First – a BOM update in the form of the above photo. Yes indeed, kits are being assembled and gorgeousness is about to happen, friends! We’ve still got a little over a month before the July 22nd first ever Serendipity Woods Block of the Month project kickoff and I’m pleased to announce that already – the response has been extraordinary! Rather than spend too much time reiterating about it (of course if you need a refresher or are newly in-the-know about it and want more info – DO click the link – quicklikeabunny!), I want to inspire some thoughts on sewing spaces and why they matter.
First, let me start by saying I completely GET that for most of us, available space is at a premium, especially in busy homes with children. Often that means sewing machines come out of a closet when needed, only to be tucked back into that closet when we’ve whipped up whatever something we wanted or needed to make. Sometimes that’s unavoidable and it is what it is; yet its hard to feel inspired to sew when the process of sewing involves SETTING UP all the time. Ideally, having a space somewhere where all our sewing happiness can live without having to be put away is so great because it allows us to sit down to sew whenever the mood strikes or whenever the free time presents itself (like naptime…oh yes, I remember naptime!).
When my kids were small, my machine was set up in a fairly large space in our basement. It worked great because for one thing, my sewing space didn’t have to be neat all the time! It was also right off our family room so the kids could be playing nearby and I was close if they needed me. The other great thing about basement sewing spaces is that often there’s plenty of room to spread out. I took a moment to search ‘Basement sewing room’ (since I just don’t seem to have a photo of mine from the past) and just LOOK what I found:
Now, while I do miss the spaciousness of my basement sewing studio, I learned a couple of things – first of which is that I honestly don’t technically need that much space all in one spot (but trust me, I love spare closets!). Not to mention – the biggest drawback to having a basement sewing studio is DINNER; rather, having to drop everything to go upstairs and make it. I realized what I really wanted to do was to sew some and work some, then sew some and work some more. I found that with a basement studio, I was less inclined to volley back and forth between the two and more inclined to do one for a long period, then the other. That wasn’t really working for me.
So. Enter a room like this:
Formal. I am not. WE are not. Never have been. But still, for the last few houses, we’ve been graced with a superfluous room – a formal dining room…usually right off the kitchen where clearly I make dinner…or someone (like my handsome Superman) does. Did I mention not technically needing all that much space in one spot?
Fast forward to this afternoon when I took this photo:
For sewing – I really just need one corner. You really just need one corner.
So ‘What’s the update on the Modern Heritage Block of the Month prep,’ you ask? Okay, okay…
I’m really excited for us to get started on our Block of the Month project too. In the meantime though, I wanted you to have a chance to spend a little time thinking about your space and how to make it most inspiring for you to create, JUST when you want to create. I hope you have at least a little sewing corner you can call your own. I’d love to know more about it, if you feel like sharing.
As you may have noticed, I’m in process of merging my previous (which will remain in place as soon as construction is complete) website, Serendipity Woods, with my new blog here at Charlotte Loves Henry. What I’m really saying is that my SW blog will be replaced with this one, and Serendipity Woods will stand as our website and eventual online storefront. With all of that being said, a good many of my blog posts there, will simply drop off into the abyss of irrelavancy; except some that mean something to the realm that is Serendipity Woods as we propel our little boat forward. Enter Throwback Thursday. Therefore, the following post is actually a repost, with which I think many of us can identify. Enjoy 🙂
Pincushion Hygiene, aka – the Liberation of the Pin People
This morning whilst guzzling – err, I mean, sipping – my first cup of coffee and planning out my day, I happened to glance over at the pincushion beside my sewing machine. The glance turned into a double take, followed by a long stare which involved leaning closer and closer, which was then followed by a not-so-flattering facial expression, and an even-less-flattering (rather disgusted) gasp. All in an instant, I realized what a catch-all this formerly pretty little studio accessory had become. For starters – I hardly EVER use T-pins, and when I do (for macrame’), I only use one which is already pinned neatly to the top of my macrame’ board that lives nearby the pincushion. So why then, are there two standing like dictators in the middle of my center button?
Then I noticed a little matter of safety pins; four of them, standing one on each side, surrounding my little happy pin friends like guards. I began to feel sorry for my otherwise cheerful (now dreadfully imprisoned) little sewing companions. The thing is, since my discovery of a handy little lifesaver called Quilt Basting Spray, I no longer use safety pins to baste my quilts together, so their presence in my everyday pincushion is superfluous. How about all that dust? (I won’t share another picture…that would push us all over the edge, straight into repulsion – which might keep us from sewing ever again). My point? I’ve been neglectful. Fortunately, the inhabitants of the little island known as my pincushion have staged an uprising (with the help of my morning companion, Mr. Coffee, to catch my attention). For starters, the T- Pin Dictators and their Safety Pin Guards have been sent to live in the land of the Spare Marble King. He’s a kind ruler, with much experience as the guardian of the Safety Pin People, without the need for additional rulers or guards. A quick once over from the Vacuum Patrol, and the island itself sprouts new life! Now all that remains is the return of the Pin People to live out their useful days in harmony. Incidentally, the previously unmentioned Sewing Needle People have been allowed by the pins to reside in the button previously occupied by the T-Pin Guards – as long as they don’t get bossy. Their accompanying Tangled Threads, however, have been banished to the bottomless pit called the Wastebasket, never to return.
Happy Monday, All. Though I had not planned it as such (since housework was totally on my docket instead) it’s been a sewing sort of weekend. As for bailing on the housework, all I can say is that sometimes being a mom is really hard, and sometimes housework isn’t what we need to give us the peace we need to ease the pain in our hearts. As I rise this morning to start my day, I’m especially grateful for so many things; my faith, my family, and quilting – because quilting is sometimes the one thing I can do successfully, regardless of my mood. When I quilt, I can be happy or sad; angry or anguished; joyful or relieved. It’s a solitary craft as well, so thinking time is automatically a part of it; but it’s also become for me a way to pull joy into the dreariness that may exist on any given day. That’s a pretty valuable gift and I’m awfully glad of its presence in my life.
Emotional prelude aside, I wanted to share a quilt-related tip about scissors that I thought you might find useful. As I continue to move toward building my quilt business, I’m always reaching for lists assembled by various crafters of what tools are their favorites and why. Sewing scissors seem to be a bit of an all-over-the-map sort of tool, which seems be a good deal less about what works best, and more about what people just grab on the fly, hoping to cut threads effectively. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve used an awful lot of crappy sewing scissors. The most frustrating ones are those that wouldn’t cut hot butter from the moment I pull them out of the packaging. I could make a wind chime out of the amount of those I have lying around!
Late last week as I was cleaning out a little travel tote I had stuffed full of yarn at some point (likely enroute to another girls’ lacrosse game), I discovered a little pair of scissors I had obviously lost track of. They’d been my grandmother’s and as I think about it, she always kept them in her yarn basket alongside the ‘davenport’ (her fancy word for couch). She too, had lots of other sewing scissors lying around, but it occurred to me that these were the ones she used most and for good reason: They work miraculously well! Except they’re not sewing scissors at all…
Lastly, I have recommended little 3m Command Hooks before – they’re darn handy!
(note to self: Pick up another pair of manicuring scissors, just in case, the next time I’m at the grocery store…and more 3m hooks).
I’m one of those weird people that has a really hard time creating when things are cluttered. In fact, as I ponder the condition of the rest of my house as opposed to my studio, it’s a bit embarrassing to recognize out loud that this place, my world of creativity, is the neatest, tidiest, most organized spot in the house! I suppose that’s because the rest of the house belongs to ‘us,’ therefore I have this pie-in-the-sky idea that one of these days, my kids will start miraculously cleaning up after themselves!
At any rate, before I zip off to tackle that pile of laundry that’s overflowing atop the (very large) ottoman in the living room, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some tips on studio organization to help you stay motivated and creative!
For starters, I recommend you get to know my old, extraordinarily useful friend, the 3M command hook.
My actual shelves look admittedly scant at the moment, since I’ve only begun gathering fabric collections of mostly precuts. That said, it is organized with purpose so I can find everything I need, when I need it, and it SPEAKS CREATIVELY to me. I think that is the key.
I recently stumbled upon a rather lengthy video detailing how to fold your fabric neatly. I’ve been organizing my fabric the same way for years, with a few other purposeful practices in mind (and I’d rather show you in quick photos than link you to a long video that shows you the same thing):
The last series of photos I want to share are of my cutting table. They warrant sharing as a result of another video I watched recently about a how to make a certain block I’ve been interested in learning. Though the instruction was excellent, the process throughout the construction of said block made me want to cringe, there were so many scraps flying and bits laying all over. As I said, I can’t create well if my space is a mess – so I reach for ways to keep it neat as I go along.
Happy Organized Quilting!
An update on my Farm Girl Vintage Quilt Along progress, and hopefully a tutorial (if my darn 3.5″ rolie polie would get a move on and show up in the mail already!)