Thursday, April 20, 2017

In the Bin

Hello from the land of projects! 

Mother Nature has great timing. During the first few months of 2017, she kept me inside my brightly lit and warm home. I decided that I would take the time I needed while inside over the winter to dig deep into the recesses of my closets. It was time. In fact, it was way overdue.

While sitting down to write my TO DO list this morning, I paused and listened to that voice inside of me. You know the voice I'm talking about. It's the one that I, personally, often don't give my full attention to;  and later on I wish I had done so. I tend to pressure myself to get things done, as if I have strict deadlines, and I feel like I need to get on to the next thing as soon as possible. Today I wrote down what that inner voice said, which was,  "Take time to enjoy the tasks that make up your day. They are important, even if they're considered chores. Shed the guilt. Lift the burden. Enjoy everything you do today. This is your life right now and it is important."

It might be a little less than exciting to some people to rifle through boxes of fabric and unfinished projects. In fact, it used to produce so much guilt and anxiety for me, that I would end up just closing the boxes and putting them out of sight. However, I have become aware that, as my mother used to say, "I have a lot more years behind me than ahead of me". I've come to the clear realization that if I don't take care of things, these decisions will fall on someone else's shoulders; and that just isn't fair. I don't want to burden any of my family with the chore of trying to figure out what in the world all of these things meant to me and then assume the task of finding them suitable homes, or just donating them to charity, after I am gone.

So, without going on and on with these thoughts, I will cut to the chase. I decided that I would once and for all catalog my stash and projects. This kind of organization is a challenge to many quilters and crafters. There is so much stuff required to do what we do, from the various colors of thread, pretty papers, ribbons, embellishments . . .  to all the little tools for specific jobs, books, patterns, and machines, to the collections of fabric we amass. When I feel mired in all this stuff, I think to myself . . . "what was I thinking? I will need an army to help me get all of this used in my lifetime!" . . . but, a fellow quilter once pointed out to me that I am too hard on myself and that I should at least enjoy my fabrics and be happy when I see them and touch them, no matter if they ever make their way into a quilt or not. That is a concept that I am trying to embrace. I tend to be very task oriented and think of everything in terms of a project with phases that can be checked off as I proceed. And when I don't achieve that goal, I beat myself up. I'm trying not to do that anymore, and even when I slip back into my former modus operandi, I try to be gentle with myself and not feel defeated. I admit that I am still a work in progress.

Thanks to technology, I think I have found a really good solution that will allow me to know where things are stored and have access to them more readily than before. I used my cell phone to take photos of my fabrics as I folded them and tucked them away in bins. Yes, I know we are cautioned not to store our fabrics in plastic . . . but it is what I am using! I took the time to enjoy the view. I looked at the fabrics and dreamt of what I will make when I use them. It was fun, . . . as long as I didn't let any guilt get a hold of me. When I had a full bin, I labeled it with a letter, such as "Fabric Bin A" and then took a photo of that label. I made a folder in my cell phone labeled "Fabric Bin A" and in that folder I put all the photos of the fabrics that are inside. It may sound a bit cumbersome in my explanation, but it was rather simple. It is working out great and I have access to the system 24 hours a day. The photos will never disappear because they are not only stored on my phone, but are stored in the cloud, too.

Here are a few sample photos to show you what I am talking about.

This is a screenshot of the folder in my smart phone of the contents of Bin B.
Inside the bin are my
Black, White and Red Project
Black and White Fabrics
Graphic 45 Birdsong Collection
Depression-era Reproduction fabrics.

This is a screenshot of the folder in my smart phone of contents of Bin D.
Inside the bin are my
Blue & Orange Log Cabin Project
New York Beauty blocks in progress
Rayon dress fabric . . . I MIGHT make a dress again some day!
Split Rail Fence blocks
2 partially finished,  . . . or is that partially started? . . . Stack 'n' Whack Quilts
Friendship Star Quilt
2 paper-pieced mini quilt projects
Hawaiian applique block
,Amish Ocean Waves stored in an old cigar box!
For me, this is real progress! Now I actually know what fabrics I have and where they are. The same goes for my UFOs (to quilters, this term means Unfinished Projects). When I want to carve time out of a day or a week, I can refer to the folder of photos in my phone and locate something to work on without pawing through bins for fabric in frustration to the point of exhaustion.

There you go. I just breathed a big sigh of relief. It wasn't easy to bare my quilty .... guilty....soul, but this idea might just catch on and help you or others. I imagine that I will find more ways to use my phone for a filing, storage and retrieval system. Perhaps the next task will be to organize my paper crafting supplies in this way. Maybe this system is already used by others and isn't a new discovery. That doesn't matter to me. What does matter is the fact that I think I have finally found a solution to my perennial problem!

Let me know what you think. What methods have you found useful in your quest to organize your stuff?

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog post. I do appreciate your feedback and welcome your questions and comments.

I hope you and those you love are well and happy. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Monday, April 10, 2017

A Trip to Savannah and A Few Handmade Birthday Gifts

Hello! It has been a few weeks since my last post. When  I have had the opportunity, I have spent a lot of time reorganizing my paper craft studio and making some wonderful discoveries along the way! There are enough supplies in there to last me a long time and provide the materials for some really fun-to-make projects! I plan to be back in the studio more often this spring and will put much of what I have to good use!

Today is an exceptionally warm day for early April in Western New York State. It is going to be 70 degrees and sunny! It will be a good time to start cleaning up all the debris in the yard and gardens. There is a lot to do before we can even begin to plant anything. The temperatures still dip down in the 30's at night.

My husband and I returned a week ago from a trip to Savannah, Georgia. While we were there, we also visited Parris Island, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. The weather could not have been any better. It was warm and there was a constant soft breeze. What a treat!

The historic homes we had the chance to view and visit were marvelous and the city and region's history is rich. If you have never been to Savannah, I urge you to go. The best months to visit are December through March. After that, the heat can be oppressive for northern tourists, like us!

We had the opportunity to tour Mistletoe Cottage on Jekyll Island.
The island was a private resort for a select few of the very rich from 1888 until 1942.
The island has an interesting history and we wish that the walls could talk.
There would surely be some intriguing stories.
We just ordered a book that our tour guide recommended,
Splendid Isolation, The Jekyll Island Millionaires'  Club, 1888-1942
Inside Mistletoe Cottage, this room is at the back of the building, adjacent to the dining room.
The ceiling is covered with imported hand-painted silk panels from China.
The large brass lamps resemble Chinese Lanterns.
The residents of the island built a chapel and inside is this Tiffany window.
It was made by and signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Upon our return home, we were greeted by crocuses in bloom.
A sure sign of spring!
And a few days later . . . winter was trying to hold on.
After torrential rains and flooding, it snowed heavy wet snow.
We usually do not have a lake in the back yard, but the banks of the Tonawanda Creek were overflowing.
We had a birthday in the family, so I made a few things to put in the mail. Whenever I sit down to make something in my studio, I end up adding to my original idea! :-)

A collage of sorts on the front of the card.
I rounded the corners and inked all around the edges of the papers that I used.
I added a few dots and the metal embellishment.

I don't know about  you . . . but I love using fancy paperclips!
I altered these with ribbons in spring colors.
The recipient said she really liked them and said she always needs paperclips!

I made this little envelope to hold a special little gift.

The back of the clipboard that I altered.

It is hard to make something and not include some charms!

The front of the altered clipboard.
The little pocket held the small envelope perfectly!
I added a metal piece at the top, but forgot to take a photo before I mailed it.
It said "Enjoy the Journey".
The spring market for real estate is about to get very busy and we are rolling out a new listing today, so I will close here. It is a nice benefit to have a home office to work from, and with so much telecommuting technology available in our profession, we can start early at home before we hit the pavement.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. As always, your comments and questions are welcome. I hope you and those you love are well and happy.

And . . . until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.