Friday, May 8, 2015

Creative Space Tag - Diamond in the Rough

Good morning!

In this momentous week of my life, the brightest diamond is my darling daughter Dayna.  She graduated yesterday from Wayne State University in Detroit with a Bachelor of Business Administration cum laude, double major, in Finance and in Global Supply Chain Management.  I am such a proud mama bear!
Ford Field, Detroit
But this is a sneak peek into my creative space, my happy place.  Julie at Pink Doxies started this Creative Space Tag.  To take a look at her space, go here.  And, if you haven't, you should check out her Saturday Pet Project Show linkup.  Lots of eye candy and inspiration, for sure.  Lara of Buzzin Bumble tagged me last week in her post.  Check out her Golden Girls - knocked my socks off, and inspired me to think about giving my own golden girl a much-needed spa treatment à la Singer-style!

On with my humble corner of our basement.  Warning: this is not a magazine worthy sewing space.  You won't find fabulous cabinetry, room design, (well maybe a little), fabulously painted walls decorated with all things quilty.  You won't find lovely laminated wood, carpeted or linoleum heated floors, no fabulous floor to ceiling windows with lots of natural light and peaceful views, nor walk-in closets, no specially lowered cupboards for a small-in-stature sewist like myself with handmade melamine tops.  No 8X8' gridded flannel over styrofoam sheets design wall.  Nope.  I did have all that in our previous home in Alberta, but not in our new home in Ontario.  This one is pretty rough.

So why in the world am I going to show you where I create?  Even my husband said, "You're not going to show this on the blog?!" Yet I am.  "Come on down!" as Bob Barker used to say on a show my dad absolutely loved, and Lara did say last week when she tagged me.  And said:

The Place IS Right.

Last summer my husband put in big fluorescent overhead lights. He and I both love and need lots of light.  My natural light comes from the basement window in the corner that you can see, and one other right of where I was standing to take this photo.  Because of the cold cement, I have made good use of area rugs and cotton mats.

Here you see quilty stuff decorating the insulated and vapour-barriered walls, Rubbermaid tubs for storage of fabric and yarn and such, upon which is a box of strips (that need to be better-sorted) and Bella's basket.  Beside Bella's basket is the dresser which holds some small 3-drawer containers for threads and other small sewing supplies, candles, which I regularly burn, mmm, and my stereo, which is always on when I am sewing, as I love music.  On the right is my cutting table.  I set this up so that it is accessible from all four sides. It is made from two of the cabinets I had in my previous sewing room that are joined back to back with a piece of MDF screwed on top of them.  The opposite third is my pressing area.  One day I plan to get rid of the small ironing boards and cover that half with proper insulating material and IKEA fabric to make a larger pressing area.  On the left is one of three IKEA dressers I got from my brother years ago.  They are the perfect height for a small person to make an IKEA hack sewing desk:

Sorry, Bella reminded me to also note that this is HER happy space as much as mine.  She actually calls me down, yodelling in a near cat-in-heat yowl about once a day if I am upstairs and she wants me to join her.  Let's try this again:

A soon-to-be fully revealed WIP on the sewing machine bed
Just a couple of weeks ago, when we got back from Florida (where I also have a sewing room), my husband sunk my machine into my 'desk'.  Yay!  I can't believe I managed to last two summers without this setup after enjoying this must-be-done-if-you-FMQ (and I do!) necessity.  I sew on a Bernina 180 Artista which I bought in 2003.  Prior to her I sewed on my Elna Air Electronic bought at Eaton's in 1979, where I worked part-time while attending university.  Both machines I absolutely love, and have no desire to replace.  I still use my Elna from time to time, especially when the Bernina goes in for her yearly tune-up.  I love (and need more than ever as I, well my eyes - shh - age) my Ott-Lite.  I just got but haven't set up, the teflon sheet you see on the left of my machine.  Judy of Quilt Paradigm gave me this hack from her friend Wendy.  It's the same as a Super Slider, but a fair bit cheaper. You can see the back of the second IKEA dresser that makes up the second pedestal for the desk I, with the much-appreciated husband's expertise, have created.  Necessities on my desk here besides the light and teflon sheet are my thread holder, pencil, pen, tools holder which sits on a rotating tray, my little tin of sewing necessities that never gets unpacked, Kleenex, notepads for lists, ideas, thread catcher I made with a pincushion attached, hand/body butter, and a quilt-themed coaster you can barely see for the ever-present glass of water, or tea.

This shows you what I have done with the gridded flannel.  No styrofoam boards behind it, just stick-pinned it into the studs for now.  It lays over the vapour barrier, so it has some issues with not being firmly backed, but it does serve the purpose.  You can see a couple of WIP there.  You also see my sewing angel who flies over my machine here as she did in Alberta.  I set this up so that my sewing machine faces my north-facing window.  Although I only get a view of the sky and a bit of the black walnut trees behind our house, at least I do have a window, and it opens! One of several IKEA bookcases is to the right of the design wall for some of my stash, knickknacks and books. (knickknacks? who says that? Guess I do.)

The Sterilite drawers (and one blue no-name one lol) with a melamine shelf on top are an idea I got from my dear friend in Alberta with whom I used to quilt.  Originally to store folded and rolled up fabric pieces for our kaleidoscope fabric (yes, fabric kaleidoscopes using Paula Nadelstern's method), they now also hold, sorted by colour family, rolled up fabric pieces that are less than 1/2 yard.  Many are good-sized scraps, many are fat quarters or 1/4 yd cuts.  The IKEA (I'm realizing how much IKEA is down here!) basket tower is one from my eldest daughter that she no longer wanted. Yeah, it's missing one drawer, but a good spot for the flipflops, kept there for two purposes: one to wear if I don't wear slippers, and two, to kill spiders or other basement, unwelcome guests down here.

Behind the drawers is Avril, my Avanté.  She is still wrapped beneath Winter Night, where she hibernated for the winter while we toasted our toes in Florida.  Although I got her in 2013, our relationship is still very new, since I have to leave her here for the 4+ months we spend in Florida over the winter. You can see a couple of other tops; actually there are three. Over and Under is hiding beneath Fleurs, ready to go with her warm 'n natural batting all cut to size.  I can't wait to get back into the swing of longarm quilting.

This last photo is of the rest of my IKEA bookcases where I store the main part of my stash, larger than 1/2 yard pieces most of them, as well as some folded-together fabrics that are planned projects.  They are organized by colour, with a shelf of multi-coloured pieces, many of which I've picked up as either the focus fabric for a future quilt, or a possible quilt back.

So, there you have it, my creative space, such as it is.  Know that it will become a beautiful finished sewing space one day.  My husband has built me an incredible room already once; I know he will do it again in this new house.  :-)  And I'll give you a tour when that happens!

My point, in case you haven't gotten it yet, in showing you this less-than-perfect area, is that the space doesn't have to be magazine glossy beautiful; it is what comes out of that space that is beautiful and makes our souls feel more beautiful because of that very creation.

And now it is my turn to tag someone.  Immediately Judy of Quilt Paradigm popped into my head as "it".  Thousands of miles apart, Judy and I have become such good friends thanks to quilting blogland and, I believe it was either Pets on Quilts or the Bloggers' Quilts Festival events of last year where we really bonded.  Speaking of beautiful creations, wait until you see her jaw-dropping fabulous quilting.  Speaking of pets, be sure to read Nugget's blog takeover post; he is much like my Rocco.

Oh! If you didn't catch my giveaway for Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day, click here.  I am linking this up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Julie's Saturday Pet Project Show, bottons on sidebar.  Okay! I'm off again back to Detroit, meeting Dayna so she can take my mum, her nana around Wayne State campus.  It should not disappoint; between the beautiful architecture of the buildings and the grounds with their glorious breath-taking flowering trees absolutely everywhere, we will have some nature-nurturing for our souls.  :-)


  1. I think your room is lovely! You have everything you need to make beautiful quilts. My husband dropped my sewing machine into our very old kitchen table. I wouldn't have it any other way!

  2. I would love to have that space...basement and all! Huge! It doesn't matter if it is magazine worthy, decked out in fancy storage or even finished. As long as you can create...that's what is important!

  3. It may not be "magazine beautiful" but it's highly practical and like you said, what you make in it is what matters. I envy you all that space. I'm a bit more compact over here, but it's what I have and it works. Plus it keeps the budget balanced because there is just no room for a longarm , so I can't be tempted :)

  4. Sandra, I love what you said about how our spaces don't have to be magazine glossy beautiful; that it is what comes out of that space that is beautiful and makes our souls feel more beautiful.
    You may be in a the basement, but it is a splendid, big and open basement and I am quite impressed with how well organized you are!
    Hee hee - I knew you were going to tag Judy.
    Many congratulations to Dayna on her graduation! (I have been spelling her name wrong all along, my apologies.)

  5. I agree with Lara. Beauty is second to function, and you're a wonderful upcycler and recycler making it all happen here. Your super light is heavenly, and your Ikea Hack table enviable. I'm not there yet, but thinking someone might want that project for a Mother's Day gift. Get that teflon mat down ASAP. I think it's the best couple of dollars ever spent. I anchor mine with clear packing tape.

    Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring. It's not just the space--it's you creating in the space that makes it work for you.

    Julie @ Pink Doxies

  6. WOW! That's incredibly good organization! Good job!

  7. First congratulations to your daughter. :) You deserve to be a proud mama.
    I loved this peek into your creative space. It is so nice and big as well as organized. Do you always keep it this clean? I have to keep mine clean or I can't sew.

  8. Congratulations to your daughter! That's very exciting.

    I love seeing people's workspaces. It's great to see what works for storage and organization for other people, and as much as the glossy magazine styled workspaces are very fun to look at, it's really whether or not it's functional for the person using it that matters. (I don't have a workspace at all, so I also just enjoy looking at other folk's spaces as inspiration for one day when I've got the room for it! I sew on my kitchen table and iron on my kitchen counter, so everyone's setup is a bit more inspiring than mine.)

  9. It's just lovely having a little peek into everyone else's sewing spaces! It looks like you have quite a roomy area... lots of space to spread out, and you've got your music, your angel, and by the look of it, a huge design wall! Who could ask for more?!?! Linda

  10. Congrats to Dayna!

    I think your space is awesome! It's roomy and as Linda said, music, Bella, design wall - perfection :) Thanks for the tag! I'm off to clean up my space ;) haha

  11. I love your sewing space! I, too, sew in the basement and it works just fine. It's so nice to be able to spread out and not have to worry about cleaning everything up when I have to go do something else. I'm going to have to figure out how to sink my machine into my sewing table if I'm ever going to get to FMQing!

  12. I loved seeing your sewing space, don't know how I missed it before!! It reminds me of my unfinished basement, I used to have my LA down there but once our son moved out it is in his old room :-)

  13. I LOVE seeing other people's work spaces! You are right, they don't have to be magazine perfect to be just right. I see a little Raggedy Ann & Andy in the corner; I have a little Raggedy Ann & Andy in the corner of mine as well. I don't have a sewing angel above my machine, but I have a celebration chime above my easel.
    Also... I still see those 3 cows hanging in the background. I know that soon I'll come to the post where I get to find out what they will become.


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