Dollhouse Reveal: The Sewing Room (#1)

I wasn’t going to necessarily write about the rooms in order, but this was actually the first room I worked on and the first to be finished.

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The key to any good sewing or craft room is lots and lots of storage space. I give the illusion of that in faux cabinets across the length of the room. I made it look like four doors covering, each with “hinges” which were the bottoms of very small Christmas bulbs glued to one edge and then the “knob” which is a sewing pin with a “pearlized” head (pushed all the way in).

When we first moved to Kansas City almost 13 years ago, my craft/sewing/quilting room was the first one I really set up as well. Of course we set up beds and filled the kitchen with food, but the first one to get extra attention and cabinets and details and “finished”. Made perfect sense to me!

DSCN4968Here is an overall photo of the room. It is a tad dark, and I had trouble with photographing all of the rooms even though I tried to bounce light off large white surfaces.

You can see that I’ve set the room much like my own, with two tables: one for the sewing machine and one taller for the cutting table.DSCN4969Many of the objects in this room are also in my sewing room. The sewing machine is set up with fabric and scissors and a pin cushion. Up against the back wall is a cabinet designed to hold lots of fabric, and a couple of antique irons on the floor (just like my real sewing room)!

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I have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. Scissors are nearby as well as some patterns and buttons. There are stores of ribbons and patterns neatly lined up on the back cabinets and a dress form.

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The wall behind the cutting table has a cork board, on it some helpful instructions and patterns, and s small shelve  which boasts has a nice display of colorful buttons. On the other side of the door we have a calendar and a small chest filled to the top with ribbons, buttons, lace and other wonderful materials.DSCN4972A quick shot of the floor. This particular room is made up of sample tiles from Home Depot which were cut to make squares. I like the randomness of the stripes and colors.

Come back soon for more rooms to be revealed!

julie

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Fabric Storage and Organization: Reducing Exposure to Sunlight

Recently I read a couple a handful of storage methods for quilters and their fabric. There are as many different approaches to how this is handled, as many ideas as there are quilters.

Well, I’d like to add my storage plan to the mix. Much as I love the site of fabric, I know that it is not conducive to maintaining colors in fabrics, to allowing your fabric to be exposed to light, especially the rays of the sun. But the plan also needs to keep your fabrics close at hand and easy to get to. Allow you to be able to view your fabrics as a whole while still protecting it.

I’ve seen organizing from many different perspectives, such as style, patterns, colors, even sorted by the amount of fabric. Some store fabric in baskets, plastic containers, drawers and on shelves. The possibilities are endless and many decisions are based on a number of factors, such as how much fabric is being stored, how much of each fabric, how much money a quilter has to spend and also how quickly the fabric is used.

I, myself, am a collector. I have often said that I could quit buying fabric and still have enough to make quilts until I die and will still have one helluva estate sale! My quilting room has been dubbed “little JoAnn’s” as some days it seems that I have enough fabric to start my own store. I have a saying on the wall of my quilt room that reads:

Definition of a Quilter:

1. Knows what a ‘fat quarter’ is.

2. Has at least 5 projects going at once

3. Owns 65,000 yards of fabric

Well, folks, that describes me! So, let me show you how I handle my “65,000 yards”: 2015-05-24 17.56.14My quilting room is actually a converted bedroom. For resale, I didn’t want to eliminate the closet, so I converted it with storage units. On the left wall, there are both drawer units plus open shelving.

2015-05-24 17.56.25I found the baskets and they worked perfectly for this purpose, as they were the right depth as the cabinet and for nine inches of fabric (basically a quarter of a yard). They help reduce the small amount of sunlight and keep things nice and organized.  And you can see the color of the fabrics through the holes in the front, which also allow air flow around the material. And above all else, I close the closet door, leaving the fabrics in total darkness. No fading allowed here!2015-05-24 17.56.35The drawers slide in and out quite nicely and I can transport a single basket to the cutting table and back. 2015-05-24 17.56.01Here you can see the basket conveniently sitting on the cutting table. I can pull fabrics and cut what I need, then return it to the basket and the basket goes back into the closet. Almost all of the small pieces of fabric are stored here.

Any larger size, including fabric still on bolts, go into the extensive cabinetry that I had made and installed when we first built the house.

DSCN0186I have, in an earlier post, shown you my wonderful quilting room, but did not share with you what was stored in them.

2015-05-24 17.58.33From left to right: The first cabinet is black, white and black & white fabrics. The cabinets, as indicated previously, were custom built to be the exact depth of a bolt of fabric, give or take.

2015-05-24 17.57.17I tend to buy fabrics when they are on sale or clearance and keeping it on the bolts, not only keeps the fabric more organized but also cuts down on the creases from folding. Larger cuts of fabric go on the top shelves. I also moved quite a bit of this when we migrated from California to Missouri and it was so much easier on the bolts.2015-05-24 17.57.28The last cabinet contains most of my solids on the shelf and my reds and pinks on bolts. Isn’t this just wonderful? Sometimes I like to go up and open all the doors and then go through all of the fabric and admire the colors and patterns.2015-05-24 17.59.22And last, but not least, these boxes lined up across the east wall contains pre-cut squares; I most usually use 2″, 3″ 4″, 5″ and 6″. One of my favorite sizes is 2″ x 6″, perfect for the ‘fence rails’ or ‘braided’ patterns. I also store scrappy squares that I complete as I have time and scraps.So, I am interested in how you store your fabric; do you store it by color or size or something else? How much fabric do you have on hand at any one time. Is it more difficult to use up your stash than to buy more? Share your ideas!julie

Every Little Girl Needs a Dollhouse or Two… Right?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my dollhouses. I was never a very ‘girly’ girl, growing up mostly surrounded by my brothers and their friends. I like to play baseball (not softball), football, climb trees and pretty much anything that the boys did. So, I didn’t have the normal toys that most girls play with – although I did have an EasyBake oven and some Barbie dolls.

So, after I had grown up, some how I did get a bit more feminine. I think I started to maybe wax nostalgic for something I think I missed. About the same time, my Dad was working less and spending more time in his wood working shop, so I asked if he would build me a dollhouse. Many, many, many weeks and months later, he did complete it. He sent me photos occasionally to show me progress, and I started purchasing materials, furniture and anything that might work for completing the dollhouse. He built the structure, I was going to decorate it and furnish it.

The only downside was that I was living in California and this monstrosity that my Dad was building was 2000 miles away in Iowa. I brainstormed ideas until I found out that my Dad had given my dollhouse to my oldest sister! She lived in the same town, so I suppose it was just an easy answer, but I was severely disappointed. I had been the one to ask for it, want it and already buying stuff for it.

So, I bought myself a kit and built a little dollhouse. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it did satisfy the desire to build, paint and furnish one.

I didn’t get a shot of the front of the house, but it was completed in the same style. It sits downstairs in a little alcove on these great drawer stacks that originally were bought for storing my fabric in our house in California.

DSCN3378They are nice enough looking and they have nice deep drawers for storing all my little collectibles.

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Because, you see, after many years, my oldest sister had litterally done nothing to the dollhouse that my Dad built. In fact, it was sitting in her basement and with her kids running through, they had actually broken some of the porch and its railing. I had been visiting for a holiday and made a remark about it and my sister said that I should have it, that she didn’t have the time or patience to work on it.

Now the next hurdle was getting this monstrosity to California. A long story short, my parents drove it out in their van when they came to visit. Yowza!

Believe it or not, we had to turn around and move it back to the Midwest – Kansas City – when we moved in 2004. This time we had a shipping place build a custom crate for it and it went on the moving truck with all of our worldly goods.

It took awhile, but it was finally unpacked and moved into the little alcove. Over the years, I have slowly collected materials, furniture and all sorts of great stuff. I painted the house, made a couple of changes to the setup of the house (like turning ‘servants quarters’ into an additional bedroom.

I’ve been thinking about my pledge to finish all the projects that I have started and I’ve done pretty well. I have spent a couple of days, on and off, looking it over and taking photos and making a mental inventory of the supplies, crafts and furniture that I have. Trying to figure out if I have the umpfh to actually get it finished.

The only issue that I see, is that this behemoth is in the basement and all my tools and most of the crafting tools and materials are on the first floor. And the sewing room and fabrics are on the second floor. That would entail a lot of stair climbing… I am going to have to think about the logistics on this one.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the house in its current state. It was a little tough to get a shot of the front, but you can get an idea of how big the house really is. Oh, and the trunk under the table is also full of supplies for completing the dollhouse.

Oh and FYI… this house is the generally accepted standard of dollhouses, in 1:12 scale.

DSCN3365Couple of other notes, my Dad had actually built little doors, windows and staircases, which I have since replaced with more modern versions.

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The little photo book in the photo below are some of the original photos my Dad took while building it. I need to scan in those photos and share them with you.DSCN3377So, there lies the project. Will I finally get around to finishing it?

julie

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