Sunday, March 22, 2015

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

I strive to balance this mantra with other principles of organization as I continue in my forced small living experience.  I always try to re-purpose worn out items in my home to serve a new function and avoid a new purchase.  At the same time, if an item can't be re-purposed quickly, it's gotta go.

One of the interesting things about living in California is that fashion can be dirt cheap or outrageously expensive.  I like visiting a store called Heavenly Couture to pick up really inexpensive trendy accessories like sunglasses and scarves.  Last summer I purchased a beautiful black and white tribal print circular scarf with red tasseled trim for $12. Cheaper than Target!

I wore that scarf over and over.  Loved it! Eventually, the red trim bled into the white tribal print in an unattractive manner and my cheap scarf could not be refreshed.  I used a seam ripper to remove the still vibrant trim from the scarf and put it away for another sewing use.  The scarf itself is a very thin weave and I decided that I could make lavender sachets for our shoe bin instead of purchasing sachets from Homegoods.

I purchased some loose lavender in 2013 at the Ojai Lavender festival. I've used half the bag for other projects but I still had 2 or 3 cups to put to use.  I cut some simple squares from my beloved scarf and quickly stitched up the sachets making use of the rest of the lavender.  The remainder of the scarf fabric has been put away in my fabric drawers. This is a simple project but an excellent exercise for myself as I try to embrace our tiny house.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Small Space

My current master bedroom is smaller than my childhood bedroom. My college dorms have all been larger than my current apartment.  The house I rented alone in Georgia before we got married was bigger than the apartment we rent now.  We have tasted the sweetness of comfortable, affordable housing and California demands we forget it. I crave square footage like your dieting friend craves pizza.

Taking up sewing as a hobby in California has been a challenge. Sewing and the accumulation of material goods goes hand in hand. The fabric stash. The notions. The projects in progress.  I have spent hours feeding my square footage addiction by gorging on craft room porn and fabric stashes that ooze material indulgence. 

I discovered this fall that my fabric collection was growing rather than shrinking. At Christmas I received fantastic gifts of new fabric, estate sale fabric lots, and notions that made my heart sing! My plastic tote storage strategy was failing. I couldn't quickly access the fabrics and the totes were choking the closet they occupied. I pulled everything out and piled it up so I could get an idea of how much there was.  After explaining my dilemma to Quentin he agreed to help me find a solution at the Long Beach Antique Market. 

We found these great metal drawers that were perfect for my application. I think we spent $160 for 12 drawers. The drawers lock together in an earthquake friendly fashion, they are visually on trend, and the footprint of these drawers is far less than the plastic tubs!  After we got these home I realized they were manufactured in Akron, Ohio (my childhood hometown)!

If I ever reach a sewing state of minimalism, the boxes can easily be repurposed in our home. Quentin sanded the green units, finished them with gray paint, and I lined them with some magnolia wallpaper.

It took me a week to purge useless material, wash, iron, fold, and load the fabric into the drawers and the result is perfect and astonishingly better for our space! Can you believe that massive pile fit in these drawers?!

My hobby must stay contained by these drawers or I'll face a painful purge.  I'm excited by some beautiful projects I have in the works for 2015!