To Stash is Human; To Organize is Another Story

dreams are hand madeEvery crafter has her own way of working; her own sense of what is messy or blissfully creative chaos. Hence we all have our own threshold for when we need to embrace the nasty O word – Organization. stash list

Welcome to the next installment of our Dream Sewing Studio series – our  lead up to the Creativ’s $10,000 Dream Sewing Studio give-away – sponsored by Janome.

As Seen at Urban Barn

As Seen at Urban Barn




Organization Does Not Equal Boxed Away

Speaking as a fabric enthusiast, when it comes to organization, the biggest need I have found is where to hide store all of my fabric and thread. Putting it away in boxes and bins can render the material inaccessible. My organization strategy must build a creative-friendly solution that keeps my high-demand supplies in reach and ready be stitched, stamped, beaded and bound.

Don’t just store it, store it in style – like this basket makeover from Knitty Mummy

Treat your storage like a creative challenge. Pause before you start and make a plan, not just for crafty ways of tucking things out of sight, but also for making your space pretty – a place where you want to be. Think about color and texture. Work with what you have. If a rug sets the desired tone for your space, look for containers in complementary colors. And if you have a well suited piece in the wrong colour, paint it! The redesigned wicker hamper (above) from Knitty Mummy leaves me thinking devious thoughts of boosting Mum’s old hamper and making it my own – with a fresh coat of black lacquer. Spray paint is a great option for wicker, but have you seen what is happening in the world of chalk paint?

Kristy makes magic with furnishings in need of a little, or a lot, TLC

Cast-offs and frugal finds offer lots of great ideas for storage, but we are often stopped in our tracks with the daunting task of re-finishing. Not anymore! A visit to 4 The Love of Wood will endanger every old piece of furniture that you see! Seriously. Kristy (and George) is a treasure. She freely teaches all of us not only how to paint wood (often using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, or ASCP), but makes us feel like we CAN.  Peruse the how-to pages, check out this drawer-lining how-to, and most of all DO NOT MISS  her BC home tour. When you think about complaining about a lack of space, you will think again. So, if you want to turn an old hutch into a hot-pink fabric hide-away? Paint it. (just Google  painted furniture for eye candy galore) Now that aesthetics are top of mind, it is time to look at what needs storing.

Assessing The Big, The Small and The Not So Ugly

Make your storage checklist. What do you have to stow when you go?
First, the BIG: what type of work station(s) do you have? A corner nook? A computer desk? Easel? Cutting table or sewing machine cabinet? Are these full-time spaces or part-time? Do you need to store your big stuff or just your smaller supplies? If you work in a part-time scenario, like a portion of a multipurpose room (i.e.: kitchen, bedroom or play-space) do you have to put everything fully away or can items be tucked under, covered or encased?

Think “double-duty.” Budget friendly Ikea will fill your  big blue bag with endless options. Each display offers ideas for squirreling away our many inspirations into small spaces. (I love the ALEX storage drawers for my thread collection.) And if the straight-up offerings of the Swedes do not inspire you enough, check out Ikea Hacks for more ideas.
We need not always go ‘new.’ A sideboard can be the perfect height for a cutting table. TV trays or cartons of supplies can be popped up behind a smaller sewing table to help carry the weight of  a big quilt while sewing. Roll-away tables drop down to a fraction of their size (the Sullivan’s hobby table goes from about 60 x 36 down to 13 x 36.)When your big stuff cannot be left in place full-time, try to get creative in storage ‘half measures,’ where you will not have to spend discouraging amounts of time gathering and setting up your creative space.

Carmi Cimicata showcases the perfect store and travel case for the beading habit

Looking for small stuff storage options is far less stressful. In fact, is more akin to playful home decorating vs. the drudgery implied by words like storage or organization. Plastic totes and stack able drawer units are de rigueur for crafty chicas, and Canada has its own plastic storage paradise in Solutions. Specialty containers, like the bead box from Dazzle-It are great finds that are designed for specific tasks.

No peeking under my baskets! (tell-tale tags may still be in place)

Repurposing items from Home Improvement or Kitchen stores is another option. For sewing machine needle storage, I like to keep a magnetic spice rack near my machine.

When creating your storage plan, consider balancing man-made materials with more natural fibers, like woven baskets, wooden boxes or canvas totes. Homesense offers an ever-changing selection here, but be careful, or you will need to store an excess supply of pretty storage containers.

Inject a bit of DIY into your storage plan. Websites like Sew 4 Home have a delectable buffet of storage projects to sew, like desk set baskets, a Jumbo fabric tub or boho style storage. This is a great site to subscribe to for all sorts of weekly sewing ideas that will keep you up on the latest trends in fabric style as well. (Sew 4 Home is sponsored in part by Janome)

One of Sew 4 Home’s many Sew 4 Storage ideas

Ask any crafter what craft she indulges in and you are likely to get a list. We like to cross-pollinate. We are most likely not storing supplies for one craft only. Trina of Will Cook For Shoes (another great Canadian blogger), whipped up a lovely little sock-knitting tote. The lesson? No matter what your craft, you can get creative with how you store your supplies.

Maybe Will Cook For Shoes becomes Will Sew For Shoes?

The List Goes On…

This is supposed to be a quick little article! Wait!…What about pegboard walls for storing threads? Anna Maria Horner’s Fabric storage boxes? Or a reminder not to forget including ample little trash cans in your storage plan? (there never seems to be enough of these around when we need them!). And consider these:
– Use tension rods to hold ribbon rolls
– Instead of simple hanging rods in a closet, dec it out in shallow shelving to stash your fabrics
– Use pants hangers to hold zip bags of ribbons, trims and embellishments (I have about 10 different assortments and it makes life so much easier than one jumbled box)
– Refashion vintage luggage into craft cases lined with favourite fabrics

Don’t forget, you could WIN YOUR STORAGE, or at least part of it! The sensibly sized sewing tables and the Artistic Starter Box are just part of the amazing $10000 Dream Sewing Studio prize. Until next time,

Happy Sewing Organizing & Storing

This bit of organization and a whole lot more could be yours… if you attend the 2013 Fall Creativ show

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