Monday, June 29, 2009


I read somewhere that "hidden" clutter (in closets, basements, attics) wears you out just as much as visible clutter. It's so true! This weekend I was feeling frustrated by my craft room. Nothing new.

I began by describing to my husband the contents of each and every box in the closet. As I went on, I realized that a good percentage of them were "I've got to keep that for sentimental/obligatory reasons". I have done a LOT of culling, dear readers, and I feel most of these things I am simply not ready to part with. And some are truly sentimental; high school notes from friends, Mr. Knitty's bow tie from prom, etc.

He suggested I put some of them in the crawlspace. So I went down there to see if I could cull out a few boxes (I have lots of room, but I like to stay on top of my storage issues). We had made a trip that morning to the thrift store, to drop off a large bag of curtains, baby clothes, and candle holders and knicknacks. As I shoved box ofter box out of the crawlspace, yelling instructions at Mr. Knitty and Maggie as I went: ("donate!" "out on the street!" "garbage!" "bring this to daddy!", I had no concept of the large pile accumulating outside of my crawlspace door!!! When I emerged, my mouth fell open.

We filled up (yes, filled up) the trunk of my car and made another trip to the thrift shop. It felt so good!!!

Purging these things has a number of different good feelings for me. I went through a phase (well, a number of phases) of buying things to ease a particular frustration in my life. I bought dishes when I was anxious to buy my own place and get married. I bought holiday decorations when I was frustrated by wanting to have a baby but not being ready. I bought kitchen decorations...well...simply because they had chickens on them, not anticipating a future loss of interest in all things chickeny.

These things have irked me for a long time! On one hand, I can remember what I paid for most of them, and it's so painful to realize that I spent hundreds of dollars on these things that have little-to-no meaning for me now. Not only did I spend that much, I drove myself into credit card debt in order to do it, and had to take a loan from Mom to pay it off (worst thing ever). I don't think I'd feel as bad if I had bought "fun" useless things; electronics, clothes, shoes, jewelry. I strictly forbid myself from buying "fun" things because I was busy "trying to change my life" through buying "serious" (read; ridiculous) things!!!

And I know that I need to Let This Go. And the key for me in accomplishing that is getting rid of the things that stir these feelings for me. I like to go down in my crawlspace and find things that are for specific times of the year (yule tree, for example) or things that I don't really use but still make me smile (my grandma's punch bowl). I have enough space to store things that are not immediately useful, but I don't like saving things that are completely useless!!

So, the thrift shop was the beneficiary of around 8 large containers of holiday decorations (I really did believe I would need "harvest" decorations!) and a set of kitchen curtains that are so "whoa hella ugly" that I can't believe I ever hung them up, a handmade nativity scene (I decided it was time to pass it on to someone who is a practicing Xtian) and numerous other delights.

It felt so good, dear readers. I feel like I got a load off of me. And with that load off, I was able to return to my craft room with new eyes and take a couple of the "sentimental" boxes downstairs, and make room on the shelves for currently active projects and supplies.

This means I am also on my way to revamping the room in my ultimate goal; a nice pleasant room to do arts and crafts with my favorite girl; Maggie.

1. Have installed a ceiling fan with an overhead light, which will enable me to rehome the three lamps in there currently.
2. Remove a lot of the nicknacks off the walls and shelves, cull, and rehang in a less "fits & starts" manner.
3. Decide on a table for my sewing machine. Do I want to get rid of the current unwieldly but very storagey model? Or do I want to keep it?
4. Get rid of the bookcase that is acting as an "intermediate solution" for not having a proper end table in there.
5. Get a proper end table.
6. Bid a sad farewell to my big blue heating & vibrating chair. I love it. It was a third hand monstrosity from Mr. Knitty's cousins, but it is just SO big and it doesn't "go" anywhere in the house. This means it's time for it to go.
7. Procure new seating that is smaller, moveable, and appropriate for both kids & big folks.
8. Procure a small storage piece for Maggie's art supplies to be accessible.

Steggies for EyeballPalooza

My good friend Jackie is in urgent need of cataract surgery to prevent her from losing her eyesight.

Me and some other friends are pulling together to help her raise funds for this surgery. As I have used my Steggies successfully in the past for fundraising, I am resurrecting them for this cause!

Steggies are cute and make a great gift for a little kid or for anyone. It is my own original pattern. You can find a link to the pattern with a photograph on the right hand side of my blog.

I am making steggies for those who wish to contribute; a $10 donation to my friend's paypal will get you a darling little steggie in your choice of color. Shipping is $2 in the US and $5 anywhere else.

Please contact me via comment on this post, or at leopard mama 169 AT gmail DOT com (you know the drill) for questions or to "order" your steggie!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Fabric Conundrum

I know that my "stash" is nowhere near the size of some people's stashes (ahem). But something is bothering me. I have a good sized box of small pieces. Too small, IMHO, for quilt pieces, even (I like to do patchwork with big pieces so it's less effort :-) Most of them are scraps and bits of things I made, in other words, fabric I love for one reason or another. I feel like they are not really useful to me anymore. I run across patterns I'd like to make and think "gee I have a lot of fabric" but what I have is never big enough.

So I figured I would make some small projects from it. The thing is, these small projects are never terribly useful, for me or for other folks, and so I end up making things that are cute but sort of useless.

I was going to make a scrappy log cabin quilt, but frankly they're all pretty strong patterns and so it looked really bad. Plus I only made 10 squares before i got sick of doing it (see?)

I don't do applique projects or anything that uses tiny bits. I'm one of those folks who counts the pattern pieces in the dress pattern and if it's over 5 I put it back down.

The problem is that I feel like I should use up what I have before I buy new things. Or at least get it down to the sort of quantity where I have specific plans for at least half of the stuff.

I would like to do the same thing I did with my beads; clear out all the "wtf do I do with these?" items, and the next time I have a cool project in mind I can simply buy the materials I'd like to use? Rather than feel weighted down by this supply of not-quite-right supplies?

I think I just answered my own question!