Monday, May 16, 2011

Organized Chaos!

I think the funniest thing I ever learned on Flylady was just what CHAOS stood for – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!

And basically, that is how I have felt about my basement space through the winter. I could start to get a handle on it, but there wasn’t a lot of time before I was flying off on another trip, and other projects had deadlines, so a lot of things I wanted to tackle just kept putting themselves on the back burner…or the way back way back burner! And there is more to be done, but I’m happy with what I accomplished yesterday!

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Stacks of Fat Quarters were separated and sorted by color or category depending on what they were, and were put away in their drawers. See those two NEUTRAL stacks to the left? How many did I think I needed? Ahem. I Need. More. Drawers. This is creating quite a conundrum because I really “AM” about using what I have, but it just seems like I’ve been restocking my variety this year. And some of my drawers are shared by two colors, all of which could use their own drawer now ((Like the pinks sharing with purples or the yellows also sharing with oranges)) And I’ve found that as I’ve used yardage, some of the leftovers if they are large enough have also graduated down to the Fat Quarter drawers…((I put anything less than 1/2 yard in there)) and I added a new category of black and whites –Those need their own drawer because they really don’t mix well with the other beige-y civil war type shirtings and backgrounds.

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But look! This table is now COMPLETELY clear – With the exception of those African prints that I KNEW were buried somewhere ((Yes, I found them!!) and I also found the ones that Aby gave me while in Germany! and I found a whole baggie of batik scraps –We’ll get to that later --

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I made some make-shift Fat Quarter space in plastic shoeboxes on this old bookshelf I got at the second hand store for something crazy like $8.00. It’s SOLID wood….I really don’t like my fabric out in the open air. DH’s workroom/aka: Lawn Mower Garage is down here, and it has a Garage door on it, and it is often open, and dust and dirt and blower stuff and whatever comes through – But until I decide if I need more Fat Quarter drawers or what….this will have to do for now.

{{Insert personal-note-to-self: STOP. BUYING. BLUE!! You have more blue than you can use in a lifetime. USE IT!!}}

At this point I’m still mulling over that small pile of scraps on the table! Can you hear them calling my name -- LOUDLY!?

I have a set of bed risers under this table, so it is a great sorting, folding, cutting, laying out height.

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THIS mess is next in the Queue – MAGAZINES. Old and new, some picked up from guild meetings, It’s become the magazine dumping ground. Before moving here I had gone through all my magazines ((I’ve done this several times over the years after they pile up a bit)) and saved the pages I wanted to keep in page protectors and put them in binders and use them as “Dream and Idea” books. But I’ve gotten behind on it, well—BECAUSE. Do I want to sew, or do I want to tear apart magazines? THAT IS A NO BRAINER!

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And it’s not just that bottom shelf…What started to look CUTE in this fun wire basket is now overflowing….And I admit it. Some of the magazines have not even been taken out of the plastic bags that they were mailed in! Many of them at first glance don’t have anything I want – “Seen that, done that, nothing new, same old same old same old” and those will get donated.

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Uhoh! Enough Cleaning!! And the pile on the clean table began to GROW!! This was evening time, and I was itching to play!

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At this point I was thinking….I need something that will work with some of these African prints that are no more than 4” wide –Maybe I can find a batik or tone on tone texture that would play well with each of these, and pair them with a black and white ((Since I had just fondled,folded and put them all away!))

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Did I really THINK I could get away with just ONE test block?! These are 6” “Kings Crown” blocks, and I am loving them! The on point Square in Square is a great way to frame those fun African fabrics, and the black and whites are so fun! The corners are more tone on tone batik or hand dyes –I have NO idea how I am going to set them yet…on point? Straight? Sashed? PIECED sashing? Alternate block? I don’t have enough done yet to even think about it….

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But I did have enough time to kit up 25 blocks! They are ready to travel with me to Alabama this week! Since it is a road trip with nights in hotels, I’ll be setting up my machine and making good use of evening/morning time!

And it’s a good thing because I asked DH last night just when his Assistant Controller’s baby is due – “Oh, early June…” was the reply! ACCKKKK!

So! It’s Monday! My favorite day of the week—Monday is new and fresh with all kinds of possibilities. Today, Lisa and Shelby and I are going to hike Pilot Mountain! That should be loads of fun—Maybe some more piecing tonight, or some more digging through tonight. The jury is out on that one yet.

Tuesday will be a “packing up” day—because YES! I’ve decided to leave Wednesday and enjoy my journey to Huntsville, Alabama instead of just pedal to the metal to get there. Seems like a good plan, eh?

Enjoy your day!


  1. Good morning,
    So what is going on in Huntsville?
    Cathy B from Birmingham AL

  2. WOW!!! Bonnie, once again you are an inspiration! All that organizing, blocks made & more kitted up! I need to (as my brother says) come touch the hem of your skirt! `;-)
    Have a safe & fun trip on Weds.!!

  3. Sounds like a fun trip, and nice that you can take some time to enjoy. Love those African fabrics/blocks!

  4. love that block, I think I will try it on some of my many scraps that I have been planning on using and find keep sitting.

  5. Skye said it best... I love how inspirational your blog and your work are. For a new quilter, you have been a Godsend.

    Drive Carefully!!

  6. LOL!! Skye....you show up around here and I just might put you to work! :cD

  7. I am catching up on your blog, and I am having a good time doing it :-)
    My sewing corner is semi-chaos at the moment - maybe I should use my timer for 15 minutes ;-)

    Have a good trip!

  8. This winter I took that stack of magazines and went through them and turned down the corners for anything I thought I'd like to make. Then I brought the magazine to work and used the copier to turn the article into a PDF. 3-hole punched the PDF and got a binder ready to hold all of these potential projects. And then the magazine was ready to go to someone else.

  9. Wow - Bonnie, your organizational skills are truly impressive!
    I was working on a table with bedrisers on Saturday - great height, even for a shorty like me - MUST shop for those today!

  10. Can't. Stop. Having. Fun.

    Enjoy the journey~

  11. Those King's Crown blocks look wonderful, Bonnie. I've made a note to myself to play around with some of these soon. A great way to use up some of those odds and ends, and they pair SO well with the black and white. Congrats on the tidy-up. Must get to that one of these days!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing your tidying up with us! Love those 'test' blocks - will make a great baby quilt! Have fun in Huntsville!

  13. Great job on decluttering your basement space! I've collected fabrics for four years (going to college AND working full time left little time for playing with fabrics) and I'm longing to sort out my stash. Your report is inspirational!
    Have fun in Alabama! Wish I could join you for some southern hospitality - I was an exchange student in Alabama, long, long ago. Great memories!

  14. Anonymous10:37 AM EDT


    You can never have enough blue!!! All colours aspire to be blue!!!

  15. Though I hardly ever work with "brights" and black and white, I am loving those blocks. When you first mentioned doing the baby quilt in African prints I couldn't envision it. Wow! It will be great!
    Good luck on the magazines. I have three large binders full of saved magazine pages and I finally told myself "No more magazines!!" Don't ask how that is going. ; )

  16. There is no such thing as too much blue! I'm working on my studio in 20 minute increments as that's all the time I usually have and it's amazing how much can be accomplished in that amount of time. I just need MORE 20 minute increments as it's pretty chaotic right now -- but then so is my life!

  17. You know, I have WAAAAY too much blue too. . .I wonder if it's cause there is more blue fabric or we're just drawn to blue? (even though my favorite color is purple!)

  18. You inspired me to start cleaning my sewing space and I am hoping Subee will do a tutorial on how she is so organized so I can redo my space. Have you seen how clean her sewing room always is!
    Is that organizational skills or obsessive compulsive? I can't seem to make a quilt without making a huge mess in my sewing room every time!

    Love blue and I am also always buy MORE blue.....will I ever live long enough to use all this fabric? Its a worth a try :0).

    Safe travels and Happy Sewing

  19. You are amazing...travel, quilt, travel, friends. Do you clean your own toilets, dust, or vacuum? If I get any part of the day to sew, it's always the last thing and then I'm pooped!!!

  20. I'm with you on the Chaos definition! My quilt zone is off-limits for company/grandchildren, unless they are there to see the Quilting going on. I like the brights with the black and white blocks. Have fun stitching on your trip. I have a bigger pile of magazines on my couch...I'd better get them organized, thanks for the inspiration.

  21. I love reading your organizing posts, I'm off to search how to make your "kits". That might help me move a few projects along.

  22. I love you test blocks. I love the way the black and white pops the colors.
    I do the same thing with my magazines. I used to do it every year, but I have started to do it every couple of months. Helps keep those magazines moving.

  23. I love Chaos!
    Are these fabrics that have been sent to you or purchases?
    I find that I seem to buy colors in groups. I am on a pink and brown kick right now.
    And I should buy stock in plastic containers too. Love 'em!
    XOXOXO Subee

  24. I have a bundle of african prints waiting for a project so I am very interested to see what you do with yours.

  25. Love your message to yourself to stop buying blue! Sometimes when I get to a fabric store, even if I don't "need" something, I'll buy little bits of this and that because "it will go so well with something I have, I'm sure of it!" And then it doesn't. I am pretty good about going through the quilt magazines I get and pulling out the patterns that I want to use "someday". I put them in plastic sleeves and into a big giant binder for my bucket list of quilts. I will have to live to be 125 to make all the quilts on my bucket list.

  26. oh isn't Chaos good????
    means your creating!
    love your new blocks...enjoy your trip you made the right decision go early and bring that camera to the antique stores along the way!

  27. Wowwwww....look at that empty table! I'm stunned...and envious.

  28. All I can say is that... I wish my playing accomplished sooo much! Good for you! That baby is going to loooove the quilt however it turns out because it will be soo pretty, bright and wonderful! Have a great trip! Don't forget to stop and touch the fabric!!!

  29. You have been busy. Thanks for letting us see how you deal with the issue of stash. Lane


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