De-Clutter: One project done

Finally I can report on a project finished. I, apparently, work better on a deadline. Tomorrow is a baby shower for a girl who grew up across the street from us. I made one of my signature flannel blankets and I think it turned out pretty well. There were some issues with the bobbin and the tension on the first side, but after I had it adjusted correctly everything went pretty well. The biggest thing with this “pattern” is to be sure to press the seams. Basically you purchase to swatches of flannel. I used to get 1 yard of each usually a pattern and a matching solid. This time I took 1 and 1/4 yards because that makes the blanket more of a square. Also I was not happy with the solid colors that would match and chose a polka dot for the backside. I am really pleased with the result. I think that I will use polka dots or strips in the future rather than solid.

So, why did I put this under the title of de-clutter? Yesterday I spent the better part of the day trying to organize on paper this mess in my room. I finally came to the conclusion that this stuff is not leaving because I am not willing to let go of it in its present state. In other words, I am not willing to throw out my yard or my material or any of the other things that I have piled up. But, on the other hand, if I can turn them into something useful then I can let them go. So, this material is now a baby blanket and well, maybe I will get started on a few other things. I did drag out the stencils this morning when the iron was hot and stamped a couple of dish towels to embroider. That puts about five in the bag and three more to stamp. I need to put a deadline on them and maybe I can get them out of here too. Eventually I will have this place cleaned out.

Let’s see, perhaps a goal of reducing the piles by 10 percent each month might be a reasonable goal. I read a pin this past week that makes the most sense of any clutter free/organizing post I have ever seen. It wasn’t so much about how to throw things out as it was about not bringing more clutter into the mix. I think that is where I need to start. Nothing new until 10 things have been removed. So, the baby blanket you see on top of this post is item 1. Now I only have 9 more to go. Now if I can follow that rule for my craft items, I better do the same for my house plants. I really want to reduce those for this winter. Hmmm what about the canned items?

Make something: 3 examples.

Two posts ago I wrote about my philosophy about frugal living. Item #4 was learn to do it yourself and one example that I listed was sewing. Today I want to share a few projects that I have been working on recently. The first one is one of the Christmas presents that I made for my middle daughter. I should probably wait to post this since we have still not met to exchange gifts this year. With the weather and time factors, it just has not worked out this year. Oh well such is life.

cloth napkins

cloth napkins

Ok, so item 1 is cloth napkins. I love this idea because it is simple, it saves money because you no longer have to purchase napkins or use paper towels, which really gets spendy, and in this case, I was able to use up some material that was already in my possession. Many years ago while the older girls were in 4-H, we purchased 1 yard each of several different pieces of cotton material to be used for small projects such as make up bags. Anyway, I took two of the left over pieces and divided them into squares of about 11 by 11 inches. Not all worked out exactly that size, but that was the goal. I ended up with 13 of one color and 9 of the other. After they were cut and squared up, I folded the edges over by about 1/4 an inch and zig zagged around them. The one pictured above shows what they look like. On this one I only sewed around 3 edges because the 4th edge was the selvage. I didn’t trim it because it saved time and length to keep it. I tried to simply zig zag without folding on a couple, but they did not turn out so well. After a washing and a trimming of any stray thread, I ironed and folded them up and placed them in an empty candy box as the gift wrap. Hopefully she will enjoy them.

Blanket for Twin B, I already gave Jessica and Tony the blanket for Twin A, that one has a brown back.

Blanket for Twin B, I already gave Jessica and Tony the blanket for Twin A, that one has a brown back.

Project 2 is the second of the baby blankets that I sewed for the twins. This is such a simple project though not exactly a recycle or super frugal, though it is fairly inexpensive. I simple purchase flannel in 1 yard lengths. I normally choose one as a print and the other a matching solid color. The flannel is usually a 44/45 inches wide fabric, so when paired with only one yard, you start with a 44 by 36 inch rectangle. I had not really thought of it until this last time when I was having it cut, the lady in the shop told me that I couldn’t possibly be making a baby blanket because the dimensions were all wrong. I guess I am supposed to purchase 1 and 1/4 of a yard. I told her that 1 yard matches with 1 yard and that is all I have ever done.

Notch the corner.

Notch the corner.

Poking out the corners

Poking out the corners

So this is a pretty easy pattern. Lay the print fabric face up and the solid face down on top of the print matching the sides and corners as best as you can. Trim if necessary and sew around, but be sure to leave an opening on one side so you can turn it inside out. One of the things I learned early on with sewing is that stopping to iron at certain phases is almost as important as the actual sewing. For these blankets to have a nice edge it is important to iron the edges open. This is not really easy once all sides have been sewn, but to iron the seams open is helpful. Before you turn it is also important to trim the corners by cutting a V so there is enough room for the material when you make the turn. I use the point of the scissors to push the corner out. It is important to push firmly, but not hard enough to poke through. After I have the blanket turned, I zig zag around the entire blanket. I did not get a good picture of this blanket, but below is a picture of one I did a few weeks ago.

Finished blanket

Finished blanket

Project three is … well something that I will have to share at a later date. I haven’t revealed it to the intended yet, and I want them to see it before the rest of the world. It isn’t much, but just another little item that can be made up fairly quickly in exactly the same way was the baby blanket but with much different intent. Ok, enough said. Hope you have enjoyed this idea of how to make something for someone, and especially how to use up some of your left over cotton material to save a little money. I have always thought cloth napkins are a great way to save some cash and the environment. Not only does it keep the paper napkins out of the land fills, but it puts out less demand for paper product.

So, what have you done yourself that will save you in a couple of ways???


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