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!
STASH MISMANAGEMENT 101
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.
Somewhere 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.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.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