confessions of a fabric obsessive

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Guest Post by The Fat Cactus

A guest post by Teresa from The Fat Cactus in the form of a post from her blog. I loved this post because it brought to mind a similar gift I made for a colleague and friend when she left on maternity leave.

Teresa writes:

This week, a lovely work colleague is leaving and I wanted to make her a keepsake gift. I had read about handmade Survival Kits on the internet last year and thought that this would be perfect. I used a tin (from Ikea) and various bits and bobs that I had lying around to assemble this gift.

I love these papers from Trimcraft – so cute and made from recycled paper!

I punched a little label for the lid.

Then added some houndstooth ribbon around the sides.

The contents are an assortment of everyday objects.

I made a little book explaining the significance of each item:

A battery – to keep you going.

A paperclip – to hold it all together.

A plaster – to fix hurt feelings.

An elastic band – to stretch yourself beyond your limits.

A candle – to light the way forward.

A marble – to keep you rolling along.

An eraser – because we all make mistakes.

A jigsaw piece – to remind you that you are an important piece in people’s lives.

A penny – so you are never penniless.

Sellotape – for those sticky situations.

A button – for your lip, when you can’t thing of anything nice to say.

String – a little extra for when you reach the end of your tether.

A special gift deserves a special gift bag. I decorated a brown paper lunch bag with some backing paper and added some silk flowers, ribbon and a die-cut flourish.

The bag was big enough for the card box I’d made too, which I’d decorated with a die-cut shape, flowers and rub-on quote.

Ahhh, such a thoughtful gift. The words say exactly what we would want for a friend.

Now hop on over to The Fat Cactus and tell her ClaireBear sent you :o)

Claire Bear

The glamour of mending…

…and putting things away.

I know what you’re thinking.  “She’s finally lost it, there’s no glamour in mending” and you’re right. There is no glamour in mending or putting new purchases/things I have finished using away, but it needs to be done. It’s probably just as important as the fun stuff: buying new supplies, working on a new idea, reading a new post by a favourite blogger.

It may even be more important.

Here’s what happens when I don’t put stuff away:

I have a mental list of stuff I need…I see something that’s on the list when I’m out shopping…buy it….love it…take it home…all excited, I unpack it and sit it on the kitchen table or my coffee table to admire it for a while…”I’ll put it away in a while”… need the table for something else…clear it away or pile stuff on top if it…don’t see it for  a while …forget I bought it…see one while I’m out shopping…buy it….love it…take it home…all excited, I unpack it and sit it on the kitchen table or my coffee table to admire it for a while…tidy it away properly and find the first one (so now I have two and no money)… OR… don’t buy that second one because I know I bought one already…get really frustrated and annoyed at the amount of time I waste searching for it when I need it… don’t use it because I can’t find it..tidy up properly…find it and kick myself.

(Did I mention I have the “gift” of dyslexia? Among other “gifts” that this brings me is a chronicly bad profoundly poor short-term memory. I really don’t remember where I put things and frequently don’t remember buying stuff, I spent several months at the end of last year with more loo roll than I could shake a stick at because every time I was grocery shopping I remembered putting it on my list and didn’t remember that I had then bought some so I bought some more! It became a joke between Mr CB and me)

But back to the title of this post.

Gadgets and other sewing “kit” that needs mending and don’t get fixed are either dangerous, useless or a waste of space and money. You buy another one you don’t really need (after all, you do already have one),  or go without (and by “you” I probably mean me).

Favourite bags, dresses, jackets and the rest, that need mending don’t look as good or fit as well as they should do, They end up getting torn, unravelled  even more, and being discarded or thrown in a heap in the corner when we can’t bear to part with them but can’t wear them (ahem).

Mending isn’t just a way of improving the use and look of your stuff, it’s a good way of practising and improving new skills. OK, I have a habit of destroying the fly zips in my jeans and can’t put in a zip to save my life (or my jean’s life) but as long as they otherwise fit well and feel comfortable, I do take them to have a new one put in. And one day I will learn how to put a zip on well. Probably.

After all, what’s the difference between sewing on a loose button and sewing a button onto a new garment, made by you? Between hand-stitching a seam that’s come adrift and and hand-stitching in a new lining.

Can you tell I found this book on my shelves the other day?

Yes, mending and putting stuff away can be boring and tedious but it’s a huge money saver and that means more money to buy cute fabric with, right?

Yes, I have been working on putting my stuff away properly, but now I’m going to spend most of the weekend working through the mending in my pile of shame….

Consider this my new WIP. 😮

Claire Bear

No WIPs this Wednesday

I know, I know, but it’s got to be Wednesday somewhere in the world.

I wanted to be able to blog that this hexagon adventure has been turned into something…

..but it hasn’t.

And I wanted to blog that this (blurry) pile of black and bright pink has turned into a cloak…

…but it hasn’t.

And I wanted to tell you that this pile of luscious fruity coloured cotton has started its transformation into quiltalong quilt blocks…

…but (you guessed) it hasn’t.

Now I could beat myself up about this week’s work-in-progress failure, but I’m not going to.

Sometimes life gets in the way of my plans, and sometimes thinking gets in the way of my sewing time, and sometimes boring stuff gets in the way of fun stuff. This is how life is, and in the absence of a multi-million pound bank balance enabling me to have minions to take care of the ugly and boring bits of my life, this is how my life is always going to be.

 It’s not going to stop me wanting to do the fun stuff and it’s not going to stop me looking at the things I have achieved.

Banging on about how I didn’t get anything on my to-do list done is not always the best attitude to take. So I’m going to focus on some of the things I have finished in the last few months and be pleased about them (and maybe show off a little bit as well, but don’t tell anybody will you?)

My Daughter’s Quilt

The Rainbow ZigZag Quilt for my new niece

the mini-totes for the female members of my family

and this upcycling project just for me

Happy sewing


More WIPs here

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