Bits of Our Wednesday

Today is first quiet day we’ve had in a while. I took the kids with me for a quick visit to our accountant’s office, which meant a stop on the way home at the really large Goodwill nearby. My kids zero’d in on an electronic Battleship game, then found a treasure trove of 79 cent paperback books. I, myself was browsing through the other shelves and hit the jackpot on a back wall.
I have been looking for a full set of The Family Creative Workshop forever, and it seems my patience has finally paid off. For those of you who haven’t discovered these, published in the 70’s each volume (I believe there are 23 or 24) is full of craft ideas, covering everything from glassblowing to wire sculpture to quilting to macrame (of course) for kids and adults. I am going to have so much fun looking through these. I talked the manager into letting me have them for $1.99 each (usually $2.99 each). I actually didn’t bring home every one of the volumes in the set (because, as an example, although I craft a lot, I don’t plan on glassblowing any time soon). Only problem is they smell pretty bad, I don’t think they have been opened and aired since the 70’s! Does anyone have tips on getting rid of that musty book smell?
On a less-smelly subject, yesterday I got the assortment of sunny yellows and orange fabrics I ordered from Pink Chalk Fabrics. Its been a while since I bought a lot of fabric (other than the owls) and when I did the patchwork pillows I realized that my fabric purchases tend towards the greens and blues (a lot of the warmer fabrics in those pillows were actually teeny tiny swatches that just barely made a strip, its a travesty, I know). It was easy on Kathy’s site to just click on the yellows and the oranges, and now I feel like I’ve filled out my assortment. These will probably be going into the Value Quilt that I’ve started (completely Katie’s fault), even though I have one quilt started and another one I was going to start. But I have to admit, if you’re looking for a quilt to make and enjoy, and have a stash of pretty fabric (or need an excuse to buy some), make this Value quilt. It comes together so quickly and easily, and it gives people like me a chance to use all those fancy, pretty florals that stand no chance around here on their own. It really does make a terrific light/dark pattern to use lots of different, random patterns and colors. I think this quilt will become a family room quilt, the one we use in there is actually a quilt I made pre-blog and its really embarrassing! Let’s just say I had huge issues with quilt binding back in 2004.

  • Alicia G.

    July 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I have a few of the books from the same set. I often see them at thrift stores. I, too, dislike the musty smell and after reading your post did a search to see what can be done about it. I found a good article here:
    I am going to try them out.

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks so much Alicia, this is just the kind of advice I needed, I'm going to try the cat litter remedy first.

  • leslie

    July 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Oh I was going to chime in with cat litter too! I’ve had great success with it when I bought a bunch of books that apparently came from a smoker’s home. It took a while, but it worked! 🙂 Good luck!

  • blair/wisecraft

    July 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    thank you Les! How long did it take the smell to go away?

  • RhubarbSky

    July 15, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I had a bunch of my childhood books get returned from my parents’ garage all musty and yucky.
    I’d read up a whole bunch about how to get rid of the smell. . . . and what I ended up doing would make document and book archivists cringe, but was the simplest method and it totally worked, though it might have shortened the life of the books.
    I put a bunch of the books in a big garbage bag and put about 3 cups of baking soda in the bag with the books. I went through and tried to get some of the baking soda into the pages. Then I tied the whole mess up and left it in a closet for several weeks.
    It was a bit of a mess to clean up (though not that bad) and worked like a charm. We’re reading my old copy of Little House on the Prairie to our daughter with no yucky smell.
    Good luck!

  • Jen

    July 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve heard of using charcoal, or layering newspaper between the pages and sealing it up for a while.

  • patte

    July 15, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    As a librarian who gets frequent donations, I’ve used the method of opening a book and putting it in a cardboard box with the air freshener of choice (baking soda, scented solid). It should be taped or the lid placed on securely. This followed up by a good sunny, dry day outside or in front of a gently blowing fan has worked in the past.

  • Janet Hyland

    July 15, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    On a recent tv show How Clean Is Your House here in the UK, they came up with using used tumble dry sheets in between the pages, they must be used though as the oils from the sheet can mark the pages . Hope this helps Janxx

  • Mama Urchin

    July 16, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I’m on a scrappy quilt binge and I like that value quilt too. The wheels in my head are turning.

  • Kristin

    July 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I’m a little obsessed with books and feel I must add those to my collection now! Thanks for sharing. There are only a couple on ebay and half… looks like they are going to be pretty hard to find.

  • Deven

    July 16, 2009 at 11:59 am

    What great thrift store finds! I had great yardsaling/thrifting this weekend! Tons of crafting supplies & china!

  • Mike

    July 16, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Yes….I’ve used the dryer sheet method too. Get some inexpensive ones and tuck them in between the pages. And…the ‘put them out in the sunshine’ helps too.
    Good luck…they look like a lot of fun. Macrame? Holy cow…that takes me back.

  • D R E W

    July 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    i have been looking for a set of these books, too! i can’t seem to find any.
    we had them when i was young and i loved everyone. i’d sit and look at them for hours.

  • Pearlie

    July 17, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Ooh, I collect The Family Creative Workshop too! They crack me up- glass blowing indeed.

  • lisa

    July 17, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I have always sprayed my thrifted books down with Lysol and then left them in the garage to dry. I mainly do it for the cootie factor, but I think it does get rid of most smells. If I had a super old book then I probably wouldn’t do it, but I have never noticed anything bad happening like discoloration or anything.

  • Chase

    July 19, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Ooh I love those wood grain ones! I just found some oil cloth in a similar motif to make sandwich wraps out of! Cannot wait to see what you make from those!

  • Colleen Penn

    July 20, 2009 at 4:28 am

    That’s hilarious! I just bought some of these books at my thrift store. Mine also made me sneeze when I paged through them!

  • wayfarer

    July 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Funny, i remember my dad getting these in the mail when i was a kid. I didn’t realize they had those kinds of crafts in them. I thought they were woodworking type ones. I’ll have to see if he still has them and take a peek.

  • kimberly

    July 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    amen on the cat litter. my mom pulls that one all the time.

  • Heather

    July 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    As a librarian with many books returned smelly, our best trick is to tent a dryer sheet over the paper pages of the book and close it, then leave it in someone’s garage for a week…
    And the Family Creative Workshop is one of my favorite sets in all of the library! You can make mukluks! a canoe! Cardboard furniture! You are missing a lot of great things in the Gs besides Glassblowing!

  • Banana

    August 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Wow! I remember reading those craft books at my grandmothers house when I was a kid! She had the whole set, even the glass blowing. I wonder if she still has them… Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • shelle

    August 17, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I almost bought those books from goodwill, I carried them around the store debating the crafty goodness hidden in each volume. Then my brained screamed you have enough books! I thought to rid the musty odor you put them into cat litter for a while to dry them out, living in a dry area I have never needed to try it out though.

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