Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Craft Room

When I bought my house the basement was unfinished, and one of the first things I did was hire my brother-in-law, who just happens to be a very talented, hardworking and capable contractor, to finish it. The basement had previously been dug out but was still a bit low and unlevel; after getting some quotes to see what it would cost to dig it out deeper, I decided the cost, and risk due to the age of the house, wasn't worth it. The basement is now 100% finished, with one side being my craft room and the other containing a new laundry room, powder room, and furnace area - more on that side of the basement another time.

Behold - my new(ish) craft room!  I sew and do other crafts as a hobby, but I also have two Etsy shops and sell wholesale and on consignment in some Toronto stores. I needed a space that was well organized, easy to maintain, and conducive to creativity. And with having cats, it's nice to have an area that I can completely close off so I don't have to worry about getting cat hair all over the fabric.

Most of the furniture is from Ikea. The strategically placed pot lights provide plenty of light and there is ample access to electrical sockets. I did all the painting myself (walls, trim, and ceiling!).

The sewing table, which holds my Janome domestic and Janome serger, is a kitchen countertop with legs on casters so I can move it easily if needed. The chair is also from Ikea. Note the task lighting above the sewing table.

The worktable too is a made from a kitchen countertop, and a lower kitchen cabinet, with adjustable shelves. The worksurface is large enough for cutting and pinning, and the shelves hold all my notions, purse making hardware, button making supplies, photography light box, and finished inventory. In the corner I have a shelving unit holding all my tools, mailing supplies, retail packaging supplies, card making supplies, and other craft supplies. The plastic drawer unit holds my fabric stash; my rule is that I can't purchase more fabric if there isn't room in the drawers. What self restraint!

Lastly, this built-in adjustable shelving holds my sewing and craft books and magazines, patterns, reference books, and other odds and ends.

Considering the room is in the basement and there are no windows, it's a very warm, relaxing and inspiring place to sew and work on other crafts.

Wall paint: Behr's Clear Pond
Trim: Behr's Snow Fall
Carpet: Home Depot

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Credenza drawer project

When I moved into my new house, I knew I wanted a vintage credenza to use as a TV/entertainment unit, to store CDs, DVDs, photo albums, gadgets and other odds and ends, and received one as a gift. With having cats, I thought it would be best to hide as many cables as possible. So I took it upon myself to see if I could adapt one of the drawers to allow access to the cable box. I knew what I wanted to do and had an idea of what kind of hardware I would need, but just wasn't sure if it would work. After getting some advice and spending less than $10 at my local big box store, I managed to turn the drawer front into a flap that opens on hinges, and stays closed with a magnetic clasp.

The first thing I had to do was remove the front panel of the drawer, which was fairly simple, but I did have to saw off some of the wood from the sides of the drawer that were slotted into the drawer front. I then drilled a hole in the back of the drawer and a corresponding hole in the back of the cabinet for cable access. This allowed me use some of my fancy tools, including the circle cutter!

The tricky part was figuring out how to place the hinges so the drawer front would have enough clearance so it could actually open.

Ta da! It worked. With the door closed you wouldn't know it has been modified. In total I think this took me about half an hour.  I also changed the drawer handles.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby blanket

Up until recently, I haven't had a lot of exposure to babies. Most of my friends, whether by choice or circumstance, do not have children. But now I have a friend who is expecting in the spring, and I knew I wanted to make something for the wee one, and I knew she would appreciate something hand made.

While I myself am not a quilt person, I do have great respect and admiration for the patience and attention to detail required to hand-stitch such a large project. So, I dug into my fabric stash and set to work on making a quilt-like baby blanket. I say quilt-like because although I used three layers, the top and bottom are not quilted together. I suppose it's more of a patchwork blanket.

At some point I had acquired some baby-specific fabric, and used this as the backing, and even had enough left over to make some baby cloths. The first step involved cutting the pieces and figuring out the layout. Thank goodness for my quilting square and rotary cutter!

Next, I serged all the edges to ensure durability.

After all the individual pieces for the top layer were sewn together and the seams pressed flat, it was time for some decorative top stitching. Then I sewed the back and front pieces together like a pillow case, leaving an opening so it could be turned inside out, and inserted the cotton batting padding.

To finish, I closed up the opening, and top stitched through all three layers around the edge to make sure the padding would stay put. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but if I were to make another one, I would probably make it a bit bigger, or depending on the use, choose a thinner padding - the one I used is a bit too thick to use the blanket for swaddling or privacy when nursing. But this one is a good size to use for comfort during playtime, or in the crib.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Etsy store sale

I'm having a mid-winter sale in my Zippster Etsy store to make way for new items - go take a look!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New dress

I've been so busy lately with other obligations, I haven't had much time to sew for myself. I bought some fantastic vintage fabric in Toronto's Kensington Market last fall, where it's been sitting on my work table ever since. This past week I finally set out to make a simple shift dress with it, from the Japanese sewing book Tunic and Dress.

It was very quick and easy to make, and I used bias trim around the arm and neck holes and hem. It will be perfect over a turtleneck and tights.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Toy mice for foster kittens

Inspired by my fostering with Abbey Cats Adoptions, I've started making toy mice for the cats in foster. I never know what to do with my scrap fabric, which I've been saving and can now put to good use. Once I've made enough I'm going to distribute them to the other fosters, and may even sell them in my Etsy shop, with the proceeds being donated to Abbey Cats. So far, my foster kittens seem to like them!