Organize Sewing & Craft Room
“All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” – Acts 9:39
(Italics and comments are mine)
Now there was in Joppa (a seaport town) a disciple (of Christ) named Tabitha, which, translated (from Hebrew), means Dorcas (Greek). She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room (traditionally she would have been buried but they waited).
Since Lydda was near Joppa (11 miles away), the disciples, hearing that Peter was there (he had just cured a paralytic), sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows (assumed to be poor; there were few ways they could make money for themselves) stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them (keep in mind that everything was handmade, no machines. It wasn’t common for lower class people to have multiple sets of clothes, only the wealthy could afford it. So a new anything would have been a marvelous gift).
But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed (asking God what He wanted him to do); and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord (her popularity had provided many witnesses to testify to this miracle). And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner (a poor man by profession).
So what’s so amazing about this story? There are lots of miracle stories in the bible, but why is this one in there? I will not go into how we all have skills/resources that we should be using to serve Christ, like sewing or whatever. While that is true, I don’t believe that is the point of this story. That is not the reason Luke included it in his testament of the Acts of the Apostles.
This story is amazing because it led to people being saved. This is how Christ built the church of believers after His ascension. And why did people believe that Jesus was the Christ that paid for their sins? Because they heard that an apostle of Christ prayed in the name and power of Jesus and raised a woman back to life from death! Why did they accept it as truth? Because several witnesses in Joppa knew this woman alive, saw her dead, and had seen her alive again. Why did so many people know her? Because Tabitha was frequently in the community doing good works and acts of charity. Why was she full of good works and acts of charity? Because she was a genuine disciple of Christ. Why was she a disciple? Because she heard and believed that the Messiah had come and died for her sins so she could be reconciled with our perfect God. And how did she hear this good news? Because someone had told her.
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” –Romans 10:14
Your greatest skill, good work, and act of charity is being able to tell someone what Christ has done for you.
This is the sewing room when we first looked at the house. There is water damage to the wood paneling, the floor tiles are coming up, and there are still some bones left from the ceiling tiles. There are nails all over and missing shelf brackets on the walls. The window wells on the exterior are lower than the ground; these will need to be replaced to prevent future damage. The mold inspection came back clean, so we are all set for clean up.
And this is what the room looked like after we dumped all of our stuff in it. Before you get judgmental on me, most of these boxes are filled with fabric, family albums, art supplies, canning jars, and legal documents (aka things I can’t throw away). Nate has also thrown some of the garage and hunting items in this room that will be moved out.
This is a nice photo of how I dumped my yellow tool box after the dentist mural. It did not have a permanent home yet, so the temporary home becomes the middle of the floor like most messes . . .
I started by moving out any items that did not pertain to this room: canning jars, snow tires, deer pelt, lawn chairs (when we moved we downsized our garage by more than half), etc.
Then I decided to start by working on the pegboard wall. It looks like the previous owners had glued, now ancient, cork board strips over half of the pegboard. It was very dry and crumbly, so I scraped it off in chunks (which made an enormously dirty mess) with a painter’s tool. Then I went over it again to scrape off the remaining glue residue.
Close up after I had begun . . .
I then made a mental list of the variety of items I needed to organize: plant hooks, office supplies, painting and drawing supplies, threads and bobbins, yarn & lace, drapery hooks, & other sewing supplies. And I started inserting pegboard hooks and hanging these items in groups (Big thanks to my good friend, Kelsey, for the box of pegboard hooks!). I made a few adjustments to placement as I went along and found misc. items in random boxes. I still had a few containers full of family items from people that passed away that I hadn’t organized yet.
I needed some heavier hooks for certain items like baskets, but needed to make the holes larger to fit. It was super easy and they fit perfectly by finding a drill bit that was the same size as the hook post.
I grabbed an office supply draw from upstairs and started organizing items into jars: paint brushes, pens, pencils, colored pencils, thumbtacks, paper clips, blending stumps, erasers, etc. I was half done with this draw before I remembered to snap a photo.
My mother had given me a wooden shelf (built by an uncle) and I pushed that against the wall near the door (and put some lumber scraps underneath to raise it off the floor in case of water). I moved my books and other random items onto the shelf. That thing with the bag on it is a small monitor. Nate got it for me in case I wanted to play a movie while I’m working on projects; he’s really sweet.
After I got the floor cleaned off and random totes emptied, I moved in my sewing table and chair. This used to be my kitchen table upstairs, but my awesome brother Chad is letting us use a table he inherited from Grandma that was in his basement. My first grown up table and chairs! With a little linseed oil, this will be shiny in no time!
This would be your first sneak preview of the dining room. We haven’t done anything in here other than put our things in it. I put one of Grandma’s braided rugs under her table and I think it looks great. The vase on the table is filled with rhubarb leaves, by the way. Use your imagination when your flowers haven’t started blooming yet!
Then I hung a few pictures and moved my commercial sewing machine in place. This machine can sew leather and other materials that would hinder my standard machine.
I swept the floor the best I could and wiped it down with soap and water (the floor will probably need this several times yet). As I was cleaning the floor the tiles kept coming loose, so I threw away several. I laid a rug we weren’t using and moved in another pegboard I will eventually hang to organize fabric & gift wrapping supplies from the closet.
I placed my jars on top of a third sewing machine table (this machine still needs some repairs). It’s the kind of table that hides the machine under it, pretty cool. I have long and short brushes, watercolor pencils, colored pencils, stirring spoons, erasers, markers, clips, etc. Now I don’t have to dig to find what I need.
You may be wondering how I accumulated so many machines. My mother had given them to me after my g-ma passed away. Grandma Barbara and my mom were both professional seamstresses at one time in their lives. I will not live up to this expectation, but I can make a pretty mean curtain. 😉 This is the machine I use for most things.
I used two tension rods and drapery panels I already owned to cover the closet door (curtains are leftovers of brother Chad).
Everything is neatly organized in there, but I still have some condensing & consolidating to do with the fabric to make more room.
When I was finished organizing, I realized that the lighting was very poor for sewing projects. I needed a light source near both of the tables. So Nate talked me through how to move the existing light near the commercial sewing table.
First, unscrew the light bulb.
Second, make sure the electric is off. This light fixture just plugs in, so we did that. Nate has a handy tool to make certain electric is off. Green means go, red means stop and try again.
Third, loosen the screws that hold the socket onto the electrical house and remove the exterior.
Fourth, loosen the screws that are holding down the wiring inside the interior mount. For this single light fixture, these two wires are the same. That is not the case with complex lighting and ceiling fans, so take care to remember what you need to do in reverse to hook it back up.
Fifth, pull the wires through the mount and remove it completely. Btw, this is Nate’s hairy hand, not mine. I just needed to clarify, I’m a little tom-boyish but not steroid-manish.
Six, unscrew the electrical house from the ceiling. Then reverse these steps to mount in the place you want it.
When tightening the wires back down, make sure they are twisted back up and wrapped around the screws in the clockwise position. That way when you tighten them up, the screws will grab the wires and hold them down snuggly.
Then Nate had an extra florescent light to hang over my standard sewing machine. He drilled a couple of pilot holes for hooks to screw in by hand, then hung the light within distance of plugging into the electric on the existing light fixture.
Now everything is nice and bright!
Nate also moved in the orange chair from upstairs just in case we need to hang out in here when it’s hot this summer. Mom & Rick dropped off a second shelf for my fabric, and I hung a wire shelf between the windows to store my drop cloths.
We will renovate this room eventually, with new walls, windows, flooring, and electric; but for right now, this room is functional and ready to use! Sewing party anyone?