Restyled Jewelry Box

We all have one. All creative types too. They're burrowed into our closets, tucked beneath our beds, and stashed away in rarely used drawers. They are...unfinished projects. There are three ways to soothe the guilt that comes hand in hand with these projects:
  1. Finish them.
  2. Throw them away, once and for all.
  3. Find a way to use them in their partially finished state. 
Usually, I fall into team 2. It's not that I want to be wasteful, but the reality that I am going to count all those stitches, find the appropriate needles, etc. just seems too far off. But yesterday...Yesterday was different. 

For those who don't know, I got some new furniture last week! It's gorgeous, it's solid wood, and we got it all home with the help of a friend and her minivan. My favorite piece is the dresser. I'm in love. And since I'm making my bed every day (hells yeah, New Years Resolutions actually work?) I'm finding myself more motivated to keep the rest of my lil world a little tidier too. And the dresser has great drawers that aren't too big and deep, which means that you don't have to dig through so much stuff to get that one-green-sweater-that-I-think-is-in-this-drawer-but-damn-it's-actually-sitting-on-that-chair.

But I digress. I set aside one of the drawers for the lovely baubles I've collected. Most of my jewelry has been gifted by people who I love very much, so the fact that much of it has been haphazardly stored in various small bowls/ old plates was all the more egregious. And so, solutions!

I browsed Etsy and Ebay, looking for a vintage jewelry box. No luck. I headed to Target to browse their jewelry boxes or drawer trays: either expensive and kinda "meh, that's alright I guess" or cheap and hideous.
When I got home, I ordered this organizer for earrings and such, and then I started browsing the almighty Pintrest for some solutions. Most ideas seemed to be based on a pegboard/hanging things on walls. Not an option. And so, as usual, the almighty Momma came to the rescue with a link to this cigar box + felt delight. The best part is, I knew I had a big, holey rumply piece of orange knit wool monstrosity in my closet. just waiting to be felted. My first ever attempt at a knitting project. From the beginning, it was meant to be shrunk, then stitched up into a messenger bag. It never got there. It sat in my closet for 5 years. Until last night. 

Last night it was thrown in the washing machine with super hot water, lots of soap, and a pair of running shoes. After two rounds of washing and a few hours drying, I cut it to fit the width of one of the cigar boxes I had around. I followed the instructions from the original DIY pretty closely, but instead of making individual sections of felt, I simply pleated a single piece of felt until it filled the box. No glue, no mess.

I've taught a few people how to knit in the past few months, and I find myself talking about this piece of ratty orange fabric every time. Learning to knit (and knit well) is a process. Your first project will likely be a catastrophe. So maybe consider making your first project 100% wool. And if it's really that bad, well, you can always felt it.

Posted by : Kelcey

A new year.

2012 was, in an extraordinary number of ways, very kind to me. I got a new job in a tough economic period, and one where I've learned a lot, at that. I traveled to New Zealand and spent a month eating eggs benedict anywhere I could find it, then hiking up the nearest dormant volcano I could find to burn off all that butter.  I spent time with friends from all over the world. I made new friends, I kept in touch with old friends. I soaked up time with my family, and made trips to Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and San Francisco.

In other ways 2012 was a little cruel. I had my heart broken--by circumstance. For a lot of the year I felt like I was in a holding pattern, waiting to reach the next link in a chain that simultaneously made me incredibly happy and awesomely terrified, and left me crashing at my parents house (womp womp).

When I worked on cruise ships in 2010 and 2011, I had a trick for getting myself up and at 'em for a long day. As I was getting ready, and then as I walked to the mess/photo lab/gallery/gangway, I would repeat, nay chant a three word phrase.

"Fresh and peppy. Fresh and peppy. Fresh and peppy."

Even when I was feeling a little rough after staying in the crew bar too late the previous night, or just wanted to sleep another 4-6 hours after my alarm went off, that refrain fooled me into thinking I was indeed fresh and peppy. To this day, when I get a message from my manager at the time, he asks me if I'm still fresh and peppy.

So this morning, when I read Elise's post on her one little word for 2013 (she chose brave), I knew immediately what my word would be. And while peppy is a pretty fun word, it's a bit one-note. Fresh it is.

Because hey. Fresh pairs perfectly with peppy. But also with perspective. And food. And page. And I feel like it (at least loosely) applies to the other resolutions I have for this coming year. Which are as follows (in no particular order.)

1. Make the bed every day. I never got the hang of that one  (and please don't blame my mother. I was a stubborn lil' one.) I read recently that making your bed regularly is one way to be happier at home, and I think everyone could use a little more happy.

2. Work actively to improve my posture. Everyone looks better when they stand up straight. And the best way to improve your posture is through strengthening your core, which is why I stopped by Crossfit Oxnard (right across the street from work! How convenient!) to talk to the owner/coach Joe about ways I can get stronger this year. I love the idea of supporting a local small business run by a veteran.

3. Continue to eat well and make healthy choices. Fresh food just tastes better. And it's so darn pretty!

4. Keep a journal. (Oh hey, that's #4 on the happy list along with making my bed!) I have journal entries scattered around in a the several dozen notebooks on my bedsidetable/desk/bookcase/floor, but I'd like to really make an effort to keep them in one place. When I was traveling a lot, I got in the habit of buying a postcard and making a quick note on it: who I was with, what we did, what we ate, what we saw. It was perfect, and I'm in the process of putting them all together into a book. Now I need to find a similar way of chronicling my current (and admittedly less exciting, but still important) day to day life.

5. Knit a sweater. Which will keep me looking....fresh...? Okay, I'm stretching it a little on that one. But really. I love knitting, and I'm looking for a new challenge. I've made hats, and scarves, and a baby blanket, and binary coded tapestries for god's sake (I'm not kidding), but I haven't yet made the jump to proper garments. It's time. I'm thinking this pattern, from a favorite web-haunt of mine, Brooklyn Tweed. Or maybe this one. Or this one.

P.S. More inspiring words for a productive new year from Elsie Larson. Seriously, I want to be her when I grow up.

Posted by : Kelcey