Use It or Lose It

Big Cloths SortedDeclaring my intention has motivated me into action.! I have been completing unfinished tasks. Last week the studio  was  re organised.  Adopting  the “USE IT or LOSE IT” approach coupled with  ‘keeping that which I love’ has done the trick.
I started by making a list of the personal tools, materials and equipment I use most frequently, the  list of tools, materials and equipment used in workshops and arranged it all according to the new layout. All that is precious is now kept in the walk in cupboard- any quilter will understand the importance of  one’s stash – ie. fabrics reserved for current projects, those kept for later, those kept for sentimental reasons.  I think of my stash as my palette. The big cloths which were  in big laundry bags, are now folded on shelves, grouped by colour and weight.  My most used books are displayed there too along with  boxes of beads. A happy sight to greet me every time! The smaller cloths are in drawers , the smallest are in boxes in the studio. And  are all sorted by colour.
The Juki machine is now sited near the cupboard , the iron and board and  the design wall. The cutting table is on wheels and can be brought over to this area . So I have now a working triangle with every thing at hand. I  put up my pin board of images and inspirations.

A number of things have found themsleves in the charity shop , a printer and computer cables also have a new home. There are  a few items that need to go which I will post on Free-cycle. For me it is important to follow through on this one, because usually I get so far, then other things distract me.

The saying ‘Everything in it’s Place and a Place for Everything’ resonates . Big Cloth folded on shelvesBeing able to put things away easily feels good. Being able to find things feels good. It

feels GREAT actually!

So, I decided to go to Market this week with my wares and when I did a mock up of my stall display I could see and find every thing I needed easily and I can’t wait to get back into the studio.

In my next post I will tell you about my day at The Make It, Grow It, Sell It Market. See link above.

Getting Things Done- COMPLETION!

studio samples © maggie winnall 2011
studio samples © maggie winnall 2011

I want to progress my art but I am stuck right now.

Earlier this year I collected together some of my beginnings , some samples of ideas.I pinned them up on the design wall in the studio. I stood back and was surprised at how much was there. There is more stashed away in drawers, on shelves and at home are portfolios of paintings, drawings, collages. There are sketchbooks and journals too. Then there was all the stuff I discarded.

Because I have only finished a number of quilts, I didn’t consider myself to be productive. Yet I have been busy making, making lots of starts, lots of studies, lots of samples and ideas. There is potential  waiting to be developed, tidied up and perfected to meet the ‘standard’.(the ‘standard’  being another topic altogether)

I choose to use ‘waste’ cloth and materials in my work. I like to use up what is readily available. I like the challenge of making something out of nothing, as it were,  I like ready made colour and texture.

As a logical next step, I decided to use up the samples I had made and put them into larger pieces .  I didn’t follow through to the end, to back and quilt them. I allowed myself to be distracted. I worked on commissions ( sound and valid )….I started new ideas….I began to assemble my website….I floated in cyberspace…I took online classes… I read…focus flew out of the window and headed south, whilst my willpower hibernated in a creative chill.

Then I read the Studio 24-7 where Terry Jarrard-Dimond itemises her book list . The all time favourite is Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy, from which she highlighted the importance of completion(August 10th) I didn’t need another book to clutter my shelves,….so… I read the reviews anyway and now Maximum Achievement is mine! Well, the book anyway! It is an inspiring and motivating read, not least because Brian Tracy’s own story is so compelling.

So here’s where I am :ditching the pretentious (or maybe aspirational) ‘ABOUT’ statement for something real and meaningful. I am shaping up my blog to focus on finish, completion and getting things done. I am committing to the process….to discover what works to get my work complete. I am going public in a bid to own my reality, to be accountable, to develop and complete my art! Your presence is invaluable to this process and you comments are most welcome.

Adding PayPal to my website

I’ve just been on PayPal’s website looking at what they have to offer in payment methods.Following on from my last post, I have found another site in PayPal  that i is particularly helpful. As well as offering a free payment service for small businesses like mine, they give a step by step guide to starting e-commerce trading and the best way to go about it. I recommend this feature for any one starting out selling online. To get the information you have to register,here’s their link anyway.


photographic help

In my search for picture taking equipment, I read somewhere that studio lights might need a  supplement to support the extra demand on the power supply. I was worried that my lamps might blow the circuit or worse start a fire!

So I joined up to to get some answers. And what a helpful bunch they are. My mind is assured now that I can proceed safely. All the amps and volts and fuses are in order.



Sewin studio website

My order arrived today! A tripod, camera, table lamps and a photographers backdrop frame. It is time to prepare my finished work for my website, which  is called sewin studio. All the advice points to getting good pictures of work made. There is the standard expectation for good images,and rightly so.

I would like to use a professional photographer and funds are limited, so with the new technology available it’s a new learning curve for me. I’m looking forward to using my new toys and to seeing my website up and running.

I’ve chosen Big Black Bag as my host.  It is a site Jude found and is eminently suitable for my art. I’ve had a trial run and it is  user friendly, I can find my way round the site albeit slowly. Join me to follow my progress…..posting this is reason to get on with it… here goes!

Plastic Fantastic Patchwork !

Plastic Fantastic Patchwork Bag © maggie winnall 2010Here is Hannah modelling my Plastic Fantastic Patchwork Bag created from carrier bags. Take a look on sewin studio workshop page to see how Sybille interpreted the idea, book a place on the bag making class to make one for yourself !

Check out sewin studio page for new! feature

Have been busy designing flyers and pages for a small class I offer at Sewin Studio. it is more time consuming than I anticipated , I enjoy the process though.

Also made 210cm X210cm quilt top for Nigel, in the ‘housetop’style of Gees Bend

but it turns out to be too bold . Never mind I like it…I’m not sure how it works when you make something inspired by another’s work that you admire, is it Ok to post the picture as long as you credit the inspiration and originator of the piece?

Well I’ll wait and see what the Gees Bend ladies have to say first and then I may show my efforts……..

All Stitched Up private view


It was also when I lived in Bramhall that I developed my horse obsession. My whole existence revolved around horses…..I learned to draw them from memory, it looks like I still can.* It was only recently that I understood horses and their power for healing. Horses carried me through a very difficult part of my childhood, which is why I have incorporated horse_1 on my ‘green for love and healing ‘mini quilt contribution to All Stitched Up. And to wrap this healing circle up nicely, Susan Stockwell is the first person I have ever met (other than my family etc) who knows Bramhall……..

We are off to the private view now and I am looking forward to seeing the assembled patches, and the other work.

Take some time out down by the river at Westminster and come to see ALL STITCHED UP at the Florence Nightingale Museum,then let me know what you think. Comments are welcome!

PS * on reviewing this post, I realise that it was the first horse that I drew was from memory , it features on Green for Love and Healing, the quilt patch in All Stitched Up….

Learning about Florence

As a 7/8 year old I learned about Florence Nightingale at Pownall Green Primary School in Bramhall. Florence was ‘The lady of the Lamp’, attended and cared for wounded soldiers, who respected her in turn. At the time I recall understanding that she was a significant woman. There was no mention of Mary Seacole, at all.

Knowing that Mary’s offer of service was turned away by Florence,  that Mary’s own story and her contributions to nursing had been overlooked until relatively recently, influenced my perceptions on visiting the Florence Nightingale Museum. I was curious as to how this story would be addressed, and what I would make of it.

Above all, I came away impressed by the work, dedication and strength of these two powerful women.  Both women  subject to negative and restrictive attitudes of that time, got on with the business of repairing the wounded, tending the sick , shared a love of healing and travelled far and wide to do so. Florence and Mary were celebrated and well respected in their day. This is the story I came away with. Women as healers.

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