Tale of the missing Sewjo

noun, plural sew·jos, sew·joes.
Motivation, reason or inspiration to Sew or Stitch.

I love this term, I was reminded of it recently by the lovely Cat of Raspberry Rainbow.

Last week I lost my sewjo. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a pretty week. Normally one to love picking up any kind of craft, not even the prospect of a bit of cross stitch or making a pom pom could draw me out of it. Struggling with the tail end of Hong Kong flu I disappeared into a slump of questioning everything and anything in my life. I didn’t know it at the time but this quiet slip into depression was a side effect of the cough medication I’d been prescribed and it was a scary place to be. I still don’t quite feel like my old self but the very thing that I’d lost the motivation to do was what made all the difference.

My gorgeous, caring husband looked at the state of me and said… today once the kids are at school I want you to do the thing that always makes you happy. Turn on some tunes, really loudly (I’m known for my love of loud music and have blown more than one car speaker… that’s another story)… anyway… turn on some tunes and Sew. Just sew anything. OK?

So I did.leopard_fabricsI cried for most of the time – the kind of tears you shed when you’re pregnant and have no idea why you’re crying, you just are. But by the time I’d done two hours of sewing I felt like a new person. I really did. My sewjo was back. My smile was back. My eyes were ridiculously puffy. But a little ray of sunshine had come out. Perhaps it was the leopard print, and really how can you not smile when working with leopard print??




I have to say that this fascinates me – I’ve always known that for me crafting isn’t about making stuff, it’s making happy but having been lost there for a moment I’m going to explore it some more. I’ve started reading a book called Craft to Heal by Nancy Monson and I really want to learn more about this link between craftiness and wellbeing.


Have you ever used craft to heal? Does sewing, painting, baking lift your spirits?


All that glitters and gold

I’m not sure when my love of gold began, I’ve always been more of a cool tones silver girl myself but the golds are just enchanting me at the moment. Funny how our tastes change over the years and what you love today you may be horrified by tomorrow. I think the 80s sums that up really. Anyhow, metallic threads, pearlised fabric and even gold zippers have all been catching my eye. Here’s a little mood board of golden inspiration for the week…

Gold Sequin Trim on Etsy: Inspire Lovely

Chinese New Year Display: Hong Kong

Glitz Fabric, Michael Miller

Spot on Robert Kaufman on Etsy

Gold Zipper

Glitz Fabric Michael Miller on Etsy

Image Credits: Gold Sequin Trim: Inspire Lovely, Chinese New Year Display: Craft Schmaft, Michael Miller Fabrics

While I’m on the subject of stash therapy, here’s a little something for you all. A few readers asked for a printable version of the fabric quote I created last week. I’m delighted at the prospect of it being on desktops or craft room walls so please feel free to print, share and enjoy (for personal use only please). Click here for the PDF: You NEED more fabric printable

Yes, you do need more fabric!

Happy Crafting lovelies!

Craft Supply Laundering

Since my post on  “Why do we craft?”  (thanks so much for all your comments!) I’ve been thinking about craft as therapy and supply shopping… or stash therapy as I like to call it.

I don’t know about you but I often feel a little guilty about craft purchases. I shouldn’t, whatever the cost my crafting habit is way cheaper than therapy, but there’s that little moment when you think… did I really just spend that much on fabric/yarn/thread? I’m sure that I’m not alone.

Yes you do need more fabric

I thought I’d share with you my favourite stash story…

Once upon a time there was a talented crafty lady and her crafty bestie. They sewed up a storm and blogged with the best of them spreading their handmade joy across the land. Whilst their new hobby brought them untold satisfaction it did come at a cost – the fabric, the gadgets, the notions and machines. How on earth were they going to get this past their husbands? Wonderful men who simply didn’t understand that the latest Heather Ross Fabric, cutting mat and binding clips were absolute essentials.

They devised a cunning scheme.

Both with small children, they would hold off on claiming their medicare rebate (money back from the government for medical expenses like visits to the doctor) until the annual craft fair. Days before the event they would hand over a stack receipts at the medicare office and line their pockets with cash.

Said cash would then be spent on all manner of crafty supplies, guilt free and completely untraceable on any bank statement. Items would be stashed away in craft rooms before husbands came home, credit cards were clear and crafty ladies happily sewed for months to come.

Absolute genius! It’s like craft supply laundering.

And to think I went to the trouble of creating an entire craft business to justify my purchases. Duh. What about you, how do you justify your bouts of stash therapy? What lengths have you gone to in order to get your craft supply fix?

Vintage Haul

There’s a certain op shop (thrift store) that I visit regularly, always hoping to find vintage crafting treasures. Most of my vintage pattern collection comes from this store but I’ve never found actual craft supplies.

Legend has it that all manner of vintage yarn, buttons, ribbon and thread are stashed away upstairs by the crafty elders to be brought out for special inner-sanctum-craft sale days.

The thing is you never know when these sales will be on. They don’t advertise. There is no calendar. You just have to be lucky enough to be there on the day. In my five years of frequenting this store I have NEVER been there on an infamous craft sale day. Never. Last week I stuck gold.

I shouldn’t have been thrifting, I was frantically getting ready for markets, but I pulled into the carpark promising myself just 5 minutes to see if there were any vintage macramé patterns. Suddenly there it was… the craft sale sign.

I was ushered upstairs to the inner sanctum of the store, where no mere mortal may ordinarily go. I met the loveliest of crafty ladies and behold… the biggest stash of craft supplies I have ever seen. It literally took my breath away. I wish I’d taken photos at the time but I was so overwhelmed by the vintage goodness that I spent the next hour in a trance.

Here’s the haul.



Macrame twine in the most beautiful greens.



Vintage Ric-Rac that I have already earmarked for the hot air balloons.



The most beautiful wooden spools of thread. These are going to be adorning my craft room shelf. 


To top it all off a vintage singer sewing box (which needs a little bit of a clean up, granted). This blue is my favourite colour in the whole world and like a kid in a candy store I filled it with treasures and skipped out of the shop grinning from ear to ear. There was so much more I could have bought but I was trying not to go nuts.

Now that I think of it I really should have gone more nuts but I did leave my details with the lovely crafty elders who were so delighted to have someone excited about their stash that they promised to let me know when the next inner-sanctum-craft-sale is on. Joy and rapture are an understatement.


This last one didn’t come from the op-shop but was bought the very same morning from the Over It! shop on Craftumi (check it out, treasures galore). Isn’t it gorgeous? I must have had a vintage vibe going on that day.


Where to buy fabric

It’s no secret that I have a fabric addiction. “Stash Therapy” is my favourite for of retail. Not surprisingly, quite a few peeps have asked me where I buy fabric, here’s the round up to feed your budding obsession.   There are two options when buying fabric ; online (cheaper, very convenient) or instore (more tactile).  I do both. If you’re matching colours or looking for drape in a fabric this really has to be  done in the flesh.  But those designer threads (Liberty, Amy Butler, Kokka) that you fall in love with can be bought with a click for a much cheaper price.


Kelani Fabric 

I love Kelani Fabric (they also stock my wares) are based in Victoria, Australia. They have the best range of Australian designers like Aunty Cookie, Kristen Doran, Ink & Spindle. They go beyond the average quilting fabric offering home décor weight, voiles and even oilcloth.  Their postage is free and super speedy.

Hawthorne threads

A USA site, they have an excellent range of designer quilting and home décor fabric at one of the best prices you’ll find on the internet. Reliable postage, beautiful range and a great newsletter.

Sew Mama Sew

Also have a great range of fabrics, slightly more expensive that Hawthorne but a wonderful community if you’re looking to get involved in sew-alongs, pattern reviews and so on. Check out their blog for tutorials and lots of ideas.

Fat Quarter Shop

Not quite as cheap as Hawthorne threads but they have the biggest range of quilting fabric I’ve found. It’s also a very easy to use website and, as they post same day as your order, the fastest shipping I’ve found from the US.

Super Buzzy   

If you’re after cute Japanese Super Buzzy is the place to go. They have fabric, notions, gifts and patterns. They’re even stocking lovely craft felt. A little pricey on the postage ($18 flat rate envelope) but great quality.


If you’re looking for a design that is out of print or out of stock in most stores Etsy can be a great option. Just search your fabric name in the supplies section. While the bigger US stores will charge flat rate for a large postage envelope ($12-$18) Etsy sellers will typically charge per item so a fat quarter might cost you only $5 or $6 in postage. You can also find great Japanese fabric direct from Etsy stores based in Japan, Emi Craft has an incredible range.

In store

Calico and Ivy    

A store and range to swoon over. Housed in a whimsical barn like building in Balmain, Sydney, Calico and Ivy is fabric shopping heaven.  Liberty, Amy Butler, Japanese Kokka and Kaffe Fasset sit along side emerging designers patterns, yarn and more. They also have a store in Western Australia. Trust me. Just go.

Remnant Warehouse 

In Alexandria, Sydney, this place is a mix of all the lastest quilting fabrics and beautiful garment fabrics. There are bargains to be had on Italian cottons and Jersey and they also stock Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and great range of haberdashery.


A breathtaking range of garment fabric.  They have Sydney and Melbourne stores stocking cottons, wools, silks, linens and laces. The prints they have are incredibly inspiring and sourced from designers like Missoni, Chanel and so on. Be warned… your credit card will not thank you but your heart will sing.

So that’s my round up – where do you buy fabric, any tips to share?

Fabric Filing

I have been fabric filing. It is a day Mr Schmaft thought he’d never see. Ten long years he’s waited for me to clear that filing cabinet out. Long ago he gave up trying to convince me that I did NOT need elbow x-rays, tax returns or photoshop manuals from the early 90’s. He’d given up all hope.

In the end fabric was the answer. Not only do I now have an easy to access, carefully folded stash, it gives me one more reason to believe that fabric does indeed make the world a better place.

Thanks to Sew Many Ways blog for the idea, you can find the Fabric filing Tutorial over here.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is almost as therapeutic as the act of buying fabric itself. Almost.

The only issue now is that the filing cabinet isn’t big enough to fit all of my fabric. I haven’t yet broken the news of that to Mr. I dare not bring him down from the high.

The fabric binge

The no more fabric rule has completely gone out the window over the past two weeks. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve needed a little retail therapy or because I’ve jumped back into the sewing again but… SOMEBODY STOP ME!

First off Lincraft had a half price sale. I went to look at quilting fabric for the new balloons. I came home with this (definitely not quilting fabric). My only reprieve is that I have already started whipping the first one up in a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern that is shaping up quite nicely.

I’m doing the sleeveless view for the top fabric, if that works out I might even have a go at the short sleeved version for this fabric. I am applying the  “it’s so cheap… the more you spend the more you save” mantra to these purchases.

These purchases from Calico and Ivy yesterday were not on the cheap side. Originally I was going for yellow balloons but while browsing this amazing stripe from Kaufman “free to grow” collection just jumped off the shelf and insisted I buy it.

This one from “parisville” I have no excuses for. I just love the pattern.

At least this fabric binge has me progressing on the balloons, little baskets have been woven and I’ve figured out a much, much easier technique than my original basket weaving attempts. So you’re probably thinking… well, that’s not so bad for a fabric binge. Yesterday afternoon I bought a stack of fabric online for owlie kits. Naughty. Let’s hope Mr Schmaft isn’t reading this.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who goes out on fabric binge tendency? Anyone?