Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SRC: Reducing my Reduced Stash

I have several SRC projects that I've been meaning to post about for the last week or so. I'm amused by the irony of hoarding blog posts about reducing my stash. But the time has come to clear the draft box.

I'll go in chronological order.

First, while I was working on throw pillows, I also recovered the rocking chair. It's a hand-me-down glider rocker purchased by a former co-worker about 15 years ago. The upholstery is still in decent shape, but it doesn't match our decor. Plus it's ugly, in a might-have-been-cool-15-years-ago kind of way. The chair is still perfectly functional and comfortable, as demonstrated by the nearly-nude model above.

I've been wanting to recover it since we got it, (before Sam was born) but I never progressed beyond getting a pattern (which also included lots of other baby room accessories). I planned to use that until I took a closer look. And behold, great was the foofyness thereof! No thank you!

So measured the cushions and bought a brown fuzzy blanket at Wal-Mart. I cut two rectangles for the seat cushion, and two tomb stones for the back and sewed them together. As always, I cut some corners. Figuratively, I mean. (Although I did literally have to snip corners to get the pieces to fit together.) Instead of fastening each cushion cover shut with velcro or snaps like I'd originally planned, I just folded the fabric opening down and pinned it to the cushion. That had the advantage of being less work for me, while still allowing easy on and off for cleaning. And you know what they say: If you can't see it, don't worry about it. (Or maybe I'm the only one who says that.) Anyway, I'm counting this project as finished, and finished is better than perfect.

Point breakdown:

I'm giving myself 25 points for the back cushion and 50 points for the seat because it was a little harder to fit together. I get an extra 25 points for thrift that very pleasantly soft blanket was only $7.00, and it covered the rocking chair plus 2 1/2 pillows.

Rocking chair total
100 points

Now on to the jewelry. Several months ago I happened upon a bead store. I've always loved shiny sparkly dangly things, and this store was full of them. Even better, they offered jewelry making classes at reasonable prices. Glancing down the list of possibilities, I saw several I wanted to take right away. With all my eager oogling and drooling, this could have been a exasperating excursion for Sam. But there was a small room with bins of legos and plastic beads for kids to play with while parents shopped, and Sam had a great time. (He actually talked about it for weeks afterward.) And I did too. I came home and immediately told Coach I knew what I wanted for my birthday: classes and supplies.

I don't know if Coach forgot or what, but Little Miss Fetus didn't. She stepped right up and gave me a generous gift certificate so I could pick out all my own stuff. I was very excited, and immediately pulled out all the beads and supplies I already had and started making stuff. The finished products are above. Those who know my jewelry collection well may recognize a few of these pieces as remakes of pieces I've made previously and broken. But I'm still counting them as new. Because I can.

Point breakdown:

From the left, I'm giving myself 30 points for the clear glass necklace cause I like it. I'll take only 10 points for the blue necklace. I decided it was not well-balanced, and have since cut it apart to redo it. (I figure if I don't take many points now, I can give myself points again when I remake it.) Bracelets and earrings are easy, so I'll take 20 points for the pink set. The chain part of the blue charm bracelet was ready made, but I'm taking 40 points for adding the charms, which I made from broken/unmatched earrings, loose beads, and miscellaneous pendants. The pearl and crystal bracelet is made from materials I used to make a bracelet for my wedding day. It was thrown together too hastily, and was a little awkwardly shaped. Plus, it kept falling off during the ceremony. So I've never worn it since. But I fixed it up and now it's perfect. I'm giving myself 50 points, mostly for sentimentality. The red bracelet is another remake. I like it a lot, but the clasp has some functional issues, (That is, it doesn't work. The long bead at the bottom won't stay aligned properly and slips out of the loop at the other end.) so it's not terribly useful as a bracelet. Still, it's pretty looped around my purse strap. So I'm taking 20 points. I'll take 10 points each for the earring sets, for a total of 30 more points (I already counted the pink pair with the matching bracelet, remember?).

I'm also giving myself 50 bonus points, cause all of the above were made with materials I already had on hand. And if that doesn't reduce my stash, I don't know what does.

Jewelery total
250 points

Next is Halloween stuff. You've already seen our costumes, but I haven't bragged about my thriftiness and given myself points yet.

The inspiration for the warden/convict ensemble came from a doggie prisoner costume I saw in a Halloween shop. Of course, I didn't want to pay $10 to costume the dog, who wasn't even invited to any of our Halloween excursions (I know, rude friends we have, huh?), but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to make hats and shirts for the whole family. I may have overestimated my skills, as we ran in to a few little snags. First, there were apparently only 2.5 yards of prisoner striped fabric left in the greater Akron area, and no one expected to get any more in stock. So when I laid out the pattern for my maternity frock, I was more concerned about conserving fabric than anything else. I didn't notice that I cut out the pieces with the stripes going the wrong way. That's right. Instead of the makings of a convict costume, I had a referee's shirt. Also, the pattern claimed to be a "generously sized maternity shirt," when it should have read "circus-tent sized maternity shirt." The point of the story is that I used up all the fabric on a ridiculous shirt.

So I moved on to plan B, which was to chop up the referee shirt and make hats for everyone. Then we discovered that Coach was on call the evenings of both of our Halloween events. And like I said, Malcom wasn't invited. So I just made a hat for me out of scraps, and left the referee shirt hanging in the closet for . . . well, I have no idea. Perhaps some future projects will get it out of my stash.

We still had a good time, and everyone got a kick out of our costumes (especially Sam's), so I'd say the project was still a success. (Plus, did you notice the unnamed hat model is wearing special prisoner earrings also featured in the jewelry project above?)

Point breakdown:

As far as points go, I'll give myself 10 points for my hat, and another 10 for my attempt at the shirt. I'm also taking 10 bonus points for the picture above cause Malcom's so fetching cute, as you can see.

I get more points for Sam's costume, cause it was an exciting exercise in thrifty improvisation. I purchased the light blue shirt, unembellished, at a second-hand store for 90 cents. I bought a couple iron-on patches (the flag and star), plus some ribbon and star buttons for a total of about $2.50. I made the name tag on the computer, mounted it on picture matting from our scrap box, and then covered it with contact paper. I attached loops to Sam's pants to hold the flashlight, which was lying around the house, and handcuffs, which I bought at Wal-Mart for about $3.00. The keys are random (and mostly unidentified) keys I found in drawers. I put them on a ring and attached it to his pants with a plastic carabeener clip, which we already had. The pants, long-sleeved undershirt, and shoes were already in Sam's closet.

I'll save myself the trouble of calculating and award myself 50 points for the whole thing, plus 10 bonus points for thrift (less than $7.00 for all of it!), and another 20 because Sam loves it so much he still wears it at least once a week. (Of course, I should admit that part of his motivation for that may be the hope that putting it on will get him some candy. Now where would he get an idea like that?)

Halloween total
110 points

Finally, last weekend Sam and I drove up to Grandma's house to make applesauce. I don't know how many bushels we went through, or how many quarts we made. But I do know there were lots of apples before we started, and when we finished there was lots of applesauce. And apple pie filling. Sam loved the fresh apples and apple sauce, and I couldn't wait to take home some of that pie filling (sorry, not pictured) to eat with hot biscuits. Yum! And did I mention YUM?

Mom should get most of the points because she already had all the jars washed and three pots of apples chopped and cooking by the time I got there. (And I''ll happily pass her share of the points along as soon as she starts her own blog.) We then spent about five hours up to our elbows in apples. I figure we earned 50 points an hour. Plus an extra 100 points for deliciousness.

Applesauce total
350 points

Grand total (this post)
810 points

How do you like them apples?


Pooka said...

Fairly staggering, all in all. I'd agree with the points-awarding-panel, except that I don't think you awarded yourself nearly enough Halloween points. You forgot to calculate that you utilized a splendidly cute kid in that Warden Hopkins outfit, and I'll bet he was just lying around the house, too, at least sometimes. ;]

Taffy said...

Pooka's right you need more points for Halloween. Plus, Wo, that's a lot of stuff!

Tarimisu said...

Wow! I have to say that, as always, I am so impressed with people that sew. The way you tackled that chair, well, you are my hero! And it looks perfect to me. If I tried to cover a chair - let's not even conjur up that that mental image! I can't wait to see the kids' aprons! You are so talented. I enjoyed seeing your jewelry and it reminded me of the times that you, J and I made jewelry in your basement. You are a great jewelry-making teacher and you ought to teach some of those beading classes! And the applesauce and pie filling - YUM!!! When we lived in Iowa, my friend taught me how to make applesauce, and it came in handy when we moved away from her to Albert City, where our neighbor gave us THOUSANDS upon MILLIONS of apples (no I am not exhaggerating!). I made lots and lots of applesauce, not to mention every recipe in the Baking with Apples recipe book. Thank you for sharing your Stash Reduction! You are awesome!

Peanut said...

as always, nice work!

Ree said...

Good work craftyhead! But I have the same problem you mentioned at the top. If I ever do get around to reducing my stash and completing intended projects, where am I ever going to find the energy to get around to blogging about them?

Peanut said...

P.S. Can Sam, er, Warden Hopkins wear his costume during all or part of Thanksgiving weekend? He's too cute!

Sarah Johnson said...

I love the point system! When I have had a hard day (meaning I did not even approach anything on my to-do list), I try to give value to what I did do. I think I should give points to all of my activities and that will really help. I could even get credit for "not being too mean to my kids today" or I would love 200 points every time I get my daughter to school on time. Hm... I will even get points for getting out of bed even when I am tired. I love it. Thanks for the great idea! Oh and also, your crafts are soooo AWESOME. I think the chair is my favorite. I have always admired your craftyness. I am glad you are getting so many points for it. WOW.