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A crafter’s stash consists of the materials required to engage in that craft. It may consist of yarn, fabric, paint, beads, bits of metal, or anything else required to engage in the craft. I would venture to guess that all crafters have some stash whether it is boxes and bag full of materials that would last a lifetime, or only enough for the next project. I would also guess that, given enough time, crafters will experience the inexplicable phenomenon of their stash growing of it’s own accord.

Given the number of crafts that I engage in, and the amount of time I have been crafting, my stash is pretty small; however, the amount of space allocated to my stash in my tiny house is even smaller. After cleaning up the working area of my little craft studio last week, and putting away all of the pieces of my stash that had been left out, I realized that the cabinet in which my stash is stored needed a good de-cluttering too.

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Here is the before and after! Wow, look at the difference! What is the secret to my success? Bags that can fit 3 blanket into the space of one, baskets whose interior dimensions are greater than their exterior dimensions, or hiding everything under the bed? No! I also didn’t spend any money on clever organizational gizmos, or new baskets, or magical vacuum bags. In fact, I didn’t spend any money at all. So how did I do it?

I got rid of stuff. A lot of stuff. 3 garbage bags full of stuff. I mercilessly purged all of those items I did not love, or could not think of a purpose for. The small bits of fabric, too small to even make a napkin, suffered the worse. I put them all in a pile, and told my kids to give me those that they would like doll clothes made from (the only thing I routinely use small pieces of fabric for). The rest went in the trash (sorry quilters).

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My left over bits of yarn went in a basket my kids can reach so they can access them. They will now be easily accessed for kids projects, wrapping and tying things, and knitting experiments.

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The left over bits of fabric, and squares large enough for napkins (but not much else) are now in a drawer of their own.

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And my interfacing, stuffing, and dye have their own space now too.

I have to admit that I was scared to get rid of my stash at first. After all, it could be used to make something. And I love to make things. But now that it is over I feel a huge sense of relief. I am now left with those things I actually WANT to make into something, and I no longer have an insurmountable mountain of stuff bearing down on me waiting to be worked on.

I encourage all of you to turn a critical eye on your stash, be it big or small, and cut out the chaff. I think you will be glad once you have done it.

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I have been reducing the clutter in my house, and sharing the results with you in my power of less series. I will finish off national craft month, with crafty decluttering.

For me, having no space to craft is the most discouraging barricade to crafting. When my craft “studio” is a mess, nothing gets done until the clutter is cleared.

This decluttering was simply reestablishing my pre existing organizational system, rather than an overhaul of that system. I’m pretty happy with the results.

As national craft month comes quickly to a close, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favorite crafty podcasts.

DIY

3) Destination DIY
Destination DIY is a independently produced radio show from Oregon, US that is also released as a podcast. It tackles a variety of crafty topics, from maker fair to crafting disasters. The professional quality of this podcast makes it a joy to listen to. Unfortunately it is not produced very often.

imake

2) iMake
iMake is a multi-craft podcast from Guernsey, an island dependency of the UK. It usually consists of a craft segment, and a segment about Guernsey itself. My favorite thing about this podcast is the range of crafts it covers, some of which I had not heard previous to this podcast.

Electric Sheep

1) Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep is a knitting podcast, featuring pattern reviews, knitting essays, a ninja sheep, Molotov chickens, and beards. This smart and funny podcast from London, England, is the only crafty podcast that Fire Beard has ever willingly listened to, even the kids like the yearly audio panto at Christmas Time.

In celebration of national craft month check out some of these entertaining crafty podcasts!

March is National Craft Month, so I would like to start the month with a craft, food craft.

This last weekend was my son’s birthday, and he and my MIL created a cake of his design, a Angry Birds/Lego Star Wars Ice Planet Hoth Cake. It was adorable and he loved it.

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The base was made from marshmallows, piled together like an igloo. Thick white frosting created a blanket of snow, and large pieces of sugar made it shine. Toothpicks were stuck into the lego pieces which were stuck into the cake, allowing them to hover just above the sticky “snow”.

My son created the snow speeder crash landing into the enemy, and my daughter created the rebel flag.

I forgot one of the best cakes (Thanks for reminding me Gadabout Knitter)! The dragon cake that my MIL and SisIL made my son for his 2nd birthday.  So here it is….

The wings and fire are made of fruit leather – pretty clever I thought.

The party was Mighty Knights themed, and the dragon cake wasn’t the only dragon at the party.

I created the “fabricy”part of the costumes for the human and animal guests, firebeard made the wooden shields.

Highly accurate armor, don’t you think?

While I pride myself on my ability to master nearly any craft I really set my mind to, I have not yet mastered food craft.  More specifically, I have not masted the art of making food beautiful (although I can decorate a mean cookie).  I simply don’t have the love of food craft that makes it’s mastery possible.  My MIL however, makes beautiful food, and I have been extremely negligent in sharing with you all the the beautiful cakes she makes for my kids on their birthdays, but no longer.  Today I will share her beautiful cakes.

Most recently, she made my son a Top Gear Cake for his 5th birthday, representing his favorite Top Gear Challenge – killing a Toyota.  The cake depicts that Toyota perched on the top of a building, right before the building is demolished.  (By the way, Top Gear is a British car show that tests the merits of cars in a variety of wacky scenarios).  In this picture, my son had already removed the Toyota from the top of the tower because it was afraid it would be hurt.

Here is the truck on top of the tower block, waiting to be demolished.

My daughter wanted a simple dinosaur cake for her 6th birthday.

My son’s 4th birthday was a lego party, so my MIL made a giant lego with a sheet cake and cupcakes.

For my son’s 3rd birthday, my MIL made an incredible monster truck cake, complete with jumbo doughnut wheels.

I have also made a few cakes that made the cut, and I am including in this post.  The first of which is a Halloween themed cake I created for my daughter’s birthday.

My favorite part is the tiny peanut butter skulls.

My daughter also had a reptile themed party where I made an ice cream turtle, and a snake cake.

 

All of this talk about cake has inspired me to go eat lunch, I hope you have been inspired too.