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Friday 30 March 2012

Shelving progress

Well its taken all week to recover from being ill, and although some bounce has now returned I have not got my full energy back by any means. I've had to learn to relax and allow myself to get better which for a 'doing' type person like myself is tough.
Next week is a 4 day week, and then a 4 day weekend for Easter, which I can use for sure.

I changed my mind about what should go where on the shelves. Now I think all the fabric will go on the shelves (knit fabrics are currently in another unit). Then sewing related notions in the large drawer unit and above the small drawers in the old knits unit. Meanwhile the other half of the old knits unit will be the craft centre, and I will move it further down the wall (this unit is in two sections, currently next to each other but can easily be moved).
Also my large drawer of miscellaneous cables and electronical bits will need to move through to the study.

I'm still thinking about the principles in Julie Morgenstern's book, 'Organising from the Inside Out'.
She uses an ackronym of SPACE
1. Sort (basically group stuff together, ie all fabrics together by type, craft materials by the craft etc)
2. Purge (throw away junk as you go and anything you know don't love)
3. Assign a home (Decide where to put the stuff you are keeping, this is what I'm doing above, can involve moving furniture)
4. Containerize (Get boxes, baskets etc if needed, to properly store the things and label things clearly so you know what's there).
5. Equalise (Maintain the system you have set up by putting things away in their assigned home after use, and review that the whole arrangement is working and fine tune as necessary).

I'll share some pictures once I have stuff sorted, in case its useful to anyone else out there.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Shelving plans

I am beginning to feel a little more like myself, though by no means fully recovered, so I am thinking about how I am going to use the new shelves.
I have bought a simple curtain track which I will install, so I can use some plain cream curtains to keep the bulk of the contents of the shelves hidden from sight. This will make for more restful sewing, be a little more friendly for the odd guest having to sleep on the folding bed in there, and allow me to have that moment where you open the door/curtain and enjoy the contents.

I'm planning on using the wall of shelves to store ALL my fabric, notions and craft materials. (I have materials for multiple other creative hobbies, though in much less volume than the sewing stuff). And then avoid having sewing/craft stuff anywhere else in the house. I'm not sure if this is feasible, but there's a lot of storage there, and if the space has boundaries it should help me decide if things stay or go. It will also release some shelving space in the study currently holding craft materials.
I'm not quite sure where gift wrap should go, so it may not yet get incorporated.

I shall store craft materials to the left, heavy things in boxes underneath the bottom shelf, light things in clear boxes on the top of the unit. I plan to roll fabric, except for slippy stuff like linings. And as much as possible put like with like to make it easier to find gold paint, leather scraps, buttons or interfacing.

It should be a fantastic resource centre, and enable me to have everything to hand to really spur my creativity. I am excited!
Oops mismeasured and the curtain track is too short. Will need to buy another section and have a joining piece in the middle. So that is for another day!

Saturday 24 March 2012

SWAP Thoughts

Whilst I was coughing and not sleeping last night I had some SWAP thoughts.
These do appear to still be coherant this morning as well.

Red ponte knit jacket probably using the jacket in Vogue 2989 (if I can find the pattern).
(I have loads of the red ponte, but think red ponte pants would be too much!)

Black pinstripe pants and dark denim trouser jeans both sewn in the same Burda pattern. (I have a Burda butt). This could be either an existing TNT or something new.

Red/black/white silk print tie neck blouse. I need to make a test version first though to sort my fitting issues before I cut into the expensive silk.

This is all just in my imagination though as my sewing room is currently unusable, and I am still recovering so no actual sewing can take place for a while.

Friday 23 March 2012

Surfacing again

Hi folks, I've had a flu like virus and then an upper respiratory infection which needed antibiotics, so have not been doing anything much due to exhausting coughing spasms which has left me aching and with trouble sleeping. I've not been out much but friends and family have checked on me by email, phone and text, which has been good. I'm just starting to surface again now though need to take things very gently.

Annoyingly I did not get to finish painting the sewing room shelves, so they have sat half done for nearly a week. In the end I just shut the door to that room and tried not to fret. I shall get to them when I have the energy. They are just shelves right?

I had a pause on SWAP whilst I started the new job over a month ago now, and did some craft show sewing. But I need to carry on with SWAP again soon since all garments must be finished by April 30th, 2012 which is only about 5 weeks away and I need to make at least 4 more garments.

The SWAP rules ask us to sew garments from 7 categories, 4 of them twice. So far I have sewn garments from 4 categories, 3 of them twice. So I need to make 4 garments of which 1 needs to be from the same category as something else (not already doubled up). I must be starting to feel better because yesterday that was double dutch but today it makes some sense.

I haven't got any clear idea what I want to make so I think the best approach is to go and get the fabrics out and see what speaks to me, whilst considering the remaining categories and start there.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Remember to build in some down time

As a wise friend has said to me, you need to make sure you get some down time.

I gave the shelves one coat of white stain yesterday, and left it to dry.
Today though I think its all caught up with me as I have been going full speed for weeks, and have now come down with a virus/cold type thing and ended up asleep in bed for the afternoon exhausted.
Pace yourselves folks and don't overdo it!

Normal service will resume later in the week.
Ciao Ruthie

Saturday 17 March 2012

New Shelves

The old desk fitted into my car for the tip not firewood after all, and my parents came for lunch today and Dad constructed the shelves for me.
I've not made huge progress on the sorting and decluttering, though clearing half of the room for the shelving unit construction is probably quite an achievement.
Hopefully once the new shelves are in position and painted white I can use them as a place to sort onto. I'll evaluate the stash of fabric and sewing related items, choosing what to keep and putting it on the shelves.
Let's hope I'm in the right frame of mind for that!

Anyway off to find something to protect the carpet whilst I paint the shelves white.
Mum likes them wood colour, but I want to keep the room as light and neutral as possible and plan to paint some other furniture white also.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Broken desk

I have an old Ikea desk with a warped top and broken end which I am going to get rid of. I had been using it anyway, but it needs to go. The main desk surface was too large for my car though and I was wondering the best way to get rid of it, and then inspiration struck.
A nearby friend with a large car and a wood burning stove is going to take it off my hands, he'll chop it up and get heat from it, so a win all round there I think.
So I just need to clear it off and take it properly apart (one end is coming off anyway) and arrange my friend to collect.
Looks like my parents can come over for lunch on Saturday and give me some help to construct the new sewing room shelving units. (GORM from Ikea above). I want to have some sort of cover to protect the fabric, though may need to wait until construction is complete to decide what would be best - curtain, rattan blind? I think I might need to go back to Ikea as I've not got cross braces included in the unit packs (as far as I can see) and I also want to get some white tint to paint the shelves with after construction to lighten them a little.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Dining Table Solution

Today I purchased this vintage oak drop leaf table, very inexpensively at a local used furniture shop.
(The picture is taken in the shop, not my house).
I popped it into the car (I have a hatchback, great for things like this) and brought it home. It is now in the living room under my grandmother clock and I was pleased to find means I can sit at the table and still watch TV. So usable when eating alone with TV for company, as well as when guests come round.

This allows the former dining room to remain as my study, and releases the old study/sewing room to be almost completely for sewing! I may put the folding guest bed in the sewing room too. Making really good use of the whole house whether it is just for me, or when guests have come.

The pieces are rather a mix of styles, which is a tiny bit jarring, but I shall manage because its practical.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Continuing Chaos

The knock on effect of the new tables, lamps and pictures for the bedroom, was that I then moved the other furniture around and swapped mirrors, the clock etc from other rooms in the house. Then the traditional pink and green floral curtains looked wrong and have now been switched out for some plain olive green ones which I've been wanting to use for ages. These were too long, and I still have to shorten one of them.
The pin boards which I use to display my many necklaces have also had an overhaul with a lick of dark brown paint on the trim so they match the other dark brown items (still drying in the kitchen) and I still need to think through what should be where in a logical way, to make getting ready in the morning as easy as possible.
I've still not managed to dismantle the old warped desk in the sewing room/study as it is now stacked with things which were on the bookcases (now moved to the old dining room) and I'm away with work tomorrow.
I think this evening I shall prioritise the second curtain as the bedroom is strange without it. And it is important to keep the bedroom pleasant as this assists good sleep. I was so energized by the transformation I had trouble sleeping. Should sleep like a very tired person tonight.

I collected the Craft Fayre items today and was sad to see that almost nothing sold. Apparently the Craft Fayre was not as popular as the normal Food Fayre, and won't be running in September after all. So the next church outlet won't be until December. I don't want to stockpile fabric crafts until then, so need to find some other outlet for the pieces I have created.

Right off to shorten and press that second curtain and hang it.....

Back later!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Clutter Clearing Twist

Well my clutter clearing has taken a bit of a twist. It's sort of like it has a life of its own and I'm just assisting, but it must be coming from my brain!
Today I went to Dunelm Mill (UK interiors shop, not expensive) and bought two pictures, 2 lamps and 2 small tables for my bedroom, came home and reorganised my bedroom layout. I need to get things tidy again in there now, but it does make more sense than it did. The new pieces are more contemporary and give a fresh feeling to the room.

 I have also temporarily relocated my study into the dining room, so I can take the huge old warped desk apart to dispose of it. This works surprisingly well, except for the slight downside of now having no dining room. I did only use the dining room for the occasional dining with a guest and drying laundry, so I'm not sure whether I'll put it back to a dining room or not afterwards. I seem to be getting more use out of my home this way, so maybe I need a gateleg table I can erect for guests?

Alterations to the Maybe pieces

After I purged my wardrobe and got rid of 6 bags to charity, I was left with a smaller pile of things I'd like to keep only they needed some sort of alteration. Generally I hate doing alterations so I am going to do this as a timed exercise. If I didn't like the pieces enough to have made the alterations by the end of April then they go in the next lot of charity bags.
Since this is a sewing blog I thought you might be interested in the alterations so I'll show each piece before and after (hanger shots only sorry) so you can see what I did.

2 useful books I'm reading which I'm finding helpful on the decluttering are "Organising from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern and 'Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui' by Karen Kingston. (I have older versions than the ones pictured above). Kingston's book is mostly about the clutter clearing, with some new-age stuff I'm not really into. Morgenstern's is much more practical about how to organise the stuff you do need to actually keep to have a normal life. I like the balance I get from flicking between the two.

One thing which came out from Kingston's book is that keeping broken, ill fitting or unfinished stuff in your house creates clutter and has a negative energy, and all those UFOs, things needing alterations or just plain fixing do indeed impinge on you and sap your energy. This applies quite a lot to clothing and sewing projects, but also to general household maintenance.

Monday 5 March 2012

Decluttering in progress

The decluttering is in progress, and it has to be said that my home is a target rich environment, so it was slightly hard to know where to start. The very first thing I did was to put the dead flowers in the green bin (garden waste) as much as I enjoyed them when fresh they were a bit sad later on.

Then I turned my mind to clothing, and so far I've tackled the coats and scarves in the hall cupboard, the jackets, blouses and cardigans and some books. Its feeling good, so I need to keep my energy and keep going!

Sadly I'm now at the point where I need to try things on from the main wardrobe! Black tights, ballet flats and jersey cami is probably a good base for most of the pieces.
5 bags of stuff to go so far, including some shoes and I was extremely pleased to find some favourite solid gold squared-hoop earrings I thought were lost 2 or 3 moves ago (had been dropped into the toe of a shoe!). I am very pleased to have them back!!!!


3 bags and a box of books/crockery taken straight to the charity shop so I couldn't change my mind!
Great to get it out of the house..... more to do though.

Sunday 4 March 2012


I've been re-reading Karen Kingston's 'Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui', which has many helpful points (even though I don't agree with her on spiritual things.)
I must admit a few things had me laughing out loud as I could see myself in an example in her book.

Once I'd finished skim reading the book I got up and filled 2 charity bags with coats and scarves from the hall cupboard. A lot more to do yet, but found these 3 questions from the book very helpful

- Does it lift my energy when I think about it or look at it?
- Do I absolutely love it?
- Is it genuinely useful?

I think the point where I paused on the Artist's Way was the decluttering chapter, so maybe that will restart again once I've done some more here.

A dear sewing friend said to me she would know I was serious about decluttering if I decided to get rid of fabric, so we shall have to see :-)

Thursday 1 March 2012

Suits, teal and the decluttering urge

Not in any particular order here are some things that have been going around in my head. They also sort of interlink with each other.

Suits. Now I'm working at a customer site 3 days a week, I'm suddenly wearing my old pantsuits a lot more. I don't know if I need any more purchased suits, but I definitely need to make the most of the ones I do have. My jacket sewing skills are not yet up to making pant suits for work, and I'm not sure whether or not this is something I do want to focus on in my sewing. I wonder if I would be helped by buying another suit for work, or if I just need to be more creative with what I already have.

Teal. I have long been a fan of teal, it really brings out my eyes, but actually its not very flattering to my under eye area or my chin/neck region. I'm seriously considering removing it from my wardrobe which is a bit of a shock to the system as its been one of my go-to colours for a LONG time. But I am definitely a Spring and look better in ivory, red, orange, coral, pink and lime than teal. Turquoise isn't as bad, and stuff with low necklines or mixed with lots of white seem OK too, though why wear those when I can glow in coral?

Decluttering. I brought lots of stuff from the other house with me including all of my clothes, shoes, books, sewing stuff and fabrics. It is starting to bug me just a bit and I'd like to have less stuff, though I'm not entirely sure where to start. Clothing would be an obvious place to begin I think since I could link it with both the need for suits and the losing of teal, I could get rid of things which don't fit or work as I do so. I'm slightly nervous this will result in nothing to wear, but its not a serious risk!

Then I think I need to do an overhaul of the study/sewing room by replacing the desk, adding some fabric shelving and having a general declutter, move round and tidy. This would require some new furniture and some assistance in construction (prob from mum and dad), so is probably a little further down the list since my car just cost me a chunk of money in maintenance.

Red dress: done but needs work

I did finish the Red dress but it is too large and will need significant work to make it wearable. It's too wide in the shoulders and body and the underbust seam hits too low.
Although I finished it within the timeframe I was out last night and so haven't managed to write a review yet. I'll see if I can still get it entered.