Use the Good Stuff First – Quote Challenge

The late Doreen Speckmann used to tell her quilt students to use the good stuff first. “If you don’t, when you die your family will turn that fabulous batik you’ve been saving into a clown costume.” Oh, I know all the adages about saving something for a rainy day, and about keeping special things for special occasions. That’s good advice, too, but when your sewing room is bursting at the seams try doing some projects with the good stuff.

Cram as much beauty into your life as you can

Cram as much beauty into your life as you can

You might be worried that the project won’t work and you’ll have wasted your supplies. Ann Anastasio and I taught a workshop called “There’s a Quilt in There Somewhere.” We instructed students to bring the one piece of fabric deemed too wonderful to use. The first order of business was for everyone to cut her special fabric in half. “Look,” we would say, “now you have something left over if you don’t like what you make in class.” It’s amazing how having a reserve opened up the creative floodgates.

A small luxury is still a luxury - enjoy!

A small luxury is still a luxury – enjoy!

So take that special fabric, bead collection, thread collection, notebook or china set off the shelf. Break into the good chocolate, the expensive spices, the great wine. Host an art play date or a party if you want to share, but use the good stuff while you can still enjoy it.

Luck and wisdom!

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11 Responses to “Use the Good Stuff First – Quote Challenge”

  1. Thea McC Says:

    so true! I’ve been making prayer flags and neck pillows from batiks, flannels, upholstery scraps, and every thing in between… I have a box of browns I’ve been saving for a special “Tobacco road” quilt, next big project on my agenda! Lots of smaller projects in between. Use up the hand dyes, the silks, the painted skies… live it up!

  2. Melanie McNeil Says:

    Love this philosophy and I’ve written about it, too. And don’t just use your good fabric. Use the wedding china, the real silverware, the glass glasses, the pretty linens. And more importantly, use the best of yourself, your most patient tone of voice, your greatest compassion, your hard-fought skills… Thanks for this post. I will reblog. Please let me know if you’d like me to remove.

  3. Melanie McNeil Says:

    Reblogged this on Catbird Quilt Studio and commented:
    Love this philosophy and I’ve written about it, too. And don’t just use your good fabric. Use the wedding china, the real silverware, the glass glasses, the pretty linens. And more importantly, use the best of yourself, your most patient tone of voice, your greatest compassion, your hard-fought skills… If you have comments or likes, please add them to the original post.

  4. shoreacres Says:

    I’m not a quilter, but I follow Melanie McNeil, and when I read about your post there this morning, I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favorite quotations from Annie Dillard:

    “One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. ”

    Wisdom is wisdom, and it applies across a variety of fields.

  5. KerryCan Says:

    Superb advice. I am toooooooo guilty of hoarding and saving the nicest fabrics and yarns–I should have this quote tattooed on my arm . . .

  6. Jill Says:

    “If you don’t, when you die your family will turn that fabulous batik you’ve been saving into a clown costume.”

    Made me laugh out loud! I am going to pull out my pretties and CUT into them!! Thank you, Doreen……You continue to inspire long after you have ascended to Glory!

  7. Helen Poole Says:

    OMG! You know just the right things to say. When I am thinking of making a quilt, I pick all around my favorites. Some are getting old, I am sure some may be getting worn out from lack of use. I have that collection of batiks but waiting on the perfect pattern to show up. As you know, any excuse is better than none..
    Thanks Melanie for your great posts.

  8. Kate Says:

    I made my mother an appliqued tote bag. When I gave it to her she told me it was much to pretty to use. I told her to go ahead and use it, so I could have the fun of making another one. When she died, I found it in the back of the linen closet, along with 2 sets of placemats I had made her. The placemats on the table were from the dollar store and in tatters.
    For heaven’s sake, use the good stuff! Life is short, eat dessert first!

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