I snuck it in under the wire. It's been quilted all month I just had to bind it. It's 42" square and #3 on my UFO list.
I looked back through my texts to see that I began this journey with Sandra on February 8th. I thought I had been working with her longer. Since that first day she has always had this huge stack of paper to her right. She has an end table there that is stacked pretty high and there was a pile on the floor almost to the same level. Each time I go over there I look at that evil pile to see if it's getting any smaller.
Yesterday that pile struck a nerve. I waited for Sandra to get out of her chair and when she did I immediately sat there and started sorting the pile on the floor. I put things into three categories. Quilting, important papers and other items. I removed the quilting items and put them with the others that she needs to go through. I found a basket full of other reading material under that stack and left it as it was. The stack on the end table is still there and will be addressed when I go over tomorrow. The evil pile will be no more!
I've been working on the guest bedroom for two days now. The first day I cleared the entry into the door. This space is outside the room like a small alcove. I grabbed the first thing inside the room and decided I was done for the day.
Yesterday Sandra's best friend Linda went with me. I grabbed whatever was closest to the door and if it was fabric only I took it to the stash room. All other things I took to the living room where Linda and I sorted with Sandra. I got to the point where all I saw was a sea of fabric in there. The stash room is full. I felt so lost and overwhelmed. I just stopped. I'm at the point where I'm going to have to junk up areas that I had cleared out previously. So frustrating.
My plan is to bring Nate over with me tomorrow. He's going to help me haul everything out of that room so we can clean. The fabric will go to the stash room and more than likely be stacked in front of the door. Everything else I will make a decision on on a case-by-case basis. We are definitely at the point where things have got to start going out the door to make room. I think we are at the saturation point. Let's hope Sandra is ready to start letting go of a lot more.
Meet Mr. Lucky.
I posted a picture of a layout for my 3D bow ties on Facebook and my cousin suggested that I make a swirly pattern. I laid the blocks out as she suggested and showed more pictures. While I was at it I tried another more unified layout. Of course she didn't like her suggested layouts and liked the more unified one.
I'm not sure how many blocks I would need to make a king size. I'm on the fence as to how big I will go.
Linking to Patchworktimes Design Wall Monday.
I have been at Sandra's house every day this week except Tuesday. Today I brought in the big guns. Nick and Nate are kids in our neighborhood that are friends with my kids. They are 21 and 19 respectively. I had a lot of heavy lifting that I wanted to get done in a short period of time so I asked them if they wanted to earn a few bucks. They took all the fabric that she had in her stash outside. They were supposed to vacuum and then stick it all back in there in a way that it would be accessible by an aisle in between. Before they did this Sandra had asked them to pull the tubs of fabric off of her back patio. The way that she talked I thought there were only three big tubs. There were an additional 20 to 30 small tubs. She also had them pull out the tub's that had the quilting magazines in them and she told me she wanted to give those to people at the sit and sew and members of the guild.
They brought all the fabric from the patio out into the backyard and the magazines into the house. I was shocked and overwhelmed at the amount of fabric that she had on the patio and that I was now going to try and get into her house and her stash area. Things got lost in translation and before I knew it the guys were putting everything into the stash room without having cleaned out as I had asked. I had them back up a little bit and rearrange things. We were not able to make the aisle as I had requested but the smaller containers are more accessible and also the boxes and other open items are closer to the front so that I can get to them and get them sorted and stored properly.
Once everything was off the patio and the patio was straightened up the guys came in and helped me with some heavy lifting. Sandra also has a request for them and they took care of those things for her as well. I should've gotten all those magazines out to my car because before I did Sandra was going through them and looking at every one. She promised that she would get through them quickly so that the remainder could get taken out of the house quickly. In all fairness she did manage to pull out quite a few and send those with me before I left.
A recurring topic of discussion for Sandra is her desire to have her living room looking more presentable so that when she has company people don't have to look over the stuff that is stacked on top of the card table. While the guys were working so hard to get the patio straightened out and the fabric moved around I was inside getting that table cleared off. I managed to get the table taken down and the guys put it out on the patio for Sandra. There were a lot of lids for missing containers and empty containers with no lids. I left them there so that when their mate shows up I will be able to find it. Her son-in-law is the executor of her will and always comments about her home and its contents. I was mainly getting that task accomplished for both their sake so that he could see that she was making progress. The living room will continue to be our sorting location but it will look less disastrous now.
What the two guys and I accomplished today in 2 and a half hours would have taken me weeks to do alone. Sandra paid them for their time and I'm very appreciative of them and let them know that.
There is one room that remains that I have not gotten into yet. It is her guestroom and was previously her daughters room. I'm not sure what all is in there but I have to get through the door first. I'm planning to go over there while my boyfriend watches NASCAR tomorrow and begin that process.
I have now been to Sandras about seven times with each visit lasting between 2 to 3 1/2 hours. We know that we've made good progress but to anyone else they would not be able to see it. While that is very disappointing she is very motivated to keep going.
I don't want to take away from the people that have helped her in the past. I had one person come up and speak to me yesterday and tell me what she dealt with to help Sandra. There was quite a mess and she did clean up a lot of trash so that I did have a better environment to work in than what I would have if she had not helped. Those helps were quick and dirty and very short term to help Sandra get back into her home after her rehab. But now we're going for the long-term goal of getting through everything and trying to really clean up the clutter. It didn't get like this in a day and it won't get better in a day either.
On my last visit I managed to get her hallway totally cleaned out except for her decorative tissue box. It sits on a pedestal. I teased her that we would have to put a spotlight on that to highlight it. It makes me laugh every time I encounter a tissue box. I think there's at least one in every room, sometimes two. I'm thankful for those because I find myself with a drippy runny nose from dust. It took me two or three visits to clear the hallway with one visit focusing on getting everything to one side of the hall so that there was less of a trip hazard. She proudly exclaimed that she felt like she was in a hotel with her wide open hallway. That made me smile.
On one visit I managed to clear out the clutter from in front of both of her bedroom closet's. There's no telling the last time she was able to get in there to hang up her clothes. But now that she can get in there she has been hanging her things up. We just need to sort her clothes out and get her to let go of some of the things that she no longer wears to make room for everything. Her closets are full with other things as well both at the top and the bottom but I'm not going to worry about those right now. I'm currently excavating the pile of things on the floor at the foot of her bed so that she can get to her dresser and put things away properly. When I was last there she and I agreed that we really need to focus on finishing one room and that her bedroom was the most doable. We are going to focus on that room before digging deeper into some of the other rooms. Last time I was there I left a few things stacked on her bed in hopes that she would work on it when I wasn't there. She said she was not able to get through everything so she just climbed in bed with the stacks. I really did not want to do that to her so I may have to rethink that strategy. I saw her last night at the quilt guild meeting and she was proudly wearing a pair of the pants that I had found. She's been hanging her things up instead of hanging them on doors around the house. I can really see the difference. She told me that she's trying to develop good habits to keep our good work in evidence.
On other visits I managed to get the doorway opened up to both her long arm room and her sewing room. It's just a goat path for now but at least we can get in there when it's time to work on those rooms. I am putting things in there as she directs me and if I have space for it.
I've tried to work on the kitchen a little bit more since the second visit. She stages a lot of things in there to go out to storage or to trash. I can see that things are piling up a little bit and I just think that's an indication of not having a place to put things. I'll have to pick at it here and there as we go to try and keep it from getting really piled up like it was before.
I was supposed to go over there today but she asked me to wait because the stacks of paper have really piled up that she needs to sort through and she wants to try and get ahead of me. I may still go over there and work on areas where there is no paper to try and keep making progress and give her a little company.
Her cat Mr. Lucky is 16 years old. He has not been too happy with me in the house moving things around. Every time I go into her bedroom he gives me a hateful glare and has even growled at me. He's always begging for Sandra's attention but from what I've heard that's a normal thing. Sandra has said that he's a little bit more unsettled than usual. I really don't have a lot of cat experience but I know that he's a little hard of hearing and probably has a vision problem. I'm moving his landmarks which is probably making him upset. I'll keep trying to make friends with Mr. Lucky.
So that's the update. I've been chauffeuring her donation pile in my car and will be dropping it off today. I'll update you as we accomplish our milestones. If you're curious feel free to ask. I'll pass your well wishes on to Sandra in her endeavors.
Let me tell you a little bit more about Sandra. She lost her husband about 15 years ago. Not long after that she lost her daughter to cancer. Each of these times she has used shopping as her therapy. Then fast forward to two years ago when her her son contracted cancer. He fought it with the usual radiation and chemo and then also had to experience some pretty terrible surgeries.
About one year ago Sandra fell in her backyard. She landed on her head when she lost balance trying to take trash out to the curb. She broke two vertebrae in her neck. She managed to get up, get into the house, and call 911. Amazingly she did not experience any paralysis but had to go through rehab for many months. When it was time for her to come home friends came over to clean. They threw away a lot of things and also bagged up a lot of things and then just tossed them into any open room. It was at this time that I heard her talking about not being able to find anything and about the help that she had received. I think this explains why I needed to gain her trust before she would allow me to come to her home. Sadly her son lost his battle with cancer after she returned home. The shopping therapy continued.
When I was with Sandra the first day we talked about her goals. She simply wanted her living room to be presentable. I explained to her that that was the area where we would be sorting things and that it would be pretty hard to do at first. I told her that I wanted to be sure that whenever I left I had tidied up the area so there would be no trip hazards from our work of the day.
On my return for the second visit Sandra greeted me at the door and announced to me that I had chosen what we worked on the first day so now it was her turn. She wanted to clean off her kitchen table and pull a chair out from behind it that someone had put there while cleaning last year.
The table was not totally clear but it was down to a single layer and I managed to categorize things for her so that she could put them away as she went along.
One of my main concerns after leaving the first day was that she would not work on anything and simply would wait for me to return to continue with decluttering. I was very pleased to see that she had been working and had bagged up quite a bit of trash and also had a small stack of items that could be given away. It appeared that she had the concept of goalsetting down now and I expected her to continue with that with each visit.
It was during this visit that I discovered that there was another bedroom that I was not aware of. I looked into that room after I figured out where the light was and felt overwhelmed. I knew this was a room that would have to be addressed later on because to get into the door is going to take a while.
Sandra had made lunch for me on the first day and this day as well. She made the same thing on both days. It was chicken salad and cinnamon raisin bread with grapes. She served Doritos with it. When I saw her putting it together I was worried about what it was going to taste like. Surprisingly it was pretty good. I told one of my friends about it and she made the same face that I had made internally in my head.
This visit was a little shorter than the first one and we agreed to meet again the following week. My next reports will combine many of the days that I have spent with her as all those times are starting to merge together as one in my memory.
Until next time.
I have an 81 year old friend named Sandra. I have known her for many years but have learned a lot about her more recently. I've heard her talk about how she can't do anything because she has so much stuff. You see, Sandra is a self proclaimed hoarder.
I offered to help her for many months. She declined all my offers. Separately she had told stories of others helping her in the past. Mostly throwing things away without regard to her feelings or just throwing them into one of the spare bedrooms making them totally inaccessible.
At some point she stopped saying no and started saying things like oh my house is a mess I need to clean it up first. She even asked me why I wanted to help her fearing I wanted to take her treasured fabric. I told her I had similar issues of too much stuff in the past and wanted to share what I had learned and to help her be able to get back to her sewing machine. I finally said I wanted to come visit her, not her house. She agreed to my visit.
I arrived on the appointed day. She greeted me at the door and let me in. I had no idea what to expect but had heard talk.
The entry was very inviting. No clutter. I could not tell she had a cat as there was no litter box odor. I stepped into her living room and saw two card tables stacked with stuff. There were things piled underneath as well. She had totebags around her full of paper and who knows what.
I took a seat across from her in the only other open chair. We talked a little and I told her my history of too much stuff. She shared her story and basically told me that shopping for fabric was her therapy. It was the only thing that made her feel good. I told her she was probably going to have to let go of some things to be able to make headway. She teared up and nodded her understanding. I told her it was an option that I not help her. She paused and then asked where I wanted to start.
i asked her if I could take a peek through her house to see what I was dealing with. There were things stacked along both sides of the hallway. The kitchen table was piled high. Her sewing room door was piled with stuff. The guest bathroom was clean and free of clutter. Her bed was clear but things were stacked at the foot and the far side. Both of her closets were blocked by piles of stuff. She uses her master bath for storage and things are piled along the walls. The entry into the bathroom was blocked.
I went back to my seat in the living room. She asked me where I wanted to start and I suggested her clothes because that seems to be something with less emotional attachment. She made many excuses. I reminded her I didn't have to do anything but she wanted my help.
I went and sat on the floor in front of her chair. I just started dumping bags on the floor dealing with the contents as we went. There were a lot of papers only she could deal with and I put them in her stacks. I sorted things into other categories using boxes and bags she had under the table. Grouping like items will allow us to deal with them as a whole later on. After a few hours we had a few bags of trash and a small giveaway pile.
I left after we setup our next meeting. I took the bags of trash and giveaway items not knowing if she would go through them and retrieve items. It will be a long road but I think I can make a difference.
To be continued...
I've been working all week on a BOM that I participated in at my LQS last year. I'm generally not a fan of them but this one really caught my attention. I think I managed to do last year was to cut a few pieces but I never started sewing on it. This week I cut out and pieced 12 3 inch finished churn dash blocks. I have assembled those into the center section of the quilts and I'm ready to start adding the rest of the borders.
It is not pressed in this picture but it has been since then and looks really good. I can't wait to get this quilt finished.
Last year I bought several UFOs from an estate sale of one of our guild members. One of them was a red and white 3-D bowtie quilt. There were about 80 blocks complete and another 25 or so that were partially assembled. I finished sewing those together and begin playing with a layout. I welcome any suggestions for other possible layouts.
I'm linking with WIPs be gone. I've never linked with them before and I'm hoping I'll learn what their mission is. It would seem to me its to finish quilts.
What's a flimsy? An unquilted top.
I've been piecing this quilt almost exclusively since December 1st. At first I was pushing,almost forcing, myself to keep going. Once I got the blocks done I said I was going to take a break from it. Next thing I knew I was making the border blocks and assembling those borders. I attached the borders today.
I took this class from Bonnie Hunter at Fabric Fanatics in Plano Texas at New Year's 2014. My mother had passed away seven months previous to this. When the fabric requirement email came out I decided I was going to make this quilt from my mothers stash. Everything except the black and orange batik came from her fabric. It include Christmas, pumpkins, batiks and Civil War plus many brights.
it was fun to sew with my mother again in a way. Can you believe this is mostly from her small pieces and scraps?
I'm linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday!
I did not get my January goal completed. It's sitting on the frame and was just too much for me to handle. The quilting plan was a little more complex than I expected but I plan to get back to it this month and try and get it finished up.
This month I'm going to tackle something a little bit more doable since it's a short month. I had quilted this last month and never got around to binding it so my goal for February is to put the binding on my Hugs and Kisses by Dorothy Young of a pocket full of mysteries. The binding is even already made. There is no excuse!
I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts.