July 19, 2012

Getting organized

At work I have more to do than I can manage, so I’m forced to adapt some strategies to keep my head over water.

At home I’m not quite so well organized.

Let’s talk about UFOs. UFOs are Unfinished Objects. There are also other acronyms like WIP (Work in Progress) and PIG (I don’t know that one). Mainly it’s all the same; things you haven’t finished yet for some reason or other.

If you go by me it is because:

  1. A problem I didn’t know how to solve or deal with popped up
  2. There wasn’t enough fabric and I had to wait for more to arrive (3-4 weeks)
  3. Something new and exciting turned up
  4. Project was boring
  5. Project didn’t appeal to me any longer

At first I just put the work aside with the firm intention of getting back to it ASAP.
Now, I’m a rather creative person and easily led astray. Something like a butterfly. Those bright flowers get my attention – NOW. New piles of unfinished objects kept growing everywhere. Everything neatly laid out; just waiting for me to finish it.

Then I started to write lists. Long lists with duties to be done by…It didn’t work.

Then I started on a quilt diary; with to-do lists. Sometimes I wrote, sometimes I didn’t.

Then I put the UFOs in zip bags. The zip bags disappeared somewhere. Every time I pulled one out I didn’t know what I had done and what I needed to do with it. If I needed more fabric I had to dig out the fabrics from somewhere. As a consequence the bags were untouched for very long periods of time.

I made index cards. On these index cards I noted the name of the project, the name and origin of the pattern, fabric line, date of birth and all information about the project I needed. Size, number of blocks, how many already made…
Good start, but I didn’t keep them updated or they grew wings and flew away.

Then I bought 10 small plastic boxes with the firm intention not to start anything new, before one of the boxes was free again. At first it was good. I even put the index cards into these boxes. But then as the projects grew, the boxes got to small to contain a whole project, so the projects got outsourced. Zip bags and piles around the sewing machine. New projects in the boxes before the old ones were finished. Again!

Then suddenly there were 12 small boxes. Don’t ask me how. Just because.

Every time I looked around in my bedroom I saw chaos. I felt really bad, instead of being proud of myself. I was still the creative and friendly person I was before and I did a lot of things, but I kept talking bad in my head about myself in a way I would never talk to another person. Real trash talk and even worse language. I felt like a failure and behaved like a cad, all in my own head! I spent more and more time not sewing.

Then I bought 15 bigger boxes, put my UFOs inside, with all the fabrics, the pattern and the index cards. Everything updated and everything in one place. I even put labels on the outside of the boxes. No, I don’t have 27 UFOs (12 small boxes + 15 bigger ones)
I put in some of the projects I have planned as well as some special fabrics I don’t have a lot of. 

 The boxes are nicely stashed away in one place and they don’t bother me at all. Now I just pull one out when I feel like it. Work for a bit on whatever I want and at the end of the day I stash everything away again and update the index card. It takes less than 2 minutes.
Next morning I start fresh and decide what I want to do. At last I feel at peace with myself.

Just to get my oldest and some of my unloved projects back into rotation I started on something new; a new tune to set my pace.

You know it; it’s called the Lazy Bums. My thought was to show a group of similar minded people my UFOs and get some new inspiration. We are taking pictures of our UFOs and setting our aims for each project. Nothing overwhelming or too ambitious, just a realistic estimation of what we can do besides our normal work.

I haven’t listed everything on my mosaic; only the things I feel good about. If something makes me want to run for the hills it should take a dive in the trash bin. There is no merit in doing things just to get them done. This time next year I’m going to take a look at all my projects and chuck everything away I still feel bad about.

So far we are in the planning stage, but we’ll start the games in about two weeks time. I’m really excited about it and hope it will take care of the last bits of my procrastination and give me an even better feeling about what I’m doing. Sewing is supposed to be fun and not Via Dolorosa.

So, how is your work organized? I’d love to hear your ideas! (and should you want to join the Lazy Bums group there is still plenty of room for you.)

July 8, 2012

The lazy bums

I'm a confessing hoarder of UFOs and just hate to have a guilty conscience about it. As I'm allergetic to all kinds of to-do-lists I came up with this game to have some fun and to (perhaps) get rid of an UFO or two in the process. If you are anything like me do join in on the fun; you won't regret it!

This is a game with all kinds of loopholes for those of us with a TIAASFOTMOMP disorder (there is always a spot for one thing more on my plate). Should you belong to the notorious, but seldomly seen OPAAT species (one project at a time) we part ways here. Goodbye and welcome back again another time.

Anyone still here? Excellent!

The ingridients of this game are:

- one bingo card per player
- a monthly Lazy Bum competition
- gravy points
- one joker card
- duel with drawn pistols at the crack of dawn
- a Best in Show competition
- The Allmighty Triumvirate

The goal is to get rid of all the UFOs disgracing your cupboards. The ingridients might overwhelm you at first sight, but believe me, the framework is very simple! Now to the details:

Bingo card

Everyone needs one bingo card. It is the heart and soul of this game. The card could be a mosaic of your UFOs (directions how to make one will be posted on Flickr), or if you don't want to be bothered with all this new stuff an oldfashioned list. The important thing is that there is a way to allocate a number to your entries.

On this list you should set your goals for each entry and there is no need to set them too high, like a king size quilt with all trimmings. It could be e. g. to make 10 blocks, or to finish a lot of  stitchery or tons of applications. Whatever.

You need to formulate these goals before you hand in your bingo card. Once a month we will let Mr. Random generator decide which UFO is due. (Of course you can cheat as much as you like; Mr. Random is very patient and doesn't snitch on you). You need to tell us which number he came up with within the first five days every month.

You can list your UFOs, some new projects (to keep the spirits up) or, very important, all those drearys that have been waiting for your attention for sooo long, but you don't really feel like finishing.

Bingo cards must be handed in if you want to join. No need to get worried of getting exposed or judged; we will keep your secrets and share ours with you.

First day of each month you tell us which no. you came up with. It will be noted. No, we are not going to try to control your progress; it's meant to give us a hint of what you are working on so we can share in and help you with the hairy parts :-) Nothing like a bit of cheering to keep your good spirits up!

Lazy bums

If you for some reason or other, aren't able to get rid of your current UFO you can write an excuse. No need to be ashamed. These excuses will be a source of joy.
There is an award for the best one. Yes, I mean the dog ate my homework kind. I'm sure you have a couple of them just waiting for the right moment.

The quality of the excuses will be judged by The Allmighty Triumvirate. The most merited will win.The winner will be sent a small surprise to spur you on to new inventivness.

Gravy points

For every item on your Bingo Card you have taken care of you get one gravy point. You can get more than one point a month if you are an overachiever.

Best thing is: The horrors from the bottom of your cupboard are meant to go away. As in chuck away. Yes, there will be gravy points for this as well, but we need evidence. :-)

Joker card

Should you be otherwise engaged one month, you can draw your joker card. No questions asked.
Only one joker card per player. If your timetable is strangling you you can always write an excuse. These excuses are meant to be a source of joy for all of us :-)


You can challenge another participent to a duel.
This duel is open to whatever you would like to challenge someone with. It could be to take care of the oldest UFO in the pile, or an especially tidious one.

Or  it could mean to let Mr. Random generator choose and you both are stuck with what he comes up with. In this case I would set Mr. Random  and both partners would be stuck with his decision (no cheating).

Best in show

Next year this time we count all gravy points and choose one of you for the Best in Show award. Not only the gravy points are counted; should you finish off your bingo
card you will participate as well.
The prize will be a surprise. Perhaps a book, wool or FQs. Something you will like.

The Allmighty Triumvirate

Now to help me judge the Lazy Bum of the Month and the Best in Show contests I need some assistants.
I'm looking for 2 soulmates to do the honours. Should you be willing to step in and help keep track of all the details or answer questions, all the better :-)


December is free time; no UFOs, awards or cheating. Only bliss and the true Christmas spirit.

Who can participate?

This game is open for quilters and knitters alike. You don't need a blog to join the group. If you have already joined some other UFO groups it's no hindrance; you can sign up here as well with the same old UFOs.

How do I sign up?

Leave a comment and/or hop over to Flickr to join the group. 30 qualified participants will be admitted. Please give me a hint of how many UFOs you have hoarded  saved.
We will use Flickr for all kinds of purposes. Pics, questions, messages, excuses, chatting, cheering ...

When do we begin?

The games begin August 1st 2012.

Rules too complicated?

No, you just need a list of your UFOs and the general idea of getting rid of one every month; everything else is unimportant at the moment.

Nothing left for me to say except "Lets get rid of those UFOs together and have some fun in the process. See you on Flickr".