Cupcake liner organization — a Pinterest challenge

Oh, Pinterest. That epic timesuck furthering a misconception I’m craftier and artsier than I really am. I can’t log in without wanting to bake, create or wear everything in sight, and I’ve found some fabulous decorating ideas and saved tons of cupcake recipes for future use. As if I’ll ever run out of those.

And speaking of my cupcake obsession, I’ve amassed quite a few decorative cupcake liners over the years. So many that they’re literally spilling out of my kitchen cabinet, their colorful wrappers winding up on the floor. I’ve been thinking about ways to get organized and keep them clean and accessible, and that’s when I saw this:


The lovely Trish issued a challenge for all the Pinterest addicts out there: actually do some of the things you pin in the month of May. Never one to shy away from adventure, I joined up — and completing my cupcake organization was my first task.

After a few weeks of searching for a comparable glass container, I eventually found one I liked from HomeGoods. Though not as lovely or large as this baby at Such Pretty Things, I’m really happy with how it turned out! And by “turned out,” I mean how it looked when I stacked all my cupcake liners inside. It took less than five minutes.

Here’s mine:

Pretty enough to leave out year-round!

For $4, I have a way to store my cupcake liners and, best of all, actually keep track of everything I own. Do you know how many packages of Christmas cupcake cases I have? (Answer: at least four. That I can find.) Though I might eventually invest in either a second or larger jar (this is already full, as you can see!), I’m hoping my organized storage system will encourage me to use up what I already have. And that will save me money. Win-win!


Many thanks to Trish for much-needed nudge to get crafty! Join the fun this May by completing a few Pinterest-inspired projects, recipes, etc. For more information, visit Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity.

The more I create, the more I keep creating

I measure my days in scarves.

As the weather gets cooler and Halloween approaches, I’m seeing the return of a fun time in my yearly schedule: scarf-makin’ time. Strangely enough, people aren’t too interested in cozy outerwear during the hot winter months, but October? Now is my time to shine.

I’ve been fortunate to see a boom in my Etsy business, which is where I sell my crocheted scarves. I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t know any stitch but the afghan stitch, so I’m not a very versatile crafter. But the one stitch I know? Well, I can do it well. And I’m putting it to use while making scarves I hope any Hogwarts student would be proud to wear.

I can’t say I set out to make Gryffindor and Slytherin scarves (with the odd Ravenclaw here and there) exclusively, but what started out as a hobby has quickly taken over my free time. I’m very thankful to have orders pouring in, no doubt about it, but I’m almost getting to the point of needing to outsource my work. Coupled with lifelong hand and wrist issues, I’m having myself quite the time.

But it’s a great way to keep the Potter love alive while still feeding my Etsy addiction. While others may see autumn as a time of pumpkins, apple picking and “Hocus Pocus” screenings, I see only crochet hooks and yarn in burgundy and gold. My supplies cover the couch and travel with me everywhere, just in case I have a moment to finish a few rows. The more I create, the more I want to keep creating.

Constantly running through my head? “I’ve finished a Gryffindor but have two more to make,” I think. “And I need to put tassels on the Slytherin. And the Ravenclaw. And one’s going to Canada, and one’s going to Virginia. Need to get them in the mail.”

Between all my Postcrossing cards and scarf packages, I’ve become quite chummy with the folks at my local post office. I’d say we’re almost on a first-name basis.

And considering how annoyed they usually seem, I consider that quite an accomplishment.

Why has no one ever told me about Hobby Lobby?

I have a bone to pick with you guys.

Why has no one ever told me about Hobby Lobby?

Seriously. It’s like HomeGoods, Michael’s, A.C. Moore and Pier 1 got together for a big party, things got a little randy, folks made a few poor decisions and, well . . . nine months later, Hobby Lobby was born.

Last Saturday, I was innocently wandering around Fredericksburg, Va., with my mom, sister and Spencer, the world’s kindest and most patient boyfriend. After a day of checking out antique shows and shopping (again, I present to you: SPENCER! The World’s Most Patient Boyfriend!), we were on our way out of Ol’ Virginny when we spotted a gigantic sign glowing in the encroaching night: Hobby Lobby.

And who were we to resist? We had energy for one more stop, right? Just a dash in and dash out sort of thing? See what there is to see?


So many things start out that way, don’t they?

I feel bad because, from the start, I’d approached our Hobby Lobby visit as “for Spencer.” At an auction Friday night, Spence bought a pretty cool shop clock made of a saw blade (pictured above, with auction sign). Neat, but the hands were bent and it wasn’t working well. For less than $3, though, it was a steal — just needed a little TLC. And my guy is nothing if not handy and industrious. (And cute. And amazingly thoughtful. But, eh, I digress.)

After failing to find the right clock parts at another craft store, I thought that with a name like “hobby,” something good would come of this excursion. I was right, of course, but not for poor Spence. (Though he did find clock parts, yes.)

For me. And Mom. And Kate.

Walking in was like being transported to Craft Heaven. The place is gigantic, for one, and filled to the brim with all sorts of awesome seasonal merchandise. There were three full aisles of Valentine’s Day items, coupled with several more St. Patrick’s Day and Easter varieties. It was like a party store . . . in a craft store. Inside of a home decor store. Total insanity.

I was a good girl and left with only a few items, including a three-pack of paper bookmarks (for 99 cents!) and a skein of adorable green yarn laced with silver (called “Jelly Bean”). I’m working on an Irish-inspired scarf now for my Etsy shop and was just salivating over the yarn selection! I mean, a girl can only look at so much Red Heart before she goes colorless and devoid of inspiration. Just seeing a whole aisle of a fresh brand — “I Love This Yarn” — was so exciting. I probably should have bought more, but I’m trying not to become a yarn hoarder. I wish there was a 12 Step program for that.

Apparently Hobby Lobby is all over the place, friends, though nowhere within an hour’s distance of yours truly. Devastating.

But I think that means another road trip is in order.

EDIT: The scarf is done! So pretty and soft.

Books as purses — the latest way to feed my literary obsession

Please allow me another moment to harp on how much I love my boyfriend (I know, I know — insert the groans and rolling eyes here). In addition to being sweet, smart, funny and considerate, Spencer actually listens to me. And notices things — then remembers them.

Based on my previous track record, this is nothing short of a miracle.

Walking around Eastern Market in Washington, D.C., last month, I noticed a young woman selling clutches. Her stand was nicely appointed and featured bags in a variety of shapes, colors and textures — all made out of old books.

Being the bookish chick y’all know and love, I spent a good, long while looking at the purses. Totally adorable but not entirely practical, I enjoyed checking out the bags and chatting with the nice lady who made them. Much as I liked them, I couldn’t justify shelling out $50-$70 on a clutch I would probably rarely use — and really just wanted to look at.

So Spencer was buzzing with excitement the other night, producing a tall blue bag. Days from my actual birthday, I gave him a quizzical look. He told me it was an early birthday present and I should go ahead and open it.

In it? Book clutches!

His mother is a master quilter — very, very talented — and, together, they developed a prototype of sorts for the book bags I’d seen downtown. Mrs. J found the hardcovers to use and then carefully removed the old pages within, replacing them with quilted bags she’d made. They were shipped to me from New York.

And now? Well, I use the old books to carry my books. The larger, black hardcover bag is the perfect size for carrying my hardcovers (imagine!). And the smaller one is the perfect size for tossing in a few small items en route to a bookish event. I have a feeling they’ll be making an appearance at the next literary event I attend.

I’d convince Mrs. J to start a business and shop these little babies on Etsy, but I know how time-consuming they are to create. The competition is fierce (and pricey!), but I think she’s on to something here!

Crocheting at Miss Remmers’ Review

Pop over and visit Reagan at Miss Remmers’ Review and you’ll see a familiar face — er, body! I’m a guest blogger at the site and chat about crocheting, my love of “Harry Potter” and my Gryffindor-and-Slytherin-inspired Etsy business. I talk about learning the craft (thanks, Mom!) and other good things about my illustrious start in the world of crochet.

I have to cop to being lazy about the whole thing, though, if I’m being honest. (And y’all know I try to be.) I learned one stitch as a child — the afghan or “Tunisian” stitch — and I’ve never branched beyond that. Mom and I have sat down, hooks in hand, as she showed me others, but I became easily frustrated — like, you know, usual — and gave up. Last spring, I did learn to make flowers and was quite excited that I could make this scarf with my newly-acquired skills, but I’m pretty sure that floral knowledge is gone now.

Crocheting is like riding a bicycle — or so I’m told. Once you learn and do it enough, your muscles remember the movements and you could finish a project years after beginning it. But I can’t imagine not crocheting long enough to test that theory!

“Potter” scarf up and ready to rock

scarf_tableI’ve finished my latest “Harry Potter”-inspired creation! Fresh off the heels of selling my first scarves at my Etsy shop — both for burgundy-and-gold “Harry Potter” creations — I’ve crocheted a scarf with the newest design from the films. I’m very proud of it!

me_scarfAnd as a devoted fan of the series myself, if for some reason it doesn’t, um, fly off the shelves, so to speak, I’ll look forward to wearing it around town this fall! As the colors are the same as those of hometown team the Washington Redskins, I doubt anyone would even blink.

If you crochet/knit (I guess it would work for knitting?) and are interested in the pattern, I started out by chaining 18 across. Next, I crocheted ten rows of burgundy, then two rows of gold, two rows of burgundy, and two rows of gold again — and then started all over with the ten rows of burgundy, etc. It’s a pretty simple pattern and goes fairly quickly, especially with my favorite stitch — the afghan stitch! It’s the only one I use; it involves no real counting, persay, and I never lose a stitch anymore.

A brief crafting victory

pink_scarf_with_flowersSo victory was mine . . . however brief! I finished my first spring scarf and am really happy with the result. I think it’s cute and fun, and I love the bright colors! Hey, if it doesn’t sell, I’ll just have to wear this baby around myself. I added it to my Etsy shop.

Of course, I sat down last night to create a few more flowers and start a new scarf — this time with a yellow and black motif — only to discover that I could not remember how to make those flowers again. My mom kindly printed out a sheet with the pattern and even highlighted the directions she knew I would need, but as I was sitting there with my needle and chunky black yarn, recreating said flower seemed impossible. I figured out how to make that middle part of the stem, but when I actually went to add the petals, I somehow wound up with five instead of eight. Yeah, not sure how I did that. So it’s back to the drawing board tonight.