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Tag Archives: sewing room organization

In the Bag

The first week of the 2014-15 school year is a thing of the past, and we are officially off to the races! It’s funny how quickly we slide back into the non-summer routine; after the first day, I almost forgot what it was like to still be in bed at six. On the other hand, it’s surprising how exhausted we all were when the week came to a close. Especially me, considering I should be feeling so rested and accomplished, what with both kids on the same schedule now, right? Well, not so. Maybe after a couple more weeks it’ll be a different story, but so far every day has had something new to keep me hopping. That’s not a complaint so much as an observation — it was a great week!

In gearing up for the big first day, I went to the school and purchased the big pallet of supplies for each kid. Sweet fancy Moses! Once the “spirit day” t-shirts and planner (for Mr. 4th Grade) were added on, we were in over a hundred bucks. Now, I know this isn’t any big shocker, because I know how much I’ve paid just for the boy’s stuff every year, and yet…my brain failed to double that and prepare me for the grand total when I stood at the table three minutes after entering the cafeteria.

I’ll say that for buying the supplies from the school: It’s efficient.

All that to lead up to today’s crafty story. Given the expense of all the other stuff, you can imagine how ridiculously pleased I was with myself for saving Joey’s kindergarten tote these past three years. Waste not, want not! Never mind that the savings is a whopping $7.00. Pay no attention to the tiny holes in the bottom (which I failed to notice in my excitement of having found the tote exactly where it belonged and in “perfectly good” condition.) See, every kindergartener is required to carry said tote; no backpacks are allowed. This allows the teachers to quickly identify them…or somethin’. And they encourage you to doll them up and bling ’em out! But for all my craftiness, I’m not one much for bling. And I couldn’t wrap my head around any other ideas, and that spells trouble as far as executing something not totally embarrassing. I know when to holster my glue gun, friends. It was bad enough that I jumped right into this task at the spur of the moment, and promptly cut the fabric without adding the proper seam allowances. Doh! This is why taking several seemingly unnecessary days to plan and ruminate are key. Then again, I managed to skimp a little and still get the job done, so maybe there’s a good middle ground. Who’s to say?

Instead, I took thirty minutes today and killed two birds with one stone:


Note the addition of the fancy, rainbow-hearted lining, completely non-standard issue*. You may also note that the blue heart totally matches the blue bag — love it when a plan comes together! I remembered Betz White upcycling totes this way, so this bag may even have a third life turned inside out after this year. I don’t have that high of hopes for its durability, but it made it this far so who knows.

Even better?


I found the iron-on name tags from two years ago, right where they belonged!! Done and done.


*Here’s another thing non-standard issue: the bag itself. Yes, sometime in the past three years, they stopped adding the black bottom to the bag, so Bridget’s is the only one not like the others. Oops. She likes that hers is easy to find amongst the twenty other bags hanging there — good enough for me!

Keep It Going Full Steam

It would seem like my main two goals (on the making front, that is) would work together well. Number one is to use up what I have; the second is to not put a project aside until it’s finished. Decide on something, prep it, and crank it out.


Oh, but, whoops! These squares have been sitting on my sewing table for at least a week, probably two. (Probably more, but really that’s beside the point.) Also, there’s a similar one sitting on the shelf all cut and ready to go, and that’s not even mentioning the denim one that’s sitting half on the table and half in a box below. In fairness, that one is in limbo because I ran out of materials, and not at all because I ran out of interest after cutting the first fifty-six squares from the legs of old jeans. Nooo….

You can see where this is all heading. Backward, and quickly. So, today, I decided to fight the urge to start on a brand new and exciting quilt in favor of finishing a half-done one. (Let’s not talk about its companion, please. It’ll get its turn soon enough.) And now it’s all done but the snipping, ready to be put away for next year. A small but significant victory in the war on…myself? Yeah, that’s about right.


A couple of nights ago, I was in a sad state and just poured my heart into a post about some of the ways in which I’ve missed my dad over the six years he’s been gone. Then I woke up this morning — the anniversary of his death — and realized that the writing was really enough for me, and that the story didn’t need to go any further than my drafts folder. It can be summed up thusly:

I love my dad. I miss my dad, especially when there’s a particularly good game (it never did matter which sport) or concert on TV.

I don’t like March, but I try to make the best of it.

I can’t believe a day will come when I’ll stop missing my dad, or when I’ll stop dreading March.

No good month filled with terrible memories March.

What I Did In My Free Time

This year, both of the kiddos are old enough to attend my mom’s much anticipated annual event: Grandma Camp!

For five magical mornings, the two of them and their cousin spend the morning at Grandma’s house having all kinds of fun and lunch. Oh, how we all love Grandma Camp! (Actually, I half want to attend myself — they get to have so much fun!) That left me with a few precious hours to myself every day, which felt kind of like an embarrassment of riches.

Unfortunately, I don’t do all that well with blocks of free time. I’m prone to wander around kind of aimlessly, wondering what to do first. On top of that, I’m also tempted to cram in bunches of errands, since just about anything can be done more quickly and inexpensively without “helpers”. And — last but not least — what about just relaxing and reading a good book? That’s lots of fun, too, you know.

As luck would have it, it has poured down rain every day this week. That cut down on the errand running, that’s for sure. Since I made a commitment to try to clean up our work room this week, I made myself put down the book and get with it.

I don’t know why I do this to myself. As far back as I can remember, though, I have always allowed my workspaces to get super crowded. Everything gets spread out, and I end up trying to write or cut or cook in eight square inches of space; it’s ridiculous. Part of that has to do with my tendency to drop things wherever, and then simply leave them there until they’re needed again — obviously not best practices. Anyway, you can see why I haven’t been in much of a mood to sew, even when I did have a spare minute.

But now?

The only question is what to make first. So much better, right? Especially after I completely cleared the sewing table. Hey, take a look at the “before” shot again. See that tray of papers, to the left and behind the lamp? That’s on the sewing table. I had a tray of papers sitting at my elbow every time I sat down to sew. Hardly a model of efficiency for a left-handed person. See what I mean about crowding? You think I’d have moved it the first time or two that I sent it flying, but that would make too much sense. Besides, the where factor was kind of a problem. Get rid of enough stuff, and the “where” starts presenting itself!

Of course, I haven’t cleared out nearly enough stuff, but that’s a different matter. With this area, it’s definitely a process. We’re getting there, though!

The sheer number of unfinished projects is back to an overwhelming level, too. As I was clearing out bins and piles, though, I came across a couple of really small tasks. Why not just go ahead and finish them? Instead of transferring the sure-to-become-mangled fabric strips to yet another pile, why not just sit down for a few minutes and whip up a bracelet?

And — while I’m at it — how long is it really going to take to make facecloths out of the kids’ old flannel pjs?

Not that long. Certainly not long enough to warrant the six months of procrastination I’d already allowed.

Finally, the third and final apron may just be for me (and it’s a Christmas one, at that), but it’s taking up valuable real estate on the ironing board.

Aww yeahhh. See you in December, my friend.

It took me the majority of two mornings to get the room squared away, but it was totally worth it! Now, hopefully, I can find time to actually have some fun in here — I can’t wait!


[Actually, I did wait: I’ve managed to cram quite a few more things in here and there this week, but none of it was sewing-related. You’ll see.]


KCWC: Day Three

The Dreaded Pajama Pants — done and done!

I still don’t know why I make such a big deal over making these. It might be because there are usually several pair lined up and ready to go, and cutting them all out takes up about all of the energy I’m willing to put into them. That having been said, banging out the actual pinning and sewing over the course of two hour-long sessions was the way to go! Once they were done (about half an hour into Day Three), I was able to start working on one of the two dresses left sitting in the basket. Turns out that the prep work that I did way back when really left something to be desired; I only cut out one of the main dress pieces. Of course, I didn’t discover this until I’d attached the sleeve pieces to the front…and didn’t find a back to attach them to in the next step. Yepper. Well, that explains why there was so much of that fabric leftover! So, I spent the last ten minutes of sewing time cutting out the back piece.

And then I got distracted by errands and re-organizing the kitchen on Day Four, but thought that I’d sneak in an hour of sewing in the evening.

Then The Girl got up from her nap with a roaring fever, so we got to go to take a field trip to the pediatrician instead. [It’s a virus — hooray? Well, could be worse!]

Hey, I can show you something else, though. There’s another thing spurring me along this year: I recently re-organized my fabric collection. By “recently”, I mean sometime in January. Anyway, thanks to this genius idea (which I found through the magic of Pinterest, naturally), I ran right out, bought a pack of comic book boards, and got to winding. So exciting! My shelves were going to look so good! And then…

… I ran out of boards, and had to go get some more. That was a little sobering.

After some [what felt like ruthless, but probably wasn’t] fabric purging, here’s a look at what’s left:

My, but isn’t flannel bulky?

And my, don’t I like blue?

That gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. My 2012 goal is to shrink the collection significantly, and so far great headway is being made! My little stack of empty boards is growing by the week. There’s still a lot of work to do, or else I’m determined to make another sweep next January — partly because I’d like to make better use of the space and partly because I’d like to buy more fabric.

There, I said it. There are beautiful collections coming out every day and I want more! But I’ve been showing great restraint. It’s hard to justify “needing” something with a cotton army staring you down from their perches.

Here’s wishing you a healthy and productive (or relaxing, if that’s your thing) weekend!