Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Organizing My Projects

A long term creative project, such as Miss Abigail's hope chest, requires a certain amount of organization. For example, I typically buy linens for the hope chest way ahead of time on sale or when I find a particular color. I found, early on, that I needed a way to keep track of what I had and what I planned to do with it. Eventually my hope chest planning book came into being and I wrote a little about how I use that in this post. But I am a very visual person. Sometimes it is hard for me to visualize when working from a simple list.

Like many of you, I also keep a pretty nice stash of fabric, yarn, needlework supplies, fabric paint and pens, etc. I have to admit, though, that these items are not always stored very efficiently and I often can't locate something when I'm ready to begin a hope chest project. I have several projects half finished or on hold because I need to get something the next time I go to town. Items for hope chest projects were stored along with my other supplies. Everything has been in a kind of explosion around the house, half finished projects, loads of blank linens.

Some time ago I tried something new to help me be more efficient with my hope chest projects. When I did the "quick hope chest" project a couple of years ago, I found that I loved having all the supplies and instructions for each project together in one spot and ready to go. That was a very efficient way of getting many projects done in a short amount of time. So I thought that I would learn a lesson and, to the extent possible, organize all my pending hope chest projects that way.

I sorted through the kitchen linens in my Rubbermaid tub and I've used ribbon, extra lace trim, or fabric strips to tie these together into the sets that I have planned for in my notebook. Many items in these sets are finished, but they await other projects that are still planned. Now I can readily see what still needs to be done in any one of the sets. For each of the unfinished linens in the stack I have been attaching a sticky note with the idea for the project and any supplies needed. If possible, I've attached supplies as well. You can see skeins of yarn in the stack pictured above. When I'm ready to begin that project I can remove the sticky note and, if necessary, take it town to purchase supplies. This has made a big difference to me. I hope it might help you too. I can more clearly see what still needs to be done and I'm anxious to get these stacks finished and in the hope chest!

P.S. Here is another example of a planned hope chest project. You can see the sticky note and the supplies attached. This project will complete the holiday set for Valentines day. My goal is to get it done so that I can show this completed set by Valentine's Day this year.


  1. The way you bundle things up in a package and tie them with ribbon is so attractive! How do you store the bundles you are working on?

    1. Kiyoko, I keep them in a small free-standing cabinet/cupboard in my sewing room. And, I hate to admit, the current stack just keeps getting moved from the ironing board to the desk to the futon bed to the top of the hope chest, etc. I'm very nearly finished with two sets, so I'm always in and out of them. So they kind of stay open and somewhat still "exploded." But the sets that await me are visually pretty to me and I like to look at them. When I finish a set, I try to sew some kind of bag or envelope to wrap the set in and then the set goes into the hope chest.

  2. How do you know how many sets of the various things are needed? What are the sets you normally make (kitchen towels/washrags, bedroom linens, others?) and what does each set normally consist of?


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