Christmas starts here…

With this…


And this…

When I was a child, my family celebrated every aspect of Christmas, beginning with the Advent Wreath.  During Advent, we’d gather together in the living room after the dinner dishes were done, dim the lights and get on our knees for prayer.

Mom usually read the prayers from a sheet she got from the church.  Dad would lead the rosary, and the littlest one of us (with help) would light the candle of the week.

That little candle, and the ones that followed, brought light to the dark room, and a sense of connection and warmth to all of us.  Each week, the anticipation would build, until Christmas Eve finally arrived.

It’s been 30 years since I lived at home, but the warmth, joy and love of this season speaks to me even more loudly than it did then.

And it always started with a candle laden wreath.  Mom and Dad’s was always made of fresh fir branches Dad gathered.   Mine will not be.

To start, I used a defunct, wired, wrought iron “chandelier” light fixture that had been stored in the basement by the previous tenants.

I dismantled it totally, removed the wiring and gave it a good cleaning.

Then, the creative fun started.  I wanted this piece to be able to sit flat on a table, so I played with the pieces until I got a configuration that would work sitting on a tabletop or hung by ribbon.

I scavenged greenery from the Salvation Army wreath I purchased last year.

Using florists wire, I secured the greenery to  the chandelier.  A few ribbons and candles, and my Advent Wreath is ready!

chandelier top

At the moment, I’m keeping it on the table that will house the 3 ft tree I’ve got stashed somewhere.  It may migrate as I work on more decorating.  For now, though, it’s a touch of my family, my childhood and Christmas – front and center in the living room.

Advent Wreath


I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.


Re-organizing for a better workflow…

This is my sewing room.

Yah.  I know.  It’s an unorganized, untidy mess.  And it is affecting not only how I feel about being in the room, but also about how I actually work when I’ve gathered up the gumption to start sewing.

That has GOT to stop.

In the effort to rework this room so that it is more easily kept clean and tidy, I’ve made a few changes.

Firstly, the large white armoire that holds my belly dance costumes?  I moved it to our bedroom (which desperately needs doing!).  This cleared up a lot visual space and actually made more room for future storage pieces.

Next, I moved all of my fabric to plastic tubs and piles in the hallway.

That freed up the shelves so I could remove them.   Of course, this meant I had brand new holes in the walls that have to fill and touch up.  No photos of this, since I know you’ve all seen patched walls!)

I moved my corner desk to the opposite side of the room.  Instead of pushing the “L” into the corner, I moved it so one of the legs jutted out into the room.  The space under the window is perfect for my ironing board.  From my new desk position, I face the doorway instead of a wall – so the room feels more spacious, even though it isn’t!

I took the time to paint a very old bulletin board and even older bookcase.  My grandfather made this bookcase for me about 35 years ago.  It started out as white, then was a light pink, then a beige….  But this is my room and I wanted a pop of color.  I think he’d be pleased!

Opposite to the bookcase is my shelf system.  The shelves are covered in a snakeskin vinyl print that’s easy to wipe down, and smooth enough that even the most delicate fabric won’t catch.  I installed these by mounting the brackets on two slender lengths of board.  This way, there are only 4 screws per unit in the wall instead of 12 per side!  The board backing also helps distribute the weight of the fabric over a larger surface, which helps with my brittle walls.

The shelves are above my cutting table.  To the left of the cutting table are two rather pink plastic storage units.  These units were holding the majority of my patterns (many which are pdf files), but I’m going to be using them for only the patterns that I have tried and like.  The untried patterns are now sitting on top of the cutting table, waiting patiently!

In the corner, I’ve got two wall mounted mirrors flanking a mirrored door.  This is a perfect place to store Edith as well as get a view of myself from more than one angle.  Helpful when fitting a pattern!

Right below the window, I have my ironing board.  It’s convenient here, since it’s a case of “sew a seam, press a seam”.

Getting the bones of the room this far actually took most of the weekend.  On Monday night, I decided to move the desk about 2 feet…  and broke it (don’t ask…  there was bruising and swearing, as well as a bit of blood involved.)

I spent Monday evening trying to put it back together again, but the connector units were absolutely useless by this point.  On Tuesday I picked up some corner brackets, some metal plate connectors and some longer screws.  It took several hours on Tuesday, but I managed to put it together again.  The Ogre had to help me with putting the hutch on top of the desk, but I managed to do the rest on my own.

Even with all of this, the hardest part hadn’t even started!  It’s difficult for me to just fold and sort my fabric, when all I really want to do is fondle it!  However, I was disciplined – tough, even!  I only succumbed to tempation a time or two!

That’s the story of the improved sewing studio.  Clean and neat and with a better workflow and storage.

Now I have to try to keep it that way!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.\

Master Bedroom Closet

For 25 years, the Ogre and I share a closet.  He’s actually had more items hanging there than I did… while I always had the largest dresser (packed to the brim). Now, however, that I’ve taken to sewing my clothing, that situation is rapidly changing.  I NEED more closet real estate.

All images from

I’d love a closet like this…


or this…


I’d be thrilled with a closet like this…


Heck, I’d even ‘settle’ for a closet like this…

However, none of these are in the cards for this home.
What I’m hoping to accomplish is this…


Or this…

This one has its’ points, too…


I’ve been spending the last two weeks trying to come up with something.  I’ve only got a 6′ X 2.5′ area that HAS to keep the two sliding doors (to keep the cat from sharing her fur with our clothes!).  Somehow, I want to squeeze in a shared longer hanging section for my dresses and his suits and two dual hanging sections.


And did I mention that I want to do it for less than $50?  And that the drywall is so brittle that not even anchors will work properly?  Or that the studs are metal?


Yeah.  It’s like that.


Good thing I like a challenge!


Any ideas and observations, suggestions or advice would be MORE than welcome.  I’m a little stumped on this one!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.