On the day I’m writing this blog, it is Project Linus day in North Devon. We meet on the first Thursday of the month. So how come I am writing a blog rather than being at Project Linus? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise to me last night when I wondered if I really was up to going to Project Linus. When I awoke this morning, I really wasn’t sure that I was up to leaving the house today. My husband and I thought we had both managed to catch a cold somehow – due to both of us sneezing on Monday. Neither of us could work out how we’d caught a cold, as we hadn’t been near anyone for a few days. Anyway, the upshot of it all is that I stayed at home today, rather than meeting with others for a day of sewing.

The thing about a cold is that it can take so many different forms. I don’t feel ill ill, in fact, I don’t really feel ill at all, but I do feel tired and somewhat lacking in energy. Last night I could easily have been in bed and asleep by 8.30pm. I certainly don’t feel unwell enough to spend the day in bed. So what do I do? I could spend the day making things, but instead I decided to try to get organised.

I like to think that I am quite organised. However, a first glance at my sewing room and craft room would lead many to dispute this. A second, more careful look at said rooms would show that there is organisation, with boxes labelled and items grouped together. A third and subsequent looks would probably convince the majority that the first glance told the story. The thing is, I know what I have in my rooms, and I generally know where items are. I can locate needles, pieces of fabric, rulers, bondaweb, buttons, beads and trims. From time to time, I know where things should be, but I don’t always remember where they are. This has happened a few times in the past week; I was looking for some muslin for lining Christmas stockings. For some reason I didn’t get it out from the box when I got the calico out for the stockings – perhaps I didn’t see it or feel around enough for it, so I had to do massive searching of many boxes to find it yesterday. I’ve also managed to misplace a plastic wallet of letter and number templates that I had drawn out (since found – I had left them in the kitchen for some strange reasons), and then couldn’t remember where I kept from embroidery shape templates. I searched without success, and then left it and went to play tennis. During that time I thought of several places where I may have put the templates, and on returning home I found them – in the place I had kept them for a number of years. At this point I faced a difficult decision: once I’ve used these templates, do I return them to their original place of safe keeping, or do I put them with other templates? Putting them with the other templates seems the sensible option; however, having found the templates where I’ve kept them for years has consolidated the image of where I keep them, so it is likely that the next time I look for them, I’ll look for them in the original place! When I posted on Facebook about this dilemma, a friend suggested that I have a moving book, in which I write down what I moved, when I moved it, and where I moved it too. This seems like a great idea, but I think I would end up forgetting where I put the book!! I will never forget the time 7 or 8 years ago when I misplaced a little box of Christmas buttons (shapes of trees, hearts, stars, gingerbread men); I searched and searched and couldn’t find them – so resorted to buying them again…only to find the original box a few weeks later, sitting in a place I had searched many times.

Those pesky but much loved embroidery templates. They are at least 41 years old, and quite possibly came from a magazine.

I’ve already said that I consider myself to be quite organised. I have already given thought to Christmas presents for family members, especially the younger ones. I have been commissioned to make a Christmas stocking for a friend’s daughter (her older sister has one I made), and so I’ve started on that. At the same time, I’ve got several other stockings prepared; one for my youngest granddaughter, and I also thought I would make replacement stockings for those grandchildren who no longer seem to have the ones I made for them (that is another story entirely). Not being able to find things instantly (or rather, misplacing them) led my husband to suggest that I have a box in which I keep all the elements required for Christmas stockings: the templates, the shapes I’ve already cut out, the calico and muslin, the beads and buttons, and also some stocking shapes cut out in preparation. It seems like a good idea…but what about items in there that I want to use for other projects too? Decisions, decisions.

The Christmas stocking I made for a friend’s daughter. I use my imagination and ‘artistic skills’, together with the internet and dies for my Big Shot for the applique shapes.

In trying to be organised ready for Christmas, I’ve made a list of ideas for presents, including several of the homemade and sewn variety; I have also given thought to how these gifts may be received, and tried to ensure that they fit in with the interests of the recipients.

In a week’s time (from the date of writing) I shall be preparing for a quilting retreat. Okay, I’ll be honest, I’m already preparing for it! I’ve decided which projects I want to be working on while I’m there (I’ve had that decided for about a week or so), and also given consideration to various challenges that have been set as well. I have a few quilt kits that I’ve wanted to make, but not got round to making them, so I’ve decided that the retreat is the time to get on and make them. Of course, I don’t want to be spending lots of time cutting at the retreat – I want to be sewing – so I thought I’d be prepared and organised, and have the pieces cut in advance. That is what I’ve been doing today…and given that I’m feeling a little under the weather, I’m not sure it was such a good idea. In looking at the instructions, there were a few places where I really needed to stop and work out what I was supposed to do. In one place, I had particular difficulty in working out how to cut a half-square triangle with sides of 10” from the corner of a fat quarter. The instructions were written to make full use of the fat quarter, so accuracy was paramount. Did I mention that I’ve had this kit for 8 years? Now you understand why accuracy is so vital in this – as I have little to no chance of getting the same fabric again.

So how do I cut this? A bit of a brain fart moment – I did manage to get it done! This was the second one, and it turns out that I had the fabric the wrong way round!
Pieces cut and labelled so I can have a sewing filled retreat!

In being organised, how many projects are too many to take for a weekend retreat? Then there is the small issue of attire; what will I wear, that won’t act as a tiffle* magnet. I’m happiest when sewing and creating, and in order to do that, I like to be warm and comfortable. Somehow I think my usual home sewing attire (warm fluffy pyjamas, fluffy fleece onesie) will not be entirely suitable.

In conclusion, I think I’m well on my way to being somewhat organised for the retreat and Christmas season. Some aspects will be left to the last minute – as circumstances at home can change at a moment’s notice: last year we were informed at 3pm on Christmas Eve that 6 of our grandchildren would be joining us the following day from 11am onwards…

Just to convince you further of my organisation – I’ve written this blog! Well, it was on my to-do list!

*tiffle – those little threads that get everywhere, and cling to clothes