life, and a little “studio” tour

Hey there! How’ve you been?

It’s been a week since I’ve really blogged and I figured it’s about time I check in!  I’ve been keeping myslef busy working on various projects, organizing a few certain areas of my house that needed an overhaul (more on that in a bit), and the usual family stuff.

So, last Sunday was the surprise party for my 13 year-old. It went well. In spite of a few things.

1. the fact that one of his friends accidentally let it slip about the party.

2. that he saw me mention a surprise party here on my blog and he almost never reads my blog. Guess no more secrets here!

3. he saw the invitations in the mailbox. And he very rarely goes out to the mailbox for anything.

4. his little sister had a really hard time keeping qiet about it once she knew. Thank goodness I only told her a day before. Next time I’ll let her be surprised as well.

5. the fact that there were numerous emails in my inbox that mentioned the party in the subject line and he never saw them, although I was trying really hard to keep in shut down when he was around.

6. the fact that they happened to get home from school one day just a few minutes before me and he saw a paper I was using to write down ideas for games that I hadn’t put away before I left, thinking I’d be back before they came home.

In spite of ALL that, we still surprised him.  And that was mostly because we had the party on Sunday afternoon, and he wasn’t expecting that at all.  He was thinking we’d have an evening party. It was such a fun time with Nathaniel’s friends here. Nothing like having a bunch of loud and energetic teen and preteen boys around for a few hours. I didn’t get to take very many photos at all. Not even of the decorations I made. I was kept pretty busy taking care of the surprise aspect of it all, then the games, then the food.  Then hustling everyone out the door in time for youth group. It was a fun day and I’m so glad we got to surprise him.  He thought it was awesome. Here’s one photo I took of him blowing out the candles on his birthday pie and wearing the cap he got as a gift from one of his buddies.

I’ve been cleaning and organizing around here, like I said. And one of those areas was my craft space, or “studio” if you will.  There were some things about my space that just weren’t working very well, and some that just plain needed cleaning and a little organizing.  I don’t think my space has ever been this clean and well organized before. Well, not in a long time, anyway. Chances are it may never be this clean again, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some photos of it at its’ best.

Now, let me begin by saying that my craft space is really nothing special. It’s just in an unfinished part of our basement. It’s not all that pretty or exciting. Sometimes I look at all those amazing scrap room photos other people have and feel a bit envious.  How fun to have a room all to oneself. But I don’t, and I’m thinking there’s probably a lot of you who don’t either and that’s OK. To tell you the truth, sometimes I give a little sigh of relief when someone shares photos of their space that isn’t all perfect and magazine worthy. It makes me realize I’m not the only one and that it’s OK just to have a tiny space, or just a table or a closet.  Or none at all. We do what works for us. I’m happy that I do actually have a space to call my own and I really do love my space.  In sharing these photos I’m hoping I might be able to share some fun ideas for storing your things that you may not have thought of before.  And, if you’re anything like me, sometimes seeing photos of fun product is enough to make you want to get busy crafting.

First off, Here’s a shot of my table. I got this table at Ikea last year and I really love it! We found it in the damaged furniture section. It only had a couple of scratches on it and we got it for a steal!

On my table I have a storage piece for my ink pads. I bought that online several years ago. The center has rods in it for holding spools of ribbon, but I use it to store favorite punches instead.  I have my growing collection of empty wooden spools on top.

Above my table I have a metal rod hanging with clip-it-up hooks on it for storing all my alphabet stickers.  I store them by color so I can find what I want easily. A version of this idea was included in the latest special issue from Paper Crafts Magazine, Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters. Here’s a closer shot.

I store my patterned paper, 12×12 card stock, stickers, and various other items on my table in these plastic holders from Cropper Hopper.  That blue binder is the stamp storage system I shared a week or two ago. I also store my cutting mat, paper trimmers, and the binders with class print outs I made from the classes I took from Shimelle Laine here.

My table is wide and I have space in front of these, so I have a large wooden piece there that I found at Goodwill. I store embellishments in there that I use frequently. It’s far enough away from my paper holders that I can still slide them in and out to get my papers out. Although, I have been thinking of storing the paper holders on their sides so I can pull paper out without sliding out the entire plastic holder.

On top of the wire racks that house my Cropper Hopper paper storage I have lots and lots of random stuff.  One thing I have there is a turntable filled with lots of stuff I reach for often. A jar of twine, some mini clothes pins, paints, markers, pens, glues, etc. etc.  I like to have as much at my finger tips as possible. That turn table also came from Goodwill.

Here’s the little storage piece that inspired my craft room clean up. I found this a while ago at Goodwill and had it stored, intending to paint it someday. But I recently bought some new Spectrum Noir markers and needed a good place to store them where I could see them. I thought of this piece and dug it out. It was perfect for my new markers. Not only that, the little slots are the perfect size for storing my 6×6 pads of patterned paper. I can’t believe how well it works for my needs.  I love it! On top I have a jar of tiny ribbon pieces (since I just can’t seem to throw them away), some wood mounted stamps and large containers of glitter. The other large slot holds some of my hand made embellishments. The smaller slot holds some tags. The small drawer holds my tiny ink pads and the bigger drawer holds other random embellishments. The red vase beside it holds some borders. I also have a small basket-type piece that I use for small pieces of card stock from various manufacturers. Behind it is a storage piece for brads, buttons and such from Stampin’ Up!

On the opposite end of my desk is this plastic box that holds all the clear stamps that I haven’t yet put into a binder. That’s one of my next projects. The box sits on top of a plastic container with drawers that hold my scissors and other cutting tools, extra adhesives, and a few other tools close by.

Beside that I have a box of photos waiting to be scrapped. On top of that box is an old metal bread tin where I keep the most reached for adhesives.

I found this little milk glass jar at Goodwill as well. I keep some of my newest washi tapes in it. And the new Dear Lizzie date stamp. I don’t want to put it away and forget about it, so I’m keeping it here for now. I actually got two milk glasses like this.  The other is currently in our bedroom holding our spare change.

Two other little “dishes” on my table are also ones I picked up at Goodwill. I think they belonged to some kind of grinder or grater.  Like a meat grinder or something. They were cool looking and so I brought them home. One is where I stash tiny strips of paper. I’m always needing a tiny strip to stamp a little sentiment on or just for adding a little something to a project, so when I cut a piece off of somewhere and I like it enough to not throw it away, it goes in here.

The other holds little bits and bobs that I’m forever finding all over my desk.  Little buttons, clothes pins, punched pieces. Too good to throw away but take too much effort to return them to their proper storing place. All the tiny bits go here and I can rummage through it while working on my projects. Sometimes all a project needs is that one little tiny extra something.

One thing I added to my table during this cleaning process is a vintage metal tray to the right of where I work. I’m using it to keep all the supplies I’m using for the current project in progress on it.  I’ve always had this problem of all my stuff I’m currently using just getting spread around all over my work space, getting lost underneath other things, and just plain making a chaotic mess.  I’m hoping this will help keep everything in one spot and make it easier to return everything when I’m done.  The tray has a pretty butterfly on the bottom and If I’d like to ever see that pretty butterfly I had better keep my tray cleaned off in between uses! 😉

I also have another large table in my work space to the left of my Ikea table. It’s placed so my craft space forms an L shape, In between my two tables are these two plastic storage towers that hold all kinds of things. More punches, mod podge and other things like it, journaling cards, more embellishments, and lots and lots of miscellaneous items.  The two grey things in front are containers with lots of tiny drawers. I have my chipboard alphabets sorted out in them for now. But they’re really just in the way, so I’m thinking of finding a different way to store what I have in there and getting these out of my way. To the left of the drawers I have some more metal storage units. The top shelf holds some other miscellaneous items, the middles one holds extra card stock, and the bottom holds some pieces of felt, fabric, and quilt batting. I don’t know why I have quilt batting, but I do!

On top of my plastic drawer system are some blue metal tins I got a few years ago from Stampin’ Up!. Inside those are reinkers, cards that have been published, more washi tape and random embellishments. I also keep my Xyron there, but I rarely ever use it. Oh, and a box of Stampin’ Up! markers. To the right, and not shown in this photo, is another wooden Goodwill find. It’s a tool box of some sort with a handle and I store my heat gun, glue gun, and other large tools in there. On top of the metal racks is an old wooden spice rack. This is another one of my ideas that found its way into the pages of Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters.  I store my mists on the top and middle shelves and my Martha Stewart punches on the bottom one. My spools of twine and string are stored in front of it.

Here’s a shot at my other table. Not very exciting. I have my sewing machine on this one. I love having it so close to my work space so I can quickly stitch something whenever the mood strikes. I use it a lot. Beside that is another Goodwill piece, a metal card rack. I store odd things in there. Stuff for my etsy shop, vintage pieces I’ve found, etc. In between that and my sewing machine is my Big Shot, for the time being. I’m not sure if it will stay there yet or not. At the end of the table is a filing cabinet where I store my 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of card stock and other things like transparency sheets, labels, etc.

Below my Ikea work table, to the left of where I sit to work, is my bin of paper scraps. Yes, it’s big, and yes, I have a lot of scraps. I almost always dig through my paper scraps before tearing into a new sheet of patterned paper or card stock, so I use this all the time. I love my scraps!  The large ziploc bags you see in the front is where I keep my patterned papers, sorted by color. Behind that, in plastic file folders are my card stock scraps. I need to sort through those and get rid of some or find a way to use more of them. They are getting a little overwhelming. Under my desk are more of the metal racks. I keep stuff down there that I’d like to alter, my collection of old maps, large sheets of chipboard, stuff like that that doesn’t get used as much.

To the right of my work space is a basket of brand new stuff that I just got. I like to keep my newest stuff right where I can see it and use it before storing it away with my other things. Right now it’s holding some new stuff from Studio Calico, Basic Grey, American Crafts, and Kaiser Crafts.  Before long it will also hold my latest Market Fresh Kit!!  The black and white flowered container is a large round wooden container that also came from, you guessed it, Goodwill. It’s like a hat box and has a metal rim around the top that needs to be removed to open it. It’s more decorative than practical, but I just love it. Right now I have magazines stored in there. I’m a magazine junkie. I love to page through them for inspiration. Since the box isn’t exactly the easiest thing to access I figured it would be great for storing my magazines. I have another just like it in my attic. I need to figure out a place to use that one too. On top of the storage piece are some magazines that feature my work and one that’s open to a page that is currently inspiring me with an idea to try.

Last, but not least, is this little item that I just put to use yesterday. I needed a better way to store my fabrics, so I thought of this little vintage suitcase I had and figured it would be perfect.  I picked up several old suitcases (at Goodwill or yard sales) over the years and use them for all kinds of things. Right now I’m also using one for Chloe’s dress up clothes. It’s perfect for that because she can use the little compartments for shoes and jewelry and it’s easy for her to carry around.

Wanna see inside? Goodness, I love it!!

Here’s a closer look at all the yummy colors!

That just makes me want to go make something!

I also have a great architects cabinets that I got free from a friend of mine. Her husband’s place of work was getting rid of it and I was lucky enough to snag it. It’s disassembled right now or I’d show it to you, but it’s a great piece for storing lots of stuff. I actually don’t have as much in it right now as I’ve had before, but that is where I store my wood mounted stamps from Stampin’ Up!, chipboard, flowers, glitters and embossing powders, and lots of small stuff like that. The drawers are huge, but shallow, so you can’t store just anything in there. I like to keep my items in there stored in old cupcake tins or trays, since they’re just the right height for sliding into the drawers. maybe I’ll share that with you some other time.

My space is a work in progress. It’s always changing and evolving to meet my needs, so I’m sure before long it will be different, but for now this is the way it is and it works. I’ve thought of painting all those wooden Goodwill pieces white to make things look cleaner. I just might do that sometime.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that i love looking for fun storage pieces at Goodwill or other thrift stores and flea markets. I’ve found them to be a treasure trove of fun and unique finds. The prices are great too, so if you’re looking for great storage options I’d recommend you start thrifting and fleaing! 🙂

If you have any questions at all about my space or how I store things, where I got certain things, etc., please just leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer any questions you have.

Speaking of questions, Lisa asked one the other day. I already emailed her an answer, but I thought I’d also address it here in case anyone else was wanting to know. Here’s her question:

I love this!! Love the layers and the bold background. And seeing you? The perfect addition to ANY page. But…you HAVE to tell me how you stitched those Thickers to this page!! PLEASE?!! Thank you. :)

It’s actually quite easy to stitch through chipboard with your sewing machine. The machine takes chipboard quite well. Just sew it the same way you’d sew through paper or fabric. My letters were self adhesive, but if you chipboard isn’t you can just adhere it a little bit with some adhesive before sewing through it. I recommend you try to keep adhesive away from the areas you’ll be stitching though, so you don’t gum up your machine.  Thanks for your comment and your question, Lisa!

Before I go I did also want to mention that Market Street Stamps is revealing a brand new blog this week. There are fun sneak peeks going on and prizes to be won over at the Market Street Stamps blog, so do go and check that out!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

5 thoughts on “life, and a little “studio” tour

  1. Miriam prantner says:

    So glad the party went well, and thanks for sharing your space with us! I always love seeing how people organize.

  2. lilypadsis says:

    Thanks for the tour of your creative space! I love scouting around the thrift stores and my own basement to find things looking for a new home. I like your idea about painting all those wood pieces white and will probably do that with mine too. It will give a less cluttered look.

  3. Liz Ortiz says:

    Thank you for sharing your studio with us. I am also in the process of reorganizing my space, well that is my perpetual state, LOL! My main problem is that everytime I get in there I start playing, so not much organizing gets done… Happy Belated B-day to your son, and congratulations on succeding with the party.
    Have a great day!

  4. karenladd says:

    Wow, I am practically drooling on my keyboard after seeing your craft space! LOVE your ink pad orgnization…and can’t believe how wonderful everything looks. I always start out fairly organized, but then things get put back in the wrong places and misplaced etc. So frustrating not to be able to find supplies you just KNOW you have!
    Looks like your son had a great birthday..even though the surprise part didn’t happen!!
    Going to check out your scrap space organization again when I have more time! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mary Ellyn Rozell says:

    I loved reading this post. Even though you think your creative space is nothing special, I think it one of the most special that I have ever read about. I loved all your funky storage finds – Kudos for having the creative juices to make your space truly unique!

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