One of the reasons I haven't tackled it before now is that I just didn't know exactly what to do about it! I'd love for it to look like this photo from the Home Decorators Collection Catalog of Martha Stewart Craft room furniture:
Isn't it clean and inviting? Also expensive and possibly unrealistic. While I would love to just pitch everything out and starting from scratch, I haven't won that lottery jackpot yet, so I vowed to work with what I have once again.
Several years ago, I saw a photo of Margaret Cusack's studio in her book Picture Your World in Applique. She simply sorted all her fabrics by color and stored them in clean, white cardboard boxes. The fabrics weren't even folded - just tossed in there, where she could dig around looking for just the one she needed. That was the only idea I could come up with: move my fabrics from the open plastic bins they were in as seen here:
... to closed cardboard boxes. This way, the open shelving would look more uniform and neat and I can put the messier supplies behind the cabinets with doors. I picked up two sets of plain white cardboard boxes from Staples (total spent: $27) and started moving fabric. So far, it's looking a lot better, as seen below. I still may cover the front part with plain white contact paper or something - I'm not wild about the way that chart looks on the front, but at least it's a start!
This shelf right above my sewing table was starting to overflow with extra batting and felt, as you can see below. Yesterday, I went through those bins and neatened them up to stack, then moved my collection of magazines and books to the right side of the shelf. (After I went through them to see what I could donate or throw out).
Now the shelf looks like this:
I still need to remove the clutter on the window ledge below the shelf and sort it to see what can be discarded or stored in a more attractive way. But it's a good start and already a vast improvement!
I thought I might be able to simply relocate bins from one place to another pretty quickly, but I'm finding that things were in worse shape than I thought. I'm finding I really need to take the time to pick through all the items in a bin or on a shelf before relocating it somewhere else, so the project is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. For instance, I've been storing most of my jewelry-making supplies in an old hardware case with drawers. Each drawer pretty much had a storage catagory (silver findings, copper findings, wooden beads, glass beads etc.) but along the way, some of my sorting rules had become muddled and things were ending up anywhere. I spent a good part of the morning on Friday going through each and every drawer, labeling them, and separating everything out. Now it's neat and things are easy to find and easy to put back in the right spot!
Over the next two weeks, my husband will be out of town quite a bit, so I'll have more time in the evenings to continue sorting and reorganizing. Meanwhile, my FANE group started an interesting surface design "renga" which is a Japanese word that means "round robin." We each started with a plain white fat quarter and added some sort of surface design element. I decided to put a resist down first, then used watered-down acrylic paints. I used the product "Batik-EZ" by Crafter's Pick to make the squiggly lines. When I put the paint on, I left the fabric loosely balled up in a tray, so the paint would settle into the folds of the fabric. When it was dry, I heat set it on the back and then soaked it to wash out the resist. Then I pressed it one more time to heat-set the color.
At our meeting Thursday evening, we broke into random groups of 4. My fabric will be passed among the other group members over the next three months and each person will add another layer of surface design to the fabric. Then I'll get it back and I'll have a totally unique piece of fabric! I wonder what they'll add... it will be interesting to see!
Below is the fabric I received from another group member, that I now have to alter. The person who started this piece also used a resist, and then painted on permanent inks instead of acrylic paints. Hmm, what will I add to it? Maybe a touch of silver paint . . . I have a whole month to mull it over. By then, maybe my studio will be completely clean and organized!