Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Satisfying Women's Curiosity

Have you ever noticed how curious women are? We want to know everything there is to know about other women without giving away very much of ourselves. For instance, if I dye my hair I might not volunteer that I keep Lady Clairol in my medicine cabinet but I'd love to know if you color yours and, being given the opportunity, might find it very hard not to take a peek the next time I'm in your bathroom. I'm not talking about myself you understand, but women in general. I would never look in your medicine cabinet. Never. Sort of. Well, maybe if we're really good friends. Or really bad friends. It's all Eve's fault, really. She was the first of our gender to demonstrate curiosity when she just couldn't leave that apple alone. It's all her fault.

My quilt guild meets once a month in a local Senior Citizens Center after the "old folks" leave for the day. It's a wonderful big room with access to water and bathrooms and a sound system. We meet in the evening beginning at 5:30 with a workshop and then a "snack" and our business meeting/program/show and tell starts about 6:45 or so. We have 120 members but only average 60-65 at our evening meeting. In addition once a month (First Wednesday) we meet for a potluck and sit-and-sew at someone's home. Since many of our members work we only have about 20 there for First Wednesday. One of the best parts of that day is getting to see our friends sewing rooms. Needless to say we all clean and organize our "stuff" before everyone comes but it's so fun to see how others store things, what tools they have out and use the most, and even some of their work on the walls. That's where the curiosity comes in. Since I love looking at other women's sewing rooms I thought it only fair that I show you mine. When we moved into this house 5 years ago I took the small third bedroom as my studio (I use that term loosely!) It has evolved over time as I added and took away but this is what it looks like today.

As you walk into the room my sewing table is on the wall facing you in front of the only two windows. I keep my embroidery thread sorted and in bins under the left side of the table. The stack of "stuff"on the table is a conglomeration of wallhangings, etc. ready to be quilted. The small plastic drawers to the right hold Pigma pens, chalk pencils, etc. in the first two drawers, scissors and rotary cutters in the third, and hmmmm can't remember what's in that bottom one! There's a thread holder on the wall to the left of the table for my quilting thread, and the drawer on the table holds my sewing machine attachments and bobbins and that sort of stuff.

Just to the right of the sewing area is my ironing center. I keep a small Ott light there because that corner is a little dark. The baskets on the wall hold starch, a spray bottle of water, iron cleaner, glue, spray adhesive, Magic Sizing, and a lint roller. I also hang my applique ironing sheet there. My husband put a television shelf above it so that I can glance at it from the sewing machine. I use a Maytag cordless iron with a titanium plate that I dearly love. I bought it 4 years ago for $130 (on sale at the time) and would do it again.

The wall to the right of the ironing board is my design wall. I used a piece of foam insulation from the hardware store and covered it with flannel, stapling it to the back. Then my husband nailed it to the wall. In the corner to the right of it I have UFOs - nicely organized don't you think? I even labeled each one....mystery quilt, yellow spring quilt, sampler, etc. The basket is the fabric for my Botanika applique quilt, also a UFO. Then I sit this quilt rack in front of those in a failed attempt to hide them. On it are finished tops ready to be sandwiched. Some are quilts, some wallhangings.

On the wall opposite the sewing machine I put cabinets where I store all kinds of stuff from quilt kits to notions. If I hadn't dumped everything I've had out for the last week on top of the cabinet you could see my cutting area. This is the real deal,'s a mess right now. In my defense I would remind you that I can't get in there right now because of the electrical problems. :) Above the cabinets are these shelves. I use old wire gym baskets salvaged from the junk pile at a local school as well as antique blue canning jars and baskets to store my patterns, redwork books, tea towels, applique patterns, buttons, embroidery floss, etc. If you look closely in the picture on the left you will see that when the electricity blew I was cutting strips from my leftover fabrics and hanging them over a hanger. Also there on the wall I have pictures of friends from quilt guild.

The door where you enter my sewing room is a cheap hollow core door which needed to be replaced when we moved in. Instead I use push pins to hang my square and odd shaped rulers. It's great because they're easy to get to, I can see exactly what I have, and they are right at my fingertips. The long rulers are in one of those wooden holders on the cabinet.

That wall is to the left of the sewing cabinet and has two closets but I absolutely, positively refuse to open those doors for you right now. You could be hurt. Seriously hurt. I have a couple of quilt blocks pinned to the doors of one closet and a leftover piece of the foam insulation on the other. My husband put shelves above then so I would have more storage. Wonder what's up there....let's see, there are some red hand towels waiting for Christmas or Valentine's Day, my iron cover, a big box of colors and coloring books for children's travel bags that I make, a lap hoop and even a couple of old irons - you know the kind you keep "just in case." One of them my Dad bought for me at a garage sale and it's not a steam iron. I love it - no holes in the bottom and gets really, really hot.
So, there you have it. I spend a lot of time in this room - even more than I spend in my bedroom at my desk. :) If I had room I'd just move my desk in there so I'd have my computer with me when I sew. I'm really jealous of Ivory Spring and the wonderful setup she has.
Now, when are you gonna' show me your medicine cabinet?


Ivory Spring said...

Hahaha! Marlene - reading your post makes me convinced that we girls are often never happy with what we have. I look at your sewing room storage/organization method - I am GREEN with envy! I don't have any storage or any organization to speak of... Things are where I can find a space to place them!!! Awwww - and all the shelves and drawers!!!!! And I love that big screen you have on your sewing machine. Maybe if we combine my lowly sewing setup with yours, we will be two happy gals! :)

I gather you are back from your trip... any funny stories to tell? ;)


Grammy Staffy said...

Hello Marlene,
I am so glad to meet you. Thank you for dropping by my blog and saying "hi".

I LOVE your sewing room. I have made our smallest bedroom into my sewing room. Now I realize that I should have picked a bigger room. Mine is always a mess with projects piled here and there. I have several plastic storage cabinets but they are all full of stuff. Looking at your beautiful room makes me want to organize it all. After 22 years of teaching sewing at high school I've collected way too much fabric and unfinished projects. You would not like a picture of my sewing room.

I love to sew for my grand daughters but I am not a quilter. I've made each of my children and grandchildren a quilt. I also quilted them each Christmas tree skirts but that is it. I am SO IMPRESSED by your beautiful work! All I can say is WOW!!! You are amazing! My sister-in-law does beautiful work like you. I wish she lived closer to me and could teach me.

So glad that you found me. Please stop by again. Happy quilting.

Purple Pam said...

Thanks for the peek into your sewing room. I have (currently) two rooms I am using. One is a sewing room with too much stuff, and the second is my last child's vacated room that I store things in (for the momemt). I hope I can move into the bigger room, but right now I am sewing in the smaller, more "cluttered with too much stuff" room. I like your organization. Do you do home visits?

sarahross said...

Whoa. What a wonderfully organized sewing spot! My mouth is still hanging open...

Tipper said...

I think your sewing room is great! Looks like it has lots of storage. Wish I had a room like that all for my own!!

Kari & Kijsa said...

Looks like you have plenty of storage options. Love the pattern piece on the door!

Have a blessed and wonderful day!

smiles, kari & kijsa

Cyndy said...

Thanks so much for the lovely tour of your sewing room, you brave soul!!!! I started fixing my room up LAST January, and still don't have it organized. I got sidelined by having to move my parents to a retirement center in the same town I live. We sold there house (where they had 30 years worth of stuff) and now I have boxes of their pictures and china stored in my sewing room, too. I'm slowly going through things and hope to have it organized by this fall. I can hardly wait to show it off. My dear sweet husband had a murphy bed made for me for that room, so when we don't have guests, it gives me more room for my sewing. But, after looking over yours, I have lots more ideas to work into my room!

Karen said...

I don't color my hair, so you won't need to peek in my bathroom cabinet!
The grand tour of the sewing room is a hit. I very much enjoyed seeing how you have things set up. Always seems like there is something special in each person's sewing room that I would like to have. The old wire gym baskets sound an item that would be fun to have.

Dandelion Quilts said...

Well, I am jealous of your room. You have a lot of shelves and cupboards and I could go on! I have to use my space as a guest room too. Your room is much tidier than mine is currently as I just dumped a bunch of luggage in there. :) I've been absent. Love the kidtalk name for grandpa...funny stuff! Also, I AM IN LOVE WITH YOUR FALL QUILT! Ohhhlalaa, it is magnificant!

sister sheri said...

I keep repeating to myself... Thou shalt not covet thy fellow bloggers sewing room... Thou shalt not covet thy fellow bloggers sewing room... Thanks for the peak!

Sharon said...

What a great sewing room! You have it so organized and neat! I've gotten some good ideas for my "studio" - thanks! Those old gym baskets were a real score! Thanks for the tour. Maybe someday mine will get done. *sigh*

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Marlene, I love looking at other peoples work area. But you sure can't see mine right now. You always have a great story to tell. Thank you for coming by for the giveaway.

Heather said...

Oh, it's dreamy!!! I need a sewing/craft room. One day I will have one, but until then the dining room it is.

Molly said...

I was sure you were going to say "Now show me your sewing room!" Whew! Narrow escape.....I probably should invite some ladies over for a sewing session. That would force me to organise and tidy up.....But that would eat into stitchin' time!
Your sewing room looks REALLY organised...!