better homes than yours · crafty · DIY · quilty pleasures · Renovation

Day 69: Welcome to the Messy Place!

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here. Welcome to the Makery!

Prior to our renovation, I wanted a space for my sewing and woodworking projects. Then it dawned on me that my kids should have a place to work on projects where it would be okay to not clean up every single time. We needed a messy space, and my concept for the Makery was born.

Not long after the concept, I came up with a motto for our Makery: “Don’t just stand there… make something!” Our good friend Tanya very kindly used her vinyl-cutting machine to make the letters for us. The plan was for each of us to make one letter from the word “Makery” so that we’d have the whole word, made in six different media, on the wall. That hasn’t happened yet, but I remain hopeful.

Here’s my sewing area. It’s in what I’ve dubbed the “clean” half of the room. The IKEA Trofast bins on the right of the photo are full of quilting fabrics in every colour imaginable. I’ve got my threads all lined up nicely and all the tools and notions are close at hand while I sew. My favourite practical detail here has got to be the huge jars across the top of the shelf — those are my scrap jars. I fell in love with scrap projects a while ago, and even when I’m not opening them up regularly, these jars are pretty and cheerful.

I have tons of these bins. Starting under the window (everything before the window is fabric), everything above table height is my hardware or household supplies, all organized by material or purpose. Below table height is where I keep some of the craft materials that the kids are allowed to access: modelling clay, beads, boondoggle, stamps, paints, papercrafting supplies, and stickers.

Now let’s shift to the “messy” side of the Makery. The white cabinets are from our old kitchen — we removed and salvaged them ourselves. Now they’re home to my collection of non-quilting fabrics: minky, fleece, chenille, flannel, and a bunch of other stuff I couldn’t even name. It’s all in there. Below the fabric cabinet is a desk for the kids. You see it here in its natural state, which is to say, covered in stuff. To the left of the desk, open shelves (also from our old kitchen) hold more craft supplies. The blue cart in the foreground has containers of tools: clay tools, pencils, markers, pens, scissors.

Our printer lives in the corner, along with many reams of paper. You would not believe how much paper and ink we’ve gone through since the lockdown started. We also have a set of laundry machines here: these are our old washer and dryer. They were already ten years old when we were moving back in, and I didn’t want to build our laundry room upstairs around machines that could die in just a few years; so we have this set downstairs and another set upstairs. This set is supposed to be for things that are gross or that we don’t want to carry upstairs to wash. I doubt we’ll replace them when they go.

To the right of the laundry machines, under the window, we have a run of cabinets from, you guessed it, our old kitchen. The sink is fabulous for soaking brushes and washing out paint trays. My favourite thing about it is the lack of pressure to clean the sink itself. I like to think of the paint drips as decoration.

In the drawers I’ve stashed more materials. The large bottom drawer holds all kinds of small scraps of wood. The top large drawer holds cardboard for the kids to use in their crafts. You can see my paintbrushes, paint trays, and spray bottles all stored on the wall rail above the sink. The toaster oven on the counter is for crafts like Fimo and Shrinky Dinks, which need to be baked as part of the process.

My workbench is on the same wall as my sewing room, but on opposite sides of the “clean/messy” line. The two chunky base units were my kitchen island in our first apartment on Charles Street; we added a long countertop and then I hacked a couple of drawers from our old PAX wardrobes to hold my screws, nails, and other hardware, as well as sets of drill bits and other small tool accessories. Magnetic strips on the wall are a handy place to throw things that I haven’t had a chance to sort yet, and all my tools are hanging right in front of me. It’s a great setup.

In the centre of the room stands our old dining room table. At 5 feet by 7 feet, it’s got enough room for many crafters at once, or for huge projects. You can also see our kids’ easel, which gets moved around as needed.

So that’s it. The messy, the clean… well, in theory, anyhow. It’s all pretty messy, which is how I always thought it would be. It’s a workspace, not a showpiece… although I do like to use my work to decorate the space whenever possible, which is why this unfinished quilt top is just hanging on the wall, waiting to be completed.

One thought on “Day 69: Welcome to the Messy Place!

  1. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!! You are so creative and inspired. Your children are lucky to have such an environment in which to grow and explore. WOW!!!!!!!! THANK YOU.

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