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Today I am going to give you a tour of the south end of my studio.  When you walk through the door, this is one of the first things you’ll see. Behind these shelves is a Murphy Bed.  I’ll talk more about the Murphy bed in a future post. On these shelves I am starting to store some of my current fabric purchases. I am also displaying some prints from Jenna Sue Designs and various sewing nick knacks.  The shelves are very narrow, perfect for what I have stored here.  The room used to stop at this wall, with french doors on either side leading out to a porch/balcony on the lake side of our house. This side of the house gets the direct sun in the afternoons and, consequently, is very hot and bright. When we got the opportunity, we took the french doors out and enclosed the area. My stepson, Evan, did the building re-construction putting in insulated and tinted windows to cut down on the sun’s detrimental effects. The faux wood blinds help a lot also. I open them early morning and late evening for a beautiful view of the lake. There are also two small ceiling fans on the “sewing porch” that help to keep the air conditioning from working so hard. Evan thought that this narrow porch (3.5 ft x 21.5 ft) would be my “sewing room.” He had no idea!

On the back side of the Murphy Bed wall is a wall of IKEA Billy bookcases that contain my quilting, sewing and crafting library. I love books almost as much as I love fabric. I have embraced ebooks for novel reading, but still love the print versions for craft type books. These bookcases are obviously bolted to the wall and are the narrowest bookcases I could find (11 inches) for this narrow space. You can also see in this photo my pressing and cutting station.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite sewing tools, my Reliable i300 iron. This Italian made iron if made by the Reliable Corporation, a Canadian company. I have purchased two models of irons from Reliable, this one and another model for my mom.  The i300 is the lowest end commercial iron that Reliable sells and I got my mom a home version steam generator iron. I have owned two Rowenta steam generator irons in the past and this iron is far superior in my opinion. My mom and I have had our irons 4 -5 years. I have had to do repairs on both. On my iron, I was shipped the parts and attempted to fix it, but ended up having a friend (an electrician) do the repair. It was just a little too much for me to handle. For my mom’s iron, I just shipped it back to Reliable and they repaired it and shipped it back. My mom was so thrilled to get it back as good as new.  I am hard on irons, using lots of steam and leaving on for hours at a time during a marathon sewing session. These are not inexpensive irons, but I have found they will last a long time if maintained.   I think a good iron is critical for accurate piecing. I eventually purchased this handy stand, which will also work with my Rowenta steam generator iron. It is on casters, is height adjustable and frees up real estate on my pressing surface. The stand can be purchased from Reliable Corporation or All Brands. All Brands has free shipping on certain items.

Next spot on the tour is my Big Board Cut and Press Station. I have been through many pressing surfaces. This is the second Big Board I’ve had. The first I used on top of my antique ironing board. Even with a thick silver ironing board cover and batting, the board eventually was damaged from all the water from the steam. I got many years of use from it though. When it was time to replace it, I wanted something a little less wobbly.  This configuration is very stable and on casters for ease of moving. Also, the board comes off revealing the two drawer units. The extra drawers are great for pressing supplies and various small items.    I purchased my Big Board Cut and Press Station from Nancy’s Notions.  I saved a significant amount during a special sale at Christmas time, was able to pay in three installments and also got free shipping. It is worth it to keep checking the prices on line to get the best bargain that you can for this sweet item. It also comes with a cutting mat to go over the pressing surface for rotary cutting.

The free standing OttLite is another favorite of mine and I have three of them. One at my cut and press station, one at my large cutting table and one at my sewing machine. Sadly, these have been discontinued and I haven’t found anything comparable. I probably purchased these at least 5 years ago and the bulbs last forever. The lights can be removed from the base and secured to a table surface with an attachment that came with the light. At the far east end of the porch are two Elfa wire drawer units (also on casters) that I purchased online from The Container Store. Watch for Elfa products to go on sale in the winter months. On top of the Elfa drawers is my storage for paper for the little bit of paper crafting that I do.

If you haven’t noticed, I live in an A-frame house and the east and west walls of the house are slanted. We have lived in this house for 22 years and the slanted walls have been a tremendous design and decorating challenge, but I deal with it the best way that I can – can’t go vertical so much. Hanging pictures and quilts are “fun” too.

This is getting to be a really long post, so I think I will save the west end of the porch for another day. If you are thinking you could never afford to do this in your studio, think again. This did not happen over night.  I have been accumulating these things for 10 years (always taking advantage of JoAnn coupons, sales and free shipping. I started out sewing in the dining room and when all my equipment and stash started taking over the house I decided to contain it in one area (also another story for another day, i.e. building in photo). I hope you enjoy the view from my studio as much as I do!

I hope everyone has a great week ~ Lora