Ever treat yourself to a spa day of pampering? When I indulge myself to special treatment, I feel wonderful. Last week, I treated my sewing room to a spa day – a day to refresh and rejuvenate before beginning the production phase of my quilting year.
So what is a spa day for a Sewing Room/Quilting Studio? This is the pampering list:
Each of my machines received a thorough cleaning and where appropriate, oiling. Even though I regularly brush lint out of the bobbin area, this was an extra careful cleaning, damp wiping the exterior of the machines and their tables, removing throat plates, using tweezers, cotton swabs, brushes and picks to remove stubborn lint, wiping appropriate parts with an oil dampened rag, cleaning displays, and checking all fasteners for tightness.
The long arm table got a good cleaning with legs and tray wiped down, rails and wheels carefully cleaned and the pantograph acetate cover wiped clean. The leaders had stretched on the right hand side, developing a small sag, so the leaders were misted to tighten them up. Once shrunk tight, I mounted a straight narrow strip between the leaders and then misted again and ensured they were square. Then I ran a seam using the horizontal lock to check the square.
Perhaps my imagination is overactive, but I sensed the machines seemed much happier and more content. At least, I felt better! I like knowing that my power tools are working well. Dependability is a good quality in a machine!
The tile flooring is one of those patterns that hides everything, so with regular vacuuming, it never looks dirty or feels dirty. Nevertheless, Spa Day included a damp mop, and wipe down of the baseboards where little cobwebs tend to hide. It feels good to know my floor is clean and ready to greet me when I walk in to the studio!
Everything was removed from the counters to allow a full cleaning of the surface. My studio has a long counter – 15 feet of uninterrupted space. When I get busy with projects, it tends to collect things. Conscious counter clean up allowed me to think about the value of each thing on my counter. Anything placed back onto the counter is something regularly used and worth keeping within arm’s reach.
Basically the counter is divided into three work areas. The left hand side holds my die cutter. Dies are stored in the cupboards above and below. The center area is shared by my CD/Audio book station, a scissors and rotary cutter rack and my bobbin winder. On the right side is my design area and bulletin board. Here I keep my rulers, markers, log book and calculator. Until Spa Day, I also kept my pantograph patterns on the counter. With conscious counter clean-up, I realized how infrequently I use pantographs now. I am much more of a free-handler, so pantographs do not need to occupy high-value real-estate on my counter. The counter is best used for items I want close at hand, those things I use regularly. Rulers stay on the counter where I can easily reach them from my cutting table. Pantographs are now stored in the cupboard! The bulletin board looks refreshed after removal of block samples and design photos that are no longer current.
Visual clutter stresses me, so I tend to put things away in my cupboards. Sometimes I stash it and forget I own it! Out of sight, out of mind! Spa day in the Studio included a review of what is in the cupboards. Are the items stored in the cupboard things I use consistently? Are the things I use frequently on the shelves that are easiest to reach? Do my yoga DVDs really need to be in my sewing cupboards? Are the things stored out of reach labelled for easy identification? Reviewing and culling the cupboards makes it less likely that I will purchase duplicates of what I already own. Now I can find things more easily too! When I recognize that I will never again use a tool or supply, I can pass it on to another quilter who can make use of it. I gain storage space and someone else benefits!
I reviewed my thread supplies and made a list of the threads I need to replenish and those new ones I’d like to experiment with this year. I ordered the thread and it is on its way. After checking my needle supply, I ordered a quantity to see me through the year. I replenished my supply of rotary blades too. It feels good to know I have the supplies I will need on hand. No last minute crisis required!
Tools were next. I reviewed my tools, asking myself what would make quilting easier for me? What would support my creativity and production? This question sparked me to follow through on a plan to create a small pressing station to the right of my sewing machine. I covered a piece of scrap plywood with several layers of a cotton corduroy remnant topped with a drapery cotton remnant, making a handy area to press blocks as I assemble. Using a permanent magic marker and rulers, I drew a square on the surface to assist me in squaring blocks as I press. Total cost – $0.00. Everything was from scrap.
Throughout the year, when I heard mention of helpful tools in online groups, I made a note of them. I reviewed this list and made decisions on which to purchase or order. At the end of Spa Day, I placed the order and the tools are on their way.
Although I mostly use rotary cutter and dies for quilting, I still appreciate a good sharp pair of scissors. I gathered up the scissors that could use a sharpening and they are now in my car, ready to be dropped off for sharpening the next time I go to town.
As I reviewed my tools, I tidied and culled as I went along. Now my drawers are clean, organized and best of all, what I own is fresh in my mind. I won’t make the mistake of ordering a duplicate item.
Beside each of my machines, I keep a small cafeteria style tray that serves as a home base for my heavily used tools – pins, seam ripper, thread nippers, small rulers etc. They also attract buttons, bobbins and other homeless small items. Spa Day got the trays washed and squatting homeless were returned to their proper abodes.
Spa Day included tidying my fabric stash. It is always folded, but sometimes when I pull out fabrics to audition them, I do not always put them back in the same place. Spa day allowed me to take the time to put my errant fabrics back into the color wheel order that I find so appealing. Reviewing my fabrics also gives me a wonderful rush of creativity and generates an urge to start a new project – exactly the feeling I want when I have finished Studio Spa Day!
Setting up my environment to support my progress is an important element to helping me achieve my goals. I often find that the little things are the ones that frustrate me and cause me to set a project aside. Taking care of all those little things during my Studio Spa Day will pay big dividends with less frustration and more progress.
A clean and tidy sewing room feels great – just as uplifting as if I had spent the day at a Health and Beauty Spa myself!
What do you do to support your creative progress?
“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar: Motivational author and speaker