Sometimes it takes a bit of motivation for me to get my workspace cleaned up. Frankly, I’d rather be stitching than cleaning! Many thanks to Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com who put together the #SpringCleanYourStudio2018 blog hop – and for inviting me to join in!
A Bit About Me
If this is your first time visiting Meaning Of Life Designs, I’m happy that you’ve found your way here. I am Sarah, mother to Heather (16) and Jasmine (12), human to Ruthie (5lb Chihuahua), incredibly fortunate to work out of my home, previously a software engineer (I have a PhD in Computer Science – which might explain some of what I do now!), in love with my embroidery machines and what I can make them do for me as a quilter. The last part is probably why you’re here!
My speciality is machine embroidered appliqué. Not just appliqué that is a shape with an edge stitch to hold it in place, but appliqué that has all kinds of wonderful threadwork and stitching on it – stitched by my embroidery machine. The best thing about it is – if you have an embroidery machine (any brand), you can do it too.
More recently, I’ve been playing with quilting in the hoop – quilting done with my embroidery machine. And I’m loving the results!
My goal – to provide designs and instruction to people who want to experience the joy of creating beautiful things using their embroidery machine, and more often than not think they can’t (they’re not good enough, aren’t creative, don’t have talent, … put your own secret fear in here).
Before the Spring Clean
I’ve had a few studios and workspaces over the last 9 years that I’ve been in business. They started out small (a corner of the living room in a one bedroom apartment) and gradually got more spacious. For 3 years, when the girls were both in elementary school, I had a studio in an office space. 800 sq ft of wonderful! As the girls got older, working outside of the home got harder, so I moved everything back into my home again. 2 years ago I was blessed to find my dream home – which contains the work-in-progress of my dream studio, and that’s the space that I’m sharing with you here. I’ve learned to be much more organized in this new space, so it’s not in a great big mess, but there is room for improvement!
Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.
My studio is 3 rooms knocked into one.
There’s the embroidery machine end – where in an ideal world I would spend most of my time…
There’s the middle, my sit and sew space…
And there’s the “office” end where I usually find myself spending way too much time doing computer stuff…
The embroidery machine end is the part that is most in need of a Spring Clean, so that’s what I’ll focus on in this blog. However, before we go there, I want to show you my quilt storage closet that I’m really quite proud of.
This is the closet to the right as I’m sitting in front of my computer. It’s fitted out with shelves and rods from IKEA’s ALGOT system. (There’s an IKEA store 8.5 miles down the road from my house – that road’s been travelled many times since moving in!) At the top I have 4 hanging rods that have been staggered using the different positions on the ALGOT brackets. Down below I have shelves that go all the way across the inside of the closet. These shelves are home to a bunch of quilts that have been rolled up instead of folded – so no ugly creases to be found.
Back to the embroidery machine end…
I went fabric shopping a few weeks ago, came home and started auditioning threads, and here on this table it all stayed. Jasmine spent a couple of hours in the studio with me a week or so ago, making flower pictures, and there they stayed too. There are cut-offs from a project I was working on; you can just about see the end of a roll of heat transfer material sticking out from under some fabric; there’s a bag with 2 t-shirts in it on there somewhere – waiting to have a heat transfer design applied to them. This table top definitely needs to be cleared up.
My cutting table is an IKEA work of art. It’s a 2×4 KALLAX shelf unit on it’s side with 3 sets of casters to make it easy to move. There’s a GALANT table top sitting on the shelf unit, with two adjustable legs supporting the overhang. I love being able to cut fabric from either side – instead of moving the fabric for the next cut, I walk around the table! The shelves underneath are the perfect place to stash the fabric I use most of the time – along with in-progress projects. And abandoned projects, but I’m sure I’m the only person who abandons projects!!!
My embroidery machines sit on top of IKEA free standing kitchen units. These things weigh a TON, so once they’re in place there’s no moving them. And that makes them perfect for machine embroidery because there’s no way the machines are going to start jiggling – if you’ve ever seen an embroidery machine stitching on a trestle table in a classroom, you’ll know what I’m talking about! Wherever there’s an embroidery machine, there’s usually thread. This thread is left over from the last project I was working on – which has been finished for over a week. Hoops usually hang on the wall. Rulers usually hang on the wall too, although I have to say that the ruler in the photo below is doing very well as a thread rest.
This is where thread should be. I found these KUGGIS boxes at IKEA and they are perfect to store my AURIfil thread. I used to store my thread in an ALEX draw unit (from IKEA!) but it was impossible to keep it organized. Every time I opened or closed a draw, the thread would shift around in the draw. It always ended up at the back of the draw and so I was always sweeping it to the front so I could see it. I love having my thread visible – and color coordinated. These boxes turned out to be a great solution.
This little “storage” area makes the best of a very strange space in front of a door that goes nowhere! In an ideal world, I’d love for this stuff to not be visible, but haven’t figured out how to make that happen yet.
This pile of stuff has been there for ages – and stuff keeps getting added to it. Dare I say it’s laziness that keeps it there?
This is my “rarely used fabric” stash and it was neatly stacked until the last time I went in there a week or so ago. Hopefully, all it needs is a little straightening out – and I might leave that job for one of the girls to do!
After the Spring Clean
How I love having a clean studio!
I’m the type of person that works so much better when life is organized… kids, homework, after school activities, meals, my desk, my studio. This is what occurred to me after I finished my little Spring Clean: it took me less than 1 hour once I got started. Maybe if I took just 10 minutes every Sunday evening to give my space a mini Spring Clean, I could start the week in a great space – both literally and figuratively!
Here’s the newly clean embroidery machine end of my studio…
I turned the cutting table by 90° because I’m getting ready to film a video class. That’s another thing that I’ve been procrastinating about – for months (and months!). Now that I’ve told you I’m going to do it, I have to actually do it. Right?
Isn’t this clean table gorgeous to look at? The question now is, who’s going to be the first person to put something on it – and leave it there without putting it away when they’re done with it? But… if I’m going to do a mini Spring Clean each week, it won’t be there for long 🙂
The cubbies under the cutting table now contains 2 stacks of neatly folded fabric – Moda’s Grunge by BasicGrey on the left and Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost on the right. Two trash cans await all the scraps that inevitably appear during the course of working on a project.
Beside each of my embroidery machines (I have a bunch of them – 3 BERNINA 830‘s, 1 BERNINA 880 and, new to my studio, a Brother Dream Machine 2. Did I tell you I love embroidery machines?) I keep a little box containing “machine embroidery essentials”. The oil stick, the mirror, the multi-purpose tool and the needle screw remover are for the BERNINA machines (the Brother machine has its own set of these things). Then there’s a soft bristle paint brush for removing all the lint that accumulates in the bobbin area and by the feed-dogs. Lastly, there’s a pair of thread scissors and a pair of tweezers. I used to have one pair of each in the studio – and then would spend so much time wondering where I had put them I decided to put a pair of each by each machine. Much better!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into my studio. It’s been fun to look at it with new eyes. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been inspired in any way – leave me a comment below.
Thanks again to Cheryl for organizing the #SpringCleanYourStudio2018 blog hop. Be sure to check out the other studios in the tour:
April 24 – Jennifer Thomas – http://curlicuecreations.blogspot.com
April 25 – Robin Koehler –http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com
April 26 – Andi Barney-https://www.andibarney.com/
April 27 – Misty Cole –http://www.mistycole.com/blog
April 28 – Carolina Moore-http://alwaysexpectmoore.com/
April 29 – Heather Pregger –https://heatherquilts.blogspot.com/
April 30 – Linda Bratten –https://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
May 1 – Lisa Reber – https://www.dippydye.blogspot.com/
May 2 – Teresa Coates –http://www.crinkledreams.com
May 3 – Lisa Chin – http://www.lisachinartist.com/
May 4 – Jamie Fingal –http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/
May 5 – Sam Hunter – www.huntersdesignstudio.com
May 6 – Jessee Maloney –www.artschooldropout.net/blog
May 7 – Randa Parrish –http://www.sewartsyfartsy.com/
May 8 – Sarah Vedeler-https://meaningoflifedesigns.com/
May 9 – Jessica Darling – https://jessicakdarling.com/
May 10 – Melody Crust –http://www.melodycrust.com/
May 11 – Debby Brown –http://higheredhands.blogspot.com
May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com