Thread, Thread Everywhere

2 03 2009

Over the last several years, I’ve been working on completing my collection of Isacord thread.  I’m almost there.  I thought I would share how I chose to store and organize it.  There might be someone out there in cyber land that gets and idea from it. 

I store this thread in rolling draws.  That way I can roll it near the machine when I am working.  This is one of the drawer units.  They are not all the same, because I bought them over a period of time.  When buying a unit I took along a cone of thread to be sure it would stand up in the shallowest drawers.

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Once I had the drawers I need to find a way to keep the thread organized in them.  I chose to use the rubbery shelf liner.  I then went one step further.  Using an exacto knife I cut holes from the shelf liner.  I used the bottom of the cones as a guide.  This means the cones sit down in the circles.  For a long time that was the extent of the organizing.  I had the cones in numerical order.  As the thread stash increased it became more difficult to place the thread back in the correct spot after a project.  So the next step was to buy small stickers and number each space.  I could have written directly on the drawers with permanent marker, however if new colors are added I can move or replace the stickers.  Here is a picture inside one drawer.

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While working on this post, I thought of one more thing I may do.  Label the outside of the drawer with the numbers contained in it.  Finally here is a picture of the filled drawer.

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By the way Isacord thread is great for more than just embroidery machines.  It quilts beautifully on my longarms.  I has loads of fun using it for thread painting.  It is also strong enough it could be used for seams.

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No Black Friday for Me

23 11 2007

A few years ago I decided there weren’t any sales good enough to get me out of bed in the middle of the night to stand in line in the cold waiting to spend money.  Which means today was a relaxing day.  I quilted a small whole cloth and I am very pleased with the final results.  I will post pictures after it is bound.

img_1907.jpgAs soon as we finished eating yesterday, Jesse said something like “Thanksgiving is over, now we can decorate for Christmas.”  Jesse is the only other one in this family that gets excited about decorating for Christmas.  I didn’t start dragging Christmas decorations out last night, but I did start this afternoon.  The tree is up and the lights are on it.  We will add the rest of the ornaments over the next few days.  This is it lit up tonight. 

I’ve always liked to squint my eyes, and look at the tree in the dark.  Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about — really cool rays come off the lights.  OK that’s the weird fact for today.  I used to be adamant about having a real tree.  After all my Dad was a logger when I was a child and we would go out an cut our own usually for free.  I think the last time I remember going out the permit was $2 in Oregon.  When Guy and I got married we moved to Virginia — DC Metro area and I still had to have a real tree, but they were getting pretty expensive.  While we lived in California I didn’t put a tree up, because we took the boys to their grandparents’ houses in Oregon every Christmas.  The year we moved to Colorado, I finally succumbed and bought a fake tree.  There are benefits.  I can put it up as early as I want and it isn’t anymore a fire hazard the day I take it down than it was the day I put it up.  It has also more than paid for itself over the last eight years.  The drawbacks are no evergreen scent and the type of tree is the same every year.

My organization efforts continue.  This week’s Fly Lady zone was the master bedroom.  Our bedroom happens to house all our home office stuff, too.  I managed to make a large dent in the stacks of paper and layers of dust.  Guy even helped me clean off a shelf that housed software documentation.  Going through it we found we didn’t need most of it so the shelf is almost cleared.  Some serious layers of dust are also gone.  Guy did come down to the basement today and said “Fly Lady doesn’t have a zone for a sewing room/basement do they?”  I promise I will get to that part of the house too …….Eventually.





Grand Plans

3 11 2007

I had grand plans for all I was going to accomplish this week.  Unfortunately reality didn’t turn out quite as grand as planned.  Monday was supposed to be one of my uninterrupted work days, but at 6:40am the phone rang  and the voice on the end of the line asked me to come to my boys’ school and substitute for the 2nd and 3rd graders.  School starts at 8:00 and we live across town from the school.  My normal routine is to get the boys out the door to school at about 7:00 am with their dad and then I get ready.  Getting ready usually includes 3 miles on the Nordic Track before a shower.  There went the exercise for the day.  A mad dash about the house and I made it to school by 8:15.  I will readily admit that if I’m substituting I prefer the upper grades.  My boys are in 6th and 7th and I know the kids in those class rooms.  I know very few of the students below the 4th grade.  All I will say about my day is, teachers deserve so much more pay and respect. 

I also just happen to be the school board chairperson for this school and I think parents expect way too much from the teachers.  In my opinion the education of a student requires at least three entities.  Yes, the teacher is important, but the student has to be willing to learn and to put in the time and work necessary to learn.  Usually the parents are the biggest problem in the education process and they are the third part.  I find that many of them think it is completely up to the teacher to instill knowledge in their children, unfortunately that just isn’t the case.   Yes, there are a few parents that are actively involved in their children’s lives, but by and large most believe they aren’t responsible.  The teachers have no control over how much sleep the children get or whether they are getting a balanced diet.  Also if a student refuses to do their work and the parents don’t step in there isn’t a lot the teacher can do.  With a class room full of students the teacher can’t give one on one time to the same student all the time.  It is up to the parents to help their child after school if they didn’t “get it” out during class.  (Turn off the TV!)  Enough ranting on my part.

I’m fortunate to have two relatively intelligent boys that are pretty responsible.  It wasn’t always that way.  When my youngest was in 1st grade he decided he didn’t need to do part of his school work.  In that grade they had workbooks.  If he didn’t want to do the assignment he would rip out the page and throw it away.  When I found out, he had to dip into his own savings and pay for copies of those pages so he could complete them and turn them in.  In fourth grade he had a new teacher that expected more from the students.  We spent hours after school most of that year making sure he finished his homework.  I’m happy to say the tears and frustration paid off.  He pretty much takes care of being sure all his work is turned in by himself now.

 So exactly what did I accomplish this week?  I finished hand embroidering my last snowman block for the “Winter Wonderland” quilt from Crab Apple Hill.  Now I need to piece the sampler blocks that are the border.  Here is a picture of the blocks, they haven’t been pressed or trimmed to size.  (Click to see a larger picture.)   That means for handwork, I’m back to working on the border of my “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir” quilt.  I’ve finished appliqueing the center on that quilt.  The pattern for the quilt is out of print, but it was from Brandywine Design and similar patterns are available from them.

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I also made some progress on my Monochromatic color project.  Almost 600 pieces are cut out for the Storm at Sea blocks.  I’ve stitched together all the centers and have the diamond units together.  I still have all the corner “square in a square” units to go.  Here is a picture of the progress to this point. (Again click to enlarge.)

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After a very long hiatus from Fly Lady I started back up with that this week.  I actually adapt the program to fit me — I like to go bare foot or wear slip on shoes.  Those 15 minutes a day do make a big difference.   Since this week crossed two months there were actually two different zones to work in.  The first was the living room — I decided to work on the family room since that’s where most of our living takes place.  It looks much better.  I found a large square basket with a lid at Target and it was marked down 50%.  The boys video games and controllers and any other paraphernalia are now contained in that basket behind the TV.  I’m still looking for baskets of the right size to house all the DVDs.  Even the baseboards were washed down this week.

The second zone was the Entry, and dining room.  Our entry basically comes directly into the living room, so the living room is decluttered and so is the dining room.  My mother-in-law had an old buffet she wanted to move out of her dining room, so when my parents drove out from Oregon last month they brought it to me.  I still need to move some things into it, but it is the new addition to the house.  My poor husband thinks I’m trying to fill every available space in this house.  But look at the picture and tell me how I could pass it up.  The color goes great with the dining room table and chairs.  The quilt hanging above the buffet is a Harmonic Convergence quilt made in a class with Ricky Tims.  The fabric for the center is some I dyed and the borders are batiks.

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It is my 11 year olds job to dust each week, and he does a haphazard job at best.  So as I was in each zone they got a really good dusting.  Part of doing the entry includes the entry closet.  We do have a closet near the front door, but since we come and go through the garage most of the time it isn’t used much.  There is a large closet near the backdoor that is usually a catch all.  It has all our coats plus whatever else gets tossed in there.  I hauled away a box full of ink cartridges (they are used for a fundraiser at school) and all the extra school supplies were tossed in there so they were put away.  I was actually able to vacuum in that closet and you can walk into it now.  Those were the two zones this week and it is amazing what a difference there is on the main level of the house.  I admit once I got going it was hard to stop.  I even flowed over into the kitchen and the counters are all decluttered.  Next week the kitchen is the zone, so maybe I’ll attack some cupboards and definitely the scary things growing in the fridge!

Thursday an order I had place arrived while we were doing parent teacher conferences (I was very proud of my boys report cards — one straight A’s and the other about half A’s and half B’s — this from the child that did 1st and 2nd grade in one year) and at the orthodontist.  Some fun things were in the boxes.  I ordered “Free Expression: The Art & Confessions of a Contemporary Quilter” by Robbi Joy Eklow.  I’ve only had time to scan the book, but the photography is outstanding.  The quilting is so clear.  She does lots of freehand designs on her work and the book does explain some of them.  The inspiration is there just looking at the pictures.  I also got “Another Can of Worms” by Debbie Caffery.  I’ve taken a class with her and really enjoy her methods.  This book is another one using 2-1/2″ strips.  Those are the only books that came — some more on back order.  I finally caved and ordered the Curve Master Foot and since I was getting it, I got templates for a Giant Dahlia quilt and for a Double Wedding ring quilt.  Those quilts are in my future.  Stick with me long enough and you’ll see I rarely choose the easy in life.

So looking back at the week, it didn’t actually go the way I planned, but it looks like I did accomplish much.