A picnic basket turns into a handy-dandy all-in-one craft station

Guestpost by Chae-Bird on Aug 30th

My partner, who I'll call Mr. Bear, and I frequent a lot of thrift stores. All of my burlesque costumes are made out of thrifted items, we have lots of thrifted furniture, and I have a mish-mash tea set made of thrifted cups and saucers that I have embellished with porcelain pens.

A thrifting trip is pretty much hit or miss. If it's a good day, we'll walk out of there with a bag of clothes, some furniture, and sometimes one or two little oddities that make our home more personal to us. Today was a day like that. I found a pile of shirts that will be transformed into an awesome Day of the Dead wedding outfit for next Saturday, Mr. Bear found a nice camping chair, and just before we finished ringing up, I spotted a picnic basket.

I have a penchant for picnic baskets. I already had three, in varying levels of complexity. But I did not have a briefcase-style one, like the above, so I was thrilled when I saw this beauty. It came with three mugs, four plates, and four sets of cutlery and was priced at a measly $3.98. My lovely Mr. Bear is nothing if not indulgent, so he added it to our pile at the register. I already knew what I'd be making with it.

I'd seen a few suitcases-turned-craftcases on Pinterest, like these:

Photo courtesy Playful Learning.

I would still love to have an adorable vintage suitcase to turn into one of these, but my thrifting mojo has not been that good yet.

The picnic basket provided a stylish alternative to the vintage suitcase, with the added benefit of already being lined and outfitted with several straps for holding dishes. I decided to use the four straps meant for cups to hold skeins of yarn in place on the lid, and strapped my copy of the Beekeeper's Quilt pattern in the center.

I tucked my yarn needle into the fabric lining behind the pattern for safe-keeping.

I plan on adding some dividers in the lower half for organization. For right now I'm keeping a ziploc of polyfil tucked against one side and just tossing my hexipuffs in as I make them.

Now instead of having my knitting project taking over the end table in the living room, I can pack it all away in my travel basket and put it on the bookseller's shelf (also thrifted!), keeping it all out of the way while still being close at hand and ready to go at a moment's notice.

Eventually I will reline the basket in a fabric I like better, and replace the shoelaces holding the top and bottom together with thrifted leather belt buckles.

I still keep needles, polyfil, and a ball of yarn in my purse for knitting during commutes and the like, but this project makes taking the whole shebang to a friend's house or the park for a day's knitting easy peasy.

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About Chae-Bird

Chae is a nerdy vegetarian anthropologist/burlesque artist living in her native Pacific Northwest with her soon-to-be Sgt. Husband, their corgi Ponyo, and angora bunny Butters. When she's not on stage or identifying human bone fragments, she knits, sews, bakes, gardens, travels, and then puts pictures of it all on her blog.

http://birdheartsbear.blogspot.com