The Organized Cutting Table

I’ve spent years with a cluttered, unorganized cutting table with all of its essentials either laying around or slung in baskets, and wishing there was a better way. I always wanted pegboard, but never had a place to put any. I finally have it, and here are some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago:

Cutting table organization with pegboard

And the other side:

Cutting table organization with pegboard

I’ve had the whole shebang set up and organized for weeks, and I had the idea just after I got moved in and really settled in this Studio, so this has been a long time in the making. Ikea and pegboard, what a great combo! The chest of drawers is cheap Ikea furniture that I’ve used for fabric storage and a cutting table for years, but it’s always been stuffed between other pieces of furniture so that I couldn’t access the sides.

Now that I can put it in the middle of the room, the sides were wide open, and just begging for pegboard to hang all the rulers, cutters and associated tools. I had to have Dawn take a trip to Lowe’s for the pegboard and hooks, have the pegboard custom cut to size, and then mail it all to me from North Carolina, would you believe. I looked all over the Internet for some place that would send pegboard here after the guys at the German hardware stores just looked at me like I had a third eye when I asked if they had wooden pegboard. “Metal, yes, wood, no such thing” was their answer.

It’s all worth it though. Now I have easy access to all the cutters, scissors and rulers, and see that little blue thing on the pegboard in the second photo? That’s a pencil holder that Dawn thought would be handy, and it rocks! I can put a small pair of scissors in there, and pencils and pens, and there’s a little shelf sticking out on the front that holds my favorite fabric eraser (that I use for paper, not fabric, btw; best eraser ever). Thanks Dawn, you’re the best!

The only thing I still need to do is to get a better “topper” for the chest, to go under the 24″ x 36″ cutting mat. Get this: I’ve been using an antique mirror that belonged to my grandparents since 1994 when I bought the cutting mat. The mirror is still wrapped in the brown paper from the movers that moved us here to Germany from Las Vegas; we never even tried to hang it up because like many old mirrors, this one is heavy! ITMan never wanted to try to figure out how to keep it from falling off the wall!

So the mirror has served another purpose all these years, as a table top for the cutting table. The brown paper is starting to shred on the edges, so it must be time to do something else! ;) Maybe I’ll request that ITMan take a trip to the hardware store and have something better cut to size while I’m in Des Moines, but I’m not counting on it being high on his priority list! He probably has enough to do…

The Sleeping Shelf

Lazy Cats
Lazy Cats in the Wintergarden


This is the view in the wintergarden on this fine September afternoon. It’s nice and quiet here, and it turned into a beautiful day, which means that the wintergarden feels like a sauna, and the heat is migrating into the Studio. Shadow and Patches are in heaven on their sleeping shelf under the windows. I’m hanging out in the back room at the beading table, trying to stay cool(er)! Hmm, I don’t think I ever shared a picture (or the story) of my new beading area.

The Perfect Caddy from Hinterberg

I really wanted to order one of these Perfect Sewing Caddy double towers with a table top from Hinterberg, and I was willing to pay for it. What I wasn’t willing to do was pay them $250 to ship it over here. Sheesh. I realize it’s wood and all but, well, never mind. I wasn’t ready to spend $1,100 total on the thing.

A quick trip to Ikea (well, as quick as trips to Ikea ever are, which is to say, pack a lunch, you’ll be there a while…) produced something even better, quite perfect actually, for less than half the price:

Beading Table
Beading Table from Ikea


Three separate pieces: two bases on wheels with drawers (lots and LOTS of drawers!), and a tabletop, and I’m in business with plenty of space for all the little bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers I’ve collected for a good part of my life. ITMan did have to do the “some assembly required” (more like “all assembly required” actually) but we’d have had to do that anyway with the pieces from Hinterberg. Get a load of these drawers:

Beading Table drawers
Drawers in the Beading Table from Ikea


Six drawers in each base, four shallow and two that are deeper. Awesome. And perfect. Did I mention this was perfect?!? And being less than half the price only adds to it’s perfection. It’s more than a “Beading Table,” it’s an Embellishment Station. So now I can go hide out in the relative coolness of the “Library,” or back room, or Little Studio, or whatever it is when it’s too hot in the Studio, and play with all the bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers, and I can even close the door if the other residents of the house are gettin’ on my last nerve.

And the cats? Well, they’ve finally decided they’re well done and have had to remove to the floor in the studio for a break:

Getting out of the heat!

Speaking of visual chaos…

Yes, we’re here in the new house near Heidelberg finally, and the move is “over,” sort of. I’ve been busting my butt plowing through the mountains of boxes, and trying to get organized in the new space. “Mountains” is not an exaggeration, by the way. I continue to be amazed at the amount of stuff we had packed into the other house since I’m filling this one up rather quickly as I unpack boxes and arrange furniture, and it’s 1,000 square feet bigger just in living space, with more storage and a garage in the bargain. Where the heck was all of this stuff before? I swear it multiplied in the truck on it’s way here or something!

I’ve also realized a few things during this whole process, such as:

I’m not as bad a housekeeper as I thought. This comes home to me (again) every time we move, because when I set my mind to it, I can clean a house and it will be spotless. When we leave a house to move to another, we kill ourselves cleaning it to within an inch of it’s life, and this last one was no exception. Unfortunately, the houses we move into are never as clean as the ones we leave, and this one followed suit. I’ve spent a good bit of time cleaning years old dirt, lime deposits, etc. out of this house since we arrived, and don’t even get me started on the state of the dishwasher. Suffice it to say that it was a perfect example of why we thoroughly rinse our dishes before they ever get near the dishwasher. :| Continue reading

WFMW–Storing Stabilizer Rolls

It seems like all my tips are about storage and organization. Can you tell it’s a hot topic in my current small, cramped quarters? :) I buy stabilizer for machine embroidery off the bolt at my LQS, and I can’t see folding it up when I get it home to store it like I would if it were fabric.

I know you can iron stabilizer (well, depending on what kind of stabilizer it is anyway), but why put fold lines in it to begin with when you can just leave it in a roll and cut off what you need to use? Problem is, how do you store the rolls so that they don’t get squished flat by other things and have mega creases in them anyway?

Enter the waste bin. Yup, a medium size basic white plastic Rubbermaid 21 quart waste bin does the trick. You can sit it straight up in a corner and toss the rolls in it, or use it on it’s side on a shelf, and rolls of stabilizer, fusible web or freezer paper are contained and easy to access. If you’re into colored bins that go with your decor (I’m not, but that’s another story), Rubbermaid’s got you covered in either Blueberry Frost or Bisque.

Stabilizer storage

Longaberger baskets sometimes work well for this task too, but obviously Rubbermaid is the budget-wise choice. For the ultimate in organization, make tags or labels for the rolls so that it’s easy to tell what’s what, since in my experience many stabilizers look frighteningly similar. If you need medium weight tear-away, a wash-away stabilizer might cause some problems in your project, right? I’ve had moments in the past when I’ve had to use some water to try to figure out which was which…

(You might notice that there are no labels on my rolls. I said “for the ultimate in organization” and I’m not quite there yet, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, maybe? It’s on my list of things to do…maybe later today…) This works for me!

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share with the blogosphere? Find out more about Works-for-Me-Wednesday at WFMW headquarters at Rocks in my Dryer! Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you’ve learned on any topic–anything that has “worked for you” in making your life easier. Visit Rocks in my Dryer for great tips on everything from kids to money on this Works-for-me-Wednesday!

WFMW–Storing Quilting Stencils

Note: Works-for-Me-Wednesday is hosted at an alternate location today, because it’s usual mistress is away in Africa!

Thanks to comments from Kim and Kristin, I was able to finally come up with a solution for storing quilting stencils. I ordered binder rings from the States (I had to order a box of 50 to actually get someone to ship them here! No idea where to find them here, but they seem to be readily available at office supply stores there. Sheesh!). I already had a flat Rubbermaid tub that’s big enough to lay most of the stencils out flat on the bottom and I used four or five of the rings to group the stencils by size and type.

Binder rings to organize quilting stencils

When I need a stencil, it’s easy to flip through what I have and then just open the ring and pull them off. Someday maybe I’ll even have the time to make some snazzy embroidered tags so that I can easily tell which group I need to pull out of the box when I’m looking for a certain stencil. They’re flat, they can’t get dusty, and there’s plenty of room for more! :D Thanks ladies, for all your helpful suggestions!

Quilting stencils in the tub

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share with the blogosphere? Find out more about Works-for-Me-Wednesday at WFMW headquarters at Rocks in my Dryer! Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you’ve learned on any topic–anything that has “worked for you” in making your life easier. Visit Rocks in my Dryer for great tips on everything from kids to money on this Works-for-me-Wednesday!