Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Oasis - A Story

About a year ago, my craft was designated to a poorly-lit, damp part of our basement. It was there that I thought I could craft alone in peace.

There were some flaws in this plan.

1. Cardstock and patterned paper do not like basements. The moisture, no matter how "dry" a basement seems, messes with the paper (such technical terms!).
2. Basements are spooky when you work in the wee hours. I love the wee hours. "Wee" = creativity.

3. Lighting in our basement consisted of one fluorescent lamp dangling above my head. There was virtually no natural light to be had.

4. The furnace was my neighbor. Furnaces are loud.

So, as we revamped our basement, my husband decided to make a home theater room in the basement (it rocks). That took the items from our loft and moved them elsewhere. We decided the loft would be PERFECT for a crafting area. I would still be "around" and not in exile. The kids could visit any old time. My paper would rejoice!

From my loft, you can see out a large window all the way down the subdivision. You can also oversee the living room, which has large windows that view the back yard. It is definitely an oasis for me. These four walls have witnessed a lot in the last year. It has served as my therapy through a bout of depression and grief.

It was around the time that we started making purchases that I made a KEY purchase: The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvey. You may remember my blog entry that discussed my St. Louis meeting of them. The workbook included in that book is terrific. You read the chapter and then the workbook allows for you to reflect on your own personal style. I realized that I wanted a room that was cozy. My husband and I both wanted my supplies to be mainly unseen. Looking at the gorgeous rooms included in this book, we decided some sort of shelving or cabinetry was needed. At the moment, I had my stuff in plastic containers and on slabs of wood. More like a handyman's workshop that a stamper's.

So we hemmed and hawed for a bit. We priced nice cabinets. They were so expensive, and none of them seemed to give us everything we wanted. So, I finally decided to order Stackables from The Best Craft Organizer. I cannot believe how much of my stuff fits in these! I got to inventory my stamp sets (over 100... I'm a little obsessed). I also bought an ink holder from them, and an additional one from Stampin' Up!

So I would not craft alone, we purchased a big, cushy chair and ottoman in chocolate faux suede. I sometimes sink in and read Simple Scrapbooks (shameless plug, Wendy), e-mail, or search We also purchased a large, black, metal cabinet. I realized just recently that using the power of magnets would help hide some of my embellishments. The way I have them organized now, I can really get a good idea of what I have as I create. I also decided to use that as a way of storing my new Basic Grey magnetic self-healing mat. Next to the cabinet, I store some wrapping paper and my boxes with cards.

We decided on black modular cubes from (not in our stores... they only have white and espresso). We purchased not only open cubes, but also a few closed ones. I like the variety and the flexibility of the cubes. I definitely could use a couple more!

I already had one large laminate table that I purchased at Office Depot. I purchased a second, smaller one at Staples. I realized that my laptop and printer were taking up too much workspace, so I wrapped the tables around the corner of the room.
I was a bit intimidated to post photos of my room, because I am always working on something. Since I am a teacher, there is also usually teaching stuff strewn about, although I am trying to get better about leaving that at school. So the photos I have taken of the room are somewhat idea, right? To get the ideal, I moved reality down the hall.
This was an AWESOME idea, although I am looking at it and getting a headache. Now all the things that I need a solution to are in the hall ready to be sorted out. A lot will go to my yard sale in May. For some of it, I need to come up with a new plan. I am not a fan of plastic containers in a room like this, but I can't seem to get away from them. Some things, like non-rolled gift wrap, take up a lot of space (see the green plastic bin under my table). They are also not very eye-friendly. My school stuff right now is in a bin, too, but I think that stuff is going to make a trip to my classroom. I got rid of a huge, white plastic embellishment sorter by hanging much of my embellishments inside the cabinet.

Here is a list of some of the things that I will sort out at some point this year. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts.

1. I want to showcase my work. Since a lot of the tops of my shelving serve as storage for tools and/or inks, I am looking to the walls.

2. I have some portraits that need to be reconfigured on the walls as well. I love to be surrounded by pictures.

3. Do I need a bulletin board? Will I keep it organized? Will it end up as an eyesore?

4. I need a place to organize and store bills (I have been piling them on my desk).

5. I somewhat share this space with our new business, Rent A Tech (yet another shameless plug). Right now, Rent A Tech has a small file box under our desk. It will need more. Do I move it completely out of this room? Our basement has potential for that.

Those are my thoughts for now. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment!

2 comments: said...

You need to get a pic from the stairs kinda showing as much of the room as possible--it'd be a nice overview shot. Shall I bring a wide-angle lens over? :-) The room looks fabulous and I love the little magnetic clips holding the embellishments--genius!

Aby said...

Hi, JoLynn,

Your space looks great! Thanks for sharing. I love my bulletin board. If you love to be surrounded by images and photos you love...a bulletin board is a terrific addition to your creative space. If you're distracted by visual "clutter" you might opt against it...and take visual inspiration inside a door (like you did with your embellies...assuming more are available.)

have a great day!