Tag Archives: crafts

Vacation Album: Eureka to Fort Bragg


After nearly a boatload of beer on our trip (I don’t like beer), it was now my time for utter indulgence. We saw this shop a few days before and it was closed. I was so happy to realize we’d pass it again on our journey south.


It was really delightful wandering through Scrappers Edge. My favorite local scrapbooking shop, Scrapbook Territory in Berkeley, recently closed. I didn’t have a shopping list but I was looking for new crafting goodies.


There was plenty to see.


Rem went and had a pint at Lost Coast Brewery while I shopped.


This is what I ended up purchasing:


Some reusable cardboard stencils, several ink sprays, a set of embossing powders in different colors and textures, including teal mica fragments and another jar of gold mica fragments, a pair of washi tapes, one with gold lace and the other with silver chevron design, a circular rubber stamp that has month and days to use in art journaling (and maybe on special occasion or birthday cards) and some Gelly Roll pens by Sakura.

I’ll do another post about playing with my new goodies, but it was a very satisfying shopping expedition!

We got on the road and continued southbound. I pointed out we’d be passing Ferndale, and that there was a good chance the pie shop, that had been closed on Sunday, would be open.


Rem needed no convincing.



Next stop: Vista Point.


And we had saved this stop for our drive south.


The corny but fun Confusion Hill was a good place to stretch our legs.



We got a vacation photo of ALL our critters.



Then a long drive and a transition from the Redwood Highway, to the Shoreline Highway; the start of Highway 1.  After quite a bit of twisting and turning, we got out to the coast and made it to Ft. Bragg, home of North Coast Brewing Company, the final stop of the Brewery Tour.


Even after all the beer he’d tried, Rem still looked pleased when his flight of thirteen beers arrived at our table. This brought his grand total of beers tasted on this trip to (at least) 80!


We’ve visited here before and he enjoyed two of his favorite stouts: Old No. 38 and Old Rasputin.


Although the tour was nearly over, we still had a few more days of vacation to enjoy. We would leave Ft. Bragg the next morning and drive to Sea Ranch to spend 5 days with no more motels or long drives. My mom and Molly were joining us on Friday and Kathleen on Sunday and we will head home on Monday.


Thanks for coming along!






Filed under Life

Valentine Craft-O-Rama


Yes, folks, 2015 Valentine Production was in full swing today and we had all the makings of an excellent crafty day. Craft supplies were abundant and the table was spilling over with paper, paper punches, rubber stamps, ink, adhesive, embellishments, scissors, embossing powder, ribbon and washi tape.

It was the first time for me to craft with Maria and her daughters Margaret and Elizabeth.

Here is Margaret, already an expert with the bone folder, scoring hearts to fold and staple for a Fluttering Hearts Valentine.  We also made Paper-Strip-Heart Valentines.


When she wasn’t using the heat tool to emboss greetings, Elizabeth was using the microwave for a Brownie-in-a-Mug for each of us.


As far as I’m concerned, chocolate is one of the important supplies for a great day of crafting.

A scoop of local Three Twins vanilla ice cream was the perfect topping for the brownies.


Maria, who had already baked a batch of cookies and had pot roast in the slow cooker by the time I arrived at 10 am, worked to keep the paper and other supplies from completing taking over the table, put out a platter of sandwich makings and created a fabulous Valentine garland from recycled materials, craft paper, bakers twine and double-sided tape, but I’m afraid yours truly didn’t get any good pictures of it.  All that and she also made some Valentine’s.

Garland supplies included packaging from a box of cereal, a box of tissues, some old calendar pages, and a few other items.


The lighting was challenging – it was much cuter and more colorful than it looks in this photo.


Some of the finished creations.


We decorated envelopes too.


We even had the assistance (or at least the company) of Flora the kitty.  Pip Squeak the Guinea Pig seemed neutral about the whole operation.  Kitty #2, Fauna, made a very brief appearance. She wasn’t interested in any level of participation.

The Roomba cleaned up the floor after we were done.  A good time was had by all (except maybe Fauna).


Thanks for checking out my blog today!


Filed under Crafts

A Visit to Pinterest HQ

Welcome to Pinterest

After our morning walk (in a steady drizzle), my sister Kathleen and I went to #38 Makers Show at Pinterest Headquarters on Saturday.  I was delighted to see their space, and attending a Pinterest-curated craft fair of SFMade vendors was also pretty cool.

The weather had cleared up by the time we got into the city.  There was a line outside the brick warehouse in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood.

One end of line Getting closer

Although it wrapped around the corner, it was moving fairly steadily.  As we chatted in the sunshine, a staffer brought around a tray of cookies and pointed out cider at a nearby table so the wait was really pretty nice.

Autumn Cookies

Once we got inside, there was music playing in the large, industrial space.  A buffet table was loaded with delicious snacks for munching, and there were interesting things to look at in every direction.

A large blue assemblage to one side served as both a room divider and artwork.  It reminded me of “It’s A Small World” at Disneyland.

Blue Room divider

More blue

We stopped for a nibble before checking out the vendors.


Just for fun I had scribbled out a “Pinterest Bingo” card for each of us. I made a list of items that I thought we might see at a Pinterest event.  Kathleen rolled her eyes a bit but went along with my silliness.  We saw infinity scarf and Mason jars before we even got inside!  Other items I was able to cross off were fingerless gloves, ampersand, chevron pattern and cake platter.  We didn’t see spray-painted plastic animals, something felted,  something Steampunk, tissue paper or washi tape.

This is a wall with pictures of some of the original pinners on Pinterest.

Wall of users

I decided not to take pictures of the crafts because it was crowded and a little tricky to get good quality photos, which they all deserve.

Here are links to some of the sites of makers that had products that caught my eye.

3 Fish Studios – I love the graphic of the bear hugging the state of California.

BikeWrappers – Reflective, protective, decorative wraps for your bike frame.

b-spired – Greeting cards made from laser cut wood.  They also had some wooden bow ties, laser cut ornaments and cute old-fashioned toolboxes.

DDCC – Dirty Diana’s Clean Clothing – Beautiful active wear for women. “Live clean. Get Dirty.”

Drywell Art – Quirky artwork for eaters and drinkers – lots of diagrams and charts.

Hilside Bags – Zippered bags in tons of fabrics and many different sizes, with oilcloth lining.  You can do custom-order at her website and choose the exterior fabric, interior oilcloth lining and color zipper or choose an exterior and let the designer choose the others for a more economical option.

Kika’s Treats – Locally sourced sweet treats, like the delicious caramelized graham crackers dipped in chocolate, with alternative sweeteners, no white sugar or corn syrup.

note*ify – City-inspired cards and other paper products.

Poco Dolce – Delicious gourmet chocolates

Richshaw Bagworks – I was tempted by their graphic Golden Gate Bridge tote bag and at their website found cool customizable backpacks, messenger bags and other bags and totes.

Sharon Zimmerman Jewelry Design – Modern jewelry with interesting organic shapes.

Urban FarmGirls – Gorgeous living wreaths with grapevines and succulents.  Garden and plant design.

Usagi Team – Bow ties for the well-dressed pet.  Some with shirt collars, some without.

Wildebeest – Pet leashes, collars, harnesses, and my favorite, the “meadow” pet rug.

There was something for everyone, including this pup.


The show was set up in the wide open first floor cafe space.  Office areas and the stairs were cordoned off, but there was plenty to see.

Ready Steady Go


How about this office desk…

Office Desk

made from a car?

made from a car

harassment Nothing GoodBoring Shit

Pinterest offices are pinned on a full wall-sized world map – this just shows the a portion.


Conference Rooms are named after Pinterest trends (is Kale available?  OK, let’s meet in Ombre then).  And if you want to meditate or nap, just slip into the Quiet Room.


A stacked suitcase/plant stand.

Plant stand

How about a Lego wall?


As we left, we got a freebie: Pinterest artists were silk screening posters on the spot and giving them away.

38 Makers Poster

SFMade is holding a holiday gift fair on December 13 & 14 but it won’t be at Pinterest.  It is at Fort Mason Center, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is free entry.

We stopped by the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart and though we saw some beautiful flowers, Kathleen just bought one succulent.


I’m sure it would have been bustling in the early morning on a week day but it was fairly quiet on this weekend afternoon.

Pink & White


For more photos of the Pinterest Offices, check out this BuzzFeed article.

Thank you for your visit.

Bay Leaf Pepper Berry Wreath







Filed under Crafts

Spring Wreath

Spring Wreath

Once again I’ve been doing some curating and reorganizing of my craft supplies.  Things that made it through previous clean-ups but have remained untouched since, needed to be pulled from drawers and redistributed.  Stuff that I “might use someday” needed to make room for the stuff I’m using now!

I haven’t completed the project, but I did give away a bin of stuff I wasn’t using to a friend who volunteers doing art projects with kids. Little-used stamp sets went to friends who are grade school teachers who will use them in their classrooms.  It feels great to give things to someone who will use and enjoy them.

I’m constantly acquiring supplies.  Either I go to paper or art supply stores, or a craft class and pick up some of this and some of that for the project we’re doing in class or I’m working on something specific and need just the right (fill in the blank: fabric, glitter, paint, etc.).  Once the project is over, I’m left with pom poms or pipe cleaners or the end of a pack of paper in a color or design I don’t really like.

However, cleaning and re-organizing aren’t the same as crafting.  I needed to set aside that job and make something!

I unearthed colorful cotton and felt fabric left over from a fun Christmas project.   I created a bunch of flowers out of felt.  I made a template and used chalk to trace the shape onto different colors of felt.  This was very similar to making the Felt Shamrock Garland I just made for St. Patrick’s Day.

Pink Flower

I used some small pieces of felt to make flower centers.    Some green felt made leaves and stems, and buttons finished off each flower  I stuck the pieces together with Aileen’s tacky glue, a Tombow adhesive tape runner, and sticky glue dots.  The Tombow proved to be more frustrating than helpful.


My original plan was to hang this on the door like the St. Patrick’s Day garland.  But shamrocks made out of felt look the same on either side and the flowers didn’t. So, borrowing another idea from another recent holiday door decor project, I bent a wire coat hanger into a circle, then used strips of printed green cotton fabric to wrap the flower garland onto the wire hanger!

Green Fabric with buttons

I knotted the fabric at the top of the coat hanger, right under the hook then wrapped a few times around the wire before wrapping on either side of the flower garland.  In between each flower, I would wrap the wire.  When I got to the end of a fabric strip, I would just tie a knot to attach the next strip.

Knotted fabric on back

This is the back of the wreath and you can see the knot is hidden by the flowers.

I made this in steps over a few evenings and didn’t spend that much time on it.  I wanted something cheerful on the door and this was a fun little project.

Thank you for stopping by.

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Filed under Crafts

Day 4: Running Out Of Time

Running out of Time

Day 4: Running Out Of Time.  I started this before going to work and it was a foggy morning.  The image of the woman caught my eye…

Running out of Time woman

Than I  found the misty Venice picture.  It all pulled together when I found the hourglass which seemed to suit the timeless quality of Venice as well as the idea of time running out and the look of apprehension or concern on the woman’s face.


I completed the spread after my choir rehearsal, adding layers of paper and color.

Last year I made these: Double Sponged and Embossed Cards

The year before I made these: Pizza Bites

Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts

Big Craft Clean-Up Revisited or Old Habits Die Hard

Crafting is a stress-reducer for me and something I really love and look forward to.  My time for crafting is limited but I try and do it as often as possible. Lately I haven’t been crafting as much as I’d like and it’s my own fault.

The reason? I’ve been falling into old habits and not keeping my craft space organized.  I have to admit it: I let my beautiful craft desk get buried in stuff.  I worked hard to carve out this space for myself last year when I took on and completed my Big Craft Clean-Up.

This is what my desk looked like the other evening.


I want to make the most of every minute of craft time and don’t want to use those precious minutes for putting stuff away.  It doesn’t take long for things to pile up.

That polka dot book is my address book and it has a very nice home in the bedroom.  The heat gun lives in a drawer and I don’t even have to stand up to put it away.

Address Book

Paintbrushes and pens all have their place.  A receipt I don’t need?  The wastebasket is within convenient reach.  Glue and Fluid Matte Medium (used in my Art Journal and on some Easter Eggs) also have homes.

Brushes & Pens

An egg carton?!  OK, it was right after Easter and I’ve been blowing eggs to decorate, but this particular carton was empty.

When I started putting away this pile of supplies, I found paper from cards I’d made for Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and yes, Valentine’s Day.

Egg Carton

More receipts! A calculator, which has a place in the green bin right next to the address book, and a pile of mail. I’m shaking my head at my own disrespectful treatment of my craft space.

Receipts & Calculator

Not surprisingly, the mess had crept over to my craft dresser..  More egg cartons, at least there were some eggs in evidence, and stamping supplies.

Eggs on Dresser

And overflow onto the floor next to the dresser. My bag of needle felting supplies has a less visible place behind the couch. But it had been sitting in this corner since February, when I felted hearts onto the sleeves of  sweaters.   A bin of 12×12 paper was open and the paper inside was sagging in the gap..


I realized, as Easter approached, I was feeling the sadness of another big family gathering and holiday without my dad.  It sometimes feels like all I can manage is to get to work and home again and I have no energy for anything but lying on the couch with a magazine after dinner or looking at Facebook.

However, I also knew that looking at the mess on my desk was only adding to my depression and keeping me away from the crafting that I love.  Piles of supplies had shrunk the available space until once again I was crafting on the dining table.

With cards I wanted to create in mind, it was time to clean up my act and occupy my desk. I was keeping myself from the joy of crafting and the very real benefit of stress relief I find in sitting with my art supplies and making something.

Clean Desk

That’s much better!

I updated my cork board with some new, favorite cards.

Cork Board Cards

I put things back where they belong and gave this new tin I picked up recently in Chinatown a spot in the corner.

Very Special Tin Box

Inside the tin are some stickers, jewels, washi tape and other embellishments that I love to use in cards and my art journal.  Having them in one container makes it easy to bring them along when I go crafting with a friend or up to Sea Ranch.

Contents of Tin

The pens and brushes I use most frequently are in mugs – others have been put away.

Mugs with brushes & pens

Without all the supplies and stuff covering it,the desk is inviting and spacious.  There is room to notice the small things like this little feather I picked up on my walk yesterday.

Little Feather

I seemed to find a lot of them in the weeks and months after my dad died and that was comforting to me.  I hadn’t found one for a long time but yesterday, this small bit of grey plumage caught my eye.  It was on the trail and it made me smile.

It would be great to say I will always keep my desk nice and neat but I know myself.  For now, it is clutter-free and it has been restored as a place where I want to sit and spend time. I even sat down this morning and did my taxes!

Happy Happy Joy.

Thanks for coming by.


Filed under Crafts

13 Valentine Craft Ideas

LoVe Stamps

For 2013, here are 13 valentine card and craft ideas from past posts. I also have new projects in the works, so stay tuned.

Fluttering Hearts Valentine Card. Double layered hearts adds dimension to this valentine.

Fluttering Hearts

Heart Strings. I love how these move in the slightest breeze. I used vintage sheet music to make them.

Heart Strings

Crayon Hearts  – chunky and colorful, these hearts are a great way to use up old, broken crayons.

Crayon Hearts

Alphabet Valentine

I Heart U

Decoupage Map Heart in Art From The Heart II post.

You Mean the World to Me

Punched Heart Garland with Vintage Paper. One of my first Pinterest-inspired projects.

Punched Heart Garland

Doodle Heart Background – add a poem or quote of your choice, a sentimental message or simply “Be Mine”.  This is an easy project.

Doodle Heart Background

My very first valentine post, this Paper Strip Heart Valentine is still a favorite.

Paper Strip Heart Valentine

Itty Bitty Banners – these are a great embellishment for a card and would be adorable as a little pennant for a cupcake.

LIttle Banners

Warm, fuzzy Felted Heart Garland.

Felted Heart Garland

Masterboard Valentine’s Tags – this is a method for making multiple tags (or card fronts) in a short time.

Masterboard Valentine Tags

Itty Bitty Valentine’s – little cards with the same double-heart design as the Fluttering Hearts Valentine’s.

Itty Bitty Valentine's

Crayon Wax Paper Hearts – just like you made when you were a kid.  If you haven’t made these before, you should give them a try now.

Crayon Wax Paper Hearts

Happy Crafting!  Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Crafts

Readers’ Gallery

Here is a preview from my new Readers’ Gallery.  I only have a few photos now but I know some of you have made things inspired by projects or recipes you’ve seen here. If you came up with your own variation, that’s wonderful too.  I’d like to share it all.

Please send me your pictures and be a part of my Readers’ Gallery.

Click on the tab at the far right at the top of the page to see the gallery or click here.
Thanks for stopping by.


Filed under Crafts, Readers' Gallery

Keeping Busy

Spring, in my part of the world, is a time of warming weather and rapid plant growth.  Bees buzz around beautiful, blooming flowers collecting nectar, and birds sing in the trees.

Plants send out tender green shoots and tiny leaves unfurl and seem to grow larger in hours instead of days.

In the face of all this vitality and life it is especially hard to see my dad decline.  He was diagnosed late in May of 2011. So last spring, before we had any idea what was going on, the cancer in him was growing. You can read more about it here. He has now been through a series of grueling treatments.  He was on a feeding tube that has been removed and he’s eating again.  But the illness, chemo and radiation have all taken their toll.

This life limiting illness has been terrible and it is rough watching my dad suffer. My mom has been right there with him, his partner and caregiver through every minute.  Even the five days when he had C. diff. and was in the hospital she was by his side for part of every day.  That was not a respite because he was so sick and we were so worried – anxiety is not a restful state.   It is hard seeing her suffer too.

Now he and my mom have decided to stop the treatment and he is at home under hospice care.  A scan in November showed that the cancer that started in his esophagus had spread to his lungs.  He isn’t eating very much and his strength and stamina have diminished.  He sleeps a lot. Cancer and the treatment he received have aged him.  Chemo has taken most of his hair, beard and mustache.  He has lost weight and he doesn’t look quite like himself.

Yet I’ve found that I get used to each change.  I see the wispy hair and hear the raspy voice but in spite of that I see my dad.  He is funny and ornery.  He is social and loves having his family and especially his wife close by.  We sit by his recliner in turn and visit with him and hold his hand.  We bring meals and recently most of the family gathered for a potluck Easter brunch.  Those who couldn’t make it for brunch visited within the week.

Though I’m in a choir  that sings for those on the thresholds of life, he doesn’t want me to sing for him; he wants me to make him laugh.  I save up funny stories and recount them with animated expressions and silly voices.  He likes to tease and he calls me a smart mouth but I believe he likes that I’ve learned it from him. He loves their dog, Molly, and enjoys watching her antics.

I heard someone use the term “pre-grieving” or anticipatory grief. We feel sad about what has already been lost and as we anticipate the further loss. I have two thoughts about anticipatory grief.   First, I DO feel sorrow, especially when my caring boyfriend or a friend offers a concerned ear. But most of the time I need to make some space for myself away from the sadness. I don’t mean in a stuffing-down-my-feelings way but in a putting-them-to-the side-so-I-can-function at work way.

Most importantly: my dad is still here.  I don’t want to put a lot of focus on grieving.  I want to make the most of every visit to be with my parents without adding to their anxiety or worries.

This is where the keeping busy comes in.  I do my best to maintain a regular physical exercise routine. In a good week I workout at the gym three mornings before work, attend a Jazzercise class one evening with one sister (though she goes more often) and walk every Saturday with my other sister.

Another stress-management tool is my crafting and blogging.  Sitting at my wonderful new desk and spending time creating something is a great distraction that takes my time and energy and results in something that gives me pleasure.  Making something with my hands is usually very calming and brain relaxing.  I sit focused on a project and everything else fades away…at least for an hour or two.

Even though having a loved one fighting cancer has become a lens through which I see things, I know that there is still much to celebrate.  I know my dad wants us to be happy.

Having this blog has been an outlet for me to express and share creative ideas and also to connect with friends and other creative people online.  Being able to communicate the experience of my dad’s illness here with you means I’m able to ease the burden of sadness because I’m not carrying it alone.  The love and support I receive in return is a blessing.

I saw this quote on Pinterest recently and printed a copy for my parents which is now on their fridge.  I need to print it out for myself:

Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. ~ Unknown

Thank you for stopping by.  Thank you for your support.


Filed under Life

The Big Craft Clean-Up

I’ve been reorganizing my craft stuff.  That may not sound very exciting but it has been a MAJOR project that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.  Now it is nearly done.  I could not be more pleased with the results.

We have an oval papasan wicker couch and a group of boxes, bins, baskets and bags has been stacked haphazardly at one end of it  A variety of craft supplies were stored in the stacking bins to the far left.  It was a spacious but awkward arrangement and difficult to use because getting to the lower bins meant taking the tops bins completely off.  A basket on top held my address book, envelopes, stamps and a few cards.

Card stock was in hanging files in heavy white cardboard file boxes under a large. heavy, square basket packed with zippered plastic bags full of paper scraps, templates, cardboard shapes, tags, sheet music,  and printed papers.  To get to the card stock, I had to lift the basket out of the way. A small trunk holds memorabilia (including family photos and cards from Rem), and is topped with a leather box of cards I’ve made and a few knick-knacks. On the right is a portable plastic storage bin that I take when I go crafting with a friend.  It is topped with a canvas bag with even more supplies for other projects.

A shelf behind the couch held smaller plastic tubs with dusty. unused journals, old cards, projects from workshops and out-of date newsletters from Stampin’ Up who I used to demonstrate for.

A pair of bar stools under the counter made a convenient place to stack books, drape sweaters and jackets, and set down mail.  We never actually sat on them.  Several boxes of canning jars, some empty and others with chutney are stacked on the floor.  Wire bins with a variety of candles, candle holders, boxes of envelopes and bottles of wine are in the corner.  Rem had just cleaned the unit out so it looks better than it has in years. Yeah, that IS the “After” for those bins.  I wish I had a picture of the “Before”.

This dresser was full of supplies for rubber stamping and crafting cards.  Completed and half-finished projects and the various papers, sticky tape, colored pens and other supplies got stacked to one side on the table so we could eat and them moved to the dresser or in piles on the floor until I put them away.  The piles usually grew before I got around to cleaning them up.  Sometimes the dresser was buried under an archeological dig of craft stuff.  On top is the most recent holiday, in this case green paper from St. Patrick’s Day.  Go down a layer and you’ll find Valentine’s Day, then Christmas stuff.

The drawers were loaded with boxes of rubber stamps, ink, punches, ribbon, glitter, embossing powder, buttons, brads, jewels, scissors, twine, a crimping tool, an embossing heat gun and more.

I had given away and donated a bunch of rubber stamps about 6 months ago but I was ready to say goodbye to other stamps I knew I wasn’t using.  The more I could donate, the more space I would have to play with.

More bins lurk in the bedroom.  Perfect for a kids room or garage or maybe storage closet.  Not my favorite look for our bedroom.  You get used to things but when I really looked at these bins I could see they needed help. The drawers had become jammed with supplies.  I didn’t even know what all was in there because the bottom drawer sagged so badly, it wouldn’t open.

I knew the first step was to get rid of some of this mess mass of stuff.  I completely sorted through all of my craft supplies.  ALL of them. Even the ones in the bottom drawer I couldn’t open.  Turns out, it was mosaic supplies.  I had completely forgotten WHAT was in there.  I had to work my way down through the drawers sorting and emptying bins until I could actually open that bottom drawer.

I’ve collected things I might use in a future project.  But haven’t. I’ve completed projects, had leftover supplies and saved them because they were still good.  I had materials from crafts that I’m not longer doing. I had duplicates of some items because things had become so cluttered and disorganized I didn’t know what I had and bought more.

I love printed papers and I often buy packs that have many different designs.  I don’t always like every page in a pack but the price is usually good enough to buy it with those few I don’t love.  Over years of crafting I’ve ended up with a container of dud designs that I didn’t want to use.  I would dig through the box looking for something fun and new and see pages of designs I either had grown tired of or didn’t like in the first place.

Another issue that bothered me was crafting in our little apartment meant working on our one and only table.  Most of the time that was ok but it meant whenever I was working on a project and had it spread out on the table I either stacked it up in a disorganized pile so we could eat dinner at the table or eating dinner from plates on our laps on the bed.  Not ideal.

I was so ready to get rid of things I wasn’t using.  I thought if I could actually clear out enough stuff I might actually be able to fit a crafting desk into our small living space.  That was a huge incentive.  I also wanted to be able to actually open (and close) all the drawers and to sort through and keep only the paper I found beautiful and pass along the rest to someone who would use it and enjoy it.

A few days off from work scattered over several weeks helped me to really focus my energy on this Big Craft Clean-Up. I called a friend who I knew volunteered at several schools in the area and who worked with disadvantaged kids and women living in a homeless shelter.  I learned she would be thrilled to take most of my discarded items and I was delighted to pass it along to be used and enjoyed.

My mom was inspired by my project and donated some scrapbook paper and craft scissors she wasn’t using.  She had decided that she was happier putting together photo-albums than creating scrapbooks.

At first, the project created chaos. Drawers were emptied, bins were moved, I filled a kitchen trash bag with hardened glue sticks, pens that no longer wrote, crumpled, musty paper and dried-out markers.

A friend at work was happy to take the stools for his dad’s backyard wood-shop.  Rumor has it they actually sit on them!  The canning jars found a home in our storage space under the apartment.  My sister, who has a very large storage space, wanted the mosaic supplies.

I started sorting out the items I wanted to keep and stuff I was ready to donate.  I found fabric scraps, fake flowers, decoupage medium, jewelry findings, pens, brushes, raffia, cotton balls, flat glass marbles, magnets, coloring books, brown paper bags, excelsior, pliers, colored pencils and more.  I wiped dust off of bins and filled another bag with garbage and two with paper to recycle.

The stacking bins were loaded with bags of craft supplies still in good shape.  A turning rack of ink pads was bagged and ready to go, I’d kept the colors I use most often along with a set of colored markers and said goodbye to the rest.  A big boot box was roomy enough for scrapbook paper, card stock and other flat items.  Smaller boxes held what had been treasures for me at one time but had become trash.  For my friend and the women and kids she works with I hope they will be treasures again.

Now I was ready to shop for a desk!  I measured the (limited) available space and after searching online and a preliminary look at The Container Store, we headed to IKEA.  We looked at several combinations I’d seen on the computer but in one I didn’t like the way the drawers were open at the top and though it would have fit, it was really small.  A rolling file cabinet ended up being too wide to work.  A call to the Container Store to check the measurements of a file cabinet on sale and a mental rearrangement of my set-up and we made our decision.  We came home with a set of drawers, two table legs and a desk top.

I have previously put together a bedside table with drawers and a book shelf from IKEA.  As long as I’ve got plenty of time, Rem’s support and the use of his power drill with screwdriver bit, I find it fun and satisfying to assemble their furniture.  It suits my skill level.  The directions are all pictures.

I count out all the bits and bobs and make sure I have everything I need.  It isn’t really building but it is fulfilling to go from these pieces:

To this:

Or more importantly, from this:

To this:

I had a bit of panic when I saw what had seemed like a very small desk top while in IKEA hulking rather largely in our limited space. But once everything was assembled and pushed into place, once all the big packing cardboard was taken out to the recycling bins, and once I started putting stuff in the drawers I started to get used to it.

Now I can sit at my desk (oh, that makes me happy) and open a drawer…

and use the adhesive or scissors or bone folder and then put it away.

The drawers have the supplies I use the most often, right at my fingertips.

The dresser has been organized and the contents distilled to what I really want to keep and use.

With less stuff everything has a place.  Not a stack on the floor. Or piled on top of the dresser.

I had hoped for paper storage in the desk but when that didn’t work out, I decided a small file cabinet on sale from The Container Store could replace a file box that had been in the corner of the bedroom.

These books look better here than on the old stools.  The green fabric bin from Target is a nice replacement for the old basket holding my address book and stamps.

Best of all, all my colored card stock (that survived the paper purge) is in the bottom drawer with plenty of room in the top drawer for (boring) files.

The space under the counter is still a work-in-progress.  I will post a picture when I  get the storage unit I have my eye on to replace the wire bins.  For now, it is fine.  I will align the new unit with the trunk/basket combo and fabric “drawers” will keep things neater looking.

In the bedroom I still want to replace the stacking plastic drawer bins.  For now they have been sorted out and all the drawers open.  When I find something that fits in the space that I like, I’ll get it.

I love sitting at the table to eat without needed to pile up a craft project I’m in the middle of.  A few portable boxes with handles sit under the window and I don’t expect to get rid of them.  Going out crafting with friends is still something I enjoy.

All of this cleaning, sorting, reorganizing, shopping and assembling has kept me from doing much crafting or blogging lately, but I know the energy and effort I’ve put into this big project is very well spent.  I will be creating in this space for years to come.

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under Crafts, Life