Long ago Allan and I decided that wherever we go, we’ll have to have my sewing set-up cozied up with his computer stuff. If we plan on seeing each other, that is. This may mean I won’t ever have a “studio” of my own, but you know, a cozy space is all I need. The way we have it, Allan is right there with me, and although he’s in computer land, and I’m in sewing land, we listen to music and chat, and it’s fun.
We really like our new house for a lot of different reasons, but I knew in my heart it was meant to be when I saw this built- in shelving. That blessed shelving. Where in the past I had to stash my ample craft-supplies in various nooks and crannies about the house (in the bathroom: hey, how’d these pom poms get in here?? ), I now have more than enough room to have everything right at my fingertips, which I love love love. And my fabric! I no longer have to dig underneath my bed beyond bags of old jeans and maternity-wear to see if I have any yellow knit left! Halle-freaking-lujah.
I got this old shoe cubby at a school sale for $20, and it’s been one my very favorite and functional purchases. It can hold ALL my fabric (the other side is full too), and I can see at a glance what I have. (Don’t judge my folding, it was was so much prettier in days of yore!) The cubby is also a perfect height for a cutting table, which is just too too handy. And please take not of how much my floor needs to be vacuumed, tell me something I don’t know. One more thing, notice behind my tracing paper (I use medical exam table paper) there is an old, cracked, warped cutting mat I tried to charitably donate to some poor seamstress, and apparently there were none of you poor enough. So I kept it, because one NEVER KNOWS when one will need a beat-up BACK-UP cutting mat. And actually, I’m sure I’ll use it.
I feel like now is as good a time as any to talk about my sewing machine Cami Gene (named after my first sewing instructor). Good old, Cami. She’s nothing to shake a stick at (a Singer 7468), but don’t say that to her face, cause she’ll beat you down with determination. She’s as sturdy as a horse, and has been a great machine for me. I’ve had her for about 5 years now, have worked her to the bone, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down the spry old thing. I’ve upholstered a couch and several chairs, sewn for years with knit and swimwear fabric, and done everything in between. I think I paid $200, and she’s more than met my expectations.
Next to her is Burnsy (a Bernette 800D), who I scored for $75 at another school sale. We’re a match made in heaven, but don’t tell her that I’ve already got my eye on the Bernina 1300 that has the magical coverstitches.
This beautiful and interesting piece I thrifted at DI for $4. I believe that it is a sewing notion box, but I use it for my jewelry making supplies. It’s so unique and pretty I think, and is surprisingly impressive when all folded out (it spans about 5 feet!)
These mixed media pieces I did several years ago, and I’m fairly certain they’re nothing more than really bad art. I don’t mind somehow, (at least for now) because they look so nice and at home with all my other stuff, that I just can’t consider breaking up a party like that.
And lastly, my ever-growing hand carved stamp collection. I’ve been on a roll lately with hand printing, and have learned a lot that I want to share with you eventually. Something that bugs me about this picture, is that I applied color to my stamps so that you could see the designs, which is just BAD STAMP ETIQUETTE. You NEVER leave color on stamps! Always wash them off!!! Just want to be clear on that point.
A few more things: I have a large button collection that was mostly given to me for Christmas one year by my husband and brother who found them at Antique stores.
My vibrant lace collection is a result of a very large donation of old polyester lace given to me by a neighbor several years ago, and then me dying several yards every time I dyed something. I actually haven’t used it much, but it sure is pretty.
Also, a little plug for pickyourplum.com, it’s one of those daily deal type sites, but just for craft supplies. A lot of it is stuff I don’t care about, but then one day it’ll be an amazing deal on thread, or pom poms or zippers, and I’ve gotten some really awesome deals there. And if you’re local, then you can just pick your stuff up!
So that’s where I spend a lot of time. Too much time, maybe? When I talk to people and they say “oh I like to sew, but I don’t have time for that” I always feel guilty or lame. How come I have time?? Am I a bad Mom because I make time? I still don’t know the answer to that, but here are a couple things that I know help me: I don’t watch TV. Or that is to say, I don’t ever sit down and watch TV. Sometimes Allan and I get on a kick and we’ll watch a whole series together, but by watching I mean “watching”. I am always doing something else, and just listening to it as background noise. I also stay up way too late regularly. I’ve been doing a little better lately just cause I’ve been getting up early to run, but in general I’m a night owl, and super productive at late hours. And then lastly, I sometimes craft with my kids around. There, I said it. I mean, of course I do! We’re a creative family, we do creative things together. I rarely sew during the day, but sure, I’ll dye something, or carve a stamp, or paint a picture. A few stars have to align for this to work (Tiny’s nap, an engaging activity for my kids, limiting my own computer time, but we make it happen. I’m very thoughtful about my day-time crafting hours though, and I understand clearly the truth that if I neglect my kids then I get mean, and they get naughty, and it’s never worth it. But I’ve found that there’s a balance–and even with three kids– if you’re motivated, you can take advantage of the moments here and there, and still be an attentive, engaged mom.
But anyway, here’s the money line: it’s important to make your creative space pretty and stimulating, especially if it’s a place you spend a lot of time in!