Streamlined Studio

I think craft supplies are like coral reefs- they slowly build on each other when you’re not looking, and before you know it, you’re surrounded by towering structures of beautiful fabric, yarn, books, and beads, threatening to engulf you.

My studio was in that state.  I loved all my stuff,  but it was distracting me.  Also, like every other room in my house, the walls were paneling. I don’t have anything against paneling but we also have a variety of woods (oak, walnut, pine) in our furniture, and all that mix of unrelenting browns is not for me.

Before: closet wall

Before: closet wall – I was using sweater bags for fabric storage.

Before - back wall

Before – back wall

Before - sewing wall

Before – sewing wall

Before - bookshelf wall

Before – bookshelf wall

So this last week I emptied the room and painted it cream color*, and then just let a few things back in – the basics for quilting, and some of my favorite inspirations.

After - closet wall

After – closet wall. I used old orphan table leaves as shelves in the closet.

Close-up of display

“Alice”, my childhood apron, my mom’s childhood dress

I love this print of a lady reading for its colorful palette and peaceful subject.  It belonged to my great-grandmother.  We have always called the lady in the picture “Alice” after our family member (my great-aunt) who was most known for her piety.  The colors in my mom’s dress repeat the colors from the picture, although that’s not so obvious in this photo.

After - back wall

After – back wall

I wove the curtains back in the 1980s, I think.  They have some snags but overall they look pretty good.  On the walls are my great-grandmother’s corset cover and some daisies that my grandmother had in her kitchen.  I love the round bale print by Larry Smith – he paints modern subjects in the style of the Impressionists.

After - sewing wall

After – sewing wall

In the corner is the first quilt I made using the quilt-as-you-sew technique.  Joining blocks made that way is not easy, and since I used 12 different batting samples, I didn’t make it any easier on myself.  I learned a lot, but let’s just say the craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired.  I love the bright cheerful fabrics though.

My plan is to swap out the quilt and vintage clothing on the wall as the mood strikes me.  I left the fourth wall totally blank so I can use it as a design wall.

You may notice that I don’t have any flooring, but with only 2 folding tables and a small cabinet in the room, it won’t be hard to clear out when I get around to that step.

The change I like the best is to my storage cabinet.  This is an old cabinet that was used for a kitchen island.  It was very sturdy, but the side with two doors might just as well have been a black hole – whatever I put in there never saw the light of day again.  I forgot whole bags of fleece and baskets of fabrics, once they were stored in there.

Before - cabinet

Before -cabinet.

It was actually two smaller cabinets screwed together, so I separated them, painted the 4-drawer side white, and then, with my favorite – basting spray!- covered the drawer fronts with beautiful fabric.  I really love the way it looks now, and if I ever want to change it, it will be easy to switch the fabric.

After - notions cabinet

After – refurbished notions cabinet

You may wonder where everything else went.  Well, we recently put really good windows in our sun porch, so now that room doesn’t experience the wide range of temperatures that it did before, so the books and desk can live out there now.  The rest of it is all stuffed stacked neatly in the guest room.  My hope is that now that I have room to work, I will get out one project at a time and actually finish it and pass it on!

* We also painted some paneling downstairs and it worked fine.  But in this room, even though I used deglosser and two light coats of primer, the paint is still more than ready to peel off the walls if it gets scraped.  I would not recommend this way of renovating paneling if you have kids.