We live in a rental.
We are not allowed to hang anything on the walls.
And we live in the tropics.
Those clever adhesive strips that renters use to hang photos and frames, and which are supposed to peel off when you move out leaving no marks or residue, don't work here. The chemical composition of the glue changes with our high humidity and heat, and we discovered that because in the last house we rented, Mr E had to re-plaster the whole wall from the damage done by those strips holding one cork board in Blossom's room.
I'm explaining this because when I show you the photos of my creative space/sewing room makeover, you'll notice it's rather bland with those large and empty cream spaces called walls.
However, the reason for this makeover was not to make the space pretty.
In the past I've focused on prettiness to inspire me - a variety of sweet button jars, pretty displays of fat quarters and vintage doilies, small vignettes of stitched sweetness, baskets and baskets and baskets of stuff on display - but over the last three days I looked at my everyday work space with new eyes.
You see, as I took the photos earlier in the week for my 5-day tutorial on the Elefantz design process, I couldn't escape the fact that I'd become overwhelmed again with the lack of usable space to make anything larger than a framed stitchery.
It frustrates me. Every weekend I try and clear away the mess I've made sewing all week, but with nowhere to store things in plain site I tend to throw up my arms and make a few stacks at the end of my cutting table instead. A few weeks pass by and there are so many stacks on the table that I am unable to cut anything larger than a 12" block.
This week with Mr E away, I left sentimentality at the door and set myself the task of pulling apart my sewing space. Over the course of two days I purged! Anything I'd owned for more than two years and not used went into boxes for the Salvation Army op-shop, as well as impulse buys I knew would only sit around looking pretty and take up space.
What I have now is what I want, what I can work with, and what fits inside my creative space.
So can I welcome you into my 'new' humble sewing and design room?
Let's start at the doorway...
I'll make a cover for those two plastic tubs above. They contain large pieces of fabric for quilt backings, plus solid fabrics that I use for stitcheries, bag linings and backings on wall hangings and table runners.
Inside the door...
The bookcase holds embroidery threads, vintage and mother of pearl buttons, arty and ceramic buttons, sewing tools, orphan stitcheries, projects-on-the-go (in the little plastic containers), a few Christmas fabrics, Tilda fabrics (in boxes), and my beloved collection of genuine vintage laces (also in boxes).
My sewing table is an old desk with eight drawers which is brilliant for storing my machine threads, bobbins, scissors, rotary cutters, sewing machine attachments, and other essential hardware.
I love my sewing machine cover. Blossom designed and stitched the little Garden Angel design on the cover about four years ago.
The little blue and white chest of drawers stores all my paper patterns, photo props, and kits. It also serves as my new ironing station. Removing the ironing board from the room has given me more space to move about and one less place to stack my homeless bits and pieces...
My cutting table is a large folding table which is easily transported during our numerous house, town and interstate moves! Under the table I store my tub of ribbons, regular laces, and embellishments, plus a tub of cotton wadding and Pellon, and my light box.
The blue spot basket holds the pattern bits I need for my current 'design-on-the-go' and my notebooks for keeping track of pattern writing and layout graphs.
I was already beginning work on a new design when I took the photo above, and the wonderful thing is that I was able to clear that table of almost everything before closing the door for the night! What a lovely feeling of triumph and satisfaction I felt.
One permanent essential on my table is this basket of important things - rotary cutter, tape measure, pin cushion, pencil, scissors, and Zig Millenium pen...I use them every day, so they must be close at hand all the time...
Finally, we turn left to the door again, and these are the two new shelves I built from flat packs to store my fabrics in. I can close the wardrobe doors in front of them to protect them from the shards of bright tropical sunlight which escape through those vertical blinds no matter what I do to hinder them...
Apart from quilt backing and my small Tilda stash, these are all the fabrics I own. Now that I can see them clearly in front of me - divided into categories and on their appropriate shelf - my mind has been bubbling over with new project ideas. And most importantly - I breathe calmly when I walk into the room and smile with delight!
Lessons learned this week...
Remove the clutter.
Keep only what I want and know I'll use.
Make the space work for me, and not distract and overwhelm me.
Only own what fits within the space.
Everything in the room must have its own place.
Be content with what I have today - the woman with the biggest stash of 'stuff' does not win anything but a headache.
I hope your weekend is a fun one.
Think you know where I'll be?