Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creating a SMALL Creative Space... Just for You

This post is for those who long to create and don't feel like they have the space in which to do it.

I haven't always had a dream art studio.  Oh, no.  For me, it all started with a wonderful, little cart.  When I started getting really serious about paper crafting, I didn't have a space at all in which to do it.  Our house was small and, well, pretty full already.  I had to think hard to figure out how to make a space in which I could create.  I started out with just my kitchen table.

I didn't like having the kitchen constantly looking messy, with things out that had nothing to do with a kitchen, so I started planning.  What did I really need?  I needed a good surface onto which I could stamp and I needed a little storage for my small collection of crafting supplies and tools.  (I know.  That has changed... a lot!))  I started carrying a large tray back and forth, so I could stash it in a closet when we needed the kitchen to be a kitchen.  It wasn't very handy, so I continued planning... for finding a better way.

My solution was a rolling, kitchen cart.  I got it from Crate and Barrel and I loved it.  It had a good, solid wood top, with 2 leaves that could fold out for more work space when needed and it had 3 wire basket drawers.  That was it!   It was on wheels, so I could roll it around and/or roll it out of the way, when needed.  I carefully organized those 3 baskets and I sewed a fabric kind of curtain to hang down in the front.  I made it with scraps from a pair of curtains I'd made, so it coordinated with the room where I kept my cart.  I was a happy camper. 

The cart...

 and then...
As I looked around the room, I remembered something Christopher Lowell said on his show I used to watch:  "When you don't have much space in which to work, think vertical."  Great idea!  I could use this tiny bedroom if I utilized the wall space creatively.  I had my husband add shelves across one side of the room... just two long shelves... up high on the wall.  I used wrought iron brackets under the lower shelves that had an opening where I could insert decorative bamboo pieces and use them like dowels, to hang some items.  I hung several bulletin boards on the wall and stapled more of the same coordinating fabric onto them.  It was looking great ... but I started needing a little more room.

So... I had the idea to take out the hanging rod in the tiny closet in the room and add 2 bookcases I already had on hand.  We put in shelves above those.  I got some wonderful little baskets, with wooden handles on each end.  I made cute little tags to decorate and label each basket and hung them from the handles.  The baskets contained stamp sets and odds and ends of stamping products.  I added 2 wire file baskets on wheels, with hanging files (for my CS) and rolled them into the closet in front of the bookcases, when not in use.  We removed the bi-fold closet doors and added curtains I made (more of that coordinating fabric) so I could close them when I wasn't working.  Everything was designed to fit the space I had.  Get the idea?  I had a tiny space, but it was mine.  I made it as nice as I could and I made it work.

I now have the blessing of a bigger home and a very large studio, with lots of storage... BUT... if that had never happened, I still would have been able to enjoy stamping with my little set-up.  Today, there are many products out there that are designed to be a complete work space and storage space for crafters.  Look around and find something that could work for you, but look first in your own home.  You may already have what you need and you don't even realize it.  Re-purpose.  Re-use.  Have fun!

Your turn now.  Enjoy!
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- Come back soon and come back often for more creative inspiration.

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