Finished Objects


     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets can be found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in packs, as described in
this blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available in multiple sizes,
choose the size you want in the drop down menu box.

     Have you ever wondered just how many beautiful, handcrafted treasures you have made for family, friends and yourself?  I used to wonder that, too, until I started keeping a record of every sewing project I complete.  Let me tell you why I started doing that, and maybe you'll want to do so, as well.
     Thirteen years ago, I learned that the fabric store at which I worked would soon be closing.  In the hectic few weeks while we cleared the store out, I had very little time to myself for my hobby.  I thought of things I wanted to sew and told myself I would do them "when I'm not working...." and "once I have time...."  I was worried that I would continue to procrastinate but wanted to believe that I would, in fact, find more time to sew.
     I decided to keep a written record of all my finished projects, hoping that this list would help me see how much I was accomplishing.  I started by keeping a handwritten list, noting the description and recipient for each item.  I now use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which lets me add new columns for information and automatically calculates totals for me.  You can view my model spreadsheet here.

     Another thing that motivates me to complete projects is the simple act of starting them.  In recent years I discovered that I DON'T like having un-finished objects (UFOs) in my to-do pile.  Once I start a sewing project I want to finish it within a few days.  My personal preference is to have only a single project started at a time.  Any project I am working on calls me to finish it, if only so I can start another!   

     The best way I have found to get myself started is to spend at least a short period of time in my sewing room most mornings before proceeding to other household tasks.  This is in part due to the way the light hits my cutting table in the morning, and in part because my energy level is at its peak early in the day.  If another time of day fits your routine better, by all means enjoy your sewing then!

     A good way for me to start is by clearing my cutting and sewing tables, putting away scraps of fabric, notions, and recently-used embroidery threads.  Sometimes I locate fabric for a new project and just spread it out in preparation for the next day, while at other times I actually start the embroidery or cutting for my project.  Any of these is enough to put me in the mood to create.

two eyeglass cases in progress

     This past Tuesday morning I entered my sewing room with every intention of finishing two eyeglass cases for a friend.  I had embroidered on them a few days earlier and was looking forward to completing these projects, but found that I didn't have the zippers that I needed.  I cut out the linings, fusible fleece and embroidered outer fabric, and fused the fleece to the embroidered fabric.  When the zippers I ordered arrive I will be able to get right to work on the eyeglass cases.  (See my Zip-Around Eyeglass Case blog for the instructions for this project.  I embroidered "RBH" with Pinstripes Vertical alphabet and "Jan" with Contour Script 75 alphabet.)
     I hope my record-keeping idea will help you to increase your productivity.  The new year offers a fresh start and a good time to start a new plan for a creative 2009.  Happy New Year!

Comments (3) -

What a great idea. I started keeping digital photos of everything I did.

I started crafting when my kids were small, I did fabric painting and made my kids some clothes, especially the girls dance dresses. I did not keep any records of any of these things, just looking at old photos and saying...."I remember making that"

Then I started beading and the digital era was upon us. I took photos of most things I had made. As time passes and I look upon some of those photos, i say..."I made that???"

Now that I have the grandkids and friends and other family members, I take photos, and have a folder called "my projects" I took a quilting class and the instructor showed me her book and I loved the idea. She took pictures of her finished project, wrote on a 3x5 card how long it took her, the approximate cost and who she gave it to. Then she took scraps of all the fabric in that project and placed all of these in a scrap book. One page per project only. She said you cannot always tell what the fabric  really looks like from a far off picture.

I love your idea of the spread sheet., I can add this to the front of the scrap book. It sure saves time in counting the pages in the scrap books. Not that I have lots of pages yet, but who knows?

Thanks for the information and a copy of your spread sheet.

cme    8^)

This spreadsheet is a great idea!  I know that sometimes I look for something, not realizing that I had found a good home for it!

Thanks for the idea!

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

CME and Pat,

I'm glad you like the idea of the spreadsheet.  I have digital photos of almost everything I made since I first bought a digital camera.  It's wonderful to know instantly that we do indeed have the picture rather than having to wait to develop a roll of film.

I haven't yet given something away without remembering I did so, but can see it happening.  Most of the gifts I gave were made with the recipient in mind, since personalization is sort of my "thing."  I did give a caddy to a friend who admired it, so I could indeed forget.

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