Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On-The-Go Organizing

 Traveling with craft/stitching projects can be tough sometimes, especially if you don't have the right containers.  It is also much easier to forget an item you need or basic supply or tool.

First of all, forgive me for a couple of 'fuzzy' photos here.  This first item was a door prize I won.  I must say it is very cleverly designed.  It was donated by Thearica at Crazy Quilting Supplies and I was the lucky recipient!  I believe there are other sizes as well, but mine (closed) measures roughly 8 1/2" long by 4 1/2" square.

There are two comfortable, securely attached handles and when rolled up is held nicely with hook and loop strips.  The outside is so pretty and appears to be waterproof also.  Another bonus!

Below is a photo showing it 'unrolled' with four individual zippered see through containers for supplies.  Think of the possibilities!  I currently have mine designated as follows:  (1) general stitching supplies such as scissors, needles, tape, thimble, etc.;  (2) crochet and tatting tools and supplies; (3) mini beading tools, beading thread, needles and folding scissors; and (4) embroidery floss and threads.  I'm sure this will change somewhat as I explore other possibilities.

Another fun thing about this is that each separate compartment is secured in place with hook and loop tape and can easily be removed so you can just take one section with you when that is all that is needed.  If I am getting together with friends to bead, I can just grab that individual bag and throw it in my purse or in with my project or if I am going to stitch with friends I would take that bag.  You get the point.

This next item is probably more suited for home use, but for us crazy quilters that want to have a lot of goodies with us it could also work for travel or to get together at a friend's house.  I won this box at a gift exchange at the same retreat.  It is a nice sturdy card stock box that closes with built-in magnets to hold the lid closed.  It is also very pretty.

The inside has a removable compartmentalized tray for all sorts of goodies.

My new friend Kristie brought this delightful box.  She had already added some wonderful goodies but after I got home from the retreat and loaded it with other embellishments I either purchased, was gifted or brought home from the swap exchange, it was pretty full.  I can't wait to start exploring all the possibilities for using the new embellishments and it is great to have them together in one container.

Kristie added this pincushion she had created with a small photo frame and embellished with lace and old buttons.  It fits over one of the compartments.

Just look at all those fun trims, beads, ribbons and trinkets!  I may just call this my inspiration box.

While I am on this subject I may also mention the 'Altoid' boxes or other small tins so many of us use.  The one below has basic stitching supplies.  A magnet on the inside of the lid hold a needle.  Folding scissors and a small pincushion fit neatly and the round wooden needle holder is full of straight pins.

The tin box with hinged lid on the left holds one of my bead projects which I work on at times when I travel.  Again, a magnet on the lid holds my beading needle(s);  Other small containers of beads, threads, scissors and the UFO fit nicely in the box.

The tin box below is one I often have with me.  I have my mini beading tools, folding scissors, thread clamps, thread and a glass piece to put beads in while I am stitching so they don't scatter.

 I recently attended a crazy quilt retreat in Kansas City and, being miss organizer, was fascinated with how everyone transported their tools and supplies.  I drove but many of the ladies traveled with the airlines so they had to be especially creative.  I wish I would have taken the opportunity to talk to them more about how they had things set up and taken more photos.  Maybe next time.

I did see lots of beautiful handmade needle cases, cosmetic bags used for supplies, lots of plastic containers of all sizes with locking lids, and fabric bags.  I do particularly remember (but can't find the photo) Lisa had Altoid tins marked by color.  These contained a mix of beads in that particular color family.  This made much more sense for crazy quilting than individual containers for each type or size of bead.  I believe it was Karen that had her various beading thread spools held together on a wire piece used for spacing or to hold your place when knitting (It is obvious I don't knit but I know it is used somehow for knitting).  It looked almost like a giant safety pin.

What solutions have you found for taking your craft supplies with you either as you travel or for just going to a friend's or group gathering?  Have you run into problems carrying certain supplies on a plane, getting past security with it?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Patterns - Get Organized!

I must admit I've never given this issue a lot of thought because, frankly, I don't have a lot of patterns.  At least I didn't think about it until I came across this site.  If you have a disorganized box(es) or patterns, can never find the pattern when you need it, or patterns with no specific home and are needing a solution, follow the link.

I believe small cardboard 'pattern boxes' are available on the market.  These are a standardized size and a good solution.  I would probably search for plastic see-thru boxes in a size that would accommodate the patterns.  I am always in favor of clear storage for the obvious reason that you can readily see what you have available.  Labeling is also valuable when it comes to organizing.

If I buy a specific pattern along with materials, trims and supplies for an item I definitely plan to make in the near future, I would probably keep it all together in a bag or 'project box' so that I wouldn't have to gather everything together again.

I also might consider storing patterns in a notebook or notebooks, depending how many you have, keeping them in the plastic sheet protectors.  If you have a lot of patterns a file cabinet may be your best solution.

Keeping a tally/inventory as to what patterns you already own can be achieved through modern technology as addressed at the link above.

What method do you have for storing patterns?  How would/do you sort patterns?  I'm curious to know what you have found that works for you...or doesn't work?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Organizing Seed Beads

Those tiny seed beads can be a challenge, especially if you have a large selection in various quantities.  Fire Mountain Gems, one of my favorites, offers some suggestions here:

I have shared some of my solutions previously, but here is a refresher:

Shallow shelving with jars such as baby food, spice, glass vials, apothecary, etc.

The see-thru containers shown below which I purchased at Michael's and/or Hobby Lobby.  The lids screw on the individual round containers and they fit neatly inside a rectangular box with clear lid.

I love the look of apothecary jars and they come in so many sizes!

Here is a spice rack I reworked and repurposed.  This is where I keep my holeless beads.

The above photo shows some outdated tubes and rack from a blood clinic.  They were never used and apparently have a shelf life.  Below are cigar tubes from a friend who liked his cigars but threw the tubes out.

I've seen the round containers (below) in a variety of places.  They come in different sizes too and fit nicely on shallow shelving.

Below is another container sold at a craft store.  It has separate containers within that would work great for seed beads.  I actually have three of these that I use to store findings.  One for silver, one for gold and one for copper.

The tubes and jars below currently contain glitter but would work equally well for seed beads.

These little containers are from an office supply store but I am beginning to see them in other places now.  I like that the lids can be secured.  These come in a huge variety of sizes to fit your needs.  You can even find larger ones to keep the small ones contained.

I hope this gives you some ideas!  How do you currently store your seed beads and/or other small treasures?  Feel free to share here either with comment or links.  I would also be happy to share your photos if you wanted to send them to me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fabric Organizing

Looking for ideas for storing fabrics?  I found this great link you may find helpful...

When you check out the link above, don't forget to explore their links which are noted under each photo!

There is even a free download here so you will have a handy reference for the fabrics you have...

My experience with fabric storage is that it is an ongoing challenge to keep whatever system you use orderly as you work on projects.  I am always looking for new ideas.  I think my favorite of the craft gossip group is the one used to organize scraps by color using separate jars/containers.  Being a crazy quilter I can see me using those leftover scraps!

What are some of your favorite ideas?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Round-Up Free Jewelry Making Tutorials and Jewelry Making News

Are you a beader, or just a bead collector?  Here is a video with some nice bead and bead supply storage solutions.  I would say these products would work just as well for any craft that uses small embellishments such as buttons, charms, brads etc.  The bead storage tray would work great for crazy quilt embellishments and/or paper crafting!  Do you have other ideas?

Round-Up Free Jewelry Making Tutorials and Jewelry Making News

Just for the record, I am not getting any compensation or credits for sharing this.  I just like to share ideas I find with others looking for solutions!