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Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

There is something wonderful about sewing for another seamstress. There’s such a joyful delight at the thing made and great appreciation for being the recipient. As people who sew for others, putting our heart and soul into the making, it is rare we receive something handmade ourselves, so props to whoever came up with this marvelous thing called a “swap”.
Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaimeI recently shared with you my Rainbow Mini Quilt Swap and last Christmas, my Modern Quilt Friendship Group Mini Quilt Swap, but this time the local MQ(f)G decided to do a Divided Basket Swap. This pattern by Noodlehead is so fun, you’ll be trying to figure out who else needs one and what else you can store in one for each room of your house!

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

My swap partner requested Day Sail fabrics in Navy and Red, but I couldn’t help but add in some Aqua Shuffle from the Riley Blake fabrics I had on hand. I used it on the divider and on the handle.

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

I used a combination of pellon 808 and fusible fleece. It was pretty sturdy, but one of the women made hers with stoft and stable and I loved the feel of it. I really need to try that sometime soon! The front had a pocket, trimmed with the same fabric as the lining. I divided it in two by sewing a straight line down the middle. The back is all sailboats.

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

I also made this little *extra* from a FREE Heather Bailey Pattern – The Square Deal pin cushion. They’re so cute – my daughter immediately put it to her head like a pillow, hugging it with her eyes closed. 🙂

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

I requested Cotton + Steel fabrics from my partner and was so happy that she used some prints I don’t own! She made the handles entirely from fabric, which is also an option in the Noodlehead pattern. I love this little basket and can’t decide whether to put it in my bedroom or in my sewing space!

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

The other advantage in participating in a swap, especially locally, with other seamstresses, is you get to enjoy their creativity. The first time through a project, I stick pretty close to the directions. After that, I feel like I can veer off from the path, after I know the ins and outs of said path. But check out these pieced baskets! (It is a quilt group, after all) It didn’t even cross my mind to add quilty elements, but it’s definitely something I will look to add in the future!

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaime

Noodlehead Divided Basket Swap | MadeByJaimeOn this half dresden basket, Pam used double sided fusible interfacing so after sewing in her lining, she ironed on the inside as best she could to fuse it to the other side of the interfacing used on the exterior. It was super firm, which I really loved.

I can’t wait to make more of these and play with the interfacing a bit. I think this will be my new go-to gift for baby showers. I know quilts are special, but babies receive lots of blankets and burp cloths. They grow out of clothes WAY too quickly for the time put into handmade items, but in the right fabrics, these baskets could be in their rooms for years. And lets face it, even if they’re only useful during the diaper stage, anything that helps during the diaper stage is greatly appreciated!

 

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Small Time Operator – Must Have Tax Book for Small Business

Tax & Bookkeeping Resources for Small Businesses | MadeByJaime

I have had some kind of sewing business off and on since 2008. I always struggled to understand the financial side of business, but I dutifully kept my receipts and income records and gave them to whomever did our taxes each year. I took a few years off the business and when I started it up again a little over a year ago, I was a little older, a little more experienced and working from home was my full time occupation so I really wanted to try to come to a deeper understanding of it all.

Soon after starting up again, I won a really cool prize through my Etsymom Street Team – a free bookkeeping course with LS Bookkeeping Services (formerly Crafty Bookkeeping). Lisa was great and helped set me up in WaveApps.com. I got all my bank, etsy & paypal accounts pulling all the information straight into it and all I had to do was organize it into categories. But I ran into a few hiccups with duplicate entries due to Etsy and paypal bringing in the same transaction. Then when paypal or etsy deposited money into my bank account it was accounted for a 3rd time.  Then I started adding my own categories and things started to get a little more convoluted. I got confused and stopped keeping up on categorizing everything in June and by the time January of this year came, I was feeling overwhelmed. I just didn’t have a grasp on the basics of bookkeeping.

Source

 

I joined the WAHM Tax Group on facebook, which is a great resource! But in fear of asking a million questions and getting more confused, I started to look around for a concise, hold in my hand book that addressed my small business and helped to make sense of it all.

Tax & Bookkeeping Resources for Small Businesses | MadeByJaime

Somehow I stumbled upon the book Small Time Operator by Bernard Kamoroff.  I was attracted to the subtitle, “How to Start Your Own Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, and Stay Out of Trouble” Apart from starting my business, the rest of those topics were exactly what I needed to know more about! I started to read in the evenings and on the weekends about single entry accounting, about using a pencil, ledger and calculator, and I started to understand the context of it all. I decided this year to keep my books differently, more simply. So I purchased the Dome Simplified Weekly Bookkeeping Record book.

Tax & Bookkeeping Resources for Small Businesses | MadeByJaime

All the standard tax categories are listed and defined in the front of the book. There is room to add your own, but I’m trying my darndest to understand & keep within the recommended categories so my CPA and I are speaking the same language next year. So far, I love the pencil and paper, weekly method because it keeps me intimately aware of what I am bringing in and what I am spending. I also came up with a method (different color highlighters and tally’s in the memo section) for keeping track of sales and use tax for next year so I am hoping for a more peaceful Jan-April 15 2016!

Tax & Bookkeeping Resources for Small Businesses | MadeByJaime

But back to Small Time Operator!

  • The first chapter of the book covers things to consider when starting a business, location and zoning for home or brick & mortar businesses, Financing, Legal Structure (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corp or LLC, etc.), Business Names (DBAs), Licenses and Permits, Insurance and your business plan.
  • The next section of the book deals with setting up your books, explains the single entry system and cash vs. accrual accounting, recording income & expenditures, as well as keeping track of inventory (& COGS!).
  • Chapter 3 talks about issues relating to business growth – employees & a little more in depth on legal structures.
  • Chapter 4 is all about taxes: what really counts as a business expense, self-employment tax, retirement deductions, the IRS, Federal & state taxes.
  • Chapter 5 speaks specifically to the home business.
  • Chapter 6 discusses balancing your bank account, a balance sheet, hiring professional help, multiple businesses, importing/exporting, franchises, freelancers, pricing, contracts, websites, employee-owned businesses, collective and cooperatives, as well as managing and marketing your business.

As of the time of this post, I’m almost through Chapter 4. I’ve gone slow and implemented the recommendations as I went. Bernard Kamoroff’s writing style is very clear and makes an overwhelming topic very understandable. Now that I have been using the paper ledger & pencil method for a few months, I have a much better understanding of bookkeeping in general and find it easier to manage in WaveApps.com. So, as Bernard Kamoroff mentions in the book, the method isn’t as important as the understanding behind it. I think I will keep both going this year and use them to compare notes when next tax season rolls around. But I HIGHLY recommend this book if you run ANY type of small business. I wish I had read it back in 2008 when I started it all!

I’d love to know what you think if you pick up the book! Also, if you have any resources that have helped you in your business bookkeeping, please share! If I get a few responses, I’ll do a round up post to share with everyone!

*This post has NO affiliate links – just sharing some resources that have helped me.

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UFOs and My Next Project

Happy Monday Morning! I’ve been a little MIA on facebook/instagram since the Zulily event! It was such a huge push to get everything ready, then finalized & shipped out that I’ve kind of been enjoying a much needed break from such intense sewing! Naturally my house got somewhat out of order and I’ve been feeling the urge to do some spring cleaning. I also realized since we made my son’s loft bed this past winter, I hadn’t done much to finish his room! So I’ve been busy tearing up the house, clearing things out and moving furniture around. I’m still not done, but I’ve made great progress and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In the same mood strain, I’ve been finishing up some UFOs (UnFinished Objects)! I just finished up a pattern test, which I’ll be sharing with you next week, but in order to meet the deadline I had to leave some things half done. One was a second pair of the Camo Cargo Shorts (Way Cool Shorts) for my son.

TDD Way Cool Shorts | JaimeSews

Yes, now he will be able to go all summer in Camo – any 6 year old boy’s dream, right?! I also did two quick t-shirt to v-neck alterations for a friend. You can see the tutorial here.

And finally, I made my son’s sewing bag so he has a place to store all his supplies for lessons this summer. This is a pattern I got from the Sewing Rabbit Pattern Membership. It comes in three sizes so I made the largest to make sure there was room for scissors and whatever supplies might be added as time goes on. I used the fabric left over from his Downton Duffle Coat made last November so it has a very sophisticated look, perfect for a little gentleman.

Sewing Rabbit Zipper Toiletry Tote | JaimeSews

So what’s next?! I have FOUR Anna’s on the docket. Have you heard of the Anna pattern? You won’t be surprised to find out it’s the adult version of the Maggie Mae, or at least Maggie Mae inspired. You can see it here. Everyone who has ever seen the Maggie Mae comments, “Oh I wish that came in my size!” so it’s very exciting. Two will be in dress form for my mom and then I plan to make two tops for me, one casual version in knit and one dressier version in some silky wovens, both from F&M Fabrics.

So I’ll see you on facebook and instagram to show my progress. It’s felt good to clear out some space, both mental and physical, and I look forward to charging forward into new projects. Please feel free to share some links in the comments to let me know what you’re working on!

 

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Cargo Duffle Bag

Happy Monday! Did you sew something great this weekend?! I had a great day Saturday with my friend Karen making the Cargo Duffle Bag (Click here for the free pattern download!).

Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

I had pinned the pattern a few months ago and my friend Ginger suggested it be the project for my next class. As those of you with lego-loving kids know, the lego collection can get out.of.hand. So I thought I’d make my Cargo Duffle Bag in fabrics my son would love and use it to consolidate all his legos into one location! I got the Star Wars Fleece and strap for the handles at F&M Fabrics (online as www.thefabricmarket.com). You might think fleece was a strange choice for a bag, but it actually made for a fun texture once quilted and the walking foot made sure the layers stayed together while quilting so I think it worked out!

Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

The Cargo Duffle has a simple design with just one large double cargo pocket on the outside. We decided on a velcro closure instead of snaps, placing the hook part horizontally along the top of the pocket and the loop vertically near the edge of the flap. This allows for the growth of the pocket as it’s stuffed with important things. I varried from the recommended quilting on the front and back panels. The pattern calls for horizontal straight lines of quilting, but being that I was gearing this toward beginner sewers and a one-day session, I wanted it to be more simple and less time consuming. I opted for 3″ wide crosshatching, then I stitched the contrast in place and quilted it down from the back side, following the stitching lines of the quilting I had already done. Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

The inside is canvas, which also helped in stabilizing the fleece, but otherwise, just provides a sturdy interior for any outer fabric you may want to use. The binding on the seams leaves such a great impression. I really am in love with how finished it looks inside. My only regret is I couldn’t find a 26″ zipepr, so there’s a little gap in my zipper gusset. I have plans to fix it, though, never fear!  (although it might be great for squeezing the last few legos into the bag Ha!) Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

If you’re new to zippers, this is a great introductory project since the zipper is sewn in to each side piece before constructing the rest of the bag, so do NOT be intimidated by the zipper! My friend Karen did a great job with it.

Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

And speaking of Karen – here’s the big reveal of her bag! She came to the Quilt class a few months back and used my machine to make her first sewing project and only recently got a machine for herself! I think her bag turned out AMAZING, don’t you?!

Karen's Cargo Duffle Bag | JaimeSews

So we definitely recommend this pattern! It would make a great overnight bag for the kids, a project bag for taking to class or use it for storage like I plan to! Let me know if you make one!

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Some of My Favorites

As I was considering what I should share with you this week, I thought about a few projects I have in process and others I can’t share yet and concluded that this would be a great time to share some of my favorites with you. No affiliate links or anything like that – just a few things I can’t live without these days and thought I’d share. Green Smoothie Love | JaimeSews

  1. First up, something non-sewing related (although it could be argued that this fuels my sewing) – simplegreensmoothies.com. I found Simple Green Smoothies through my sister and I’m so happy I did. I was looking for away to get my veggies, eat healthier and more raw foods. One thing I love about this site is that the ingredients are simple, no added sugar or sweeteners, but everything is so tasty. Of course there are things I found I didn’t like (for me, pears take some getting used to and I still struggle through kale and prefer spinach), but as a busy mom, I love that these are just as quick to throw together as something unhealthy. It removes the time excuse! I used to make them for lunch, but I recently did their Fresh Start 21 Day cleanse and really learned to love them for breakfast. You can also sign up for their FREE 30 day challenges where they’ll send new recipes (not generally on their site) to try. Even if you don’t love every single recipe they send, you’re bound to find some new favorites!
  2. Next Up – The Sewing Rabbit Pattern Member. This one is strictly a sewing indulgence, but quickly becoming a necessity! For $10/month (can cancel at any time) you get 3 new PDF sewing patterns a month! Not to mention a community of like-minded people who all share a love for sewing and patterns. The first month, they offered the Knight Hoodie pattern by Charming Doodle, The Madeline Dress pattern by mesewcrazy/Jessica Abbott, and a toiletries Travel Bag pattern with 3 sizes. April brought us the Jack and Jill Colorblock Shirt from Peaches and Peanuts, The Natty Janes Leather Baby Shoe Pattern by DeliaCreates, and The Ojai Wrap, exclusive first pattern from Sew Country Chick.  Seriously, all three for $10.  The sneak peak for next month is KILLING me – is it May yet? If you have a pattern addiction like I do, it’s a fun way to feed the need.
    Sewing Rabbit Pattern Member
  3. Lastly, and I only heard about this today (thanks Karen!), Camel Camel Camel. If you’re shopping for something, ANYTHING, and you don’t need it this second…AND…you’d like a deal or have a specific budget, this site will track Amazon.com for you and alert you when it comes into your price range. How cool is that!? My friend, Karen, bought her first sewing machine with the help of Camel Camel Camel, so you know it has to be good, right?!
    CamelCamelCamel

I’d love to hear about your favorites, sewing or non-sewing related or let me know what you’re working on! I’d love to know you stopped by. See you next week!

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Sewing Machine TLC

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Have you entered for your chance to win a Kate Spade Wallet or a $50 iTunes Gift Card?!? If not, Click here to do so, then come right back for today’s post!

Confession time: When’s the last time you cleaned out & oiled your sewing machine? I’m not gonna lie – I cannot remember when I did it last. I have a few different machines that all get various levels of use and as long as they keep on tickin’ I keep on sewing. It’s terrible, I know. And to my friends who just got sewing machines for Christmas, this is a case of do as I say, not as I do!

Top Left: Singer Featherweight. Top Right: Husqvarna Viking. Bottom Left: My industrial (I gotta say, I've never lifted it up and am glad to see the oil level is at least between high and low...just not sure it should be that color!). Bottom Right: Pfaff Serger - the WORST offender!
Top Left: Singer Featherweight. Top Right: Husqvarna Viking. Bottom Left: My industrial (I gotta say, I’ve never lifted it up and am glad to see the oil level is at least between high and low…just not sure it should be that color!). Bottom Right: Pfaff Serger – the WORST offender!

But it’s January, a time for new beginnings, and I’m going to try to be a better sewing machine owner this year. If you still have your users manual, there may be instructions for cleaning your machine and the various spots to oil, if necessary. Some machines are self-oiling and don’t need much additional oiling, if at all. If you can’t find your manual or there aren’t instructions provided for cleaning, here are a few resources:

Off to do some cleaning!

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Pinterest Inspired Project

If you’re following me on pinterest, you may have seen me pin this pin. In my everlasting search for organization ideas, I was excited to find this tutorial because I too have lots of diaper and other boxes around the house. I also happen to have a few yards of various home decorating fabric I had purchased a while back to make some pillows…cometofindout the DH doesn’t want lots of pillows on the couch but, never fear – there is always another purpose for fabric!

I’ve been collecting books for me & Mr. T to do some home-preschool in the fall and recently purchased the infamous cube organizer a al Target for a little taming of the books. However, there were several larger books and binders that didn’t quite fit in said cubes. :/

Semi-Organized Cube Organizer…

Seeing as how this is in our living room, I wanted to hide everything as much as possible so I took my tutorial pin and this lovely box:

Box Before

Bought some spray adhesive and fabric glue & voila!

Box After
All those lose too-big books and binders nice and hidden

Just need a few more cube bins and one more transformed box (for visual balance, of course) and we’ll be good to go for the fall! Thanks Pinterest!

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My DIY Planner

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you may have seen me mention that I recently made my own planner. I have tried many types of organization techniques (true confessions: I tend to get caught in organization when I should actually be DOING something. I am aware of it & I’m working on it! lol). I have tried the home management binder and while I like the idea of it, I never did have a good place for it. I have so little kitchen counter space that if I tried to use it for meal planning, I had no room to actually work in my kitchen. In my current space, it became impractical for day to day use, though I do keep it updated to use as a general family all-in-one-place info-station.

I was one of those types that spent the first days of a new college semester transferring all the assignments from each class syllabus, color coded by class subject, into my daily planner. I felt better if I could see all of the work in one place – I could see at a glance and plan ahead if I had a particularly busy week. Is that a control thing…? (don’t answer that)

Well, as I thought about staying home, focusing more on managing my household better while incorporating an at-home job, I started to dream about an all inclusive planner. Sure, the planners at the stores are pretty, but they rarely have all the features I want. As I googled “DIY Planner” I found all kinds of goodies. There are free templates of all kinds, some good forms & tools to make your own planner available on Etsy & so I made some purchases and got to work in Microsoft Publisher. Here’s what I used:

  • A grocery list, weekly student planner page, expense tracker, & horizontal filler page from Crown Bindery on Etsy. I purchased some other pages from her, but those are the ones I used. If you visit her store, she also has some accessories to make the outside of your planner and tabs.
  • I found the type of monthly calendar I wanted at donnayoung.com. It spreads across 2 pages.
  • The 2012 Motivated Moms Half-Size Chore Planner with Scheduled Bible Reading from the Motivated Moms Website.

So here’s where it gets a little “techy.” I took the .pdfs into Photoshop and cropped the two page spreads into single pages and saved them as high resolution .jpgs. I then opened a booklet template in Microsoft Publisher and placed each.individual.page in the document exactly.in.the.order.I.wanted.it. (does this classify as an illness?) I made two sections – a calendar section you are used to seeing in store-bought planners (the month overview with the weeks following for greater detail) and a home management section with an expense tracker and horizontal filler page to start each month, followed by each week’s Motivated Moms Cleaning Schedule facing a grocery list page (because you know how you are going about cleaning each room and you say to yourself, “AH! I need to pick this up next time I go to the store!” and then you never remember what this is when the time comes…?)

When everything was in it’s place, I wrote it all to a .pdf again and uploaded the very large document to www.officedepot.com. From the website I was able to choose black & white, double sided printing, request they cut it in half and coil bind it after adding a black plastic back and clear front. I was pretty impressed with their speed and the quality of the paper (but then again I’m used to interacting with the least expensive, basic copy paper). I uploaded it late in the evening and it was ready the next morning! I grabbed some tabs and color coded the calendar-y part with pink and the home management part in green. I thought about merging both sections, but I worried that it would make using the calendar part a bit of a pain. In the end, everything’s in one place in a practical size that I can take with me anywhere!

So there you have it! Would you ever consider making your own planner? What would you include? What tools do you use to organize your family? I can’t wait to hear!

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FINALLY – A post!

Hi Bloggy friends. Here I sit in a puddle of guilt and shame for the neglected status of my blog. I mean to blog, I think about it, I have posts floating around in my little head and yet life has prevented me from just sitting down and typing! I am home today with a sick 3 year old and after cleaning my room and a little nap (still obeying that sleep when your baby sleeps rule – lol), I’ve decided it’s time to blog. Besides, I have all day to clean the kitchen and organize the photo album, right?

Instead of overwhelming you with everything that’s in my mind, I’m hoping I can set up this post and then schedule some future posts so we’ll see what gets done! 🙂

First, I’ve been been most distracted with this bulging belly of mine and all the fanfare that accompanies it! After finding out we were having a girl, the fate of my sewing room was confirmed…it had to go. If we had a boy, I *might* have been able to convince my husband that the boys could share a room and I could keep my sewing room, which I swore no child would ever usurp. So after first trimester yuckies, I had to work to go from this:

A whole room and a full closet…to this:

As you can see…I’m still trying to figure out how it will all effectively reside in this corner of the room. The Armoire we found on Craigslist. It was handmade by the owner’s grandpa (which seemed appropriate) and it has some of the same scroll work our other bedroom furniture has. I have the top portion filled with my garment fabrics:

The armoire is so deep, what you can’t see is behind that first row on boxes on the right, there is a 4-tiered wire basket system holding the miscellaneous fabrics. The fabrics in the boxes are categorized – swimsuit fabrics, running shirt fabrics, etc. and then some specific projects. The bottom of the armoire holds all my quilt-y stuff on the bottom shelf and notions on the top:

And then the “attic” – if only I could sit down and sew forever, I might be able to move some of the madness from the top of the armoire to the inside…

Up here are my patterns in new pattern boxes, serger thread, dress forms and whatever miscellaneous I didn’t know what to do with. It looks chaotic, but it will have to work for now.

At first I was crazy overwhelmed – losing my sewing room, having to condense it all to a corner in our bedroom, not knowing where on earth I was going to put it all…but I do enjoy having the big window just above my sewing machine for that wonderful natural light. Something I have also been surprised by is how much I like having a space I have to clean up after each sewing session. I can’t just shut the door and let it pile up – we have to sleep in our bed that night and my husband has to be able to get to his side (this is on his side of the room). So so far, it’s been a good thing. Plus, well…I’ll let this picture say it all. <3

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I should never have cleaned…

Generously enough, the little man has passed on his head cold to me. And boy, is it fun! (not) After taking the day off from all things sewing (except for a few rows of knitting) on Saturday, my type-A personality forced me into the sewing room Sunday afternoon to finish the buttons/buttonholes on lil T’s Woody costume. Then I put it all together to snap a few pre-wearing photos.

I couldn’t be more excited! On the boots front, we tried to get him to try them on, but he acted as though we were attempting to murder him. So, as I’ve heard from other moms to do, I just set them out near his room for him to “discover” on his own. Everything’s always better we think it’s our own idea, right? So last night he found his Woody hat and then determined that (of course) he had to have some boots! He went and grabbed them and asked us to help him put them on and then walked around the house with them on for quite a while. Here are some pictures I snapped on my iPhone (hence, they’re a little fuzzy):

Boots!

He even greeted me with them on when I came out of the bathroom from my shower this morning. haha. So I’m hoping that means he’ll be okay with wearing them on the 31st. Thanks to Mary for lending us your well-loved boots.

After I finished his costume, I got a wild hair to clean up my sewing room and inventory my projects (which I should not have done while sick – I’m paying for it today!). I even created these cute little project sheets with this thought in mind…A list is not “editable” enough for me. If you mark on it or try to rearrange items on your list, it gets ugly and you have to write a new one (ok, maybe it’s just me). With the sheets, I can take them down, rearrange them, get rid of a project or two along the way or *gasp* add to the list while still keeping it pretty. So – I filled out these forms for each project, punched a hole in the top, placed them in an order somewhat relating to how I’d like to finish them and ran a book ring through them. I hung it on the pole that comes up from my industrial sewing machine table and then had another thought. “Gosh, I could not buy anything for a year!” Stay with me here, I know this is drastic but I’ve seen many Self Stitch September participants carry on after the month ended with the same thought. So here’s what I’d like to do:

  • Buy no more sewing projects until I finish what I have.
  • Reward said non-purchasing of sewing projects with small, achievable knitting projects so long as I finish as I go and do not stash up on yarn. See, people I know who go on successful diets give themselves “no-rules weekends” or treats for successes so I feel this might be the key to keep me on the wagon, so to say.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to forecast this going perfectly, but my main goal is to destash, finally finish some projects I’ve intended to do for a long time, and clear out some space for that inspiration I’m looking for (see my home page for explanation). See you soon!