Welcome to my Crafty Blog!

an overjoyed sam at the statue of a giant thimble and buttons in toronto

I'm Samantha (Sam), a mechanical engineer, seamstress, crafter, & entrepreneur. Enjoy perusing photos of my sewing and craft-related adventures. I hope my blog brings inspiration and happiness to your day!

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sewing room tour 2014

I love this room so much I’m not sure how to begin. I suppose we’ll just walk through the doorway. Shall we?

sewing room tour - window light

It all starts with my giant, South-facing window. It lets in so much light. You’ll notice my Cleveland thrift store curtains: I’m starting to grow out of them, but they still make me so happy.

Speaking of the doorway: I removed the door. Don’t tell my landlord, but it’s currently residing in my bedroom closet. The door opened into the room, and since the room was small to begin with, the door only added to the cramped feeling. Now it’s open to the adjacent living room, which makes both spaces look and feel bigger. The only downside? The sewing room can be seen by everyone, so it can’t be a mess. But I love showing off the sewing room, so I would have tidied it for visitors regardless.

The big table was my dad’s homework table when he was in college, and then it was our family’s kitchen table back when I was a baby. I love it because it’s smooth, easy to wipe, and solid – it can hold anything. I’m trying to keep it clear so I can use it for cutting or spur-of-the-moment projects, but that’s always a challenge.

sewing room tour - sewing machine desks

After gazing toward the remarkable window light, if you turn to your right you’ll see my sewing machine wall. I have a small plastic 3-drawer chest of fabric in the corner, then my serger on a loaner desk from my mama, where I sit in my favorite orange rolling chair. A mini 3-shelf bookshelf holds my thread box, supplies, and patterns. Then I’ve got the straight-stitch station, currently featuring the amazing Belvedere Adler that I snagged at the thrift store a few weeks back. $15, 42 pounds of cast iron. She’s a beast and a beauty. She does zig-zag stitches as well as straight, and obviously sews through everything I’ve tested yet. My Husqvarna Viking is on deck for buttonholes, fancier stitches, and walking foot projects.

sewing room tour: serger station with orange chair

Here’s a close-up of the serger station. The tiny desk is perfect, since the serger is relatively self-contained and doesn’t need as many accompanying notions as a regular sewing machine. The Small World art was created by my mama, and the drawing is last year’s birthday card from Brad (they get better every year!).

sewing room tour - belvedere adler sewing machine

I know you were dying for another peek at this 1964 Adler. It’s so cool. And you may recognize this as the reupholstered sewing chair from last year… it’s a good chair.

sewing room tour - adler corner

As you continue to turn to the right, there’s this funny angled wall that hosts the greatest doggie hankie of all time. Then I’ve got an amazing cross stitch by my favorite Hannah, and a small plastic chest of drawers that currently houses my small cuts of multicolored fleece. I left this photo full size so you can see the high ceilings… so much vertical space! Perfect for ideas to float around ;)

sewing room tour - supply shelf

The doorway is just to the right of the fleece bin, and then there’s another wall at a funny angle. This estate sale bookshelf was a great find – it’s shallow enough that it doesn’t interfere with the doorway, or the closet door to its right. The shelf houses some regularly used supplies, and then I took advantage of free wall space to hang my rotary mats and rulers. They’re basically art.

sewing room tour - fabric closet

Continuing around the room, there’s a tiny door that opens to a very petite closet. This closet was literally the LAST thing to get organized after the move. Unfortunately, unpacking takes forever, so I had to prioritize. Kitchen supplies, clothes, toiletries… every room in the house required more urgent organization than my fabric closet. When I finally emptied this closet of the bags and bins I had stuffed in there as “hold space”, I was thrilled to approach it with a better vision.

The goals were: nothing large, since the closet door is significantly smaller than the closet itself; a well-organized space that makes me happy when I open the door; and well-utilized vertical space.

The wire shelving, even though there are only two shelves on the fixture (it was already here), help push everything up. And the shoe organizer holds fabrics at-the-ready: ideally, every fabric in this station is earmarked for a project in the near future. And I’ve already used one of the rolls since taking this picture! Points for me.

sewing room tour: fabric closet gazing with beer

After finally turning the closet into a functional, joyful storage area, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I spent the entire following workday loudly lamenting the fact that I couldn’t just sit at home all day and stare at my closet. When I finally left after 8 long hours devoid of fabric-closet-gazing, I proclaimed that I intended to sit in my sewing room, put my feet up, eat my dinner, and drink a beer while staring at my closet. The iPhone photo above serves as testimony to the truthfulness of that statement. What a wild evening.

sewing room tour - pretty bowls, pretty things

What kind of sewing room tour concludes without showing off some pretty bowls filled with pretty things? The Pyrex is half of the Balloons chip & dip set, a gift from the amazing Bradley one Christmas. The whale pitcher and the Raku-fired pot are my favorite pieces from the semester of ceramics that I took in college. I love displaying pretty supplies.

The best part about this whole tour is the fact that I took these pictures about a month ago, and it’s already even better. I’ll keep you guys posted on the improvements! With each project I work on, I think of yet another way to make the space more efficient. It’s hard to judge the organization of a sewing room until you’re sewing in it… so it’s constantly evolving. And I’m loving it all.

sewing room tour: sneak peek

sewing room tour: view from the doorway

Alternate titles for this post include, “the longest lent ever”, or “easter? it’s almost christmas”. Or there’s always the simple, “hello, again. remember me?”.

I try never to apologize for blogging infrequently, since sometimes it can’t be helped. And when I’m busy, or I just don’t have anything to say, I’m not going to force it. A forced post is almost always worse than the awkward silence of “wow, Lent has been over for almost 200 days”.

The big news is: I moved. To my own apartment. It’s filled with luxuries: a gas stove, a washer and dryer, a giant closet in my bedroom, a fireplace, a balcony… and a sewing room.

My sewing room is gorgeous and tiny and has a giant window. It’s big enough for huge creative messes, but small enough that it cleans up quickly. I think the little tour coming up will be just the way to make up for my months’ long absence. I can’t wait to show you – check back tomorrow!

an internet fast for lent

I’ve started a lot of projects lately, only to work my way to halfway done and hate what I’m making.

It’s not like that never happens. I’ve had plenty of projects that weren’t meant to be finished for one reason or another, and while those are frustrating, they’re part of the creative process. But this is different. Multiple projects in a row, all starting out as “brilliant”, whirlwind ideas that quickly crash and burn as soon as I’ve begun to make progress.

After becoming increasingly more frustrated with each project failure, I came to a realization. Lately, none of my ideas are my own.

Sometimes knowingly, but often not, I’ve been starting a project with direct inspiration from another blog or, of course, Pinterest. It’s not like I try to directly make what I’ve seen elsewhere, but the blended “Pinterest-aesthetic” is suddenly tied into my brain and it’s all I can see.

the standard pinterest kitchen

the standard pinterest kitchen (sorry, no source)

At this point, I’ve spent so much time looking at the Pinterest-popular all-white kitchens with open shelving (i hate open shelving!), well-organized laundry rooms, and crisp, white-walled rooms with Danish teak furniture, that I’m convinced that’s my aesthetic. Is it? I can’t even remember.

Pinterest is a poison for many reasons. Its possibilities for infinite wishlists for every sphere of your life terrify me – boards of perfect hair, perfect weddings, perfect bodies, perfect houses, perfect quotes. Not to mention the fact that so many pins contain total lies, false information, and basically amateurs teaching other amateurs how to do things the wrong way. But all those are irrelevant at this stage, because this is my last straw: Pinterest can’t take my imagination away from me.

fruit at the pike place market, seattle

real-life inspiration: pike place market, seattle

It’s tough, but I know the definite cure to this problem. It’s time for me to turn off the ever-flowing stream of other people’s ideas: Pinterest, Facebook, and your beautiful blogs. I’m using Lent as an opportunity for an information fast, an internet fast. Six weeks of going back to my own brain for new ideas, and I’m hoping there’s still some good stuff lurking inside.

Lent is all about fasting, about sacrifice, and about re-alignment. It’s the perfect season to step away from all that noise and focus on the real world.

Can you relate to my internet overload? Would you care to join me?

thrifted: giant bags o’ vintage bias tape

pile of colorful vintage bias tape

My creativity has been having a dormant winter. The evenings are too dark for making, so I have unloved piles of fabric all over the house, waiting for me to stop hibernating and start sewing.

When I’m in this mood, I love thrift stores even more than usual. Somehow, they wake me up from my dark, wintery stupor and remind me of all the glorious creative pursuits that await me when the days become longer.

colorful vintage bias tape with pretty labels

Last weekend, Katie and I found a new thrift store and got some high-dollar finds: she left with a Le Creuset fondue pot and a Lauren faux fur vest, and I snagged a 200€ ski jacket for $5. But my favorite part about giant thrift stores like that one are the grab bags that dangle from every shelf. Bags of scarcely-related items grouped together for a buck or two… they might contain treasures and they often contain crafting supplies.

colorful vintage lace trim

Three of the grab bags were filled with packages of bias tapes and trims, and at $2 per bag it was a no-brainer. At least, it should have been… I was trying to be “good” and almost left them at the store because I didn’t “need” them. Can you imagine?

colorful vintage ric rac

They’re all bright colors, and a wonderful variety.

colorful vintage lace trim

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

Now I have a giant box of cheer, just waiting for me to start my spring sewing.

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

When I got home and tore through the bags (always an exciting moment because, even with those perfectly clear bags, you never know if there will be a surprise) I counted the goodies… 74 packages. I’d say that’s a good deal for $6 – even cheaper than the original 10¢ price tag on a few of the oldest ones!

And yes, that bin was empty before the thrifting trip.

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

I hope sharing my grab-bag rainbow helps with your winter gray. Do you have trouble creating when it’s cold and dark?

sponsored: modcloth make the cut contest

This Modcloth contest gives you the chance to design your own fabric… and have it printed on one of their dresses! How exciting would that be?

I’ve been trying to avoid sponsored posts but this one caught my eye because it sounds like a really fun opportunity. I’ve always loved the idea of designing fabric, and designing fabric for a product sounds almost better than designing fabric for a fabric store. This sounds like the Threadless of the print-fabric world and I’m very excited to see where it goes.

Details

The ModCloth Make The Cut program is a recurring design contest that invites the ModCloth Community to design garments, graphics, or fabric prints. Its main purpose is to further their mission of democratizing fashion by producing clothing designed by community members. YOU can become a designer at ModCloth!

How does the contest work?

Entrants will design a new print for a private label dress silhouette that is already being produced! Contestants have until Friday, February 14 to submit designs. After the submission period, the ModCloth Creative Team will narrow down the submissions to 20, which will be sent to the guest judge, Amanda Needham, Costume Designer for Portlandia. After Amanda has chosen the 10 finalists, they will be posted on the Be The Buyer page for voting. There will be a week for the Community to vote, then ModCloth will contact the winner and update the contest announcement with the big news!

Submission Dates

  • Contest is Live Now!
  • End of Submission Period: Friday 02/14/14
  • Launch voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/03/14
  • End voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/10/14
  • Winner announced on ModCloth Blog (winner will be contacted personally): Wednesday 3/12/14

Send your entry in now and good luck!

If you submit an entry, please comment here or send me an email… I’d love to see what you come up with!


This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something after clicking one of my links, I receive a small percentage of the sale.