Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

The Surprise Instinct and Cleaning My Sewing Room

February 6, 2019

I may have acquired a new means of tricking myself into clearing up the piles in my sewing room. Steven Johnson (in Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World) writes about the surprise instinct, a neural mechanism that kicks in you when you learn something unusual. Surprise “rewards you for breaking out of your usual habits, for stumbling across something that confounds your expectations.” I was looking for a quilt that I made a couple of years ago – which I haven’t yet found – and I ran across a little Valentine’s Day piece.

This quilt hasn’t seen the light of day in years. The pleasure I experienced finding it almost cancels out the disappointment of not finding the quilt I was looking for, and might be sufficient to make me put what I do run across in its proper place so I can find it again.

Luck and wisdom!

Queuing

January 16, 2019

My sewing machine is in the shop for some well-deserved cleaning. While I usually take this time to sort, now I am tidying with purpose. I am queuing up a series of projects, like a river of creativity. The first two in line will be the last ones on my list for the guild challenge. Then I get to do this one.

The start of this project came from a workshop by Sandy Corbin. I told myself going in that if the blocks turned out they would become a charity quilt. I also told myself if they were ugly they would be tossed in the bin (I used remnants from other projects, just so I wouldn’t get too angsty over $1.37 worth of fabric). Well, turns out I love the project. It will still go to our guild’s quilt give-away, but I’m going to put it first on my list of new challenge projects as an incentive to keep going.

Luck and wisdom!

Sorting

January 14, 2019

I have found that I remember things better if I write them – really write, not just type (although that helps as well). I have also found that I love notebooks and repositionable tabs. The latter are impulse buys for me, much like candy bars at the grocery checkout stand. Finding a packet in a stack of scraps of paper inspired me to start organizing my writing space by sorting through my instructional notes-to-self.

I will use one of my lovely notebooks and a packet of tabs to write my own personal, private user manual for programs, apps, troubleshooting, and general useful information. In the process, I may actually remember how to make things work when they aren’t (rather than whining to the more technologically savvy people around me).

Luck and wisdom!

Beginning the Year with Clutter

January 2, 2019

At least I can see a bit of carpet!

This is my quilting studio. In fairness, some of the piles are the result of the Christmas clutter, and will be sorted out quickly. The other piles, not so much. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that I can get things under control because several of my projects have firm deadlines and will be leaving the house. That is largely due to the Unfinished Quilt Challenge, where I was once again shown how pathetic I am without deadlines, and accountability. So, I’m telling everyone who will listen and many who won’t that my goal is to get half of the unfinished projects that I can reach finished by the end of 2019. Anyone care to join my challenge?

Luck and wisdom!

Ending the Year with Clutter

December 31, 2018

My desk is the windowsill to my mind

I dream of cleared flat surfaces this time of year. I also dream of a productive daily schedule and a workable writing plan for my novel, but let’s not get greedy. The key (for me) to successfully tackling any goal is accountability, so I’m posting a picture of my work space and announcing that my goal is to be able to walk past it without fear of starting an avalanche. I have wanted my desk to be more organized for ages, but can’t quite let go of the scraps of paper, which are often ideas for stories I will probably never write. I’m not ready to abandon the ideas, but I do need to find a better way of filing them (since filing them in piles hasn’t really worked for me). Suggestions?

Luck and wisdom!

Sometimes the Universe Listens

August 27, 2018

Last Monday, I sang the praises of notes-to-self on scraps of paper. That very week, my husband gave me a card:

While the advice is sound, it is the card itself that is important. That clipboard is functional.

Now I have a device for keeping notes that I will actually use. I’m taking this as a sign from the universe that this will be a good writing week. Yes, I am indulging in magical thinking. When the universe is listening to my unspoken pleas, who am I to insist on cold, hard logic?

Waiting for the House Elf

August 22, 2018

This is why I would really love to have a house elf.

Yes, I’m getting lots of work done in the sewing room. Okay, I’m getting some work done in the sewing room. Better yet, every so often a project leaves the house, meaning I don’t have to find a place to store it. I do the happy dance, then realize I need to get busy with clean-up. I suck at clean-up.

If you ever find the spell for summoning a house elf, send me the link.

Luck and wisdom!

Fun with Finite Space

April 11, 2018

I think I may have created – at least temporarily – a partial TARDIS in my sewing room, because at least one of my fabric containers must be bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside. I took out my pink and brown collection to work on quilts that will probably be donated to charity through the guild’s Community Quilts program. I was looking forward to filling that space on the shelf with something else. That’s when the fun with finite space started. This is the collection I removed from a blue container on my shelf.

This stack is about a foot high

That’s a lot of fabric. You would think there would be lots of space, but no. In fact, there wasn’t any extra room. This is what was left in the container.

The fabric expanded to fill the space available

I have no idea how I managed to cram all that fabric together. While I would love to have my own personal private TARDIS in the sewing room, I’m not betting the farm on that explanation. I am a little worried now about what else I’m going to find on the shelves once I take the stuff in front down, or how long it’s going to be before something explodes and I have fabric scraps everywhere. Of course, in my sewing room, would I really even notice?

Luck and wisdom!

Projects For Fidgety Fingers

February 8, 2017

Last month I attended an all-day writing workshop with some friends. I filled my tote bag with notebooks and pens. Then, for reasons I barely understand myself, I threw in a beading project.

So far, this is untitled with pearls

So far, this is untitled with pearls

My friends asked what the project was for. I said I wasn’t sure, but the truth is I knew my fingers would get fidgety. The workshop included a lot of time for discussion, and we all know that quilters/beaders/knitters/needleworkers can run both the mouth and the fingers at the same time. Sure enough, by the afternoon I was desperate for something to do with my hands when we weren’t actually writing.

When I got home, I noticed once again all the little boxes and bags I’ve collected over the years for portable projects. I opened a few and discovered that while I had indeed used all of them at one time or another, I had never cleaned out a single one.

A darning box for socks I no longer own

A darning box for socks I no longer own

Some of the boxes are big enough to hold several projects. This plastic stacking bin is a good example.

Lani Longshore small tote

I have no idea why I didn’t put another project in the bin. Heaven knows I have enough work in various stages of completion.

A cupcake container makes a wonderful sorting tool

A cupcake container makes a wonderful sorting tool

I’ve collected fabrics that I think would work well together so that when the need arises for a quick gift I can grab a bag and get started. This year, one of my goals will be to clean out the bring-along boxes, and have projects ready to pick and go when I suspect I’ll get a case of fidgety fingers.

Lani Longshore fabric collections

Luck and wisdom!

An Abundance of Bins

December 9, 2015

I have reached a point in consolidating my stuff that I’m accumulating empty bins, boxes and crates.

Free agent bins, waiting for a better offer

Free agent bins, waiting for a better offer

The good news is organizing is getting easier. I’m seeing how I work in a different light, and how to store things so I will remember where I put them (even the things that don’t get used often). The bad news is I’ve collected a boatload of bins over the years.

One advantage to having empty bins is cleaning the table for the holidays this year will be a snap. My husband made me a beautiful desk, which is filled with stuff, which is why I collect the mail on the kitchen table, and other items that need to find someplace else to live. As you can imagine, it takes longer for me to clear off my end of the table than it does to cook a holiday dinner. After Thanksgiving, I decided to get a head start on a New Year resolution to keep up with the mail. “Self,” I said, “You already keep up with the bills, so why can’t you keep up with the rest?” So far, I’ve put almost everything in this one little bin.

Lani Longshore kitchen bin

A lovely consequence of my resolution to keep on top of things was deciding to get my Progressive project done now. I already knew the quilt only needed a simple border on the top, bottom and right because the last person did the fabulous applique of monkeys and bananas in the jungle. Now if only I can keep this momentum going throughout the holidays.

Lani Longshore Progressive quilt

Luck and wisdom!