Saturday, November 20, 2010

Self-proclaimed Queen of Making Do

Hi, I'm Kasey! You can find me rambling over here. I'm so thrilled that Madame Samm has let me gab away here on Stash Manicure!

I had intended to document the transition from sewing space to sewing room, and moving with my stash... however, we still haven't moved!!! The joys of buying a house....

So, this is my sewing space...

It's the corner of the sunroom/almost porch/really awkward addition to the house we're currently renting. Usually my ironing board would be blocking the view of my mess fabric stash. That's our kitchen table (I was standing in the pass through kitchen to take this)... I have the best husband who, upon returning from Iraq and seeing my "domain" granted me supreme sewing rule. Which is why we eat on TV trays when he's home.

Since I started reading SM, I have been attempting to organize my fabric. The shoebox sized plastic bins are great for strips, and the rolling carts are nice for my folded fabric. But, it seems like the more stuff I pack from our house, the more fabric I come home with during trips to Target for more tape (I swear, ladies and gents, i don't know HOW I ended up at the cutting counter!). So I have now purchased 2 more plastic bins-- one from JoAnn's, the other from Wally World... and they are MUCH CHEAPER at Wally World! I bought them after seeing others have had success with them, and because eventually those handles will come in handy to move.

I call myself the Queen of Making Do because I am currently *employed* as a Homemaker. Y'all know how well that pays... which means I have no budget for investing in fancy equipment. So when I needed a way to grip and unruly table runner for my first go at FMQ, I used these!

To quilt this!

He's such a dear, he'd been home 5 minutes from work and I was prancing around nagging,
"Hold this so I can get it all in one shot!"
Starting at either end, I rolled the well-basted runner up with one roll for each side. That way, i could hold the whole runner and not have so much awkward length dangling as I tried to move it around to quilt it.

I know, most people avoid rolling, but like I said- I make do! I have since squandered away found the money to purchase quilting gloves with those little grippy fingers so I can "puddle" rather than roll.

I also often make do by altering patterns, or straight up making my own to suit my wants/needs/goofy ideas. Like my purses, that have custom cell phone pockets so my iPhone is safely hidden but convenient
The pocket it still "hidden" since I used the same red fabric on the side... it's like Where's Waldo!
This purse is a double make-do since it was designed off of my last purse that I made over the summer... but when I made this one, I kind of forgot to sew the cell pocket in with the lining... so there it is, even handier on the exterior!

And speaking of Making Do... what do you do when you have either a malfunctioning walking foot or a design flaw that lets your walking foot misbehave? MAKE DO! Which, in this case, meant wire...

I rigged it so the wire forces the lever to drop and make it walk... it gets stuck in the up position. My other walking foot for my Fashion Mate is engineered better- it has a little claw that grips the needle screw. Too bad it wouldn't fit on Helga the Viking.

Last but not least, what do you do when you've packed 90% of your sewing and crafting stuff since taking of picture of your mess domain? MAKE DO! Lucky for me, I had packed with planning... Most of my more recent (and more important) UFOs were all packed in the same plastic bin, which I left accessible.... so I have since finished the last 2 pumpkin placemats of a set of 4, my grandparent's Christmas present which happens to be another tablerunner, designed and finished Christmas placemats (ok not a UFO but so fun!), and turned 2 blocks into a completed flimsy that will probably be finished before we move!!!!

Laid out like this, it sure looks like I've been busy!
I have learned in my 26 years that complaining might be a good way to vent, but if you don't do something about it you just wasted your breath and your time. If I'm complaining, I'm probably forming a plan of attack as I speak/type as to how to improve my day/situation/attitude. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of staring at my packed fabric, dreaming up what my first new project will be whenever we get moved and I get my sewing Room, and then pulling out another UFO and making progress. Other times, it takes sewing, and chocolate, and lots of love from our 2 dogs. But no matter what, if I do something rather than wallow in self-pity, I always feel better.

When life hands you a problem you think you can't solve, MAKE DO!

Happy sewing!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tiny But Efficient Sewing Room

Hello!  It’s me again, Polly from Aunt Polly’s Porch blog!
I’m so glad to be posting here at Stash Manicure again! :-)
I have been BLOWN away by the ginormous and
extremely organized “Quilt Cave” photos
and posts by Teresa of Fabric Therapy.
(And I thought I had a nice big stash!! 
NOOO comparison!!)school
This is our fourth home over the past 31 years
but it the first one in which I have my own sewing room.
So however tiny it is,
it’s ALLLL mine!!
Samme and I were chatting about
 how her sewing room reflects her love
of girlie things… totally feminine
and frilly… mine- not so much!
I have always loved everything by Mary Engelbreit. 
I have all her books and LOTS of her fabrics. 
I love her use of bright primary colors
mixed with black and white.
So, my little sewing room has her ALL over it-
the curtain valance, the cover of my Big Board,
my sewing machine cover,
all sorts of her  knick-knacks and such.
Because my sewing room is so tiny-only 10’ by 10’,
I really HAVE to be organized or with all my stuff,
I’d not be able to move around in there,
find anything or even get in the door!

I do share my room, though, with my dog Yogi.
  He has a comfy bed up on my sewing table
in front of the window which overlooks the backyard…
man, he gets the BEST sleep there!!
ANYHOO… my favorite organizer in my sewing room
has to be those plastic drawers on rollers. 
supplies storage 1
I have them EVERYWHERE!! 
I like that they can fit nicely under tables and can
also stack on top of each other without the rollers.
I store my saved scraps in these drawers under the sewing table extension.
( My sewing table is the larger “Quilter's Dream” by  Horn.)
When I have allot of leftover scraps from a whole collection,
I’ll put them together in a Ziploc before putting them in the drawer…
which is good to quickly pull out to make smaller projects
like purses or table runners and wall-hangings.
  These above are perfect for patterns and embroidery supplies
like rolls of stabilizer and design CD’s.
When I’m in the middle of a quilt, the design wall
is usually full of blocks, but other times I just pin stuff
up there to inspire me or that I need to work on next!
Just a few months ago, I cleaned out
and reorganized my stash closet,
which I like to do about once a year.
I have grouped my stash into
colors, then a shelf of novelties,
a shelf of decor weight fabrics, two
shelves of garment fabric, a shelf
of flannels, a shelf for fall and winter
fabrics, a shelf of spring and garden fabrics and
a few shelves of florals separated into main color groups. 
I  LOVEEE Florals!!
I have a row of plastic show boxes filled with quilt labels
and panels and then above them I have
several plastic bins sitting on their ends
on top of the grey metal shelves
in my stash closet that house
larger pieces of fabrics for backings
and several bins with bundles of coordinated fabrics
ready to make a whole quilt with…
just waiting until I make up my mind
what pattern to make or design.
They are very patient fabrics!! 
I keep a big roll of Warm and Natural batting
in one end of my closet
and packages of other battings in the other end! 
Above the tall bins on top are packages of Polyfil stuffing
for dolls and pincushions and such!
I like to put on a DVD while I’m
sewing… all chick flicks mostly,
so I have a little media shelf which as time goes by
is getting taken over by jelly rolls and charm packs.
FQ cab nice
My fat quarters are stored in a little wooden antique chest of drawers…
but I removed the drawers and use the chest as little cubbies!
I stacked 2 of the drawers up on the right side to make a bit more room!
Here on top of a cutting table that is never empty for cutting,
I have my Alto’s Quiltcut  and Accuquilt Go! and dies,
 as well as, all my rulers.
And I LOVE quilting books. 
Such inspiration for me… 
maybe some day, I’ll write my own!  :-)
So, you see, you really CAN fit
ALLOT of sewing and quilting
stuff in a tiny little room if you take the time
to organize your fabric, scraps and supplies. 
As my dear Mother always says-
“where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
And I AM one strong-willed lady!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little Christmas Stash Fun.

Or, the best laid plans of mice and quilters...

Hi all! I am Jan from the blog, Another Hatchett Job. The last time I posted here at Stash Manicure, I was asked to by Rae Ann. This time, I have had the pleasure of talking with Madame Samm and getting to know her a little bit. I have enjoyed watching this blog grow and blossom as so many wonderful ideas. It's exciting to have played a very small part in the sharing! I know that I get really inspired by seeing what other quilters are doing. But, today, I am going to share some ideas for manicuring the ol' stash while getting ready for the holidays.

My fabulous plan was to show all kinds of photos for these following projects as I worked on them, but, alas, my sewing machine bit the dust and I am readjusting my Christmas plans. So, I am including links that will show everyone many of the projects that I had planned to do. Some photos exist for projects that I started, but likely won't get to finish in time for the holidays (at least this year)!
So what if they don't quilt, maybe they will re- gift it to me!
For most of us, the holidays are a time of fun and family. But, often, the anticipation of the event is more exciting than the actual events themselves. Part of that wonderful anticipation comes from the hunt for the "perfect gift" for someone special. We feel kind of victorious when we have found just the thing. We enjoy knowing that the item that we located will please our loved one. It's a good thing.

But.....what if you could get all those nice feelings without the shopping hustle and bustle? What if you could customize items for your friends and family? What if you could spend time in your crafty/sewing space instead of a crowded mall? What if you could enjoy yourself and be creative while coming up with the perfect gift?

Stash Busting for the holidays can definitely be a win/win situation! Especially when the economy is tight (as it certainly is around here), I can satisfy my creative desires while making gifts that are specifically crafted to please the recipient.

In addition to purchased fabrics, my personal stash contains clothing to be repurposed, and gifted fabrics. I am using up as much of these as possible while making gifts for loved ones.

And these gifts are certainly NOT limited to these end of the year holidays. My first project is a baby quilt for a dear friend's first child. As we know that the baby is a boy and the mother is averse to anything even remotely "girly," I am using old, er, thrifted men's (and boy's) shirts for this quilt. I am even using pieced batting and more shirting fabric for the back. It's definitely masculine, while being soft and lovely for a baby.

I took some old blocks that I started years ago to make a gift. I didn't have the skills at the time to finish them correctly, so I set them aside. I recently found them and put together a nice lap quilt for a Christmas gift. It's full of beginner mistakes that I had made, but it's got loads of character and I just know that the recipient will love it.

I may have to slip over to my parent's house and use Mom's sewing machine to finish this one.  It only lacks the binding at this point.

Here is the back of the same quilt.  It is a glorious blend of all kinds of 80s scraps from when I first started quilting!  I love a project that is almost done when I find it!  LOL!

Some more vintage shirting will be another lap quilt. I am using this pattern from Quiltville. This site is a fabulous resource for using scraps and turning them into beautiful items.

For my sons, I am making outdoor adventure bags from the legs of cargo pants that a friend passed along to me. My sons are in Boy Scouts and they will carry these bags on their hikes. They are great for picking up little items for their nature journal, holding a camera, and to hook a water bottle onto (ours are stainless steel bottles with carabiner clips on the lids).  I wish I had a picture to show here.  Basically, you cut the legs on both sides to include the cargo pocket and a few inches underneath.  You close up and box the corners at the bottom, line it if you like (maybe with an extra pocket inside) and add a strap to go across the body.
easy embellished towels

Other planned gifts include pot holders and embellished kitchen towels, like these from Moda Bakeshop. I am using primarily left over jelly roll strips for these. I will purchase inexpensive towels and ric-rack or embellishments (if I can't scrounge up enough from my stash or my mother's stash).
pot holders that look like muffins

There are loads of great ideas on the internet that many people have generously shared with us. Take advantage of them by typing something like "sewing Christmas gifts" in Google or another search engine. There are no limits to the great ideas that you can find and make your own designer creations.

I hope you will all post photos of the gifts you make and help to inspire the rest of us. Feel free to stop by my blog, Another Hatchett Job, anytime. And be sure to keep checking back at Stash Manicure for more wonderful ideas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

little projects to bust your stash . . .

this appliqued lady 
was created by mamacjt. 
pretty amazing yes? 

 I'm a stay-at-home Mom of a busy little bunch and love to sew and quilt!

One of my favorite ways to use up leftover fabrics from projects is with all the free online tutorials available. I have made use of a bunch of them over the years ~ fabric baskets, purses, crayon rolls, aprons, headbands, bibs, baby shoes, checkbook covers, diaper pouches, notebook covers, taggie blankets, skirts, keyfobs, tissue pouches ~ to name a few. These quick little projects have given me big satisfaction. Often they were also gifts for others which is another kind of satisfaction in itself, and helps with the budget!

One of my current obsessions is doll quilts! Perfect for keeping all my little girls' dolls warm this Winter :)With my smaller scraps, I try to cut them up into stacks of different sized squares ~ some of them get used in doll quilts, and some of them are being saved up for some scrappy quilts down the road.

A bunch of them were used up in this matching set of curtains and rug for my daughters' room ~ using simple stacked coins patterns.
THANK-YOU Madame Samm for the guest blogger opportunity today! And if anyone would like to check out my blog or shop ~ well now you know where to find me :) And if you have a link or little project that you love to make with your scraps, please share it in the comments ~ I'd love to find some more ideas too!