In our old house, my craft space was the fourth bedroom, tucked away from all public areas yet, because of the acoustics of the house, open to all the sounds of the home. I could hear my children and their friends playing (when they didn't think I could!), I could hear my husband coming in the garage door, I could hear the silence that means children are being naughty.
That space was perfect because I wasn't isolated yet no one had to look at my room full of plastic storage drawers and mismatched furniture...all of which were perfectly serviceable and optimally organized.
And then we moved. The fourth bedroom in the new home is the quietest place in the whole house, tucked in a corner of the finished basement. I could hear nothing in there, not even a child screaming in pain upstairs. The privacy was nice, but I found myself uneasy every time I was crafting and kids were home, popping up every few minutes to check on them. It was lonely and distracting.
So I moved to the nook in the finished rec room of the basement--not a perfect solution by any means, but better than the bedroom. It's public space, the first thing you see when you walk down the basement stairs. For the first time ever the mismatched furniture and plastic bothered me.
Really bothered me.
Unfortunately, we aren't made of money and a trip to Ikea for matching, functional, yet not terribly expensive furniture is not in the budget this year, and perhaps not even next year.
Whatever is a girl to do?
Work with what she has to make it look as good as possible.
I wish I had before pictures, but I don't. Here's the whole space now, which is mostly finished. I still want to come up with a better arrangement of art over my main desk and better punch storage.
I spent many, many hours contemplating the space before doing anything at all. The rowing machine is set up so I can stare at my craft area while rowing. Amazing what good thinking one can get done as one's body goes on autopilot exercising!
A few thoughts that governed my overall plan.... First, I don't like to sit for long periods of time in my craft space. I have to sit at the computer while writing, so I want to get up off my butt when stamping. This means not everything is organized to be most efficient. For instance, I have to stand and walk to get paper, which is behind the desk, and then walk to the cutter and scorer to make a card, and then sit down. This doesn't qualify as exercise but at least keeps me moving.
Second, I'm in a long-term phase of gradually purging my craft supplies. Years of acquisition have resulted in a weighty burden of craft crap, so much of which falls into the category of "nice to have, but haven't used in years." Urgh. What you see in this post is stuff that is out. I have boxes and bins of stuff in storage as well. My hope is that by the time I can make that Ikea trip for furniture, I will have a lot less stuff both in my working space and in storage.
Third, this is a pass-through area for the basement walk-out. That means the path to the door needs to stay clear of all but the dog's tennis balls. The sliding glass door behind the curtains opens on the right, hence the open path on the right.
The Space: Part One
Since I was stuck with the furniture, I tried to think of ways to make it more visually appealing without spending a lot of money. The ugliest piece by far is the battered wooden table held together with L-brackets because movers lost the hardware for holding it together years ago. I ended up with a spare green tablecloth (long story) and realized just hiding the ugly wood table with it would be easy and block the view under the table, which was visually cluttered and awkward.
On this table rest two vital tools for papercrafting: a paper trimmer and a scoring device. It's also a good space for my little computer and pencil sharpener. You can see the refrigerator in the background...that's where the wet bar is, so running water is quite close, as are cold beverages!
Hidden under the table are four 12"x12" drawer units that house my embellishments, sorted by color, as well as embossing supplies; colored pencils; and watercolor pencils, crayons, and paints. These used to be on the baker's rack on the wall opposite my desk, but placing them closer to my workspace has been very helpful in reminding me to use them, and I still have to get out of my chair and stoop to get into them. The Cropper Hopper scrap storage resting on top holds all my colored card stock scraps, sorted by color. That's a big ol' yes to OCD.
And yes, shoving the tablecloth out of the way is a bit unsightly, but you can't see the mess when standing, and it's unlikely a non-stamping guest will stoop down to the level of the picture!
My work table is huge and wonderful. And plastic. Oh, well. You can't have it all, I suppose.
The plastic-drawer tower on the left of the desk includes the inks I use most (Memento) and markers, scrap copy paper, stamping accessories (sponges, daubers, stipple brushes, etc.), white card scraps (the ones I use most), and adhesives. The smaller tower contains Sharpies, Bics, and Copics, organized by color. These are the only drawers I didn't label because the contents are so obvious. Tucked between for easy access is my 6"x6" quilting ruler, with which I do 99% of my layer cutting.
I don't always layer. But when I do, I use a quilting ruler. Cut safe, my friends.
The two items on top of the pen drawers are my stamp scrubber for particularly oogy stamps and a travel-wipe case with a damp washcloth in it for most of my stamp cleaning.
The immediate work space consists of a stamping pad (the burgundy mat that provides some "give" under larger images for better impressions, purchased at JoAnn's), a cutting mat for the quilting ruler and craft knife, and an apology note from my youngest.
The orange and green cups hold frequently used tools (scissors, knife, tweezers, pens, pencils, spare bone folder, etc.), and the white tray holds acrylic blocks for unmounted stamps and my glue bottle, stored upside down for quick use. The cork board above the space holds my proportional matting cheat sheet, notes on what size envelopes I have, a color wheel, and my reading glasses (for coloring...my eyes are older than the rest of me, apparently). This board will fill up with post-its and such pretty quickly.
The tower to the right on the desk contains ink. From top to bottom, Brilliance, VersaColor, VersaMagic, miscellaneous dye inks, specialty inks, and Stampin'Up inks. I've been gradually whittling down my inks for the past six months, and hope to get them even more whittled in coming months. At one point, I think I had about 400 pads...ridiculous by any clean-and-simple standard!
The plastic drawers are truly perfect for this job. They slide out very easily (no bumpers hold them in), meaning I can pull out drawers I need and stack them on the desk for easy access. I LOVE being able to do that! Seriously, I make a giant mess when I work (not that you can tell from these pictures!).
Under the desk, in a very unsatisfactory arrangement I'm still ruminating upon, are punches. This three-drawer set holds basic shapes (circles, ovals, scallops, squares). The blue basket holds border punches and deco scissors.
To the right of the desk is this tower of punches. My hope is to be able to whittle down the punches to the ones I actually use over the next six months or so. Once I have a smaller collection, a perfect storage solution will present itself. I hope.
The wall above the desk is proving problematic but I adore exceedingly the sketch paintings my mom gave me (well, I begged for them) during my last visit to Maryland. Mom is a fine artist who works in watercolor, oils, and pastels. She's a poster-child for loosening up and playing with her art, and these sketches are quick, unfinished studies she whips out to loosen up. I need to be looser, freer, like she is. So her colorful sketches give me the inspiration I need to cut loose and have fun!
Please note that she didn't sketch any pears.
Anyway, when I fix this wall, I'll share the photos with you. But please don't hold your breath. It's taken me five months to get to this point. Who knows how long it will take to fix this?
On either side of the sliding door, I put cork boards covered in white linen for a bit of texture, to post cards people have sent me. This collection changes as new cards come in.
For my next post, I'll detail the right-hand side of the craft space, where my paper and stamps and some other stuff are oh so carefully arranged. I'll also talk about my color choices for the space, where they work and where they need improvement!