Posted tagged ‘organization’

Organizing Quilting Fabric

June 11, 2017

When I moved to a new house I just took all my fabric out of boxes and piled it up neatly, with no regard to colour. I knew I’d have to sort it out once I got my new sewing machine, so that I could more easily find fabrics. After reading some of my new books on scrap quilts, and the recommendations for sorting by colour, I finally tackled this big job and am satisfied that I took the time to do it.

So I bought some wire baskets from the dollar store and laid out 12 of them on tables and commenced sorting my fabric. I folded the smaller pieces into the baskets, and then folded larger pieces and yardage in piles by each basket. The colour designations I used were:

Neutral Grey, Taupe, Beige
Multi Brights

This is a view of the Purple and Green piles.


Then I put them back in the flat pack cupboard I use for fabric. I sorted my batting scraps and placed them in a storage bin on top of the cupboard, and inside two bankers boxes I put big yardage for backings, and yardage of corduroy and velveteen that I use for sewing bags.


I also have my current projects laid out so that they aren’t buried and I can access them, which is much more practical.

The cupboard is not quite wide enough to have the baskets spaced evenly so it looks a bit jumbled, but it is so easy to find colours, especially the smaller pieces that are now collected in the baskets, and I discovered many fabrics that I’d forgotten I had so I am very pleased I took the time to sort in this way. It will be much easier to pick and choose fabrics for scrap quilts in the future.



A Free Weekly Planner, Modified for My Purposes

September 13, 2015

I like planners that have blocks in them as I find them easier to read. I also like a bit of room at the bottom for extra notes. I wanted an undated planner to use weekly, particularly now since I have a baby quilt to finish and I’m not getting it done. Doing projects in small increments gets them done!

I found a free planner page online at The Household Planner, and modified it in Photoshop to change the colours which I didn’t like. I left the days of the week in the original font and then changed the title, moved things around, and added a few titles in a font from my computer.

Thus I got what was useful to me, including my water intake for each day, a weekly log of the books I read, and a section for things to focus on so I don’t spin around madly, accomplishing nothing.

Then I put a sticker on the top for visual delight and printed it in Draft mode so the lines were fainter and worked better with my fountain pens, and I put it in a recycled binder (which was brand new.) I used the Staples Sustainable Earth sugarcane paper that works so well with my fountain pens and ink, and away I go for week one.

I’ll try it for a few weeks and modify it further if I find I need to. Click to enlarge.




Organizing Decorative Papers

September 11, 2015

About a decade ago before fancy card stock and scrap paper was more readily available near me, I placed a mail order for some nice paper. It came in a large 14-inch square box and I kept the box to store the paper neatly.

As the years went on I found myself with small scraps of unused paper that I keep for collage, and I kept larger sheets of scrapbooking paper in plastic bags to protect the edges. Still, things would get crumpled and mixed up and the box looked messier and messier. Lately with the impetus to make my own envelopes, I bought even more scrapbooking paper and it was getting wrecked trying to store it neatly.

I kept this on my book shelf next to my light box, with my Fiskars paper trimmer on top of it. Paper and plastic could often be seen slopping out the sides and the lid wouldn’t stay down without the paper trimmer on it.


On a shopping trip to a larger town for  grass seed and tarpaulins today, I got my husband to let me do a bit of shopping in Michael’s. They had scrapbooking paper on 5 for $1 so I bought 10 sheets, and as we were checking out I noticed they had 14-inch square plastic boxes with snap lids on sale for $3.99 each, so I bought two.

It took me about an hour to reorganize this paper and sort through the useable scraps. I kept the really small pieces with some tea bag folded designs in a separate Ziploc bag, and I have the full sheets separated into letter sized sheets and large 12 x 12-inch sheets.


It sure looks better! “Cheap and cheerful” as the saying goes.





Still Pursuing Embroidery Organization

May 29, 2014

Yesterday I got some silk fibre untangled. Two skeins were carded and the others were tied as I only had a few strands. Yikes what kind of a lazy bum would pull thread out of a 10-yard skein and get it all tangled? That would be me. It doesn’t pay to be impatient, sit down and put the threads on cards before they get into a mess. Some of this was yards and yards of white silk twist thread, ready for dyeing. It took me two hours yesterday to get this sorted out.


I am somewhat embarrassed to show my silk ribbon collection. I used to embroider a lot on drawstring bags using silk ribbon and thread, so I collected my usual palette of materials.


I use the Colorhue dyes for silk thread and ribbon, and it’s colourfast and you don’t have to heat set it. I bought CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and mix my own colours; to hand dye my own, that is quite a kick. I remember dyeing raw silk fabric and silk ribbon for a customer, I had bits and pieces of hand dyed swatches drying on paper towels all over my kitchen. I made a Matisse-inspired bag with all that, it was beautiful in its subtle gradations.

Let’s have a visual for that, come on. I was eyeballing colours from the Tarot of Paris for many of my dye colours, and the moon shapes in the embroidery were inspired by one of the cards (top middle card.) It was made as a bag for this card deck.


The bag insert looks okay here but the finished bag glowed and had more subtle dyeing gradations. The stripe was inspired by a Matisse painting as were some of the colours. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have if it and it’s hard to see. Considering the hours I put into this it’s a shame I don’t have a good picture of it.


In addition to the three books I showed in my last post, I also hauled out the rest of my embroidery books yesterday so I could photograph them. Then I had to spend hours in joyous contemplation looking through them.




I thought I needed some more books so ordered two. I need to get these books organized and fill the gaps. This book goes with the other two I already own in the series. Unfortunately the hardcover is out-of-print, but I just managed to squeak in an order before the paperback goes out-of-print. I love the handwork from this time and also have a couple of books on costume collections that feature embroidery from this era.


I have long loved Jacobean patterns in both fabric and embroidery. Usually this is done in crewel wool and I’m not fond of wool thread, I prefer the sheen of cotton or silk floss, so I never bothered with this. However there is a book called Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp, where she uses cotton floss and beads (as well as rayon and metallic threads) for her lovely Jacobean designs. I had to get it and she has a follow-up book coming out this September called Crewel Intentions which I might buy.


Hazel does absolutely wonderful designs. So that’s the glory of colour today.



Embroidery and Thread Eye Candy

May 27, 2014

I got captured by the Kate and Rose embroidery patterns and I notice she has a Pinterest board for embroidery which includes lovely little bags or reticules, my favourite small things. Folk purses, folk clothing, I have three large books on this type of embroidery in history.


I don’t have the patience for satin stitch but on her web site she has a tutorial for using a leaf-type stitch to fill shapes rather than satin stitch. I love using variegated thread in patterns.

She really got me with these examples, and she is encouraging about this not being too complicated—only two stitches. It just takes time but I like to take time for hand work.

I’ve got two redwork patterns to finish for a quilt I’ve been making since the 1990s, but I have a lot of embroidery thread and would like to do something else one day. I have a few current embroidery or cross stitch projects on-the-go, including some dollhouse French knot rugs and a miniature needlepoint rug all done with two strands of ply. I was missing shades in a brighter palette so I went and bought some brights for the circular dollhouse rug. I’m also still working on the cover for the memory book for my yellow Lab Abby who died two years ago.


Most of my thread is DMC cotton with a few silk plied floss and silk twist threads from Vicky Clayton, but I think Kati uses perle cotton, so I might like to try that. I prefer #12 sized thread but others like #8 which I find a bit thick.

DMC has #12 perle cotton in plain colours and heavier threads in soft variations. They cost about $3 each here in Canada, although I think Anchor brand is less expensive. I don’t want to replace all my existing threads as I’ve got hundreds of dollars worth, but a couple of variegated balls might be nice to mix in. Finca Perle cotton has 33 beautiful variegated shades but it’s more expensive and has to be ordered from the States. The beautiful hand-dyed silk Gloriana Princess Perle Petite thread is really, really expensive (about $8 a skein) as is the silk thread from Weeks Dye Works or Dinky Dyes, but I did find a couple of Canadian distributors. Way out of my league financially but silk threads work up so wonderfully.

Oh boy, look at the colours of Gloriana Silks. I’m a colour person and love a big palette in any material whether it be thread or fabric or coloured pencils or watercolours.

Ah well back to DMC cotton plied floss. At least I can afford their colour variations floss although I find the gradations a bit too subtle. I could afford the lovely Sullivan’s Overdyed cotton floss or the Weeks Dye Works cotton floss—they have lovely variegated shades, but I’d have to mail order.

It inspired me to go through my threads and get most of them on cards with their numbers. In this picture my regular trays are on the left and my mostly silk floss and variegated colours are on the right, looking very messy and needing some new cards and organization. I ran out of cards today so I’ll buy some more before tackling the silk reorganization.

Keep in mind, these are in ADDITION to the threads pictured above. It’s a palette that took me 30 years to accumulate. I feel rich just looking at this.


It makes me wonder why I want more. It was the glory of the Gloriana palette that caught my eye. Yes, there is just something about colour for some of us.

Lost in the eye candy today, it made for a pleasant, happy time.


Final Organization of Coloured Pencils

April 19, 2014

Well, there must be an finality to it because I spent too much money in the last two weeks. It will really be the final time I have more than $10 to spend on art supplies.

Curry’s, our art store chain here in Ontario, had an 8.5 x 11-inch Itoya Art Portfolio on sale for $5.99. All I had was one vinyl binder insert and since I have made so many colour charts in an effort to organize my various coloured pencils, I thought this portfolio would be much cheaper than trying to buy single sheets. It comes with 24 vinyl sheets, each with its own black insert of acid-free paper, so you can put an insert on each side of the black sheet, for 48 sheets all together. I will have oodles extra to store photo references for drawing too; it’s archival for inkjet prints.


I printed out some more colour charts, this time for Derwent Coloursoft pencils, Derwent Drawing pencils and Derwent Inktense pencils. Then I drew the actual colours on the chart and wet the Inktense swatches to get an accurate colour. Into the portfolio they went.


I bought a fancy Global Arts canvas pencil case in steel blue, complete with two zippers and a snap to secure each zipper when closed. It is supposed to hold 48 pencils, but because of the fatness of coloured pencils, I could only get 23 loose Faber-Castell Polychromos and 9 new Derwent Coloursoft in there with 4 spaces extra. The Derwent Inktense will have to stay in an old Prismacolor tin. The Derwent Drawing pencils were in a separate tin of 12, some as blocks, and they tend to be earthy colours and neutrals, so I added a few brighter colours to the palette in the Coloursoft pencils. I am fussy about having enough colours in a palette.

This is the advertisement shot of the pencil case, and the following picture is my particular case, set to go.




I also bought 3 Prismacolor pencils recommended in one of my books for botanical drawings. Then I drew those swatches on my two colour charts and inserted the pencils in the box in numerical order and that is done too.

Here is a photo of them all organized with their colour charts readily accessible in the portfolio. I figure if I can’t draw something and match colours after all this I must be dead.


I was a bit of a nut about organizing these. Oh gee can you tell? They have been in such a shemozzle for years, and some Derwent were put away and I forgot I had them, which is pretty silly after spending the money on them. Now it’s all ready for action.

I got my watercolours and watercolour pencils refitted last year so this was my final push. It was worth it, as I now feel I can put my hand on any colour I should need.

And dance on the head of a pin as well.



My Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils Arrive

April 16, 2014

Not that I was waiting for them or anything. I was dancing around singing about the Purolator man coming, and he finally came at Noon today.

The order was perfect with no mistakes in the open stock pencils I ordered. After checking the packing slip against my printed order and removing the barcodes, I spent 30 minutes taking the sticky residue off the extras I purchased using Goo Gone and then wiping the shafts with water and drying them. Somewhat tedious as some of them needed to be cleaned three times but they were sticking together so I had to.

Fortunately they all came sharpened as did the pencils in the set of 24. What a relief as I only have a tiny hand sharpener. Here they are ready to go on the colour chart.


I downloaded the chart designed by Lianne Williams in a PDF file (while you’re looking at Lianne’s blog check out her lovely artwork), and I appreciate that she’s put in the lightfastness ratings too. I entered a title and an explanation of the lightfastness ratings using the Typewriter function in Foxit Reader, my preferred PDF program, which unlike Adobe Reader offers some basic editing functions. Then I printed it on cardstock and sprayed it with Krylon. I don’t spray with a fixative after I lay the colours down as it can sometimes change the colours and I want an accurate record of what they actually look like.

All the colours I bought are great except for Violet and Purple Violet as they are almost the same. Although I do notice the lay down in the light shade is easier and covers more with the slightly lighter Violet so it won’t be a total waste of money. Still, had I known I would have bought another colour. The Dark Indigo and the Dark Sepia are gorgeous. I can see using those instead of graphite for monochromatic drawings.


So I am really pleased and looking forward to the four-day Easter weekend. My husband has a small sketchbook and set of student-grade watercolours at work that he’s going to bring home and we thought we could both sit at the card table and mess around.

I will be messing around with the two opening pages of my Chilean sketchbook (a pretend travel journal) finally. I was so sorry to hear of the forest fires that have destroyed part of the Chilean city of Valparaiso during the week. As well as the loss of life, about 2500 families are homeless. There are so many museums and historic homes and architecture in that city. It is quite special, so I hope they can recover from the death and destruction.

The second page of this journal is devoted to an opening sweep of Santiago architecture with some poetry by Pablo Neruda, I am hoping to draw a male Jewel Lizard (Liolaemus tenuis) which is pretty neat. Wikipedia says “Other names are slender lizard and thin lizard. It is endemic to Chile.” I also see it referred to as the Thin Tree Lizard and there are a couple of species—always confusing.


He really does look like a jewel. My picture of him will be small as he will be roving over titling, but what better movement for a lizard to do? Show off.