Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

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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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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Sewing table finally assembled!

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5222309/?claim=rd3g9u32ann”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

So, I am trying out bloglovin. My husband is going with feedly, but all the crafty people seem to be using bloglovin, so that is the one I am testing for now. You have to add this to your blog in order to claim it. Anyway, there are things I like and things I don’t. But, considering I didn’t even know what a reader was 3 months ago and that I am not good with change…. for all I know, google had the same features I like about bloglovin and I just didn’t know it.

So, onto good change –

The sewing table is assembled and in place. This was my holiday gift this year from my parents, and my husband has been puttering at it for about a month and finally got it put together.

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I am really excited. I got to sew SITTING DOWN! I have never done that before. The table I was using for my sewing table is about chest high and not something I could sit at, so I have always sewn standing. This table seems so petite in comparison. It has good storage. The tops fold out to create a work surface and the machine can hide inside when I need to tidy up.

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The lift has three positions. All the way down, all the way up, and how I have it in the photo. There is an acrylic insert I need to order which will fit my machine and cover the gap. If I had ordered it back when I meant to, it would be here by now. It takes 6 weeks or so. But I worked on it today like this, and it went fine. I don’t like that the needle is off to the left of where I sit rather than directly in front of me, as I have been using it. Also, it is a totally different perspective sewing from in front rather than above. I guess I will get used to all that. Right now I am using a kitchen chair, but I hope to get a small comfortable office chair to use in the future. Hopefully I will be able to handle sewing for longer periods of time being more comfortable sitting and in a cushy chair.  One thing about having this vantage point of my machine – I realized for the first time today I have a needle down setting! I am so embarrassed I never noticed that before. There are only a handful of times so far that would have been really useful – like when I was making a lot of doll clothes or turn and topstitching things but it would have been nice to use. Now I know!

This is a new orientation for me too. I had my old table (Which was much bigger) perpendicular to the window, so that I could see my tv. However, I usually pause my tv when I am sewing (Can’t hear over the machine) and really watch when cutting and pressing. I tried it today. It didn’t bother me as much as I expected. I may end up moving again, but for now this is how I am sitting. What you can’t see is to the right I have a huge baby gate around my fabric shelves to keep the baby out. It limits my space there and I have hurt myself several time and even fallen over it. I really want to get rid of it. At least turned this way, the gate is only dangerous when I am trying to get to my fabric.

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Please excuse the mess. At least some of it is due to moving and rearranging the furniture. LOL. On the left you can see what I used to use. See how giant it looks compared to the new table? I am not sure I am happy with it there because of how big it looks, but it is growing on me. It does cut off a lot of access to what I use as my design wall, though. I can barely reach it across the table, and I lose all the lower area. (I had to clear it for the photo because the mystery border project was up – that’s what I am working on right now). I am using it as a devoted cutting table now, and even have my accuquilt set up and my postage scale. I love having a whole table for cutting! I used to have to use that table for everything (I only ever used one of the extensions) and it got so cluttered and I would have to just move things around all the time to make space for whatever I was trying to do – sew, press, cut, store, fold… It is a real experience sewing without a stack of fabric piled up right against the back of the machine clogging up my chain sewing. What were we saying about bad habits? 😀 I thought I was going to use the “cutting table” for a pressing table too, but today as I was working I moved the iron and my small press board over to the sewing table extension, and that way I was able to stay seated between sewing and pressing! I only got up when I needed to square. How neat and convenient! And I could even do that at the sewing table if I wanted to, too. I have the ironing board put away for now (it used to live where the new cutting table is now) and hopefully will only need it when I need to iron yardage now.

I am looking forward to many more comfortable – and hopefully more organized – sewing years now.

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I finished something

I took a break from borders today to put together my notions bag. This is something one of the ladies in my BOTM class made and I thought it would be a nice thing to have too. I had been using a wet bag and was scared that my pointy things would ruin the PUL. I found the pattern at one of the shop hop shops. It didn’t seem too complicated or like it would take tooo long. It was kind of a disaster from the beginning. Two needles lost their lives in this project.

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The first set of interfacing I tried to use didn’t fuse. So I had to find some other interfacing to try. All the wet and steam caused some burn marks on my ironing pad to stain my white fabric. Ultimately, I was able to cut around the stain. I also gooked up my iron a bit. The notions fabric is the fabric from this year’s shop hop. I thought it would be perfect for this bag. And maybe a sewing cover. Because, you know, I always cover my sewing machine.

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The pattern

The pattern (or – “what it is supposed to look like”)

So the cutting went fine. And then I started sewing. Well. I’d never sewn vinyl before. I knew it was supposed to be tricky, but I didn’t know why. The d@mn vinyl sticks to the machine and doesn’t move and then jams up the thread. I tried sewing while holding it up or putting something under it, and it didn’t help. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it was sticking to the foot. So I finally came up with the ingenious idea to cover it with a telephone book page and sew over that.  I was sewing blind, but other than that, it seemed to do the trick. And then ripped right off. I just had some nasty spots where the thread caught or skipped.

Things went along ok from there until I had to sew the inner lining to the back of the vinyl. The first time I tried, I was sewing too far over and the seam didn’t catch the end of the vinyl. It also was uneven and wonky. So I spent about a half hour ripping that seam out and then trying again. It is still wobbly but doing its job.

See?

See?

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Ok. Just a tip. When it says to square up, square up. For serious. The front with the back.Otherwise your bottom seams won’t line up and it’ll be wobbly like mine. I tried to line the “bottom” seam up with the back instead of the middle, and it works, but isn’t beautiful and doesn’t sit flat. It tilts back. So then I had to sew the sides. This was a total disaster. First, I totally missed my aim and sewed the zipper thing. That’s what killed my first needle. and it took some work to unjam everything after that. Then, remember that important lesson I learned about sewing vinyl? Somehow I totally forgot it already. I was sewing all la-de-da then hit the vinyl part and suddenly my project wouldn’t move. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize why. Again. So I did my phone book trick again and now my seam looks like this:

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It was intentional. Sure. Text prints are so trendy right now. Also, appreciate the contrasting thread. Totally intentional too.

Ok. Here comes the worst part. I am truly mortified to admit it. All I can blame is a long day and tired. I went to box my corners and wanted to put my hand inside the bag to push them out and…. I totally sewed my bag shut. It never occurred to me to unzip the zipper before sewing the sides. Stop laughing. I spent a good deal of quality time with some tools trying to pry it open before finally coming downstairs to my husband (who had been waiting quite a long time at this point for me to “just finish this up”) and said “you are going to laugh at me, but I need your help.” He looked so confused about what I would need sewing help for. Until I got about halfway into my first sentence and he put his hand to his eyes and started laughing. Then I handed it over and he spent some time til he finally got it open. Lesson learned.

The second needle died when I was doing my corners. I don’t quite remember why now. I think I just hadn’t tightened the needle well enough in the first place and it slipped out.

I finished my corners and here you go.

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It is serviceable, if not beautiful. Oh well. I always do everything better the second time. The fabrics sure are real cute. I had meant to add a carrying/hanging loop but that never happened. Next time.

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Sew Thinky Thursday

Today’s is an easy one that I can put up quickly between cleaning marathons (just finished wiping down the den walls, baseboards, mantles, fan, and fireplace).

Bad sewing habits. Do you have them? Share with us, what are your worst habits when it comes to sewing?

My worst habit: I am a pin whore. I pin the crap out of everything. And then, YES, I do sew straight over my pins! I have only broken one needle by doing this. I am convinced I can’t match up seams or that my fabric will drift otherwise. And by matching up seams, I mean I put THREE pins per seam: One in the stitch line, and one to each side, to hold the seam allowance where it belongs. I’ll have to take a picture sometime.

I can never find any of my tools. This is because I am a total slob and have things piled up on my ironing board, my sewing table, the floor, my tv stand…. and to do anything, I have to shift piles around to access those areas. I am trying to reorganize my sewing room so that this stops happening, and if my sewing table ever gets put together, that will help a lot too, because then what I am using now can become a devoted cutting and ironing table. But I also have a huge gate up around all of my fabric cubbies because otherwise the baby goes and pulls everything down off the shelves. So, instead of putting things back where they belong, they end up piled on the floor in front of and behind the gate. I am not sure that is really an improvement…. I am hoping to try taking the gate down soon and seeing how it goes. Once the downstairs is cleaned and the table is put together.

Confession: I’ve never actually had my machine serviced. I’ve had it 4 or 5 years. I only used it intermittently until recently. It needs it though. I’ve got some weird tension things going on, and the thing with the machine eating my triangle corners.

Linking up…

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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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Feb goal review

Let’s see how I did….

(Can you change text color on this thing?)

 

Sewing-

  1. Finish ribbon chevron top  Hmmm… I have it done except for the border.
  2. Make the back for the twisted i spy top (and sandwich?)   Made;not sandwiched.
  3. Plot and sew rainbow twister quilt. And start twisting, if I get that far  Started plotting, took it down, haven’t gotten back to it.
  4. Finish and hang the fabric hoops for the kidlet’s room.   I hung the ones that were done, but didn’t make the rest.
  5. OMG catch up on all my BOTM obligations.  Yeah… No.
  6. Next project?
  7. Finish cleaning and reorganizing sewing room      Still not done.
  8. Put my sewing table together     No. 😦

Cleaning-

  1. Get the house back under control in general.  heh.
  2. Clean up office (which has somehow become the junk room the last few months) Ok. It is in pretty good shape. I want to go through the books and pull some for sale/donation, but other than that, it is in good shape.
  3. Work on garage on weekends with hubs  We worked on it one day for a couple hours.
  4. Get the baby’s swingset installed? Weather and helper permitting   Everyone’s been sick, and it has been raining a lot.
  5. Closet  No.
  • I’d also love to start my juice fast this month, but we are on a budget crackdown and juicers aren’t cheap.  Did Smoothie fast instead. It was hard. I lost 6.5 pounds and am still somewhere around 4-4.5 down. I am rethinking the whole juice fast thing.
  • Read read read!  I’ve read two or three books.
  • Start detoxing – I think this month I will tackle the kitchen I’ll have to do a separate post, but I have been using the natural cleaning supplies. That’s about as far as I got.
  • Reach out to a couple friends  I think about doing this every day, and haven’t. 😦
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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.

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February goals

I am trying to organize what I need to tackle now that I plan to be in town for a while…

Sewing-

  1. Finish ribbon chevron top
  2. Make the back for the twisted i spy top (and sandwich?)
  3. Plot and sew rainbow twister quilt. And start twisting, if I get that far
  4. Finish and hang the fabric hoops for the kidlet’s room.
  5. OMG catch up on all my BOTM obligations.
  6. Next project?
  7. Finish cleaning and reorganizing sewing room
  8. Put my sewing table together

Cleaning-

  1. Get the house back under control in general.
  2. Clean up office (which has somehow become the junk room the last few months)
  3. Work on garage on weekends with hubs
  4. Get the baby’s swingset installed? Weather and helper permitting
  5. Closet
  • I’d also love to start my juice fast this month, but we are on a budget crackdown and juicers aren’t cheap.
  • Read read read!
  • Start detoxing – I think this month I will tackle the kitchen
  • Reach out to a couple friends
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