Housekeeping: Changing Things Around the Studio Yet Again…

 Spring was a time of hope and creativity. Vaccines were finally on the horizon and then … actually available. In quick succession my husband and I were able to get them, then my teen daughters, and finally–my 12 year-old. A Covid-free world felt within reach. I finished all the projects I wanted to finish in my UFO pile, and put the rest back in my fabric stash, thus eliminating the pile completely. This felt really good, and cleared some space in my overcrowded sewing room. I made some spring-inspired art, and then the Languishing series, because, well, things felt OK and not so OK at the same time…

The Problem

Then came summer, and Zoom school was over.  You might recall that I don’t normally make art in summer as my summers are dedicated to family.  This summer was no exception. But on those rare times when I did enter my sewing room, the mess and clutter really bothered me. Especially disturbing were my out-of-control scrap boxes. 

I’ve been storing scraps in clear plastic boxes. Over the years, my scrap boxes multiplied from one to two to four and finally–to seven. The boxed were not all the same size/shape, becoming an eye sore. They were also hard to reach. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve switched from functional art to mostly fine art, and therefore have been working mainly with my scraps. Reaching the colors I needed when I needed to became increasingly more important, but my setup didn’t make that easy…

Some History

My sewing room started out as our guest bedroom. When our kids were little, we had a lot of house guests. Four grandparents came for a few weeks a year each, uncles and aunties stopped by, cousins, too, sometimes. There were years we had guests living in our house for a total of three months or more, and we loved it. The guest room got a lot of use. But over time our guests dwindled. My father in law passed away, then my mother in law. A few years ago my own father stopped coming, and two years ago he passed away, too. My mom took a long break from visiting.

When I got back into art in 2016, I settled in the guest room but tried to keep it guest-friendly. Whenever someone came, I would clear all my sewing stuff away, and leave it looking nice. Gradually, though, my art supplies started accumulating, making it harder and harder to move. The art supplies multiplied and the guests dwindled… But I still found it hard to completely take over. The queen-sized guest bed continues to take half the space. And I’ve been trying to store my materials in nice-looking cabinets and containers, hoping that people will come visit again. To my great joy, my mom and sister planned a visit for May 2020. But then you-know-what happened, and their trip was cancelled. For the last two years, lockdowns and Covid prevented anyone from crossing our threshold.  Now my mom is not planning to come ever again… 

The Solution

In the meantime, the same reason that kept guests away in the last couple of yeas made me spend a lot more time sewing. My garden and my sewing room became my Covid refuge. I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, making my sewing room more studio-like is more important than keeping it beautiful for guests. Eventually, after a lot of thinking and web-researching, my daughters and I ventured to the Container Store and bought three metal mesh drawer units. Not pretty, but oh-so-practical!

Once home, my daughters kicked me out of the room. Wanting to surprise me, they put the drawers together themselves.

Then filled them with my scraps and moved them.

Then they placed them, assembled and full, along the wall in the corner.

They called me in about an hour later to show me the finished construction. What can I say? That day I was the happiest mom on the block! The room looked so much better! Best of all–I can now access all my scraps easily, and cleanup is a breeze, too!

Since my sewing space is really small, I decided to get rid of my ironing board, and build one on top of the drawer units instead.

I went with my husband to Home Depot, and bought a 0.5″-thick board. At home, I polished the corners to make them round. Then I bought a large ironing-board cover online.

I put it on the board and … realized the board cannot sit flat.

Since it was a little too low anyway, I decided to raise it on top of wooden slants.

This is where it’s at at the moment. I am giving it time to see whether the height is right for ironing. Eventually, I will make the slants look a bit nicer, maybe.

Since I already did some housekeeping, I decided to also update the look of my website. I didn’t change it much since moving it to WordPress in 2017, and, according to my daughters, it looked “old” and unattractive. I chose a new theme, customized it, and I like it a lot better now.

Both my studio and website are always works in progress, evolving and changing with me. There is always room for improvement!

If you have time, I would appreciate it if you took a look at my site and let me know what you think!


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