Carol’s Craft Cave

Posted on

My crafty friend, Judi, loves to tell the story of how I showed up at my first scrapbook crop with all my paper crafting supplies in a grocery bag. I said something about how I wasn’t interested in getting all crazy into paper crafting. I just wanted to make my scrapbook. And now, six or so years later, Andy was forced from a sense of self preservation to turn this storage area…


…into this…



…so I would have some place (slightly bigger than a grocery bag) to keep all my paper crafting stuff. Of course, I don’t just play with paper crafts. There are fiber crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, crewel, spinning), and fabric crafts (sewing, quilting), and random crafts (a smidgen of wire work, bead work, clay, painting, carving, and who knows what else).

The room is still in progress. I need to find a day when I can sit up there, alone (HAHAHA), and ponder and contemplate how to organize things and where I want storage things and worky areas. Alas, most of the cool craft rooms I’ve seen online use storage stuff that won’t work here — in the land of Stink Bugs. I can’t use open bins or stack yarn or fabric or paper in open shelves. Everything needs to be closed, so that nests of these blechy beasts don’t contaminate with their smelliness. This is why my yarn is currently in here.


Andy has been a bit hyper about this space, mainly about getting my crafty stuff into it and out of the house. He is the one who put all that yarn away. He also built a set of folding screens to hide the elliptical machine along the back wall. He built the screens and then bid me decorate them “like that person did on pinterest.” (Can you believe ANDY uses pinterest now???)

The pinterest person used fabric scraps to cover her screen. Not having really all that much fabric but having enough patterned paper for the entire county, I finally found a use for a paper pack I bought years ago. (Loved the paper but it never really fit anything I made.) I found that the best way to do this project was to get the papers cut and laid out for one section.


Then I set them in order on the other section. One by one, I glued each piece down by applying mod podge to the back of the paper and smoothing it all down. After all the pieces were attached, I put two or three more coats of mod podge on top.


It’s a bit lumpy, but it’ll do!

Happy Anniversary!

Posted on

Andy and I haven’t had a trip away on our own since before the kid came along. I think that is breaking some cardinal rule of coupleness, but hey, we’re still married so it must not be too cardinal! (Maybe more like robin or bluejay?) When my folks came out for spring break, Andy and I somehow convinced them to watch Anya for two days while we went to D.C. for an early anniversary vacation.

During our trip we ate yummy food,


and went to monuments,


and ate more yummy food (nary a chicken nugget nor mac and cheese plate to be seen),


and went to museums (not once having to leave due to a temper tantrum),


and ate more yummy food (never being interrupted to take someone to the potty),


and visited even more museums (where we were able to read the stuff about the exhibits),


and then ate some more yummy food,


and finally ended up sitting in Union Station for several hours waiting for our bus back home. (I could have done without that last part.)

July Fair Update

Posted on

The fair is September 22. Seems like a ton of time and no time at all. I’ve started marking items off the list that I know I won’t get to…like the cursed crocheted afghan and all the machine embroidery. It’s been sort of freeing! Here are the items I have been able to finish lately.

23 | Food | Canned Fruit | Peaches: Completed
69 | Food | Preserves | Peaches: Completed
72 | Food | Pickles | Dill: Andy Completed

The pickles are Andy’s (and the jar in the picture is an open one, not one that would go to the fair, just so you know I know), but he’s going to enter them and I figure that’s good enough for me to mark that off my list. A week ago I did the peaches and the jam. So far my fruit canning is not going so well, and the jam didn’t set up as much as I would have liked. (I don’t have to win; I just have to enter. And in the case of canned items, not kill anyone.)

119 | Needlework | Embroidery | Ribbon Embroidery: Completed

I never even knew people did embroidery with ribbons. I did a little googling to figure out how to do it, and then I came across this book at the library. (I love the library.) I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in this craft. It has good pictures and nice examples. I made up the design I used, but I got inspiration from the ideas in the book. I like the texture and dimension of embroidering with ribbon, and I’d like to do more.

159 | Craft | Holiday Decorations | Hanukkah: Completed

I think I found this idea last fall. I bought the card stock in the winter. I kept putting it off thinking it would be a pain and tedious and blergity. Made myself start it today and got it finished fairly quickly and easily. My shapes are a bit wonky and smooshy, but I like it. I like how it floats around in the air.

171 | Craft | Ceramics/Clay | Hand-Built Item: Completed

The ceramics/clay group has been a bit intimidating for me being outside of my experience. I bought a big block of air-dry clay and made a coil pot/vase/thing. I am pretty sure I should have smooshed the coils together and flattened it all out to make it stable, but I really liked how the coils look. Anya calls it my beehive pot, so that’s why I painted it yellow.

183 | Craft | Art | Mosaic: Completed

I was inspired by this post, which I found a link to on pinterest. Here’s my helpful hint if you decide to make a mosaicy thing with paint chips: do not cut the chips into little bits in one big heap. Keep them separate by color as you cut. I think I spent two hours sorting the darned things. I do like this, but I would like to recommend the judges viewing it from a few feet back. If you look at it up close, there are little cat hairs and teeny bits of rubber cement I couldn’t get out. Eh, that’s just character, right?

Hiking adventure

Posted on

Today Anya and I went hiking for four hours or so. We went to the Bottom Creek Gorge nature preserve (about 10-15 minutes from the house). It has three trails, and we walked two of them and saw the second highest waterfall in Virginia! Apparently on the trail we didn’t go on there are the remains of some cabins for folks who used to live up there, and we met someone at the waterfall viewing area whose “father’s people came from there.” We’ll have to go back and bring Cabol with us next time.

I’ve posted some more pictures.

According to the trail map we went about 3.5 miles, ranging from 2200-2600′ elevations. Anya did incredibly well, leading the way for most of the trip to the falls and part of the way back, at least until we started to run out of energy. I was impressed at her rock climbing abilities, since I have all the agility of a wounded rhino.

How I spent my vacation

Posted on

Carol and Anya have gone to Georgia for a week, so it’s a mini-vacation for me.  Except that I still have to work.

Progress continues on the studio space.  I’ve wired all but the back wall, and since I can’t get to the back wall right now, it will have to wait until I work my way back.  But now we (I) can insulate and put paneling up on the rest of the walls.  I broke three mason jars while moving things around.  Fortunately we (Cabol) have approximately three billion.

We started getting milk again! Tonight I started cultures for yogurt and buttermilk. I can finally use my Christmas yogurt maker! I hope the living room is warm enough for the buttermilk to set. And that the cats don’t try to eat it.  Maybe I can use Anya’s room as an incubator. If only I knew where my thermometer went.

Surplus auction this weekend, they have some oak cabinets and a large wooden table, I’m hoping they go cheap.  Maybe I’ll come home with a file cabinet too. And a giant band saw.


Posted on

I felt an urge to try making lard recently, so I picked up some pork fat from Bright Farm and gave it a whirl. They suggested using a crockpot to render it rather than a stove, and it worked pretty well.

The packages of fat.

Chopped up and in the crockpot.

After a few hours.

After about 12 hours or so, it looked like the solid bits were brown enough.

About 5 pounds of fat turned into 2 quarts of lard…

…and a bag of crunchy bits. Although I think I’d fry them before using to make them crispy again.

After cooling overnight.

I put one jar in the fridge, and one in the freezer. Today I made biscuits with some, and they are definitely flakier than in the past. The pork taste was only a bit noticeable, and then only if nothing was on the biscuit.

I wonder if there is a lard category at the fair.

Cider Saturday

Posted on

Saturday we put our new cidermaking tools into action.

I was in charge of the mashing and pressing, and I made Cabol do all the cutting. Anya helped with the washing. And the mashing.

All told, we ended up with around nine and a half gallons of cider. Five gallons went into the fermenter, and the rest in the fridge and freezer.