December 31, 2016

#organizedsewingspace2017 {getting ready}

(If you're looking for the overview of #organizedsewingspace2017, check out this post.)

It's almost time. Take a deep breath. Step 1 of #organizedsewingspace2017 will be revealed very, very soon. First, a disclaimer...

I am NOT a professional organizer. At the moment, I'm nowhere close to being organized. (You know this if you've seen my "before" pics on Instagram, and you're probably wondering why I think I'm qualified to lead a challenge like this.) Once upon a time I was incredibly organized. Before I was married. Before I had a kid. Before I worked full time. Before each day was a blur from the time I woke up until the time I fell into bed exhausted. So over time, my sewing room turned into this:

(Huge thanks to the brave souls that shared your #sewingspacebefore photos on Instagram. It's always nice knowing you are not alone.)

It's a new year. We are going to do this. Together. 2017 is going to be a productive year because we will have calm, organized, happy spaces to create in. It won't be easy. It will get messier before it gets better. We will share our progress and what works for us as we tackle the chaos. We will cheer each other on.

I have a list of a few things I suggest having ready before we jump into this. This is what works for me and is just a starting point.

  • Large garbage/trash bag(s): Have a place to put garbage and make as many trips to the dumpster as you need to.
  • Large bins or boxes for sorting: As we tackle areas of our rooms, you need somewhere to put "like" items together until they find a permanent home.
    • items to recycle (If you don't recycle, this stuff will go with your trash)
    • stuff to donate/sell (Sometimes you know right away you don't want to keep something. Go with that feeling and let it go.)
    • large pieces of fabric/yardage (you would not believe the amount of fabric I found still in shopping bags)
    • scraps
    • papers/books/patterns
    • WIPs/UFOs
    • items that do not belong in your sewing room (i.e. your kids' junk)
  • Small bins or boxes for sorting: These are useful for sorting/grouping smaller items...notions, tools, etc.
  • Gallon plastic zipper bags: These can also useful for sorting smaller items, but I found them most useful for storing project pieces together as I found them strewn about my room. It's amazing how much you can accomplish on a WIP when you can open a bag and all of the pieces are there. Together. Right where they should be. 

It's almost time...are you ready?!?!

December 28, 2016


Wow. To say the least, I am blown away by the response to this crazy #organizedsewingspace2017 idea I floated out there on Instagram. Apparently I am not the only one in need of some organizing motivation! We are just a few days away from the new year, so here is the low down on how this is (hopefully) going to work.

  • This is going to run from January through June with two challenges/tasks per month and an approximate two-week window per task. (Our own "12 step program" if you will.) 
  • The challenge will be taking place over on Instagram (@stephkucera), but I will also be posting here on my blog to show you my embarrassing "before" photos and how I fixed it. #organizedsewingspace2017 will be the overall challenge hashtag.
  • Each step will have a "before" hashtag and an "after" hashtag. The specific hashtags will be revealed as each step is presented.
  • Each step will have a prize. Each participant that posts one "after" post on Instagram by that step's deadline will get one entry into the drawing for that step's prize.
  • Each qualifying "after" post will also get you entered into the grand prize drawing at the conclusion of the challenge.
Confused yet? I think it will start to make more sense as the steps are revealed.

Schedule: (I'll be updating this list as each specific step is revealed.)
Getting Ready/Pep Talk
Step 1: January 1 - January 15, 2017: *clean your sewing table!*
Step 2: January 16 - January 31, 2017: *clear your cutting table and ironing board!*
Step 3: February 1 - February 14, 2017
Step 4: February 15 - February 28, 2017
Step 5: March 1 - March 15, 2017
Step 6: March 16 - March 31, 2017
Step 7: April 1 - April 15, 2017
Step 8: April 16 - April 30, 2017
Step 9: May 1 - May 15, 2017
Step 10: May 16 - May 31, 2017
Step 11: June 1 - June 15, 2017
Step 12: June 16 - June 30, 2017

To be eligible for a prize, the deadline for posting on Instagram with the appropriate hashtag is by the end date in your timezone.

  • My only rule is that everybody needs to be nice to one another! There is enough nastiness in our real lives, on Facebook, etc. The purpose of this is to encourage each other while we create happy, organized sewing spaces for ourselves.
  • There is no official sign-up. I will not be stalking you for missed deadlines or late posts. You can jump in at any time. You can do the steps you want when you want. (Though you will only be eligible for prizes if you post by the deadline.) If you get the cleaning and organizing bug and get your space done in the first week, that is awesome. If you're already super organized, you're way ahead of the game...and we need you to help the rest of us!
  • It's not required, but please comment on other participants' posts, cheer them on, and share your organizing tips and tricks. 
I'm sure there will be lots and lots of questions. Please feel free to ask here in a comment or over on Instagram (@stephkucera). If you post a questions on IG, please tag me so I'm sure to see it. There will most likely be a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) post coming soon!

December 14, 2016

Reviving the blog...again...

If you follow me on Instagram (@stephkucera), you may have seen my post tonight about blogs and blogging. Blogging is a lot of work...the pictures, the hyperlinks, the witty/intelligent writing. Instagram is much easier...take a pic, add a caption, throw in some hashtags. Wham, bam, done. Every so often, I think about reviving my blog. So. Much. Work.

Today I was perusing Instagram which eventually led me to the blog of Pinkadot Quilts. I lost track of how much time I spent reading her posts. I was inspired. I miss the in-depth info and connections you get from blogging. (I seriously feel like Pinkadot Quilts and I are friends now. Or at least we should be.) Don't get me wrong. I love Instagram, and I have met some amazing new quilty friends there. It doesn't have the negative vibe of Facebook. (The election is over...can we please move on.)

So this evening I took another look at my blog. I updated the header with pictures of my favorite projects that make me happy. Maybe they'll make somebody else happy, too. I updated my blog with a more clean and simple look. I expanded my description to include more about who I think I am. I looked at a few of the (very old) tutorials I posted years ago. Guess what? I had forgotten about (but really like) those fabric gift bags I made in 2011, and since I have a record of how I made them, I (and you!) can easily make more.

I know I say this every year or so, but I'm going to give this blogging thing another try. And since blog posts need pictures, I leave you with this one. Last weekend I took my son to a kids' Christmas ornament craft day at The Makery. He specifically chose the ornament crafts that required using a hot glue gun. I love this boy.

July 3, 2016

Instagram #wordplayminiquiltswap!

Well that was quick...the swap is full!!! Thank you for joining the fun, and be on the lookout for a welcome email with your partner info very soon!

Hello, hello! Welcome to the #wordplayminiquiltswap! A little more information about the swap...

I am a huge fan of text/words on fabric and thought it would be fun to host an Instagram mini quilt swap. There are so many great quilts out there with words and phrases on them. (I started a Pinterest board with examples.) There are so many great alphabet piecing patterns out there...the sky is the limit on what you can say.

Before signing up, please, please, please read the guidelines and only sign up if you are willing and able to abide by them. I really dislike conflict and chasing people down to make them follow through on what they agreed to do. :) Since this is my first swap, I'm cutting sign-ups off at 50 participants or next Sunday, July 10, 2016, whichever comes first.

  1. You must have a public and active Instagram account. Use the hashtag #wordplayminiquiltswap to tag all Instagram posts so I can keep tabs on everybody's progress.
  2. This is a secret swap. Do not tag your partner in any of your progress pics. You want them to be surprised!
  3. The theme is "word play." Use the information provided by your partner to make a mini quilt with a word or phrase that is meaningful and special to him/her. The word/phrase can be embroidered, appliqued, pieced, etc. Be creative!
  4. You must make a completed (quilted, bound, labeled) mini quilt between 12" x 12" and 20" x 20". 
  5. This swap is open to quilters of all skill levels. Do your best work. You may receive a mini made by someone with less quilting experience than you but know they did their best to make you a beautiful quilt.
  6. This swap is open to international participants. I will do my best to give you a partner living in same country, but you may have to ship internationally.
  7. Extras are allowed but not required. Don't go overboard. A few small extras (fabric scraps, notions, etc) is plenty.
  8. Schedule:
    1. Sign-ups close Sunday, July 10, 2016.
    2. Mosaic/inspiration pic for your partner due by Sunday, July 24, 2016.
    3. Progress pic #1 (fabric pull, quilt idea, etc) due by Sunday, August 14, 2016.
    4. Progress pic #2 (actual progress on your quilt) due by Sunday, September 11, 2016.
    5. Ship date range is Tuesday, October 11 through Tuesday, October 18! Post a pic of your package, receipt, etc and tag me (@stephjacobson) in it. Please do not ship early. If your partner has disappeared, I may have you to ship to different participant.
  9. I get that things come up and life gets crazy sometimes. If you will be unable to follow through on your commitment, please notify me as soon as possible so I can make other arrangements for your partner.
I think that covers it! Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed something. I look forward to seeing what everybody creates, Here's the link to the form!

Edited to add...I'm not easily offended, but let's keep your desired words/phrases "family friendly" so to speak. :)

April 1, 2016

do. Good Stitches {April blocks}

I've been contemplating a scrappy/bright/low-volume/HST quilt idea for awhile. I figured since I'm the quilter in April for the PEACE circle of do. Good Stitches, this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. (Disclaimer: I have no idea what the finished top will look like, but I'm excited to give this idea a try!)

I'm slightly addicted to the scrappy, bright+low-volume color scheme, so we're going to use it again...even though we just used it in January.

Everyone will make 3 or 4 8.5 inch blocks using the following options:

Block Option 1:

    • Sew a print 5" square to one low-volume 5" square to make half-square triangles. Trim each HST to 4.5" square. (Don't forget about this amazing tutorial for trimming HSTs.)
    • Make 2 4.5" half-square triangles using a bright print and a low-volume fabric
    • Add 2 low-volume 4.5" squares to get this layout:

Block Option 2:

    • Make 4 4.5" half-square triangles using as above
    • Lay them out in any pleasing HST arrangement. Some examples are shown below:

Block Option 3:
    • Make 8.5" half-square triangles. I started with two 9" squares (one bright print and one low-volume fabric), made my HSTs and trimmed down to 8.5". Two blocks done! So easy:

If you are as addicted to HSTs as I am, feel free to make as many blocks as you like. I will use them all to make quilt(s) for Project Linus.