JodyS's Blog

October 2012 - Posts

Pictures of Sewing/Quilting Room

Well, finally got things moved around, put together and I am DONE at this point. So on to the pictures and some information of how this room came to be.

This room takes up 1/3 of our entire basement or approximately 1000 sq. ft. It wasn't being used for anything so I glommed it. Now, a little history of this place. This house is a full log home and was built by my husband's Uncle approximately 35 years ago. He furnished it with all kinds of things from the Catholic assisted living  thrift shop his sister ran and garage sales so very little in this home was ours. Our furniture is still in our home in Illinois. This house was built as a year round family vacation home. My husband was the son his Uncle never had and when Joe passed away at age 97, 3 years ago (this man was sharper and in better shape than many I know at my age) he left my husband his entire estate including this place. He knew we loved it here and last November we became Michigan residents. Since then I'm here full time while my husband continues to work in Chicago and commutes here every weekend...that's a 7 hour drive one way. We're also moving things from Illinois to here bit by bit. That being said there was so much stuff in the basement that had to be moved, thrown away or given away it wasn't funny. Plus it's not as though you can really "throw" anything away in the garbage here since we have no garbage pick up. Everything has to be loaded and driven into our tiny township and dropped off at a garbage loading site. Pain in the butt! So, the 1st order of business was get everything out of that area that we could. Believe me the other 2/3rds of the basement is my next nightmare to tackle!


SO, 1st picture is just an overview from the basement stairs landing. I love having the natural light from the window. I supplement with overhead lights plus an Ott lite...the best lights anywhere!


The tables were all tables I've had for years. I simply refuse to pay the insane prices I see on sewing cabinetry. The 4 foot table next to the machine can be moved to wherever it's needed. In fact I made sure that everything could be easily moved. The brown table against the wall is complete with heated cat bed. Yes, they demand to be a part of everything! LOL All the boxes and bins are filled with fabric. The little brown cabinet on the right side of the sewing machine is actually a TV stand that I refused to get rid of because it represented STORAGE!. Yep, I'll reuse anything I can. It's great because it provides fabric storage plus a place for me to watch sewing/quilting DVD's when I need to. Oh, that chair is awful. I have a new chair coming but, hey, I make do when necessary.

My little portable DVD player I've had for years! You can plug it in here, use it with a battery or plug it into your car's cigarette lighter.

My sewing table. This thing is pretty much indestructible.  It's 1 of the few things I actually bought new for this room besides the Janome. It's a Sew Perfect t able made for the Janome 6500/6600. It was easy to put together and I love it. That bottom brace by the foot pedal is wonderful as it keeps the foot pedal from sliding all over! The table is also adjustable and it was worth the expense. I wanted a table that wasn't going to shake at all!

The view of the front of the room. I had my husband help me to hang the design wall. We went to the garage and grabbed a piece of molding, stapled the cloth to the back and then hung it. I keep it folded up on itself so inquiring cats don't feel the need to shred it! Oh, all those bottles? Those are Jim Beam collector's bottle that belonged to my husband's Uncle..there are 300+ of them scattered around. Some are very cool!


View from the bottom of the stairs. Got to have a computer available and it fit perfectly in this corner of the stairs.


The infamous ugly Hutch and sideboard! LOL I moved them from the other wall and they are filled with sewing/quilting things!  The ironing board just hangs out there for the heck of it.The sideboard also holds my 18 inch by 24  inch spinner used to cut fabric. It happens to be a perfect height to cut fabric standing up. Usually I cut fabric sitting down but you never know. Since it's on wheels it's easy to just swing it out and cut. The next picture is a closer view of these items.


Re-purposing furniture is a great way to cut costs!


The back part of the room. Yeah, it was originally built as a bar room . The wine rack was all hand built so while wines, etc. still take their place fabric resides in all the cabinets underneath! Next to the TV are more boxes of fabric. When I need to spread out a quilt for sandwiching all that furniture moves easily. Of course if I ever get to a frustrated level I can just grab a bottle of wine and pass out on the couch! LOL That couch is covered with a threadbare 50 yr old quilt to keep the cats hairs at bay. (There was no saving that quilt plus we found 3 others that were ok) And, of course, there HAD to be a cat tunnel.

2 of my 5 cats. That's Symba on top of his natural brother Bacchus. They are huge (19 & 22 lbs respectively) and responsible for a good deal of the flying cat hairs! Too bad they can't be knitted into scarves..the hairs that is!


So that completes my sewing/quilting area. The best thing about it was that it cost me very little. I believe in re-purposing. While all that Koala, etc. furniture is lovely it's cost is insane. Since I'm not doing a TV show I really have no need for it. Although if I won it, I'd take it! LOL The only things that are new are the sewing table and the sewing machine and the soon to arrive chair. There's always a way to re-use things. If I just stay in this area I'm OK but start freaking out entering the other 2/3rds of the basement that still need arranging!


Some Pictures From Madison WI Quilt Show

Well, since I'm still working on the sewing/quilting area I thought I'd put up some pictures I took at the PBS Madison WI. Quilt show. It was in the beginning of September and the very 1st quilt show I've ever been to! My 2 quilting friends, Cheryl and Sue, thought it would be a good idea for me to attend. They were right! We had a great time! Pictures aren't perfect. It was so-o-o-- crowded! Enjoy.

This quilt was done by a woman who lives in Germany. There were 40,000 crystal on this quilt!

The woman who made the quilt said she quilted it on a home machine. My 2 friends were skeptical about that. The back of the quilt.


Loved this even though it made my eyes crazy!

Had to take a close up of how the swirls were matched. From a distance it flowed beautifully.



Loved these colors!



Very pretty! That's my friend Sue in the picture.


Showing the back.


Pretty in Purple


Final picture! And now back to the mess downstairs!

Setting Up the Sewing Area and New Toys!

Well, since I finished piecing the cat quilt and sent it off to be quilted I needed to get crackin' at setting up my sewing/quilting area. Since I'm a beginner I had nothing so-o-o-o I needed to remedy that.

My husband was nice enough to buy me a Janome MC6500 to begin my quilting adventures but I needed to set up an area. I've looked at sewing furniture and after I got up off the ground after seeing prices I knew there had to be a better, less expensive way. Fortunately space is not a hindrance in me doing this. With that in mind I scoured the Internet looking at ideas. Then I put together my own ideas.

First thing I wanted was a good, sturdy sewing table for my Janome. I settled on a Sew Perfect table which will arrive sometime today but not get set up until Friday. I have to move some things around downstairs first. Since there is an unused ugly hutch downstairs I commandeered it for sewing/quilting items. Then I also commandeered the sideboard that matched it for other things. I figured why not since they were sitting there unused. Next I created a quilting/cutting area using fold out sturdy tables (Costco loves me! lol): 1, 8 feet long, 1, 6 feet long and 1, 4 feet long. I butted the 8 foot one up against a wall and under a window so I have a view out to my lake (also, a deer family I feed, literally by hand have a habit of sticking their noses on that window demanding corn!) and put the 6 foot one at the end of it. The 4 foot one will be next to me while sewing/quilting. I will take pictures when I get that area cleared.

The 6 foot table will be my cutting area. I have 1 new toy for the cutting area that I just love! I call it a spinner. The hardest thing for me when cutting pieces of fabric was having to turn the fabric to cut another side. Needless to say I always messed that up. SO, I got the spinner, now I just spin the fabric without having to move it all all. YAY! Saved from cutting disaster. My quilting friend had one and loved it so I decided to get one. Now that I DO have a picture of :


I love it. It's sturdy, doesn't tip over and the cutting mat can be removed if it needs to be replaced. It beats those flimsy ones advertised in some quilting magazines. The one in the picture is 12inches  by 18inches. I also have one that is 18 inches by 24 inches. I love toys that help me out.

The rest of the week I'll be cleaning the downstairs area, moving things and shooing cats off my tables! As soon as I get the sewing table put together and things in place I'll take some more pictures. One thing I KNOW I need to get is a good rolling chair. Until then I'm doomed to sit in a dining room table chair.

It's OK to spend some money on a few really fantastic items but there are just some things that can be done at more reasonable costs. And now, off to suck up some cat hairs...eeek!

Finishing the Cat Quilt

Well, today was back to working on the cat quilt after a hair raising weekend.

My girlfriend came out again to supervise, shake her head at me and laugh! Got the final border sewn on; it's made out of the cat fabric. We measured first and everything was even! YAY! So, I decided I wanted to do mitered corners on the last border. Having never done one this would be an adventure. I only screwed up 1! Yeah, ripped a few stitches out and re-sewed them and SHAZAM, perfect mitered corner. Then I proceeded to cut all the strings off the front of the quilt. I had visions of : OMG I cut through the quilt! No-o-o-o. OK, that didn't happen thankfully

Then it was time to sew a back together. No problemo, chica. Pfft, yeah right. See, I bought this really great fabric for the back and it happened to be on sale so I bought all that was left on the bolt, about 7 yards. It's a medium tan with some creamy spots in a garbled pattern. In other words, it works. SO, sewed it together then  looked at it. OMG, NO-o--o-o--o!!! YES!!! There was a tear and some small holes in the fabric! Argh-h-h-h-h, gnashing of teeth. Both of us were shocked because you couldn't really see the flaws and we checked twice. Obviously I must need a new optometrist. Anyway, I had enough left over so we could redo that 1 piece. Since my friend is going back to the fabric shop this week she's taking the flawed piece to show them and ask what the heck. Those flaws weren't visible at the store and the bolt had no indication they existed.

No matter, the top and back are D-O-N-E. We cut batting and boxed it up to give to my other friend to quilt it for me. She owns a Statler Stitcher and said she has a purrrfect pattern for the quilt. I say, AWESOME, since I've never done any machine quilting and am just now beginning to practice some and I wanted it to look great for my great niece. I didn't want to have to tell her the quilt pattern was Great Aunt Lost Her Mind and was Clueless. HA!

Also cut and straightened the main hockey rink panel..someone tell me WHY Robert Kaufman didn't print that thing straight!? So, that's my next project.

Stay tuned for pucks-a-flyin' when I start to work on the hockey quilts!

Finally Back Home But Met With Some Sad News

Well, I finally got back home. I had planned on working on the cat quilt but something else shattered that idea.

It's a 7 hour drive from my home in Illinois to back here in Michigan and when we were an hour from home I got a call on my cell. My friend had been watching my cats and home while I was away and she called me to tell me bad news. We live very rural here, surrounded by National forest and on a lake so everyone in the area is rather secluded. What happened was last night my nearest neighbor's home burnt to the ground! Fortunately, they escaped but with nothing but the clothes on their backs. At that time no one was sure whether our home had been damaged. Thankfully, our home is fine but oh my, my neighbor's home is ashes. All that is left is a scarred foundation and black, sooty ashes. I was left shaking!

I immediately let them know we would do anything for them. It's just so sad. Fire is always a big deal here. If your house starts on fire you really can't do much but watch it burn. By the time the volunteer fire departments arrive, it's too late. They have to come from 2 different states and it's not always easy access. My husband has decided to invest in a huge pump with a real fire hose after this. Better to pump water from the lake and have a chance than stand by and do nothing. Always be prepared! Safety first.

So quilting will wait for a couple days.

Where Am I This Week?

Where am I this week? At my home in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. I'll be here until Friday morning and then it's back home to the woods in Michigan. No quilting to be done however, I'll be going through things that I still need to pack and move to Michigan. It's a busy week though.

I'll be wandering over to Vogue fabrics ( ) their flagship store in Evanston, IL. It's HUGE!!! How big? Well, the address is 718 through 732 Main St.! (They say over half a block long but it's a Chicago block which equaled almost 2 blocks where I grew up). They also have a big store in Chicago's South Loop and a wholesale Warehouse for "buy the bolt" shopping in Evanston. It's a dangerous place meaning much money can get spent very easily! All the people that work there are incredibly helpful and I love that it's laid out somewhat like an old fashioned store: monster bins of fabric along will a zillion bolts. I can get lost in there. You can also buy online and have your fabric shipped or if you're in the area go pick it up at one of the stores. This store has been around since 1945 and is in the 3rd generation of being family owned. Their motto is "Keep America Sewing" They have fabric for any kind of sewing.

The rest of the week is going out to some awesome restaurants, visiting the Doctor, shopping and packing stuff to take up North. I will be glad to get back though and finish my cat quilt!