Posts Tagged With: organize

Fight the Chaos Friday- August edition

We are over half way there, my friend! Keep it going!

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You will find your free printable for this next month HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – July edition

 

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You’ve come to the right place! Print your free list HERE!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – June edition

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – May edition

Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!

 

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – April edition

They say confession is good for the soul and I’m going to believe that is true because I have to confess that I’m behind on our Chaos Challange in order to celebrate an “I did it myself!” moment. And since it’s just between us stitching sisters, I’m sure my secret is safe.

The January list said it was time to clean my sewing machine but [drum roll – confession to follow] I keep avoiding that cleaning business since I had never done it before. I have taken my machine in for professional tune ups but I had never opened one up to clean it myself. If you are horrified, I understand. It is a deep flaw for sure!

So, here I am facing April – the queen of procrastination – and I got just the nudge I needed! I visited the Colorado sister (more details on that in a later post) and her quilt club had a presentation from someone with a long history of fixing and cleaning machines. When I saw her walk through the steps, I thought, “I believe I could do that without doing irreparable harm.”

a picture + patient demonstration = great teacher

To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)

A manual with pictures – what a great invention!

And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]

Just seeing the clean metal parts gives me confidence!

It was so do-able that I did both my Bernina workhorse and my little lightweight Singer. (which I picked up at a garage sale for the price of a nice dinner and I LOVE the blanket stitch it produces!)

I think I heard a little sigh of appreciation and a soft “Thank You!” coming from the machines.

I have to tell you that cleaning the second one was absolutely necessary since my Bernina foot has died. [moment of silence, please] Having survived a house flood and limped along after a couple other disasters, it had given a noble contribution. So while I wait for a new one to arrive, I’m very happy to have my garage sale buddy as a stand in.

Someone downsized and we were happy to help them!

So now I’m caught up on my Challenge lists and I’m ready for a new one for April. Except for the fact that the Colorado Sister shared some treasures with me so I have some more “cut into usable sizes.” [see January list] But that is an ongoing effort in order to maintain victory over the chaos!

And in a coming post I’ll tell you one thing we are doing with those self-made precuts which allowed us to check off the “make a block-or 10” item this past month. Stay tuned.

Make it easy on yourself – Fight the Chaos! Clear the Clutter! Mash the Mess! okay, maybe my alliteration skills are weak today!

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You can print your free April Challange list HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – March edition

SO the February Challenge list included

  • Clear out your hand sewing basket/box; replenish supplies
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So this time when I grabbed my handwork bag, I actually had what I needed when I opened it up!

  • clear out a drawer or shelf into 3 piles: keep, use or donate (see your Priority One list)
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this is BEFORE – who made this mess?

 

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I found everything from a bag of chalk to misc. leather straps and even some boxes of vintage singer attachments.

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And I found my long lost bag containing my thimble collection

 

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… and AFTER!

  • Pick a UFO to keep working on – Just 1!
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The pieces to this UFO are cut and setting right by my machine so that I stich a little every time I sit down!

  • Clean the floor, window, vents, lights in your sewing room

CHECK, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK!

Now, this is progress! Every single little step is helping me be more productive!

Even if you haven’t checked off all of your goals for February, take another shot at it this month. Just one item per week for March:

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HERE is your free printable.

 

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Fight the Chaos Friday – February edition

The Sister and I have a Challenge going this year. We are going to fight the chaos and conquer the clutter in our sewing studios. I call it “studio” because that sounds more like serious business whereas “sewing room” sounds like an option. It’s a mind game with myself. She has a bit of an advantage since she thinks and even breathes in a more orderly fashion than I do. But, I’m giving it my best shot.

So, we started the year off with a once-a-week list called Fight the Chaos Fridays and last month it focused on:

  • Put away gifts and Clean the work area
  • Clean machine, including a new needle and Put a new blade in the rotary cutter
  • Cut fabric that has accumulated on cutting table into usable sizes
  • List and post projects and due dates

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of my “work area” i.e. cutting table.

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Remember I cropped out the really messy part.

 

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Amazing how this open space motivates me!

You can tell already it is a necessary challenge. And you will be more convinced as the year moves along and you see the other BEFORE pictures I will post – as often as I can stand the embarrassment.

And you’ll agree that it’s a good thing Sister was here for a visit last month to get me off to a strong start. Here’s some more of the work area AFTER we fought through the chaos.

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And an empty ironing board is actually quite handy.

While Sister2 was here we went on a hunt to find creative storage for the “useable pieces” we cut from my accumulated scraps.

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We stuck gold! What a pile of treasures!

 

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The Colorado sister’s creativity tells us that 2 1/2″ squares can be tucked away in so many places – even a little chicken feeder!

 

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My 2 1/2″ squares fit perfectly in the little drawers of the tin space cabinet. Thank you for the gift, sister!

And now, as you can see above, there is a place at the end of my vintage ammo box to hang our Spools for Tools project (get pattern HERE) which holds my favorite rulers – like the skini minis by Martelli with their wonderful non-slip backing.

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A metal vintage film reel box is just the right size for the Colorado sister’s 5″ squares!

 

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And this vintage metal filing drawer is filling up with my 5″ squares. My own “pre-cut” charm square stash!

 

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The 10″ squares (some call them layer cakes) will be tucked away in this portable school desk I just couldn’t resist.

 

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This beautiful spool cabinet, found on her Florida road trip, is just the right size for Sister 2’s 10″ squares. (and some 5″ strips she added to the equation.)

 

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For now my 2 1/2″ strips will nestle in this metal mesh lantern so that I can see them in their light, medium, and dark glory.

The whole cutting process to get control of accumulated scraps has been addictive! Probably because we have been using some templates made by Martelli. The non-slip backing grips through about 8 layers of fabric and you can turn the template without the fabric slipping! If you want a set of non-slip templates to help you cut those “pre-cut” sizes, send me an email (SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com) and we’ll give you a special Stitching Sisters price. Look HERE under Template for Precuts for details.

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These non-slip templates make cutting your own “pre-cut” sizes so easy!

So, how’s the rest of my Fight the Chaos Friday list?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I still have a little work to do as far as cleaning my machines. And my project To Do list is right on the Notes section of my calendar, although some of the due dates are a little flexible.

Remember, it’s a year-long effort so celebrate the things you check off each week and don’t worry about what is still left to do. Trust me, honey, it’ll still be there when you find it on our challenge list in a few weeks.

We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

Here’s the list for February:

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Since it’s the first Friday of the month, you can get your FREE February printable checklist HERE.

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Sister Time 2017 (with brother, too)

It’s not often enough that we sisters are in the same state at the same time. So when we are, I soak up every minute we have together like it’s a life prolonging magic vitamin. This time the Dietz B&B was the southern-most stop in the Escape the Winter road trip for the Colorado sister and her rancher husband.

To double the fun, our brother and his wife made the trip down from their house hunting in Atlanta for the Kick Off weekend. Having three of the four siblings together is a rare pleasure. I missed our other cowboy brother, I admit.

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Our brother, Bill, and his wife, Susan, soon to be closer to us as Georgia residents.

We ate Italian stew and Mexican green chili (recipe at the end of this post), played raucous games of cards, visited the USS Alabama,

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A sewing machine on board! The tailor’s quarters. Note that he sewed under his bunk.

 

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Three of the siblings in the Marine Corp quarters of the ship – thinking about our dad, a WWII Marine Corps veteran.

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The reason they needed Marines on a Navy ship.

went to church together, and watched football. Then brother Bill and his wife, Susan had to return to the real world while we partied on.

Once the first weekend was over Sister 2 and I got down to the business of organizing my studio. We needed to legitimize our trips to antique malls and thrift stores.

We found great organizing treasurers to help us with our Fight the Chaos Friday Challenge,

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This stuff really is useful. Stand by for more details next post.

as well as other treasures,

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We thought it was a great idea but after texting our daughters we stepped away from the display case and back into reality.

and we went to a Glenn Miller Band concert.

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It was a trip back in time.

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Cindy knows how to do 1940’s glam!

 

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We did no swing dancing but it was a fun night.

And we stitched! A 10-minute runner. (more on that later.) And we cut scraps into useable sizes. (more on that later, too.) We also gave attention to the row quilt we are working on. Once again – more on that later.

And then she went home. Sorry for the sad ending. Please pass the tissues.

 

Green Chili Pulled Pork Bowls

  • 4   pounds pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 can green chili (4 oz)
  • 1 large onion — chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic-chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro — chopped
  • 1 jar salsa verde

Dry seasoning:

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 4 teaspoons cumin

Serve with:

  • Monterey jack cheese shredded
  • Corn tortillas
  • limes — cut in wedges
  • Sour cream

To the slow cooker add onion, garlic, green chilies, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and salsa.

Season each side of the pork with the dry seasoning and place in slow cooker fat side up

Cover and slow cook on high for 4 -6 hours until tender

Shred with two forks and mix well with the sauce.

Serve with fried corn tortillas or chips, cheese, sour cream and lime wedges.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – January edition

The Colorado Sister has a natural bent toward organization and intentionality. And she has never backed down from a challenge to my knowledge. So, it’s only natural that she would set in motion a challenge to conquer the clutter of our studios during this next year. And since titles need to have some kind of alliteration, we are calling this challenge Fight the Chaos Fridays.

 

Here’s how it will work:

  • Take some BEFORE pictures of troublesome, chaotic corners of your sewing space. Okay, let’s be honest, I need to take a panoramic shot from the doorway to capture the whole thing.
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REALITY ALERT!!! This is the view of my cutting table from my ironing board. And I cropped out the really messy part.

  • Make a list of the areas that slow down your effectiveness the most. Those are Priority One places that impede your progress, clog your creativity and stifle your stitching. Conquer the Clutter!
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PRIORITY ONE!!! I need to find a safe landing spot for this Christmas present from Dietz. Make room for vintage drawers! (And the mess under the cutting table has my attention, too!)

Every month on the first Friday, Sisters will post four areas to focus on during that month. Some routine items will be repeated several times throughout the year for those of us who need to be reminded. A couple times a year there will be time for back up work but you can add that more often if you prefer. We wanted to give room to personalize the process based on your existing clutter (We all have it, dear. It’s okay to call it what it is. Breathe deep and think of where we will all be at the end of the year!) so every once in a while we will include time to address your personal Priority One list.

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This magazine rack is waaaay beyond capacity. Think of the hidden inspiration under this pile!

  • Print off the little monthly reminder we are giving you at the end of this post and check off your progress. We’ll tackle this challenge like we eat an elephant – one bite at a time. One checkmark on the list every week is plenty – we’ll have a whole year to work on this.

 

  • Take some AFTER pictures as you conquer each area. This will help you stay with it along about the first of May when the outside To Do list kicks into high gear too.

 

  • Every 1st Friday post the new Fight the Chaos  list that you’ll find posted here.

 

We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

Here’s the list for January:

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You can get your FREE January printable checklist HERE.

Together we can Fight the Chaos!

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To Recombobulate or Not: that is the question

FL Sister id tagI’ve been accused of inventing words. Like I would DO that!  Like there aren’t enough words in the dictionary already. Or like I would try to improve on Mr. Webster! Really! The very idea!

Okay, put away the truth serum, I will reverse that denial. I hereby plead guilty! But the title of this post is not evidence of that creative word quirkiness. I have proof that REcombobulation is a real word and I found it in an airport – St. Louis, I believe.

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OOOOPS! Sorry about that. Let me REcombobulate …

 

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Yep! There it is in plain English …

The huge sign was there just after the part where I had to unpack the carry-on of all “hazardous, explosive and noxious materials” as well explain the seam ripper and needle threader to the TSA man as I stood there in my bare feet holding my scarf, my sweater and my laptop while trying not to drop my watch, my bracelet and the zip lock baggie of 3oz grooming supplies. I desperately NEEDED to be REcombobulated!

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See, I even have my scarf on straight!

Now, the DIScombobulated verbage – and status thereof – is not unfamiliar to me but this RE sign was a new encounter. Never having seen such a sign, I had to investigate its origins. So as I sat waiting in the gate area I googled “combobulate” and here’s what I found:

(Verb) To put together in a somewhat mysterious manner. To manufacture by some unusual or novel means.

Very helpful. Especially the part that gave me an example of usage: Usage: We must think out-of-the-box in order to combobulate a solution to overcome all these seemingly impossible challenges.

After reading that, I realized that much of my life has been spent combobulating! I am a combobulator! I have combobulationary gifts! And now, after going through the St. Louis airport, I had taken it to a new level – I had achieved REcombobulationary success!

I felt validated and affirmed beyond what any sign maker might have imagined!

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Dictionaries can be a wonderful tool for establishing self worth!

As far as I’m concerned, the DIScombobulated part is so much easier to achieve! It comes without any effort whatsoever. I think it has something to do with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – that part about everything falling apart instead of improving.

You, too, may have encountered “discombobulation” in conversation before. Or maybe in your sewing studio. (that word sounds so much more productive and efficient and organized than “sewing room” – know what I’m sayin’? I mean, “studio” sounds like a step away from DIS and toward RE – combobulation, I think.)

So I carried my new identifying word home with me. I would now not only be a master combobulator but I would also pursue REcombobulation in multiple areas of life! Here’s my thinking: however quirky my original combobulation might appear to be, if it can be REcombobulated after life causes it to be DIScombobulated then it becomes a pillar in the stabilization of my arena of life and it is therefore to be considered valid and real and wonderful – and not quirky at all!

Ah-ha!

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This is NOT my studio. I just keep the picture to feel better about how my studio gets when “creativity” is at high levels.

My first challenge to the REcombobulation Transformation was, not surprisingly, my STUDIO. It had fallen out of combobulation in a major way. Fortunately I could consult Pinterest where I found the following advice from popsugar.com.

Now I warn you, this is some hard core stuff. This writer surrounds her organizing posts with layers of other organizing posts. Like: 11 Things you need to throw away. Which is right next to: 100+ Cleaning and Organizing Hacks. 100? 100+? I feel like I should put a big red D on the front of my shirt. (For DIScombobulated, of course! And DISmayed! And also for DISaster!)

But, the ideas I found could be a giant step toward studio REcombobulation!

Questions to Declutter Your Studio:

  1. Have I used it in the last year? (Tools)
  2. If I were shopping right now, would I buy it? (this one brand)
  3. Is the only reason I’m keeping it because I don’t want to waste money? (you already did if you aren’t using it)
  4. Am I holding on to it for sentimental reasons? Someone gave it to me?
  5. Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose? That I like better?
  6. Do I have a realistic plan for using it? Bag it as a kit
  7. Does it really fit me or my living space? (brights and I only use homespun)
  8. Is it broken and I plan to repair? Sharpen? Mend?
  9. Is the project FINISHED that I used it in? (backed, bound, labeled, etc.)
  10. Can it be cut into a pre-cut scrap? 2 1/2″ strip, square, charm, layer cake

Does all of that help you at all? I surely do hope so because I feel better just thinking and writing about getting my studio REcombobulated. Even though now, after all this talking and writing, I need to go make supper and I don’t have any time left today to actually get REcombobulated.

But at least now I have a partial plan for it. Kind of. Starting soon. Maybe.

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This is NOT my studio either. It’s just my inspiration, motivation photo. Can that count as REcombobulation Step1?

Wait – didn’t someone once say “DIScombobulation is the mother of creative genius” ???

I was sure I saw that embroidered on a pillow somewhere. Or on a cool pallet board sign in a cool font with a cool decorative flourish in the corner.

No? You could be right. I think that was “Begun is half done.”

Does talking about REcombobulation with blog friends count as having begun? No?

Would you mind leaving your best REcombobulation tip here while I go combobulate something for supper?

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