UFO Report

A major goal I set for myself this year is to finish at least 12 of my UnFinished Objects in my quilt projects stash.  Since January I have finished one more of the three quilts blocks from a block  a month project from a few years ago.  I opted out after 3 months so 3 blocks is all I have. I will probably make these into a table runner.

original post pic

original post pic

January - February progress

January – February progress

I also finished the black and orange quilt top that is my first priority because I want to hang it on my family room wall. I am anxious to start quilting this because I want to practice with my software.

original post

original post

January - February progress

January – February progress

backing fabric

backing fabric

Other things I have been working on have taken more priority.  I am entering a Cotton Theory Certified Instructor Challenge and the deadline for the entry is April 1.  The challenge is to design and construct a pillow sham using a particular fabric line.  Entries will be hung in The Quilt Yard in Osseo, WI (owned by Betty Cotton, inventor of The Cotton Theory), and customers will vote for their favorite.  The winner will receive a $500 gift card, second place a $300 gift card, and third place a $100 gift card.  I have never entered a contest before, but have wanted to, so I am really excited about this.  You can read more about The Cotton Theory at LanaQuilts.com.

I have also been working on making a pair of slacks and am taking a Craftsy class to learn fitting and construction techniques. It has been a long while since I have made any clothes for myself, but I want to get back to doing so.  You can read about my inspiration at LanaSews.com.  I have cut out the muslin to test for fit, and will get back to it after I finish the pillow shams for the challenge mentioned above.

Pattern and fabric for Craftsy class

Pattern and fabric for Craftsy class

So, I have been sewing, which makes me very happy, and after I finish the challenge, I will get back to my UFOs and clothing construction and will have more progress to report by May 1.

Purge Progress

It’s 2 months into 2013, and I have made some progress on purging things from my home – at least one item a day is my goal.  It’s easier than I thought it would be and rather fun, actually.  It feels great to get rid of the clutter and so much easier to find things.  I enjoy looking around and thinking, “What can I do without in this room?”  I really can’t wait to get through every room!  And then there’s the basement – UGH!  But I’m focusing on my progress, so here goes…

In January we installed an organization system in our Master closet.  This forced us to really go through our clothes and get rid of things that we don’t wear or want anymore.  So here goes…

pink tshirt – I won at Barnes and Noble just in time for pink day at school, but I’m not keeping it to wear one day a year

racquetball shoes, racquet, and bag – sadly, these days are over due to tennis elbow

clock light I received for a gift but never used

soup mug set I received as a gift but never used

American Crew set my husband received as a gift but never used

13 purses and 3 billfolds

jewelry box

watch

2 Vera backpacks

13 pr shoes and one pr of flip flops

picture frame

2 hangers

6 tshirts

2 pens

2 earrings

pin

3 baskets

2 men’s suits

3 baseball pants and 1 pr sliding pants

2 baseball socks

1 dress

2 sweaters, 1 makeup case

2 pillows

2 pr socks

1 organizing system leftovers

2 jars of glass gems

15 medicine bottles – I wouldn’t normally count this, but I saved them to recycle, so I’m counting it as one item.  A local eye doctor donates them to an organization that can use them.

2 lighters – we don’t even smoke, but were keeping these to light candles until we discovered they were empty, which is probably why people left them here!

2 cosmetic items

That’s 82 items in less than 60 days, so I’m on track.  Some items I took to consignment and some I was able to sell on our Marketplace at work.  The rest I took to Goodwill.  One thing that occurred to me earlier this month was whether I should subtract one credit from my purge when I bring something into the house.  Yep, I should.  But I haven’t bought any new clothes (or quilt fabric!!) this year.  I did replace a floor lamp I had with a purchase from a consignment shop, so I didn’t count that in my purge; it was just a replacement.

hope someone is inspired to purge some things from your home.  Consider it additional room to breathe.

Outliers: The Story of Success

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As a teacher of high ability 6th grade students, I was naturally drawn to this book, Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell.  I’m always more than curious about what my former students make of their lives.  One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I reconnect with them on down the road.  But what is an outlier?
“Outlier – noun \-ˌlī(-ə)r\
1.  : something (as a geological feature) that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body
2.  : a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample”

So begins the introduction to this book, about the best, the brilliant, the most successful, and what makes them so.  Research to support the nature vs. nurture question.  And, alas, it is both,  “…they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”

But this book is more fascinating than just that.  Did you know it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at a skill?  Yes, 10,000 hours.  I found myself  mentally calculating the number of hours I have spent sewing or reading or teaching, or doing any other single skill.  Have you ever thought about how cultural differences can critically affect air traffic controllers’ or pilots’ and copilots’ communications?  Or what dominant hockey players have in common?  How does the year you were born impact the chances of your success in a certain area?

A very interesting read.  I hope you take time to enjoy it.

Wood or Plastic?

Wood or plastic?  No contest.

Before recently organizing my UFOs, I was storing them (as well as my fabric stash and quilt kits) in 3 of these huge plastic tubs stacked on top of each other on one wall in my sewing room.  I really hate that plastic odor!

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So now my fabric stash resides here in nice open shelves where it can breathe ~

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And my Quilt Kits awaiting new life are all living together in these drawers in my sewing room cabinet ~

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And my unfinished projects are neatly stored in this cedar chest that my great-grandfather built, (recently moved from the master closet ~ see last blog post ~ to the end of our bed) anxiously waiting for my attention.

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Can’t wait to dig in!

This is the Year of the Purge

Last post I shared my goal of finishing some of my UFO’s.  This is also the Year of the Purge at our house.

We have simply accumulated too much stuff and stuff doesn’t make you happy!  In fact, getting rid of some of it would make me happy!  Clutter makes me feel like I’m drowning!  It’s astonishing to one day discover what all you have accumulated.  Where did all this stuff come from?  Well, I was busy working and raising two kids and enjoying life with them!  But now that we are empty nesters, enough already!  So, we are starting in the Master BR Closet.  I probably have 365 things I can purge in there alone.

Here are the most kind pictures of our closet that I don’t mind sharing.  Use your imagination for the rest.  🙂

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I have always dreamed of having a closet organization system, so when I received The Container Store‘s flyer with the Elfa System 30% off this month and with my goal of purging in 2013, I knew this was the right time.  An Elfa specialist at the store helped design my space with the dimensions and needs I provided for her.  After a couple weeks of the plans simmering in my brain, I made a few modifications and placed the order.  We had already taken everything out of the closet, spackled, sanded, and painted.  The next day it was ready to pick up!  Two guys help us load up the truck.  I must say, they are really organized.  Makes sense.  🙂  Everything we needed was there.  Down to the mollies and wood screws.  Here’s the progress:

Plans taped to the corresponding walls and hanging standards grouped to hang the brackets.

Plans taped to the corresponding walls and hanging standards grouped to hang the brackets.

Spread the standards with brackets at the right height already attached.

Spread the standards with brackets at the right height already attached.

Oh, yea!

Oh, yeah!

Lookin' good!  Just have shoes left to put on the shelves.  Hubby's side is just like mine; we share the center space for shoes.    Symmetry.

Lookin’ good! Just have shoes left to put on the shelves. Hubby’s side is just like mine; we share the center space for shoes. Symmetry.

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and…ta da! With shoes! Hubby still has to add his.

taking to consignment

taking to consignment – one bag of shoes and one bag of purses

taking to Goodwill - floor lamp, tshirts, purses, and shoes

taking to Goodwill – floor lamp, tshirts, purses, and shoes

Bye, Bye UFO’s

Okay, it IS January and I HAVE set some goals for this year.  The first is to finish at least 12 of my quilted works in progress, and the second one is to purge at least one thing from my home every day.

First things first, my UFO’s (unfinished objects).  I organized and sorted my projects the other day and here is what I found:

Yep, 21 of ’em!  And there’s two that I can’t post because they are for people who might see them here and spoil the fun.  So, I will choose the 12, one at a time, to complete this year.  First is the black and orange one because I want to hang it in my family room above our rust colored leather sofa.  It’ll look great there.  Look for pics to come!

Next blog – the Great Purge, my second goal for this year.