operation studio: part 1

So, today let’s talk about my current issue. It’s a big one, and it’s grown into epic “Oh holy hell I’m not sure I can dig out of this one” status. Originally I wasn’t going to talk about it, but after writing up last week’s post on creative insecurity I thought… how can I be a crafting blogger and NOT talk about this?! Here we go…

My big bad ugly right now is the studio I’m currently sitting in. It is the physical manifestation of every insecurity I’ve got at the moment, actually. As I’ve put on 15lbs in the last few months and been absolute a sack of crap about diet and exercise… yeah. It’s like all my demons are currently taking form as a studio where nothing is put away and everything is a hot mess. It mocks me and reminds me of my every failing. To be blunt, I’m not sure how I’ve continued to create in here except that I choose to not see it. Isn’t that how so many people live with big ugly things in their lives? Ignoring that elephant in the room…

Its name is no longer the batcave or my studio. As of last week I’ve re-named it: this is the (yes, all caps) TSUNAMI OF SH*T.  Unfinished projects, half organized things, a floor used as receptacle for recycling, tax papers all over where the computer should be, the computer on the girl’s art tray, books scattered, Christmas wrapping paper… it is the worst it has ever been in the decade since I claimed this room as a studio. I have not fully cleaned this room in at least 18months, probably more like 2 years.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, it’s like this. Yes, I’ve been intensely busy and a lot has been going on and I’m still trying to wrangle some deadlines so that I can be caught back up and… and… But the truth is that everyone is busy and there’s always something happening. Everyone has the same number of hours in the day, their own problems, their own priorities. Nobody has it better, nobody has it easier. I won’t excuse my grossness or my utter lack of discipline.

Because that’s what this is, isn’t it?

I made the choice to pour energies into my kids, family stuff, and work. I made the choice to be ignoring diet, minimizing exercise, and not ever cleaning up after myself in the studio.

It has been my choice.

I can’t control everything, and yes I’ve had some kind of nasty injury trifecta and flare ups that have been putting me down exercise wise… but I let it get me. Let the mental defeat happen and I didn’t fight it. I gave myself the excuses.

One of my pet peeves in people is when they are negative and always have excuses for themselves and/or fingers to point elsewhere in blame. That is something you’re not seeing me do here. No. Way. Am I hard on myself? Darn right I am. If I want to improve my own life, if I want to be happier, whose job is that?


It is not my husband’s job, it is not up to my friends, government, coworkers, or family. It is my own damn responsibility and I will own it.

So where does this leave me on this rant? It leaves me evaluating what works well in here and what doesn’t. What I want and don’t want. How to re-incorporate good eating and exercise into my daily life. It also has me creating a pinterest board called operation clean studio. It has me making a plan. It has me prioritizing the gym and diet. Buying a lot more fresh vegetables and no yummy desserts. Ok, maybe just a few yummy desserts.

It has me taking charge and being responsible for my own actions.

I’m not going to share my exercise info – that’s just not anything new or interesting. I am just getting back into habits I had established but in 2012 so far have let slide down into dangerously unmotivated territory. But I will be sharing operation fix TSUNAMI OF SH*T.

I haven’t decided if I’ll do it as a weekly column here, or post as I get things done. But if you want to know my process and all that for getting the studio whipped into the shape it deserves, just know that’ll be here. I’ve got photos of my studio over the last 8 yrs or so to share, and I’ve got the good, bad, and ugly. As I type this I’ve already moved the furniture and spent about 20hrs so far cleaning and sorting and putting things away in proper places… and it’s not even close to halfway there.

It will be an honest, unedited account of the repair of balance. Of maximizing the potential of this space and not giving myself permission to not be accountable for the mess. Oh – I’m all for making messes. But you’ve gotta clean them up now and then too.

Happy [cleaning, exercising, and] Crafting.

33 thoughts on “operation studio: part 1”

  1. I am with you on the need to clean, exercise and eat better! I like following your pinterest board and am in need of finding new ways to organize my craft supplies in a smaller space. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  2. I’m in the same predicament right now. So glad you shared what you are going through, so honest. I’m with ya about it being our own responsibility. If we blame others or find excuses, we’ll never get out from the T of S. I’ve tried everything to get myself motivated, even written a list and put amount of time each item will take; that actually helped. Something happened this Saturday, don’t know where it came from (perhaps that batch of dandelions I juiced really worked) but I got a sh*t load of stuff done and I finally let go of a whole pile of guilt. Thanks for sharing : )


  3. Thanks for being honest. I can’t stand hearing excuses and/or denial either – good for you on all accounts. Really.

  4. One more reason why I love following your blog and taking your classes. You are real!!! This post was just what I needed this morn after having a couple of days feeling really crappy about the 15 pds I also have put on this past year and some uncertainty involving my job. You make me smile every day and that is truly a gift! You’ll get where u need to be in your scrap space and just know that your kids love you for the time you spent with them instead of cleaning, and we reallllly appreciate the time you spent preparing your classes instead of organizing! Onward thru the piles we’re with You all the way

  5. Well, maybe my room isn’t actually the TofS, but I just moved into it and do have some more organizing to do. I do a lot of work at crops so I’m torn between my lovely new dedicated space and how to keep it ready to go to travel. The most annoying thing was going out to purchase a new ______ ONLY because I couldn’t find the old one. GRRR. . . The TofS for me is basically the rest of my non-creative life and not taking care of me. Something has really got to give and luckily a dr. helped to shove that in my face last week because just knowing I’m in really bad place wasn’t helping. Onward and upward. . .

  6. I get it. I understand. I know. To words really stick out for me, “mine” and “choice.” I love this entry. I can very much relate (and so can my extra 10 lbs.). Here’s to moving forward and changes. 🙂

  7. I think I could have written this, the only thing different is that I have managed to keep up the exercise, only cos I pay someone to train me or I wouldn’t do it…I have to be accountable to someone other than me there…the diet, well, I struggle with that too. As for my study, I try so hard to keep on top of my chaos. Mostly it gets on top of me! Somehow I always land up working in a 12″ square no matter how hard I try to put things away as I work. And yes you are so right, we all have the same number of hours in a day, we just choose to use them differently! I think I will be making a few changes to my choices too.

  8. My scrap corner is getting worse and worse, too. I keep thinking I need to take time to reorganize and purge, but I choose to create instead. It’s taking me longer to make SB pages and I don’t feel as inspired to work when I go there, so I need to just stop and clean it up. Love the idea for this blog series. Thanks for sharing, May!

  9. Well for goodness sake. Her I thought I was the only one going through this crap. All I can say is misery loves company and right now I’m loving you. (In a good way) Seriously, these are the same issues I’m facing as I sit here in this mess typing this message. Now I’m going to do something about it!

  10. Same creative space mess! I’ve got my niece coming to work on the house cleaning while I work on MY space. She is very artistic and I suspect she will get the house work done quickly so she can help me with my space. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the larger my space became, the more unused stuff I accumulated. Really need to weed it out. Bet my niece goes home with lots of weeds. Looking forward to your updates. Thanks for sharing.

  11. My scrap room is actually a peaceful haven for me. But the rest of the house – TofS definitely qualifies. I have half a room full of stuff that should have gone to charity a year ago. And I hate not being able to find things that I know we have. My word this year is Balance, and all that clutter is definitely weighing me down.

  12. I hear you loud & clear on this! I have made a conscious effort to get my craft room in order, but it has inevitably EXPLODED again and it’s a mess! I walked in last night to work on layouts and I still only have a 12X12 space to work in! Uggh! I had to constantly shift things around to get stuff done! I have 2 tables in there and I still only have a small space! It’s so annoying!
    I also hear you loud & clear on the weight gain & exercise! I’m turning 40 this week and I’ve put on weight that I would love to lose! I have a gym membership that eats my $10 every month while I sit at home and eat cookies! I need to get my big butt to the gym and stop making excuses that I don’t have someone to work out with or I’m too tired from my regular job. I’m 40 years old and I can go to the gym by myself – who am I kidding! It’s all a matter of self-discipline and I don’t have it at the moment, but I seriously need to get it! Maybe seeing your journey of re-organizing with help me reorganize myself – inside & out! I wish you the best, May! Good luck & lots of hugs to you!

  13. Great post. Love it when people are real! Let’s face it, we do all have the same number of hours in a day and, if we’re reading each other’s blogs, probably a lot of similar interests and concerns. I don’t know how it’s March already (I had such good intentions back in January!) Anyway, wanted to wish you good luck with your renewed efforts!

  14. Reality bites, but I’m right there with you … different stuff/same symptoms! I appreciate your blog and that you share it all, because we all get sidetracked. I lost a bunch of weight only to get lazy/comfy and gain 1/3rd of it back … this has motivated me to get back into; so thanks for sharing. Love love love your blog, your art, your honesty … you go, MAY!!!

  15. Thanx for sharing your story! I know the feeling. My scrap room has been named ‘The CRAP room’ by my DH. I just have lacked the motivation to create/clean this room. I also have been guilty of not exercising and gaining weight. Perhaps it is the winter months and that feeling of wanting to hibernate since things seem to move slower.

    Time to get motivated! Thanx so much for sharing your story…I look forward to seeing what you do with your Studio.

  16. I feel your pain as my space is probably just as bad. Finally cut up empty boxes for recycling, finished a project (with another one mostly finished) and vow to clean up my desk before getting back to project one. it is constant and unrelenting!

    and on the positive side I just received your book from Amazon this weekend so the mess cycle will begin again. you are so inspirational!! Embrace your current state as change will follow.

  17. Oh please share your journey. My craft room is empty. Just waiting for me to find a handyman to rescue me because I am not “a Benita Larsson”-type of girl:) In the meantime I am working from the kitchen table – that way I can live with my Tsunami all the time…

  18. I will definitely be following your studio cleanup on Pinterest! How sad is it that the 1st thought I had was when you’re done with yours can you come help me clean/organize mine? No! *I* have to clean…*I* have to organize–it’s my mess and only I can and will do something about it! So, thanks, May, for the motivation kickstart! I just read a quote yesterday that I thought of while reading this post too. It went something like: Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same hours in a day that Helen Keller, Mother Theresa, Leonardo Da Vinci etc. had… 🙂

  19. Its crazy ironic you posted this today my hubby and I just had this talk last night about how are house looks like Katrina hit it and that’s a big reflection of how we are feeling in life right now (completely overwhelmed and drowning in crap). We didn’t even try to blame anyone it’s all on us the kids will follow what they see us doing. We agreed to make a conscious effort to try and do some decluttering and deep cleaning in our house and this will be a group effort. The first step in bouncing back and getting a plan of action is addressing that there’s a problem and how to grab grab the bull by the horns. Thanks for sharing this with us readers it lets us know we are not alone and all experience similar situations. :o)

  20. I love your descriptor of your craft space. I think that it is an epidemic based on the fact that my room is the same….possibly worse.
    I did take back diet and exercise recently…and like you, I am on the road to clean and no clutter. OK, maybe just a clearer path to my table.
    I love your candid talk and responses and appreciate your being so real when you post. I am enamored with you and your creativeness. I want to be just like you if I ever grow up!

  21. I laughed when I saw the poster that said “you never know what you have until you clean your room”, but only because it is so very true for me! Good for you for taking responsibility and working toward making changes! Keep us in the know and show us how it’s done, blood, sweet, tears and all! Thanks for all you share, May, and for being a real person!

  22. May – I understand where you are coming from with this. I used to work with someone who would use the phrase: “No shame and no blame.” The mess that was created has served a need and that need has now changed. I would say to bless it (the mess/situation) and let it go and thank it for the experience that it has provided you with. My husband and I are working our way through this same thing,except it is the whole house and not just one room! I have had to acknowledge that the state of my home did not happen overnight and that it won’t get straightened up that quickly. I am learning to be gentle with myself…not critical and harsh. I do not blame anyone else for this situation and I am finding, that for me, the process of setting things back in order has really been an emotionally positive experience. I am working through the things that caused the need to surround myself with a mess in the first place and I am enjoying having an environment that reflects what I feel inside about what I deserve. Good luck with your process and I look forward to hearing more about your journey in finding a new place and space for yourself!

  23. I sure hope you can take the energy expressed in your post and channel it a positive outcome for yourself. This seems to be a year of change already for a lot of us, myself included. I wish good things for you and for all of us facing strong changes in our lives.

  24. Yep! This is why someday i am going to meet you. This is why I have read your blog since your girls were little ones. This is why, this is why, this is why. Well, the horror of it is out in the open now isn’t it? And you, May Flaum, said sh*t on your blog!!!! (giggle giggle). Why don’t you just drape the yellow construction tape all over it, and then go eat a cupcake ( you know, the really good kind!). Love you lady!

  25. Sounds like you are in a serious a** kicking mode. Good for you for stepping up to the plate, taking accountability, and doing something about it! Too often people fall into the blame trap instead of owning their personal power. I look forward to following the process here.

  26. OMG May you just gave me an “aha moment”. I never put 2 and 2 together to come up with my weight gain and craft room mess, but reading this post of yours makes perfect sense to me. You are so right … no more excuses! Thanks for the great post

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