The Free Motion Quilting Project: I'll Never Need This Again...

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'll Never Need This Again...

These are pretty dangerous words for any crafter, quilter, or DIYer.  They usually come out of our mouth just as we chuck some unused tool, material, or supply in the trash, only to wish we still had it within a few months!

I'm an avid purger.  No, this doesn't mean I throw up all the time (gross)!  Instead it means I'm constantly looking at all the "stuff" I own and constantly judging whether it really needs to be kept or is in need of a good chucking out the door.  Case in point is when I trashed my closet last year.

This is kind of the opposite of hording, where you save every thing in the world (including your empty fast food bins and candy wrappers) just in case you MIGHT need them one day.

I'm just not that kind of person.  When looking at an item, I think very hard for a second "Do I need this right NOW?"

If I can't come up with a cool project idea, or if the item just feels like junk, that's it.  I don't worry excessively about hurting my old rotary cutter's feelings.  The blade gets changed when it gets dull with no feelings of remorse.  It's just a simple blade!

But I've definitely learned my lesson this weekend.  A few months ago I went through all my tools and decided it was time to chuck all my electrical wiring tools.

Back in 2006, Josh and I renovated a room in our basement to make a den.  Because we planned to move our TV downstairs, and because the room in question had almost no sockets to plug things in, I learned how to wire sockets and switches.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This saved us an enormous amount of money and was actually pretty easy to do, once you master the basics with the respect that, if you screw it up, you could potentially electrocute yourself or burn your house down (yes, usually in that order).

I amassed a lot of electrical / wiring tools that year and pretty much haven't touched them since.  I've fixed the odd switch or bad socket here or there, but not really had to take care of any major projects since.

So it makes sense that when I looked at that box of gear a few months ago and realized I hadn't touched it in 6 years, I easily made the decision to chuck it.

Only to need it less than 3 months later.

Yep, I'm wiring again, this time a few sockets for the laundry room and updating a switch that has long since needed to be changed.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This is my nasty laundry room.  It's always been the dirtiest, dankest place in the house because the washer has a penchant for regurgitating water all over the floor (she likes to purge too) and the place has always been dark, buggy, and full of junk.

This weekend I decided to change this room's dark fate in favor of a new purpose.  Rather than let all this wonderful space go to waste, I'm converting it into a place to dye fabric safely and easily out of everyone's way, but still within the house so I won't freeze to death if I decide to dye during the winter.

What made this job a million times easier is all the leftover wood we have laying around (one of the few things I don't purge because I definitely will use it... one day).  Finally, finishing the wall is making for a much cleaner, more tidy appearance, but when I reached the first electrical socket, I knew I'd hit a speed bump.

The switch for this room was super old, still encased in a super tiny metal box with an awful clacky switch that was seriously loud enough to hear in the office (all the way across the house).  So I decided to update the switch, but then started thinking...

What about electrical sockets around the work table?  What about extra lighting?  What about plugging in my crockpot or a plug-in-light?

It's a dangerous series of thoughts... and it usually leads to the hardware store.

Where of course I forgot that I'd thrown out my wire strippers and testers and all the little tools that made this job easier.  Instead I ended up stripping the plastic casing off the wires with an old pair of scissors.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
It certainly worked, but wasn't very elegant.

But I'm happy to say after a long afternoon of fiddling with wires and sockets, this project is done!  No, I still haven't finished the walls, primed, or painted, but the knowledge that I will at least have lighting and electricity in this area is comforting.

And you know, even for having thrown out all those tools, working on this project just proves that you don't need every tool, gizmo, or gadget in order to get the job done.  Yes, it required a bit more time and ingenuity, but the outcome was still the same.

So I guess the moral of this story is to throw out useless junk (if you're not using it, don't keep it), but also don't beat yourself up for the things you throw out and DO actually end up needing again!  Chances are you can find an alternative that will work just fine.

Now I'm up for a much needed break with Downton Abby and a hand binding project!

Let's go quilt,



  1. look at you go,,,,,go girl,,,i love women that go the outside limit of a mans world,,,,,,women electricians rock, lolol,,,,,,cant wait to c it all finished,,,,we are building our own house, and its been me that knows how to do the framing of the walls, and all else as i have been in construction for over 20 years,,,,,,,,love it,,,,have a happy day

  2. You are a wonder! Love your "can do" attitude! You are so right, though, that (within reason) there isn't much we can't accomplish once we/I put my mind to it!!! Hugs, D

  3. Leah, you even do wiring!? My goodness, you really are a take charge kind of girl :) Awesome!

  4. Well done you for tackling electrics. I used THROW away but now I GIVE away unwanted stuff to be used again (and even borrowed back!)

  5. Oh's been such an AWFUL month for me...thank you so much for the laugh today...I really needed it. The thought of you and your washer being kindred purging spirits was hilarious...and of course I'm even more impressed now that I know you're an electrical whiz too. You're a fantastic role model for women, young and not so young. Have a great day and I hope you get your house just the way you want it as quickly as possible. Thanks again....blessings....

  6. I remember the year I asked for a chain saw for Mother's Day. My husband just shook his head. Awhile back my daughter said something about sanding something and I told her I had a sander. Again with the head shake and "Of course you do. And Dad has a sewing machine."

  7. My mantra is "I'll never need this again. If I do, I can just re-buy it." So I hang on to really expensive stuff, and do my best to throw other things out.

    I'm jealous you can do your own wiring. My husband knows how, but it is illegal in our city. (The way the code is written it actually looks like we couldn't even install our own fans anymore. Thankfully we did that before they added the provision!)

  8. I usually end up using my paring knives to stip wires, because even though I didn't purge my tools, I can't FIND them!


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