Operation Clean Studio | checking in

I’m still in the clean/sort/think stage. To be quite honest it’s boring. Finding empty packaging and things that just need a home… but as I do this I also craft in my new set up and find what is and is not working. Here’s a photo of the top of what used to be my kids changing table (and now is mine for craftiness/storage/etc) The shelves sitting on top of it once went to a desk that was J’s sister’s when she was a kid and I got my hands on it when some stuff in storage was being cleared out. It’s been with me for 10+ years. It’s a great size. I’m not set on how I have my dies or ribbons on the same shelf. I already sense issues there – but that’s ok! Point is dies and ribbons (among other things) have a place, and as I clean I’ve got somewhere to set them.

The small adjustments can come later – so very easily. It’s the cleaning that is the focus right now. I will say I was unsure about not having my color mediums at my main desk… but it’s actually better so far. Less chance of misting my water cup or inking a photo by accident. I also really am digging having 2 smaller work spaces available to me for multiple projects, allowing things to dry, etc.

So far my biggest problem area is embellishments – that remains unsolved. A big part of that is that I need to finish clearing/cleaning so I see what space I have to work with fully, and what solutions might be best.

Unrelated to that: I have made one major (to me) improvement. I have added a little step-shelf thing from a trip to the hardware store (found in storage section). In my experience kitchen and garage (and sometimes, but less often, office) supply are great resources for crafting storage. I got this shelf meant for spice storage in your cupboard for my mists/paints/stains..

It is fantastic. I can get at everything, I can see what colors I have where, and most importantly I remember to put stuff back.

One of my biggest tips – and I speak from experience of doing it the wrong way a lot – is to make sure you set yourself up with extra room when possible, don’t be exact. There should be some wiggle room or you’ll just have a mess (or have to re-do) as soon as you add even one little thing. This was put to the test as I came home with 2 new mists + 2 new paints last weekend – no problem! There was plenty of room.

One small step forward, sure. But those small steps will keep adding up. The positive progress, if I keep at this, will eventually lead to a peaceful space that doesn’t overwhelm or terrify.

operation clean studio | the night I began

I had a LOT of requests for “dirty studio” photos that are current. To show the mess before the clean. The beast, if you will. As I just wrapped up an EPIC creative project, I’m only too happy to take a break from some project posting to share this. Here’s the story:

It was about 4pm, I worked until about midnight, or in other words, until I could reasonably use my studio if I had to create. I hadn’t planned on cleaning studio that evening… it just… happened. The first step is always the hardest? Nah, but it did force me to really see all that is going on in here. So, I took the Tsunami of Sh*t and turned it into a mess of epic global proportions.

FIRST OF ALL: not even a scrap of paper has been harmed in my mess or in the move. But it looks epic scary I know. Here are some iphone pics documenting the process of clearing off desks enough to move them around so the re-do can even happen…

Continue reading “operation clean studio | the night I began”

operation clean studio | starting point

Lynn Wigren – congrats you won the SSS kit and I’ve emailed you.

So I’ve admitted to having a BIG problem here. (studio) – and I’m doing a full series on the process of getting this re-done fully. correctly. inspired. for the long haul. Today, let’s get positive and active. Let’s start.

ALL of the photos in this post are from the past. 2007 – 2011 studio photos that I’ve uncovered from past blog archives. I found them interesting and helpful as I began my re-do plan – to see things that I’d done in past…

Where does one start? The temptation to utterly gut this space and begin with thousands of dollars and master carpenters is indeed a dream… one I do not have funds for. Let’s allow a moment to dream of custom cabinetry and perfect work surfaces and a room that is big enough to accommodate a whole gathering of friends, daybeds for lounging, perhaps a small kitchenette… an upstairs loft… fireplace… windows overlooking a meadow with wildflowers, deer, and a stream…

Ok back to reality. The only way that would happen would be for me to win the lotto and build myself a crafty cottage. Which could be nice, but it’s not happening at this time.

What IS happening here? Well, I need to take what I already have and ask myself a few questions:

  • What works
  • What stays
  • What needs fixing
  • What needs replacing
  • What is not working
  • Where am I wasting space
  • What space do I have that I rarely or never get into

My answers will help me plan and figure out what to leave alone, what to change. After a few months of keeping the dream of fixing this alive, I had solid ideas. One thing that was absolutely clear was that the kids changing table (which, when I purchased, I did so knowing it’d be a fabulous crafting dresser) was being wasted. It’s drawers a mess of junk and in a position that i could never quite get into them anyhow. That had to move. Ah… but when we’re talking about a 9 x 11 room this means very careful thinking and envisioning the results very clearly before making a move. To move something in this room takes mad skills that I consider myself blessed to possess.

Phase 1: Pile everything up in the hall, closet, and under computer desk and then move the big 4 pieces of furniture.

I pulled out a piece of paper and cut it to the size of this room (scale being 1 inch = 1 foot). then I did the same for my 4 pieces of furniture and I moved those pieces around that paper for about a week. What if the desk goes under the window, what if the chair moves to the opposite corner, what if… and I played with those pieces and various configurations until I felt that I hit upon an ideal change. One that did not block the heater vent, took the TV into consideration, and seemed like it would make the most of each of the 4 pieces without leaving awkward gaps or unusable spaces.

Continue reading “operation clean studio | starting point”

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.