The new light is 4 ft long and filled with 4 fluorescent lamps! Thanks to Josh's knowledge of lighting for his fish tanks he made sure to select "daylight" lamps which seriously pack a bright punch. Here's the immediate difference in my photographs:
What I like the most about electrical work is how logical it all is. Everything is color coded: black wires, white wires and bare or green grounding wires. So long as you don't go mixing up the colors, you're going to be okay.
While this isn't for everyone, I'm always looking for any way we can save a the money and time waiting on an electrician to come over because they never exactly show up on cue! All told the light and new lamps cost less than $75.00, which is totally worth it in the amount of light they're now generating for this room.
When I posted the photo above on facebook, it generated a lot of questions about where this room is and what I use it for.
This room is our basement kitchen, which you've seen the other half in my dyeing photo:
It's not a perfect looking space with high ceilings and gorgeous windows, but it is functional and big, which is far more important.
Over the years I've fiddled around with it quite a bit to find a good setup for working here. In truth, we've never been able to budget for me to have a full 100% remodel of this room, so I've always made do with small $50-$100 changes at a time.
So what do I use this room for? It's primarily a studio for preparing and cutting fabric. I have a large cutting mat that stretches over part of the tables, and large pressing surfaces that can be also laid over the tables.
The tables themselves are also useful for laying out large quilt patterns, marking using the light boxes, and basting and sometimes blocking.
Up until now the biggest issue in this room has been light. Low ceilings are the bane of good lighting as they cause some really weird shadows. Now with the new florescent fixture in place, I can actually SEE and it's making an enormous difference when using the room.
When it comes to any sewing or quilting space, my best advice is to make do with what you have, but always have an eye for what will make it better. I keep a little file in my computer of different ideas that I see at places like IKEA, Lowes, and Walmart. IKEA is probably the most dangerous as that store seems to be designed with quilters in mind!
I play a game with myself when I find something interesting and useful. I budget out the whole project: if it's new tables, how much do they cost? Will I need new screws or other hardware? How much do the legs cost? I break it all down very carefully because it's easy to overlook expenses in the rush and excitement to change something.
Why spend so much time and energy thinking about this kind of thing? Because a space can always be better, more functional, more useful. Things don't have to stay the way you find them!
When I was a kid, the family sewing machine was kept in a horrible old cabinet that never felt "right" and was always awkward to use. This entire piece of furniture was huge and bulky and there never seemed to be a good place for it in the house. It always ended up shut up in a corner with no light and no electricity so it couldn't even be used.
Finally when I was in high school, I removed that machine from the cabinet and suddenly, it became the most useful tool in the house! I could put it on the kitchen table where there was light and electricity and sew through a project and put it away. It would be years before I set up a machine in a table again, or had a dedicated sewing space, but that experience taught me that change is not just good, it's essential.
If something is not working in your sewing area - CHANGE IT!
Think about what needs to happen to make it better, budget for the change, then make it happen. I promise, you will be a much happier quilter and your sewing ability will likely improve as well!
Let's go quilt,