Studio

“Oh Scrap”, Part II and New “Studio” Tour

These two topics – Oh, Scrap, Part II and New “Studio” Tour, were going to be two different posts but I decided to combine them into one post since they are sort of tied together.

I’ve been getting settled into my new apartment in the greater Denver metro area and I guess I’ve completed my series of posts “Colorado Bound” as now I am in Colorado!

I’ve never lived alone in my entire life, so it has been a huge transition now living alone, but I am trying to embrace it and enjoy that I can set up my apartment however I desire.

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a long time (some of you for over 5+ years) might remember what my craft/quilt studio area looked like in my former Central Oregon home (which by the way has sold and is now someone else’s home). It was in a small back bedroom in my three-bedroom home, but it worked for me.

Now living in a two-bedroom apartment my best choice for a studio area was to turn my second bedroom into a guest room/studio area. I will give a little tour of that new space in this post, but first I want to share a follow up to post from January 2018 – “Oh Scrap“.

Oh Scrap, Part II

It is always an ongoing challenge to find the best way to organize my…extensive? ridiculous? pathologically large? fabric scrap collection. I’ve experimented with various iterations of fabric scrap organization including organizing them by color into boxes like these:

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Or just throwing them all together into a large bag:

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As you can imagine, unless you just want to work with random scraps, the “all in one bag” idea did not work for me.

However as I was packing up for my move to Colorado, I came up with an idea: why not use this old shelf unit I had in my sun room in my former house (which easily disassembles for moving) with the baskets I used to store magazines in, to organize and easily access my fabric scraps?

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And here is the unit in the guest bedroom/studio of my new apartment:

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I have my fabric scraps organized by color or theme (i.e. I have a basket of light batik scraps and a basket of dark batik scraps, etc.).

Now for the rest of the room.

New “Studio” Tour

I put the word “studio” in quotes because I am using this term loosely. It’s not really a studio per se but a place to sew in my guest bedroom, where I’ve used the guest bedroom closets to store my fabric and crafting supplies.

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I embraced the concept of “Whole House Crafting” (which I previously discussed in the June 2016 post Whole House Crafting) and put a larger cutting area on my large kitchen island and an ironing station in my master bedroom.

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Mike the Miniature Schnauzer wanted to share that he approves of the guest room/studio space as it meets his coziness standards!

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He also appreciates the schnauzer themed decor!


Postscript 

Speaking of coziness (or “cosiness” for my friends on the other side of the pond), I thought I would share a little follow up to the February 2019 post From “Orphan Blocks” to Pillows.

A couple of months ago I made these two little pillows from leftover blocks from a quilt I made many years ago:

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Well Mike is now enjoying one of the pillows as his napping pillow!

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Not sure he wanted to be disturbed but I just had to take a photo!

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio

When all else fails, reorganize your fabric scraps

As I shared in previous posts, a month or so ago I was in the midst of a creative block. I first picked up English Paper Piecing and then revisited traditional quilt piecing to get myself creating again.

Before I got to this point however, I was trying to figure out a way, short of forcing myself to sew something, that I could “get my creative energies flowing”. On a whim I decided to reorganize my fabric scraps.

I first shared my fabric scrap organization in the 01/01/2016 post Inside the StudioMy fabric scraps were organized by individual color – Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Cream, Black/Gray/Black & White, Brown, and Yellow. Each color had its own bucket.

Reorganizing my fabric scraps I decided to group colors together that sometimes I have trouble telling apart and to make it easier to work with by having less individual buckets.

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As you can see by the photo above, the new groupings are:

  • Orange & Brown
  • Black, Gray, and Black & White
  • Red & Purple
  • Blue & Green (interestingly this was my largest group of scraps)
  • White, Cream and Yellow

While I was regrouping the scraps, I got to revisit my fabric scraps and I could feel creative energies start to percolate!

Interestingly, one of the books from my latest library stack (The Library (Mega) Stack) – Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachary – addresses creative block. The author interviewed a group of artists for this book and their wisdom and experiences are peppered throughout this inspiring read.

One of the artists  the author interviewed, Bean Gilsdorf, an art quilter out of Portland, Oregon (www.beangildorf.com), shares the following tip for dealing with creative block:

When it starts to stress me out that I’m not doing anything in my studio, I try to make myself do something to get my hands busy again. The ideas will come back eventually…Clean out your files, rearrange your paints,  or clean everything so that when you’re ready, everything is in order. – Bean Gilsdorf

I read this book after I reorganized my scraps, but this book reinforced that I was headed in the right direction!


Postscript

I am currently listening to a wonderful nonfiction audiobook – Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. In this book the authors discuss “Gravity Problems” and how we get mired in “Gravity Problems”.

What are “gravity problems”? They are problems that are not actionable to resolve.

The authors share a great example (paraphrased):

A friend asks you what is wrong. You reply “I am having a hard time in life, I just cannot make it up hills as easily as I want to due to this thing called gravity. If I just did not have gravity in my life pulling me down, I would be fine and I could run up any hill I want”.

The authors humorously share that unless you are able to change how the earth spins on its axis and its rotation around the sun, you are not going to be able to resolve your “gravity problem”.

Now perhaps the real problem is you are not at your ideal fitness level and/or you need to improve your cardiovascular health, so you can more easily climb up a hill. That is an actionable problem.

Here is a wonderful quote from the book that I will leave you to ponder:

If it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag (so to speak), but, like gravity, it’s not a problem that can be solved. – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

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That pesky thing called gravity…

Photo credit – Michael Lorenzo, free images.com

A Crafter's Life, Studio

Ultimate Studio Fabric Organization

Welcome to the “Quilt Shop” in My House

This past weekend I witnessed the ultimate in “home studio fabric organization”!

I visited the home of a quilter friend of mine for the first time and she showed me her quilting studio. As I turned the corner to enter her studio, my jaw dropped when I saw her extremely well organized fabric stash: It looked like I had stepped into a quilt shop!

How She Did It

My friend collected empty cardboard fabric bolts from quilt shops and cut them in half. She wrapped her fabric stash fabrics around the half bolts and then organized the fabrics by theme/category in a large wide bookcase.

If she had more than a certain yardage of fabric (I forgot her threshold), she would organize the fabric on a full size cardboard bolt (bottom left of the bookcase).

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Advantages 

I think the advantages of this type of fabric stash organization are as follows:

  • Her fabric organization and display feels like she is shopping directly from a quilt shop every time she goes to select a fabric in her stash – AMAZING!
  • She can clearly see what is in her stash.
  • This may reduce her need to actually go to a quilt shop, and spend money on fabric that she does not actually need.

(I know, I know, right now all quilters reading this are rolling their eyes. Buying fabric is not about needing it – it is about wanting it!)

Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Studio

The Fabric Purge!

Before I talk about my FABRIC PURGE, I wanted to give a little follow up on my Addicted to Audiobooks post:

I had mentioned in the post that one of the disadvantages of free audiobooks from your local library is a short loan period (14 days for example). Recently I discovered that my library allows up to a 21 day audiobook loan period but you have to set up your account that way! I guess when I first set up my digital book account with my library originally I accidentally selected the 14 day hold as my default. I wish I knew this earlier as recently I was in the middle of enjoying Beyond Willpower by Alexander Loyd and my loan expired! The audiobook has other library patron holds on it so I have to wait patiently until my turn comes around again. Ultimately it is my fault for alternating between three audiobooks at once time – 21 day loans will make it even easier (maybe I can alternate between four or five audiobooks…just kidding!)

FABRIC PURGE!

Sometimes you have to let go of clutter to make space for your creativity. I had collected an unwieldy amount of fabric in my 15+ years of being a quilter. My fabric collection (aka “Stash”) includes purchased new fabric, purchased (from thrift shops and garage sales) used fabric, recycled fabrics (old jeans, manufacturing remnants), and fabric given to my by quilting friends.  When I say “fabric” I mean anything from a 1/4 yard to several yards of fabric, not scraps. We won’t talk about my scrap collection at this point…

I had organized all my quilting cotton, non flannel fabrics either by color, by type (Batiks) or by collection in an old IKEA bookcase cabinet. This cabinet was REALLY STUFFED. It was so stuffed that I could not find smaller pieces that have somehow “melted” into the larger pieces. It was time to reevaluate what I really loved and needed in my collection and to let go of that which I do not really love or really need. I had taken Monday and Tuesday off from work for a little “staycation” so I had no excuse not to begin the PURGE!

The purge was kind of painful and tedious. I do not want to discourage anyone from evaluating their clutter and purging, I just want to be honest. I removed all the fabric from the bookcase cabinet and it transformed into a scary mess on the floor. In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure – I did at one point sit on the floor crying and exclaim: “Why do I have this much fabric? I do not need all this!” I had to keep self-coaching to get through the project, reminding myself how wonderful it will be to quickly find the fabric I am looking for and to get rid of what I will never use.

It took two days of sorting through fabric and refolding fabric to complete the project (by the way, I did take many breaks of course and did other things on my “staycation”). I found on Pinterest this wonderful link to instructions on how to uniformly fold your fabric using a ruler so that your fabric will stack easily together: How to Tuesday: Ruler Folding  (from a lovely blog – Create Kids Couture). I organized most of the fabric by color (this time I integrated the Batiks) and some by special collection (one shelf). I purged a giant bag of fabric to give my local quilting friends (oh no I am just adding to their stash so they have to purge someday!)

The fabric purge was worth it, despite some brief emotional distress. I feel like I have made room for my creativity by eliminating clutter!

BEFORE THE PURGE

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AFTER THE PURGE

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