Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shannon's Purse

     A little while back I was out shopping with a new friend when she was about to buy a tote, saying she needed a new purse. Seeing the plain, expensive tote she was about to purchase I quickly halted her and offered to MAKE her a custom purse, with a design, colours and dimensions of her liking.  She quickly put down the tote and became excited at the idea.

     A few days later, Shannon came over to look at some fabrics and chose the colours she's like.  Once chosen we sat down and I began taking down notes and measurements. 

Materials to become a purse

     "How many inside pockets would you like?"
     "Would you like a key clip?"
     "How many pens should fit in the pocket?"

     I took out my measuring tape and measured her bus pass, the length of the straps on a previous purse she liked, the length of her pens... The whole process left her quite impressed as I buzzed about taking measurements, asking questions and taking notes.

     Once all the details were accounted for I began cutting out the lining, the pockets, the straps... I assembled the outside, assembled the inside lining, then sewed them together.  After the large amount of totes I made last year around this time I have become quite proficient at this design and finished up Shannon's new purse in just a couple days.  I also made up a little coin purse with matching lining.  For more photos of Shannon's Purse and it's making, check out HN&S facebook page here (album Shannon's Purse).

Completed Purse (with coin purse)

     When I handed over the new purse to Shannon she was absolutely in love with it! And I must say, there are few things in this life as rewarding as seeing a friend elated over something you created for them. Just one of the many rewards craftiness brings. And in that context, I encourage you all:

To Keep Crafty! And share with a friend!

Second Hand Shop Hop

     Most people cringe a little at the thought of a second hand shop, but the reality is that there are many great items that people don't use anymore and consequently many great finds in such stores. Especially if you are a frugal crafter like myself.  So when I noticed a stretch of road near where I live that had four second hand shops in the span of 3 blocks, I got quite excited. Everytime I'd go past them I'd think to myself: "this would be a great place to do a little shop hop". Although I go past them almost daily, I could never seem to find the time to go. Finally, this Saturday was the day.  I met up with a friend, backpacks and cloth bags at the ready and we went off to see what great things we could find.

     Of the four shops, we visited three. The first one being a little more out of the way and a "for profit organization", we started at the second shop: Bibles For Missions Thrift Store.

Bibles For Missions Thrift Store

     Once we'd finished browsing and purchasing we moved on to the next shop: Salvation Army Thrift Store.  I was a little excited for the Salvation Army Thrift Store since I volunteered at the Fort Frances branch last year, but unfortunately the pricing was different as well as the over "feel" of the shop. I suppose the big city mentality finds it's way into all shops and franchises.

Salvation Army Thrift Store

     The last shop we hopped to was the Goodwill Community Store which neighbored the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We were quite grateful for that considering we had accumulated a bit of a stash at that point.  It was a nice shop, quite spacious, lots of goodies to browse through and well organized.

Goodwill Community Store
     All in all we had a pretty nice afternoon. We found lots of great things: records, great vintage skirts, pretty yarns, knitting needles... The Second Hand Shop Hop was a success and I'm sure it won't be long before we start planning the next one.

Shannon and I with our stash of goodies

     This was a great way to spend my Saturday afternoon and I would suggest this activity for just about everyone.  Second hand shopping is a great way to support your community, be frugal and get really creative and crafty.  The wide variety of materials available at such stores is a real treat and can send you into a creative frenzy!  If you haven't already discovered the joys of second hand shopping, get out and try it! 

Keep Crafty Everyone!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hockey Blanket

     Anyone who spends a lot of time in an arena watching hockey (or other ice sports) knows that it can get pretty chilly, and if you are one of those people who is always cold (like me) you especially need some extra warmth while watching the games. 
     Since 2008 I've been attending my good friend Ken's hockey games and I quickly learned methods of keeping warm while watching.  In addition to my tea thermos and sweater I always bring a blanket.  It didn't take long for me to have a designated hockey blanket, however, after so many years of use (and thanks to my nibbly ratties (r.i.p.)) my hockey blanket accumulated a few holes that have been growing. While living in Fort Frances I wasn't too concerned since I had only the Lakers games and as a volunteer I was running around a bit which kept me warm, but now that I'm back in Ottawa with my friend Ken and hockey season is upon us, my hockey blanket needs to be patched up and ready for action.

     Last year I attempted to fix the afghan by sewing it with yarn, but that proved very ineffective.  So this time my plan of action involves patches on both sides of the blanket.  That way it will keep the blanket nice and warm it will keep the holes from ripping and getting bigger.  The patches are crocheted with similar colours and the same pattern as the afghan so it will match.

     It was a little tricky sewing the patches on, and the brown was a slightly different shade, but after the first patch I got the hang of it and managed to come out with something I was proud of. 

     The patches on both sides does make the blanket much bulkier in certain areas, but I feel it adds to it's overall character. I've been using this blanket as my hockey blanket for years now and would have hated to waste such a nice afghan just cause of a few holes.  

     I think this solution turned out really well. My trusty blanket is trusty and toasty once again!  

At Ken's first Snowflakes game of the season September 6th 2012
     For more pics of this project check out HN&S' facebook page here.

Keep Crafty Everyone, and to the avid arena watchers keep toasty!

Ken's Jerseys

     After a seemingly long summer without hockey it's time for it to start up again. Yay! Last week when Ken pulled out his hockey equipment for a pick up game he found that a few adjustments were needed for the jerseys to fit better for the upcoming season. What was he to do? Call me of course! So over came Kenny, jerseys in hand and asked me to fix them up and make them a bit bigger.  Since he had a couple of old jerseys about the same colour it would be a relatively easy task.
     He wanted the arms to be same but the sides to be a bit bigger, so my action plan was to take apart the sides, cut out 2 strips from each of the extra jerseys (one white, one black) then sew them into each side of the jerseys he wanted fixed.  I did some measuring, some dismantling, some cutting, a little bit of pinning then some sewing, and voilĂ ! They turned out great! 

A little bit of measuring

Black Jersey: front

Black Jersey: side
White Jersey: sides

White Jersey: side

     This having been my first time working with jerseys as well as my first time with enlarging something as opposed to taking them in (making it bigger rather than smaller) I wasn't too sure on how well it would turn out, but it was super easy and came out really well. I've very happy with how they turned out and being a perfectionist, that's an accomplishment :).

Defense-man Kenny in action

Ken is number 6 (RIGID BODY)
     Ken looked great out on the ice with great fitting jerseys. I for one am glad he's back on the ice (which means I'm back at the rink watching hockey) :D.  Happy season to all the amateur players out there and happy watching to all the fans who like to come out and watch!

Keep Crafty Everyone, and to the avid hockey watchers out there: keep toasty! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sharpies and Ceramic Plates

      Another crafty thing Kim and I did while she was visiting involved dollar store plates and sharpies. We attempted to draw permanent designs on the plates using the coloured markers. I got the idea from Pinterest (originally from here). Kim went with a floral design, while I went for my nerdy organic chemistry stuff. Unfortunately baking the plates at 150 for 30 minutes did NOT make them permanent, so we had to start over.  I was very sad to have had my hard work wash off after the first try. 

Supplies: little dollar store plates and Sharpie markers
Drawing my nerdiness on a plate
Our plate designs: front
Our plate designs: back (mine had a back design)
Our plates in the oven
     This morning I have started on the second attempt. Before Kim left she redid her design and I've been waiting for the time to re-attempt mine. I have found another site with slightly varied instructions here.  I put the plates in at 450 for a half hour.  Kim's design was made several weeks ago and the marker has had ample time to dry while mine was made, then immediately put in the oven but it didn't seem to make a difference.

After 30 mins at 450 degrees
     It turned out alright.  Both plates have survived a mild wash and scrub. The colours did fade while in the oven but it seems more "caked on" so to speak.  I'm confident using these as tea bag holders, but I'm not sure how well they'd stand up to a real good scrub with a brush. One thing's for sure, this project was not as wonderful as it seemed on Pinterest.  The term "permanent" was very loosely used.

     So I'm a little disappointed it wasn't as straightforward and fool proof as it boasted, but regardless it was a fun activity.  I will likely experiment with this idea a little more at some point in the future, perhaps with tea mugs or more plates, but I'm in no rush since it's not as permanent as I'd like.

Keep Crafty Everyone!

Ottawa Bead Shops

     When Kim was visiting in August I got the wonderful opportunity to be introduced to a new craft: beading and jewelry making! And what a craft it is!  Kim owns and operates Murch Gems and has some great talent.  While in Ottawa she wanted to browse some bead stores to add to her stash. So she picked a couple stores and we went on a little Beading Store Tour.

Sassy Bead Co.

     Our first stop was the Sassy Bead Co. in downtown Ottawa in the Byward Market area.  This would be my first time in a full out bead store and Wow! I was amazed! Beads everywhere! Kim, being a seasoned player in this field, seemed less impressed.  We wandered about but then left soon after entering.  Kim, knowing her stuff, was unimpressed with the quality of the stock and un-matching high prices. I was unimpressed with the rude uncaring staff.  Sassy Bead Co.  is NOT on our return list.

Beads when walking into the store

Strings and chains
Work table

    There was a work table available for beading, perhaps its original purpose was for teaching or something, but when Kim and I visited the lady who sat there stared and scoffed at us the entire time as if we were intruding in her home. Not the best environment for bead shopping.

Sink O' Beads
      So overall, the Sassy Bead Co was a bad experience. Not only were staff members uncaring and at times rude, but the prices were too high especially for such low quality stock.  This is not a shop we plan on returning to.

Rainbow Minerals and Beading

     The next (and last) bead shop we purposefully ventured too was Rainbow Minerals and Beading in the St. Laurent area of Ottawa.  It was quite a bus ride but was very much worth the travel.  It was a given that I'd be in awe (still getting used to the beading craft environments), but from the moment we stepped in Kim was impressed.  This place was well organized, professionally set up, kind staff to greet us... This place took beading seriously and was for serious jewelry makers.

Locker system

      As we walked in they had a neat locker system.  Each locker was named for a mineral and we were to keep are purses locked away in one of them, the key stayed with us. I found this to be a nice little touch.  I'm sure theft is a big issue in the beading industry, it must be much easier to throw a bead in your purse than it is to throw a couple meters of fabric or a ball of yarn.  This idea of mineral lockers is a wonderfully creative idea and seems much less offensive than being diligently and suspiciously watched the entire time one is shopping.

     There were plenty of beads and a full range of prices.  There were 3 sale racks with nice low prices, perfect for a frugal female such as myself :).  Kim and I both went on and explored at our own paces.  It was a very nice shopping experience.  

      And of course what local craft store is complete without a random wandering pet to bring a smile to the shopper's faces.  There was a small dog that wandered about and played host; visiting people for a quick little pet then moving on.

Wall of bead strings
Some strings and chains
Kim found lots of great supplies for her stash
Kim at the sale rack with a wandering pet :)
Browsing some good quality beads for my start up stash
      Both Kim and I were very impressed with this shop.  There was a minimum purchase of 50$ required, but since we were both together it was easy to obtain.  If you present your small business registration number the 50$ minimum is waved.  The staff were friendly and courteous. At one point the manager/owner seemed a little harsh to one of her workers, but everything else was great and I believe we plan on returning when Kim comes back to Ottawa for a visit.

Some quality supplies for my new beading stash
      Now that I have the beginnings of a beading/jewelry making stash I look forward to diving in and creating some piece to keep, to give and to sell.  With a great crafter like Kim Murch to instruct me, I'm sure it'll be great fun and fruitful!

Keep Crafty Everyone!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Visit with Kim

     Over the summer (and through my new roomie) I've gotten the opportunity to meet another crafty lady: Kim! Though mostly into beading and jewelry making (her site can be found here), we both found a great opportunity to learn new skills from each other.  Although Kim doesn't live in Ottawa, she came by for a visit in August and we both got to explore each other's craft.  

     Kim was quite interested in crochet so we browsed through some of my books and magazines to find something nice and simple to make.  After going through pages upon pages of projects, she settled one a cute little lamb. Being super adorable, I decided to make one too.  The pattern is from Crochet World's April 2011 magazine issue. (This may be a US magazine, I'm not sure. I think I got it in the mail through a "free issue" coupon).

     Once the pattern was chosen, we dove into my yarn stash and found some colours for the project. I lent her one of my bazillion crochet hooks and away we went. I taught her the basics, making a slip knot, a chain, single crochet, double crochets, slip stitch... I was super impressed at how quick she picked it up.  We spent the evening crocheting away watching movies with our mutual friend (my roomie).

     Over the next few days and for the rest of her visit she worked diligently on the little lamb while kitties frequently came to investigate and cuddle.  Zija in particular seemed to really enjoy having another crocheter around.    

Zija enjoying crochet cuddles
Happy kitten
     In addition to crochet, we did many other crafty things; one involved a ceramic plate craft (see post Sharpies and Ceramic Plates) another was visiting a couple specialty bead stores downtown (see post Ottawa Bead Shops).  We wandered about downtown and checked out various stalls and came across some really neat stuff. Kim of course being mostly attracted to jewelry and minerals so I got to see and really examine things I normally would have walked right by.  It was a nice change of pace.

Kim checking out one of the stalls in the Byward Market downtown
Me and a moose at Crazy Moose
     And last but not least, what out-of-town-girl-friend-visit is complete without a matching set of pyjamas :).

     All in all I think it was a wonderful experience and a great visit. Having another crafty lady around was inspiring and just plain fun :)

Keeping it Crafty with company,


New Location

     What a busy summer! So much moving, so many trips, so much going on!  I apologize for the lack of updates and will make up for it by bombarding this blog with much posting over the next 2 weeks in an attempt to catch up.  I have a long list of blog posts to make and I fully intend to get through each one! Starting with the new location.

     Since I left off back in November of last year I have moved many times but have now finally found a nice little corner to settle into for a while. Hook, Needle and Spindle has set up shop in a nice little apartment in Ottawa. It definitely doesn't provide the space for a luxurious sewing room like I had in Fort Frances, but instead offers a nice cozy setting in which I can enjoy my sewing (I sew in the main room/dinning room/living room).  I have to say, so far one of my favourite perks of this coziness is that I can easily tend to cooking while sewing; there's nothing like having (and smelling) a nice batch of soup simmering in the crock pot while working on a new quilt. Another wonderful perk has been that I can easily take a quick step out on the balcony for some fresh air and a tomato or two. Yes, I have set up a little potted garden out on my balcony (thanks to a friend's generosity) and it's great.

     The only disadvantage is that my stash is no longer easily accessible.  I've had to come up with very organized methods of storing my stash.  At the moment, my stash is split in two: half is being stored at a friend's place, and half is in my room.  As I work on more and more projects, I've been slowly bringing more boxes from my friend's place to my room and re-organizing to maximize space.  Boxes and bins are stacked pretty high, but are all clearly labeled to make it easy to find fabrics when I need them, and so far I've been needing lots.  Orders have begun to pick up and it's great to be able to find what I need, when I need it.  So as long as one is not claustrophobic, I'm happy to announce that it's completely possible to functionally cram a large stash of fabrics into a small room :).

     The kitties seem to equally enjoy the new digs. They can be found lazing about in random areas of the apartment. On occasion they've even joined me out on the balcony to enjoy the breeze.

     Here are a few pics of the new place:

Kitty inspection
My stash in my room
Stash in my room
Other half of my fabric stash in storage at a friend's place
Temporary sewing set up
More temporary sewing set up (plus kitty)
     For more various pics, check out HN&S fb page here.

     I'm happy to finally have a functional table to work with. It needs some love; I plan on sanding it, staining it then sealing it, but that is a story for another blog post :). It can be a pain to keep taking out all my sewing stuff (ironing board, sewing machine, sewing bin, cutting board...) then putting it away again over and over, but being organized helps minimize the hassle and having a pretty laid back roommate helps too. 

     Long story short: the relocation took a long time but I'm now settling in quite nicely. It's a small space, but  that just makes things cozier and forces me to be a little more organized (which is a good thing). I'm very happy with my new place and I look forward to continuing this crafty adventure here in Ottawa.

Keeping Crafty in a different location,