Problem and Solution


I keep thinking that I have my new studio fitted out perfectly but then some problem comes along. This time it was associated with the ironing station that I had set up by the sewing machine…..

The first problem that I encountered was that the travel iron was hard to turn on and off. I hated to leave it on all of the time so just didn’t bother with it. The solution was to replace it with a full size iron that I had bought as a backup…..

This solved part of the problem but with the “real” iron, I found that the ironing board wasn’t working well. It simply didn’t have enough padding on it, which caused the metal grating on the back to be prominent, causing friction when trying to iron…..

I also realized that, even though the board was sitting on top of another portable ironing surface, it was still getting really hot (and wet) underneath and would eventually ruin the counter top. This board does have legs but opening them made it way too tall and the legs would easily slide off of the counter.


After a lot of thought, I moved out to the stack of wood scraps in the garage and found a nice piece of 3/4 inch plywood. A neighbor used his table saw to cut it into one piece that was 24×17 and three other smaller strips.

I connected the legs to the board with nails….

….and then covered the board with a layer of aluminum foil…..

Then I took the ironing pad that I had bought and stretched it over the top and onto the backside, stapling it often to hold it in place…..

The final task was to glue a layer of felt to the wood strips so that they wouldn’t scratch the counter top….

It was slightly tippy on one side (probably because I didn’t get the strip nailed on straight enough), and my smart husband, Michael, suggested that I just glue a second layer of felt to that side!!! It was the perfect idea and the new ironing table is steady and secure!!

And best of all, it works perfectly!! There is plenty of room for ironing and the small gap between the board and the countertop means that nothing gets warm or wet.

I am super happy with the result……

I wonder what the next problem will be?????

The finishing touches

When I first started posting photos of my new studio space, several people commented about how much light there was, and with 4 large windows, that was entirely true……

However, when I started putting the fabric on open shelves, I began to worry about how the wonderful light would harm the fabrics. I sure didn’t want each piece to have a faded line running thru it!!!

The other concern that I had was for dust. As I ironed and folded all of my fabric, I had to stop often to sweep up the dust bunnies that had formed around the ironing table….just in front of the fabric shelves. I was astounded just how much lint and dust was thrown off by the fabric.

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that sheer curtains were the way to go. The Ikea shelves provided a perfect surface to attach the curtain rods and I can easily see that the fabrics are better protected……

I hate not being able to see the individual fabrics as easily, but by using the sheer fabric, I can still see the colors……

Hopefully the room is COMPLETELY FINISHED now…..until I think of the next thing!!!

Next step for the studio…..

As you might guess, in the last few months I have spent a lot of time scanning the internet for ideas about how to organize my studio. Somewhere along the way, I saw the idea of having a small rolling cart that can be used when at the design wall.

In my previous set up, there simply wasn’t room to have this, but with the more open space of my new studio, I decided that I would give it a try.

A quick trip to Amazon yielded the cart of my dreams……

The shelves are approximately 16×13 and it is 34 inches high.

The top shelf will hold a simple pin cushion to hold the pins that I use on the design wall and any blocks or other fabrics that are needed close at hand when I am laying something out…..

I am a bit in limbo about what exactly will fit into the second shelf, but I feel sure that I will find a good use for it.

The bottom shelf holds a small step stool…….

Even though I am fairly tall, I have found that this really helps when I am trying to pin up a large quilt…..

This is how I am envisioning the cart working……

It seems so much easier to have all of the pins right beside me rather than having to stretch here and there to find one, especially when I am trying to hold several blocks in place at one time!!! I also love that it is so easy to move between areas of the design wall, and the sleek design means that it is easily stored and out of the way when not needed.

It will be interesting to see if this is as useful as I think that it will be!!! I will keep you updated……

Storing the leftovers

Yesterday I finished ironing and folding all of the fabrics in my studio…..

…….and was left with all of the little pieces that were too small or irregular to put onto the shelves. After a bit of thought, I decided to store them in a small plastic box.

First step was to figure out how big the pieces needed to be. After doing some measurements, I cut a piece of foam board 5×8 inches and checked to see that it fit perfectly in the box…..

I used this piece of cardboard as a guide for folding the fabrics..

First was to lay the fabric piece out…..

Then iron the extra bits in to form a rectangle…..

Use the pattern board to measure how tall the fabric needs to be…….

After ironing it to the correct height, place the pattern board on the far right side and then flip it over one time……

Next, fold the fabric to the left of the board over and iron it in place……

Finally, fold this piece in half……

….giving a perfect 5×8 rectangle of fabric.

They all look so pretty in the box…….

Easter and Ironing

First of all, I hope that everyone had a marvelous Easter Sunday. We started off with a neighborhood walk complete with reminders that He is Risen…..

….followed by a quick gathering of some of our church family…..

It was so good see faces and hear voices!!!

The rest of the day was spent doing a bit of play and a bit of work….all in all, a MARVELOUS day!!!

Elle asked if I had any idea how the ironing surface had been made so I thought I would show a few photos…..

This is the underside of the board…..

It appears to be made of plywood (15/32), and is cut to 21″ by 60″.

There are two wood strips added to each edge and then the slanted strips that follow the contour of the ironing board base…..

It is covered by a VERY heavy felt and then topped with an ironing board fabric. The only thing that I added was an elastic band around it to help it fit tighter.

Even though it wasn’t designed for my particular board, it fits perfectly……

….and is SO sturdy. I think that it helps that the original ironing board is a workhorse!! It belonged to my Grandma and I love thinking of her when I use it!!!

On other thing that I have done for years is to plug my iron into a power strip rather than into the wall. That way, I just tap the switch with my foot to turn it on and I am ready to go. Another quick tap when I am finished and everything is off and safe.

On the fabric organization side, I am slowly working thru the blue fabrics but am finding that I have a bunch that are too small for my folding method. I am now trying to figure out exactly how to store those smaller pieces. Many people say to cut them down into strips and squares but I feel that I already have too many of those so hate to add more to it!!

I am also realizing as I fold that I am truly ready to get to work on a project. It has been over 3 months since I could walk into my studio and sit down at my machine!!!! But eventually everything will return to normal… the world AND in my studio!!!

TTFN…..Ta-ta for now!!!

Folding FUN!!

I have had a couple of people ask for a demonstration of exactly how I am folding the fabric.

The technique that I use is NOT my own creation. I saw this idea many years ago on some Youtube video and I have used it successfully on a portion of my fabrics during the last 10 years.

The first step is to figure out how big you want your folded fabrics to be. In my case, the shelves were 13 inches wide, 15+ inches deep and 13 inches high

I knew that I wanted two rows of fabrics in each cube so that meant that they could be a maximum of 6.5 inches each. After lots of trial and error, I decided on a 6 inch fabric width.

Since most fabric is approximately 44 inches wide, that makes it 22 inches wide when folded in half (selvedges matching). If I fold it in half again, it is 11 inches “deep” which would fit perfectly in my 15 inch shelves.

And so it begins………

Not all of the fabric pieces are as easy as the ones that I demonstrated. It has been interesting to try to make every piece fit in some way, but I have honestly been able to fold more of them than I thought I would.

Today I found a few minutes to finish one of the blue boxes….only 3 more to go…..

Stay safe and sane!!!!

Spring Cleaning

Or maybe it is COVID cleaning!!! This weekend I knew that I needed to spend some time getting the house cleaned up and some spring decorations out…..I have had enough for blue for now!!!

The first stop was the second floor!! I hadn’t done a good clean since the studio remodel and everything was still covered in a fine layer of dust. My first priority was my studio….naturally!!!

After dusting and sweeping everything in sight, I wanted to get some projects on the design walls to inspire me to keep creating. Then I moved all of the unsorted fabric boxes out of the bathroom and into my room……

I have worked thru 6 boxes and have 17 more to go. Yikes…..I may be folding fabric for the rest of my life!!!

I put quilts on the wall to add a bit more inspiration……

Here is the entire room in one photo……

And the best thing is that the bathroom is empty again……

I finally got the new hall (that leads to a bedroom and bathroom) decorated…..

….and I especially like the view as I am walking down the hall to my studio…..

Finally, to add a bit of color to the stairs, I decided to hang one of the quilts that my Mom made……

This quilt has a great story. She started it back when my Dad was away serving in WWII and remembered that it was the first time she had ever purchased fabric to make a quilt. She pieced the top but never got around to quilting it. Over the years her interest in quilting waned and it sat, unfinished, in a small cardboard box!! In the early 1970’s her interest in quilting returned and she offered to finish the quilt for my “hope chest”. Unfortunately, the white fabrics had yellowed badly so she carefully un-pieced it and re-pieced it with new white fabric. She added her gorgeous hand quilting to finish it…..

Anyway, on Monday it was back to work as usual, but at least with a cleaned house and lots of colorful, Spring decorations…..

Busy, busy weekend

As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time in my studio this weekend but am super happy with the progress that I made.

I did a bit of fabric folding just to see how the new shelves are going to work. After trying several different sizes of folds, I discovered that the 6 inch width worked best. But, I did use a smaller one (5-1/2) to fold the larger lengths. They just get way too wide when you start with the 6 inch ruler.

This process is pretty slow but I think that I will enjoy it once I have everything out to see!!’

The one problem that I have to solve is what to do with all of the pieces that are too small to fold this way but too big to toss into the scrap bin. For now I am just putting them aside and will think about it at the end.

I debated long and hard about what type of storage to use under the cutting table and finally opted for 4 drawer systems……

These hold all of my cut strips and leftover bits. I need one more small unit (like the one on the left) to finish the storage. I especially like that the units form a surface for the ruler rack to stand, making everything right at my fingertips. And, there is just enough space between the drawers to stand my light board!!

On the other side, I put a small shelf system that holds my cut scrap squares, and my bead and embroidery supplies. The basket will hold all of the scraps that need to be sorted and cut.

I built this IKEA drawer system with the idea of using it to store all of my thread…..

….. but it didn’t end up being the best solution for my Gutermann threads so those will stay as the are right now (in plastic cases on the left). The top works perfectly for a small ironing station.

However, I LOVE having these drawers close to my machine. The top drawer has all of my bits and pieces……

One has my quilting rulers…..

And one has all of the cone threads that had previously been hanging on the wall….

There are still several drawers that are empty, but I am sure that I will find a good use for them before long.

This is how my sewing station looks…..

This is my new ironing table.

The original ironing board belonged to my Grandmother and it is SO sturdy!!! I was mentioning to one of my friends that I was planning to build a new top for an ironing surface and she said “I have one that I don’t need anymore… you want it!!!”. It works wonderfully!!!

I am pleased with the flow of the work stations……

I am thinking that it will be super easy to move between ironing, cutting and sewing.

I have partially finished the design wall, but ran out of oomph so it will wait until a later date.

The list of things to finish up is HUGE and I know that it will be much later before I get it all together, but I am happy with this basic setup.

Now… work….the real kind and not the fun kind!!!

Picking out furniture!!

The painter’s arrive on Monday morning and hopefully my expanded studio will be finished early next week. As the end has come closer, I really started thinking about how I wanted to arrange things and also make decisions about what furniture I wanted to add.

My first decision was about fabric storage. Previously my fabric has all been stored in plastic boxes which get HEAVY and, when I am working with many colors, REALLY messy. I knew that I wanted to have everything out on the shelves and easy to see (and get to)

After LOTS of searching online, and reading TONS of opinions, I have decided to go with Ikea Kallax shelves…..

…and have figured out that I have space for 2 sets of 5×5 shelves. From what I have read online, I can fold my fabrics to be 5 inches wide and get two columns of fabric into each cubicle.

Next was a way to store threads….. again I went to Ikea and decided on the Alex drawer system…..

I have some ideas about how to set the drawers up but will have to try it first before I tell you about it!!!

Finally, I wanted a new cutting table. Because I am taller, I really wanted something that could be 38 or 39 inches tall. Those are NOT easy to find. I had planned how to build one but knew that it was going to be difficult, time consuimg and fairly expensive to do!! My plan was for it to be 36″ x 60″. The first step was to buy a cutting mat that was the correct size……PROBLEM…..they don’t make them anymore!! I only found one online and it had horrible ratings!! I did find the Martelli mat and knew that it would be a good product, but it was only 30×60.

I took this as a sign that my cutting table should only be 30×60!!! When I started looking for cutting tables I ran across the idea of using a standing desk…..and magically, they are 30×60!!! I have ordered this one…..

It comes with very high ratings and, when I tried one in a local store, it seems to be very sturdy and steady. It can rise to over 40″ tall but can also be lowered if I ever want to work from my chair.

So now I wait…..and wait……and wait!!! Not really…… most of this should be in next week and I can finally get it all in place.

I can’t wait to get up there!!!