Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

4×7 Challenge: week 1 FAIL

OK. So I totally failed in my challenge goals this week. So I don’t deserve to be entered for the prize! But still wanted to give my update.

What you need to understand is that last week when I emptied out the guestroom-cum-new-baby’s-room to be painted, all that stuff went into my sewing area, which is the alcove across from that room. So I couldn’t get to anything in my sewing room. It was packed with boxes, etc. I spent a good part of the week finding new places for that stuff (or replacing it in the baby’s room) so that I could get into my sewing room. Then, it was a mess. There was fabric and everything else everywhere from the whirlwind of getting my Tessellated Leaves quilt finished on a tight deadline. So I spent a good bit of time getting the sewing room back to a useable space.

Then when I was finally able to set up my ironing board and access my sewing machine, I opted to make a test block for another pattern test that is coming out this month (so I can’t share that at this time). That’s what I accomplished this week, along with about 100 loads of baby laundry. I did spend some time reading over the curtain pattern but the one part still doesn’t really make sense to me. I think they won’t be sideways, at least, though.

I need to buckle down this week!

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Nothing to sew here…

I am in a mug rug swap on flickr. Our theme for this swap is hearts. Because, you know, for Valentine’s day next month. I decided to chance it and try to get my mug rug made since it has to be mailed out by the end of the month, and I am going to lose time having my machine serviced and going out of town. I think my design was heavily influenced by my chevrons that are staring at me, forlorn, from my design wall.

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This is the front of my mug rug and the binding. I am really pleased with it so far. I also FMQ’d hearts in red thread. It went well and looks really cute, I think.

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This is the back. You can see the quilting better here.

I ran into trouble when I tried to attach the binding. I was actually surprised I got this far. It started skipping stitches and looping again while I was doing the binding. So, I pulled it off and took my machine in yesterday morning. I was there soon after opening, hoping against hope he might be able to get it back same day, but he had a pile of machines to work on. So I have a whole week without my sewing machine. I will have 6 days, roughly, left in the month where I and my machine will both be here. That should be enough time to finish up my stack the deck January goal. I wish I had taken my machine in earlier though, so I am not so up against the wall.

I am really thinking about getting a second (better) machine for times like this. Maybe a Janome or Bernina? A good quality machine that can be my main quilting machine and this one can be a backup. The Singer’s been a good machine to me, and has quite a few bells and whistles. It wasn’t cheap either. But maybe it is time for a good quality quilting machine. I don’t know, just something I’ve been mulling over.

Anyway, the service guy is at my favorite shop on Thursdays. So, as long as I was in there I thought I’d have a look around. I haven’t been there in a few months, because the good cotton went away and usually it is many months to a year before it resurfaces. They were having a “year end clearance sale”. They did have about a half a table with some designer cottons. I grabbed a few of them. I wonder if there were more a few weeks ago or if they will be putting out more. Oh well. It wasn’t the piles and piles they have when they are doing the cotton only sales.

my fabric grabs.

my fabric grabs.

So, while my machine is away, I am doing some cutting for swaps. My swap is doing Denyse Schmidt and I am signed up for I spy and Lizzy House swaps. And some drawing/planning for future quilts. And lots of shopping.

I’ve also been working on cleaning. I have been following along the 52 week challenge, more or less. Last week was to clear off the counters. I did ok there, but it really does pile up. I am trying to be better about cleaning up and clearing off daily, though. Especially as we have been battling really bad ant invasion for weeks. I’ve been doing the borax traps that can be found on pinterest, and it works like a charm getting rid of them for a while, but then they came back. 😦 Not in as great numbers, though. So I am hoping as I keep doing this they will get fewer and fewer. I’ve been working this week on our drawers and cabinets. Just the lower ones because I can’t reach the uppers. And I’ve worked a section a day so it doesn’t take too long or isn’t too overwhelming. I probably won’t finish, but any work I do is better than I was.

I am also working on the toys. I’ve decided to divide them up and do a weekly rotation. Less toys out, less toys to clean up, less cluttery looking, “new” toys to play with every week. We’ll see how that goes.

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Cleaning

I am attempting to systematically go through each room of our house and declutter and purge, organize, etc. I work very very hard to keep my house below a certain level of clutter. I could so easily find myself on Hoarders if I ever let it go. But I am at a point where I feel like it is just too much stuff. When things are gathered everywhere, and can’t find places to put things, and I have clothes I’ve had for 20 years and 6 sizes, and we can’t park a car in the garage… you know. I need to do this.

I actually started in my bathroom. I didn’t finish, and I am sure that doesn’t thrill other people, so no pictures. 🙂 I did my vanity and under sink area. Still need to finish the drawers and the rest of the bathroom. I went through every bit of makeup and hair thing. I really tried to be brutal. I did have things dating back to highschool (or earlier). I know it is gross or outdated, but it is so against my nature to throw things away, I am really trying to purge though.

Then I headed into my closet. I do not have before pictures – and actually, my closet is oriented in a way where pictures at all are hard to get, but things had gotten to a point where I couldn’t even walk in there. I had just been throwing things into my closet, I had folded laundry, toys, sweaters, shoes, books etc, all over the floor. I took everything out of my closet and sorted and went through it piece by piece. I originally wanted to do it in a week, but it took the better part of the month. I tried so hard to be brutal. I got rid of a lot of shoes, and a decent amount of clothes and bags. Some of my clothes I did just move to the guest room – some of those “I’ll fit into this again” hopefuls and maternity clothes I still had hanging in my closet… you know, three years later, as a just-in-case. I could certainly still stand to get rid of more of all of it, but like I said, I have a hard time parting with things, and even just doing this much was a huge accomplishment.

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The bag pile… before. I might have a bit of a bag problem.

 

This is the best I can do for pictures... after

This is the best I can do for pictures… after

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Here is my closet now. The floor is completely clear, except for the stool, because I am freakishly short. I have tons of shelf space left. All those hangers used to have clothes on them, and there were more that were plastic that didn’t get put back. I used to have triple rows of shoes, and now it is barely one row. Very excited. I just hope it’ll stay this way.

I also finally got shelving for my sewing area. In hindsight, I could/should have gone with the 48″ shelves instead of 36″. Oh well. I may end up moving these above the tv and replacing them, but I could easily put 48″ shelves there too. I’ve only started to throw stuff up there, but it has already helped so much to get the clutter off my cutting table so I can better use it. I’ve also put some of my designer fabric up there to make room in my cubes for other fabrics, some scrap/charm bins, and some unfinished quilts are at the top. I am sure I will rearrange more in the future, but was trying to just get things out of the way for the time being. I went today to look for another small cube unit to mount on the wall for folded fabric, but they were out of it. LOL. I’ll take that as a hint to watch for the sale. Still quite a bit of plans in here too, but it is a start.

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It’s a Sister Thing swap reveal and a bit about my sewing room

I recently participated in a swap through

The idea was to follow a secret pal’s blog and make them some end-of-summer goodies.

I was assigned Heather at

Her posts (like mine, LOL) were sparse over the summer, but I picked up on a few things. She definitely likes flowers – both in fabric and real. She likes blog hops and handmade items with a function.  I made her a (rather large, it turned out. Oops.) mug rug in bright, flowery fabrics in a plus sign pattern. I also made some cute chicken pincushions to match. I included some tea and other drink mixes to use with her mug rug. I hope she likes it.

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Making a mug rug also gave the added bonus of some more FMQ practice. You can’t see it too well in the thumbnail, but if you zoom in I did loops along the seams. The back is a purple and blue flower print and I bound with Children at Play stripe which matched perfectly.

 

I also got a package!

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My package came from Utah from Rachell at http://claddaghsquiltsandstars.blogspot.com/

She sent such a nice long letter explaining what she sent and why and who she is. She sent me two nice – sized quilted fabric buckets with outer pockets (modeled by my scissors and rotary cutter LOL) and a zipper pouch, also with outer pockets. She also included the instructions for how to make them! Ha – It’s from a free Craftsy class that I am probably enrolled in but never got around to doing! She certainly picked up on my colors. 🙂

She was inspired by my ongoing need to clean up and organize my sewing area. She felt the baskets could help – and they will! It just so happens I spent the better part of this weekend cleaning up my sewing room. It still has a long way to go, but at least I can move about, cut, fold, iron, etc now without killing myself or feeling overwhelmed. I’ve not had tons of time to devote to sewing lately, but when I did have time, I would walk in there, get frustrated or overwhelmed and give up. So, I finally just had to push through and get it to be a useable space again. I still have a long way to go, but at least I can work in there again. I took some before and after photos which I shudder to share, but…. maybe it will better illustrate how my life has been going lately –

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You may have to enlarge to read my captions. This is my cutting/folding area. In the corner is a built in cabinet that is full with things like fleece and minky. Things I really don’t use and should probably get rid of. On top is my tv, some doll models from when I made doll clothes, my snaps, thread, bobbins, a stack of things I started making and never finished, a stack of bee blocks, and random other stacks. The cutting table was just littered with everything. Fabric that needed to be cut or folded or put away or sorted or … The floor was a combination of fabrics I have pulled for projects, fabric needing to be put away, and all the ziplocs, buttons, velcro, rick rack and other stuff my son gets into and redistributes around the room. (I am mess enough on my own. I really don’t need his help!) My long term goals include putting shelving on those exposed walls so that I can get a lot of the bins and things off my cutting and sewing tables so I can better utilize them. That one wall used to be my design wall until I moved my cutting table there. Now I can’t reach it for that use, and half of it is cut off by the table.

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This side is where the majority of fabric is stored. On the floor is more mishmash of scrap bins, bins of fabrics that have no where else to go, swap packages (ingoing and outgoing), fabrics I’ve used and not put away, and mess and trash. I want to move the bookshelf into my bedroom and replace it with more cubbies. There’s a bunch of fleece, terry and flannel which, again, needs to be sorted and destashed to make room for my quilting fabrics. The cubbies have mini bolts and then folded smaller yardage in front and on top. The unit also has more folded mostly fat quarters fabric and ribbons. There is also a closet door in there that you can’t see that houses batting, interfacing, poly fill, etc and drawers that I keep my patterns in.

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My sewing room shares with the laundry room. So, I generally have clothes in various stages of laundering around the room as well. I sort, de stain, hang, and hold piles throughout the room. I generally fold on my bed, but sometimes in here too. I never iron. LOL. It’s enough that I iron my fabrics. 😉 You can see my son’s diapers drying here, as the ongoing never ending rains continue (actually, it’s been really pretty the last couple days). This is also where I moved my design wall for the time being. It isn’t ideal as it covers the thermostat and some switches.

So, here is the state now, after quite a bit of time cleaning and putting away:

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Still desperate for some attention and storage, but much more useable. I am able to find what I need and use my tables now. I bought a few bins to store some fabrics for swap or certain projects. That helped a lot. A bit better, but still a long way to go and I can’t wait to add the shelves and cubbies. Those cardboard boxes are mini bolts that need shelf space. It is on the list but may be a while. 😦 I keep spending my monies on fabric.

So, I am not kidding when I go on and on about it. 🙂  And it seems as soon as I get involved in a project and/or laundry, the mess evolves again. I am certainly going to put the baskets to good use in here!

Thanks again for the swap, Michelle and Rachell!

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Hey hey it’s my birthday.

More and more my birthday, much like new year, depresses me. I am getting shockingly old, yet still look, act and feel like a teenager. How does this happen? And then I start lamenting all the things I was meant to accomplish by now, and….

Enough of that. I just did some retail therapy damage at Fabric.com. Oops. Happy birthday to me.

I stayed up quite late last night suddenly inspired to finish my last 3×6 block. I had left this one so late because the person wanted “rainbow”. The block is quite an easy block… when made with two colors and all you have to do is cut squares. But I had to use 8 different colors, which meant I had to determine the size of triangles to cut. And the basic color wheel is only 6. So I had to add two more colors. It was all too much for me to deal with. So, I finally buckled down to do it. I picked my colors, plus black and white, and through a little bit of trial and error, got it assembled. I did have to do some ripping and resewing because I was stupid tired. But actually once I got past that, it went together quickly and easily and is actually a perfect 12.5 inch square. I like it a lot and am quite proud of it. Now I can wrap it up and get all these sent out finally this week. What a load off.

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I am also really pleased with my mystery border quilt. WHICH I CAN’T SHOW!! I did some paper piecing and some resizing and everything all on my own. I think it works with and balances the theme so nicely. And I am just impressed with myself that I pulled it off. It took a lot of time, but it was worth it. I really hope the person likes it.

The other night in a fit of frustration, I finally pulled down part of the baby gate around my fabric.

Excuse the mess!

Excuse the mess!

I had fabric just piled everywhere all over the floor, because it is so difficult to get to my shelves. I also find that I am less likely to sew when it actually involves me visiting my stash because the gate is such a physical barrier (it is really tall). I pulled off a section of it (the baby was sleeping and I didn’t want to risk waking him trying to take down and fold up the whole thing) and spent some time putting fabric back away. It needs some neatening and my husband even suggested I need another cube, so it must be real obvious that I am overflowing.

Here’s the thing that I find so frustrating:

I always thought I had tons of fabric. I have hundreds of dollars of fabric there. I love almost all of it. It is over flowing. I need more shelving. I want to limit myself to using fabric I already have. But if I go to pull fabric for a project, suddenly I feel like I don’t have anything useable. Case in point: I want to do the bloom bloom pow a long. I want to use fabric in my stash. But I have nothing acceptable. A large portion of my fabric is multi color. A large portion is on a white background. And almost none is tonal. I’ve also become a designer fabric snob somewhere along the way (Ugh… I remember the days when $5/yard was expensive), I have fabric that is off limits, fabric I don’t have enough of to use for whatever project, fabric that is being saved for certain projects… suddenly, all that fabric seems useless. I don’t know how to handle this without just buying more fabric. I guess I need to do some stash searching and start finding some real staples to add instead of just buying fabric because I like it… then never use it. Is this a normal problem or am I just strange like that?

Regardless, I will be able to spend a lot more quality time with my fabric without the gate barring my way now. It opens the room up a lot too, and makes it a lot less dangerous for me. I am glad to see the gate go. Just gotta keep the baby out.

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Spring cleaning

There’s not a lot of sewing going on around here these days. In fact, I packed up my machine for my sewing class Saturday, and still haven’t even unpacked it. Here is my block for this month, though:

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I have also gotten some fabrics cut for some swaps. I am swamped in swaps right now. I need to cut back, seriously. I am going broke buying fabrics for swaps, and can’t buy the fabrics I want/need for my stash and projects. I have a very large cart sitting in one of the fabric shops, and I just can’t buy it. Plus, shop hop is coming up this week. I am not sure if I can participate too much. Lots of the stores are a good distance from me, and I can’t see schlepping the baby all over the city and being in the shops with him. I try not to take him places that don’t have shopping carts.

So, anyway, what I have been doing is cleaning. This weekend I tackled our refrigerator. Like, seriously. Had my husband pull it out and everything. It wasn’t quite as neglected as the oven, but it wasn’t good.

Not quite a "before", but early on in the cleaning process

Not quite a “before”, but early on in the cleaning process

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Yeah, look at the bottom of the fridge 😦  I took the shelves out, one by one, and washed them in the sink. They actually cleaned up pretty easily with dish soap and hot water. Then as they dried, I worked on the inside.

racks drying

shelves drying

Pinterest has plenty of ideas for how to deal with future messes. I went with using clear vinyl adhesive that I got at Dollar tree. It took just over one roll to do all the shelves in my fridge, and I have a couple more rolls stashed for next time.

Adding the vinyl

Adding the vinyl

It took me a good part of the day just to do what I did. My husband helped with the baby when he was up, and I worked through both naptimes. I still haven’t done the door section of the fridge, but it isn’t as bad. I don’t even know how to go about dealing with the freezer section.

All clean! (Mostly)

All clean! (Mostly)

Since then, I have been systematically going room by room and quite literally washing it from ceiling to floor. I really only get naptime to work, so I aim to get 1-2 rooms done a day. At this pace, it is going to take about 3 more weeks just to get the downstairs done. Right now I am working from ceiling to floor, then I have to go back through and do windows, then floors. Then there are always the closets and pantries and stuff to work on, but for now I am just trying to tackle what can’t be closed behind a door. My husband has invited the entire family for dinner at the end of the month, so I have a hard and fast deadline for the downstairs. Then I will head upstairs, which will be harder in some ways, since there is a lot of organizing and decluttering that needs to take place up there. I have the downstairs mostly under control in that area.

I have a lot of moldings and chairrails and ornate baseboards and wainscoting downstairs, and I do have to say, the rooms I have finished are noticeably whiter and brighter. I am really pleased. They are far from perfect, but so much nicer than I can remember being in a long time. I remember reading somewhere (flylady?) that any cleaning is a blessing. Even if not perfect or spotless, it is certainly far more than I have done in a looong time and looks far better.  I have been using the vinegar solution, but thinking about switching to the castile soap for the baseboards to help with maybe a little extra scrubbing power. I have already destroyed three magic erasers in this process. They are amazing, though. They seriously get scuffs and marks and pencil and crayon and everything off of the walls and baseboards. I washed everything down and scrubbed with the vinegar, then went back over everything with the magic eraser, then wiped down with a dry cloth because the microfiber really does leave a lot of dust blobs around. This is what I see as my immediate future. I am hoping to get most of it done before the weather starts getting really nice, though we have had a couple pretty days lately. I gotta start finding some ways to fit some sewing in again, though. I have two Modern Round Robin quilts sitting here needing my attention, as well as I think I still have 4 more 3×6 blocks to make.

The remains of my magic eraser after today's cleaning.

The remains of my magic eraser after today’s cleaning.

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WIP Wednesday: Ribbon quilt (Still)

Here is my progress at this point on my chevron ribbon quilt:

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I had hoped to be further along, but we’ve had a rough few days, complete with a trip to the ER, and I have been choosing to nap during naptime rather then sew. Those rows aren’t joined yet; and they aren’t in the order they will be in the quilt; they are in the order I made them. One row is just about done, will probably be done tonight and the last you can see there on the ironing board. I have to remake a couple of the squares in that row. They came out short somehow. The ribbons will also run horizontally when done, but this is how I have slapped them on my board for whatever reason, for the time being. Actually, I am scheduling this post ahead of time, so I really really hope by the time it really is Wednesday this much of the top will be put together. I ran through a full yard of white to make this – you wouldn’t think so! It doesn’t look like that much! – So I will need to get more as I contemplate how to handle any borders. I am also running through 2.5 inch squares faster than I can cut them. They really aren’t kidding when they say you can make a pile of them while simply putting together other projects. I am also really stingy about what fabric scraps I am willing to cut into 2.5 inch squares, so I am having a problem keeping myself in squares. Anything bigger than like 3×5 I want to keep whole in case I can use them in other projects. I need to sit down and plot out my rainbow charms so that I can be putting those together instead, which was the original plan.

I have also done some cleaning and decluttering this weekend, as planned, which has kept me away from my sewing. We spent some time in the garage. Not as much as I had intended, but there is a definite dent. The hubs ran out a ton of cardboard to the recycling center, and that is usually where we stall out, but I really did go through and empty out/organize an entire corner and throw away a bunch of trash. It’s a small start, and there’s still piles to be organized and boxes to go through, but it is a definite cleared out, able to walk there and get to the wall shelving area. I have also done some damage to the office. The floor is almost completely clear, just a few old printers and things in the corner. My desk is clear and organized. The bookshelves are getting there. I moved a lot of non-sewing books out of my sewing room bookcases (So I can use that space for fabric storage) and into the office. And I have a nice large pile of cardboard from the office all ready to head to the garage. LOL. I don’t want it to sound like we are hoarders – with the exception of these two rooms and the basement (which is my husband’s domain) we just have the normal family-with-a-small-child clutter. The office simply became a dumping ground the last few months for any packages and other emergency clean up for holiday company. It’s only taken a couple hours in there, and I am about ready to call it as clean as it is gonna get. The garage…. well…. yeah…. that looks like an episode of Hoarders. 😉  And my sewing area can from time to time too, but it is really looking a lot better since I have been reorganizing it.

linking to…

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