I just joined MQP a few moments ago & then went to Favorite Tools & was captivated by the previous discussions re: wall color, lighting etc. for a new sewing/quilting space. I live 30 + miles off the grid & my husband built me a 'shed' 10 x 18' for
laundry, office, ironing, sewing/quilting, cutting table etc. I have sketched & re-sketched my layout numerous times so I can be very organized & get everything in
that I need. Tom also added a 10' x 4' loft to the back for 'storage' & items I use but not every day. Two windows were also added, one at the back 2'x3' tall & one in the front corner where my machine will go to give me natural daylight. My sewing cabinet will be placed across one of the double doors so in the summer time I can open both doors & see the mountains hundreds of miles away & enjoy the fresh air & view as I work.  Tom also installed all my many outlets (he does not believe in extension cords) at a height above my work surfaces, so I don't have to get on my knees to plug in or unplug anything.  I have also decided to paint the ceiling an off white matte color (no glare) & the walls a very pale blue/green, very pale & I have several floor lamps as well as table top ones to provide direct light but all have been outfitted with the newest bulbs as we have NO UTILITIES here & live off SOLAR only. So on really cloudy days, I need to do things that don't require the machine or the use of electricity.  My planning I hope will pay off with a really nice place to work & create for now.  Our house will come after Tom's shop is built, and way down the road I will move into a "Big Barn with 2 lofts, one at each end; it is 12' wide x 32 feet long & will have it's own solar for my machines, iron, radio, tv , heater etc. + all my stash & equipment will be in ONE place. At the moment this barn is storing all our furniture & household items, so you can see the house has to come first. All this is coming late in life, as I just turned 74 & we do all the work ourselves, Tom put in the Solar by himself, had the well dug for water & we installed our own water pump, the sewer system is 85% completed & we currently live in a 5th wheel, so a lot has been accomplished in the relatively short time we have been here in New Mexico.  If anyone has any suggestions or comments, I would enjoy hearing from you.

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Wow, BA...only in my dreams could this happen and the plans sound fantabulous!!  Congratulations and welcome!  Do you lend out your Tom?  LOL!

Would love to see pics when you are all situated!!   Looking (as always) for inspiration and great plannind ideas...

Wendy :D

Thanks so much for your kind words, I have been a sewer (unwanting the 'task' at the time) I would just watch the squirrels playing tag on the huge trees outside! My mom was a sewer that never needed a pattern to make anything, she would sketch it & then just make it. (I did not realize how good she was till I was much older). Then in my first Home Ec classes the teacher made us do everything according to the pattern & this was in complete contrast to my mom's teachings which made me dislike the sewing even more.  I got through the classes then years later when I was expecting my first child one neighbor in the apt complex, gave me a lovely piece of fabric & several weeks later another neighbor lent me her machine & I made a skirt that afternoon & wore it the next day.  That did it.  The spark was lit & I have been sewing & designing ever since.  I came up with a way to put a zipper in a garment that made it almost fool proof & my mom said I had to teach her my technique!   I was very pleased with her request.  Fortunately, she did see many of my creations & designs before her passing.  I just don't have enough time to bring to completion all the things floating around in my head; but I try.  So the sooner I can 'move into the shed' the sooner I can get started.

Thanks again for your kind words.  I will try & post some of my things for viewing.

B.A....sounds great to me.  I want to move in with you.  Sounds like you are a very organized individual and you have great plans.  I would think you would get a lot of sun exposure in New Mexico-but you probably have already checked in with off the grid/alternative energy/solar energy blogs to make sure you will get the full benefit from your solar energy.  I am jealous-hope I can write a post like this some day.  Best to you and Tom!
Thanks so much for your comments.  I really didn't think anyone would be to interested in what I had to say, but felt compelled to write it anyway.  So your reply was most welcomed & I appreciate it very much.  Tom checked into all the directions & did all the research he could before building our 'system'  we just need to keep enlarging it so we can have electricity whenever we want & that is just a matter of time.  I am a 'compulsive organizer' & drive Tom nuts & it has been so hard for all our 'stuff' is stored in several barns & sea containers; with so many places to look for things it's really been hard.  My only salvation is knowing that that will end someday & so far my memory as to the location of things has been pretty accurate, thank goodness (but then times are we can't get to it for it is buried to far in).  Will try & post some photos soon, thanks again for your reply & you would be welcomed any time.
Can't wait to see the pictures.  Getting ready to visit a friend in the Pacific NW who is close to being off the grid.  I need to improve my organization in my sewing room.  I am so organized in my workplace and I have let myself go at home.  You will inspire me to get my backside in gear.  New Mexico is one of the places I have always wanted to visit-might make it some day.  Sea containers-have you been traveling abroad?  I started sewing about 14 years ago-late.  Prior to that busy playing volleyball until I tore my ACL.  After getting it repaired I gave up the volleyball and mom asked me to go to her quilting class.  I thought I'll do it and then she will get off my a--.  I fell in love with it.  I worked with a woman who talked me into going to the Paducah, KY show-I was hooked.   Just got home from quilting with my mom tonight.  Still have a lot to learn from her and love sharing the time with her.  She does incredible hand applique-and I love doing the same.   I have never done any clothing-hope to learn how.  Hey, you can still learn a lot of new things in your 50s right?  Look forward to seeing your updates.  Continued success to you.

Hi Beth,

Glad to hear from you & that you are enjoying time with you mom, learning & building memories together, what could be better.   Being a compulsive organizer is a blessing & a curse at the same time.  I drive Tom crazy for he is not as concerned about the whereabouts of things (till he is in need) then so much time is wasted "looking" for the tool to save time on the project at hand. I am still learning in my 70's, so go for all you can.   My favorite is ribbon embroidery developing my own designs as I go along.  I find the more variations of techniques I can develop the more accomplished I feel, then I take what I know & combine them for a totally different look; it is called mixed media.  I through in a little painting, embroidery, sewing, applique, quilting & what ever else is on hand.  I will try & post some photo's soon, probably after the upcoming wedding of my oldest grandson on 9/2 so we will be leaving for about a week driving back to NE for the festivities.

Do keep in touch, as you progress & enjoy the learning experience with you mom,

These are just a few shots of a T-neck top I did practicing the grapes & was pleased with  the result.



Beautiful.  I still have so much to learn.  Looking forward to tomorrow night quilting with mom.  It is special that I am able to learn from her and spend that special time with her.  Hope I grow to be as talented.
FANTASTIC! I think your off-grid life sounds wonderful! Have you read Helen and Scott Nearings books "The Good Life" .... etc? You are living the dream! Just wait till you get it all done, you will have lots of time to SEW! (Please keep us posted on your progress!

I am jealous, I have a coffee table that lifts up to sitting height, a kitchen chair, I8X24 cutting mat, a old MaryKay case that has pullout drawers, a small table top ironing board and a 10 yr old iron, an inexpensive Babyloc machine and a TV tray.  My fabric is in large Ziploc bags and vacuum storage bags that fit in an old Walmart storage crate and for a new quilter I am happy. My husband is an invalid and i can set in the room with him, watch TV, and look up stuff on the computer while I quilt, multitasking at its finest.

Janet!  I think we live in the same house!  I sew on the dining room table, have a BabyLock Grace, and put everything back in the spare bedroom closet when I need to make a meal.  Not real convenient, but I am a newbie too and so it doesn't bother me - yet.  How wonderful that you can be with your husband while you create!  Keep at it! 


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