Tuesday, November 12, 2013

*Moment to Shine*...a challenge of freedom.

Thank you to all those wonderfully honest hearts who responded by comment and email to THIS blog post last week.
At times I wept as I read, prayed and responded...I wept for the burdens so many of you have carried through unrealistic, and unneeded, expectations.
I wept because it was all with hearts to do good; yet it had stolen from you precious time, joy in your craft, and a peaceful spirit.
I heard your regrets, and I understood because I have been there too.

You gave me a lot to ponder, on top of the sentiments I had already shared. 
In fact, you helped open my eyes even further.

The truth is we love to sew and craft. Making lovely things should bring joy, and when that joy is disabled by the weight of expectation we put on ourselves to complete project after project, and purchase fabric line upon fabric line, love for this craft turns into guilt, and even competition.

Today I want to take it one step further.
Today I ask that you walk into your craft storage area and take a good long look at the fabric and supplies you already own, and then ask yourself...

How far back does your stash go?
Can you identify fabrics you bought three years ago?
Five years ago?

I've only been sewing since 2005, and I didn't start on my 'stash build' till 2007, but I still have some of those fabrics - unused and fading away.
With each passing year since, I've acquired more 'must-have' fabric lines, and used some of them with joy!
But I also possess fabrics I 'had to have' when I bought them, yet have never cut into.
So today, it was on those old and lonely, forgotten lengths of cotton print I let my eyes rest.
And a plan formed.
A plan to consciously give them their *Moment to Shine*.

This fabric line is Woodland Bloom from Lila Tueller (2008)...

 I'm remaking a few of my favourite Jenny of Elefantz originals from the first two years I was designing, and I've decided to give my Woodland Bloom stash a moment to shine in the "Hearts & Flowers" cushion cover (which will feature in something special January 2014)...

Is your fabric - the fabric already on your shelves, waiting for it's moment to shine too?

Let's make a difference, and use what we have.
A bit like the English war slogan, "Make Do & Mend", but we'll "Make Do & Shine".
Imagine the fun of planning projects for our home or loved ones from what we have on hand, ready and waiting to shine!?
Plus, think of all the $$ you will be saving in the process. Money that could be used to help your budget, reduce debt, or to bless those in need.

And if you find fabrics that just don't tickle your fancy the way they used to, give them away. I speak from experience when I tell you that is an amazingly freeing thing to do.

 Will you join me in this challenge over the next year? 
Let me know if you will in the comments.
And why not share the idea with your friends? To do this with a buddy or two would be even more fun!

Perhaps you have some Christmas fabrics from seasons past in your stash?
The lovely Kerryanne English of Shabby Art Boutique is once again hosting her...

 *Simply Christmas* runs for eight weeks, throughout November and on into Christmas Eve!
Kerryanne will be featuring all sorts of things you can do and make for a truly Handmade Christmas in your home.
There are many different contributors sharing their ideas and designs, and I happen to be one of them; but you'll have to be patient to see what pretty thing I have for you at Simply Christmas around the middle of November. 
Here's a little teaser peek...

 To read all about *Simply Christmas" go HERE, and then visit Kerryanne's blog HERE to follow along with the weekly fun!
She even has a free Christmas planner ready for you to download.

So, shall we start our *Moment to Shine* adventure together?

Feel free to share this photo on your blog, and link back to this blog post to explain what its about. 



  1. I just started a new little venture called Little Sprouts -- small, fun, easy, quick little projects made from bits from my stash -- ALL stash and no purchases. This is my goal with Little Sprouts. Crafting small projects gives me great joy and I hope to share that joy. There is a glutton of fabric now available and it's overwhelming to look at all of the "coming soon." Not because I want it but I can't imagine that people design so many lines in such a short time and it's all starting to look alike.

  2. I have plenty of fabrics & patterns waiting to Shine, Jenny.... I am definitely going to be part of this journey with you & I look forward to re-acquainting myself with all the lovely things that I have bought & not yet used... x

  3. Lol! What a good idea!!! ... Since I've only been quilting for less than 3 years, and was only really sewing a small amount of clothes before that (cross-stitch & knitting being my primary crafts for many years), my stash isn't terribly large - in fact, my supply of 'scraps' fit easily into two standard-sized shoe boxes - with plenty of room to move :D .. But yes, I do know what you mean about buying fabric just to have it, and then letting it sit in the cupboard because you don't yet want to cut into it, or you haven't quite found the right project for it!! I have, in the last few weeks, pulled out my Ruby FQ bundle from 2011, and begun making myself a Swoon quilt - my original plan for the fabric line, but I just didn't want to cut into it ... t'was sooo pretty!! Lol!! ... There are a few lines I would like to add to my stash over the next year, but ideally I'd like 2013 to be a year where I get to actually make some of the things I've *prepared* for (as in got either the pattern and/or the fabric), or said for ages I'd like to make :) I'd also like to make a few more items for US this coming year - everything seems to be made for someone else; and even though I LOVE to gift my creations to others, I would like to build up a bit of a glory box of things for my future home ... or even just make some quilts to go on our current beds :) ... Thankyou for sharing your heart on these matters - both in this post, and the previous one. Hugs xxx

  4. I will definitely make some waiting to shine projects, it is a lovely sentiment I will share this link on my blog too. Thanks Jenny for the inspiration :-)

  5. I am sincerely trying to give my stash its "moment to shine" recently. I made 3 receiving blankets today that I utilized some pretty prints in my stash for. It. was. wonderful! This is a great idea and so practical! I wish that new lines were only allowed to come out once a year by a designer...eh a quilter can dream!

    Enjoy your evening!

  6. I set out in 2013 to use what I have and have made some progress this year but I am definitely on board for 2014 to give my stash its chance to shine! Quilting is my hobby and so I really want to preserve the pleasure and joy it gives me.

  7. I have not been buying fabrics. Beyond the fabrics I had to buy to make a bunch of flannel baby bibs and burps. I had used up my stash of flannel on the previous baby shower the year before. I am trying to use everything I have on hand in my projects and the occasional scraps I get from moms alterations shop. Which are mostly cut off pant legs and dress tails. Not real fabric. But have been useing them none the less in small projects. But I have bought some sewing supplies / notions that were on sale for great super cheap deals. But I am trying to not waste money on things that aren't essential.

  8. Several weeks ago, I decided that I was going to complete projects I started, used fabrics I already had. So I am on board with your plan to finding ways to give my stash its "moment to shine". I have also decided to give up the many BOM and projects that I worked at all the last year. I had lost my joy, as you said. So I will step back and let myself shine. Thank you.

  9. The Woodland Bloom fabrics are gorgeous Jenny.

  10. My sit and sew group call me sable
    Stash Above And Beyond Life Expectancy.
    I did not read your original post...will do so in a moment but I am surrounded by walls of fabric and some of them sure need to shine. I had two shoulders replaced in '12 and have virtually not sewn for 18 months. It is time to be motivated to make bags, cover books and make gifts for Christmas. I have almost stopped buying over the last two years. The increase in US postage helped and sore shoulders made cutting difficult but there have been days when I am tempted to throw it all out...just to have peace of mind. Just what is the attraction of fabric. It used to be clothing fabric.

  11. I think we are a;; guilty of having too much fabric, some more than others. I have only be quilting for less than 2 years but have about 130 half yards, some fat quarters and about 15 full yard or more pieces of fabric I really could not resist that were also a very good buy pricewise, It is knowing what to do with them that is the problem!! Have yet to get the bottle to make a full quilt although I have done the Tula Pink 100 blocks but not put them together. One day I will do something with them promise!

  12. 2012 I made a deal with myself that I would make a project I already purchased, and then I could buy a new one to work on. While that worked, I still felt guilty for all the fabric I still had stashed. Then in April of this year, I no longer had a job and very limited funds to buy new. So, since then I have only been working on and completing projects from my stash. I post about the as my UFO projects, including UFO Block of the Month programs. Most of the new fabric out now is too modern for my tastes, and haven't seen anything yet that I can't live without. I can't begin to tell you how relieving it is not to be stressed in keeping up with all the newest, greatest, most popular trends and fabric! I know my blog won't ever be on the hit parade as one of the top ten, but I am more happy now with my sewing and crafting than I have been in years. I am liberated!

  13. There is not too much in my stash, I only need time to make the things and finish some, that is what I am doing at the moment and I stopped buying fabric to do so! That takes a lot of effort in my case, but it works and I finished two pojects and the third (laying for two years) is on his way too! I will even make an effort to hang some in the great exhibition next year of the Dutch Quilters Guild! Hope they ecept me!
    Wish you a good and creative week, hugs

  14. This year I decided to use up some of.my stash (goes back 3 years) on Christmas presents for family. To make them more personal and also to help budget. I have been grateful for some of your patterns to help with this :)

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  16. Hi Jenny - I made it my mission this year to use what I have instead of purchasing or only when necessary. I started working in fabric stores in the early 1990s, so I've been collecting for a long time. Several years ago, I went through my fabrics and shared a bunch with a friend who had fallen on hard times. I have never regretted that decision and to this day she and I still share our "stashes", love of crafting and Lord and Savior. God Bless you Jenny on your mission to make us all better people. You have a high calling. One I am especially grateful for.

  17. it's on my list sweet Jen.........many new plans to make from old next year......and lots of 'freeing' in the process! Love ya xoxoxoxox :o)

  18. What a lovely idea, I began my quilting journey in 1982. When I dug deeply in my many cabinets of fabric, true enough I found some leftovers from my first quilt. It will certainly be a challenge to use some of these fabrics but I believe I am up for the challenge. And as you suggest I can always gift some to others. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  19. I've got 3 huge plastic boxes full of fabric I need to use. It's probably a bit late this year but in the New Year I am definitely going to join you in getting my stash down. I wouldn't like to say how many years I've had some of the fabric.

  20. I have fabric from at least 15 years ago, maybe longer. I have always done a lot of sewing but started cross stitching, needlepoint. Then about 2 years ago started making small quilt table toppers, runners etc. And fell in love with hand embroidery again when I found your site. You have lovely projects and patterns and are so generous to share free ones. Thank you.

  21. I started giving away fabric that I just didn't love anymore. I have a friend who is just getting started and I gave her enough to keep her busy for a long, long time. It is very, very freeing.

    Sybil (joolhoovalis at gmail dot com)

  22. Thank you, Jenny, for saying what so many of us think. Just yesterday I found two fabrics (in my stash) that I pieced together to make a quilt back for a wall quilt I am making for my 90 years young father. It was so fun to find the perfect things, cut them apart and sew them back together and find what I needed without spending a dime...and lowering my guilt level a bit in the process. This is my first ever pieced quilt back!

  23. Due to my husbands heart issues and illness ( started back in June this year ) I've all ready being digging into my stash and using what I have on hand. I may not have a color/pattern that I truly love but in the end I have been finding things to do with them. Sometimes those stashed treasures turn into some very nifty projects.

  24. Absolutely! I don't have most of my stash any longer. If I were to see it, it would hurt that I can't get it back, but not seeing it, I felt free to give it away, and I try not to think too much about what was in it. =) I have a much smaller stash now, and I've been trying to use it for projects like the one I posted this morning for my son. I'm right there with you! I look forward to seeing your projects. Thanks for the heads up about Kerryanne.

  25. Thanks Jenny! I needed to hear it from someone else that what I've been doing all year is OK. I'm of a certain age where unless I quilt, quilt, sew, sew for another 20 years will never use up my stash. At the beginning of the year I promised myself I would not buy any more fabric, except maybe for backings on sale, and just use up my stash, which really isn't particularly large. I've been good and I like what I've accomplished so far. Thanks for the validation that it can be done. I love your blog and your projects because I also love hand embroidery.

  26. Sounds like a wonderful idea!!!

  27. I've been going through my stash for a couple of weeks trying to down-size. I think I've seen fabric going back at least 4 or 5 years. Some of it is cut and ready to use, some just sitting waiting for that perfect opportunity. So, I'm giving some away, cutting more to make home made braided rugs, selling some to make $ for the Alzheimer's walk, and some to give away. It's quite a job, isn't it? Every piece of fabric has a story of some kind - which means it should be used in a scrap quilt! ;-) Thanks for all of your wonderful ideas and free projects.

    1. Just realized I said give away twice. LOL! That should be a hint I guess! ;-)

  28. I started organizing my stash and had no idea what a job it would be. I knew there was a lot but NOT this much. I bought foam board from the Dollar Store and started with10 boards which I cut into 6 - 10 in squares. Then started pulling down fabric and refolding and rolling onto the boards. I'm up to nearly 300 pieces and still have about that many to go! It looks great and it's really made me look at some beautiful fabrics that had gotten pushed out of view when they were folded on the shelf. It's time for them to shine. I'm planning Christmas sewing all around!

    I'll gladly join your challenge.

    Katherine in TX

  29. These posts are really good and definitely beneficial. Great stuff from this part of the internet. This is the best weblog for anyone who wants to know about this subject.

  30. Yes I need to "use up" some stash... give them their moment... so YES I'll be joining you. Already looking forward to 2o14. :)

  31. This is amazing because I have just spent the last month making Christmas gifts for family all from fabrics that I have in my stash, some of them vintage Laura Ashley from the late 70's/early 80's when I first started to patch and quilt. Having spent a small fortune on gifts last year, finances are not so good this year and so I decided that my time and love were of more value that expensive gifts. I have enjoyed working on these projects and although there is still a large amount of fabric waiting to be used I feel very proud of myself and pleased with all my makes. Thank you for your lovely post.

  32. I have been directed to this post after putting up a recent post on my own blog about going on a "Fabric diet" in 2014. Thank you for your inspiring words. I feel even more now that what I'm doing is right for me. thank you again. hugs


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