Monday, September 30, 2013

Renodecorating the Quilt Studio: Organizational Tips Part 1

Hi everyone:

Here's your chance to get a peek into my updated studio. Still in the basement, but it's feeling much cozier now and not so much like being in a dungeon. I'm pleased at how much warmer the basement is with the the cork floor and of course it's easier to clean than the old carpet. The downside is that now I can see the cat fur on the floor :).

Before the renodecorating (noun: a technical term for a redecoration where the amount of work expended feels like it was a renovation), I purchased a few items from Ikea. Of course it would've made sense to wait until after the renodecoration was done to construct the bookcases, but excitement trumps common sense every time in my experience, so... at least I didn't actually put fabric in the new Billy bookcases before they were moved to the garage (amazing self restraint on my part). An Expedit unit and a small Alex drawer unit completed the Ikea purchases. 

Alex drawer unit
Photo courtesy of

Billy bookcase with doors
Photo courtesy of

These are all white as Expedit wasn't avaiable in high gloss turquoise when we made these purchases or it would definitely be in my studio now. 
Expedit in yummy high gloss turquoise - mine is white :(
Photo courtesy or
Now I know you're wondering how I'm using all this furniture. The Billy bookcases, unlike the ones that you usually see in Ikea are 15" deep with the doors on, making them perfect for fabric storage.
View into the studio - the Expedit and
Billy bookcases are along the left wall
New Expedit and Billy bookcases
The bookcases hold a surprising amount of fabric and, once properly folded, the fabric actually all fit in without even squishing it - much. I organized my fabrics a few different ways: first, by colour like the colour walls in the quilt shops and then I arranged my batiks, seasonal fabrics and collections, such as florals, black and whites, novelties, etc. 
Fabrics sorted by colour, then batiks
and finally collections near the bottom
The second bookcase holds more fabric and my patterns in progress in pizza-like boxes (they are actually clock boxes from school). A pleasant surprise to find that they did fit into the bookcases as well.
More fabric collections and flannels in the top of the second bookcase
My best storage tip for fabric is to fold it so it is all a uniform size and will then fit neatly into your chosen storage unit.

The Expedit cubby storage unit is next to one of my sewing stations and holds my dies in the bottom part behind doors. The top cubbies are open to hold sewing machine related items and business information (if it's behind doors I forget where it is!). I was going to put glass doors on the upper area, but I'm finding that I like it better open as it's quicker to grab items when I need them.

Expedit cubbies hold AccuQuilt GO! dies perfectly
(The vitamin bottle actually holds my used needles and pins)

The reduced cutting station in the centre of the studio has rulers hanging on both ends and is on wheels so it can be moved around easily. The large Ikea table at the back holds my pressing board and has room at the end for laying out projects. The cork board and design wall still need to be hung up - always a few odds and ends to finish!

The hanging folders on the door are perfect for pattern ideas and business information. The second sewing station has the machine set up for piecing. Yes, I do use the exercise ball and it actually stays put under the sewing area when I'm not using it :)

This is my computer area. The desk is actually an old Singer sewing table, with the drop down area in the centre for the machine. When I'm new using it for sewing, it works perfectly for my laptop. The Antonius cart (one of two in the studio) holds projects with fabric and my Sizzix Big Shot pro is on top - covered to keep the cat fur out.

That's the quick studio tour. Next time I'll show you how I'm using the Alex drawer unit and my updated pressing board (here's a hint: it's from Ikea again). I'll also talk more about organization and storage in a small studio space.

You've seen how I organize and store my fabric. Let me know how you store your fabric? Do you organize it by colour or by collection? Open shelving, bookcases or baskets? I'd love to hear about your studio space and organization.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hi everyone:

I promised that I'd tell you more about our basement renovation and my new studio area. Okay, it was more of a redecoration, but with the amount of work involved, I feel justified in calling it a renovation. 
Pre-renovation. We're in the process
of moving the books and bookcases
Since we purchased our house in 2001 we have redone just about every room, except for the basement. We've replaced windows, repainted, refloored, rebaseboarded (yes, this is a technical term!), everything except touch the basement. Why? Well, if you'd seen all the stuff items in our basement, you would already know the answer! In addition to my studio, the basement contains my husband's office as well as the tv area. This translates into lots of furniture and several bookcases full of many, many, heavy books (ask me how I know this). I own over 300 quilting books myself and then you have to add in my husband's business books to realize that we could be operating our own library! Any changes to the basement would mean lots of heavy lifting and moving everything out - which we did.
Where did everything go?
Books were taken out of bookcases and put into boxes. Boxes and bookcases were carried up to the garage where they were again set up. Furniture was also stored in the garage. Over a day to carry everything up and out. Walls were washed and rinsed. A day and a half to accomplish this. Floors, baseboards and door casings were painted. Baseboards and door casings were pre-cut. 
Bookcases set up in the garage
Then we waited 2 weeks for the floor to be levelled and new flooring installed (don't ask me why there was a delay, I really don't want to be that upset again). Cork plank flooring was installed and then, five days before we left on vacation, we carried everything back down again and attempted to put it all to rights before we left - and we were mostly successful. A few items had to wait until we returned, but isn't there always a few extra things that need to be done at the end of every project?
Studio almost empty
Now my fabric is neatly folded and stored in two new Billy bookcases* (did you know that folded fabric fits perfectly into the deeper Billy bookcase?) and I have an 8 cubby Expedit that holds my dies and business information. All well organized and easy to access. My thread has been organized and arranged in my Alex and I added wheels to the bottom so I can pull it out if necessary. 
*The Billy bookcases that I have aren't shown on their website and are 15" deep.
Cutting table now 2/3 its original size
Top needs to be re-cut and glued back down
My cutting table has been cut down so it is smaller, but still holds a large cutting mat and it is on wheels as well. I've repurposed a long Ikea table for my ironing station and there is extra room to hold WIP's at the end. 

I'm tired just thinking about all the work we did, but it was so worth it! The basement is warmer with the cork floor and easy to keep clean. I love the new wall colour, Litchfield Gray by Benjamin Moore (anything would've been better than the previous stark white) and I am thrilled with my new, better organized space. 
Litchfield Gray by Benjamin Moore
The last decision I have to make is where to hang various pictures and wall art to completely finish off the studio area. I only refer to my area, because... we're still awaiting the installation of two Murphy beds in the tv area, but that's another story :)

Coming up next time: showing off my new studio with organizational tips!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Summer, er Fall

Hi everyone:

Welcome to fall or summer, as we're calling it in Calgary this year. While we would typically be donning our fall coats by this time of year, this September we're luxuriating in unseasonably warm temperatures. White shoes being worn after Labour Day? You betcha - and sandals and shorts too! Unfortunately, this lazy summer weather isn't meant to last (that's why we appreciate it so much) and will soon be giving way to cooler temperatures. But, as I put away my summer duds, I will be pulling out my quilting fabric.
 While I had great plans to accomplish many quilt projects this summer, it was not meant to be. While we weren't affected by the "Great Flood of 2013" (really, not so great), we were working on our house, specifically the basement area. I've previously posted about some of the redecorating that we were doing and am pleased to report that it has not been finished - almost. There are still a few vent covers to be screwed in and pictures to be hung on the walls, but the walls are painted, new cork flooring has been installed and the baseboards and door trim have been nailed into place. My fabric has been categorized and stored in new bookshelves (with doors to keep out the dust and kitty fur), WIP's are now all together in one place and I'm feeling much more organized and sane. Now I feel confident that I can tackle some fall projects!

In my next blogpost I'll share some more details of the redecoration/renovation, but in the interim, I'll leave you with some images of "how I spent my summer vacation".
Waterfall near Hamilton, ON
Delicious ice cream in Huntsville, ON

Managed to fit in some quilt shopping in Huntsville, ON
Chillin' at the lake at my brother's cottage
Celebrating my birthday with my parents and family
Still looking stylish even with the hat :)
Notre Dame, Montreal, QC

Design inspiration at McGill University, Montreal, QC

Gladioli at lunch in old Montreal, QC
Have to enjoy some crepes while in la belle province

Chatting with an artist in old Montreal, QC
He had been vending from this stall for 40 years!
One of the beautiful murals in Sainte Adele, QC
Lac Cornu in the Laurentians, QC, where I spent some girlfriend time
Reminds me of a Monet painting

The perfect end to a wonderful summer holiday
I hope you enjoyed a fabulous summer and are working on some fun fall projects :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why I Hate Craftsy!

Hi everyone:


I've been so busy with renovations and quilt deadlines this summer that I have been neglecting my blog. I'll be sharing what I've been up in future posts, but for now I just wanted to let you know how upset I am with Craftsy

You know that I love Craftsy's videos and am enrolled in several of their classes - and not just quilting ones either. Now they've really upset me by offering many of their classes at up to 75% off. Not only that, but they are also offering similar discounts on their fabrics and yarns. It's really not fair! How am I supposed to resist signing up for some new classes at these deeply discounted prices?

negative space online quilting class at
Just one of the many Craftsy classes that I'm enjoying
If you'd like to take advantage of these excellent prices, just click here, but please, leave some products for me.

P.S. Don't wait to take advantage of these great prices. They're only being offered through September 21, 2013.