Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rethinking Clutter (more than just junk)

I have been working about an hour a day at decluttering my old house (the one I don't currently live in, but will again someday--it's a long story).  It is very slow and painstaking, mostly because of the mental energy it takes me to decide to part with something.  An item has to truly be junk, it seems, in order for me to willingly let it go.

I opened drawers in the past week that hadn't seen the light of day in years.  (Seems amazing to me that I can fill up every drawer and cupboard with stuff when I move into a place, but never go back and question whether that stuff still belongs there seven years later.)  Got rid of a few things (birthday cards from 1999, similar vintage check registers); added to the Goodwill pile (pack of birthday invitations, multitudes of cassette tapes, a book on teaching young children about money); and created a holding area for "I just don't know what to do with it, but I can't bear to part with it" (unopened deck of The Houswife's Tarot cards).

Then I went home and told my Sweetie about my progress, and my frustration.  She suggested a garage sale.  I have resisted garage sales in the past, preferring the immediate *gone* nature of the Goodwill pile.  Also, I have mostly considered my clutter to be junk, not really worth my time to try and sell for a few measly shekels.  (I also bow to the wisdom of FlyLady, my favorite decluttering guru, who believes garage sales are a way to put off the "getting rid of" process.)  Sweetie, however, changed my mind: she will put on the garage sale; she will do much of the work of advertising, arranging, pricing, and organizing the stuff; and we will use the proceeds to do something fun together.  (Maybe just go to Applebee's for appetizers, if we don't make much...)

This all happened Friday.  And over the weekend, my mind was slowly changed about the nature of my clutter.  I could hardly wait to get back into the house on Monday and get rid of things.  I found I was willing to part with many an item that had been in my anguished "what do I do with it?" pile, if I thought it might be worth money to someone else.  (The unused four-slice toaster; the jewelry from relatives that I won't wear and that makes me feel nothing but guilty; the extra televisions laying around.) 

Epiphany: my clutter is just stuff that doesn't work for me.  It doesn't have to be junk for me to get rid of it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

County Fair here I come...

Just did my online entries for the Lane County Fair.  Fair is not until August, and I entered four items.  Here's my not-so-secret confession: only one of those items is finished as we speak.  I use the Fair deadline as a way to motivate myself to finish sewing projects, and it usually works.  My problem every year is that I have so many works in progress (WIP's), as well as so many creative ideas for new projects, that it is nearly impossible for me to narrow my focus.  Well, I have announced my narrowed focus: those three new projects, which need to be delivered for judging by August 5th.
Just to show off a bit, this is an entry from last year's Fair: a two-piece square dance dress from a not-too-loud flamingo and palm tree print.  Surprisingly, it won a blue ribbon.  Oh, how I covet those ribbons!  (And feel silly for getting so excited about them.)
So stay tuned for sewing updates as I get to work on those 3 promised projects.  Sneak peek: two of them are being made from my old wedding dress!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Infinity Scarf - I finished a project!

I am easily led astray by the shiny and new.  Especially a new sewing project.  Or just a new piece of fabric that has no intended project attached to it.
My daughter posted a link to an infinity scarf tutorial on her blog awhile back.  I thought, "cute!" and gave it no more thought.  Then, for her sister's graduation, she wore an infinity scarf that she had made.  And it was *way cute*.  I also had just received some adorable clothing that doesn't necessarily match other colors in my wardrobe, so I was looking for a way to add more purple.  What caught my eye at the last trip to the fabric store? (besides the items I had originally gone there to purchase? yawn, bored with that project already.)  Silky purple print.  Mmm, yummy.

Spent just over an hour whipping this baby up, and wore it that night to go out to dinner.  Disclaimer: the project would not take an entire hour, start to finish, except for 2 things: this particular fabric is silky and shiny, requiring much more time to cut accurately, and needing many pins to stay put even when sewing a straight line; and I didn't see the part of the directions that said "turn right-side out" before sewing the second set of seams.  Oops.
Yay, a *finished* project. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oldest UFO: gone...

I started this project in high school. (High school!  My youngest child graduated from high school just this month.)  In Ms. Bennett's art class.  I made batik roses and leaves on china silk.  I hand quilted it, way back when, intending it to be part of a quilted dress jacket (and when did *that* look go out of style?).  And so it has remained.  All these years.

About 5 years ago I started a companion piece of quilted silk, hoping to make a wall hanging.  It was to be a gift for a colleague that was leaving.  He left.  Two years later he returned.  No gift was ever completed.  Sigh.
Why do I hang onto things so long?  At some point, I lost all interest in making anything out of this.  But I was unwilling to give it to just anyone: it had to go to a loving home.  And so it has.  Farewell, batik quilted silk.  I hope to hear from your new owner what fabulous new life you have taken on.

Is this the oldest UFO ever?  Do you have something older?  (It doesn't count if you are not the original owner/creator.)