Hearts and Scraps: Valentine Kits for the Little Free Library

I’m joining bloggers from around the world in a monthly “ScrapHappy” endeavor. We’re challenged to make something entirely out of scraps.

The heart at the top of the sign is made from an old playing card

Here in the US, as in many other countries, February 14th is Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day customs – sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”), offering confectionary and presenting flowers – developed in early modern England and spread throughout the English-speaking world in the 19th century.

Wikipedia

In honor of this tradition, I’ve pulled together scraps from a variety of sources to create Valentine’s Day card-kits for our Little Free Library. Young library users have snapped them up. It’s so satisfying imagining them crafting at home.

Valentine’s Day Card-making Kits

For starters, the base card and envelope are from my friend and fellow blogger Heidi from Minnesota. Heidi makes gorgeous cards! She had leftover paper and envelopes and kindly shared them with me to use in future card kits.

Envelopes and Cards from a friend

Heidi also sent sample-sized selections of Washi tape, seen below in one of my miniature gardens.

Fishtail Washi Tape

The colorful paper is leftover from kits I made a year ago.

Colorful paper scraps staged on top of the anemone going to seed

The small paper doilies are part of my stash. As a young girl, I loved the way the layers stuck together. You could peel them apart like an onion. Doilies evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Doily and Nasturtium

The red rickrack in the kits sat in a storeroom at Lifted Spirits for almost three years. Boxes of sewing supplies arrived as part of a donation. We turned yardage into tablecloths, farmed out suitable quilting fabric to quilters in the area, and used assorted ribbon to color-code baskets. Rickrack has fallen out of favor from a sewing perspective, but it will make excellent trim for someone’s Valentine.

Red Rickrack trim

Finally, the small tag board embellishments and hearts were leftover from a volunteer project. I found them in a cupboard when I cleaned out the former director’s office.

Violets and Tagboard Embellishments
Recycled baggie (turning single-use into double use, but still too much plastic)

Please contact our host Kate, of Tall Tales from Chiconia for details. We create with scraps, then blog about our experience on the 15th of each month. Be sure to check out the creativity of my fellow bloggers linked below on February 15, 2021.


Kate
Gun,EvaSue,Lynn,Lynda,
Birthe,Turid,Susan,Cathy, Tracy,Jill,
Claire,JanMoira,SandraChris,
KerryClaireJeanJon,HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2 and Noreen

A Vintage Postage Stamp Table for Sharon

Earlier this year, while recovering from foot surgery, I spent some couch time sorting postage stamps. When my sister, Sharon, moved to her new condo, she asked if I would make her a vintage postage stamp table like mine. We’d both had one of my father’s stamp albums on the shelf for years. It was an emotional journey from album to table, but a healthy one. It was time we pulled our grief off the shelf and brought Dad’s gorgeous collection into the light of day.

A page from Dad’s vintage postage stamp album

As project planning goes, 2020 was a strange year. Just as I started to literally get on my feet, we entered a three-week lockdown. Casual trips to the hardware store became a thing of the past. When we eventually made it there, I waited in a long line, just to order a small quart of paint. Once home, the simple act of painting the circular wooden top alluded me. Mike eventually offered to paint it for me, and from there, I found some momentum.

I had hoped for more of a royal purple but I settled. Most of it will be covered anyway.

When I made my own table-top back in 2015 I had the benefit of four triangle-shaped stamps to use as a center. From there I worked my way outward, placing stamps in rainbow order and using multi-colored postage for the border.

Lacking any triangle-shaped stamps for Sharon’s table, I had to come up with a different approach. I sorted through dozens of stamps and eventually came up with this:

The red stamp is marked Nov, Sharon’s birth month. The next two stamps are 50c and 9c (Sharon’s 59th year), and the stamp below that is from Canada (our birthplace), and the year I made the table (2020).

The table’s center

I sorted the postage by color, setting aside the multi-colored stamps to use along the border. I divided the painted top into pie-shaped sections and filled each one with one color, moving from the center outward. I really enjoyed seeing it take shape.

Tabletop divided into sections
Each section filled with a single color
Center of table with rainbow of colors
Red vintage postage stamps
A mixture of reds, oranges and browns
Green vintage postage stamps
Blue vintage postage stamps
Purple vintage postage stamps
Finished table

I adhered the stamps as I moved from the center outward using Mod Podge decoupage glue. It’s easy to apply and it acts as both a glue and a varnish. I continued to build up layers of the water-resistant finish over several days, smoothing out any bubbles and allowing it to dry.

In the interim, I assembled this flat-pack black table purchased online. I originally planned on scouring some thrift stores for a table to use as a base, but it was a good alternative since that was out of the question. Mike helped me attach the postage stamp tabletop to the black table’s underside using wood screws.

The table sits between Sharon’s two velvet chairs. A slightly taller table would have been nice, but the colors are perfect. We’re both happy with the final result.

Vintage postage side table (sticky tape on chairs to discourage kitty)

Check out what these artists are doing with vintage postage:

Artist Juan Carlos uses postage stamps to beautiful effect.

Donna Boss creates gorgeous cards using vintage stamp art.

Philatelic fans, please note. These stamps are sentimental and are of no inherent value. I understand that for some of you, this amounts to destroying a piece of history. For us, it’s a way of valuing our father’s legacy and a way to celebrate and honor his beloved hobby. We were 8 and 9, respectively, when Dad died. These tables mean the world to us.

Lifting Spirits of the Unhoused

At the start of the pandemic, Santa Clara County shut down pretty much everything for three weeks. That was back in March. I’ve been serving unhoused women at Lifted Spirits for three years, and it was devastating to see our program closed. We qualified as an essential service, but protecting volunteers from COVID seemed daunting.

Undeterred, we figured out a way to serve the women that came to our program and dubbed it Lifted Spirits Lite. Gone were the days of respite from the street, hot meals, and a place to nap and socialize for a few hours, all the things we were known for. It was no longer deemed safe to invite women indoors.

Instead, we served women from behind an iron fence, lined with clear shower curtains. Masks were a must, along with hand-washing every thirty minutes. Patio tables pushed up on our side of the fence enforced physical distance from our clients. We were able to serve in what we now call “contactless” engagement. What strange times we’re in!

We rolled out racks of clothing and toiletries at the start of each shift. We provided the essentials: feminine hygiene needs, adult diapers for sleeping rough, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other items critical for well-being. Hand sanitizer, along with face coverings and wet wipes rose to the top of the list.

Toiletry cart filled with essentials and ready to roll outdoors

We stocked our racks of clothing all summer long: shorts and dresses were available, along with t-shirts, straw hats, pants, and scarves, all donated by women in our community.

Lifted Spirits Lite: Outdoors behind our fence

A generous board member donated boxed lunches each week, and we had extra water on hand to get us through the hot, horrible summer filled with smoky skies and unhealthy air.

I knew we couldn’t continue our services outdoors during the winter months, but as the pandemic dragged on, it was clear we had to adjust once again. It took weeks of planning, testing, input from volunteers and board members, but in the end, we came up with a way to serve the women in a more sheltered way.

Sheltered area at the back of the building near garden

We created a volunteer position called the gatekeeper. I set up three stations allowing our volunteers to be indoors, one in the lobby and two more along the building’s back. A handyman repaired the walkway for safe passage, we purchased two large canopies and created a sheltered area along the back of our building, once a church. Claridge donated five rolling, tempered-glass screens, which we use as a barrier between volunteers and clients.

Donated Claridge Screens

It’s been a hit with the women we serve. They pass through our decorated lobby, one at a time, affording them privacy when making requests. They exit through the kitchen and wait for the clothing station under the canopies in a garden setting. We roll out a rack of shoes for self-service.

Lifted Spirits Lobby – Toiletries Station on the right

Women can choose two outfits per day at the clothing station. They can pick out a warm jacket or coat if needed and lots of wonderful extras like gloves, hand-knit scarves, and knit caps. They visit the final station for lunch and a few pantry items. The gatekeeper escorts them through another gate, where they exit on the sidewalk. This avoids passing others and allows for social distancing among our clients as well. Our gatekeepers wear a mask and a face shield for safety.

It’s an exhausting shift requiring a different approach with each woman’s unique challenges and needs, but at the same time, they are my favorite hours of the week. Getting to know the women, encouraging them, listening to their stories, all the while helping them choose an outfit or two is rewarding. It’s not about the clothes, but about the normalcy of “shopping” for an outfit in your favorite color or style. I’ve learned a lot. I work with amazing volunteers. We all support each other.

I really enjoy the behind-the-scenes work as well. It appeals to my love of organizing, merchandising, clothing, and decorating. It’s fun learning a woman’s style and setting aside items in her size and favorite color. Keep in mind that everything is donated, and many things are dated. It feels good filling needs.

We created a small Christmas celebration this week, serving close to 40 unhoused women in two hours. Our Board chair and his son played Christmas songs while the women waited in line. We assembled Christmas bags filled with soft grey hoodies, a $25 Target gift card, fuzzy socks, and other personal goodies. Mary ordered boxed lunches with a traditional turkey sandwich, and Sharon baked cookies in her scrupulously sanitized kitchen. Our new director passed out the gifts and offered hot chocolate after they picked up lunch. Barbara handed out socks, new underwear, and other essentials, dressed as the slimmest Santa you’ve ever seen.

I staffed the clothing station most of the time, and helped troubleshoot in the parking lot when problems arose. All the planning paid off. We generally serve 30 women a day, but we planned for 40. We served 37 in the first two hours, and we’re able to provide lunch and gifts to two late arrivals. I’m so relieved that it all came together.

Of course real success would be knowing these women were tucked into bed tonight, warm and safe, well-fed and at ease.

It should be criminal to allow men and women to live, unhoused, in a country with such immense wealth. It’s unconscionable. Our vision is to put ourselves out of business because everyone is safely housed. For now, I’ll continue to lift the spirits of others, as I work to keep my chin up.

I hope you are safe and warm, and most of all, healthy as we count down to the end of this dreadful year.

A Hollow Halloween

I love Halloween!

I look forward to decorating with pumpkins, making costumes, attending parties, and finally passing out candy to the costumed children that flock to our door.

Halloween 2020 was none of that. It felt like the hollow of a carved pumpkin on November 3rd: sad and empty.

Mouse agrees

I found small ways to enjoy the season but left the traditions at the proverbial door.

I made Halloween-themed card making kits for neighborhood kids. Over the years, I’ve amassed an assortment of Halloween paper and stickers. I pulled it all out and spent hours making die-cuts and stickers using my Silhouette. I bought a package of craft paper cards and envelopes from a local craft store, and over a period of weeks, assembled card kits to share alongside our Little Free Library.

The card kits were a hit. I put out ten at a time for a total of 40 kits and enjoyed seeing them disappear in ones and twos each day. 

I used narrow scraps of the same paper to make simple bookmarks and placed them in a tin marked “Boo-marks.”

Earlier in the month, I made Halloween cards for friends using a Jennifer McGuire Ink video technique. She used a Gel Press, a brayer, and Tim Holtz Oxide Ink to create interesting patterns. Like Jennifer McGuire, I made several backgrounds, let them dry, then used them on my cards.

Here are a few:

I made a second batch of cards last week, but I never got around to taking photos. It was more important to get them into the mail. Our post office produced Halloween stamps this year. It made me happy to do my small part buying stamps and mailing cards.

This may sound strange to those of you knee-deep in creativity, but I’ve struggled to focus on writing, crafting, and other creative endeavors. I’ve written a dozen blog posts in my head but lacked the focus to sit down and make them a reality.  I’m trying to recommit to creative endeavors. Making cards and card kits has been a good start.  It’s good for the soul.

I continue to volunteer several hours a week with Lifted Spirits. We’ve been providing our services outdoors over the summer from behind the safety of a clear shower curtain. With colder weather approaching, I reorganized the program to serve the women from behind the building in a garden setting, with volunteers standing behind glass screens.

I pulled together a rack full of clothing pieces that could be used as costumes. It was a hit with our women. Living on the street robs you of so many things. Making someone smile for a few moments and letting them choose a few pieces to put something together made it fun.  I packaged candy and pretzels and passed them out the day before Halloween.

Our team of volunteers wore a simple costume that day. I pulled together a few pieces from my stash and called myself the gardening goddess. I wore my favorite broccoli earrings, a gift from a friend many years ago,  and a garland of pink satin flowers, paired with a long, green dress.

We changed our clocks today back to standard time. This Tuesday is the last day to vote. My favorite meme this week is, “Don’t forget to change your clocks on Sunday and your president on Tuesday.” I have a knot in my stomach and a horrible sense of dread, but I remain hopeful that meaningful change is finally afoot.

Poster supplied by ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

Here we go…

Pauline King: Artist and Beloved Friend

Pauline King

Many of us know Pauline King through her blog, the Contented Crafter. I’m one of the lucky ones that got to take that a step further, not once but twice.

Pauline flew to the East Coast of the United States for a gathering of blogging friends. We dubbed ourselves the “Blogging Babes,” and my goodness did we have fun.

Two years later, we met again in New Zealand for the most extraordinary few weeks of my life. Pauline’s daughters joined us for that second gathering, along with Pauline’s beloved, four-legged companion, Siddy.

Pauline died peacefully this week from complications of a stroke. She passed on her 71st birthday, September 5, 2020.

Pauline’s blog “containing random thoughts, bits of life, creations from my art room, and tales of a cat named Orlando and a puppy named Siddy” attracted readers from around the world.

We learned about her artistic process and got to share in the final results, and when lucky, we were treated to amusing tales of a dog named Sid. What I’ll remember most about Pauline’s online presence was her poignant, funny, and insightful comments left with a generous heart on so many blogs.

In-person, she was a dear friend, a bright light, a good listener, and a kind and kindred soul. I am bereft.

You can click on individual photos to read captions or to enlarge:

Please share your memories of Pauline in the comments below.

She is survived by her two daughters, Danella and Jo, two women who would make any mum proud.

A Weary California Burns

We are all weary and exhausted, but we are doing okay.

California’s wildfires are making international news, so I wanted to let you know that we’re safe. Sadly, dozens of friends have been forced to evacuate their homes. Others are packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. We’re all on edge waiting for the second wave of dry lightning storms later today.

Smoke and ash from the fires are creating unhealthy conditions throughout Santa Clara Valley.

If you look at the map below, you’ll see that San Jose is sandwiched between thousands of acres of wildfires burning on both sides of the Valley.

According to the Los Angeles Times, The recent weather events are the result of three distinct meteorological phenomena combining in a way rarely seen in California:

1) The heatwave broiling the West — longer and harsher than is typical for August — was the first to arrive. It is a high-pressure system rotating clockwise over California, Nevada, and Arizona that steered hot, dry desert air over the Golden State, breaking heat records across the Central Valley.

2) Then Tropical Storm Elida off the coast of Mexico began feeding the heatwave moisture, which created instability in the atmosphere. This moisture is why so many of the wildfires burning in California recently have created towering pyrocumulus clouds, said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

3) A thunderstorm some 1,100 miles south of the Bay Area in Sonora, Mexico, sent an invisible rippling wave of uplifting pressure north through the atmosphere, where it mixed with the heat and moisture to produce hundreds of lightning strikes across hundreds of miles of the Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday. That created dozens of fires, while farther inland a tornado formed.

This is what the beautiful skies looked like over my neighborhood the morning after the storm.

Three days later, the skies were an eerie brown, casting a yellow tinge in the garden below.

In January, I thought that recovery from brutal foot surgery would be the hardest part of my year. I took my first painful steps in March, and within a week, Santa Clara County was the first in this country to issue a three-week order to shelter in place. We were afraid to leave the house. A once-mundane trip to the grocery store had us firmly in fear’s grip. Would a trip down the aisle for milk mean exposing ourselves to COVID-19? To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “April was the longest ten years of my life.”

Things gradually eased, but many of us feared we were opening up too early.

In late May, a long-simmering fury over police brutality, and racial injustice, spurred by the killing of George Flloyd, lead to widespread protests and continued civil unrest.

Civil unrest: Black Lives Matter protest police brutality in San Jose

We hope to vote the current “criminal-in-chief” out of office come November, but even that is fraught with tension and fear.

Today, California burns. Ash falls in my garden, as heavy smoke permeates the air. We’re trying to stay indoors as air quality spikes to unhealthy levels.

We are all weary and exhausted, wishing this nightmare would end.

I am grateful for our relatively good health and for the safety of our home. At the same time, I’m carrying the weight of the world.

I hope you are safe and warm and loved.

Scrap Happy in Miniature

What’s a ScrapHappy post?

It’s an opportunity, or an excuse, to make something entirely out of scraps. Our host Kate, of Tall Tales from Chiconia, encourages the use of scraps to make something useful or beautiful or both.

If you would like to join us, please see the details at the end of this post.

Several years ago, I bought a beautiful felted wool birdhouse, hung it in a tree, and patiently waited for a nesting bird to make it home. How could they resist something so appealing?

The wooly nest has a small opening, soft, felted wool for warmth, and it’s even perchless to avoid predators.

I hung the cozy nest in different trees and at different heights. Year after year, nothing, and eventually, I gave up. I forgot about it, mostly. Earlier this year, I removed it from the tree, inspected it for insects, and brought it inside.

The wool was dirty and crusty from years outdoors. Even the paper wasps were indifferent. I rinsed the nest in warm water and watched years of dirt and grime fall away. My wooly nest came clean almost immediately.

In honor of ScrapHappy June, I turned the wooly nest into a fairy house.

woolen bird house

Felted wool birdhouse converted into a home for visiting fairies.

Once washed and dried, I removed the bottom stitching and inserted a glass sauce jar.

Glass jar viewed through nesting hole.

Now it can stand up on its own.

Jar inserted inside the birdhouse.

I tucked the wool leaves into the opening and added a piece of broken jewelry to make a window that a woodland faerie might enjoy.

glass jewel faerie garden window

An old piece of glass jewelry makes a superb window

The faerie house sits nestled under our Little Free Library.

Woolen faerie house sitting at the base of the faux tree.

My second scrappy project this month involved revitalizing a miniature version of a Little Free Library. The little, LFL is made from a cardboard box, with matchbook covers and toothpicks inside to form books. Twice, the heavy winds sent the miniature library tumbling through the yard. I knew sturdier measures were in order.

I employed a pair of joined wooden chopsticks that could be plunged deep into the soil, but they looked too new and shiny. I rubbed the sticks with the contents of my morning Roobios, and that did the trick.

chopstick legs

I used chopsticks to make legs for the miniature LFL.

chopsticks stained with tea

My morning tea leaves made a lovely stain.

The wee Little Free Library is in the shadow of the larger one, staked firmly into the ground. If your line of vision is in sync with your imagination, you can spot it from the sidewalk.

Refurbished miniature LFL.

Faerie’s can grab a book from the miniature LFL nearby.

As seen from the walkway.

I love repurposing items into something fun and whimsical. Creating from scraps is both challenging and rewarding, not to mention relaxing. I highly recommend it.

Check out the links below on June 15, 2020, to see the other scrap-happy posts.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, and Vera

Tommy Smith and John Carlos: Taking a Knee or Raising a Fist

I headed home from my volunteer shift on Monday, shortly before 6:00. Lifted Spirits is in the heart of downtown San Jose, and less than a block from city hall.

Outrage over the murder of George Floyd has led to protests around the globe. San Jose is no exception. Protestors chant for hours each day in front of City Hall, followed by marches in the early evening.

As I left Lifted Spirits, I pulled into the mini-mart on the corner to buy a cold drink for the ride home. I had one of those surreal moments when I saw a row of police officers on motorcycles lined up against a two-story mural. I snapped this photo:

Tommy Smith-John Carlos Thank You mural

Tommy Smith-John Carlos Thank You.

The mural depicts a message of thanks to San Jose Olympians, Tommy Smith, and John Carlos. It’s officially titled: Tommy Smith-John Carlos Thank You.

Here is some history, courtesy of Wikipedia:

On the morning of October 16, 1968,[2] US athlete Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race with a world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Australia’s Peter Norman finished second with a time of 20.06 seconds, and the US’s John Carlos finished in third place with a time of 20.10 seconds. After the race was completed, the three went to the podium for their medals.

The two US athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty.[3] Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride, Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue-collar workers in the US and wore a necklace of beads which he described “were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the Middle Passage.”[4] All three athletes wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges after Norman, a critic of Australia’s former White Australia Policy, expressed empathy with their ideals.[5] Sociologist Harry Edwards, the founder of the OPHR, had urged black athletes to boycott the games; reportedly, the actions of Smith and Carlos on October 16, 1968[2] were inspired by Edwards’ arguments.[6]

Both US athletes intended to bring black gloves to the event, but Carlos forgot his, leaving them in the Olympic Village. It was Peter Norman who suggested Carlos wear Smith’s left-handed glove. For this reason, Carlos raised his left hand as opposed to his right, differing from the traditional Black Power salute.[8] When The Star-Spangled Banner played, Smith and Carlos delivered the salute with heads bowed, a gesture which became front-page news around the world. As they left the podium they were booed by the crowd.[9] Smith later said, “If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black an,d we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.”[3]

Tommie Smith stated in later years that “We were concerned about the lack of black assistant coaches. About how Muhammad Ali got stripped of his title. About the lack of access to good housing and our kids not being able to attend the top colleges.”[10]

I stood for a moment facing a row of police officers with their backs to the mural. Did any of them register the irony of their position? They stood with their backs to a piece of art depicting two courageous athletes literally using their winning Olympic platform to protest racial injustice?

I got back in my car, prepared to exit onto Santa Clara street. The protestors came down Santa Clara *at that exact moment*, saw the officers, stopped, and turned into the gas station. The protesters addressed the officers with chants, and one protester instructed others “do not throw anything.”

I got out of my car and took a knee. Within a few moments, the marchers returned to their intended route along Santa Clara Street toward City Hall.

Back in my car once again, I asked one of the officers if it was okay to exit on Santa Clara. He said, “It’s not safe for you to be here.” He then directed me toward the row of officers until one of them yelled at me to stop. Within moments they let me exit the lot, and I drove home.

I’m a 60-year-old white woman who’s afforded an unearned privilege based on the color of my skin.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, lost his life because of an undeserved bias based on the color of his skin.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time for change is now.

A Craft Space of My Own

I’ve been looking forward to a dedicated craft space to call my own for years. When our boys were young, Mike and I used our fourth bedroom as a home office. During the grade-school years, we added a pair of desks for the boys. They completed homework in that room and used the computer under my watchful eye. I crafted in a small area on my desk, or I joined friends once a year for a weekend away to work on our scrapbooks.

When my oldest left for university, I planned to reclaim part of this space for my sewing machine. My younger son quickly spread out using all the available surfaces. The room morphed again as a place to hang out with his friends.

In 2018, my youngest son left for university, and at long last, I had a dedicated craft space of my own.

Lindy marveling at the cleared surface

I started organizing my craft space that year, but a few months later, I found myself fully immersed in my volunteer work with Lifted Spirits and started spending a lot of my time downtown.

I put some structure in place at the time, and what a treat its been to have everything I need at my fingertips!

Now that we’re “sheltering in place” in Santa Clara County, I’ve finally put the finishing touches on this room.

My original plan was to set up a sewing area on one desk and a paper-crafting area on the other one.

The table is too deep for my machine and my foot pedal to work well together. Since I like spreading out when I sew, I decided to convert both sides into paper crafting. I can use my dining table when I sew.

Now I have a place for my Silhouette Cameo cutting machines and more surface area for work.

Cameo die cutting machine (a Christmas gift from Mike)

Cleaning up and reorganizing the space didn’t take long, and what a difference it’s made. I enjoy working on cards and assembling craft kits for the curb, and it is a pleasure working with a clean and uncluttered (for now) desk.

My reorganized crafting space

I enjoyed gathering inspirational art for the wall. It’s a collection of mixed-media, watercolor, collage, embroidery, and fiber arts from friends and family. I love having it gathered together and displayed in my creativity corner. I have several pieces from fellow bloggers, including Anne, Kelly, Marlene, Pauline, and Wilma, representing Australia, Canada, the US, and New Zealand.

I’m now surrounded by art created by family and friends.

On the pale yellow wall, the green heart is a gift from my friend, Carrielin. We met in college doing a play together, and we’ve remained friends all these years.

The custom-died monkey sitting on the heart is a gift from my self-described hippy friend, Laura.

All three read hearts we’re machine-embroidered by the talented Marlene, who blogs at insearchofitall.

From Canada, a mixed-media tag by artist Wilma Millette. You can find her gorgeous work on Instagram @creartful-dodger. To the right of Wilma’s piece is another mixed-media creation by the talented Kelly Daye. We met through blogging and have become the best of friends.

On the green wall, I hung Dad’s wooden painter’s palette. It’s a cherished memento. Oil painting was one of Dad’s many hobbies. I affixed three black and white photos to the pallette: My dad in the center, a picture of his completed model of the Golden Hinde, and the storefront of my parent’s flower shop in Seaforth, Canada. They’re all treasures. The Bay Bridge oil painting is also my dad’s work.

Below the palette is a mixed-media piece by Pauline King, a treasured gift for my 60th birthday. Pauline is known in the blogging world at The Contented Crafter.

Next to Pauline’s work are a pair of watercolor teapots by Anne Lawson. Anne is a Melbourne Artist who “captures the beauty of the #naturalworld in watercolour or ink.” You’ll find more of her work @annelawson54 on Instagram.

My father’s wooden oil painting palette

Repurposed wine crate stores stamps and punches

I like being able to see everything at a glance. Assorted cat mugs store my pens and tools. See-through bins store craft ribbon, dies, and acrylic stamps.

I removed the sliding doors to the room’s closet several years ago. It now houses our printer, most of my sewing supplies, extra baskets, and a few other crafting tools. Here’s what it looked like before re-organizing the shelves.

Starting Point: A four-foot closet in the same room stores craft materials, our printer, sewing projects and my Cameo cutting machine

This is what it looks like now.

After: craft room closet sorted with room for a chair.

Have you tackled an organizing project during your time in quarantine?

Scrap Happy Faeries Relax at the Lake

What’s a ScrapHappy post?

It’s an opportunity, or an excuse, to make something entirely out of scraps. Our host Kate, of Tall Tales from Chiconia, encourages the use of scraps to make something useful or beautiful or both.

If you would like to join us, please see the details at the end of this post.

This ceramic container is the base of a former cat fountain. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was a pain to keep clean. It needed a new filter once a month, and it was heavy to pick up when it was time to transport it to the kitchen.

Our three kitties now get water from several glass bowls, except Tessa, who waits for a running faucet. Mouse prefers the water draining from Mike’s morning shower. Cats!

So this…

Once upon a time: a former ceramic cat water fountain

Empty container, only three-inches deep

…became this.

A quiet retreat in miniature

I couldn’t bear to throw out the container. I started with the idea of a small garden, but the dish is too shallow. Instead, I created a miniature lake-side retreat for imaginary faeries.

I lined the container with blue painter’s tape. In retrospect, I’m not sure it made much of a difference, as the bottom doesn’t show through. I cut a piece of plastic packaging into a wedge, dividing the container into two. The wedge is held in place with more blue tape.

Container lined with leftover blue painter’s tape

A scrap of stiff plastic divides the container

A few more blue pebbles would increase the depth, but scrap happy is all about using what you’ve got on hand. Instead, I used leftover glass vase filler to create volume. I sprinkled smaller blue pebbles on top. A couple of smooth rocks from my garden act as stepping stones into the cool, blue retreat.

The other side of the container started with medium-sized pebbles, graduating to small gravel (think sandy beach). I’ve used these tiny pebbles to mulch my potted succulents.

Protruding ceramic opening wrapped with leftover jute

A mix of New Zealand seashells adds charm to the pebble beach. Those seashells flew home with me from a fabulous New Zealand holiday two years ago. They continue to remind me of a spectacular holiday as well as time with dear friends.

I added a scrap of jute twine to the tube-like opening on the gravel side of the retreat. It once housed the cord for the fountain’s pump.

Rounding out this faerie retreat are three flowering nigellas. They make perfect, faerie-sized parasols, for sheltering from the sun. Nigella seed pods remind me of a few broken umbrellas with spokes still attached, so I placed the pods in the tube for interest.

Faerie sisters enjoying the view.

Nigella blooms make perfect parasols.

These wee faeries sit on a cushion of French lavender, sharing secrets and tossing their cares to the wind.

It’s been a while since I channeled my inner faerie gardener. It’s been so much fun.

Check out the links below on March 15, 2020, to see the other scrap-happy posts.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, and Vera