I go through purges a couple of times a year and clear stuff from around our house. My latest cleaning binge was in the kitchen, where I did a quick rearranging of appliances and canned goods, filling a donation box with pots, pans and smaller appliances, and a can of cranberry jelly. Goodbye vintage juicer … hello counter space.
But one place where I don’t always live up to Morris’ golden rule is in my sewing room. Like most other crafty people, I’m a hoarder — you never know when you are going to need a half dozen empty paper towel rolls. But over the past several months, I’ve even been cleaning and rearranging my sewing room, trying to get the most out of the limited storage and seemingly unlimited amount of stuff.
The best way to unload in the sewing room? Actually make stuff.
I took a couple days off from my duties at The Star last week and did just that.
I made a bedroll for my son to sleep on at daycare, so there went a roll of batting that had been in the closet for months, not to mention the old bed sheet I used to cover it.
I made a jacket for a friend’s child, which used up most of the last of a big piece of blue corduroy I’ve had for years. The lining came from a pretty flannel pillowcase, and I used vintage buttons I got from my grandmother.
I finished another item for a sewing swap I’m in. I can’t yet reveal what I made, but it used up a burlap bag that once held 5 pounds of basmati rice, an embroidery hoop (I don’t even embroider!) and more of those cool vintage buttons.
As you can see, I didn’t even purchase most of my stash — I love reusing old things and making them new. I’ve inherited a ton of stuff from my grandmother over the years.
Like the random amounts of granny squares — 4-inch crocheted squares, once destined for an afghan, but not enough were ever made to complete it.
My grandmother didn’t even crochet — a huge amount of yarn and UFOs (unfinished objects) were given to her when my great-aunt Doris passed away.
I’ve been toting around these squares (I gave most of the yarn away) for eight years, knowing one day I would figure out a use for them.
There weren’t enough matching squares to make any kind of blanket. And I have plenty of scarves, so I didn’t really want to go that way, either.
Then one day, while cleaning and organizing, it came to me: coasters.
I could have used them as coasters as they were, but I wanted them a little heftier. I bought a roll of cork from Hobby Lobby and cut it into 4-inch squares, then shaped them to the size of each individual granny square. Then I just hot glued the granny square to the cork. Cozy coasters that can move out of my sewing room and into the rest of the house.
William Morris would be proud — useful and beautiful.