ideas

Today is a day of firsts. First day back at school for Lils and Mike and my first day back from almost a month long break from my fledgling business.  I thought/hoped that my time off would be slow and dreamy...time to shut one part of my brain down and live for just a little while in a state of relaxed, receptive creativity. Well, I think i've learned that for that to happen, I would have to go off somewhere by myself. Everyday life and the demands of motherhood kind of intrude on that dreamy state. But, it was so good to have some time to just focus solely on the mundane tasks that make a home run. Seriously, it was such a luxury to hang clean clothes on the line, to bake bread and to sit and read Anne of Green Gables to my daughter without my brain anxiously reminding me that I have alterations to do, and cushions to sew and a business to grow! There's a big lesson there, I hope I've learned it. One thing at a time...take it slow and it all works out in the end...that's it, easy.

Speaking of slow, some of the ideas that my daughter and I have been talking about over this summer are "slow fashion" and "fast fashion". When we started thinking about where our clothes come from, who made them and at what cost for them and for us, we honestly felt kind of uneasy. Hard truths can do that. Looking at those truths is uncomfortable and complicated. As with everything in this world there are so many aspects to the story and solutions are not clear. It is a great conversation to have, however. Because it makes you think about the impact your purchases have. Talking about our "stuff" also makes you realize how much of it is unnecessary. On that note, Lils and I decided to really look at her clothes and figure out what she really and truly needs for back to school, sew those items ourselves and then wear them until they are good and worn out. She has grown so much this past year and continues to do so. None of her pants fit but she has a bunch of t shirts that are going strong. A look that Lils loves to wear is pants and a t or tank with a long sleeve shirt over the top, left unbuttoned. So, with this in mind we chose the Sage Stretch pants pattern and Elita Designer Top patterns from stylearc.com and the Eva blouse pattern from fabrics-store.com and I got sewing. 

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#3 ~ Lights

This past week has been a full one. Lily's room is just about complete,  she is thrilled and I am very, very happy with the way it has all turned out. Not to be too dramatic, but there have been highs...and there have been lows. I installed the light fixture!!! All by myself...and it works!! I strung together 100's of shells on rings to make the light fixture...just to find out, hours into this process, that the company hadn't included enough slip rings...aargh!!! But I got there in the end. 

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I made roman shades for the windows and lined them with blackout lining to solve the early morning light problem. 

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For the closet, I decided to keep the doors off and make box pleat curtains hung on rings to make the whole closet accessible. I was trying to solve issues with this room redo. One of my aims with the project was to design the room in ways that would help Lily to be able to keep it relatively neat all by herself. Making it easy to get at the bins in the closet and to put them back away easily was very important.

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So now to accessorize...my favorite part of the process!

#2 ~ Paint

I went ahead and got paint on the walls! I used Benjamin Moore Aura paint in Casco Bay. This. is. good. stuff. I only had to paint one coat...and it covered completely. Casco Bay is a deep, inky teal and I fully expected to do two coats, if not three...but, no...one coat is perfection.

 pale blue walls before

pale blue walls before

 inky, oceany teal after

inky, oceany teal after

Next up is a bunch of sewing. Roman shades for the windows and box pleat drapes to conceal the closet. I've been gathering accessories for the room, a few thrifted mirrors, a completely free and lovely headboard from our local transfer station (aka the dump) and a couple of splurges. Even though I told myself I was going to spend as little as possible on this room redo and re-use and repurpose items I already had, I did buy a mosquito net canopy and a beautiful light fixture to replace the ceiling fan. Sometimes you just have to. When the room is complete I'll break down the whole budget and what I spent. 

Until next time,

xo Jennifer

#1 ~ the closet

Today, I'll show you how I renovated the closet in my youngest daughter's room. But, first, a little back story. I'll keep it short and sweet. I need a dedicated workspace to grow my business. It's been decided that the only possible location for this in our home is our eldest daughter's bedroom. This is not quite as cruel as it sounds, she is back to college in a week for her last semester and then after graduation she'll be moving into her own apartment. However, when the eldest girl visits home for the odd weekend, she will need somewhere to sleep. So, we are moving the full size bed from her room up to little sister's room so they can bunk together whenever she comes home. Good thing they get along...usually. Fitting this larger bed into our youngest's not so spacious bedroom is a bit of a challenge and requires that we lose one large storage unit. The only way to make all the toys and books fit is to find a way to store everything, including hanging clothes, in the closet. As you can see from the before photos, the closet was pretty basic, had never been painted, was dark and kind of gross. I'll let the photos tell the story...

this is what I started with...

 and this...everything that had to fit in the closet

and this...everything that had to fit in the closet

 I had boards cut to specific lengths at my local lumber yard....and used the existing side shelves that ran along each end of the closet as partial supports...

I had boards cut to specific lengths at my local lumber yard....and used the existing side shelves that ran along each end of the closet as partial supports...

  mission accomplished...

 mission accomplished...

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 ...and this

...and this

 empty brown shell of a closet

empty brown shell of a closet

 all painted

all painted

 i ran 2 long shelves spanning the width of the closet on the very top, above the clothes bar for books and games and along the bottom to create space for large toy storage bins. three additional shelves span half the width of the closet, leaving room for hanging clothes

i ran 2 long shelves spanning the width of the closet on the very top, above the clothes bar for books and games and along the bottom to create space for large toy storage bins. three additional shelves span half the width of the closet, leaving room for hanging clothes

Next I move on to painting the walls. The design brief youngest daughter has given me about what she wants her room to look like is "kind of harry potter, but not themed, kind of 1920's, with leopard print, teal walls and some purple"...Ummmm, ok, let me see what I can do!

Till next time,

xo Jennifer

Getting Started

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I am learning that there is so much to setting up a business. So much to do, to figure out. Carving a dedicated workroom space out of a very full family home, purchasing the equipment that I’ll need to deliver a truly professional product and setting up a website are the easy bits. Navigating the social media world, learning how to take and edit photographs, realizing that EVERY photo I’ve EVER taken of every project I’ve sewn, upholstered, etc  is crap, this is the tough stuff. But, i am doing it. A little, or a lot, every day.

I have always had a sewing business as a sideline. It has been something that I love to do, but for practical reasons, I’ve never been able to focus on it 100 percent. Squam Hill Sewing and Design is where that changes. So much has changed for me and my family in the past few years, much of it heartbreaking. Here on the other side of it, though, lies a new life. The office job that was just a paycheck, is gone and here I am, building a creative work life. A life that I see in my minds eye when I quiet down and imagine how I want to spend my days.

I thought I’d record the process of getting all the puzzle pieces together here on my blog. First up: a dedicated workspace. To realize this little dream come true, I am annexing my eldest daughter Mia’s bedroom. She will be graduating college this June and will be off in the world, in an apartment of her own. To make space in her room for my cutting table, we have to take out the bed. We’re moving it into our youngest daughter Lily’s room. She is very excited to have a full size bed and when her big sister comes home to stay for the weekend they can share the room. But, to fit the bed in Lil’s room, we need to do a makeover and a total reorganization. So this week I will be starting by re doing the closet, fitting it with some shelving and hopefully housing every toy this child has. Then, I can start on the painting and SEWING! So, stay tuned as I show you how I get on re-decorating this room as the first step in the process of creating my own sewing workspace.

 

Xo

Jennifer