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 place for everything. And everything in its place.

Dear friends,

I was a busy bee yesterday. I took a day off following three consecutive 60-70 hour weeks. And while I was tempted to laze around, I had a project or two on my mind that urged me out of bed at 6:00 am and kept me working all day.

Remember my mud room makeover? Well, when I tackled that project I left a corner undone that has been bothering me ever since. You see, my mud space is an alcove that faces another alcove — which I didn’t show you in my last post. Basically, when you sit on my mudroom bench, you face an alcove that is lined with shelves. They’re nothing fancy, so as soon as I moved in, I hung curtains to hide the space — partly because it was more attractive, partly because I didn’t take time to organize the shelves.

So I spent a portion of Friday cleaning out and sorting all my cleaning and crafting supplies. Here’s a peek at the newly organized space:


I keep the curtains closed for a sleeker look, but it’s nice to know that everything behind them is tidy now.

I also went to work on a corner of our laundry room, which adjoins this space. One of the many things that sold me on this house is the enormous laundry room. It’s about 17′ X 17′ with three walls of built-in cabinets. Although it’s a bit plain — with white walls and white cabinetry — it’s certainly bright and has plenty of room for Mr. Mom’s projects, and lots more.

Here’s a view from the mudroom:


That drafting table is mine, but Mr. Mom co-opted it long ago as his preferred laundry folding table. It’s a much better height for my 6’6″ laundry man.

Here’s another view of the built-in desk:


This is Mr. Mom’s domain. It’s where he reads email, pays bills, talks on the phone and, of course, does laundry. It has been command central during our mountain saga and you can see he has a topographical map of  Colorado pinned above the computer and all his files (in the filing cabinet) nearby.

I don’t spend much time in the laundry room, except to retrieve my laundry, and I think Mr. Mom likes it that way. I’ve been thinking of hanging some sunny yellow wallpaper to break up the vast expanse of white walls, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. And I think Mr. Mom likes that, too.

On the opposite side of Mr. Mom’s desk is another bank of cabinets, with a sink and space for the washer and dryer. And until yesterday, there was an unused corner just waiting for me to make better use of it.

Voila! I created a sewing corner:


In the short time I’ve been sewing, I’ve grown weary of pulling my machine out of the closet and setting it up on my dining room table. So I sub-let Mr. Mom’s empty corner, set up a folding table, and created a space to store my supplies.

Here’s a close up:


I sewed a slipcover for the table so that it would look prettier and so I could hide things underneath. The dust cover for my sewing machine is merely the box it came in (top removed and turned upside down) with matching fabric glued on. And my supply caddy is nothing more than a $9 vinyl shoe organizer picked up at Lowe’s.

Underneath the table, I’ve stored my fabric and a stool to sit on.


All in all, not a bad day’s work I’d say.

With gratitude {for my man, who gave up a corner of his decidedly atypical man cave and even helped me organize it},

Joan, who is itchin’ to make more progress on her quilt now that she’s in tip-top organizational shape