Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Me and my big ideas!

We have been hard at work for more than a week on "Operation Organization" - we had a good plan in place and were off and running.  I needed some new shelving so we made two trips to Ikea (New Haven, CT and Paramus, NJ - good thing I live in the middle) and two to Home Depot.  I love the value of "self-assembled" furniture & shelving but that stuff is HEAVY! 

Supplies in place, Valerie began the process of clearing out the areas that the new shelves were going to.  And that led us to my first photo, the "Omigod what have I started???" stage.....

Which led to the "Who brought all this stuff into the house??? stage....

First, I know three solid reasons for my rediculous stash of art supplies.  Reason 1: When I was a kid, I had to have the "big" box of Crayola 64.  I wasn't happy with the little box of 8, or 16 crayons.  I had to have ALL of the colors (my favorite crayon was, and still is "Midnight Blue").  Reason 2: I managed my Mom's flower shop for fourteen years.  Fourteen years of having a fully stocked work room with supplies in every size and color at my fingertips led to me replicating the same thing at home (minus the flowers, that is).   And, Reason 3: My art supplies make me happy - some women want shoes & clothes, I want tubes of paint and fat quarters of fabric.  Call me crazy, I consider it a compliment :)

Here's another shot of the crazy mess...

I should mention that this is only the STUDIO part of the space we are working on.  We're also working on the basement area (also known as the Studio Annex since half of it is full of my overflow art supplies and equipment), and the "Library" area (basically a back foyer with built in bookcases), and the Utility Room (also known as Studio Annex Two since half of it if full of the rest of my overflow supplies). 

Here's a shot of the mess in the "Library"... I will be sorting through the books & selling the ones I don't want in our tag sale.  The leftovers will be going to our local library for their book sale. 

Sorting through these mountains of supplies, fabric and UFO's has been and interesting reminder of how much my interests and style have changed through the years.  Purging the things that no longer interest or inspire me is very freeing - I can already feel the clearer "air" in my studio.  I am anxious to be done with this project so I can get back to creative work!
Val and I have assembled four large Ikea bookcases, two "cube" cabinets, two "bin" cabinets and a great little rolling cart.  The white shelves in these photos are among the ones we assembled.  They went together pretty easily - by the time we got to the third one we barely looked at the assembly instructions and didn't even look at them for the fourth. 

We are now in the process of of sorting supplies and deciding what should be where. 

Here is the new cube we assembled for my larger pieces of fabric. I already had the one to the left, an old post office sorting cabinet that I purchased at auction.  That holds my fat quarters.  The new cabinet is for cuts of one yard or more.  It is all pretty yummy looking, don't you agree?

If  I live to be a hundred, and don't buy another inch of fabric between now and then, I could never use all the fabric I have.  The same goes for ribbon, art paper and beads.  It really is sort of like having my own personal store.

We also assembled four sets of steel shelves from Home Depot, for the "Studio Annex", AKA, the basement.  My studio is in the finished half of the basement, the "Annex" is in the unfinished portion.  It is a great place to store things like stretched canvases, tools and bulky supplies. 

We are making great progress - it is a ton of work but it will be SO worth it in the end.  Come back next week to see how far we've gotten!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Operation Organization begins!

It all starts out so innocently.  You bring one bag of stuff into the house.  Then another, and another.  You buy a new lamp but don't get rid of the old one.  You save clothes that don't fit in case you lose weight.  Lots of "stuff" coming into the house and nothing going OUT!

After nine years, our sweet little house is bursting at the seams - time to reorganize!  I started writing lists of things I wanted to do and by the time I got to number forty-two, I was overwhelmed.  And that was just the lower floor!  Realizing that I needed help, I called my sister, Valerie, asking if she would come out to help me.  "Come out", by the way, means flying 3,000 miles across the country.  Val is a great organizer and a real "nudge" about getting things done so I knew it would be worth the price of the plane ticket.  Val arrived just yesterday and we have already mapped our our plans for the lower floor & she is going to get started tomorrow (I have to go to work). 

Though it is embarrassing to show you these photos of my studio, the "after" pictures will have much more impact if I show you the "before".  My studio is the room that will be undergoing the most changes with new shelving & some re-arranging (and LOTS of purging!).

This pile of ribbon is out of control!  Remember, I was in the flower business for twenty years so I'm used to having a lot of ribbon around.  The funny thing is, no matter how much ribbon I have, it always seems that I need it wider, narrower, shinier, a different color, whatever...  and this is the result of that!

This area is going to undergo the most significant change.  The pull out sofa is going and I'm getting new shelving from Ikea.  The worktable will be moved and all the supplies covering it will live on the new shelves.  I can't wait for this section to be re-worked.  It is going to make my studio a MUCH more productive place in the long run. 
This area behind my desk is a nightmare!  A new shelving unit is going to make this area much more usable and I'm going to be able to organize my journals and inspiration books.  Holy moly, I can't believe I'm showing this to you.
My messy sewing table, covered in UFO's and way too crowded to encourage productivity.  Not much is going to change regarding set-up of the table but I'm going to find new homes for all the stuff that is taking up space.
Operation Organization begins tomorrow.  It is going to be a process that I predict will take about a month (we're re-organizing the whole house, after all!).  I'll post some "after" pictures when I have something to share. I'm looking forward to workiing through this project, I'm glad that Val is here to help me - I'm feeling energized about tackling this! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two new quilts

I had a lot of fun making both of these quilts, mostly because I was just following the styles of the two books I'm writing about, not a specific pattern - that means no measuring!  I just cut & sewed, squared things up on the cutting mat as I went along. 

Here's the quilt I made from the book "Quilt Modern".  It pretty closely follows one of the quilts in the book, I just loved the colors and look of it.  I added the skinny bars of color to break up all the gray.  I love pebble quilting so that's how I stitched the gray area, as it was in the book. 


I also made a quilt after reading "Inspired Art Quilting" by Jean Wells'.  A photo I took in Bermuda (see last post) was the idea source for this quilt.  I loved the orange berries against the blue ocean and the neutral grays of the branches.  I really enjoyed making this quilt and know that I will make more photo inspired abstract quilts in the future.  Again, no measuring! 
This weekend I am beginning a huge project - reorganizing my whole house!  I'm flying in my sister, Valerie, to help me for a few weeks (yes, it will take that long).  I'm also going to rework part of my studio and go through ALL of my supplies and get rid of a lot of things that are clogging up my life.  I'm going to squeeze in some time to sew and blog so look back to see what I'm up to!