Friday, December 31, 2021


Oh my goodness  -- it's New Year's Eve! I can't say "where did the year go?" because so much happened this year, and well, I'm looking forward to 2022. Bring it on!

This morning, I got a chuckle as I looked back at New Year's Eve 2020. That's the beauty of a blog -- it's easy to see what happened on any given day. Well, it appears that I was doing the same thing last year. Cleaning up Studio B. HA!! I think it will be an ongoing process for a couple more years. 

Here's how the decluttering process is working for me. First, things needed to find a home, and for the most part, things are now very organized and do have a home. Stuff without a home is what causes clutter - so does excess. So now that things have a home, it's time to refine those homes. And this year has been about dealing with the UFOs, whether that was to finish them or give them away or whatever. 

And once that is done, it's time to start all over and eliminate what is no longer needed. And then you repeat until there's nothing left!

I started the day by going geocaching. I had a couple of caches close to the house, but I couldn't snag any of them. I needed a tool like a screwdriver to lift something to get to one of the caches. Alas, I have a pair of pliers in the car but no screwdriver. I need to get better organized. I solved the clue to find another one but didn't feel like walking to find the clue. Sigh.............

So I headed into the small village close to me to see what I could find. I knew there was an Adventure Lab there. These are five-part puzzles, and you need to walk to a specific location and answer a question. I felt it was sort of cheating since you get a lot of points for doing it. 

OK -- after walking around for a VERY LONG time, I managed to get the first four parts. There was no rhyme or reason for how the checkpoints were set up  -- you had to backtrack a LOT. The final part was 2 KM from my car, so I decided to take the car. But I solved the puzzle and ended up here. 

The Credit River

There is a river that runs through our city, and there are a LOT of geocaches along the river. Actually, there's a trail that runs the length of most of the river. I need to come back in the summer as sometimes, you'll need to wade the river and well, I wasn't going to do that yesterday. 

However, these ducks had no issue with the cold water. I swear there were TWO ducks in the first picture I took, but then I couldn't find the female, and I'm not sure what happened to her. 

A mallard on the river

I had to get to the Legion to answer a question, and I spotted this. Lovely artwork on a utility box. 

Artwork on a utility box

Anyway, the final stop of that multi-part puzzle was the trail at the river. So I decided to walk down to the river. Wow -- it was so quiet, and it would be an excellent spot to take Murphy. ON A LEASH, of course. I don't think she could handle the current in the river, but not until summer!

While I was there, I decided to check if there were any regular geocaches nearby, and YES, there was one not far from where I was standing. 

Turns out that it was near this piece of history. 

The mechanism for the sluice gate

What is that? Well, there was an interpretive sign right there, and this used to be a sluice gate. I'm assuming from the picture that it's been moved. 

The interpretive sign

But that whole area beside the river used to be filled with mills. The one where I was standing was used to make textiles!! How cool is that? The mill is still there, and I'm not sure what happens in it now. That whole area is quite fascinating historically!

Here is the defunct railroad, which hasn't seen a train in quite some time!

The defunct railroad

Here are the remains of the damn -- but it broke at one point, and I think that's the time when they moved from water power to electricity for the mills. 

The remains of the damn

It's interesting how that tree grew around the sluice gate. 
The tree grew around the bar of the sluice gate mechanism

And lastly, here's the container that held the logbook. Easily accessible, but unless you were looking for it, you'd never spot it. 

The geocache

It was a glorious day out, and I had great fun. The best news is this. I'm ONE cache away from my goal for this month, and I should be able to get that today on my walk this afternoon!

My monthly score

And oops -- my mileage has been a bit excessive this week. Between cleaning and sorting and all the walking, I've packed on the miles. 

My walking mileage for the last three days

I honestly couldn't help myself as yesterday afternoon rolled around. I had already hit my goal for the day, but I would miss that afternoon walk, so I went out again! I think the daily walk thing has now become a habit! And I hear so many similar stories on the Conquerer Facebook page! I MUST get my goals set for tomorrow as the new 2022 challenge begins tomorrow, and it's aggressive, so I dare not miss a single day!

I had to do a task yesterday that I was dreading. I needed to get my vaccine certificate with the QR code. My previous one did not have that, and I couldn't just order it online as I have a different health card from most people. Long story --- procrastination on my part. Anyway, I called the number indicated and prepared to settle in for a long wait. WHOA!! Within less than 7 minutes, I had my vaccination paper in hand. And I spent a great deal of that call listening to their blurb about how to book an appointment. Good grief -- let's get to the point here! 

Anyway -- that process went very well, and I was super impressed. I didn't book an appointment -- I'm on a waitlist, and I'm OK with that. I just needed that certificate to get into the gym next week. 

OK -- so you want to see what happened downstairs? It's pretty ugly at the moment! But it has been an eye-opening experience. 

Of course - I had help. Here was a place in the house that she had never been to before and she had to get in there the moment she could! 

Mom -- it's safe 

Here's my view from the inside. I got my portable speaker set up and a stool to sit on, and I started going through project boxes. 

Inside the closet

Oh my --- this is the FIRST and probably ONLY project that DH bought for me. He later resorted to gift cards. But the staff at the store helped him pick the fabric and the pattern. Sadly, I've not started the project, but I can't bear to take this one apart, so it's back on the shelf. 

The project purchased by DH

What's this project?? It doesn't look familiar at all. Then I realized this was the project I got when Joanne (a shop owner and a friend) passed away several years ago. Her projects were divided up, and people bought them, and I bought this one blind. 

Inherited project

Here's the picture of the quilt. Well, Joanne, I love you, but I do NOT want to make this quilt. The magazine went on the shelf with the other ones of this title series. 

The quilt

The fabrics are peculiar shades - very muted - very old-fashioned looking. I sorted them by color and put them in my stash. Project box - EMPTY!

Fabrics from the unwanted project

Good lord -- I then found this box filled with sunflower fabrics. I have a thing for sunflowers - I love them, but seriously???  

Sunflower fabric

I found a stack of patterns, and it appears that anything with the word SUNFLOWER in the title was put in this box. What the heck was I thinking? All the photocopied patterns went into the recycled paper we use for the printer. 

A photocopied sunflower pattern

The bought patterns went into the pattern boxes. And another project box - EMPTY!!

Sunflower patterns

Then I found THREE boxes marked TOILE BAG. There were a ton of patterns, fabrics, and supplies to make tote bags. OK -- I don't need to keep these in a project box. If I want to make a tote bag, I'll find a pattern (or make it up) and then look for the supplies. 

Bag making supplies

Then I started just putting those project boxes that needed more sorting aside, and before long, I had this pile. 

Project boxes to pull apart

I still need to go through all these project boxes and empty them of the contents and put the contents back in the stash room. 

More projects to pull apart

This will definitely clean up that closet, and ONLY the projects that I really want to finish or work on are here. Some of the projects have not been started, but I like them, so they went back in the closet. 

At one point, I said, "screw this," and took everything NOT sorted out of the closet. And this is what it looks like. 

Projects that I'm keeping

Projects that I want to keep

Besides that pile of project boxes, I have all this to sort through. Yikes -- that's a lot, but I'll do it! The point is that even if I were to cram this all back in the closet on those seven empty shelves, it would be a significant improvement over what it was!

Still to sort through

I found a bundle of Harry Potter fabric and a bundle of cute flannels for a baby quilt. Both of those piles got put into bags and will go to Diane to see what she can conjure up for a quilt. I mean --seriously   -- I don't need the stuff!

Fabric bundles to be donated to community projects

And I had to laugh as I went back to see what happened last New Year's Eve. Yep, I had found a couple of faded cushion covers that I filled with scraps for pet mats. And yesterday, I found a faded Harry Potter cushion cover, which is now filled with scraps for pet mats!! I think that's the last cushion cover. 

A pet mat made with a faded cushion cover

As the new year approaches, there will be tons of places that will give you tasks for cleaning up your sewing space. Here's a word of caution  -- you won't be able to do it. Unless your place is already pretty neat. It has taken me YEARS of organizing and NO BUYING (or very little) to get my place to where it is, and I'm still far from being done. 

So here's my advice  --  And I'll try to write some tips each day to help you. Here's a head start on tomorrow's task - you will clean up the area around your sewing machine. I did that last night. I'll share the photos with you tomorrow. It's all about BABY STEPS  - you need to have success and results in each area, or you'll get behind and get discouraged. 

Here are some tips:

1. Determine what you need around your sewing machine  --- your tools -- snips, seam ripper, thread catcher, stiletto. You do NOT need anything else, so get rid of the other stuff. And if you NEED something else, let me know what it is. 

2. Then take everything else and FIND a home for it. Don't just put it in a basket. 

Like I said -- I'll take a picture tomorrow and show you what I've done. If you are brave enough to share your before and after space, I'd love to see it and perhaps post it!!!

Speaking of cleaning, a house around the corner keeps putting these boxes to the curb, and the city is NOT picking them up. They are new to the area, and do they not realize that they are expected to break those boxes down and put them in or beside the recycling cart?? I've got a mind to get the city on them -- it's a huge eyesore. 

A neighborhood eyesore

On that note, I've got a super busy day. Oh shoot -- I did more stuff yesterday, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see it. And get ready to blitz your sewing room!

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Pandora's back in town

What a great day!! I'm taking a couple of extra days to goof around, and then I need to buckle down as some significant deadlines are looming, and I won't be as free as I am now. That's OK -- play hard, work hard!

I started the morning off with some geocaching. I need to get 6,190 points by Monday, and I started the day with zero. 

Here's the thing with geocaching. Those little containers are EVERYWHERE, and most are so small that you wouldn't know they were there unless they are pointed out to you. Shoot -- I should have taken a photo of the tiny container I found yesterday. 

I arrive at a small park - well, it's not even a park, it's an island in the middle of two residential streets in an area that is a dead end, so no through traffic. However, I had to walk around that island for about 10 minutes before I found what I was looking for. And one is supposed to try to be inconspicuous about the process. Hmmm  - how does one do that in a bright orange jacket with a red car? 

However, I found the little tube, signed the paper, and was off. Before I left, I figured out where to go next. It was not that far away, and this next one is called a multi-stage, so you have to go somewhere, pick up some clues, figure out where to go next, and finally arrive at the final destination. 

Well, the first stage wasn't far away, so I went there and grabbed the clues, figured out the next destination. OH NO --- I'm going right back to where I found the other one. Good grief! 

Out of the car and located the next clue, back in the car to figure it all out. And then I was off to find the final, which was under this pedestrian bridge! Let's just say that I will have to start taking a small stool with me. I had to stretch way up to get it.  

The geocaching is somewhere under this bridge

It was great fun and involved a nice walk around a lake in the city, and I answered clues as I located them. If this all sounds complicated, it's not, but if you don't have the app on your phone, you can't do it. When we first started, we used handheld GPS units, and there was a LOT more paperwork involved. This way, it's all done on the phone. Much easier. 

All told, I found one regular cache, one Adventure Lab (those are easy and worth lots of points), one multi-stage (also worth more points), and one that I couldn't find. I NEED a pair of touch screen gloves as my hands were getting cold from taking my gloves on and off. 

Here's my point standing after yesterday. 

Hmm -- if I get 1,000 points on each of the next three days, I'll be good. That should be doable. I still went for my afternoon walk and ended up with almost 15 KM yesterday! Yikes! 

In case any of you think that Miss Lexi is the Princess around here, think again! OK -- she thinks she is, but she is still a silly girl and is prone to being naughty from time to time. 

I swear that her neck is on a swivel. This does not look comfortable, but she is quite happy to lay like this for hours. 

Did you want something from me? I'm busy!

Now she NEVER jumps on the furniture. That is not her nature and she hates the stairs. However, when a certain sister of hers is bothering her too much, she had no qualms about jumping up on the couch with DH. She didn't hesitate one second, she just jumped up and plopped herself down. And she stayed there for a while. Miss Murphy isn't allowed up and her nose was definitely out of joint! 

Is that Lexi on the couch? 

Once I got back from my morning of geocaching, I was ready to get to work. I got a giant customer quilt done. That one took a fair bit of time, because of the pattern (a snowflake) and the size. I'll get it trimmed today and there's another one that I'd like to do today if possible. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I thought long and hard about my green scrappy quilt. While I want these UFOs to look nice, I don't need to reinvent the wheel and create a lot of extra work AND another project to finish. So I repositioned the hexagons and this version is MUCH better and does not require any extra blocks, although I have to do something for the edges. 

Revised scrappy quilt layout

Here was my original take that I shared yesterday. That's a bit of a hot mess. And all it took was to rotate some of the triangles to get a more defined pattern. That one shouldn't take too long to sew together, but only after I figure out how to make those edges. If I make the same scrappy blocks, I don't think it will add anything, but if I put a muted monochromatic green in there (which is way easier), I think it will help to define the hexagons. 

The original layout

And that is why one needs a design wall. The one above is a portable one. There are three panels leaning against the bookcase and it works like a charm. You have to SEE your work and in most cases, you are able to fix the problem, just by looking at it. I would be totally LOST without one. 

Then I moved onto the embroidery machine where I got one more block done for the Kimberbell Christmas pillow. 

Block for the Kimberbell Candy Cane Lane pillow

OK -- I still have time, so I forged ahead to make one more block. 

A second embroidered block

All the threads are trimmed and there remains one last block and it's the easiest one with the fewest stitches so I hope to get that done later today. 

OH -- and I managed to eke out the components for the next barn block. I'm trying to keep ahead of the game. 
Components for the next barn block

However, while I was sewing, that Pandora's closet was calling my name. I really need to get that closet in order. This is what happened. 

Here's what the inside looked like before I started. Remember, I had started to work there, but did not make good progress. 

The inside of Pandora's Closet

I emptied out all the stuff that wasn't labeled or sorted. OK -- there's a lot of stuff. 
Stuff to deal with

And this is mostly what it looks like right now. 

The left side

The right side

It actually looks a wee bit different as I rearranged a few more things, but I didn't snap a photo. 

Now, one needs a plan. That center unit is the perfect size for those plastic (Iris) storage containers. It's an IKEA bookcase. So I found some more projects from another area and I've filled that center. I'll be going through it this morning, to ensure everything is labeled. No fear of running out of battery power since I now have my AC Adapter for the labeler. 

Once that center part is done with all the boxes labeled and then listed on a piece of paper, it'll be time to move onto the right-hand side with all the pizza boxes. I'll load one side up with sorted, labeled pizza boxes. 

The other side will be the odds and ends of containers, but everything MUST be in a box or other container. This plastic bag business is messy. 

I found a recurring theme in the closet so far and I have to figure out how to deal with it. I found MANY projects in there that are NOT started. 

Like these gorgeous batik charm packs with a chunk of black batik. I LOVE this, but there is no pattern. What should I do with it? I am going to put it in a labeled container - I think I know what I can do with it. 

Fabric, but no pattern

Then I found this grouping of fabric with a pattern. While I like the pattern, I'm not that thrilled with the fabrics, so these are going to go back in the stash room, the pattern goes in the pattern boxes and I get an empty tin. 

Another unstarted project

We've been speaking of making quilted clothing lately and people are sending me all sorts of inspirations. These are the leftovers from a quilted jacket that I made several years ago. Sadly, it's probably too large now, but that's OK. It's a gorgeous jacket - I should just pull it out and wear it. 

Now what to do with the leftover bits? I'll mull this one over for a bit - it would be good for zippered pouches or something like that. I'll leave it out and figure something out. See -- this is stuff that gets plunked on the current project table, but it really needs to be dealt with differently. My system is working really well, there's just too much to deal with all at once. 

Leftovers from a quilted jacket

Or it could be reassembled and become the basis of a new jacket? Hmmm -- I need to lay it out to see how much is there. The original quilted pieces were VERY generous. 

Another huge stack of fabric that was set aside for what? There are a couple of patterns at the bottom and still a quilt(s) that I want to make so it needs to find a box. 

More piles of fabric

Good grief --- here are two big hunks of canvas fabric. One with a print and one is solid. Sorry, Katheleen, I'm keeping it all! And there's a pattern to make a fabric tub. Hmm -- I don't really need that, so I'm going to empty this container and put the fabrics in the stash room. 

Another unstarted project

I'm shocked (OK -- I shouldn't be) at how many projects I set fabric aside for, but haven't gotten around to even starting them. FOr the most part, those will be pulled apart and put in the stash room. My focus is on UFOs. 

But dealing with those projects is going to make a HUGE dent in what is stored in my storage spaces or so I hope! 

This is the pull that Pandora's closet had for me this morning. As I was working on the barn block, I got sucked into the closet. Literally pulled inside!! And I set my half-done flying geese units on the shelf. Thankfully, I noticed them as I exited the closet, so I would be making new ones! 

My half "baked" flying geese units

I watched two more episodes of The Great British Bake Show and that means I'm almost done with Season Five. I finished an audiobook as well. Yep -- it was a good day. 

But now, I need to spend an hour or two in that closet to see what we can do. Once the stuff inside is labeled and sorted and nicely put on the shelves, it's going to be time to deal with what's on the floor. That is not going to be pretty. But it has to be done if I want to get things in order. 

Let's just say that the UFO club will have to run for many years before I get all the UFOs done. 

By the way, I should say that other people had the same idea for my second UFO each month. OK -- so everyone is so much smarter than I am!! Thanks for all the suggestions. I love them and if we can each help each other, that's what it's all about. 

Wouldn't it be great to enter 2022 completely organized? However, I think I've done an AMAZING job this past year and I'm getting close to getting it the way I want. OK -- that's a total lie. It's not nearly where I would like it, but it's so much better than it was. 

Actually, I would say that I'm in the refining stage of the decluttering of my sewing stuff, which is something that will likely go on for a long, long time. But that's OK. Each step makes you more ready for the next one. 

It's all very therapeutic and it'll all come together. However, I have a MAJOR reorg to happen upstairs in the next couple of weeks and I'd better get started on that. More on that another day. 

On that note, I'm out of here. Loads to get done today and there's no time to waste!

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A night on the town

OK -- this is late. Nothing I can do about it and I also didn't go to spin class. That's what happens when you go out and don't get back until late. I was awake at the usual time, and then I said "are you kidding me?" and went back to sleep. I ignored my second alarm - that still wasn't enough sleep and so the blog is going to be late. 

One more UFO is OFF the list!!

I sewed the last binding on. This was very fussy to do and I had to redo the join several times, before the binding actually fit properly. That's why it got left in the first place. And I did notice AFTER I had hand stitched the binding in place, there's one tiny spot where the binding isn't quite right, but I'm NOT fixing it. It's deep inside the long yoga bag. It's staying that way and NO ONE will know the difference. 

The binding is attached

And there's the hand stitching on the second end. 

Hand stitching is now done

There's the yoga bag and it's done and I've marked it off the UFO list. I checked and this one is on the 2020 list. The full recap will come later this week. Oh yes -- this project is COMPLETELY done. 

The yoga bag

I have to laugh at my scrap bucket on the cutting table. It's getting a bit full and I have to make some bags to be used as pet mats. There's no time for that! 

The overflowing scrap box

And this is why it takes me so long to finish a project. I put the next UFO project on the wall. It's a very srappy 60 degree triangle pattern. All the blocks are done, but when I put it on the wall, it loses a bit of its effect. 

A scrappy 60-degree quilt

Hmm -- and I had nothing prepped to fill in the sides. Can you see that I've arranged the triangles into rows of hexagons, with a row of diamonds between? Nope -- neither can I. So that means, I have a bit more work to do. I really like the idea of the hexagons, but I want them to show. I could fill it in with a monochromatic fabric, or I could make more scrappy 60-degree triangles but in a different color? I like that idea and I think that's what I'm going to do. 

You know what that means -- this one will NOT get done before the end of the year. But I'm going to pick another color -- I'm thinking yellow or blue. That would be very striking and then I can use the leftover green blocks to do something else -- I have something in mind and I seriously need to start tackling some of those scrap boxes. OR -- I could eliminate the diamonds and just offset the hexagons. I need to play. 

Do you think it's a bad thing when your furniture is in exactly the same place it got moved to when the window installers were here? Normally, I wouldn't give it a thought, but the cleaning lady is coming again and GASP -- nothing got moved back in place. I've been too busy sewing. Hmmm -- I could move a couple of things just to make it look like I did something. No pictures got hung up, no blinds got put on the windows and knowing me, this place will probably still look the same in a month. 

That's also why we still have contractor beige on the walls after living here for almost 20 years. It's NOT a priority in my life and you can see why I'm anxious to get rid of stuff. We don't need or want it and would likely not miss it!

On Monday afternoon, DH got asked if he wanted some tickets to the Raptors basketball game. Hmm -- he asked me to go with him. I'm not a big basketball fan, but these were season tickets in a good spot and I'd likely never get another chance so I said yes. 

We decided at the last minute (we were in the car driving) whether we would take the train or drive. We voted for driving - not because we were afraid to take the train, it was all a matter of timing since we decided to eat there as well. 

Yikes -- when they make these parking garages, those ceilings are LOW and there is NOT a lot of room to maneuver around the ramps. 

Low headroom is right!

I haven't been downtown in a long time and the number of condos would blow your mind! And the office buildings are all interconnected  - well that is nothing new. Here's one of the doors to the Scotiabank Arena. But NO -- that is NOT the entrance we would take. Nope -- we went around the corner to the club entrance, which are basically fancy restaurants and lounges where you can eat and drink and access the arena from them. 

The entrance to the arena

Let's just say that we almost didn't get in. Why? Because the Adobe app on my phone crashed and that is where my vaccine certificate is. ACK!!!!  It literally would not open. So I had to reboot my phone and then it worked. There were ZERO lines so it wasn't a big deal. 

It's quite a labyrinth under the stands, but we eventually found the club that was associated with the tickets we had. 

We decided to eat dinner down there and I will NOT tell you how much the meal was. Way overp-priced, but it was good. I think we went to the movies for the same price as my plate of chicken!!

My chicken

But the tickets were in a good spot, almost center court, six rows back (not counting the rows on the floor). So it was all worth it. 

Almost close enough to touch

And the first half was OK, but the second half was exciting and it was a close game. So many fouls! They ended up losing by 5 points. 

Basketball game

There were NOT a lot of people and yes the players were mostly the secondary players -- I didn't recognize a single name, but then, it's not my game! But they were VERY serious about wearing masks. They had people with LARGE RED STOP SIGNS and they weren't afraid to talk to people about wearing their masks properly. No one got kicked out that I saw, but you got a warning and the second time, you got expelled! That's harsh, but necessary. 

It was a bit of a hassle to get out that tiny parking lot, but we were home in less than one hour so that was OK. 

As we drove past the CN Tower, I snapped this photo which was pretty cool. 

CN Tower

And on our way through the maze of buildings, we passed by this giant light sculpture.  I LOVE the colors. 

Giant light sculpture

On the way out, I snapped this photo.  WOW  -- that's amazing and you could make a quilt out of those colors/patterns. Do you see the secondary patterns in there? 

Well, that's a wrap for today. I'm not sure if I'll get to the sewing machine today. I need to get out and do some geocaching. I have until Monday to meet my monthly quota and I haven't started. So that's a priority. And perhaps I'll put some furniture back in place. 

Have a super day!!!!