Friday, February 17, 2012

HELP - Getting Organized in the Art Studio/Sewing Room

I picked up some little baskets at the dollar store to organize spools of sewing machine thread. 

My luck seems to hold out.  I purchased 21 baskets, and that's what it took to organize the sewing machine spools.  But wait, there's more. . .

The serger thread (cones). 
The larger standing thread cones are for the serger machine.

What is a serger machine?

Well, this is what a serger does . . .

A serger sews overcast stitches.  Here is an example of fabric serged edge.  Some fabrics like satin begin to unravel with even marginal handling. Serged fabric stops the ravel. 
Then, there are four additional cases of embroidery thread that have different properties.  The weight is different--it is a stronger thread and in most cases has a lovely sheen.

I boxed up all of the general purpose sewing machine thread in a plastic crate and fashioned some cotton piping cord into a handle.  This helped me haul the thread up to the studio.  Surprise . . . I'm still climbing an aluminum ladder to get to the second story art studio/sewing room.  The elevator is not up and running yet.  It takes some balance to climb the ladder and haul things up to the studio at the same time.

Here's how I haul hot soapy water up the aluminum ladder to the studio.  I made myself a sturdy tote out of outdoor furniture fabric.  I put the straps around my neck and climb up the ladder.  I need water in the studio for clean up while I'm up there putting things away and finishing the painting job.

This is the west dormer, my new sewing space in the upstairs art studio.  I shoved the wooden file cabinet to the center of the space so I could start cutting in the wall color.  Notice the little wool cookies at the base of the file cabinet help me move it across the floor without damage.

In the background you can see the library card files where I put away the spools of thread.

12 drawers to put away 200 spools of general purpose sewing machine thread.  That could change; I could downsize a bit more, but thought it might be wise to use only 2/3rds of the drawer, to open the drawer without dropping the entire drawer.  The drawers have no "built in stop", so for now I'll just play with the quantity of items to store versus "drawer function". 

Next, I put away 8 drawer of zippers, arranged by color.  I like to sew purses and totes with built-in zippered pockets.  I use lots and lots of zippers.  Mom gave me her stash of zippers recently, so I quickly doubled the amount I already accumulated over the last 40 plus years. 

I sewed more than 60 purses this year.  20 or so I gave to cousins last summer at a family wedding.  Another 20 went to my Mom for her church bizzare.  Two dozen went to two stores for sale, and some for Christmas presents to friends.  I love to sew them--its addictive.

Here is where I left off in the studio (re-painting the wall project)

Looking north, at the art supplies area.  The canvas cubbies are installed and painted.  Still have ladders and too much stuff in the way.  Later, I promise it will look good without all the clutter.

Seating area, across from the elevator door in the east dormer.  I imagined these two chair sitting here since I found them at a yard sale for $5 and brought the stinky chairs home, deconstructing and reupholstered them.  They were my first upholstery project. 

You can see there is a slight difference in wall color (where the old blue gray is slowly covered up with the new "washable" brown gray satin paint). 

The print is a favorite of mine.  I don't know the artist.  I picked up the print at a boutique.  For you costume afficionados--can you tell me what year do you think this little boy is dressed?  I really would like to know more.  Counting on you to tell me.


  1. I know this print! If I remember correctly, the painting is of Frederic, the older brother of Tasha Tudor, the well-known illustrator.

    It was painted by her mother, Rosamond Tudor (also an accomplished artist), between 1910 and 1915, I think.

    I am a huge Tasha Tudor fan. :-)


  2. Oh Linda,
    You are unbelievable! Your skills and energy matches or surpasses your ambitions, which are great to start with.
    (I don't know if that makes sense, my French gets in the way). Anyway, your awesome.
    I have a old photograph of an uncle when he was a boy. He's dressed very similarly to the boy in your print. I will find it and get back to you on the year it was taken.
    It would be later than Cathy's estimate, but children's fashion were not very innovative in the first quarter of the 20th century.

  3. Isn't it fun to have a dream and have it come true. You have thought it all out and now it is all coming together...such organization! have fun!

  4. Wow love how you organized all of your supplies! So lucky to have that studio space, enjoy it!

  5. I'm looking at your beautifully organized supplies and thinking that at this point, you're probably better stocked than some stores!

    While I'm not familiar with Rosamond Tudor's work, as Cathy is, the clothing nonetheless strikes me as being from the 1920s. I think it's wonderful that one of your readers can pinpoint the painting right down to the child's name! How we are tied together through he Internet never ceases to amaze me.

  6. It's a good thing all those spools are somewhat small. Be glad you're not storing large porcelain vases, platters, etc. Your studio is looking great. But, gee, I hope you get that elevator running soon. Don't you just love having your "stuff" organized.

  7. Hi Cathy (Our Country Bungalow)

    Thanks for the information about the print. There is a signature of sorts on the print--it is a Large R with a circle around it. Below the R signature is written 19/14. I assume that could be the year?

    Do you know of any of her other paintings, pastels, and etchings where she signed using an R with a circle around it?

  8. I love your organization ideas. I have 2 spool totes filled to the brim, but should probably throw away half the spools of thread that I know I'll never use. Some of my thread belonged to my grandma and is on wooden spools! It's too brittle to use now.

    Have you been having the warm winter we're having down here in Illinois? I bet that has helped a lot, with going back and forth to the studio!


  9. I am very grateful for your idea to organize thread spools in the card catalog. I have a card catalog that I have been brainstorming for scrapbooking supplies and never considered it for my quilting supplies. It is much more suited for the sewing needs. DUH...Thank you so much!

  10. OMG - was led here from pinterest - and I thought - there is a woman with more thread than me. Not only do we live in a 14 rm queen anne - but I also am just about ready to change our long unused front parlor into my quilt/art studio. I have this well known love and fascination with card catalog cabinets too! Now I don't feel so alone! great post!

  11. I had to read all comments before I left my own. I find all this so interesting and amazing that internet can connect us if we go exploring this vast net to find out whatever we can find out.
    Oh how I'd love to see your home, it looks incredible and you have done so much work already.
    My husband was a trucker so I went with him quite often to Dakotas, WI, MN, all around that area, we were out of MT where we lived south of Helena.
    I used to love it when we drove thru towns that had the old houses. I wanted so much to stop to see in some of them. I've always been fascinated with old houses maybe because of being born/lived 10 yrs of life in Cleveland, OH. We lived in an old house that had been made into two homes, we lived in bottom part. I never saw the upper part. We left Cleveland to move to Tucson, AZ for my brothers' health when I was 10. Had Aunt/Uncle that lived in a wonderful old house out in Akron, OH when it was still country. We left Cleveland in 1950.
    You sound like a very busy, creative person. I ended up on your blog due to articles about organization, love the spool storage, so much better and much more efficient. I have many spools of thread I've had for years, been a sewer since I was a kid. I found one of those spool stands at our local thrift shop few months ago for $2 so I snapped it up. At least I can keep thread I use most often close to hand.
    Love that print you were all talking about, it does look like he's dressed in 20's. I say that as I have photos of relatives from that era my Mother put in albums. My parents were both big on taking many photos to document life. So glad as I have several albums Mom made that I've carried all over this country, wouldn't ever part with them. Sorry for writing too much, was so fascinated with your blog and your incredible home.
    Happy New Year

  12. I followed pinterest to your blog as well, what a lovely room, and using the baskets and card file thread storage is ingenious!! I'm working on storage in my little dining nook Atelier, in my small 100 yr old (remodeled!) Farmhouse, and also use baskets, but for paint storage! ....
    I love Tasha Tudor's art, but never realized her mother, and her daughter's were also artists!
    Thank you for sharing your studio.