Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Break Success Part 1

The most fantastic Spring Break is underway: the one break in the school year where I go absolutely no where and it is beautiful. First up: thrifting and spring cleaning. I've already pulled most of my winter clothes from the closet rotation, organized a stack of shoes into neat and tidy cubbies, and cleaned out some drawers. With all of this momentum, I felt like it was finally time... for the craft closet.

Spring Cleaning

One of my proudest purchases/achievements has to be this metal five-tiered shelf. My craft closet is also holiday/clothing/nostalgia storage so finding anything in it has been a hassle lately. I bought this shelf in an effort to get some things together and to separate the craft from the storage.

I put it together all by myself. I nearly hit myself in the face with those metal poles a few times, but overall, a successful build!

While everything is on the appropriate shelf, it's not exactly perfectly organized quite yet. At least it's off the floor. 

On other other side of the closet sits my sad little book collection. We've whittled it down over the past few year until we've hit the essentials for our library. While I'm glad that has been accomplished, we still have a lot (more than is pictured here) and no bookshelves in which to set them. This lack of organization is a shame, but evidence that even with a whole free week, you can't do everything, and I certainly never planned to attempt it! 

I did, however, get around to rearranging the craft room. I think it makes more sense with the sewing desk against the wall, rather than against the window. I feel like it takes me quite a while of living in a space before I really figure out how to use it. Or maybe I just enjoy rearranging furniture.

Now I can stick stuff onto the wall within easy reach, rather than having to lean over or jump out of my seat to get to it. 

In case you were wondering, Kitty approves.


There is an antique mall close to my house, and I believe that over the past few years, it has either become increasingly fancy, or I am getting better at finding fancy things. My model Lucy here is wearing an unfinished silky tank top and... what's that? a vintage coach purse?

Yes! A score at twenty bucks! Pretty good condition and the real deal. A little worn, but that just means it was well loved--and still sturdy after all these years.I was super pumped to see it! 

It was all by chance that I saw it in the first place. I was interested in the price of a fancy rug, and while I was waiting on the vendor to call back, poked around the glass cases I never look in, and boom. Black leather brass accent beautiful purse of my dreams.

(The rug turned out to be about $400 too fancy for me)

I also got some cute vintage trim from the same antique mall, and  found a nice yard of outdoor fabric in the remnant section at HobLob. It was a pretty good day of bargains for me. In fact, I texted my sister to tell her about my vintage finds and she responded: "Bargain shopping! You're doing it right!" She's an encourager.


After all of that exhausting work, I sat down with my scissors and my washi pattern, and got to it. Step one was taping the printed pattern together. I looked around and couldn't find my transparent tape, but perhaps it was serendipitous that all that was available to me... was washi tape.

Once I put it all together, I trace the appropriate parts, and cut. I'm happy to have that step taken care of this evening, so that in the morning, after a friendly brunch, I can get started on cutting out my fabric pieces.

Stay tuned for further adventures in productivity! (Disclaimer: I'm also grading papers through this whole thing, so it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but pretty close, you guys.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Great Spring Break To-Do List

In the spirit of my original "Great Summer To-Do List", I wanted to create a smaller version of the crafty list for Spring Break. I love all the breaks that get included with teaching (let's not forget summer, people) and this one is going to be sorely needed. I've been really proud of the Seniors that I teach--they've been doing a fantastic job of staying on task and remaining optimistic about the things we've been talking about in class. I only have a couple that have "mentally graduated" already, but it's a small percentage and I love that even they are taking it all with a grain of salt. I've had early-onset separation anxiety for a while now already.

After Spring Break, who knows? Kids will realize that the end of the last quarter is just around the corner, and we will not be able to deceive them anymore! Summer is coming! Freedom! Pool time! Tans! (ok, there's already some spray tans, but those don't count.) It will be nice to enter into that last quarter rejuvenated  and maybe even, in a new dress?


At the tip top of my list is Rae's Washi Dress! I got the pattern from my grandparents at Christmas, but didn't want it to turn into one of those projects I started and had to put away for a long time. I want to be able to work on this three days straight until I get it all figured out! (Btw, she's pretty cool. You should read the whole blog.)

From the Purl Bee, of course. I have finally entered that time of life when I know pregnant people. It's time to start learning how to make adorably small things for adorably small people. I thought I'd start with these simple felt baby shoes! Felt, embroidery floss, and elastic... and I have all those things already!

I have followed Amy Smart's blog, Diary of a Quilter, for about two years now, and I'm always amazed at her projects. When she started up this virtual quilting bee, I thought it might fun to jump into. I will learn how to create an 8 in. block per month for 8 months, and then I'll have a quilt! I've already made one, you know... why not another, with a wide time window?

Three craft projects, and I think I can handle all of them. On the rest of the list I am going to have to 1.) grade papers (wah wah), 2.) build a fort, 3.) go climb some rocks, 4.) consume all television possible, 5.) bake cookies or something, 6.) hang out with good friends, 7.) eat some cake or something, 8.) buy a swim suit?, 9.) read a book, 10.) sleep a lot.

I feel pretty good about that. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cross Stitch

I had a childhood aversion to cross stitching... In my mind it always seemed a little old-fashioned and maternal. I'm not quite maternal just yet, but I am a little surprised at myself in not expecting this craft, like all others, to have been re-envisioned by the younger crafting generation. We have a craft revolution happening right now, people! How could I not see that all aspects of needle craft had been made hip and new? 

Enter Pinterest to show me the error of my ways.

Pinterest showed me how to organize my embroidery floss on clothes pins. Changed my life.

Have you guys seen this Downton Abbey alphabet sampler? Isn't it amazing? I like that some letters are replaced with items--specifically the zombie Pamuk and yellow lab. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be getting this for summer stitching, when I will go through all the old episodes of Downton in the withdrawals that will inevitably come.

(And while we're on the subject of Downton, no spoilers, but just know it has made me very sad.)

This cross stitch diy peg board will be my first diy project whenever Mr. Kopf and I finally get a house with a place to hang things. 


I guess I'm a fan of this giant cross stitch trend. Check out this etsy shop! She does amazing work.

Giant "Make it Rain" Cross-Stitch

My favorite trend, however, might be what I have been calling "counter-culture cross stitch." It's this whole business of traditional looking cross stitch that spells out your favorite curse word. The juxtaposition of the crass term and the traditional needlecraft is so startling and funny. Poke around on etsy--it's everywhere!

Of course, counter-culture cross stitch is not necessarily family friendly... YET.

I am playing around with this pattern I made for myself. It will eventually spell out "cuss words." Yes, you too can participate in this hip embroidery movement, without offending your grandmother or confusing your children!

Also just discovered this amazing talent:
HP BEE500-800.jpg
I think I pinned nearly everything. My favorite are the bees.

My grandparents got me Anna Maria Horner's Needleworks Notebook for Christmas, and I've spent every Sunday evening working on a few projects here and there to expand my needleworks knowledge. (While watching Downton... and becoming very sad.) When I requested this book I thought I'd be heading to crewel, but something about these grids and the little x's called my name in a most non-maternal way...

This is my first completed project. It is one of four tiles that I hope to frame out at some point and decorate a wall with. I started with my favorite, which is called "Spiritual Center."

So I guess you can see I'm on quite the cross stitch kick. It's so accessible and it feels so productive working with these little blocks of color... and like all my embroidery projects, perfect for long car rides, of which I am about to take several! Come on Springtime--I'm ready for you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Small Things

Small progress on crafts, small news and simple things happening here.

Update #1: Kitty's favorite way to spend a Saturday is laying like this while hubs watches television.

#2: We went through all three Lord of the Rings and all the commentary and all the behind the scenes footage. It took several weeks after school and weekends and I found myself relating everything I taught to Tolkien. It was pretty intense.

#3: I embroidered a friends' wedding date into the underside of her dress! We are super excited for the big day! I'm also working on a tutu for the flower girl... and THAT is going to be adorable!

#4: I turn into a secret vegetarian when Mr. Kopf is not home, but don't tell him that. Mr. Kopf goes to class and I make a meal just for me! Pasta, olive oil, feta, basil, salt and pepper. Mmmmmmmm.... (and I put it in pretty pyrex, which makes it taste even better.)

#5: Caught kitty rolling around in a sun beam on a happy Sunday morning.

#6: I'm getting to be pretty good at partying on school nights. Should I be proud of this or ashamed? Birthday party with friends! (To all students who may or may not be reading--my definition of partying is probably not your definition of partying. It means paying for someone else to make my food. The end.)

#7: And in other news, I have achieved what many teachers only dream of: I'm all caught up on grades and lesson plans. Yes. It's true. And I can hardly believe it. I am going to craft so hard this weekend!!!

I hope you've had a happy February! This seems to be the longest month of teaching in the second semester. It's all going to fly by from here!