A time to create…A time to CLEAN

Last week was a crazy week in my studio…..

  • I was given some fabric that needed to be sorted, washed, ironed, and put away.
  • I did some thread-painting on the Botero project
  • I did some fabric painting on the Botero project
  • I made a backing for a finished top
  • I prepped the Angela Walters FMQ challenge piece so that I can start on it.

At the end of the week, my studio looked HORRIBLE……

The top of my cutting table was unseen…..

The yarns for couching were all over the floor…..

I even realized that quilts I had picked up from a show THREE weeks ago were still packaged up…..

I don’t mind having a mess when I am in the middle of a creative project, but this had gotten OUT OF HAND!!!

As Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory” says…..

It was definitely TIME TO CLEAN!!!

I set a timer for 30 minutes, turned on the audio version of Michael’s book…..

……and GOT BUSY!!

First of all, I got rid of all of the trash and put up the paint supplies.

I pulled all of the Botero stuff together and got it in one place, even finding some fabrics that will work great for the next phase of the project…..

I use the closest bathroom as a photo studio and this one had been in shambles for too long and it was time for a clean-up there as well…..

I found a place to store the batting roll that I purchased…..

I just have to remember to move it if we have guests stay!!

I decided to use a basket to store a few rolled quilts….

There is a bag of scrappy bits that can go to the Guild charity bee to be made into a dog bed and two quilts that need to be photographed when I go to the Botanic Garden this next week…..

Now I would love to say that all of this only took 30 minutes, but it was actually closer to 1.5 hours…..once I got started, I didn’t want to stop.

At the end of the afternoon, this was the renewed studio….

Look at that, there are even some table surfaces that are available to use again!!

And probably the best thing is that I organized a bunch of “in-process” and “want-to-do” projects so that I will be ready to start the next thing…

….once I finish the current ones of course!!

So what type of quilter/cleaner are you? Do you clean as you go or do you work in disarray until you finish the project?

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…….