Letting Go of Fabric Scraps

Fabrics & Materials

During the covid-19 pandemic, many people in my social bubble have turned not just to handcrafts but other home projects. Here are some thoughts inspired by attempts to clean up my fabric scrap bins.

Sorting Fabric Scraps

The older I get, the oftener does it happen that visual clutter bothers me. Even though I’ve managed to fit my fabric scraps neatly into bins in the past, there are too many, and the sheer amount is adding to the corona stress.

Letting go, however, is hard: besides reminders of projects made, for me there is pleasure that comes from simply the act of making, plus, afterwards, from wearing or using or giving the thing, and even later from remembering all those pleasures.

Then, of course, the fabrics are beautiful in their own combinations of colors and patterns. And an otherwise insignificant piece could be just the thing I am looking for for some future project.

I’ve found a few solutions that help me – to some extent. 🙂

1) Fold all scraps, even small ones, neatly into the same dimensions (e.g. folded-napkin-sized) so that ragged edges and smaller pieces of the same fabric are contained on the inside. It drastically reduces space needed vs. a jumbled-up collection. If they’re in a box, it’s not hard to lift each bundle out of the way when looking for something else; if on a shelf —->

2) Arrange folded fabric by color. They look really pretty that way.

3) Make the very special ones into a usable item to see every day. Sadly, not a fast solution if that’s what’s called for.

4) Frame several of the special fabrics and arrange a set of them on the wall. We did this with Husband’s high school drama t-shirts that weren’t in wearable condition anymore.

5) Divide scraps into “def keep for now” and “maybe” piles. Move “maybe” somewhere else (e.g. into the “things to donate” area). If in a given time period I haven’t missed them, it’s a sign to let go. Alas, not a fast solution either.

6) Just plunge in and throw some out. This I find the most difficult. I’ve discovered, though, that I can cheat myself into doing it if I take e.g. the ones in the worst condition (or the oldest, my least favorite colors or whatever) and throwing out “only” this one and keep the rest. The next time, I take another most undesireable or useless batch and get rid of “only” them. The problem with this approach is it requires consistency and time.

Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear your solutions!

New to Me: Mermaid Skeleton Print Fabric

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

I was looking for something quite different when this print fabric caught my eye: skeleton mermaids. (Skeletal mermaids? Mermaid skeletons? Mer-letons??)

JoAnn Novelty Mermaid Skeleton Print

I see one playing a panflute, another a harmonica, yet one more a guitar; some are wearing sombreros or crowns on their heads. What?!? LOL! 😀

Sadly, the vendor doesn’t describe it in any more detail than “novelty cotton”. I wonder whether it might be a Day of the Dead print? It’s fun, nevertheless.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Tardis Dress Is Bigger on the Inside, Too

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Take a look at this absolutely brilliant Tardis dress:

Tumblr May Yet Tardis Dress Collage

May Yet on Tumblr; collage by Eppu Jensen

It was made in 2018 by May Yet for a friend to wear at the Tokyo Comic Con. Sadly, the original post where I found it is now gone, but Yet wrote a new post where they give a bit more info and show new photos.

The dress is so gorgeous you could also wear it for semi-formal, non-geeky events. The absolutely best feature is that IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE! Aaaaah! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Faux Fireplace with Tablecloth “Tile” Surround

Fabrics & Materials, Inspiration, Stunt Double

I’m always on the lookout for unusual solutions to decorating problems. The fireplace below certainly applies: despite it’s traditional looks, the reality is very non-traditional.

DSponge Schroors Netherlands Fireplace Sm

It’s from the Drachten, Netherlands, home of Mindy and Theo Schroor. From their description (the mantel is “purely decorative”) it sounds like the fireplace is a faux one built around an electric stove. The tile surround is actually a tablecloth mounted to the wall.

I’ve seen clever faux fireplaces before. In this one, it’s the tablecloth surround that really makes the whole, however: the print displays copies of Dutch artists’ work and details from Delftware ceramics, repeated tile-style, as a lovely nod to the local history. The history nerd in me definitely appreciates the choice!

Found via design*sponge.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Now on Etsy: Canvas Pouches

Ahem Ahem!, Arts & Crafts

I listed a few canvas pouches at the Playfully Grownup Home Etsy shop.

Canvas Pouches Collage

They’re made from a variety of prints and solids. I used up remnant canvas pieces to make them.

The light green one has a really great, understated but elegant floral pattern outlined in white. I added a coordinating green and white polka dot accent for the drawstring channel.

Canvas Pouch Green White Floral BB001a

For the blue and turquoise floral, I found two good accent color matches but couldn’t decide which I preferred, so I made two versions. Problem solved! 🙂 One has a turquoise-on-turquoise polka dot print…

Canvas Pouch Blues Turquoise BB002c

…and the second a solid bright blue cotton. The latter makes a nice, strong contrast.

Canvas Pouch Blues BB002a

Both colorways have a round bottom made from solid-colored canvas – pale mustard for the green and navy blue for the blue and turquoise bags.

Find them in the Playfully Grownup Home > Carry Me section. And as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Now on Etsy: Heart Banners

Ahem Ahem!, Arts & Crafts, Colors

A batch of heart banners is now listed at the Playfully Grownup Home Etsy shop.

Heart Banner Purple HB003b

They’re made from a variety of prints and solids, and are designed to hang either horizontally or vertically against a wall or another flat surface.

Heart Banner Blue HB001g Closeup

I used up a variety of remnants and scraps to make them, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and shredded fabric).

Some of the banners, like those in pink and red tones, have an ombre effect, with the colors graduating from light to dark shades.

Heart Banner Pink HB005a

Apart from the ombre banners, there are cheerful floral ones in a colorful, graphic print that I love.

Heart Banner Floral HB004a

Find them in the Playfully Grownup Home > Hang Me section. And as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

My Con or Bust Donation for 2018

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

Here is my donation for Con or Bust‘s yearly online auction for 2018: a rainbow heart banner.

Rainbow Banner

Each heart measures approx. 3” / 7 cm, and there’s one of each color (purple, red, orange, yellow, green and blue). They have vibrant fronts made from a variety of cottons and cotton blends, and the backsides are made from a linen blend in a neutral greyish beige hue.

Rainbow Banner Back Fabric

All fabrics come from my scraps bin, which reduces waste, as does filling the hearts with clippings (thread and small waste fabric).

Rainbow Banner Hexagon

The hearts form an approx. 53” / 135 cm banner with the help of baker’s twine, with loops at both ends for hanging.

Because of the neutral backing, the banner looks best hung against a wall or other flat surface.

Rainbow Banner on Bookcase

However, as I strung it up for photos, I noticed that the hearts have a tendency to swivel, which would make a nice effect if hung somewhere where air currents can gently sway the banner.

Rainbow Banner on Door Frame

Bidding will start next Monday, April 09, 2018. Before that, you can have a look at the 2018 auction info, visit the Con or Bust website for more information or browse the 2018 auction tags.

Con or Bust, Inc., is a U.S.-based, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and an online auction held annually.

As I’ve had firsthand experience of being on a miniature budget and having to limit my geeky hobbies accordingly, I decided to add Con or Bust to my list of things worthy of support. This is my third time donating.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

February 2018 Recap

Newsletters

This month started with finalizing and submitting the first tax-related return of the year. And there was much rejoicing!

And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaaaaay) – Monty Python & the Holy Grail via Malarsk on YouTube

I also had the (ahem) joy of hanging on the phone with my bank to try and solve a month-long issue. Fortunately their team did eventually solve the mystery glitch. I am so thankful – YAAAAY for tech support!

I’ve been working on small piecing / quilting prototypes (think placemats or table cloths) made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Unfortunately, a third type of paperwork issue slowed me down – I haven’t been able to proceed as fast as I’d like. That’s part of the creative life, though.

We only had two significant snowfalls in February. The morning after the first one, the yard looked like cotton batting or wadding. (Boy, I do indeed have a quilting brain on!)

Latest Snowfall Looks Lumpy

While sewing, I’ve been enjoying vocal folk hop by Tuuletar in my native Finnish. Blog posts on the group here and here.

Tuuletar Debut Album Tules maas vedes taivaal

And we saw Black Panther, and it was glorious!

January 2018 Recap

Newsletters

This year, one of the new things I’m trying is a month-end recap for my activities. It’s not meant as a newsletter as such, but maybe a newsletter light. I aim to list some of the highlights for each month with plenty of photos, as mine is a visual job. 🙂

Here are the more significant things from January 2018.

Preparing my tax returns is always an involved process, so I start as early as possible in the beginning of January.

Inventorying Green Fabrics

As part of tax prep, I check my inventory. That is a year-end task that takes quite a bit of effort, energy and elbow grease. On the other hand, every time I go through my stash I’m reminded of a fabulous fabric or another and get inspired.

I also need to submit documentation for assigning property taxes for my business. This is the first tax-related return of the year.

2018 Jan Tax Work

Work was slowed down by snow storms in late December and early January. The 2018 winter storm Grayson brought some 13″-15″ / 33-38 cm of snow for us. And this on top of the first two snowfalls of the season, about 10″ / 25 cm total, that didn’t have time to melt.

2017 Dec End After Snowfall

I was afraid we’d end up with snow up to our nostrils (like a few winters ago). Fortunately it doesn’t look likely anymore, although February might yet surprise us.

I also got a Jane Austen 10 GBP note of my own! Fansquee!

And, heartbreakingly, while I was reading her Tales from Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin passed.

Current Reading Tales from Earthsea

Her passing was such a bittersweet moment, bitter because she won’t be producing any more work. However, the many tributes serve to remind us of her intellect, inner fire and vision. I’m most fond of Le Guin’s Earthsea stories, some of which I’ve read and re-read in Finnish and in English over the years. I’ve only managed one of her science fiction books so far, though. Time to rectify that.