project 2 – the sewing room *or : how to eat an elephant

There is a little room at each end of the new place. The back room was the first project, a place for painting and drawing mostly. The room at the other end, the front of the building, is for sewing and shipping orders. It’s currently about half way painted and somewhat furnished…

That’s the elephant part. The saying goes:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I’ve been getting things done here a little bit at a time.  The pace is slow but steady and completing each little task builds momentum and helps me feel less overwhelmed by all there is to do. I’d love to show you what I’ve got so far in the sewing/shipping room, I’m super pleased with it and putting it together has been generating lots of new ideas.

Remember the pink painting table from the old place? That’s a sewing machine table now. A bunch of little projects are hanging on the wall above it. Hanging the fish and chickens and cats etc inspired idea’s for more sweet and simple shapes to sew. Groups of things you could hang together or make garlands with. I love the idea of odd, sort of random groupings and maybe others with a story to tell. I’m working on some now and I’ll share the patterns soon. It’s easy to hang them, Just a stitch of embroidery thread across the back and a little nail or tack in the wall. So many possibilities. The wall makes me happy.

fish, cats and other small sewing prjects haung on a white wall behind a vintage sewing machine

chalkboard made form top of a cedar chest

You might also recall the damaged cedar chest that was repurposed as a container garden. I got it for pretty much free at a flea market.  The top has made an excellent chalkboard.

sewing room with large chalkboard

You can’t have too many chalkboards. The paint is just flat black craft paint and so far so good. If it doesn’t hold up I’ll spring for real chalkboard paint.

DecoArt brand craft paint

There is more to come, shelves and some sort of super cozy daybed situation for sewing and visiting dignitaries but the essentials are in place and I’m looking forward to lots of hours in this sunny little room making stuff. There are one million ideas percolating at the moment. All sorts of patterns and maybe some mushrooms and other little things for gifts and maybe the shop this holiday season.

Have you started sewing holiday stuff? I’m determined to be done before December.



3 mini mushrooms sewn from vintage textiles in my handget the pattern buttonPS Did you know October 15th is international Mushroom Day? It’s a real thing, I had no idea.

PPS – It is officially soup season and this is a great one. I consider it my civic duty to remind you of it each autumn.  Have you got a favorite fall soup? I’m always on the look out.


  1. Rosemary B

    Your place looks good Ann

    You are right about the elephant
    there is also a saying the faster I go, the behinder I get, so …. there is that too

    • Thanks Rosemary – right? focusing on little chunks seems to get the job done every time.

  2. Oh, Ann – this room, all of your rooms, are so wonderful! So uniquely you! Thank you so much for the tour – can’t wait to see updates as you progress! Thank you for sharing and for the inspiration it brings. It enriches my soul! 🙂

  3. Such a lovely creating space you have made! I love the idea of hanging the little, stuffed creations on the wall. ~ Donna @ The Heartful Hive

  4. Love the chalkboards! And your space is so organized. Can’t wait to see the rest of the place.

  5. It is always fun to have a peek into the creative space of others. Thank you for sharing yours! It looks so charming and cozy. I love how airy and open it feels. Happiness is… and I am terrible about letting my project list get me down, but I do try to remember that good things, like wine, take time. And also to enjoy the process. Having a space one loves to be in, helps with that process a lot. Wishing you lots of fun and all the energy you need to make this into what you see it becoming! Best, Lynne

    • Hi Lyne – Thanks so much and “Having a space one loves to be in, helps with that process a lot. ” is so true. Even if it’s just a little corner it makes a big difference.

  6. Alice Moline

    Hi Ann~~~Loving the progress that you’re making. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be able to begin with a clean slate and find out what choices become cast in concrete and which don’t. Also loving that you’re incorporating a fair amount of plants into your Studio. And BTW…….my husband has been repairing sewing machines for over 25 years now. I asked him what your machine is………he said it’s a Morse and a sturdy boat anchor. Thanks for sharing. My mantra over the past few years now has been this [along and besides the “elephant” point of view]: “Inhale, exhale, breathe and live in the flow of Mercy and Grace.”

    • Thanks Alice! And good spotting by your husband – it is a Morse that I got for 10 bucks at a yard sale. Great machine and I love the look of it. And plants – there are tons. I love them and I’ll do a plant tour soon.

  7. Irene Hough

    Your rooms look great. Love the inspirational wall and all the sunshine you are able to receive. Great Job!

  8. Sarah Lowes

    It looks so tidy! I share what I laughingly call my sewing desk with:

    1) A sturdy cardboard box with a small electric blanket in it, functioning as a cat spa….

    2) A ‘snack bar’ comprising a bowl of biscuits and glass of water (yes, she insists on drinking out of a glass) for the Siamese with a heart condition.

    I am kind of perched on what’s left…

  9. Elizabeth

    Hi Ann…there is always space to fit in a sewing machine. I love that you are so into decorating your space. I had visions of a basket of fish, another basket for a Mama cat and her kittens and a third one for chickens.. I can no longer make it to the second floor where I had two spacious rooms for my sewing so I am now reduced to the front hall. It works. it’s amazing what fits in small spaces. Hubby cut out the space under the stairs for totes to store fabric, I have an open shelf for current fabrics, a chest of drawers for wools, and another space for notions, as well as a peg board for incidentals. We cannot give up our sewing. I’m almost 85 y.o. and still love it like I did as a young mother. There is always another project hatching.

  10. Jennifer West

    So inspiring! I had some fancy chalk-board paint. When I moved it accidentally got left outside and froze, so I had to dump it. Looks like the brand and type you use works well! Did you hear the maniacal laughter when I read that you were going to get all your holiday things done by December……me too, probably December of 2022, lol!

  11. Nicoletta

    Hi from Italy! I love your creations and your room “on your own”. I am trying to build a little space for me where I will be able to rest my mind after my day at work, family care…. Etc…

  12. So inspiring! I’ve just moved from the shoreline of CT (near you!) to the Pacific Northwest. So different yet similar. I’m in the process of setting up our new place and my studio. Thank you for lots of inspiration… like chalkboard possibilities!

  13. Heather Smith

    Thank you for the tour of your space Ann, you know we’ve all been curious since your move. You have so many rooms now, no wonder they feel like elephants! Someday I’ll have a dedicated sewing room with a daybed for visiting dignitaries, just need the fledgling to finally leave the nest.

  14. Because of some medical problems, my six girls (yes, that’s the right number)took half my “workroom space” (used to be a den) and made a downstairs bedroom for me. Added new bed, bureau, bedside table, overstuffed chair and ottoman….and pushed everything into half the room. They did put lots of things into labeled plastic shelf boxes, put the over a hundred Arts and Crafts books onto shelves…..but there are sooo many things just piled here and there. I will have to use some of your energy suggestions to get it back to looking good. Where do I actually work, have to figure out some place for a work table. Absolutely LOVE your site and sewing items.

  15. Christine Encel

    Hello from Australia!
    I feel you are a kindred spirit…
    I so enjoy your posts . I find them really inspirational and dwell on the minute detail .
    Even the way you arrange the curtains, and the make of your sewing machine which looks like a beast!
    I collected old Kasuri from the days of living in Japan. I feel I need to give you some. There is maybe a trip to the U. S. left in me which is when I could post them.
    Please continue your sensational projects!

  16. Your new place looks wonderful. It is going to be a lot of fun to work in. I especially like the little stuffed critters and the chalkboard.

  17. Lindy Loulou

    I used chalkboard paint and I’m not very satisfied with it. I love all your cute things.

  18. Peggy in Madison

    Yes, I started making xmas gifts in mid September – I have made most of the gifts by now. But here is the rub! How is that one starts making the gifts in Sept. and on Dec. 22 is still going nuts making one more thing!!! Happens every year lol. Do you do that too? You are making yourself a nice little nest.:))) Cheers from Peggy in Madison

  19. Darlene in Ohio

    I love your hexies and arrangement of little characters on the wall. What a happy sight! Your creativity knows no bounds. Don’t worry about the whole elephant. What you have accomplished already looks wonderful. Besides, slow and steady still wins the race.

    When my husband and I were first married over 40 years ago, we used to work late into the night making items to sell at craft shows to make extra money. Then we used the profits from the sale to buy our family Christmas presents. For some reason, in those meager early years, it never occurred to either of us that our family might just prefer a homemade gift. The older we get the less we worry about shopping. Gifts from the heart are so much more meaningful. I can’t wait to get back to my sewing each day. Keep up the wonderful work, Ann. You are a true inspiration!

  20. Coulson, Lori

    Love the new space — so light and airy!

    My holiday project is two Tiny Dolls for my nieces in Virginia. I’ve got the body and hair done for the first one, she’ll get a face and a heart tomorrow while I watch football.

    Planned wardrobe for each doll is the dress & pinny, lingerie, and a felt jacket. I also plan to do nightgowns and overalls for each. Anything I don’t get done for Christmas, I’ll send to them for Valentines Day!

    • That is wonderful -I am sure they will be thrilled with those dolls long after the shiny gifts are broken. Maybe one day you can teach them to sew!

  21. Sheryl Drenth

    Dear Ann….
    I have been making your ‘Fish’ since the pandemic started. I find them to be so much fun and rather meditative to make. I have put my own spin on them….bright colored batiks and embellished with a LOT of stitching. I have no doubt made over a hundred but I don’t count….I give them away to my friends to sit on shelves, to hang in surprising places, to bring a smile! I always include your information/ so they can give them a try. Thank you for hours of happiness. ( I wish I could add a photo of a bowl of my most recent ones but don’t quite know how to do that in this comment box!?!)

  22. Catherine Wood Flavin

    The room looks amazing! Yes soup season had arrived, the crock pot will be really busy!

  23. Try parsnip soup -so delicious and soooo easy. peel snippers and cut into 1″ pieces and add water -low heat for a long time -watch and add more water as needed/ mash or put in blender – that’s it. I think cream is too rich for this soup. a nice bagette would be wonderful tho.

  24. mmmm, soup! I have several from all day chicken veg made from bones and scrap, Suppa toscana, and mushroom. The last is easiest
    Saute, one onion and 3 cloves garlic in butter add to it
    about a LB of any kind of mushrooms, chunked, I like a mix with at least 1 portobello.
    I put it in a handfull at a time, adding butter when the pan gets dry, till it cooks down a bit.
    When the mushrooms are cooked down add your broth and spices.
    I like parsley, marjoram, oregano, mustard, thyme, basil, a spicy paprika, salt & pepper

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