What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

An Organized and Creative Workspace

As much as I hate to admit it, summer is winding down around here.  While there are still seven or so weeks of summer according to the calendar, our summer break will be done in just over three.  That is actually later than we usually start school. 

Thoughts of school naturally put me in the mood to get more organized.  I'm adding in a new student, after all.  Caleb has had his fun year-plus to adjust to life in our family and learn English.  It's time for him to get on with the business of learning to read and do math.  

For quite a few years we have used the dining room as a school room.  We worked at the dining table and hid our mess behind the closed doors of a huge armoire.  When we adopted Caleb, it became necessary to give Lacy the sewing room and move all my machines, fabrics, notions, etc. to another place.  We decided to convert the dining room exclusively to a sewing/school room because it just made practical sense to do so.  Do I love having my sewing room open to the pubic on the first floor?  No, not really.  But there will be time again one day for another sewing room upstairs.   

Over the spring and summer, this room has gotten its share of use.  I've been making baby items like a crazy woman for Cradle Moon.  And in the process the room had really gotten turned upside down.  So before we started back with school, I knew it was going to take a serious dig-out to get it to where we could feel relatively at peace in the space.  I can only handle clutter for so long before I reach my breaking point.

So the past couple of days have been dedicated to cleaning up, digging out, and organizing the sewing/school room.  Maybe you'd like to see the progress I made?

First order of business was making pot of jasmine tea.  Definitely one of the sweet things in life.

Lacy loves her mama.  She brought me a boatload of jasmine tea from China last month!!

Speaking of Lacy, here she is keeping me company while I commence to digging in.  She's been really under the weather for about a month now.  She started with a slight cough on her way to China and it developed into a full-blown case of bronchitis.  Several rounds of antibiotics later, she is on the mend but moving s-l-o-w-l-y.

I started by dumping out all my scraps onto the floor.  I have a big ole' basket of scraps which I use continually as I stitch quilts, diaper bags, appliqued onesies, you name it.

My goal was to group my scraps by color per the suggestion in this fantastic book I purchased the other day.  Organize your scraps by color and you will hear angels singing.  Well, not quite, but they convinced me it would radically improve my creativity and efficiency. 

My assistant fell asleep on the job.  It's hard to get good help these days.  Did you notice Bella in the scraps?  She knew just which color she belonged with.

Smart dog.

On to the stash.  "Stash" is quilters' lingo for a piece of fabric bigger than a bread box.  Big enough to not be considered a scrap.  Or something like that.  I separated all my stash fabrics by color and grouped them accordingly.

Which brings me to my handy new storage chest.  This thing rocks. 

Well, actually it rolls, as in, on casters.  But you get my drift. 

First drawer.  Pinks, reds, and yellows.  Oh, baby.  Aren't they gorgeous??

Next drawer, browns, greens, blues, and whites.

Bottom drawer, my favorite fabrics, all 30's reproductions--not organized by color because I typically use them together and don't mix them with other fabrics.  They like to stay with their friends, so they get their own drawer.  Later I may sort them by color.  

Yeah.  Definitely will will sort them by color.

Moving across the room.  This is the baker's rack gone quilter's shelf.  I really should have taken a before shot.  But it would have shattered your image of me.  Let's just say it did look pretty good at one time.  But it was never organized the way I wanted.  Now it looks great.  I could look at it all day.  

The top shelf holds baskets with lesser-used patterns, notions, etc.  Then comes quilting magazines, and a basket with ribbon spools.  Next are the scrap bins.  Etc.  Etc.  That bottom shelf is holding one of those comforter zippy things that you get with blankets at places like TJ Maxx.  It's holding batting and polyester stuffing.  Works great for lots of bags, keeping them all together.  Oh, and the wine holders work nicely for holding rolled up items--in this case, tissue and freezer paper.  Good because jasmine tea would look silly in those holders....
Close up of the scrap bins.  I had to combine a few colors such as reds and pinks.  But it is way better than one big overstuffed, crammed, packed, smooshed basket of tangled scraps any day.

A peek into the ribbon basket.  

This is a rocker I'm getting ready to slip cover.  I bought a king-sized set of green paisley sheets at Ross for $12--more than enough fabric to easily cover this chair.  It was high time I had a comfy place for visitors to sit while they keep me company.

OK.  Mr. Patience has waited long enough.  Caleb is dying to show you the school cupboard.  Here it is all closed up, the way I like to leave it every day when we finish school.

Here is is all opened up showing the contents I want to hide. 

The curriculum I'm using with Caleb next year, My Father's World from A-Z.  It's kindergarten technically, but it teaches beginning reading, so it's perfect for Caleb.  Besides, you can easily adjust any curriculum up or down a grade level just by adding in or subtracting material in each subject.   I love this curriculum and he will, too.

That right there is his math.  Yep.  Takes up a whole drawer.  But I couldn't resist.  He loves anything to do with numbers and I've heard it is the best out there.  Why not?  I've only used at least ten other math curricula with my other six kids in the past 22 years.  What's one more?  And the re-sale is great if I want to pass it along next year when we're done.

Another view showing the white board, held up by velcro.  I stick that up there for phonics lessons.

While I'm on the subject of phonics, I have to give a huge shout out to my all-time favorite phonics and spelling program.  I've taught six of my seven children to read, but only Holly and Maggie have used this program, The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading.  It's the best I've ever used.  We're starting our third year.  After this, one more year of the phonics curriculum, then it moves into a Latin course that last another four years.

She hasn't moved very far.  She's busy finalizing her journal she kept while she was in China for three weeks.  And yes, that is electrical tape holding her hand-me-down computer together.  Whatever works. 

That pretty much sums up the sewing/school room revamp.  I'm very pleased that everything has a home.  That's the secret to keeping it in order.  Every item must have a home it can return to.  There is plenty of room to move around, create, study, or just live in here.   So, come on over! 


Living in China said...

Love it! It turned out great. I, too, dislike clutter so it does my heart good to see what you did:-D

Have you home schooled all 22 years or is that counting preschool? If you have, then you are in line to complete more years of home education than I am! I've got 24 years in and 6 more to go, if things go according to plan... So I'll max out at 30, I think, but you'll beat me at 34! Hmmm, should we adopt again just to satisfy our competitive edge?

Abby St Clair said...

I'll homeschool longer than you, just you wait. xoxo

Laura Lee said...

Pat, counting Brad's K year, we've done 21 years. 27-5=22. That was how I figured,but it's off a year. Add Caleb's 12 and we'll be at 33. But you have 8 children. You win by default! :-) Abby, you go! I'm saving all our favorites for you.