Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Part 2 of the Answer to the Silly Question

Yesterday's post shared the organization strategy of my craft desk, and Darla asked why I have a butter knife in the frequently-used tool cup on my desk. Well, Darla, that's an excellent question, and one I should have asked myself a long time ago.

You see, the butter knife used to be my preferred tool for scoring paper. The butter knife did an excellent job scoring when paired with a quilting ruler...a much better job than a bone folder did because it was thinner and made a sharper, crisper line. In fact, that butter knife contributed to the creation of every card I made for years.

Until some years ago when I got a gift card to Archiver's for Christmas and decided to buy a Scor-Pal.

The knife, too thin to use on the Scor-Pal, stopped being a frequently-used tool and started simply being a space-taker-upper. There's certainly no longer a need to keep it in a cup full of useful tools, except perhaps for sentimental reasons and deep, sincere appreciation for its long service prior to its job being outsourced--through no fault of its own--to the Scor-Pal.

I'll also sadly note that the Archiver's at which I purchased the Scor-Pal closed a few years ago, its jobs being outsourced presumably to the Internet. In fact, the butter knife and Archiver's would both like to register their disgust and contempt for progress and the part I played in both their demises.

My apologies to the wounded parties. I never meant to hurt either of you.

Now we'll take a look at the small desk and see just how absolutely useful it is to me, not least because it is home to my Scor-Pal, a handy device that contributes to every single card I've made for the past few years and looks to be set for many more years of use...unless something better--and a gift card to buy it--comes along.

The small desk is actually quite ugly, an old wooden desk that is held together by L-brackets and screws because the military-contracted movers who took it apart in 1989 failed to keep the hardware that holds it together, which led me to be insulted by a chauvinistic old man at a furniture store who told me to, and I quote, "just let my husband fix it." There's no rage quite like that of a 22-year-old feminist who would be darned if she'd let some old geezer stand between her and a fully-assembled desk. The Ace Hardware man was much more helpful, but our solution, though entirely functional, wasn't aesthetically pleasing. I settled for functional, being a poor 22-year-old who just really needed a desk.

But I digress.

When I set up in the basement, I realized that a green tablecloth would hide the ugly but useful desk and add a splash of color to the space as well. This way, when you walk down the stairs into the basement, you don't see an ugly desk with lots of stuff under it. You see a green tablecloth that usually looks neat and tidy unless the dog starts nosing around it.

On top of the green-covered desk is my Fiskar's 12" rotary cutter that my husband bought for me about 15 years ago. That magnificent beast is still going strong. I cut all card bases on it as well as any mass-production cutting (the Stephen Ministry ornaments, for example).

Conveniently placed beside the cutter is the Scor-Pal. Note there are two bone folders on it. One is your standard bone folder that isn't made of bone but of plastic because nothing is real anymore. The other folder is made of teflon, which is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious because you can rub paper all day with it and the paper will not get shiny. Isn't that wonderful!

I retired the fake bone folder to the other side of the room when I got the teflon folder, but after repeated use, the teflon folder wore down in an odd way that kept it from scoring crisp lines. Thus, the bone folder was retrieved from exile and now usefully scores each card, after which it is put down so the teflon folder can take over and smooth the fold without shining it up.

This is why the butter knife will never go back to the kitchen (does anyone use butter knives for butter anymore?). Who knows when I'll have a scoring need that neither the fake bone folder nor the teflon folder can meet? Won't I feel silly if I have to go upstairs and rummage around in my silverware drawer for that poor knife? Of course I will.

And this is just one reason why our craft stashes could be used as Exhibit A in our mental-health competency trials.

On the far end of the green-covered table, you'll see a few baskets, a box of tissues, and an electric pencil sharpener. One basket holds new stuff that needs to be used before it can be properly integrated into the stash. (Since I implemented this basket, I've actually used all the stamps I buy, which is pretty sensible.) The other basket contains a bunch of Valentine's Day stuff gathered to make a bunch of Valentine's Day cards for the card shop at church. I fill a similar basket in July with Christmas stuff and another with stuff for the Stephen Ministry ornaments.

Which brings me to a recommendation to use these very inexpensive baskets (found at Target or similar) to organize your larger projects. They do help keep everything tidy.

Now it's time to look under that green tablecloth and see what it's hiding.

The entire left tower contains embellishments sorted by color (neutrals get two drawers, then blue/violet, green, yellow/orange, and pink/red). For example,

These embellishment drawers used to be a lot fuller, but over the past few years, I've simplified a lot and moved less-frequently-used embellishments elsewhere. These drawers now mainly contain rhinestones, pearls, enamel dots, flock, Stickles, Smooch, Sakura stardust pens, twine/floss, and a few other things as needed.

Arranging embellishments by color was first proposed by Stacy Julian of Simple Scrapbooks fame ages ago. It's brilliant, and I won't store them any other way.

The right-hand tower contains, from top to bottom, cheap recycled copy paper (which keeps ink off my stamping mat), metallic embellishments and markers, adhesives (including Scor-Tape, various glues, dimensionals, and glue dots), Brilliance inks (because I ran out of drawers on my desk...I told you I have an ink problem), embossing supplies (gun, ink pad, powders and such), and watercolor crayons/Twinkling H2Os. On top of the towers are my watercolor brushes (in a really cool brush case), a pad of cheap sketch paper, Bounty paper towels (which don't leave lint so they are the best), and a roll of waxed paper.

Not pictured but living to the right of the two towers are several large flat bins full of mat board, Canson paper, large sheets of art paper, etc. They really belong in the unfinished area of the basement. I used them mostly for bookbinding and haven't opened them in over a year.

And now you can clearly see why having an L-shaped desk arrangement might be a very good thing.

To backtrack a bit, Janet asked me to show my inks, which was coyly refraining from doing yesterday because, like I said, I definitely have an ink issue. But why not? Y'all already know I have issues and you're still reading, which means you delight in watching train wrecks or you are, in fact, also a train wreck and would appreciate the validation.

So here you go. The first six pictures show the tower of drawers on the right of my desk. My apologies to the OCD people out there...a few pads are pointing in the wrong direction. It's part of my desensitizing program.

The above drawers contain opaque inks that aren't shimmery. These include pigment inks and VersaColor chalk inks, which to me look exactly the same on paper and work exactly the same, at least as far as I can tell.

Below is my collection of Distress inks and the blending tools and pads that go with them. Under each cube is a depression in the case that stores the pad for that color. It's quite a nice system.

Next, StampinUp inks. At one time, I had lots more of these, but these 15 were the colors that I actually used, so the rest were sold off.

Finally, the bottom drawer on the right tower contains all my Kaleidacolor pads.

Yesterday's post showed the Neutral/Purple drawer of dye inks, but here are the rest of the dye ink colors.

Finally, under the small desk are my Brilliance pearlescent and Delicata inks. These are delightful but don't get quite as much use as the other inks.

One thing I like about storing my inks this way is that the drawers are light and pull out easily. I can stack them on my desk as needed, and slide them back into place when I'm finished. It's also a good way to store different ink pad styles together. It would be very helpful if all ink companies used exactly the same cases for their inks...things would stack so nicely! But alas, they don't think of our storage needs, so these drawers are a not perfect but still mostly satisfactory way of storing them.

Seeing all these photos on my computer screen really does make me feel like a crazy hoarder who is in serious need of an intervention. But I suspect if I go look at my husband's 45 pairs of running shoes, I'll feel pretty normal.

Eh. Normal is over-rated. And aren't all the colors just gorgeous?


  1. You are amazing organized. Your room is so neat and clean. I really like how you store your inks. I spent the last 3 days organizing my craft room. It's the neatest and most organized it's ever been, and it doesn't stand up to yours at all. I try so hard, but never can be as organized and neat as I'd like. I really hope to do better this year. You are quite an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I love your ink pad storage system! My system, if I'm being honest, is a hot mess. Ink pads are stored with like manufacturers in clear bins on my desk and finding the perfect blue or pink is a treasure hunt every time. Perhaps it's time to change my system? Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. 45 pairs of running shoes????? I digress. fun to see your stash!!

    1. I might be exaggerating for comic effect. But that wasn't far off the mark.

  4. I LOVE 'visiting' with you via your blog! You asked if anyone still used butter knives. We do. My flatware is a pattern that my grandparents bought when my mom was born (1934) and when they passed I asked for it. It needs to be polished periodically (eggs, mayo, etc.) so once a month it gets polished. I have maybe 6 but only 2 are 'active' as it's only 2 of us and I tend to wash the pieces right after their use. I also use round soup spoons with cream soup and oval ones with clear soups. Weird, maybe but I have them and will use them as they were intended. Sadly I have so much stuff in my room I can't even take room to step back! Love your cards and often use them as inspiration. Thank you for sharing all that you do!

  5. love the peek into your creative space - thanks! I may have a paper problem that is quite similar to your ink problem. :)

  6. One can never have too many inks. I still don't have a green that makes my heart sing. Looking forward to your stamp storage. Do you separate your sentiments? Thank you for taking the time to share your organization.

  7. Well, I don't feel near as embarrassed of having 100 ink pads...not joking, and I primarily use black....LOL!
    What would we do with out the Iris carts and storage drawers?
    I really like how you color coordinated the little "extra" things........clever idea.
    Looking forward to more of your craft space ideas.

  8. Loved seeing your space and storage ideas. Ingrid

  9. Thanks for all your insights! I re-arrange my craft space often to try to make it more efficient!

  10. I love how you store embellishments by color. I like the sentiment storage on top your desk. I also love the way you put new stuff in a basket.

    I have a beautiful craft room that is absolutely trashed. We moved at the end of January and I have been working non stop overtime all year. Add in spending every weekend at our boat all summer; and I am just not making any progress. This Sunday is mine, all mine. I hope to at least clear off a table.

    I will have to take some pictures for you. Your fingers will tingle with the need to move things into my storage.

  11. Hey, what is "Normal" anyway -- and whatever it is, it must be boring. And you are FAR from a train wreck! You love what you do and it shows!!!!! And I love getting a peek at your world. Big hugs, Sherry

  12. Now I'm jealous of all your ink colors.

  13. Thanks for sharing. I understand the butterknife thing. When I first started I used an old roller pen to score and it gave me great score lines. Now I have a couple of score boards but I still have that old pen somewhere. I lie the idea of storing inks by colour but I don't have the drawer space to do it. I have mine by make. My aim this month is to sort out my dies and reclassify them from 3 zipped cases and a pile lying on my desk to 4 cases. I will start as soon as I get rid of this cough that is making me feel bleurgh.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!