Space Jam.

Dear friends,

I’m seriously in need of help.

Organizational . . . financial . . . spatial/dimensional . . . psychological. Yep, maybe all four.


This is my dining room table. My dining room table is not supposed to look this way.

It’s supposed to look this way:


We haven’t eaten a meal at the dining room table in more than a month — ever since I permanently camped out with my sewing machine and fabric. Right now I’ve got several projects going. A gift quilt for a friend. A mini-quilt for an online swap meet. Four new quilts for Magpie Quilts.

I desperately need a studio. A light and bright studio. One with a cutting station, a sewing station, a comfortable spot to bind, a design wall, fabric storage. I swear if Kate were one year farther along in college, I would evict her things from her bedroom and set up shop. Or if I could just sell that ratcha-fratching Oklahoma house, I’d demand to build a studio out back, college funds be damned.

I’m one of those women whose tidiness is well-documented. I can walk into a room and tell instantly if a book or a vase or a candle has been moved. We make our beds every day. Our car keys are hung on a hook by the back door. My throw pillows are plumped and positioned just so. My bathroom counters are pleasingly clear and my kitchen island causes me frustration if so much as the day’s mail clutters it. Heck, even our laundry is put away on a regular basis.

I do not leave piles on the dining room table.

Until now.

All I can say is I must really love quilting to tolerate this mess.

Quilting has even usurped Gunsmoke. I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to concentrate on my nightly television/cocktail ritual with Mr. Mom. Fortunately, he’s tolerant of both the disruption and the mess. (I know because I apologized to him. Yes, I’m the kind of nut who apologizes for leaving a mess on the dining room table because if the tables were turned — no pun intended, I promise — it would really annoy me. Just ask him about his laundry room desk.)

I don’t have a solution to my problem. I guess I’m just venting, which goes against my gratitude grain AND my problem-solver grain. I suppose I’m going to have to embrace the situation or risk rubbing my Buddhist-acceptance grain the wrong way, too.

With gratitude {for grains that mostly keep me in line},

Joan, who won’t be quilting OR watching Gunsmoke this weekend because she’s meeting some Okie friends for an overnight excursion to see the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, AR, and — for once — might have something nice to say about the Walton family fortune


  1. My mom used a guest bedroom for her quilting room. All her swatches were in clear plastic boxes (so she could see colors/what she had). She laid out a king sized white sheet over the bed – spread her materials out on that, and if the bed was needed for guests carefully rolled/folded the whole thing up so nothing would be displaced when she could get back to work. Could you do a version of that on your table? (doesn’t solve the time issue granted but that’s above my pay grade).

  2. May it’s OK to hijack your dining room table until Thanksgiving? That’ll give you 8 weeks to come up with Plan B. You’re good. You can do it.

  3. Here’s the deal — there is no affordable solution since I can’t build or remodel myself a dedicated space. It’s not that I don’t have storage. I do. It’s that I need a huge table and a wide open space to properly pursue this craft — and currently the only place available is the dining room. I just wanted to whine about how I either have to tolerate a perpetual mess (since my dining room is open and visible to all other major spaces in our house), or tolerate putting away and taking out a slew of supplies on a daily basis. I clearly want to have my cake and quilt it too.

    But I swear, as soon as a child of mine gets his or her own place, the bedroom is mine!

  4. Attitude changes everything and in this case it can be done with language. It is no longer the dining room table, it is the quilting table. It is not the dining room. It is the quilting room. Put a circular track on the ceiling and hang decorative sheets to encircle the quilting room. Have Allison find you some tv trays and you can watch Gunsmoke and eat at the same time. Build memories and have Thanksgiving in the living room so you can talk about it foreverafter.

  5. Maybe this is a test from the cosmos. Can your neatnik soul make peace with a beloved formal dining space usurped by creative chaos?

  6. Juanita — you are one of the wisest women I know. But what else would I expect from one of “Mayberry’s” finest teachers?

  7. You know what they say about the creative person’s space right? I can’t find it right now but it’s about how a mess actually enhances creativity!

  8. I haven’t seen my table in a year:) I know what you mean though, sometimes I have to put it all away and slowly drag it out again just to prove I can. Love you neat and tidy pic by the way, gorgeous! Mine doesn’t look that good when it’s clean, lol. Your clutter is pretty neat by the way:)

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