Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

February 24, 2015

Sharing the Gifts

Last night, my friend's eight-year-old daughter made her brother a blanket for his stuffed owl. 

I taught this little munchkin to crochet a few years ago, but as soon as I left town, she promptly forgot. I gave her a quick refresher this week, and now she can't stop crocheting. 

In other news, my friend scrounged up this fleece outfit I sewed for her son a decade ago. 

These fleece suits and hat were my go-to baby gifts before I really learned to knit or crochet. She's passing it back to me for the Peanut, just in time since he's rapidly outgrowing his outdoor outfits. 

Now both the Peanut and the owl will stay warm this winter. And we all get to share the gifts. 

February 17, 2014

Decluttering the Craft Supplies

Lately, I've felt the urge to purge my crafting supplies. Maybe I have too much stuff... or maybe it's simply cabin fever from the winter. I think it's a little of both.

Chances are, if you are a regular reader here at Typing Sunflowers, or even if you've just stumbled upon this blog, you're into creating stuff. Most of us who make things regularly have quite the stash of stuff. (See ideas for stash busting your yarn here...) 

I know it's not spring yet... but there are steps you can take to clear the clutter before spring rolls around. After all -- who wants to be inside cleaning when the weather turns nice enough to spend the whole day outdoors? (Although if you want general spring cleaning and decluttering ideas, you can read this post.)

1. Take stock of what you have. 

This may give you a fright. It certainly did me. Last week I hauled out my craft supplies from behind every nook and cranny and I just left everything on the floor, scattered hither and yon (the benefits of having a dedicated office/craft room). The next morning, when I walked into the room to open the blinds, I nearly gave myself a heart attack. I thought someone had ransacked the place while I'd been sleeping. 

It certainly gave me new insight into the amount of junk I had laying around. (Sorry I don't have many photos to show you, but I had a hard time locating my camera in the mayhem. I at least took the button pic before the real ransacking occurred.

2. Clear out stuff that hasn't inspired you in years -- or even months. 

Once you get over the initial shock of how much stuff you have, sort through it and figure out what you actually want to keep. 

Some of the items in my craft arsenal are either dated, or else I purchased bulk supplies and only needed one or two of the 20. Give them away to another crafty friend, donate them to a thrift store, or sell them at a swap. 

Another alternative is to keep a small basket of craft supplies aside for younger guests or even for your own children when they too want to craft. When my nieces were small, I had a bucket of scrap paper, stickers I had no use for and miscellaneous other extras that kept them entertained for hours. Now, I have a small basket that serves the same purpose when guests with children come over. 

Whatever you do: purge. If you've been holding onto stuff for years and you're still not sure what you're going to make with it, then pass it along to someone who may have an idea. 

3. Figure out your method of organization. 

Now that you've cleared out part of the stash, you can get busy actually organizing stuff. Sometimes storage space alone dictates how much stuff you can safely stash. 

For years, I kept my stuff stashed in closets and stored under the sofa. Now that I have more space, I'm trying to put items into clear containers, or at least labeled organized boxes so that I can actually see what I have to work with.

I realized I had all of these great glass containers sitting on a shelf in the dining room with nothing in them. They now live in my craft area, full of buttons and ribbons. And now, instead of searching for the box of ribbon when I have to wrap a gift at the last minute, I know exactly where to go!

If you don't have spare shelf space or if you're not into clear plastic shelving that sits on the floor, there are lots of other fun options to store items. Craft stores sell great baskets and even boxes that look like books and old trunks -- things that look classy enough sitting anywhere in a room. 

Or consider vintage alternatives. Over the years, I've found some neat train cases and vintage sewing boxes to store craft supplies. For the longest time I kept my thread in a small box all jumbled up. Last week I realized I have a great vintage sewing box that is meant for um... sewing supplies!

One of my favorite train cases houses paper travel paraphernalia (I'm partial to old postcards and letters, plus the Sailor gives me his boarding passes from flights to and from his ships. These come in handy when I try to be cheap about scrapbooking.)

Even if you don't have a lot of space to work with, at least try to give yourself a shelf in the closet, or a corner in a room where you can keep everything together.  This last part is important... if your stuff isn't together -- you may not be as inclined to actually work on things (or you'll be like me... hunting for that ribbon at the last minute!)

4. Stop Feeding the Stash!

When all else fails, and when you don't have the time or inclination to purge, at least resist the temptation to add to the stash until you've had a chance to use up some of it. Don't even walk into a craft store and if you do, stay away from the clearance rack. It only leads to more serious stash busting later! 

When I first started this blog, I made myself use up a hefty amount of my yarn stash before I was allowed to buy any new yarn.  A few months later, I rewarded myself by making up a few new yarn rules, which I still adhere to. As lovely as that yarn looks on sale, unless I know exactly what I'm going to make with it, it's staying on the shop shelf.

Now go forth and declutter that craft stash. Blue skies are going to be here before you know it and it's far easier to take your crafting outdoors if it's all organized and you can find it!

August 30, 2013

Sew Cool

A few weeks ago, I found THIS: 

Sooooo cool, right? 


I posted the story on The Thrift Collective* -- you can read all about it right here

(The Thrift Collective has about 50 contributing members. Remember that if you browse the site, you will be reading various posts from different people --  not all of the posts are mine. In fact, today was my first post there. Contrary to popular belief in our household, I don't thrift THAT much!)

November 20, 2012

Sew Neat

Even though I am what some would consider a professional nomad, I realized a few years ago when I returned to America's shores, that I needed to plant a few roots somewhere. Anywhere. 

So, I joined a local camera club. The first meeting I thought I was in the wrong room. I literally thought the presenter was speaking Greek. He talked about the latest software patch for some photo program I had never even heard of. The camera club's website hailed people of all skill levels, but despite my own experience taking photos for years, I didn't feel skilled at all.

It took a while to figure out the workings of the club. I eventually realized that I joined it to learn more about photography and to meet new people. I also joined to challenge myself to take new and different photos -- even if it meant I didn't always understand the technical stuff. I still loved to take photos -- I wasn't about to let someone with more expensive equipment or a better knowledge of software I'd never heard of tell me that I couldn't compose a picture. I simply decided to learn what I could, filter out the rest, and take some photos. Occasionally, I still hear Greek, but gradually I'm becoming a little more fluent.

This week, we had our first competition of this season. I tied for second in the color category with 'Sew Neat': 

I thought the title was appropriate, a symbolic celebration of my sewing machine getting fixed and finally being able to seam a straight line.

November 9, 2012

The Singer

My sewing machine and I go way back. My mom took me to Sears over 20 years ago and together we picked out a basic Singer. I had been using an old knee-pedal machine to learn how to sew, but it was time to move up to a more modern model. Mom told me at the checkout counter that no matter where I go in life, that machine was mine. 

I was a little giddy. We didn't really have a ton of money for extra stuff when I was growing up, so the thought of having something that cost $100 be mine -- all mine -- was pretty amazing for a 16-year-old.

Although I didn't take it with me to college, I sewed when I came home for breaks. When I moved overseas, I sewed when I came back across the pond. And when I moved to a ship off the coast of Africa, I purchased a machine from another crew member who was leaving. I didn't get overly attached to it though. I knew I'd have to resell it when I left the ship. I made curtains for my cabin and a few dresses with African fabric.

I still missed my Singer. 

Whenever I was actually home, I made fleece jumpsuits and jackets for my friends' babies. Fleece creates fuzz. The fuzz collected in the bobbin area. I took apart the bobbin box one day, to see if I could clean it. I'm fairly handy -- and ever since the Sailor bought me a fabulous mini (pink) leatherman, I have been fearless about trying to fix things on my own.

For a while, the fuzz seemed to have disappeared. Over the past few years I haven't sewn quite as much as I used to. Our tiny apartment doesn't have the space to leave the machine out for days on end (hence the obsession with more compact ways to create garments... like knitting!) I kept the Singer in the box, in a closet, and pulled it out when I needed to hem jeans or fix the curtains. 

But everytime I did, the bobbin would just jump out mid-seam. My hems looked like I sewed them by hand, with my left hand (I'm right-handed), blind-folded. They were a disaster. 

I knew the Singer needed help. Serious help. 

I got the number of a sewing machine repair man a few towns over, from my former home economics teacher. For a mere $30, and in only 48 hours, this elderly man took my machine apart properly and cleaned it. 

Then he politely scolded me for trying to do it myself in the first place. Apparently my little experiment in cleaning the machine myself caused the problem in the first place. The screws needed to be properly adjusted and callibrated -- otherwise the machine won't work right. 

The sewing maching isn't going back in the box. Nor will it ever. The sewing machine master put a metal spool holder on the top of my machine, since the plastic one I had was removable (and therefore fell off all of the time) in order to get it back into the box. But now, the machine won't fit in the box. 

That's probably a good thing. There's a pile of fabric waiting around the corner.