Sunday, June 29, 2008

TIF Challenge for June.

The theme for June at the TIF Challenge was a no-brainer for me. Stash stories! You want my stash stories? As Sharon often says, make a cuppa and pull up a chair!

Some of my very earliest memories of my mother are of her sitting at the kitchen table at our home making clothing for my brothers and me on the Singer machine. I was taught to machine sew on that Singer portable machine which had a knee press for the throttle. This proved VERY interesting many years later when I first sat at an industrial machine at College, only to find that the knee press was to lift the presser foot, NOT make the machine go!

Mum used to save scraps of fabric and trims, which I dutifully turned into doll's clothes. I'm somewhat amused to read a designer's biography where they say they made doll's clothes from scrap fabrics in their childhood, as though it was something rare and wonderful. Well, in my days, it was the norm, rather than the exception. We didn't have Ipods or Wii games (or TV for that matter) to amuse us, so we used whatever was to hand. Gosh that makes me sound so OLD, but the point is, we recyled and re-used everything out of necessity, not because we were "stash busting" as we say these days. I'm not knocking that most excellent idea, just that I believe in building it first!

I've had many opportunities to build my stash over the years. I saved scraps from sewing jobs, bought remnants at sales "just in case" including some real horrors which I look at now and think "why did I ever think I'd use that hideous colour/ design/ texture?"
Then there are the purpose bought fabrics and trims for projects that just never happened due to time and more urgent things coming up. I have boxes and boxes of those! I have wonderful remnants from the professional theatrical shows I've worked on - Grease, Sound of Music, Annie, The Producers - and some smaller Club shows I've designed and made. You never know when a piece of white fur, a purple net ruffle or flashy sequined fabric may be exactly what you need for your current project. Often my stash of theatre fabrics has come in handy when I needed just a little of something and the shops were closed. Or my current textile class needs a touch of glitz and I have just the thing under the cutting table in box no. 4! Of course, I'm just kidding about box 4, I'm not THAT organised!! You ought to know me better than that!

I have been known to turn the sewing room upside down (quite literally) to find a piece I remember seeing last week, when doing exactly the same thing for another project! It would be heaven to have the time to organise, catalogue and label all the boxes, and one day it might happen. It's quite fun though to "rediscover" the secrets of the stash from time to time, and each box holds so many memories.

I can tell you the history of each little piece of fabric. Some are neatly rolled and tied, others are just stuffed into bags within the boxes to keep all the scraps from one particular job together. This can be very helpful. This past week I've remodelled a lion's head for the dancing studio I contract for. I needed some orangey beige fur to supplement the mane, and I knew I had some. Finally found it, but not large enough. Did find a piece of the Zebra suit I made about 4 years ago though, enough to make a hood to go on the unitard and this gave the Studio an extra animal to put into the production number. Oh, and the Studio found some long haired fur vests used 5 years ago in a 60's number, which I cannibalised to make the mane. Problems solved, thanks to a substantial stash. I guess you could call the Studio costume store room a stash too!

This month I've not been able to complete a piece of work for the Challenge. I have 2 major projects underway. The deadline for the Women Transported Exhibition is looming, and work is piling up on me. My dear SIL has been responding well to treatment for her Leukemia and they are looking at sending her home for 2 weeks later this week. I've a secret project underway for her, can't say too much in case she subscribes to this blog, VBG. The photo proves I was hard at work at the recent Craft and QUilt Fair, and guess what? in August there's another one coming up closer to home. I see some serious stash building activity on the horizon!! Did I mention I'm a founding member of "Stash Builders Anonymous?" The photo shows what I bought over 3 days of "working" at the Fair. There are some great sequins for the kids' classes, some patchwork fat quarters for my WISP quilts, some push molds for little dolls faces. Also my latest wonder product Misty Fuse for hand applique without the tears, some laser cut wooden charms (so cute and so cheap at $1 each) and a few other bits and bobs. Not shown is the walking foot for my new Bernina sewing machine and a couple of fat quarters for making ATC's (which were already cut up by the time this photo was taken.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've been tagged by Margaret!

One of my fellow Stitching Sisters has tagged us all, it will be interesting to see the answers to these "in depth" questions. I've just come home after a day setting up for the Embroiderers' Guild at the Quilt and Craft Fair, so I'm pretty tired, but it feels so good to sit down to answer these questions.

Questions and Answers
What were you doing five years ago?June of 2003:
I can't honestly remember doing much different to what I'm doing now, except for no. 5, so
1. Volunteering at an historic house (Linnwood)
2. Attending Embroiderers' Guild groups and classes
3. Teaching a kids embroidery group
4. Not doing enough personal embroidery due to other committments!
5. Doing "Embroidery by Design" an intermediate stitching course with my Guild

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
1. Make labels for the display at the Craft Show
2. Find a tablecloth for the display (forgot to pack one !)
3. Pack a project to demonstrate at the Craft Show
4. Pull out clothes to wear tomorrow, early start!
5. Go to bed early, darn that early start !!!

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. Chocolate bars
2. Chocolate drinks
3. Jelly snake lollies
4. Potato chips (but shouldn't!)
5. Cashews and Madadamia nuts

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Buy my kids the homes of their dreams
2. Travel to England to visit all the museums and galleries
3. Buy FIL a retirement village unit (would solve lots of problems!)
4. Start a Bed and Breakfast crafting retreat somewhere warm in the country
5. Get a live-in housekeeper !

What are five of your bad habits?
1. Procrastination (me too Margaret !)
2. Sleeping too much (well, some people need more that others!!)
3. Drinking too much tea
4. Eating too much (this seems a common one!!)
5. Being totally lazy one minute, then madly productive the next (isn't there a name for that condition?)

What are five places where you have lived?
Have always lived in suburbs of Sydney, NSW
1. Epping (North)
2. Arncliffe (South)
3. Bexley (South)
4. Lurnea (West) for 10 years
5. Guildford (West) for 30 years

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Office Assistant
2. Library Assistant
3. Trainee Dress Designer
4. Costume Technician
5. Mother of 4 children

Monday, June 09, 2008

June TIF Challenge, first thoughts

When I read Sharon B.'s June TIF brief I thought, you beauty! That's an Aussie expression, meaning great! wonderful! No-one has a more varied stash than me, I'm sure. I have scraps from professional theatrical shows I've worked on, pieces from my daughters' dancing studio days, pieces from wedding garments I made dating back to the 1980's, even scraps from my own wedding garments 34 years ago! Then there are pieces I bought as "stash enhancers" for my patchwork and quilting efforts, some still with the paper band and prices around them. I'm a great believer in buying fat quarters at craft fairs. In fact, tomorrow I set up the display for the NSW Embroiderers' Guild at the large Darling Harbour Craft and Quilt Fair which is running till next Sunday. You would not make a fortune betting on me buying at least a dozen new pieces of fabric for my 2 WISP hand pieced quilts. I also stash build with embellishments and materials at the Craft shows. As a non-driver I like being able to shop in one place with all the latest gizmos and trends on display, so I try to limit my spending to cash in hand, otherwise you can get a nasty surprise when you arrive home and look at the credit card slips !!!

This fortnight has passed very slowly, with SIL undergoing her treatment for APL on the Central Coast of NSW. I've had a house guest as well, FIL has been staying with us for a while. I'm very far behind on several major projects, and I have a deadline looming which I must get on to this week without fail! Now the digital camera has died on me, causing me to borrow one to take to a family wedding to take photos for SIL. I think I'll have to revert to using the good old scanner for adding photos to this blog till I master the DD's camera, or buy a new one. What's that old saying, it never rains but it POURS!!

We have the Queen's Birthday holiday today, so DH, FIL and I will be driving up the coast to visit SIL in hospital with some requested supplies including Chicken Noodle soup, ice blocks and strawberries! I promise to post some stash scans ASAP.