Do NOT underestimate the power of an organized, clean closet.  It can work some mental magic.   It just feels so good to know there is no mess behind closed doors.

This is a shared office space for two, but until recently, I’ve been the one who uses the space the most.  I updated this room a few years back. It went from looking like this:

to looking like this:

I’ve recently started a new hobby, machine embroidery, requiring  storage for new supplies. Ultimately, to help with storage, I want to install a set of built-in shelves on each side of the window.   But I was able to make a quick update to the office closet to help with storing our supplies right now! This update only took two hours total so you can do this on a weekend and have plenty of time left over to sit back and feel accomplished. Here’s what it looked like before:

I measured the closet space to determine the length of shelves needed. At Home Depot, I purchased one 12 foot melamine board and had it cut in store into two 44 inch pieces.   I bought four 12 inch metal brackets to hold the shelves.  The brackets are rated to hold up to 250 lbs, so they are strong and sturdy.  At home, we used a stud finder to locate the studs behind the closet wall and marked them with a pen.   Then we just used the drill to screw the brackets into place, using a level to make sure everything lined up.   The shelf installation literally took about 30 minutes.   Painting two coats of white paint took the rest of the time.

Now the closet functions much better for us, as an easy to access space to store our hobby and craft supplies.

Don’t wait! If you have a closet that isn’t performing as it should, make a quick update to make it work better for you!

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I’m very excited that I’m learning how to embroider!  I have had two embroidery lessons (via Skype) and worked on two different projects, in addition to just practicing.    As with most new hobbies, there is a lot to learn when you first begin.   I am starting with a basic machine that I bought secondhand.  I have a Brothers Disney PE-180D machine.  The Disney branding just means that the machine comes with built-in Disney patterns.  It also comes with three fonts to select from when embroidering letters and numbers.  This is what I’m most excited about! I love monogrammed, personalized items!

In addition to the machine,  I also purchased a set of basic supplies from Stitch N Craft Supply (if you are in need of sewing supplies, check them out!):

My mom is a talented seamstress, but I do not sew at all so there is quite a learning curve for me.   It takes some practice just to set up the machine properly, threading the top thread and the bobbin thread.  Those tasks were completed in my first lesson and then I just did some practice stitching.   My first real project was a set of cotton napkins.   I practiced letters on scrap fabric first and then setup the machine to monogram the napkins.   You can see from my practice fabric that I considered putting a border around the initial, but in the end I kept it simple and just went with the one letter on the final napkin.

My second embroidery lesson covered stitching a t-shirt.  As you know, t-shirt material is stretchy and less stiff than woven fabrics so there are some techniques to employ to be able to embroider them properly.  In most projects, you hoop both the item you are stitching together with the stabilizer being used but in this case, I hooped the stabilizer on it’s own (I used cut-away for this project) and used pins (safety pins were all I had, but in the future I will use regular push pins) to hold the t-shirt in place on the hooped stabilizer.  This is a method you can use to avoid ‘hoop burn’ – the imprint of the hoop never going away.   In the end, I still didn’t line things up properly because my stitching ended up slanting down and not going straight across the t-shirt.

I wanted to gift some friends a set of Turkish towels for their anniversary.   So, I decided personalizing these towels would be a perfect choice for my second embroidery project.   I have a set of these myself, and love them, so I decided to practice on one of my own first.   I am not sure what I did wrong, but somehow the bobbin thread got misdirected and I ended up with a jammed thread mess on my first few attempts to stitch the towel.   I took things apart and managed to get the thread in properly and tried again.   To stitch the towels, I used wash-away stabilizer.   I read on a few sites that people use cut-away stabilizer on towels, but those sites all referenced terry cloth towels, and Turkish towels are a flat, woven cotton, not terry cloth.   Plus, with cut-away stabilizer, you will see the stabilizer on the backside of the towel and I didn’t want that.    So, I used the wash-away stabilizer on both the front and back of the stitching, just sandwiching the towel in between two pieces of stabilizer when I hooped it (wash-away stabilizer is clear).

Here you can see the finished stitching with the jump threads still present and then after I carefully snipped them.

I am already realizing some limitations with my machine, one being that I am limited to a 4 x 4 inch embroidery area, and the other being that I only have three fonts.  However, I think we have a remedy for the font problem, so once the solution arrives,  I will practice with some new fonts and can tell you all about it!



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