Monday, January 28, 2019

Reclaiming My Studio Part 4 -- Stop Giving Me Stuff!


Now people are giving me MORE STUFF.  Good Grief!

Last week a couple friends and I got together at our favorite Mexican restaurant and finally exchanged our Christmas gifts.

ARGH!  Leslie gave me a stack of Vintage Orphan Quilt Blocks that she had found at the Salvation Army.

Isn't that awesome??????

NO IT"S TERRIBLE!  How am I going to purge my studio when people keep giving me more stuff to stash in my ever-shrinking sewing space?

Of course, I would never say "no."  Would you?

The blocks are wonderful.  Well-constructed with lots of really great vintage fabrics.  A few of them are earlier, perhaps 1890-1910, but the rest are Depression-era goodies.

Sigh...........I guess I'll have to buy some more bins and totes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 New Year's Goal -- Reclaiming My Studio Part 3............Scraps

Yay!  Tricia 1...................Scraps 0.

I had posted about my scraps on Instagram earlier this month  and a kind follower suggested that I join the 2019 Scrap Buster Challenge by Border Creek Station.

It sounded intriguing so I checked it out and I joined the fun!  This was just the thing for my basket of 1930's squares (see below) -- I just needed to add a white solid.  Easy Peasy!

The goal for the Scrap Buster Challenge is to make at least 52 blocks in 2019, which averages out to 1 block a week.  This sounded very manageable to me -- I know I can do this.  Besides, I can always work ahead so when a week is too crazy for me to sew, I can skip a week when needed.  AND it will use up some of my scrap fabric.  Win-win!

Here is my first Scrap Challenge Block.  It's not perfect, but I'm okay with that.  I gave up the idea of quilting perfection long ago.

I was so inspired by my first block that I made 3 more blocks the second week. I  posted my 4 humble blocks on the Scrap Challenge FB page and one of the other participants pointed out that I had sewn one of the HST blocks in each of the three blocks wrong.  She kindly said something about being curious to see how my variation turns out.  GULP!  I totally missed that.  Hmmm.  Time to "unsew" some seams and fix the 3 blocks.

Here are my repaired blocks.  As you can see, I decided not to do a ton of "unsewing" and used the wrongly-pieced HSTs to make 3 more blocks!  Now I have 7.  45 blocks to go.

It's not too late you you to join in the fun.  Just hop over to the Border Creek Station website for more information.  Bring a friend.

With my quilt studio bursting at the seams will fabric, I have decided that 2019 is going to be my YEAR OF SCRAP QUILTS.

So, not only am I going to blog about my Studio Cleaning Adventure, but now I'm going to add scrap quilts to the mix.  The good thing is that I should always have something to blog about.  The bad thing is that you are going to get tired of reading about my studio and my scrap quilts. 

Did you miss the first part of my Reclaiming my Studio series?  Click HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2019

2019 New Year's Goal -- Reclaiming My Sewing Studio Part 2

Well, I'm not dead yet.

I am now approaching my second week of RECLAIMING MY STUDIO and I'm still alive.   

This past week, I focused on 2 things in my studio because my time to work in there is quite limited AND I want to use a bit of that time for sewing, too:

1.  Cutting up scraps into usable squares and rectangles

2.  Putting my homeless quilt stuff into baskets and bins for right now

Cutting Up My Scrap Fabrics 

I had this really big zip top plastic bag of 1930's odd-sized pieces and scraps smaller than a fat quarter.  I had cleaned these out of my 1930's drawers last year but never got back to them.  So now is the time.

So I jumped right in!

Word of advice -- when cutting a lot of scraps into squares and strips, start with a fresh rotary cutter blade.  A new rotary cutter blade will make cutting easier and more comfortable and ultimately faster.

I just started pulling wads of fabric out of the bag.  I pressed and layered larger pieces to be made into 5" squares and then the smaller stuff I pressed and layered to cut 2 1/2" squares.  I kept at it diligently and finally, when I thought I couldn't take all those cute happy 1930's reproduction fabrics anymore, I miraculously emptied that bag of 1930's repros.  WHEW!

As quilters, for some strange and unknown reason, we are afraid to throw away even the teeniest scraps of fabric -- OMG,  what if there's a fabric shortage in the world???

I've actually moved a bit beyond this after 20+ years of quilting.  (Did I actually admit to that in writing?)  In my perfect studio (cue the dreamy music), ALL my scraps have been rendered into 5" squares, 2 1/2" squares, and 2 1/2" WOF strips and are organized in pretty labeled bins.  You've seen these studios on Pinterest, right?

I don't think I need to go to the extent of organizing my cut up scraps by color or theme, though, because when I want to use them, I'll just delve right in and ransack those pretty bins to find the pieces that I want.

Believe it or not, but piles, bags, and bins of tangled scrap fabrics actually take up more space than neatly cut squares and strips (another reason to get my scraps under control).

There are many books out there to help you get the most out of your scraps, a few of my favorite are:

Of course, there are also lots of great blog posts with great tips and suggestions.  It doesn't hurt to do a little research/reading because if you're like me you need to know 2 things -- I'm not alone and somebody out there might know the secret to permanently getting my scraps under control and might even be willing to share.

Basket and Bins and Crates, Oh My!

I spent some time sorting through my piles of stuff and plopping things that had no specific home into baskets and bins to be dealt with later -- when I build my dream sewing/cutting table with 1001+ cubbies (yes, I found myself sliding into an alternate reality here), I'll hopefully have places to put all this orphaned stuff.

WOW!  Abracadabra!  Can you believe it?? Already, my space looks cleaner without jumbled piles of who-knows-what all over my horizontal surfaces.  I was even able to put some things away!

I found lots of precuts hiding in dark corners of baskets and bins, so I am in the process of rescuing them and putting them either in my precut drawer (charm packs and mini charms) OR my crate with fat quarter bundles, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and some other precut odds and ends -- hexagons, triangles, etc.  I really had no idea that I had so many precut bundles....

Yes, I admit it -- I am a precut hoarder [head hanging in shame....].

While putting things in temporary housing, I poked around my existing baskets and bins.  So, of course I found lots more fun things and again, even rehoused some of them already.  GO ME!  (You have to be your own cheerleader, you know.)

I also found more scraps that need to be cut into strips and squares.  Go figure, back to my cutting mat -- which is much easier to find now, by the way.

Stay tuned for my next Cleaning Adventure.

If you missed my first post about cleaning my studio, click HERE

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year's Resolutions........Or Not? Reclaiming My Studio Part 1

If you're anything like me, you're ready to hit the ground running now that it's a brand new year. 

Here is a wonderful quote by Brad Paisley that really resonated with me -- 

"Tomorrow is the first page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one." 

 I've been looking forward to 2019 for a little while now.  2017 and 2018 were definitely NOT my years so I have great hopes for 2019.

Before New Year's I made a decision not to make New Year's Resolutions.  Most years I do write a few resolutions.  Usually they are the typical ones -- eat healthier, lose some weight, etc. -- which of course, like most everyone else,  I've abandoned by February or March.  So what do I do with the rest of the year?  Continue my bad habits, that's what!

So I decided that 2019 was going to be a different year -- a better year.  This year instead of resolutions, I am making GOALS, more like a bucket list, I guess you could say.

In my opinion you either have success or failure with a resolution where you can spend all year working towards a goal.  I like the way that sounds, don't you?  Life is a work in progress anyway.

One of my BIG goals is to clean, organize, and purge my sewing space. ARGH!  I know what you are thinking, but YES I CAN DO THIS!  You can too if that's one of your goals.


Yes, I panicked.  I looked -- really looked -- at my studio and suddenly had no idea what to do or where to start.  Yeah, I admit, my sewing studio is a pretty scary place and looks like a quilt shop threw up in there.  GULP!

 So what did I do?  I started small.  I had 2 tote bags filled with goodies from Quilt Markets I attended in 2016 and 2018.  Most of it was assorted precuts mixed up with a few other things.

There's a lot of really fun stuff in those bags, but I can't enjoy them shoved haphazardly into tote bags.

So, I took everything OUT.  I sorted them by precut type.  I decided that I would put my charm packs and mini charms in my precut drawer since I seem to use these more frequently and the fat quarter bundles, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, etc. I layered in a storage crate for right now.  Hopefully, as I purge stuff that I don't need or want anymore, I will find a better solution for ALL of my precuts.  But for now, this is a good start.

 STEP 2  Find a good organizing book

Yesterday, I scoured Amazon and found what looked like a great organizing book.  It's called Real Life Organizing:  Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day

I thought -- WOW -- in 15 minutes a day I can turn into Martha Stewart.  I downloaded the ebook and started reading right away.  THIS BOOK MAKES ME GIGGLE!  Cass Aarrsen is a real hoot.  I immediately identified with her on several levels.  I really think this is an organizing book that I can work with.  BTW, I am a BEE (to find out what this means, get yourself a copy and read it).

STEP 3  Come up with a Personal Reward

Now that I'm all hyped to roll up my sleeves and dive in (Yes, I realize that things will get worse before they get better), I decided that what I really needed to stay motivated with this project (which may possibly take the rest of my life) was some kind of reward.

This made a lot of sense to me because I spent years and years bribing young children to clean up, sit down, go outside, come inside, use the bathroom, eat their vegetables, etc. by using a classroom reward system.  Have you ever seen the power of the Treasure Box???

So I need my own Quilter's Treasure Box.  It could be a series of small rewards but I decided that it will be a great big reward -- I'm worth it, don't you think?

Right now my sewing machine table and cutting table are a mash up of pieces of furniture not used by my family.  I adore my cutting table which is the bottom of an antique Hoosier cabinet (no top, sorry).  My machine sewing table is a vintage piece with a side extension that I can put up if needed.  BUT they don't match in style nor do they match in in height which can make machine quilting larger projects more difficult.

My Big Reward is going to be...........................



Stay tuned for more updates about my project!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

On the 12th Day of Christmas

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

My True Love gave to me...

12 Drummers Drumming

According to writer Pat Johnson in the Vancouver Courier 12/21/15, the twelve drumming drummers represent the "12 points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed."

I chose a Holiday Drum block for the center of the quilt and surrounded it with a variety of borders.  I call this one "Little Drummer."

Friday, January 4, 2019

On the 11th Day of Christmas

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

My True Love gave to me...

11 Pipers Piping

According to writer Pat Johnson in the Vancouver Courier 12/21/15, the eleven pipers represent the "eleven faithful apostles."

When I think of "pipers" I think of bagpipes.  Of course bagpipes make me think of Scotland and by association Ireland.  So I chose a Double Irish Chain for this quilt in trraditional red, green, and white fabrics.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

On the 10th Day of Christmas

On the 10th Day of Christmas...

My True Love gave to me...

10 Lords A-Leaping

According to writer Pat Johnson in the Vancouver Courier 12/21/15, the Ten Commandments are represented by the ten lords a-leaping.

For this design, I picked the Boy's Nonsense block.  This block and I go way back -- I used it in one of my quilts for my second book, A Russian Journey in Quilts.  I'm going to call this one "Mischief."

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

On the 9th Day of Christmas

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

My True Love gave to me...

9 Ladies Dancing

According to writer Pat Johnson in the Vancouver Courier 12/21/15, nine ladies dancing represent "nine fruits of the holy spirit."

I really love how graphic this design turned out!  There are 9 Fruit Basket blocks, but careful block arrangement and color manipulation created this wonderful secondary design element.  The star in the center and the checkerboard border really complete this quilt.  I'm calling this one "Star Basket" of course!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

On the 8th Day of Christmas

On the 8th Day of Christmas...

My True Love gave to me...

8 Maids A-Milking

According to writer Pat Johnson in the Vancouver Courier 12/21/15, eight maids a-milking stands for eight beautitudes.

Although I don't normally think of white, red, and black as holiday colors, I chose them for this quilt because of the contrast (and simply because I love that combination).  The block is called Buckeye Beauty and I really enjoyed playing around with the arrangement because these blocks created a lot of interesting secondary designs.