Firestarter: Using What Seems Unusable

Summer is about things being easy and relaxed. So don't stress about crafts.

Summer is about things being easy and relaxed. So don’t stress about crafts.

The last month really got away from me…preparing for a big auction and a vacation, all while my husband worked out of town for the first extended trip since our little dude was born last year. In case you couldn’t tell, it was rough and time-consuming. And my last few posts have been a bit…brooding? Contemplative? Maybe even heavy? Whatever they were, it’s time for a change in tone. It’s summer dammit, and we should be enjoying it! Soaking up sun, drinking boozy lemonade and making silly, frivolous, pretty things! So let’s get to it.

Any of you out there who make stuff are familiar with the big “S” word. Stash. Such a loaded word! It’s simultaneously fun and daunting. A much-needed evil that fills closets and drawers, even whole rooms. Stashed supplies creep into every available space and pretty soon, you forget what you have and where. You all know what I am talking about. And if you do have a supply stash, you undoubtedly have teeny-weeny scraps of things you can’t throw out. This tiny scrap is expensive/sentimental/too cute to toss. Whatever it is, you CAN use it. The best time to try is now. Before you know it, the Christmas crafting season will be in full swing, and you will be so focused on making something large and specific. So make something silly just for you while you can.

Besides the physical act of clearing out things that need to leave at some point anyway, stash busting is good for your mind and heart. Life is hardly ever neat and tidy. Events happen and often there are loose strings to contend with. The lessons learned from turning tiny bits of fabric and paint into something loveable can be pushed in deeper and used in other circumstances. Things may change, and they may break, but they can always be assembled back together. It may not be the same, but it is new. And new can be pretty in its own way.

All of these fabrics have gone to some really meaningful projects. I really like all the prints, but have no projects at this moment they really work for.

All of these fabrics have gone to some really meaningful projects. I really like all the prints, but have no projects at this moment they really work for.

Now I’m leaning towards the philosophical and less towards the concrete. So back on track! I have been trying to be extra good at using what I have ever since I left my job. After all, rules make possibilities limitless, so why not make a rule of no shopping? I was recently sitting in the downstairs playroom, which is right next my craft room. I ducked away from the kids long enough to grab a few supplies for a quick, easy project I could do while sitting with them. I had some wonderful fabric scraps sitting around, but they weren’t enough to do too much with. I had marked a tutorial months ago on making fabric bracelets, so I dove in. I won’t rehash the tutorial here since I forgot to take process pictures anyway. So if you like them, check out the really, really easy how-to by Natalie at Creme de la Craft.

Bracelets! I can always use more bracelets.

Bracelets! I can always use more bracelets.

I think mine turned out a bit bulkier than hers, but I really like how they turned out. And my son really likes playing with them when I am holding him. The only step I added was wrapping the raw ends of wire with a bit of silicone rescue tape. I figured that would make it just a touch stronger and keep any sharp ends from wriggling loose.

So less than half an hour of effort for some sweet new accessories and I got to use some fabrics I really enjoy. If you have ever been facing down your own pile of craft supplies, no matter how large or small, stash-busting is a wonderful thing to do. It’s cheap (or free) and really gratifying. And it frees up space for you to get new and exciting supplies! So don’t dismiss items because they are small or odd or worn…they may hold great possibility.

In the spirit of what is possible, check back later this week to see what you can do with pieces of costume jewelry you don’t wear any more.

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