Managing stuff

Here's a couple of life skills that I think we should be passing along to our children. I can't say that I was the best parent in communicating this. There was a good reason - I didn't know better. But now that I do, I'm passing it along to you. And even if you're a new quilter or a seasoned quilter, we should be doing the second skill all the time.

The first skill is how to sort the garbage generated by your household. That goes for recycling, compost, things to donate, etc. Yesterday was the recycling pickup day in our neighborhood. It's shocking how many "violations" of the recycling program there are. Boxes literally thrown at the curb - not broken down and bundled, the plastic and styrofoam not removed from them. Is this ignorance? Is this laziness? I don't know, but it's sad. I think those people should be forced to ride on the truck for a day to see what happens to this stuff.

And some of the bins were overflowing so you could see what people put in the carts. One house near us is moving and I swear - what didn't fit in their garbage cart, they threw in the recycling. Since when is a WetJet recyclable? Extra plastic bags of recycling material IMMEDIATELY beside the bins. I saw the truck trying to pick up the cart without catching the bags. And don't get me started on how many people put the two carts (recycling and compost) SIDE BY SIDE, not 3 feet apart. There's a reason for that. Have you ever seen the truck that picks the carts up? It's automatic, but they need space to put the jaws of the clamp around the cart.

We have the large recycling cart. We only put it out when it's full. I don't think its efficient to put it out every two weeks. The stuff in the recycling cart should be dry so it won't smell even in the heat of summer. But some households put out their cart every week. They don't have kids so what's in the cart? And some households have a big cart PLUS 3 or 4 extra bags. What the heck are they buying in their house to generate that much garbage/recycling?? I don't get it. We put ours out once a month.

It happens in our own household. DH tends to leave all packaging on the kitchen counter so someone else can deal with it! I get it that it's complicated sometimes to know what goes where. But look for the recycling symbol, know what's allowed in your local program, and go from there.

The second life skill that we need to teach our kids is to LIVE WITH LESS. I know lots of households that are still hanging onto stuff for their kids who have left home years ago. Yes - I'm still hanging onto stuff for M. She hasn't been gone that long and it's not a whole lot so I'm OK with it. But seriously, I wish I had learned to live with less years ago.

We seem to have this notion that MORE is better, when in fact, it's not. How much time is then spent over your lifetime managing all that stuff? It's taking up real estate in your house and in your brain. I'm on a roll to get rid of stuff! And I'm motivated.

I do some of my best thinking when I'm out walking. My brain is going 100 miles a minute these days. Ideas or solutions to design problems are popping up in my head and I can't keep track of them. I distinctly remember having a container of Vaseline. Before I went out and bought one, I was going to search more thoroughly to see if I could find it. I remembered two other spots I hadn't checked the previous day. And sure enough when I got home and checked - there it was. A teeny tiny container of Vaseline. BRAND NEW.

A brand new container of Vaseline

It wasn't the money, it wasn't the errand to go and buy one. It was the fact that I had one and couldn't find it. If I bought another one, then I'd have two and this one has been in the house for years and never used. It's not like I would go through two of them in my lifetime.

Why did I need the Vaseline? The crown on my implant fell out the previous day. The dentist recommended using Vaseline as a temporary cement. I scoffed at the text message, but desperate to have my front tooth back, I got a toothpick and carefully filled the hole in the implant with Vaseline and stuck it back in place. It's working like a charm. So that's a good tip if that ever happens to you. Now I'm not biting with that tooth so everything is being cut up, but I can live with that. It's not loose either. Pretty weird. I texted the dentist back and told him that it worked!

Now I have a challenge for you. The result of searching for that Vaseline brought to the surface all the crap that is under the bathroom sink. Why or why do I have so much stuff?? So I pulled it all and put it on the counter in the spare bathroom.

Under the counter bathroom stuff
At least it all fit on the counter so it's not totally out of control. My goal is to sort like stuff and put into containers. Some of this has been done, but it's not completed. I have already done this once before. Now it's time for the second round. I challenge you to do the same. What old OUTDATED stuff are you going to find? Pills will be collected and dropped off at the drugstore. Old bottles of lotion will be dumped and well - we'll just see how it goes. There isn't an immediate need to get this done and it's not taking up needed space where it is. I'll plug away at it.

Here's the two masks I found the previous day.

Medical masks

I'm thoroughly enjoying the scrap sorting. This is what it looked like when I started last night. Rose mentioned that in nursing homes, some of the residents fold washcloths - that's going to be me. I'll be the folder!!!

The pile of scraps to sort

And this is what it looked like when I was finished for the day.

The scrap pile is much smaller

I made great progress and watched two episodes of The Quilt Show. I'm actually enjoying the show and I swear that every guest who has a book - I have the book. That's bad. Some of the books have never been opened. What a silly person I was to acquire so many books. That's part of the managing stuff that I never learned!

But why some of those scraps were never dealt with at the time? Who knows. Look what I found. This is a block that I had made for a teacher quilt for one of M's teachers. This is a replica of the school she went to. I obviously wasn't happy with this and it got tossed in the scrap bag. I made another one for the quilt.

Scrap block
I cut the blue sky off and put that in the blue scrap pile. The rest of it went in the garbage. I needed to learn these managing skills years ago. This is probably 15 or more years old. And why did I end up with sample stitch-outs from other people? I swear - I was a crow who collected everything. Why or why??  BUT the best thing - this is a learning lesson. I'm getting close to getting it cleaned up and I will NEVER let it happen again.

The more I get tidied, the freer I become and the easier it is to get rid of stuff. There are still some sentimental things that I'll have to deal with and let's not forget the paper in the office, but my focus right now is scraps. And once, I'm done with my scraps, then I'm going to drag those bags and boxes (one at a time) that are destined for pet mats and go through them and make the pet mats and get that out of the way.

Once that is done, I'm going to focus on packing up the "new projects" and the UFOs into labeled boxes so everything is neat and tidy and everything has a home. I'll still have way too much, but at least, I know where everything is (more or less - still no lightbulb moment for those bodkins!).  This is the most exciting thing that's happened in a while. I have to thank our self-isolation for this because I've gotten into a good routine and nothing is there to interrupt my schedule.

Can I finish before self-isolation? I think I'm going to sign up for The Quilt Show, so I can watch the rest of the series. I'm currently on Series Three and they are now up to 27 or something like that.

OH -- here's the story on that Dream Big panel. The facing is completely hand-stitched in place. I'll try to get the sleeve made today and pinned on so I can hand stitch that. Oh yes - I need to bring up a chair from the basement as that folding chair is NOT comfortable to sit on for a couple of hours. Or - I could move my sewing chair around and sit on that!

So when I was doing the embroidery, I had to add some strips along the sides because the backing wasn't quite large enough to hoop the project. I was EXTREMELY careful to keep those strips out of the way so they wouldn't get caught on the back. At one point, I had to rehoop a section three or four times before it was positioned correctly and I was perhaps a little careless with those strips when the positioning finally worked. When I went to change the bobbin, the darn strips were EMBEDDED in the embroidery. Are you kidding me???

The waste cloth got stuck in the embroidery
 Of course, it happened with the densest section of the embroidery. GRRR!!  I cut away as much as I could and this is a good lesson to check and recheck that the backing is NOT positioned under the hoop. Another life lesson.

I didn't get any quilting done yesterday. I thought I had better focus on getting some bindings on projects.

I only stitched the binding to the back on all these projects. I'll focus on stitching the binding to the front later this week.

The binding is on the Quilts of Valour quilt

The Quilts of Valour Quilt

 And it's on the Christmas wall hanging as well.

The Christmas wall hanging
 The hexagonal table runner finally got the binding on and it's been sitting in the pile for a while now.

Binding on the hexagonal table runner

I also got the binding on the little doggie quilt.

Binding on the doggie quilt

I was on a roll and got the binding on my rectangular jelly roll rug as well.

Binding on the rectangular jelly roll rug

I just used the same color thread for all that stitching. That's why I just kept going. I still have ONE more project that needs the binding made. I'll try to work on that later this week, but I've got a homework assignment due on Friday so I'm focusing on that.

Then I found this pile of bindings as well. Hmm - what are these for?

Orange binding strips

Well - I had pulled the oranges from my binding scrap box. They were supposed to be applied to my mini design boards.

Binding on a mini design board

I managed to get the binding on one of them. It's not easy since it has to be glued in place. I decided that it's perfectly OK to use my mini design boards WITHOUT binding. The orange binding went back in the scrap tin for binding.

Mini design board without binding

I love these mini design boards and use them ALL the time. Matter of fact, my blocks for the Aviatrix Medallion quilt (due on Friday) are sitting on one of them right now.

I think I used fusible fleece on foam core or something like that. Super easy to make. Here's a tutorial on Lori Holt's web site if you need further instructions. 

Here's the other thing that I found. I needed a fabric to add to the Aviatrix Medallion blocks. I needed a neutral and dug through the stash and found this piece. When I opened it up this morning, I saw some blue wash away pen marks all over it. I had traced an embroidery design some years ago. I had found that project a while back and decided the lines had faded too much to stitch so it went back in the stash. I didn't wash it. Guess what? I had to wash it this morning (just rinsed in the sink) so I could cut it up. Why didn't I do that years ago when the fabric went back in the stash??

Fabric with blue wash away markings
So if you have marked things with blue wash away markers - the markings will disappear over time depending on how humid your house is. Don't use them unless you want to get your project done NOW.

I went for a walk to the hardware store. Wow-what fun to peruse the aisles of a store! Half the people had masks. I didn't wear one. I'm OK with that, even though they say we should be wearing them to protect the people around us. I see so much improper use of masks that what's the point?

Anyway, I went there to buy a sock feeder for the golden finches. No sock feeders. Oh boy - so I stood there for a long time debating what to do. I ended up buying a new bird feeder and an 8-pound bag of birdseed, which I had to cart all the way home!! Wow - that'll make you want to lose 8 pounds real quick. That was HEAVY to carry and it was only a 20-minute walk back home.

A new bag of birdseed
 But here's the funny part. When I went to put the birdseed away - guess what I found??? A BAG of the same birdseed. Good grief - I didn't remember that because I haven't used this in a while. Oh well - let's hope those little finches come around and eat lots. I've got lots. If not, then I know someone who has tons of them in her yard. I'll give the seed to her.

Oh shoot - a found bag of birdseed

I was busy as a bee yesterday and at one point glanced up and guess who? She was just sitting there watching me. I bet she wanted something - she didn't care what I was doing!!!

The watcher

 No audiobook yesterday. I sure needed a break from those two intensely read books last week. I've got five days to read the next one so I had better read something today.

Oh -- I'm happy to report that on my virtual walk across Canada - I'm now in Saskatchewan. Yeah!!!!

Got to run - running out of time this morning.

Have a super day!!!