Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Basement Part 2

Over the weekend I've been very busy in the basement as we now have less than 2 weeks until men arrive to frame it.  Arghh.  Will I get everything out in time?  Things are even tighter because I've set myself the 'goal of the month' with Elm Street Quilts of finishing a quilt top and that is due very soon.

Today's offering comes in the form of 3 lists.  First is the donate list, all packed up and delivered to the Salvation Army Thrift Store

  • Set of green plastics in-trays
  • 2 framed Dali prints
  • Cranberry glass bonbon dish
  • 2 small picture frames
  • 1 pair curtains
  • 6 pillow covers, not used since 2005
  • dog lead, found in the garage when we moved in and doesn't fit the kids
  • Ornamental toy car
  • Plastic bag of clothes
  • Shelf with coat hooks under it
  • Brush and shovel set for hearth
  • Assorted Christmas ornaments and lights
  • Coffee machine
  • Miscellaneous plastic toys from McDonalds

This list went out to the curb on garbage day.

  • Broken iron
  • Broken kettle
  • Broken mason jar, broken since 2015
  • Suit case with broken handle
  • Half a pound of party balloons

And this lot has been packed into a big plastic box for a yard sale in the spring.

  • 4 Christmas side plates
  • 3 glass vases
  • Set of 6 wine glasses
  • 5 glass ramekins (kept 14 which is still pretty excessive)
  • 4 matching mugs
  • 2 cup and saucer sets
  • 2 antique cups
  • Assorted coasters with cats on
  • 'Fashionable Coasters' 20 of them in a now very rusty tin

I also found these items and couldn't bring myself to bin them.
You just never know when a moustache might come in handy, especially an edible one.

Friday, 16 November 2018


This week I've been a bit under the weather so I decided to tackle an easy one and went through my collection of notions.  They live in a set of plastic drawers with labels on the front, for easy organisation and access (theoretically), and contain mostly useful items such as zippers, elastics, snap fasteners, pinking shears and grommets (the round fixings not the dog).

It would seem that my worst hoarding problem in this section is tiny pieces of pretty ribbon.  I had (notice the past tense there) loads and loads collected from all sorts of places but most notably:

  1. Little tiny pieces from the cinched in bits of Christmas crackers
  2. Long skinny bits that are sewn into the underarms of tops to stop them falling off coat hangers
They have not proved to be useful so they have now gone.

This is a list of items that I have kept and I think I will give myself a time frame (lets call it 6 months from now, 16 May 2019) in which to use them up or bin them.
  1. Assorted bias tape
  2. Spare snap fastenings from old clothes
  3. Rick rack trimming
  4. Pom pom trimming
I might use the bias tape to make some festive scrappy bunting but need ideas for the rest of the stuff please.

These are the best 2 Items I found.  The first I inherited, it made me laugh back then and I marvelled at why anyone would keep a collection of these.  Guess what? 6 years later I've still got them.
In case anyone's wondering they are free sewing kits from hotels, and you know what? I still can't bring myself to get rid of them.

Next are these name tags, they must be 40 years old, I've not had to sew a label into anything since I left high school and my name hasn't been Kirstin Miller for the past 14 years so I'm sorry labels, you're out!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Memory Boxes

Last week when my contractor suggested December 3rd as a start date for our reno's I panicked and spent a while flinging things at random into boxes in the basement.  After some deep breathing and a coffee it occurred to me that wasn't the best approach so I went through the kids memory boxes instead.  That took a while because some of the stuff was pretty cute, I particularly like the things they write about us on Mother's and Father's Days.  According to Rose I am a chef and a chauffeur, and my favourite thing to do is watch Downton Abbey.  Oh dear, so much for 2 degrees.

I threw quite a bit of stuff out because I couldn't remember why I'd kept it, but I also kept some pretty ridiculous things.  For instance I have all of their school reports from age 4 onward.  Maybe the time will come where you have to present a full education portfolio to get into University and my children will get into Oxbridge, Harvard or similar as a direct result of my hoarding.  Ha!  I'm sure I'm not alone in this kind of hoarding but it would be good to know that for sure.

I have kept a few of the kids tiny clothes, like Rose's teeny, sparkly dance shorts that she would still be wearing now if I'd let her, but I think these might be my favourites, Jacob's first pair of shoes.  How did he get so grown up?

Friday, 9 November 2018


This week I have had some news which has put rather a rocket under the clearing out project.  We are having some home improvements done, did I mention this in any posts yet? I can't remember.  Anyway, it's been a bit of a trial but I finally found someone who can do the work and he can start rather sooner than I anticipated.  I need to completely clear the garage and basement by December 3rd.  Gulp.

On Wednesday I cleared out and bagged up 169 books.  I have found this a bit hard because I do like books, but if I'm being really objective there are a lot of them in the house that will never, ever be read again.  For instance, textbooks from my first degree, I graduated in 1995 and haven't opened them since so I think it's probably safe to let them go.

I've also had the kids go through some of theirs.  Jacob has been very good and decided to donate almost everything he owns, all he seems to have left is 'The Game Maker's Apprentice', which is so old and dog-eared he can barely read it and 'Calculus for Dummies'.  How did I create such a nerd?

Tom has also done his bit and thinks he can live without such riveting reads as 'Exploring Corporate Strategy' and 'Affiliate Program Management - an hour a day'.  I fear he went though hell to get his MBA.

Rose is going through a big reading phase at the moment and finds parting with her possessions difficult so we put the stuff she doesn't read in a box and I'll take it away when she's forgotten about it.

We still have quite a few books but I feel that a house isn't a home without at least a few.  I went through the house and estimate around 250 remain.  Some more can go if I can figure out e-readers and how to own or borrow e-books.  If anybody reads this and has any observations on that I would be very interested to hear from you.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Beginning the Basement

I was considering not putting pen to paper today, I've been slowly getting on with all the sorting and throwing out but none of it has been either monumental or exciting.  Still, I committed to posting on Tuesdays and Fridays so I shall note down briefly what has been done.

I finished sorting through my magazines and after much deliberation and typing out of vital recipes I have thrown 43 out.  All I have left are...

  • 5 Christmas issues with lots of great recipes that I will definitely make, honest
  • 1 Vogue knitting magazine
  • 2 gardening magazines
  • 1 Halloween edition with good pumpkin carvings
  • 8 Vogue patterns magazines
  • 1 quilting magazine with some really good scrappy patterns
I've not actually got rid of the rest yet, they are far too heavy to put out in the recycling all at once, also Rose and I have been using them as a step for her to practice kick overs off.

Yesterday I sorted out the non-sewing/knitting craft stuff in the basement.  I have rid the house of a large bag full of...
  • Unfinished craft kits
  • Multicoloured feathers
  • Opened bags of sequins
  • Dried up glue
  • Hundred year old fabric paint
  • Miniature pompoms
  • Tiny bits of paper
  • Pencils whose lead snaps when you sharpen them
  • Dried up markers
  • Tiny, grubby used erasers
And much more stuff too numerous to mention.  In order to quantify it and get it into Tally Ho! I decided to weigh it, 2.247 kg of rubbish plus some recycled paper and card and a box of wooden beads far to 'childish' (her word) for Rose now she has reached the grand old age of 10.

I found a couple of little gems while I was looking through stuff, here is a tiny piece of art that my sister sent me when I was at University.  It is about the size of my hand.

And here is a postcard my Dad sent me from Norway.  I wonder what happened to his favourite green cord cap?  I do hope it had a happy second life out there.

Friday, 2 November 2018

One Finished Top and a UFO Inventory

If you read any other posts on this blog you will notice that there isn't a whole lot of sewing going on.  This is because Mrs Parker's Blog is a motivational exercise for me as I try to clear out my house.  So far it's working quite well.  I post twice a week; on Tuesdays and Fridays and for each post I must have cleared out and organised something (be it big or small) in my house.

Today's organisational challenge is my big box of UFOs.  I have decided to get them all out, post them here and set myself a time limit for finishing them, so here goes.

Here is a top I finished around 5 years ago and this is my Finish it up Friday.  It's made from a batik jelly roll I bought because I loved the earthiness of the colour pallet and is supposed to be a sort of abstract representation of satellite images of Southern Ontario that you can see on Google Maps, the black lines are roads, small green blocks are wood lots and the strips are fields.

The reason I never got further than this (apart from laziness and lack of staying power) is that I couldn't decide whether to put a border round it or not.  I had the idea to use a mitred border to almost make it look like a framed map on a wall, I even made the fabric pieces for the frame.  If I do that it will look something like this...

So what do you think?  I am still really not sure what would look best and would be very grateful for any feedback.

My next UFO is actually leftovers from another quilt, you can see the original one in this post from The Parkers Abroad.  It is based on Elizabeth Hartman's Xylophone quilt pattern in her book A Modern Patchwork.  I totally over estimated the fabric I would need for my xylophones and ended up with all these strips to use up.  I'm pretty happy with them and I love the happy yellows but I've not found a background I like yet.

Third is this scrap quilt I started for my nephews, I'd better get on with it or they will receive it when they're teenagers and not be impressed.  The train blocks were designed all over the floor by Jacob and Rose one day when I left my scrap box out.  This quilt is my One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts, my goal is to finish the top by the end of November.

And finally, this is my most recently started quilt, I blogged about it here.  It is also inspired by an Elizabeth Hartman design, Bird Bath, from A Practical Guide to Patchwork.

So now I just have to get on with finishing them all up.  I am going to see if I can motivate myself to finish some aspect ready for Finish it up Friday each month.  My aim for November is to have the scrap quilt top done.  If my 'proper' sewing machine is back from its spa break I would like to have the whole thing completed so I can post it off to England in time for Christmas but that might be a little ambitious.

So now I'm all done I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts , Can I get a Whoop Whoop and One Monthly Goal then I'd better get sewing!

Tuesday, 30 October 2018


Yesterday I decided to go through my embarrassingly tall stack of old magazines.  I decided to do this because we need to clear out the basement to get it framed out and because I thought it was a quick and easy cop out job.  It would seem that I was wrong and as a result this is a post about a job half done.

So far I have corralled all the magazines in the house.  I'm afraid the total comes to 61.  I think the oldest is a BBC Good Food magazine from 2000, you can tell how old it is by the picture of shaggy haired, teenage Jamie Oliver on the front.  I thought I could take a quick flick through them all and be done with it in an hour.  What a fool I was, I am not the proud owner of 61 magazines for nothing.  The moment I open them I am transported into dreams of all the perfect lifestyles portrayed on their shiny pages and I just can't let them go.

Anyway, after 2 days of sitting around reading I'm nearly done.  I have a big pile ready to go, 8 more to look through and carpal tunnel syndrome from typing out vital recipes that I might not be able to live without.  Actually, I did come across a nice sounding spinach and feta filo pie which I might do Gary for Christmas so it's not all been a waste of time.

So in the absence of any proper clear out news here is a picture of Rose in her full witches regalia ready for Halloween.