From the Woodshop

Out of town guests? Put them to work!

You can’t have your guest visiting from out of town just hanging out at your house and relaxing. And you absolutely do not want them expecting you to take them sight-seeing or anything like that while they visit!

Instead, you need to put them to work on home remodeling projects! (smile)

April was a busy month. Besides visiting Orlando, Florida (see post Oh Orlando), we also had two sets of out of town guests visiting.

The first set of guests (Marla Jo and Jason) we used to help build a new dresser for our master bedroom. Actually Jason and my partner John worked on the dresser while Marla Jo and I sat around and binge watched television shows, snacked and chatted (yes, that was exhausting work!)

No we don’t just invite people to visit us and then use them for home projects. Jason is very handy (he does amazing builds and remodels) and enjoys working on projects. Also he wanted to learn how to make drawers and John has become very good at making drawers over the past year.

Here are photos from Jason and John working on our new dresser:

The boys had fun playing in John’s workshop in our basement:

Mike the Miniature Schnauzer grew impatient as his Jason (Marla Jo and Jason used to be Mike’s babysitters when I lived in Oregon and went out of town) was ignoring him and not playing ball with him (Mike felt Jason should have been able to multitask, ha!)

So Mike kept tossing his ball between the back of Jason’s legs while Jason worked on the dresser.

We did actually take them sightseeing as well as out to a nice meal during their visit; and even visited with them. But most of their visit the boys did work on the dresser.

After they left to return to Oregon, John completed the dresser on his own and finished it with a beeswax and mineral oil mix that Jason recommended.

And here is the finished dresser in our master bedroom that two important men in my life worked on:

It was very exciting to put my clothes in it!


Postscript

Marla Jo and Jason are family to me and they have embraced my partner John. Jason drove my stuff 1200 miles from Oregon to Colorado when I relocated in April 2019 after my husband died in December 2018. They were both there on the most awful day of my life and watched my dog Mike when I traveled to see family and friends after my terrible loss.

They are very happy to see me in my life now and to also see that Mike the Miniature Schnauzer is doing so well. Jason took these adorable photos of Mike, posed with his favorite toy – “Beary”- during their visit:

Beastie Adventures, From the Woodshop, Studio

Guest Blogger: Updated Tour of Beastie’s Home

Tierney is on vacation and she’ll tell you about her trip when she gets back. So I am going to step in and be the guest blogger so she does not go too long without having a new post on her blog (I know, I know, I am so awesome for helping her!).

Oh in case you are new to this blog: my name is tierneycreates Beastie and I am a Monster, but the good kind of Monster. I was made by Helen of CrawCrafts Beasties in Dublin, Ireland. You can read my story at I’m A Monster!!!. You can also check out the other posts I’ve had to guest blog on (i.e. when the human Tierney falls off the blogging-wagon and I have to help) in the series of posts: Beastie Adventures.

A photo from last year of me writing a guest blog post

When I am not guest blogger posting, then Mike the Miniature Schnauzer has to guest blog post:

Someone else Tierney uses to do her work: Mike reviewing the draft of his guest post before posting…

Oh and now the subject of this post (which is not to just show how Tierney falls of the blogging wagon and we have to rescue her…) – I wanted to show you the recent updates to my home, which is also Tierney’s crafting studio.

Tierney’s partner John (human John, not to be confused with my Beastie fiancé “John Beastie”, see post Guest Blog Post: Mail Order Groom) has been busy in his Woodshop making things for her studio.

MY NEW “HIGH RISE

Human John built Tierney a storage unit for her fat quarter collection and fabric scraps which she keeps in wine crates:

“Beastie Towers”

My dog Mikelet and I live on the “second floor”:

IRONING (AND CUTTING) TABLE

Human John also built Tierney a table with shelves for her new large iron board he made her (see post “From the Cutting Table”: Update to tierneycreates Studio (Guest Blogger)) a couple months ago. She stores her rulers in there as well as miscellaneous sewing supplies:

She’s also been known to store a Miniature Schnauzer in there:

THE TABLE

Last year from her local community board for free stuff, Tierney picked up a large black table to use for crafting. It was scuffed up but it worked:

Tierney was “making-do” with the table and covered up the scuffs with an old table cloth but John wanted her to have a decent looking table in her studio so he created a new tabletop for it! John created a pattern with wood like a “nine-patch” quilting block.

A month ago Tierney bought herself a used Juki sewing machine which is in the image above.

Alas, she did not buy ME another sewing machine, I have to just be happy with my Beastnina:

So those are the changes to my home, the tierneycreates studio!

Tierney will be back on the next post telling you about her trip and she might even catch up with reading her blogging buddies posts and responding to comments.

Until then, here is a sign she saw a couple months ago to give you some inspiration:

Bags Bags Bags, From the Woodshop, tierneycreates

Misadventures in Bag Making

My friend Dana* (@chambersdalix) is always inspiring me to stretch my sewing/crafting skills and try new things. These new things in the past have included such techniques as English Paper Piecing (see post From the Basket – English Paper Piecing), and using fabrics I would usually never select on my own (see post The Tale of Three Tulas, Part I).

*Note – Dana is one of those people who can merely look at an image of a handmade item on Pinterest and figure out how to make it from the image…and then make it perfectly!

So when she talked her daughter, me, and our mutual friend Kathy into working on an Instagram based “bag of the month” project to build our bag making skills I was excited. For February the bag was the Devon Pouch by s.o.t.a.k. handmade. You make the pouch and then post the image to Instagram.

If you go to the hashtag #devonpouch on on Instagram you will see some GORGEOUS versions of the pouch:

I was like: “Wow! I want to make this pouch!”. Sure I have not made very many things with zippers but I can follow a pattern; and the designer has a time lapsed YouTube video of her making the bag so you can see all the steps demonstrated in addition to have the pattern.

So I thought I was safe.

Plus Dana was so sweet and sent me cute fabric from her stash and some zippers to make 2 of the pouches. So what could go wrong….?

Excited to get started, this past Saturday I cut out the pattern pieces, applied the interfacing and prepared to make two pouches:

The elements of a wild Saturday night

I put on some yummy music (my favorite Denver radio station KUVO which is also a streamable Public Radio Station from kuvo.org), opened my laptop to the video of the designer making the pouch, sat down at my sewing machine and got to work.

Ready to sew!

In addition to materials to make the pouch, my friend Dana had also sent me scraps from when she made me a quilt (see post Mind Blowing Mail) and I incorporated some of these scraps into the front zipper pocket for my first pouch that I worked on.

Yummy scraps!

I was feeling very clever.

A couple hours later, I was not feeling so clever.

The written pattern stated to change to a “zipper foot” whenever you were working on the two zippers in the pouch. I found the zipper foot to my Bernina, which I’ve only used once before and I think that was in 2006 in a class when I first bough my Bernina sewing machine.

The pattern told me to switch between my regular foot and my zipper foot. Problem: I am very inexperienced using a zipper foot. Wait let’s just say it plainly: I did not know what the heck I was doing.

I will spare you the full saga, but my seams were off and once multiple seams are off in a pattern you know you are in the middle of a serious freaking sewing misadventure!

Here is my quite ugly version of the finished pouch:

Ugh

Here’s an even better image that might make you suspect I was under the influence of mind altering drugs while sewing (Nope, the bottom of the pouch is NOT supposed to look like that):

Gasp

Please look away if the image above is too grotesque. My version of the pouch does not appear to even be remotely related to the examples of the beautiful pouches on #devonpouch that I shared earlier in this post.

I did post the completed bag to Instagram and people were very kind but I was quite embarrassed over how lopsided and poorly constructed it was (the photo actually does not do justice to the sewing abomination!)

As a bonus, I accidentally stuck myself with pin (yay, that is always so pleasant) during final construction and bled on the back of the bag. I did not catch the spot of blood of course until I pressed/ironed in the blood (is this pouch doomed or what?):

A little of me permanently ironed into the pouch…

At first I decided to just keep the pouch and use it to store the fabric scraps Dana sent me:

Trying to create a purpose for the abomination made

But finally I decided to un-assemble it and salvage the nice zippers that Dana sent me; and reuse the zippers in my next attempt.

So when I feel up to it, I am going to start over again and make my first pouch again, before moving on to the second one. I am going to stay away from the zipper foot this time as I discovered towards the end I could sew the zipper just fine with a standard foot.


Postscript

In more successful crafting news, Mr. Woodworker (my partner John) recently finished a remodel of one of our basement closets to become an entertaining supply storage closet with cabinet and coordinating shelves:

Much more successful crafting

This was the first real cabinetry he’s made. He also made a butcher block style counter top of the cabinet!

Oh and John is going to take the advice several of you left in the comment section of the post Handmade Spools, and make more wooden spools for me to sell on either my Etsy shop (if I ever get it reopened) or a craft fair or something.

A Crafter's Life, From the Woodshop

From the Woodshop

Crafting wise I do not have much to report as I am finished with the granny square blanket (see previous post Attack of the Giant Granny Square Blanket) and I am currently working on hand stitching Seattle Scrappy (see previous post and the post An Update on “Seattle Scrappy” – Haphazard Stitching… ).

So I am going to take this opportunity to share what the other crafty person in the house, my partner John has been working on.

A couple months ago we turned part of our basement into his woodshop (we had it professionally drywalled as well as electrical added, while John put in the floor and did all the finishing work), so he could have his own “craft room”.

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His workshop is a work in progress and evolving. For the first time in his life he has his dream of having his own dedicated woodshop beyond just tinkering in the garage.

John and I met in mid-2019 after suddenly each losing our long time spouses/life partners in 2018. We decided that since how long you have to live your life is unknown (when you become a widow/widower you think a lot about your own mortality in addition to grieving the loss of your spouse) we would not hold back from having our dreams (within reason and within financial possibilities of course!). One of his lifelong dreams was to have his own woodshop!

(One of our shared dreams is travel and pre-COVID pandemic we had many plans for travel in 2020, but you all know about “best laid plans” when it comes to 2020…)

Mike the miniature schnauzer did a guest blog post a couple weeks ago (yes, yes, stop your disbeliefs that my dog writes blog posts, ha, ha) on some of the projects John has been working on – Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On , but I thought I would share some of the projects since that post.

Wood Blocking Board

I saw on Instagram wood blocking boards for granny squares and asked John if he could make me one – and he did!

Here is an image of one I found online and texted him the image:

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He watched a couple YouTube videos and checked out some on Pinterest and figured it out how to make me one:

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It’s going to be great to use for making my next granny square blanket – I can stack my blocks pretty high with the long pegs.

Bike Holders/Storage

John loves Pinterest as a great source of ideas. He wanted to get our bikes off just sitting on the ground of the garage and found a cool design for a bike rack and made one for each of our bikes!

He made mine first so most of the images are of mine with some detailed images of the rack to include the little drawer he built for it also. 

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The little drawer is perfect to keep your biking gloves and other small items related to cycling. It is very easy to lift our bikes out of the holders.

Magnetic Board

I am obsessed with Scrabble letters. I have a collection of Scrabble letters from thrift stores and old Scrabble games. I’ve made gifts from them in the past like friend’s names spelled in Scrabble letters affixed to a magnetic strip. Recently while at a thrift shop I found a bag of Scrabble letters with individual thin magnetic strips attached. 

This led to the idea of creating a magnetic board for my home office where I could write inspirational messages for myself with Scrabble letters! I asked John and he made it happen!

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Currently up on the board I have the Maya Angelou quote:

Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Custom Tables for his Woodshop

The first table John made for his woodshop was a table/stand/storage for his Miter Saw:

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He used purchased plans he downloaded online to make this table and then made some adjustments for his needs.

Recently he made himself another table/stand/storage, this time without pre-purchased plans! He designed a table for his Planer with storage drawers with cool pulls he ordered online:

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Exercise Room for Water Rower

And the big project that John recently completed did not technically involve his woodshop as he did much for the work in the garage – he converted part of our unfinished storage room in the basement into an exercise room for our new Water Rower. This involved framing out and dry walling the room. A wonderful friend helped him with a lot of the initial labor related to framing,  installing the drywall, and pulling electrical for lighting and wall outlets.

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The artwork in the room was my idea and I found it at a thrift shop. John created the frame around the world map. I figured we can daydream about travel while we row.  We found a television on sale and an inexpensive TV mount online so we can watch rowing instructional videos (or Netflix) while rowing.

We repurposed an old bookcase for our “gym” towels and water bottles like they would have at a real gym. John also put in a vent for the room for ventilation while we break a sweat.

Well I better go work on my hand stitching so I can have something to show you in the future – John makes me look pretty lazy!


Postscript

Do you remember how in the post The Inpatient Schnauzer: Update on the Granny Square Afghan (Guest Blogger), Mike the miniature schnauzer was getting impatient for me to finish the granny square blanket? So it is all finished but he seems to have moved on!

He is now in love with a new fleece blanket we recently picked up and has become inseparable from it!

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I guess schnauzers are fickle!

Let me close this post with a sign/piece of artwork I discovered while thrifting that I put up outside John’s woodshop door. I think it goes with the aesthetic of a woodshop and also embraces how we are hoping to live our lives:

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Feature Image Photo by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

From the Woodshop, Special Events

Card Making Playdate

I am off work on Fridays and last Friday I had my friend Michele over for a card making playdate!

Michele got me into card making back in the late 1990s when we worked together at a company in Seattle, Washington (in the Queen Anne area if you are familiar with Seattle). Along with our friend Sandy we would make cards in the conference room during our lunch break.

I’ve not make cards for a couple years, not since I made them for my tierneycreates Etsy shop (which I still daydream about reopening someday). Here are the sets of cards I sold on my Etsy shop years ago:

I lined the inside of the cards with a white folded sheet of paper to make it easier to write inside the card (instead of trying to write a greeting on deep colored card stock.

So Michele and I thought it would be fun after all these years, and since I now also live in the Denver Metro area where she lives, to get together for making cards (and we could relatively socially distance while crafting).

I converted my studio/sewing room into a “paper crafting emporium” for the day, putting away my sewing machine and current project in progress (which I will share in a future post) and dusted off my old paper crafting supplies and set them up around the room.

Here is my studio table all set for card making (with snacks of course!):

And the paper crafting supplies spread around the room:

Here is Michele’s work in progress and the cards she made:

I tried to recreate the style of the cards I made previously for my Etsy shop that I featured earlier in the post but I was struggling with my paper cutter (old dull blade, etc.) in order to make larger cards from card stock, so I settled on using pre-made and folded smaller card stock I found in my paper crafting stash (likely 15+ year old!).

I also made these cards (some of the cards have 2 images – one with the ribbon in place and one with it moved so you can read the text):

Most of cards Michele and I added an inner liner of folded white paper glued into the crease to make it easy to write a note inside the card.

Michele and I had a very fun day while Mike the Miniature Schnauzer hung out in the room with us while we crafted.

At one point Mike keep seeking attention from Michele, and she took out a sheet of pre-printed adhesive letters and began teaching Mike the alphabet/to read (while we giggled). During the pandemic she’s been helping her son in his remote home schooling (like so many awesome Moms out there) so she used her Mom-Teacher skills on Mike!

Mike did listen attentively but he was not very good at learning the alphabet!

We had a wonderful lunch prepared by my partner John (who full time telecommutes during the pandemic) of scalloped potatoes, honey ham, and sautéed broccoli.

We also went on a walk around the green space/park behind my house.

It was a lovely way to spend a Friday and we plan to paper craft again in the near future. This time Michele is going to pull out her dusty paper crafting supplies and we will craft at her house.


Postscript

Speaking of crafting, my partner John, who has since the pandemic started and we became homebound, has been studying woodworking and continuing working on projects. I shared the tables he made in the Postscript section of the post – Making My Own Granny Square Afghan.

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Well recently he completely a bench/table with drawers for his Miter Saw which in my opinion is pretty impressive for a new woodworker! He bought plans online for the bench/table and improved upon those plans to better reinforce the table.

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He’s been having a lot of fun in his studio since we converted part of the daylight basement to his woodworking shop!