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My Perfect Happy Place

My doctor once told me that he didn’t think that sitting in my sewing room all of the time was good for my health. When I told him that it was good for my mental health, he had to agree. I have been fortunate to have a designated area in our house where I can have all of my “stuff”. And my sewing room has always been my happy place.

My first sewing room was a guest bedroom in our basement that eventually became Sara’s room. At that point I was not quilting, so didn’t have a lot the extra tools and fabric that I have now. Then I took over the girl’s playroom — they were not using it as they wanted to be playing in the family room where we were. It was a long and narrow room that was just perfect to hold my sewing machine, cutting table, ironing board, hand-quilting frame, rocking chair and end table, and a couple of shelving units. That room served me quite well for twenty years.

When I started dreaming of a long arm I envisioned having it in our unfinished storeroom that was next to my sewing room. When we started measuring, though, we discovered that it would not fit anywhere. It was an oddly shaped room with a closet, a wall of much-needed shelves, a furnace room, and two doors. Finally Tom suggested that we refinish the storeroom to make it my sewing room and use the old sewing room as the storeroom. That meant going to a storeroom that was a third the size that we were used to. That also meant getting rid of a lot of stuff — not a bad thing — and starting from scratch on a sewing room — a really fun prospect.

We started by cleaning everything out of the storeroom and hiring a contractor as the room needed drywall and new electrical wiring — things that we didn’t want to tackle ourselves. We drew out a plan so I could figure out where everything would go. — all of the important things that I NEEDED in my room. We also picked out carpeting, paint, a wallpaper border, and light fixtures. It was so much fun to start with a clean slate and make it into my new happy place.

Here is the grand tour —

My long arm sewing machine which is a Handi-Quilter Avante that I purchased from Country Traditions in Fremont sits along the west wall. I purchased floor mats to stand on in front and in back of the machine. It is easier on my back and legs as I do a lot of standing on the cement floor. I also have a large dorm fridge that Lindsay no longer needs to hold water bottles and soda pop.

A shelf and spool holders near my long arm hold all of the essential tools that I need when working on that machine — bobbin winder, thread, oil, brush, Allen wrench, needles and rulers.

Also along the north wall I have several shelves to hold fabric stored in shoe box-size plastic containers with lids that are organized according to color. They also store my practice sandwiches, cross-stitch projects, several sizes of plastic bags, magazines and pattern books, rulers, a radio/CD player, and a TV.

My cutting table sits in the middle of the room on a braided rug that my grandma used in her cabin at Johnson Lake when I was growing up. Underneath the table I store batting, quilting projects, and a waste basket.

My domestic sewing machine sits along the east wall situated so that I can watch television if I want. This position also gives me room to spread out a large quilt when I am piecing or applying binding. I’m not able to watch TV when I work on the long arm, so I listen to CDs or Pandora. I do like to keep up on a few shows and can do that when I am sewing or ironing. Thread and extra feet for my machine are within easy reach.

On the south wall I have an ironing board, rocking chair, and end table. On three of the walls I display my quilts which I often rotate according to the seasons and holidays.

I have attempted to clean out my sewing room several times over the years and usually come up with only a handful of items that I think I can live without. The moral of that story is: just don’t bother. Keep everything as you just never know when you might need it!!

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