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Fabric Bins for the IKEA Expedit

Expedit Bins

I love my IKEA Expedit shelf. I use it as a wall to divide my formal living room from my dining room, which serves as my office/sewing room. For awhile now, I’ve been searching for storage bins to help me organize the shelf and store items that I need to keep out of my little girl’s reach. Since this shelf is out in the open for all to see, the bins need to be pretty, too.

I looked at the IKEA options for bins first. Some of them just aren’t attractive at all. They do have some nice ones in natural materials, but I was afraid that the neutral colors of those baskets would just be too visually boring for a room with light brown walls and a birch colored Expedit. And $14-$16 per bin isn’t cheap for bins that aren’t even perfect.

There are a lot of generic fabric storage bins out there, but most of them just aren’t quite the right size for the Expedit. They tend to be just a few inches too small, which wastes valuable space and would not look quite as nice on the shelf as a bin made to fit. Target’s Itso bins are just the right size, but I wasn’t wild about the few color options available when I began my search.

I decided that the only way to get bins that were both the right size and pretty enough was to make them myself. I’m not the only one to come to this conclusion. There are lots of tutorials for making your own IKEA storage bins. I followed the tutorial for DIY Expedit Bins at Stitches and Seams. This is a great, easy to follow tutorial. I made a few small changes with my bins: instead of making a matching fabric handle, I used a length of cotton webbing for the handles. Instead of making a plastic pocket to hold a tag, I sewed on little metal frames I picked up from the scrapbooking aisle.

With a baby to work around, I spent several weeks from start to finish on five of these bins. Without a baby to distract you, I’m sure the project would go much faster, but it still isn’t a super quick project. I think the finished bins are worth the work. I love how they turned out. They are going to help me organize and baby proof my space so much.

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An Owl Wedding

A couple of dear friends of mine got married last October, and they asked me to make their wedding favors, a massive parliament of Little Hootie Owls.

Each guest received a box upon arriving at the reception. The box was labelled with their table number and contained a Little Hootie Owl. We also decided it would be a good idea to make Big Hoot owls for the bride and groom.

They sort of served as off-the-cake cake toppers, or maybe, a guard of honor for the cake? I love to think that the Big Hoots and the Little Hooties made a sweet little memento that people will actually keep. Something worth holding on to, that serves as a warm reminder of a lovely day. Not that little bags of jordan almonds aren’t totally awesome or anything.

Thanks, friends, for letting me be a part of your wedding.

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Some New Things…

A couple of new things I had at the market this weekend:

Pouches made with osnaburg fabric and appliqued with bunting, trees, or owls.

Little Hootie Owl Mobiles!

This week I plan on making some more card wallets and maybe some new bags. I seem to have a hard time getting started on projects when I come home from a long day of work, so we’ll see how that actually goes.

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A Peek at Patchwork

In my ongoing quest to use up scraps, I’ve started making scrappy wristlets. This one is entirely made of scrap cotton and linen left over from other projects, embellished with a bit of bright blue embroidery. This satisfies two objectives: 1) use up scraps, and 2) stock up on environmentally-conscious goodies in time for the Earth Day Festival. Of course, if you can’t wait until Earth Day, you can find this one at the Underground Spring Fling Fine Art Fair next Sunday.

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Tiny Buttons

Tiny Buttons

I’ve been making a pile of tiny covered buttons lately.

I have a very hard time parting with even the smallest scraps of fabric. Of course, that means I have a seriously out-of-hand collection of scrap fabric. I’ve starting turning some of it into these tiny buttons, which will ultimately become push pins.

I’ve also used bits of scrap fabric to make appliques. My pile is big enough, though, that I need to come up with some more good projects for scrap fabric. Any ideas?

Also, I’ve been loving this Pandora station lately, built around the Kate Nash’s song “Merry Happy.” You should check it out.

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Another Quilt-in-Progress

Finishing the Zig Zag Quilt really motivated me to tackle some other works-in-progress I’ve had hanging around for much too long. I have had the squares cut out for this quilt I’m making for my own bed for almost as long as the Zig Zag Quilt has been hanging around.

I sewed all the blocks into long strips, and then joined the blocks with thin strips of cream fabric. As you can see in the photo, Yoda is helping, as he usually does with my quilts. I did this a couple weeks ago, and have since been distracted with another project, which I hope to be posting about soon. I still need to make and attach some borders of cream fabric around the edges of the quilt, then actually quilt it and bind it, but at least I’m making progress! It’s an actually top now, instead of just a collection of fabric squares. Too bad I can’t Yoda to help with cutting out the borders I still need…

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Zig Zag Quilt Finished

Zig Zag Quilt

Finished. Finished. Finally.

Remember this post, from way back in 2009, when I said I’d started a Zig Zag Quilt? Or this post from a day later, when the top was all put together, and it just needed quilted and bound?

Well, I finally finished it. It’s quilted, bound, and been through the wash for that little bit of crinkle. It only took me, oh, almost 2 years. I actually finished it a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting for sunshine to take a decent picture. Now that that’s happened, it’s really all done.

Zig Zag Quilt Back

I made this quilt using Crazy Mom Quilts’ instructions, and despite taking so long for me to finish it, it really was quite easy. All of the fabrics I used were from the Tracy Porter collection that was at Jo-Ann Fabrics a couple years ago (and which I think maybe only I had a crush on.) I did five lines of quilting on each of the repeating/background zig zags, which I started thinking after maybe the first zig zag was overkill, but by that point I was committed. So this is pretty heavily quilted. I do love how all the quilting looks on the back, though. And also, I love the pieced stripe I added to the back. This was the first back I’ve done that hasn’t been one solid fabric.

It’s certainly satisfying to finally finish something. Now I need to work on finishing a quilt top I started ages ago for my bed…

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Action Shots of a Different Sort

You may have noticed by now that I’m a fan of photos of Anodyne Design items in “action.” Most of these photos come after someone has purchased the item, but it has recently come to my attention that there is whole other realm of possibility for action shots: wandering photographers at craft show and farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets in particular seem to be especially appealing to the itinerant photographer, and apparently even photographers cannot resist the cuteness of the Little Hootie Owl.

This photo of the Little Hooties recently appeared in the Bloomington Farmers’ Market weekly newsletter:

Little Hootie Owls at the Bloomington Farmers' Market
Photo by Gemma Billings

And this one was taken at the recent craft fair at the FRC:

Photo of Little Hootie Owls by Natural Habitat
Photo by Natural Habitat

Thanks for taking, and sharing, such lovely photos! Oh, and if you happen to be the sort of photographer who’s drawn to farmers’ markets, check out the flickr pool I created for photos taken at the Peoria RiverFront Market. The Market starts up again the first Saturday in June. Bring your camera.

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The Best Part

SciFi Man pointed out to me yesterday that I forgot to mention the best part of his Valentine’s Day gift to me. Which is that the “stem” of the flower is actually a retractable pointer, so I can tap things with it. (Apparently, he noticed how much I enjoyed tapping things the last time we bought wooden dowels at the hardware store.) And he’s totally right. Here’s some tapping in action:

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My Creative Sweetheart

Although SciFi Man and I love each other dearly, we aren’t always very big on giving each other the traditional Valentine’s Day cards and flowers. This is for a reasons both environmental and frugal. It can be difficult to find locally grown, pesticide-free, affordably-priced flowers in mid-February. This year our plans were minimal and we actually ended up spending the day with a friend, instead of as a romantic twosome. SciFi Man still managed to be a sweetheart, though. When my friend and I returned from shopping for her wedding dress (of course Valentine’s Day is a fine day to do wedding shopping!), I found this sweet, unexpected origami flower waiting for me.

My sweetheart doesn’t often get crafty and make things, so this is extra special. He also told me that he came up with the center piece all on his own. (He found directions for the rest of the flower online. When I told him I would blog about this, he asked me to warn you to be careful when googling for origami flowers, as his computer was almost infected with a virus when he was searching.)

It may not be red roses and chocolate, but it’s perfect. Thank you, darling. You can be my Valentine any day.