Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yesterday, after giving both shower recesses, and also the staircase a bit of a clean, I gave myself permission to spend the rest of the day tidying my sewing room.

This is both a necessity and an indulgence. I really need to clear a bit of table space and a pathway across the floor before I can work any new projects. I also need to know where I can find some of my supplies and equipment.

A variety of supplies as diverse as Acrylic paints, inks, glues, fabric crayons, dolly pegs, jewelry chain, gold kid leather pieces, soap slivers, sequins, fabric "yo-yos", glitters and foil pieces, some homemade rubber stamps, a flower press, glues, and some bonding powder

However, in the tidying process, I am always likely to discover and re-discover treasures and special things I had forgotten about, and this leads me down paths of creative inspiration, enabling me to plan and dream about future projects and possibilities.

One task I wanted to perform yesterday was to label some of my containers, so I am not continually opening lids to see what is inside. I found myself making labels for a diverse variety of stuff, such as "Soap Slivers" (for marking fabric), Poly-clay faces, Sequins (now overflowing their container), "Glitters", "Shabby Chic flowers" (so named because these little artificial flowers I bought some years ago were featured on the Shabby Chic Show, and were described as "antique"), "Watch parts" (I have been saving these for years, waiting for just the right inspiration), "Dried Lavender", "Feathers", "Foils and Brass Tape"....the list goes on and on!

Some special old buttons in antique jars and containers - these include glass, mother-of-pearl and miniature "boot-buttons"

When I first started using my spare guilt-free time to create things. my supplies were limited to one shallow drawer of fabric, scissors, thread, a sewing machine, perhaps a tape measure and some hand needles, and almost certainly a stitch unripper.

Since then, my stash of supplies has grown so that it permeates almost every room of the house, including our spacious and all-too-convenient attic, not to mention umpteen hundreds of books and magazines to provide stimulating inspiration and eye candy! I do get given a lot of stuff - people always think of me when they need to dispose of crafty stuff - and I never say "No". People know to come to me whenever there is something they need, be it a particular shade of embroidery thread or tapestry wool, or a set of buttons in a particular size or colour. IAt times I feel like a Custodian of All Things Crafty.

A few more of my buttons - I have ben delighted to have some people favour me with their old button jars.

When I settled into the world of Crazy patchwork, I expanded my supplies to include lots of lace (especially old doileys), beads, braids, charms, ribbons, motifs, and every kind and colour of embroidery thread.

Dyeing and painting my own fabrics required another set of supplies, and diversions down the trails of silk ribbon embroidery, wool embroidery, and tatting also called for more stash and equipment - in every available colour of course!

Then I got my computer involved, and this meant finding mediums to enable me to transfer images to fabric.

Now my collections include fibres (silk, wool, and others), exotic yarns, all sorts of stiffeners and stabilisers, fusibles, foils, films and felts, sheers and tulles, glues and glitters and gels, all sorts of paints and papers, a heat gun and a needlefelter, and much more. And the bags of fabrics continue to grow and reproduce!

This little set of mini-drawers contain charms and dangly-bits. Old jewellery, including broken bits, are kept in other boxes.

Some of it I buy (trying to use only money I have made by selling stuff). But much of it I scrounge. Apart from what I am given or what people share with me, I buy much of what I use in the way of fabric and textiles and buttons from the Op shop. I find new uses for things I have had for years. I have a great supply of "cotton waste" fabric which was used for packing, and makes a wonderful backing for bags and wall hangings. I get tissue paper from old dress patterns, and recently found the Shoe store could give me as much as I need in plain white. The old Toy Box provides rubbing patterns, and blocks for making home-made stamps - I have resisted buying these (well, just two or three - or four!)

This drawer, in our bedroom, contains mostly glitzy and metallic fabrics. There are a couple of drawers just for pieces of silk, and two more for velvets.

And do you know, I have recently discovered I can make some wonderful things using just Freezer bags, a few splodges of paint and slivers of thread and tinsel.

You will notice none of my photos show my sewing room as a whole...that is because it is still a disaster area to the untrained eye. But when I start a new project, I will basically know where most things are.

One problem I have is "containers" - I just love to collect them - tins, jars, boxes. I cannot resist anything old, unusual or potentially useful. And I have far more containers than things to put in them, although I could quickly rectify that situation simply by breaking my current supplies down into more sub-categories. But what I do really need is more shelving space to put these containers. I must remind my Joiner son - I have only been waiting about three years!

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