Studio Update

Well, it’s been a bit since I’ve done a little update here about my studio space project. At the end of 2017 my husband and I bought a small commercial space in our downtown area to renovate and eventually use as my studio space. You can read the full post about it here. It’s been exciting and hopeful and daunting all at the same time. I’m still sort of in the mindset that I can’t quite put it all together in my head just yet. There’s a lot of working pieces to fit together in order for things to start coming together still.

Much time has been spent doing demo work. The space was in rough shape, especially because of having been unoccupied/condemned for the past year, and every previous business that was in the space added its own layer. So after many layers we’re basically down to the very end. There’s hardly any demo left to do. But just as a little refresher to myself I’m going to share a little list of what we’ve squeaked in during our free time:

  • removed radiators, there were two at the front of the building that weighed over 500 pounds each
  • removed carpet
  • removed existing bathroom
  • removed front facade siding (I got to operate a scissors lift! and we found out that the building was built in 1890!)
  • remove concrete baseboard from interior brick wall
  • remove plaster from exterior brick walls and brick chimney (I spent an entire weekend doing this)
  • remove nails/scrape glue & paint from wood ceiling (again, another weekend)

It’s honestly been lots of fun! The really tough one was the carpeting which had been completely glued down in the front section of the building. We used a powered carpet scraper but it was difficult! During this time we’ve also been working with an architect and getting our loan set up. We have the preliminary set of plans in hand and have submitted the last few edits. It’s actually great timing because it’s close to being spring soon, and we have a mason restoring the brick facade as well as the interior brick wall and exterior brick walls in the back of the building. He’ll need the temps to be a bit higher to be able to get started on the outside. I’m excited to see the front brick with the layer of paint removed!

We still need to remove the old furnace and clean up the small basement space, but after that it’ll be mostly left to the professionals to rebuild the back exterior wall, replace the storefront windows and doors, and finish out the interior bathrooms, etc. We are very lucky to still have the original decorative iron columns still behind the front siding. I’m so glad they were there. Here’s a shot of the building, taken in 1907, that’s 17 years after the building was built!

At this point we are shooting for this fall to be finished and have the building ready for me to move in, but at the same time it’s nice to not have to have a solid deadline. Having previously worked in the commercial/industrial construction industry, I know that things take time!


On Trying Something New

In many ways I’m glad I have this journal, my blog, to look back on. The main reason being that I can see how I’ve progressed in my own creativity. I tried to think what would it be like if I hadn’t ever started my blog, but yet still made things? I think it would easily get to the point where I wouldn’t be able to remember how things started, or how I learned, or the mistakes made along the way. It’s so easy to look at someone’s work and see a stunning finished product and think to yourself, gosh, I’ll never be that great, almost to the point of not even trying. That’s such a sad thing to think, but I think it’s a common one even if it’s something we don’t actually admit or say out loud.

I’m trying to catch myself in saying that as well. I feel like I certainly hold myself back from making things simply because they appear too challenging. Also, to have expectations that everything will turn out perfect the first time is ridiculous. I mean, why would anyone be great at something the first time they tried something? I hear this in my daughters sometimes, too. And I’m trying to be the positive voice inside their heads, that says to try it anyway. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you want, even if no one else likes it, even when you don’t believe in yourself. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be perfect or impressing your friends. Imagine how many times you’ve tried something new and it didn’t go as planned — and you gave up after that. I’ve done it myself so many times, too. Don’t let the lack of skill prevent you, keep trying. It may not be the same ending as you envisioned, but maybe it’ll lead you down an entirely new road. Isn’t that the magic part?

You always have a choice. Look back on the risks and chances you take, maybe some lead you to new things you couldn’t have imagined? And now look back and imagine you never took those risks? And how different your life would be. It’s simple things like, I tried arm knitting today, I didn’t love it. I’m going to finish the project anyway. And then re-evaluate what drew me to that project in the first place. Of course this doesn’t apply to just creativity. Maybe you tried running for exercise. You ran a few miles, but then it got too tough, so you stopped. What if you kept going and it ended up being your favorite activity? Or you took the risk of joining a book club. You didn’t know anyone, but you went anyway. And those friends you made in the club ended up being some of your best friends? Imagine if you never went to the club?

I don’t want to hold myself back. I don’t think anyone does. But not taking risks or trying something new, staying in your comfort zone can be a sad place. So I’m going to continue to try new things. And try not to worry if they take forever and end up being a lump at the bottom of my garbage can. I’m going to put myself out there and try to make a new friend, even if it never ends up working out.

So for my next couple of projects I’m going to try and finish my arm knit pillow. I’m also going to take a small step in trying to make jeans (again), I’m going to try sewing just the fly front with some scrap denim, just that tiny part of the process. I know I’ll learn more than if I had never tried in the first place. That’s such a good feeling and I won’t look back and wonder why I never tried in the first place.


Just Because Giveaway

[This giveaway is now closed, thank you to all who entered!]
I haven’t done a giveaway in so long! I felt like it would be fun to put together a few packages and help make the winter seem a little more bright! Brightening someone else’s day always makes me feel better. I had fun putting together four little bundles of fun, plus a bonus scrap package! Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day and super warm here, so why not?!

Each bundle contains a hunk of fabric, and either my book/booklet/or pattern plus a set of leather handles. So four winners will each get fabric, a book or pattern, and a set of leather handles! Also, my scrap bin is overflowing, so I figured a box filled with random fun sewing things would be a fun little surprise, too.

To enter:

  • Open to anyone in the US or Canada (I’ll catch you next time around international readers).
  • Leave one comment. For fun, tell me, what other hobby or fun thing you do for yourself besides sewing or crafting?
  • Giveaway closes Sunday, February 18th at 10 p.m. CST. Giveaway is now closed! Winners will be contacted via email.

And I wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am to those who stop by my blog and leave a comment. Blogging has certainly changed over the years, but please know that I thoroughly enjoy everyone who comments on my posts. It’s especially been refreshing to hear from you on posts like this and this. Thank you!