We bought this little gold miner’s cabin in 2009. The cabin was originally built by a gold miner for his wife in 1920 when McCarthy was a booming mining town. They, with their two daughters, lived here year round.
When we purchased the cabin it was a dream of mine to convert part of the old garage into a small sewing studio. The biggest obstacle to doing this was creating a solar system that could juice an iron. Sewing machines, even the fancy computerized ones, take very little electrical power, but an iron is one of the biggest energy drains you can put on a system. Our cabin came with this little solar panel which powered small electronics and lamps.
Several years back, I wrote a grant requesting funds from the Sustain Arts Foundation to build and power an off the grid sewing studio so that I could be out in McCarthy with our boys and still work without a generator disturbing the peace and quiet of downtown McCarthy. The Sustain Arts Foundation funds artists and writers with families. And they funded me so while I work, my kids can do stuff like this. AWESOME.
With the grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, we were able to install these two beautiful solar panels on the side of our house.
With these panels, I can iron on most sunny days. If we get a streak of rainy weather, the system is set up so that I run the generate for about half an hour, and it juices everything back up for the day. Last year, I used about five gallons of gas to power my iron and sewing machine for two months of sewing. This year, with all of the sun we’ve been having, it will be much less.
I have a very large design wall here. In fact, it is my largest design wall. Too bad it has a pole in the middle of it! Still it works great. This year, we installed particle board for my design wall. I hope next summer we will cover it with felt, but for now, It is a mixture of batting, flannel, and felt.
I have a proper ironing station. Out here, I use what I call an Eco-Iron. Its real name is SteamFast. It is the lowest wattage iron I have found so far. It takes a bit to get it going, but eventually it heats up nicely, and it travels well too.
THANK YOU Sustainable Arts Foundation for funding artists and writers with families!