Monday, March 28, 2011

Three Easy Ways To Add Positive Energy To Your Space

This time of year, the weather doesn't seem to be able to make up it's mind which season it is. One day is sunny and 80 degrees, a week later there's sleet and cold rain. The fluctuating temps can play havoc with our mood and our energy.

These three simple ideas will create positive energy in your home or office space to keep the crazy weather blues away. Put on your favorite music and try them.
  1. Flowers – Pick up some fresh spring blooms at the grocery or florist. Or dash outside in the cold rain to pick a few of your own so they won't get frostbitten. Arrange them in a pretty vase and place them on your desk or kitchen counter. That should make you smile and brighten up the room! If you're allergic, natural silk flowers can have the same effect without the sneezing.

  2. Art and Photos – Choose a special family photo or scene that you love and keep it near you. Rearrange the pictures you have or move them to a different room. Change your computer wallpaper to something cheerful. Frame an affirming message and put it where you'll see it often. 
     
  3. Clear Space – Your mood and energy will benefit from clear space, even a small corner. Somehow it both calms and energizes the mind. Take 15 minutes now and straighten any horizontal surface near you. Toss clutter, put away distracting items, file papers and only put back things that make you smile or are necessary for what you're doing today.
Hope these help...enjoy the week!

Useful Notion: Rearranging your furniture can give your space a new look at no cost. Angle your desk so that you can see out the window or look at a beautiful picture. It's an easy way to create positive energy.

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. ~Maori Proverb

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Monday, March 21, 2011

Keeping Track: Inventory for 523 Yards of Fabric

Every seamstress or hobbyist eventually has to deal with how to keep track of supplies, especially fabric. I've been sewing seriously since age 12. It was simple then: I bought material, sewed a dress and wore it. Scraps went into a small box, thread and scissors were stored in a sewing basket.

Soon I began to buy more than I could make right away. A box under the bed was perfect for that and the scrap box was growing. By the time I got married, most of what I moved to our new apartment was clothes and my sewing gear. In our first home, I took one spare bedroom for my sewing and he got the other for his radios and electronics. Now a large bedroom has been converted to my sewing studio, complete with sewing tables and cabinets.

Along the way I experimented with different ways to maintain my fabric inventory. Most of the time I stashed it in boxes shoved under beds or in closets, and had to rummage through them all to find what I wanted. Since I'm addicted to beautiful fabrics and can't resist a sale, I needed a better way to organize my collection.

I have now settled on a system which is simple to use and maintain. I usually catalog pieces one yard or more. You can accomplish this fairly quickly but you don't have to do it all at once. It can be a spare time project. Just pull out a box and get started. You'll need 3x5 index cards, a marker, a stapler, and boxes or storage bins.

Take a piece of fabric, clip off a corner and staple to the index card. Measure and write yardage, width, and any other info you want to track, like fabric type, whether it's been prewashed or if it has a defect. Fold the fabric neatly and stack in the first box, labeled A. List the box letter on the fabric index card. Load the box from the side instead of the bottom, so you can see all the folds when you open the lid. Once that box is full, continue to the next letter. My frequently used and newly purchased fabrics are stored on a cabinet shelf, so I note that on the card instead of a box letter.

Now sort the cards by color. You can use a file or recipe box with dividers, or photo albums that fit 4x6 cards. The larger size gives you more room to slide cards in and out. Leave several pages open between each color to allow for new purchases. Photo albums are more convenient for me to flip through when I'm searching for ideas. Finding a piece of fabric is a breeze; all of it is at your fingertips. When you use material, pull out the card and change the remaining yardage or toss the card if you used it all. As you acquire new fabric, make a card for it and put it away in the next box.

Feel free to use the system and adapt it to your situation. Being a computer gal, I tried logging all of the fabric info into a spreadsheet, but found that I didn't always go back and make changes when I used inventory. The manual system worked better since I already had the file card in front of me.

My 523 yards of fabric fill up eleven bins (so far) in the closet, plus six cabinet shelves. I have two large bins of yard sale and thrift store finds that haven't been sorted yet. Check back soon for pattern inventory ideas...

Useful Notion: Store fabric scraps and fat quarters by color in clear plastic shoe or sweater boxes. 
 

"Best idea for spring cleaning:  do it at night so you can spend the day in sunshine" -- Katie Scarlett

--------------------

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Bit 'O Blarney

Like a little Leprechaun, I spent last week running around: errands, celebrating my sweetheart's birthday, buying and loading gear for the RV, and more.  I spent a peaceful day in the warm sunshine trimming, raking, pruning — spring cleaning for the yard.  
Enjoy a few photos of my pretty flowers and shamrocks. 


Happy St. Patrick's Day!


For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
'Tis like a morn in spring.
With a lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
********

Monday, March 7, 2011

National Craft Month & Twenty-four Yards of Fabric

March is National Craft Month, so I decided to celebrate by placing an order from Fabric.com, my favorite online shop. Of course they are having an awesome sale, with a free shipping deal. Which meant that I had to scoop up those bargains. My order was ten lengths of fabric, two to three yards each. Total yardage was twenty-four yards...what!? Seems like a lot, doesn't it? But it was only one little box and I have an idea in mind for each one.

Crafting is a relaxing, diverse, and fulfilling hobby. If you already enjoy crafting, consider sharing your skills with others, especially children. New to crafts? Begin by taking a class or asking a friend for help. You may remember childhood crafts like popcicle stick art, woven potholders, or construction paper covered cigar boxes. Today we have many more options from elegant art to shabby chic. Take a stroll through Hobby Lobby, Michaels or Jo-Ann. Choose from sewing, knitting/crochet, quilting, scrapbooking, art journaling, jewelry making, metalwork, painting, home d├ęcor, woodworking, and more.

A word of advice, though...crafts can become addicting. What begins as a shoe box to hold your supplies can quickly become an addition on your home to store all your gear. Just take it slow, keep your things organized, and enjoy the hobby. Remember, you don't have to buy all the stuff at once!

That being said, I enjoy my completely full craft room very much. Fabric is stored in a closet and two cabinets; but I just can't get enough. I'll post later on how I inventory everything. Even with my mini fabric store, I am always on the lookout for beautiful pieces. Last fall I found 5 huge boxes of material at a yard sale for only $12. I browse thrift stores for pretty or unusual items to repurpose into art, quilts, or other projects.

My resolutions for National Craft Month are to go through my collection, finish several projects, and experiment with a new craft idea. And I'll use a few of the twenty-four yards that just came in.

Useful Notion: For inspiration and more information on crafting see these websites -


There's nothing more exciting than starting a new project,
And nothing more satisfying than finishing one! 

----------------------