Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Stash - January 2014

Because I am on a fabric and craft supply buying freeze, along with lots of other members of Fabricholics Anonymous, it seems a little weird to be writing a Sunday Stash post.

But I have decided that as part of my fabric fasting accountability, and as a personal record of how much I spend on craft supplies (even when I'm not meant to be spending on craft supplies), that I will be writing a monthly Sunday Stash update. Plus, if I'm very lucky, sometimes gifty bits of crafty goodness might come my way.

As far as my fabric fasting with the Fabriholics Anonymous girls, it's early days but it's going pretty good. I even survived the Great Aussie Destash on Instagram! I have realised that some of my craft buying is automatic, which is disturbing. I picked up some awesome pens I didn't need at Office Works and then had to remind myself I wasn't buying! I survived a trip to Spotlight, coming out empty handed, but I know I need to avoid places like that!

I am focusing on finishing things and on using my stash so the temptation to buy isn't strong yet.

Here's my legal craft spending for January:

This month, I started by spending on photos. This is completely within the boundaries of the fast, as I have said I will be printing monthly to keep up to date. Because I was catching up on the end of last year I printed quite a few photos, so this cost $25 this month. Interested Australians, I print my photos at OfficeWorks for 9c a print, because I like their quality, price and convenience. It's so easy to pop in with a USB once in a while.

A friend bought me a pack of adhesives on clearance at Spotlight for $5 - absolute bargain! They are on my allowed list but I'm not going to need anything for a while.

I purchased essential sewing supplies - two packs of needles and four reels of cotton. I have discovered that Isacord thread agrees with my sewing machine when FMQing and makes for a much more pleasant sewing experience. It is also readily available at my local sewing shop for only $6.95 a reel in a range of colours. This makes me a happy quilter. These reels are for quilting a number of upcoming quilts and I will be adding to my Isocord collection as I go. Total spend: $41. I did come home and found I had more needles than I thought, but at least I'm good for a while.

I have also decided that adding the occasional book to my craft library is also acceptable spending. After contemplating Mimi Dietrich's Craftsy class, Finishing School, a number of times, I decided to purchase the book the class is based on instead. For around $A10 for the Kindle version, this is a worthwhile investment that will hopefully push me to finish my quilts in more interesting ways.

I have also been super spoilt with crafty gifts this month.

A friend was getting rid of this quilter's carry all - I am not sure if I'll make use of it yet, but if I don't, I'll pass it on.

My mum came to visit and brought with her some Christmas scrapbooking paper she got on clearance after Christmas (I'm passing half on to a friend), and also some beautiful cotton teatowels she bought me in Ireland with a view to making something from them. I'm sure they'll be great for a home decor item.

My lovely adhesive-buying friend also bought me some scrapbooking paper and a paper pad. Lucky me.

And when you'r fabric fasting, the best kind of friend to have is the one who brings you scraps in one of the fabric lines you covet the most. It's like the friend who gives you chocolate when you're PMSing. Lovely Kristy dropped in yesterday and brought me some scraps of Alison Glass. Be still my heart.... Bike Path is one of my most favouritest prints ever.

I was also gifted a lovely bag of selvedges from a lady on the QCA group. Anyone who know me knows that my feelings for my selvedge collection is a little like Gollum's feelings for the Ring so I was very excited to receive this bag of goodness. It's all been sorted into my selvedge collection - doing something with these is high on my priority list this year!

So even while on a fabric and craft supply buying freeze, I still spent about $80 on crafty things... but I don't anticipate I'll spend anything like that most months.

I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles' Sunday Stash over at Sarah Quilts, and updating on Fabriholics Anonymous too.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Paper Piecing: Marvel Superheroes

I have this brother Stuart, he is tall and very geeky. He really likes Superheroes. Like, way more than a 30 something man should. (Like my Charlie and Lola reference there?)

Stu is the only person I know with a collection of Iron Man bobbleheads and he's raising two adorable little superhero loving boys who share their dad's passion. Either that or they just love being loud and smashing things. Could go either way.

He recently brought his family up to visit us and I was introduced to the world of Marvel Superheroes on PlayStation. The cries of 'Olverine (the W is silent, you know), and Hulk Smash! all week brought back vague memories of a conversation I had with the lovely Kristy of Quiet Play about designing Lego Marvel Superhero paper piecing blocks when she was done with Lego Star Wars.

So I asked her if she'd think about drawing up some blocks that I could test for her. I had visions of making cushions for the twins' birthday in May, then decided daddy shouldn't miss out either, since he had a birthday coming up too. Before I knew it, patterns for Wolverine, Hulk and Iron Man were waiting in my inbox, and I didn't even have to threaten to sic Thor on her (though I suspect she'd take that as a gift). Fabric was pulled and the fun began....

These are the Amish (faceless versions):

As usual, Kristy's patterns were awesome to put together. Some of the angles are a little tricky, but I got there. Aside from a moment of using completely the wrong fabric because I was too tired, I had no problems with these.

I mainly used solids, with the exception of a bit of yellow sketch for Iron Man's mouth and two mottled greens for Hulk (I figure his complexion isn't the smoothest.

Here they are with their faces on:

I used a Sharpie Stained marker and white fabric paint to draw their faces. Honestly, I don't know how painters do it - the angst I felt as I was permanently marking their faces was extreme. At least I usually have a seam ripper to back me up if I stuff up. But I think I did an okay job, and their intended audience will approve.

Now I just need to turn them into cushions.

Kristy is going to have these patterns available in her Craftsy shop as a freebie very soon.

Today I'm linking this up to Kristy's paper piecing linky party.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scrapbooking Update, January

While I tend to share more of my sewing antics around here, my other passion is scrapbooking. This tends to be a more personal endeavor as it's very much something I do for my family, but I thought I'd share a little of what I've been up to.

My work space is a large table that is used for either scrapping or sewing. Meaning I have to pack everything away from one craft before I start on the other. Therefore, I tend to either be 100% into the scrapbooking or 100% into the quilting, which happens to suit my Crafty ADHD perfectly. Plus I suspect it's more psychological than just the physical space issue, I'm mentally incapable of shifting from one craft to another. Does anyone else find that?

The first couple of weeks were spent on some heavy duty scrapbooking. I am pleased that I completed 30 layouts, some of them multiple pages. I am well aware that my style is very quick and simple and I'm not obsessed with the latest products (mostly), and this suits me fine. Quick means more happens.

I spent a lot of time getting the last of my photos from 2013 sorted and printed, and I spent hours going through my albums and making sure that my lists of what's in each album is actually there (yes, I'm THAT anal). I have started to scan my albums to pdf, my husband has an A3 scanner at his office and it's easy peasy. I should have done it years ago.

Last year was a very good scrapbooking year for me, with over 200 layouts completed. I got the kids albums mostly up to date and made progress on the family albums. This year I'm on track to make more progress with the family albums - this month I finished 2007 and most of 2008 (yes, I am aware it's 2014, at least I'm getting somewhere).

I'm really happy with the progress I've made so far, even though I have shifted to quilting in the second half of the month.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Plan for Creativity for 2014

Happy New Year!

I won't be doing a rundown of everything I made in 2013, because - to be honest - I sucked on the documenting part of it. Scrapbooking took a lot of my creative time in 2013, and I produced over 200 12x12 layouts and kept up on Project Life. I am more than happy with that. Quilting took a backseat with only four quilts finished, but I made over 20 blocks for others and worked my way through more projects. All in all, a good creative year.

For the last couple of weeks I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my plans for 2014. I have adopted a 'word' for the year - Simplify. This will take me through work, housekeeping, parenting, crafting, shopping, finances, cooking... all facets of my life.

From a creative point of view, I have mapped out a rough plan for the year. No doubt I'll deviate, but it's good to go in with a plan....

1. I'm on a craft buying ban - no fabric, no scrapbooking supplies. I will USE THE STASH! The only exceptions to this are blades/adhesives/batting/thread/photo processing/backing fabric (as a last resort). I am staying accountable with the Fabriholics Anonymous group.

2. I am continuing Project Life for 2014 but streamlining to make it simpler. I will be printing a month's worth of photos at a time and doing my weekly PL layouts once a month. I will scrapbook one set night a week and organise/scan photos and memorabilia one set night a week. (I am still 'catching up' on all this, but in time I will not need to dedicate as much time to this.)

3. As I shift my focus to quilting, I am aiming to finish more projects. My WIP pile, without going into too much detail, is such that I can set myself the task of finishing piecing one top a month and quilting and binding one quilt a month and I'm not going to run out of things to do any time soon. To keep myself motivated, and accountable, I am joining A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014. I am not saying I won't start anything new, as long as I finish it too...

4. I have reduced my Bee committments to my Wombat Stew paper piecing bee. I have found that participating in lots of bees or BOMs is not for me (no matter how tempting they are) and I have decided to simplify to a single bee with my quilting besties. I love making things for other people, but I like making things for these girls the most.

5. I want to encourage my girls to craft more. I will work with them on their sampler quilts and let them have free reign on my stash.

6. In the interest of slowing down and making progress, I'm going to dig out my Dear Jane - the ultimate WIP! - and do some hand piecing.

7. I will give this blog, and finding my place in the online quilting world, a bigger effort. I also want to work on my own designs.

8. I will not compare my blog, work or productivity to other peoples, even my friends. This is my journey and not a contest.

So to start, my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes for January is to bind the four (!) quilts I have sitting around that only need binding. And I'm going to decimate my mending pile and sort out the Girl Guide badges too.

- Jane