Well, life has been crazy lately (and not in a fun "Barrel of Monkeys" way). Too much time has been spent in hospitals and at doctors appointments, and I've been triple-timing it at work so my time for anything more than work and sleep has been extremely limited. But we did finally get some good news - Mom doesn't have a heart problem. Her heart attack and related issues were not caused by a faulty ticker, but because of a thyroid disorder called Graves Disease. Don't worry, it's named after the doctor who discovered it in the 1920s, not after where you end up if you have it. Luckily it is easily treated and hopefully life will return back to normal for all of us soon. Needless to say, everyone in the family and at the shop are so very relieved it isn't anything more serious.
So, now to the tips. Since I haven't had a whole lot of time, I haven't gathered that many so I'm gathering while I'm writing. I haven't been able to test any of these out so they mayt or may not work for you but hey, it never hurts to give it a go on scrap or test fabrics/notions. Here we go!:
* Flannel works as a good batting subsitute if the quilt you're making is thick enough on its own (a Minkee quilt, for example) or if you want to keep your quilt really lightweight. Back in the day flannel was often used as "batting" because batting of a good quality wasn't always available where flannel was easier to obtain.
* Dishwasher utensil baskets make a great notion storage device - they are narrow and compact so they stay out of the way on your table, and they are easily hung up on the wall to be out of the way entirely. So if you're getting rid of a dishwasher, save that basket! Or, you can purchase one relatively inexpensively.
* If you're binding a quilt, and it's getting too warm to do while it's draped over you, move your ironing board to where you're seated and lower it to just above your lap. Drape the quilt over it and continue binding. The ironing board prevents the quilt from overheating you, and there is a nice draft between the quilt, board and you.
* While you're working on a project requiring several bobbins, stick a Q-Tip in the spool of thread, and then the bobbin through the Q-Tip. If you run out of thread, you will quickly know whch thread you used for that bobbin in case you forget.
* Keep inexpensive makeup brushes (eyeshadow and eyeliner brushes work best) as well as the fuzzy dental picks in your sewing kit. They are great for cleaning your machine when needed, and get into the nooks and crannies better than the brush your machine came with.
* If you have a cat or small dog, fabric scraps (apparently) make good chew toys. Tie a knot in it and let 'em at it. My chihuahuas can hardly wait until I start having scraps falling. I give them the big ones I know I won't use later, with the knot tied in it and believe it or not it gives them literally hours of entertainment gnawing on that thing. Sometimes they'll steal away the smaller ones and chew it to bits after it falls from my cutting board and I don't always catch it until it's been in their slobbery little mouths for a bit. They just shred them up, so it's not really a choking hazard, but it could be - stick with larger pieces.
* Clean your blades, both rotary and scissors, with rubbing alcohol to keep them gunk free and cutting smoothly.
* If you are thrying to thread a clear monofilament through a needle and not having much luck, there are two things you can do: first, thread it against a dark fabric since that makes the thread easier to see. or color the very tip of the thread with permanent marker so you can see it to thread it and then snip it off.
* Making cloth napkins and coasters are a great way to burn through your scraps/stash and they make nice gifts for people.
* Speaking of cloth napkins, if you have a theme decor in your dining room, buy cloth napkins that complement your color scheme or dishes and use them in a table runner. While the fabric quality may not be the same as quilting fabric, it's an inexpensive way to tie your room together. Plus, it's not a piece to be washed regularly so using the napkins is just fine. A heavier weight napkin tends to work a little better than the lightweight cotton ones.
* The edge of the selvedge tells you more than just the line and manufacturer. Those colored dots tell you how many different dye screens were used to make that whole fabric. As such, those are the individual colors that will match and blend nicely with that piece of fabric. So if you're stuck on the color choices with your go-withs, that selvedge is a great place to start looking!