Sunday, December 24, 2023

What a little FOCUS can do!

It's amazing what a little FOCUS can do in a day! I have awesome photos to share with you, and I am so excited! 

I'm not sure if it helped, but I listened to an audiobook and listened to the entire thing from start to finish yesterday -- about 7 hours. The book is called Counting the Cost by Jill Dugger. I found the book fascinating - not because of who the author was. I've never watched a single episode of their shows and know nothing about them. 

There were two things I took away from this book -- the power of a charismatic leader (in this case, it could be the father or the head of the church) the family belonged to. Or the power of a religious belief -- I'm not sure how best to word it. I won't go further than that because so many variables are involved. Let's just say - exploitation, control, and fear all come into play - big time! 

But the second thing was her side of the story regarding the show. It's a reality show - OK -- there are loads of reality shows on TV, and the premise of reality shows is to show what life is like for a particular group of people. What's shocking is how much that show changed the people and how the money they "earned" as a filming family changed their lives. 

By the sounds of it, near the end, the network had paid loads of money so they could go on trips or do things the family would never have done if it had not been for the show. So - how is that reality? And as we've suspected for years, how REAL is any reality show? 

Anyway -- that helped me focus on my tasks for yesterday. 

Of course, I had company because Mom can't be trusted alone! 

MOM - I'm watching you! 

She's a cutie, to be sure, and they were a bit wet after the morning walk. 

Mom - in case you need some loving, I'm here! 

It was time to tidy up Studio B. It had been neglected for several months as I packed and unpacked and had little time to focus on cleaning up. It's time! 

The first thing I spotted was this orange box. It was made with a 3-D printer, and I picked it up along my travels. 

A 3-D printed box

The lid is magnetic, so it stays on. 

Magnets for the lid to stay on

And there's a magnet in the base. I must find something to put in it! 

A magnet in the base

Then, the tidying and sorting started in earnest. The first thing was to try and eliminate one of the two tables that magically appeared to hold extra crap. So one of them got cleared, and YES - all the stuff went onto the cutting table. The table was folded up and put away. 

One of the two extra tables is clear!

I found some things I can work on during the Virtual Retreat. I have ONE box of thread left to sort and put away. I don't know if I'll get to that today. 

A box of thread to sort

The tables where my Zoom stuff happens and is now Puzzle Central got tidied up. The cords were all wound and tied, the table was dusted, and it looked neat. 

Puzzle Central

The table where the digital cutter sits also needed some TLC. So all the supplies, mats, and whatever else was there were put away, as well as the remainder of my sewing samples that were strewn on the tables. Guess where the digital cutter supplies went? Yep  - into those empty drawers that I had! The cutter mats fit flat in that same one where the embroidery stuff went. So all is good! As I need stuff, I can get it from the appropriate drawer, and the place looks tidy. Also, it's easier to keep clean and relatively dust-free. 

The digital cutter table is clear

Oh my -- that looks amazing!!!! And so inviting when I want to get some work done. 

Did you notice that I got a few extra puzzles completed as well? I did a couple more after this picture was taken, so I think I have six left to do today. 

My Advent Calendar jigsaw puzzles

Then, it was back to the cutting table to try and clear that. And YES -- I made excellent progress on that as well. The fabric on the left is for a quilt backing, which I cut this morning and will sew up later today. There are still a few things on the right, but I did a great job yesterday, and it felt awesome to get those things put away! The key is to have a HOME for things so you can quickly put them away. No home? That's clutter! 

The cutting table is almost clear

This is on that remaining table, and I'll whittle away at this over the holidays. It would be nice to get it all cleared up. I doubt that will happen, but I'm going to try. 

Things that need to be worked on

I found some stuff that needed to be done by hand and got put on a table so I could do that during the Virtual Retreat. 

Things to do by hand

And this is what it looks like to peer into Studio B this morning! 

Studio B this morning!

I had my Swifter out, and the vacuum and the dust bunnies are also gone. There wasn't really anything that needed to be thrown out - it just needed to be put away. I have more than enough hand stuff to keep me busy for the Virtual Retreat today. But I have three movies sitting there to watch, and I never finished watching The Great Canadian Baking Show, so I think I might get it all done while I catch up on those things. 

So, while I made good progress at tidying up, I'm now at the point where I have to sew stuff to move on. And those are on the agenda over the next week. 

On the quilting front, I got the giant quilt quilted. 

Customer quilt - DONE

All the quilts that needed to be trimmed are trimmed now, and I'll send notes to the owners. I had to make the backing for the next quilt. They sent a wide backing, but it wasn't long enough. So, I had to whack off a piece from the width and add to the length. That quilt is now loaded and ready to go this morning. 

I washed one of my fabric mats a while back and was disappointed when I took it out of the dryer. The darn stitches were coming out! 

Stitches disintegrated

The threads broke in many spots

More stitches just disappeared

In random locations around the mat

I have no idea why that would happen, so that is sitting beside the sewing machine for a repair job. While there are other things to put away, most of that must be finished before it goes anywhere, so I think I'll hit the sewing machine this morning and return to my hand stuff this afternoon. It won't take long to fix that rug, but why did so many stitches disappear? Perhaps they just came out with the agitation of the washer/dryer and the bulk of the mat? 

I see my 35K status for Air Canada was awarded last night! Yeah! Now I can't wait to travel with luggage - I can pack up to 70 lbs of anything! 

OH -- I see a couple of people tried to log into the Virtual Retreat last night. We shut it down around 9 PM. People had things to get ready for today, and we were tired! 

Remember that part two of the Virtual Retreat is today. It starts at NOON. And I get the entire morning to myself! No classes, but as you saw - I'm motivated to get to work, and I'll be working - no slacking off!

Here's the link to the Virtual Retreat today - Sunday, December 24th - starting at NOON. 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 1959 8156
Passcode: 053861

Remember, as the year draws to a close -- do you want to attempt decluttering, sorting, and organizing. Technically, this should be something you do EVERY day - all year. But loads of people get started at the beginning of the New Year. So, if you want to be one of those people, look around your house and see where you want to start. 

You can start small (pick a box or a drawer) or go big and start with a room. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you start! As you move around your house today, look at it from the eyes of your children, neighbor, or stranger who comes into your home because you didn't wake up this morning. What will they see? 

I know that sounds a bit morbid on Christmas Eve, but I want that person to walk into my house and say - Elaine sure respected herself and her house by keeping things organized and tidy. She only kept what she needed (OK -- that might be hard to say about Studio B). As that person grieves, they do NOT have to grieve and clean up a huge mess - they can grieve however they want. 

You might be OK with the mess, but think about the legacy you leave behind for someone else to deal with! 

Have a super day!!!!



  1. The Duggars is quite the story and not that uncommon out West in LDS country (other than the wealth of Network proceeds for the show). It's a sad sad story IMO.

    An excellent read is "Educated". A story based in my home state of Idaho. I think you will appreciate the book. I'm so proud of the author!

    Studio B is looking fantastic! So simple for you to put everything away as you knew it had homes and simply needed the available time for 'relocation'.

    Merry Christmas to all. Happy Sunday to those who don't celebrate.

    1. It is a very sad story on all sides and it's the people that watch those shows that propel the network to make them, but I won't go there. Thankfully, I've never watched the show or any of the specials. I see that one of the other sisters, Jinger, has also written a book as she was the FIRST to wear pants.
      I think I read Educated when it first came out. I should get the audiobook and listen to it again. I love when the authors read their own books, as Jill did with hers. Thanks for the recommendation.
      Merry Christmas!! Enjoy the day with family, friends, or by yourself!!! Thanks for being part of the blog over the past year!

  2. I second your "do it now " philosophy. I need to go through my fabric, but it may have to wait until after my knee replacement surgery, as moving the crates is extremely painful. I may ask my Godchildren to help me move the crates. They are often the recipients of my sewing skills, so maybe they'd be willing to help me. If not, it will be an incentive to get better after the surgery. But it would have been better to get it done while I was healthy!

    1. Good luck with the knee surgery! Hope everything goes well, but what you said is a good reminder to all. Try to get things done when you are HEALTHY because it just becomes harder when you're not!
      Merry Christmas and thanks for being part of the crazy blog!