Sew perfect.

Dear friends,


I finally finished up my sewing/quilting studio this weekend and it’s perfect. Perfect for me anyway.

It’s colorful. It’s light-drenched. It’s filled with some of my favorite things.

There’s a place for cutting. A place for sewing. A place for ironing. A place for all my fabric. An out-of-sight and spacious place for storing odds and ends.

I’m a bit of a voyeur when it comes to creative studios and I have studied many different kinds over the years. The custom ones. The makeshift ones. The sleek ones and the homey ones. The expensive ones and the budget friendly ones.

This one is improvised and patched together and as far from custom as you can get, but it has everything I need and suits me just fine.

Here’s what it looks like when you enter.


See that huge window?


Isn’t it a perfect spot to sew with all that natural light flooding in?

On my left is my ironing spot. I’ve had my large ironing board for more than 30 years. My mother spent countless hours ironing our clothes at that board when she was our nanny so I will never bring myself to buy a new one.  The small board is a recent acquisition from IKEA. It’s perfect set up right next to my machine when I’m constructing blocks.


And on my right is my cutting spot.


The upside to a tall and spacious cutting table is that there’s plenty of room underneath for storage. I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen a green table but I found it for a good price at a thrift shop. I don’t know what my life would be like without thrift shops.

By the way, this cart is perfect for corralling pending projects. With only three tiers, it keeps me from getting too far ahead of myself. It’s from IKEA too.


This might be my favorite part.


These jars of colorful scraps remind me of jars of candy in the confectionary that I’ve always wanted to own. The shelves are from Target. I have to drive 90 miles for the nearest Target but that does not deter me. The jars are from Wal-Mart and cost $4.50 each. I’m prone to saying “I hate Wal-Mart” but I like their jars.

Here’s another favorite spot.


I originally purchased the “love” sign for Mr. Mom for Father’s Day, but then I decided I wanted it. Mr. Mom wanted a bottle of Red Breast Whiskey so I figured it was an even trade. The owl mug is one of several owl themed items I own. I’ve been friends with owls ever since one took up residence in a large elm tree outside my home in Mayberry. I miss him.

The tv corner is essential. My favorite television chefs  and home improvement gurus like to keep me company while I sew.


When Mr. Mom hung my curtains, he had never heard of “puddled” drapes and he suggested I needed to hem the panels. But I snagged them for a mere $15 at Home Goods and part of the thrill of a bargain is no alterations necessary. I count the puddles as part of the charm.

Prior to claiming Kate’s former bedroom as my creative space, I had crafting supplies tucked away in several corners of the house. I’ve been able to consolidate everything into this room, which is handy and which I like to think encourages productivity. (We’ll see how many quilts and other projects I finish this summer as proof.)

This pitcher of paint brushes was too lovely to stash in the closet. I gave it an honored spot on my bookcase. It’s next to a heart-shaped box Mr. Mom gave me years ago.


And I spent a good bit of time organizing fabric. Here’s the results.



By the way, the white spaceship-looking thing on top of the fabric cabinet is my sewing machine’s embroidery module. I’ve never used it. I’m kind of afraid of it. Now that I have a sewing room, I’ve vowed to watch the installation CD and learn how to use it.

This year.

I hope.


Mr. Mom spent a good bit of time installing shelves and baskets in the closet. As you can see I’ve got room to grow!


Which, for a magpie, is essential.

With gratitude {for a happy new space to call my own},

Joan, who inaugurated her new space Sunday morning by making quilted placemats to coordinate with the bar stool cushions she recently sewed for Kate’s apartment




A most wonderful day.

Dear Friends,

I took the day off on Friday and it was a most wonderful day.

Sometimes all you need for wonderful is different.  If you work, a day at home can be lovely. If you stay at home, getting out can be exhilarating. A change of pace nudges us out of our ruts, stimulates our senses, and reminds us what we really enjoy when given the opportunity.

In my case, there was nothing earth-shattering about my most wonderful day. I spent the morning catching up on ironing, followed by a thorough cleaning and reorganization of my closet. (The former has been my nemesis ever since I lost my ironing lady; the latter was eight months overdue. Basically, when we moved into our new house, I crammed everything in my closet willy-nilly and figured I’d deal with it later. Later finally arrived yesterday.)

Look at the results:

I’m just enough Type A that nothing makes me more peaceful and content than organized closets, cupboards and drawers. Check out another view:

Photos via iPhone and Picnik

Before yesterday, my scarves were jammed in a too-small drawer, making them terminally wrinkled and impossible to find. Thanks to Mr. Mom, I now have a handy and accessible place to hang them. (Nothing more than a curtain rod, but it works!)

I have a plan to redecorate my closet, but I haven’t implemented it yet. I picked out wallpaper, a new rug, a new light fixture and art because I believe even closet decor should delight us, but I’ve gotten sidetracked on other projects. Someday, though.

After finishing my not-quite-spring cleaning, Mr. Mom and I went to town. (I love saying “go to town,” because it implies we live in the country, which we’ve always dreamed of doing. Actually, we live on a golf course, but with a 14-acre backyard that includes woods and a stream, it feels like the country.) We dropped off a load of gently used clothes for a local church, ate lunch at our favorite cheap Mexican restaurant, and went grocery shopping.

We were home by 2:00 pm, which gave me plenty of time to read a new magazine and nap. And who wouldn’t feel okay about napping after cleaning and grocery shopping? Especially since I still had dinner on the table by 6:30 pm — rosemary roast chicken, orzo with Italian tomatoes and Parmesan, and green beans.

Afterwards Mr. Mom and I settled in for an evening of Australian Open tennis. (With John Isner eliminated today, there’s no American male in the 4th round of singles for the first time in four decades. What, pray tell, is to become of American tennis? I’d speculate, but this is a happy post and I don’t wish to digress into unhappy territory.)

I’m sure there’s somebody out there thinking my version of wonderful is lame-o. But here’s the deal: I didn’t worry over budgets; I didn’t have to solve anybody’s customer service problem; there were no personnel issues to deal with; and no “we-need-it-yesterday” requests to scramble to meet. It was just me, Mr. Mom, a sleepy cat, a whistling bird, and three rambunctious dogs. The sky was grey and the wind was bitterly cold on this mid-winter day, but all was warm and bright (and tidy) in my corner of the universe. And tomorrow, I shall bake!

With gratitude {for a tiny change of pace otherwise known as a day off},

Joan, who as she types has a pup dozing on her left, a cat snoozing on her right, a glass of wine beside her, the love of her life making chili pepper popcorn, and who wonders if bliss gets any blissier