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




Atelier? Chick Corner? A little of both, please.

Dear friends,

I spent a good part of Saturday unpacking art and craft supplies and making a workspace for myself.

In our former home, we had a large and light-filled sunroom with a southern exposure. I co-opted half the room as a crafting area and gave it a formal name — the Magpie Dream Studio (Magpie, after my former blog moniker). I miss it.

In our new home, I’ve spent 10 months pondering where to set up shop. Should I decamp in our basement (spacious, and the mess is hidden)? In the laundry room (huge, with oodles of built-in cabinetry and a desk)? In the back-entry alcove (tucked away, perfect size for a desk, and near a large pantry)?

As it turns out, the basement got filled fast thanks to Mr. Mom’s workbench and the kids’ ping pong table. He also co-opted the laundry room. I know it sounds like a strange place for him to hang-out, but our laundry room is a gigantic space. It’s filled with light, and because of the built-in desk, it’s a perfect place for our large iMac computer. With both a computer and washing machines handy, the laundry room has become Mr. Mom’s Man Cave. And the back-entry alcove — my final choice for a crafting space — has been consumed with jackets and shoes and boots and bags. It’s just waiting for me to hire a carpenter to build a mud-room type bench and cabinets.

So every single space I contemplated has been otherwise occupied. There was only one other possible location — an alcove in our master bedroom. It wasn’t really on my list because — I don’t know — it just seemed like a mixed metaphor, of sorts.  But, upon further reflection, the idea began to grow on me.

Our bedroom is plenty large enough. Like the rest of the house, it’s light and bright, and the alcove is near a large window. I have an easy chair and side table near a television in our bedroom, which is situated right by the alcove, so I could go back and forth between my new crafting corner and my reading/TV corner. And, best of all, it’s one of the quietest spots in the house. All it would take is some shuffling of furniture.

I started by moving a bookcase that had been nestled in the alcove to another location in our home. Then I scavenged a work table (my grandmother’s antique oak table from my former Dream Studio), a shelf, a slip-covered chair, a pin board, and a lamp from other rooms — and I was almost in business.

Here’s what it looked like before I got organized.

Photo by Instagram, 1977 filter

That stack of family photos had been hanging on the wall above the bookcase before I moved it. I took them down to make room for the new set-up, not sure what I’d ultimately do with them. But once I got everything organized, I realized they’d look just fine (and provide inspiration) hung salon-style back where they began.

It looks like this now:

Here’s another view:

The green shelf is part of a two-piece bookcase that’s been unused since we moved. It makes a perfect cubby for organizing things.

Remember my friend Maridel, the collage artist I introduced you to in this post?  Here’s a couple of shots of her creations, strategically placed to inspire me.

Did you know that shells and stones . . .

and tiny vases could be such lovely works of art?

I’m itching to make my own, along with a collaged greeting card series I’ve got percolating in my brain.

After almost a year on hiatus, I’ve got just the place I need to get creative. Not as large as the space I was used to, but quite lovely nonetheless.

With gratitude {for a quiet place to dream},

Joan, who must leave this post to run to the kitchen, her other dream studio, where some peaches are calling out to be made into pie