Thursday, March 26, 2015

a Spring mug rug

Kathleen Tracy of A Sentimental Quilter recently did a tutorial, which you can find HERE, on a fun mug rug. It was just the thing I needed to do. I'm tired of the cold and the snow, and wanted to do something with Spring-like colors. I chose my scraps of the Aviary line, which is one of my favorites, to do this:
The side pieces are actually selvages from the Aviary fabric. To quilt it, I just did a bit of hand stitching and some machine embroidery.
I use my mug rugs all the time instead of coasters, so I'm sure I'll be making more of this one.

As for the studio organizing, last week Shelly challenged us to:

clean out one drawer.

Instead of a drawer, I picked a bin on a shelf; well two bins, actually. One was filled with clothes that I thought had gone to charity years ago! And even though this pic isn't at all exciting, I'll post it to keep this real and to see the size of it:
 Upon going through it, I didn't want any of it. So great, I emptied a bin!

Then I pulled out another, that I thought was just jeans to be cut up.
Turns out there was much more, including bits of pants that I have no idea why I kept, shirts, sheets, even some yardage! I had a good pile to toss away!
I'm still working on cutting up the jeans and shirts in that bin. This will take awhile, so no 'after' pics, other than an empty bin and the jeans are nicely piled, ready to be cut up.
Now I have a good size space where those two bins where kept, and I was able to put my file folders, that I've been working on, in that space.
I need to do this with all my large storage bins on shelves; sort and purge.

I'd love to know from others...do you prefer to stack your fabrics on shelves, so you can see them and access them easily?
OR do you put them in bins?

As for the next week, Shelly has challenged us to:

work on your one UFO that is closet to finished.

I've got several close to finishing, so this will be a good one to do.
Happy stitching!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Studio Organizing update

I've been working away at Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts studio organizing challenges. I've made good progress with my paper clutter, namely my collection of tutorials that I've gathered from the web over the years. They used to be stored in binders like this:
Problem was, that they weren't in any particular order, so it took me forever to find what I was looking for. So I've been filing them in a file box instead.
This is so much easier to find them. I found numerous patterns that I had duplicates of, which I could toss. I now have a pile of binders for my kids to use. I've kept two binders for quilt-alongs, and that's all.
I am also starting a file box for each of my kids, and am filing their old school work, art work, school pictures, certificates in swimming, etc. I'm really hoping to purge a great deal of their old paper clutter by just keeping the best or most important things in these file boxes.

I decided to go back to using the file boxes for my quilting fabric as well.

Now, onto last week's challenge. It was to:

Organize your thread.

I have not done this in ages, so it was long over-due. They were a mess! I don't have any wall spool holders and can't keep threads out, as I've always had cats that like to mess with them! So I like to keep the spools with a filled bobbin together, in baggies in my desk drawers. I dumped them out and this is what I had:

 I decided to sort them by brand, as I mostly use Aurifil white, grey or tan for piecing and Gutermann for machine embroidery. So my top drawer now looks like this:

And the other drawer has all my Gutermann colors.

I do have older, polyester type threads sorted by color in baggies elsewhere. But these are what I use most often, so I keep them in my sewing desk. This was a good task to get done!

As for my embroidery floss, well this is the system I started using decades ago. I marked off what I had on this chart:

Inside the box, the floss is sorted by number.

But I really do not like this system. I've got bags of floss to be put on those cardboard bobbins. It's too time-consuming for me now. I'd love to find a different system for floss!

As for this week, the challenge is to:

Clean out one drawer.

I've got lots of drawers to work on, so it won't be hard finding one to do. 

Happy stitching!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Procrastination Challenge and Studio Organizing

For Shelly's procrastination challenge for February, I had chosen #6 on my list, which was pajamas for my daughter. She has grown so much lately, that most of her jammies are too small, and it's been so cold here, that she really needed some warm pants.
I used an old pattern for these, but afterwards, I saw THIS video on making your own custom pj pants by Shabby Fabrics. I'll have to give that a try!
 
I'm working on a nightie of the same flannel fabric, but it's not quite done yet. So I'll continue with that project into March. Once I get that done, the next old project that I want to finish, is #1 on my list. It's a quilt that just needs it's binding finished.

For the studio organizing challenges which you can find the list for, HERE , I've done lots of mending of toys, and filing of papers, to clear off surfaces. It feels great!

Thank you, Shelly, for the continuous nudge to get things done!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

studio organizing, week 7

For week 7 of the studio organizing challenge, lead by Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts, it was to learn to use a new tool. I chose my diamond Fons & Porter ruler, which I hadn't got around to trying yet. I did some searches, and came up with THIS  free pattern called Ozark Star, which happens to use another ruler I already had, as well. I didn't have the pyramid ruler it calls for, but was able to use the paper template that the pattern provides.

I decided this won't be a table topper for me, but will hang in my sewing room, along side my Hazel Ilene quilt. So I used some of the same fabrics that are in the quilt, for it. I did have to do some ripping of seams a few times to get things to line up okay. I can see making this in Christmas fabrics!
I should have got it done by now, but for the last few days, I've been debating on the quilting and the fabrics for the backing and binding. I think I'll use this one for both, but not completely sure yet...
So this was a fun challenge to do and I learned how to use some new tools!

Now, for week 8, Shelly just posted the challenge to:

put away stray fabric and other items.

Well I actually just did this over the past few days, as I was contemplating what fabrics to use to finish the Ozark Star.
One thing that has helped me to keep from having a huge mess when I pull out fabrics, which you can read about HERE on Sew Many Ways, is to wrap your fabrics around a file folder. I don't have too many good quilter's cottons, as most of my fabrics are poly blends or old clothes, so I was able to do this with my quilting fabrics and fill a file box. It worked great, until I decided I wanted files with actual paper patterns, in there! So I placed them in those plastic drawers, that are on wheels. They fit in great and the fabric stays neat and tidy!
I did just pick up some more file boxes on sale though, so I might just go back to using them and do even more of my stash this way.

My file folders were blue, so just incase of any color bleeding onto the fabric because of dampness(my sewing space is in my basement), I do wrap tissue paper around them first.

So, since my area is fairly neat for now, I do have mending, that a certain 6 year old, would love mommy to get done!
They all have wee holes in them. It shouldn't take long and will clear off another spot.
Happy stitching!

Monday, February 16, 2015

a V-Day mug rug

 I had an orphan heart block in my scrap bin, so I thought, why not make hubby a mug rug for Valentine's Day? I then randomly pieced some strips for the other side, to make it reversible. Inside, is just a thin piece of batting, so it wasn't too puffy.

The fabric line is called Greetings from Canada by Thimbleberries for RJR Fabrics.
If I recall correctly, I think the heart block pattern came from Kathleen Tracy's small quilt Yahoo group.
It was nice to use up some scraps!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

studio organizing, week 6

I'm trying to catch up with Shelly's challenges. So for week 6, the challenge was to:
clean off your cutting table or main work area.

I'm attempting to keep my tables clean, by working in my sewing space each day, even if it's just for 15 minutes. It's helping, so it didn't take too long to clean the surfaces up.

One thing that has really helped me to tidy up quickly, are mini design boards. Here is one of mine:
They are super easy to make, and oh, so useful! You can find the tutorial for them HERE at Bee In My Bonnet. You can lay out small pieces for a block on the board, and move it easily to the sewing machine or to your ironing board.
I need to make more of them, all the same size, so I can stack them, with multiple projects and pieces. They really are great to have!

Now for week 7, Shelly posted it today.  It is to:
learn to use a new tool. 

I do happen to have a ruler that I've never used before:

So now I need to do some reading, to see what I can make with it.
Happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

studio organizing, week 5

I've been working away at Shelly's challenges. For the 4th week, it was to organize your marking pens and pencils. I don't have many of those in my sewing space, but I did find an old bag of markers that I'd been meaning to go through, and tossed out most of them...gee, some went back to my school days, which is a looong time ago!
Now my daughter's stash of crayons and markers was in need of sorting out.
Keep in mind, this is a 6 year old's desk...

So we made a game of it, doodling and scribbling, testing out her markers and sorting them. I think we filled her trash can with one's that didn't work! And this is the 'after':

It's basically all her markers, pencils, crayons, stencils, rulers, and glue. She even made sure to sharpen all her pencil crayons!

Now, for week 5 of the challenge, it is to:
clean out and organize one drawer.
This desk has 3 drawers to it, and they were crammed pack full! There was so many books in the one drawer, it really was too heavy for her to open. The others just had piles of scribbled on paper and old art work.

So we dumped them out and started sorting. We ended up with heaps of paper for the recycling bin and got rid of old coloring books. The top drawer now has just a few activity books, the next drawer is some art kits and the bottom drawer is all her construction and drawing papers. 

She likes it! Now we just have to pick one of my sewing room drawers, and do that next.