I’ve gotten a lot of email and voicemails lately, wondering if I am ok and everyone is ok in my family. I am and we are. No serious illnesses here, thank goodness — I guess I need to put my status up on the website…
I have been working on getting my studio set up so I can get everything in one place and have done the majority of it all by myself. I’ve painted, refinished furniture, laid flooring, and touched every piece of fabric that I’ve collected for over 20 years at least twice (if not more than that) to weed out and put away what I’m keeping in my stash.
Here are preliminary pictures so you can see what has been my obsession for the last THREE months:
Here is where I began, in a room that is the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Robin’s stage amplifier, my son Ryan’s bike, camping equipment, etc. used to have a home here, with my fabric stash… no longer!
As I worked, I had to clear out one area and stack the stuff as tightly as I could in another area so I had work space — like playing Tetris. So sometimes, I spent a whole day just moving things around so I could work the next day. Yes, there was NOWHERE else to put the things outside of my studio space while I worked. The ideal solution would have been to work in an empty space — but no such luck with this project. I had to prepare and paint the walls one section at a time — moving things in place once a portion was painted, until I was done.
The wall behind me was painted light yellow to match the flannel for my design wall and the wall to my right is really more of a deep tangerine than a Chiklet orange. The existing lighting is golden, so it makes the photos look weird right now. I’m covering design wall boards with neutral flannel and will put them up like tile to fit the wall. I like this solution for a design wall.
Once I got the design wall up — my first accomplishment — I hung a sign that I found in a local quilt shop. It says “Trust Your Crazy Ideas”, a reminder that I needed throughout this project to help me keep going. The scope of doing a studio, virtually by yourself, is a mammoth undertaking. While I enjoyed the work (and sometimes the solitude), the advantage to working by myself is that I know each piece of fabric that is in my stash, where all of my books go and how many patterns I have for order fulfillment. No one else helped me put things away, so I know that I can find everything exactly where I put it!
Speaking of the “stash”, here it is — all eighty-four boxes of it! Just handling the fabric, deciding what to keep, what to give away and how to categorize it all in the cupboards took me two full weeks, 40 hours each week, to put it all away. I started panicking when I realized I was getting close to running out of room…
Amid the remodel, I had to set up the video recording area of the studio so I could video tape a West of Baltimore block of the month lesson! You can see how my sewing area is set up and the design wall is filled with my examples — and there in the foreground are cupboard fronts that are being white-washed. I covered the precious items with clear drop clothes in case of disasters, which are sure to come…
Here are the cupboards that I refinished and built, using Ikea Ivar modular shelving. Everything I used for the studio was recycled from within my house — believe it or not! Just as I finished with the last layer of varnish, I dropped a half-gallon bucket of pink paint — all over the floor, which splashed up onto the Ivar pieces. I had to re-sand and touch up half of the units before putting the cupboard together. You can see that it’s starting to work just great. The Ivar units can be made to any size that you need and even have a corner unit if you want it to be L-shaped. The sad news is: they no longer have the glass door front cupboards available – remember, I recycled things that we weren’t using in my house. A perfect way to save money and use things that you really love.
This is what my stash used to look like. One of five boxes of green fabric, the color that I have the most of. It’s not my favorite color, red is — but I use green more than any other color, for applique leaves and stems. You can never have too much green!
The contents of more than thirty UFO boxes. My question: “What the heck is this, what does it belong to, and why did I buy these like this?!” After all these years (probably 5 years), I just can’t remember because I didn’t keep the pattern or book with the box. So, I had no choice but to cull the pieces I didn’t like and sort the others into their categories. Oh well, one UFO box down.
There have been a few other happenings while I’ve been working on the studio…
WebGuy had the opportunity to visit our son and his family in North Carolina while doing some business there. The first day he arrived, they went to a Durham Bulls game (baseball, the only true sport ; ) and this is the result of the outing:
Our sweet little 6 month old Cambria was hit in the eye by a foul ball. Those of you little league parents and baseball fans know how serious one of these balls can be. Everything worked to Cambria’s favor: a Pediatric Surgeon who was sitting a couple rows back, EMT’s on the spot, Duke University Hospital ER — 10 minutes away, and a very pliable baby skeleture. Miracles do happen — Cambria had NO damage to her head -or- eye and has recovered nicely, as the picture below shows. Not so the lady a couple seats down from Cambria, who received the ball smack in the middle of her face after it bounced off Cambria… she also went to the ER with a broken nose and broken facial bones.
Taken just two weeks after the incident, no trace of a problem. Cambria is now 8 months old and beginning to crawl. Oh, by the way, she loves to watch baseball on tv.
Finally (and most important):
Here’s the thing I’ve been working on and not been able to talk about: The Ultimate Applique Guidebook! You know that I’ve been working on a book this year, but I haven’t been able to talk about it until my publisher (C&T Publishing) gave me permission. The book will be out in October and is available for presale orders on Amazon.com. Here is a link directly to the book: click here.
I will be sharing much more information about the book as the release date gets closer. I’m also going to devote a podcast and vidcast to my experience with writing the book, just in case you’re interested in learning about the process. Speaking about “book” learning, I think an online class or two or three would be a great idea in early 2011… what do you think? You’ll get up-close and personal instruction for the projects in the book.
Whew — I’m almost done with the studio — and waiting for some podcast equipment to arrive via UPS today and I will be back in business! Working on the studio has given me ideas for 25 new podcasts — so I’m not going away! A new podcast will be up by the weekend. I’m sorry for being gone from the podcast for so long — I just didn’t realize how long it’s been!
Thanks for writing — it’s good to know you’re still out there ; )
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