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November 2005

Quoth the Karen . . .

Raven_1Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more." -
excerpt from The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe, 1845

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It seems only fitting to quote my favorite poem of all time, The Raven, on this spooky, or as Poe would perhaps describe it; "ghastly, grim and ancient" day.

CK Bellevue was a wonderful end to a wonderful teaching career. CI won't be doing many shows next year, so I am going to settle in to a true "work from home" job. Coming home to so many great comments on my blog was thrilling. Thank you! Oooh, and the Two Peas Pub dinner was really cool! I couldn't stay the whole time, but meeting people who you previously just "knew" online was really fun. And the goodie bags! Holy Guacamole! Cat and Rosy . . . MWAH!

You know, I really didn't properly introduce myself in my first post, did I? What a blewbie move! I was raised on a small farm in the country of Florin. My favorite pastimes were riding my horse and tormenting the farm boy that lived there. His name was Westley but I never called him that. Isn't that a wonderful beginning?

Yeah. It's really good.

I didn't grow up on a farm. I've never known a Westley. I torment John instead. heh.

But I can pretty much quote every word from my favorite movie; The Princess Bride. TPB also inspired my blog title, although it is also accurate, since I'm right-handed. Julie and Jessie obviously were on to me! ;)

If I were a writer for Desperate Housewives, when Susan asked Lonnie if he embezzled any of her money he would have answered her with one perfect word: Inconceivable!

I am not a writer for Desperate Housewives.

I know, I know . . . inconceivable!

Happy Haunting!

Wow! I am such a blewbie!

blewbie (blōō’bē) n. 1. A person who is completely new to blogging 2. A blog-newbie 3. Karen

Well for most of the year I've been reading all of my friends' blogs and wishing I could be part of the cool club. I kept telling myself that as soon as the next deadline passed I was going to start my blog. A sort of bleward (I hereby decree that it's very cool to add the letters "bl" as the start of any standard word to make it blog-related) for finishing whatever stressful assignment/class/product I was working on at the time. Only I never did it. Deadlines replaced deadlines, upcoming trips replaced "just-got-back-from" trips, and I kept hesitating, trying to avoid another temptation to procrastinate on the über-important things on my to-do list. Today really isn't a good day, either. I'm leaving tomorrow for CK Bellevue and have plenty of packing to do. But geez - at what point do I just bite the bullet and become über-important to myself? (She says, ala Stuart Smalley) And hey, I have something neat to share!

I finished my new studio a few weeks ago. I've been working in the scrapbook industry for several years and although I'm pretty darn organized when it comes to my work, I'm a horrendous slob at heart. As proof - witness how my dysfunctional space had deteriorated from the beginning of the year to July: Dsc_0404_3

When we moved into our house a year ago I set up shop in half of the basement rec room. Only it quickly became the entire basement because my mess kept growing bigger and bigger. There was a small office in the basement that I initially thought was too small for a studio, probably because of the "retina-burning red" (my brother's description) paint on the walls and the dark wood built-ins. The room was only 14' x 9.5' with one window (in a window well) so not much natural light. Still, I thought it had potential, so I started design work in July. Before photos: Office_before_photos_1

I wanted cabinetry and countertops that would look nice, but not cost a fortune. I went with Mills Pride brand from Home Depot. I started by using their website catalog to pick out the cabinets and arrange the configuration I wanted. I had the design pretty well done by the time I met with a kitchen designer at HD. I just had to pick out the cabinet color/style and countertop. I went with the least-expensive laminate countertop with no backsplash to maximize my work space. Here is a pieced-together photo to show the whole work wall:Work_wall

I'm an engineer, so I'm drawn to clean lines (previous workspace excluded) and while I wanted my supplies easily accessible, I really didn't want to see them all the time. The visual chaos of clear or semi-clear containers always bothered me in my old space. But I didn't want it to look like a kitchen, either. So over the two work spaces (computer space, creating space) I left the doors off of the upper cabinets and added bins (Bed Bath & Beyond) and boxes (Michaels) for oft-used supplies. I know myself and I'm not the type to put things away if it is at all difficult, so went with a "dumpster diving" system for a lot of my supplies. They're organized by artist and that's organized enough for me. Plus, it's extremely easy to toss things in the bins.


The other upper cabinets hold supplies. My favorite is the far left cabinet, which holds all of my stamp supplies. I love that my ink pads are quickly accessible, but not out on the counter taking up space and adding to the visual chaos I'm trying to avoid. Stamp_cabinetThe mesh CD bins (Container Store) on the top shelf hold all of my unmounted stamps, arranged by category in CD cases. My unmounted alphabets are stored in the white binder. I mounted a paper towel holder on the inside of the door - paper towels always come in handy!

The walls are a light green and the built-ins have been painted white, but I still worried about lighting, so I added under-cabinet lighting (Home Depot) along the full length of my cabinetry. Everything is lit up beautifully with no shadows. I splurged on the best lights - linkable and no-hum, and I can turn the whole line of them on with one switch. On the work wall I put wall clips (Container Store) where I can display layouts before putting them away. At the very end of the counter is a curtain rod mounted low on the wall and holding a roll of butcher paper. I saw this idea in a Pottery Barn book and loved it. I can roll out paper to protect the counters from messy inks and paints.Under_cabinet_lighting_1

For the base cabinets, the one on the left holds photos in Cropper Hopper photo cases, foam stamps in document cases (Office Max), my Technique Tuesday stamps, and various flat embellishments stored in Cropper Hopper sticker binders/vertical holders.Foam_stamp_storage

The other base cabinets are dedicated to computer equipment. I didn't want my printer and scanner taking up valuable counter space, so I put them on roll-out trays in the base cabinets. My computer CPU is stored in the corner cabinet and I cut a hole in the side of the cabinet and added a modified floor vent so the CPU doesn't overheat.Computer_equipment

The drawers above the base cabinets are so handy for embellishments, tools and all the things I use regularly or everytime I scrap. Here is one of the drawers:Embellishment_drawer

Moving from the work wall to the window wall, I purchased 8 white cubes (Staples online) that hold Cropper Hopper vertical storage and baskets (Michaels) just perfectly.Window_wall In the baskets are sewing supplies, paints, punches and newer or "using soon" photos and enlargements. The top of the cubes is a nice surface for die cutting and sewing. I keep the dies in the green bucket (Pottery Barn) on the shelf to the left.

Moving to the fireplace wall . . . oh I just love this wall! The fireplace is double-sided so I can see the kids' legs as they play on the other side. (Bonus! ha ha)Fireplace_wall_low_res I painted the mantle and built-in shelves white. Over the mantle is a big clock (Walmart) and on the mantle are acrylic ribbon jars (Walmart) organized by color. To keep the ribbon from tangling in the jars I stapled all the ends around a book ring. When I need orange ribbon, for instance, I just reach in and pull out the ring, which brings out all the ribbon in the jar.Ribbon_storage

The shelves to the right of the fireplace hold my mounted stamp collection, displayed on spice shelves (Bed Bath & Beyond) and in the white boxes. I used to have several thousand mounted stamps (15 year addiction) but sold the majority as part of my massive purging process. I used the proceeds to buy the funky spotted armchair. Let's face it, the stamps were cool but were NOT comfy for sitting on! Hee!

So there it is. My new studio. I absolutely love it. It's functional and beautiful and my family has the basement back. Here's one last look, befores & afters:Before_after_shots

And now I'd better get back to packing!