Organization HELP!!

Happy Monday! Let’s take a break from BATHROOMS! Do you ever feel totally disorganized? Inefficient? Stressed out? Like you can’t get anything done? Overbooked? Forgetful? Find yourself on Facebook for no reason? Easily sidetracked by laundry or the Girl Scout cookies in the freezer? All of the above describe how I feel on a daily basis! I wanted to work on a BLOG POST with tips on how to stay organized and efficient. I know most of us are stay-at-home moms who maybe do this for fun/on the side/for friends and family…. or maybe this is your full time J-O-B? What are your best tips for staying organized and efficient?

How do you organize your “orders”?

When is the best time to work?

When is the best time to check email (other than every 5 minutes like I do sometimes….)?

How many items do you do each day? Goals are good!!

How do you not get distracted?

Tips & time savers for doing monograms and appliques?

Easiest way to pick out fabric & thread colors?

When do you not work or when is it OK to take the day off?

Those are just A FEW questions I could think of! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Sound off in the COMMENTS, or email me at Photos would be AWESOME too, if you have any to share! Be on the lookout for my BLOG POST!

Here are just a few pics of my sewing room from a previous blog post on ORGANIZATION! Thanks in advance!!

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 My BLANKS & SUPPLY closet:

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 My ORDER organizer:


Sewing Room Organization

Hello AC Blog readers!! A while back (like in July) I solicited blog post suggestions on Facebook (or maybe it was on a blog post?) and I got some great suggestions. Sorry it has taken me 3 months to address some of them! I thought I would share a few pictures from my sewing room and show you how I (try really hard to) stay organized!! I think organization is a good thing or else your work space may feel chaotic and stressful. Luckily I have my own sewing room (that I share with my husband – he gets a corner and a shelf or two!). Before this house, my dining room was my sewing room and we all know how crazy that can be.

This is an old photo, but you get the idea. The furniture is from Home Decorators – Martha Stewart Living Craft Space Furniture.  It comes in a few colors and bunch of different options and has really held up well. My desk is dinged up from hitting it with hoops and such, but overall it is sturdy and we like it!

sewing room

This is an old photo as well. This is my Expedit cubby system from Ikea, which I LOVE!!!! This thing is heavy and sturdy and comes in a few other configuration options. I was told that Expedit has changes names to Kallax at Ikea, and I am not sure if this 25 cubby system is being offered, but I looked online and see the 16 cubby system and a few other options. There are also lots of basket options, doors, drawers, etc. All 15 of the bottom baskets are filled with fabric, and are organized by style. For example: fat ginghams, regular ginghams, microcheck fabrics, chevrons, polka dots, solids, floral prints, etc etc etc are in a basket together. They are wadded up and thrown in the baskets haphazardly, but they are organized!!

Thread — I have 4 standard sized thread racks hanging on the wall. You can buy them at Hobby Lobby, Joann, etc. I also have a large spool (5000M) rack that I bought at at their West Point location. I think this is it — 30 Spool Thread Rack.


Here is more recent photo I took while laying on the floor doing hip exercises! Pretty cool huh (not the hip exercises…)? I use mostly Isacord and Exquisite thread. I get my Isacord from and my Exquisite from! I do have some random spools of other brands, but those are my 2 go-to brands for embroidery thread.

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Another picture I posted on Facebook recently of my now-8 year old! He was peering over my shoulder the other day while I was doing a newsletter and asked me, as seriously as he could, “Do you have a website? Wait… do you own your own company?” WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN SON????? 🙂

garrison spider man

Another old photo! I bought this 1 2 3 4 wall cubby thing at Hobby Lobby a year or two ago. I believe it was on clearance and I thought it would be perfect for my TO DO stuff! Be on the lookout for things like this at Hobby Lobby, World Market, etc. when you are out shopping! They are great for getting organized!

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This photo was today, and luckily my TO DO pile is small!


I have posted may times before that I used to use a Craftsman Tool Chest as a machine stand. It worked great! When we bought this house and I got a sewing room, I bought the 1-drawer piece of furniture seen in the first photo, but I kept the tool chest and I love it! I use it as my hooping station, and the drawers are great for all of my STUFF (hoops, extra stabilizer, etc.). As you can see below, when they have a sale at Joann I stock up!


Drawers are great for all those hoop pieces! The top is great for hooping too. I bought this at Sears for less than $100 and it has 4 drawers.


Above the tool chest I have a couple of peg boards I got at Michaels and a craft rack I also got at Michaels. It holds some of my stabilizer! This hangs above my tool chest so everything is handy when I’m hooping.


I bought this utensil caddy at Southern Homes & Gardens here in town. It spins around which comes in handy! My only complaint is that my stuff falls through the holes of the chicken wire and often gets stuck, but you get the idea! Any utensil caddy would be great for scissors, pens and all those other “things” you use (seam ripper, marking pens, etc.) in keeping them organized.

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I am also lucky in our house to have a closet for all of my STUFF! My husband had some stuff in this closet and I kicked him out. It’s just a small closet under our stairs. As you can see below I have a dress form and some other smaller “props” which I use when doing classes or events. I bought the dress form from a local store that was closing, and the other smaller props all came from Hobby Lobby. You can find dress forms on Ebay also!


I have tons of blanks and samples and I love that they are hung up and organized! I keep blank bibs and burp cloths in the plastic drawers underneath. It looks a little messy but it’s really organized!


I hope that helps as you think about organization!!

Have you been on the website lately? Hopefully you’ve noticed our Digitizer’s Pick! We change it out randomly so be sure to grab it when you see it! Right now our Rudolph 3 is featured! Also, ALL DESIGNS ARE ON SALE THROUGH 10/14/14!

appcafeframe1loopy cmas tree 2

Lastly, I am teaching a class at Beth’s Heirloom in Wetumpka next Thursday night, October 16th from 6-8 pm. I will be showing you the software I use (Monogram Wizard Plus and Sew What Pro) and we will talk about using software in designing with embroidery and applique! Here is a LINK to the class!


Fabric Storage

Yesterday on Facebook I asked for some blog post suggestions for the new year. I got quite a list (which I printed – 6 pages worth) and am working through them as we begin 2012! Several people asked about FABRIC STORAGE. This is not my area of expertise, as you will see down below. But, I can tell you how I do things and then make 1 suggestion that I’ve seen and like (but am too lazy to do). First of all, I USED to cut a fabric swatch of my fabric (4-5″ square) and organize it by style or theme and safety pin each style together. I did this when I was doing a lot of customer work and had people in and out of my house picking out fabrics for appliques. This was a great way to show my fabrics and for my customers to be able to pick out what they wanted without them having to sort through drawers of fabric. Somewhere along the way I stopped doing this :(, so this is only a fraction of my fabric selection. As you can see, they are “organized” by colorful polka dots, ginghams (all sizes), boy stuff, stripes, color w/ white polka dots, seasonal, etc etc etc….

 Someone also asked about how to pick out fabric for an applique design. I would say my “go-to” fabrics are always polka dots and ginghams. They just “work” with any design you are doing! I use A LOT of polka dots, ginghams and solids. I look at a design, usually start by picking 1 fabric I know I want to use, and then try to coordinate with that. Sometimes I can pick out fabrics very quickly, and sometimes it might take me an hour! This is another post in and of itself!!

As you can see I had arranged these ginghams according to the colors of a rainbow! 😉

 I just pin the swatches together in the corner with a big safety pin. Nothing fancy! I guess I should mention that when I used to cut swatches of my fabric, I would try to cut a swatch out of whatever edge might have the name and designer of the fabric. Sometimes the piece you get (if you get 1/4 yard) doesn’t have that info, but if it does, it’s helpful to cut that piece!

 Now… this is MY fabric storage and it works for me, but I would not call it neat! Several of you said yours was in boxes and you had no idea what you had. I concur!! Sometimes I dump a basket out and go through it if I can’t decide on fabrics for a design. My fabrics ARE organized by style, so I do know what is in each basket (…sort of). Yes, I have 15 baskets full of fabric. I have a problem.

 This is how they are organized ~ solids, seasonal, boy fabrics, corduroys, minky dots, polka dots (regular to big dots), colorful dots, pin dots, stripes, florals, fat check ginghams, regular ginghams, microcheck ginghams, plaids/checked fabrics and more florals.

 My Expedit from Ikea is the 25 cubby Expedit. LOVE me some Expedit!! We had friends who were in Atlanta this past weekend and they were going to Ikea, so they brought me 4 more of the Pjas baskets. I am so thankful!! I’m hoping to go back in a couple of weeks!!

Here’s a look inside my baskets. They are just thrown in there! This is my go-to polka dot basket. All of my Michael Miller Ta Dots are in here. MOST of these have white dots too, although I see a teal fabric in there with big red dots!! That is Sissy’s hand pointing to the purple.

 Here is my basket of ginghams. They are all basically the same size regular ole 1/16th ginghams. My fat chunkier ginghams are all in a basket as well as my microcheck ginghams which are in another basket.

 Here is my seasonal basket ~ mostly Christmas, some Halloween and Valentine fabrics are in here. Notice the arrow pointed to the neatly rolled up fabric secured by a rubber band. That USED to be my practice (probably when I also cut swatches of every fabric). I still have some that are rolled and rubber-banded, but most are just thrown in the basket. Some are at least folded!

Now, I drool over this……

The above photo came from Pinterest ~ fabric NEATLY placed on boards and displayed beautifully on a shelf. I think most people who showcase their fabric this way use Comic Boards (see below) which usually come in packs of 100. Try Amazon or just Google “comic board”. I would love to display my fabric like this! But, I am too lazy and my system works for me and it would take me 6 months to iron and wrap all of my fabric like this! Maybe I should just take my favorites and try it??

 I hope this helps! I’m sure there are 1,000 ways to organize fabric! I find the best way is to organize it by style. The swatches are great too if you have customers coming in to your home. Before my Expedit I used the plastic drawer bins from Target or Walmart (see below). I think I was up to 6 of them before the cubbies.

Thanks to those of you who suggested FABRIC STORAGE as a blog post! I will be contacting you via Facebook for a surprise!