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It’s the start of the new year so it’s great to start fresh! Let me tell you how much of a delight it was to overhaul my creative space. I’m oh so organized now that I don’t want to leave…

When everything is all jumbled:

It all started with a box of buttons! Not just any box; but a cherished collection that my mother started many eons ago. This suitcase of buttons was hardly organized and finding a suitable one was always a long painstaking task.

I am so lucky; my sweet daughter-in-law is such a determined organizer! She actually wanted to sit and sort each button into categories! That’s the key to being organized. Everything (buttons here) need to fit into categories and then knowing where those categories are makes finding things very easy!

She divided them into colours and then in each colour box there are transparent bags (always better to have some transparency to any container) to divide them into exact similar buttons and then those of the same size. I was so thrilled to see it so organized that it got me into that ‘organizing kick’!

When you are working away at any project it really warms the heart when you do not have to struggle finding things, whether buttons are anything else. Scissors, screwdrivers, seam-rippers, tape, all those things that seem to hide when you need them! Since I have the feeling I am going to be working in my ‘Creative Space’ for a while before the world seems to open up, now’s a great time to do it (not to mention it’s like -25ºC outside!)

Make it Pretty:

Since I am such a visual person I always think about how the aesthetics are. ‘Can I add a factor of beauty to the function? In the case of the pin-board I decided to do a quick freehand fabric painting; something that isn’t too contrived but fun and loose.

I was thinking what my ‘style’ actually is, and I determined it’s a combination of rustic nature and a bit of boho. I remembered that I had a bag of driftwood stashed away (crazy, ya I know). A quick bunch of hot-gluing and a circle of wire glued from the back made easy work of this ‘circle’. It’s a statement piece since it’s over 24″ across.

Blame it on Pinterest:

I tend to gravitate to nature all the time. Its not always easy to have live plants so some moss wall art seemed crazy simple. Reindeer moss was also in my stash from making the resin pendants and who doesn’t have some gravel hanging around?! Sometimes a quick glue-gun project is quite satisfying. Moss wall art is almost a foolproof way of adding some ‘green’ to your world.

Check out my ‘Pin-board’ with the painted fabric (post on fabric paint coming soon) & the moss wall art. My ‘Creative Space’ is in the lower level since it is really beneficial to be near the laundry room/sink for Eco Printing. It is a large space about 12′ x 16′ and open to about the same size space in lounge/couch area. It is nice to be able to work on something but still feel part of the family as well. That is another reason I wanted it to be quite pleasing to the eye.

This sewing table was a vintage purchase years ago. The machine slides down and the top folds over. There are drawers and thread holders so it’s all organized. When closed it takes only a small footprint. To freshen everything I painted it white.

Let there be light!

When I am in a basement space I need to have a huge amount of light; tons of light! There are LED shop lights hung from the ceiling tiles and this allows for versatility if I move tables. I hate to be limited, so being able to move lights is great.

Adjusting Table height:

I have been mulling this idea of changing my work space for a while and always wanted a higher height for the tables. The rickety folding tables I had always hurt my back when I was bent over them to roll bundles of eco prints. I also knew I did not want to invest in $1000’s of dollars of cabinetry because I may change my mind of what I am interested in later on.

My solution was to raise the 2 folding tables and combine them to hold up a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood that is prefinished with melamine. There is an iron-on edging that will make it look finished. Imagine a table that is that huge! It was dream of mine forever! I could lay out fabric, or arrange a roll of eco print and still have room to spare! The table legs were extended by heating plastic (with heat gun) pipe just enough to stretch it over the table leg. Once cooled it holds great! They were easily cut afterward and felt applied to prevent from scratching the floor. The board stays put well, but it could be screwed from the bottom. The floor is a hardy vinyl and has been great for years.

To organize the millions of things I use I employ the transparent drawer units. I know they are not super sexy but they do a great job & they are on wheels. They sit under the tables and still give room to sit at the table on a stool.

In my college days we alway had drafting tables with stools so we could stand or sit to work; that is ideal rather than constantly hoisting myself out of a low chair (my knee thanks me)

Huge Table Real Estate:

Call me crazy, but I get super excited when I see such a clean large table waiting for wonderful new creation to take place! The sky’s the limit!

I have collected the suitcases for years. Recently I needed to refresh my memory of what is in each so I made small tags to identify them. They are project supplies for things like mitten-making, slipper-making, stitchery; things I don’t need close at hand. My drawer units have many small things for making purses, zippers, various paint types, sculpting tools, gold leaf, glitter and resin, inks, glues & tape, tools, and the list goes on…

The clear containers are my dried and pressed leaves for eco printing. They are sorted by specie and only need a quick soak to be ready to use. They are like my ‘money in the bank’ and give me joy…

Thread Envy:

I built small shelves decades ago to house the toy cars for my sons room. They are made with thin tongue&groove boards which worked out perfectly for the rainbow of thread colours.

It’s always important to have a good chair. This is the Breva, the exact same model they use in the college. The ring for your feet makes all the difference!

On a small side note; having a small vacuum is really beneficial I find. I love my cord free handheld Dyson

Quick access:

There are some items that artist and crafters need all the time! I like to put those in a cart that wheels wherever I am. I tend to add extra things and need to clean it out often. If you put some rare-earth magnets on the side then you can easily grab-and-go those important tools.

It may look a bit odd to you but everyone has their own idea what they like. If you can make a space for yourself, it can be as functional and pretty as you like. When I am in love with my space I feel much more creative and free from that frustration of mess, maybe it’s OCD but I know it affects my creativity. Let me know your secrets for a great space!

Thanks for coming and seeing mine! I’m pretty sure it’s true – ‘if you have a nice space you are more likely to keep it nice’.

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Fantastic to get organized! I have a bunch of those not so sexy transparent drawer units too. There’s always so much stuff to put away and organzine though. Can I borrow your daughter-in-law?

    1. It feels really cathartic to dump out stuff and organize it… maybe in front of the TV. I’ll admit, during this ‘once-over’ everything I discovered some things I had forgotten about! Maybe we need to take some notes… I find that once I love the space, it gives me that will to put things away more than before. I have much stuff since I do so many different things – concrete, sewing, eco printing, resin, painting, leather…

  2. Love it, Barb! Everything looks amazing! 💓 your moss and rock art! I have a collection of Featherweight machines…….thinking I should have collected suitcases instead, like you! More storage, a fantastic idea! You presented a lot of great ideas. Thank you! Happy creating in your beautiful space!

    1. Haha, I never really understood why I gravitated to the suitcases, maybe because they represented some history of travel. I have a very special leather one that was made into a table, it even has a name monogrammed on the side! Someday I hope to find a featherweight!

  3. There’s no better feeling in the world than to be organized! Your daughter-in-law is wonderful to get you started. I have to admit that my own craft space has gotten away from me, so this inspiration comes at a good time.

    I would love to see what you use for lighting that is moveable; I never have enough light in my craft space. I hope you can update this post with a picture or link to your lighting :).

    Question about the chair; is it padded like upholstery or hard like plastic? Just wondering how comfortable it is.

    1. The lights are 4′ long shop lights and I have 2 centred over the table. There are even better models than mine nowadays. I ran a cord up and used the hooks that are made for suspended ceilings. Then I can also hang pictures that way. The chair is a semi-soft type of spongy rubber. The cool thing is that it is not slippery so no worry about it sliding away as you get on it! I was used to them from my years in the college. I find the form quite comfortable even though it’s not so soft.

  4. Gravel? Of course I have gravel! I have ‘stuff’ collected since childhood – how it may someday serve as embellishment – who knows. I love that your space reflects what we have come to know about you. Collected. Not matchy, matchy. Fun. Inspiring. Integrated into your home. It appears the walls are a pale yellow – a color I love in a lower level living space – for it’s exactly sunny nature.
    For years my work surface was a drafting table – I’m tall and liked the slightly taller height.
    When my husband claimed ‘his turn’ I ordered a laminate top sized to a large cutting board and placed upon two short file cabinets with custom height (thanks hubby) wood risers. The result is very sturdy and technically moveable. Like yours, I have storage underneath and knee room for a stool. I’m on the lookout for a stack of map drawers – perfect storage for ME.
    Love, love to see how others do workspace, storage and organization!

    1. I have a feeling of trying to use up what my mom never got a chance to use. Drafting tables are awesome! Each one I have gotten has been larger than it’s predecessor. I still have a hydraulic one in the office. Oooh, large flat map storage – that sounds sexy! Matchy matchy gets old fast…

    1. Barb, I am so feeling it!
      Hats off to you! Thank you for rationalizing it all.
      You have given me great incentive to create a fruitful environment with no glass ceiling!
      Koodoos to you!

  5. Very cool! I love seeing other makers setups! I’m envious. Mine is quite spread out, as in 3 locations, and not as organized. Working on it though.

    1. Well, I used to have the machine upstairs, ironing downstairs and I soon realized that wasn’t going to work. You will see what shortcomings you have after working in the space. I do have another ‘office’ for the drawing/illustrating/computer stuff.

  6. Hi Barb, It is so nice to see a craft room that isn’t all brand new furnishings and matchy, matchy. I am in the beginning / middle of getting rid of stuff I don’t need and keeping the stuff I know I can need lol. Which ain’t easy, all while re- painting, sorting and dumping AHHHHHHch. The I KNOW I can use that syndrome lol. Plus I will be redoing my work area to be in a different part of my home. I also have a drawer full of my Grandmothers buttons in her Singer peddle sewing machine that still works and which I refuse to convert to electricity. LOVE the thread cubbies and was wondering if you could show a closer picture of them please? I have some left over tongue and groove and was wondering how yours were made since you said they were thinner boards. I appreciate it very much and understand if you decide not to. I usually can figure out stuff.. Thank you for all you do for us, stay safe and have fun. 🙂

  7. This is a very satisfying post! Thanks for the shout-out, Barb! I loved organizing the buttons, especially knowing how special they were and how many were saved for years. There were some very interesting ones! Some of the joy of organizing someone else’s stuff is what you learn about their history along the way.

  8. What a fabulous post, fabulous space, and fabulous daughter-in-law! Thank you for your constant fabulous ideas. Getting organized really does help and seeing what you’ve accomplished with all your stash gives me hope and inspiration. With this ‘new’ space I expect you to really wow us in the coming year……..blessings.

    1. Thanks for the huge vote of confidence! I am quite excited! I may even cross over to more videos and stop hiding behind the camera… but don’t quote me. Yes, I’m quite lucky to have her and my ‘lil munchkin as well.

  9. This made me smile. I’d taken a pause from my own organizing adventure and decided to visit your site. Perfect inspiration and encouragement to take on my button stash that contains treasures from four generations.

    I’ve found that taking a picture of the suitcase and then it’s contents to be useful. They still have their labels (luggage tags that I crafted to match) but it’s so quick to have a quick visual scan for me so I don’t have to rearrange them to find that one elusive item that I’m certain is is one of them. It’s a gift to my mature memory.

    Delighted and basking in the warmth of your space, thank you for sharing.

    1. That sounds great! I was thinking of doing that… but I already have so many pictures that my hard drives are bursting at the seams and finding pictures is almost like buttons… Yes visual is the best! Mature memories are well earned! Thanks for visiting!

  10. Hi, Barb. I like storage with a “history”, too. When I was in college (lo, these many years ago), I worked in a print shop to help pay my tuition. I set a lot of type by hand. I wish I had all that type, now! Imagine how delighted I was when I found one of those old type drawers. I treasured it “just because” and was certain that it would be worth being made fun of for my “hoarding”. It wasn’t even in perfect condition. Well, I have always had a problem with my water color tubes. If I store them flat, when I open the tubes, precious paint gushes out. I don’t want to waste a drop. Now, I set my print case up against the wall and store each tube upright with their labels clearly visible. They fit perfectly, and the larger spaces hold my mediums. Attaching metal clips to the thin crosspieces holds my watercolor brushes upright, poked through the clips’ handles. My little shelves even have room for a tiny rabbit statue and two bottles of perfume. The paint is for my creative side; the type drawer for my college days; the bunny is for my farm in the Ozarks hill country where we raised rabbits; and the perfume is for Oooooo la laaaaa – who doesn’t need a little of that? Room for 71 tubes of paint and 12 bottles of watercolor medium – and pretty as a picture.

    1. Oh! I have drooled at those quite often! That sounds so wonderful! I can imagine that looking at it and it’s little momentoes are extra special. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thanks for all the ideas and tips, because I am currently working on getting organized. This post is very encouraging and helpful. I have a lot to do, and I know it will take a long time to get there. Thanks for sharing
    Happy 2022

  12. I just did some room switching, so workshop (just a small room) got moved. I have one of those lovely sexy plastic drawer units, it works! And like you, I gravitate towards nature. I feel like a 6 year old….I can’t go on a walk without coming home with leaves, rocks, and on ocean front strolls seashells, driftwood and rusty spikes and such. The leaves go into the eco dyeing and the shells and driftwood make it into artwork. How do people live without a workshop or without creating?!! Love to follow you, such an inspiration! Thanks Barb!

    1. Oh, I know that all too well too! Next time I were the jacket I wonder what the heck is in the pocket?! All kinds of treasures are found. In this day & age, it’s much better than buying so much plastic stuff. If not for my ‘making’ I’d prob be in therapy!

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