Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Back to work

Thank you all for your comments to my last post! I'm usually slightly melancholic when I get back home from Singapore and I often feel like I'm processing my soul even as I recount the highlights of our trip(s). It is always wonderful to receive comments on any post, but the ones in which you share your own stories with me, are my absolute favorites to read. Knowing there are so many different kinds of people out there, with so many different heritages, cultures, backgrounds and life circumstances, who actually read my blog, makes the world feel both a little smaller, and much, much bigger.

Can I also say that there are no wrong questions in culture? By that, I mean that I know of many people who, understandably intimidated by a culture different from theirs, choose not to ask questions about it, for fear of being unwittingly offensive. I don't speak for anyone else, but I personally am very happy when people engage me about my culture. It is true that in the process, people have also made the odd presumptuous remarks or stereotype, but even those were largely unmalicious, and I appreciated both their candor and their courage far, far more than I was ever truly affronted (if at all) by their seeming ignorance. So, ask on, if you are so moved! I don't think we should ever be afraid to learn about someone else. 


The vacation is now over. It is time to return to work.

And the sewing room beckons.

Because so many of you emailed and convo-ed to request them, I'm making marker pouches for you guys!

Incidentally, have I ever shown you the new(ish) sewing room?

LiEr's sewing room in fake-clean condition (this is totally a posed shot). 
Behold: there's even a mug of tea  - as if I'd actually sew with hot liquids 
within arm's reach, just asking to be spilled on precious fabric!

The room itself is the same, incidentally, as are the wall art and closets (and their contents).

I did, however, throw out the old, tiny table and put in a new, bigger one, which is really a butcher block countertop on some IKEA cabinets. It seems everyone's sewing table these days is made of IKEA cabinets and some plank on top, isn't it? 

Now, I'd have made my table even larger had it not meant sacrificing floor space. I love my floor. I use it for cardboard stuff, to draft, layout and mass-cut fabric, and plan just about everything else. Especially during Halloween, when there are circular skirts and costumes to be designed and made. A person simply cannot lay out a circular skirt on a table; even if a tabletop of that size could be constructed, one would still need long enough arms to reach over the edge to access everything. So no: since I have puny arms, crawling on the floor is better for massive layouts, I think.

Also worth sharing are those lamps hanging overhead. My sewing room is a dungeon. It's semi-basement, and the lighting, even from that window, is woefully inadequate. Digression: I love sewing facing a window. If I had to sew facing a wall, no matter how pretty, I would feel like I'm in jail, or perpetual Time-Out. That said, I know of many people who are happy as clams to sew facing a wall, with no thoughts of clawing their eyes out, so clearly it's a LiEr problem. 

Er. . . where were we?

Ah, yes, the lighting. So, after years of experimenting with different lamps and such, this is the arrangement I am quite pleased with. We bought photographic lamps and installed daylight bulbs. Huge ones, complete with those umbrella shade things. Which we then hung from the ceiling on a rod, and I sewed fabric covers for the shades, so they wouldn't be all black and silver. Also, we wired the lamps up so they could both be flicked on with a single switch, and so I could slide along the rod or tilt the shades themselves away from the table and to illuminate the rest of the room for actual photoshoots. 

Oh, how I love sewing in daylight, even at midnight!

Because I have an Undungeon now - bright and happy - and it pleases me to no end. 

That is, until I'm actually working in it, and my table becomes cluttered and gross, and I just want to run away, screaming.

Like now. 

See those tubs? They're posed, too; usually everything is strewn everywhere and if I find anything among them, it's by faith and luck - or a foot that came painfully down on a poky thing. Don't say you're surprised - after all, people who procrastinate don't usually take the time to organize their procrastinations, do they?


  1. I love working on the floor too! I actually bought a white ikea tabletop and I put it on the floor (no legs) to shoot my tutorials. It's so much easier to photograph on the floor! Your lighting solution sounds amazing!

    1. Jill P: Yay for floor photoshoots! Sometimes I stand on a chair to get a better bird's eye view angle, too. But then my shadow falls on the subject and - bah - I have to do acrobatics to avoid being in the way of the light. The things we do for half-decent photos!

  2. I am totally with you on having a window. My machines are on a desk with a window behind. Not only do I get great light, I am on the top floor of the house and I can watch the tops of trees waving in the breeze, and planes flying into Changi. Love it.

  3. Brilliant lighting solution! And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's sewing area veers into chaos despite loving an ordered environment :). My sewing table's IKEA as well, though just a cheap table because I have hardly any space for sewing in our current tiny apartment.

    1. DanielleW: Don't you love IKEA? They save the lives of seamstresses everywhere, I swear. I've decided I'm not ashamed of my messes. They are the evidence that I'm not slacking off, is how I look at it!

  4. Oh, by the way, have you done a post on your favourite bag making supplies? I'm interested to know what that foamy stuff is that you're using for your marker pouches. I've used batting before (synthetic quilt batting), but I've not seen that foam stuff before.

    1. Katie: That post is next in line on the dashboard! I'm disallowing myself from blogging anymore until I've finished sewing my marker pouches, which - fingers crossed - should be by the end of the week. In the meantime, there is another old post on bag-making supplies and interfacing and layers here:


    2. I eagerly await the next instalment. Your old post made good reading in the meantime.

  5. Long ago were the days I took my machine "on the road". I actually sewed while sitting on the floor... I must have been a contortionist! My how time flies and things change. Now I'm lucky to get up off the floor!

    I've got a true 70's style sewing table. A beautiful huge slab of maple butcher block -sitting on a bunch of filing cabinets (great for storage).

  6. Hi LiEr! We had a major plumbing breakdown in the basement yesterday and the first thing I checked was to see if my "hidden" sewing supplies were hit by the mess. Talk about a dungeon. And to think I used to sew down there until the children left home and I could take over one of their bedrooms (and only one, I am showing great restraint). I had 2 solar tubes (like mini skylites) put into the room where I sew so that I wouldn't feel like I was still in the basement. Whoever gets this house after us will wonder why on earth someone would want a bedroom to have to much light--unless they sew, of course. Your lighting is such a great idea. Does it put off a lot of heat?
    Welcome home!

  7. That window necessity is not only a LiEr thing. I must have windows in any room I am going to be in for any length of time preferably straight in front of me. I have worked many jobs in the clerical field and after many years I realized that a window was non-negotiable. If there was no window in my office, I only lasted a few months before job hunting. My last job was sitting beside a wall of windows. I was there over 5 years, the longest I ever worked in one place, and would still be there if not for disability. Wish I had realized that years sooner. But you know what they say about hindsight. I so admire you and your work.

  8. I love your lighting solution. It has sparked some ideas...

  9. It looks awesome! Can you post another photo of the lights? I need some good lighting too. I'm in a basement, with a small window that gets light (if it's sunny out) for a short time in the mid afternoon (but in winter...it's like for 30 minutes at noon LOL). When the sun comes in, it's glorious. I will drop what I'm doing to go down there. So, I really need some better light and since right now I have no ceiling, or much in the way of walls, it's the best time to do this!

  10. I saw your bunny pattern on sewmamasew but I couldn't find the pattern for the bed on your blog. It said you'd be posting the house, bed, carrots and other items "tomorrow"but its been that way for over a week. Sorry if I'm being a complete and total idiot by missing it but i just can"t seen to find it.

    1. Anonymous: here is the post for the bed:


      Look in my blog sidebar for the archives: the other posts you're looking for will be in the March 2014 month of posts.

  11. Congratulations on the new(ish) sewing room! My sewing room is in a basement, with way too little light. And it is entirely furnished by IKEA ;) I have two high tables for my cutting and drafting. This way I can stand and work without straining my back.
    Pictures can be found here:

  12. Those lights were the first thing I noticed. So clever!

    I just moved my sewing table to be near a window a few weeks ago, and I am sewing so much more now!


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.