Magazine File Makeover

I don’t know about you guys, but I still really love reading magazines. I haven’t even gotten through all my September issues yet even though the October ones will be out in a couple weeks. And when I say magazines I’m talking print because I don’t have a tablet or the patience to sit in front of this screen and flip through virtual pages. I like to hang out on my couch on a Sunday morning with a coffee and something sweet and while my way through the pages until the Bear demands we read Put Me in the Zoo for the 900th time.

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What I don’t like is the clutter that comes with having magazines piling up month after month. I usually go through and clip the recipes, diys, and other miscellany that I want to keep and wrangle those in plastic sheet protectors and binders (which is another post for another day because those are SUPER disorganized right now). The others I send off to friends. The leftovers get a hot date to the recycle bin. Still, even with my meticulous weeding there are some titles that I keep in tact and when we moved I wanted to liberate them from the bottoms of drawers and baskets and give them all a proper home. I started off at Target and bought 3 magazine files only to come home and find we still needed more. The next day we stopped by Goodwill and scored these guys for $1.50 a piece. I liked the plain wood, but I wanted to give them a little something extra.

Armed with some Martha Stewart craft paint in School Bus and Rose Copper and a roll of painters tape I set off to spruce up my files. I kept things super simple here. The lines aren’t the same size nor are they exactly straight. I painted part of the inside but not all the way down since no one’s really gonna see that. I’m happy with how they turn out. The sunny yellow makes me smile and I’m really liking copper accents these days. P1020746

Should you choose to embark on a similar project you will need to bottles of craft paint in the color and brand of your choice, a roll of painter’s tape in a thickness you prefer, and foam brushes which I find to distribute the most evenly. Start by painting the whole file your main color, allow to dry about an hour before applying a second coat or touch ups then allow that to dry. Next, put on your painters tape covering the areas you do not want your accent color. I chose to keep my stripes all the way around the base and was careful to make sure the tape matched up once I got all the way around to avoid super wonky stripes. If you want perfection, get out a ruler and pencil and measure the space between each stripe on all sides. Paint your stripes, allow to dry and touch up as needed, remove the tape and there you go.

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I know, it’s super easy, but so satisfying. As a busy, often overwhelmed mother of a toddler with another on the way, I really like these small simple projects that give our home a little extra without causing loss of sanity. What small projects are you working on these days?

xo, S.

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Comfort

P1010778Is there anything that really compares to the comfort a wooly, oversized sweater? Right now, I don’t think so. I started this one back in November and then promptly set it aside for holiday knitting. It’s Tinder from Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall ’11 collection (Raveled here) The yarn is Cascade 220 that I had lying around. It had once been destined to become a crocheted jacket, but then I realized I’m just not a fan of crocheted garments.

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I’m really pleased with the way this turned out. In some ways, it was a nail biter. My initial gauge swatch yielded correct stitch gauge but was way off on row gauge. The second swatch was spot on for row and about 2 off on stitch gauge. After a lot of frantic researching and some brain bending math, I decided to best course of action would be to go off the second swatch, cast on for the size 39″ and with any luck it would even out to a size 36″. Guess what? It worked. It doesn’t always happen that way. Gauge swatching is so important. Even when they don’t come out right, you can work off of them and adjust accordingly. I didn’t spend several weeks knitting this bad boy up only to have it end up unwearable. Wool is expensive, so is my (and your) time. In hindsight, I should have done a separate swatch for the sleeves, they came a bit bigger and needed a bit of fudging during the blocking process.P1010775

Overall, the knitting part of this was quick. The pattern is easy enough that you can do it while watching TV or looking after a rambunctious Bear. I’m sure there are plenty of gals out there who adapted this to be knit in the round, but I like when one craft informs another. In other words, seaming gives me more hand sewing experience and is there for valuable and worthwhile. I steam blocked the pieces individually and then seamed and then wet blocked. I’ve become a firm believer in doing your finishing work as soon as you cast off the last piece. This way I have far fewer UFOs and a nice new sweater to snuggle into during our endless days of rain and mid-40s weather. Oh, Pacific Northwest, don’y you change one bit!P1010776

The length turned out a bit longer than I might have liked, though no longer than is indicated on the model in the pattern. If you make this, you may want to measure from your shoulder and determine which length would best suit you. I did a color-blocked color and hem because I was afraid I didn’t have quite enough of the brown, and also because I liked the idea of breaking it up. After checking out the other finished Tinders on Ravelry, I liked the look of classic leather knot buttons and went with those. P1010754

Oh and PS. I got a little love on Shutterbean today. Isn’t the Internet great sometimes? I like that we can share and exchange and create new things from a community that is supportive and encouraging.

 

First Knit of 2013

IMG_2527When I think about all of my projects and goals for this year, they all evolve around one idea: simplify. Like all DIY/crafty types I have a clutter problem. I see a beautiful yarn or fabric or pattern and I MUST HAVE IT IMMEDIATELY only to find that months or even years later I’m still hauling around the materials, their original purpose long forgotten. The wild thing is, my stash is modest compared to many, yet getting through all of it is still a big challenge.

Over the last several months I’ve knit many a scarf and hat to keep IMG_2529friends and family warm during these chilly months. While I like the small dent it has made in the stash, I was pretty excited to find this pattern during a few minutes I stole for myself on New Year’s Eve (it was on sale!). It gave me a chance to use up a skein of Berroco Peruvia Quick (colorway long forgotten) and most of the leftovers from a never ending skein of Cascade Eco Wool  (I think it’s coffee). While the yarns differ slightly in weight, I liked the way that the red stripe was a little thicker and more pronounced than the brown. I alternated colors every two rows, casting on and off with the brown. I am sucker for feather and fan patterns, and really like how the soft curves of the scarf stand in contrast to the bold buffalo plaid of my favorite coat. Here’s to more great stash busting in 2013. P1010498

Stash Hats

One of my goals this year is to knit through my stash. In truth, it’s a pretty small stash. I managed to fit the whole thing in one large space bag and two plastic shoe boxes when I moved out here. However, some of that yarn has been in there for 4 or 5 years and it deserves to be something more than baggage. I’ve started small, taking all the odds and ends and constructing hats. Most of these have been gifted away already making room for more hats, which are the perfect project to bring while going out on one of our local adventures.

Snuggled and Warm

This blanket is acrylic, which as a yarn snob I avoid at all costs, but my grandmother crocheted it for me as a Christmas present when I was a freshman in college, and I have held onto it for 10 years now. Blue and gold were my school colors at the time, and became my school colors again when I attended graduate school. Now it’s colors are significant to my line of work. It’s as if the blanket had some sort of way of knowing my future and making sure that its colors always had a place in my life.

It has followed me around for 10 years, kept me warm in my car and in my bed, and now resides on the back of a couch in our first home where it has found a best friend in Snuggle Bear. It matches nothing in the room, but we plan on keeping it there for a while. And thank goodness it’s acrylic so we can wash it and enjoy it for years to come.

Favorite Place

This is our first Christmas together, our first tree, and our first humble ornaments cobbled together in the weeks since Thanksgiving our of leftover fleece, felt, and fabric scraps. Most of all, this is the first Christmas for the best gift we ever got, and he loves playing under the tree.