Posts Tagged ‘studio’

Life’s a (day)bed of retro

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Without even realising…? This is one of those times for me. And I made it work, but if I knew then what I know now…there were so many other ways I woulda coulda shoulda done this.

Hard fought and hard won…but #victory nonetheless.

You may, or may not, recall I was on a mission to restore a teak daybed I freecycled way back when. It’s (cough ) been on my houseolutions list since…(cough) 2015 and counting (cough).  And I DID make progress, DIY Dad and I did repair it (fixing the damage that I essentially caused, but enough about that).

The only thing it needed was a mattress (which was never going to be a standard size, because nothing I turn my hands to ends up being a m*therf*cking standard size) and then a cover for the aforesaid mattress.

And this is where my newfound machine sewing skills come in. Clearly: I would take the bespoke-sized daybed mattress and make a bespoke-sized daybed mattress cover for it.

And I would make a bespoke mattress cover with 3mm thick, heavy duty upholstery fabric that DIY Dad and I selected from Spotlight. That was my first mistake. Not shopping with DIY Dad, not shopping at Spotlight. OH NO: it was choosing 3mm thick heavy duty linen-look upholstery fabric with fleece on the back side to make the aforesaid bespoke mattress cover.

Why was that a mistake? Where do I START?

It turns out it is REALLY difficult to mark lines and measurements out when you have chosen 3mm thick heavy duty linen-look upholstery fabric with fleece on the back side. I ended up using my supply of Crayola crayons, because the polite, reserved dress-making crayons just.couldn’t.cut.it. SO: there’s that.

And then, there’s the fact that I was maneuvering an almost 2m long unwieldy piece of foam to get measurements. As a novice sewanista, I was too scared to cut to measure so I decided I actually needed measurements from the 2m long piece of foam (which was also about 0.9m wide and about 0.17m thick). That was my second mistake. Ugh.

My third mistake: deciding the beautiful daybed needed a mattress cover with piping on it. And it really did need a mattress cover with piping on it…it’s just: if you are going to make a mattress cover with piping on it, then you don’t choose 3mm thick fabric to do so with.

Piping in the process of happening…

You really don’t choose 3mm thick fabric. Because it’s fine while you make the piping, and while you start assembling the non-piped pieces. It is – however – NOT fine when you start sewing the fabric to the piping to another piece of piping.

That’s when you are dealing with at least 12mm of fabric…that’s when there’s a problem. That’s 12mm of fabric that will break your needles, causing you to buy heavy duty needles (which you didn’t even know existed before that). 12mm of fabric that will break the thread you are using, causing you to buy upholstery thread (where you didn’t even know there was such a sort of thread before that).

It was a steep learning curve, all-righty.


  1. there’s the learning curve about not sewing all the sides together and then sewing those sides to the larger top and bottom of the mattress cover (don’t do it: your sides are not the most accurate measure of the mattress cover side, the top and the bottom are.)
  2. there’s the learning curve about keeping track of what side needs to be sewn to which (otherwise you will satisfyingly sew, and then unpick when you realise you’ve sewn half your mattress cover inside out because keeping track of what goes where in such a large-scale project is…challenging).

At this point: I am just about to sew the opening sides in the wrong places, with two twists in them…and I will unpick them the next day while cursing. Cursing ALOT.

And then…there’s the learning curve that piping is irresistible to cats. So you may need some spare to keep them entertained and off your actual piping:

No you are NOT helping.

And then…there’s the learning curve of sewing 2 pieces of piping together, with the actual piping inside. The thickness and diameter ended up being too large for the sewing machine and needles to bear. That meant some Young Einstein-like levels of invention to solve a problem I had backed into without actually realising.

Finally it was done:

Quality Assurance by The Ginger Menace

I thought it would take 3 days of my 5 day holiday…it took 5 days. I went back to work for a break from it. The daybed and cover are currently located in my studio. We haven’t transported it to DIY Dad’s beach house yet, maybe in 2018…?

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Same space, now with more DVD storage capacity

Now that the big holiday jobs are done, it’s time for the smaller stuff. And one of those tasks is finding a way to corral stuff that is potentially messy and also to more effectively use the space in each 33cm x 33cm Expedit shelf.

I didn’t really like the options on offer at Ikea, and after checking out what was on offer on the Howard’s Storage World, Bunnings, Masters, Target and Kmart websites, falling in love with several options on Etsy that were out of my pricepoint and also would not be available in my timeframe (I want them like…yesterday), I ended up on the Officeworks website where I found Felt N Store boxes.


Corralling papers and books for my sister in the studio

Made out of dark grey felt, within my budget range and in stock at the second Officeworks store I went to (used my first visit to get the staff to check stock). The Dark Grey Felt N Store boxes were a perfect solution, even though it did mean a hitherto unplanned trip to East Vic Park.


So fancy, and so cheap

Even though I couldn’t buy the storage boxes I wanted on Etsy (they were triple the price and would have taken 2 weeks plus shipping time from Germany to get to me), I have bought a Dark Grey Felt cat house from the same seller. It also sits within the Expedit, and it looks kind of cool.

Now that I have freed some space up on my Expedits in my office, studio and living room (thanks to the clean outs and the redistribution of storage), I can give some shelf space over to the other housemates:


Super cute cat house

I like cat furniture that doesn’t look twee or trite and that’s not obtrusive. So this is perfect:


Minimalist cat house…


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Who doesn’t like a boy who’s at home with art supplies?

The cleaning, sorting and storing behemoth continues: into the studio. I’ve wanted to do a proper clean out of the studio for about the same time I’ve wanted to clean out the garage. And again, too many things got in the way to do it over the last couple of years. Until now…

Once I finally set up my office, the studio became the dumping ground for clutter and random stuff I needed to deal with but didn’t have the time (or space) to sort and store (vintage clothes collection, mid century day bed to go to DIY Dad’s beach house, my old but still good queen mattress – also to go to DIY Dad’s beach house – and more). And it was already quite cluttered: having over 30 unfinished canvases in various stages of progress will do that to a room as well as the detritus of various other creative past-times and the base materials for future projects…

Additionally, the studio has a many and checkered history of playing storage space: for friends needing a place to stay, to friends’ furniture while they looked for housing, bits of furniture that couldn’t be put in the garage while it’s not water-tight, books from my mum and sister’s book collection that Dad couldn’t store anymore (but which can’t be thrown away), and so much more. Over time it got to a point that the layout and associated clutter was definitely not conducive to doing anything creative, so the only use the room has seen for the last 10/so months (other than to store various items) was as an alternative napping spot for the other two housemates.

I wanted to get back into the studio, and feel comfortable to use it for what it is…and I also wanted a semi-presentable place for interstate friends to stay. So it was definitely on my holiday hit list:


One pile of newspapers away from being something out of American Hoarders…

Something had to give…:


The bed? Keep the canvases on your left and the crates of clothes on your right and you will find it…sleep well!

When I say “something had to give”…actually there was quite a lot that had to give:


Australian Hoarders B&B now open for business…

First up, I had to give myself room to manoeuvre and break an epic task down into chunks of work. Chunks of work that can be punctuated with small breaks for sanity: tea breaks, facebook breaks, sorting breaks, a break to Bunnings to get (more) storage crates, a break to Officeworks to look at prettier storage solutions (felt cubes that fit into expedits!) and a break to look at storage on the Ikea website…you name it, you need breaks for this kind of task: but they can’t be long breaks otherwise you lose momentum.

I got the whole house involved in this task, with the bedroom becoming temporary storage for easels, the office storage for folios, the hallway storage for canvases (to be sorted into a continue to work on pile and a sand it back, gesso and do something else because this experiment failed pile):


Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run…

Even the lounge wasn’t safe, it became the temporary resting place for stuff I needed to crate up or buy folios for:


Oh Mr Hart, What A MESS!

First up was to move the crates of bedding, outdoor pillows (formerly cluttering the office) and vintage clothes over to the smallest wall, and prop the queen mattress behind them:


Supervised by the inquisitive Colonel Fluffy Pants…

Each section of floor I uncovered, I swept and mopped: the time it took for the floor to dry gave me a natural break. I did a lot of Facebooking and tea drinking yesterday 🙂

Post crate redistribution, I had to move the day bed into the middle of the room:


Project Manager Menace still on the case: clearly this project needs a lot of supervision

As I went, I de-dusted and washed up items. Some of my paints even got a bath:


Don’t anyone tell the crimsons and purple madders, the blacks and grey tones or the siennas about this day spa

Once I cleared the expedit (and cleaned it), it could be moved to its new home:


No one expects the Menace Inquisition…

Although it looks like he didn’t leave the room, in between photos, the very excitable Menace was skedaddling around the house like a mad thing…and then popping up to photobomb shots:


What’s that over there? It’s the same thing but it’s MOOOOVED. I must inspect.

And then…it was time to put the day bed into its new home:


Full bed and floor, empty expedit shelves…that can mean only one thing!

Then redistribute the sewing, embroidery, silk painting, acrylics, pastels, water colours and associated accessories onto the expedit:


25 out of 25 expedit shelves for order!

Move the canvases to be worked on back into the studio:


Next to do list: paintings to be finished

And move the easels back in too:


Finally, room to breathe, room to move and room to paint.

One more Holiday Task = DONE!


I’ve never met an after /oom reveal shot that I haven’t wanted to hipstamatic…


Pretty silhouettes…


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This weekend we moved alot of the bits and bobs from where I am living now to chez moi – including the aforementioned buffet, chaise lounge and falcon chair (and matching footstool, don’t forget the matching footstool).

There were also a couple of easels, office chair, office stool, drawing board, boxes of paints and the 5 x 5 expedit that was in my bedroom.

As everyone knows, putting together ikea furniture is fraught with risk and moving ikea furniture is also risky, but the most risky venture of them all is to take apart ikea furniture (to make it managable when moving) and put it back together once moved…this time without the instructions and/or the nifty little allen keys and tools as they have both been lost in the intervening years.

Luckily last weekend’s expedit blitz prepared us and DIY Dad’s skills once again prevailed, with the white expedit now housed in the 3rd bedroom (which is rapidly becoming the studio):

Categorised by creative pursuit and/or paint type...

Categorised by creative pursuit and/or paint type…

It’s sitting a little out from the wall at the moment (about 50cm),  so everything is a little cramped at the moment but this means I can easily paint the skirtings behind it.

By golly it’s handy, the only things it can’t fit are the brushes:

Boxes unloaded, shelves loaded

Boxes unloaded, shelves loaded

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