Maybe it’s my intense desire for spring to go ahead and spring already, but I’ve been sprucing up my studio the past couple of weeks–got a bee in my bonnet, so to speak, and between a trip to Ikea and a couple cans of spray paint, have overhauled the room and made it tidy and efficient. After a couple of requests to share the results, I’m ready to invite all of you in for a look-see! When we first moved into this house, we thought we’d finish the basement right away. But after a number of decidedly non-sexy projects like replacing all the windows, putting in a new furnace, and putting in a new deck to replace the one that was dry-rotted, we’ve pushed back the basement project for a year. Or two. Which means that working in the dining room, which was meant to be a temporary solution, is now our semi-permanent solution. The dining room is next to the formal living room, and directly visible from the front entrance of the house, so a messy space really doesn’t cut it–I needed some updates that would make this both a functional studio AND a clean and chic space that I wasn’t embarrassed to invite people to see. This is the view from the open doorway between the living room and the dining room/studio space. It’s also part Ikea advertisement, and I’m OK with that. On the left, there are two tables arranged in an L-shape, where I keep my serger, computer, and sewing machine. On the right, in the corner, three bookshelves holding fabric, sewing books, drawers with buttons and electronics, patterns, and magazines. To the right of that, the ironing board and my dress form. In the center, another Ikea table with the top raised for my cutting table. The chandelier is just a perk. My sewing machine is all dressed up in the sewing machine cover I made for Stitch Savvy–luckily, I had the good sense to make one for my serger, too, so they even match! My computer is connected to a larger, second monitor, right next to my yellow office organizer. I use a German beer stein that my folks got in Europe when I was a baby to organize pens and pencils. My Denyse Schmidt thread catcher sits next to my machine. The small, low basket behind the machine is for the on-deck project–in this case, my husband’s linen jacket. I love the corner with the bookshelves, like, a lot. The large black set of drawers is all steel, and weighs a clean ton. As in, when we brought it into the house, it fell on the driveway and nearly hit my ankle. I feared a future of prosthetics. We found it at a local antiques show, and while I paid more than I might ordinarily, it holds a massive amount of stuff. All my notions, thread, zippers, dyes, elastics, pins, trims, and perle cottons are in these drawers, and each drawer is neatly labeled with my label maker. I love geeking out over that kind of thing. The art on top is a piece I made of a photo of my son for Stitch Savvy, next to a giant pair of wooden scissors that I found at Target on a random shopping trip. The giant basket holds all my yarns and knitting supplies. All my copies of Martha Stewart, Threads and Stitch magazine are stored in little Ikea boxes on the shelves, next to bolted fabrics and baskets of knits. I love baskets–wire, wicker, peach. Love. Baskets. The wall beyond that hosts my ironing board, and my dress form with a rotating selection of projects (this one is a jacket from Stitch Savvy plus a knit tee I made for my sister during a #virtualsewcial). The wall is covered with images pulled from catalogs and magazines of looks and shapes and details that I want to see incorporated into my own sewn garments. See? Baskets rock. These are all upcoming-season fabrics; I just moved the flannels and corduroys down to storage in the basement (you didn’t think ALL my fabric was in this room, did you?), and brought out the voiles, lawns, lightweight cottons, rayons and linens. This end of the work table is new: before, it was just the table on the right, which had all the same equipment on it. Obvs, it was a little cramped. Adding the table on the left was magical–and also gave me a place to add in a set of drawers for storage and integrate my file cabinet a little better (can you just see it there? holding up the other end of the table in the corner, below the monitors? cheaper than buying table legs!) My new Raskog cart makes me want to weep with joy. The color: perfectly suited to my palette–and a flawless match to my newly-painted and recovered work chairs. The size: exactly suited for the nested fabric baskets where I keep my hand-sewn projects. The casters: perfect for taking those projects out to the sofa on a weekend so I can sew while I watch Netflix with my hot husband. The drawers are dreamy, but the best benefit was one I didn’t foresee: storage for my rulers, which used to be stacked on top of rolled up fabrics, and were always (1) in the way and (2) in danger of falling and shattering on the floor. Every ruler but my 24″ ones fits just right in these drawers, and now I have an easy spot to organize my sticky notes AND my stationery. What! That’s right. Near the entrance is another shelf, this one with a door to hide all the less attractive supplies: camera bags and stacks of printer paper and buckets of jelly beans, that kind of thing. I love me some yellow, too, so you know that when Ikea had this glass-front cabinet I was totally going to score one. This puppy was CRAMMED with fabric, all “stacked,” but the stacks had fallen over and gotten sorta pathetic. I finally invested in some comic book boards to organize it all, and it transformed the whole room. For reals: even after all the other changes in this studio, it wasn’t until I had folded and stored all these fabrics that my husband walked in and said, “You’ve really cleaned up in here!” So. There’s a vintage Florida tourism plaque of a red snapper on top of the cabinet, the only species of fish I ever caught on a zillion fishing trips with my grandfather in South Florida. I caught a LOT of fish, but they were always the same one. Still my favorite to eat, and I love having this little guy here to remind me of my Pop Pop. Next to that, a printed egg I found on Etsy. Another basket! This one of rolls of wools. Plaids, boucles, tweeds, you name it. Next to linen, wool might be my favorite. You know, if you don’t count cotton, because: cotton. The final wall, on the opposite side of the opening to the living room. Just to the left of this is the door to the kitchen, which is a full-on swing door. It stays open most of the time, and this is the major walk-through from this room to the rest of the house, so no furniture here. Just a towel rack that I got in the As-Is department of Ikea and have re-purposed as a joint quilt rack/works-in-progress staging area. The Japanese wall clock is bamboo, and from the sale section of Three Potato Four (along with the “Do Your Best” pennant over the computer). A couple unfinished quilts (OK, fine, maybe five), some older garments that I rediscovered and that need updates or repairs, and an applique wall hanging that I don’t have wall space for and am turning into a mini-quilt. The cutting table is simple, but works great. The trestle is standard-issue Ikea, but raises up to be a full 38″ so it makes a perfect cutting height, while still having the flexibility to be used at a seated height when I want (if we need an extra table for family gatherings, since we clearly don’t have a dining room set) or in the future (should it ever be deemed No Longer Worthy for studio use, which seems unlikely, but never say never). The cutting mats are from Jo-Ann a zillion years ago, and refuse to wear out, no matter how much I want to replace them with white ones. The wooden tool tray was a gift from Craftsy after I filmed my class, and has a Whipstitch-yellow border around the upper edge. Natch. And keeping me company, on top of the bookcase in the corner, is this little vintage fella. This and the text art behind it are from Etsy, and my little birdie friend keeps an eye on our pup, who likes to curl up on her bed at the base of the bookcase. It makes for a happy workplace each day! Thanks for taking the tour! Someday, I’ll move down to the basement, but for now, I am more than delighted with how much space I have in the dining room, how much work I can get done here, and that I can finally invite folks in without having to scramble to make it presentable. As long as I’m wearing shoes, of course.