Back in the early 80’s, I–with a friend–bought a duplex. Each side has two bedrooms and a basement. The previous owners left a large metal desk in the front bedroom of my side of the duplex, so that became my office/craft studio. It was great. No more card tables in the corner of the living room for me. I had an actual office.
Over the years, that office/studio was moved from the bedroom to the basement and back again. More than once.
One would think that with all the moving back and forth that I’d been clearing out clutter and unused items, but that was not the case. Until now.
Now, as I move things from the basement back up into the studio, I’m doing my best to be realistic about what it is I really want to do with my time.
So realistically, here’s what I do in this studio of mine: I pay bills. I write. Once I get it all set up and useful, I also want to start scrapbooking again. And making Christmas and birthday cards. One day, I’d like to make a quilt. I also enjoy embroidery and some crewel. I’ve done a little bit of needlepoint and enjoyed it.
But to be brutally realistic, here’s what I do not want to do in this studio of mine that I once thought I did: make soft toys to sell at the flea market, make bread dough Christmas ornaments, paint rocks, make paper, make paper mache fruit bowls, make fancy ornamental fruit with pins and sequins, make polymer clay ornaments and jewelry, macrame, and probably a ton of other stuff I bought books about and material for.
I know I paid good money for a lot of this stuff, but I’m over it. Well, over some of it anyway.
Last week, I gave away the beginnings of a blue jean quilt I started shortly after I moved here. I cut squares out of my jeans and jeans I’d gotten from my husband (then boyfriend), his kids, my neighbors and co-workers. I remember paying the kids (who are now both in their 40s) to trace and cut out the squares. I painstakingly sewed the squares together into strips. I bought a ton of blue plaid flannel to use for the backing. This was going to be a king-sized quilt we could take camping or keep in the car. It would be tough and useful. I think I broke the heavy-gauge sewing machine needle and never got around to buying another. The quilt never got done.
It did get moved from upstairs studio to downstairs studio multiple times. It stayed on my “Craft Projects to Finish” list until last week when I gave myself permission to give it up. It went to a lady who actually does this kind of thing.
I was just going to give her the strips to sew together. Then I decided to add the backing flannel because, realistically (there’s that word again) what was I going to do with it? Then I added two shoe boxes full of un-sewn together denim squares, in two different sizes because, again, what was I going to do with them? Really?
As soon as I hauled those bags of partially completed quilt out of the house, I felt relieved. Lighter.
Two days ago, sitting here looking at shelves still full of stuff, I decided to do the same with the large quantities of felt squares I’d bought for I-don’t-remember-what also back in the 80s. I think there was a sale of some kind involved. Anyway, I called a nearby community center that does lots of kid classes and offered it to them. They jumped, I delivered and another two bags of stuff I’d never gotten around to are out of my house.
Not everything I’ll probably get rid of is from the 80s. There’s the large shopping bag that’s full of my late husband’s shirts. I wanted to make a scrap quilt out of them (more squares). While I still love the idea of doing that, it’s been 8 years. If I really wanted to do this, wouldn’t I have done it already?
That one I have to think about some more. But there is one thing I’m sure of: It’s not 1980 anymore.