Project: Life

 This is my dad. My best friend. I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. I had my first tool box when I was just 3 years old. And not one of those cheap plastic ones with fake tools. No. I had a legitimate little metal box and a little apron with real (albeit tiny) screw drivers and a measuring tape and my own carpenters pencils. The good kind that don’t roll. 

Years were spent following dad around the shop, sometimes around job sites (mainly our own house as he built it from the basement up). I used to sit in the basement (His workshop and office of the construction company) and pretend I was the salesperson at the hardware store. I would sell him his own tools back. 

  
I also followed dad to his job as a professor at a local university. He would take me to his office (seen below) and let me “grade papers”. (Write on extra pieces of paper with a red crayon) Eventually deciding to pursue my PhD and become a professor one day, just like dad. I’m currently just a dissertation away from my doctorate. Thanks, in part, to his inspiration. 

  
Now that dad has retired from both academia and his construction company he spends time gardening, hiking and running 5k’s. He started running at the age of 70. I’m so proud of him. Who else can say their dad does that?? Not many people. In 2014 he placed 2nd in his age group in the Knoxville 5K. He’s seriously amazing. 

  
 
   
   

My dad is incredible. If you’ve met him you know this. He’s the smartest person I know. He can talk for hours about Plato, pasta sauce, and about welding. He’s also the kindest and most understanding person in the world. He’s always been there for me. He’s always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and he’s taught me so many important life lessons. 

He is my hero. 
On April 26 we found out that dad has cancer. My whole entire world was turned on its side. I still don’t think it’s fully registered. Partially because I refuse to accept this. My dad is too strong. He is too healthy. 

He. Will. Be. Fine. 

His cancer is possibly treatable with surgery. He will be having surgery on May 28th. And hopefully that will be the end of it. 

I am willing it to be the end of it. 

I have told some people but not everyone. I haven’t really found the words. I still don’t have them. But this will be a part of my life and it’s taking time away from things like blogging. So I thought I would try and talk about it here. Because it’s life. And these life things happen whether we are expecting them or not, wether we are prepared or not. We have to adjust. I don’t know how much I will talk about this on the blog but given that it might be referenced while dad recovers because my husband and I will be taking on the gardening for dad, I thought I would explain things. 

I’m trying to adjust. 

I hope this is just a minor adjustment for dad and that he can get back to his garden and his races soon. I’m staying positive and optimistic. We have a wonderful surgeon and there is a 50% chance that this kind of cancer can be totally cured with surgery. 

I’m keeping my eye on that 50%. 

So, blog-friends and real friends who read this…that’s what is going on in my life right now. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me and asking if I’m ok and how dad is. It helps. It really does. Just knowing someone else outside of our family cares and is thinking of us is very comforting. 

Much love, 

  

Project: Spool Storage

Project Spool Storage | A Life Of Projects

So I’ve been meaning to get around to this project for awhile. At first I delegated the majority of the task to the husband but…alas…6 months later and somehow he still hadn’t gotten around to it.

Here’s the patient:

I found this old bottle crate in the in-laws attic and carted it home with me, not yet sure of it’s purpose, sometime last September. It was in need of a great amount of cleaning and had several super-safe rusty nails in it that needed to be removed.

If you don’t have an outdoor space or basement/garage to work on thrift store or flea market finds, I highly recommend the “Old towel method” which is what I used along with some of my favorite tools.

Reformed Perfectionist Tip: A lady should never be without her well-equipped tool box and a ridiculous amount of elbow grease.

Let me tell you, that thing was dirty. I’ll spare you the pictures of the grimy rags.

But finally, it was as clean as I could get it.

Ta da!!

So I decided to solve a problem with this lovely new antique treasure. The problem of the runaway spools.

Some in the drawer…

Some hanging out in tackle boxes…(PS, tackle boxes make great spool storage)

And some just wandered in to bags and other assorted places. I never knew what colors I had, how much I had left, so I always ended up at Jo-Ann’s buying new thread at random. (If I ever buy black thread again, smack me. I’ve got like 7 spools)

But now, with my newly cleaned crate…

Problem solved!!! This hangs just above and beside my sewing table. Easy access and now I can see what I’ve got and what I need to buy. Next goal: Find a magnetic organizer for the bobbins!

What do you think? How do you organize your spools?? I love looking at all the possibilities for storage and display!

A Life of Projects

Project: Don’t ever try and hand-quilt a t-shirt quilt

Also known as “Make an easier quilt”.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Yeah. So I had this wonderful idea sometime last year. Like…last summer probably. Or maybe before. Quite frankly I’m too scared to check the timestamp on the photo because I think I started this project over a year ago. Maybe a year and a half.

But it was a really good idea. I swear.

I wanted to make a quilt.

But not just any quilt. I want a quilt that is hand quilted by myself, my grandmother, and my mom.

And sure, there are several quilts floating around that have each of our work in them. But nothing that is just the three of us. And quite frankly nothing that has a significant amount of work on my part in any of them. Lezbehonest…I was a kid and getting me to do anything actually helpful was almost impossible.

So…I’ve realized that a quilt with all of our work in it….is something I want. Something that would be very special and meaningful to me.

Quilting has been a large part of our family. I’ve seen quilts my great-grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted, quilts embroidered by my mom and aunts, and as a child I spent many hours playing underneath that huge living-room-sized quilt frame. My grandfather had my grandmother make a quilt especially for me to remember him by. So quilts hold a lot of meaning for me, but it’s not something I’ve ever had a very active part in assisting with.

So it’s time to step up, right??

And at the time…having only really quilted for random spurts in my teens….I thought HEY I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS WITHOUT THINKING IT THROUGH. And then I thought “I’m poor”. And then I thought “I have a t-shirt hoarding problem”.

And the t-shirt quilt project was born.

Let that sink in.

I decided. To hand-quilt. A t-shirt quilt. WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS. (Or basting, or interfacing…)

Yeah.

So grandma and mom and I cut my beloved running shirts apart, picked fabrics, and without looking up how to sew jersey knit to rigid quilt cotton…pieced this sucker together.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Look at that concentration…”I’m so totally ready to tackle this” I thought to myself…

And it’s sat in a corner in my house for longer than I care to admit.

However, I’ve found a solution. It’s a 2-part’er.

  • Part 1: Beg someone with a long-arm to just put some lines in this beast and call it done.
  • Part 2: Start new quilt that is smaller, well thought through, and not t-shirt.

Thankfully, I’ve found a friend who is just getting in to quilting on her mid-arm…and is willing to do it for a nice barter-style deal…and I’ve managed to piece together a new quilt top to a much smaller quilt.

However I’ve learned a lot from this….year long experience. I’ve learned that I really do want something made by all of us. I’ve learned a lot about quilting and I know it’s something I want to continue doing, in a way to keep the heritage going. I know that hand-quilting is a big challenge and I have so much respect for all the people I watched do it as I was growing up. I’ve learned that interfacing is super-important (haha). I’ve learned that some quilts are just too big for your first time out of the gate. And I’ve learned that it’s ok to change direction in a project and admit (somewhat) defeat.

I will hand quilt! I will have a quilt with my mom and grandma! And I will never, ever, ever try to hand quilt a t-shirt quilt again.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Ever.

Former Perfectionist Tip: If the going gets tough – Long arm it and start something less horrible.

A Life of Projects

What projects have you had to let go of or re-route? Have you made a t-shirt quilt? Have you hand-quilted a whole quilt? Share your stories down below!

Project: March Planning

Hi all you crafters, pinners, and planners!!

I’m so excited to start my March planning this week! I’m beyond ready for spring! How about you? We had a few good snow storms here in Virginia, and that was enough for me. Today it’s freezing rain and sleet outside, so I’m going to stick to inside activities for the day!

Also…I have this tiny tickle in my throat. Crossing my fingers it’s nothing because I have too much fun stuff coming up this month to be sick! So let’s talk about the plans I’ve got for the blog this month.

This month on the blog:

  • Oh Fransson Crazy 7’s quilt (Ok so her original is crazy 9’s. I needed to modify it.)
  • Super cute and quick crochet projects
  • Yoga retreat in Charlotte!
  • Other surprises!

But for today, it’s all about planning.

Recently I got a coupon for $5 off $10 at Jo-Ann’s. Whaaatt??? So off course I had to buy all the washi.

The collection is getting a little out of hand.

Oh well. There are worse vices. Also, picked up some SUPER cute new stickers from VintageGypsyRoad and LifePlannerWashiTape.

So I started planning my March month view with my new washi and some St. Patrick’s day stickers I got from the Dollar Tree.

Who wants some free printables??

A Life of Projects | Free Printable Planner Stickers

Click here for the PDF: A Life of Projects March Printable Planner Stickers

I recommend using an inkjet printer set to “best” or “photo quality”. You can get the sticker sheets I printed mine on here. If you use the stickers, please leave a comment down below! This is my first free printable, so let me know what you think! I think I sized them to fit most planners, including Erin Condren!!

Enjoy!! Happy planning!

A Life of Projects | Free Printable Planner Stickers

Signature Large

Project: Organization

So we are a little over a month in to 2015. I know a lot of people have “Get organized” as a new years resolution. Was it one of yours?
For me, I usually don’t do new years resolutions. Generally, I might have some goals i want to do for the year, but I don’t write them down and commit to them with any sort of significance at the start of a new year. However I do find this time of year to be good for revamping, cleaning out, reorganizing etc.
In particular, this new year meant a new planner for me! I had heard about the Passion Planner from Domesticated Academic. It was a Kickstarter that grew to epic proportions. (Sidebar: I do know they have had issues filling orders, the strikes at the west coast ports have slowed them down, and a lot of people are unhappy. I ordered mine in November and it got here the last week of January. I can’t find much to complain about, she offered the printable for free, you can’t predict when something is going to go viral…or shipping issues. I still think it’s a great company.) Last year I didn’t use a planner much at all and relied mostly on Evernote and google calendar. (More on how I use the Evernote system can be found on my other blog, here.) I missed the physical list-making and planner. I like organizing my week and day.
I really love the Passion Planner’s features. It has several writing and goal-setting prompts. These aren’t available in the free printables as far as I can tell. At first I thought it was a little corny but then I went through the exercise and it’s really helpful for me right now, as I’m trying to finish my dissertation, find a job, graduate, and work on some personal goals. This systems helps me be able to sort through all the different projects and zero in on the specifics I need to attend to each month and each week.
But more than that, I’ve discovered the planner community. And the 10 year old kid inside me with a massive sticker collection is SUPER excited about this. In fact, that 30 year old woman went digging through every box, folder, and closet she could think of to try and FIND said sticker collection. But after roughly 8 moves in 10 years…I think it may have been a casualty somewhere along the lines. (But the back of my head SWEARS I’ve laid eyes on it in this current apartment, in a folder…). So I’ve started rebuilding the sticker collection thanks to Etsy and Instagram.
So.
Many.
Cute.
THINGS!!!
And washi tape. Ohhhh the washi.
So now on Sunday I take some time to plan out my week, then I fill in parts as I go through the rest of the week. Do I need all the stickers and washi? No. But it makes my heart happy. I actually find it fairly relaxing. It’s like painting or drawing but without all the materials and mess. It really does engage the artistic part of my brain, and I need that sometimes after hours and hours of lit review.
But mostly, taking dedicated time each Sunday to plan my week helps me to consider what’s coming up, what projects I need to focus on, weekly goals, travel, and other things.
Do you set aside time to plan each week? Are you part of the planner community?? Do you love planner stickers too?! I’m thinking about doing a free printable planner sticker sheet for March! Stay tuned!!!
Here are some of my favorite sticker sellers!:
Enjoy!
Signature Large