Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Auction Find

Nancy has just pointed us to some great resources for inspiration, to help us use up some of our hoarded craft supplies. There were so many good suggestions, I thought I better go out and stock up on more supplies so I don’t run out! I just have to share with you the terrific auction lot of sewing supplies I won this week.

There were boxes, tins and baskets of everything imaginable and it took me all Saturday to go through it (and I’m still not totally finished – I want to stretch out the fun). There were patterns old and new; rotary cutters (three); punches (two); a pile of quality felt pieces in every colour of the rainbow; pounds of assorted buttons (some with a retail price of $3.99 each); lace; zippers and thousands of snaps; assorted embellishments; seam rippers and tape measures. Well, you get the picture – the entire contents of someone’s lovely sewing room. The photos below don’t even begin to display all that was included!

Here is a very small part of what I am keeping: more than 70 spools of thread; 21 bobbins also with thread; a quilter’s ruler; many packages of rick rack and seam binding.   Check out the telescopic magnet – great for picking up pins from the floor! Where am I going to put it all?

I gave my crafty daughter all of the beads (glass, plastic; small and tinier), sequins, buttons and googly eyes (three sizes). That should keep her and the girls busy for awhile.

I gave my Mom some of the yarn, and will give more to my sister-in-law, who does a lot of charity knitting.

My favourite local thrift store gets the patterns, more yarn, knitting needles, and lots of miscellaneous:

And the best part? It cost me, including taxes and the auction buyer’s premium, a grand total of $6.44!  It can't get much better than that!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


There are several places I go to get ideas. The first and most obvious is to look at what others are doing on Etsy. I don't mean that I steal ideas from other artists on Etsy, I go there to see what people are doing and look at their creations. That always INSPIRES me in some way or another.

Another place I go to is has many, many areas of interest and not just ideas and patterns for creating handmade. Most recently I have been there to get free knitting patterns. Along with the knitting patterns, they have crochet and other needlecraft patterns. They have "how-to's" also. When I began knitting again in September after being away from it for years, I couldn't remember how to "cast off" or "bind off." I watched a video and had it mastered lickety-split. I believe this site to be the most comprehensive I've run across in my Internet browsing. Here is a link to the sites "Family Crafts: Crafting Tutorials" page:

Some e-commerce sites that sell supplies will also offer free patterns and hope you buy the supplies from them. One such business is Leisure Arts. I recently bought some pocket guides for knitting and crocheting from them. Here is a link to their free projects page:

Another place I frequent is Threads eLetter. They have items for sale, a print magazine and the newsletter. Lots of good stuff here.

This is a project I think I will try because they are so adorable and such a sweet little gift. This website is "craftstylish."

So, if you are out browsing, check out these places to get ideas to use up your hoards!!
But most importantly, have fun doing so.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elves in the Attic

Isn’t that a great shop name? Shop proprietor, Julie, came up with the name when she and a good friend began to design custom scrapbooks. It exudes fun and whimsy – exactly the image she projects in her work.

Elves in the Attic ( is a fairly new Etsy shop, opening only last June. But Julie’s love of art and colour go way back to elementary school; probably even earlier, as craftiness runs through the family. Her mom and sisters also love creating!

Julie loves to play with paper. Although she has dabbled in book binding, she is currently sticking mostly to scrapbooks and cards. She loves clean, simple designs, and finds inspiration from the world around her, including ads, catalogs, billboards and the like.

Don’t you just love this Valentine's card?

This is a current work in progress - the beginnings of a Valentines' Day pocket mini album.

It’s clear why Julie is a member of the Hoarder’s Unite team. She says it’s easier to list what she doesn’t hoard! Included in her stash are fibers of all sorts, paper, stamps, ink, ribbon, rub-ons, chipboard shapes, eyelets, wire, magazines, die-cuts. She also hoards templates, though she never uses them. Other hoarded items include fabric scraps and boxes, because you never know when you might need them!

While Julie says she doesn’t have anything really unusual in her stash, she has been known to snag brads off the kids’ school projects, buttons off clothes, and old CDs. I guess it’s volume over uniqueness! She did acquire a mini sewing machine several years ago with the thought of using it for scrapbooking and card making. She didn’t really like how I worked, so relegated it to the shelf to collect dust. Can’t get rid of it – it’s “still good”!

Elves In the Attic’s “corporate offices” are based in Edmonds, WA, just north of Seattle. Her work space is a tiny room in her home, which is also doubles as the office. She says it’s often in a state of chaos, because that is the environment in which her muse whispers best. But it looks totally organized to me!

Julie describes the most interesting thing she’s made from her hoard as her embellished mailbox. She painted it with red polka dots using acrylic pains left over from a project from her wedding. The wedding was 15 years ago, and the paint was still good!

Advice to other hoarders? Well, it won’t help reduce your stash any, but those 40% off coupons from Michaels and JoAnns really shouldn’t go unused!

When scissors and paper scraps aren’t flying, chances are good that Julie can be found at an ice rink, soccer or baseball field. She and her daughter play soccer, her husband and two boys play hockey, and her youngest also plays baseball. Her favorite moments are those spent with her family camping or hiking. And this great bunch is totally supportive of those Elves in the Attic!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Finish each day and be done with it...
You have done what you could;
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in
Forget them as soon as you can
Tomorrow is a new day;
You shall begin it well and serenely.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Looking for Inspiration

How is your progress coming on the current challenges? Nancy’s January challenge is to make somethingblue. I’ve met that challenge (and will post photos as soon as I can lay my hands on the camera). I liked this challenge – it’s a different way to focus on a project, and I came up lots of blue ideas! I wonder what February’s colour will be?

My challenge to the team was to complete one new year’s resolution (with a hoarder or craft focus) by Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to post your completed photos on the team yahoo site no later than February 14.

Considering this second challenge is the one I came up with, I’m surprised at how much trouble I am having with it! My personal resolution was to come up with a small, functional item that I could make and include as a thank you to my customers. Sounds easy, right? Well, I’ve gone through a lot of ideas, and discarded them all for various reasons: too time consuming, too costly, too boring.

I think I have a mental block about this project. I’ve put on some motivational music; I've played with bits of interesting fabric. I’ve browsed through my craft books and lots of internet craft sites. And I’ve yet to come up with something that’s just right.

On those occasions when you’re lacking crafting inspiration, what do you do? Where do you go to get a project on track? Do you admit defeat, or do you store an unfinished project away, to be completed “some day”?

Friday, January 15, 2010


Okay, team, I took one for ya. I got a Treasury at about 2:20 a.m. Here's the link.

I don't know how to make it show up here in photo format and I'm too tired to try!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


  • This is the definition of "hoard" in the Webster's New World Dictionary: a supply stored up and hidden or kept in reserve~to store away money, goods, etc.~to accumulate and store away.

  • We here at "Hoarders Unite!" are not hoarders in the sense of the word that the new television show "Hoarders" imparts. The persons on the program have a true mental illness which causes them to "hoard" in an unsafe manner. They hoard everything, not just arts and crafts supplies. Their illness causes them to potentially cause harm to themselves or others in that items are hoarded that have no seeming value to those of us who do not have this illness. I won't go into depth about this, as the television program is very detailed and one can watch it to get the gist of it.
  • I cannot help but be saddened by this condition, just as I am by other ailments that afflict fellow men and women. It's too bad that the words "Hoarder" or "Hoarding" now have a negative connotation. I don't, however, think that the normal person reading our blog or seeing our name in our Etsy shops will think of the negative. I doubt that photos of my workroom will cause you to think that I am a hoarder of the ilk the television program features. Rather, you might realize that this is how my room looks after the frenzy of preparing for the holidays and making about 90% of the gifts I gave!!
  • At any rate, I am thankful for my hoard of arts and crafts supplies; I feel sad for the people on this earth who are the type of hoarders the television show features and I hope we are empathetic to all of the illnesses of our fellow human beings.
  • Be sure to let us know when you have photos posted showing your progress on the "challenges" we are doing at this time. Time is getting closer and closer to the deadlines...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Patina of age

(this is an edited cross-over post with my personal blog, but the topic fits the group)
...always invites my senses to explore and my mind to dream. I don't know if it is so with everybody, but those of us who are packrats (okay, hoarders)...nay, FANCIERS of things are drawn to aged goods like rats to the flute. The term "hoarder" is getting such bad press lately, and the focus has been on extreme cases of crisis hoarding, so I am going to call myself a Fancier of things instead!Yesterday, I ran across a box of old papers next to a box of old photographs in the "junk" store. I am always fascinated by old used postcards, old letters, old photos, and other items of a personal nature. In the same manner, I have enjoyed non-fiction personal narrative books, like Pepys' (pronounced Peeps) diary.In this box of papers, I found an envelope from The First National Bank of Ashland, Oregon containing a statement and several canceled checks. What fun to be afforded a glimpse into the world of 1936 personal finance. The study of history in itself was always frightfully dull to me, but artifacts showing a snapshot of the history of a person I can see in my mind make it ever more interesting. I always find it curious that items such as these make their way to public retail spaces.This person had more money in his bank account than I have at times had altogether in lean times. He had a wife (some of the checks are signed by "Mrs.". He had people in Colorado (the back of the canceled check above bears a Colorado stamp). Items that were also in the junk box included a letter from someone in Colorado, a marriage announcement in Oregon, and a high school report card. These ranged in time from 1919 to 1936.

From these items, I can construct a life and a past and a future and all manner of life events for this person. My dormant writer's mind is intrigued. Writing a fictional account of the life of this "character" would take me to an in-depth exploration of the history of 1900 through 1940 that would, in that context, be anything but dull. History teachers take heed: You could have had me if you had only produced a letter, a locket, a ribbon-tied stack of recipes...

Do I need these items in my home? No! But, I am not a crisis hoarder (though I do struggle with crafting clutter), and I see a possible crafting potential in these items. What is your collecting weakness? Are you drawn to items such as these as well?



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Get Organized!

It’s great that so many Hoarders Unite members have joined the team new year’s resolution challenge! Probably none of us would be surprised to see that the common theme for many of the new year’s resolutions is getting the craft room organized. We all know that to get organized, we need to make a plan, keep like items together, and put things away when we’re finished with them. Here are a few other ideas on how to be better organized.

If you haven’t done so already, invest in a labeler, so you know what is in that shoe box or file folder without having to open it.

Attach wire baskets to an inexpensive bookcase, for storing bulkier craft items such as yarn.

Running out of space? Hang it!

Attach a plastic wall file holder (the kind you can get at an office supply store) next to your main work area, and use it for your project sketches or the small craft supplies that you need for your current project.

Keep photos or drawings of your ideas in a binder or photo album, so you can look through them more easily. Organize into sections.

Store ribbon in lidded plastic containers, such as those that sour cream or yogurt come in. Cut a small hole in the lid so the ribbon can be pulled out as needed

If you have a lot of supplies (who doesn’t?), organize a bit at a time. Spending 15 or 20 minutes a day could be more productive in the long run than trying to do it all in a weekend.

Personalize your space – make it comfortable and pretty!
Resist the urge! Donate, give to another crafter or throw out what you won’t use. This includes unfinished projects that you know you’ll never get to. Not likely to happen, I know, but I’m just saying …

Add your ideas for organizing the craft room!

craft room desk:

hanging organizers:


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Are you having "after Christmas" doldrums? I think I am. I've been doing a few things but have slowed wayyyyy down. I knitted two hats of the four requested after the grandchildren opened their gifts and the parents saw the hats and scarves and put in orders! I have requests for two scarves, too.  I guess the weather has contributed to my funk. It snowed last week, a lot, and it was beautiful. But it has melted and the rain came and it's dreary looking outside.

DH has a bad cold and I'm feeling sorta iffy, like maybe this scratchy throat and runny nose might be a sign that this bad cold is going to be mine tomorrow. Ho hum.

Sorry for the "woe is me" -- it's not really a "woe is me" it's more like I can't think of anything to write this week and my energy level won't conjure up anything better!! So, I do apologize; I hope you are all doing well; I hope you are not having the doldrums; and as always, HAPPY SALES TO YOU!!

PS-How are you doing on the challenges?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beach Treasure

Ever dreamed of living on board a sailboat, voyaging through the Pacific? That’s exactly what Nelia, proprietor of Beach Treasure along with her husband and three year old daughter, have been doing for the last few years!

Life on the boat is a mix of paradise and fear – on the one hand, relaxation and wonder, with the ability to walk endless uninhabited and rarely visited beaches. On the other hand, a little change in the weather or slight inattention can easily destroy your home and threaten your life. Either way, Mother Nature dictates where you go and what you do; the tides and the wind rule your activities. What an adventurous life!

Nelia has focused much creative time on jewelry making. Nature is her inspiration, whether the ocean or mountains; especially the small things in nature: how curly vines grip around their support plant, or the shape of the curves of a leaf or a flower; how the gentle waves on the beach push up the beach and then swirl in their retreat. Most importantly, the quiet and space of nature allows for thinking and pondering, and therefore creating.

Nelia attributes her love of crafting to her upbringing. Her parents were both crafters/artists and do-it-yourself types. Through her youth, she was encouraged to try new and different crafts: papermaking, photography, knitting, ceramics, flower pressing, weaving, and wood carving. She remembers as a preschooler making oddly deformed dog or dragon-like animals from clay, firing them and painting them. A little older, she recalls trying to carve a rooster out of a little block of wood.

Walking the beaches has led to the collecting and hoarding of shells, and the creation of her fabulous beach-inspired jewelry. Nelia is addicted to hoarding and collecting the shells she finds on the sandy or rocky shores she walks.

As you might imagine, living on boat has more than its share of hoarding challenges. Space is limited on a sailboat, so every nook and cranny is filled with something. Shells are everywhere: jars and boxes of shells, mostly stuffed down in the furthest corners of the lockers so it doesn't appear that she has so many! But it’s still a challenge to keep it all under control: either her most recent container of collected shells is out and in the way, or her little girl is spreading them all over the boat! Nelia also loves to sew, and says she has far too much fabric (is there such a condition?). Some of the fabric she’s been carting around for a ver long time, but when you are starting a sewing project, variety is essential, especially with no store nearby to fill in the gap.

Other than shells, fabric and other crafting supplies, Nelia says she’s also guilty of hoarding food supplies. Since she lives in remote areas much of the time, it’s necessary to stock up on the things that will last, such as grains and beans, sugar and flour. When she can, she also stocks up on specialty items like good chocolate, special teas and pine nuts. Her problem, of course, is that with these hoarded specialty items that she may not be able to find for another six months, they frequently go unused because they are too 'special' and should be saved for when they are 'really' needed!

The most unusual hoarded item Nelia has is the vertebrae of a dolphin that she found on a beach about ten years ago. She’s got it down in one of the lockers, no sure what she will ever do with it. She also has some Pacific black pearls bought from a pearl farmer. They are still mostly tucked safely away, as she is too nervous to drill a hole into them for fear of destroying the pearl.

For Nelia, one of the joys of hoarding is looking through her supplies, poking through things, sorting and seeing what she has to make future projects. Looking through her stash always inspires new ideas of things to make or how to make them.

Nelia loves crafting with her young daughter, painting, cutting, and gluing, and drawing. Another generation of crafters in the making!

Photos show Nelia's sailboat at anchor; husband and daughter in the middle of a sail repair; Nelia sorting through the stash with her daughter; handcrafted octopus, as well as completed creations currently available in the Beach Treasure Etsy shop (