Paring Down Pt. 8: The Fabric Box

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After, the machine, and in the orange tub: fabric, wooden sewing box, a white box of thread and a white box of ‘extras.’

You wouldn’t think two people who don’t sew much to collect so much fabric! However, we’ve been known to sew a quilt or three in our time as well as pillows, crafts along with teaching children to sew. It also helps that my mother-in-law is a master seamstress and glorious quilt maker. She is an inspiration to us and so, we started collecting fabric in hopes to do projects with her. She’s such a joy to work with and so knowledgeable, helpful and very patient.

Before starting we had to make some tough decisions. While owning a sewing machine is on our priority list, did we really need all that old fabric? If so, why? Through our sorting we found that much of it was kept for a project we either finished or realized we honestly were not committed to actually doing. To be truthful, admitting this was very hard to do. We are passionate about so many things, it’s hard to pick and choose. But ultimately, it came down to the question, “Where do we want to spend our time?” And we decided that we want to spend our time doing projects we LOVED and we didn’t want to spend our time lugging around an anchor. So, as hard as it was we let 75% of our fabric, dream projects and hopes we had for all of it -GO… It was so relieving. I felt so much better because those undone items weighed on my mind every time I saw the sewing machine or fabric box. Now, I get to spend my time where I want to spend it NOW, not where I “hoped” to spend it a year ago. We realized that year to year our tastes and priorities change, and we have to be willing to change with it. It doesn’t make us failures, it makes us human. And we do get some projects done, but not all of them. We keep trying, and now we can enjoy working on them instead of being overwhelmed by them!

The fabric we did keep were the kinds that were versatile for many projects, mainly large pieces, or were set aside for an item we really wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. This was a great opportunity to set goals for the remaining of the year.

We started with so much, there were three different tubs, a cardboard box hiding here, another there, it was all over the house… Here are the photos of the mess we had on our hands!

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Can you spot the THREE sewing baskets??

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That which we tossed was so old it was too worn to be used for anything solid, it no longer had any life in the fabric. The stuff we decided to sell were things like extra quilt blocks from previous quilts we finished, curtains I had hoped to make a belly dancing skirt from, lace curtains, upholstery fabric we decided we weren’t going to actually use, all of our buttons, and yarn.

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The white box was full of buttons. The fan box is full of fabrics too. This was our pile of yard sale items.

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Winter is Coming! Winter is Coming!

Winter is coming here in Northern Indiana and in true tiny living fashion we are preparing by picking our priorities, paring down and organizing! Last winter we were snowed in a few times from 2-3 days! We baked and we cleaned, baked and cleaned! And just a little side note, it is not ok to use hot water and a blow dryer on a window that has ice on it, it didn’t get replaced till March! brrrrr…  Having lived here most of our lives we are ready for a blizzard, we have 3 days or more of food/water in our pantry, loads of blankets to keep warm and back up plans if the power goes out, which it did last year but only for a few hours. This winter we have different goals, my mom is here with us and she likes to clean, so that will leave us with lots of time on our hands. My husband wants to draw, make more art, relax and play games. I want to sew quilts, relax and do deep organizing. But neither of us can do that in the current state of the apartment. So, we have been working, working, working, not making much progress so, there’s still a lot to go.

You can see what the sewing area looked like before, and here’s what it looks like now.

sewing20141005_134239This is our go-to place for storage, so getting it ‘clean’ and ‘organized’ is a real challenge.

We changed sewing machines, the old one was a friends and I got a ‘new to me’ 1952 Elna Supermatic that comes in a case! We also have been storing the strawberry toy box and the large blue Christmas tote over here. The stack of quilts have been organized and are now on the new shelves in the laundry room (see paring down pt. 3), the pillows have been put with the dishes from the kitchen to be donated (see paring down pts. 1&2) and the three totes are all fabric for projects.

Since sewing is one of our priorities, we will find space in the tiny house to sew and store items for it after significantly paring them down, of course. I have 3 quilts I want to complete this winter but will consider it a success if I can finish just one! Also by tackling these projects it reduces the things stored away. Our 1st quilt is a “Crazy Quilt” made from blocks I was given from Steve’s grandma, who has since passed away (a block folded in half is on the table to the left.) I felt honored to be given something she worked on, these pieces were done all by hand, so much time and care went into them. We have flannel for the backing, it will be a warm and heavy quilt. The 2nd quilt looks like it will be fun to make, we have tiny little, adorable, puppy scarves my dog gets each time he goes to the groomer, you can see one on the right of the table. I don’t think I’ve thrown any away so there’s a lot to use up! The 3rd one will be made out of already cut up pieces we got from Steve’s mom, who found them at an auction. I plan to make it slowly, over time, by sewing two pieces together every day with out much of a plan, just to see what we get.

You can see from the photos the huge headway mad in Steve’s studio!

steve studio 20141005_122602 Most of the stuff has been consolidated, although I believe he took the broken Keurig coffee maker to his moms for parts or in hopes of fixing it this winter. The long shelf that was by the back door is now in the laundry room (see paring down pt. 3). The long folding table has been taken down to make space for moving around better. One tote has been taken to storage.

He hopes to sort through all his old work and decide whether to keep it, photograph it then toss it, or sell it, so he can have space to make more. Steve has decided that drawing is his priority in the tiny house and he will have a loft as a studio. He’s looking forward to focusing on drawing because not only does it require a lot less materials and equipment then sculpting and crafting but it also can be applied to all art that he does. He will have a small workshop on the property for his other passions. It’s difficult to make these choices for artists and it’s even more difficult for them to part with their work if they are not employed doing it. But living a more simple and less stressful life is worth making these sacrifices which will give him more time to actively engage his skills.

 

I know it doesn’t look like much progress at all, but the point of this post is that we have SO MUCH work to get done in a short amount of time because WINTER IS COMING! WINTER IS COMING! And admittedly, we are sorta looking forward to it!