Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips, Tricks and a Tutorial...

Hello every one! I'm Karen from Sew Many Ways and I am so happy to be here at Stash Manicure. I want to thank Madame Samm for having me here again. Today, I'll be sharing some of my tips and tricks to help you whittle away at your fabric stash.

Whether you have a sewing room full of fabric or a little stash like mine, we all need to dig into it and use up what we have. I know we all have that fabric that we just can't cut into or can't find the right pattern to use it with, but every once in a while it's a good idea to pull out the yardage we've had for a while and do something with it.

Later on in this post, I have a quick tutorial for an endless scarf or cowl neck that will use up a quick 1 yard piece of fabric. Right now, I'll share some tips that will help you organize your stash, so it makes it easier to just Grab and Go to start sewing. There is a lot of precious sewing time wasted looking for patterns, fabric and what nots just to start a project. Here are some tips to help you get ready to sew.

The first area...our patterns or books of inspiration. We all have magazines, books and pictures of inspiration. Here is how I store mine for a quick reference. The top shelf are cheap cardboard magazine holders from Staples office supply store. Organize them by magazine title or by seasons of the quilts. It may be your first instinct to organize by the title (like all of the Better Homes together), but just think when you want to make a quilt for Christmas, you'd have to look through a lot of different bins of magazines for something for the holidays. If you stored all the magazine you have for Christmas creations, it's easier to browse through that pile.




Here are the cheapo boxes I bought. They were in the clearance section for 50 cents for a package of 6! Woo Hoo! Love a bargain...but the colors weren't so great. My best tip to make your sewing room look cohesive and not so AHHHH, is to have things match. The boxes came in a rainbow package...now that would have been too much going on, so I covered the front part with a little piece of fabric. Love my Mod Podge (glue/sealer).



The bottom shelf holds my notebooks. These are priceless in terms of finding something fast! I have one for patterns, one for templates, one for inspiration etc.


I buy top loading, clear page protectors that can be used with a three ring binder.


The page protectors are easy to see, keeps things clean, wrinkle free and easy to flip through.



Just slip in your pattern on the top.



Here are the templates.



This one is my house inspiration book. All my dream kitchens in one book.



When you are in the office supply, look around for different ideas for holders. I saw these in the clearance (where else would I be LOL) They hold disks and business cards, but think outside the box.



These are coin collecting holders. Shhhh...I stole them from my dad. He'll never miss them.



Little square pockets that hold coins. I just grabbed this quarter to show you , but I just so happened to grab a 1965 coin...the year I was born. I just turned 46 this week. Yikes, how did that number creep up on me?



Forget about using these for coins. How about little fabric swatches. If you store your fabric in big bins or containers where you're not sure what's in there, why not take a snip from each piece of fabric in the container and put it in this organizer. Label the containers by numbers and then put that bin number on the corresponding sheet of fabric swatches



For example...all these swatches could be in bin #1. Easy to just look through a notebook of swatches rather than 15 bins of fabric. These are also great to hold a certain project of fabric. Just take this sheet to the fabric store to match more fabric. Oh, wait...you shouldn't be going to the fabric store to buy more fabric. This is Stash Manicure, not Stash Builders. Another great holder is for baseball cards.



Another idea for Grab and Go sewing is having projects AT THE READY! How many times do you feel like starting a new quilt, but just stand there in front of your stash and stare at it like it's going to throw fabric out at you for the whole quilt. Take an afternoon and get out all your patterns that you want to make and start putting together all the projects...LOTS of them!

Where to store them? Remember my theory about matching things...how about using gift boxes that are all the same size and color. They will store nicely, keep things clean, dust free and out of the sunlight. This was a 10 pack of boxes size 11" x 17"...they're on sale now after the holidays too.



Gather up all the fabric for your project...



add your book or pattern...




cover it up...



and put a label on the front with all the info...pattern name, fabric name, colors etc.



Here's another storage idea for a project. My sister founds these for me. They are 12" x 12", zip lock craft bags.



Kits all set to go!



Another tip to keep you organized for ease of sewing is folding your fabric so you can see it better. I use this cover from a notebook, because it's the same depth as the shelf I keep my fabric on.

When you buy fabric off the bolt, it's folded selvage to selvage.



Take the folded edge and bring it up to the selvage edge.



and then bring up the folded edge again to the top. You now have a piece of fabric that is about 5" wide by the length of the yardage you purchased.



Take your cardboard piece that is the depth of your storage space and place it on the end of the folded piece of fabric.



Keep folding your way down the length of the fabric.







Slide out your cardboard and you're ready to store it away.



Neat and all the same size.



Now that you have all your fabric folded...here's a Grab and Go tutorial for an endless scarf. I finally figured out how to make one of these by picking apart one that I purchased. Grab one yard of fabric and cut it to 30" x 36". You can use your cotton fabric, but fashion fabric works great for this too.



Take your piece of fabric and lay it out with the 36 inches going left to right and the 30 inches going top to bottom. Fold in half, right sides together and sew the length of the 36 inches with a 1/4 inch seam.



You should now have a tube that is 15" x 36".



Reach into the tube and grab the other end of the open ended tube and bring it towards you. Wow, that was a mouthful.



Here is a picture of both ends of the tube.



You should end up with 2 sets of fabric right sides together.



Match the one seam that you sewed.



Pin the seam and then pin all the way around the circle.



Leave an opening to turn the scarf right side out. I leave it open as big as my hand, so it will fit in there to grab the fabric.





Sew with a 1/4" seam all the way around and then turn right side out.



Machine or hand sew the opening closed.



You now have an endless cowl neck scarf or a fabric donut!



You can make these to match any outfit or coat.


They can be worn with an outfit as an accessory or as a scarf to keep your neck warm for the winter.



You can use fleece, flannel, faux fur, silk, rayon etc. The size can be changed of course, so experiment if you'd like. My daughter has a super long tube that her sister gave her for Christmas. You just keep wrapping it around your neck for a fuller look.

These would also make great gifts too. So how about making some now and tucking them away for a quick present when you need one and dare I say...start sewing them for Christmas presents. I know...you don't even want to think about it. Don't hate me for mentioning it LOL!!

Well, I hope you enjoyed all the tips and tricks to get your stash organized so you can start digging into it and whittling away at some of the yardage you have piling up. If you like this post, hop over to my blog Sew Many Ways... to find more organizing tips and my popular posts from the Tool Time Tuesday features.

A big thanks again to Madame Samm for having me here and a great big Happy New Year to every one.
space
Hugs,
~Karen~

82 comments:

  1. Wow. What great organizational tips. Love them all. But I'm wondering if you can come help me organize my sewing room? I'm going thru my fabric stash now and will definitely use your tips. Thank you so very much!

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  2. You have some great ideas there. Thanks!

    Billie

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  3. The endless scarf is great and so easy to make. Thanks! I can totally see myself finally using up some fashion fabric that has been gathering dust in my stash.

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  4. Love the organization and on a budget yet! I agree with the colorful coordinating look, much more pleasureful and inspirational. I like the scarf tutorial and think I will play with them this weekend, but maybe with a little thinner tube. The younger girls would probably like the multi-wrap version. Thank you for a wonderful post.

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  5. Love them all Karen, you're always full of inspiration... thanks and thanks to M Samm too :-)

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  6. Such creative and fun ideas! I love the scarf!

    Xoxoxxx Ree

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  7. Thanks for sharing all of that with us. It is great to be organized and know where everything is.

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  8. And I thought I was organized! Wow! What great organization ideas. I'm definitely inspired! And great tutorial as well. Very easy to follow. :) Thank you!

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  9. I loved your organization tips! The endless scarf reminded me of one of the first things I sewed as a beginner. Back in the '60ies, we called it a "smoke ring". And my stepmother was the receiver. I love that she used it, and also that later (I was about 14) I sewed a dress for her and she even wore it to work! I would hate to see now what my quality of work was! But I LOVED that she treated it like it was special! Toni

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  10. <3 the folding tip! <3 it. And the scarf is awesome. I have a second-mom that would love it. Happy sewing!

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  11. I love all your organizing tips. I definitely need to use some of those. And the scraf is so great. I need to make a few of these. Love it!!! Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs Ariane

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  12. Karen I loved your post and thank you for sharing all the great tips

    Christine

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  13. Love the folding tip and the coin pockets, perfect!

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  14. Thank you for the great post. I am very impressed with the organising tips. Happy Quilting, Jane

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  15. I like the idea of the fabric swatches in the coin holders! Transportable and convenient. Thanks!

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  16. Definitely the most organized person! Great tips. Wish I was half as organized.

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  17. Good Morning Karen....well goodness me a coin collector folder for swatches..I am all over that one...Oh and don't get me wrong, I don't know anyone who is not a stash builder...ok, sew maybe some say they are manicuring, but there is no evidence of that on giveaway days...lol You are a wonderful guest, what a blessing it is to have you hear today...together now...Helllllllllllllo!

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  18. Love your tips! Love your blog! Love your ideas! I too use the page protectors for my organization! I like the heavy duty ones for storing patterns (so the
    pattern weight does not make it flop) and the lighter weight ones for magazine articles.(cheaper)
    And whenever I go to the office supply store I scour the as is bins for ideas. One of my favorite finds was business card holders that stick on. I put it on a binder or object and I can easily slip in a "made" business card style label from my computer and change it out when I change the use of the box, file, item!
    Thanks for the great post. Love your blog...oops already said that....lol

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  19. Happy New Year and thanks for the tutorial and all the great storage ideas.

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  20. Great ideas! Love the cowl, too. I'm printing your post out and tacking it on the board wall in my sewing room! Thanks!

    jfquilts@gmail.com

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  21. Oh my, we are kindred spirits indeed! I use trading card pockets...the coin pockets are a better size. Thank you for sharing!!

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  22. Love your organizing tips! I think the one I'm going to do first is putting patterns in the page protectors. I have a drawer full of them and never can find what I'm looking for! Just think of the time I've wasted when I could have been sewing! Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

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  23. Many great tips here. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. What a fantastic idea for fabric swatches - the whole stash in one spot! What a great tool for mixing & matching fabric selections.

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  25. Karen, thanks for all the organizing tips. I organize things much like you only I fold my fabric over a ruler to make it all the same size. I am not as organized with the projects but I do tie bundles of coordinating fabric together for future projects!
    Thanks for the scarf tutorial. I saw something similar and wondered what I may have in my stash to make one! You sparked a cord...I have a beautiful piece of velvet! Off to my stash to cut it and sew it!

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  26. Great organization tips. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. Your post shows it really works to think outside the square. Great tutorial, too. It is really easy to follow. Thank you for sharng with us.

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  28. The tutorial on the scarf is wonderful. It would be a pretty way to hide food dribbles too! Speaking from experience here because no matter how careful I am, I always end up wearing my food. I it a lot easier to make a new scarf than a shirt.

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  29. Putting swatches of fabric in coin collection sheets? Genius! Why didn't I think of that?

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  30. Great ideas! I thought I was organized but now I know I haven't a clue! I love the fabric-end covered magazine boxes - very clever! And what a great idea to file by seasons - who knew?!? Thanks, I'm going to head to Staples and try to think "outside the box!" xo, Nan

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  31. Thanks for the great organizing tips -- very inspiring! And for the scarf idea -- I have some pieces of silk I have never figured out how to use...hmmm...

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  32. I'm a huge fan of clear pockets. Office supplies make great compaionions in the sewing room. For that matter all around the house.
    Thanks for sharing some of your handy tips, I learned something new today. And I'm ready to put it to use.

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  33. This is probably one of my favorite Stash Manicure posts EVER! Though I do love them all...

    I have been cleaning up and reorganizing my sewing space and have already implemented many of these ideas but I love hearing about how people organize their space and their STASH!

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  34. Organisational tips from a woman who KNOWS! Thanks for the tips Karen, and for the scarf tuturial. Excellent way to use up the stash.

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  35. Thanks Karen! When I saw the first picture I knew it was you.
    I love your ideas as usual. (by the way I got that Martha Stewart organizing book for Christmas)

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  36. Wow!! You are brilliant, as usual!! Good ideas!!
    Paulette

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  37. Great organizational tips. Makes me want to go home and start organizing my sewing room.

    xo

    samantha

    betterblondesamblogspot.com

    samanthasaccessories.blogspot.com

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  38. WOW some wonderful organizing tips here. Great post!!

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  39. Oh, my, we are two peas in a pod in the organizational arena. I find organizing as much fun as quilting! (Are you a Virgo?) Great tutorial. ~karen

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  40. Hi Karen, your tips are great wherever they show up! Love the scarf idea for using up fabric. Pillowcases are also a great way to use up fabric.

    MGM

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  41. Thanks for all the organizing tips, Karen. I especially like the idea of making up projects from your stash and putting them in boxes for starting something new. I've been gazing at my stash a lot lately. Now I know how I'm going to spend the afternoon. Also liked the fabric folding tip.

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  42. I love the ideas - especially the binder with patterns, etc. inside.

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  43. You had some great tips in this post! I especially liked putting fabric swatches in a clear holder for each bin. Genius!

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  44. I love Karen's blog! She's always got great tips! Good post! Jenn

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  45. Those are some great organizing tips!! Thank you!!

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  46. Wow - so much information here. Thank you for sharing. I'm off to make an endless scarf.

    Hugs - Marie

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  47. Awesome, Karen! You always have such good ideas. Thanks for the organizing tips, especially the one about categorizing magazines by season - genius! Love the scarf idea. I've been knitting circular scarves. They take forever! This is a great alternative.

    And thanks, Madame Samm, for featuring one of my favourite bloggers :)

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  48. Thank you for all of the wonderful organizing ideas. I am just starting out in the quilting world, and so far things are not too out of hand (knock wood).. it helps to see all of these wonderful organizing ideas.. I can keep things from getting to the point of being scary messy.. where I feel overwhelmed and don't create. I would rather have people see my stuff, and my creations and be proud of it all. I best get crackin on deciding on an idea and sticking with it.

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  49. I just started sewing and have a TON of fabric. It is all just thrown into my kids closet and now she complains because I've taken up her space. She's 4! How much SPACE does she need... LOL thanks for the tips! Also they have the same endless scarf tutorial on DIY Style. I Think your tutorial is easier to follow. I love mine. Wear it all the time! :) Thanks again!

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  50. Great post! I love the idea of how to organize your magazines. I think I'll do that for my cooking magazines too!

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  51. Wonderful post Karen! Thanks for all the great ideas!

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  52. Excellent tips and tricks, Karen! Love the idea of the kits. I tried it once with baskets, and it worked okay, but clear bags would be even better.

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  53. Nice collection of organizing ideas! My sister gave me an endless scarf for Christmas...I love it. May need to make a few...

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  54. I really love the swatch book...it's like collecting baseball cards (but way funner!)

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  55. wow, wow, wow!!! My mind is swimming with all of your super great organizing ideas!! Love the scarf too. You are one amazing person. Thanks so much for sharing these fabulous ideas.

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  56. Wow, when are you coming over to play? I love your organisational ideas, now I just have to get busy! This is wonderful, thank you :)

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  57. Great tips for organizing. Love the cowl, so simple. Thanks for a great site.

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  58. Do I dare confess...I dream about you, Karen. I know. Scary thought. The why is because I see things around the house or at the hardware store and I think, "What would Karen do with this?" And then it jumps into my dream life.

    You have great ideas, as always.

    My best to you and yours!!

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  59. Excellent post. I love the idea of the fabric swatches in coin holders. ANYBODY know where I may be able to find them? Email me if you do at gogail91@gmail.com

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  60. Wow, great ideas. I just love the pattern folder. Right now I am storing them in plastic tubs. It is a pain to go thru them. The fabric swatch idea is great too. I wonder if one could iron a scrap piece of freezer paper on it then write down the Mfg and purchase info on the back just in case.

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  61. Oh how I do love organization! Wonderful tips!!
    xx, shell

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  62. Thanks so much, the tips are great! I love the clearance racks. I am known to yell SALE at the top of my lungs when in a store with my mom or daughter. They both run and hide like they don't know me!

    glen in Louisiana

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  63. Once again you have wonderful ideas. I loved all of them. The scarf tube it a great idea. Thank you!

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  64. I love Karen's idea for the little patches of fabric! She always have some smart ideas for organizing! The scarf is very stylish as well!

    Happy sewing!

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  65. Thank you for the tips. I love the scarf, have some great fabric that I could use.

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  66. Hello Karen, I am not a quilter, but do sew, and make doll clothing for my tiny sculpted FaeWees* I can borrow many of your great ideas here, and incorporate them into my studio for much needed organazation! The The fabric folding will certainly come in handy for me, as I have many pieces that are relitively small, and similar colors! Thanks so much for all the great info, so glad ended up at Stash Manicure through Samms blog. Both are wonderful, inspirational places. xoxo Christel

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  67. Hi Karen,
    Thank you so much for the organizational tips! I have been struggling with this for a long time... The one thing that I will be taking to my sewing room is the coin organizer/fabric swatch holder. Thank you again! lol Heading over to your blog...

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  68. Karen that is just awesome, I always always love your post and creativity....

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  69. Karen, awesome organization ideas....especially like the folding of the fabric. I like my fabric piles nice and neat. Thanks for sharing your tutorial.....have a wonderful weekend:)

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  70. Okay ... I am finding myself in such a state of envy ... Organizational envy!! Pardon the drool :) Wonderful post and yes, I'll be checking out and stalking ... I mean following your blog next. Thank you!!

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  71. Thanks for all the great tips. I LOVE the one on how to fold yardage into all the same size. Fantastic!

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  72. Hey, Karen, Happy Birthday, first of all! Great guest post, lots of wonderful ideas. I really need to organize my patterns and have lots of sheet protectors and extra binders my husband gets from work that I can reuse. Thanks for all the tips to make getting to the project easier!

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  73. Seems like most folks I know are going through an organizing frenzy right now and I'm right there with 'em! Your tips are VERY helpful and I love the scarf project, too. Thank you!

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  74. I loved your post and your tips are tee-rific! I already use 3-ring binders as you do, but your ideas for alternate uses of other plastic inserts like the coin holder and making up project boxes are priceless. And, thank you for the scarf project, I have some winter birthdays coming up and I think it's a great gift idea.

    Thank you,
    gail :)

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  75. Your tips are sew unique - like the ideas about using gift boxes for project boxes and the coin holder.

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  76. thanks for the storage tips, Bonnie - great info!
    and that endless scarf idea - pure geniousity! I have BOLTS of silkies I could do that with! Love it to pieces!!!

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  77. Great tips as usual Karen!! Love the coin holder one!!

    Nice and easy scarf...

    Hugs,

    ^A^ngel♥

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  78. Thanks for sharing the tutorial on the scarf! I definitely want to try making these. Great holiday gifts!

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  79. Loved your post, but I love your blog even more. You have so many wonderful ideas that use, thanks for sharing! I will be loyal follower for sure.

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  80. I loved your post which provides lot of tutorials on beauty. Its a beautiful idea to make a scarf. I definitely need to get hold of this one..http://www.vivamagonline.com/index.php Thanks for your attention to detail and sharing it with us! Happy summer!

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