Category Archives: organizing

Small adjustment = life changing results

Over the Fourth of July holiday, John and I had a four-day weekend. The better part of one of those days was spent on a medical insurance appeal. I composed several letters, printed forms, scanned documents and made copies for everyone under the sun who was in a position of “need to know.”

That’s when I realized my office space needed adjusting. When we first set it up after we moved, I’m not sure why, but I had positioned the chair, keyboard and mouse to the right of the center support for the desk (where the trash can is in the photo). In doing so, when I needed to use the work table (forming the L in the photo) the chair would run off the floor mat into the carpet. Turning the floor mat the other direction didn’t help, so I was stuck for a solution.

I am lucky to be married to an engineer because there isn’t much he can’t figure out. He agreed that a bigger mat was needed but also suggested I switch sides and work to the left of the desk’s center. Having the mouse to the left opens up space on the right for papers and writing, which is logical for a right handed person like me.

John found a large enough mat that allows for the chair to roll under both the desk and the work table without falling into the carpet. Also, we were able to re-purpose the other mat so we didn’t lose anything there. In the end, I was amazed how much easier it was to work in the space just by switching sides.

If you’re curious about the left handed mouse thing…Many years ago, John and I converted to using a mouse with our left hands to save wear and tear on our right hands. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s perfectly doable.

If only our medical insurance claim effort was that easy.


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A tale of two sewing rooms: part II

In the house next door to the fabulosity that is Rhonda’s sewing room is JoeAnn’s sewing room. Like Rhonda, she took over the front bedroom, and like Rhonda, she too, was seduced by the same sewing table featured at the Tracey’s Tables booth at the Houston quilt festival last fall. She used the time between the festival and her table delivery date to do some serious cleaning out and organizing, and her efforts paid off.

JoeAnn made space for her new table in the middle of the bedroom beneath the window by pushing her large work/ironing station (left) against one wall and her serger table (created with an IKEA table top resting on two filing cabinets) against the opposite wall.


Next to her work/ironing station is a soft, comfy chair to do handwork, read or watch Downton Abbey.


Next to her serger table is a white storage unit from IKEA,


filled with white polyester cubes holding books, binders, yarn, and other assorted quilting, sewing, crocheting and knitting goodies.


JoeAnn chose this white unit because she wanted her space to appear less cluttered and distracting and more serene. To that end, out of sight on the left side of the unit are all her cutting rulers, affixed with adhesive hooks.


A design wall made with a piece of quilter’s grid interfacing is tacked to the wall next to the storage cubes.


The cabinet next to the closet door was recently acquired at a resale shop for just $50. It’s in excellent condition and holds JoeAnn’s embroidery machine and supplies.




When it’s not in use, everything folds neatly away.


The cabinet doubles as a nice little side table, arranged with a few decorative storage boxes and a pretty lamp found at Goodwill.


The print fabric on the shade contains the soothing blue accent color JoeAnn chose for her space and may be used to cover the shade—she’s still deciding.

Also like Rhonda, JoeAnn is an inventive re-purposer. She used an old, decorative toothbrush holder to store her crochet hooks,


a jewelry stand to hold scissors of varying sizes and purposes,


and this miniature white wicker drawer unit to store buttons.


JoeAnn replaced the knobs with pretty blue glass ones and used a white soap dish liner to replace the missing bottom drawer.


The end table next to her comfy chair is an old computer tower storage unit. The left side holds her cutting dies and the right side pulls out for easy access to her favorite DVDs.


And now for the big reveal. Here is JoeAnn’s room with her new sewing table and drawer unit. It fit right in!


A table in which the bed of the sewing machine sits flush with the table top is a serious upgrade in a person’s sewing life. I know JoeAnn and Rhonda will appreciate their new tables immensely and marvel at how much easier sewing, cutting and measuring will be.



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White trash patio

Here’s our patio two weeks ago after we moved all the stuff out of our storage unit rental. This is the three-year culmination of our plan to finish the basement in six to nine months.

basement patio

We almost won the vote for Best White Trash Yard, but failed for lack of a rusted out car wasting away under a blue tarp in a field of overgrown weeds next to the bald tire pile across from the single wide–it was close, though.

In between entertaining my brother and niece who really don’t need much entertaining, I spent the bulk of last week opening boxes from our move six years ago to determine what was inside, tossing, sorting and then consolidating the contents into storage bins of various sizes.

I found some old friends in some of the boxes:

Barbie is wearing my favorite outfit: Enchanted Evening, which still looks good, although I don't know how she walks in that dress. Ken, on the other hand, needs a tailor to re-attach the bow tie to his shirt and either fix the zipper in his pants or widen that cummerbund.

Barbie is wearing my favorite outfit: Enchanted Evening, which still looks good, although I don’t know how she walks in that dress. Ken, on the other hand, needs a tailor to re-attach the bow tie to his shirt and either fix the zipper in his pants or widen that cummerbund.

Barbie's little sister Skipper.

Barbie’s little sister Skipper.

Barbie's cousin Francie on the left and her friend Casey.

Barbie’s cousin Francie on the left and her friend Casey.

Here’s the storage area in the basement so far:

basement storage

John installed four shelf brackets in one corner to make a place to hang all my seasonal wreaths:

basement wreaths

We reserved the space under the stairs for all our Christmas stuff:

basement Christmas

We still have a ways to go, but since I’m burned out, it’s now John’s turn down there.

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Mrs. ADD and Mr. OCD pay a visit

Mrs. ADD and Mr. OCD inserted themselves into my day yesterday. First, Mrs. ADD demanded that I set aside the table runner and ignore the binding on Railroad Ties and instead, assigned me the task of  gathering all my pink batiks to cut out the next version of the lawn chair quilt. She was quite insistent; you don’t say no to her!

pink batiks

I also washed and ironed the pinks I pulled last week so I could play with fabric choices for Mom’s Red Pink Idea. Now my sewing room is very girly-girl with an explosion (as my niece described it) of pink fabrics everywhere.

Mom pinks1

Mom pinks2

Once all the batiks were cut, Mr. OCD dictated that I organize and straighten that drawer of batik fabrics (man, is he strict!) whereupon I found yet another pink. Here it is, all nice and neat:

batik drawer

I chose this white-on-white dot print for the pink/white lawn chair quilt:

You can't tell from the photo, but those dots are shiny!

You can’t tell from the photo, but those dots are shiny!

We had a nice rainstorm Wednesday evening. Ross took this photo of the storm gathering force:

rain photo

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Filed under fabric, organizing