Monday, March 15, 2010

Empty Nest, or New Opportunity for a Sewing Room?

Several years ago, our youngest son left for his freshman year at a college about 2 hours away. Maybe something is wrong with my maternal instincts.... Even though I did have a few teary-eyed moments when I left him at the dorms, my tears soon faded as my mind shifted to plans for turning his very large room in our basement into my new and improved sewing room.

Really, those kids don't need to have their childhood rooms preserved forever just so they can stay in them a few minutes when they come home to visit. Isn't it better for their long-term mental health if their parents set good examples by living happy and productive lives? And if changing Kyle's teenage man-cave to a sewing room would help me live a happy and productive life, then I think it was the right step to take.

So I cleared his stuff out of there, installed adjustable wire shelving in the closet all by myself, and moved my fabric stash in. Then I went to Lowes to buy three 4' x 8' sheets of insulation board. I covered the insulation boards with white batting and tacked them together along one wall to create a 12' x 8' design board that I could stick pins in. Perfect! I could put all the pieces for one or more projects on the wall with enough room to stand back, preview, and rearrange before I sewed.

I moved my cutting table, sewing table, and few other pieces of furniture in and started working. The room wasn't nearly as pretty as the quilt studios you see in magazines because of my mish-mash of furniture, but it was very user-friendly. And we have a very comfortable guest bed for Kyle to use when he comes home to visit. If it's already being used, there's a futon couch in another room. OK, no closet space in either of those rooms; they're filled with quilts. But this college boy leaves most of his clothes on the floor anyway.

So I encourage you — when those children finish high school, validate their wishes for independence by giving them a gentle shove out of the nest. When you remove their Sports Illustrated swimsuit clippings from the walls and replace them with mini-quilts, or give away the clothes they won't wear anymore so you can use the closet space for your fabric, you are showing them that you have full confidence in their new roles as responsible young adults who are learning how to live on their own.

A footnote: I wish I had a picture of my new room to show you. Well, I do, but it's not a happy one....

Two years ago, our basement's sump pump failed during one of our week-long Kentucky rainstorms. It could have been much worse, and was for many families, so I'm grateful to get off relatively easy. But it's taken a long time to deal with the damage. The resulting 3" of water ruined all the carpeting and seeped up the drywall and insulation, forcing us to remove and replace the bottom 2 feet of drywall everywhere. My fabric stash was safe because it was all up on shelves, but a few of my in-progress projects were in tote bags on the floor, and they were ruined. When the insurance money ran out soon after we paid the company that removed all the water and carpeting, plans for fixing the damage went on hold.

So, my lovely sewing room has gone unused for awhile. Except for a few little projects sewn at my dining room table, my quilting projects have been pushed to the back burner while other parts of life have taken over. Dealing with the happy and sad events that often occur in the lives of women in their 50s — family weddings, deaths, births, illnesses — has taken up much of my time and mental energy in the last two years.

And no, I don't think this is karma for taking over Kyle's room! But it is why I have been so erratic with the blogging lately. We're finally reclaiming our basement. I am so excited! But to save money I am doing all the wall preparation and painting myself. So I haven't had time to blog recently. Why is today's blog so long then, you ask? Well, because it's easier to write long than to write short. No extra time spent editing today!

Back to a happy note: Recently I made a little quilt with a new cutting tool. In my opinion, the new tool provided an easy way to make a somewhat complicated design. No appliqué involved, but I think it looks like a little fancy piecing. In a day or 2, I'll show you what I mean!

Happy trails for now,


1 comment:

  1. Hello Karla
    I have also taken over my sons room. I hope you are back on track with you sewing room soon.
    I love you work.