Thursday, December 31, 2020

Let's just do it!

I'm fired up! I'm on a roll, and there's nothing that can stop me!!

I can't even keep up with posting the pictures, but I'll try. 

Studio U looks amazing! But you have to wait until tomorrow for the pictures. While I was upstairs, I unearthed a couple more trouble spots, and so I dealt with those as well. Studio B is looking pretty good, as well. There's not much left. I know I keep saying that, but this time it's real. 

Oh, there's loads more to do, but at least, hopefully, after today, everything will have a home. When I feel the need to sort, I can pick one area, pull it apart and sort it out. But like things are together, and things have a home. That was my goal for 2020, and yes - I'm down to the wire, but I did it - well, I'm going to do it!

My Cherrywood challenge got entered yesterday. Well, in advance of the 11 PM deadline. At least 12 hours - that's huge! Now we wait and see if they decide that they like it. 

I wonder what the next theme will be? I have to say that I LOVE the Cherrywood fabrics. The colors are gorgeous, the hand is beautiful and well - just nice to work with. And I love doing the challenges - more on those another day. 

OK - let's get to the serious stuff for today. 

Here's a bit of handwork that I got done during Monday's Sewing. 

This is the LAST block for Vintage Christmas. The embroidery is done, and now the blocks are ready to sew together. I was hoping to have that quilt top together, as well as Christmas Fig and Summer Moon, but alas, that hasn't happened. BUT the tidying is way more important!

The choo-choo train block from Vintage Christmas

I also got the antennae stitched on one of the three butterfly blocks that I need for my UFO homework on Quilter's Patch. 

One butterfly block - done!

In my archival digs, I unearthed a huge pile of Canadian themed fabric. What was I going to do with it? No idea - so it's now shelved. 

A stack of Canada themed fabric

I found two pincushions. Good thing because right now, I only have one in Studio B, and it's not enough!

Two found pincushions

I also started to quilt this quilt. I've agonized over how I was going to quilt it for MONTHS. After watching a video the other day, I decided to quilt a spiral using my walking foot. It's not the kind of quilting that I like as I'm constantly rotating that quilt, and I didn't baste it! Ooops!!! So far, the back looks OK. But I'm not sure I'd do this again. 

Quilting a spiral on a quilt

Here's a detail of the quilting. I was hoping to get it finished yesterday, but well - I was rather busy with other stuff. 

The spiral quilting

And yes - I'm sneaking in a few minutes here and there to work on the jigsaw puzzle. The steering wheel is done, and I'm working on the sky. Slow and steady!!

Progress on the jigsaw puzzle

I found these quarter square triangles rejected from another project, so I decided to trim them. The ones that were sewn are trimmed and ready to be used somewhere. There's still a bit of sewing to do to finish them up, but the machine is set for quilting, and I didn't want to change the thread. I have a couple of tins of random quarter square triangles, so these units will join the others when I'm finished with them. 

Trimming quarter square triangles

I decided the best thing for this doll quilt is to chop off the damaged side, rebind it by machine and donate it for a pet mat. That got moved to the current projects table, which is about to explode, but that's OK. 

Fixing the doll quilt

I also unearthed this large orange tray, which is not being used to its full potential. I found quite a bit of yardage that had been set aside for what? Oh, some project, to be sure. But it's all filed in the stash room now. 

A tray filled with yardage

I seem to have a problem with tags - the tag is still on it, and we know how long this has been since these guys designed products. One of them has since passed on, I believe. 

The tag on the orange tray

I also unearthed this bag, which is perfect for handwork. Yes - it says Worm Binder on it - EXTREME no less. What does that mean? The worms are extreme?? 

A worm binder

Inside I found a brand new pair of scissors and a $20 bill. I tried to take a picture of it, but of course, that doesn't work. But it's an OLD one - pre-plastic money days. I guess I should spend it. 

Brand new pair of scissors

I added some pockets to hold DMC floss in the worm binder, and it's filled with other pockets that are perfect for small handwork projects. I'm trying to get myself organized to do handwork in the evening when I'm tired of sewing. With all the tidying up, I freed up an easy chair upstairs that is very comfortable. I was happy as a clam last night as I ripped apart a tote bag that I want to fix. Oh yes -- I'm so busy remaking or repairing stuff that I've no time to make the new stuff. You know what? I'm OK with that. I find it very rewarding to rescue something. 

DMC floss inside the worm binder

Let's see what else I found. Oh yes - the leftover bits from my red and white log cabin. Why didn't I put this away? No idea, but all is shelved now. I even started a new scrap box for red and white. 

Red and white scraps

Oh, plastic bags do not last forever. This one just ripped apart in my hands, and all the contents spilled on the floor. 

Plastic bag accident

You're kidding me???? More thread and zippers? I swear - I could start a zipper store!!

Zippers and thread

And I must have had a thing for pink and green at some point. I think this was for more zippered pouches. All of the items are shelved now. 

Green and pink fabrics

I found this basket of Stonehenge fabric. I was going to make a second Kaleidoscope quilt from it. Seriously?? Why would I want another big quilt? I found four blocks and loads of yardage. 

A quilt block

Oh - I think there's something wrong with one of the blocks. I'll add that to my pile of stuff to pull apart tonight. Then I'll repair it and make a table topper with the four blocks. Then it can be done!

Four quilt blocks - one is not like the others

Not only do I rescue fabric, but it appears that I rescue other things as well. I bought these tiebacks - one is missing the finial. I like to use the tie backs to hang up my quilts. So what can I replace the finials with? Door knobs?  

Silver tie-backs

I did manage to fill and sew up three pet mats. I'm accumulating a stack of these, so I will have to arrange a drop-off in the next couple of weeks. 

Three pet mats

So I had a shelf/quilt rack hanging on the wall, and one day, months ago, I went downstairs to find the shelf had fallen off the wall. 

A shelf used to hang here

It appears that the plugs that I used did NOT open in the wall to secure the item. Now, why did that happen? Three plugs failed??

The plug didn't open

The wall has looks empty ever since, and I want to hang a quilt in that area. The shelf is also a quilt rack. I've decided to use the silver tie backs to hang a new quilt. I do have a black rod - I mean, where will you find a silver curtain rod? For now - it'll have to do. 

A space to hang a quilt

See -- this is the plug on the back of the rack- it barely opened. Maybe the screw was too small for the plug. That's probably what happened. 

The plug didn't open

Shoot - I thought I took a better picture of the quilt rack. But it's up for grabs - FOR free. If anyone wants it - you have to be able to come to pick it up. It's about 36" long - it might be a bit longer. The quilt goes under that bar with the three knobs on it. 

Quilt rack up for grabs

So this is what the cutting table looked like this morning - I decided to put everything left on the floor on the table so I could deal with it today. 

The stuff left to put away

And this is what the area at the bottom of the stairs looks like. Yeah!!!! Isn't all that space so inviting??

The space at the bottom of the stairs

So now I have room to set up a table with mixed media stuff that I want to work on. 

My mixed media table

As I was setting up the table, I spotted this box of stuff. Oh, god - another box. Well - it has a variety of things in it. But since I'm in the mood, I might as well deal with it today. 

One more box of crap to deal with

It's a box of odds and ends - you know the stuff you have no idea what to do with, so it goes in a box. Well, today is the day! Let's just do it and get it over with. Then I can start the new year with an immaculate space. 

So I did the unthinkable - I emptied the box onto the cutting table. 

Now the cutting table is FULL of stuff

But I'm in the mood - let's run with it. I finally decided that I NEED to throw this old ironing board cover out. I thought perhaps I could salvage a part of it for an ironing pad. Seriously?? I don't need one, so it goes. Phew - I'm going to need a lot more of that discipline today. 

Old ironing board cover - gone

I spotted this plastic cabinet. One of the wheels got broken off when I loaned it to someone. GRRR!! OK - lesson learned - do not lend stuff! It's going to remain upside down for the moment, but at some point, I'll think of some way to fix it. HEY - I could jam a piece of wood in that slot. OH - I could put a caster on a piece of wood and put it in that hole. HEY - I have a couple other of these cabinets that are broken. Let's hope that I find the casters. 

And here's something else I'd like to get rid of. I have FIVE tuffet forms that are looking for a home. They are cut, with a batting skirt on the outside. The wooden bases are predrilled, and all the supplies for a total kit are available if anyone wants one. NO - these are not free. Perhaps we can have a small class - there's only five, and that would get rid of them. 

Tuffet forms

Well, I'm sure I'm going to unearth a whole lot more treasures today!! Don't forget to set your timer for 10 minutes and grab something to tidy up. It's going to take a lot of 10-minute sessions, but when you're down to the last bit like I am - well, you can't imagine how euphoric it feels to get to this point. I'm a very happy camper!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Do you swear to tell the whole truth?

 OK -- so I have a wee confession to make. Remember the pile of stuff in the middle of the floor in Studio B? The pile that I've been sorting through. The one that I'm almost finished with? Well, there's a wee bit more. Since I was in this frame of mind, I decided that I should be honest with myself and you and bring the remainder of the stuff that got stashed upstairs while we renovated. 

I did NOT take a picture - hey - confessions only need to go so far!! 

But I was busy as a beaver yesterday and this morning. I found a couple of EMPTY spots in the stash room, and I figured out creative ways to make most of what I had brought down disappear. No cardboard box packing was needed. 

This is what remains. I swear!!!

What's left to put away

Trust me - I'm ecstatic. This means that the floor in one of the upstairs bedrooms is now clear of my crap! There is a lot to deal with - well, UFOs to be finished at some point, but for the moment, it all has a home, and I'm not adding to the mess, and I'm working away at finishing them. I'm a happy camper. Today, my goal is to finish putting away what's left on the floor and clean up the cutting table. 

The cutting table

This shouldn't take too long, but hidden underneath that is a container filled with crap. That'll slow me down a bit. 

Stuff to deal with today

My goal is to get both Studios tidying up and everything put away to start the new year with a clear head and few distractions. I'm so close!

I thought you'd get a kick out of some of the stuff that I came across. I found this bundle of fabric - all set aside for a project. I think it was one of McKenna Ryan's wall hangings. Well, the pattern wasn't to be found. I also found some bits to another pattern that I was working on, and that got filed away in the right spot. Amazing how things get scattered. So all this fabric is now back in the appropriate fabric basket. 

Fabric that got filed back into the stash

Seriously???  More tractor fabric? This is mostly John Deere fabric, and OH MY - there's a whole pile of squares cut out. Well, I certainly do NOT need another tractor quilt. I put it all back in the bag, and this is going in the donation pile. Diane is looking for more kits to sew. Guess what? She'll be sewing the tractor quilt together. There are enough large pieces for the backing and binding. 

Tractor fabric

Then I found these three pieces. They are GORGEOUS. A solid pink and a green with that green/pink floral. I remember seeing a quilt made with it in some store. Didn't buy the pattern, because I'll remember how to make the quilt. HA - I don't even remember which store I bought the fabric from. These three pieces got shelved in the appropriate fabric baskets. Seriously??? This is a HUGE HUGE issue. Why couldn't I see this years ago??? It doesn't matter - I know now, and I've stopped making the mess worse. 
More fabric got put away

AHA -- a calendar from 2015. I guess it's not much use any longer. I did tuck in on a shelf - I know - I should have pitched it. I'll look through it later and check for anything that I want to keep as inspiration. 

A calendar from 2015

And how about this treasure? It's a tin box to put treasures in. Read what it says on the box! It's hilarious. I put it in the mixed media section of Studio B - I'm sure I'll find a good use for it there. 

Treasure box

On top of all that sorting and filing, I got two customer quilts done. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Second customer quilt - DONE

I need to trim them and get them ready for pickup. They are sitting on the cutting table, making it look worse than it is. 

I also found this memory pillow that I had made in honor of my grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary. The pink flowers are photo transferred  - I "cut" them from a table cloth that my grandma crocheted. I think the hanky belonged to my grandfather. I'll put it in a better place than the bottom of a project bag filled with odds and ends. 

Memory cushion cover

OK - so you are NOT allowed to judge me here. But I also found this cushion cover. It belonged to M and hung out in her room. She has a massive window seat in front of the massive window. Let's just say that the sun faded the fabric a wee bit. 

Faded cushion cover

And you can see that the back is also faded. So why did I hang onto it? I've no idea. But what can I do with it now? It went into the pet mat area. I'll fill it with scraps and zip it shut. A cat will be quite happy with it. 

So really, why did I keep this totally faded pillow cover? I do believe that M chose the fabrics and perhaps even sewed part of it. One of the few things she sewed. Well, it's time to let sentiments go. Take a picture and move on! 

The faded back of the cushion cover

Then I found this small doll quilt. Good grief - one of my previous dogs (certainly not the well behaved Lexi or Murphy) decided to chew the side out of this quilt. I had partially removed the binding so I could fix it. Fix it? How was I planning on doing that?  And it's a printed panel, so it's not precious, but I did hand quilt it!

A doll quilt that needs repair

Two ways to fix it - take all the binding off and cut off the part that was chewed away, trim the remainder borders to the same width and let it go. Oh - I could also just make that one border narrower than the rest, then I don't cut off my hand quilted stars. I could check to see if I have more of the same fabric and take the border off and add a new one. 

I put it in the current project pile (I know - I should NOT have done that). I'll figure it out and let you know what I decide. 

I loved the comments from yesterday. Some people went through this process years ago and are now sitting with a handful of projects they are carrying over to next year. That's going to be me in a "few" years. Trust me - I have every intention of getting this stuff done! 

Some people don't care what they leave behind. That's OK, but even having a company come in and deal with your stuff? They will be overwhelmed, and most stuff will go dirt cheap just to get rid of it. I love what I bought too much to let that happen to it. Plus, the time it would take for someone to go through and sort the stuff ready for a sale would negate any monies raised. But that's my thoughts. 

I know that many of you have been motivated and continue to be motivated as we work through the messes we've created. The thing to remember is that we are NOT in this alone. We each have our issues - why and how we created the mess. The big thing now is to deal with it - whatever process you have for that!!

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm motivated - the end of the year is fast approaching, and I want those two studios to be ready before the end of the year. I might even let a little of that motivation spill over into the office. 

Did you notice how easy it is for me to ignore the office and work on other stuff? Oh, yes - I'm very good at it. 

So set a timer and see what you can accomplish in 10-minutes? Don't worry - it's going to take a long time, but you're going to be much happier when you get it done!

Have a super day!!!  


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

If I could dispense one piece of advice..................

 I know that no one likes to be told what to do. I know that for a personal fact. However, I would like to dispense one piece of advice to you all. I'm not asking you to act upon it - I want you to reflect on it and if your conscience says you should heed the advice, then do so. If your conscience says - "who cares?" then let it go. 

The advice will apply to EVERYONE regardless of your age, your job, or your hobby. So what is this amazing piece of advice? It's simple. 

CLEAN UP your crap! 

Are you laughing? I'm not! This is a serious issue. For the last five years or so, I've been struggling to go through the crap that I've accumulated, and I can't imagine a family member or a friend having to deal with everything that I've amassed. It's daunting for me, the person who created the mess. Imagine someone else having to deal with it? They'd open a box - see paper or fabric and wonder - what was it all about? Is it good? They have no way of knowing. 

I'm happy to report that I'm ALMOST done with the mess in Studio B. Let me qualify that - I'm almost through that pile of stuff sitting in the middle of the floor. 

The remainder of the pile to deal with

I found a few places to put some of the projects, found lots of fabric that just needed to be put away. I haven't had to pack anything into a cardboard box. Imagine how much extra time I'm going to have by NOT having to manage this mess. 

Since I'm in the mood, here's my top ten list of dealing with clutter. 

  1. Do NOT buy anything unless you have an immediate need for it - doesn't matter what it is - don't buy it unless you need it. 
  2. Do NOT gift things to people unless you know 100% that they want that item. Cash works great! How many "gifted" things are amongst your possessions that you don't want or never used? 
  3. If you do buy something, ensure that it has a home BEFORE you buy it. No home - don't buy it. 
  4. Depending on the item, if it's something that you already have a lot of (like clothes), perhaps you get rid of one item before you put the new one away. 
  5. When you buy something, buy only what you need. There's no need to stockpile fabric for when you retire - you already have way more than you'll ever get around to sewing in your lifetime!
  6. Avoid impulse purchases. How many things in your sewing room were impulse purchases and that you've never used? These tend to be the cute items that are located right by the cash. 
  7. When you bring the item into your house/studio - make sure that you put it away! 
  8. While it's OK to work on a few things, try to avoid spreading things out everywhere. 
  9. Think twice before starting a new project. Are you almost done with the previous one, or are you shelving the previous one? That's just going to become a UFO if you shelve it!
  10. Keep like-things together. 

I never used to heed any of the above. I didn't care - I flitted from one project to another, easily shelving anything I didn't have time to finish. 

When we had the water issue (twice) in the basement, I realized that I was in over my head. Should anyone have to clean up that mess, it would be a sad day with much of it going into the landfill because projects weren't together, pieces were missing, and the mess was overwhelming. You pick the theme - it was all there. 

I'm happy to report that I'm getting there. I've made HUGE leaps and bounds in the decluttering and organizing area. I've got a LONG way to go yet. But what I accomplished this year was to get rid of the last of the junk, grouped like things together,  and got things off the floor and into their homes. What I have to focus on in the coming year will be to sort through the various areas to see if I can further cull or sort or finish. 

For instance, the threads are in one area, but what do I have? Can it be better organized so I will use it faster? I did that with the backings a while back, and OH MY - what a difference that made. No need to run out and buy backing fabrics when I already had so much. And now that the pieces are neatly folded and labeled, it's a snap to find something. 

So I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm getting close. 

I just do NOT want anyone to have to deal with my mess like my mother left for us. Yes - I know the office has to be dealt with and I'm very slowly working on it. It's much better than it was. 

What did I find as I sorted through those last few baskets of stuff? I found a bag of stuff from my trip to PEI in 2015!!!!  I know - we rented a house for a month, so I took my sewing machine and lots of stuff to work on. This is a bag of stuff that needs to be sorted and put away. Seriously??? Five years??? 

Leftovers from projects worked on five years ago

I found my bell! I was looking for this a while back so it could go to a quilting retreat - there's nothing like the sound of a bell to announce a finished project! By the way, I rang that bell yesterday. Why? My Cherrywood challenge is DONE!!! The binding is on - stitched by hand even. Today, I need to write the artist's statement and upload the pictures and the statement. 

Ring that bell

I now have quite a collection of IKEA bags. Should anyone need a bag, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be hanging onto them - I guess if I ever have to move all those quilts, these will come in handy. But note how neat and tidy that shelf is. Well, except for those power bars hanging off the side. That closet in the basement got sorted out a while back. 

A storage closet filled with IKEA bags

What else did I find? I found this rug, which I think is finished. It was a class with Al Cote. It's made by layering fabrics, stitching through the layers, and cutting away. 

Raw edge rug

Did anyone take that class? Were the edges finished? Or just left raw? I guess it doesn't really matter, although I think it would be nice if there was binding on it. So why wasn't it being used? Perhaps I should cut more of the larger yellow pieces away and leave the yellow as the focus. Yes - I might do that and then find some binding for it. So - this is going in the current project pile. I know - I shouldn't, but I'm going to. 

Raw edges or do they need binding?

And I found a box with all this thread that had been set aside for this class. Seriously??? I can't believe how irresponsible I was! But that's OK - I'm over it - I've changed my ways. But sheesh - you think I could clean up a bit more. And all the scraps from cutting away the layers were also in the box. They are now filed in their respective homes. 

Thread for a project

Then I found this container with tons of stuff to make zippered pouches. Seriously??? When am I going to make zippered pouches, and why would I make them? So the ribbon, patterns, fabric got filed in their respective places. 

Zippered pouch supplies

Yep - more thread, zippers, and bias tape. All is put away. 

More supplies that got put away

And then there are weird things. There's a black metal rod - what's it for? No idea. What about that large screw? It looks like a leveling screw for something - but what? The same with those grey caps - they are for the feet of something, but what? 

I might just keep a container for those odd things, but you have to know when to let it go! I might just have a quick peek around the house to see if I can find something that those things fit. And then, if no success, it's time to let them go. 

It's small stuff like that that create clutter. Lots and lots of clutter. Why do we hang onto it all???? 

I've got more treasures to share with you tomorrow. It just boggles my mind that I let this clutter accumulate. I guess I saw it but didn't think it was important. Now I realize how silly I was. I know there's lots of this kind of stuff to deal with in the office. The crap of life that accumulates, and somehow it's left for MOM to sort. 

But the best news of all this is that I realized about five years ago that I had created a monster and I'm dealing with it! I don't have a picture handy to show you how far I've come, but it's HUGE. And next year will be even better! I'm not adding to the mess - that's the big thing. If you can't deal with what you already have, why do you need more? 

One day, the fabric companies are going to realize that! But I doubt it - they are in it for the money after all! They just keep producing more and more pretty stuff. Well, I'm done with that random buying!

So you can take my advice to heart and have a serious look at your space/house. What would your family/friends do if you didn't come home? How much would be tossed into the landfill? How much would be rescued? And how long would it take them to find homes for the stuff? Remember - most of them probably are not quilters and would have NO IDEA what treasures you have!

Alternatively, you can toss my advice in the garbage. I just wouldn't want to be part of the team (yes - a team will be required!) to clean out the mess. 

And on that happy note, I've off to get some work done today. The next quilt is loaded, and I've got to fire up the embroidery machine—more computer work and, of course - more cleaning and sorting. 

Have a fabulous day!!!!