New Cat and Spring Cleaning

I haven't been able to do any crafting for the past week or so and this adorable kitty is why!

The boyfriend and I adopted him last week. This is a picture I snapped of him hiding from the vacuum cleaner on top of the fridge. His name is Dr. Richard Pussycat Feynman, Feynman for short. He's about eight or nine months old. He's terrified of the vacuum but seems to like water, so hopefully frequent baths will help keep the dander under control. He will be taking a trip to the vet next week to get fixed, get rid of worms, and get vaccinated and stuff.

Since we're going to have to start cleaning much more often now that we have Feynman, I've spent the last week doing a massive spring cleaning and organizing. About a car load of stuff went to the thrift store, and I finally got the office all clean and organized. We've only had the apartment since July...

Step one was to go through all our books and get rid of doubles. I knew the boyfriend and I had some books in common, but once I started sorting through them I was amazed to find that we had a whole banker's box full of doubles! All good stuff like LotR, classic science fiction, classic English literature books, and then a handful of science for pleasure reading books. So those went to a friend to look through and then donate to the library to either lend out or sell in the library store. FYI the library bookstore at the main branch and Booklegger on Holmes and Jordan are the two best used book stores in Huntsville.

I also took the rest of my text books into my office on campus, so in the end we were able to reduce four mostly full bookcases to three very full bookcases. This left the smaller bookcase for me to use for craft stuff! Organizing my craft stuff was quite an ordeal. I went through all my fabric, ironed and folded everything, and sorted them into tiny scraps, small scraps, medium scraps, and large pieces of fabric, with separate containers for denim scraps and knit scraps. So organized! You can't see it in the photo, but all my yarn is sorted in a hanging shoe organizer on the right side of the closet. The fancy tin from the boyfriend's bottle of Jameson is the perfect size for holding knitting needles.

My sewing machine desk is the perfect size to fit in the little alcove in the hall! The only problem is when I'm sewing my chair blocks the bathroom door so it's kind of inconvenient. If only our apartment was on the other side of the building, then they layout would be the mirror image and the chair wouldn't block the door.

I've also been doing lots of gardening. I can't dig up the ground at my apartment complex, but I'm allowed to grow as much as I want in planters and flower pots. It just has to be obvious so the landscapers don't go over it with a weed-whacker, and movable in case the maintenance guys need to get to the crawlspace or something. I've already started oregano, basil, and dill on the windowsill, and today I picked up parsley, rosemary, cilantro, and thyme seeds that I'll plant later this week. I have some random flowers that looked pretty planted by the front of the building. On the side of the building I'm trying to grow a garden in pots...we'll see how that goes. I planted spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, zucchini, peas, bell pepper, and watermelon. Hopefully something comes out of it! The boyfriend wanted to try growing a pineapple, so we have one of those started inside.


Fancy lattice shoe lacing

 I saw this on Pinterest and wanted lace my chucks that way too, but the text is in Swedish I believe, and there aren't any instructions. So I just played around with the lacing for a few minutes and figured it out on one shoe, and took pictures lacing up the other shoe.

 My shoelaces need to be washed...

Start with the laces like this:

Cross them and skip two holes, then on the inside lace back on the same side to the second hold. 

Repeat this twice, weaving under and over the laces as appropriate.

The laces that came with my shoes were only long enough to do three repeats, but there are enough holes to do four. If you have longer laces you can skip three holes initially and make the woven part larger.


Tutorial: Fixing the waistband gap

I have big hips and thighs, but a smaller waist, so I get that awful gap at the top of a lot of my pants. I like wearing belts as an accessory, but I don't like that I HAVE to wear a belt so my underwear (or more :-/) doesn't show. This gap is especially bad on shorts because shorts are super casual and I never want to wear a bulky belt with them. So I took pictures to share how I fixed this problem on these shorts.

Before: stupid gap!

Cut about a 6 inch piece of elastic and pin to the back inside of the waistband. 

Stretch the elastic as you pin it, so when it's unstreteched the waistband is sort of gathered.

Sew two lines with a large zig-zag stitch, stretching the elastic as you go.

If you use matching thread it shouldn't so very much on the outside. I just sewed right over the belt loops because I never want to wear a belt with shorts, but if you want the option you'll need to stitch it in two parts, one on each side of the belt loop to keep the loop free.

This is what the inside looks like. I used black elastic since my shorts are black, but it shouldn't show in the end so it really doesn't matter if you use white elastic. If you wanted to be super fancy you could encase the elastic in matching fabric or something to make it look more finished.

Ta-da! No more gap! 

And now the internet knows just how big my butt is.. :-/

Simple curtains from twin flat bed sheet

I needed some curtains for the office. The window over my computer desk faces east, and there aren't any trees on that side of the building. My favorite time to get serious work done is early in the morning, and even with the mini-blinds shut there was too much sun to properly see the computer screen!

The windows are kind of an odd size, and I didn't want to deal with hemming curtains like I had to for the thick curtains I got for the bedroom when we moved in. Since these were for the office, I didn't need them to block out as much light as the bedroom curtains, so I decided to just see what I could whip up with a $5 flat twin bed sheet.

I just made one panel for each window by cutting the sheet in half and hemming the rough edge.  

Then I cut 6 inch strip of ribbon, folded them in half, and stitched them to the top edge of the curtain.

I took these pictures at night so the curtain color is a little off. With the sun shining through the fabric they are really more of a nice light teal or aquamarine color than just light blue.

Gray ruffle skirt

I made this simple skirt out of two gray pillowcases. I couldn't find the right color gray in broadcloth, but I saw it on the bed sheet aisle...weird. It's just a straight skirt with an elastic waist, and the ruffle is made from the wide hem of the pillowcases.

I've noticed that a lot of my clothes end up looking crooked in pictures. I promise I can cut and sew straight lines and my hems really are even, I just can't seem to stand up straight in pictures!