Entries in My Sewing Room (5)


Workspace Makeover, Part V

Whoops!  I got so distracted with my Daisychain Sampler I forgot to finish off my Makeover tour

So.  Guess whose fabric I used for the drapes? 

Right, Laura Ashley. :) 

People, I was SO not kidding about bows being genetic for me.

And guess where I got the lace panel? 

Right again!  (I totally bought it before I was married & had a house.)

Yeah, I agree the lace should probably go.  It's a bit fussy.  And don't look too close 'cause it's seen better days.  But I keep it for now because I like how it lets in the light and I can see what's happening outside my window, but the neighbors can't see me if/when I'm still in my jammies.  There's a roller blind behind the lace that closes every night for privacy.

I found this mannequin a few summers ago in Utah.  It was an impulse buy.  I thought she would look pretty and add interest in the corner without hogging the space because she's not a solid object. 

She does look really nice right now - especially with the pink bolts of old Moda barkcloth and laminated fabric.  But she's usually hidden under ... stuff.

One of the things I'm very happy about is my table. 

My uncle made it for us as a wedding present and it was our kitchen table for a long time.  I positioned it with the short side against the wall so I could have 3 accessible sides.  I sew on the one side but I can cut from all 3 sides - very helpful when I'm cutting yardage and I don't have to lift the fabric to turn it around.  The cutting mat is 24" x 36".

I hang all my rulers here on the end ... nails installed by moi.

A scribble on the drawer from years ago by one of my daughters that I just can't bring myself to scrub away.

And now the best part of all ... the fabric.

My books, (lots of Japanese craft books & magazines) and a portion of Moda Simplicity on the top shelf.  My Moda Fig Tree stash underneath ... the pile in the foreground will be used to finish my Mystery Block of the Month quilt ... another project I've neglected but will be catching up on this week.

Lecien/Japanese, whites & brights ...

Romantic and very pretty shabby chic colors ...

And some of my lovely pins from my lovely friend Gigi.

I think I should be embarrassed that this is (most of, but not all) my fabric AFTER getting rid of about 150 lbs!  Yikes!  I better get sewing!

So there you have it.  (Check out these earlier posts to see the rest of my Sewing Room Makeover Series.)  It's not perfect.  And I'm not a professional decorator or anything.  (And there's probably an ugly rubbermaid container and a few ... er ... several ... other things hiding in the hallway while I take these photos.)

But I really like being here.  This place suits me just fine ... as long as I keep the hoarding and the shoving and clutter under control.

Confession:  You know how you have to hold in a fart when you're in public? And then when you're finally alone you can "let loose" and be normal?  Yeah, well, now that the photo shoot is over my room just farted.


Workspace Makeover, Part IV

A pretty vignette in my sewing room ... which doesn't really exist.  Lemme 'splain.

Before this room was my mine, it was the guest room/office.  Before that, it was a nursery. 

This shelf was installed above the changing table.  (Yep, I changed a lot of poopy diapers in that very spot.)  But I've left it here on account of the metal plugs in the wallpaper holding it up ... I don't know how else to hide them other than keeping this shelf where it is.  I swear, if I wanted to hang a cotton ball on the wall, my husband would insist on using plugs!  ;)

A few years ago, I got the mirror from my good friend Barb, the same friend that shabby-ified my desk & lamp.  But I only just a few weeks ago added the ribbon. 

Back story ...

I finally got a chance to meet a blogger friend (thanks again for the tea, Andrea!).  She's got an amazing sense of style and she'd done this ribbon trick above a mirror.  I remember loving this idea the first time I saw it in a Martha Stewart Magazine a looooong time ago, but it just took Andrea's application to really inspire me to finally do it in my home somewhere.  Even before I'd left her house I was doing a mental inventory of all my mirrors and quickly zoomed in on this one.

When I got home, I looked in my now very nicely organized ribbon box - courtesy Kate - for the right size & color.  Of course my first instinct was to go for pink.  Two problems:  the best pink ribbon I had was too narrow and it looked too ... sacharin ... too little girly, even for me.  (It is staying up there with a piece of Mac-Tac ... tee hee ... I hate committing to things with a nail, especially on wallpaper!)

I also confess to propping here with the teacup & sugar bowl.  Before this photo was taken there was never china in here.  I just poked around in the kitchen cupboards for something pretty.  But now I sorta like them there.  I stuck the spool & trim in there - my feeble attempt at being a stylist - and I kinda like them there too. 

Another back story ...

See, we didn't have a lot when I was growing up and I don't have much in the way of family heirlooms.  But I do have a very few surviving pieces of my mom's wedding china - Wedgwood's "Patrician".  I feel bad for the sugar bowl with that brown glue repair.  But I just imagine my mom being sad when it broke and my dad lovingly repairing it as best he could to make her happy.  I've thought of having it professionally repaired, but I won't.  I like seeing the glue ... and remembering my dad. 

I made this sampler several years ago. 

It's a Shepherd's Bush pattern "Amaranth" (long discontinued, but you can probably still find it on eBay) and is one of a series of I think five designs.  I made 3 more that are tucked away.  I hung this piece as part of the makeover.

And yes that is a very sparkly, over-the-top chandelier ... yet another treasure from Barb.  Told ya there was a lot of her in here!

It hangs over my sewing table and sheds beautiful, twinkly light. 

It's probably very wrong to be in love with a light fixture.  I don't care. 

One of my favorite things about this chandelier is that Barb included some crystal drops I'd saved from an original - much less attractive - chandelier from the early 1950s that was in this house when we bought it.  I just KNEW they'd come in handy some day!  (See?  Things like that don't exactly help me "let go" of stuff ...) 

LOL!!!  My table is NEVER this tidy!!!

Seriously.  These photos are all just smoke & mirrors, people.  That bare spot on the table against the wall?  It's usually always buried under a mountain of scraps from the last 2-3 projects, bits of things in progress, bits of things I haven't started yet ... I'm constantly giving my table a police pat-down looking for my rulers & rotary cutter when I sew!

(The bench is ALSO from Barb.)

And my Pfaff. 

She makes me look good!

I always have my little thread snips and a 6" ruler right there ... love those snips.  The third most used tool is my seam ripper.  But I keep her - and her twin sister - in my machine's toolbox. 

But back to the part about this view not existing.

Sadly, the shelf is shamefully used as a clutter depot.  You know ... fabric scraps, receipts, children's art, mail, children's broken jewelry, orphaned buttons, bobbins, my growing stack of Farmer's Wife blocks ... 

Ha!  You know what?  It just occurred to me that if I can share my colonoscopy story on the internet, a little cluttered shelf shouldn't make me blush!  LOL!  Here's what it REALLY looks like ...

Please don't judge.

(You can find the previous posts about this makeover here.)


Workspace Makeover, Part III

Here's where I park myself ... a lot ... at my new/old desk. 


I'm very lucky to call this talented lady friend.  One of these days I'll tell you story about how we met and how she was the first business woman to make me think I had legitimate sewing chops by selling my wares in her shop. :)

I bought this "Lady's Writing Desk" from Barb last Fall but I couldn't use it as my desk until I got my new computer because the old PC tower wouldn't fit underneath. 

AND it even has DRAWERS, which I lined with Laura Ashley drawer liners ...

- no longer scented but still pretty - 'cause they match my ironing board cover ...

and the hat box on top of my shelving ...

Is that totally awesome ... or just seriously pathetic?  Don't answer. ;)

The lamp - also from Barb (I've furnished my sewing room with a LOT of things from her!) - is perfect here in the corner. 

It was the raspberry beaded fringe that made me buy it ... well, and the crystals ... and the taupe shade that matches the stripe in the wallpaper.

The clock that taunts me all day long by ticking away ... but also reminds me when it's time to pick up the girls from school.

The oh so adorable applique ... which sadly is hidden by the computer ... but I know it's there. :)

The magnet board is new.  I've been meaning to get something like this for a while.  Kate found it at Ikea and said I should get one.  I've learned the hard way to always listen to her purchase recommendations.  I can't tell you how many times she's told me to get something and I hum & haw ... and then six months later totally regret it.  I know I'll never regret this magnet board. 

And the iron decoration was an impulse buy a few years ago.  I thought I'd put in the diningroom, but it's been neglected in a sideboard drawer.

My perch - another Honey B's score from a few years ago - which goes so well with the desk, even though they're not a set.  I'm thinking of recovering it with the same ironing board fabric ... or maybe the green check ... tee hee. 

Too bad I'm better with a needle & thread than I am with a screwdriver & staple gun ... 'cause I bruise easily.

I'm a wimp delicate flower. 


Workspace Makeover, Part II

LOTS of pictures today to make up for all my blah blah blahing last time.

After the big fabric purge, the next project I took on was my disgusting ironing board cover. 

The super grotty section is just outside this picture frame ... too ugly to show here.

I should have made a new one a loooong time ago, but as usual I was crippled with indecision and couldn't settle on a fabric. 

But I found this Laura Ashely lightweight upholstery fabric during the purge ...

that I've been "saving" for too many years to admit.

(Ok, I'll admit ... for those of you who are a little rusty with your Roman Numerals that reads 1993.  Sorry, inner nerd just escaped for a second.)

I remember falling in love with this room in my previous life as a single girl.

So light.  Bright.  Fresh.  Pretty.  And I loved that little hit of a gingham check on the lampshades.

When we bought our house 16 years ago I got a 3rd-hand sofa, loveseat & chair suite of 1980s pine Ikea furniture.  Totally cheap.  Kinda ugly.  And super uncomfortable.  But I recovered all the cushions with this lovely print on one side and a damask ivory floral on the other.  LOL!  Nothin' like Laura Ashley to totally class up knotty pine Ikea! Even my husband thought it looked good.  

So when I found this fabric I knew right away it was going to cover my ironing board.

Tada!  Isn't it just so ... lovely?  Especially against my perfectly coordinating Laura Ashley wallpaper that my sister & I hung in 1997.  ('Member that sister?) 

If I were to ever become a marriage counsellor, I would strongly recommend that couples NEVER hang wallpaper together.  Especially if the wallpaper is NOT pre-pasted like the fancy-schmancy-totally-way-too-expensive-for-a-new-homeowner-unless-she-has-a-staff-discount-kind.  Sister's are a MUCH better option.  Am I right ladies or am I right?!

But wait, there more!

I found a Laura Ashley remnant of that green check too.  I know, what a shocker, eh?

For what?  So glad you asked.  Let me show you.

I was given this fairly old, handmade sleeve board a long time ago. 

I'm certain it was a DIY project - in just-git-er-dun style - from years gone by.  You can see the hand-chisel marks and the screw & bent nails ... clearly trademarks of someone more interested in function and not so much in aesthetics, eh? ;)

It was lovingly covered with a muslin-type fabric and hand-stitched in place.  I don't know who did it, but I imagine it was someone who loved sewing.  I mean, check out that beautiful envelope corner!  Someone really did a nice job.

Sadly the fabric was stained and I just never did anything about it.  Plus I didn't want to remove the padding.

It works well despite the stain and I use it a fair bit (although I don't have to iron teensy WEENSY little girl clothes anymore ... sniff!)

But then I got it in my head it would be nice to cover this board too ...


Eeeep!  I'nt she cute?! 

I even like the ribbon tied as a bow hanging down.  I felt like I was cinching Scarlet O'Hara's corset pulling that ribbon so tight!  LOL!

So who says dreams don't come true?  It only took 20 years from the time I saw this room ...

to when I got this one.

Ok, ok, granted it's not EXACTLY the same.  But I love it just as much. 

Maybe even more.


Workspace Makeover, Part I

Warning:  Lots of blah blah blahing today ...

While I was offline, I found myself with time to clean house ... or at least clean my sewing room.  There was waaaaaay too much stuff in here and it was getting crazy messy.  I didn't have room for new fabric, I couldn't hardly see the floor (yes I know, bad grammar), I couldn't get to the closet, the spare chair was piled high with ... I dunno, ... stuff ... UGH!!!  It was terrible.

No I didn't take any photos to prove it.  I was too embarrassed.  Just trust me, kay?

So I begged my bestest friend Kate (let's just say she doesn't exactly live across the street ... more like she almost needs to pack a lunch for the drive to my house) to come over one afternoon to help me 'cause that girl has like a black belt in purging & organizing.  The word ruthless comes to mind ... in a good way, though. ;)  

PLUS she knows me really well.  PLUS she's a quilter/stitcher too (thanks in large part to me, tee hee) so she totally understands what I have, why I have it and has an impartial perspective on what I really need to keep and what I should get rid of (I know, more bad grammar).

The last time we went thru this exercise - I'm a work in progress - I got a taste of what it really feels like to be a hoarder in the middle of an intervention.  Now in all seriousness, I have a relative who's a bonafide hoarder, as in she could be on one of those reality shows.  And she was a MAJOR seamstress/quilter so I'm no stranger to what unhealthy fabric collecting looks like.  But I reeeeeally don't want to end up like that and seeing what happened to her is a very strong motivator for me to keep my fabric obsession under control.

Sorry, went off track a bit there.

What I was getting at about tasting hoardism is that when Kate was trying to help me part with certain things, I actually had the beginnings of a panic attack ... you know, elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, tight chest, feeling trapped.  And all she was doing was trying to convince me I could get rid of a little shoebox full of tacky Christmas fabric - SCRAPS no less - from the 80s.  I mean come ON! WHEN am I ever going to make something with gold lamé again?! Yeah, like NEVER.

That panic attack really surprised me and kinda scared me.  It was a good wake up call, let me tell you.

But I was now at the point where every time I looked around my sewing room to find inspiration and motivation, I felt stuck.  I couldn't think.  I felt anchored in the past with all my aging - albeit lovely - fabric.  I realized I'm no longer interested in making pretty things out of old fabric.  Or fabric I bought on impulse.  Or fabric that was given to me that didn't give me butterflies in my tummy.  Or fabric I'm simply SO OVER.

All this ... this STUFF was clogging my creative arteries.  ENOUGH!  BLAAAHH!!!

So I called in the big guns and we went to work.  Three hours later I was waving good-bye to her and about 100 lbs of fabric ... including my precious scrap bin ... and I've gotten rid of even MORE since then.  Confession:  she's having a garage sale in May so she said I was allowed to take back anything I NEEDED before then.  And I may have already brought back a few FQs.  But the exercise of removing all that fabric from my house is proving to be very theraputic.

ANYHOW (geez I'm long-winded today!) that purge got me started on a makeover of sorts here in my workspace where I sew, write & blog.  Now that my room is looking presentable, I thought you might like a peek.  I don't want you to get too excited.  I'm no Sarah Richardson.  But I think this room is pretty and I love being in it.  So I've written a little series of posts to show you around. 

Today - because I'm starting to bore even myself here - I'll just quickly show you the floor plan I drew up a few years ago.

I'd never done this before - drawn a room & furniture to scale on graph paper - and it turned out to be a great exercise. 

With graph paper, a pencil, a measuring tape and an Ikea catalogue I was able to see what I had to work with, identify what I needed and figure out what would fit.

There are a few Fung Sui problems with this layout, like my back is to the door when I'm sitting at my sewing machine and my desk, but that's the compromise I made so I could look out the window and spy on the neighbors watch the world go by.

So even though it's not perfect, it's perfect for me ... for now ... and I'm grateful.