Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Studio Tour

Today is a day of new beginnings around here. My youngest started kindergarten this morning (all-day school for the first time!), my older daughter started second grade, and my husband is starting a new job today, after a bit of time off. It's been an emotional day already, and it's only 9 a.m.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said a part of me hasn't looked forward to this day for years. All that time to myself! The quiet! Finally, I can have my coffee and sew in peace! But then I walked the girls to the bus stop this morning, and the bus pulled up, and on they got, and they waved goodbye to me through the windows, and I waved and blew them kisses, and the bus pulled away, and I watched it until it turned the corner, and I walked back into the house, and ... it was quiet, all right. Just me and the dog. And my entirely-too-peaceful coffee.

But you know what? I have my sewing. And I have all of you. And I get to turn over my own new leaf today. My new studio is finished! I'm sewing in it for the first time today, and I can't wait to show it to you guys!

So, as a reminder, this is supposed to be our formal living room, but we've never used it that way. It served for many years as the girls' playroom, but we recently moved the girls' toys down to the basement and I took over. You can read all the details—and see some "before" pictures—in my first post about the new studio, right here.

The cutting tables are from Improvements (click here) and the stools are from Amazon (click here). The stools are easily one of my favorite things in this space. The surface of the wooden seats is a little rough and could use some sanding, but other than that I have zero complaints. The color of the wood is much darker than it appears in the Amazon listing, but I like them even better that way!

The Improvements cutting tables were such a bargain, I actually purchased two of them and placed them end-to-end, for loads of extra space to spread out fabric and projects. These tables are not fun to put together, and the finish on the corner of one of mine was dinged up pretty badly (I was able to mostly hide that with my end-to-end configuration). But they seem very sturdy (once I managed to put them together correctly), so overall I'm pleased. I was even able to turn two of the bookcases around and install them facing in the opposite direction, so that when the tables are placed end-to-end, I have hidden storage underneath. Love it!

And yes, there's my Ikea Knodd aqua trash bin. It got lots of love on Instagram last week. : ) I'll be throwing my scraps in there for sorting later.

The shelves at one end of the tables are for scrap storage. Eventually I'm planning to make some storage cubes that fit better in the cubbies, from this tutorial by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

And the WIP storage area is at the other end. Look, I have room for more WIPs! : ) Gonna have to work on that.

On top of the table: Cutters, rulers, and marking tools galore.

Here's my machine, sitting pretty in the center of it all. I have the Arrow Gidget II sewing table with a custom plexiglass insert. The table is just okay—it doesn't seem as steady as the drop-in table I had for my previous machine (which sadly only fit that machine). And I wish the Gidget didn't position my machine in the dead-center of the table. A little more table space to the left of the machine would be perfect. The mini quilt above the machine was made for me by Kaelin of The Plaid Scottie!

Above my machine is a magnetic knife rack for scissors and other tools, plus storage components, all from Ikea's Fintorp system.

Unfortunately, there are very few drawers in this studio, but I remedied that with this aqua (of course!) Raskog kitchen cart from Ikea. I can pull it up next to my sewing machine if needed, or it can be pushed out of the way underneath the cutting tables. And look: Mason jars of Aurifil! That's what happiness is made of. : )

The bookcases are (yep, you guessed it) Ikea. I wanted something inexpensive and relatively shallow. I searched high and low and couldn't find anything better for my purposes than Ikea's Billy bookcases, which are just 11" deep, only $60 (in white), and well-made for the price. I bought two of these that are entirely dedicated to fabric.

I have far too much green and blue fabric. Please make a citizen's arrest if I buy more anytime soon.

Here's my little bookcase full of quilting books and magazines. This is the one piece of furniture I had from before. : )

Up above, more Fintorp storage, for my color cards. And my handy Kona swatches, a gift from a guild friend, are dangling from the hook.

One of my favorite things about this room is that it opens right up to our screened-in porch! We can't use this porch for very many months up here in Wisconsin, but I plan to have these doors open as much as possible until it gets cold.

Next to the porch doors is another Billy bookcase, this one dedicated to my inventory of printed patterns. I can't tell you how happy I am that these are no longer in a jumble of boxes all over the floor. But two or three more patterns and I'll be out of space again! The pillow on top of the bookcase was made by my friend Anne Marie of Gen X Quilters.

And of course, here's my design wall. This part's a little janky, I admit. It's just a piece of batting nailed onto the wall. With chunks cut out at the top so as not to block the clean air returns, per my husband's instructions. : ) But it does the job. By the way, that reindeer up there is part of my Nordic-inspired Christmas quilt pattern, coming soon. (And no, I didn't paint the doors yet. But deadlines are looming, so I had to get this studio functional and get moved in. Those doors will get done eventually. I hope.)

My desk area is over here. The desk was another bargain Amazon purchase. (ETA: Well, at least it WAS a bargain Amazon purchase, at only $99 - the price has jumped up to $210 since last night! Is that because I linked to it? Curious.)

Here it is from another angle. I adore the combination of the yellow lamp, aqua file cabinet, and beautiful mini quilt made by Jessica of SewCraftyJess.

Last but not least: I bought this gorgeous rustic ladder on Etsy for displaying a few of my quilts. That same Etsy shop has a wider ladder that was a little more expensive, and I wish now I would have gotten the wider one—this is just a bit skinny for quilt hanging. Still, it's darn cute, and I love having some of my Vintage Quilt Revival quilts displayed in a way I think they were meant to be!

I feel so lucky—blessed, actually—to be able to spend my time while the girls are away at school doing something I love so much, here in this beautiful space. This is 100 percent my dream space and my happy place, and I can't believe it's mine! But it goes further than that. I guess I'm not one to sit still for very long (or possibly ever). So without this hobby and this blog—and all of you who read it and cheer me on—I think I would be a mess this morning. Directionless. But instead, I have a job that I created for myself that is creative and fulfilling and as flexible as I want it to be. Not many people are can say all of that. I guess that's the real blessing—this room is just the icing on the cake.

P.S. You can hop over to my "Sewing Spaces" Pinterest board to see pins that served as my inspiration for this room. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday: The One Where I Painted A Lot

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
You guys! I spent most of the week in Michigan visiting family and going to the AQS show, and since getting back, I've been working like a dog to get my new studio up and running.

This all means that I don't have much in the way of sewing to show you today, but how about a studio shot instead? That's my current WIP, after all!


I admit, it doesn't look a whole lot different than last week's shot. That's because I've spent hours and hours and hours just painting trim—and it's still not done. There is so much trim in this room. And it all has to get painted because the current color is a hideous yellowish ivory. I don't know the paint company's name for this particular shade, but "Pale Vomit" might be apt. In fact, that got me thinking about all the variations on vomit that you could turn into a paint color name: Faded Vomit. Antique Vomit. Vintage Vomit. This is where my mind goes when I'm painting, you guys. It's not pretty.

So anyhoo, I've made good progress in the new studio, and by the time I'm done, all that trim will be a fresh, clean white. But I'm still days away from actually using my new studio. Sigh.

What are you working on this week? Here's how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My First Tutorial for We All Sew

I've been sewing on my Bernina 750 for almost four months now, and I absolutely adore it—it is an amazing machine that reliably does everything I want it to do and then some. Which means that the announcement I get to make today is something of a dream come true: I'm now officially a Bernina Expert! I am so thrilled that Bernina has asked me to join this group of very talented sewists!

In the coming months, I'll be posting a number of project tutorials and tips on Bernina's We All Sew blog. And my first one is available today! Today I'm showing you how to attach a quilt sleeve with almost no hand sewing. It's true, you guys. 

Attaching quilt sleeves has to be one of my least favorite quilting tasks. I mean, it's tedious and slow. The sleeve a purely functional item that adds nothing to the look of the finished quilt. So anything that can speed up the process is a welcome addition in my book. Bernina came across this excellent video by Felisa Quilts, but since it's captioned in Japanese and is in centimeters, they asked me to break down the technique in English/inches for all of you. 

Click here to check out my tutorial for a machine-stitched quilt hanging sleeve. And don't forget to follow We All Sew, so that you don't miss any of my future posts there! I've got some fun projects planned—including a quilt-along in October using Bari J's Emmy Grace fabric! It's going to be a lot of fun, so join me over there ASAP!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Summer's End

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Wednesday again already? My girls have two weeks left of summer vacation, and it is flying by, you guys. Here's where I'm at on some of my projects:

My upcoming Christmas pattern is coming right along! It's a Nordic-inspired design that I'm tentatively calling "Christmas Sweater." : )

Can't wait to get this baby together.

And of course, my new sewing space is my other big project! We added french doors to the doorway, the lights are installed, and they finished the drywall work earlier today—which means I get to paint, paint, paint this week. And how much do you love my aqua light fixtures? I got my craftiness on and spray-painted some cheapie white fixtures.

What are you working on this week? Here's how to link up:
1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/freshlypieced). Please hashtag #wipwednesday and mention me, @freshlypieced
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!


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Disclosures

In addition to my paid sponsors, I sometimes accept free fabric, notions, or tools in exchange for posting about it on this blog or my other social media platforms. But I pledge that this practice will never change one of my product reviews or lead me to use fabric or other items that are not "my style."

I also am an Amazon Affiliate and receive compensation for items ordered via my Amazon links.

Copyright and Permissions FAQ

Can I make a quilt that looks just like one of yours? Of course! You don't need my permission for that. But remember, it's polite (and helpful to others) to credit your source of inspiration.

Can I share one of your photos on my blog or website? Probably! But please contact me for permission first. Use of my photos for commercial purposes is prohibited.

Can I pin your photos to Pinterest? Yes, please do! I love Pinterest!

Can I sell individual items made from your tutorials or patterns? Yes! But please don't open a factory and start churning out hundreds of them. : ) And please do not reproduce or sell the patterns or tutorials themselves. Thank you!