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Last week my husband and I flew to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean.  We both teach and our respective schools were on Spring Break.  It was an anniversary trip of sorts since we made it through our first year of marriage – something to celebrate for sure!  Last March at almost the exact same time we eloped to Dominica – also in the Caribbean.  Now, let me be honest here…I’m a Midwestern homebody through and through.  My happiest moments are under a ratty blanket on the couch with the biggest mug of chamomile tea.  I don’t mind the snow and winters (although like anyone, this time of year gets unbearable) But somehow I’ve managed to marry an adventurous man who needs sunshine and waves nearby….and Lake Michigan doesn’t cut it.

We don’t own a house or property and don’t have any babies so…this has become our thing.  I guess love really does make you step outside your comfort zone doesn’t it?  Never in a million years would I picture myself willingly swimming in an ocean, hiking rainforests, snorkeling, etc.  But we have the best time on these trips.  We refuse to be the typical tourists who lay on the beach and sip drinks with tiny umbrellas.  Instead we stay in small guesthouses, eat food cooked at someone’s roadside bbq, walk with rastas with blue eyes, and tire our muscles.  The highlight of this trip for sure was being convinced by a young native of Soufriere that we could hike the hardest mountain on the island – Petit Piton.  Needless to say I have never felt that level of exhaustion before.  My thighs are finally on the mend a week later!  Both of us cried tears of exhaustion and joy when we landed back on the ground.  Most of the climb was straight up and at some points there was a tattered rope to hoist us up. I made it to the shoulder of the mountain and freaked out.  Allen and Liley (or Dr Feelgood, our guide, who climbed almost the entire mountain barefoot) continued to the summit.  When we came back down Liley pointed to how far I had gotten and said I should be proud.  I can honestly say that I am.

This trip we also decided to shoot film….here’s a few highlights.  Check out the octopus shot Allen got underwater!

 

Market in Castries

 

Cascara Guesthouse in Soufriere

 

Liley aka Dr Feelgood at the top of Petit Piton

 

 

Octopus!

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apparently we’ve reached the halfway point finally.  kerith and i just ordered some spring yarn in colors that look like petals and sorbet and it feels like they won’t come fast enough.  we still have some fun things planned….this weekend we’ll be at discovery world for an indoor market, i have another “compulsive craft” post to do, and we might be doing our very first giveaway….so check back soon! also be sure to snag something from our shop before saturday or it might be gone!!

can you tell kerith is wearing a cutie patootie built by wendy dress?

 

these pins were for "lettering" in something in high school. my mom just gave me a bunch of old medals from my room. i don't even remember what i got these for....

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No, my secret is not that I drink out of this giant, hairy, burly mug.  It’s something that I’m much more embarrassed to present to you, dear blog readers, but I know that the first step to healing is admitting I have a problem.  First, let me start by saying that I empty the garbage regularly, I do the dishes every day, and just this morning I bleached the bajibberjabber out of my bathroom.

In a couple of weeks we are going to move to the apartment downstairs.  It will be nice to mix things up a bit without having to make a giant move and it will also allow me to have more workspace.  Which brings me to my confession.  The place where all the magic, all the creating, all the business tasks take place is…….

A BIG FAT GIGANTIC CLUTTERY MESS!!!

 

With how busy Midwest Needles is getting the state of my workspace is becoming quite a problem.  I’m presenting it to you, dear readers, in all it’s mess so you can hold me accountable and please, please give me any tips you may have on organization.

I am going to wholeheartedly blame this character flaw on my father.  His office desk has always been a mound of papers with no sense of organization.  However, this clutter has got to stop!

Kerith gifted me a lovely standing shelf that will definitely help when I move into my new studio, but I welcome any favorite organizing tips you may have.  My workspace is the LAST thing I ever attempt to clean and I’m starting to think that might be my problem.

I’m committed to being more organized and by showing all of you I’m hoping you will help keep me accountable.  Please share some inspiration!  Favorite organizing boxes!  Favorite system! Tell me I can do it!!  And I promise I’ll post pics of my new magical workspace so you can see my progress.

I have a problem, friends.  I haven’t even shown you my yarn stash…..

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This week’s vintage craft love post is all about the Creative Hands series!  Last fall during a trip to the thrift store to find Halloween costumes I stumbled on a lone volume from this series. I immediately fell in love and tried to find as much about these books as I could. 

Unfortunately not much knowledge is out there other than people selling single volumes or entire sets.  Eventually I purchased all 22 volumes (minus #13 and #15) for a whopping $11.00 including shipping!!  From what I can gather they were originally published as articles or chapters in other books or magazines and collected together in what is meant to be an encyclopedia of all things crafty.  Most of the projects are sewing, knitting, embroidery, tatting, or macrame.  (Thank heavens since I don’t take much interest in projects involving glue!) They are a little confusing to follow since the skills they teach are meant to build off previous ones.  For example, in one volume they may talk about sewing a skirt but then refer to pockets covered in a previous volume.  However, I mostly browse through these books for inspiration.  The photos are lovely and there is a wonderful mix of drawings as well.  The art historian in me also loves the artists that they sometimes feature, although it baffles me they don’t always give a name.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite pages from the books- enjoy!

I love this embroidery pattern!

Isn't this photo dreamy?

Creepy projects are not absent from the series, however....EW!!!

Snazzy skirts!

Make a robe for your sophisticated man.

Super mod stitch pattern.

LOVE the yellow and gray.

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Maybe it’s all the Thai Iced Coffee we drink during our biz meetings at Stone Creek Coffee.  Or maybe we just can’t wait to meet everyone at the Craftacular!!  Either way we’re bouncing in our seats and just couldn’t wait to share a small preview.

Here’s the ruffley plaid scarves I mentioned earlier!  They make me think of the long autumn walks I like to take with my friend Dana. We fill mugs with mulled wine, pull on boots and layers, and try to find the biggest piles of crunchy leaves to stomp through.  Of course it is way too swampy in the Midwest to be doing that but we know how quickly that can change.

Each scarf feels like it was made from one of your dad’s old shirts.  It’s super soft and warm and the ruffles add the perfect lady-like touch….

xo,

kate & kerith

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We just wanted to say a big congrats to our friends Steve and Kendra who recently welcomed little Camille to their family.  We think she’s adorable and love her precious name!!  She’s also already a big supporter of handmade items…check out her lavender booties knit by our very own Kerith.

Camille even wrote us this sweet note:

Dear Midwest Needles:

Thank you for making these super sweet purple booties…they have kept my feet nice and warm on my occasional trips into the outside world.  I can’t wait to buy more of your finely crafted, handmade baby clothing.

Midwest Needles Rules!

Sincerely,

Camille

Awww….Camille, we think YOU rule!  We wish the new family all the very best!

xoxo,

Kate & Kerith

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