Out With the Old -The Sewing Room Reno Begins

As you know, I have been renovating my sewing room since June of this year. I was sure that building my dream sewing room would be a speedy process. And, compared with the building of the pyramids,  it was speedy. Hopes and dreams did not correspond with reality. 2014 is right around the corner and the sewing room has just become habitable.

I’ve posted pictures of the sewing room before, like in the post about my sewing cabinets. I have something to confess, those pictures were deceptive. They made the sewing room look pleasant.  At best my sewing room has been acceptable. Oh, yes, the cabinets are nice. Yes, the room was painted a bright maize with complementary walls of orange and green. Yes, the room has nice high ceilings with beams and planks. The windows in the room are lovely, a big bay facing a wooded lot complete with woodland animals including foxes, bears and deer. Unfortunately, that was not enough. The sewing room was an overstuffed mess with a horrible carpet.

How can I describe the carpet? The problem wasn’t just the color  a disgusting brown, it was also the stains and dirt. The carpet was approximately 405 years old and had a firm hold on the dirt installed by both the original owner and 11 years of my day-to-day abuse. I am sure you could grow tomatoes in the dirt embedded in that carpet. I never entered the sewing room without shoes and the thought of disease had entered my mind.



Well, carpet begone! Finally, after years of tucking away pennies, dimes and quarters, new floors are mine!  I trotted down to the local flooring store and picked up boxes of flooring… wood flooring, to be exact. And new flooring opened the opportunity to update the whole sewing room.

In a serendipitous turn of events, someone on the local FreeCycle had kitchen cabinets to offer! Perfect! These cabinets would be used as the base of my cutting table adding much needed storage.

The Cabinets - Before!

The Cabinets – Before!

Being a cock-eyed optimist I hadn’t comprehended how long a renovation of this scope takes.  On TV renovators go from tattered old wrecks to picture perfect homes in less than 60 minutes. And that’s for a whole house. Surely my one room couldn’t be that hard.

So I started. Did you know that before you install new floors you have to move everything out of the room? Everything!  For me that meant moving two massive sewing cabinets manufactured in the 60′s when furniture was made of real wood, heavy wood.

“Everything” meant I had to displace 9 huge Rubbermaid tubs of quilting fabric. (If you’re wondering about my massive amounts of garment fabric, I keep that elsewhere in the home. The garment fabrics’ cubic footage rivals the inventory of a Costco.)

A View of the Shelves & Tubs Before

A View of the Shelves & Tubs Before

“Everything” included the 4 sewing machines and the cabinets that supported them, an antique wardrobe filled with every sewing notion ever made and shelves so stuffed with sewing goodies that you couldn’t see the shelving at all. “Everything” included the cutting table which had stacks of fabric and notions and …. well, use your imagination.. stored underneath. And, before you can move a wardrobe or shelves, you have to empty them!!  Soon I had boxes of stuff all over the house and in a variety of places outside under the trees.

So, not only was the sewing room in a turmoil, the rest of the house was as well.

But… not too worry. At least the sewing room reno had begun!

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Back in the Saddle Again

Been a while since I’ve blogged, nine months to be exact. Gestation time.

It’s not like I don’t think about blogging. I think about it all the time. Something odd will happen and I’ll think, wow, that would be funny for the blog. But… obviously it’s a long journey between the thought and the action.

So what have I been doing? I’m spending a lot of time renovating my sewing studio. And, although I haven’t published them yet, I have been writing blog posts about the renovation.  I won’t publish until I’m can show the pictures of the completed room.   Showing you the steps without being able to show the finished product seems wrong.

Anyway, the inspiration for today’s blog came from reading an article from Houzz,  a checklist of things to do to prepare your house for the holidays.

The list is excellent including a wide variety of suggestions, most of which don’t apply to my home at all. I don’t have a chimney to have cleaned or a sump pump to check and the only way I could add storage to my mudroom would be to add a mud room.

The first item on the list did catch my attention, the thing  about deep cleaning the kitchen, especially cleaning under the refrigerator.

Let me clarify. I do clean under my refrigerator. I do it every ninety days using a special brush made to run under the coils. I actually feel quite righteous about cleaning under the refrigerator, as this is the only place that I clean better than the average person. For the few minutes I kneel in front of the refrigerator, brush in hand I feel like a regular June Cleaver. Of course, that dream shatters the minute I get up and look at the rest of the kitchen.

Well, it seems that cleaning from the front isn’t enough. The author of this list is very clear. To clean under the fridge, one should pull the fridge away from the wall and clean from the back.  As I wasn’t ready to turn in my June C badge, I marched up to that refrigerator and pulled it away from the wall. Wow! What an eye opener. There were things under that fridge that I didn’t even know were lost.  I found old bills and a photo or two and quarters and balls of aluminum foil and bills and … things that cannot be named. Who knew, my refrigerator is a hoarder. : )

This cleaning  experience was particularly good for one thing. It sent me right to the computer to re-start my blogging career.

And, just to keep your attention, here’s a teaser of the sewing room renovation blog. Here are pictures of the before. Pretty grewsome. And… I didn’t make it worse just to show a dramatic change. This is what the room looked like.

IMG_3507 shelves_old

Watch this space for the magnificent transformation.

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The Sewing Room

For the last nine years, from the time we moved to California, my sewing room has been a mess. It’s a matter of space. This house is smaller than our old Carolina home by more than a thousand square feet. We thought we had left enough stuff behind, but no. We sold, donated and tossed. It didn’t seem to matter. We still had too much stuff!
I admit that I have a lot of sewing supplies. And it’s not news that I’m a fabric slut. Actually, I own a generous collection of the whole sewing trifecta: fabric, gadgets and thread. I love it all, but storage has been a challenge.
So, until recently, my sewing room has been a mess. The words“Clean House” and “Bobbi’s sewing room” have become synonymous.
Well, worry no more. No longer will we have to call search parties to find small children in my sewing room. The days of making your way around mounds of unidentifiable sewing detritus to sew a seam are over. I’ve seen the light. And I’m not talking about a high intensity Ott Light!
It started when I was browsing through a local antiques/thrift/junk store in downtown Placerville.I must have mentioned that I sew to the proprietor because he forced me to the back corner of the store where, tucked behind a stack of motley street signs across from a spring sprung floral sofa was (as he said it) “U’re Going to Love  this. I have right here a Gen-U-Ine Sew-Ing Cab-net.”
Despite the proprietor’s resemblance to a snake oil salesman, he was right. I loved it. I laid all of my cash on his counter and put the thing on layaway. A mere 90 days and a hundred and fifty dollars later, I drove the van home loaded with one Gen-U-Ine Sew-ing Cabnet.
As you can see, it looks like a wardrobe. It’s even kind of shabby chic looking with the white paint. If you look at the paint closely you can see it’s not its original color.


It’s a sewing wardrobe from the 50’s or 60’s, from before the days when wardrobes were a common item in a family room or living-room.
Inside the cabinet is a pull down desktop.

open-desk open1
And do you see the little gold square?  That’s the Singer label.singer-tag

Pulling the desk down reveals storage, shelves and spool-racks.
There’s even a raised bed to create a flat surface behind your sewing machine. Because my sewing machine isn’t a circa 1966 Singer, the raised section doesn’t match the height of my sewing machine.
Though not exactly right for my sewing machine, it IS right for serger storage and usage. And, the bottom of my cabinet houses the machine I’m not currently using.


Though I’ve been sewing forever, I had never seen a cabinet like this one. Imagine my surprise when Tecla (a dear friend I’ve mentioned before) called me from a yard sale saying that she had found the coolest sewing machine cabinet ever.
Well, I didn’t believe her cause I had just brought home the coolest sewing machine cabinet ever, my vintage Singer cabinet.
Well, she was right. She had found the coolest sewing cabinet ever made, a twin to my cabinet. It was an identical twin, only still sporting its original pecan wood finish and typical 60’s handles. Other than that, it was the same. And this one was only $25!


I’m no fool. I snapped it up.
I use the second one for my computer and storage of a variety of sewing supplies. It’s amazing what happens when you have a place to put things. Now my sewing room looks like this:


One of these days I’ll re-finish one or both of these cabinets, but for now I’m just happy to have them.
So, Niecy Nash, be gone!
On another note, did you see the gorgeous Bernina 830 in this picture?
I’ve had it since June and other than a few hiccups during the learning curve (all operator error), it’s been perfect. I’m giving it a work-out. I love this machine.
If you’re wondering at all why it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post, it’s because my creative writing muse had been busy helping me write a book. I can’t say much more about it except that I’m done with my part. It will now take the publisher another year before it’s out the door.
I am happily back working the blog.



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