Feb 18, 2014

sewing studio refresh - before and after

Sometimes you get so busy with life, that the things around you just stay as is.

But after 13 months in our new house, it was time to take another look at my studio and make some improvements... (really that just means cleaning it up and making it more organized). Here's some before and after pics.


I get that it might not look all that different in these photos, but there are some big improvements. First, the husband installed a new light on the ceiling above the cutting table, so I was able to remove the OTT light that was hanging over my head... and always in my face it seemed. Huge improvement.

Next, we (really the husband) hung up a second peg board, so I could reorganize all the stuff and spread it out. Now that I've been in the studio for a year, I have more experience regarding what should go where.

Pegboard BEFORE

Pegboard AFTER

But here's the very best part! I have completely redone my thread rack - from chaos to beauty. Take a look. 

Thread rack BEFORE.

Thread rack AFTER.

I was using 2 June Tailor thread racks. The second rack ended up just being filled with odds and ends, junk threads.

So, I removed the second rack and filled one rack with 100% Aurifil! Sweet!! 50wt cotton mostly, couple wools in there too. To me, it looks like candy. I just love it.

You might notice that some of these spools sit a little higher, that's because there is a bobbin underneath with matching thread. This is a rack for quilting and matching bobbin thread is critical.

Each spike on the rack has an ordinary straw inserted over it. I cut the straws about 3 inches long and glued them on so that the spool and the matching bobbin could be kept together. I wrote a blog post about this quite a few months ago (got straws...? http://thirdfloorquilts.blogspot.com/2013/09/got-straws-then-youve-got-ultimate.html ). So, I took the same rack - straws and all - outside and spray painted it black.

It looks awesome now and the beautiful Aurifil colors really pop against the black.

Here's another (after) picture showing a wider view!

The new and improved thread rack is by far the best part! A thing of beauty.

The fact that the rack is filled, the way the colors are organized, the symmetry, the variety. I know that when I look at this everyday it will inspire me to create beautiful quilts with lots of color... so I can use all these threads.

In case you're wondering, that black box below is my "Air Play" wireless speaker - installed by the amazing husband. I can play everything from my iPad - all my music, podcasts (Pat Sloan - you're on my list of podcasts I subscribe to!), even XM radio. So cool - and no wires.

The Singer sewing machine belonged to my grandmother. I feel lucky to have it.

Anyway, back to the thread... It's funny, when I was in my 30's, and working in the corporate world, I used to love to collect designer high-heeled shoes and purses. I lined them all up nicely in my closet, and at the time it made me happy to look at the collection and the color selection. Now, who cares about shoes? Give me a beautiful collection of threads - woohoo! Life is good.

I started this collection of Aurifil some time back. Stocked up on quite a few at the Houston International Quilt Fest. Then, I recently went to the local quilt store to get a few more colors I was missing. Worth every penny.

Next part of the studio refresh was to clean up and reorganize the under-cabinet storage.

under-cabinet storage BEFORE

under-cabinet storage AFTER 

I was searching for just the right size box, or some sort of container, and then I was going to cover them in fabric. But when I was walking through Lowe's, I found these. So cute, and they match, and I'm done. No glue needed.

Now, I just need to keep it organized.

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced this week. Be sure to check out all the work there --- AND Lee's recent post that she has bee asked by Pottery Barn to do events, show her quilts and sign her books. Go Lee! Well done Pottery Barn!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Feb 9, 2014

fabric stash update - treasures from Japan

Tokyo is having the worst snow storm they've seen in 45 years! Wow... I left there just in time. And... I managed to come home with lots of goodies stashed in my very heavy suitcase.

Years ago, I bought one very small strip of fabric from an antique kimono. It is a beautiful silk, pinkish in color, but is pretty small. It's been sitting all alone in my stash for quite some time. No more!

If you've read my blog recently, you'll already know I spent several weeks in Japan for a special project... and to attend the Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival. I was so inspired (partially overwhelmed in fact!) by the work of so many great quilters. And I saw a lot of quilters making use of vintage kimono fabric (and other typical Japanese fabrics)... so I decided it was time to add to the one lone piece in my stash and start a collection of vintage kimono fabrics.  Here's what I ended up with... I tended to gravitate toward the reds.

Thrilled with these pieces. Can't wait to work them into future art quilts!