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CRAFT: Make Space for Crafting

(Photos: Laura Malek)
I love Ellen Luckett Baker’s craft blog, The Long Thread where she covers all kinds of beautiful craft projects. Inspirational is an understatement when we got a chance to preview her gorgeous new craft space!
Read on after the jump for more photos and a Q&A with Ellen!


Ellenbaker Sewing-Room3
CRAFT: What kinds of crafts do you do?
Ellen: I like to learn new things, so I’m always open to ideas. My children supply most of my inspiration and I credit them with introducing me to my own creativity. Together we experiment with paper crafts, printmaking, embroidery, art and all kinds of recycled crafts. It seems that I’ve turned my children into little crafting monsters who want to save every bit of paper and trash to make something. On my own, I mostly sew. I am currently working on a sewing book for Chronicle Books to be published Spring 2011.
CRAFT: Where do you craft?
Ellen: My sewing space has moved around the house quite a bit over the past few years, but now I’ve kicked my kids out of their playroom and have taken over the space. When I decided to write a book, I felt that I needed a room of my own. (Virginia Woolf was right.) But we craft all over the house — in the hall, on the porch, at the kitchen table, and often on the floor. My husband is outnumbered with our two girls, me, and Kiki the cat, but he’s tolerant of the crafty messes that we leave around the house.
Ellenbaker Sewing-Room2
CRAFT: How do you keep all your craft supplies organized?
Ellen: [Insert husband's laughter at this question.] I’ve tried so many ways to organize craft and sewing supplies, but I’ve found that I’m just a sloppy person! I’m not very effective when I spend ten minutes looking for scissors, despite having eight pairs in the house. My new approach is to keep all of my fabric in a closet while leaving my sewing space uncluttered. I gather the supplies for one project at a time because I find it distracting to look at an unfinished project while working on something else. Out of sight, out of mind.
CRAFT: How do you motivate yourself to keep your space organized?
Ellen: Since I created my new sewing room, I have been pretty consistent about cleaning up from one project before beginning work on the next one. Creating a relaxing space that I want to return to after the mess helps me stay organized.
CRAFT: What’s one organization tip/tool/trick you swear by?
Ellen: I think everyone has different needs. You just have to know how much mess you can tolerate and understand your personal preferences for organization. I had to hide the mess to clear my brain. I can close
the door on a messy closet, but I need my sewing room to be tranquil and uncluttered. I think many creative people are naturally challenged by organization and the need to keep everything for use in a future project. I love to recycle, but if I haven’t found a use for something after a while, it has to leave the house.
Ellenbaker Sewing-Room5
CRAFT: How do you feel when your space is organized? Unorganized?
Ellen: I am so much happier in an organized space. We have a regular cycle of mess and cleaning in our house. It’s often one extreme or the other, but having a tidy workspace definitely helps me stay focused.
CRAFT: Describe your dream workspace.
Ellen: I know lots of people are working from their dining room table or in a bedroom corner, so I’m thrilled to have a dedicated sewing room. Aside from working on a beach in Tahiti, I couldn’t ask for much more.
CRAFT: How does the way your craft space is organized affect your crafting/creativity?
Ellen: I spend a lot of time preparing to sew. I think about projects in the shower, in the car, make sketches and write lists all before I even cut a piece of fabric. Cleaning up my work space is often part of the preparation. I’m sure that my spontaneous creativity is hindered by this process, but I do enjoy plenty of unplanned craft moments with my kids.
Ellenbaker Sewing-Room6


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Comments

  1. Tsoniki Crazy Bull says:

    I do have one question – how does Ellen like the Hello Kitty sewing machine??
    My daughter got one for Christmas and it just doesn’t work. The thread gets tangled if you look at it the wrong way. I’m on the verge of taking it back to the store – actually I’m already planning on returning it, I’m just very sad it doesn’t work the way I thought it would. :(
    Thanks! :)

  2. Kat says:

    I love this series, it’s very motivating and inspiring which is just what I need as I just moved and finally have a room of my own for my craft business!
    I’ve been thinking of painting my walls a very similar color—any chance I could get the name of the paint/brand?
    This looks like a very sweet and functional space though, thanks for sharing!

  3. Laura Cochrane says:

    Her walls look a similar color to the walls in my bedroom. Ellen’s might be a bit darker – mine are pretty pale green, but FYI, the paint I used is Behr’s “Lime Juice.”

  4. ellen luckett baker says:

    The wall color is Martha Stewart’s “Freshwater Aquarium” from Valspar at Lowe’s. But it looks like she’s moving her paint line to Home Depot, so it might not be available anymore. It is an extremely pale aqua and very soothing. I love pale blues for spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms (and sewing rooms).
    As for the question about the Hello Kitty machine: My daughter wanted a child-sized machine, though I tried to let her use my old reliable Singer. This one sews just fine, but the bobbin is difficult to load. I also have to hold down the backstitch lever for the children because it’s too hard for them. I still recommend giving a child a used full-sized machine rather than a kid’s machine. No need to be frustrated just when you are learning. But of course there’s something to be said for the appeal of Hello Kitty.

  5. alison says:

    I have a lovely 8 year old girl and she has shoen some interest in sewing- currently she has an old hand cranked singer I got in an auction but she is pretty limited to what she can do with it -but I am wondering about getting her a small machine in John Lewis ( a UK department store) – it is not advertised as a child’s machine but it does say it is for light fabrics. Do you have any expereince with a small adult machine. Thanks

  6. Natalie Zee Drieu says:

    I am all for a child to learn on an adult machine, just make sure it’s easy to thread for them. The machine you mention sounds good.