The end of 2011 snuck up on me faster than I was prepared for. In 2011 I participated in my first craft shows and really pushed to get more visibility to my Etsy store (piperbrogan designs). I refuse to sell my work on consignment as most merchants take such a large cut and I have such a small mark-up on my work as it is. Having people know your name (piperbrogan designs) by word of mouth and getting requests for custom work (piperbrogan designs) is what I am really striving for more instead of the commercialized over-produced, over-marketed stores out there.
I have a couple days off here at home with my family this holiday season and have been truly relishing in spending time with my kids and husband. Then I walked past my sewing room. That may actually be mis-stating it. I could rephrase and say my sewing room reached out and tapped me on the shoulder. I think it had a message for me. Something along the line of, “Hey! Remember the color of the carpet in here? Yeah, me either!”
I stopped and took a look inside just from the doorway. A really long and critical look.
I mean GROSS.
I understand many creative people have disasters for a workspace as their brains crave the unkempt, free-flowing tragedy of materials left to collect in natural piles, but I can’t stand it. I like everything to have it’s place. It may not be in it’s place at all times, but it needs to at least have a place to BE put away.
On my floor there is a gigantic pile of felted sweaters from a venture into cashmere and bags. I ransacked a ARC thrift store of 100% wool and cashmere sweaters in an effort to make some “green” items for a craft show. It was a short-lived interest as the amount of work that goes into creating such treats was more than my patience was up for.
Under my worktable there are two plastic bins full of fabric that I have not looked at in a year. I think I actually have fabrics and patterns picked to make outfits for what WAS my first vacation to LasVegas about 4 years ago. I am sure if I open those bins today I will not only find the patterns outdated but the fabrics are probably out of print! Let’s not even look at the fact the patterns are more than likely no longer the right sizes for me…..I hated hitting 25 and watching my metabolism slow down almost as much as hitting 35 on my last birthday and realizing I can no longer even PRETEND to be a hip 20-something.
On top of the bins is a pile of quilt batting I got on sale to use as non-fusible interfacing for bags. Now this I DO recommend. If you have storage space available or a dedicated sewing room, do NOT pay full price for anything. Unless I am in a sewing emergency, I spend a lot of time shopping without actually buying anything. When it goes on sale or I have a coupon, I snatch it up. Last year I saved at LEAST 40% of retail of EVERYTHING I purchased since I never bought anything full price and often saved more than 50% on my buys.
My old sewing machine has been cast aside on the floor like an ill-fitting pair of jeans since receiving my new (yay!!) one for my birthday. It’s amazing how quickly I was to shun the old workhorse when something new and shiny came along. I’d say I feel bad about it, but that old Pfaff is at least 25 years old and has definately done it’s time. I think I will look for a sewing maching retirement home for it to spend it’s golden years.
Much as the desert is merely just another insulating layer around buried civilizations from thousands of years ago, there are probably some dinosaur bones just waiting to be discovered in my archaeological site. Just the thought of the potential treasures hiding beneath the surface is enough to motivate me to clean up.
As I jump in full force, I realize the extent of this adventure. This is going to take me a whole lot longer than I anticipated. It seems I have a couple bad habits to break in 2012. Thank goodness I am cleaning up after myself and not someone else. Right now the only person to be upset with is me and I can’t really justify taking that out on someone else…..I start seeing a trend I promised myself years ago I would never participate in.
After just a half hour of poking around, I have unearthed fourteen unfinished projects. This has rendered me speechless. I can’t even talk to my husband, who has stopped by to see if I am surviving the apocalypse erupting from the room. I hate it when someone starts something and leaves it unfinished. It is one of my greatest pet peeves and I have become a participant in that which drives me to lunacy! It also seems I have managed to hide the evidence under piles of fabric and in plastic bins. In drawers and closets and look – there’s one right out in the open!
After hours – no – let’s be honest – DAYS – of organizing, folding, vacuuming, sorting, dusitng, and cleaning, I discover the culture that once existed. Feeling much more at peace with myself I look back over the fruits of my labor.
I hauled out all the trash and random scraps of nothing that were tucked in every corner.
I staged a takeover of the closet in this room and repurposed it to hold finished products in neatly stacked and clearly labeled bins.
I moved every piece of furniture and vacuumed and dusted and vacuumed again. Who knew cutting fabric created so much dust!!
I folded all my fabrics and sorted them according to type and purpose. First I had them stacked by color but I found that while that was more aethestically pleasing it did not help me when I was looking for weighted fabrics for projects. In the rooms first incarnation I stacked my fabrics by project….I have a sneaking suspicion this is what led to the unfinished pile that is now neatly laid out on my side table. This table will be renamed my staging table – all projects will live here until complete. If the table is full then I can’t start a new project until I finish one. I am optimistic this will allow me the creative multi-tasking my brain wants without letting it get away from me again.
I am pleased with the results. I am able to donate a lot of supplies to my daughter’s pre-school for their crafting uses and I feel “creatively clean”. Now I just need to get all the projects on the red table completed before starting a bunch of new stuff!!