There is pretty much always a lot going on here at Nerd Girl Sewing.  I just finished a freelance article for Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and I’m in the middle of a big secret project right now.  I almost always have at least 3 or 4 balls I am juggling at once: freelancing (web design and writing), one or two projects, and usually some event prep.  Combine that with at least one long term project that’s almost always in the works (like my embroidered Elizabethan jacket), yard & house projects, and the everyday cleaning required not to live in total squalor and there is A LOT for me to keep straight!

I’m a list maker at heart.  It’s how I keep things strait and remember what I need to do.  My preference is to keep paper lists so I can enjoy the satisfaction of scratching though a completed task.  But I started finding myself with 5 or 6 post-it notes scattered around the house and sewing room.  And important projects were falling through the cracks because I would misplace lists or forget to make them because a higher priority project would come up.  I began to worry that pretty soon I would need a list to keep track of my lists!

So I decided to give a To-do list site I had used before another chance: Remember the Milk (RTM).  RTM is a free online service that allows you to make and keep track of to-do lists for numerous tasks and projects.  There is an option to upgrade to their pro service for an annual fee but it’s not needed to use RTM.

I had used RTM before but at the time I could only use the to-do list organizer online because there was not an app for my phone at the time.  Now though, there is an app for my phone which really makes this tool much more useful and user friendly.  I was able to transfer all my to-do lists into RTM and I was also able to set up lists for each of my projects and assign deadlines to each of the tasks of my highest priority projects.  This helps to keep me on track and on time and it also helps to keep things from falling through the cracks because I can see the lists for all the projects I have pending.

I also made lists for the house and yard projects and a list for chores.  Each task can be assigned a deadline, whether or not it repeats, and if it repeats how often it repeats.  So things like changing the air filters won’t get forgotten because I think I changed them a month ago when really it was 4 months ago.  When I mark a repeatable task as completed it is rescheduled to be done based on how often it repeats.

After using RTM for several weeks I did decided to get a pro account so I could sync my phone and online account as often as I want.  The free account does allow syncing but only once a day and that just wasn’t often enough for the way I used it.

So there you have it.  This is how I’ve been keeping tack of my tasks for the past month and I love it.

*This article is not an ad or sponsored in any way by Remember the Milk.  Remember the Milk is a free service I’ve been using for the past month or so.  I have found it to be really helpful for me in tracking my tasks and projects and I wanted to share my experiences with my readers.

As I mentioned in my last post I am working on a project for the Sew for Victory 2.0 sew along.  I picked out these super cute overalls from Wearing History and while I was at it I also picked up a copy of the pattern for the blouse that the model is wearing with the overalls.  I thought they were super cute and would be great for wearing this spring while my husband and I worked on the numerous house and yard projects we have planned.

However, as I also mentioned in my previous post, April is already pretty crazy with sewing and freelancing projects.  But I thought, “I can at least make the blouse by the 30th.”

Well, yesterday this happened:

Guess who's no longer allowed to use power tools!

Guess who’s no longer allowed to use power tools!

I had an accident with the hedge-trimmers Sunday.  I’m fine but I did have to have about 12 stitches and with the pain medicine they gave me I’m not allowed to drive.  And I can’t use my injured fingers for the next 10 days.  In fact I’m typing this post with just my right hand.  So with now having to finish my article with just my right hand, not being able to use my left hand really until the 24th, and the super secret project due in May I don’t see how I am going to be able to even do the blouse by the 30th.  I do still plan to finish the project but it’s going to take me a little longer.  Maybe I can finish it by the end of May.

Spring daffodills from Wikimedia Commons

Spring daffodils from Wikimedia Commons

It turns out that April is going to be completely insane. There’s a lot going on here at Nerd Girl Sewing that all comes due in between April 29th and May 15th.

The first is that I have another article I am working on for Your Wardrobe Unlock’d. My article on Sewing with Ease and Pleasure was published last week and I’m very pleased with it. The next article is due on the 29th and I am working to have the initial draft finished by Friday so I can focus on editing and images.

The second is that I have a project due by May 15th. It’s kind of top secret but I can say that it involves my brand new toy, Brother’s PE Design Next Software. It’s pretty powerful digitizing software and I can’t wait to start playing with it. Once I get the hang of it I would like to try my hand at some tutorials so we will see how that goes.

The third is that I working on a project for the Sew for Victory 2.0 sew along.  I’ll be posting more on that in another post this weekend so stay tuned.

I’m also still trying to decide between two gorgeous red wools for my doublet project.  I need to make that decision soon so I can order my fabric.

Last night we started experiencing some technical difficulties but the site is back up and running smoothly now!

The last month has been a complete and total whirl wind.  When we last left our intrepid heroin she was in Atlanta for a work conference.  Braving the flight home, she landed safely on February 28th, her birthday, and was immediately whisked off for birthday sushi by her loving and amazing husband who showered her with shoes, kisses, and a new Trashy Diva Trixie dress.  The next morning it was off to Como, NC with the puppy dogs to spend a birthday weekend with family and to enjoy the first mom-made birthday cake she’d had in 1517 years.

The next week was spend furiously working and packing in preparation for a week in New Orleans and Gulf Wars.  She ate, she drank, she shopped.  And she spend Wednesday and Friday at Gulf Wars fencing.

It…was…EPIC.

Now she has returned returned, relaxed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle more sewing projects, several house projects, an article for Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.

Two steps forward.  I altered my design a bit and while I still need to make a few more tweaks to the design I think we are looking good

Two steps forward. I altered my design a bit and while I still need to make a few more tweaks to the design I think we are looking good

I am currently in sunny Hotlanta, GA for the next few days for a conference but I wanted to share some progress on the futon cover.

There has been moderate success on the futon cover front.  After taking failed version 1.0 I took it apart and re-evaluated what I had done.  I re-designed to cover and, while I still need to tweak the design a little bit and finish hemming the cover and finishing the seams I think it’s looking pretty good.  Once I finish the final little bits I can start on the pillows and valance.

It certainly looks much nicer than my old futon cover, although nothing will ever be able to match the whimsy of the sock monkey sheet.

So far I have only sketched my design.  Would you all be interested in a copy of the design plan or a short tutorial?

Don't f*$@k up your own project by blinding rushing ahead just because you are super excited (OMG!!!Ican'twait!!!).

The linen from futon cover v1.0 that had to be taken apart.  Don’t f*$@k up your own project by blinding rushing ahead just because you are super excited (OMG!!!Ican’twait!!!).

When you have a project, any project, the most important thing you can do is plan and take you time.

I got really excited when work closed early due to snow yesterday and I jumped right into my futon cover project…ignoring my own best advice.

Don’t do that.

Because I didn’t listen to myself my design had major flaws and I ended up having to rip the whole thing apart.  I was so mad I just ripped it apart and left it on my table.  Thankfully we don’t have a fireplace or I might have done something drastic.

Futon Cover v2.0.  I now think I know what went wrong (the panel on the side should be wider because of the way it pulls when the futon if in sofa form) but I think a small alteration in my design will fix the issue while still letting me use the fabric I already cut.

Futon Cover v2.0. I now think I know what went wrong (the panel on the side should be wider because of the way it pulls when the futon if in sofa form) but I think a small alteration in my design will fix the issue while still letting me use the fabric I already cut.

Thankfully, after I sat down, had a drink…and some dinner I was able to take a more objective look at what had been wrong with my initial design.  I now think I know what went wrong and I think I can fix it with the fabric I already cut.  Which is really lucky because I don’t have a lot of extra fabric if I also want to make curtains and throw pillows.

My patterned fabric arrived this weekend! Hopefully the linen will be here this week and then we can get started!

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Over Christmas my husband and I made over my sewing room.  We rearranged the room for better work flow, repainted, and added new shelves

Over Christmas my husband and I made over my sewing room. We rearranged the room for better work flow, repainted, and added new shelves

My Christmas present and a better picture of the new wall color.

My Christmas present and a better picture of the new wall color.

While we wait for the fabric swatches for the doublet to arrive I have started up another project: a futon cover and curtains to finish up the sewing room makeover that my husband and I started over Christmas.  We rearranged the room for better work flow, repainted, and added new shelves.  I also received a TV for Christmas for my sewing room from my awesome husband.

There are still a few things that need to be finished though.  I need to make a new futon cover that will fit better with room than my sock monkey fitted sheet (I know, so awesome!) and I’d like to make a matching valence to replace the linen curtains that I was just never really happy with.  I also have one move picture to hang and two little paint touch-ups to make from the other pictures that were hung.

The fabric I ordered from my futon cover and valence: Designtex's Brooch in Mink

The fabric I ordered from my futon cover and valence: Designtex’s Brooch in Mink

A few weeks ago I requested some swatches from Modern Fabrics in Charlotte, NC.  They have some lovely home decor fabrics and many of them have a great retro feel.  I selected  Designtex’s Brooch in Mink from the swatches I ordered and last week I ordered 5 yards for the futon cover and valence project.  I also ordered another 5 yards of chocolate brown linen for the back of the futon cover and to line the valence since the futon fabric was kind of at the top end of my budget.  By using a cheaper fabric for the parts of the cover no one will see the project becomes a little more economical.

The fabric should be here this week.  I can’t wait to get started.

Before starting to pattern the doublet I needed to order fabric.  I had planned to order wool from one of my favorite fabric sources B.Black and Sons.  But when I took a look a their in stock wool flannel colors the didn’t really have a madder red wool like I was looking for.  So I asked for some suggestions on Facebook.  I got some great responses.  After taking a look at the suggestions, I found that Burnley & Trowbridge Co. had a nice worsted wool in a color I liked as well as a nice wool broadcloth in a deeper red.  Now I’ve heard some very nice things about their fabrics but I’ve never ordered from their before so I picked up a pack of their fabric swatches.

When ever you are ordering from a company for the first time, even if you have heard good things about their quality, it always pays to pick up a swatch.  Often you can get a swatch for free or for a small cost.  Either way, I’ve never regretted picking up a swatch to confirm that the fabric I’m looking at is really what I’m looking for for my project.

In the case of Burnley & Trowbridge Co., they offer all their swatches in one packet for a nominal fee.  I picked it up and it should be here soon.  I can’t wait to get a chance to look at the wool broadcloth and the worsted wool.  I really think one or both of them will work very nicely for my project.