Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Put up Your Needlework!


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That’s what I was told. “Put up your needlework!” Bemoaning the fact that, as of yesterday, I still didn’t have a tree up and that everything just seemed too cluttered to concentrate on decorating for Christmas, my sister suggested, “Put up your needlework!” Ah. The death knoll of needlework!

The fact is, I’m still far behind on my needlework gifts. In fact, it is not likely that I’ll be finished with the berry and pine cone towel, though I am on the second pine cone now and I have finished the first bunch of berries. (There are three pine cones and two bunches of berries, not to mention all the pine needles – but those go super fast…).

It was an interesting proposition: if I put up my needlework, would I be more inclined to take care of the Christmas decorating? So I tried it.

I decided that I was not going to put my needlework “UP” (as in, permanently AWAY). Rather, I wanted it accessible but organized, and tuck-away-able.

The first thing I did was take stock of what I was putting away. Now, there’s nothing worse than making a bigger mess when you’re cleaning up than you had before you started cleaning up! But that’s usually the way of it with me when I start “organizing.” I didn’t really take photos of everything, because I wasn’t (by a long shot) intending to write about my present state of general disorganization!

Cleaning up and organizing needlework

There was this pile of threads and projects that were actually tucked in a bag on the far side of the sofa, where no one really sees it, unless they come all the way into the living room.

Cleaning up and organizing needlework

Then, on the sofa, in a complete state of disarray, were the projects I’m currently working on.

And then there were three packages of various supplies that I have ordered recently, all still in their envelopes, also tucked on the far side of the couch.

Yes, I agreed with my sister. “Put Your Needlework AWAY!!!” The living room, where the tree goes each year, is just too small for inordinate amounts of clutter. I don’t like clutter – I don’t like knick-nacks and things like that. When things get cluttered, I just want to sell the house and move somewhere empty. But in my frenzy to get gifts finished, stuff was piling up.

It was time.

To put my needlework away, I required two things: a box of gallon-sized zip-lock bags and a larger something to put the bags in. Fortunately, in my recent goldwork order from Hedgehog, the Hedgehog people were very kind to include a handy-dandy free tote bag. Perfect!

I took each project and all the threads and other supplies (sometimes even hoops) related to it, and put it in a zip-lock bag.

And then….

Cleaning up and organizing needlework

…I tucked all the zip-lock bags tidily into the tote, which I stowed away in the studio, ready to pull out in the evening when there’s time to stitch. I can take one project out at a time, and, when stitching time is up, put it back in the zip-lock, back in the tote bag, and back out in the studio. No clutter, and all is ready to decorate.

So here it is, Monday morning, three days until Christmas! And what do I have to show for it? My tree is up and decorated, the nativity scene is up (well, I did that a week ago), there’s one pathetic string of greenery around the top of the porch, with white lights in it and too many red bows (and no extension cord, so it doesn’t work, anyway!), and… now it’s time to get to work!

Gifts to wrap, some finish work to do on the sewing machine, laundry to do, some baking and … baking, and …. baking.

I still plan to get some stitching in this evening, if all goes well. I hope to show you a finished berry / pine cone towel by tomorrow evening!

Oh – and I have a last minute Christmas tutorial for you. Well, I bought these very nice red cloth napkins for the table. It was a great bargain. And they actually had 18! So I bought them. But they clamored for embellishment. I’ll show you what I did…. tomorrow? Hopefully!

In the meantime, I hope your preparations for the holidays are going well! Enjoy your Monday!

(Did I mention I’m on vacation? It’s G-R-R-R-E-A-T!!!)


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(7) Comments

  1. Aren’t you proud of yourself?? I did something of the same thing this morning in my sewing room. Now everything (or most everything) is out of sight and I can use some of the surfaces for wrapping presents.
    The problem will come when I try to find it all after the holidays!

  2. I’m laughing so hard I could cry. I could have written this post almost word for word on my blog except it was my husband who made the dreaded remark. My little loveseat is exactly like your sofa, I ziplocked my projects yesterday, and sorted gifts to wrap this morning. Great minds do think a like!!!

    Merry Christmas, keep the wonderfully entertaining blog coming.

  3. Sounds like someone needs to join Needlemaniacs Anonymous. 🙂

    Congrats on getting your Christmas decorating done. I make it a habit to do all my decorating the weekend of the first Sunday in Advent–that way when the Christmas rush really hits it’s already done. Plus I get to enjoy it longer.

    Hope you get all your other holiday to-do’s scratched off your list soon!

  4. Good job on the organizing and decorating, Mary! Run to the store and buy that extension cord so you can get your outside lights working. It will warm you heart to see them lit!
    In recent years, I’ve decided that there just isn’t enough time in the holiday rush and so have taken a stand for the health and welfare of me, my family and our friends. Baking has left the list!
    I sit too much during this time anyway, none of us need the added calories and I figure, they receive healthier, beautiful handmade gifts instead!
    It is a relief to know that all those hours of cookies and temptations are not looming in front of me and I can panic over..er…uh…enjoy my other labors!
    A blessed Christmas to you and yours, North Idaho Connie

  5. I have a small bookcase that sits next to my end of the sofa. On top of I have a sewing basket that holds my current handwork projects. On the second and third shelves I keep a few items such as an antique sewing book and a couple of small storage bins. It only takes a few minutes to make the area presentable for company. My sewing room stays as it is. If I’m in the middle of a project and company comes they will see the room as it is; not as if it were being photographed for a magazine.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  6. Hi Mary
    Your tote bag looks exactly like my tote bag that I bring with me to work. My tote bag is huge and a prize I won at my local library for participating in a summer reading program. It has worked perfectly for carting my thread and projects to work. Recently I sorted all my threads by color and put them in ziplocs. This has been a great way to get this part of my stitching life in order.
    I’m still working to get projects done, the ones I started early and thought would finish early but that have suddenly become very last minute! My boyfriend hasn’t actually told my to “put it away” but it’s written all over his face!
    Merry Christmas!

  7. It’s funny…about 30 seconds before I clicked on your blog link, I thought to myself “Hey! I have time to get out embroidery afterall!” Our flight to Seattle was scheduled yesterday (22nd), but cancelled, so now we won’t fly out to Seattle until the 26th! Blessing in disguise: we got our Christmas cards sent afterall, our presents/errands are already complete, we get to relax and I’ll get to read and get my embroidery back out! Yeah! Merry Christmas! Thanks for writing your blog.

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