Mojo Monday—Feb 4

(Oops. I meant to schedule this for posting Monday morning but I accidentally clicked "save and publish" rather than "schedule." Sorry!)

My goals for last week were:

  1. Finish piecing low-volume quilt.
  2. Finish cutting fabric for scraps.

I’m at a solid 50% for this week, but I threw in an extra so I’m not sure what grade that would give me.

I got all the blocks done for the 9-Patch Pizazz (aka “low-volume quilt”), but it’s still on my design wall. I had hoped to get to it this weekend but I had some finishing touches to put on the thesis and every time I got close to being done I found another set of things I needed to double-check. Oi. It got submitted for the second format review on Sunday night, though, so now I don't have to think about it for a few days. The quilt has definitely moved into priority this week as the deadline for gifting it looms!

I did, however, finish cutting all that fabric for scraps. That felt good. My cutting table was completely clean for a few days although, admittedly, they were mostly days I was out of town.

  Getting some cuddles from my newest great-niece! 

Getting some cuddles from my newest great-niece! 

I was gone Wednesday through late Friday night. Saturday we were hosting my family for a very late, semi-Christmas gathering. No gifts, just getting together and playing games. It was all very casual but there was still cleaning to be done and snackies to shop for and lay out. You’ll hear a little more detail on this in another blog post due to another subscription box review I want to share—a fun one!

I had a couple of hours on Saturday morning before we started all the prepping. I went into my sewing room/office intending to just lazily browse through my jelly roll books and start thinking about what quilt I might want to start when I get these February-marked quilts done. But then I got looking at my bookshelves and suddenly had a rush of energy to deal with them. I pulled every book off my shelf and made myself make some hard decisions: Sure, I like this book in theory, but how long has it been on my shelf? How many times have I passed it over in favor of other projects? How often do I find the information in it on the Internet instead of going through my books to find that one technique or that one helpful tip? Was I hanging onto it for purely sentimental reasons? (I still had a lot of books I’d taken from my Mom’s library after she passed.)  The end result?

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89 books are leaving me.  

89 perfectly good books, with a lot of great inspiration, are going to be taken to my May guild retreat and put in the silent auction.  

89 books will hopefully now provide great inspiration to others who may actually use what’s in there.  

89 books are making the sacrifice to lighten my load, help me feel a lot less guilty about seeing things on my shelves that I don’t actually use.  

Now—before you think that I now have a tiny little library, I'm including a picture of what my quilting bookshelves look like now.  I should’ve taken a before picture. They were crammed full. Not only did I have difficulty seeing what I had, but trying to pull one book off without an avalanche was a trick!

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Clearly, I still have a pretty decent library. But now it reflects things I’m actually doing, books I actually use as reference. For example, I still love the Rodale collection on my top shelf—I got them from my Mom and they’re hard to find nowadays so those will stay with me.

And the bottom shelf of binders? Those were all crammed into my other set of shelves which is mostly office-work related. It feels good to have them where they should be.

I still kept a lot of books I’ve owned for a long time and have never used, but they’re books I SHOULD be using. By cleaning out the stuff I don’t use, the ones I have left are much more prominent and easy to access.

Here’s something I learned from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: Books like these represent mental promises I’ve made to myself. “I love this book! I’m going to make quilts from this book!” When the book then sits on the shelf for years, it becomes a symbol of broken promises. It now brings with it guilt, regret, a sense of obligation...because of those promises I once made to myself, consciously or unconsciously. By being brutally honest with myself and saying, “Great book, but I will NEVER actually make those quilts,” I was able to release myself from a whole lot of mental baggage.

Here’s another something I learned from David Allen: I’d known for a few years I really needed to do a serious de-stashing of my library and my fabric. But I kept thinking, “I should figure out a way to sell all that.” There’s always the sense of feeling less guilty about getting rid of perfectly good stuff if we can get something back of our initial expenditure. The reality is, however, putting into an equation the amount of money I’d actually have made against the amount of time and energy it would take me to make that money...it truly would have ended up in the negative. And it was stopping me from actually taking care of the problem. You have to be realistic about what you can actually do. By figuring all that money spent was so long ago as to no longer really be relevant, I was able to just clean house. My earnings will now be in making other people happy with what they get from me for free. And that’s good enough for me. 

I’m sharing all this with you in case you find any of it helpful in thinking through your own stuff! 

Goals for this week: 

  • Get all those books off my cutting table. Maybe I won’t wait for the May retreat. Maybe I’ll take them to next week’s guild meeting to start getting them out of my house. 
  • Really, truly, finish piecing the 9-Patch Pizzazz. Maybe even get it sandwiched. Wouldn't that be a kick?