Tuesday Try This #14: Pressing Matters

What can she be on about now?

What can she be on about now?

I live in a very small space. Some of the things I love about it are: it doesn’t take long to clean; the trip back to the bedroom for that thing you forgot is only a few steps; and we make an effort to stay where the weather is mild and pleasant, so we are easily able to get out and away from the house and one another. Some of the challenges are: it doesn’t take long to mess it up; no matter how well I organise my crafting and sewing supplies, every time I use them they get in a jumble; and there is no room to iron. The ironing issue is the one I have addressed in this post.

Since we moved into our trailer, I have been trying to figure out a solution to the problem. I used to do all my ironing in my kitchen or living room while enjoying an evening of television or a movie. While there wasn’t a lot of space in either of those rooms, the ironing board had a home in a closet nearby where it stayed out of sight until needed, leaving lots of closet space for the other things that tend to live in closets, like clothing, cleaning supplies, boots and spiders. Some of those things were more welcome than others, and still are.

I have looked at inexpensive ironing boards that are significantly smaller than their adult counterparts, right down to the teeny, tiny short legs that allow one to set them on a table for use. I hesitated to just buy the first possible solution, and happily so. While trolling thrift shops for interesting fabrics last summer and recently, I spotted several of those ironing boardlets that did not look very old, other than an almost universal sag in the ironing surface. The appearance of these boards led me to believe that I do not want one. For several months I have been using  an old towel, folded and placed on the kitchen counter. This works for some jobs, but not all. Mostly it works for very small jobs.

Hmmm, what else could I think of? A tabletop board is not viable, as I have only one table inside, and if I am ironing, there is a good chance the sewing machine occupies that spot. Even if I am just pressing a blouse, the height of that table just does not lend itself to a back pain free ironing experience. While I was browsing one of my favourite quilting blogs one day, Ami Simms gave directions for a quilter’s pressing surface. She bought prefabricated kitchen cupboards (the lower ones) and had them installed in her sewing space, but did not have countertops installed. Instead, she bought a board to fit her space and pressing needs and after covering it with padding and her choice of fabric, attached it to the cupboards in place of a counter. What a fabulous idea, if you need a surface larger than the average household ironing board…or smaller.

I trimmed the corners of the towels for a smoother cover.

I trimmed the corners of the towels for a smoother cover.

Today I returned to the thrift store and for two American dollars acquired a colourful piece of art that, interestingly was made in Canada, and whose original selling price was sixteen Canadian dollars. The most important features of this acquisition are its twelve by twenty-four inch rectangular size and shape, its medium dense fibreboard composition, and its perfect flatness. I took my prize home and covered it tightly with two layers of terry towelling, (thank goodness I can get rid of those ugly old towels!). I secured each layer with copious amounts of duct tape, but only on the underside of the board. The upper side I kept as smooth as possible, then I applied a final layer of a lightweight twill fabric, smoothest side out.

You know, sometimes I impress myself! This Tuesday, try a different approach to an old problem. See what you come up with!

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