Category Archives: My Studio

Now, Where Did I Put That?

The scrapbook storage system I've coveted

Over the years I have been doing scrapbooks, cards, and paper crafting my craft room has undergone many changes.  The storage units I’ve put in have ranged from plastic bins that roll, a wire grid cubed tower, and the most recent has been a sweater storage unit I purchased from The Container Store in Denver, Colorado.

Over the years I’ve searched online for storage ideas and seen many beautiful rooms with this storage system in them.  Each time I see a room outfitted with these storage cubes I become covetous and wish I had them.

My trips to Michael’s Craft Stores is not complete without a trip to the aisle that  holds these much coveted cubes.  I lovingly stroke the boxes and whisper “I’d love to take you home with me”.  Leaving these cubes behind knowing they will go into the home of someone else is pure torture.  The cost of $30 a cube – well $29.99 – is just too much for my budget since I figure I will need 10 of these cubes.

Each time I enter my craft room I look at the sweater storage units currently  holding all of my papers.  It is sagging from all the weight and I expect to see paper all over the place sometime.  The wire grid tower I have has open holes that grab the corners of my papers and bend or tear them.  I’ve purchased the plastic things, like over sized magazine holders, to protect my papers from damage.  These storage things even get hung up in the wire grid holes.

On Friday evening, April 9, I was going through my papers to make a mini album for my teenage grand daughter’s birthday and got so upset because so  many of the papers had torn and dog eared corners.  I had had enough.

Saturday morning, April 10, I went to Michael’s Craft Store and headed for the aisle that held the much coveted storage cubes.  I was going to purchase at least three of them that very day.  After I had them loaded in my cart and was turning to leave the aisle, the store manager happened to see me on his way to somewhere else and told me “You might want to come back tomorrow.  All of those will be half off.”  WHAT!!!!  HALF OFF?????

I put the cubes back on the shelf and left the store.  All the way home I began planning  how many of what I would purchase the next day.  In my room I calculated the cubes I would need for paper storage and what I would need for stamp storage.

Sunday morning, April 11, I was in the parking lot before the store opening hour of 10:00 a.m.  Just minutes before time to open I was up near the door.  I wanted to be able to get these highly coveted, by me, storage cubes and finally get them home.  I was not going to let anyone else get in my way and get there first.

As soon as the doors opened I was in.  Grabbed a cart and off I went.  About half way to my destination I wondered if I were going to need another cart?  Well, if I do I can always go back for one.  I wasn’t stopping for anything.

First I had to just stop and gaze at all of the cubes that lay before me on their racks.  All of those beautiful storage cubes were still there.  I began putting them in the cart.  By the time I had the cubes I wanted the cart was groaning from the weight.  One final item to go on the top and off I went to the check out area.

The whole time I worked my way through the stores obstacle course the poor cart I had groaned, squealed, and creaked.  I was terrified the wheels would fall off from all the weight I had piled in there.  I made it though and paid for them.  Now these wonderful storage cubes were mine.  All mine.

At home, around 11:00 a.m., I got them moved inside and piled on the table.  I had them sorted by type and I was so ready to begin the assembly.  There is a LOT of assembly required in putting these cubes together.

The first box I opened the handles fell out onto my toes and went under a chair.  The next thing out was all the hardware to assemble these cubes.  That bounced off my shin and skittered under the table.  I picked up these errant packages and put them on my kitchen counter where the assembly would take place.  I began pulling the pieces out of the box and getting them on the table top.

No instructions!!!!  I could not find the assembly instructions.  Panic set in.  What had I just done?  I have loads of boxes to put together and no instructions.  After talking myself out of panic mode by telling myself “You are a smart cookie, you can figure this out” and “How many of the IKEA boxes have you put together?  This should be just as easy.”

Well, the thing to do is begin sorting the wood pieces.  I noticed they had stickers with letters on them.  A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  I began lining them up on the floor and up against my kitchen cabinets in order.  The last piece of wood had the instructions stuck to it by static electricity.  You know, when a sock gets stuck to a shirt when you remove your clothes from the dryer and can’t find the mate to the sock.  All the while it is hiding on the shirt.

A few minutes of hopping around and shouting “Woo Hoo” ensued before I was able to get down to business.  My dream of having these glorious cubes was now well on its way of becoming a reality.

All the cubes fully assembled

By 5:30 p.m. I had them all put together.  My feet were sore from all the standing but I felt so good looking at what I had accomplished.

My husband called about that time to give me an update on his whereabouts and how his day was going.  He asked about mine and I told him what I had been doing.  He didn’t understand what I was trying to tell him so I took a picture of my completed work and sent it to him.

Later that evening when he was down for the night he called me again.  He had taken time to look at the picture I sent him and he said he thought he understood it now.

He asked “How much did all of those cost?”  This is not something I do.  I normally go the least expensive way and make do with what I get so this was totally out of character for me.

I wanted to impress him with the bargain I got.  “Yesterday, this would have been $400” was what I told him.  I heard the sharp intake of breath and the silence on the phone after that.  “Okay” he said kind of warily.  “That was yesterday’s price.  What is today’s price?”  I let the silence linger for another moment.  “Are you going to tell me?” he asked with a lot of concern in his voice. “$197.00 is what all that cost” I finally told him.  I could hear sudden movement on his end.  I liked to think I had made him sit bolt upright at that, and I again heard a sharp intake of breath.

Before he could say or ask anything else I told him all about my trip to Michael’s the day before and being told they would be half off today.  I told him how long I’ve wanted these cubes and how I often go to the aisle just to look at what I can’t have.  I told him of all my adventures of putting them together and the shock of fear I had at the beginning thinking there were no instructions.  I also told him I had used his power tools without asking first if I might use them.  They are his anyway and I should have respected that.

Monday and Tuesday were spent bringing stuff out of my craft room and putting things in the hallway and the kitchen.  Finding new homes for my paper knowing they would no longer get bent and damaged.  Getting my stamps stored in the drawers.

Mine, all mine!

Ribbon storageBy Tuesday evening I had everything put back in my room.  I could now sit and admire these beautiful cubes with my papers and ribbons on and in them.

I spent the time grinning from ear to ear seeing this, much coveted, storage system now finally in my  home.  They are so beautiful.  Clean lines, professional looking, and cohesive.  Not some jumbled and rickety wire grid thing I’ve frowned at over the years.

Wednesday morning I came into my craft room to begin the creation of my grand daughter’s birthday present.  After I spent a few minutes admiring these cubes first.  Then…

Now where did I put that?


My 8′ x 11′ “Studio”

I am NOT an interior decorator.  Design principles escape me.  I also lack a knowledge of design concepts.  Mainly proportion.  The saying “Bigger isn’t always better” is a concept I learned way too late in setting up my room.

November 2003

This was my office and sewing room.  Scrapbook things were gradually brought in.  Mostly it was a dumping place with several flat surfaces.

When I wanted to work on a scrapbook layout I had to push stuff over on the 8′ table on the left in the doorway to do any work.

Real exciting and welcoming area, don’t you think?  This place made me crazy.  My justification was that being a truck driver and hardly ever home the room didn’t need to be anything special.  I wasn’t going to be there anyway, so it would just be a storage room that I would go and play in once in a while.

With my room being only 11′ x 8′ I knew vertical was what I was going to have to do.  I began searching online in 2005 for something that I could do with this room.  With a limited budget and unlimited questions about how best to do my room I began to really think about what I needed to do and what I wanted in my room.

California Closets

I wanted this, or something like it.  I had to measure my room and draw it out on some grid paper.

I had some grid paper 8-1/2 x 11 with 1/4 inch boxes.  I figured I could use that and the math would not defeat me.

I’ll wait for the laughing to stop.

That was a challenge.  Figuring out where the window fit on the diagram since it was not placed EXACTLY an even number of feet from the back closet wall on the left side of the window and from the kitchen wall on the right side of the window.  So I sort of guessed at where it was.  The closet and adjoining wall to the door were another issue for me to draw.  Then from the left of the door (inside the room) the wall makes a couple turns because of the furnace/air conditioner.

Once I had my floor space drawing done, then I had to figure out the height of the room.  There is a peak in the roof, more towards the door near the furnace  and outer wall, while it is  lower at the window side of the room.  This entire floor plan took me, literally, all day to figure out.  Someone with knowledge of how to actually do this could have had the room layout and floor plan done in about an hour.

Using the California Closets site I figured placement for the cupboards and the vertical bookcase like shelving units.  While hunting through the site I could not find costs for the units I wanted to use.  I had to find a local dealer.  $8,000 including installation.  Definitely NOT in my budget.

I had to adapt my plan to what I could afford.  My husband is totally AWESOME.  When I told him what I wanted to do he thought of Lowe’s so we went there to have a look at what they had.  I envisioned metal shelving much like the plastic shelving I already had in the room.  I was not looking forward to the trip to Lowe’s.

Lowe's Kitchen Cabinets

We bought 4 of these cabinets and I helped my husband install them.  All 4 were a total of $375.  A LOT of assembly was required in getting these ready to hang.  They came in a flat box with several bags of screws and other strange hardware.

The first cabinet was the hardest to put together, as usual.  Reading the directions and looking at the diagrams to figure out what we are being told to do.  The first cabinet took 2 1/2 hours to put together.

Once the first one was done, the remaining three were completed in the time it took us to do the first one.

I don’t have any idea why, but I had a stash of various types, lengths, and widths of wood in the closet.  The piece below the cabinets (used as a ledger board to hold the cabinet up for installation) had been moved around in this room several times before it ended up in the closet.  The thought of putting it in the trash had occurred to me several times in a few years but I hung on to it.  Some types of clutter can be useful later on.  NOT ALL OF IT THOUGH.

2 Large Storage Cabinets

The next purchase at Lowe’s were these two armoire type things.

The one closest to the door is 16-3/4 inches deep by 29-1/2 inches wide and 70 inches tall.

The other one is 21 inches deep, 47-3/4 inches wide and 70 inches tall.

My floor plan diagram was off by about 5 inches.  According to my drawing I would have had about 8 inches of room left from the outer edge of the closet door along the wall and to the room door.  By the time we got these units put together and up on the wall there is almost 3 inches of room left between the open door, that you can see, and the edge of the unit.

The cost of these two units was $350 and much assembly was required.  However, since we had already gone through the process on a smaller scale with the kitchen cabinets these units just required more floor space to put together.

Gallant Table With Extension from IKEA

I needed a table to work at and had found one at IKEA in Frisco, Texas while I was hunting online.  That was a day trip since Frisco is about 230 miles from our home.

This table with the extension was another Assembly Required item.  This is one heavy table and cost about $130.  While at IKEA I found several wooden box storage items that can be painted and decorated however a person wants to.  They are so handy I would recommend these to anyone looking for stack-able storage that can be altered to fit your own decor.  So at IKEA we spent about another $200.

For less than $1,000 I had my storage and room pretty much together.  Time, tools, sweat, and very little blood shed got this room to sort of be like the California Closets picture I so badly wanted.

IKEA Wooden Storage Boxes

These are the IKEA Wooden Storage units.  There are 4 of them here and each one cost $9.95.  Assembly Required.  The units come with all the screws, nails, and pre drilled holes to attach everything to.  It does not take long to put these together.

At first I just used a label machine I had and stuck them on the drawers indicating what was inside.  Not much imagination, I admit, but it was a place to start.

Wire Grid Cube Storage

I bought this black wire grid unit from eBay.  It came with enough pieces to create 4 squares.  This unit has gone through many transformations.

First it was along the wall on my table laid out horizontally with all my papers.  When I got tired of knocking things over to get at the paper products in the far corner I altered them to go vertical, as in the photo, and on the outer edge of the table.  Then it went in the closet and vertical to hold my papers after they came crashing out of the big wall unit the third time.

Kitchen Sink Shelf

My husband bought me a shelf that goes over a kitchen sink, a long time back.  This shelf had spent quite a bit of its life on a closet shelf or on the closet floor.

There were many times I picked it up and thought I’d put it out at the curb with a “Free” sign on it just to get rid of it.  But, I kept it.

It did, and still does, have a home on my table.  The thing to the right of it with punches hanging from it is a wall storage unit for rubber stamps.  At the time I had very few rubber stamps….not any more.  I purchased that item (the rubber stamp holder) from eBay.

So, since 2006 my room has morphed many times to fit the needs of my stuff.  And over the years I have acquired more stuff.

Before Thanksgiving 2009

My daughter in Arizona had a Workshop for me to do while I was out there.

I left this room in such a mess before I left town.  I had created some Thanksgiving cards here and made packets of things for the Workshop, cards for the people to do and a squash book.  By the time we were ready to leave town for the train trip my room looked like I felt.  Frazzled.

I had been dissatisfied with the look of my room for quite some time.

I admit it, the green eyed monster had seized me and I was coveting other peoples rooms.

I especially coveted this room….scrapduo…  I love all the color and the open space.  The big problem is that the coveted room is a whole lot larger than 8′ x 11′.  So I had to figure out how I could make my room pleasing to the eye – my eye.

So everything came out of my room…well almost everything.  It was piled up in the hallway and into the kitchen.

Books, television shows, and on the internet professional organizers have a mantra.  Sort like with like.  After I had that done I began to take a look at all I had and nearly ran screaming out of my home.  What had I done?  ALL THAT STUFF WAS IN THAT ROOM??????  How am I ever going to put it all back?

I had bought some things from IKEA while we were in Arizona and now I had to get them put up.

During this time my husband was beginning to feel better from his hypothermia illness.  At least I no longer had to take his temperature and blood pressure every hour as I had been doing for the past several days.  I could leave him for 3 or 4 hours at a time and if he needed me for anything he could holler.  He had no strength so I could not ask him to put the new items up on the wall.  I was going to have to use his tools.

I’ve watched many a DIY show with women using tools and it looked easy to do.  Power tools raise all kinds of fears and wild imaginings in my mind.  But I thought a cordless drill would not hurt me.  It didn’t, but it did get the better of me.

I thought, how hard can it be to drill holes in the ledger board under the cabinets at my table?  It can’t be too hard.  Well, I tried to do it for two days with very little success.  Either the wood was so much harder than the drill bits I was using or I just had no clue.  Yep, that was it.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

When my husband was up and around I asked him to come in and at least get one hole started for me.  Yikes.  I sure felt like an idiot when he told me I had the drill going in reverse the entire time I had been trying to use it.  He pushed the switch on the drill to go forward, then had to leave the room so I would not see him laugh.  I heard him though.

The Drill That Gave Me Fits

The towel bar like things with the hanging baskets is what I had been trying to get up for two days.  These are from IKEA.  The baskets can be set on a flat surface, mounted with screws on a wall, or they can hang from their handles on the bar.

You can see the drill in the foreground that had got the better of me.  Once I figured out how that puppy worked there was no stopping me.

Looking Into Room From Doorway

Looking At Table

Looking in from the doorway you can see the table has been pushed up against the far wall.  I took the extension off the table and shortened it quite a bit.  There is still quite a bit of work surface to use.

Looking Toward The Furnace Wall

I opened my fabric cutting table for my Cricut and my computer.  On the wall I mounted another towel bar thing and have hung smaller buckets to hold my decorative edge scissors and small punches – behind the Cricut.

Under The Fabric Cutting Table

This is under the fabric cutting table.  My larger punches – all Stampin’ Up are in the brown cardboard box that used to house photos.  Someday I will take the wooden thing that is next to the cardboard box and do something with it.  Might make some kind of an altered shadow box out of it.  I have to have the back of it fixed first, it has come loose.

The Rubber Stamp Holder

If I don’t see the things I have I forget I have them.  Then I go and buy more.  So I thought I’d make the rubber stamp holder into an embellishment holder.  Hooks and clips I got from IKEA.  There are dowels mounted into the frame of the rubber stamp holder.  Just the right diameter for the clip hooks I got to hang an assortment of embellishment items.

Maybe I’ll use these up and then have to buy more….

Ribbon and Chipboard

I now have most of my ribbon in front of me.  The regular spools fit in the IKEA basket, others had to be put in a wooden bowl which looks pretty good.

The chipboard embellishments I have had for a few years are now separated by color in glass jars and under that kitchen sink shelf unit.  Still have found a place for that thing.

My pens, pencils, scissors, paper piercer, and bone folders are in a box my daughter and her husband made a few years back for a bridal shower she was in charge of.

The IKEA Baskets

The IKEA baskets are hung from the rods and standing on the table.

My glues and glitter are in the hanging basket while my stamp cleaner and the tray for glitter or embossing powder stand in the basket.  I’ve also got my chalk from Stampin’ Up in the basket.

I have finally figured out a way to have the tools I use the  most close at hand without having to find them from elsewhere.

Stacking Storage From The Container Store

All the paper is now in vertical storage.

My Stampin’ Up paper is in the metal grid unit to the left.  Not much of that yet, but give me some time.

To the right of that are three stack able units from The Container Store we went to in Denver.  These are sweater storage units.  They are holding all of my non Stampin’ Up 12 x 12, 8-1/2 x 11, and scraps of paper.  I grouped the colors together.  Patterned and solid papers of each color have a shelf space of their own.

These papers will be used for my family gifts until I run out of all this paper.

Using The Large Cabinets For A Showcase

The room needed a bit of a color splash.  I had an idea to put scrapbook layout page protectors on the storage unit doors with layouts that need photos.  The colors add to the room and I can change them out from time to time or seasonal event.

Using that drill I mounted more bars to the doors of the storage units and hung more of my embellishment items from the bars with hooks and clips.

Tags, Words, Labels, And Letters

Embellishment items out for me to see.

I have tried to create a colorful space for myself.  One that is functional, organized, and pretty.

What I have seemed to have accomplished is something that looks a bit like a store.  I can live with that.

So….when you feel your space doesn’t speak to you any longer.  Or you begin to covet someone else’s space.  Maybe it is just time change things up a bit.

If you are contemplating setting up your own “studio” and are not sure what you will need in your space the best thing to do is figure out how much room you really do have.  What are your room dimensions – height, length, and width.

Just remember, if you have a small room don’t put in over sized furniture as I have done.  Bigger is not always better.  Another thing to remember is that your room will morph as you grow and get comfortable in what you are doing.  It is just as changeable as your growth and knowledge in this craft.