Monday, March 25, 2019

The Organized Crow and the End of the Great Scavenger Hunt

Well, that might be a bit of an fact, a rather large exaggeration?'s a start.

(Those of you with "studios," craft rooms, and other dedicated creating spaces and those of you who don't stitch or punch might as well move on to the next blog post as you likely won't be able to relate.  But it's ok with me if you stick around for the "duh" factor.)

As I have mentioned before, our nest is modest...and prior to WWR ("When We Remodeled"), it was teeny, tiny.  So, my "craft" supplies were tucked in various multiple closets, crannies, and nooks, in a sundry assortment of boxes, bags, and whatnots.

As a result, every time, the "creative" bug bit me, I would embark on a rather tortured and tedious, multi-level (because yes, things were cached upstairs and downstairs) scavenger hunt to find what I needed.
While this was, at times, amusing as I would find things I had forgotten I ever had, most times it was frustrating as hell heck.

And it was never more frustrating than when the project-to-be was cross stitch, embroidery, or punch work because, as those of you who do fiber arts know, floss and thread come in a dizzying myriad of colors from a menagerie of manufacturers (i.e., Weeks, Gentle Arts, DMC, Valdani, Classic Colorworks (f/ka/ Crescent Colors), The Caron Collection, etc., etc.).

I would stare at the "supplies needed" part of the pattern...and curse mutter.  Especially when the pattern called for a MIX of brands.  I had no clue if I had DMC 3799, Gentle Arts "Endive" or Weeks "Whiskey"... All I knew is that after several hours of searching, I was wishing I had some actual whiskey, and inevitably ended up just purchasing the required floss.
While this was not necessarily a "bad" thing (since, I have the uncanny luck of usually having every color BUT the color called for), it did, on occasion, lead to mass duplication and a compounding of the "storage" mayhem.

So...I finally did it.  I began to organize.
 I started with a journal. I guess there are apps now for keeping track of flosses, etc., but I still like the feeling of a book in my hand. (Nope, don't do Kindle either.)

Now while you will see many fancy and fun stitching (and other) journals out there, I refused to even peek at Pinterest or Flosstube as I knew it would be like falling down a rabbit hole.  Mine is just a simple leather cover with an insert of blank pages made from art/recycled paper.

(I added the charm, etc. to make it a little more personalized.)

Since I didn't quite know where to begin, I started with sections that I knew I wanted: A section containing checklists for the flosses I have so I could just look at the journal to know if I had it or not, a section with "aids" (you know, those things you should know but sometimes how to calculate the size fabric needed (just in case I am stranded on a desert island that has linen and floss but no access to the slick online calculators 😉), etc.

(I made the little tab dividers using old papers and transparent labels.)

(I also added fun little bits of ephemera related to sewing here and there....)

Then, I scoured every possible place I could remember stashing floss (a several-week process), and began cataloging... 

(A ✔ indicates I have that color...and if I have duplicates/triplicates, etc., they are marked to the right of the name.  That way I know not only IF I have a particular color, I know how many skeins of it I have.)

I have a section for DMC, Weeks, Gentle Arts, and Miscellaneous. I am still working on how I am going to do the Valdani.

Although I hesitated, I also added a WIP section. This one is for cross stitch projects.  I will likely do a separate section for punched projects.

(I may edit the template I made after I know what I want to include.  I only started with current projects.  No WAY I am going to try to "reconstruct" the past.)

Once catalogued, I had to figure out exactly what I was going to DO with the mountain mound of floss I had retrieved from the long, lost, hiding places.  After all, what good would it be to know I had 30 skeins of Gentle Arts "Black Crow," but didn't know where those skeins were?

The DMC was easy... I already had the vast majority of that wound on the little plastic bobbins (I know...causing crinks and bends in the floss, but hey, I am NOT unwinding that $@#*) and organized numerically in two separate plastic cases that are, for now, stored neatly in an old Coats & Clark spool cabinet, along with bags of duplicates.  The "miscellaneous" was also somewhat easy as there wasn't much of it (at least that I found) and it is now stashed in the bottom drawer of the spool cabinet with the DMC.

That left the Weeks, Gentle Arts, and Valdani.
Since I had, by far, more of the Weeks, I sorted them alphabetically, and repurposed this old apothecary cabinet (purchased from one of my favorite haunts, The Farmer's Daughter) into a floss cabinet.

(Each letter of the alphabet also has a separate D-ring that holds duplicate unused skeins)

For now, the Gentle Art collection is stored in a little stack of sewing machine drawers Papa Crow bought me many years ago, and the Valdani...well, since they are balls of floss (vs. skeins) and have the screwiest name/number system you can imagine, I haven't cataloged them yet; nor am sure what I will do with them once they are herded and cataloged.

And since I was on a roll, I also tackled my linen stash:

Each piece is in its own plastic bag, with the count number, linen name and manufacturer, and size of the piece.  They are then arranged by count number from smallest to highest (mine goes from 25ct to 45ct) and stored in two of the drawers of this awesome antique cabinet in my someday-to-be "playroom." 
(And, yes, I know this is not the "proper" way to store linen as it will become creased, etc., but I do not have the space, nor the patience, to convert to a hanging system.)

I no longer have to hunt aimlessly for floss and linen I may...or may not...have.

And, "Duh" because I should have done this years ago.
(It wasn't worth waiting for, was it? 😉)

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Crankier Crow....

You didn't think that possible?
Well, think again: It is, and I am.

It is snowing again....(did that surprise anyone??)
(The road to Nod)

Ok, I am DONE with that subject.

Another reason I am crankier than usual: It's Daylight Saving Time.
I HATE Daylight Saving Time.

I know it's twisted logic and I am in the minority, but I am a night owl crow.  So, when I go to bed at midnight, it's now really 1:00 a.m., and when I get up at 8:30 a.m., it's really 9:30 a.m.  So, I lose a precious hour every night (and, no, not just the FIRST night, because every night I calculate what time it really "should be"), and I'm late by an hour every morning (no, not just the FIRST morning), because I again calculate what time it really "should be" every morning.  (Ever try telling someone you're an hour late because, by your clock, it's only 8:00, not 9:00??? Trust me, it doesn't work.)

I recover from Daylight Saving Time as fast as most people recover from a deadly illness.

The only one I know who likes it is Rajah Roo...and only because he gets to eat an hour earlier.

Sometimes moving to Arizona seems like a very good idea...barely any snow and NO DST.

And Arizona makes me think of cacti...and mountains...and Indians.

And Indians makes me think of what one wise old Indian allegedly said when told of the reason for Daylight Saving Time:

"Only the white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket." 

And speaking of blankets, I think that's exactly where I'm headed until spring.

Or at least until I can see the road signs.