Jan 19, 2014

the stash

Over the past few weeks, I have been slowly working through Jen Hatmaker's book 7: an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and whoa.  It's a good thing I've been s-l-o-w-l-y working my way through this one because it requires some processing time. 

I don't even know what to do with that passage; all I know is that I have never felt more ashamed of my ease and privilege.  Never in my life have I considered myself a wealthy person, but in the grand scheme of the entire world, it's embarrassing how much more than my share of the global resources I consume, simply because I am an American, simply because I have a little bit of disposable income, simply because it's in front of me, simply because I CAN.  And it's not like my addiction to Target's cheap t-shirts and jeans and shoes is creating jobs or income for other people.  In reality, all that cheap crap, because it is so cheap, means that someone else (probably in Bangladesh or India or China) was cheapened with unsafe working conditions and minimal pay.  When I start trying to process the depth of this cycle of cheap labor and cheap consumption of everything (food, fuel, clothing, and all manner of STUFF that clutters my house), it becomes a rabbit hole, a problem so complex that I can't really think through the cause and effect and my role in it.  All I know is that I am a participant and what can I do about it?  I need concrete steps, ACTION.  (And this is for me-->) Redefine the word necessary.  Stop buying things are not necessary.  Donate things we currently have that are not necessary. 

So where I am going with this?  I always thought that sewing was a way to take a baby step off the mindless consumption train, but I have found that if I'm not careful, it can become another way to consume because the fabric is so pretty and soft.  It's a way to accumulate more clutter and stuff because those fabric scraps could be useful one day...except I'm buying more fabric and not using what I have.  I need some strategy and planning.

Step one for me was going through my ridiculous fabric stash and being honest with myself about what I will use again.  It was tough to let go of some of those pieces, but there were others that I wondered why I held on to them at all.  A few scraps went into the trash because there really wasn't much left (again, why did I save it?), but the rest are going to be donated.  I hope that someone else can see the potential and give these pieces a new life.

to be donated
I decided to hang on to a some pieces because one of my goals for this year is to make a quilt, but more I thought about it, the more I realized that I myself do not need a quilt.  I'm hoping to find someone who does though.  

to be quilted

I kept pieces that are big enough to be used for garments and tried unsuccessfully to get my stash down to one big tub.  I ended up needing two, but at least now I can also stored my sewing books, traced patterns, quilt batting, and other random sewing odds and ends in the tubs AND I can put the lids on them.

to be sewn

To be honest, vowing not to buy anymore fabric is completely unrealistic.  Sewing still needs to be fun and creative, although using what I have is for sure a priority, but now that I know exactly what I have and how much I have of it, I think I will be able to see the potential more clearly.  When I do go fabric shopping, my new requirement is going to be planning.  I haven't been too bad about randomly buying fabric without a project in mind, but I want to be more strategic about planning projects.  Cara made it very clear to me that she likes to wear dresses the best, so when my sweet friend invited me to do a little shopping with her, I made a list of four dresses I would like to make for Cara with the idea that these dresses will be more "big girl" for kindergarten and will transition from the current cool weather to spring/summer and back to fall (if I can keep her from growing too quickly {haha}).

to become an Ice Cream dress, Library dress, Jump Rope dress, and a Fairy Tale dress

I'm pretty sure that sewing up my current stash, taking on a quilt, and making four new dresses, in addition to the baby gifts and random projects I take on when the inspiration hits, should be enough to keep me busy for quite a while. 


  1. I have had this ongoing argument with a guy at work about how consumption doesn't actually make new jobs and that the "market" isn't actually some altruistic force that will fix the economy and magically make every person have enough to eat and pay their bills. It's not entirely on point, but along the same vein as your passage. I will go out on a limb and say that your sewing hobby is way more useful than my habit of needing to be shushed by other coworkers because I keep yelling at the one retarded guy. Sigh.

    1. Haha! Sarah, you make me laugh! On a serious note though, it is kind of arrogant to think that all of the privilege we enjoy over here in the US doesn't come at a cost to someone else. Keep fighting the good fight with your coworker. :-)

    2. you know- unlike Facebook (which tells me every time someone breathes in my page's general direction) your blog doesn't update me when someone replies to a comment! Upside- I do have your blog bookmarked, so I stop by regularly, if infrequently. I do keep on trying to "nicely" fight the good fight... but I kinda stink at the nice part. I had to leave the room the day he decided to talk about health insurance premiums and how he shouldn't have to pay $50 more each month because other people are lazy. Sigh.

  2. For what it's worth, I think you've made a really inspiring start! Thanks for sharing this; I'll have to hunt that book down.

    1. Thank you so much, Danielle. I hope you come across Jen Hatmaker's book. It's hilarious and crushing all at the same time.

  3. I really should read this book. "Eliminate" is my word for the year and I really want to put a good effort into it. I've been weeding more and more out. Part of my issue is that we are blessed to have people that just "give" us things whether we need them or not. Which truly is a remarkable blessing, but then I feel guilty if I don't keep it or try to use it. But the reality I just can't use all of it, so better to be donated and hopefully wind up in the hands of someone who really and truly needs it. Good luck!


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