Sunday, January 31, 2021

Jacob's Ladder


Do you ever have those days when you're so excited and so much is going on that you feel like a kid in a penny candy store with ten cents??? OK - so perhaps I'm dating myself by saying that, but seriously - so much stuff is going on, and it's not even huge stuff. Yep - the little things in life just make me so happy. 

I see that Rose has read the six books in the Rockton series I mentioned yesterday by Kelley Armstrong. I didn't have a chance to listen to the audiobook yesterday, although it did niggle in the back of my mind and today is the Virtual Retreat all day, so no books either. I think that means the book is going back, and I'll have to get it again. It's kind of creepy, and I had no idea that there was more than one book! Good to know - loads of books to read!

I was a voracious reader when I was a kid. Oh yes - I wanted to read EVERY book in the world. Yep - a sheltered life! Then I didn't read for a long time, and years ago, I got back into it, but I mostly read mainstream stuff - the big-name authors that write a lot of cookie-cutter stuff. 

Then I started venturing out and finding new authors, and WOW - that has really opened my eyes. SO many amazing authors, and some debut novels are awesome. So if you're stuck on reading the same type of thing over and over, try a new author. I'm glad I did. 

Here's my erratum for today - my jeans? They are NOT fleece lined - they are flannel lined. It's like the flannel is laminated to the denim, and well - for cold days walking outside, they are the best!!! It's much warmer today, but still, minus 7 - I don't think I need them for that temperature. 

I had FOUR Zoom sessions yesterday. Yes - I'm back in the saddle and loving every minute of it! One of my calls had close to 100 people - the maximum that I can handle with my subscription. What great fun we had! Can you tell I love to teach? 

And we had LOADS of fun at the Virtual Retreat last night. Seriously - we talk about everything and anything. I can't tell you what we talked about - you have to join to find out. We had a couple of new people or people that we haven't seen in a while, including Jill, who caught COVID and is in for the long haul on her recovery. It's been months, and she's still on oxygen. That's the first person I know who has a serious round of COVID. Speedy recovery!!!

Oh my -- I've been looking for something for a while, and guess what? I found it yesterday. Yes - I really need to make a list of everything that is missing to really celebrate when I find it. The list will also help me know if I'm making progress!! What did I find this time? Well, a while back (way before COVID), I bought a small book to store passwords. Yep - they say don't write them down, but seriously - who is in my house to steal the book? 

My new password book

When I searched through a basket of stuff on the table to find something else (which I did find), I found the little book. It's now with the crappy book where I currently store my passwords. I'll transfer them over at some point. But at least I know where it is now. 

Now here's something else that's missing. I was looking for a ruler to do a specific job the other day. I found the ruler, but NO instructions. I thought there was a book that went with the ruler. Oh - I found the book, but it was for an entirely different ruler. So how does one use this ruler???  No idea. It's a Pineapple Ruler by Nancy Smith and Lynda Milligan. Remember them from way back? They were at the forefront of quilting when I started. I might find instructions in one of their books? OR - I might find it in one of the boxes of crap in this office. In the meantime, it went back on the shelf - I found something else that'll work instead. 

Pineapple Ruler

So I got a question from a student about the Jacob's Ladder block. One of the projects I'm currently teaching is Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. HEY -- heads up - it's been so popular that I think we're going to do another Jen Kingwell class. Let me know which one you want to do - I've got TWO in mind and well - let's do it. We buy these darn books, and then we never make them. So a sew-along is perfect. Wait for details on that, but let me know which Jen Kingwell book you want to do. I've been checking out the homework that the class has posted on our private Facebook group, and well - they are having way too much fun!!!!!

So here's the block from the book that is called Jacob's Ladder. The idea is that you made nine of these and sew them together to get a larger block. This one block is small, by the way - it finishes at 4" in the quilt. 

Jacob's Ladder, according to Jen Kingwell

Nine Jacob's Ladder blocks

So I decided to check in my NEW Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns to see what Barbara Brackman says about Jacob's Ladder blocks. If you want your version of the book, ask your local quilt shop to order it in. The Canadian distributors now have the book in stock, and your shop can order it from them. 

This is the line drawing from the original book. There are no colored pictures in this book, and to me - this is Jacob's ladder. You can see how the above block resembles it, but it's not the same. There are NO Quilt Police governing the naming of quilt blocks or the names of quilts. You want to call it Jacob's Ladder? You call it Jacob's Ladder. 

An outline drawing of Jacob's Ladder quilt block

By comparison, this is what you get in the new version. You get a colored picture (thanks to the beauty of Electric Quilt 8), and there is a line drawing, also done in EQ8. It looks so much nicer done on the computer!

Jacob's Ladder 

And guess what? Jacob's Ladder, or at least the block above, is known by other names as well. Go figure - that's why we can never figure this stuff out. Hence, the book is invaluable for research in the quilt world. If I didn't like the research part, I'm not sure I'd need or want the book. But I get intrigued by small things, and I once had to find a very obscure quilt pattern for someone. Here are two instances when I needed my book. TWO  - in the twenty years, I've had it! But's that OK. Here's the second one. 

Other names for the block pictured above

To find a block in the book, you must use the index in the back, and here's the list of Jacob's Ladder blocks from the index in the new book. 

Other versions of Jacob's Ladder from the index

Wow - that's a lot of blocks, so I checked them out and found a couple of blocks that were way off the mark for me for Jacob's Ladder. But Barbara scoured thousands of sources of quilts, patterns, and other reference material and put down every reference she could find. It must have been a HUGE undertaking. The latest book wouldn't be quite so bad. 

Here's one more style of Jacob's Ladder!!! Not even close. But you have to remember that a LOT of blocks were named locally for various reasons. It makes sense that there were be many different blocks under the same name. 

Another version of Jacob's Ladder

I got the binding on the customer quilt last night. Perhaps I shouldn't say that because now she will want to pick it up, and well, I'm not doing pickups today! 

I started on the homework sewing for February and made pretty good progress. Here's my stack of stuff that's prepped and ready to sew. It's going to be a sewing marathon all week!!!

Ready for a sewing marathon with MANY prepped projects

Well, on that note, it's off to get ready for the Virtual Retreat. If you get a chance to join us - then come on in and say hi!! We'd love to meet you. And then you get to hear what we're talking about!!

Sunday, January 31   FROM 10 AM - 8 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, January 30, 2021

A correction or two


Well, it seems that I goofed. I put the wrong link for QUILTsocial yesterday. Thanks to Gwen for alerting me to that. I did fix it and hopefully got the right link in there. I'm going to list all the links for last week later today. That will solve all problems. 

Thanks to Carmen, we now know with 100% certainty what that "container" building is. The structure is the sales center for the Mattamy Homes development on Ninth Line.  It was designed by a famous Architect Frank Gehry.   The development is called The Nine.

The sales center is made with containers.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that building. This photo doesn't do justice to it - it's stunning. I wonder what will become of it when the development is done? And yes, during my entire walks with the girls yesterday, I envisioned how I would make my own container house. Since those things are HUGE (the most common length is 20 or 40 feet, the width is 8 feet, and the most common height is 8½ feet, but there are high cubes at 9½ feet. There is tons of information on the internet, but here's the link to one place.  Hmm - I'd need 5 containers to have a nice studio and another five to live in! I wonder how much they cost??? 

Oh - I should say that I dug out the fleece-lined jeans, and they slipped on right over my regular jeans. And I was TOASTY warm for the entire hour that I was outside. They were a good investment. I don't wear them that often - thank god, but when I need to be outside for a long time, they are great. Although with two pairs of pants, I did feel like the Michelin man. Actually, it reminded me of when we were kids. We did NOT have snow pants, so when we wanted to go out in the snow, we wore two pairs of pants. I particularly remember this in grade school. We lived and went to school in the country, and I remember coming in from recess or lunch, and there would be tons of laundry hanging in the classroom to dry so it would be ready to wear home when you had to walk two miles! AH - back to those character building days!!

Fleece-lined jeans

And my double booking issue? Seems like the events are on the same DAY, but not the same time. And wouldn't you know that I found that out AFTER I alerted one of them. SIGH......   So I must get all that arranged properly today. 

While I was planning on telling you about my research story - I'll have to wait until tomorrow. If I don't do the prep work during the day, there's not much time in the morning. And seriously, I've already walked 1,324 steps this morning? Wow - how did that happen? So I'll share the crazy day I had yesterday and some of the UFO.

I have an excellent audiobook that I'm listening to, which motivated me to stay in Studio B and cut and quilt. This is what happened in the quilting area. 

Customer quilt - DONE

This is a beautiful quilt and guess what? She hand-stitched the entire thing together! I know!!!!

Then I was on a roll, and that audiobook will be returned automatically in two days, so I need to be focused. So I loaded another quilt, and I was off. 

Customer quilt - DONE

This is one of my favorite quilts, and it's flannel on both sides, so it's going to be toasty warm. 

Which is what we could use right now at our house. I suspect our thermostat isn't working properly. Even though the temperature was set to 70, it never went above 68 even though the furnace kicks in. As a test, I set it even higher, and nope - it doesn't budge past 68. I suspect I need to call to get it fixed. 

Trust me - I've checked the schedule numerous times, and I can't see that anything in the schedule is causing this. 

All the customer quilts are trimmed, and I need to get in touch with them for pickup. One does need the binding sewn on, and that's a job for later today. The next quilt is loaded on the long arm for later today. 

I managed to empty all the silk and velvet from this container, so it's now up for grabs should anyone want it. Otherwise, it'll be donated. The tub - that is - not the silk and the velvet!

A container up for grabs

And the scraps are overflowing. I didn't take a picture of the stack of boards with projects cut out and ready to sew, but it's HUGE. I have two more projects to prep today, and then I'm ready for a MULTI-DAY sewing marathon. Actually, it'll take days to get everything sewn, but that's OK. 

The overflowing scrap bin

Oh shoot, and now I've run out of time! So let me share at least my UFO show and tell with you. I'm working on Quilter's Patch by Laundry Basket Quilts. It was a group class a couple of years ago. I've been slowly working on the blocks. I really don't understand why I kept putting the homework of these projects on the back burner. Many complex UFOs are sitting there because of this. I'll find my list one day, and then you'll see what I mean. 

Anyway, the main part of the quilt is done, and now it's time to work on the borders. That's my homework for this past month. I need to add that border to the list of stuff to get done! 

The center of Quilter's Patch

I spent a LOT of time doing the applique for the roof of the garden shed. But it's done, and I like it. 

The roof of the garden shed

Wait a minute - do you see who is in the garden????  Those darn girls of mine!!! The original pattern has a cat on it, and well, we don't have cats at our house. So I made Lexi and Murphy!!! They are so cute - both on the quilt and in real life. 

Lexi and Murphy in the garden quilt

Last night was author night at the library, and I was introduced to two new authors - Andrew Pyper and Catherine McKenzie

Andrew Pyper and Catherine McKenzie

And let's not forget the other new author I discovered that I'm currently reading - Kelley Armstrong. I'm reading the first one in the Rockton series. Wow -- a weird premise, but very good and intriguing. 

These are ALL Canadian authors. I believe next week is Jennifer Robson. It's free, and you don't have to be a Mississauga resident to listen in. Here's the link if you want to get signed up.    Hmmm - how to make a quilt from all these amazing books??? I'm so glad that I got out of the loop of reading the same authors in series all the time. It's great to have a change with some VERY unique plots. 

Oh yes -- here are the QUILTsocial links. 

Monday - introducing the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

Tuesday - features and accessories

Wednesday - four great features

Thursday - using decorative stitches in sewing mode

Friday - using decorative stitches in embroidery mode

HEY -- if you think this is just about buying a new machine, think again. I always fill my blog posts with all kinds of tips and things that technically you can use NOW. Check the links out!!!!!

Don't forget that TONIGHT is the first part of the Virtual Retreat. And then all day tomorrow. Here are the links. 

SATURDAY, January 30 at 6 PM - 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

SUNDAY, January 31 at  10 AM - 8 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

On that note, I'm out of here. Have a SUPER day!!!


Friday, January 29, 2021

The old and the new


Wow -- it was like Grand Central Station at my house yesterday. People picked up quilts, pet mats, the cabinet, UPS stopped by to pick up a package, and I had a drop off as well - door to door delivery from a quilt shop! But not by the quilt shop - the package was pony expressed by a friend. It was crazy, and I was hoping that no one picked up the wrong thing. But all is well. 

The little cabinet? It's already has a new home and a new purpose. I love that someone found a use for it right away. I had to laugh because as I saw what the new owner put in it, I thought - OH - I could have done that. But I have other storage options for my thread. I don't need this!! There's nothing to give away today. Sorry. 

The little cabinet has been repurposed

Despite the cold weather, I walked 11 KM yesterday, and most of that was outside. I did cut the walks a bit short in the morning, and the girls were not happy. But seriously - if you dress properly, it's not so bad, and I haven't even reverted to my fleece-lined jeans, although I might put them on this morning because it's even colder. And once you get out, it's really not bad. The sun was out in the afternoon, and that walk was glorious. There's nothing like a bit of fresh air to brighten up your day. I even went to the grocery store and brought the groceries home in my backpack. 

Although at one point, I thought I was going to be blown away. I hadn't gotten to the store yet, and the wind was behind me. All of a sudden, a gust blew the flap of the backpack up behind my head, and I felt like I was going to start to fly any minute!

I had an errand in the car, so I decided to wear my "new" shoes. Then I went for my walk in the new shoes, and they were quite comfortable. Not the best support, so I won't do that often, but it was fun. I didn't even notice, but it was the first thing DH noticed when I got back. This kind of thing drives him crazy. He's so conservative it hurts. I can't wait until we can go out again for dinner. I'm wearing those new shoes! 

My new shoes

Yesterday was my fourth car trip this year. I don't need much and well - there's a stay at home order, so I'm staying at home. But so much has changed since I've been out. I saw this building on my way out, and I had to stop and take a picture on the way back. I did pull over to snap the photo, so I wasn't using my phone while driving. I'm intrigued. I LOVE it. Shoot - sorry for that big swatch of ice on my window. 

An intriguing building made from shipping containers

Another view of the shipping container house

Can you see what it's made of???  Shipping containers!!!!  They look like they were painted as they were all pretty. I would LOVE a house of shipping containers. As a matter of fact, I LOVE this building and would move in. But I don't think it's a house - it's some kind of commercial? Building???

OH MY GOD -- you can Google anything these days. Here's a link to something about it. Still, no one knows exactly, but there's a better picture. I LOVE the internet. It would be so cool to live in a place like that and have a HUGE studio made from containers. I'm in!!! Maybe it's for sale, and I need to win the lottery!

When I was cleaning up the other night, I found these books. Oops - I wasn't cleaning up; I was looking for something. I don't have time to share it with you today, but I was looking for a book, and I found these OLD project books from Husqvarna Viking! Probably more than 20 years old. I may not want to do the projects inside, but there's some inspiration. You can find inspiration anywhere!!!

Old project books from Husqvarna

Then I was off to the garage, where I needed to get some cardboard boxes. After the big unpacking session from Studio B, I saved the last of the cardboard boxes. There were many of them, and I didn't want them going to the recycling plant. We have this HUGE shelf up high in the garage, which is the perfect spot for them. As I was pulling boxes down, I discovered something. What???  OH MY - it's the cover for the missing plastic tub. 

The storage shelf in the garage

Really? I put it in the garage? I certainly didn't remember that, and I'm sure I would since I need a ladder to access that shelf. When I pulled the lid down, it was quite dirty, so it can't be from the one that was in the house. Then I remembered that we also have this motorized hanging rack in the garage that's supposed to be for bicycles—two of them. I glanced up and saw a big green tub (the same color as the other ones), and there's no lid. AHA  - the lid comes from that tub. 

A green bucket stuck on the motorized rack

Oh my -- now, in an ideal world, I would use the little button at the end of that coil to lower that tub - I do believe it's empty. However, there's a key that needs to be found before the little button can be unlocked. Good grief - I don't know where the key is. I think it's on the workbench in the garage, which is the LAST area in the garage that needs to be addressed. I don't know about you, but I'm NOT going to stand out in the cold garage looking for a key. DARN!!!  

However, I brought the lid into the house, and I"ll wash it up later so it can go on that tub. Who knows what I did with that missing lid. But at least I have a lid, so I'm good. 

So this is one of the things that I picked up yesterday. Oh my - the NEW (third edition) of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Yes - it has a wrapper on it, and the old me would likely be looking at that book in twenty years with the wrapper still on. However, I was browsing through it last night, and it's so much nicer than the old one. 

The Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

Here's the old one which I think is the second edition, although it doesn't say so. 

My old version of the same book

I got asked an intriguing question the other day, and we're going to find the answers in these books. I don't have time to share today, so watch for the story, hopefully, tomorrow. And I still owe you the pictures of the UFO. There's just so much to say and not enough time!!!!

Don't forget the Virtual Retreat this weekend. I've been madly prepping, and I've got a lot set aside that is ready to sew. I do so love my mini design boards. I should be able to sit at the sewing machine and computer (with my wireless earbuds) and get a TON of work done. 

The prepped sewing for the Virtual Retreat

I still have a wee bit more that I want to get prepped, so hopefully later today and tomorrow, I can get all this prepped, and then I'll just sit and sew during the retreat. 

Stuff that still needs to be cut

Most of it is homework assignments for next month, so I won't have much to share with you, but that's OK - you'll get to see it eventually. 

Here's one thing I can share with you! Another blog post on QUILTsocial. I had so much fun with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85. Check it out. And what do you think of the little project I made? You get to see the final thing in the link I'll post tomorrow. 

I've learned that I can accomplish a TON, but the moment I get an interruption or a break in the work, I'm almost done for the day. I had a one-hour play session in the morning (on Zoom) - more on that another day, and in the afternoon, I had to do my errand, and then I went for a walk. When I got back, I couldn't get back into the groove. But I did sit at the computer and get some computer work done, so it wasn't a total waste. I'm good with a walk break but longer than one hour, and I struggle to get back to work! 

Here are the links for theVirtual Retreat this weekend. 

Saturday, January 30 --- 6 PM -- 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, January 31   - 10 AM   - 8 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

Stop by to say hi or stay and sew for a while. I learn so much from everyone who pops in. We get to see some show and tell, keep up with news from around the world! And just plain have fun. So if you're missing chatting to people, here's a great way to meet new friends and stay connected. We talk about everything and everyone! Well, that's not true - we don't talk about others. 

Have a super day!!!!!


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Celebrate EACH and every success - no matter how small


Did you read the title this morning? Sometimes, I struggle to find a catchy title related to the content in the post, and other days, I have several. As I was thinking about what to write this morning, I thought that we DO NOT celebrate our successes enough. Oh sure - we celebrate some stuff, but not the small things. And trust me, when you're decluttering, even throwing ONE piece of paper away or filing it is a HUGE success. Really?? You bet  - it means that you are trying, however, small the effort. And guess what, the next day, you might deal with two papers and so on. Who knows - it might be an entire day spent decluttering. But until we start, it's hard to wrap our mind around the process. 

It's hard - it's very hard, and I struggle some days. I want the process done, but it has to be on my terms. Believe it or not, but some years ago, I had a professional organizer come in, and we went through the entire office, and it was clean. BUT - it wasn't for me. I didn't learn how to deal with the stuff, the filing system wasn't right, and I don't think I was totally prepared to deal with it.

So guess what happened? Yep - it went right back to what it was. It's like going on a diet. If you don't learn how to eat and exercise properly, you'll go back to your old ways and all of a sudden, you've gained 10 pounds. Or your health hasn't improved. This decluttering is NOT easy, and you can't be persuaded to do it properly until your brain says it's OK. 

Today, I'm going to show you the office in its entirety and show you how far I've come. Oh yes -- one day before the end of this year, you are all going to be so jealous because I'll have finished round one of decluttering our house. It's only taken me 7 years!!! (I must go back into the blog to verify that number) Round two will take a lot less time.  

So this is one of five chairs in this space. It does have stuff on it, BUT the success is that this probably needs one hour, and it's going to be clear. Yes - I was tidying yesterday after I finished writing. I think the more time I spend here, the more I want it to be clear. And there's that printer that's going to the electronic waste. I need to dig out a box from the garage to send my Cherrywood Challenge, and I need one more box for electronic waste. 

But this pile is orderly - more orderly than any pile has been in this space. SUCCESS!!!!!!

A chair piled with stuff to clean 

Here's the table. OK - so it looks in a bit of disarray. I did pull some software packages from the buffet, and I've got some great tips on what to do with software, but not today. The success in this photo? There was actually room on the table for me to pull stuff out of the buffet to put on, and now I can deal with it. 

The table piled with old software

This corner is now clear. I know I showed you a picture before when it was clear, but then more junk got moved in the space. Now it's clear except for an empty plastic container, which I'm not sure I need. Actually, NO - I do not need that cabinet. So if anyone wants it - it's yours. It has four drawers on rolling wheels and fits perfectly under my big sewing cabinet. I emptied it, and well  - I want to get rid of it. And the success here? I'm letting go of an empty cabinet. 

An almost empty corner

OK - I get it that I'm moving things around, but that's OK. If I can make things look a little bit emptier, then I'm for that. It makes me feel better. I dug out some tubs to empty the big blue tub into. So that will get moved out of there. And then that big blue tub will be up for grabs. Any takers????  The success here is that there used to be TWO rows of boxes. Now there is only one. And huge progress has been made in cleaning up this stuff. 

One row of boxes left to deal with

This is what needs to leave the house. I've got an errand to do today and one next week, so this will be the "car" errand in two weeks. I hope to have even more stuff to let go of. Success? I've let this much go, and it just needs to be boxed properly. 

Stuff to be donated

Here's another corner that I haven't touched in a long time. I'm happy to report that the box on top is for metal scrap for the recycling center. The rest is paperwork that will be dealt with later. No success in this corner. But that's OK. I don't need success everywhere. 

Two boxes of paperwork

The top of the buffet is neat and orderly, so for the moment, it stays as is. But one day, my radar will get to it. Although I've been through them once, there are drawers of stuff, but still more stuff that needs to go. I emptied one shelf at the bottom of the buffet, and then I filled it up with more stuff. I'm OK with that. If I can make the space look neat, then it'll be a simple matter of opening a drawer or a cupboard and dealing with it. The key right now is to get everything to look neat and tidy. 

The top of the buffet

Here are two chairs with stuff piled on them. The success here? They were piled even higher! And most of the stuff is in pretty boxes, but that green tub? It's mostly filled with junk or odds and ends that need to be dealt with. Yikes - no junk drawer, but lots of junk!!!

Two chairs piled with stuff

Here's my desk. I want to say that this is a success. It looked way worse. I have a pending folder, and most of the junk is gone. I do have a couple of piles of "active" work, which I wish I could get rid of by processing it. I will - but at least, it's in pretty good shape. What I really need is a different setup. I do not have any space on my right-hand side to write if I need. It drives me crazy, and I'm trying to think of a different setup that would work better. FIRST - let's get the office tidied up, and then I may reward myself with something. As you can see, there's ZERO room for a second monitor, which I would love. 

My desk

And here's the other desktop that is piled with junk. You wouldn't think there's a success here, but there is. First off, there's NOTHING on the chair at that desk. That's HUGE. Secondly, the paper stuff is all in one place, and I poke through these bins from time to time and pull stuff out and deal with it. So there's lots of room for more successes. But this is a success!!!! 

The messy desktop

I also have the bookcase to deal with. At the moment, the stuff is sitting on a shelf. It's not on the floor, and I'm OK with that. It's time will come. 

The bookcase

Oh boy --- I found money yesterday. You can tell by looking at it that it's been sitting around for a while. It's our OLD $5 bill. There were eleven of them. That was a HUGE success. 


I did have one fail. I found a cheque dated April 2012. Ooops - I don't think the bank will cash that! So I ripped it up and thanked my stars that it was only $10. I've found other uncashed cheques in this mess; thankfully, none of them were big amounts. Lesson learned, when I get a cheque now, it goes in my errand bag so I can take it to the bank. YES - I know I can do it electronically, but I need excuses to go for a walk in the afternoon, and going to the bank to deposit cheques works for me. They have a name for these kinds of cheques, but the name escapes me. 

An outdated cheque

So here's the BIG success in the office. This is the view from the door. Can you believe how much open space there is on the floor?? It looks positively empty! OK - so I'm kidding myself, but this is HUGE. And once those boxes are dropped off at the recycling place (they are just to the right), this is going to be an amazing space. It's been YEARS since I could actually walk completely around that table. Oh yes -- YEARS. So you can see why I'm jumping up and down. And of the five chairs in here, two of them are completely free of stuff. The rest will be at some point. It's coming!! I've only got so much time to devote, but I'm devoted. You bet!!!!

Look at all that floor space

Here's a success in the kitchen. I know -you think that this is a tea towel, and yes, it is. But it's a tea towel with bicycles on it. I used to buy these and store them in the cupboard because they were too pretty to use. Well, why did I do that? The new ruler at our house: NOTHING is too pretty or precious to save for a special occasion. When I walked into the kitchen this morning, I saw the tea towel, which made me smile. Never mind that it's a Christmas bicycle-themed tea towel. Who cares??

The bicycle-themed tea towel

So - you need to remember this crucial thing. EACH and every SMALL step is a success. Depending on where you're coming from, each of those tiny steps could be HUGE. I'm following a lady in the US - she is in her late 80's and was given mere days to survive. I don't remember what her story was. Now she's signed up for the Mount Fuji virtual challenge, which is about 36 miles. She has been going up and down the stairs in her house to get her miles. And the other day, she was outside with her walker doing her 1.5 miles for the day. Success? You bet - this is huge, and it brings tears to my eyes to repeat her story. That's determination and dedication. The feedback she got was huge, and we're all cheering for her to get to the top!!!!  (sorry - I need to reboot my computer, so I can't check the details on that story). 

I have to say that I made HUGE leaps and bounds yesterday in the writing department. My current URGENT writing is done for the week. I have ONE more homework assignment to send out today. Then I have a bunch of things on my task list to take care of. And some final checking of my assignment lists, homework, etc. But I feel pretty good about things, except for one small detail. 

In the back of my mind, I knew I had an appointment booked, but it was NOT written in my calendar (I'm not sure how that happened), and I got confirmation of it yesterday. The bottom line is that I'm double booked on one night, so I have to work that minor detail out today. I know what has to be done, and it'll be fine. But that's why it's so important to take the time to write things down.

Having a freelancer's calendar can be a nightmare, and having double-booked myself only once is not bad. But managing that calendar is a big job. But things are under control now. And I can stop that niggling in the back of my mind! 

If I asked you what kind of products you would find on Etsy, what would be your response? Well, check out this article to see if you guessed right. Franky, I'm shocked and appalled, but not surprised. I think what has happened has totally devalued the value of craft and artisans. It's sad to the industry. 

And don't forget that there is QUILTsocial blog post to read today. I'm so excited by the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85 sewing and embroidery machine. So many cool things, and I love that you can do anything with this amazing machine!!! Check it out. 

What is your decluttering assignment today? You're going to find two areas in your house that are SUCCESSES. Again, you've seen my successes, and some of them aren't pretty, but they are a success. Send me a photo - I want to cheer your success, as do the others who read the blog. If you have a before and after, great, but if not - that's OK. Tell me what you did - even if it was to bring out that special tea towel like I did. 

On that note, I'm out of here. Loads to do today, and I'm excited to get started. 

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Tidy up time


I had a great day! I got most of the writing done - a wee bit more to finish off this morning. And two e-mails that should be sent today with homework assignments, and then I'm up to date for the moment. The more I write, the easier it becomes, and I'm having fun with it. When my students signed up for a class, they never expected to get a "book" after each class. But all my pictures are there, and it can make or break the class for some. 

And I've been getting some interesting pictures back from the students which are hilarious. I won't share now, but some students have a great sense of humor!

It's a bit more work to do those write-ups, but I look at it this way. I don't have travel time - now I have writing time. I'm OK with it and actually prefer it because I don't have to have half-assembled blocks to show techniques, and I now have a couple of master documents, and I can just send those out. Yeah!!!! Plus, everyone in the class gets a front-row seat and the handout? Why would they want to go back to an in-person class?? I sure don't want to. 

Once the writing is done today, I need to get into planning mode for next week, and that's what I'll be doing for the remainder of the week. 

I doubt that I'll get a chance to get to the sewing machine, but I did get some cutting done, and my goal is to get ALL the cutting done for all the homework before the weekend. Then during the Virtual Retreat, I can sit and sew all day and not have to worry about cutting. Then I write up the documents, and I'll be done for the month. Then I can focus on other things.  WOW -- amazing what can happen when you have a plan!

And I'm so motivated to get the time management thing under control, and it appears that the office is starting to "bother" me. I now poke into a bucket or folder each day and find something easy to deal with. Here's what I found yesterday. 

While it may take longer to do the tidy up this way, at least I'm doing something every day, whereas before, I wasn't doing anything. It doesn't become a HUGE job on any given day. So as long as I keep at it - it's going to happen, and then you are all going to be so jealous. OH - maybe you don't have a messy pile of paperwork like I do. 

Anyway, there is a blue tub in the office that I knew was filled with fabric. I know - MORE fabric. It actually came upstairs a while back. It had been languishing beneath the stairs. I knew that I had a tub of sweaters - more on that in a second, and I was curious to see if there were any sweaters in here. Nope - but I found an ENTIRE Tub filled with silk. Yikes - seriously???  

A tub of silk

OK -- so this needs to be dealt with. It'll be awesome for making samples for machine embroidery. So I need to find a decent box to put it in, and it's going to go under the long-arm - I might just be able to find a spot for ONE more box. Then all the wild fabrics for experimenting and making will be together. Well, not exactly, but it's all in the same place - sort of. That area is going to need a bit more tidy up. 

I also heard that the recycling center is still open and so next week, that might be my errand. Get rid of the stuff in the house that can be dropped there. 

Now - I mentioned sweaters. Who doesn't want a pair of inauguration sweater mittens? I don't have any wool sweaters that I can felt up. OH wait - I might have a box in the stash room. I'll have to check later. But I thought I'd share the fleece mittens that I made a while ago, and I wear them every day. 

I had made them years ago when I first got my embroidery machine. Well, that's not entirely true. I finished ONE of the mittens. The second one was embroidered, but I never finished it. So when I started getting my act together a couple of years ago, I finished the second mitten. They are made of fleece and lined with fleece. I wear a thin pair of gloves inside them, and my hands are toasty warm for walking the dogs. Mine are fancy as they have elastic in the cuffs!!

Polar fleece mittens

Polar bear embroidery

Now I want a pair of sweater mittens, and well - we can't get to the thrift store to buy a sweater. Perhaps, I'll just stick with my fleece mitts. My friend Karen, who lives in Vermont, has some great tips on making mittens. You can check it out here. 

I mentioned junk drawers yesterday. OK - so technically, I don't have a junk drawer, but I have junk containers. I unearthed this one this morning. Good grief. There are all kinds of stuff in there. Some things that just need to be put away and some things that well need to be junked. It was also filled with a bunch of paper, but that got put in a pile of paper to deal with tomorrow or whenever I decided to poke through the piles of paper. Don't worry - those manuals are all gone. The computers and printers they belonged to are long gone. 

A junk container

Actually, I realized that we still have one of the printers, but I think I'm tossing that one in the electronic waste. It's a photo printer, and I'll never use it. I don't even know if it works. 

So this is the desk. I may or may not have shared it with you. This is the worse area in the office. But hey - it's just the TOP of ONE desk. That's very manageable. 

The biggest are of junk in the office

Or does it look better in black and white? Somehow I took this photo this morning. Oh dear - I need to learn how to properly use my phone and all the stuff that I can do with it. 

It looks better in black and white

And there are smaller piles of stuff, like this on top of the filing cabinet. What is all that stuff? No idea, but today is not the day to find out. 

Another area of clutter

I checked out something on the bookcase and discovered some older keys, a ring, and some twine! Good grief. This is clutter!!!!!

Clutter on the bookcase

But WAIT A MINTUE. Look at what else I found. MORE add-ons for Electric Quilt. Are you kidding me??? OK -- so my goal for this month (before the next EQClub meeting) is to figure out whether any of this is still useable or do I have to toss it. 

More Electric Quilt add-ons

So now, I have this entire stack of EQ related products. Good grief, and the manuals I have for the latest products are downstairs. Oh boy -- I think someone is a bit obsessive here!!!!

Electric Quilt products

But this is how clutter accumulates. You buy something because you think it's great. Then it gets put away, and you don't even remember that you have it. And then you buy the next thing, and the same thing happens. By knowing what you have, you stop buying, and you also learn how to deal with this old stuff. That's the hardest - do we just toss it in the garbage? Well, if that's where it's going, I'll recycle what I can. 

That's for another day to deal with it. Today, it's going to be all about e-mail. I'm now well over 1,000 e-mails, and I can't let it get out of control again. 

I got this small customer quilt done. I hope to get it trimmed later today and ready for pickup. 

Customer quilt

So we had a HUGE dump of snow yesterday. However, that didn't stop me from trekking to the library to return a book. That was an experience as there was a biting wind, and the snow was deep and slippery. I should get double mileage for that trip. Then I was home to shovel the driveway. I have to shovel again this morning, but it won't take long as the snow had mostly stopped when I shoveled yesterday. 

I see the plow passed in the night, and I was anxious to see what they had done. You see, we have a neighbor who insists on putting the snow from her driveway into the street. 

Snow ON the street

I get it that she doesn't have a lot of space on one side of her driveway, but she has a whole front yard on the other. And if I have to get a shovel and LIFT the damn snow out of my driveway, I see no reason why she can't do the same thing or hire someone to do it. What usually happens is that the plow then comes by and distributes all that snow that she dumps in the street into the next two driveways, and mine is one of them. It's because we're all on a curve.  

Well, I see the plow driver has decided to just leave her snow outside her driveway and ignore it. Thank you, Mr. Plow Driver. So we don't have much at the end of our driveway. HEY -- I just shoveled, and it was still too deep for the car to drive through without damaging the front. 

Our driveway this morning

Hey - I'm a good neighbor; not only do I not put snow in the street, which we are NOT supposed to do, but I shovel the sidewalks for both neighbors on either side of me, despite them having a young male in each household. I noticed the one guy did shovel my sidewalk yesterday. The other one? He lives alone at the moment and never even shovels. Oh well - I won't go there. 

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got to walk the dogs, then shovel that drive, and then get back to writing. I want all the writing done by lunch so I can move onto e-mail this afternoon. 

How are you making out on the tidying up??? I'm going to give you a break today. It's a day to catch up on something you didn't get a chance to do before. So - that means under the bathroom sink, the cutlery drawer, the junk drawers, your embroidery software or EQ software, the ironing board, the cutting mat, and the sewing table. I'm sure there are loads of other places, so let's get this junk out of the way. Your mind will be clearer, you'll be more focused, and you'll spend a whole lot less time looking for stuff. 

I'm honestly at the point where I think about what I'll need to use or want to use for the rest of my life (I still have a LOT of life left), but why do I want to hang onto things I will never use again? I'm all about taking pictures and then letting them go. I could really live with very little, and I'm about to make that happen, but it's not going to happen overnight. 

I could literally take everything in my closet and donate it. I've been through the clothes closet once before. And I need to do it once again. I bet I could get to the point where all my shoes and clothes would fit in one large suitcase! Oh yes --- I don't need a lot of variety!

OH MY GOD  -- I just checked back in the blog. You HAVE to read this ost from 2014!!!!  That's when I cleaned the closet. Wow -- who knew that I was on this decluttering kick way back then. What's even more hilarious is that when you see the clothes hanging in the closet? I bet that they are still in the same order! I hardly wear anything from a hanger. I think it's going to be time once again to go through that stuff. Oh my!!!!!

And then read this post from 2015 when I read THE book. I think I folded my shirts like that once, and that's way too much work. I would never consider doing that. What a waste of time - just have fewer shirts. 

Don't forget that this week is my QUILTsocail blog posts on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85. Check it out - loads of fun things to do with your sewing and embroidery machine. 

And here are the links for the Virtual Retreat. Stop by to say hi or stay a while and do some handwork or sew with your machine. It's loads of fun and a great way to get in touch or stay in touch with friends. 

Saturday, January 30, 6 PM - 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, January 31, 10 AM - 8 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

And that's it for today!!!

Have a great day!!!!