One of the great things about blogging is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world - people that you would otherwise never have the chance to meet. Jane isn't one of those people. From the ages of 12 to 18 I saw Jane nearly every day of my life. We were best friends at high school and while we don't see each other very often any more it's still lovely to be able to connect with her over all things creative. Thanks for visiting Jane!
Thank you so much for having me here Caroline and Maryanne, so I can talk about one of my favourite things, my fabric collection.
I have been quilting on and off for 17 years now, and it should be noted that it’s all Caroline’s fault, since she’s my high school best friend and I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find quilting if I hadn’t spent all those sleepovers tucked under one of her mother’s beautiful quilts. Her mum also took me under her wing when I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, fielding numerous phone calls that started with the words, “No, I don’t want to talk to Caroline, I have a quilting question...”
After many years of quilting, I have a sizeable fabric stash. I really do try and keep my fabric spending in check, but seriously, it’s fabric, peoples! Whilst I suppose, in theory, I could buy fabric as I needed it for a particular quilt, the reality is that’s not going to happen any time soon – and if I did it this way I probably wouldn’t be able to find what I want.
I LOVE having a big fabric stash, and I find it makes my quilting process so much easier. I don’t tend to make quilts using one particular range of fabric, I prefer to decide on a colour scheme and go from there. So when I decide I want to make a particular colour quilt, it helps that I already have quite a collection of that colour on my shelves. I might top it up with new purchases, but for the most part I don’t have to. This means I can start quilts on a whim, without having to wait for international parcel delivery or hoping I can find the right fabrics in the fairly paltry local offerings.
Since I quilt by colour, I stash by colour too. I am very fussy about my stash. I prewash and iron everything, then fold it just so. My scraps are also sorted by colour, pressed and waiting in their little boxes. (At this point, Caroline, who always laughed at my alphabetised CD collection in high school, is rolling her eyes.)
This may be a little more high maintenance than the bung-it-all-in-the-cupboard approach, but it works for me, for a few reasons. Because it’s on open shelving (not in direct light), I can see what I have at a glance. It makes it easy to pull fabrics for a new project and it serves as a reminder (sometimes) that I don’t need to buy anything. Sorting by colour is critical for me, both for when I need to pick fabrics and so I know what colours I need. For example, I could go a lifetime without buying pinks or blues, but purples, greys and yellows are in demand. So if I’m topping up an order (to make the most of flat rate postage), I’ll stash build those colours I don’t have much of.
When I’m stash building, I don’t tend to buy full ranges or busy, many-coloured prints – because my quilts tend to feature one or two colours, prints with lots of colours in them don’t work for me. But I am a sucker for blenders, big time. These useful prints are the foundation of a good stash, regardless of what you’re sewing. Spots, stripes, geometrics, squiggles, I love them all. And usually, I’ll buy every colourway in a range if I can. The simpler the print, the better it will work as a stash builder.
The advantage of stash building by colour is that you’re going to have much of what you need on hand when you start a new project. I recently started cutting a new quilt that required 100 different blue/aqua/green prints. I’m almost embarrassed to say I could do this without buying a single piece of fabric! But if I’d had to find 100 blues/aquas/greens locally, there is no way I could have done it at once and found prints I like. With fabric ranges changing so quickly, it is good to buy versatile, timeless prints when you can.
My inspiration for new quilts often starts with a fabric, and I build a colour scheme around that. The Sunshine and Shadows quilt started with a bundle of yellow/grey/black and white prints I purchased, and I built on it with more prints in the same colours from my stash, so it’s cohesive but not too matchy matchy. The Lattice Windows quilt started from the teal and lime lattice print my son took a liking too – we built the rest of his quilt around this colour scheme. The Diamonds in the Sky quilt grew from an interest in the high-contrast orange and blue colour scheme.
Whenever I’m working on a quilt, colour, and my colourful fabric stash, is my best friend.
If you’d like to hear more about my creative adventures, pop over to my little blog at http://wherejanecreates.blogspot.com.au/
Today, we're excited to have Cherie from you and mie to tell us all about her best friend. Cherie's post made me a bit teary... I think she's really captured the essence of what sewing is all about for me, too (and I am a teeny bit jealous of her super - organised crafting space). Thanks Cherie!
Read on to find out all about it!
Hello! I'm Cherie from you & mie
and I'm so happy to be here today as a part of Caroline and Maryanne's Best Friend series!
Truth is, I had the hardest time picking one thing that I wanted to write about. There are soooo many necessary tools, amazing resources and incredibly inspirational and creative people that help me continue to sew and blog. But I wanted to share something that I really couldn't do without.
(This is going to get a little long winded and actually ends up getting a little personal, but I hope you can stick with me till the end :) )
I started looking through all my old pictures to jog my memory about what really inspires me and how I learned to sew in the last couple of years. Then I came across a folder of pictures that really got me excited. My (then) new sewing area!
So I decided to tell you a little bit about my sewing area and how much I truly love it and can't live without it. It is, after all, where all the "magic" happens! So here's the story:
I've been sewing casually for several years now. But when Yuki, our daugther came along, it really ignited an interest in sewing things for our home and for our little baby. About one year ago, I started getting really serious about sewing and started considering starting a blog, creating an Etsy shop and really investing more into this growing passion.
I didn't have my own sewing machine - I was switching back and forth between borrowing my mom's and my mother-in-law's. I had my own desk to sew on, but it was ridiculously cramped and cluttered. But I was happy with what I had because it worked, and what more could you ask for, right?
Well one day, some time just before my birthday, I came home to see the most AMAAAZING sight!
My partner, Hideko, and one of our very best friends, Sanjai, had spent HOURS cleaning and organizing all of my stuff, purchased and built furniture and cleared a bunch of other stuff so that I could have all of this beautiful space. My jaw dropped and I was in tears. It was honestly the best gift I've ever received!
All of these pictures were taken the day that I came home to this amazing surprise (almost a year ago), so A LOT has changed since then. Namely, the huge piles of projects, papers and clutter all over the place, but there have been positive changes as well. The most important things have stayed the same though, the things that make this space so efficient and conducive to work. So I thought I'd show you around a little bit.
2. Scissors, ruler, rotary cutter, pens, pencils, water soluble pens, etc.
3. Sewing machine and small cutting mat
4. Pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, etc.
I think the most important thing is to keep all your essentials within reach. At any given moment during a project I might need anything of those things and nothing ruins a groove like having to put down the project and get up to go get something. Or even worse, go searching for something!
I love having all these drawers surrounding me. They are filled with office supplies, decorative paper, zippers, bias tape, elastic, needles, trims, and every other notion I might need for sewing. Again, all within reach from my chair. On the right of the machine I have a jar of buttons, my yard stick, more thread and bobbins. I also keep my patterns in the shelves near the wall. The magnetic board above the machine now houses some pictures as well as lists, ideas and inspiration.
This desk used to be Hideko's and we're actually still supposed to share it, but honestly, no one gets much stuff done here anymore because my "work in progress" basket had about a million babies and they have been strewn all over that desk. Hah!
I LOVE having my iron and board so close and always out. I'm a short cut taker, so unless I make it really accessible, I probably would never bother. I definitely value ironing during sewing, so this just makes it that much easier.
Something that I added immediately was a clothes line to one of the blank walls. There were actually already 2 nails in the wall from a large frame that used to hang there, so I just strung a rope between them and now I use it to hang and photograph almost all of my projects. It's by no means original or stunning to look at, but it allows me to document my projects in a consistent way. The clothes really stand out and I think it's almost become a trademark for me.
I also love that I can get great shots of detail or can photograph the clothes from unique angles. Something that I can't get when my lovely, super active model keeps running away from the camera!
Now my sewing area is really great and everything, but it isn't actually what my "best friend" is. See, when this gift was given to me, it wasn't just the sewing space that touched me. It was the fact that these people who were so close to me, really believed in me and wanted to support my dreams.
Shortly after that, for my birthday, a bunch of friends and family members pitched in to buy me my very first sewing machine. All of their support really changed the way I viewed myself and what I then considered, just my hobby. I decided to take the plunge and start a blog and start investing time and money into sewing and see where I could go with it. It's been almost a year and I have had the most amazing experiences since then. My sewing has improved by leaps and bounds, I've joined an incredible community of artists, parents, and bloggers, and every day I feel even more inspired and my "to do" list grows way faster than I can keep up with. And I really owe it all to them. My family and friends.
The people who offer to take Yuki out of the house for a few hours so I can finish my current project. The ones who listen to me DAY after DAY talking about my next project, my next blog post, or my next fabric purchase. The one that lets me buy SO. MUCH. FABRIC. The ones that hold up my quilt so I can take pictures or takes 300 pictures of me so I can get at least a few where I don't look too fat. The ones that console me when my project has gone awry, even though they can't even see what's wrong with it. The ones that give me advice every time I ask, even though I almost never take it (sorry!). The ones that compliment every little thing that I make. The ones that put up with the messy house, the unwashed dishes and the instant dinners because it's KCWC. The ones who put up with just one. more. trip to Joann's (it'll be quick - I swear!). The ones who love and support me through it all.
So it turns out that my best sewing friends really have little to do with actual sewing at all. They are my friends and family, and most of all, more than anything or anyone in the world, my real life best friend and life long partner, Hideko. And I am forever grateful!
Thank you, Caroline and Maryanne, for inviting us all to think about the things and people who enable us to do what we love and for letting me share my story with your readers!
Happy sewing, everyone!
Don't forget to go and check out you and mie.
It's a gorgeous chronicle of all things crafty!
I received a gorgeous gift over the weekend of these beautiful buttons...
Aren't they gorgeous?
I need some help though - what shall I do with them? I don't want them to go into 'consolidated revenue' and I want to make a lovely feature of them. Hmmmm... Any ideas?
When the weather was hot, it seemed I couldn't drink enough of these...
I've always loved the shape of these bottles and I seem to have accumulated quite a stash.
I made a quick trip to the hardware store this morning to buy some paint and mini funnels and the result? Some gorgeous, simple vases.
This would have to be the cleanest painting project I have ever done. Why? You paint the inside of the bottle, not the outside!
Using a small funnel, tip some paint into the bottom of the bottle. Swish it around a bit and ...voila! Sweet and simple Sunday vases!
Right now, I'm loving the look of doilies. I love their pretty charm and the way they remind me of my grandmother's house. What I love most of all, though, is the new ways in which they're being used to adorn clothes and for all sorts of crafting projects. The Haby Goddess
currently has a doily fest on her blog, and Luvinthemommyhood
featured a gorgeous doily craft round up last month.Unfortunately, I don't have a stash of vintage doilies at my finger tips to use
, and even if I did, I'd be a little reluctant to put them on my kids' clothes. Attaching them is tricky and I'm not sure that they'd survive the amount of washing and soaking that the kids' t shirts endure.Last week, the postman brought me a huge box - inside? A Silhouette SD. I'm loving it, and my favourite creation so far? Some faux doily t shirts for Lizzy
. They've got the vintage look, but they're a whole lot more durable.
And guess what? Although it's been the quickest, easiest project I've done in ages, it's been the only thing that Lizzy's been desperate to put on... sigh...
My oh my, Easter is just around the corner. Where are you going to stash all those eggs? Why, in the hippity hop easter clutch, of course!
Click on read more to find out how you can make one all for yourself (or a friend if you're feeling generous!)
What does every fashionable toddler want to be seen wearing at this year's Easter hat parade?
Why, a chicken hat of course!
Do you think Martin will ever forgive me?
Easter Egg Hunts and Bonnet Parades are just around the corner. This year, I really wanted a project that Pippa could be involved in. I have seen some beautiful Easter Bonnets made for children over the years but this time I felt Pippa would really love the opportunity to make her own (with just a little help from me!).
I think we will call this project a big success. She was very excited to have her photograph taken in it and she usually won't model anything for me! She also got the ultimate stamp of approval from her big sister - Madeleine wants to make one too.
I cut out 5 large (10cm) and 5 small (7cm) Easter egg shapes from gold shiny cardboard. I also cut out some strips of coloured paper with our fancy pinking shears. Pippi had great fun decorating the eggs with a variety of stickers we found in our sticker box and used a glue stick to stick on the decorative paper strips. I cut a 5cm wide strip of dark blue cardboard and stapled it together so it sits at a good position on her head. As the eggs were decorated I stapled them on to the blue strip, alternating large and small eggs.
The whole project was completed in under 15 minutes - the perfect length of time to maintain an almost 3 year old's enthusiasm and concentration!
Is that the Easter bunny I hear?
I think he's left a clutch for your littlest friends to store their Easter treasures in!
There is something to be said for sewing projects that take a lot of planning, preparation and thought. Sometimes though, you just need instant gratification when you're crafting.
I've always loved the look of grosgrain belts - they can be hard to find though, so when I found this lovely range of ribbons at a fabric shop this morning, I knew just what I had to do with it. One of my issues with belts like these is that they always seem a little flimsy. During the week I saw a belt that used double thickness of ribbon - problem solved!
1.Let's start with supplies... You'll need grosgrain ribbon, two d rings that are they same width as your ribbon and some hemming tape. Measure the length that you want your belt to be and double it - this is the length of ribbon you'll need. Your piece of hemming tape needs to be the length that you want your belt to be - that is, you need half as much as the ribbon.
2. Cut the ribbon in half so that you have two pieces of equal length. Fuse them together using the hemming tape. Be careful not to scorch the ribbon!
3. Topstitch down the length of both sides of the ribbon.
4.Finish one end of the belt - double the end over so that the raw edges are covered up and top stitch. My machine has a special 'back-stitch' that holds everything snug and tight, but if you're using a normal stitch I would reverse- sew over the seam a number of times to keep it secure.
5. Attach the D ring to the other end of the belt. Slip both rings over the belt and double the end over so the raw edges are covered up and top stitch. I stitched twice (about .5 cm apart) to keep everything tidy and secure.
6.You're done! Enjoy...
PS - I just found this tutorial
that uses different ribbons on either side - how cute are they?