Before the longarm

I got my longarm a couple years after I started quilting and there aren’t many photos of me quilting on a domestic machine but I came across one tonight on the old CDs. I don’t remember this photo so you know it’s been a long time since I looked at those CDs!

For those of you following along on my decluttering/packing journey I have a few tips.

First, don’t wait until you have to do it! It’s a lot more stressful when you have a deadline. Luckily, Keith and I have had some more discussions and have decided NOT to sell by owner so we probably won’t list the house until mid May. That gives me more time to get things in shape.

Second, take time for focusing completely on decluttering … that “do a little each day or each week” just doesn’t work for me. I get started and before you know it, I’m back to ignoring everything. Take a week … or two weeks … and work on it every day. Pull everything out and go through it. Donate and trash what you don’t need any longer, organize what’s left. Every time I move I say I’m going to stay on top of things and it never happens. Maybe I can resolve to completely declutter and organize every couple years … and maybe I can actually keep to that resolution.

Third, take time to really look at how much fabric (and yarn in my case) you really have. There’s something about pulling it out of closets and opening up all the bins that is eye opening! I was telling Keith not to let me buy any more fabric or yarn and he pulled out his phone to video me and told me to say that again …. I love having a generous stash and being able to just grab some fabric and make a quilt without having to shop but even with as many quilts as I make, I can’t work fast enough to keep ahead of my buying so the buying needs to stop.

And finally, get some help. I’m the one going through most of our stuff (and most of the stuff is mine) but Keith is carting the trash off and taking the donations to Salvation Army. He’s going there again tomorrow and I’m sure there be another trip or two. Luckily, it’s just around the corner.

All of this makes it sound like my house is always a disaster and that’s not the case. Other than my sewing room and beside my chair upstairs in the bedroom where I knit and crochet, the rooms in the house are not overly cluttered at all – but the closets and drawers are. I tuck a lot of things away for “later”.


Do you still have your diplomas? If you’d asked me a day ago I would have said probably not but I found them on a shelf so I must have handled them sometime within the last 6 years but have no memory of it. I snapped a photo of them just in case I forget where I put them again! Not that I’ve needed them in the last 39 years.

Day 3

Another big task completed today … the library shelves were cleaned, decorative items for donation have already gone to the Salvation Army along with a pickup truckload of other stuff. Keith also went to the dump with some larger items and old paint … wonder how many more trips he’ll have to make before this is over? I’ve got books in 3 other places that I still have to go through but these were pulled off the library shelves for donation today. Most of them are quilting and other craft books. While I’ve always donated books when we’ve moved, it’s the first time I’ve cleaned out my quilt and craft books but I’m still keeping plenty of them too. We have two bookshelves from the Minneapolis townhouse that will end up downstairs in my space. These bags are heavy! Good thing Keith will be the one to carry them to the car and to the library to donate them. I think I’ll plan to finish up with all the book sorting tomorrow so he can get them donated in one trip.

Keith just left to get his second Pfizer shot now and Adam reports he got his first shot today in Georgia. Can’t wait until we’re all fully protected!

Day 2

I had to run Finn to the vet for a routine vaccine today and sort through 2 weeks of mail but the rest of the afternoon was spent organizing the yarn closet. After sorting and combining like yarns in project type bins … hats, blankets, scarves… I ended up with 15 bins. I probably could have decreased that by one bin but I didn’t feel like going through the miscellaneous bin skein by skein. For now it will go to Big Canoe and I’ll discover what’s in there later.

I also sorted through more of the backup photos. I drafted this log cabin variation in Electric Quilt in the first couple years I was quilting and made it twice. One was donated and one was given to my Mother-in-law.

I also ran across some old photos of Chesty. I won’t share them all but I think he was waiting for us to turn on the fire!

You guys think my website is just for you all but it’s great for me too. I often remake quilts and why figure out things twice … or three or four times?! I’m getting ready to start a second Log Cabin Heart quilt so I went to the website and looked over my notes. I’m very lucky that Mom cut and appliquéd two sets of hearts for me so I’m all ready to make some blocks.


Here’s one of my early quilts made in the first year I was quilting. Almost from the beginning I wanted to adapt or draft my own quilts and thanks to the Electric Quilt software I was able to do that. Here’s my EQ drawing of a Rainbow Log Cabin Quilt.

And here is the quilt I made. Quilted on my domestic machine too. Not too bad for someone who had been sewing less than a year!

I’d almost forgotten where this quilt went… it was given to my Mother-in-law to gift to her sister Trudy. One thing that I LOVE is that through the years I can always tell WHERE we were living from the photos of the quilts. The fence out front at our Pembroke Pines Townhouse was perfect for photographing quilts.

Day 1

I was floundering a little this morning wondering where I should start … after going back and forth for a while, I decided to take a deep breath and just start anywhere! I chose to start in my guest room closet and it’s done! Keith has a bunch of things now waiting for him to donate and what’s left is ready to be loaded on the truck except for a couple partially filled bins that I’ll add to from other rooms.

I came across a couple of bins that were packed up in Minneapolis in 2014 … and never unpacked. They went first to Big Canoe and then came here in 2018 when we sold the condo. You’d think everything in those bins could be discarded but nope. There were some important things in them that I’ll keep, some things will get donated, and some things got tossed. Kind of like how it will go in the rest of the house.

Second up was another closet – this one in my sewing room and that one is almost finished too. I’ve just got two small bins to go through and it’s done (but there are 4 other closets in that room!). I was very happy to find my old computer back up CDs in this closet. During our move from Minnesota the photo album of the quilts made during my first 5 years was lost. I just had to take a look at one of the CDs and I found some great family photos I hadn’t seen in a while AND quilts from my first year of quilting 2000 – 2001.

We were living in a townhouse in Pembroke Pines FL in 2000 when I caught the quilting bug. I started sewing at our dining room table … you can see I put some bins in the corner and have stuff everywhere. This was back when I had to actually clean up and put things away at the end of every sewing day! Don’t I look young? Hard to believe that was just 21 years ago.

It didn’t take long for me to take over part of the small family room where Keith had his office and where my computer desk was … you can see I was running out of space on the bookcase. I had also upgraded the Singer sewing machine I’d bought at Walmart to the Elna that I still sew on.

So, I just got another bookcase!

The move from Pembroke Pines FL to Marietta GA was the easiest one from a quilting standpoint. That was my entire stash on those two bookshelves and I hadn’t bought the longarm yet.

I’ll be working on a few Log Cabin Heart blocks this week here and there but since there won’t be much current quilting content, I’ll continue to share some of my older pre-blog quilts from the back up CDs. I just have to make sure that I don’t let myself get TOO distracted looking at old photos.

Here we go again!

The next two and a half months will be busy and stressful and I don’t expect to have a lot of time for quilting so it will probably be kind of boring around here. A month or so ago Keith started talking about “testing” the real estate market in Tampa by putting the townhouse up for sale by owner … that led to a lot more discussion and this week we made some decisions.

We are going to go ahead and put the house up for sale in a couple weeks but we don’t have to sell…..

We are not downsizing but because we bought the Big Canoe house furnished, we’ll end up keeping some furniture from both houses. We’re going to move the furniture we plan to keep and my longarm and stash to Big Canoe sometime late June – I won’t have a definite date until I meet with the movers.

So, if we don’t get an offer we like on the Tampa house, it will remain our primary residence and we’ll continue to go back and forth spending time in both places. The Tampa house will just be a little more sparsely furnished which isn’t a bad thing! I will still have a sewing room set up but the longarm and stash will get settled in at Big Canoe and I’ll just do piecing in FL. Kind of the reverse of what I’ve been doing the last year since we bought the Big Canoe house.

If we do get an offer we like and sell the Tampa house, the excess furniture will be donated and we will become full time residents at Big Canoe..

I’m a big fan of having a plan so this all works for me. I’ll go through the decluttering, discarding, donating, organizing, packing, and moving process regardless of whether we sell the house or not. After all, we knew that eventually we’d go through the moving process again at some point and as Keith has said, might as well do it before we get old!

I’ve coordinated many moves for us in the last 32 years (this will be move #14) so I’ve got the process down pat but the biggest stressor for me will be trying to sell the house while we’re still living in it and while I’m packing. We could wait to put it on the market but spring and summer are prime moving seasons so we want to take advantage of people looking to buy… wish me luck!


We head back to Tampa tomorrow and I did get out for a 4.3 mile hike today in between a few house chores. It’s gotten so green here just in the last week – spring has arrived! I also managed a little quiet knitting time listening to an audio book.