We’ve probably been spending the last 18 months pretty solidly trying to get all of our STUFF under control in the house. We have a pretty big house that’s been in my family forever. Really, my grandfather built it back in the 30’s and kept adding on to it over the years as the family’s needs changed – a mother-in-law suite here, a couple extra bedrooms there, etc. Since Bryan and I got together we’ve managed to finally conquer the floor plan and fit the right function with the right room. Now, we’ve been challenged to find the right place for the right stuff.
One area that has been extremely difficult has been our office/studio. It’s been a couple of years since we claimed the former mother-in-law suite as our master suite. Naturally, it’s not your normal master suite. There’s our bedroom, which opens onto both the office/studio and what we call a utility room – it used to be a kitchen and we’ve retained the sink, cabinets and refrigerator with the intent to use it for all our “dirty” crafts (screen printing is a great example). There’s a couple of upsides to all of this. First, there is also a full bathroom so we never really have to be in the main house if we don’t want to be. Second, we’re surrounded by cool stuff – the things we want to get our hands in all the time. The latter, however, can easily be our downfall as well.
We are supply hoarders. The biggest problem with that is that we can find crafting potential in almost anything. When I clean out my closet, I save some of the garments to re-purpose or redesign or just use for fabric. When we clean out the attic and find old time-life books sets, we’ll save them for collage material in the future. Needless to say – materials pile up fast, especially in a house where there were 3 generations of stuff stored up. What makes it worse? I somewhat like to be surrounded by materials and things for inspiration. This can easily lead to me being trapped in the middle of piles of books and magazines and drawers full of stuff. Storage in the office has been a HUGE issue.
We were recently presented with some extra, unused furniture. We started thinking about storage a little differently. It’s not ideal but it’s kept us from having to spend money just to be able to put our things away in an organized manner. We made progress. Finally, eere’s a little view into our bubble.
Behind my desk I have a collection of things that I absolutely love right now. I found these old wooden spools at a flea market in Burton, OH. We used to go out annually for the Ox Roast and Apple Butter Festival in the fall. The first year we went I had just reread American Gods and was really hoping to find an ox on a spit akin to a pig roast. No such luck – just a bunch of crockpots and roasters instead. It still always proved to be a nice drive and a fun day, though. I started using these to organize extra chain because I like to be able to see it instead of having it buried in an organizer in my drawer. Off to the side is a clay pot that I made in 2nd grade for my Grammy. She used to keep her crochet hooks in it – now I do, too.
I’ve been picking up as many old bottles and jars as I can at garage sales and antique malls. These were a great find because of the colors. In front of the big glass block window they’re perfect. The “eight” (if you can see it) is an old house number that we found buried in the backyard when we dug out the garden last year. I’m not sure what era it was from but it was a cool reminder of the changes the house has seen over the years. The old figure next to the green bottle is a clay model of a Pirates of the Caribbean villain that Dylan made when he was around 5 or 6. For a while there was also a rendition of The Thinker he made floating around the house. Everyone always mistook it for a piece of poop upon initial glance, though, so I think it’s since disappeared.
Speaking of Grammy, here’s a picture of her and a couple friends circa 1930-something. She was an awesome lady and will have a feature of her own on the blog shortly. The creativity running through me all the time? I believe the majority of it came from her. In the background is an old ball jar filled with polished stones that we found at an antique mall. There’s another one filled with arrowheads behind it and a third that I use to store my ribbon in.
Lastly, let me introduce Muddie, tucked into the corner of an old window frame alongside a “presented by” slide that I found in our crawlspace. I picked up this photo in a junk store on Lorain Ave in Cleveland. You know those “antique” stores where there are just piles of things? Nothing’s priced, there’s no heat and some guy is out front with a random van full of stuff that he picked up from who knows where? This was that place. There was a stack of old photos and for some reason she caught my eye. I love this picture. I couldn’t leave the store without it. We had exactly $1 dollar cash on us. Guess how much we got the photo for…. There’s a name written on the back. Some people say it’s Maddie – I honestly think it was Muddie.
So, that’s about 5 square feet that I feel good about. Sure, there’s more of that in the house. This small space, though, was a huge win for me. I can’t wait to get the rest of the office in place so we can share more. I enjoy seeing other people’s studio spaces and I’m anxious to share ours. Plus, it’ll give me a much-needed push to keep cleaning it up!