Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home Workshop

Now that there are only a few more months until our house guests depart, I have begun to fantasize about the newly remodeled attic that will become my art studio(/guest room). I've never had so much space committed solely to my work, only corners here and there. I am now faced with the dilemma of creating my home craft workshop and it's a big one indeed. I'll probably try to research it a little, see what other people have come up with but here are the issues I have identified:

  • Storage: I need a LOT of storage (doesn't everyone?). I simply cannot be productive unless I feel neat and organized. So if there are bits and pieces of projects everywhere, chances are I am walking back out the door. If there is a clean work surface and everything is put away, I feel inspired to start something new. I hate clutter. And I am absolutely choosing the word 'hate'. Plus, if everything is put away except for one project that isn't finished, I feel more inclined to finish it so that everything is cleaned up!
  • Large Work Space: I am still searching for that amazing table that is large enough for all my little piles of cloth, paper, and doodads, and yet doesn't overwhelm the space. I want a bar stool so that I am at the perfect height of the table when I sit, but the table is also the perfect height for when I stand (and I'm only 5 feet tall). I want it to have character; scratches and gouges that show someone else loved it before I got my hands on it. I want a table similar to this for my back porch (it will be my potting table) and I saw one at an antique store for only $100 but sadly didn't have the cash or the proper vehicle to haul it off.
  • Lighting: I have a good bit of natural lighting in the remodeled space that I plan to use, especially for photographs of my work. But there are a few corners that are dim and I need to find the perfect lamp that will be at a good height and not overheat the area.
  • Spatial Organization: My biggest issue will be working around the "guest room" role of the room. The bedroom area will be staying where it is and unfortunately, that's the best area for a work table. I'll need to finagle something, though, without making the room seem cluttered or else (as mentioned) I won't use it.
What are your thoughts on a home workspace? If you have one, what did you consider when setting it up? If you don't, what would you like in a workspace?

This is an example of the table I want so badly, made of out wood planks and a little beat up. Image is from www.furniturehomedesign.com

Friday, December 4, 2009


So I've been working hard this week on my super thick book that I've been sewing and I just wanted to post a couple of pictures. I finally bought new needles (since I kept breaking all the other ones I had after only one signature) and the first one lasted quite a while before breaking. Part of the problem is that some of the holes are too small but since I've already started, I don't want to go back with the Dremel and try to enlarge them. Needles are cheaper and quicker. I'm sewing 16 pages per signature so with about 600+ pages total, it's taking a while. But last night I discovered I'm over halfway through, as my thumb callus can attest (I don't like thimbles). It looks nice though. As I move along I'll need to decide what color I want the case to be. I'm think a pretty light blue. It's too bad that I can't sew endbands on since the pages are all individual (at least I don't think I can--I'll have to double check). I'm also hoping to start on my brother's holiday gift soon but I have to start brainstorming what types of materials I want to use. I have a copy of our family crest and he was wanted a copy of for a couple years now (I kept forgetting to give it to him). So this year (well, really last year but I didn't have time to do it last year) I plan on making him some type of artwork that incorporates it backed by a canvas. I'm thinking of printing on a variety of materials but I'm not sure yet what I want to experiment with. I guess I'll just have to make another trip to Joanns and browse for inspiration. Lucky me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh the holidays...

Well, while I work on trying to improve the look of the blog (see previous post), I will continue to write because really, can I ever not share my thoughts on whatever pops into my head? I wish my laptop was alot nicer because there would probably be quite a few more postings if I could post whenever something was in my head. I guess that's what my Twitter and FB are for! (You poor suckers that follow me on there)

As usual, I have a bunch of projects I'm still chugging away on. They'll get done sometime this month but now that it's December and Thanksgiving has passed, it's time to break out the holiday decorations. I will rush to put up these decorations as soon as possible after Thanksgiving, not because I can't wait to celebrate our weird Hanukkah/Christmas mix but because, darnit if I'm going to put in a lot of effort hanging lights and garland and putting the fall decorations away while dragging winter decorations out of the basement, I want to enjoy them for as long as possible! I refuse to put them up before Thanksgiving and I will not keep them up through January. Well, maybe just the snowmen stuff. And so, this week I will spend almost every night frustratingly swearing on my front porch (PG-rated swearing, since I have neighbor kids). The weather was absolutely lovely on Sunday, I didn't even have a coat on, so I started the lights then. I checked the strands to make sure they worked and after hanging lights for an hour or so (making great progress I thought), I ran out of staples. But I figured I'd plug in what I had completed, take a look at it. Several sections would not light up. So I gave up for the night, knowing I had a lot of time ahead of me just to fix the ones I already hung. Last night, I return to the little glittery bastards, ready to remove bulbs and plug in new ones in an assembly line type fashion only to discover that some of my strands miraculously relit themselves. Not that I wasn't happy, but what the hell?! And of course it was much colder so by the time I finished hanging a few more strands, I had had it for the evening. Tonight will be take 3 (at least for the front porch). Needless to say, I probably won't complete much on my other projects.

Speaking of my other art stuff, I am thinking of entering my first craft festival next year since Irwin has so many festivals and does not charge for you to be a vendor. However, that means there will be a lot of work for me to accomplish over winter if I want to have enough merchandise available. Otherwise, my display will look pretty pathetic. Sometime soon I will need to sit down and plan it out to see if I can accomplish it at all. As for bookbinding, that will be somewhat difficult since I usually do custom jobs. I have some new wire-working tools for jewelry that I am really excited about. I probably won't get to use it until mid-December once all the holiday gifts are bought and wrapped and decorations up.

Decorations are tricky (see how my mind bounces around?). Hubby and I are both Jewish but 75% of our family is not and so we tend to just celebrate both with different sets of families depending on the day. My family is not Jewish (I converted 4 years ago) and so I was raised on tales of Santa and twinkling Christmas trees (not in a religious way, however). When hubby and I started our own decorations, I tended to only get things that are winter themed. Snowmen, snow flakes, animals, etc. I didn't want to overdo it so that our house looked like David puked his star everywhere, but I definitely wanted to avoid anything Christmasy. Well, that didn't last long. We broke down and bought a "holiday" tree. All of the decorations are cool colors like silver, blue, purple, gold and themed around animals and winter. I am very strict on the No Santa rule. But it recently occurred to us while chatting with another relative that we may have to rethink ALL of our rules. When we eventually have children, we do plan on having them attend Jewish services, go to Hebrew school, etc. BUT we don't want to raise them strictly Jewish. We plan on teaching them about all sorts of religions so that as they get older, they can choose whatever they want, if any. Now, that complicates things because if we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, I can't really avoid Santa. He's pretty essential actually, if you are a young child. I'm already feeling confused so I can't imagine how a 3 yr old would feel. I'm still not going to buy a giant inflatable Santa for the front yard though.