Stash Manicure

Rae Ann Nilson over at Stash Manicure kindly invited me to be a Guest Blogger today, Wednesday, July 7th, 2010. What a treat! Do hop over and check out her great site, and let me know you came to visit. (Note, 2/2012: Stash Manicure has evolved into Sew We Quilt, and their archives no longer contain my guest post. I have reprinted it below, and if you are also adept at “Stash Mismanagement” you just may enjoy it.)

One week until the start of my next stash giveaway. Details will be posted on July 14, 2010 right here on The Curious Quilter.

And a special thanks to all visitors, who helped put The Curious Quilter on the WordPress list of top ten fastest growing blogs today!


Originally published on the blog Stash Manicure on July 7, 2010, reprinted here.

Hello, Stash Manicure readers! When Rae Ann asked me to share thoughts on stash management with you today, I smiled. I am Mary Wilbourn, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, and I write The Curious Quilter blog. I am on a campaign to use up old stash items, and am sewing scrappy quilt tops right and left lately. My blog readers also ask me how I organize my copious stash, and I smile.

Heather Ross Blue Gnome FabricSomewhere in my house is a little bit of Heather Ross blue gnome fabric, like in this photo. I am absolutely certain it is here, and recall that there is less than one square foot remaining. I really do want to find it, and use just a teeny tidbit of it. I savor this fabric, and only nibble away at it in the tiniest useable bites.

I have looked in the back bedroom, which presently serves as my office, my sewing storage (I sew on the dining room table), my records storage, even as my seed starting room complete with grow lights in the winter. It also holds the extra leaves for my dining room set, boxes of old photos waiting to be labeled, and crafty things like beads and yarn. Now I know that this is a lot to ask of a 9×10 foot room. Believe me, there is barely a path through it. To the uninitiated, it probably looks like a cluttered mess. But the bins are labeled, and the piles have a particular logic to them. Doesn’t everyone have a room like this in their home? At least the door shuts, if I move two tubs out of the way and set the bathroom scale on top of them.

A few Two Inch Treasure boxes

I have lots of these shoe boxes under my bed!

I have also searched through the twenty shoe boxes of two inch treasures (2″ squares I have cut over the years) stored under my bed, in the equally small front bedroom. If you follow my blog, you know that I am certainly not obsessed at all with my two inch treasures! No fabriholic here. I simply live in a small house, and figured storing boxes of lovely fabric snippets under my bed was better feng shui than storing old tax returns there.

This search for elusive gnomes has now forced me to clean out my closet. Do realize that I call this a closet loosely. It seems that when they built houses 90 years ago, one little closet per bedroom was deemed sufficient for the entire family. I do mean little, barely three feet wide and just a hanger deep. Oddly, I find it easier to lose things in a small space than in a big one. The fabric was not in there, but I did find my missing swimsuit. There was also a forgotten wrapped Christmas gift, now saved for next year.

The porch yielded only stored furniture, camping gear, and boxes of fleece. The garage is Land of Sons, with my only holdings being a few garden essentials. The attic has been stripped of all my possessions over the years. As my boys moved on I thought it would become my sewing studio. But between kids going back to school, touring with bands, losing jobs, saving for houses, etc., well the revolving door remains open. The attic is still occupied, but with only one son, making showers a lot easier to get in this one bathroom house.

Turkey Roaster - no gnomes here

The blue gnomes were not in the roasting pan.

That leaves the basement. Unfinished, but that has not stopped people from living down there over the years, unceremoniously cramming Mom’s stuff into crowded corners. No one lives there now, but with 30 years of corner stuffing, well, suffice to say I cleaned out a lot of cobwebs and spiders digging for my blue gnome fabric scrap. I did not find it, but I managed to shift all my fabric tubs into the laundry room, find my food processor and turkey roaster, and rescue a bag of winter clothes I wanted last December. I also uncovered a box of UFO’s I had forgotten all about.

I have given up my quest for blue gnomes. A tidbit of puppy fabric will take its place today. So, as I sit here writing to you about stash management, I find that I can only smile.

The phone just rang. My oldest son, who moved out a couple of years ago, is out washing his car. He thinks he may have found something of mine in the rag bag. It is blue, with funny men in hats on it. It does have a small grease stain on it. Ah, well… one day I will write a lovely blog post about how I finally organized my copious stash. Until then, I just keep smiling.

Happy Quilting to All! – Mary


About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Stash Manicure

  1. findshruti says:

    Hi, I came across your blog from stash manicure. Loved your story. I wanted to ask you if you could donate some fabric to a cause that I’ve taken up recently. I’m making 40 + 2 quilts for an orphanage in India. You can read about it at: 13 Woodhouse Road
    Please take some time to go through it. Your help will really be appreciated.

  2. sandra says:

    I’ve been there and you really made me smile! I needed it today!
    Now I will discover your blog, because it is new to me!

  3. Rae Ann says:

    Mary ~ Your post today on Stash Manicure was “All That and a Bag of Chips”! I loved it and I am still laughing!!! Thanks for being our guest! Hope you will do it again real soon!

  4. cindy says:

    I’ve seen pictures of some quilters and their so-organized sewing rooms and wondered if there were any out there who had my way of storing stash. AND
    I found one. Thanks for sharing and letting me know that I’m not alone.

  5. HeatherL says:

    Fantastic post! I read Stash Manicure regularly and have never laughed quite so hard. I’m still showing off my fabrics to anyone who will listen or at least nod and give me a closed mouthed mm hmm, so you can tell I have a relatively small stash—–so far.

    Not to worry, I’m steadily working to resolve that situation.

  6. Martin says:

    Perhaps you are the “Erma Bombeck” of the quiltblog world these days. Oh wait, am I OLD enough to know who Erma Bombeck was?

  7. Dawn says:

    Your post had me laughing out loud enough for my co-workers to want to read it too. Thanks for sharing your management techniques!

  8. We love your blog and your humorous writing style. It’s a real day brightener ! Best wishes from Marina and Daryl at Quilt Inspiration.

  9. Sharon Zmuda says:

    I am having a difficult time leaving comments to Stash Manicure and was wondering why or if someone can help me. I love the site and cannot express my thought there.

  10. Sharon says:

    I want to leave a comment on Mamm Samm @stash Manicure blog and cannot seem to be able to . Can someone tell me what to do or why?

    • Sharon, Stash Manicure, like all blogs with in their addresses, has the Post a Comment section at the bottom of all the comments for a given post. Just scroll down through the comments and find the “Post a Comment” box. Madame Samm is the new manager of Stash Manicure this year, and you can also email her at

  11. Pingback: Hello World, Again! My Blog Turns One. | The Curious Quilter

  12. Pingback: Saturday House (and Blog) Cleaning | The Curious Quilter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s