Thursday, October 27, 2016

Playing with scraps

I am a scrap-a-holic.

I come from the generation when you never threw anything out if it could be re-used.

The first quilts I made were using scraps from my old clothing that had been taken apart to use for making clothing for my little daughters.

It included scraps from a quilt my great grandmother had made. When my son made holes in elbows or knees of clothing, I shortened the item and used the cut-offs in quilts.

Even when I could afford to buy new fabric, the scraps got saved. When daughter got a new dress, so did her doll get a matching one, and yet some of that fabric still remains.

Well, I do throw things out, that is, anything smaller than an inch square plus enough for a seam.
The plastic box on the right contains lots of one-inch squares ... divided into baggies by color.

I have a tin of two-inch squares, three-inch squares, 4-inch squares, and a baggie full of squares to be measured, marked, and cut before going into the proper tin.

The shoe box contains baggies of 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, and 1x5inch strips. And the tin to the bottom left contains 2x2 and a half, 2x3, 2x3 and a half, and 2x3 inch strips.

The runner currently on my table is made by assembling blue strips and squares into five-inch blocks.

All these tins and boxes live under that coffee table and are just waiting for me to come up with a plan that will use them. I have made a log cabin quilt long ago as one of my first projects to consume scraps.
A rainbow quilt for my grandson's big-boy use used a lot more ... as did the one I made before for his older brother using green and blue scraps.

Sitting beside me on the sofa is another tin, piled with squares made over the weekend. My brain is spinning trying to come up with a creative way to use these scraps.

Meanwhile, I took some of those two-inch scraps and tossed them together into a little mat for my trash bin top.

When we lived in the former house, I kept two plastic bins under my sink ... a red one for burnable items, and a blue one for un-burnable trash.

When we moved back to the rabbit hutch, there was no room under the sink or in any part of the kitchen. An open trash can was also an invitation to Nikko for a trash-fling-party. (even a small wastebasket by the sofa is an attraction should I leave it unattended for a minute or two just to answer the door-bell. ) So ... I was very lucky to find a double bin.

It sits right at the entrance to the kitchen. Burnables in the top bin and un-burnables in the bottom. Nikko is unable to open the bins that tip open at an angle and it is very handy for a chain-drinker of coffee ... fill the cup part way, set it on the bin, reach to the side with right arm and open the fridge, take out the milk container from inside the door, fill the cup to the top and return the container, pushing the door shut.

At the bottom of the bins is a small drawer that contains plastic bags to line the bins. Trash is collected in bags set out on different days depending on the collection days for that type of trash.

To the side of the bin is a little box decorated by my first daughter when still small, which is used to gather glass bottled and tin cans for recycling. A bag holds pet-bottles and back by the window is another bag that collects other plastics.

In the corner of the diningroom hall there is a recycle container for newspapers (that can be traded in once a month for rolls of toilet paper, and a bag-lined box for other recycle paper ... mostly advertising flyers that gather regularly in my post box. See..... I do throw things out from time to time!

I often wonder how people living in small two-room apartments as in our early years, are able to manage all the sorting and storing of trash. Back in those days, we didn't have so much as we shopped carrying a basket and items were wrapped in newspaper and placed in the basket. No plastics, no styrofoam trays, no saran-wrap, no plastic bags ...

Well, a small mat on the top of the trash bin is not going to use up many scraps. Even the pile of three-inch blocks has hardly made a dent in that stash.

I am wondering if I can sell my daughter on something very scrappy for her poncho.

Norie and Leia are coming for an over-night stay so maybe there is a chance for a scrappy appeal.

Meanwhile, the cookie factory will get in gear for fall and Halloween cookies.

I hung out the ghost and before it had been out five minutes, the doorbell rang with a question from a neighbour wondering what was up.
Shops have been full of Halloween decorations for well over a month but ghosts are not as accepted in Japan. I remember my neighbour, in the old days,  cutting all the branches on another neighbour's weeping-willow, just at the time they were looking most graceful and lovely. When I asked her why, she said they looked like ghosts. Well, it is only a few more days and I will put my decorations away.  Meanwhile, I shall celebrate a scrappy holiday. Hope you have one too!


  1. I am the same way and i have plenty of fabric too, lol. I save all the old jeans and pants, can make a few now, so time to get started on one I have an idea for. I have my stash all over the place and I buy furniture on how much it can hold and hide;) I think my favorites are made from scraps.


  2. I save everything I can use later on, ( Hugh calls it hoarding), recycle anything that can go to the transfer station place, close by in our small town, paper too small gets burned, and all small pieces of firewood are used in the small fire that heats all our hot water, Love your blue runner.

  3. I have bags full of scraps. And I am nowhere near as organized as you. I have some of them separated by colour, but I also have bags full of scraps of every size and colour. Sometimes I give them away to my friends... at least they are my friends when I first give them the bags....

  4. I too am a scrapoholic, love em! There's nothing more interesting to look at and study than a scrappy quilt.

  5. Scrap quilts are my favourites, too, although I'm not so organized as you are. I tend to keep pièces of fabrics in boxes (tin boxes, if possible as I'm addicted to these, and I do collect them). Yet your way of sorting them into different square sizes, or strips, is brilliant, and I just promised myself I'd have a go with it. THANKS Julie ! :)

    Living myself in a tiny house, I know what you mean with space gain... But we make do, don't we ? I often re-arrange my little stash, and I sometimes unveal some forgotten treasures, which great, HeHeee...

    LOBE your Halloween ghost, by the way !

    In stitches,
    Nadine XOXOXOXO

  6. Your scraps are very well organised! Mines are just in three box separated by colour-ish. I have tiny fabrics too just in case! If I make some fused appliqué, they can be used maybe.


  7. Love your ghost - he's cute! Maybe he needs a spooky "OWL" friend - the neighbors might like that. And I love your system - you are so organized! I need to get my scraps under control - one of these days - LOL - ;))

  8. How lovely to consider the value of each thing and to have everything in its place. I think the little personal routines such as the one with the coffee cup add to the pleasure of life. I love your scraps being put to good use.

  9. I'm so impressed with your organization of scraps. My scraps are all in a plastic boot box and wait there until I decide to use them - or to give them to a friend who makes scrap quilts - as I'm not making quilts anymore. Doll clothes are also a good way to use up bit and pieces. Your ghost is cute. Our neighbors have a ghost on a small stick and set on a stump of a huge cedar tree that used to be between our houses. The small driveway light makes a shadow of the ghost on my dining room curtain and it often shocks me a little as it looks like someone is standing outside the window - which would be impossible as the window is 10 feet off the ground. Have a happy week my friend. Enjoy your cookie factory and family visit.

  10. I have had the honour of seeing, and getting some of it, your stash. Of course you have a lot of small scraps, you are such a thrifty lady. I, too, am trying to use every piece of green for my triangles and as they are small, small scraps are being used.
    It is nice to have quilts that are in use, even if it is not on a bed but on the dustbin top. You see and enjoy it with every cup of coffee you make.
    Stay warm and dry in the chilly rain of Tokyo.

  11. Julie, I love your blue scrappy table runner. Beautiful fabrics. I am so in line with your scrap saving mentality. I have more room to store my scraps, which is actually not a good thing as I tend to accumulate quite a bit, but I do make large scrap quilts all the time. I give them away to family and friends.