Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cleaning, Purging, Throwing Away, Recycling, Thanks to Girlfriends who I LOVE....

Boy is this saying the truth! For many years I rush home from Traveling and dump my suitcases and then try when I have time to pile papers, throw books in a pile and refold fabrics and try to figure out how to make things tiday and neat as I have my family for dinner, pay bills, sew new quilts, write books and you know, all of things we girls have to do. It got so I hated going to my studio and didn't know where to start.
In June my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and things had a whole new meaning to me. I either needed to burn the house down or try to make sense of everything I owned in my studio, storeroom and garage.
My friend laurie Latta and her husband came right over from clear across the state 9 hour drive to see us. While we discussed Mark's new diagnosis and they made us feel so loved, she suggested she come and help me get things in order in my studio. She didn't know what she was asking! I put that in the back of my head and then my friend Molly and Tina offered to come from California to help me dig my way out in between my teaching and taking Mark to Dr. appointments etc. Then my other 2 friends who belong to my "Cupcake " group that meets every summer (going on year number 15 next year) Susan and Eilene offered to come and help too. Mel was "IN" also but she has a 16 year old that needs his Mom home while he starts high school and since Mel has done so much for me all of the time I totally understood.
My neighbor Connie is my "go to" when I need help so she was "In" also.
So in NO particular order here are photos we all took.
I know, I know, you cannot believe all of the stuff I had and holy cow what a mess!
This sign has always hung in my studio and I always hope that my mess is blessed but really I wasn't blessed with everything and I was buried!
So here below is Molly and Tina who took on the first three days (they floew in from California....
The photo above was after they moved my desk in the middle of the room so my ironing board and cutting board were right there. They took down the old TV set and someday I will get a small flat screen plasma. I can wait for that someday. The BlueBOY painting is one my Dad did years ago and I love it.
This was inside my store room which had food, fabric, papers, kitchen gadgets, and loads of junk....Molly, Tina and Connie, totally emptied this out to start! YIKES.....
Now the storeroom has ONLY fabric in there and it is easy to see what I have when I need it and it will be easy to put away when I am done!
 This is the beginning of fabric coming in to be on the shelves my cousin built for me years ago....
There is TONS of fabric in there in case you cannot tell 
Below is how it was before the switch....we threw away the whie shelves as they were junk
Here is Tina trying to get everything off the shelves to redo them. The little gold cabinet went to my daughter who will paint it white and put in her daughter's room.
This is junk to put away or give away...she is still smiling....
This was what the girls walked into....they started to walk out but I locked the door and they were trapped...can you imagine me sewing in this? I had moved to my diningroom surprise 
All of the fabric you see here in my studio has been purged and moved to the storeroom
The storeroom that I always worried would burst into flames....Molly looking at me and wondering what she got herself in to...Can you blame her?
Tina made this nice little place on my wall...I love it and can find my rulers and rotary cutters!
The room getting emptied out....

Tina smiling but thinking "what in the world was this woman thinking???"
My neighbor Connie who is thankful she has a nicer place to come and find stuff when she needs to...she now knows ALL of my secrets
Purging, sorting dusting....
Below is Eilene who was with group two (the Office girls-it is her birthday can you imagine having to do this on your 60th? THAT is friendship!
Here is our garage which had all of my patterns, handouts, books and loads of other things one must have to own their own didn't look like this when we started and much of the stuff from the basement went into it and group two dealt with it (Susan my flight attendant friend) who many of you know and Connie my angel of a neighbor
here is group number two after they realize they get to go home. Laurie sitting down with her hand on her chin was the idea person here...I know they are all exhausted and thankful they get to go home after a job that was well done. Each group spent three days here. How can one repay this kind of kindness? I don't know.
Here is my sewing space when the sewing space was done and before the other girls cleaned the office which is clear and clean and fab. I feel gratefulness and guilt. I am trying to get rid of that last emotion. This is a time that I am growing and learning what friends are and how lucky I am.
Again this is where everyone started.....three girls took on this with me...but they knew what they were doing...I just did what they told me and was happy to. 
Here is my office now. My sona nd daughter in law said they didn't know I had a desk under all of the papers and stuff. I would like to be indignent but I really knew what they meant.
Happy girls having fun in the midst of all of the work! I think they should start a company that purges quilter's sewing rooms....they said they aren't interested....
Junk that needs a special place...maybe even the garbage or recycle or church that makes quilts or the Mission or?
Booksehlf that begs to be gone through...many books went to other quilters or the Mission or recycle....
I found the perfect place for my salesmen headers of fabric I take on the road to show people...that is a relief...I can find what I need
Girls after working for two days.....
Girls when I unlocked the door and let them go home....
I learned alot from this. If something is free, it doesn't mean you have to take it home....and get rid of some things before you bring more in!
Fabric gets old and you need to get it out to someone who will use it...why keep it if yu aren't going to use it?
These are six great girls who helped me out and I know I could have counted on other dear friends too. I am blessed by God with the best friends any girl could have. Not many in my own town but all over the US and Canada I have people I get to write to and pray for.
I am thankful for this past two weeks and I get to make new quilts in a new space.
Lucky me.....


  1. Can they come to my house next, lol. I have been getting plastic bins so I can store excess in those in the basement and clear up my sewing room, so I can see what I have. I do need to purge, but some materials I know i will use eventually and i like experimenting, so junk fabrics are good for that. I am glad your friends could come and help, I bet it feels so good to have everything in order and easier to find.


  2. Mary Lou, you are blessed to have those angels come and help you make order it of chaos. It looks wonderful and very inspirational and something to aspire to.

    How lucky to have this all done in a week! Enjoy your new space and organization.

    Thanks for sharing the before and after photos, many thanks to Tina, Connie, Wendy, Molly, Susan, and Eileen for all their love and support to your goal.

  3. How wonderful for you and them to have this healing experience! It made me think of the quote that I recently painted on one of my Art Boards: "Friend's Sing your Song when you forget the Words" Blessings from Marlynne

  4. Mary Lou, you have wonderful friends! Surely you are a wonderful friend to them too, or they wouldn't have turned into Angels of the Purge!?! So glad you have a nice, clean, efficient workspace now.

    Thank you for the before and after pictures - they are an inspiration for me to clear out my stash from my storage area - formerly known as my dining room.

  5. Yes there is a God Virginia.. and He showed Himself in your friendships. I am happy for you that you have a neatly organized place to create in. Maybe you should consider having someone come in once every couple of weeks to help you keep it that way. The cost $ would be offset in the peace it gives you.

  6. They did a wonderful job organizing your sewing space/office. You are blessed, indeed.

  7. I am so happy for you-that you are surrounded by people who love you and know how to help when you need it. No reason to feel guilt. You didn't do anything wrong-you are just a very creative lady and creativity is messy. The addition of Mark's illness just made it hard to get out from under. Your space is beautiful-can't wait to see what you will create in it. Blessings to you Mary Lou! You know your helper angels were blessed to see the help they could give you-they also know you would do the same for them.

  8. Such good advice on keeping order. What a great troop of organizers you were blessed with. It's amazing how those fabrics multiply when we turn our backs, close a door, or go out of town!

  9. I've gotta pack up my two rooms and take it to a state 2,000 miles away! I don't know if it all will fit in a moving van...with furniture.

  10. Wow, Mary Lou! That is so wonderful that your friends could come and help you sort out. Was it a little bit painful? No matter, you now have elbow room to let you creativity run free! Vicky F (West Michigan)

  11. How sweet it is!!!

    A preacher once said "Don't be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good." Amen to that. Connie, Eileen, Molly, Susan, Tina, and Wendy have certainly proven they have good hearts and are LOTS of earthly good. Don't forget that you are probably the most delightful and fun person to lend a hand to.

    Enjoy your lovely new space to create, to imagine, and to sew. Again, how sweet it is!


  12. What wonderful friends and what wonderful "new" space you now have!

  13. Wow! How wonderful to have such dear and supportive friends, girl. I know that you deserve these blessings. As a charter member of Packrats Anonymous, I know what's coming up for my version of something similar!! Yikes! Thanks for the inspiration. Do take care of yourself and your DH at this challenging time.


  14. WOW!! You are soooo blessed to have such wonderful friends! And they are amazingly productive!!! Are they for hire?!?!?!? I have your same pistachio sewing machine table! I love mine!!!

  15. Mary Lou-
    You are so blessed!! I have been wondering where is your sewing machine. IT REALLY LOOKS GREAT!! Enjoy your organized space and friends are wonderful.
    Rebecka from Nebraska

  16. Wow, my space is getting close to your "before" look. Now I am motivated to begin some sorting and purging too! And dear friends who pitch in and really help are just the best .

  17. It's great to have friends like that.. My studio is way over due for a good cleaning and purging.. I love your blog and quilts.. I'll be starting my cow soon.. Am praying for your husband and you too... Gail in SC