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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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Creative Space: A New Cutting Table

In addition to a new desk, I’ve been sorely in need of a new cutting table. For years, I’ve had a cutting table that has sides that fold down and was made with the express purpose of being a cutting table. I bought it at the craft store. It has a matching cutting mat. And it did a good job, aside from being a little wobbly, until one day when it decided to disintegrate. Literally. It just fell to pieces.

I wanted to replace it with something that didn’t wobble, had lots of space, and was cheap. As with my quest for the perfect desk, I turned to Pinterest for cutting table inspiration. I found lots of versions of the same basic table: put a table top or hollow core door on top of some book cases or cubbies. So simple, so affordable.

Martha Stewart's Bookcase & Door Desk
Martha Stewart’s Bookcase & Door Desk
DIY Large Work Table at The Ivy Cottage

It also appears to be the basic idea behind Pottery Barn’s Bedford Project Table:

Pottery Barn Bedford Project Table
Pottery Barn Bedford Project Table

I bought some semi-sturdy looking bookcases, instead of the super cheap ones recommended in many of the examples on Pinterest, as I’ve had a bad experience with a cheapy Walmart bookcase disintegrating on me in the past. (I’m noticing a theme here… maybe it’s me… or maybe I need to just stop buying bottom-of-the-line furniture.)  For the table top, I bought the biggest unfinished hollow core door available. My cutting mat is 36″ tall and fits perfectly on the door. Also, a 36″ by 80″ door is HUGE. Just so you know. I knew this, intellectually, but it took on a different meaning when I got the door into my home. I will never lack for cutting surface.

I sanded, primed, painted, and sealed my door, so that my table would look like a nice, finished piece of furniture, instead of, you know, a door slapped on top of a couple of bookcases.

Cutting Table

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I’ve got a big, sturdy table and some extra storage space underneath. I chose not to attach the door to the book cases, so I can disassemble the table and move it easily when I need to. I have a thin layer of grippy shelf liner on top of each of the book cases to eliminate any possible slippage.

If you are interested in seeing more ideas for a great craft room, follow my Pinterest board Craft Room Inspiration. It’s full of ideas for desks, cutting tables, file cabinets, bulletin boards, and everything else you need in a great craft room.

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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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Owls, Owls, Everywhere!

A new flock of Little Hootie Owls in shades of brown, green, and blue has flown into the Etsy shop. New to the group are the light brown owls, and I think they make a great addition to the more natural looking owl colors.

Parliament of Owls

Additionally, you may notice that Anodyne Design is sporting a pretty, owly new logo. Just in case you missed it, here it is:

Anodyne Design Logo

Isn’t is lovely? I thought it was time for Anodyne Design to get a more identifiable and consistent image, and I really think this will do the trick. The marvelous work was done by Amber of a. mabe design. I’m creative, but by no means a graphic designer. It was a pleasure to work with someone as talented and professional as she is. I can’t say enough nice things about her or the logo. It’s nice to be so happy with something!

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New Magnet Sets in the Shop

Tonight I added some new sets of button magnets to the Etsy shop. Each set contains five magnets covered with either matching or coordinating fabric. They’re cute and practical. These are the types of magnets I use in my own kitchen, so I know that they’re strong and will last. We tend to use magnets to hold up more than one thing at a time around here, and these ones are up to the challenge!

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Preserving A Favorite Sweater

I have always loved sweaters. One of the main reasons I love fall so much is because it means a return to sweater-season! So I’ve got a pretty decent collection of sweaters, and I wear them all the time. It breaks my heart when I have to part with one of them, because it no longer fits or, more likely, because it’s been worn to death.

One of my most beloved sweaters was a beautiful cream colored cable-knit sweater that my mother bought for me during my first semester at college. I wore it all the time.

Me and my sweater. Oh, and a friend. 😉

Like most beloved sweaters, it started to fall apart after years of constant use, and I eventually had to set it aside. I didn’t know how to repair it properly, but also couldn’t bear to get rid of it, so it lived in a closet for years. Then I had this great idea to turn it into pillows, and it continued to live in the closet, but now with a purpose!

Since I have quietly, and only to myself, declared January the month of finishing unfinished projects, I finally got around to turning that unwearable sweater into something special. I cut it (oh, it was so hard!) into two panels, and used them to create two envelope-back style pillow covers. I only had one pillow form on hand, so I quickly made up a second pillow form while I was at it. Years of sitting in the closet, and the whole project only took about an hour at most.

My old sweater, transformed into pillows!

Aren’t they lovely? Now I can continue to love my sweater, and I bet these pillows will last a long time.

As for the month of finishing the unfinished, I also spent less than an hour making a body pillow cover for SciFi Man out of fabric that has been waiting for just that purpose since last spring. SciFi Man is happy, I’m happy to get that project out of my pile, everybody wins! Other unfinished projects on the docket:

  1. A “charming handbag” from Bend the Rules Sewing that was cut out last spring but never assembled.
  2. A quilt for my bed, the blocks for which were cut out but never assembled.
  3. The zig zag quilt, which just needs a few more lines of quilting and a binding.
  4. Bread bags made from tea towels.
  5. Produce bags made from netting.
  6. 2 wristlets I have cut out, but not assembled (are you noticing a theme here?)

Do you have any unfinished projects you want to finish this year? Feel free to jump on my bandwagon!

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Upcycling for Re-

Upcycled Wristlets

This weekend I made up a few new bags to take over to Re-, as their supply of Anodyne Design wristlets was running dangerously low (hooray!). It’s been awhile since I’ve made wristlets from recycled fabrics, and I forgot how much I love transforming the unloved into the completely cute. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I did get three bags finished. Another one from the same white sweater I used before, and two from men’s dress shirts and twill pants. Instead of buttons, I accented each of these bags with old brooches I found at Goodwill. I don’t know if they’re technically “vintage,” but they are pretty and add a nice touch to the bags. And better they pretty up bags than languish behind a jewelry counter.

Wristlet for Re-

If you like these wristlets, you can find them at Re-, a cool shop full of all sorts of re-cycled, re-used, and re-purposed goodness, in the Peoria Metro Centre.

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A Growing Parliament of Owls

When does a parliament become an army?

My parliament of tiny owls continues to grow! I love these little guys, and making them has almost become addictive. I’ll be listing them on Etsy once I get some decent sun to photograph them in. Until then, you can expected to see them at the Fancy Schmancy Fall Festival down on the Peoria Riverfront this Saturday morning. And if you aren’t in the area (or even if you are!), you can enter to win one on my Facebook fan page. All you need to do is 1) be a fan and 2) write me a little haiku about anything you like. On Saturday, October 17th, I’ll choose two winners, one random and one who writes my favorite haiku, and each one will receive a tiny owl! I hope you’ll play along. Haikus are so easy and fun. (If you aren’t familiar with haikus, they are short, 3 line poems. They don’t need to rhyme. All they need to do is be structured so that the first and last lines each have 5 syllables and the second line has 7.) Good luck!

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It Wasn’t On The List

Of course, as soon as I share my Crafty To Do List with you, I go off and make something that wasn’t on the list. When SciFi Man saw, he said “What about the quilt? This project wasn’t on your list.” To which I brilliantly replied, “How do you know about my list?” I guess he keeps tabs on my blog more than I realized. That’s sweet.

So, true to form, I wrote a list and promptly deviated from it. I followed My Spare Time’s very nice tutorial for making a simple baby blanket. The tutorial was easy to follow, although I think my mitered corners still need a bit of perfecting. Good thing these blankets are quick to put together, so I’ll be able to practice my corners. And until they’re perfect, I get to keep the spoils for myself, which is awesome, because I love how this first blankie turned out.

Baby Blanket

The top is a now-unavailable Tracy Porter print in dusky pink with brown branches and flowers. It’s paired with a soft green apple fleece that I had laying around from another unfinished project, and bound with satin blanket binding in cream. So pretty! Yoda, always my blanket model, helped me out with a photo shoot:

The Only Baby in This House...
The Only Baby in This House…
"Be sure you get my handsome profile..."
“Be sure you get my handsome profile…”
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A Mini Coin Purse

Someone at the farmer’s market pointed out that there was a chance coins could slip out of my card wallets. I hadn’t really thought about it, since I had made them specifically for cards, but it’s a very good point. So I went home and went to work on a zippered coin purse. The first one came out embarassingly wonky, and is now part of my private collection, the next was a tad too large, and the third was just right. (Perhaps I should have named it the Goldilocks Coin Purse if I’m going to tell it this way!) By just right, I mean it’s the same size as the card wallet, so they stack up nicely. Let me know what you think:

Coin Purse in Peacock Green

Imagine all the things you could keep in one these. Of course, my first thought was lip balm. But I think that may be my addiction talking.