Free Quilt Book! (and quilt-y light bulb moments)

I had a nice weekend. Did you? I had grand plans going into it of all I would accomplish: I wanted to assemble the porch chairs that came in while I was away in Cincinnati, find cushions for them, clean my grill (I had never done that before), finish a quilt project, plant about five pots of flowers, get in a couple of focused workouts, work on my art journal, watch the first two seasons of “Downton Abbey,” finish reading The House of Tyneford, write a blog entry, buy some work clothes, run with Clarence, catch up with laundry, make a Sephora run, and pay bills. Most important on this list was that Sephora run, and I did do that as well as watch “Downton Abbey,” finish the book I was reading, and do some gardening.

Here’s my Little Man, Louie, posing in front of my newly planted snapdragons:

I also went to a favorite consignment furniture store in my neighborhood called Alabama Furniture and stumbled across this little number:

I was looking for a piece of furniture that could serve as a linen cabinet to store sheets and towels for my upstairs hallway, but this vintage piece just grabbed me. I couldn’t decide whether it was super cool or super ugly, so I snapped a shot of it on my iPhone and sent it to my Facebook friends to poll them. They agreed with me that it was actually super cool (minus the sun stencils), so I bought it, and two hours later…

I had it delivered to my house and sorted my journaling and painting goods. I am really thrilled with this piece of furniture as it adds a lot of character to my studio and hides all of my messy jars of paints and things, and has a little fold-up writing desk for me to place my works-in-progress. It meant that I had to move my design wall outside of my studio, and that is when I had a light bulb moment: Why am I trying to stuff all of my studio things into one 10′ x 10′ guest bedroom when I have an entire house? Why am I so hesitant to spread my studio throughout my house and celebrate my quilt-y self everywhere? So I decided I am going to put a wooden frame around my design wall, stain it, and feature it in my living room. If anything, it will give people something to talk about when the conversation slows. (i.e. “What the heck was she thinking when she started that ugly thing?)

I also took my bookshelf of embellishments and dragged it around the corner from my studio and into my guest bathroom so people can admire my pin cushion collection and jars and jars of buttons. I’ll keep my dye supplies in my kitchen, and one of my bedrooms upstairs I may turn into a second sewing studio.

When I get more settled, maybe I will share pictures of my studio and house to show how I’m storing and featuring all of my quilting things.

Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway

So it is time for my giveaway. Today I have a book that I am guessing a lot of people may want: Modern Minimal by Alissa Haight Carlton, a popular quilter who helped launch the Modern Quilt movement.

All you have to do is answer the following question and on this Friday I will randomly choose a winner and announce on my blog.

My giveaway question: Is there a piece of furniture or tool that had you thinking in a new way, or gave you a light bulb moment about your approach to quilting or your creative process?

Happy Monday!

46 responses

  1. Not a piece of furniture but an area: I, too, have just moved to Texas and we have a huge screened-in porch with built in fans on the back of the house. It’s large enough to do many craft projects in and sheltered enough from the weather that it will be comfortable for many months of the year. It even has 3 power outlets so I can bring out machines and a water faucet for my wet felting and dyeing. I’ve already started using it (as well as having dinner there most nights now while the weather is mild) and have so many other things planned that are too messy (or more importantly too smelly) to be indoors but not so bad that a few dropcloths can’t protect the deck. It has opened up a lot of options for me!

  2. I don’t recall ever being inspired by a piece of furniture, but I am inspired by architectural details, architecture and carpets (I mean, have you ever looked at how amazing carpets actually are?) all the time. :)

  3. I have been inspired by windows and cupboard doors that are designed in a stained glass fashion but without colour – perfect ideas for geometric quilt blocks. This book looks amazing – I would love to win it!!

  4. When we bought our home last August (built in 1919) it came with a room between the dining room and kitchen called a breakfast nook. This 10×13 space came with two built in cabinets with lovely leaded glass doors up top that I imagine were for china, etc. That room has become my studio and those cabinets will house the vintage feed sacks and Iquilts, and chenille bedspreads that I am using to make my purses from. I am sure this room was not meant to be a sewing studio but that is what it is becoming for me!

  5. My light bulb moment was years ago when I was first learning how to hand quilt and before tiger tape. I took masking tape and marked dots with pencil where my needle should go in and out

  6. I have never been inspired by a piece of furniture. However, now that you have brought the possibility to my attention, I will definitely be looking at furniture differently!

  7. I am inspired to repurpose small bookcases into a larger ironing surface. The plan is to use 4 bookcases to make a square surface with shelves facing out. Then I will have storage and a larger ironing surface. Not a new idea but a new inspiration for the age old quilting question : Where will I find more storage?

  8. I had a light-bulb moment with my design wall. My sewing room is also the guest bedroom. I decided to hang a flannel sheet on a rod that was supported by hooks. That way I could take it down when company came. But it didn’t work as planned- too flimsy and fabric wouldn’t stick.

    A year later (this past February) I started thinking about it again, researching different design walls, and realized I just needed to make the flannel tight to the wall. With some reworking and a couple of pins, I now have a great wall and am loving being able to audition fabric and position of blocks!

  9. I saw an armoire in a farmhouse at a famous pottery barn in the Finger Lakes. They called it a “Kitchen in a Cupboard”, and it was only $22k!… way beyond the budget! One of these days I will cross paths with the perfect armoire to turn into my beadwork cabinet/workspace, all self contained and decorated to look like my inspiration piece. I was also fortunate to pick up some 3 drawer lateral files when my employer went paperless. They have huge drawers for my quilting fabrics. I bought a 9-cube build your own shelving units to put on top. They were the exact same width as the files. That’s a lot of storage in 12 square feet! The intention is to decorate them to match the inspiration piece.

  10. I just bought a new sewing chair, one with all the adjustments and mesh seat and back. Even on casters, so I can roll around my sewing room without standing up. WOOHOO! A far cry from my old favorite wooden chair. But it made me think of traditional quilting designs versus modern ones. I just love the carefree way that modern designs tend to go. I still love the traditional designs, but I’m really ready to throw caution to the wind and see what happens.

  11. My friend asked me if I’d like this old large table and of course I said yes. It’s not fancy and folds up and my large mat fits perfectly on top. I talked my husband into letting me put it in our family room behind the sofa, fits great, and it’s my painting, sewing table that I don’t have to worry about. Plus, I can work while he watches TV or reads and we can still keep in contact. Slowly I’m taking over the whole house. You need more than one studio. Love your new piece of furniture.

  12. Now you get it. Sometimes we have to be as creative in our use of space as we are in the rest of our lives. I love having my things throughout my home because they inspire even more creative ideas!

  13. An old Hoosier cabinet has a special place in my sewing studio and my heart. My husband purchased it at an auction before we were married — more than 35 years ago. He stripped the pink paint and refinished it for me. It reminds me to ground some of my designs to the past not only the modern.

  14. I have an antique oak drafting table….this table is perfect for my large cutting mat and there is room behind the mat for a lovely antique three drawer cabinet in which I have threads and on top of that an old store piece for notions that has my small lace supply, rolled into little pieces that fit together and give me a view of the pattern as I pull out the drawers. This “station” has been a center for creating many artquilts and journal covers as well as sewing for my grandchildren. I would love to win this book about the modern quilt movement.

  15. I have my grandparents’ library table which they used for a tv stand I remember from 50-plus years ago. It has shelves on both ends I use for bundles of fabric in my studio and on top is my laptop on which I am writing this, plus my docking station for music and my collection of mini quilts my grandchildren like to play with. I also have my grandmother’s little travel cosmetic case (has got to be close to 100 yrs old) with her bobby pins and a powder puff in the little top tray. I keep personal cards friends have sent me, or maybe a collection of fabric cuts I have purchased. It always stays open so I can see the mirror, the same mirror she must have looked into many times.

  16. I bought an Ikea bookcase with 2rows of 13 inch square cubicles, which I put on its side. Now it holds cloth cube sized containers of quilt projects. On the top I placed my homemade big board ironing surface. For my small sewing studio it serves tw o purposes

  17. love your green piece of furniture. I use an an IKea kitchen unit which is just perfect, it is on casters , has a wooden top and glass fronted drawers , 12 of them ,which slide beautifully. I have just started looking at minimalist quilts. They are so elegant. I plan on making one, so this book would be most welcome. Serafina

  18. A room – just an extra bedroom; funny how I feel just the opposite: I can’t wait to organize my own sewing studio since we moved into a bigger apartment! I had my quilting fabric and supplies spread out from a storage unit to my bedroom to my sister’s attic down the street!

  19. Hi – I have had the same idea as Nancy M… I thought I was very clever using my folding shelves with a formica table top balanced on top! It is great for cutting fabric, drafting patterns, and sitting gazing out the window! Best of Luck in all
    your new endeavors !

  20. After seeing your beautiful cabinet on Facebook I’ve received some inspiration for an idea that has been brewing in my brain. I will need to make some visits to the local shops and see if I can find what I need. I hope you don’t mind if I keep it a secret but just know that you have inspired me!

  21. I’ve taken over my kid’s original dresser/changing table to store my quilting supplies, granted they don’t all fit but it is a start. It was just sitting all alone in the guest room upstairs w/ the kids old clothes in it, they went to Goodwill or into a T-shirt quilt. The dresser and i are both happier in my room!

  22. I use a cabinat made for a school staffroom (retreived when the school was demolished once used as pigeon holes for the staff) for fabric storage. Each “pigeon hole” fits one of the boxes A4 paper comes in. I have covered the end of each box with pictures from old quilting calendars and there you have it – categorised fabric storage with a display of mini quilts.
    here’s a photo:- http://www.deaddogully.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/my-sewing-room.html

  23. I had a set of white library shelves in my upstairs hall which made it seem very crowded (but a girl has to have her books, right?), Somehow, once the books were out of the shelves, I had visions of fat quarters in gorgeous piles between beautiful quilt and art books and those shelves were suddenly destined for the sewing studio, which made the carpet look shabby, which had to be ripped out, which meant that it was the perfect time to install that extra counter top from the kitchen remodel, which meant that I had room for a serger, a sewing machine, and an embroidery machine…now where are those displaced novels going?

  24. I too just purchased an antique piece this weekend. It is buffet with the rounded glass ends that open. I love vintage pieces. I think they pair well with the ‘vintage’ art of quilting. Fine things take time and talent to make!!

  25. I think the hole “modern” quilty thing in my life goes back to a somewhat sad looking Singer treadle cabinet, circa 1910 that caught my eye in an antique shop in Orlando – at least 30 years ago. It brought back memories of my childhood sewing, watching my grandmother use hers (not nearly as fancy). Today, it’s restored to glorious oak beauty, and outfitted with a nice Singer model 15 (circa 1913). I frequently turn Luddite, shut off my computerized electronic machine, and crank up the Treadle to enjoy a quiet, but energized production of another quilt top… Almost nothing I have sews as well, and whatever i make on it gives me a very special pleasure!

  26. And as an aside, I too have one of these old medical cabinets in my sewing room – many of these came over from Great Britain in the 70’s and 80’s when the British seemingly did a wholesale cleanup of their dark furniture from earlier times! So happy to see it painted in the lovely colors – now i finally know what I need to do with mine!

  27. Most of my fabric is in an IKEA bookshelf (with glass doors to keep the dust out). I bought a couple of the inserts for CD storage, and they keep my fat quarters in order. I have a separate wooden CD stand that holds fat quarters as well. I barely use CDs anymore, so repurposing the holders makes sense.

  28. I have a large oak old English wardrobe that we used to store books and t.v. tray table. I found the right sized bookcase and it takes up on 2/3 of the space so there was room to store those t.v. trays out of sight and out of the way.

  29. I was recently inspired by the weirdest thing: large paper clasps. I was at a retreat center and (this is brilliant) the clasps were used on the tops of felt-covered foam core to hang from large picture hangers! It was brilliant: two clasps per board, the hangers were positioned all around the room at proper intervals so the boards could be moved where needed. It is such a great idea that I intend to do it in my own studio!
    As to furniture: my Horn sewing table. Although it isn’t very “cool” or funky, it has made my life so much better in the studio.

  30. One little tool that gave new light to my art quilting and my studio was painter’s tape. I used it to paint a funky design on my wall and became inspired to use it in all kinds of surface design techniques for quilting from the old tried and true stitching guide, to a stencil or a mask to paint over and remove. So much fun with such an easy little versatile tool!

  31. I up small binder clips from the office supply store in my sewing room ALL THE TIME! They are less expensive then quilt binding clips and more sturdy since they are metal. You can take the “clip” part off so it is not in your way and them reattach when you are done. They are great to hold glued items together too!

  32. Since my work tends to be rather heavy, I needed a heavy duty design wall. I bought a 6’x8′ piece of bound carpet. My husband mounted it to the wall. Then we attached pieces of velcro to woodworking clamps. Now I just clamp my pieces and stick them to the carpet.

  33. Yes, I have 2 chair that were upholstered in pink velvet, the chairs were a causal style, But didnt fit our home, But I keep everything, So, The other day, LIGHT bulb moment, Since I’ve learned to quilt, Why not upholstery ! The new quilt I am working on and shams for my room will be colorful, and now these chairs that I never abandoned work.

  34. I love your new cabinet and the picture of Louie! Last week I re-arranged my studio so I would have room for a large design wall. I made one by taping together foam core and covering it with flannel. What a huge improvement to the small bulletin board I was using. I’ve already filled it up with a project in process and ideas for others!

  35. Not a piece of furniture but empty kimshee jars that my neighbor put out in recycling . I use these very large jars to store everything from yarn, to floss to buttons, to wool roving.

  36. I have an Italian thrift shop find of a haberdashery cabinet and I loved filling it with ephemera from living in Italy and backed the glass fronts with hand painted heavy interfacing. I just love it! It is fun to repurpose and bring new life to the studio and an old piece.

  37. Whenever I “hit a wall”…. I remind myself that I can cut out windows and doors. In my former career I reminded myself of that all the time. It changed all the parameters of a challenge for me and seemed to always help. Still does.

  38. My husband built me an incredible LARGE sewing table It turned out great and was even featured in Sarah Ann Smith’s wonderful book! I am trying to keep the surface clean and emptied so that there are no excuses for working in the studio.

    The book looks great and I’d love to add it to my library!

  39. When we built our house we included a large island in the kitchen (larger than a standard cutting board.) It is the perfect place for working on new projects–especially with others. This weekend my daughter-in-law put down a cutting board on it and then cut out a dress for her for her very first sewing project. Not only does it keep us in the center of the family, it has great light and is the perfect size and height. Sometimes I even use it when cooking.

  40. I am inspired by a piece of primitive furniture that once belonged to my great, great grandparents. It came to Kansas from Ohio in a covered wagon (1850’s) as they moved their young family west. It was their first kitchen cabinet handcrafted by my g-g-grandfather. I love it because it only has one set of legs on the front ot the cabinet (they would dig two holes for the legs in the dirt floor of the sod dugout, put the legs in and lean the cabinet back against the wall). My g-g-grandmother was a quilter also, so as I store my quilts in it I think of the heritage of quilting that has been passed down to me. I can almost feel the connection with all of my grandmothers before me who loved to work with fabics, from those who did it out of need to those who quilted for pure enjoyment. It just means so much to me and is such an inspiration!

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