Monday, January 6, 2014

My Craft Room Make Over!

View from the front door of my room - Facing North
Hello Friends!

Happy 2014 to everyone!  I spent the holiday break cleaning and re-organizing my craft room because I had asked for a craft room make-over for Christmas!  Santa was very generous and I am so happy with the "upgrades" and changes that I wanted to share it with everyone!

I had several goals in mind for my "makeover" and had already spent late nights on Pinterest and YouTube collecting ideas on room organization.  So by the time Christmas break rolled around, I knew what I wanted to do, and my Santa hubby(!) helped me get it done in just a couple of days! 

BEFORE:  So to give you a feel for the progress, here's a few photos of my room when it was first set up back in Jan. 2008:
Desk area - 2008
Wood Mounted stamps (top), paper (bottom) in "Iris" Scrapbook Containers - 2008
Ribbon holder, Elfa shelving - 2008
Since then, I've added quite a bit (understatement!!) to what those photos show, and rearranged it a few times since then as well.  It was past time to look at everything again and do some reorganizing.

My room was/is mostly comprised of three types of storage:  Iris Scrapbook Chests (like these); various units of Micheal's white cube, wooden storage systems (like these); and Elfa Organization Systems products from Container Store.  I mostly kept with those basics during this makeover, but to meet my "storage goals", I had to get rid of a lot of unused, dated product to free up space, rearrange where I kept everything, add to my organization systems, and change out some of the existing ones.   

AFTER:  Here's a list of the main goals I had for my "makeover" and pictures of the resulting changes. I've included web links pointing to the new products that I used for my project within the text below, so feel free to click on them to see the products as they are sold.

1.)  I don't want to un-mount my wood-mounted SU stamp sets (can't make me!!) but they really were taking up more room than any of my other supplies, so to free up space, I needed to find a more efficient way to store them. 

I decided to pull them out of the drawers they were in and stand them up on their sides like books on shelves. The shelving I added for this purpose is Elfa from Container Store.  My walls already have wall brackets installed to accomodate Elfa Wall Storage, so adding the shelves for the stamp sets was just a matter of buying them and hooking them onto the existing brackets.

I intentionally chose shelves with very short depths (two rows of 5" and one row of 10") so that I have head room over the work space and can actually use the counter space for crafting!  Before this change, the counter tops were completely covered with Iris Scrapbook containers that held all my SU sets.  This new method frees up my counter space and also displays the stamp sets right in front of me. (Although they are not shown labeled in this photo, I'm halfway through making the labels so I can easily see the name of every set.)  The shelves also hold the unmounted SU sets that come in DVD cases.

As a bonus to this storage method, my awesome hubby attached iridescent lighting just under the top, large shelves; they shine directly onto the work surface.  You can see them in the above photo; they're turned on and run the length of the top shelf.

2.) I decided I wanted to get my (now-dusty) Cricket out of the corner and start using it again,  so I needed to find a prominent and accessible place in my room for it.  Now I can "test" myself to see if I really want to keep it in my crafting arsenal or not. If not, I'm going to sell it (gasp!!).  So here is it's new home, very accessible and with the cartridges right within reach - no excuses, right?

3.) Same thought process about my sewing machine. It's always been "nicely" stored away on a shelf in my closet so I would never take the time to pull it out if I thought about sewing on a card. I love the technique but have only used it once or twice. So now as you can see, I have it set up, ready to be used, and officially included as one of my craft tools.
4.)  Next, I wanted a more convenient way to store my ribbon rolls!  Although the "rod-system" I used before was a great way to store them, it was inconvenient when I needed to remove a ribbon roll for a project, especially if it happened to be in the middle of the rod.  The whole row of ribbon would have to come off the rod to get to the one roll, and then putting it back on the rod in color-group order was the same issue in reverse.  The new system I changed to is more of the Elpha storage. More wall brackets went up and instead of shelves, I added a series of baskets to hold the rolls. Now I can grab any roll and use it, and then easily put it back right where I got it from without any hassle.

5.) And finally, the biggest challenge to this make-over was how to organize my dies.  This ended up being my favorite, and most useful, renovations!  I've accumulated lots of different types of dies in every size, from different manufacturers, and I really needed to figure out how to organize them and make them easily accessible for maximum usage. This required a combination of several methods, but I am really happy with the way they ended up working together.

My heavy Sizzix type dies are now stored in Elfa "Media Racks" baskets, similar to the method I changed to for my ribbon.  These baskets are larger and sized to hold DVDs. I found that they hold Bigz-style dies perfectly on an angle with the label facing out so I can see the name of the die at a glance.  Loved this solution!

With my existing Elfa wall shelf system, I was able to attach a metal wall plate designed so you can add utility hooks and small bins for additional storage.  But for now, no hooks or bins, I'm using it for my "Movers and Shapers" dies since they are magnetic!   You can also see in this photo another Elfa basket attached to one of the wall brackets holding the different "sandwich plates" for use in my Big Kick machine.

All my Spellbinder die sets are now housed in two of the Michael's "Organizer Cube with Drawer & Shelf" "cubes" that I stacked on top of each other.  These two cubes each came with a storage drawer, but I pulled the drawers out to use elsewhere, and replaced them with these clear acrylic refrigerator bins that I bought from Amazon.  The idea came from watching Jennifer McGuire's organization YouTube video .  She uses them to store her clear-mount stamps.  (BTW, I love all of her organization ideas - you should check her out!)  The fridge bins come divided down the center and they are the perfect size for holding CD and DVD cases - or anything in that size range.  Since my Spellbinder die sets are already in CD and DVD cases (depending on the size of the set), these bins worked beautifully for me.  I also have dies that come in similar-sized packaging, not in CD/DVD cases (like SU dies and some Sizzix Sizzlets), and they too fit perfectly in the bins just as they are so I just left them in their original packaging. The paper rose Sizzix die in the photo on the left is one of those that I left in it's packaging.  Now I just pull out a bin and flip through them to choose a die for my project.

 For the rest of the thin dies that come individually (mostly from all the other manufacturers) I went with a completely different storage system, but I was able to still use the white cubes.  I found these CD storage file box bins at the Container Store.  They come with little, soft plastic, hanging file folder sleves and hold 120 CDs.  The acrylic boxes match the refrigerator bins, and two fit perfectly, side by side, on one of the shelves! Very cool bonus!

All I had to do was trim the die packaging to fit into the sleeve, write the name of the die on the index tab label, and drop in the die.  Could not have been easier.  There are lots of options to organizing the dies within this file box system, but for now, I just filled the folders with a die and wrote the name on the index tabs so they are ready for crafting! 

Although I don't have anywhere near 240 dies to fill these boxes up, I did go ahead and buy two of the boxes to go on the shelf because it just looked better!  ;)

Finally, I used the same cube shelving to store my embossing folders. My embossing folders had a pretty good home before and didn't need to be re-organized, but since they go with the die cutting machine, I liked that there was room to keep them with the dies so I moved them into the top bin of shelf. Again, the fridge bins were just the right size to hold the folders and all I have to do is flip through them to find one to use.

One more very cool and new thing was added to my craft room - totally initiated by my amazing husband.  He mounted a large screen Apple TV on my wall so I can now watch YouTubes, movies or listen to music while I'm crafting away!  Pretty awesome, eh??  :)

The picture below is a panoramic shot of my room taken facing my south wall.  Be sure to click on it to expand it! You should be able to see the full length of it in the expanded view. (The lead photo at the top of my post is the view of the north wall.) 

Add caption
So that's what I have for you today of my craft room makeover!  I plan to write one more post to show you the other panoramic shot of my room facing the north wall, along with more organization ideas I use in my room.  The other systems I use, that I'll write about next, were not part of this current makeover; they have just evolved over the years and I didn't feel like I needed to change them at this time.  They include my ink storage, 12x12 paper storage, 6x6 paper storage, cardstock storage, cards scraps storage, punch storage and some other miscellaneous things that I have crammed into my 10'x10' "happy place"!

Thanks for reading this far!!  If you have any questions for me about this post, please leave a comment!  Happy to share whatever info I have!

TFL, I'm so glad you stopped by!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chocolate Turkey Parade!

These started out as a very simple idea to turn Ferrero Rocher chocolates into pumpkins.  You know, just real quick, add a little stem and vine at the top??  Easy peasy.  But (always a but) I couldn't get past an idea I had in the middle of the night last night to make them turkeys.  My rosette-flower-obsession disorder got the best of me and I decided they had to be turkeys!!

I started out by making the tail feathers.  I used DCWV 5-1/2"x7" "Harvest Gathering" mat stack (last year's design) and chose several of the panels.  Cut them in half length-wise so I had two 2-1/4"x7" strips from each panel.  I scored them every quarter-inch, then fan folded them. 

To get the "tail" to stay in a fan shape, I hot glued the bottom 1/3 to an arch-shaped scrap cardboard piece.  I started by hot-gluing one side of the bottom end to the cardboard piece, then once that end was set, I added glue to the rest of the cardboard piece and laid the rest of the accordion piece down. This step allowed me time to squeeze bottom end together so it glued down into the fan shape I wanted for the tail feathers. 
To make sure it stayed in place, I hot glued another arch shaped cardboard piece across the front side, across the bottom, so the fan shape was secure.  I trimmed off the overhanging sides of the cardboard pieces.  I then colored the white piece with a brown copic just so it blended in some.

Next I made the turkey heads.  After rummaging through my supplies trying to decide how to do this, I settled on using a 1/2" circle punch, brown card stock, a couple of wiggly eyes, a holly berry stem and puff balls.

The holly berries came these mini pine cone clusters that I deconstructed and separated from the cones.

I punched a 1/16" hole through a 1/2" circle of brown cardstock, then slipped the holly berries through and positioned them so they would hang as the turkey's "gobblers" below their face.

Here's the heads ready for beaks.
The beaks are just little triangles cut free-hand from scrap orange cardstock that I folded in half.

I just glued the beaks onto the front of the face right above the berries/gobblers. 

Next I added a little puff ball to the backs of the heads as "necks" - and because I didn't want to glue the faces flat against the chocolate ball.
Puff balls being glued to the backs of the heads
Here's all the main parts ready to be assembled:

First thing to do is make the body.  With the chocolate ball sitting in it's little brown candy holder that it comes in, stretch the brown holder at one end so you can slip the tail feathers in.  Use a little hot glue on the bottom end of the tail feathers and along the back side so the fan of tail feathers is glued to the brown paper on the bottom and the back.

Next glue the heads on, The puff ball and head are so light weight, it just takes the teeniest drop of glue to stay on -- just enough to stick but not enough to cause the chocolate to melt!!

And here's a few pics of the finished turkeys!  There's going to be one of these guys sitting at the table at each place setting this year!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  May you be blessed and safe this Thanksgiving!!

TFL, I'm so glad you stopped by!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 Christmas Cards

These are Christmas cards I've made for my Etsy Shop.  It's almost overwhelming anymore to narrow it down to just a few that you want to make for the holidays!  I have stuck to some simple die-cutting and assembly for these ones!

This first card is one in a series of three that I've made so far -- all basically the same but different cardstock and patterned papers.
The poinsettia is created with Tim Holtz Tattered Poinsettia die.  Love this die because it is a large die that will cut through multiple layers at once so it only requires one run-through on my Big Shot to cut all the pieces. 

I used a stylus to create a crease line in each of the blossom leaves then pinched them along the crease to create a partial fold in each leaf.  This gives the flower the great dimension it has.

The stamens in the middle came in a box that I got from Michaels; they come already clustered like that so they are perfect for this flower.  The glittery leaves were cut from a decorative pick that all the hobby and craft stores have piled up!

The background chalkboard-style patterned paper is by "Me and My Big Ideas" that I purchased as a single sheet from Hobby Lobby. 

These are the other two I made using the same steps:

This last one is my favorite, it just makes me smile and he was fun to put together!

The tree branch in the back is Memory Box, the snowman is made with a Basic Grey "Snowmen #2" die by Sizzix, and the sentiment is from Just Rite Clear "Large Fancy Holiday Sentiments".

TFL, I'm so glad you stopped by!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Christmas Pins and Ornaments

Christmas Ornament
HI Friends,

These are some Christmas pins I completed this weekend.  They are on their way to their  new owners but they also serve as the pattern for the ones I'll be making for holiday gifts and for my Etsy shop.

All of them start with a TH Rosette and an Ectasy Crafts Epoxy bubble with a Navity scene image.  The images were purchased from Etsy at this shop: "The Photo Cube". 

I used traditional Christmas colored findings from my stash (left over from last year!) and embellished around each image.  The pins each have a tiny object dangling from them and the backs have pin clasps.  The ornament is adhered to a plastic, sparkly snowflake (from HL) and has a ribbon attached for hanging. 

And this is the photos of them in their packaging. Nothing too fancy!!  :)

What do you think?   I'll be making more to put in my Etsy shop.

TFL, I'm so glad you stopped by!