Category Archives: My Studio

Welcome to my new studio

Of course I have a long list of  little things I need to do – or buy – but it’s done! I am thrilled – it turned out better than I could have imagined.

I want to thank my darling husband David who has been so supportive and helpful along the way – he built the Ikea furniture and did all the other miscellaneous “handyman” type jobs.

And a special thanks to my daughter Sam (a talented interior designer) who ordered the doors and followed through with countless phone calls to finally get them delivered and installed. She bought the fabric and had the sofa and chair upholstered in a teeny tiny shop in the heart of the old downtown section of the city. Sam was also in charge of the team of workmen who smoothed out  and painted the rough walls, columns, and beams.

For a look at the “before” see this February 16th, 2009 post  My Studio. In that post I mentioned that we would be building an addition to the house for the studio (and a workshop for David’s 1957 Jaguar restoration.) We hope to get that addition built eventually – but what would have been the studio we’ve decided to make into a master bedroom and bath and turn our current bedroom into a guest room.

Our house was US Air Force Captain’s quarters in the former Canal Zone.  The studio was the under the house carport – it measures 14 feet by 25.5 feet.

The design wall measures 78 inches high by 130 inches long. It is covered with commercial carpet. I pin my large piece of white flannel fabric to the carpet.

Now for some pictures:

The view through the bamboo blinds is of the street in front of the house. The computer table is a piece of MDF supported by two filing cabinets – I covered the top with some black rubbery stuff I bought by the yard at my local hardware store.

I need a small TV tray type table next to the end of the sofa for my hand sewing stuff.

Here you can see the 24 inch square ironing pad I made out of a piece of MDF, two layers of batting and a layer of flannel (all stapled to the back.)  I wrapped a piece of plain muslin around it so it’s easy to take off for washing. When I get around to it I should make a proper cover with elastic. It sure does look a lot better than my old ironing board.

The 100 octagons on the wall. I really do need to get a larger piece of flannel so I can use the whole wall. My friend Martie from Taos Sunflower suggested backside fabrics as a source for wide flannel. I will order some soon.

This is my little folding table from Price Smart. It is the perfect size for my machine – an Elna 6005 Heirloom Edition I bought when I was into Heirloom sewing – it does beautiful stitches – just like antique hand sewing.

Since I mostly hand piece I don’t use my machine that much. When I was making the order for the Ikea furniture I looked at some real professional type sewing tables – wow – some of the really fancy ones are well over $2,000! My little table will probably vibrate if I sew very  fast – but I usually sew slowly – so that won’t be a problem.

The coffee table used to be in my living room – then I gave it to my daughter and she had it on the balcony off her living room and now it’s in the studio. A little beat up – but it does the job.

Adjustable shelving wall storage – bought second hand from a Danish friend when she left Panama – made in Denmark and the Panamanian termites LOVE it – it is a constant battle to keep them from eating it up. They will eat any type of wood but they prefer imported woods – a change from their diet of local tropical wood!

In this picture you get an idea of the size of the room – it seems so much bigger than it was. I eliminated one of the big work benches and the room divider shelving and the bookcase – what a difference!

The steel 30 drawer unit is from the Department of Defense Schools Middle School office. They were getting rid of some stuff when they left Panama in 2000 and my daughter worked in the office and she was able to get it. It was meant to hold 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper – forms and stuff.

I have some of my beads in the drawers, divided by color – all labeled. The browns, golds and purple/mauves are on the open shelves along with all the findings and tools. The beading books and binders of pictures I cut out of beading magazines are on the top.

The chair is ancient – it used to be my drawing table chair when I was a graphic designer.

I ordered the little plastic boxes for the beads from the internet. They are meant for storing specimens and insects – but they work perfectly for beads.

The fabulous Ikea “Varde” counter storage units – I am storing my batiks in the one in this picture. The top right drawer is for my scissors and sewing notions I use frequently. The other things are in boxes in the cabinets.

Here they are together with the cabinets – aren’t they wonderful? The drawers are great – they slide out so smoothly and sort of pop back in all by themselves. I am storing my  QuiltCut 2 on top. When I need to use it I will have to move it to the sewing table – I can’t cut on a surface nearly three feet high.

My Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably and Phillip Jacobs fabrics are in the left hand cabinet. The jelly rolls and the 5 inch squares are in the bottom right hand drawer. I have them divided by fabric type rather than color: large florals, dots, stripes, small all over prints and geometrics. There is plenty of room for more fabric.

I am going to try and keep a small bouquet of fresh flowers in the beer mug. Failing that I can always cut some greenery from the yard. It’s such a nice touch.

The patio and back yard. I loved the wooden French doors – but these modern sliding doors let in so much more light and more of the pretty view.

There you have it – I hope you have enjoyed the tour.

Building the Ikea furniture

My husband David assembling one of the 24 the drawers of the Ikea “Varde” kitchen counter storage unit.

As soon as David assembled the dresser I had it loaded with my stash of batiks – the Kaffes and Co. are on top awaiting the other dresser which he assembled later in the day. These photos are a sneak preview of the ones I will be taking next week when the studio makeover is done.

Octagons on the design wall

I need a larger piece of flannel. I ordered this extra wide heavyweight flannel online ages ago and now I can’t remember where I got it. Two full sized flannel flat sheets would work – they measure 81 inches by 96 inch. I’d have to order online of course – they don’t sell flannel sheets in the tropics!

Note: these blocks are not in any particular order – there will be a lot of moving around and re-arranging before I consider joining them.

Studio remodeling update

I’m not finished yet – but I thought I’d post some pictures so you can see how it is coming along. The Ikea counter storage units and cabinets have been shipped and are in Miami at our freight forwarder. A ship leaves every Friday – that’s today – I can only hope they will be on board.

For a look at the “before” see this February 16th, 2009 post  My Studio.

First some stats. The room (a former carport under the house – which was a former US Air Force Captain’s quarters in the former Canal Zone. ) It measures 14 feet by 25.5 feet – MUCH more room than I need – but I’m not complaining. There is a large under the stairs closet and a bathroom with a shower.

General mess – the walls are done and now I have to put it all back in place.

Computer table before.

Computer table after. View is facing the street.

Jewelry/beading area before.

Jewelry/beading area after. I have a new flat screen TV on a really cool wall mounted swivel arm. One of the Ikea glass door wall cabinets goes over the table – for beads and beading paraphernalia.

Closet before.

Closet after.

My wonderful Danish storage unit decimated by termites – we had to throw it away. The wet spots are termite poison.


This is the wall the Danish unit was on. Two Ikea glass door wall cabinets will go here – over two Ikea counter storage units. My best fabrics (Kaffes and batiks) will go here and whatever else fits.

The termite ridden French doors are being replaced by sliding glass doors of white PVC. The sofa and chair are being upholstered. The doors and furniture are supposed to be delivered next week – but that’s what they said last week – so I am not holding my breath.

The Danish shelving is back where it was before. The sofa goes in front of the unit. When I need anything on the shelves behind the sofa it moves very easily because it’s on wheels

For some unknown reason this unit does not have any termites. We inspected every piece before we put it back up to make sure. I am trying to make the new studio a termite free zone.

This is my design wall – it measures 78 inches high by 130 inches long. It is covered with commercial carpet. I pin my large piece of white flannel fabric to the carpet. I am able to pin up very heavy things – like finished quilts because  I can pin into the carpet.

Detail of the new rug.




Construction

First stage – the balcony off the living room. This had to be done before the work on the new addition that will house my studio and David’s workshop.

construction-2

construction-1

My Studio

This room was the open carport underneath the house – it is the same size as the living/dining room above it. We closed it in and added a bathroom – which was really easy because it shares a wall with the laundry room. The sofa is a sofa bed and the studio has been used as a guest bedroom on occasion.

This year we hope to begin construction on an addition to the house. A garage/workshop for my husband David’s 1957 Jaguar restoration – which is now in our two car garage in a zillion bits and the cars are parked in the street.

My new studio will be the second story of the workshop – off the living room. It will be the same length as this one – but about 8 or 9 feet wider! I am planning on a BIG L shaped island with cutting/pressing areas and lots of storage underneath.

I have the Cloth Paper and Scissors magazine special issue featuring studios, and I have two sewing room makeover books “Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space” by Lois L. Hallock and “Dream Sewing Spaces” by Lynette Ranney Black. So I’ve got lots of ideas for the new space.

tropical-quilt1

The paper pieced tropical quilt in progress is our quilt guild’s most recent project to raise money for our charitable work. The shelving on the right is a room divider I designed with wrought iron ladders and wooden shelves resting on the rungs. It is screwed to the floor and ceiling.

studio-2

The design wall has a commercial carpet stuck on the wall and I pinned a piece of flannel onto it. You can pin heavy quilts onto the carpet. My QuiltCut 2 is stuffed in the corner beside the printer – I wish I had room to keep it out all the time.

The floors are Spanish tiles – set close together with very little grout – so pins don’t have a place to hide.

studio-3

My 24″ Epson inkjet printer and my Mac G5 computer. The computer table is a piece of MDF supported by two filing cabinets – I covered the top with some black rubbery stuff I bought by the yard at my local hardware store. This is facing the front yard and the street.

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My hand sewing corner. No room for a table so I use a storage container instead!

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Wall storage – I bought second hand from a Danish friend when she left Panama – it is made in Denmark and the Panamanian termites LOVE it – it is a constant battle to keep them from eating it up. They will eat any type of wood but they prefer imported woods – a change from their diet of local tropical wood!

studio-8

Also Danish – the little cubicles for the sewing machines are a bit cramped – when I sew a large quilt it doesn’t fit the space and I have to move the sewing machine to my folding table. I am looking forward to an open counter like my computer is on.

The steel 30 drawer unit is from the Department of Defense Schools Middle School office. They were getting rid of some stuff when they left Panama in 2000 and my daughter worked in the office and she was able to get it. It was meant to hold 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper – forms and stuff.

I have an old Janome New Home and a computerized Elna 6005 Heirloom Edition I bought when I was into Heirloom sewing – it does beautiful stitches – just like antique hand sewing. I thought of selling the Janome – but we use it sometimes at the quilt guild meetings.

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Notice the book shelves over the doors – a good use of vertical space – but difficult to get to. The bathroom is on the right at the end of the storage unit.

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This is the opposite wall – my beading area and cutting tables. My lightbox is on the end of one of the tables. The table tops came from the DoD Middle School woodshop – I had the wrought iron legs made with a storage shelf underneath. These will be going to David’s workshop when I get my new studio – they were supposed to be his – but I appropriated them.

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More beads – I’d like them all together over the workbench within easy reach – but I have got to figure out a better way to store them so they will all fit in a smaller space.

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The view of the backyard outside the 4 french doors.

Note:

Since posting this I have completely remodeled this space – see the result in this blog post:

Welcome to my new studio

Entrance to my studio

I was sitting on a bench facing my studio doors about an hour ago watching my dogs play in the yard and this scene caught my eye. I see it everyday, but it looked particularly attractive in the afternoon light. So I took a picture!