Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ask a Silly Question...

Okay, so I asked if you wanted a post on my craft room reorganization/clean-up. Silly question. As Francie said, organizing is almost as much fun as stamping, and it's fun to see how other people manage all the stuff that goes along with this obsession hobby.

I realized after editing all the pictures that there's way too much for one post, so this will take a few days. It's my hope that in my sharing at a little higher level of detail than strictly necessary, you can get some ideas for not just organization but also for products and a bit of how-to as well.

Before we get started, you should know my space is NOT organized for maximum efficiency. It's actually organized to make me get up and move. Otherwise, I'd sit in that chair for hours...and sitting isn't good for you.  Stamps, paper, and less-used tools are on one side of the room, and my desk, inks, and embellishments are organized on or beside my desk on the other side of the room. I also have to stand to cut and score paper, too.

My craft space is located in a bump-out in the huge recreation room of our finished, walk-out basement. To the left of the first picture below is a wet bar with fridge, sink, and my Keurig. Those are important to have handy to my workspace! There's a ton of natural light coming through an extra-large sliding glass door behind that white curtain.

Let's start today's tour with the desk side of the room. Here's the large view:

On the wall are paintings my mother did (little practice still-lifes that are so colorful!), my college degree with an etching of Duke Chapel, a cross, and a framed cork board for random stuff like a calendar, color wheel, pictures of my kids, etc. It's fun to stare at these beautiful things when I'm overcome with indecision, which happens frequently.

There's also a little plaque my aunt gave me right above the cork board.

And yes, the odd font for the t in still bothers me, but I love the quotation.

A few other observations about the first photo. On top of the self-healing cutting mat there is a large, dark-red pad, rather like a giant, extra-thick mouse pad, on which I do all my stamping. I simply move it out of the way when I need to cut something and move it back when I need to stamp. You can buy these at JoAnn's for not much money, and this is my second one...purchased after the first one became embarrassingly distressed from ten-years of use. The little bit of give on this pad means that stamps rarely leave a bad or incomplete impression...even very large background stamps just stamp better on the pad.

Also, yes that is a space heater beside my chair. My husband keeps our thermostat on 64 degrees all winter, and this is still a basement with a huge glass door. I get cold, and it's hard to stamp straight if you're shivering.

Just sayin'.

Let's move to the desk now.

Front and center on my desk are a craft knife (blade stuck in an old wine cork with a flat edge cut into it so it won't roll around), my neutral inks (pigment and dye), acrylic blocks, post-its, reading glasses (sadly necessary for detail coloring and such), "handmade by" stamps, a white eraser (for conditioning photopolymer stamps as needed). You can see the edge of the large self-healing cutting mat at the bottom of the photo.

On either side of the above photo are other random things I use all the time. On the left, an Ott Lite and cup with various scissors, awl (with another wine cork on the pointy end for safety), butter knife, needle-nose pliers, tweezers, etc.

On the right is another Ott Lite and another cup with pens, pencils, aqua-painters, clear Wink of Stella pen, etc.

And yes, it bothers me that the Ott Lites are not identical, but what can you do when you find a green Ott light 75% off at JoAnn's but already have a black one? You buy the green one and tell your OCD to shut up.

A tower of small drawers to the right of the green Ott holds alcohol markers sorted by color. The top drawer holds my embossing buddy, which is handy for getting some light shades of pigment ink to dry faster. Between the marker tower and the ink tower stand my smaller Omni-Grid quilting rulers.

These quilting rulers are my go-to tool for cutting mats or smaller pieces of card stock. They are especially helpful if I've got to cut a stamped panel down because I can see through them and get everything lined up nicely before cutting. If you've never used these before, I recommend them with the warning that craft knives are sharp and fingers are vulnerable. Never, ever, ever let your fingers hang over the edge of the ruler when you are cutting. While blood is a lovely deep shade of red at first, it rusts out as it dries and is quite unappealing on all but a few projects.

If you don't have these already and want to give them a try,
start with the 6" x 6". It's the one I use the most for cardmaking.
I bought the other two (and a couple of even larger ones) when
making handmade books and 12" scrapbook pages.

On top of the tower of markers rest my stamp cleaning pad, my poor person's stamp cleaning pad, and my ink chart.

Yes, that's a box of chocolate-covered cherries
on the right. Santa put them in my stocking,
so it would be rude not to eat them.

The Huggies wipes travel case contains a damp washcloth, with which I clean my, you'd be amazed (or not) by how handy having a damp cloth on your workspace can be, especially for removing ink from fingers so you don't ruin projects.

Unfortunately, water won't clean off pernicious water-resistant dye inks like Hero Arts or Archival Inks (does a great job with Memento, though, so go figure). Anyway, after I'd ruined enough projects stamping light inks that were muddied by darker residue on the stamps, I bought one of those double-sided cases with pads in them for cleaning stamps and a bottle of stamp cleaner. Whenever I'm using dye inks, I'll clean them on that pad.

FYI, don't close the Huggies case all the way with a damp washcloth in it. It will start to stink. Eww.

On the far right and left ends of the desk are towers of ink: water-resistant dye inks on the left (shown in photo), and pigment, Kaleidacolor, and StampinUp on the right. The dye and pigment inks are organized by colors.

The inks are not always so neat.
In fact, they almost never are.

The Kaleidacolor and StampinUp inks each get their own drawer in the right tower (not pictured because, really, I have ink issues and it's sort of embarrassing how many ink pads I have).

The bottom drawer of the tower in the photo contains my scraps of white card stock for quick and easy access. I actually do use those scraps when they are right there. If I put them with the other card stock on the opposite wall, I'd never use them.

In the above photo, you can also see a small square desk cup holding my glue bottle upside down just to the right of the tower. That keeps the glue ready to use quickly, especially when the bottle is getting empty. Anticipation might heighten our enjoyment of ketchup, but it's annoying with glue.

Kept on top of the dye ink tower, in handy reach, is a wire mesh CD bin full of sentiment stamps.

I find having these stamps handy helps enormously with actually using a wider variety of sentiment stamps on my cards. Besides, there's not room for them with my other clear stamps.

Whew. That covers my desk. There's a LOT on it, but it's all organized efficiently, and the size of that folding table gives me plenty of room to work.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the smaller desk to the left of my main desk. I LOVE the L-shaped arrangement and find that extremely handy.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about what I've posted so far, please ask! I'll be happy to clarify.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


  1. 64 degrees? Cuddl Duds!

    L-shaped desk - check.
    Stamps and paper across the room - check.
    Standing to cut - check.
    Darice stamping mat front & center - check.
    Ink issues - not a chance!

  2. Room looks so well organized. Wish mine looked as good.
    That font 't' in still reminds me of a fishing hook but like you; I like the saying

  3. Replies
    1. Yes. It has to be against the Geneva Convention or something. He's half Finlander, so that explains it but doesn't make it easier to live with.

  4. LOVED the 1st installment of the tour!! 2017 is my year to get organized (hmmm...well, I thought 2016 was...) REALLY! Thanks for all the inspiration and the chuckles! Mercy, Grace, Peace and Love -- the most wonderful wishes you could give us. Hugs,

  5. Wow, you are very organized! I stamp in our basement as well, so I get why you need a space heater.

  6. omg I AM SO jealous - my craft room is tiny and has a bed in it too - which some craft (ok a lot) sits on ,Resolution 2017 is to get it clean and tidy and organised - fab tour - never heard of quilting rulers - need to investigate that .......

    1. I first learned about using them in paper crafting from a book on bookbinding. It's so important to have perfect right angles in bookbinding, and the quilting rulers make that easier.

  7. I too stand -- at my Cuttlebug station, but I have to crouch on the floor to use my paper trimmer and scoring tools because I don't have any room on my desk. I'm counting making a card as a cardio workout! Thanks for showing the quilting ruler I asked about a couple days ago, now I know what to look for!

    1. Crouching is very good for you. Read that in a magazine article recently, so it must be true!

  8. Great post and organizational tips. Thanks for sharing! I think you may have met your match for OCD. Please tell me you turned the two stamp pads around in the front and center photo just to mess with us. I could never have them on my desk like that. LOL!

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  9. Very interesting! I too have a bed chesterfield in my craft room and it gets busy. I have to leave room for the dog when she comes to visit!!!

    1. Daisy curls up at my feet and enjoys the space heater while I stamp. It's so nice having our furry companions around. Until they knock your arm with their nose to get attention!

  10. I love seeing other people's crafting spaces. I am envious of all the flat space you have to work on. I have a smaller roll top desk, and the actual working surface is not large and I usually fill it with parts and pieces of what I'm working on. I too, have a standing station nearby for the paper cutter and the big shot. It's the top of my 3-drawer lateral file cabinet. It holds lots and I bought it at a used office furniture place. I share my craft room with cats and their things--litter box, cat tree, bowl of water, snack bowl, and lots of toys. Oh, and space heater. Compared to 64 it's a sauna, but for this desert lizard it is chilly.

    1. Never leave your heat gun plugged in. I heard of a cat knocking one onto the floor and melting some carpet. The owner was lucky to find it before it burned down the house!

  11. Enjoyed your crafting tour very much, yes, it is always fun to see how everyone else does it!
    I have a very small limited space and about three times as much as you.......and that includes what you have across the room.....LOL! I really do need to do a re-vamp and maybe donate a few things..........then again......maybe just a good clean up. ;))

    1. Krisha, if you have a storage space in the house (a closet or unfinished basement), you could move the less-used stuff there with dates on the boxes. If you don't rummage through them in a year, you'll probably never use the stuff and it's easier to get rid of if you haven't seen it in a while. At least that works for me. Helps keep things more manageable.

  12. My first thought upon seeing the green Ottlite was, "It doesn't match!!!" I understand. Thanks for the tour!

  13. So fun to see. Maybe you should show us your inks--just in case one or two of us go overboard on some supply.

  14. Butter knife????? Is that for a quick snack of toast while you're crafting? I would have picked up the green light on offer too and it picks up on the other green elements around the desk. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, I wish I had two green lights instead of two black ones. It really is a fun color!

  15. Question - When you said you kept your sentiment stamps in the CD bin - do you separate the sentiments from the flowers or whatever? I have thought about that as it makes sense - but hate to separate sets.

    1. I'll answer this in a post so everyone sees, but mostly, the CD bin of sentiments is sets that are almost all sentiments. A few CD cases contain sentiments from other sets, but I, like you, hate to separate sets.


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