Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Pandora's Closet revisted

OK -- so my life feels a bit weird at the moment. While I have lots to do, there isn't an immediate deadline and only one presentation per day. I feel LOST. What should I be focusing on? What should I do at this moment of the day? Oh yes -- I live and die by a deadline!

However, I decided that I needed to do something constructive, and the door to Pandora's Closet is still open, and it's still a huge mess. 

As I go through that closet, I'm finding many projects that I wanted to make and even set aside fabric for, but I'll never get to them. And I have four other places where I've stored projects, and I bet that I'm going to find the same thing in two of them. The other two places have already been cleaned - more or less. 

This is actually an excellent exercise as I'm learning to prioritize and make commitments, not just keep something for the sake of keeping it. My other goal was to clean off the cutting table and deal with the table of current projects. 

Let's see what happened. 

I opened one box to find a pattern and fabric, and I still liked it, so it went back on the shelf. But can you tell me why there is a green novelty print of wine paraphernalia in the box? That went into the novelty fabric box. 

A project complete with fabric and pattern

Then I found a box with a photograph, a pattern from a magazine, and four hunks of purple fabric. OK -- so I don't really like purple enough to make an entire quilt from purple, and while I like this quilt, I don't need to make it. The fabric got shelved in the purple basket, and I set aside the pattern and the photo for one moment. 

A project that gets pulled apart and filed

I found several hunks of canvas fabric. Now, why was this set aside? Oh, and three buttons. I have no idea what that was for; there was no pattern near the fabric. It all got shelved in the stash room. 

Canvas and three buttons

And there was another hunk of toile canvas. Seriously -- why did I buy so much?? I think that closet became a dumping ground as there was no way it would fit in the stash room. I can't believe that I kept buying and buying and just threw it in this closet. Actually, the stash room wasn't organized and hard to get into, so I see why I put stuff in this closet. 

Toile canvas

Anyway - you get the picture. I found other odds and ends and lots of projects. Most of them were started, or everything was there, and I still like the project. Some of the projects were mystery quilts, with the clues still intact in sealed envelopes. Some of them were in plastic bags, some in paper envelopes.

Odds and ends of projects

I'm trying to put everything into a box or other solid container, so they stack nicely, and if there is a hole, I put an envelope or a plastic bag. 

Three shelves are done

I'm keeping a list of what goes back into the closet, shelf by shelf. I don't even know what number I'm up to now. But let's say that each shelf has at least 15 projects on it. And this is one area! 

BUT - it's a whole lot better than it was. And who knows, when I go through this closet next, I may decide that I don't want a bunch more stuff and get rid of it or refile it. This first step is critical and will give me the space to get everything organized. 

I still have this much left on that one side to tackle. Now that I'm getting to the bottom, I really need to pull it all out and deal with it. But so far, so good. 

This still needs to be dealt with on one side

And look, there is actually a clear space on the floor! It's been a long time since the floor was visible!!!

Some floor is now visible

There's still a lot of stuff on the other side and on that middle shelf unit, but I'm also pulling from those areas to fill in the gaps. I don't know how much free space I'll have in here when I'm done, but wouldn't it be nice to have one empty shelf and nothing on the floor? I think that's doable. Oh -- and to have the floor clear! 

The other side of the closet

I now have a stack of empty containers to repackage the projects. 

Empty containers

Then, I tackled that current project table while I was in the mood. This is a photo of the situation part way through my job. I filled the retreat box with many small projects. The next retreat (next month!) will differ from this past one. Instead of working on one project for the entire time, I have small projects, which means I can ring the bell a LOT. I have a small bell that we can ring every time a project gets finished. 

Still to clean up!

Now I did NOT check if I needed supplies for those projects. I might do that before I leave, or I'll just take it all and sort it out there. I'll make some notes so I know what is missing, and they can go back to the following retreat, or I'll finish it off at home. 

I put some of the clothing stuff away - well, back where all the clothing projects are. No sense leaving something there if it's not current! 

And look what I found. The movie - Julie and Julia!!! OK -- so I need to watch that!!! 

A cooking movie

Before going too much further, I need to sort through this basket. This stuff was on the cutting table, and I need that for other things. So this basket contains odds and ends that need to be dealt with. If I take one or two things each day, it won't be long before it's empty. A lot of that came from emptying a few boxes from the closet. 

A basket of odds and ends to sort through

And this is the current status of the cutting table. I need the things at the end of the table before this weekend, so they stay.

The cutting table is not bad

And this is what the current projects table looks like now. I did remove a LOT of stuff from it, so I could add the things on the floor. I have so many plans to get that stuff done. But it all takes time, and while I now have some "free" time, I'm trying to finish up other things. 

The area looks much neater now

I need those blue and yellow scrap boxes, so that's why they are still on the floor! But the table looks a whole lot better - I know - it's hard to see in the photo, but there is more relevant stuff on it. And it would be totally awesome if I could put the projects on the table into the closet. Oh yes -- I have plans to get that room totally organized. It won't happen overnight, but Step One is getting that closet finished. It will happen. And guess what? The office will get relegated to the back burner once again. I don't care -- this is important and gives me a handle on what I have. 

I also got a customer quilt done! The next one is not on the long arm yet, but it's much smaller, so hopefully, that'll get loaded and done this afternoon. I'm almost done with all the customer quilts that need to be done. That'll also free up some time to do some serious sorting and organizing. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I may schedule a couple of days to do nothing but sorting and organizing. It would be really nice to get it all done and then not have to worry about it or not be able to find something. I'll see how it goes as after this week, besides a couple of customer quilts to do, I have two big projects to work on. Neither should take too long, but there's a learning curve to them. 

Then I have a couple of things that I want to learn before the end of the year for myself, so there is never a dull moment. 

I have almost removed all the paper from the double wedding ring quilt. Yeah!! Then I can get the binding and backing made. That's one of the projects on the cutting table. Many things are almost done, but not quite. That's going to be my focus for the rest of this year!!

I also accomplished a fair bit of administration stuff yesterday. It's a big job to get everyone organized for the upcoming classes. So I have your e-mails - and hope to get more information out to another group or groups today! The next batch will be slow as I have to follow up with many people who said sign me up for free motion and didn't specify which of the TWO sessions they want. So until that gets sorted, I can't make the distribution lists. That's on the slate today to sort out. To be fair, many people specified which class they wanted, but others did not. 

The best news is that the Tula Pink Butterfly pattern is now available for pre-order. I'm working with Thimbles and Things for that, although other stores will be ordering this pattern. If you want to be part of the sew-along next year hosted by me, there's still time to get signed up. 

The new version of The Butterfly Quilt by Tula Pink

If you have the original pattern, that works as well. 

The original pattern

You can pre-order your pattern or use the existing one. Send me an e-mail if you want to participate. It's a monthly sew-along on Zoom, and I'm setting up a Facebook group, and we're going to have loads of fun with this quilt. The cost for the sew-along is $25. And you are responsible for having your own pattern. 

I haven't given you an assignment in a long time. But here's one for you. If you don't have a good grasp of what you have for projects, perhaps now is the time. How many boxes will you find with good intentions inside, but you have no time or desire to make it or finish it? This is the time to deal with it. So find one or two today and make a decision. Keep it or pull it apart and file the bits. If it's one that you have already started, will you complete it? If not, then find someone to give it to or sell it to. 

This is the kind of stuff that will drive our families mad if they find all these boxes and have no clue what to do with what's inside. So the more you can sort and organize, the easier it'll be to downsize when it's time to move. I'm prepping way in advance, but that's OK. It should be a breeze when the time comes. The hardest part is going through it all the first time. 

On that note, I'm off to spin class this morning. Yeah!!! 

Have a super day!!



  1. Great work! I am so excited for you to be making progress on organizing and evaluating projects and 'stuff'. Because I know how good it feels to be done and I know you will get there 😀

    I finished my guitar quilt top yesterday-start to finish in 4 days of retreating. I failed math and started 37 too many blocks for the border-imagine, LOL. So I put them all in a bag with some leftover strips to go on the UFO shelf.

    Well, last night I got fidgety and rather than start another new project, I pulled that bag out of my travel project bin. I laid out all the parts and cut the remaining borders needed to finish all 37. Before bed I had 20 blocks done and the 17 remaining are at the machine waiting for me. I also happen to have a fabric I can use for alternating blocks so today, I'll get this to flimsy. It will be a cute donation quilt and it will NOT go onto the UFO shelf! Yippee!!!

    Happy Wednesday to you 😀

    1. WOW --- you are super productive! And KUDOS to you for dealing with those extra 37 blocks! I know what you mean about math -- there are days!!! And NO UFO -- Yeah! Have a super day!

  2. I have a closet like that too, and I have been doing the same. It is definitely not a fast project, at least not for me, but I feel good that I am making progress and actually know what I have. Some things will be rehomed as I no longer have a desire to do them.

    1. Carolyn -- it's such a comfort to know that I'm not alone in this mess. Good luck with the closet clean. It's one step at a time. There's no fast way to get through the messes that have acccumulated for years.

      Have a great weekend!!! Eliaine