Orts and Ends


plural noun: orts
  1. a scrap or remainder of food from a meal.

I first heard the word as applied to needlework.  Orts . . . . the scraps or remainders of fibers when stitching . . . what do you do with them?  Many years ago, a fellow stitcher gave me an ort container made from an old margarine tub.  But at my stitching spot I like to keep my orts in a pretty piece of pottery from Blue Ridge Pottery.  In the spring, I spread the orts in the bushes around the house so that birds can use them in their nests.


What do you do with your orts?



Treasure Hunting

For more than a decade, I have searched and wished for an old spool cabinet.  I have found plenty on ebay and occasionally in antique shops, but they have always been price prohibitive. Yesterday my husband and I stopped by our local antique shop (Kelly’s Real Deals) looking for a small side table, and I stumbled upon the treasure I had been seeking . . . a lovely old J&P Coats thread cabinet.  It was mostly buried under a pile of china, a walking cane, candleholders, a brass scale, and other odds and ends.  After excavating it from the pile and checking it out thoroughly, I made my negotiations with the proprietor and loaded it up in the car.

Keep in mind that Kelly’s is basically a barn, and the items you find there are by no means picture perfect refinished antiques.  That’s part of what I love about it.

Here is my find right after I brought it home:



and after some basic cleaning:


It has 4 drawers and the top is hinged and opens up.  I covered the black insert in the top with a piece of black fabric, and I lined the drawers and inside the top with blue felt.

I will spend a little time researching this, but I know these cabinets were made for merchants starting in about 1877.  J&P Coats merged with Clark in 1952.  So this cabinet would have to date somewhere in that range.  I’d love to narrow it down further.  The knobs on the lower left drawer are replacements, but the others are original.  The labels on the drawers are original.  The one that is rubbed off would have said “Best”.  You can buy new labels for these, but I intend to leave everything original.

I will probably use a little wax paste on the wood to condition it a little, but for the most part I plan to leave this as-is.  I can’t wait to fill it with needlework supplies!

Updated Oct 8, 2014:

I cleaned the piece a second time and used a paste wax on it.  LOVE the final outcome.


Craft Room

The key for me to getting anything done is being organized.  Recently I gave my craft space a thorough clean-out.  I had some of my craft supplies in the basement and some upstairs in our office.  I have now consolidated everything upstairs and I really love it.  These photos show the two shelf areas on either side of the office door.

On the left:

  • Closetmaid 3 x 3 cubes from Target contains Girl Scout materials (books and paperwork on two shelves, badges and other loose items in one of the fabric bins), a couple of bins of CDs/DVDs with photos and digital scrapbooking materials, and an oval basket of “mat stacks”.
  • The rolling drawer unit on the left came from Home Decorators Collection.  It contains ribbons, ink pads, envelopes, extra tape, and other odds and ends.
  • On top of the drawer unit is a scrapbook paper shelf from Michael’s, topped by a stack of my current scrapbook projects.
  • On top of the cube shelves is a postal scale, “Henry”, and a basket of art markers (Copics plus a few glitter markers)
  • On the wall are 3 magnetic panels — I just made these & love them.  I will have to add a post about them later.  But they hold tins of buttons, brads, eyelets and other embellishments.


On the right:

  • Another 3×3 cube holds fabric bins of photos ready to be scrapped, stamp sets, and embossing folders, my Creative Memories tool caddies, my cutters/trimmers, and Sizzix platforms, and two totes where I keep my basic supplies for a quick grab & go for crops.
  • On top, my Big Shot, another basket of stamps & dies, and notebooks filled with stamps
  • In the corner, my big paper shelves — sorry, don’t recall where they came from, topped by another shelf from Michael’s
  • More magnetic panels
  • A Creative Memories Everyday Display holding a recent card I made.
  • And on the wall – my first ever cross-stitch project
  • On the floor — that’s Tasha


The photo below is the large part of my desk, which sits to the right of the photos above.  Under the blue fabric with stars is my Pazzles cutter.  The baskets contain cards in progress.  My laptop and monitor sit to the right side of this photo.