Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sew30...SewFUN =D


I'm creating a challenge for myself...and, anyone who would like to sew...along.  =)

It's a challenge to sew just 30 minutes each day (6 days a week, 1 free day) for the whole month of May 2017. 

What gave me the idea for this challenge was an article I read (here) written by John Clear.  He believes that one should focus on the system (how you get to the goal) instead of the goal itself.  He says that focusing on the goal(s) to heavily is counterproductive.  As I looked back on my Weight Watcher journey started last October 2016, and my goals while using the Treadmill 6 days a week, I realized that I've been more successful this time around because I've wanted the journey to be important.  The journey is where I'm learning how to stay with the good habits and how to improve the habits too.

I do have goals in place for each of these areas.  But, I've not hired an executioner in my mind to stand me before a mental firing squad, if I don't reach my goals on a specific day in time.  I do set some consequences for myself but they are part of the system along the journey.

So...for  this Sew30Sew FUN challenge:

Goal:  To get more sewing done on a daily/weekly basis, having FUN at the same time!!
           In doing so, I hope complete some of my P.I.P.s  (projects in progress). 

System Rules:
---I will sew a minimum of 30 minutes each day 6 days each week, giving myself one day off
---What I sew each day can be randomly chosen, does not have to be the same project each day
          or even the same project for the whole 30 minutes 
---It must be ACTUAL sewing time...not rearranging my sewing area, or cleaning the sewing
         room.  LOL
---The 30 minutes CAN be divided into increments throughout the day
--- I *will* allow myself to start new projects.  This is not a challenge to finish projects started.
        

At the end of the month, I will give a way the total dollar amount I've put my "cyber-jar" as a Gift Certificate.  To have a chance(s) in the random drawing at the end of the month, a person must make a comment (or comments) on my weekly "check-in" posts, either on this blog or on my Instagram:  anniesrubyslipperz  (#Sew30SewFUNMay2017)

Get your sewing area ready...maybe set out a few things you've been wanting to sew on, and...

~~ GO! ~~
Let the challenge PARTY begin...
MONDAY MAY 1st!!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

decluttering your stash..."Get close...to see what sparks joy"

 
 
Do certain of your crafty items spark more joy than others?  Or do you feel that *everything* you have in your stash sparks joy? 
 
 
Below is an instagram post from Marie Kondo.  She is one of several people organizing/decluttering gurus that help me stay inspired and motivated to slim down my STUFF**.
 


 
 
"SPARK JOY" 
 
...is one of Marie Kondo's foundational phrases for her methods to de clutter and organize. 
 
Isn't she darling?  =D  You can learn lots more about her and her organizing philosophies** by following her Instagram account here or check out her website for her books, etc here She has great ideas with actual organization as well as great ideas to help with thought processes to motivate getting rid of things we don't "need", or that doesn't spark joy in us.     
 
Seeing her IG post (the pictured above), automatically made me think about how I feel when I go into my "hallway" of fabric stash.  This stash has been getting out of hand.  Maybe not in the amount of fabric so much, but in the organization of it.  I don't know about you, but, for me... taking a fabric or two out for audition in a quilt can be hazardous to the other fabric left on the shelf still neatly stacked.  Either the stack falls or slightly leans over when one or two pieces are pulled out or...when I try to put fabrics back to their original spot.  As time passes, shelves become more and more in disarray.  More time passes and fabrics are left on the floor because they can't fit back onto their original spot - even with efforts to try.
 
I realized that "getting close to belongings", (as Marie states) is a good exercise for me to do with my fabric stash.  It's a great reason to take messy, falling-every-which-way groups of fabric off their shelves to refold them so that they fit better within their designated area.  I admit, I have a hard time starting this exercise...it usually seems sooo overwhelming (and to be honest...kind of BOR...RING).  The problem usually gets worse before it gets better.  Before I know it I'm tripping all over fabric on the floor to find the stool that's buried so I can climb up and pull out more fabric as *that* stack tumbles to the ground to join its fabric-mates holding down the carpet. 
 
Finding my mojo to clean up the fabric stash...could take many more moons.  Suffice it to say that on quite a few occasions, I have great friends who come over and rev up my decluttering mojo motor.  =D  =D  =D
 
When taking fabrics in my hands to refold, I often get thoughts like..."why in the sam-heck did I purchase this!...it's got way too much yellow!"  (Those who  know me, are shaking their heads, I'm sure!  LOL).  There are other fabrics with pretty colors and/or fun prints.  These fabrics bring thoughts of... "Oh, I forgot about this one!  It's sooo pretty! I NEED to put this on the list of quilts to make SOON!"  
 
If you were to pull out older fabrics to hold/refold, would you get similar thoughts?  Do you certain fabrics bring a big smile to your face?  Do some tell you they are NOT happy in your stash because they want to go somewhere, some place that they could make someone else happy??
 
It seems to me that just walking by fabrics or glancing at them in search of something particular for what I might currently be working on...isn't good enough to "get CLOSE".  Scanning over the stash isn't good enough to feel whether or not they SPARK JOY for future quilts or projects.  Taking a piece of fabric out and refolding it...even if it's a partial refold, is what I need to feel the Vibes of Joy =D
 
I know that it can be almost impossible to take down every piece of fabric from it's shelf or out of it's container and refold it all in one sitting or in one day...of course this depends on the amount of stash you keep. I'm totally not qualified to judge on Stash Size!!  LOL! And...one note I'd like to mention here, (imho) the amount of stash a person has isn't as important as how much of it is stagnant, or how much of it is creating a burden, holding you back from positive, forward creative motion.
 
Maybe if the stash feels overwhelming to dig into and start folding, it could be divided into smaller sections that might only take 30 minutes to "get close to".  Maybe one shelf or container could be emptied, sorting with "JOY?  or "NO JOY".  Then, you'd only put back the "JOY" ones to the original storage spot.  Having  a friend to visit with you while you sort through your stash can be super awesome because the fabrics you're moving out of your stash could be ones the feel JOY for! And, giving some of your stash to a friend is really cool! 
 
Sometime, though giving parts of our stash away is difficult even if it doesn't spark joy.  We handcuff ourselves with guilt that we spent "good money" on it and we should force ourselves to use it, if not now...then, in the future.  Or, we fear that we might "need" it at a later time.  In many cases,  if it's weighing us down and just adding to clutter or overstuffed stuffed containers now, odds are, it will be in the future too.  One solution might be to put the "NON-JOY" fabrics in a box for possible giveaway.  If you don't miss it and/or there is still no joy in owning it, after a month, you probably won't miss it if you give it away for good. 
 
** I seriously doubt that I could ever become a minimalist.  I am pretty sure that I will never become a great organizer. AND, I still have a LOT of STUFF!  But, I am learning, and trying to improve.  If an item doesn't spark a feeling of joy, if it feels burdensome, just taking up space for no good reason, it needs to be given away.  As I clear out crafty items that might feel burdensome to me, I gain a motivational and creative energy.  Decluttering for me, isn't necessarily downsizing or living with less.  It's more about getting rid of the old so that I can feel more joy for what's left, even free up space for new more joyous items.   I do give myself permission to bring new things into my life.  Think of an old light bulb just sitting in a lamp socket.  If  the dead/non-light just stays in the socket, there is no spot left to put in a bulb that gives light.  (edit: I'd also like to add here that I don't follow all of the Marikondo methods.  Many are too restrictive for me, personally.  But, the "Spark Joy" idea is one that has helped me tremendously in just choosing what and how to let some things move out of my life)
 
It's an ongoing process for me, striving to be aware and "get close enough to" my stuff.  It can even be a down right struggle.   I need to set aside specific time regularly to re-evaluate my possessions, crafty and otherwise..  Do my things bring me joy, shine light into my life?  Do they motivate me to look forward, be better, be more creative?  Or are they keeping me in the past, bringing me useless frustration, keeping me from enjoying people and/or enjoying fun activities. I know when I do take the time, even if it's a small area or just a few items, I feel so rejuvenated.
 
What are your ideas for keeping your crafty items organized?  How do you decide whether to give something away or keep it?   Do you have regular intervals of sifting through your stash?  What gets your MOJO reved up to organize/declutter? Maybe you are one of the great and disciplined ones that actually use your stash up with finished projects - regularly?  =D 
 
I'd love to hear your comments, ideas, and opinions! 
 


Friday, April 14, 2017

Winner of Dorothy's Basket giveaway! =D

Good Friday afternoon =)
 
Last week I did an interview (find interview here) with Angie (of by Angie's Boutique), who makes one of my VERY favorite totes with a window!
 
And for those bloggers who stopped by and left a comment, they were entered in a drawing for $25 gift certificate to Angie's shop to purchase something that might be their favorite =D. 
 
Thank you random generator! 
The Winning number is comment
7
Grannie Annie


 
Thank you again to all of those who stopped by and left a comment!  Thank you to Angie for taking time to give an interview for a blog post.  If you haven't already please check our her website here or her instagram here.   She has sooo many cute totes, wallets, planner keepers and other fun things made from fabric! 
 
Stay tuned next week for another one of my Favorite Things and a giveaway from Dorothy's Basket   =). 
 
 
~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~
 
Have a great weekend!  And...
 
 



Happy Easter!








 

Friday, April 7, 2017

What"s in Dorothy's Basket? (my favorite things)

...some really fun, special totes =D
 
First, I LOVE totes!!! Any quick peak into my crafty closet(s)...one would say that Totes love me too!!  LOL  They seem to gravitate towards me like magnets!  =P  I actually have several extra large totes that hold numbers of other smaller totes, tote-holder totes, so to speak. I think they multiply in the dark when the closet door is closed.
 
But, in the last year or two, I've discovered something about what is real "Tote Happiness" for me.
One VERY important thing! That is a window to it's contents. A tote with a clear window is a must so that I don't have to actually open the tote (untie draw strings, unzip zippers, pull open velcro flaps, etc.) to see the project "hiding" inside.  With a window, the light shines in,  rather than the project sitting down "deep in the dark".  My old eyes need all the light they can get to figure out what long standing project could be inside. 
 
It's isn't easy to find FUN, CUTE totes with a window to purchase.  Yes, there are patterns out there. I could make some.  I choose to spend my play time with my sewing machine, making quilty stuff.  There are some clear bag/totes available with plain colors, maybe 3-4 choices of colors, kinda boring...
 
There IS nothing out there, that I know of, that fills the "FUN-CLEAR-WINDOW" tote wish list like the totes that ANGIE makes!  I can't seem to get enough of them!  =D  They are meticulously made!  Every nook and cranny has been totally finished, no loose threads or poor stitching. 
 
 
 
I wanted to share a bit about Angie herself as well as her handmade, (my favorite) totes.  So below are a few questions that I asked her and she graciously answered.   Two darling dogs, some pizza,  Air Force computers, and a giveaway...take a few minutes to read all about it =) 
 
How/when did you make your first item for sale?
-I took lots of sewing classes in 2013 and 2014 and made a bunch of different things as I got comfortable with my sewing machine. I sold my first items during the holiday season of 2014 for my neighbor’s Mum that had seen the bags that I had made for my friends. She wanted all the recipients of her holiday gifts to receive handmade items. That’s how it all began.



 
 
 
 
 
 

What habits do you do that you feel makes your business successful?
-I am an analyst (computer nerd) by trade and also slightly OCD so I tend to carry over my organization into my personal life as well as my shop. Each Sunday I create a checklist of all of the items I plan to make during the week and I check them off as I go along. It’s so nice to check off items from a long list! But it’s also important to close my shop for the day and focus on my family which helps me disconnect and refresh.

If you were super hungry and didn’t want to cook, what would be your “go to” food in your kitchen?
-Sadly, my talents in the kitchen are sub-par but I have a wonderful husband that enjoys cooking. My go-to food is usually pizza but I’m trying to be healthy so I’m switching to chicken salad or tuna salad with a few crackers. It does not even come close to the deliciousness of pizza, though.

What is one of the most fun things that comes along with this “job”?
-I love making pretty things but I would have to say that the most fun thing is the joy that people express upon receiving my products. I just love that there are people all over the world using something that I made myself that came from my imagination.

You have two darling dogs!  Tell us how you got them and how they are a part of your life? 
 
 
-My favorite subject because I adore my mini-Schnauzers Ricky Bobby & Sammy! I had no plans to have a pet but my husband convinced me soon after we got married that we needed a dog, specifically a Schnauzer because they do not shed. He did the search and found a local breeder then brought a white fur-ball (Sammy) home one night. We fell in love but learned quickly that raising a puppy is very much like having a toddler. We bought our 1st home when Sammy was 1 and I felt that he needed a sibling. Soon after I saw a Facebook post about a grey Schnauzer rescue that was available for adoption. I fell in love with his picture and immediately dragged my husband to meet him. Ricky Bobby had been neglected and had some health problems and my husband was hesitant but I was convinced that Ricky Bobby needed to come home with us. His original name was Ricky but seeing him next to Sammy who is a white Adonis with beautiful fur I felt that Ricky needed a name that would make him memorable, too. So Ricky became Ricky Bobby with his kinky fur, overweight body and poor health. He is now a happy, healthy, good-looking companion and he is remembered everywhere he goes because of his name and his excellent manners. Sammy, the pampered Adonis, is a bit of a rascal and is remembered for his not-excellent manners. You just can’t win sometimes. Since I work from home they help keep me balanced by reminding me that it’s time for breaks which include snuggles & play time.
 
 
 
If someone wants to start a little business with their craft(s) through the online media, what suggestions would you have for them?
-My suggestion would be to start with a plan that lists your goals for the shop. The plan should also include the items you want to make & sell that includes sizes and supplies. A cost-analysis that details the cost to make the items is very important because it gives you an idea of how much it will cost you to make the items and how much profit you can make. Researching on the craft items that you want to make & sell is very important. If there are lots of shops that already sell the same thing you make then it may be difficult to stand out. Also, a brand or cohesive look such as shop name, logo and colors will go a long way to make your shop look professional. Making connections with other shop owners is a HUGE advantage. I have learned so many things since I started my shop and I still feel that there is so much more to learn.
 
Did you sew when you were young?
-My mother used to sew clothes when I was young but my job was to help her clean-up and pick up the million pieces of thread that always hang around a sewing studio.
How did you come to the decision to sell your products as a business?
-I really enjoyed making unique bags that I could not find anywhere else and my friends and family enjoyed using them. After receiving a number of requests to make items for gifts and such I decided to test the waters to see if there was a market for my products out in the real world. Once my first product started selling I started thinking of ways to improve it. Then I started dreaming of new products. I decided to quit my job in March 2016 and I haven’t looked back since! My sewing studio keeps me very busy and I love coming up with new ideas on how to promote my shop.
 
Favorite hobby besides sewing?
-I love to craft and I love to try new things so I’ve delved into screen printing, graphic design and using my heat-press. I’ve been an avid reader since I was about 9 or 10 years old so I would say that my Kindle is my favorite gadget/hobby outside of my sewing studio. So many adventures, so little time!
 
Favorite type of books?  Do you listen to  audio books while working?  Or do you prefer to read?
-My favorite book genres are mystery as well as action & adventure. I do not listen to audio books while working because I prefer to listen to music to keep me in my happy place.
 
Most unusual/positive experience that you’ve had in your life thus far?
-I would have to say that it was when I left home at 18 to join the Air Force. I moved far away from home and met many wonderful people that helped me grow up with a good outlook on life. It was the best kick-start to adult life and I really appreciate the experience and education.
 
​Air Force?!  wow! that is soo awesome!  Did you fly airplanes?  or what was your job, if you can share?
-Alas, I did not fly airplanes. When I arrived at my first assignment at an Air Force medical facility I was assigned to file medical records. I quickly grew bored and would finish my job early to shadow (stalk) a network administrator that was working on the computers in my area. Soon after he decided to make me his apprentice and thus began my career as a computer nerd. I went to college at night and earned my degree in Computer Science and that’s what I thought I would do for the rest of my life. Funny how our life plan unravels and becomes something completely different.
 
 
Thank you!!,  Angie for taking the time to be interviewed.  I've really enjoyed working with you on each of my purchases.  Your customer service is impeccable.  I always receive my products in a timely manor, packaged in lovely tissue and pretty sticker.   I'm confident that anyone who gets their hands on one of your window-totes (or any of your handmade items) will fast find them to be THEIR favorites too =D
 
 
                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
For the *giveaway*  (now closed)
(a $25 gift certificate to have something special made for you by Angie)
please check out the link below to Angie's website
 
 
Then, come back to this blog and leave a comment about what items on her website are your favorites.
 
I will be doing a random drawing from the comments posted.  The drawing will be closed next Tuesday evening April 11th at midnight mountain time.