my workroom…and dining room

I feel I have not achieved much this week. I just got to the point I needed to do some sorting out in order to work more efficiently and to remind myself of the materials I have to hand. My workroom is also our dining room so I have to be able to operate a clear desk policy when dinner is ready. As I look at my orderly shelves and drawers, I know it has been a good deal of work and it is worthwhile, but it is not…yet…something I can put in my Etsy shop (and tomorrow I am spending the day with mentor Karen and little James, so no sewing tomorrow). I guess I will just have to do some work at the weekend to make up for it – I haven’t seen Karen in ages and refuse to feel guilty about it (at least not tomorrow anyway).

So would you like to see my workroom? I can’t hear you? I am going to assume that people around the world are jumping up and down with anticipation, and show you anyway…like it or not. It will remind me to keep it orderly and tidy.

I started with my sewing box – it is actually an antique Indian writing box from Artique, our favourite Tetbury shop. It is far larger than most sewing boxes, but is still far too small for the reels of cotton I have (kindly augmented with a donation by our next door neighbour…gorgeous wooden spools rather than the modern plastic ones, but mainly for hand sewing). I am still a newby yarnstress, so my yarn collection fits nicely in the ‘basement’ of my sewing box.

sewing box
antique Indian writing box, used as a sewing box

I bought a wooden cotton reel rack last year, only to find it was the type you fix to the wall so, always fond of a fudge, I leaned it against the mirror over the large chest of drawers for many months. It was still not large enough for my thread collection, so this week I did actually fix it to the wall and treated myself to an additional free-standing thread rack, that can stand by my sewing machine but can also be moved to sit on my sewing box when the table needs to be laid for dinner. (Note also my thread cone stand as the glow in the dark thread was not small enough to use directly on my sewing machine – and the cute little box of bobbins).

thread rack
wall mounted cotton reel rack

…and there is still not space for my box of rainbow threads that have to live in their box.

rainbow threads
rainbow threads

Am I the only one who loves pencils? Seeing them in this Baker and Maker mug makes me want to just sit and sharpen them…!

pencil mug

I keep most of my buttons in an old carousel herb rack, sorted by colour of course. Needless to say I have more than will fit¬† in one spice rack, and next week will get a wee Ikea filing drawer thing on casters…in red…too, for easy access to beads, button overflow and trim. I also have a weakness for teapots (one day I will show you the shelves of them in the living room…something to look forward to, eh?) and this one came from Scrapiana, sewing and mending guru and vintage teapot temptress,

button carousel

Every sewing room needs an ironing board – sometimes Max likes to sleep on it too.

ironing board (and elephant teapot and fab Helen Campbell painting)

Whenever Mark and I go to Dorset, we have to ‘do’ the antique shops in Bridport…this 1907ish sewing machine is the result of one such mooch around.

vintage sewing machine
additional light very necessary

I have sorted my fabric by both use and size. Contrary to popular belief, size does matter!

shelves: fabric and books
cookery books and ribbons
vintage suitcase Mark bought for me on my birthday last year (in a Bridport antique shop)
Ikea Billy bookcases…what else?
print (large pieces), polka dot, plains and felt
more shelves
cards, wicker basket of ribbons and trims, tins of zips, lavender bags and brooches, magazines, EN71-3 compliant fabric for toys, packaging…and yet more books
sock cat and dog

I know it’s rather sad and possibly not common in creative types, but I find calm and contentment in order. I do enjoy a bit of a Spring clean.

Let me end with a photo of a gift that keeps on giving – the box my Valentine’s roses came in is much appreciated by Rio the cat (and has lasted far longer than the roses…my beloved will not be buying from Moonpig again!…although the chocolate heart and champagne were lovely).

Rio the cat in the Valentine's roses box
Rio the cat in the Valentine’s roses box

some more Valentine’s cards

I am still grabbed by the free-motion bug and have made a load more cards (in my shop now: Here are a few of them.










This week I plan to make some zipper pouches using the same techniques.


Christmas seems like a long time ago now, but I would like to share a couple of my presents that really help with the day job.

1) A bobbin sidewinder from Mark’s mum and dad. This fantastic little gadget is battery powered and allows me to wind bobbins really easily and without having to unthread and rethread my sewing machine…cool!

bobbin sidewinder
bobbin sidewinder

2) A Roberts DAB radio with bluetooth from Mark. I know it is lazy, but the bluetooth aspect of this lovely retro style radio is brilliant – I don’t have to leave my sewing machine to change music or audiobook or volume and it stops when my phone rings – perfect. I love it. I couldn’t photograph it without including the painting on the wall beside it. An oil painting by Helen Campbell. It never ceases to inspire me – I see more in it every time I look at it and can find myself staring at it for far too long. Helen and I worked together in a London investment bank 25 years ago or more and it is strange to see how far away we now both are from our banking days.

Roberts radio
Roberts radio


In other news…for months and months there has been a note on the chalk board in our kitchen reminding me to mend Mark’s work chinos (actually for a while it reminded me to find and mend them). It is quite some time since I did any dressmaking and I have never made trousers (except for a bridegroom mouse) and I guess I was putting it off. This weekend I finally got around to taking out the old broken zip to see how it had been fitted and sewing in a new zip. It was fiddly, but I am quite proud of myself for having persevered and not just throwing out the trousers. A bit of an iron and they are fit to go!

replaced zip
replaced zip


In addition, you may remember I shared with you Max the cat’s efforts to fit in to a too small box…

cat in a box...well almost
cat in a box…well almost

…well I am pleased to announce that he has now found a box he can squeeze in to! Yay for Max!

Max in a box
Max in a box


Finally, we had another sunny day yesterday so Mark and I went for a walk locally – heading away from the city in to the countryside. There is more in Deere Diary.