Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where I Create: Craft Room / Closet Organization Ideas

Good morning lovelies, I hope you are having a fantastic start to your weekend!
Today is June 19th, and that means it's time for the 2nd Where Bloggers Create party!

If you are looking for the main party page, just click the image above and it will take you back to My Desert Cottage.
Now I have seen the beautiful inspiring artful spaces in the Where women Create magazine and around some of the other blogs of party participants.  When I own my own home one day I look forward to and aspire to do something similar myself.  But for now, we live in an apartment and I can't do complete overhauls.  It's simple organization solutions for me--ways to maximize space, and do so in a way that will ALSO maximize my productivity based on my habits when I am in the mood to create.  I know myself, and I know my space.  And it works for me.  One day I will have a creative haven, but for now, I am still so very GRATEFUL for what I do have!  When I began cardmaking I was a newlywed and truly was the Kitchen Table Crafter.  I still spread out projects on the kitchen table from time to time, but I have been blessed with a new space to work in.  I learned a lot about organization and myself during my kitchen table crafting time, and now I take that spirit and apply it in other ways.  I hope now that it will help some of you--perhaps Kitchen Table Crafters yourselves--or even those of you with magazine-worthy studios... because, when it comes right down to it, we are all making a space that works for us, and our resources, in order to better do what we love.

So, I've been busy as a bee this past week getting my craft space ready for your "company", since even I am not brave enough to let folks see the *REAL* deal! Most of the time I try to keep the mess fairly organized; but it is, nonetheless, a perfectly marvelous TRUE CREATIVE MESS!  After all, my space is me, as I said before... A true but creative MESS!  haha... There... at least I am honest. :)

Welcome to the place where I create!
So, how about a little tour?

I am blessed with an amazing amount of natural North light in my craft room.  The bay window faces out onto an ordinary but serene Texas field, keeping the city a little further away and helping my country girl self feel a little more at ease in the middle of this huge city.  It is a great place to create, to write, to dream, to make music.  You can't see it, but off to the right is our Yamaha piano.  You see, I was not trained as an artist; I was trained as a musician.  I picked up crafting and cardmaking in earnest as a newlywed precisely to try to fill the void that was left when I no longer had a piano to play for hours each day.  It was a difficult time, a hard transition.  But now things have come full circle, and my life is in a harmonious balance.  I gave up professional music to start a family.  I started crafting to fill the void.  Now all three come together, and I am happy and fulfilled.
The next two photos are of my organization solution for an odd little corner between the closet and the bay window.  I've used white wire pantry shelves from WalMart to hold some of my magazines.  I lined the bottom one with white cardboard off the back of a pack of 12x12 cardstock, so that the magazines wouldn't fall through the wire rack.  The top rack is more geared towards my sketching things; a small landscape artist's notebook, watercolor pencils, and boxes of charcoal and watersoluble graphite.  These were a fantastic clearance find--usually the boxes are between $12 and $13--but I found them for $4--incredible!

On the bookshelf I have photo boxes to organize my wood mounted stamps in categories such as Designs & Backgrounds, Animals, People, Oriental, Botanical, Christmas, Sentiments & Alphabets, Arts & Travel, and so on.....  You can also see my glittering/embossing powder tray stuck in there on top of the boxes.

Next is my flower tree.  I use a lot of fabric hydrangea blossoms on my card, as they are very economical and lovely.  But I couldn't stand to just rip them off the flower head; I wanted to enjoy them AS hydrangeas before I used them... so I wrapped a few inches of the wire stems around the arms of a black metal ornament tree that I had used in the past to display my jewelry creations whenever I took them to sell at Church rummage sales, etc.  But it does beautifully for holding my hydrangeas now, and if I ever need it for jewelry display again, the hydrangeas are easily removed......

 I mounted my thread organizer on L-brackets in the space between the bay windows; it's an oddly shaped, angled space that couldn't be used for anything else.   I also tend to hang frequently used or inspirational stickers and clear-stamp sets from the bottommost pegs... or old stash i discover and decide I need to *SEE* in order to remember to use up! 

 Now for a peek into my closet....

I organize my 12x12 papers in two ways.  In the closet, using three Rubbermaid 12x12 drawer shelving units, I have them organized by company; K&Co, Making Memories, My Mind's Eye, s.e.i., The Paper Studio, Martha Stewart, and DCWV patterned and solids. 

My other papers are stored in 12x12 scrapbook albums in the bookshelf, where I can flip through them easily and quickly to find what I am looking for.... (see them down there, at the bottom of the shelf below the photo boxes?).... 

Now I have told you all before that I am completely addicted to ribbon.  Well, here you can see the proof.  This corner of the closet was bothersome to me from an organizational standpoint.  It was angled in such a way that there was no way to have shelving units on it or anything of the sort--it was wasted space!  Aaaah!  I thought about putting up pegboard--but then I thought of this solution; cafe curtain rods!  For my loverly loverly ribbon!  I bought 3 rods from WalMart, along with the extra long screw-in hooks to hold them, so that the rods would stick out enough from the wall to allow the ribbon to spin as I measured out lengths.  I think the fact that the rods are mounted across an open space here helps as well.  I also store my extra rolls of double-stick Scotch tape here as well.

Do you ever have trouble with a storage solution for your stickers, alphas, chipboard packs, and such?  Mine were always just a little too tall to fit into drawer units; they stuck out or got crinkled, which annoyed me in the extreme.  So I got a few packs of bookrings, large and small, from the office supply store and hung up the packs by type or category.  I also have quite a few of my clear stamp sets hung up this way.  Now I can easily glance through everything I have and it gets used... and I don't wind up buying duplicates or near duplicates.  And as an added bonus, it's kindof like "shopping" through them all over again whenever I glance through.  :)  Up top on the high shelves I have my jewelry making supplies, art portfolio, small easel and cross-stitch things.  I am involved in way too many crafts... how did this happen....?! :)  Still, I wouldn't have it any other way......

 I hang my fabrics up on hangers on the bottom shelf so that I can see them and therefore be motivated to USE them!  i promised myself over a year ago that I would not buy anymore fabric until I had used up all I had.  As you can see.... I've kept my promise and haven't bought any more fabric for QUITE some time.  It'll take me forever to use all this up... because the problem is... I love looking at it the way it is!  Does that ever happen to you?

Here is another trick; I know the idea is not new, but I took my frequently used sentiments off of their wooden mounts (I still have those somewhere--sometimes I use them to mount my own hand-carved stamps) and store them in this CD case.  That way I have them all handy and what's more, they're easier to position when I use the residual clingy glue left on them to mount them to my clear acrylic blocks for stamping.

Lastly, I want to show you how I organize my challenge submissions.  I've printed out sheets with the challenges organized by day; then I took them to my local office supply store to have them laminated, and I fill in the weekly or bi-monthly challenge information as I find it using Wet Erase markers.  When I find a new challenge, I write it in with Sharpie.  As you can see, I am in need of printing up a new sheet again, since I've found quite a few new challenges and it is getting a little cluttered!

I will make my new and *improved* version of my challenge organization folder available here at Kitchen Table Crafter as soon as it is finished; if you would like other challenges added or have any to suggest, please let me know so that I can make it very all-inclusive for your different needs! :)

Well, that's all I have to show you this morning!  Thank you for visiting, and I hope you have a



  1. Wow Kathryn, what an amazing crafting space! I've picked up so many tips from you - thanks for sharing. Love your hydrangea tree, it's such a great idea!

  2. So nice to meet a fellow kitchen table crafter. Even though we don't have fancy studios our creations are just as special. I really like the handmade cards you have created. Receiving your cards must be a real treat. Come have a look at my space and you'll see what I mean about the table.

  3. Kathryn,

    What a terrific use of space. Your organizational skills are tremendous. I will have to come back again to see all of your items. So many goodies, so little time this weekend!!! Have to follow and come back again and again.
    Queen Bee Studio

  4. Hi Kathryn! Thanks for the tour of your creative space. I do love lots of natural light and I also love your organization!

  5. Your creative space is fabulous! As long as we are creating we are happy. ;o) So, enjoy my visit with you.

  6. Your space is fabulous! As long as we are creating we are happy.
    So, enjoyed my visit with you.

  7. What a wonderful creative space!

    I adore your storage solutions. You have inspired me to work on my own crafting paradise.

  8. Hey!
    i thought you crafted on your kitchen table!!!
    Lovely space, Thanks for having us over!
    Sparkly Hugs,
    Tobi and the Pixies!

  9. OMG I was one person who has not seen the cd organizer thank you! By the way who keeps there clothes that organized! I have found a kindred organizer, take a look at my borders on sterile!


  10. What great storage and organizing ideas!
    Best wishes,

  11. What a great idea for organizing your challenges, and I also love the idea of using the cd case for stamp storage. I think I might just 'borrow' that idea! Thank you for inviting us.

  12. Thanks for all the organizing tips - your studio is wonderful and a great use of space.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing your space, Kathryn. I really enjoyed seeing how you make such good use of your small space. Very inpsiring!

  14. Bright and organized who could ask for more...really like what you did with the closet too! TFS.

  15. My goodness, what a terrific, organized room you have! So many of your tips would work perfectly for me, especially the way you store fabric - I am always looking for more space for storage! I am happy for you that you found something to fill the void your hours of practicing left. Sometimes it can take a while to change gears and be happy but it sounds like you have done just that! Thanks for sharing your room and all your great ideas.

  16. wow-a great organized space!...someday i will be too ~thanks for sharing.

  17. Your creative space is lovely..and the cards you make are amazing! I stayed a while and had a good look at your other posts..such a nice blog.

    Thanks so much for having me...

  18. Hi Kathryn! For having a small space you certainly maximized every inch! I love hearing stories about people when they talk about how fulfilling their lives are. I'm so glad you are able to pursue all of your passions, and very thankful you were able to share some of them with us!
    My Desert Cottage

  19. Great organization tips. You really have made the most out of a limited space. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Your space is great. Really like all your storage ideas. I love ribbon, too.

  21. Love your blog name - made me smile! Great seeing all your storage solutions & your creative space. :D


Thank you for your comments -- they add an extra smile to my day. I hope yours is happy and bright as well, no matter where you are visiting from!


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