Sew My Stash 2015 – Taking Inventory

I use Instagram A LOT for my quilty networking. Some people are just so much more organized and enthusiastic about setting up little challenges, and it’s a lot of fun to join in with other quilters to accomplish some task, be it for charity or just to help yourself.

Around the end of 2014, Project: Leasa started up a little something called Sew My Stash 2015 to encourage us fabric hoarders to use up some of our own stash. My stash is unfortunately some horrible by product of rabbit DNA manipulation, and I swear multiplies by itself while it sits in my craft room (cheesy innocent face here, accompanied by whistling), so I really need to do something to cull the fabric madness.

First thing’s first. I am officially off buying fabric. Mostly. Well, there is a collection coming out in March that I want, and another in May, but those are planned and will be budgeted! And just ignore that I might actually be waiting for some fabric coming in the mail this week. But it’s okay, though! Those are “investments”. Yes… See, they’ll go out of print, and if I don’t get to use them, I can sell them and maybe make my money back! Yeah?

Okay, my resolve is weak, but I really will try, for the sake of my pocketbook, marriage, world peace, and so I don’t end up on hoarders one day.

Now that I’ve admitted I have a problem, the next step is taking inventory. I can’t plan and create beautiful works of art without knowing what I have!

Here’s what I’ve got (cries):

These photos are all from an old CD and book shelf. This is the top half of one

The bottom half

The bookshelf part. This is where some of my backings, solids, and popular fabrics for my etsy shop are. The bottom of that shelf is where I keep my quilting books. It’s actually neat and tidy, so no picture.

This is my bin of shame. I only discovered the wonderful world of designer fabrics about a year ago, and so this bin is full of miscellaneous fabrics I was either given, or purchased from local big box stores. Not to say there is anything wrong with that AT ALL, and I’ve cleared out most of the really low quality stuff, but to be honest, my fabric tastes have changed a whole lot in the last few years. This is my main problem area, and where I would like to make the biggest dent in the stash. I need to find a way to fall in love with all of these fabrics again. I love looking at a designer’s collection and seeing how they all coordinate is so pleasing, and all the matching work has been done already, so it’s hard to see a lot of random fabrics and put something cohesive and beautiful together. I used to be better at this, before I started buying collections. I’m ashamed that I’ve fallen out of practice. These are all organized by color, and while the drawers aren’t opened, trust me when I say it’s quite an assortment.

Here are my scraps – bits of fabric smaller than a fat quarter. I have my scraps somewhat organized. All of the fabrics in the plastic zip bags are organized by color, and when they get small enough I cut them into 2.5″ squares. I don’t like to store anything smaller than 2.5″ because while I know someone, somewhere could make some use of them, I already have a problem and don’t need to take up space with some someday project I’ll never do. I’m extra bad, too. I just toss the scraps. I don’t even save them for pet beds or anything. The scraps in the little bin and paper bag need to be sorted. Sigh.

Nothing bad here – just backings for baby quilts.

Now this is really awful. Last June a good friend told me his mother was having an estate sale, and since she had quite a bit of fabric, he just gave me this. Free fabric is such a double edged sword. One one hand, it’s free! On the other, you always get too much. In these bins are large pieces, most over a yard, and some as much as three to five (I’m guessing). She had slightly different tastes than me, but I’ve been able to use some of it as backings and sashing and whatnot. Oh, and that black batik is the backing for a UFO I would like to finish this year and give to my dad. It’s for the Apocalypse bargello.

Now for the designer stuff.

Most of my precuts. I’m not going to name them all because you can probably see and recognize them. At the bottom are some Asian themed fabrics. I bought those because I was going to make some little wall hangings for one of our bathrooms, but I still haven’t done that yet. I think I may still make wall hangings with them, but for donation to a charity like Love Without Boundaries or something (see the button on the right)

This is the entire line of the first round of Downton Abbey fabrics. I think that includes Lady Mary, Edith, Sybil, and The Dowager Countess. In half yards. What was I thinking? I have since learned that when I quilt, I rarely use more than a fat quarter of a particular fabric, maybe even a fat eighth or layer cake. I like little tastes of fabric.

I’m not much for Christmas fabric. This is all I have. Obviously, I need to make a tree skirt, because I don’t have one. Maybe a table runner? These fabrics are the only ones of Kate Spain I can stand.

When I said that was all the Christmas fabric I had, I was mistaken. I have this Valori Wells collection set aside, all either half yard or full yard cuts. I love the designs, but they’re so big I have had a really hard time finding a pattern to show them off. And so they sit… Any ideas? (sorry for the terrible lighting. I had a toddler turning the lights on and off and only just saw how dark this was)

Various lines from various designers. I can see some Carolyn Friedlander (just got that! Well, I preordered it in Nov and it only just came into my possession), some Denyse Schmidt, AMH (?), the Arizona line from April Rhodes (I LOVE this one, but still haven’t found the perfect project), and I can’t recall the name or designer of the bottom right.

Here are some Bonnie and Camille and Kate and Birdie. I wrote about when I first got them here. Still haven’t used them. I’m in a swap and my partner said she liked Bonnie and Camille, so April Showers would probably work. Not that a mini will make much of a dent in what I have, but it’s a start. I have fat quarters and half yards.

My Tula Pink. Like I said before, I am fairly new to designer fabric, and I am not going to fight or pay $7 a fat quarter for out of print lines, so what I have is pretty new stuff, aside from a random piece here and there I was able to get a good deal on or someone just wanted to unload (yes, there are actually people who just “unload” Tula Pink. For free, or for less than what they paid. Those people are saints.) I don’t have that perfect project yet. I’m really torn about what to do with these, actually. Part of me feels like it’s cheating a bit, creatively, to use the designer’s fabric in a quilt that same person designed, but at the same time, at least with these fabrics, I think some of the quilts Tula Pink has designed really show off part of what I love about these quilts. Some frame the fabric designs beautifully, and some really showcase the gorgeous color saturation. I’ve thought of making the 100 Modern Quilt Blocks City Sampler, but just last night I was browsing and realized I am a  little afraid to cut into some of these, and I would have a hard time choosing which fabrics for which blocks, and so on. I know, silly problem. I’m going to have to cut them up eventually!

This last photo is a bin of fabric I am never going to use. Every once in a while I try to sell some of it with varying degree of success. After a while, I just donate it. This will slowly fill as I pull out more fabrics I just can’t even see myself using.

So that’s where I am. I have a lot to use up, and that’s AFTER I finish all my WIPs!

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Organization progress yay!

I’ve been doing really well so far, sticking to my daily to-do lists and getting some much needed decluttering done. I don’t have any pictures of it all, it’s all kind of boring and to be honest, I didn’t think to take pictures until now. If I don’t start the task while I’ve got the energy to do it and spend precious minutes looking for the camera and getting stuff ready, it’ll never get done.

I went ahead and purchased a large package of home binder sheets for all occasions, ranging from daily to do’s and cleaning to my organizing my etsy shop and fitness goals. It’s an amazing set. Here’s a link to it. One problem I’ve run into is that I’m completely overwhelmed with the number of options I’ve got now! I’m going through them all slowly and picking out the ones I will most likely use, since I don’t want to print out 300 sheets!

In addition to that, I’ve cleaned a few problem areas in our apartment area. They’re hardly noticeable  but they’ve needed attention since we moved in and just tossed our stuff everywhere. I cleaned out a lot of old books I’ll never read (like my collection of Heidegger from college) and my ceramics books, since I’m pretty sure I’m done with that. I went through some favorite pictures and put them in frames and have them displayed, and today, after a few days of random and general lethargy, I cleaned off the top of my husband’s desk to make room for my new binder systems (before it was just random crud that did nothing but collected dust). Then James and I went through about six years of papers we had collected but never organized and burned the ones we didn’t need, and put together folders with all of our personal information. I am so relieved to actually know where our SS cards our now, and he found our marriage license after I lost it two years ago! Really, the gathering of our super important personal information was one of the most important task on my never ending list of things to clean and declutter, so I am feeling pretty good right now. Everything else just isn’t as important (save for getting our tax information together as it comes in, but I can’t do anything about that now).

I’ve got two blocks from my block of the month group ready, so that will be in an upcoming post.

Organization Progress POST ONE GO!

I’ve been promising pictures for ages, and guess what? Still don’t have any. I don’t have a good excuse – I’ve recently decided to move all of my blogging and etsy stuff over to my laptop instead of my desktop (no real reason for that either, other than my husband is trying to beat all the scenarios in Starcraft II on brutal difficulty), and I just haven’t actually taken the time to upload my recent pictures. It’s like, the SD card reader is all the way over there and the computer is over here and it seems beyond me to actually just reach over James and grab it.

Not that I’ve been completely lazy in everything! I’ve actually been quite a good little housewife and I’ve made a chore to-do list every single day except Sunday and I get nearly everything done and the house has been tidier and I’ve even folded clothes within JUST ONE DAY of washing them (I do laundry once a week because we don’t have a lot of clothes and I don’t sort them. That’ll come later when I’ve got my own washer). I’ve been working on my etsy shop and writing down my mileage in my car and I’ve been sewing some fun sewing too! I’ve even started putting together a home organization binder. This binder is the original inspiration, and when I get a bit more income from my shop, I fully intend to purchase her print outs and finish my own binder. Seriously – hers looks amazing and the layout is something I think I could actually follow with a few modifications.

In other areas, hubby and I still haven’t put together a detailed budget, but we have made a few significant chances to our own to help curb spending. One of the biggest (at least it feels the biggest, because it involved calling our credit card company and that always makes me nervous and I make James do it), was canceling that feature on our credit card that allows us to go over our limit by a bit in case of “emergency”. Now, our credit card has a teeny limit of $750 and we use it for a lot of the smaller bills and for extra spending like going out to eat, and without that hard upper limit, we were almost always going over and getting that lovely fee. So now the plan is 1) pay off total balance every month when it’s due and 2) if we hit the limit, it’s done for the month. It’s our only credit card, and we’ve built that payment into our budget, so I think it should help us.

As for my promise to myself and my son that I’d try to get more organized for future homeschooling and activities, I’m doing well on that as well. After Epiphany (January 6), we started going to a homeschool play group my cousin invited us to in a nearby town every Wednesday. It’s very unofficial, mostly just an excuse for moms to get out of the house and have some grown up time, and it gives the kids a chance to socialize and play. If it could be called a co-op, the only thing we co-op is recess. Sometimes, someone will put together an outing and we go together to get a group rate. The first one Kostya and I will be going to is the brand new Perot Museum this Tuesday, and I am SO EXCITED. James is off that day and will be coming with us, so I’ll try to grab a few pictures and maybe even upload them before the Second Coming.

Now to actually plug that darn SD card reader and get something on this computer!!