Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in the game

I took the last year off from crafting for profit. Sally was born last September, sales were down, and I was TIRED! Then my sister who is my craft show partner announced that she is having a baby in November. So, it made sense for us to sit out this fall's craft show season.

But, after attending a handful of craft shows this fall, I am starting to feel the bug again! And I've started creating. My latest is the Book Corset that you see above. It's a fabric book cover that can be adjusted to fit books of various thicknesses. I've always been hesitant to buy book covers, because I didn't understand how they could possibly fit a number of different books. After some measuring, I discovered that most trade paper books have a pretty standard size for height and width. It's the thickness that varies.

It was actually my very smart husband who suggested using lacing to tighten and loosen the spine of the cover. We worked together on the prototype which had to be stitched and ripped and re-stitched several times, but finally got it right! I'm very excited about this, and plan to also make corsets for mass market paperbacks.

So, come visit my shop! I'm starting to fill it back up with goodness!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Famous Schmidt Cookbook

My dad comes from a family of nine kids. I have lots and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins! I have first cousins who are closer in age to my parents than to me. I have first cousins once removed that are closer to my age than my kids' age. (And, yes, I'm using that first cousin once removed thing correctly. I looked it up.)

Back in 1986, my aunt collected recipes from all our family members and combined them all into a cookbook. The original Schmidt Cookbook is full of all our favorites. There are little remembrances and quotes interspersed amongst the recipes, and handrawn artwork on the section dividers. This book was so popular, that even people who aren't Schmidts have copies of it.

However, after 20 plus years of constant use, those yellow cookbooks were starting to look a little ratty, and an original family of nine kids can do a heck of a lot of multiplying over 20 years! There began to be dreams of a new cookbook.

Putting together a cookbook is a big task! Or at least it was back in 1986. Fortunately, I found a company that does all the designing and layout for you. You just check the happy little boxes on the order form! So, for the new Schmidt Cookbook I used Morris Press Cookbooks. It completely simplified the entire process and they are very nice people to work with!

All I had to do was collect the new recipes and type them into their system. It was time consuming, but not hard. And, since everyone's old keepsake books were falling apart, I agreed to put all the recipes from the first book into the new one, so we could preserve our first book.

And, this is what we ended up with! Such a pretty book, although not as unique as the version a couple of my cousins and I first envisioned. We wanted it to have an outhouse on the cover. My husband wanted me to call it various versions of "Tastes Like Schmidt", but I lost my nerve.

The most important thing is that all of our family recipes are again preserved. There are 409 of them (recipes, not books). I know, because I typed each of them myself!

We "unveiled" the new book at the Schmidt Reunion in July. Everyone was thrilled with it, although a few were disappointed that I didn't go with Roger's more colorful title.

There are still copies left over, so let me know if you want your own! They're $6.50 a piece. That's only 2 cents per recipe!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yarn People & Bears

I have been a crafting dervish the past couple of days!! I've been in a crocheting mood, so I finished this bear for Sally:

And, I made this doll for my husband's co-worker Lydia who collects "ugly dolls".

I'm most proud of the curly hair on the doll, because I used the instructions from another pattern and did some project specific tweaking to make it work. And it did! My crochet skills aren't perfect yet, but hey! Look at me go!

Last night, I sat down and worked on a fabric pennant banner for a baby shower I'm hosting on Thursday evening. It's looking pretty good! I was very glad that I went ahead and purchased that equilateral triangle quilting ruler last year. Made cutting out the triangles for the banner much, much easier! I'll try to post pics of the finished banner later.

Or, I may just disappear for a couple months like last time!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Robot Battle

I've been doing quite a bit of amigurumi crocheting lately. (Not much blogging, though, obviously!) Everytime I make something, Mr. Kay says, "Can I take it to work?" Apparently, his co-workers don't quite understand what I do. This "making stuff" thing just doesn't make sense to them! I'm pretty sure they think I wear long skirts, no shoes and quilt all day, possibly while wearing a bonnet.

I finally decided that I should make something that he could take to work, so I crocheted him a robot for his birthday. The robot was a sweet little thing, unfortunately, after being at my husband's office for a couple weeks, something bad happened...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Latest Addition

I've recently discovered that I am totally in love with vintage sewing machines. Unfortunately, sewing machines are kind of a large item to collect! So, I've begun a collection of vintage toy machines. Mr. Kay collects tin toys, so these little machines fit in quite nicely with that collection, too. I have my machine from when I was a girl, and I've been keeping my eye out for others to add to my home.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Kay and I were browsing in a local antique store, and I ran across this little cutie. I ended up paying about $10 for her. She's missing her hand crank, and I haven't tried putting batteries in, but it doesn't matter if she works or not! I love her!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Give a Hoot!!

These chubby little cuties were another couple of swap projects. The pattern comes from Lollychops, and they were super-easy and fun to make! If you've never checked out the Lollychops blog, you absolutely MUST! It's fun and funny and full of clever little projects!

I received this little owl from a swap partner! He's got cute little feet and the prettiest sparkling eyes! I adore him!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I haven't been blogging much lately, partly because I've been kind of busy and partly because I'm overwhelmed by the number of things I want to blog about. I start to worry that stuff will be old or out-of-date by the time I get to it, but frankly, you all don't know when I did stuff, so it doesn't matter if I blog about something that happened yesterday or six weeks ago! (That was a really long sentence!) So, I'm going to start just throwing stuff out there!

One of the main reasons I wanted to learn to crochet was so that I could make all the cute amigurumi figures I've seen out there. I was constantly seeing them on Etsy, only to find out it was a listing for a PATTERN and not the actual toy. I figured I better learn how to use those patterns! And, oh my goodness!, it is so fun and relatively easy!

I made this little guy in a couple of evenings for a swap. The pattern came from the book Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli. I was so pleased with how quickly he came together. And look how he can even come out of his egg shell! The cuteness is positively overwhelming!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Spring Time!

Well, it's supposed to be spring time. Saturday was the first day of Spring. We had snow in Kansas. Not that we're not used to bizarro weather in Kansas, but really? Snow? I'm over the snow. I'm ready for daffodils and tulips. I have seen a few ladybugs lately, though! This one came in my mailbox as part of a swap. Isn't she adorable? And her maker has an Etsy shop here. I'm finding Swap-Bot to be a fabulous way to expand my softie collection!

As I said in an earlier post, I hosted my very first swap - a pincushion swap. This is the little cutie that I sent to my partner. I made it using this tutorial. I made mine a little bigger than the one in the tutorial. Very, very easy little thing to make. Somehow, it took me four tries to get it right. I was ready to throw ladybugs across the room! Seriously, this in no way reflects on the creator of the tutorial. This was just me and my sewing mojo!
Anyhoo! Enjoy your Spring, wherever you are! We have sunshine today, and I hope you do, too!

Friday, March 19, 2010

St Patrick's Day Treasure Hunt

When I got Lil' Kay up on Wednesday, we were discussing St. Patrick's Day. He told me that he wished I would make cookies so that he could go on a treasure hunt for them. Well, I knew I couldn't make cookies, because I would be at work all day, but I'm a total sucker for those big brown eyes and innocent requests! So, I came up with some clues and a bucket with quarters in it and rushed home from work to hide the clues while Mr. Kay picked up the kids from daycare.

Upon arriving home, Lil' Kay found a big green folder sticking out of the mail slot on our house. Inside was a letter from "A Leprechaun" and the first clue. He had a great time figuring out each clue and finding the next one. When he found the treasure, he put each coin into his piggy bank, but he still "wished there would have been cookies!"

Monday, March 8, 2010


Stuffie, plushie, softie, whatever you call them, I have become a total junkie! If it's soft and handmade, I love it! I'm currently in a Stuffies Galore swap, so I'm making these little guys for my part. I get to send out five stuffies and get five back. I've already received a ladybug and a trio of strawberries.
These little fish are made using a pattern from Funky Friends Factory. I love the way that repositioning the eyes gives them a completely different personality!

I'm finding the process of stuffie making frustrating, rewarding and magical! It's amazing to me that when I follow the directions, no matter how weird, I end up with a little creature! I've been trolling the internet for patterns and tutorials so I can join more swaps! LOL! Not sure when I'll take time to make new stuff for my own shop. Right now, I'm having fun doing stuff for me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm getting it!

All the little pieces are falling into place in my brain with this crochet thing! I'm really proud to say that I made that pretty red scarf up there! I used Caron Simply Soft yarn (I think the color is Autumn Red) and a pattern from the Feburary issue of Crochet World. It only took a me a few days. I love how fast crochet goes. That's just the kind of thing I need, because my project attention span is quite short.

I'm working on another scarf at the moment, but I'm hoping to make several of them as gifts. (Again, this is assuming the short project attention span doesn't win out.) So, I don't want to give away too many details just yet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Swappin'!

It seems that at this time every year, I kind of go into a sewing slump. I don't add anything to my shop, I just sort of coast. Pretty much the same thing is happening this year, except that I AM sewing, just not for my shop. I've been doing a few swaps and making gifts. I'm also working on my crocheting, too. My afghan is almost done!
I have not been making very many bags. In fact, I haven't a made a new bag for the shop in over a year!! However, I joined a bag swap over on Swap-Bot, and so dug out my trusty Bronte Bag pattern and went to work. I pulled this adorable teapot fabric out of my stash, and since my swap partner likes to wear her bags with the strap across her chest, I lengthened the strap. It was really relaxing to sew this bag again. Kind of like chatting with an old friend! I even made it on my "new" old Singer 401a. (I am loving that machine!)

For a little extra fun, I added some fabric yo-yos and buttons to the bag. I like the way these turned out. I'd like to make some bigger yo-yos, too. (I use a yo-yo making tool. I don't think I have the patience for actually cutting and hemming my own circles.)

So, that's what I've been up to! I'm also spending a bit of time watching the Olympics! My kid thinks his non-athletic-no-sports-watching parents have gone a bit nuts, but hey, it's the Olympics!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pincushion Swap

Lovebird Pincushion by feltmates
Red Zinnia by TheDailyPincushion

Red, Yellow and Teal Bottle Cap Pincushion by upthecreek

I've been collecting pincushions since I bought my very first one back when I discovered Etsy over three years ago. So far, I've only collected handmade ones, and frankly, it'll probably stay that way! I love the way that these essentially utilitarian objects are adorned and decorated so beautifully. There are such a variety of styles and looks. I could keep collecting them for years and not get bored!
To help grow my collection and, hopefully, add some variety to it, I'm hosting my very first Pretty, Pretty Pincushion swap over on Swap-Bot! I'll make a pincushion and send it off to my partner, and I'll be the lucky recipient of a handmade pincushion from my partner! If you're a pincushion lover, you're welcome to join us!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It was a big weekend for my boys! Lil' Kay got to participate in his very first Cub Scout pinewood derby race on Saturday, and he totally rocked it! His shark car came in first place in the Tiger Cubs division AND it won Best of Show out of all of the Cub Scouts' cars!

Mr. Kay entered a car in the Outlaw Division which just means that anyone who isn't a Cub Scout can race. His car came in first place in HIS division! Mr. Kay felt a little guilty that we came home with three trophies, but I say, WHATEVER! Everyone got a chance to bring a car and race it, and it isn't like there were only three trophies! Other kids got trophies, too!

Lil' Kay was so pleased to get two trophies so that he could give one to his baby sister! Isn't that sweet? Sally now has a pinewood derby trophy in her bedroom.

Here are the winning cars:

Note: That is not a real $100 bill. It's a giant fake one that Lil' Kay got for the 100th day of school!

Next year, I want a really fast pink Hello Kitty car that I can race!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crafty Materials

I'm a sucker for old board games. I love to see the little bits and pieces that come with them, and I'm always trying to think of fun ways to use them. I don't usually get around to actually doing anything with them, but I like to dream! If I had the space, I think it would be fun to cover an entire wall with the playing boards from vintage games.

When I was a kid, my sister and I "inherited" a bunch of old games and magazines and whatnot from one of our cousins. Most of the stuff was from the 70s, and most of it has not survived. However, we do still have The Bride Game! The idea is to collect all the "necessary" items to plan the perfect wedding. You know, bride, groom, attendants, cake, flowers, rings, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. All of those components are printed on these little chipboard cards.

My mom dug this game out of the closet for me a few weeks back. The images on the cards are kind of charming, so I'm trying to come up with a good use for them. The gameboard was pretty beat up, but all but about three of the cards are still there.

So, what to do with these little cards? The small ones are about 2 1/2 inches square. The large ones are about 3 inches by 5 inches. They're all about 1/8 inch thick. They're quite sturdy, and I thought about using them for scrapbooking embellishments, but frankly, I don't have a lot of wedding pages to do these days!

I turned to my fellow Etsians for ideas, because, obviously, they're a creative bunch! Agentjane suggested incorporating them into table markers or centerpieces for weddings, and UpsideDownsideDark suggested making them into little boxes. I
love both of those ideas, but I'd like to hear more!

So, my dear, dear blog readers, what should I do with them? What should I make? You know, in between the umpteen other projects that I have floating around in my brain.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Label It!

I'm a wannabe organization nut. I love the idea of neatly labeled jars and boxes and what not all neatly lined up on a shelf. The fact is that I'm very good at organizing stuff. I'm very bad at maintaining that organization. But, yesterday I bought myself a handy dandy little Dymo LetraTag label maker. It's the cutest little printer and it makes all kinds of fancy tags in different fonts, and you can even put borders around your labels. I made one for Lil Kay that had a crocodile around his name! I spent a good chunk of last night labeling my ribbons, buttons, scrapbook supplies, cats. (I'm kidding about the cats. I ran out of time.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Sickness

Yes, I bought this yarn with no particular project in mind. It's beginning. A new obsession. But, it was on CLEARANCE! And it's PRETTY! And I'm sure I can do SOMETHING with it!

Actually, I do have a plan. I want to make this scarf with it. I just didn't know that when I bought the yarn. (On sale. $1.79 a skein!) It's from the book Interweave Presents Crocheted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make & Give. Isn't it gorgeous!? Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough of the solid color for the border. So, if anyone has or comes across a spare skein of Sinfonia yarn in that pretty rust color, tell me! I'll buy it from you! And I'll be eternally grateful!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reader Paradise

It arrived today, and I am totally in love! I ordered the Nook back in December from Barnes & Noble. It was scheduled to ship on January 15, but it shipped Monday and arrived today - the 14th! There were instructions on how to unpack it, for heaven's sack! And they were totally necessary, too! Getting it out of the package was really the hardest part. Everything else about it has been easy peasy, so far! In fact, I just bought a couple ebooks online, touched the screen where it said "check for new B&N content", and the books were there! Just had to touch "download", and I was able to start reading. Nothing to plug in, nothing to connect. How amazing is that? It's like magic! (Okay, I know there is a simple explanation involving WiFi and all that, but it's magic in my mind!)

Now, I can take my happy little Nook with me wherever I go and look totally hip and cool while I read. And it's much lighter than carrying around a full-fledged book. Now, I admit that I went into this purchase rather blindly, so I am still finding out all the details about this little gadget. Turns out I can put pictures and music on it, too! And pdf files. So, if I have a crochet pattern that's a pdf, I can load it on the Nook and carry it with me, too!

My next plan is to design a comfy little cozy for my new friend! Just gotta pick the perfect fabric!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why Mess with Perfection???

Why, oh, why do they DO this to me? Over and over again they're taking my precious childhood memories and vamping them up! First it was Strawberry Shortcake, and now, it's Rainbow Brite! What's next?? Holly Hobby in a tube top?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Project Wreck

365/5, originally uploaded by BeckyKay Designs.

This book has been around for a while, and I've been intrigued by it, but never picked it up. Today I was out looking for a new datebook and ran across a copy. I decided to purchase it. You know, new year, new projects, new inspiration, all that. Every page gives you instructions on a unique way to mark, destroy, maul and generally wreck this journal! The instructions are quite simple and yet actually stimulate creativity.

I figure when I'm all done with the book, I'll want to keep it forever. And, you know, if I'm going to keep it, I want anyone who finds it to be amused by the clever ways in which I've wrecked it! (Yes, that would be the egomaniac in me. We all have one.) But, I think that drive to be interesting will stretch my creativity and encourage me to think outside the box.

Lil' Kay was fascinated by this photo of my new book and wanted to know all about it. I sat down with him and read all the instructions. I could tell he was intrigued by the ideas that were presented. He giggled and puzzled and questioned. I asked him if he'd like his own copy. Definitely! I'm glad, because I kind of want someone to accompany me on this creative journey.

Crochet Progress

365/4, originally uploaded by BeckyKay Designs.

So, I've been teaching myself to crochet and it's going pretty well! I think I've got the hang of it.

I'm currently working on an afghan. The pattern is one of those freebies that you pull off the pad at the store. This one is from Lion Brand. Basically, it's a giant granny square. I started it back at Thanksgiving. I'm still working on it, but I don't work on it every day. Mostly, it's what I do to kill my lunch hour since I don't drive all the way home for lunch. It's getting pretty big, and I think I'll actually finish it!

The next project I want to do is another scarf. I have my eye on several potential patterns.

As I'm learning, I've found that there really isn't a wrong way to crochet. Everyone has their own style. My sister in law was watching me crochet and commented to my mom, "Hey, she holds her hook the right way, like a pencil. I hold mine like a pitchfork!" And guess what? Even though she holds her hook "like a pitchfork", she still makes lovely things! So, I'm not going to feel bad about the fact that I use my left hand to pull the yarn over my hook.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Project 365

I've decided to try this crazy Project 365 photo thing that all the kids are doing these days. I'm going to take and upload a photo for everyday of the year. These are my first three. And, guess what! I've already cheated! That second photo of the clock was taken by Mr Kay. But it was on MY camera!
If you're interested in seeing how my project goes, here's a link to My 365 Set. I've also joined this flickr group. They seem pretty laid back without all the scary rules and what not. You know, if I fail, I won't be kicked out or whatever!
I don't really have any big reason or master overall plan to why or how I am going to do this. No theme, just whatever catches my attention. I'm more curious to see how the project evolves on its own. Will my photography improve? Will a theme appear? Will I get past this week? I'm not very good at doing the same thing every single day. Heck, Brushing my teeth daily is a challenge. I kid. I kid.