Scraps Gone Crazy!

In keeping with the theme of reducing and organizing your stash, let’s discuss the “scrap problem”.  Right now, my scraps are stored in a single plastic bin.  However, when I take the lid off it literally explores from all the fabrics I have stuffed in there.  This method also makes it difficult to track what colors and styles of fabric are there.

Scraps gone crazy!

Since the Scrappy House blocks are made from scraps, this bin needs organized so that the blocks can come together more quickly.   The first one was finished yesterday and only 18 more are needed in order to be caught up! I plan to work on them this weekend so that things are back on track by Monday.

First Scrappy House Block!

The first one turned out really cute.  This uses some of the modern fabrics in my scrap bag – do you see the little bird in the window?  My plan is to mix up all the fabric styles – civil war, trendy, holiday, and so on.  It will look nice and scrappy when completed.  In order to give the final piece some unity, the same black and red fabrics will be used to create the border and corner stones that surround each block.  The search is still on for these two fabrics.

Anyway, back to to the scrap problem.  I purchased 8 clear plastic shoebox bins and will be organizing the scraps by the colors of the rainbow (black/white for the last bin).  This seems to be an easy way to get them in order  for now.  Since I have so many civil war scraps, these will be organized in another set of bins.

How do you organize your scraps?  Please post your suggestions in the comments section.

Keep It Thimble!

Stash Reduction Isn’t SO Bad – Is It?

What goes through your mind when someone says the words  “Stash Reduction”?  Do you get a sheepish look on your face and nod knowingly?  Do you cringe at the idea of actually using your beautiful fabrics? Does it mean nothing since you don’t have a stash or even know what one is?

My Fabric Stash - January 2011

For some reason, whenever I think about my stash, I get a twinge of guilt.  It does seem a bit … indulgent…to have more fabric in my possession than I can ever use in a lifetime.  When people come over to my house I am a bit shy about showing them my stash closet for fear I will be judged harshly.  However, most people obsessed with sewing understand where I am coming from and don’t judge me :).  In order to alleviate some of these guilty feelings, I sort through my stash once or twice a year and either sell or donate the fabric.  My goal is to not outgrow the current stash closet, because once that happens I will have TOO MUCH FABRIC.

Fat Quarter and Miscellaneous Stash - January 2011

There are many reasons that it’s hard to use the fabrics in your stash.  One, you never know if you will see that same bolt of fabric again, so you need to get a yard “just in case”.  Two, once you have the fabric in your stash, you have to find the perfect perfect project for it.  Three, when you start a new project, you need to buy more fabric because you don’t have anything in your stash you can use (this is similar to looking at a closet full of clothes and not having anything to wear).

This year, I am making a concerted effort at Stash Reduction with a two-pronged approach: first, I don’t plan to buy any new fabric in 2012* (gifts are fine), and second, I will get rid of at least 300 yards of my stash by using it, donating it, or selling it.  I have some projects in mind and I think I can do it – but it will be a challenge.

Stashbuster's Pledge (from http://www.patchworktimes.com)

Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times created a Stashbuster Pledge in 2009.  While I’m not ready sign a formal pledge, I think this is a great idea.  Judy’s blog is very inspirational for people like me who hope to reduce their stash.  She does a weekly stash report that I plan to adopt (although my reports will be posted every 2 months – first one post at the end of February):

  • Used the last two months:
  • Used Year to Date:
  • Added in the last two Months:
  • Added Year to Date:
  • Net Used for 2012:

Do you think I am crazy for doing this?  Anyone want to jump on the band wagon and join me?  Any ideas for stashbuster projects? If so, please email me or post in the comments!

Finally, I am pleased to announce the debut of “The Straight Stitch”, an advice column for those to love to sew, embroider, craft, etc.  Please email me your questions and they will be answered!  Feel free to ask me anything, I’m here to help you Keep it Thimble!

*Exceptions: it is from the thrift store, on sale for $4 a yard or less, needed for binding or backing, or it is the only non-stash fabric needed to complete a project.

Thrift Store Finds!

It’s time for another edition of Thrift Store Finds.   For awhile there, I was getting disappointed because there didn’t seem to be much out there for a few weeks.  One weekend I visited all my usual thrift stores and a few garage sales and I couldn’t find one thing!  However, that all changed last weekend – I hit the jackpot!

Vintage Fabrics

The first stop was a local thrift store that’s open only on weekends.   For about $10, I walked out with several pieces of vintage fabric, some vintage hand embroidered table linens, a spice rack, and two super cute vintage aprons!

Embroidered Bluebird Table Topper
Embroidered Springtime Table Topper

These embroidered toppers need some TLC, but after I wash and starch them, they should look pretty good.

Vintage Black Checkered Apron
Grandma's Red Checkered Apron

I was especially pleased with the red apron.  When I was little, my grandma’s main form of discipline when she was watching my brother and me was to say, “Don’t do that, or I will have to put on my red-checkered apron.”  To this day, I have no idea what would happen if she actually put it on – but in my mind I envisioned her chasing me around the house with a rolling pin and swatting my bottom with it.  Needless to say, my brother and I were always concerned when she said this and usually stopped whatever we were doing and snapped to attention.  Of course, when I was little, I never actually saw this apron (although I certainly tried to find it).  I remember asking my grandma one time where she kept it and she said it was hidden in the kitchen.    Well, guess what?  I found it!

Hand-pieced Quilt Top

One other treasure I also was excited about was a hand-pieced quilt top.  The piecing is almost complete, it just needs a few more diamonds added to the outside border.  I plan to finish this and use it on my kitchen table. You can’t see it very well in the picture, but the fabrics are vintage and quite lovely.  Luckily, the fabric scraps were also included, so I can finish it up with the original fabric.

Spice Rack

The next stop was a local yard sale.  The owners were cleaning out the attic of all their children’s toys.  They had tons of vintage board games and toys from the 60’s and 70’s for dirt cheap!  She even had an Easy Bake oven (with box!) – which I thought would look cute displayed in my kitchen.

Easy Bake Oven

The last deal of the day was this Kenmore Sewing machine.  It’s about 10 years old, but hardly ever used.   You can always use another basic sewing machine.  Also, I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing offering sewing lessons and this would be great for teaching beginners.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Keep it thimble!