Sunday, June 26, 2011

School is Out

Munchkin on the last day of school - 3 inches taller and lots lots smarter!  It was a great year!

Teacher's gifts - just a simple bowl of candy (there was Dove chocolate in the bottom) - the Munchkin signed the back of the little tags.  I made up the tags in Adobe Illustrator.
Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dirty Tales - how the garden grows

Things are thriving.......
Chives are chiving....
Left to right:  basil, 100lb pumpkin challenger, tomatoes and carrots in buckets
Hanging tomatoes, BIG bucket tomato, more basil and rosemary
Love those farmers market tomato plants - this one was just ready to burst into production.  Now for them to just ripen.....
Basil and cilantro on left, eggplant in bucket, and big tub with end of spinach, peas and tomato plants.. all surrounded by strawberries (and another bucket with a zucchini on the far right)
Strawberries.... small but sweeter this year than last.  Yay!
Black raspberries gearing up to bear heavily....
Hops are hopping, with garlic in between.  No vampires here - or if they do come we will get them drunk!!
Deck box with lettuce (many varieties) and two tomato plants.  Right outside the back door!
3rd deck box - had spinach around the zucchini that is done producing, and now this plant is blossoming and gearing up to start putting forth great squash!!!  (one of 4 zucchini plants ... I am brave???  or crazy????)
And the gnome watches over all - especially the little pumpkin plant growing where Munchkin's pumpkin "composted" last fall and over the winter.  Will be interesting to see what comes of that little plant.
And my best crop of all.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Sew Friday

So I did not end up sewing on Friday - too many hours in the sun on my driveway running the yard sale - I was dog tired.

Saturday brought another day of selling - followed by dinner out with my boys and a quick trip to the toy store to take advantage of a Lego sale with our hard earned cash.

I have not been entirely idle on the quilting front of late, though.  I quickly "christened" my new space by starting a new project (yes- I know I have PLENTY of projects in progress... but you know how it is).  I only showed the mock up sketch and the unassembled blocks before - here it is finished to flimsy state...

And the good news is we are heading to pick up Zoe from the Sewing Machine "Doctor" some evening this week!  She will sit idle for a bit as we have family coming to visit next weekend -but it will be good to have her home.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Studio Revamp... the after

What is behind curtain #3??
Time for the ribbon cutting ceremony???

I feel like I should be doing a great unveling of a studio all redone - with everything in it's place, no clutter, nothing on the table, and all my intended revamps completed.

That isn't quite the case -but as I can't wait any longer, I will show you the highlights of what IS done.

The Table(s):
Thanks to an angel on the internet and the generosity of ReUseIt members (a yahoo group for repurposing similar to Freecycle) I was able to swap out tables for a new one. It is a bit smaller - but the benefits are tremendous! Lighter in color, compatible space wise with the cutting table, and straight leg construction allows for some under table bins to be utilized.

Not only was I able to completely open up my cutting table, I was able to tuck some things under the cutting table, too (like a dresser, cabinet, bookcase, and rolling cart - plus some flat storage!!!!) Overall the two tables together take up just a smidge more space lengthwise than the old table but it opens up the area where the cutting table had been stored... AND I have this wonderful cutting space with a full size cutting mat to cover the whole thing!

I am using the table for a while intact to get a feel for the new space, and will have Hubby go back in later and make the modifications to drop the machine in. No sense rushing and then not being happy with it.

The Storage:
I moved the taller mismatched dresser to another wall - and plan to have hubby run a shelf most of the length side wall the same height as the low dresser.  Tucked underneath, all those mismatched bookcases will easily accessible but hidden by a curtain, which will add a bit of brightness to the room, keeps down on the dust, and yet be removable for easy washing (I have a cat...'nuff said).  The plan is to eventually repaint the big low dresser to match the shelf color and add drawer pulls to it - but that is a ways down the line.

You can see here during the painting process what it looked like with those shelves stacked, and what it looks like after with them unstacked.  I am still working on where the easel will find it's final spot, but now that the yard sale stuff is cleared out of the storage end, I have a bit more wiggle room.

The Walls:
I started with an inexpensive primer -prepared to add a few coats of necessary.  Emptying the room to paint was not an option, so I worked section by section... shifting things around as I went along.  I pretty much went by the 4 foot wide sections of paneling, and could double prime one section in an evening.  Needless to say this was a LOONG project.

I used leftover yellow from the Munchkin's bedroom and it really brightened things without turning the room into an "institutional white" situation (plus it used up the surplus paint - we had bought two cans for his room when he was an infant -and used just over one).

The area that is still being used for storage was not painted, and here you can see side by side the primed and painted color versus the old color. I opted to cover with 2 coats of primer and one of the yellow so I would not have to purchase paint, and there is still a wee bit of paint left in the can.

The Floor:
A rug moved from the bedroom to the attic helped to brighten and unify the floor under my sewing chair and table (although the overall room is still a patchwork of exposed wood in the storage area, two different area rugs and interlocking colored foam tiles)  Dropping the stacked bookcases also really helped to open up the room.  Wire shelving runs along the side of the table and helps to create a barrier over the top of the opening to the stairs, while providing storage at the same time.

And I still have room for the Munchkin to join me to play or watch movies.

There is still more work to do - a few yard sales this month will remove some of the storage boxes (I hope) and continued stash busting should help open up space to store fabric that is now in bins.   A few more things need to be put away - and I have my fingers crossed for a window replacement contractor to come in later this summer.

All in all a MUCH more pleasant place to play.

(next post I will let you know how much this project cost...)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

I earned a bit of sewing tonight.... day 1 of yard sale is complete (and was AWESOME)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Studio Revamp...the before

So I have posted before that my 'studio' is our attic.
An attic that once sported green shag rug and gold/yellow "Greg Brady" curtains and slipcovers.

An attic with slanted ceilings, painted plank flooring, and old dark dry plywood paneling.

(and a big old mess!!!)

An attic that I willingly share with our household storage and a play space for the Munchkin.
An attic that needed some serious help....

So I set off to re-do my studio - on a very very tight budget.
Repaneling - not an option.
Redoing the floor -not an option.
Buying matching furniture -not an option.

My goal was to increase brightness, clear/hide the clutter, and make the entire space more visually pleasing to work in... not necessarily in that order.

Other considerations were keeping the area near the opening to the stairwell safe, maintaining air flow across the attic (it gets HOT up there), and CLEAN UP MY MESS!!!

I started with the desk/table.

I loved this table when I first made it - it was a combination of legs salvaged from our family dining room table (made by the father of an old school classmate of mine), a door salvaged from the renovation of our kitchen, and a large piece of glass given to me by a former co-worker.

It was big - it was sturdy - and it did the job.

Unfortunately it also sucked up all the light - created glare off the glass top - and created strange storage challenges underneath due to the angles of the legs.

Plus it was so huge that my gate leg cutting table was not able to be opened up and used - so I was cutting on a lower surface than I liked - and this piece of furniture was taking up space being stored but never used, and that just made no sense.  (Other than being a narrow flat surface where things tended to collect.)

I also wanted hubby to cut a table to create a drop-in for my sewing machine - and with the glass top and panel door construction, that was not possible.

Next I tackled the storage... well, the craft storage.  Family storage is uniform in the bins and runs all along the narrow walkway.  Not much is going to change there.

My craft storage consisted of a few dressers and a bunch of bookcases and cabinets, none of which were the same in height.  I liked the shelving options from the cabinets/bookcases, but did not like the cluttered look of them.  Two of the shelves were stacked -creating this high space where stuff got stashed and STAYED - sometimes for YEARS - without being moved.

The bookcases also set up some strange "dead space" corners where things would fall down and I could not get at them.  And things were always being stacked in front of them... one was even providing the barrier at the top of the stairwell - and therefore the shelves themselves were UNDER my desk and pretty much inaccessible.

The next thing was to tackle the wall color.  I knew this paneling was so dry that it would suck down paint in nothing flat - so priming was a must.  Moving all the furniture away from the walls was also going to be an issue.

tune in next week for the results... and the approximate cost of this "design on a dime".