I sprayed all of the fruit trees and plants in the garden with liquid seaweed.  I staked a few more peppers and tomatoes that had gotten so big that they’d succumbed to gravity.  I’ll need to buy some bean trellises tomorrow…as they’re already up and growing.  Not sure if I’m going to end up putting the squash, etc. on trellises or just let them ramble on into the grass?? And, as soon as school is out, I’m going to work on getting some clover and grass growing down in the orchard instead of all those pokeweeds.

On the coop front:  Not going to lie, the coop has become a little frustrating.  While I really like the idea of repurposing an existing structure, it’s really difficult to know what you’re going to use and need when you tackle something like this.  I believe that WW and I have been to Lowe’s every day for the last month.  Just when we think we’re going to make some real progress we realize that we need a specific tool, piece of hardware, or other and have to truck up 29 North.  I think building a coop would have been a much quicker task if we’d purchased plans and then tried to find free wood based on the plans.  That being said, we’re stuck with what we’ve begun and progress is slow but it is happening.  We finished the foundation and put the first and second stories together.  Then, we added the side and back walls to the first floor.   Once we did this, it seemed like all the animals wanted a piece of the action….

Georgia supervising the action.

The rest of the weekend was spent painting the interior of the second story and exterior, caulking the exterior, cutting the vinyl for the second story, planning where to put the ramp and nestbox, and building the windows.  My neck is very sore from standing on a ladder and reaching through the side windows to paint the second story.  And, it still needs one more coat of paint tomorrow.  Ugh.  I hope these chickens know the pain we’re putting our bodies through for them.  Tomorrow, we’ll put up the windows and the window trim.  Then, we’ll probably only need one more month to finish the whole thing.  I wish I was being sarcastic there.