MarfDaze HQ

By Martha Michaela Hutchman Brown
aka Marf

Today I’m inviting you on an annotated tour of the new MarfDaze studio.

After two years of start-up costs, rookie mistakes and learning on the job, I made my bag-making business, MarfDaze, profitable. To celebrate, my husband and I moved my studio from a smaller room to this one, which used to be my husband’s office. He took over the big guest room on the third floor. So win-win. Except maybe for guests, who are now stuck in my old sewing room.

MarfDaze Sewing Room

The view of my new digs from the doorway.

I love a nice bit of desktop work space. In addition to the cutting table, I have an 8-foot printing, computer, wrapping, writing table. Plus some empty counter space by the fabric bins on the right.

My new sewing machine.

My new sewing machine came with a DVD that teaches you how to thread it. Which I needed. It sits on the school desk I used in middle and high school — the perfect size.

Of course I'm a Pisces.

Of course I’m a Pisces.

I listen to audiobooks and podcasts about history and TV shows I like while I sew. The sewing machine is loud, so I had to buy speakers that were louder.

Also, if you were ever wandering the aisles of Michael’s and wondering what kind of freak would have so much ribbon that she’d need a ribbon rack to affix to her wall, look no further. C’est moi, apparently. (I do it for my business. I have no idea about any amateur ribbon-having freaks, and take no responsibility for, nor claim any special insight into their freaky freaky ribbon-collecting ways.)

Stamped artwork supplied by nieces.

Stamped artwork supplied by nieces.

Above the ribbon is a picture from my parents’ wedding (left to right: dad’s brother, mom, dad) and a picture of me with my parents on my wedding day.

Buffy Cross Stitch

No flash photography, please. Postcards are available in the gift shop.

My sewing room is home to a true collector’s piece: a cross-stitch featuring the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer made by my multi-talented friend Katy.

Note the purple flower from my garden.

No sewing room is complete without a machine in need of a tune-up loitering somewhere. That’s the magical machine upon which I learned to sew. Some day I will take it to get fixed. Some day.

I print all my postage at home, which saves a lot of time. And no more hairy eyeballs from the people at the post office who didn’t like it when I came in with 17 packages and 12 hand-written customs forms for them to deal with.

That's my college diploma above the ironing board.

My college diploma hangs above the ironing board.

Since you’re on the tour, I’ll let you in on a trade secret. You know in the movies how they show people who sew actually sewing? Lies. Sewing is 20 percent ironing, 40 percent measuring, 30 percent cutting and 9 percent futzing with a sewing machine to get it ready and 1 percent stitching.

I have no love of ironing. I never iron my clothes. I never have. However, as an adult, I’ve had two — TWO — jobs that required hours of ironing. I was a wardrobe mistress at a regional theater for two years and I’ve been running MarfDaze since 2010. (I also am a professional writer and editor, but my hard-earned ironing skills aren’t called into play often in the office.)

I would like to kiss whomever invented the rotary cutter for fabric. It makes everything so much easier.

Speaking of my day job, the folks there were kind enough to give me this hand-me-down drafting table a few weeks ago.

IMG_1861

I have time traveling bunnies in my fabric stash. (That may be the only time in the history of man that that sentence has ever been written.)

River Song and The Doctor (from Doctor Who) in bunny-form have lots of adventures in and among my fabrics. She’s always jumping off the shelf and he has to race around in his bunny TARDIS to catch her. If you are very quiet, and listen closely, you can hear her saying saucy, campy things.

Lord of the fabric.

Lord of the fabric.

This is Henry. We met in the gift shop at Hampton Court and I had to take him home. I love Tudor history and this little bear is sporting a look from one of Henry VIII’s most famous portraits.

Like his historical antecedent, my Henry here also has a fine calf, a good tennis game and an eye for the ladies.

He’s surveying his empire with Nymeria, a finger-puppet direwolf. They mind the store when I’m not working in my studio.

The last stop on the tour: A full view of my fabric stash.

IMG_1852

When I moved into this studio, I ditched my old fabric organizing system — big plastic tubs — and treated myself to new bookshelves and fabric mini bolts for a more professional, polished look.

This collection is the culmination of many, many weekends of fabric shopping, laundering, ironing, cutting, measuring, futzing, sewing, marketing, ribbon tying and package mailing. It’s my pride and joy.

Thank you for taking the tour. You may exit through the gift shop.

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