Monday, January 20, 2014

Simply Easier

My focus on back to basics is well under way. It's refreshing to look at my home with a new perspective. While I go about my normal routines, I take a few extra minutes to find ways to simplify. If possible, I make changes immediately. More extensive ideas are put on my list to implement later.

This shelf was stored in my hall closet for a couple of years. I love it but didn't have a good place for it. Now it hangs above the dryer in my laundry room, holding blue Ball jars filled with laundry products. It's pretty, it's handy, and I don't have ugly plastic jugs on the dryer. Those are now hidden in the cabinets over the sink. Clear space for folding clothes, and it only took about ten minutes!

Speaking of clothes and shoes, I've been purging them as well. Two large bags are already gone and I have three more ready to haul to Goodwill. Fewer clothes means less closet clutter and time saved figuring out what to wear. And I don't need so many dresses or high heels any more.

The emphasis is currently on our bedroom since new carpet is on the horizon. We'll have to move everything; a real incentive to pare down what comes back into the room.

The process of streamlining is satisfying, so I'm in no particular hurry. Looking for ways to reduce clutter, finding hidden treasures, organizing and decorating are fun for me. Making life easier along the way is an added benefit.

Useful Notion
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life 
with just baggage enough.”
~ Charles Warner

Callie Cat watching the goings on in my sewing room
during the fabric sort last week

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fabric Scrap Organization

I've got bins of fabric scraps that I've been saving since 1969. (Yeah, some have moved with me eight times). Don't get me wrong, I use them, but I probably add more than I use. It would be interesting to know just how many yards of fabric I have bought in 50 years of sewing. And I wonder how many times I've sorted through and touched each piece of material. That would probably boggle the mind! 

My fabric storage system works well for yardage. It's easy to find the pieces when I need them. You can link to that article here. Scraps are another matter. As you can see, right now I just toss leftovers into plastic bins sorted by color. It's hard to dig through them, and I have to iron each scrunched up piece before cutting, which delays my project.

I have a new plan to simplify how I store and use my scraps. First, I tackled this project one bin at a time to keep from making a big mess. As I sorted, I tossed anything I know I won't use or pieces too tiny to quilt. I ironed the fabric, then cut off the odd shaped edges. Then I folded the larger pieces (half yards and fat quarters) into uniform sizes and stacked them neatly back into their color coded bins and baskets.  

The leftover edges and small pieces are sorted by size, for use in colorful scrap quilts. I rotary cut useable strips; 1 ½” to 4 ½” wide, and stacked them carefully into labeled shoe boxes on a rolling cart. I can stash it under my cutting table when I'm done.

This initial sorting/cutting process took a couple of days, but now I have a simple method of managing my leftover fabric scraps. Immediately after any sewing project is finished I will cut the pieces, fold and store them.

The result: I'll have strips and pieces ready at my fingertips for stitching quick scrappy quilts anytime. A rainy day activity all set up and ready to sew!

To continue my simplify theme, I pulled out a few pieces of fabric yardage and listed them for sale in my Useful Remnants Etsy shop.  I added vintage patterns and a modern mini quilt that I made yesterday from some of my newly sorted scraps.

Useful Notion:  "The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace." - Peace Pilgrim

Monday, January 6, 2014


That's my theme for January. 

to make easier to do or understand
   a: to reduce to basic essentials
   b: to streamline
   c: to clarify

There are a lot of areas to work on, and I've already started. Home, shopping, food, clothing, hobbies, habits and goals are all under review. I'm hoping that simplifying life will lead to harmony, joy, peacefulness, fun, and a beautiful 2014.

Useful Notion: There is beauty in simplicity. 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. --Confucius

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. --Henry David Thoreau

** BRRRR!  it's COLD here on the ridge this morning!  Three degrees at 6 am.


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