Creative craft spaces: Sew Can Do

Creativity magazine meets Cheryl Bush, a blogger, designer-maker and mother of three who has created a craft space in her kitchen!

Your creative studio is quite unconventional – it’s a kitchen and craft room all in one! Amazing. Tell us more.

It's actually a former kitchenette/laundry room. Our house is a tri-level design, so this was on the lower floor as part of an in-laws quarters. As our real kitchen only has a cooktop, I need to do all baking in the oven here. It is still very much a multi-purpose room. I have a lot of easy access storage that also doubles as workspace, so it doesn't feel cramped - despite being small. The only time it's a bit tricky is when I'm in the middle of cutting out a lot of fabric on the floor and need to get food in and out of the oven - then it's a bit of a dance!  

How did you decide to divide the space up?

The room is very narrow and had cabinets all along one side when we moved in. The other side was a long wall with a deep closet that originally held a large refrigerator. I took the doors off the closet to turn it into an alcove and made it my sewing nook, where both my sewing machines, notions and hardware all reside. There's just enough room for my sewing desk, dress form and chair. I stack a lot of my fabric on the shelves above.

Being right next to the window makes the lighting ideal. Along the long bare wall I added my craft desk, which is tall enough to stand at and holds all my supplies like cardstock, paints, beads, jewellery tools, pens, glues and ironing gear. It's deep enough to be a nice workspace, but still leaves plenty of room to move around. The other side of my room is still the original built-in cabinets, mostly filled with non-craft things like baking supplies, plus a full stove. So while I can craft and sew along one side of the room, I can do my baking and store pans etc. on the other. It's a small space, but I make the most of it.

What are the five things in your craft stash that you couldn’t be without?

• My storage desks from The Original Scrapbox - I saved up for these, and their semi-custom drawers and shelves mean there are loads of nooks and crannies for all my things. They have been a huge help at keeping my space very organized and allow me to fit loads of things in my little room, yet still be able to access everything easily.

• My extra-large cutting mat and rotary cutter - Huge time savers for measuring and cutting materials.

• Frixion colored pens - They're great for writing on paper and can be erased. They’re also fantastic for marking on fabric, and easily disappear when ironed.

• My iron - I hate ironing clothes in general, but I couldn't live without ironing my fabrics whilst I'm sewing things up!

• Tracing paper - It's useful for all kinds of things.

Did you make any bits to go into your craft space?

Yes, I made a less-than-useful sink into extra counter space and an in-counter ironing surface by removing the [tap] and cutting a piece of MDF to fit. By upholstering it with thermal batting and a layer of cute flannel fabric on top, it's become a big ironing surface that I never have to fold up. It even doubles as a giant hot pad for cooling my baking. Since it rests in the lip all the way around the sink it's perfectly lined up with the counter for extra workspace. And if a day comes when I want it to be a sink again, the board is easy to remove to put a [tap] back in.  

I also made some custom wall art using scrapbook paper and came up with a simple but effective way to display and access my ribbon spools - hanging them on shoelaces.

Do you have a designated area where you keep everything that inspires you?

I like to have my inspiration all around me, so it's everywhere. I keep colourful things like trim, beads and paints in clear jars on shelves and just under the clear tops of my desks. That way, I can be reminded of what I have and always see pretty things I would forget to use if they were tucked away. I also have a little whimsy shelf just above my sewing machine where I keep some of my sewing themed knick-knacks in view.

What would be your top tip for others looking to create their own craft oasis?

Look at your space in a new way. Don't lament what you don't have, simply find your space's strengths.  Being inventive is key. Turn a desk on an angle or a different wall to find extra space, or repurpose a cupboard by adding bins or a shelf to make it more useful. At first I thought the large sink area was a disadvantage, until I realized I could make it into a built-in ironing/cooling surface. Now it's one of the best features of my craft room. 

Shopping around the other rooms in your house is another great way to get your space started. The white shelf next to my sewing machine was actually from a bathroom. I used it here and just added some Ikea storage buckets to the towel bar portion. Now it seems like it was made for a craft space.

For more craft space tips and tricks, check out our fabulous feature in issue 65 of Creativity magazine.


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