Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Do

Today I want to share some of my goals for 2012 with you.  I'm telling you this in the hope that you would help keep me accountable and that I might have some companions on the journey this year.  Journeys are much more fun with friends along!

I had many comments last week asking me why I was giving my stash away, and did I have any fabric left?  Let me show you my current fabric stash ~

As you can see, I'm not hurting in the fabric department.  The amount of things I've accumulated has been weighing heavily on my heart for some time.  I'll spare you the knitting cabinet and the book/pattern cabinet so I'll still have some readers when this is post is finished.  I admit it, I fell into the marketing trap.  New fabrics come out and they aren't available forever, so I would purchase lines I like while I could get them.  Then I justified the fabric purchases by buying more books and patterns.  Of course, new fabric lines are constantly coming out so the cycle continued.  At Christmas I walked in my sewing room and decided it was time to take control.

So this is my plan of action for 2012:

1.  No fabric purchasing, none.  If I need to buy backing fabric, it will be a solid white or cream so that the yardage left over can be used in piecing.

2.  Only items to be purchased are batting, thread and backing fabric.

3.  No books or pattern purchasing.  If I used every book and every pattern I have, I would not finish these projects in my lifetime.  A startling reality.

4.  For every quilt I take to the quilter, I must hand/machine quilt two quilts myself.  This will help cut down on quilting costs.

5.  I will have a giveaway on the first Monday of the month to reduce the amount of sewing, craft and knitting supplies I have.  There may also be items I have made or items made by other bloggers.

6.  I will donate items to charity.  I have already given large cuts of fabric to my church as the college girls are making dresses for African girls.  I also have a box of fabric going to a friend who makes quilts for babies of servicemen.

7.  I have taken on 3 sewing students who will be able to use my fabric and patterns for class.

I do want to clarify some things.  I feel very blessed to have a husband who supports my interests.  I, of course, support my designer friends.  I absolutely love their work, as you can tell.  This will be very difficult for me, but necessary.  To help control the urge to shop, I have signed up for a block of the month through Shabby Fabrics.  Not only will a small bit of fabric come each month, but I will be perfecting some skills as well.  The blocks include piecing, embroidery and applique.  I am also doing two quilt alongs, so that with each block I make, I see progress.

What will happen at the end of the year when the fabric and yarn cabinets are empty?  I don't know, but I can hardly wait to find out.  So here's to a year of being productive, saving money and giving to others.  If anyone would like the button, the code is on my sidebar.  I welcome your thoughts on this post and well as any ideas to help me in this endeavor.  Blessings, dear friends!



  1. Hi Renee,
    I could use that same saying with my paper crafting! I'll TRY to do the same and will put the "Make Do" on my side bar!
    We CAN DO IT!!!
    Deb :)

    you do have some pretty fabric, just wished I sewed!

  2. I think its a wonderful idea Renee.I have excessive amounts of Sketching paper and pencils.I only wish I had the pretty fabric as you do.I could use it lol.

    I will also put the cute little button on my sidebar.

  3. I have kind of done the same thing. I onkly buy material now that I have a specific purpose for, and that I am actually working on the project. I won't let myself go looking in the fabric department unless I have a specific purpose, but no dawdling. I also won't let myself buy any new books (I have over 300 fiction and over 50 cookbooks and who knows how many craft books!) I have not bought a new book in almost a year! I need to start going through my stuff an decluttering also. I'm moving this year! LOL

  4. Renee - This is just too funny. Just yesterday, I finished writing up my Make-do resolutions. I will post quickly. Maybe we can do something fun together on the blogs. ~Kelly

  5. You can do it, Renee. Sounds like you have a good attitude and you will persevere! I make little baby quilts for the NICU at Brigham and Womens' Hospital in Boston. They are 24" square and are given to parents of little preemie babies when they leave the hospital. You can see some of them on my blog. They are quick to make, really appreciated, and you could use up some of your stash...

  6. Good Luck! That's probably why I haven't heard from you. - You need to stay away from me because we enable each other!

  7. Renee, I am doing the same things with my stash and books. Just today I am taking several bags of both off to the gals at Project Linus. Our church also has a group of ladies who can use the abundance of this stash. I will never give up my stash completely as I enjoy sewing so much, but it is a goal of mine to cut waaaaay back on buying fabric and especially quilt books. I totally understand the need for this.
    As I have been going through the whole house since the start of this year, I realize just how much we have accumulated and things have to go!
    My goal for this year is to truly simplify. I applaud your efforts and I hope that I am able to stick to the same plan ! We are looking at the possibility of moving in a year or so and I don't want to have to take all of this stuff with us.


  8. Your post really hit home. I too have more than I could ever use. I am in the process of reorganizing and whittling down the amount of things in the sewing room. I will keep track of your progress and hopefully you will keep me on track. Thanks again for a wonderful post. I am looking at your fabric and am thinking I wish I only had that much . . . but mostly because then I could buy more. I hate to admit it, but I love buying fabric!!! Baby steps, baby steps . . .

  9. I think this is a great idea. When we moved to our new home I had no place to keep several boxes of fabric...bits and pieces that could be used for crafts or quilts. So I gave it to Goodwill.
    My stash has started growing again but I'm changing directions of what types of fabric I want to use and will be selling several of my larger pieces.
    I love fabrics but I try to limit my fabric buying to when it's on sale.

  10. I am being very careful in the fabric buying arena, too. I also fell into the marketing trap. My plan is to not buy more fabric until I use up some that I have in my fabric closet.

  11. Your post really hit home with me. Today I've been upstairs putting Christmas writing paper away in one big, lidded basket, opened another lidded basket and yea, there it was more Christmas writing paper. I've penpalled for many years (35) and was so happy when they finally came out with 8.5 x 11 paper for those of us who loved decorated paper. So had just made a vow to myself to NOT buy any more paper for letters this year. Even when I am in Target next December and see the newest, cutest thing they have:)
    (Did I mention I have a serious paper and pen addiction?).

    I also scrapbook and when I first started I was buying everything in site. Now I've learned to control that obessession:) I did buy some smash books the other day and gave one to my granddaughter-she was so thrilled with it. I try to only buy things for what I am making.

    I have fabric and other crafting supplies, too. So you are not alone in this. And books, and cookbooks and craft books. But one day I plan to retire and I will have so many things to keep me busy.

    But at least you do make and finishe quilts. You are using your stash.

    I work in a hospital. have you heard of the pillow case project? You could use up some of your stash for that and they would be super quick. I've seen how much the kids love having the cheerful pillow cases. Some of our kids who come in often (I'm a Ped/oncology nurse) bring their pillow cases back in with them.

    You are just like the rest of us, we buy the things we like to do.

    (I do plan to buy that Blueberry moda for a quilt I want to make and some fabric for the pillow cases). I buy 1/4 1/3 yards of fabric for the stuffies my granddaughter loves to make.

  12. Dear Renee,
    Thank you for sharing your post. I too have found a great deal of excess in my house and so it is my goal as well to move toward more simple living. I have patterns, fabric all with the intentions of doing something with it, but I find myself without the most important thing and that is complete all my "good intentions."

    I too have committed to not buying anymore fabric or patterns. And I am committed to getting rid of the excess in my house by selling it (that's my hope). And then to finish those things that I have started.


  13. Good luck in your endeavor! I have decided to be better about using up fabrics in my stash, but I'm afraid I can't take quite as drastic a measure as you since I have to use fabrics from local shops in sample quilts for my patterns. I do admire you though!

  14. First of all, I was drawn to your blog a few weeks ago by your blog's name. Don't we all wish to do this? And live this? Thank you! Also, my Monday night bible study group is on week two of a finance bible study. While I'm new to quilting (8 months), I, too, quickly fell into the "it won't be available long" trap but I managed to wait until things went on sale (my justification). So I am attempting to use what I've purchased. I see bloggers write, "I didn't spend any money, I used my stash" and I think "Did they steal the fabric in the first place?"!!! While I don't have the stash you do, I fully understand your goals. You go, girl! May we all successfully do the same!

  15. Oh I love it. This is exactly what my mother and I are trying to do (we live together). We have twice as much fabric as you.. but then there are two of us! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) Still, it's pretty scary. As much as we adore all of the gorgeous new lines coming out, it's time to "make do" - with fabric and canned goods and dvds, etc. etc. "Make Do" I love it. Gotta make a sign...
    - sunshdws at yahoo dot com

  16. Wow! I am just getting into quilting so my stash is small but growing steadily! My yarn stash is sufficient for me to knit for some years without purchasing any more!

    Good luck with your goals.

  17. Hello Dear Renee.
    Brilliant. This is a wonderful idea. I would love to have three students to teach and sew with. Heck, I would love just one person to sew with. wink. ;o)
    It feels so wonderful to share and bless others, as well as use what we have. I am looking forward to watching as you create through out 2012, using your special fabrics. :o)
    Let's hold each other's feet to the fire. :o) We can be accountability partners! :o)
    You hand quilt so beautifully Renee, what a treasure those quilts will be. And such a super idea about the solids for your backing!
    What fun this year will be ... sewing across the miles together! :o)
    love ya, Trish

  18. ps. Have you chosen which fabrics to use for swoon??

  19. I put the button on my side bar and will continue to make inroads into my stash (started doing this a couple of months ago). I'm only buying fabric necessary to finish UFOs...nothing to start new projects. I also vow to make string quilts until I use up all those strips I've cut and put away. :) blessings, marlene

  20. I don't have a really great stash and I don't have the money to buy new fabric most of the time. I got some 1/4 yard pieces from someone on Craigslist for free a few years ago, and when I finally began learning to quilt, that is what I used. I'm making a wall hanging for my parents now, with all fabrics except one from my stash - and I still have lots left over! The thing I don't like is that my stash is not the cute new fabrics, but it lets me play without feeling guilty for buying a bunch of stuff! ;)

    Happy Stash-Busting this year!

  21. Renee, I just found your blog and read your list for 2012. I recently had similar thoughts. I was away from quilting for several years. And since returning and doing inventory I found that I have more patterns and books that I will ever be able to complete. I am also going through all of my old magazines and tearing out the patterns for quilts that interest me.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts/plans.

  22. Your fabric looks so pretty stacked in your white cabinet and those pink toys on top....CUTE! Good for you to use what you have. I am sure you will have a few quilts made real soon the way you whip those out.


  23. I love it Renee. I think I'll join your plan of action. This sounds like a support group in the making or maybe a monthly show and tell. Thanks for the inpiration. I will be printing out your goals to help keep me accountable. Patty

  24. Given the amount of lovely craft work you do, I'm sure you will achieve an empty cupboard quicker than you think! :) Happy crafting, Jenny

  25. Wow! I admire your goals and will try to incorporate some of these myself. I especially like where you will finish up a couple of tops for every one at the quilter's. Good idea!

  26. Although I've been reading your blog for a while now this time I decided I had to take time to comment. I'm pretty much in the same spot as you and need to start using up my stash of sewing/knitting/crocheting and general craft supplies. Until I make at least a good dent there is no more buying accept for items I need to finish projects and even then I will try to make do with whats on hand. In the future I plan to buy only when I have a project planned. Now if I can just do something about my problm of buying cookbooks. I crossed the 500 mark a few years ago...sigh. One thing at a time!!
    God bless, Marsha

  27. My goodness that is some cupboard full of material. ;-)
    Good luck with your challenge. I love baking books, whenever we go to a certain book shop in town my husband goes one way and I head for the cookery shelf, but I tell myself , do I need another? I will need to pop back and see how you are getting on.

  28. Great idea, Renee. I love your Make Do button.
    My family calls me the Make Do Queen, but mostly because of what I can do in the kitchen. They all know what my fabric stash looks like. I started last summer using up things I had on hand. It's really fun and gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.
    I will be working on this right along with you. It's hard with all the new designers coming up with such cute stuff and the things I make for Strawberry Patches have to be out of current lines.

  29. Olá Renee, a organização está maravilhosa neste charmoso armário. Amei as miniaturas, uma graça!

    beijos do Brasil

  30. Hi Renee! I also decided to sew out of my stash and kits this year. I got a little crazy when I first learned to quilt and then found the internet, blocks of the month, quilt kits.......... so, I have over 25 kits and 12 block of the month programs, with each month still in the little packages they came in! How silly is that? If I don't want to make the actual kit pattern, I will use the fabric for something else. Like you, I joined one block of the month club,just to have a little something exciting, and I used my Christmas money for that! It is a beautiful shabby chic type seaside/ocean block of the month that was from 2008. I have been looking for it the last several months, but no one was doing it. Until Sunday!! When I found a shop. I will keep on task this year, use what I have and give to others. Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. I am doing the same thing. I have way, way too much. I may need to purchase interfacing, batting, rickrack and thread, but that is about it. I just have way way too much.

  32. I have had similar thoughts about what has accumulated in my sewing/craft room. I plan to try to scale back on purchasing and use much of what I have. I have pincushions to make from last years Shabby Fabrics Pincushion of the month. I have only made 2 so far. Thanks for the inspiration. I have had trouble puttin buttons on my sidebar lately but will try.

  33. I am looking at a block of the month called By My hand. I thought it would also help me with my skills. Havent committed yet, but really want to.

  34. Well said Renee and good for you!! I too have felt that I have way too much stuff. I have enough fabric and craft supplies to open a store. I am cleaning out and passing things on as well. I like the idea of not allowing myself to buy any more fabric. The same with my craft supplies. My "word" for the year is DISCIPLINE and it works in this area of my life as well. Love your new blog look. Thanks for all that you share here. ~ Abby

  35. I modified your comments to suit my needs and posted them on my blog. Thanks so much for the inspiration!


A very dear blog reader says...