Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reorganization Day 3

"The secret of success is constancy of purpose."
Benjamin Disraeli
Yesterday I took a blog break because I had an afternoon quilt group to meet with, but I did not take a break from organizing.  I got so caught up in what I was doing yesterday morning that I ran out of time to blog before it was time to leave.  I am happy to announce that it was a very productive day with some great results.

I had a plastic 2 drawer storage bin that I worked on yesterday.  A few months ago I wanted to level off and increase the surface space on top so I decided to place half of an antique wooden table top over the bins.  This table top belonged to my grandmother and at one time had a base but it has since been damaged and gotten rid of.  Increasing this space gave me a place to store my quilt tops waiting to be quilted, my "ladies in waiting".  The quilt tops or other items are placed into a large blanket box so I always know what I have that needs to be quilted.  The only things that do not go in this box are customer quilts.

The bins underneath hold leftovers from other projects that need to be cut and separated into strips and squares and once that is done I need to divide them down to darks and lights.  Right now the goal is to reorganize my room so the sorting and cutting of scraps will have to wait for another day.  I emptied the drawers into oversized totes that could be moved to another part of the house where I keep my full sized ironing board because these pieces will need to be ironed and then cut. 

The top bin was used to store the yarn that you see in the corner and the bottom drawer was used to store the denim jeans I use to make my aprons.  This is the result of all that work.

When I finished with this I had not used up all of my time alloted so I continued on to bins under my adjustable quilting frame.  I have 2 three drawer bins that house my fat quarters that have been sorted by color (still need to label) and I also included one smaller three drawer bin where one drawer holds my acrylic felt, one has become my selvage bin and the other has charm squares.
The project is moving right along and although exhausting it has been fun and exciting to see everything finding a more permanent home.  I already have begun to feel more creative and thinking up ideas of new things I would like to make.
A few more items have been added to my bookshelf but everything is labeled and what isn't labeled is not hidden from view so all supplies and projects are able to be seen.   I hope that what I am doing and ideas that I am coming up with inspire my readers when and if they want to tackle this type of job in their own space.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Reorganizaion - Day 2

"The truth of the matter is, we always know the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it."
Norman Schwarzkopf

Yesterday I started on the top of this bookcase and used stick on labels to mark containers, I realized that using one color of labels for supplies and a different one for on-going projects provides a great visual cue to see what I have going on at one time.  This will become a good way to discourage starting new projects when I can so easily see what is still left unfinished . 

Before the end of the day I thought I would take care of a couple of other things.  I have a slotted wall file storage unit that had been in my closet for a year and a table top ironing board that needed a new home   The file unit was hung on the wall space next to the shelf putting it behind the door as you enter the room.  In the file unit I placed rolls of parchment paper, freezer paper and stabilizer. I then attached an adhesive hook on the lower side of the shelf for the ironing board, leaving plenty of space on top for any other items if needed.

Now on to the next reorganizing step.  Today I worked on the last 3 shelves of my bookcase.


Work did not go as smoothly or quickly as yesterday because these three shelves housed quilting books, magazines, assorted drawers of rulers, patterns and a vintage sewing machine in a case. The first step was to divide everything into categories of quilting/sewing books and quilting/sewing magazines.  In some cases as I pulled items off the shelves I was able to decide right away to keep it or toss it. 
I now have a a pile of magazines on my bed and some very empty shelves.  The magazines I put on the bed and before I go to bed tonight I will take another 30 minutes to check through them to see which ones are getting tossed, which will probably be most of them.  The storage drawers house specialty rulers that I put into zippered plastic bags and zip locks with labels identifying the type of ruler inside.
  The labels are actually on the inside of the bag so that as items are pulled out and put back into the drawers the labels will not be torn off the bag making this whole idea time wasted.  The vintage sewing machine will be placed outside the room for the time being until I get finished or at least closer to finishing and then decide where it will go.

I hope that my tips and things I am learning along the way about organizing a sewing space are helpful and informative.  I know that I am enjoying the process as well as the progress and am encouraged to continue to the point that I have to remind myself that I will only do 45 minutes per day.  I don't want to get burned out on the process and defeat the whole purpose of what I am doing.  If anyone has any ideas or tips or insight on orgainizing please leave a comment it is always appreciated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

"Progress is not created by contented people."
Frank Tyger

As I start this reorganization project I will be posting my progress and I hope that some of my ideas and suggestions will help and motivate others.  I am not striving to find a solution to a "cleaner" space just a more organized and less cluttered one.

The plan is to start on my sewing studio and over the next 3 months toss, give away and put away as much as possible and still have time to find inspiration and be creative.  Starting today I will dedicate 45 minutes a day to sorting out one area of my sewing space making unemotional decisions to get rid of as much as possible so that my life and creative vision will become clearer.  Some of those items may find their way to the destash section of my Etsy shop where they will be for the next three months.  If at the end of the 3 months these items have not sold I will donate them to a local charity.

To start with I need 3 containers to use for sorting items into three categories, "throw away", "put away" and "give away".  I already have a trash can with trash bags in my sewing room so one was taken care of and in the interest of time I decided that for today I would use large totes for the other two categories.

 The key is to not overwhelm yourself with things to do, but to break each area up into small increments that are large enough to complete easily and to give you a sense of accomplishment, but not so large that you get sick of the process and end up discouraged.  I chose 45 minutes because that would give me enough time to do small areas and not take up too much of my day.  The first area to work on will be a book shelf that is the first thing you see as you walk into my room.
I decided to start on the top and first two shelves and this is what they looked like when I first walked into the room.


This was the result after 45 minutes of work.  I took everything off the top and kept only a small doll stroller basket filled with a collection of kaleidoscopes in different shapes and sizes.  This collection spans over 20 years and was not something I wanted to get rid of.  The other item was a vintage hoop on a wooden base that I purchased at a flea market in Germany while stationed there when DH was in the army.  Eventually I would like to use it to display a miniature quilt on my shelf.  I sorted projects into containers and labeled them with pink labels and stored supplies into containers and drawers labeled in green.  Some items were put into the give away bag and others needed to find new homes in other areas of my house or my sewing space. 

I feel really good about this small accomplishment and being able to see a big difference in this space makes me excited to continue with this project.  Tomorrow I will continue with the bottom 2 shelves so that this one shelving unit will be done.  If any of my readers have any suggestions or tips please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reorganization Prep

"Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way."
Alan Watts

I spent yesterday looking for advice on how to reorganize my sewing studio.  In the past I would have thumbed through books or magazines, but today the first step in research is the internet, so I Googled it.  I found some interesting sites that helped me get started with my plan.

My first stop was at this Better Homes and Gardens web page: .  The tools here allow you to draw out your room size as well as provide you with tools to add furniture and create a room arrangement.    With the help of these tools I was able to set up the pieces of furniture that I will use in my room and get an overview of the space and how to use it best. Every inch of space must be used wisely to make the most of this sewing studio.

The next step was looking for some tips on how to organize the supplies that will be in this space.  Once more Google was a big help with this link: .  At this site there were ideas on how to approach your room organization which is a great starting point for my project.  I think this will help me get started and focus on the things that are important to be successful in this endeavor. There is also an alphabetical Organizing Tips page, that can help you with all types of organizing ideas.

After much reading and thought it came to me that clutter is the result of procrastination and my clutter has migrated past the door of my sewing studio and is on its way to engulf the rest of my life.  Sometimes we can feel paralyzed by the idea that things need to get done but we don't know where to start and the easy way out is to just not get started, creating an ever vicious cycle.  As I continued to read some of the articles I had found I came upon a link called "flylady" and decided to check it out.  If you have trouble seeing daylight through all the clutter I suggest you check this site out: tackle your problem with the help of what could be called a one step program for those that need extra help on where to get started

So with the research done it is time to start planning, tomorrow is "start day" and I need to have a plan of where to start, how much work time do I have everyday and what kind of tools do I need to complete my tasks.  Today is prep day, lets see if I can keep the momentum and stay on track so that the new year will find me in a newly organized space that is both comfortable and inviting to work in. 

If you have any ideas or helpful links please feel free to leave a comment.  I am always in the market for any organization tips, expecially those that are inexpensive.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cleaning Out The Clutter To Create

"Be willing to make decisions.  That's the most important quality in a good leader.  Don't fall victim to what I call the "ready aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome."  You must be willing to fire."
George S. Patton

Every so often I go into a creative slump and I struggle to find inspiration or motivation to get started again.
To me the excitment of creating a new design is what inspires me to work and when I have already used an idea or design, or if I am making multiple items with the same design I find it difficult to stay on track.  At a time like this is when I find reorganizing and cleaning out the physical clutter helps me reorganize and declutter my thoughts. 

The adage of quilters is "she who dies with the most fabric wins", well I have decided that I don't want to compete for the title anymore. In an effort to become more focused I must not only get rid of distraction but I must also pare down the amount of supplies that overflow from every shelf in my sewing studio.  If there are so many things in your studio that they become an obstacle to your creativity, then what is the point of having it all surrounding you?

I have started looking at the things I surround myself with and trying to decide what are the items that are the most special to me and what items are those that inspire me.  The next step is to see what items are essential to what I create and is most likely to get used.  Multiples of items are also a problem, I am sure I am not the only one that forgets I already have a 6 inch square ruler and end up buying a new one on sale.  Then there is the ever growing pile of 2, 3, 4, etc, inch strips that are leftovers from a project that need to be sorted or at the very least be given a home.

My target is to get started on Monday, Sept 20th and between creating items for my holiday craft show season I will sort, toss, give away and donate as much as I possibly can.  I vow to not purchase anymore fabric unless it is needed for a custom item, but will use whatever I already have available in my stash to create.  As I arm myself with some storage bins and trash bags I know that this will be a long and tedious project but I have vowed that my sewing studio will not begin another year in the same condition.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show Time

 "I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
Helen Keller

Holiday Craft Show Season is just around the corner and it is a whirlwind of activity in my sewing room to create enough inventory for the two shows I will be participating in this year.  The first will be next month, Oct. 9th, at the "Deep in the Arts of Texas" Show, sponsored by the Randolph Air Force Base Spouses Club held in the Live Oak City Civic Center.  This one day show is held every year and is quite popular and well attended so we look forward to a busy day there.  The next one is a week long craft show in downtown San Antonio, TX, sponsored by the First Baptist Church.  The show runs from November 15 through the 20th at the Wolfson House located on the corner of Broadway and 4th St. in a lovely Victorian house.  If any of my readers are in the area you are invited to attend this wonderful show in a relaxed cozy holiday atmosphere with free refreshments served all day, everyday of the show.  At both shows there are a variety of items, clothing, table linens, jewelry, Christmas ornaments and foods to buy in a wide range of prices that are affordable and reasonable.

I enjoy getting ready for these shows because I love the atmosphere and the friendly customers that are in the holiday spirit.  This year I am featuring my sets of doll quilts and pillow combos and the "Flower Child Series" of Pillow Dolls, that are child friendly with their hand drawn faces and made out of cotton fabric and polar fleece. For the adults there are aprons made from recycled blue jeans trimmed using cotton fabric in a variety of designs and of course there will be the usual Holiday table linens, quilts and other gift giving ideas.