Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm Almost Moved In!

Welcome to a tour of my quilt studio. I spent a lot of time moving in today. I'm hoping by next weekend I will be all moved in and maybe even get some sewing time in before I go on vacation. Let's start with behind the door. I hung an over the door towel rack on the door and hung some tops along with their backs on the rack. These are my immediate projects to either finish or send to the long arm quilter.

Moving clockwise around the room from the door is an open 9 foot wall. I think this is where my design wall will be set up. It's the largest open wall in the room and I need to keep it somewhat free of furniture so you can enter the room easily.

The next wall is the window wall. The room gets a lot of light nearly year round. I will probably put my sewing table along this wall. For now, my quilt rack is holding court between the windows.

This wall is about 8 feet long. Along this wall I have put my cutting and pressing table. The plastic cart currently holds all of my FQs neatly folded, but not necessarily sorted by color. The basket has some scraps that still need to be cut and put into my scrap cabinet. I may switch the plastic bin and the scrap cabinet as this is the corner most visible when the door is open.

My scrap cabinet is in the corner. On top I am displaying pincushions from a swap I was in and sewing doll I purchased at a quilt shop last summer. The top 6 drawers hold scraps and squares up to 6.5 inches. The 2 bottom drawers hold fabric pieces larger than a FQ and smaller than 1.5 yards. I was thinking about re-painting the cabinet, but now that room is painted I think I will keep it white.

The closet has been converted to a UFO, fabric and miscellaneous supply storage. I put 2 bookcases in there to hold some books and storage boxes. The plastic bins and the baskets on the shelf hold UFOs. Next to the picnic basket behind the curtain is my small stack of larger pieces of fabric.

Rather than buy a curtain for the closet I decided to use one of my large pieces of fabric folder over a tension rod. Why buy more fabric when I have plenty of fabric, plus it's easy to change it if I want to use the fabric for a quilt.

Miss Emily has been moved from the window wall to the shortest wall in room. There is room to open her up when I get her fixed. Today I used her as a printer stand so I could caught up on some printing I needed to do.

I'm so happy to have my own studio. I can't wait to get all moved in! I'm sure Bruce can't wait either so we can have a dining room again!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

My Studio is Painted

Early morning found the room ready to be painted. It was very easy to say goodbye to the white walls. Here are two before pictures of the room.

What a difference now! Bruce and I spent a total of 5 hours painting the room. The color is "Manila". Think manila file folder with just a touch of yellow. I love the final look of the walls. The closet picture shows the color much better.

I started moving in tonight, but still have more to do. Come back tomorrow for more pictures!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Painting Begins and Frustration Sets In

I didn’t get much painting done in my studio today. I finished 1 of 2 window trimmings. DH did some priming. We had a birthday party for our 4 year old nephew. Then it was home for a nap. I spent time folding my large pieces of fabric (I’ve already finished refolding and organizing my FQs).

I started to become frustrated with the amount of fabric and UFOs I kept uncovering. I was becoming paralyzed trying to figure out where I am going to put everything I keep finding. After about 45 minutes of trying to solve my dilemma on my own I finally asked DH for some help. We talked about buying another piece of storage furniture without reaching a conclusion. I decided to start working through my Ziploc bags of UFOs, thinking I could convince myself to get rid of some of them.

The first bag I picked was the first quilt I started working on when I started quilting 18 months ago. It was half put together and not done very well. I sorted out the pieces that were still usable and put them in my scrap cart. There was some large pieces of fabric that I folded and put away. I threw away the started quilt. I know there is no way I would have ever finished it and it was pretty bad. But I did feel a small weight lifted and I worked through a few more UFO bags. I didn’t throw any other projects away, but it feels good just to reorganize a few UFOs. I still have some bags left, but will finish working through the rest of the UFO bags sometime this weekend.

While eating dinner I realized I had forgotten about the space on the closet shelf to store projects. What a relief! Now I needed to find a storage box or two that could go on the closet shelf. So I spent some time surfing the internet looking at storage boxes. Then I had an AHA moment. I have two fabric lined picnic baskets that will hold my UFOs, are much better looking than more plastic bins and will fit nicely on the closet shelf. One of them was already holding fabric. The other one currently holds some crochet projects that are going to get passed on to someone else.

Tomorrow will be spent painting all day. Then I start putting the studio together. I am still waiting for my work table to arrive. It should come this week. Then I will need to stain my two tables, but that probably won't be done until August. I also need to decide on curtains for the windows and finish a roww robin that I am going to use for a closet "door" since there is no door on the closet now.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Graduation Day - May 20, 2006

No quilting done this weekend. I've been traveling from Dover, NH to Poughkeepsie NY and back!

That's my youngest son Brandon. He graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY yesterday. It's hard to believe my baby is now ready to enter the working world - if he can find a job. His degree is in Political Science and he wants to find working on a political campaign. Hopefully it won't take him long to find one.

He is dating a wonderful young woman, Ellen. She also graduated from college last week. Her degree is in French and she is in dancer. I don't know much about her, but I do think she is good match for Brandon.

Of course, what's a graduation without a picture with your mom?

My boys are becoming great young men and I'm so proud of them. In this picture you see Tasha, my FDIL, Geoffrey, son #2, Brandon, son #3 and his girlfriend Ellen. What an terrific group of young adults. All of them are ready to take on the world!

The party is over for now. This coming week will be spent making final preparations for next weekend - finishing my quilt studio!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thoughts on Labels & Quilt Journals

Labels – I’ve only finished two quilts in my 18 months of quilting (that WAAAAAY bad, I know) and I didn’t put a label on either of them. For the quilt I made for a friend of mine I did write out a special card for the mom and she has put the card along with a picture of the quilt in her baby’s journal. The other quilt I finished was my All Stars Quilt for DH. Know real reason why I didn’t put a label on it, I just never did. I will put labels on the quilts I make, once I start finishing more of them.

Quilt Journal – I have an 9 X 12 journal that I’ve converted to a quilt journal. When I start a new project, or thinking about a new project, I start a page for the quilt. At the top of the page I put the name of the project and the date I started the project. I include who or why the quilt is being made. The rest of the page is filled with my notes about the project – what blocks I used, calculations for making the blocks, doodles and diagrams of the project and even some comments about my progress. For example I took an afternoon planning the Ohio Star Blocks for last summer’s Challenge only to decide to use a different design and that comment appears on both pages for my blocks.

I only use this book when I don’t have a printed pattern I’m following. When I sew one of Dorothy’s mystery quilts I make notes all over the margins of the pattern instead of in the journal. I keep all of those patterns in a 3 ring binder.

I’ve also started using Excel to do some design work and haven’t transferred any of that work onto paper yet to put into a binder.

As for pictures all of them are still in my I-Photo program on my computer. I haven’t printed any of them out yet.

I’m also in the process of creating a database for recording UFOs. While I like the ability to “play” with my UFOs on the computer I’m trying to decide if I should print out the form I’ve created and make my own journal or just take the time to write them all in my journal.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We've been having rain for several days here in New England. Between yesterday and today we have gotten about 5 - 7 inches of rain. Several low lying areas are flooded and the rain continues to fall! Mother's Day has been good to me. Bruce gave me a gorgeous card and tickets to see the Beach Boys on Cape Cod this summer. Geoffrey is here for a little while, but won't stay long. Roads are starting to flood around here and I told him he should get home.

I've spent some time in my studio this morning organizing my fabric and UFOs today. I've refolded most of the FQs and those pieces smaller than an FQ have been cut into scraps. I've also washed all the border and backing fabrics I've bought recently. Once I get my sewing table I'll be able to finish borders and sandwiching and, maybe, I'll even do some machine quilting. I still have a long way to go to get the studio in shape, but every little piece helps.

Yesterday two friends and I braved the rain and went on a Shop Hop. Because of the rain we were only able to get to 7 of the 9 shops. That's OK with me, I still managed to make a significant dent in my wallet while finding fabrics to finish quilts and enhancing my stash some. My goal on the Shop Hop was to find some purples and greens for a log cabin wall hanging I want to make for Geoffrey and Tasha. I need to find 6 shades of each color. I was able to find some of each color.

I was also on the lookout for backing fabric for Tasha's quilt and was lucky enough to find it. I also bumped into the fabric I want for the backing on my Pink Finity Quilt. Two significant purchases, but I'll be able to finish a quilt and Tasha will be able to get hers done.

Everything else I bought was fun stuff. We stopped at the New England Museum because they were having a sale and were between two of the shops. I picked out 3 FQs just because I like them.

This collection of Fusion FQs was hanging from a hook on the ceiling and caught my eye while I getting the pink backing cut and I couldn't resist. My stash was low on reds and pinks so these are nice addition.

I've been thinking about getting a Grace lap hoop and according to their web site one of the shops on the shop hop was supposed to carry it. Unfortunately she didn't have a hoop in stock, but I did find this pre-printed mini wholecloth quilt and thought it would be a great way to practice hand quilting. The picture is tough to see, but it's tulips. The owner chose the thread for me. It's a variegated blue and yellow. I'm anxious to get started on this project. It will be a good one to bring to Minnesota on vacation next month. I also found the cute LOVE panel in the same store.

My last purchase of the day was a total compulsive purchase. Although we had been collecting mystery quilt clues all day and Mavie and Veronica had been looking at the quilt kits at every shop I hadn't paid one bit attention to the directions or the kit. At the last store the kits caught my eye and couldn't resist. The assortment of colors and fabrics were incredible. I probably won't make the quilt but I did get 18 FQs, and 5 cuts of fabric ranging from 1/2 yard to 2 3/8 yard. Susan, the owner of the store, even let me borrow a Janome Stitch in the Ditch foot to try it out. Isn't she cool?

I think I'm done with fabric shopping for a while. My family social calendar is booked every weekend from now until the end of July so quilting time will be limited. Oh well, that's what happens when sons grow up and move on to new adventures in their lives.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Renovation - Day Two

I woke up early this morning and took advantage of the time. I vacuumed the studio twice from corner to corner, and that included emptying the canister between rounds. Then I proceeded to put my plan in place. First into the room was the bookcases. I need to keep the cable modem and Airport working. I will use it to store some quilt books when the room is complete. The boxes on the third shelf currently hold my thread supply and tons and tons of hand needles that I didn't realize I had so many packages hiding in my notions box. Bruce got a portable DVD player for Christmas and hadn't taken it out of the box yet. He suggested I put it on top of the bookcase so I could pop in a DVD or CD when I am quilting.

Miss Emily was the next item to come into the room. She looks lovely in her spot. Now I need to call the sewing machine repair man to see if he makes house calls so I can use her properly.

I had purchased this cabinet when I was in my painting and drawing phase to hold my art tools. When I was done with that Bruce started using it as a tall night stand. I mentioned to him that I would like to have it back for storing fabric. He said that was a good idea. I am going to use it to store scraps. First drawer is for scraps smaller then 2.5 inches. 2nd drawer - 2.5 inch scraps. 3rd drawer - 3 and 3.5 inch scraps. 4th drawer - 4 and 4.5 inch scraps. You get the idea for the 5th and 6th drawers. I haven't decided if the 2 large drawers will hold current projects or fat quarters. In case you're wondering I painted this cabinet myself and it has the words: imagine, believe, hope, dream and wish stenciled on it.

We went to Home Depot today to find a piece of wood for making a Big Board sewing board for the top of my cutting/pressing table. We were able to find a 24 X 38 inch piece. We couldn't find any styrofoam board for a design wall. All they had was 1.5 inch pink insulation, so we didn't get that. Then we went to the furniture store to pick up my cutting table. When Bruce saw it, he asked me why I just don't make the top of the table the way I want it for ironing. Since the table is unfinished I wouldn't have to finish it and then worry about the Big Board scratching it. So the plywood will go back to Home Depot later this week. I need to get the batting and flannel so I can finish the table. But for now, it is ready for cutting.

Since Geoffrey didn't pick up his clothes that are still hanging in the closet I didn't get a chance to start working on putting away my UFOs and stash. That will probably happen bit by bit over the next week or so. I did start sorting through some of them today, but didn't make much progress.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Let The Renovation Begin!

Geoffrey has officially moved out and into his first apartment. That means I will now have a quilt studio. I think my copy of Lois Hallock's book, "Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space", is getting a little worn out.

Last night, while Geoffrey was helping Tasha pack up her stuff, I took a picture of his room. It looks like a typical teenager's room even though he is now 23.

Today they were able to move all of Tasha's stuff and get 98% of Geoffrey's stuff. The room is almost ready for me. Here is what I am planning. Along this wall will be a small table to hold the Router and Airport for the computers. Also a small futon will eventually find it's way here. Miss Emily, my 1918 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine, will go between the windows.

I have ordered a 36" X 60" table to use as a sewing table. It is going along this wall. When Tasha comes over to sew I will turn the table perpendicular to the wall so we can both work on it.

I am going to convert the closet to my Stash/UFO storage. Since there is no door I am going to make a curtain to cover the opening. Along this wall will be the cutting/pressing station. I have purchased a bistro height table that is 30" X 48" and matches the sewing table. The wall behind the cutting table will be my design wall.

We will be painting the room over the Memorial Day Weekend. We moved into the condo 3 years ago and still haven't painted the pre-primed walls in this room. We have the paint and I think it is a light yellow color.

It's early evening and I'm tired. Bruce is out with a friend who is visiting from out of town and I'm home alone. I'm going to watch some of the Red Sox game, take a warm shower and go to bed. Stay tuned for my progress on creating my quilting studio!