Monday, November 18, 2013


As I get things unpacked in my new space, and get my shelves and sewing stations set up, the age-old problem of storage comes up.  I have a few rules that take awhile to set up, but have made my daily projects so much faster and easier!!

I use boxes for everything!  Pretty hat boxes stack on top of bookshelves and file cabinets, and look fantastic in my bright and busy room, but they MUST have labels so you can put your hands on what you need later on.   They're the best for odd shaped items, and things you don't need very often.

I use a Brother Tape Labeler for almost everything, since it's fast and durable and uniform.

For the rest of the supplies that I use more often, I use clear boxes, also labelled but stackable so I can see what I need especially colors or types.

My fabric goes in large clear tubs I buy at Costco, and I sort and group the fabrics by color range (neutrals, pastels) or type (Batiks, Vintage/Flour Sack).  They stack perfectly on the shelf of my 10 foot quilt frame with room for a row on the floor as well.  Fabrics I use less often (velvets, upholstery weights) I keep in labeled large plastic tubs in the garage.  They are in a couple of stacks where I can get to them easily and where the detailed label puts my hand on what I need fast.

I label even what I can see, so I can find the right item at a glance.

More ideas for setting up your studio space coming in the next weeks.  Next subject:  lighting and ventilation!!  See you back here soon!

hugs, Beth

Thursday, November 7, 2013

We have the technology, we can rebuild her...

Getting back to work!  
Well, the move is over, the dust has settled and the unpacking has begun.  On Saturday morning, my intrepid friend Lindsay came over and the two of us, armed with strong coffee, cleared the floor in my new studio space, put down the area rug, and opened the back of the equipment trailer.  A little like Indiana Jones opening an ancient tomb, Lindsay and I ceremonially opened the back door/ramp.  A creak, some rays of light filled with swirling dust mites, and there they were.  My treasures had been gathering dust for a few weeks, calling my name.  I have to admit, my heart beat a little faster.

That trailer had been holding my Husqvarna Viking 10 foot quilting table and mega quilter, my trusty Babylock six needle embroidery machine, my Pfaff construction machine, my Babylock serger, a twenty year old embellishing machine, and an old singer treadle.  Also stored inside were twenty clear storage bins of fabrics, countless boxes of books, supplies, notions, tools, and momentos that inspire and entertain me...fairy dolls, a ceramic dragon, a resin unicorn, antique china teacups to hold bobbins, thimbles, snips and clips.  The tools of my trade were waiting for me.

We started with the big stuff, (that's what I would recommend to others starting a new space) and configured the practical work area.   Bookshelves must be easy to reach, work tables organized against walls, my corner desk laid out.  Then moving from table to machine,  I walked the space to make sure it was laid out conveniently and productively.  Leaving room for storage and supplies, dusting off all the clear bins of fabric and smaller bins of threads, glues, ribbons, buttons, notions, etc. we started placing my supplies. 

Lindsay gave up after several hours, but I was at it till the wee hours, unpacking books and instructionals (even a four language translation dictionary) and touching and placing my 'things'.  It is hard work physically and emotionally to organize a new workshop, but I love the useful and beautiful things I use every day to create.   I've missed having them at my fingertips and knowing I can spend a free hour and put my hands on what I need.  My studio is as important as setting up my bedroom or bathroom, and I am glad it has begun.

It will take me several more weeks (I still have to work most days, and this is a big job), but I got the quilter reattached to its cabling, and computerized Qbot.  I found the parts and the power plugs and I'm almost ready to turn on a machine.  Maybe this weekend...

Meantime, my pre-order promotion winds down as I wait for the box of new books to arrive.  Thank you all for purchasing your copy.   And let's get sewing!!