Ask Jo: How I get so much done

The question I get the very most often is how I get so much done.  Seriously..the answer is I try.   There’s more to it than that but that’s the main response.  I try to get a lot done.

I’ll show you a typical day around here.  This was a week day.  My alarm went off at 5:35am like it always does but this day I hit the snooze.  I don’t often do that.  In fact, I hit it twice.  I wasn’t out of bed until 5:55am.  I am not big on makeup.  I took a shower the night before so getting my clothes on and fixing my hair took under 15 minutes so I was in the sewing room by 6:10am.  That left me about 45 minutes to sew…Hmm.  What could I tackle in that time?

Ah…I’ll finish sewing the rows together on the food quilt that I’m gifting.  but wait.  Oops.  I did something wrong.  I set that aside.  I’ll figure that out later.

Hmm.  I had one more row to sew together and add to this…

so I did.  That needs to be ironed and borders and binding need to be cut but I can do that downstairs.  I grabbed a tote, put the things in and set that by the door.

I had an idea for a baby quilt for Buck’s baby.  I don’t think it will take long so I started pulling strings in the color family I wanted.


There…that’s all set up and ready once I get time to work on that.


I do need get neutrals to go with this project.  I want to use white based neutrals with black print as this is going to Mickey Mouse themed so I have none of them.  My fabric is organized but color so I grabbed a bunch for it.
That went into a tote and I set that by the door.


I looked around the sewing room….I looked at the clock.  Shucks.  That’s all I got done before work today.

I “commuted to work”.  For me, that’s a walk down the stairs.  I’m an in home childcare provider so no real commuting for me.  Remember that when you wonder how much I get done in a day.  I have no commute.  Around here a typical one way commute is 20-30 minutes.  So I can sew in time that regular are commuting to work.

I was downstairs about 30 minutes before the kiddos start coming.  A load of wash goes in…the dishes get put away….I prep for the day.  Breakfast, lunch and even supper get planned.  If I can start something for either meal I do that.

The kids start arriving at around 7:15am.  They come in gradually and I work to everyone situated as they arrive.  The bus comes at 7:45am and by 8:30am all the kids are here.

I’ve been doing childcare for years.  Taking care of seven kids is likely easier for me than it is for a grandma to have two kids on a Saturday.  My entire house is set up so the kids can take care of themselves as much as possible.  Once kids are 20 months or so old, they sit at the table to eat themselves.  They help pass out plates and silverware.  They scrap their own plates.

So many of the things we do, I incorporate learning.  The kids helped me bake brownies on this day.  The kids will help me fold their laundry.  I like kids to learn tasks and get the experience of working together.  I use wash clothes for the kids to dry their hands.  The kids help me do that.  So many of the things other in home childcare providers might do outside of work, I do during work as part of learning.

Once we’re done eating, the kids go into routine.  They scrape their plates.  They go to the bathroom, go potty and wash up.  They make their own napping spots and lay down.  All of the toys are already picked up.  Aside from washing down the counters and a little other work, I typically have some time to do my things.

This day I ironed that baby quilt…


I cut the borders and binding.


A blog reader sent this box of bonus triangles.  I’ve kept it in the laundry room to grab if I get more time one day.  Today I had a little time so I started sorting.
The gray triangles in the black tray got sorted.
Then I pulled the 30’s print bonus triangles and ironed them.
I noticed that there are two different sizes so I put them in a tote and will cut and size them up another day over naptime.


I scanned the box quilt and saw there was one grouping of triangle that needed to be sewn.  I put them in the box to take upstairs.  They will sit by my sewing machine and I’ll run them through one day when I have 10 minutes and don’t know what to work on.

I put the bonus triangles box back in the laundry room.

I let the kiddos lay down and watch an episode of television.  Some fall asleep…others don’t.  After about 35 minutes I noticed Carvers wasn’t asleep so I grabbed this.


The lighting is terrible.  The geese are actually orange.  These were left over flying geese that a blog reader sent in a box of scraps.  I pulled them out and sewed them together.    After seeing how it looked, I wished I would have put the middle row of geese pointing the opposite direction.

I had brought it downstairs and put it in the sewing room a week ago.  I was going to grab it and rip out the stitches while I sat by Carver to get him to go sleep.  It would only take 5-10 minutes to rip it apart…about the same amount of time it would take to get Carver to sleep.

Carver was sleeping before I finished.

I put this on the stairs and I’ll sew it together sometime in the near future.  I’ve been contemplating borders…I want it to be a little table topper.  If it was just a little bigger but I don’t have any of the background fabric so I need to think that through.

I went back out to the kitchen.  Everyone was sleeping now.

I could work on this.  A blog reader sent these scraps.  I’m thinking leftover from a jelly roll.  Last week one day I grabbed a bunch of white on white fabrics I had and decided that I’ll cut more half square triangles and make the rest of the fabric into pinwheel blocks.  I’m thinking I might get enough to make a baby quilt.  We’ll see.  That day over naptime I was able to cut the strips and I put the remaining white on white fabric away that night.  I left this on the island with the intention of cutting it out one day at naptime.  I haven’t gotten to it yet.

I could crack this open.  I bought it years ago thinking if Kayla ever had a baby, I’d make this for a car seat blanket.  Well Kayla’s due in January.  I need to get at it.  I brought it down hoping one day over naptime I could read the directions and maybe get the first step planned.


This was here….it’s my bonus triangle project.  UGH.  I have to come up with a border.  I’ve left it here hoping for inspiration.


I also have the white based neutrals with black prints that need to be cut for the baby quilt for Buck’s baby.


Well looking at the time I could see that I might have time for a blog post…or at least start one, so I left all of the projects and started writing the post.

WOW..I never expected to get this far.  Everyone is still sleeping!  WOW!!!  Well I’m off.  I’m going to go finish out my day and I’ll tell you all about in this evening’s post.  This one already has over 15 pictures and for people who are still on dial up (yes many rural people still are) loading this many pictures is going to be a lot.  So stop back tonight and see how I finish out my day…and see how I get so much sewing in.

6 thoughts on “Ask Jo: How I get so much done

  1. Stearns Carol

    I’m with you, snippets of time become quilts. I sent you a box of fabric last month and I haven’t seen you talk about it here. In the bottom of the box was a whole bunch of Mickey/Minnie Mouse strips. I’m hoping you do get the box and are going to use it in that Mickey Mouse quilt! And dark blue batik triangles included.

  2. Jo Post author

    Yes..thanks so much. I got several boxes all at once and have been spreading out the mailbox posts. It’s coming soon. You were so sweet..and yes I think the Mickey and Minnie fabrics will be used for my grandkiddos.

  3. Ruth

    That 15-91 sewing machine gets a lot of use!! I can tell by the amount of fabric fuzz that is on it. Wipe it off now and then, and push the end of a pipe cleaner under the feed dog plate, to clear out the stuff under there. Those two things will keep it running nicely, for a while. Cleaning and oiling the 15-91 only takes about 10-20 minutes. (Oh, I guess I just suggested more stuff for you to fit into your work day. Sorry.)

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