I must confess. I'm 44 years old and I still love school supplies. Pretty soon, stores will dedicate aisles and aisles to school supplies, and there I will be, happily wandering up and down them, putting goodies into my basket. It's even more fun when you don't actually have to attend school. Once I got my degree, that was it for me... although I did take Chinese a few years ago, but that was for fun. Anyway, every year I look forward to school supply season, and I almost always find something that can be used for stitchy purposes.
I was in Wal-Mart the other day and discovered they have a new line of containers for craft storage. This one was only $3 and is the perfect size for some basic stitching tools or to hold the floss bobbins for a project. Like most of you, I have lots of stitchy toys but really there are only a few things I use every time I stitch. Although I have multiples of everything--needle packets, threaders, counting pins, scissors, etc--I like to keep one basic set together in one container and move it from project to project, instead of having a set of tools with each project. I usually switch out my tools for the seasons, so I'll have a Christmas set, a fall set, a spring or summer set. This little box is just right for my stuff, and I'll be getting a few more to hold floss bobbins for projects.
This is a zippered metal pencil case I've had for a long time that I use to hold my needle minder collection. It's very compact and is a great way to store a bunch of them in a small space. School supply sections have tons of small containers that are ideal for storing stitching supplies. You can find all sorts of little boxes and bags and cases and they're usually pretty cute.
Last year I picked up this little pencil bag for $1 and stocked it with a few basic tools for stitching; it also holds a 6" Q-snap. It stays loaded, so it's easy to grab and throw in a bag for stitching on the go. I took it with me on my trip to Texas and it was perfect. Fits easily into any bag--even a largish purse--and your project is protected in the zipper pocket.
For finishing round ornaments, if I don't have a round template the right size, I use a compass to draw one. I also use a compass to draw a diameter guide when I'm making bows, as I showed in this post. I got a pretty nice one for a good price on clearance, but you'll easily be able to find inexpensive ones among the school supplies.
School supply season is nearly upon us... keep your eyes open to the possibilities for re-purposing things for stitchy uses and I bet you'll be able to find some things you didn't even know you needed!