In an attempt to get one room in the new house finished and feeling like 'home' or a safe haven (those of you who know about my cyclothymia and difficulty leaving the house will understand this need)....I've been trying recently to make myself a new sewing room / a creativity lair / Tempest's & Sarah's Laboratory (like Dexter's Laboratory but with less doors but more glitter).
All to often in life I'm so busy getting on and doing things in my workspaces that I don't take the time assemble to proper tools that would make my work easier and faster. I forge ahead, making do with what I have already. I struggle on, wasting time by making do.
I'm terrible for using things as they are instead of reading all the way through intructions to find out shortcuts or best uses that make jobs easier. I'm also often short-sighted in investing in better tools, not wanting to spend money/time upfront....and not realising till later that this would actually save me in the long run.
And it's the same in my Lair (I need a proper name for the room, I can't keep on calling it my sewing room, prop building space, creativity lair, making things laboratory.....any suggestions that include all of these uses will be gratefully received). It took me ages to invest in my cutting table/fabric stash drawers (or dresser for my American friends)...
It was in the 'As Is' section in IKEA because it had been a display unit. It was still pretty pricey but had $100 off the original price and I have to say, I now wonder how I coped without it. It's meant to be a kitchen cabinet but the height is perfect for me to cut fabric standing up (I'm short). So much better than the years I used to bend over the kitchen table, which was too low and hurt my back....you see what I mean, sometimes I'm dumb and don't think about the best 'tools for the job'.
Then there was the short-sightedness of buying a small self-healing cutting mat....because it "cost less" and "I don't really need a big one for the stuff I make". Idiot. I love making stuff. I'm good at making stuff. See it on the top of the drawers in that pic above? How the heck did I think a 5" x 17" cutting mat was a better idea than spending about $15 (£9) more on a 24" x 36" one? One that would make it easier to measure off feet and yards? One that fits perfectly on the top of my cutting/stash drawers? Derrrr.
As you can see from that photo, I'm beginning to take this 'getting sorted' seriously - I've now got hooks and nails in the wall for my special cutting scissors (NOT! to be used for cutting anything other than fabric), tape measures (yellow one is imperial, the red one missing from the pic as Melchett was using it is metric), yardstick and rotary cutter.
The small wardrobe in the backround holds larger cuts of material, bags of ribbons, knitting needles, my yarn/wool stash, wadding, shiny things and current projects. At some point during these school hols there are plans for us to take it into the garage, sand it, paint it blue and make it into a little TARDIS. I'll post pics when we start that project.
Have I shown you the cork pin boards I picked up cheap at Home Depot (think B&Q dear Brits) and covered with fabric and bright pillow cases I bought at my favourite charity shop...?
And don't imagine for one moment I don't realise how INCREDIBLY lucky I am to have a space like this to work in. For 16 years I lived in a house where there wasn't the room to leave my sewing machine out or cupboards solely for my makering (new word I've just made up)....and even when I got out my sewing machine each day and took over the kitchen table, I never had the wonderful light I've now got:
Two lovely windows on the east corner of the house, pouring light (sometimes too much, hence the blinds) in to my sewing area. And now that I'm taking having the appropriate 'tools for the job' seriously, I've got daylight full spectrum cfl bulbs in the ceiling lamp. I'm finally learning.
I haven't shown you the curtains have I?
I saw the swimsuited mannequins material in the sale area of one of my favourite fabric shops and HAD TO HAVE IT. Unfortunately it was an end of roll, so to make it fit curtains for 2 windows I had to buy something to become a border for it and tab tops....hence the colourful circles.
And because I'm still having difficulty converting to imperial measurements from European metric when buying material....I bought a bit too much of the colourful circles fabric - so I'll be using this is make a matching cover for my sewing machine, and this morning I made another clever, 'tools for the job' addition to the Lair: a new pin-cushion/thread-catcher:
I'd never thought about needing one of these before. But then I saw a notice about one of my favourite fabric stores running beginner's sewing classes for kids and that during the sessions they'd make 'threadcatchers'. I googled 'threadcatcher' to see what one was and found this fantastic tutorial: www.merrimentdesign.com/pincushion-thread-catcher.php
Usually I have piles of threads I've cut off sitting beside my sewing machine:
...and as you can see, stray pins rolling around because I can't be bothered to walk across the room and grab my pin-cushion....so the threads and pins invariably find their way onto the floor and the pins subsequently into my feet.
So I thought making a new thread-catcher/pin-cushion to have by my side whilst sewing a fantastic idea.
And in the background there you can see another one of my 'getting myself sorted' ideas - I bought a jewellery organiser from TK Maxx that has a hanger-type handle to hang from the blinds. It holds small scissors, tailor's chalk, spools of commonly used threads and matching ready-to-sew bobbins in the same colours, an old eyeshadow brush I use to get dust out of my sewing machine and 2 dime coins (about size of 20p) which are the perfect to unscrew the screws on my machine for regular maintenance.
Anyway, there's a rambling look (sorry my brain is still in the middle of a cyclothymic fog) around my sewing room/Lair/creativity space/safe haven (got to come up with a better name) so far and an insight into my 'I love doing this stuff, so it's time I started getting organised' realisations. The room is still to be painted sometime in the future, it's going to be teal I think. And I hate the beige carpet. And I fancy some bunting....yep, still lots to do and lots more fun to be had :)
P.S here's another great 'why didn't I think of that before' pincushion idea from Kathryn at I Can Find The Time: one that you secure to your sewing machine so it won't 'walk off' somewhere.....I might even make myself one of these too, and have the threadcatcher one on my cutting/stash drawers. Genius idea!