crafts, hobby, Home and Garden, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

New Beginnings

Greetings every one! Hope you are all warm, safe and having a great time with your quilting projects.

It’s been pretty cold, snowy and blustery here in Montana. We got one foot of snow dropped on us Saturday night. That was on top of the four plus inches we already had. Winds were gusting 45 mph and we lost electricity twice. I’m just glad the electric came back on. Temps were around 10 degrees and less. Brrrr.

But I love living in Montana. The snow turns everything into winter wonderland and it’s just beautiful. It can be deadly, so you have to respect your surroundings and the elements. But it’s beautiful. The snow makes everything look clean, fresh and new.

Speaking of new, my sister has joined the ranks of quilters! I’m so excited for her. This past week-end she picked up her very first home sewing machine. And I must say she got a banging good deal. It came with a 1/4 inch foot, walking foot and quilting foot, as well as the other regular feet. It also came with a table extension. She did an excellent job of research and got a great machine with extra goodies.

I suggested to her to practice, practice, practice until she feels comfortable, before starting her first project.

Which brings me to say to all you new quilters, before starting your first project, practice on old cotton fabric such as old cut up sheets, pillowcases, shirts. You get the idea. Get to know what your machine can do before quilting that new project.

Also, as your mind comes up with ideas for projects you want to make, write them down in a notebook. Maybe you want to design. If you don’t have a design program for quilting, get some graft paper and draw.

This is an exciting time for those of you new to quilting. And it’s always exciting for those quilters who have been quilting for some time.

We all get to challenge ourselves with new blocks, new quilting techniques and honing our craft into not just usable but beautiful quilts and other items that bring a newness and freshness to ours and other people’s homes.

So congratulations to those who have began this new beginning, this new journey! You are only limited by your imagination and stash!

Until next time – What’s new for you?

crafts, hobby, Home and Garden, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Setting Up My Space: Part 2

Sewing table
Sewing table in front of the window

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you set yourself a goal and at the end of the week you realize you didn’t quite make that goal? That is where I am right now. Granted I technically have one more day to this week, and with that in mind, I may reach my goal after all. But I don’t feel too bad. In thinking about Part 2 of Setting Up My Space, I spent two days reorganizing and cleaning my sewing/quilting/office room. I even tackled my little closet space and made room for some things that were cluttering up my room. Don’t worry, everything isn’t going to fall out if you open the door. It doesn’t even have a door! I did find an unused curtain and managed to hang it up in lieu of a door! Now instead of a gaping hole I have a pretty curtain to look at when I am pressing blocks.

I like to be organized as much as possible. Some times when you have limited means, like most people, you have to improvise. Think outside of the box. Go with something different yet functional in a way that will work for you. Hmmm, I think you get my meaning.

WIP/Design board
My Design/WIP board

My “design” board which is really my WIP board is made from cork boards. I bought them at Walmart. I use it primarily to hang up my little pieces to 1) keep them organized 2) keep them out of the way and 3) makes it easier to find them as I follow a pattern. I also tag each stack with a little post-it. Each stack of pieces has the corresponding letter or number assigned to it from the pattern. Eventually I will put up a different design board but for now it works for me. Oh, I bought the white clamps from Walmart as well.

Space being limited on the floor and walls I had to think of where I would put my thread, rulers and cutting mats. On the wall behind the door my husband, Wes took two white shelf units and put them together to make a place for me to store my thread. On the top of the shelf I put some of my favorite birthday cards from my best friend, Mary. There is also a very old oil can. On the bottom of the shelves there are knobs where I can hang things, like a Mother’s day gift I received from my grandchildren.

White shelves
Re-purposed White Shelves with baskets

I took small white baskets and put them in the cubbyholes. Under each basket is a label denoting what thread colors are in each basket. Now I can find what I am looking for and see what colors I need.

These shelves were going to be thrown away. I feel pretty good that we were able to re-purpose them and find a home for my thread.

If you have ever cut 12 inch squares you know how difficult it is to keep them square just using your 6.5×24.5 inch ruler. That’s why companies like Omnigrid and Creative Grids make the big boys. I have a few of those big boys. They are hanging on my walls. I also have my smaller rulers hanging on my file cabinet. My 6.5×24.5 inch ruler stays on the cutting table. I have a handle attached to it so it makes it a bit awkward to hang. The big rulers are heavy so I used a screw instead of a nail. It made things a bit more secure.

Well that just about covers how I set up my space. The only thing left is my sewing table. My original sewing table was accidentally destroyed when it was being moved. Not any one’s fault, really. It was something I had put together from a kit. My husband felt bad though and bought me another sewing table. Nothing expensive. It came from a second-hand place. It has one large drawer and that’s fine. I keep my book about my sewing machine in the drawer with a few other items. I did however need the well to be modified in order for my sewing machine to fit. So Wes did a wonderful job of doing that. It involved saws and other sharp objects. I’m not very good with those things. The large extension does need to be propped up because the hinges are giving a bit and when I have a lap quilt on it, it will sag under the weight. But other than that it does what I need it to, hold my machine.

Now you know how I did it. Now it’s your turn! Go set up your quilting area, get organized and get quilting! I would love to hear how your space is set up! So send me an email and pictures if you have them to, I’ll be sure to post them in a blog. How fun it will be to see what other people have done with their space!

Until next time – Are you organized?

crafts, hobby, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Setting Up My Space: Part 1

When my husband, Wes, and I first moved into our home in Montana, we had decided which of the three bedrooms would be my quilting/sewing/office. The other spare bedroom would be his hobby room. That actually works out nicely, because I’m an organized person, most of the time, and well… he’s not. He is one of those people who thrives in chaos. Whereas for me, chaos makes me crazy.

Sewing table
Sewing table in front of the window

My selected room had carpet, green carpet. In fact the previous occupiers had a dog, which they apparently kept in that room. Can we say lingering dog urine odor? So the first thing we did (I say we but I really mean my husband) is pull up that nasty, stinking carpet and padding. Phew, that was some bad stuff.

Then we, I mean my husband, put down some nice flooring. It wasn’t anything expensive. After all it was for my quilting/sewing/office. The only traffic in here would be me and my puppy, Monty.

My new wood flooring
My new wood flooring

As you can see, the room isn’t that big. In fact, my desk is hidden in a little cubby hole. I’m not really sure what its intended purpose was for but my little desk fit right in it.

My office
My Cubbyhole Office

The four drawer file cabinet went against the wall the door is on and my sewing table is in front of the window. My cutting table (that my husband bought for me from Costco) went along the long wall adjacent to the file cabinet.

Cutting table
My cutting table with a WIP


Now mind you, everything was still in boxes and totes.( In fact a year later I still have unpacked boxes in the little closet space. I’m looking forward of moving those out.) My fabric was hidden, buried and just plain unattainable until I could come up with some kind of a solution.

One day, strolling through Costco I saw a commercial metal rack. The shelves were adjustable, it was chrome, all pretty and shiny and it was sturdy enough to handle totes of fabric and whatever I needed. We bought it and I put it up the same day. Yay! Taming chaos into organization!

Chrome commercial rack
My chrome commercial rack

I bought some little “S” hooks to hang different items to help me organize. I have various projects in the small colorful totes on the top shelf. The fabric in the tote on the second shelf has been organized by size, brand, collection and where purchased and rolled into recycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls. (Don’t throw those empty rolls away! Reuse them!)

The tote beneath that is WIPs. And the one beneath that is my fleece tote. I put my all my fleece together because it’s rather bulky.

In Part 2 of Setting Up My Space, I will show you how I set up my WIP board, rulers and a few other little things to make quilting easier, even modified my sewing table. So be sure to come back and see what I have done!

Until next time, organization pays!