Only 3 left

January 15, 2019

The box mountain is shrinking rapidly. Just 3 more archive boxes and 3 plastic project boxes to deal with and the kitchen will be back together. I have the new storage installed under my computer desk, so the next free cleaning time will be spent filling that and in so doing making space to complete my taxes. It’s not fun or sexy but it is very important.


The quilt on the frame is very near to being finished. Changing the order of work sped things up a lot and had the phone not rung I think I might have finished today. I guess I need to start thinking about which projecting load next.




This is the final layout of the last block I posted, I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of it once it was sewn. I have one more block cut ready, and then I have to pause and find some quilts. Less interesting I know but it has to be done.

5 boxes down

January 14, 2019

Sunday morning seemed a good time to start on unpacking some of the boxes of stuff from my sewing room. I thought if I could manage 2 a day by the end of the month I would be done and that sounded very managable even skipping the days I am teaching. The first 2 went so fast a third seemed a good idea. That was slower but still quite fun so I went for number 4. Well owie, number 4 was a heavy one. I think unpacking number 4 took as long as the first 3 put together. Lots of art supplies and dyes in it. However sitting and unpacking it let me recover from moving it and led to box 5. Box 5 was also slow and took me to lunch time. However I now have a big space where there had been boxes in my utility area and that’s pretty cool. Also the stuff did just go away. Once put away properly things really dont take up much space. It’s weird but I like it.

Part of the motivation for this was that we had tickets for the Harry Potter studio tour Sunday evening. So the cleaning led to a good reward, and a lot of walking. I chose a time when the tour was in its Christmas mode, and I am very glad I did. It may have been fake snow but at least I have stood out in the snow now this year. On the Hogwarts bridge no less, which despite being very crooked and uneven is very easy to walk along. It is a very odd feeling as something that wonky really should be a trip hazard surely. Like any attraction it has lots of overpriced merchandise. I had a butterbeer in the posh plastic tankard, which was not quite how I imagined it but nice. The butterbeer icecream was way too sweet for me but I would have to say a very generous portion to the point where it wasnt much more expensive than an average icecream van.

We tried out wands, it is surprising how wrong some are in your hand. I didn’t expect them to vary so much. Voldemort’s was way too light and flimsy feeeling but most had a good weight and felt like quality items, which also surprised me. I came away without a wand but with a box of peppermint toads and a couple of metal models to build. It was a fun trip but quite tiring, with a lot of walking and a lot of crowds. They do manage the flow of people so only the beginning is really crowded. It is worth stopping to watch the videos from the producers and directors though so you may need to bear with the crowd longer than is fun.

Laundry Bag

January 12, 2019

We are very short of space in our bedroom, well in every room to be honest, and having a laundry hamper is a problem. Last week I figured out what I wanted, an over door bag with a drawstring bottom so I can empty it without taking it down. I was sure I had seem something like that before. After a day of searching the internet I phoned a friend, she remembered them too and in fact had had some. After confirming it would be ideal for me I decided it was time to make one. I can get at all my fabrics now and some of my notions so why not?

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First I started with the hanging loops. This is a really stiff denim like fabric. I think it is a blend not pure cotton and it doesn’t want to take a crease. So to get the fold I needed I used a LOT of clips. It did the job very well even if it looks a bit crazy.



This is one of the three loops. I chose to stitch with black thread to get some contrast details, though to be honest where it hangs it is unlikely to be visible. I will know though.


Next came the 2 casings for the drawstring at the bottom of the bag. I wanted to have all the fiddly bits done so once I started assembly it was just assembly with no messing about.

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The main part of the bag is 2 large panels. One of which needed a hole for putting the laundry into. I did this with a facing rather than binding the hole. It is a pretty big laundry bag and I didn’t want the hole to sag too much. The facing is as wide as the bag panels so it is held in the side seams and makes that area of the bag much stiffer. The curve isn’t as smooth as I would have liked but with the fabric not wanting to press I didn’t have many options for smoothing it out, and as I said before I don’t think anyone will get a good look at it in future.

I stitched up the sides and top of the bag, trapping the hanging loops in the top seam which I stitched multiple times to add strength. I was then able to hang it up and check exactly where I wanted the casing to be.



One casing was stitched to each side of the bag to accept the drawstring, or in this case drawrope.


It is up and already in use. It certainly keeps the dirty clothes off the floor, I have yet to test emptying it. I am hoping I can just stick a basket under it and open the rope. Fill the basket and close it off again. Fingers crossed it really is that simple. It does definitely clear access to the chest of drawers and that has to be a bonus for putting clean stuff away.

I am cleaning – does that mean it’s spring already?

January 11, 2019

OK anyone who knows me knows I am not desperate for spring, but I keep seeing things about spring cleaning so either I am doing it wrong or it must be spring. I have been dividing my cleaning time between tasks at the moment. I need to have access to my computer desk before the end of the month, but having my sewing room back in order helps my motivation, so both are getting done.

I can now touch the desk but to get it clear I need some storage. The cardboard boxes under the desk have disintergrated. That’s easy, right? Buy some under desk drawers and it’s all good. Initially I planned to buy another one of the drawer units I put in the sewing room in the summer. Measured up and it fits. Until I moved the boxes and found the back leg of the desk isn’t in line with the first. Why is it anytime this happens the solutions are all expensive? Fortunately a friend managed to find me a cheap set of metal drawers that will fit and I think I can also fit in one of the small cube storage units. It wouldn’t be my first choice but I think it will give me the storage capacity I need.



This is the current state of play for my sewing desk. Yes the cutting mat does imply I have already made use of it. The boxes have arrived and are in place, although I am waiting for a replacement lid for one of them. The hand dyed fabric is now behind a blackout blind, and I have to say I love how it looks. It really looks like a proper unit not a quick bodge :) The boxes up top are my scraps. I have a few more waiting to go in them I just haven’t found that motivation yet. The cutting table is nearly cleared, my rotaty cutters reappeared and are now cleaned with new blades in.

It all feels painfuly slow. I only do house stuff and cleaning till midday. I need time to work as well. I just keep thinking at least there is forward progress. Eventually things will all be organised and functional. Probably just in time to move house :)

Why did I wait so long?

January 9, 2019

There have been some strange side effects of tidying up and trying to keep to a routine. This time it was hemming my jeans. Pretty much every pair of jeans I have ever bought have been too long. So I turn them up and all is good. Rather than waste time sitting about on a break from longarming I thought I would fold laundry. Which meant when I got to folding my jeans I happened to be sitting by a sewing machine. The fold line wasn’t worn out yet, but certainly well on its way so I decided now was the moment to take them up properly. The first pair went so well I did a second while I was there. It took minutes and now I have 2 pairs of jeans that fit. More than that it has just extended their life. I have a brand new bit of fabric at the hem to wear out now. I can’t believe it has taken so many years for me to do this.


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These are the possible layouts of my next units. The whole block will have some of both in it I just have to decide which I want more of. I think this is a specially good unit, either option is great. I think I will go with the first option as the main design. I also reserve the right to change my mind.


Having trouble scanning more books/cds for some reason I keep losing connection. I can’t be sure if there is an issue with my signal or their system but it is annoying and slowing up the process badly.


First time in a long time first day back teaching after a holiday didn’t wear me out. In fact I came home feeling inspired and got the rest of the store rooms items back in it. I had the window in there replaced as well but it is less exciting to work on than the sewing room. Sometimes teaching is hard but often students can teach me as much as I can teach them and yes, some days they can really inspire me.


Starting to come together

January 7, 2019

I have to admit I was worried. I seem to have a lot of boxes of stuff that need to go back into my sewing room. However the first 2 boxes vanished very neatly and seem to have taken up far less space unpacked than packed. Maybe, just maybe, it will be OK. I didn’t like packing the stuff into boxes, I have watched a lot of decluttering people who all say putting stuff in boxes is a risky step. Out of sight out of mind I think. That and you get used to the boxes and eventually can’t see them. However I couldn’t see anyway to empty the room for the window fitters and store all the stuff, sooo boxes.


They were quite right that decision making it tiring. Sounds daft but after 2 boxes I could tell I was taking longer and making worse decisions. Even at 2 boxes a day it wont take too long so I am not going to push it. Today I got access to my fabric storage boards so folded a bit more fabric. I am wondering about a cover for the hand dyed fabrics, but on the other hand it is so inspiring to be able to see it. I suppose there is no need to decide right away.


Hopefully the new storage boxes will arive tomorrow, just as well as the desk is starting to collect things that need them.

The quilt on the frame and my pieceing are coming along, but right now I think Agents of Shield is calling me.

Same again

January 5, 2019

I am sure routine shouldn’t make me feel life is boring but it’s so unusual for me to have any kind of routine I can’t be totally sure. For the moment mornings are devoted to putting the house back in order. Today that got one of my under desk units back in place and 16 books scanned. I found a few missing DVDs in a box that I unpacked, which sounds trivial but it has been bugging me. Knowing stuff is missing is just irritating. The scraps from my quilts are sorted by colour and have homes in Really Useful boxes on top of one of my bookcases. I am slightly worried that everything that came out of the room isn’t going to fit back in. Maybe a second look at things will find me more I can cull.


Afternoons are for quilting. The quilt I am currently working on is taking 4 to 5 hours per pass. So I only get to roll to a new section once a day. On the other hand I do get to compete a pass in a day. It is both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. I hope it will be worth the time.

Evenings are sit down sewing. My back tends to get upset with me if I stand and quilt all day now so this is a compromise. It is also progressing a lot of projects so I can’t complain. Tonight was another go at the quilt I was doing yesterday. I am so excited by these blocks and if all goes well tomorrow I think I will get another finished.




These are the pieces before any sewing. They do look fun, don’t they? I did double check the possible diagonal cuts. I think however I cut this piece it was going to be good.



After sewing the triangles together these are the 2 possible blocks. I will pick one version and make 4 units. Then they will all be joined to make one super block.  It amazes me how differnent the colouring is when the pieces are all cut from the same fabric. This is the last set I have cut ready so after these blocks we will have some less exciting days of fussy cutting the next pile of pieces.

So where did we get to?

January 4, 2019

After couple of slow days I managed some progress today. There is one of my quilts on the frame, that might make it to a show this year. I will try to grab some photos.

I have started putting my sewing room back together. To get new windows fitted it had to come apart completely. Which is no small matter as anyone who crafts knows. However the reassembly feels an even bigger job. If I have to do the work I want it done right, so lots of decisions and tryng to find a tidy way to fit too much stuff in too small a space :). The Really Useful Box company had a sale on a few of their boxes which was handy. I wanted to stick with black and grey storage boxes but for that price I can learn to love blue.



The bottom shelf will get books. I want to catalogue them as I put them back hence they’re currently sitting on the desk. Then a row of mini bolts of fabric. Before you panic, the room is only lit when I am actually in there. Those bookcases are in front of the only window which has blackout blinds on too. Fingers crossed fading won’t be an issue. The gap at the bottom of the shelves is a nice space for a 10l Really Useful Box. I like those for larger projects and it saves junk ending up under there. I hope that my big files and scrapboxes will fit on top of the shelves.

At the moment I am planning both of these to be laid out the same way, but if I don’t need the space for fabric I may end up with more storage boxes there.


CD cataloging has progressed, 1047 music discs and 135 audio books. Slow progress maybe but at least it is moving along. Once all the CDs are done I will neeed to get them sorted into alphabetical order that will be a horrible job, but how else can I expect to find anything? The DVDs are already sorted but they need cataloging when I get some of the others done. I am going to have to work out a better way to file the non fiction books. Author is much less useful for them, and some sort of category system will be needed.

New year, new spam

January 1, 2019

I really wish I could log on to something online and not find a ton of spam. Today it was here, when I checked my comments. Apparently I need to access a private and personal website, to get a loan for a car, to get more traffic to the site and to learn Russian. Good to know. Where would I be without all these kind people looking out for me?

Still as a time of new beginnings I am trying again to get into the swing of blogging regularly. I would love to get some real readers again not just spammers.

Last night we tried a different thing for the New year. It was a glorified disco playing power ballads. I realised that I have absolutely got old. I have no idea why I would want to watch a group of DJs prance about a stage whenever they aren’t actually playing music. I appeared to be in the minority. Others seemed to find this a normal and entertaining show, but it left me mostly mystified. There was some good music and having the police make sure you don’t pay on the tube was sure fun.

Today has been a slow start, but I did get another block together for my quilt with a lot of symmetery.


The worst part of coming back to projects after a few weeks or months (or years…) is finding all your errors. This block was far from the best I have cut but it stitched up OK with some fiddling.

My ongoing project this year is cataloguing. I have logged the first 899 of our cds. When they are done I will move on to audio books and DVDs. Yes we still use real pysical media. No I don’t want to swap to all digital. I want to know I can watch what I want when I want. Yup I am worried about DVD players being phased out. I guess I will have to have both a digital and a physical copy.

Once I have the small collections done I plan to start on our books. Those will take me a long time I think, but hey it’s a good project to have for the year right?

Books books and more books

June 22, 2018

In a bid to help me sort out my sewing space I watched a lot of youtube videos of craft room tours and declutterings. if you just leave youtube runnning it slowly wanders about and eventually it left me watching the Houston Clutter Fairy. Mostly I dislike the decluttering experts. Well to be frank I feel most are utterly insane and delusional. This lady was different. Very pragmatic and non judgemental. I can’t say every word she says works for me, but then she wouldn’t expect it to and a lot of them can help me.

She comes back to book people over and over in her videos (nearly as often as paper but thats another story). The clutter fairy is aware book people are not good at getting rid of books. When she works with book people she encourages them to check book by book if they want them. To clear the space to replace my windows i need to empty 4 smallish bookcases. So I figured nothing to lose by trying to dump some books and maybe it would help. I have hundreds for craft/quilting/sewing books. Had you asked me as a mass I would have said i love them all and need them. One by one things are very different. I was aiming to lose about 10%, in fact more like 30% are now boxed up to be sold or donated. It is amazing how many you grow out of and how with a more experienced eye you can see more overlap of information. Also with that many books I have managed to get quite a few duplicates. I won’t manage to empty all the book cases this way, but I will certainly make a massive dent in them.

Next step, magazines….