Strings and Things

I have a love/hate relationship with thread. I need the variety, really, because there is nothing more frustrating that having to drive to the store in the middle of a project just because I didn’t have enough thread. I want to have it when I need it, but that means I need a bunch on hand. And I need a way to keep them easily accessible and inventoried.

It’s always been a struggle. I used to just keep them in plastic boxes, but then that just gets out of control and it’s hard to tell what I have. Later I kept them in drawers. That system worked okay, divvied up by color and tucked away out of sight. But sometimes I wouldn’t notice that I’d used the last of the ecru or that I was dangerously low on the always-necessary black. Then one day I stumbled onto a new organization idea.

I’d had this little shelf sitting around for the longest time before realizing that it was totally usable! The thing had hung on my grandparents’ living room wall for years, but when my grandpa died, furnishings were weeded out and I snagged this shelf without a purpose in mind. I just liked the look of it, even when it was still wood-toned. But I had no idea what to do with it, so it sat there for (I’m ashamed to say) years. Until I realized it was good for piling thread into.

Leftover white enamel was used to paint it and I filled the diamonds with color. I love the way it brings something bright to the wall and makes it easy for me to keep track of which colors I have plenty of and which ones I need.

How do you organize your thread?

P.S. Someday I want my fabric organized like this.

Can anything be too cute? How about this?

I came across something that actually made me yearn just a little for my daughter to be 7 or 8 again. Luckily, I came to my senses and remembered that I have several nieces that age! Phew. But really how can you resist the absolutely adorableness of this bustle backpack?

The Bustle Backpack

I have a fondness for bustles, evidenced by my now-vintage wedding dress. They’re especially delightful on a little girl. Me Sew Crazy has more pics and even offers a tutorial to make it yourself. I think I will be making one for some niece or another since it’s just too cute to not make.

Where have I been?

A half-dozen years ago I was allll about the sewing; I was making all sorts of vintage reproductions–aprons, bathing suits, high-waisted Hollywood pants and bias-cut dresses. I knew a few local women, peripherally, who were doing the same thing, but mostly I just isolated myself in my sewing room. Funny thing is, all these years later, these women are still around, still making and creating, and doing a real kick ass job at it. Honestly, I’m pretty blown away by a scene that I’d almost forgotten existed.

Susan Beal just put out another book, all about quilting. She’s got some great tutorials in there and ideas on how to use quilting for easier tasks than making an entire quilt. She also blogs over at West Coast Crafty, definitely one to put into your favorite RSS reader. Torie Nguyen is running Crafty Wonderland, a massive craft extravaganza that I’ve visited, ogled and never realized that she was in charge of.

From following their links and their blogs to other and around and around the Internet I go… suddenly I realize I am not ‘that girl who sews’ anymore. There are tons of us. Yeah, I know, this is a slow awakening, but for the past few years, I’ve been more entrenched in traveling with my kids here and in Southeast Asia than I have been trying to figure out how the craft scene is developing. I totally missed out on that one.

New mini-wallets, ready for their buttons

But I am back! The fabric stash has been retrieved from the storage unit and I’m stoked about digging through it even more to find out what’s been tucked away for all this time.


Today I’ll be stitching buttons on more super-fun colored wallets (orange! pink!) and getting those up online. And probably adding to my bandage collection on my fingers. All the handstitching yesterday left me with three wound covers. Eep.

Now @ Etsy

I keep saying I’m going to do it, that I need to do and I finally have. The first batch of goods available via Etsy went up today. By Friday I should have at least one quilt up there as well as some more wallets. It’s a start.

Some 18-year-olds get cars

There are a lot of things a kid can miss out when they’ve only got one parent, but what my kids have missed the most wasn’t someone to play baseball with or someone to teach them how to shave or draw or make music. What my kids really missed out on was that second income.

Instead of being able to buy a car or even a bicycle for my son’s 18th birthday, I finished the quilt I’d started for him back in his younger years.

Stuart taught his sister how to swim.

It started the summer I had pneumonia; the summer I spent poolside, watching the kids play while I laid there wishing I had health insurance. It was a pretty miserable summer, with being so sick and the ensuing lack of income. They turned off our electricity for two weeks while I struggled to sell enough books and clothes to pay the bill. But I had a fabric stash and with his help, my son Stuart and I chose fabric to make him a quilt.

Continue reading “Some 18-year-olds get cars”