Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time Management Techniques

I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I have learned a few things in my 61 years (I had a birthday Monday!). There are a few time management techniques I've learned over the years that will add up to give you extra time to spend sewing, quilting, or whatever else you might want to do.
First, develop routines that will make your life easier.
For instance, I set the tone for the day by making my bed as I get out of it. Before I get out of bed, I straighten the pillows and pull up the sheet and cover  as far as they will go. Then I get out of bed and put the decorative pillows on. (NOTE: It's a good idea to wait for any other person in your bed to get out first!) It might not work for you, but for me it gives me a boost to always have my bed made and looking good. It makes me feel "organized". 
Here are a few other things that work for me:
     Do your laundry every day or every other day in small, manageable loads instead of one humongous load once a week. Put away the clothes as soon as you get them out of the drier. Don't let them sit on the couch or bed waiting to be folded or hung up! There isn't as much to fold or hang in a small load, so it doesn't take very long. Train yourself to do this by doing it enough that it becomes a habit!
    Train your family members to take their own plates and flatware to the sink after meals, rinse them off, and put them in the dishwasher. Keep the dishwasher empty. It doesn't take long to unload it. (Time yourself some time. If it takes 5 minutes, then when you have an extra 5 minutes to waste, you can do a 5 minute chore like unloading the dishwasher!) I also learned from my mother to wash my pans and any dishes used in preparing the meal as I go along. Then I don't have a huge pile to do after supper!
Second, the old adage is so true "A place for everything and everything in its place." If you don't have a place for everything, you either need to find a place or get rid of something. You won't spend all that wasted time searching for things that you've misplaced if you know where to look for it. Do I follow this perfectly? Of course not, but I'm a LOT better than I was when I was younger. Sometimes you have to make a place for things or buy something to help you organize.  Here are a few ideas for storage:

Keep all your bills, tax info, insurance info, etc. in some type of file system. I use a file box and file folders. I sort the mail beside the trash can where all the junk mail goes. Then I pay the bills as I get them, mark them "paid", and file them in their folder. However you choose to deal with it, you will always know where to find those papers.

In my sewing room, I use hardware drawers to store my embroidery floss by color. I have the number and a little swatch taped to the front. This idea was from my friend Freeda (thanks, Freeda, this has been wonderful!).

 I also keep other sewing and quilting notions like packets of needles, thimbles, glue sticks, pins, etc. in larger hardware drawers. I've written on the front what each drawer holds.

 I have open tubs in my cabinet that I throw small scraps in. I put them in by color. Since I do a lot of applique, I can often use very small scraps. This method takes almost no time at all and keeps these scraps from cluttering up my room.
I posted a photo in my last post of my pantry. One of the best investments I have made for my pantry were commercial quality plastic containers with tight sealing lids. I use these for flour and sugar. When I start to run out of flour or sugar, I can just buy more and add it to the container. I can always see what I have. 

Third, I use time saving appliances to my advantage.

 I love my coffee pot. It uses K-Cups and will brew one cup at a time. I choose the type of coffee I want (or hot tea or cocoa), pop in a K-cup, put my cup under the spout, and push a button. I have a hot cup of coffee in less than a minute. No more measuring out coffee and water, dealing with coffee grounds, and cleaning out the coffee pot. Its a small thing, but it does save me time and aggravation. (Plus, I don't have to drink the extra bold coffee that my husband likes. I can choose the type I like.)
I also make good use of a crock pot, cooking bags, and a pressure cooker. These make delicious, tender meats that you haven't had to tend to all day. More time for quilting!
You probably have ideas that help you that I haven't mentioned and may not know about. I would love for you to share them in your comments. You might have exactly the solution that some other reader needs. What do you do to stay organized and save time? 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Organized

I'm really not a slob. I like things clean and orderly. Unfortunately, the last two months have been so busy I've let my sewing room get completely out of control! I found it easier to just pile things on the chair or stack boxes on the floor. Then I could close the door and forget about the mess for a while.

 I am capable of getting my "stuff" under control. This is my pantry - all neat and organized with labels and Rubbermaid containers to keep things fresh. Fortunately, my pantry is large (for a pantry).

My sewing room, on the other hand, is small (for a sewing room). Especially for someone who makes quilting a business. It is 11 1/2' x 10 1/2'.
I started by moving my business equipment into the small closet in the room. It had been stacked with tubs of scraps, which I cleaned out (saving the best ones) and non-cotton fabrics (that I moved to another closet). I kept the tubs with items I used regularly and put them on the floor under the shelves. This freed up a lot of space in the room.

I put my large cones of thread in tubs that fit on a shelf.

I also put all my fat quarters and large scraps in tubs by color. These went into my cabinets. (I found the tubs at Wal-mart for $3. I bought 6. When I decided I could use more than that, I went back. They had sold out and tubs of the same size now cost twice that.)
Things are looking better, but I still have a lot of work to do. It's hard to see, but I have little hardware drawers on top of the cabinets . Each drawer has a different color embroidery floss with a swatch and the number on the front of the drawer. Oh, and I found my good pair of scissors!!!!
When I finish completely, I'll try to post an after picture. In the meantime, I think I'll stop and have a cup of coffee. I feel like I'm getting a head start on "spring cleaning".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Lives Changed by a Scoundrel!

My Singer Featherweight
If you're a quilter or you sew anything on a home sewing machine, you may be surprised to know a few little facts. 
First of all, Elias Howe was not the first person to invent a sewing machine. There are patents as early as the last half of the 18th century for machines that sewed with a needle through either fabric or leather. Unfortunately, none were particularly successful and some didn't even work. That is until 1830 when a Frenchman named Thimonnier invented a successful machine for sewing caps. He was almost killed by a mob of tailors who accused him of trying to put them out of business. 

In 1834 Walter Hunt invented a successful sewing machine, but did not pursue a patent because he was afraid it might cause unemployment.

In 1846 Elias Howe patented his sewing machine. 

THEN, in 1850 another sewing machine was patented. Elias Howe sued for patent infringement and won. The "infringer" was Isaac Singer. But this was not the reason he was called a scoundrel. He was a well known actor of his day and  "dabbled" in anything that would make money. He was also a pretty good inventor. He was approached about coming up with a more "user friendly" sewing machine.He replied, "You want to do away with the only thing that keeps women quiet - their sewing!" He did it anyway, although he stepped on a few toes (those of Howe) in doing it.  His machine was too expensive to be widely accepted, so he came up with a genius plan that we still suffer from today. He devised the "installment plan". This is the little idea that made it possible for women to be able to afford to have sewing machines in their homes. And yet, this is not why I call him a scoundrel. 

Isaac Singer became very successful. In fact, he was so successful he maintained 5 households with a wife and children in each! He was also known to have knocked his "real" wife and daughter unconscious when they dared to confront him. 

I would love to see his face today when groups of quilters at workshops and classes sit with their little Singer Featherweights doing "the only thing that keeps women quiet - sewing" --- only they are NOT QUIET, but talking a blue streak! 


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Blocks I Won

 These are the blocks I won at my quilt guild meeting on Wednesday. They are made by other ladies in the guild.
Now I am challenged to come up with a quilt using these 9 blocks. I can add more blocks if I want. (The stockinged feet are not part of the block set!) I will post the final quilt later. (Not sure HOW much later as I am a little stumped so far about making these come together.) It is a FUN challenge. I have drawn out about 4 ideas for a Valentine's Day quilt, but I haven't even had time to cut a single piece of fabric since the holidays. My tree didn't come down until yesterday! 
So stay on the lookout in the future for the final results. Until then, have fun with your own challenges! I will try to write a real post  SOON!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...