Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 5 (of 5)

This was a really big project! To see it from the start, click here.




Remember what my crafting area used to look like? In case you don't, one of the obligatory "before" photos is right over there. :) Everything was cluttered and unorganized, and there was a lot of valuable storage real-estate being taken up by boxes that should have been unpacked and/or stored in the attic four years ago when we moved in. The way that the table was set up, there wasn't enough room for me to sit centered and be comfortable, and the large surface area was a great clutter-magnet.

Over the course of this project, I learned some organizational techniques which I shared in the corresponding posts, and discovered quite a few materials (beads, mostly) that I had completely forgotten I even had. Some stripped screws stood between me and converting my craft table into a computer desk, but I took off one of the leaves to open up the back and am using it as a desk anyway. :P I also found new ways to approach organizing, and picked up some great new storage! There are still a few things I want to do with it, but I declare it "done enough". So, without further ado, here are my "after" photos...

New crafting area! I use my old computer desk (an antique writing desk that's been in the family for four generations now) as a crafting surface. I have my digital photo frame set up, along with a bucket for dry-erase pens and my DIY lightbox for taking photos. Some notes are taped to the wall.
POV of my crafting area. The glowy blue thing on the left is the photo frame. I have some wonderful light now, and can go directly from crafting to shooting product photos.
My little photo studio, now in a semi-permanent spot on the crafting desk. Also featured: a sneak-peek of a pair of feather earrings that I don't have listed yet. ;)
The newly cleaned-out and organized closet. I put the antique sewing cabinet thingy in there, but to open it, I'll need to pull it out, so I may need to find a different home for it. It has all my tools in it, sorted by function within its drawers. Speaking of drawers, I have my new bead-drawers stacked, too, and there are still a few boxes that I haven't gone through yet. I plan to screw jar lids to the underside of the cabinet so I can have extra storage there, and I saved the leaf from the table to salvage for more shelving.
Mounted on the outside closet door is a white board that's just been hanging out on my desk since Christmas. I have a Twitter promotion calendar with related hashtags to use, and a list of meals to make for the week is held on by a magnet. Side note: just the small, simple task of planning out the week's menu every week has been a huge time-saver for me, and we're eating healthy meals at home more often.
Finally, my revamped computer station. I minimized the surface area so that it'll be easier to dust, and the table is at a better spot for my wrists when using the mouse and keyboard. I have my little microbe plushie keeping me company, and my daughter added her own touch - a vintage My Little Pony that I saved for her from my own childhood toy collection. There's another MLP on my craft table, as pictured above. I have my printer behind the monitor, out of the way.
Like I said, there are a few other things I eventually want to do with the space (the wall above my crafting area, in particular, is just crying out for some sort of decoration), but it's good enough for right now! :) Hopefully this has been an inspiration to someone out there who has been looking to revamp their own craft room; if nothing else, I have photographic evidence of how bad it used to be, haha.

Update, 7/1/15: I finally went through two of the boxes that were still in the closet, and they were full of seed beads from my grandma. Check it out:

Baggies and shower hooks from the local dollar store. Beads are (mostly) organized by color, with a separate hook for some very sparkly beads in (relatively) small quantities. Off to the left are some other materials that were in the boxes, mostly shells.


If you have your own great organization tips, please share in the comments! :)

Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 1
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4

To start reading from the beginning of this project, click here.

Hip-hip-hooray, the big ugly green tub is empty! Mostly. I still have exactly three plastic bags in there, containing seed beads, feathers, and pieces I intend to salvage for parts. But all my little boxes of beads are now in their proper places in the drawers, and there was even some extra space in the bottom two drawers for my collection of how-to manuals. Check it out:

The cabinets are all full-up.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

I was smart and sorted the beads before I started putting them away. ;) There are still a few cases of beads that don't have a permanent home yet (you can see part of one on top of the cabinets in the photos above; what you don't see is that there are three more stacked on top of that one), and the table is still a mess, as you can see:


It's maybe difficult to tell, but I am making progress. :) There's a space behind the wooden box in the center, so I have almost half of the table cleared off. Once I dust off and vacuum out the little antique cabinet there on the right, I'm willing to wager that even more of the table surface will be visible. I'm still on the hunt for some jars to stash the hundreds of wooden beads that I have, and some things might just have to be left out because they hold things I use all the time.

Like this container.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to stash my tools. I have four pliers, three hammers, two wire jigs, one dapping block (and a partridge in a pear tree!), as well as sundry other tools, that I want to have accessible but visible - in other words, not jumbled together in a drawer like they are right now.


If you have some great organizational tips you'd like to share, post a comment! 

Next Post:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 5 (of 5)

Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 1
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3

Monday, May 11, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3

To start at the beginning of this project, click here



After sorting through the piles of things in the closet and cleaning it up, I went out and purchased some storage items - three fabric boxes in a sky blue, and three stackable cabinets with three doors each. Here's what I have so far:

The closet as a whole.

Close-up of the shelf with boxes.
I found some vintage macrame books in some of the moving boxes while I was cleaning, as well as some other crafting literature, and there was just enough space on the shelf for the three boxes, the books, and my case of embroidery floss. I used to do quite a bit of cross-stitching, and I still have all my supplies in case I want to pick it back up, or if my daughter ever needs a hobby when she's older. My aunt got me into the hobby, and that's what I was doing right before I picked up on making jewelry. It was a very easy transition - floss for cross-stitching, then floss for friendship bracelets, then all sorts of other materials for all sorts of other jewelry. ;)

I admit to not being a very good Susie Homemaker - the items in the boxes are still in the bags that they were in when they were stashed in the closet before I cleaned it out. I didn't even dust off the bags, haha. Don't they look nicer in the boxes, though? Plus the boxes are sturdier than plastic bags alone; I can pull out a box as I need it without worrying about what's going to avalanche down on top of me. The box on the right has my cross-stitching and other embroidery supplies; the middle box has general crafting items (cardboard tubes, contact paper, and so on), and the left box has fabric and sewing supplies.

I don't have anything stored in the stackable drawer system yet; that's my big step for today. I plan to sort through my beads and put them into some sort of order, then store them in the drawers (while still in their plastic boxes - see #5 on this list). I have some larger storage cases and don't know what to do with them yet. Oh, and I went looking for jars with one-piece lids while I was buying the other storage pieces, and couldn't find any; all I found were two-piece lids for canning. My mom might have some mayo jars laying around (the old ones, back when the jars were still glass and the lids were metal), so I'll have to check with her. If not, then the canning jars might work; they're just not what I originally had in mind.

Quite possibly the smartest thing I did while creating this storage center was to take some of the stuff I wanted to store with me. In this case, I knew I wanted some drawers like the ones I got, but I also wanted to keep my beads in their boxes. Rather than take a lot of measurements, I just took one of my little bead boxes with me so that I knew at a glance whether the drawers were tall enough to fit the boxes. That is a free tip, from me to you. You're welcome. :P

Next step: sort the beads, stash them in the drawers, then see what else I still have laying around that I need to be able to neatly store. Once my craft table is cleared off, then I can see about maybe rearranging it and my computer desk to improve my work flow. Stay tuned. :)

Next Post:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4 

Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 1
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2

Friday, May 8, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2

If you missed Part 1, click here.



So, as previously mentioned, I'm working to get a handle on my craft space and make it something that fits me, instead of just working with what I have. It started as...well, a big ol' mess. There's no gilding that lily; it was just a mess!


Obligatory "before" photo.

After working on it today, well, it's still a mess, but it's a slightly more organized one. I decided to start with the closet, since that's where I plan to store a lot of my materials anyway, and it was full of boxes that we hadn't ever unpacked from when we moved in, about four years ago.

I pulled everything out and sorted it into two piles: craft stuff, and other. I found my old Walkman, which was awesome! I also found a lot of dust and a bajillion computer cords. I don't even know what they go to. My husband and I have a mutual friend who builds computers for fun, so we'll probably ask him if he can use anything; if not, then yippee for me because I just got a bunch of wire to upcycle into jewelry! ;)

Obligatory "after" photo.
Now, my craft table is a mess again, but the closet's empty, and I can see what space I actually have available to work with. I think I might hang some glass jars from the underside of the shelf, and I have some other storage ideas. I've got to get all the dust out, first! Stay tuned to see what I come up with. :)

Next Post:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3

Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 5

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Craft Space Overhaul! Part 1

Having a lovely little space to call my own for my crafting and jewelry-creating has long been a dream of mine, and I am finally going to get the ball rolling on this! First things first: here's my craft area as of now:

The mandatory "before" picture.
We got the table at a garage sale a few years ago, and it's served me well; it's just time for something new with a lot more storage space. The top tends to be a clutter magnet, and I don't have much room to work unless I put everything away, which really puts a hamper on my creative process because then I can't see what I have.

The tackle box in the bottom-left foreground is what I use to transport my inventory and essentials to craft fairs and really gets in the way because it doesn't fit in the storage space under the table; the little cabinet-thing on the right is actually empty right now, I think. See - I don't even know what I have! The two boxes in front of the door are full of seed beads, half-finished projects, buttons, and other things which I inherited from my extremely craft-centric grandma, and I'd like to do something a little more accessible with them. Right now, they're blocking the door, which in turn is blocking the light switch to the room. Plus I have a few more boxes in the garage somewhere.

Off to the right, there's a closet that's just kind of full of stuff that we never unpacked when we moved here about four years ago. The drawer in the table is my tool drawer - you know how practically every kitchen has a "junk drawer", and how messy and unorganized it usually is, but if you're looking for something and can't find it, it's probably in the junk drawer somewhere? That drawer is pretty much my crafting junk drawer, and I want to change that.

My first step is to clear out the closet. Once that's done, I'll be able to actually see how much space I have to work with in there. Next will be to clear off and clean off the table - I'm thinking about switching my computer desk and craft table around, as my desk is an antique and isn't really comfortable to use with my mouse and keyboard because people didn't have such things back when it was made. ;) I might have to do some DIY on the table to convert it to a usable desk - there's a support leg underneath right where I want my legs to go - but I'll be able to better see what I need to do with it once it's cleared off.

Next Post:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 2 
Related Posts:
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 3 
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 4 
Craft Space Overhaul! Part 5

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Five Things I Seem to Forget About Craft Fairs

Hi, everyone! I just completed my second craft fair yesterday, and since I've already done a few "What I've Learned" posts about craft shows - both during set-up and during the show itself - I thought this time I'd talk about some things that I completely forgot about, between one show and the next. :)

Memorial Middle School Drama Club Spring Fling Bazaar
Albany, OR - May 2, 1015

1. Craft shows are physically demanding.
One would think, oh, it's just standing around or sitting around, how hard can that be? Well, except then there's the unloading, reloading, reaching across the table, walking around to look at other booths or trying to find the bathroom, not to mention that just standing uses quite a few muscles on its own, and I did a lot of standing. My entire body is sore today, haha.

2. They can be emotionally demanding, too.
This one depends on whether you're an extrovert or an introvert (like me!). For me, I like talking with other people, but it wears me out, and after a while, I need a calm, quiet space to recharge - except I can't exactly do that when I still have three hours of the show to do. ;)

3. Jewelry takes a long time to set up.
I took note of which tasks took the longest to complete during the set-up last show, and I packed those displays ahead of time and plastic-wrapped them so that I could transport them easily, and I was still putting pieces up when the show started this time. (Set-up was much quicker this time than the last, though.)

4. Hand out business cards to anyone who seems interested.
Thankfully I picked up on this after the first customer who came by, said "I'll be right back," then disappeared, never to be seen again. This happened a few times at my first craft bazaar, and it happened probably ten times at this most recent craft bazaar, but nine out of those ten times, I remembered to hand them a card before they walked away.

5. You will forget something - and that's okay.
Last time, I forgot to make a sandwich the night before to bring for lunch, so I just packed up sandwich fixin's the morning of the show and made myself a sandwich during a slow time (which, coincidentally enough, was during lunch time). This time, I straight-up forgot a chair, but it was okay, because the event manager had a few chairs to provide to folks who forgot. As long as the thing you forget isn't something vitally important, like your inventory, it usually all works out. :)

Related Posts:
Five Things I Learned While Preparing for a Holiday Bazaar
Five Things I Learned At My First Craft Fair