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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Work in Progress - My Sweet Studio

It is really happening.  My studio space and my storage space are both about to triple.

YES!  (insert backflips here)

Like many sew-at-home-moms, it all started at a kitchen table.  Four years ago I decided I should 'get a room already!' and took over the formal dining room.  Ha.  What is a 'formal dining room' when you have three little kids?  It was carpeted!  At first, the kids and I shared the room.  Half was my sewing table, half was their craft table.  As they got older and the littlest began school, I took the room over completely.  One problem - it's open.  Too open.  There are no walls.  There's a living room one way, a giant window the other, a staircase running up the side, and the way into the kitchen on the fourth wall.  My kids love to run through my room.  THAT freaks me out whe I am deep into my work.  I blocked one entry with a big bookcase so there's no more chasing your brother around and around and around the house each time through my sewing room.  Problem #1 solved.  Problem #2: I have to work along to iCarly (yelling) or SpongeBob (more yelling) since my space adjoins the TV room.  I often wear ear plugs.  I can still hear the screams.  I cannot relax when there is all that panic coming from the TV.   This means I can only focus on my art when they are in school.  They come home for lunch and are home again at 3.  That makes for a SHORT day, and some late nights.

I've made the best of our space, but I've known for a while that I need to change things.  My business has outgrowing this main floor.  I have shipping boxes all over the living room, frames and matts and supplies filled sky high in one of the double closets, I have a 4 shuttle loom still sitting in a box in the basement somewhere :(, and all my class kits and supplies take up yet another closet.  Having my creative chaos in the middle of our family home gets more difficult with each day.  I remember the first time someone called to request a studio visit to purchase art.  I panicked.  My room looks like it has exploded into all the nearby rooms of the house.  I used to complain that everyone else was messy.  Now though, I confess it is all me.

I put serious thought into starting a business outside of my home but chose against it since my kids are still young.  Plus, then I would be a store owner and not have time as an artist.  I had a contractor come in to review my plans for adding a room on the second floor for studio space.  After hearing the cost along with the description of how my kitchen and living room would have no ceiling over the summer, I completely changed my mind.  It would mean not working for months.  Then I did the math.  Based on my income last year, it would take years and years and years to pay for the renovations.  It became clear:  no way.

But you know me... always FULL of ideas.  Move?  No.  Too much work.  I looked into buying a trailer home where I would work for the day, and rent out the extra bedrooms to local artists or photographers to help pay for the place.  We could have a yard, kitchen deck, big classroom space.  I was getting creative!  Then I found out how much land fees are.  $$$ monthly.  That was shocking.
Back to the drawing board.

There's always the basement.  

PUKE!  Are you kidding me?  Monika loves big sky banished to a dark hole?
~ shudder ~

Then I thought about it more.  #1.  I have the savings to pay for the renos.  THIS will not requite life long loans.   Incurring no debt is very important to me. #2.  My amazing husband can do framing, drywall, floors, ceilings, lights...  #3.  Lighting - it's not what it used to be.  It is BETTER.  It is amazing! I currently work through the night and have the best bulbs ever.  #4.  And as for natural light - there are 2 windows.  One south that gets light all day long (better than what I have now), and one west.  IN FACT, all morning the basement is brighter naturally than my west facing sewing room on the main floor.  No mater what, I need to work with all the lights on.  I will get over my basement phobia.  I can always hand stitch on the deck.  #5.  It's a potential 30 ft long + room  with an incredible amount of storage and a full bathroom.  How I can I say no to that!?  All that right under my nose.  #6.  NO TV!  No iCarly, no SpongeBob.  Ever.  #7.  I will have doors.  Real doors!  I can shut them.  It will be my private she-cave.  #8.  The ceilings are high - fantastic.  #9. The space has a HUGE amount of storage in the next room for all the things that clutter my current space.  #10.  I can have a gallery wall for studio visits.  #11.  BIG space means room for people.  I can realistically teach in my space.  I have the extra machines!  #12.  I can still be creative upstairs or outside.  I do not have to feel limited.  #13.  Our basement has no history of flooding.  Very important*

Alright.  I am convinced.

3

2

1

GO!

Guess what?  My husband is amazing.  That's what!

the view from the back storage room.  see the open space to the right?  There will be a french door entry into my studio.

(insert spinning and skipping and a few more backflips here)

I dreamt it up and my husband is making it a reality.  Michael, I Love You.

- framing is done.
- drywall done.
- flooring purchased.
- French Doors ready to hang.  (Doors!!)  (French!!)
- paint selected.
- lights and ceiling waiting in our garage...

Then, you know... there's all that other good stuff.  For instance, I know which plants will go where, and where the coffee pot will be stationed, where I will sit & work, where I will stand & sew, where I will cut and press, where the classroom common tables will go, where my art will hang for viewing...  Oh - and Michael had me point out where iron and machine outlets need to be so that's all good too!

This is not going to be done soon.  There is so much weekend work to do.  We started it last year.  Tat is when I changed my FB page to read "My Sweet Prairie Studio".  Now we're picking it up again.  I have every confidence that by September I will be able to hold an open studio / opening celebration!  I personally cannot wait to paint my studio 'Home Song'.  : )))


 This is like a dream come true.  Thank you Michael.  xo


Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday Snapshots... way late ; )

We've been so busy with renos and field trips.  The snow is pretty much gone now.  We made the trip out to Chief Whitecap Park near the river - an offleash site for hiking and doggies.  Last fall at a group show, another artist noticed my Cranberry Flats autumn threadpaintings and told me, 'you will LOVE Chief Whitecap!' 

My goodness, she was right. : )   We ALL loved it there.

boy and his dog

It is right next to Cranberry Flats, so you might recognize the landscape.  I am always amazed at how the grasses manage to stand up after months of heavy snow.


above:  lovely curls that withstand winter. 

below:  last year's Wolf Willow leaves still hangin' on...


Beautiful!  
So much charcoal and blonde.  You know it won't be long before it all POPS with color and flowers.  mmmm!!!!


Okay, okay....
maaaaybe I can watch my dog run away for a while...  lol



BUT - if he loves you, he'll run back!  : )

xo


Friday, April 11, 2014

Trestle Desk

Check this out!  Last year I found a trestle desk at a liquidation store.  I have been waiting to build it - but not until I manage a bigger studio to put it in.  In the mean time, it has been sitting in my garage.  Then last night, a friend of mine posted on facebook how she had started standing to work, and how it was improving her health.  That was my reason for getting it in the first place.  I don't have health problems... but considering that I sit on my bottom all day, well.  ANYTHING is better than sitting all day.  Another friend of mine rigged up her computer to her treadmill so she can walk and email at the same time.  Brilliant.  We sit way too much.  Freaky cold winters mean we have to get creative.  Me?  I am going to stand and sew.  No kidding!  Stand & blog.  Stand and edit photos.  Stand and write.  Stand and read.  Stand and threadpaint.  I got rid of my chairs.  Maybe I'll even dance while stitching French Knots.  : )  My poor rear end deserves it. : )  Maybe yours does too.

My new desk is 13" higher than my old desktop.

What do you think?  Do you find sitting & stitching or quilting has your body reacting in negative ways?  I try to walk daily and I love to run.  I enjoy yoga / pilates, but I think this will be a great for posture, digestion, prevent back problems, and maybe even contribute to one jean size smaller.  Too much sitting!  Here's to health.  Anyone else stand and sew?


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