After Porto, A Pledge


I’m back from my holiday in Porto in North West Portugal which is famous for its port wine production (see touristy boat featuring the Sandeman man above)  and its bridges across the Douro river.  I know all about the bridge below because we were on one side of the river and, even though we had all the port wine cellars on our side and the most amazing view of the city, the more interesting (and cheaper) restaurants were on the other side so we regularly crossed that bridge – and after drinking all that port too!

Dom Luis I Bridge Porto

                                                                            Dom Luis I Bridge Porto

Of course it is always necessary to keep an eye out for the local arts and crafts


Barcelos Pottery

                                                                                    Barcelos Pottery

Those cockerels were everywhere!

Buttoned Up Vespa

                                                                             Buttoned Up Vespa

We sampled the local cuisine and had to try the famous Franceshina which is a ‘sandwich’ made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça (I don’t know either!), fresh sausage, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served, if you can believe it, with french fries.


and, just in case you can’t (or don’t want to) picture it, this is the beast sliced down the middle

Francesinha Porto

(the fries were on a separate plate!)

Porto Buildings

It was a good job we had to walk up a lot of hills afterward

and could have a swim in the infinity pool on the fifth floor of our hotel

Infinity Pool The Yeatman Hotel Porto

Now I’m back and my workroom is rearranged and almost tidy.  At least I can see my sewing machine and overlocker again.

I was shocked at the amount of stuff I had in there.  I moved out a sofa bed, a large wooden chest and a big wicker hospital laundry hamper which didn’t create as much room as you would think as the contents of the chest and hamper and the things thrown over arranged on the sofa bed had to be accommodated elsewhere in the room.

I have too much fabric.  There’s no getting away from it.  I have upholstery fabric.  I have dressmaking fabric.  I have soft furnishing fabric, vintage fabric and patchwork fabric – so much patchwork fabric.

I have pledged to buy no more fabric of any kind for one whole year.  Or do you think that’s too ambitious?  Should I say six months?  I might be able to manage it then.  I’m hoping it will encourage me to use what I’ve got – and I’ve got plenty – then at the end of the ‘fabric fast’ I will reward myself with a bit of stash rebuilding if necessary.

So.  Six months or a year? What do you think?

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  1. #1 by Thimberlina on September 4, 2015 - 18:22

    Difficult decision! I’d say 6 months and extend if you feel able. Good luck 🍀

    • #2 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:14

      Thanks – I think I’ll need it.

  2. #3 by Emmely on September 4, 2015 - 18:23

    I am not sure I could do it, but uhm, maybe start with 6 months? It might make things easier if you make a list of everything you have right now and perhaps already select some fabrics for future projects. Keep us updated on your progress to get some support and cheers along the way. Set some goals, for example, you start with 150 different fabrics and aim to use at least 20 for projects in the next 6 months or something like that. See if you can swap with someone else with a large stash when you really want something new to play with. That way your stash won’t grow but you’ll still get excited by a new fabric to sew with.

    • #4 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:27

      Emmely – all very good, sensible ideas, thank you. I will definitely be trying some of them out.

  3. #5 by on September 4, 2015 - 18:36

    Looks like you had a great time. linguiça is Portuguese for sausage (courtesy of Google Translate) and that sandwich looks like a feast for a 14-year-old rugby-laying grandson rather than for his grandma!

    I’m still making my scrap quilt, which – as predicted – is growing into a mammoth, but the pile of scraps is still pretty high! I don’t envy you your fabric fast, but I know it is necessary for me as well as for you. Bon courage.

    • #6 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:31

      Thanks Viv – it really is about time to stop buying and start using more of what I already have. We only have a couple of fabric shops locally so that will be easy I just need to stop opening emails from online sellers.

  4. #7 by Ann on September 4, 2015 - 19:44

    I’ll say a year (I’m no fun :)). Today I’m using paper for a new project that a friend sent from Australia ages ago. I’m betting you’ll still be thinking creatively/using up bits after many months too. It’s actually very satisfying in a way. Looks like a wonderful trip!

    • #8 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:32

      I’m definitely tempted by the year long pledge Ann. It sounds more impressive and I definitely have enough fabric to see me through.

  5. #9 by jendavismiller on September 4, 2015 - 19:45

    Welcome back! What a glorious holiday you must have had. The pictures are so beautiful. (That beast of a sandwich? Not so sure.) I like the idea of a stash swap (Emmely) just to keep things new while you’re “fasting”. I have no stash, so no worries yet for me, but I can’t imagine making a one-year pledge. Six months is a good start. Waiting to see all your projects!

    • #10 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:34

      Thanks Jen. It was unusual for us to take a city holiday but Porto is beautiful with the river running through like that and our hotel was gorgeous with a spa and everything so we could really chill out. My daughter didn’t want to leave – but that’s probably more because she’s a student and was enjoying all the luxury and having everything paid for!

  6. #11 by sew2pro on September 4, 2015 - 20:03

    I was going to wind you up and say linguica is tongue but I’m too late. Looks like a fantastic holiday; I certainly fancy a swim in the infinity pool with that view. The walks I’d love too but not so sure about the beast sandwich. What was it like by the way?

    I think a year is ambitious and that’s not a bad thing, particularly if the fabric you have is lovely and begging for projects to bring it out. You might also be able to take apart and refashion outfits already made that you don’t wear. And a year will go quickly. If it’s fabric that doesn’t particularly inspire, then 6 months is plenty.

    • #12 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:41

      I was suspicious about the ‘linguica’ and decided not to google it in case I was too grossed out. We actually had ‘the sandwich’ between three of us, together with another dish, so it wasn’t so bad. However, I did see people ordering it and eating it all themselves – fries too – although I don’t know if I ever saw anybody finish one. It’s actually quite tasty but probably not something I’d order again. I did sample salt cod dishes which are everywhere. I’ve seen it for sale in France but never known what to do with it and haven’t liked the look of it – also, it’s quite expensive here. In Porto, however, it is everywhere and doesn’t cost so much and I was actually impressed with the flavour. However, it takes so long to soak it before cooking – around 72 hours I think – you couldn’t make a meal spontaneously.

  7. #13 by Magpie Sue on September 4, 2015 - 21:24

    I’m looking at those colorful multi-storey buildings and thinking, “I’m glad I don’t have to climb those flights of stairs everyday!” I suppose if I lived there my body would adjust though, and it wouldn’t be such a hardship. ;- )

    I vote for the 6 month fabric fast. I’d be too intimated to even begin otherwise! Emmely made a brilliant suggestion to swap with others if/when you get bored with what you’ve got. A few firm project plans would be helpful too I bet. Good luck!

    • #14 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:45

      I think people who live there are used to it. On our way to a big market, we were trudging up a hill so steep they’d put steps into it with a handrail and we passed some houses with an old lady leaning on a walking stick. I thought she was just standing outside her house but, after we passed her by and looked back, she started climbing up after us as she was also going to the market. She must have been in her late 70s, maybe even in her 80s.

      I think I might go for the year – just for the hell of it – and I think making a project list is a good idea, even if I don’t end up sticking to it.

  8. #15 by katechiconi on September 4, 2015 - 23:19

    I’ll be brutal and say go for a year. If there’s really that much, you’ll breeze through. And why don’t you join Gun and me on ScrapHappy day on 15th each month, which will eat up some more? Press, fold and bundle up any you’re sure you won’t use again, and do a giveaway. Do swaps as Emmely has suggested – I’m sure anyone in F2F will have a decent stash and may be able to help if you need something particular. You can do it!
    That sandwich looks pretty dreadful, I hope whoever made inroads into it was OK afterwards! Thank you for the photos of beautiful Portugal, which I don’t suppose I’ll ever have the chance to visit again (unless we win the lottery!)

    • #16 by tialys on September 5, 2015 - 08:50

      I might well be brutal with myself and do the year – that’s my thinking today anyway, I might change my mind tomorrow. I’ll have another look at your ScrapHappy day projects as that might help.

      It was our first visit to Portugal and mainly chosen for our holiday this year as we realised we could get an hour and a half long flight to Porto from Carcassonne which is only an hour’s drive from us. We may revisit for a long weekend some time. I might not order ‘the sandwich’ again though!

      • #17 by katechiconi on September 5, 2015 - 08:57

        I have a cunning plan: get people to ‘sponsor’ you to do the year-long fast; if you make it through the whole year, they send you a lovely fat quarter in a colour of your choice. You can drop in and out of ScrapHappy as you like, but Gun and I are both finding it good discipline to have a date, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve slammed it together at the last moment, it’s still a block.

  9. #18 by quiltsandchemo on September 5, 2015 - 16:38

    I vote to go for a year, too–and I love Kate’s idea about sponsorships. I’d be willing to sponsor you with a fat quarter nest September if you can do it!! It would also be fun to take a photo of your stash before and after (if you can fit it all in a photo, I understant!!) to note the difference. I just gave in to a fabric sale this morning, or I’d join you in your fabric fast. Or maybe I can start it the day after my fabric arrives……..go for it!!

    • #19 by tialys on September 6, 2015 - 09:12

      Yes! I think I’m definitely going for the year – six months seems like a bit of a cop out. The challenge will give me something else to blog about too so that’s a bonus. I’ll do a post about it soon and say I have 2 sponsors – we’ll see if anybody else volunteers to join in but I won’t actually ask. Maybe I will donate something to a charity at the end of the year with all the money I’ve saved.

  10. #20 by quiltsandchemo on September 5, 2015 - 16:39

    That should have been ;next’ September, not nest.

  11. #21 by Bipasha on September 6, 2015 - 02:39

    Ooooh I remember the buttoned up Vespa 😍

    • #22 by tialys on September 6, 2015 - 09:06

      Great isn’t it? We thought it was just for decoration – to advertise the shop it was parked outside – but on another day we saw it parked elsewhere so it must also be in use.

  12. #23 by Bekki Hill on September 8, 2015 - 17:20

    Six months then maybe a little treat and then six months more?

    • #24 by tialys on September 8, 2015 - 18:33

      Oops! Too late (see next post!). I’ve decided on a year – nothing like a challenge.

      • #25 by Bekki Hill on September 8, 2015 - 18:56

        Sorry – catching up from being terribly behind. Good luck with the year 🙂

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