Finished

Not having a desk really disrupts my crafting.  Fortunately, I finished it! (Pun totally intended.)

The before (see the last post for more progress shots):

2015 05-25 Desk 2I forgot to get a picture of it after I stained it, but it pretty much looked like a less glossy version of the finished product.  I did, however, get a picture after I was totally done:

2015 07-08 Finished deskIt’s just as smooth and fun to touch as it looks.  I’m super happy about the results, although I’ll be glad if I never need to hand-sand something that big again!

Stripping!

No, not that kind of stripping.

I was doing my nails and set my little cup of acetone down on my desk without realizing some had overflowed and was on the bottom of the cup. By the time I realized what I’d done a few seconds later, it had very effectively stripped the finish off my desk in a ring.

2015 05-25 Desk 1I was upset at first, but then I realized that under the grungy finish, my desk had some really pretty wood.

This is what the desk top looked like:

2015 05-25 Desk 2You can see the acetone ring, and a lot of other scratches and marks.  The whole thing was just vaguely greyish and not very pretty.  I didn’t mind how it looked too much, since it was a nice, solid wood desk that I’d been given by relatives, but once I realized how much nicer it could be, I checked out some tutorials on refinishing wood furniture.  The process seemed like something I’d find fun, so I decided to go shopping.

2015 05-25 Desk 3Stripping the old finish was a pretty easy, though tedious, process.  First I applied the Citristrip and left it to do its business for half an hour to an hour, then scraped the resulting goop off.

2015 05-25 Desk 4It was just as gross in person as it is in the picture.  Once I’d gotten the majority of the old finish off, I wiped the desk down with acetone in order to take off any remaining bits of finish — it had worked very effectively before, and was just as effective this time.

Now my desk looks like this:

2015 05-25 Desk 52015 05-25 Desk 6I was pleasantly surprised how few of the scratches on the desk’s surface had actually damaged the wood.

Next, I’ll be sanding the surfaces and refinishing it.  I still haven’t made up my mind whether or not I’m going to use the red oak stain I got on it, or just leave it the natural color of the wood, but I’m leaning towards using the stain.

This project has taken up a bit more time than I had initially thought it would, and has disrupted some of my other crafting, as my desk is out of commission, but I’m really enjoying it and can’t wait to see the final version!

Oh, and here’s the manicure that started this whole thing, because I can’t resist showing it off:

2015 05-25 Nails

Letting go

I’ve never been a one-project-at-a-time type of crafter (which is probably obvious if you’ve read any of my posts).  I start multiple projects and work on them as I like, and it sometimes takes me years to finish something, but I do finish it.

This week I decided to let one of my projects go — you may remember this horse cross stitch:

2015 04-13 HorseI started it because I wanted to start something and I’d wanted to do the pattern for a long time.  And it was fun at first.  But then I just lost interest — looking at it didn’t excite me and working on it felt like a chore.  This past week, it’s even prevented me from working on some of my projects that I do really want to finish, because I felt like it’s nearly done so I should be working on it, even though I didn’t want to (and I didn’t actually have a need to finish it).

After thinking about it for a bit, I decided I wasn’t going to finish it.  I put the embroidery floss back in my general storage and tucked the mostly completed piece and the pattern away (I’m thinking I might eventually want to use the finished part of the horse’s head in another project, so I didn’t want to get rid of it entirely).  I’ve felt a lot better about my crafting after I came to that decision.

I feel like I could have come to the decision to stop working on this project sooner, as it wasn’t fun for a while.  How do you know when you no longer want to finish something vs. you’re just temporarily bored with it?  Do you consciously choose to stop working on something or keep it around in case you change your mind later?

Refocusing

I’ve not blogged for a couple of weeks, due to a combination of begin busy and working on non-photogenic projects.  Please accept this photo of Lily “assisting” me with cutting out a pair of pajama pants as an apology:

You weren't planning on using this any time soon, were you?
You weren’t planning on using this any time soon, were you?

This year has gone very fast for me, and now that it’s December, I’m realizing I really need to focus on my christmas projects… I have five things I’d like to get done before christmas:

1) A pair of fingerless gloves for my little brother.  I’m using the lovely Hidden Gusset pattern from Knitty and some grey Regia sock yarn.

12-1-14 B gloveThis one is probably the most important to me, although knowing my brother, he’d find a glove and a half (still on the needles) under the tree hilarious.  I’d prefer to avoid that, however.

2) A knight on horseback hand puppet from an ancient kit I’ve got.  So far I’ve finished the horse and just need to make the knight.

12-1-14 Horse12-1-14 horse headLook at that cute (or maybe slightly disturbing…) face!  This one needs to be done by Dec 15 if it’s going to get done, as I don’t want to try to finish it at my parents’ house.  It’s not critical that it get done, either.

3) A dragon hand puppet from a similar kit.  This is the one I was working on earlier, but it got put on hold for a bit due to misplacing some of the pieces.  I’ve got them, so I just need to finish it.

Dragon projectLike above, this needs to get done by Dec 15 or not for this year.

4) Chocolate truffles.  I made truffles from How to Cook That‘s chocolate truffle recipes last year, and they were amazing, so I’m going to make them again (I’m planning on making orange, raspberry, caramel, and hazelnut praline).  I can’t start them until I get to my parents’ house, but I do need to write out the ingredient lists in advance so we can get everything we need.

5) Christmas crackers.  I always make homemade crackers to pull.  Like the truffles, this will be done at my parents’ house sometime between the 15th and the 25th.  I need to make some extra crackers this year, so I’ll try to get photographs of the whole process and put up a tutorial on this blog.  While I don’t need to start the crackers themselves yet, I do need to make some extra prizes at some point, which I can do now.

My projects for this year’s holidays work out pretty well, as I have some to do in the next two weeks, and some to do the two weeks after that.  I think I can get them all done, and as long as the gloves, truffles, and crackers get done, I’ll be okay.

What (if any) holiday crafting are you doing?  Or are you more organized than I am and are already done?

More hanging project storage

The past month has been craaazy for me, and I haven’t really been crafting much.  However, I did manage to finish up all the bags I wanted to make for my hanging project storage system.  Before it looked like this.  Now it looks like this:

Craft Wall UpdateA little eclectic, but much less plastic, which I’m quite happy with.  The three center bags were made following these tutorials: brown bag, blue and white bag, blue-green bag.

I liked all three patterns a lot, but I discovered that if you’re going to be hanging your bag, drawstrings are not a good idea as the bag hangs too low.  I also wanted larger bags for larger projects, so I came up with my own design based on scaled-up versions of my favorite features of the aforementioned patterns (both outer bags — the left one has interfacing while the right one does not, which is why they look a bit different).

As for what I have in the bags, from left to right:

Dragon projectA dragon puppet from a kit I’ve been working on for ages.  I’d like to have it and it’s matching knight puppet done by Christmas, but I rarely think to work on it, so I’m hoping that having it on the wall will help.

Headband projectA knitted lace headband that just needs a few finishing touches (namely connecting it into a circle) before being photographed and listed in my Etsy shop.  My camera was not cooperating today, so it doesn’t really show, but the yarn is sparkly gold.

Socks projectSupplies for a pair of cabled, knee-high socks for me. As you can see, I’ve barely started them, and already I need to rip back since I realized my calculations were off…

Washcloth projectAbout a fifth of a cotton dishcloth with a dragon pattern.  I have quite a bit of cotton yarn that I’ve been wondering how to use, and a lot of people seem to use it for dishcloths.  I’ve never used it for that before, so I’m testing it out (with my white since I’d like to know how much it stains as well as how good it is at cleaning).

The last bag has a couple of greeting cards that need a few finishing touches before being listed in my Etsy shop.  No photo at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have one later.

So far this method of storage has worked really well for me — I actually finished all my mending that I’d been putting off for ages yesterday so I had room for another project!

It’s a baby!

Baby plant, that is.  I bought a teeny tiny (~2″ I think) succulent to replace the fern I lost to sunburn last fall.

Succulent1It’s super cute! I’ve never had a succulent before — anyone experienced with them who has any tips? I know not to water it too much, but I’m not sure how to tell when it needs more (it’s kinda spiky and fills up the whole pot so I can’t stick my finger in to test the dampness of the soil).

Succulent2