What is all this stuff and how did it get into my house?

We’re trying to pare down here at the old homestead. I have no idea where all this stuff came from but it’s gotta go! Okay, I know where it came from . . . . Live in the same house for 47 years and stuff piles up. Plus, Bill has a habit that I’ve heard that a lot of men have: Something is broken, like a toaster oven. It costs more to fix it than to buy a new one, so we buy a new one. I put the old one out for trash pickup. Some time later I notice that the broken item is sitting on a shelf or on a pile of boxes in the garage. I ask Bill why he took it out of the trash. You all already know the answer: I might need it for parts. Well, the mortuary for broken small appliances is going to be sitting on the curb this Thursday, our weekly large item haul away day. Usually we put large items out on Wednesday night and they’re often gone by Thursday morning. Someone else’s husband has taken then home “for parts” I imagine.

Anyway, all that was by way of saying that I did two things this week for the first time and I may be hooked. First, Bill and I went to IKEA looking for a television stand so we can bring the television in the garage into the house, where it will replace the smaller one in the living room that will replace the even smaller one in the den that will replace the really little one in the bedroom which will hopefully go at an upcoming garage sale. Oh, I could do a lot of damage at IKEA and probably will once the economy turns around. How could I have waited so long to enter those hallowed blue and yellow doors?

The second thing I did for the first time was to look at and then buy something from craigslist. I wanted a normal size roll top desk to replace the door slung across two filing cabinets that has been Bill’s desk and refuge these many years. He doesn’t need that much space to pay a few bills and keep our financial records on a yellow legal pad. (I know; I know. Bill just refuses to be pulled into the 21st century.) But, because he has so much space, including all that space under the “desk” he’s managed to fill it up. We’re trying to pare down, remember?  When my mother moved from her house to a retirement apartment in Tallahassee she would have gladly given us her roll top desk, but it was too wide for the space we have. I needed a desk 48” wide or less. Standard roll top desks are 53”. I looked online and 48” roll top desks are readily available, costing upwards of $1,000. Not gonna happen. Then I remembered that our DD has been selling things on craigslist so I took a look. Sure enough, there were several roll top desks, including one that came with a matching wood chair for $200. Bill and I drove over to take a look at it, paid for it and arranged for our DS to pick it up with his trailer. I’m not looking for anything else to buy on Craig’s List, but I have a whole lot of that I can be selling there, such as the entertainment center that the new IKEA television stand will be replacing.

I have no idea whether or not any of that was interesting to any of y’all, but it comprised the highlights of my week, which tells you a lot more about me than I should probably be telling you. The highlight of the last week in March will be our 2nd Annual Community Circle here in Orlando and I can hardly wait for that. We had SO much fun last year and this year will be more than twice as good. More about that coming up.

Also in March we will all be celebrating my mother’s 90th birthday. The family is more scattered now than it was on her 80th, and with the economy the way it is, not all her grandchildren (6) and great grandchildren (10) will be able to celebrate with her.

Talking about my mother brings to mind a project that I made for her several years ago. I had a long sleeved denim shirt that I wanted to embroider for her. I could have simply stitched something about the pocket and that was my original plan. But after I chose the design I saw some other possibilities. I began with SS0030.PES from Brother Pacesetter’s Fancy Pockets Collection. I used PE-Design for my editing and the first thing I did was to delete the entire scarecrow. I then mirrored that design and saved it. Next, I deleted everything except the three whole sunflowers, saving that file and continuing to delete the sunflowers one at a time, saving as I went along, until I had three files, one with three sunflowers, one with two and one with only one sunflower. I did need to use the Point Edit tool to fill out some of the petals on the one and two sunflower designs. I opened the second file I had created, the one without the scarecrow, and deleted everything except the one crow partially covering a sunflower and the sunflower he’s covering. I now had all the designs I needed to complete my project: two different sunflower fences for the left and right chest, two sunflowers for one collar tip, one sunflower for the other collar tip, three sunflowers for the pocket (which I partially removed before embroidering so I could hoop it, and then stitched back down) and a crow and sunflower for one cuff.

While the machine was busily stitching, I could already see ways in which I could have improved upon the designs. I decided to create the additional designs I would want if I should ever make this project again. I opened my second file, the one with the missing scarecrow, and added bhflorel.PES from the Cactus Punch Birdhouses collection. I chose that birdhouse because it had the shape of a barn, but I did have to change the colors. I placed the birdhouse in the blank space created by deleting the scarecrow and drew in the post for the birdhouse to sit on. I drew the post in 3 sections so that it would look to be sitting in back of the fence. Wanting yet another variation of the fence with sunflowers, I added the design of two sunflowers to the fence with the scarecrow removed. It seemed to want another crow, so I opened the file with the crow and the sunflower, deleted the sunflower, and saved just the crow as a separate file. I added that crow to the design.

Since I was in for a dime, I figured I might as well be in for a dollar and saved a file of only the fence and another of that fence with a row of crows sitting along it. Now I was ready for the next time, with lots of varied designs on the same theme. I very often say that not everyone needs to be a digitizer, and I firmly believe that. In fact, if the number of designs selling for reasonable prices that are available today were available when I began machine embroidery, I would probably never have begun digitizing at all. But that doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t need some kind of digitizing software for editing designs. I’ve used PE-Design from the beginning, and now there’s a PE-Design Lite. There’s lots of other software out there, and I’ve used several programs, but PE-Design remains my favorite.

I guess that’s all for now. I’ve got to get on with sorting and organizing and getting rid of stuff, a good thing to do on a very cold day. Look after one another

‘til  next time,
Ann (AnnTheGran) Cobb

Comments (14) -

I enjoy the story behind your editing those designs.  What a great idea, don't be a digitizer, work with what you have and edit!

Thanks for this story.  Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

marybethsiddons 1/17/2009 4:51:21 PM

We should all try to buy  things made in the USA.

tourlady522 1/17/2009 4:54:53 PM

I love reading your blogs. They are so fun.

I can't wait to see you again at the March Community Circle. Sure hope you post it soon.


Loved the story about the trash disappearing between put out and pick up.  My DH is a trash picker, but not for

"parts".  We recycle metals, all metals to supplement a fixed

income.  It adds about $14,000.00 a year to our very low

government pension.  AND because its derived from trash, no taxes.  

Sorting out and getting rid of things is my problem , my husband is good at filling the trailer up and taking it to the tip, I feel many times we could have sold some of it  at a garage sale.

Now I have to downgrade my sewing room as we have decided to go on the road in a fifth wheeler and a small truck for 5 years maybe more to see our "wide brown land" also makes it easier to see our family.

But big question how to pack down my sewingroom what to store what to take as my machines are coming with me. I have 2 large bookcases full of books and magazines about quilting embroidery , painting pottery and woodwork all my hobbies.

I still be sewing but smaller items.

Enjoying your site.

Aase Irene Sullivan

west australia

Mary Beth, I'm afraid our new television stand was made in Slovokia. However, I can tell you from personal experience that it was assembled in the USA. Smile

I can't wait until the CC either, Bonnie. I get kind of antsy when there's nothing going on and there's definitely nothing going on around here.

Aase, Bill and I spent months at a time, though not full time, traveling the American Southwest in the 80's. They were some of the best times we ever had.

My DH is always telling me to "pare down" and get rid of stuff, but this is one time I'm glad I didn't listen.  I'm makeing a "Memory Quilt" for our 8 month old granddaughter our of our old bluejeans and pieces of material left over from clothes I made over the years for my kids, my mom, my grandmother..my dad has even donated one of his neckties and today we received an old "dollywood dress" from DDIL's grandmother who passed on last year.  Sometimes "stuff" comes in handy!    just call me a sentimental softie.

Your house sounds like mine.  years of memories.

Everytime I think of throwing something out, I wind up needing it, even if it sat on a shelf for a year.  Bt do try to keep the clutter organized and roatate storage usage.  Winter, summer ect.

I love the way you come up with ideas.  I need to proactice more with my 1500D, to learn more with it and get my creative juices flowing.


I too am an IKEA fan having moved from the Washington, DC area where we had IKEA for years.  I am looking forward to hearing about the March Community Circle.  I moved to central FL 2 years ago and am still trying to connect with "sewing and embroidery friends."  Love your ideas.

This is for Ms Sullivan, We were full timers for ten years and when you travel, so many parks have all sorts of crafts.  I always had my pfaff. always the first thing packed. Never had a problem with it . Best ten yeears of our lives.  Have a wonderful time. Miss Maggy

Well, where would I start. I am 65 yrs of age & I live in Queensland Australia having a heat wave here at the moment.  I'll keep it short, over the years since we were married in 1967 my DH has put lots of really good things in the trash, a pair of new shoes which cost $120, 2 Disney ornaments (Figaro the cat and Bambi) given to me when I was 11 yrs old by my sister in law, a bag which he thought was junk but was actually things from my glory box, an almost new mohair rug, a bag of new clothes given to my daughter as baptism gifts also my daughters baptismal shawl, and most recently the pattern for the Luscious Lavender Quilt by Carol Warren in Western Australia which cost around $50 dollars I was lucky enough to be able to retrieve this last item twice, but all the rest were were put in a fire in our back yard. I now check all trash before it goes out to our bin. The poor man has now been diagnosed with psychosis delusions and has cut into my completed blocks for the quilt which I was making from silk dupion. I think it will now become a wall hanging. I did try to keep it short.


So glad there is too be another gathering in March.  Hopefully you will be posting details soon as most of us need time  to gather the money.  Counting the days till we know more.  Grandma  K

For Fayette in Australia...just when I think I have it tough, I find someone that is getting hit just a little harder.  I am so sorry for your  losses.  my DH and DD both think if it hasn't been used in 2 days, it should be tossed.  I've had to "reclaim" lots of items from the trash heap!  For now...unless I've said "that bag can go,"  it stays:  I'm not done yet!

Please login to comment