Category Archives: Art room/Studio

More unfucking of the art room

I have all the storage stuff ready to go in the art room and tons of stuff basically sorted in the front room.
The problem is that it seems so overwhelming at times knowing I have large card table totally covered with plastic shoe boxes full of loosely sorted random items, not to mention the entire area under the table is packed with only slightly better sorted paper and that I still have so many boxes to go through stored in the garage.  There are times I look at it and want to cry or give up and just haul it all back in boxes in the freezing cold garage.
If I am to meet my February 9th self imposed deadline I need to stop getting stalled by both health issues and self doubt.  So I am taking a page out of UfYH at and every time I pass through the front room to get to the back of the house (our room, art room and bathroom) I grab one or 2 things off of the sort table, take them in to the art room and put stuff where it goes.
This will work for about half of the stuff on the table and make space for further sorting and space to bag and box stuff up which will then go into the art room the exact same way. Then I can bring in more stuff and begin sorting that.
Progress is a great motivator!

Wire rack paint holder, disaster and triumph

My first disastrous attempt to hang the paint hanger with ribbon, 1 cupboard hook and staples at 3 am…took an hour before I gave up and began cutting it down (this pic is halfway through the cut down)


This lead to giving up, going back to bed and waking up in a horrible mood (that and other things lead to a melt down of epic proportions where the thought of burning every craft supply came to mind as I am feeling horribly overwhelmed)
Finally the Alex calmed me down and made me just shut the door on it for a bit.  I scraped up $10 and my mom and I went to Michael’s because in some weird logic getting more craft supplies made sense and it mellowed me out.  
Part of the stress has been the big 30 piece art project and feeling excited but stalled and trying to think of ways I can do it in time.  So what do we find for $0.25 each? 5″x5″ stretched canvases with some fruit printed on them that will be perfect for altering.  Yes I bought 30 of them but in my defense they immediately were put away in the hall closet.
So this cheered me up enough to try again with the rack.
I used 2 cupboard hooks spaced far enough to actually hook the bottom grid onto them then another cupboard hook above it with a ribbon to hold the outside grid up a pinch higher than the bottom grid so stuff would not fall out and a small ribbon stapled to the wall to hold the bottom grid flat to it so it doesn’t push away from the wall.
The results!


These are my puffy paints, glitter paints, screen painting paints and a couple of mediums.

Art room in progress, huge strides

I have a project I am working on that will involve 30-35 small (4″x4″ to 5″x7″ and random sizes in between) art pieces, mostly mixed media “paintings” that I need done by April 1st

I am determined that I will not start any of these pieces until the art room is finished and so I am setting my goal for the art room to be finished by Feb 9th (one month from now) which will give me about 7 weeks to finish them.

Today mom came over and we brought in and emptied all these old rolling (and some that dont roll) plastic dressers some of which were mine and some were given to me by a friend who had left a few random art supplies in them.

We stripped them down and mom washed the drawers and the frames of them and we tossed the frame to one 3 drawer wide dresser that was broken though we are keeping the drawers to use in the garage and for the sorting of art supplies.

Now I have empty drawers to put things in (the wooden dresser is empty) and I will be putting medium sized clear plastic bins on the shelf in the closet and getting some small 3 drawer sets for pens and pencils to go on top of the plastic dressers in the closet

I also went through 2 huge bins of plastic food storage containers and lids and disposed of some and found lids for the rest, the reason I mention it is I had been using 2 boxes made out of those wire storage cubes and I now have 2/3rds of one full of tiny little storage containers ranging from 2 oz to 6 oz as well as a couple entree/sandwich size ones that are not air tight. I plan to use them in some of my drawer units for things like beads and random findings. Also I now have those wire racks for sorting stuff into.

Right now about 90% of my art supplies are in the garage waiting to come in box by box to be sorted one at a time so they dont over whelm me which was the problem before.

I still need to put up a few plastic shoe bags to put things in but now there are actual places for things to go.

Before Art room closet

Before Art room closet

Art room closet in progress

Art room closet in progress


Bookcase wall with drafting table over whelmed by STUFF

Bookcase wall with drafting table over whelmed by STUFF

Bookcase wall with rolling carts ready for supplies

Bookcase wall with rolling carts ready for supplies


Library desk area with tons of stuff (now waiting in the garage)

Library desk area with tons of stuff (now waiting in the garage)

Library table area waiting for supplies

Library table area waiting for supplies






Crafting for my sanity

Tonight was so hard, I was having serious neuropathy problems in my legs (nerves that shoot random messages causing pain and spasms) on top of being so tired I thought I was going to fall asleep during the game but I didn’t want to ruin it for everyone so we played extra long and I tried to distract myself by working on a very simple quote art journal page (working on lettering) 6×6″ black card stock mounted in a small scrapbook cover (no sleeves) Prismacolor pencils and gel pen markers.

I think it came out good for how out of it I was.

After that hell night and with the depression and rage fits I have been going through I did some thinking about why it is so important I get my art room organized.

[b]Here is something about why I NEED art to stay ahead of pain and stay sane[/b]

I live with chronic pain, sometimes it is a mild nagging in the background, that little itch or ache that mildly distracts you from everything just enough to qualify as annoying, other times it is front and center, taking away my enjoyment of life, washing out the colors, drowning out the sound of joy, flooding my senses with currents of agony.
Thankfully my issues are no where near as bad as many chronic pain sufferers who ate in the second state of pain where it takes central focus 24/7.
And more to the point is the fact that I have a few outs that save me from drowning in the pain, from losing sight of what is good in life and what is still worth fighting for.
It is strange because while I suffer from chemically based bi-polar depression I am blessed with a nature that is overall happy. I know people with no health issues, no mental or physical issues that simply go through life perpetually irritated and mildly unhappy or seriously angry everyday. And here I am, physically and mentally broken by most anyone’s standards, and yet I make an effort to see something beautiful in just about everything. I don’t claim it makes me a better person, I believe it is as much a combination of genetics that allows me to feel joy and be happy as it is a matter of genetics that causes my bouts of depression. It is also upbringing, I was taught to see humor in even annoying things and to find 1 beautiful thing a day.
I also have a drive to do art. I think I would be dead 100 times over by now if I did not have art to lose myself into.
The thing is art and crafting, and especially art journaling where I can easily do a little bit or a lot, where I can work 1 page when i have a single focus or prep 10 when I am so distracted I can’t focus on one thing, gives me a way to stay separate from my pain, to stay out ahead of it a bit. One of the reasons I tend to work on multiple projects at a time is a mix of AdultADD and pain management, being able to change my focus, not having to break off and stop working while something dries, allows me to keep a bit more focus which distracts me from my pain.
I don’t know how chronic pain sufferers who don’t or cant craft, or even read, survive. Without a distraction, without an outlet for both my pain and my joy I would break into a thousand pieces.
I often write about pain on line, but you will not find a lot of pages about it in my art journals. There have been times when all I wrote about, all I created was ruled by my mental and physical problems,. I glorified the pain by putting the problems down then found that i could not stand to look at them later because while it freed something in me at the time it kept bringing it back into my life over and over again afterwards, this was especially true of the things I did to express my mental issues of depression, anxiety and self loathing.
And so a lot of art was destroyed and some of the paintings gessoed over and the canvases reused, it wasn’t until I ran out of gesso and decided to incorporate a bit of the original images in the new more positive piece of art that I hit on a way to vent artistically and not allow my art to be eaten alive by pain.
Obviously I am not afraid to discuss my illnesses but I do not want it consuming my art work, I learned to use it as part of my art but not the final focus.
A good example of this is art journalling, I will pour out the pain, the thoughts that are eating at me, the moments of agony and then I will rework the page it was written on to make it something new, something not about the suffering underneath.
Sometimes I will write in pencil on dark paper then draw over it, I will print out blog posts or fb statuses about my pain, run all the sentences together so that it is line after line of solid text then draw or collage at random over it and then when I have “Broken it’s back” (its continuity) I pick words out and make found word poetry that has nothing to do with pain.
I can’t always control the pain, I have issues meds do nothing for except give me a badly disjointed sleep, but I can control how I express it. This is not to say there is no value in work about pain, work where suffering is the focus, but for me, well I have been there and I am moving on.

Really, damn my knees

I had been in a lot of pain this last week and have been having a medium bad flare up of arthritis brought on by over doing it for the last month and by wrenching my left knee from stepping wrong and finally it was beginning to lessen so just this morning after cleaning up after the party I started organizing the art room and moving my rolling (and non rolling) plastic dressers around to get the best usage of space.
I figured out where my drafting table can go best and where to move the bookcases, then moved them around til they fit.
I bought 4 cardboard bankers boxes and 8 clear shoe boxes and 2 clear plastic bins that are about twice that size of the shoe boxes and was all ready to bring in the remaining dressers, empty them of random junk, clean them and figure out where to put them…
And so of course I fell on the ice and have wrenched my other knee to the point where every movement makes me want to cry
I have all of this motivation to get stuff done and just walking from room to room or laying down or shifting in a chair is agony.
I have end stage (bone on bone) arthritis and I am half way between cortisone shots and cant have another for 2 months so there is no point going to the dr, I just have to wait it out and hope the pain goes away soon and my motivation hangs on.

Multipurpose art room?

We had the party and the Tea Room (lounge in my temporarily emptied out art room) was a huge success and it has made me determined to use every bit of space in the closet and come up with a way to cover it during parties (we removed the folding doors as they wasted a lot of the usable space) so I want to use some of my material and possibly grommets and cupboard hooks to make a removable curtain.

I intend to replace the wide rolling carts with a solid set of my thinner ones without wheels and use the top shelf of the closet for plastic bins that can be lifted in and out. The drawers of the dresser will have divisions like shoe boxes and cardboard dividers
My existing bookcase and the chubby rack will be full of supplies (need to buy the boxes for it) and I will use some of the shelves in the garage for items I seldom use, tools I would most likely use out there anyway and the material (in large ziplocs) that I don’t have a specific project for (those can go in drawers)
I will use the wide rolling carts and they can just be rolled in to our room which we close off anyway during parties.
I know it seems strange to plan my art room around using it for parties but we have amazing and very respectful friends and we love being able to allow them to have birthday parties at our place, heck we have a fire pit we dug out back and we partly chose this place for that reason.  Also by having events I hope to be motivated to keep my art room organized.

How a Russian tea room motivated me

A huge help in giving me motivation to get my art room clean came from getting ready for the birthday party I am giving a friend today at our place. 
In prep for sorting the art room into something usable we took everything to the garage and since the room was mostly empty and we can use more space we set the room up as a lounge area.  Floor pillows, Oriental rug, small table, dim lighting to make a tea room where fortunes can be told and it looks amazing. 
The thing is for Years due to depression my entire house resembled the art room before we stripped it and it is hard to accept that I am finally getting the habits I need to maintain it the way I want.
All the time since we moved I was feeling that my house was a mess, that I can’t keep up with everything but it took us less than 2 hours of casual work ( with breaks ) to get it party ready and about 75% decorated for a Russian theme party and that included moving the remaining storage stuff out of that room and moving all the random kitchen stuff out as well.
The thing is the house is fine it is now within 30 mins of “guest ready” at all times except for the craft room, so realizing that this one black hole was dragging me down has motivated me more and more to get it organized and keep it clean and put together.

The extent of the mess that is my art room and supplies

Before we stripped the room I took photos of the mess and photos of MOST of my supplies in the garage, I see a missed quite a bit of them.

Here to motivate me and give an idea what I am facing is the photos I took


art room, computer desk has been moved into my bedroom closet


art room, the tables and shelves and drawers are still there, the supplies joined the rest in the garage


bookcase and my drafting table,


computer table from a different angle, rolling dresser still there, supplies in garage


wooden dresser in closet, rolling dressers on top


my drafting table is under that mess somewhere


monstrous pile of material on my couch, bagged up in the garage now, needs sorting


BEFORE everything went out to the garage this stuff was already out there


BEFORE the rest of the mess joined it this and MORE was waiting in the garage.

First steps towards fixing the art room in 2013

So one of the first big steps to fixing my art room up in the new house have been boxing everything that was in there up and putting everything except the paint, pens, markers and glue containers in the garage.
We have a birthday party we are hosting here for a friend on Saturday so we will be sweeping and vacuuming in there then putting down a lot of floor pillows and putting our spare blankets in pillowcases so that people can lounge around and sleep in there if need be.
Then Sunday we will bring in the rolling drawer units and clean them out and organize them how we want and hang up the plastic shoe bags I store small things in.
We will mark everything with what goes where and I will bring in one box of things at a time then sort and inventory everything and put it away.
This is my goal over the next 6 weeks.  I wish I could go faster but between dealing with hundreds upon hundreds of different bits and pieces of art supplies that are in total disarray  (literally hundreds of pounds of stuff, yes I am a hoarder) and my physical limitations and other commitments I will be lucky to be done that fast.

Right now the hard part is as I packed stuff up I want to use it, I left some supplies in my backpack to use when we go to coffee but I can’t let myself start crafting out of the stuff in the garage or nothing will ever be put back the right way.
Right now I am only giving myself a few hours a week to craft or art journal until it is all done.

Plan of attack

I feel totally overwhelmed by the idea of organizing my craft supplies in the art room at the new house but at least I have something of a plan and 17 more days til my deadline of the first and Alex will be home for more than half of those days to help.
The plan so far:
* First we have to move everything out except large furniture and either put it in the garage or the front room. This means getting more boxes.
*Then I have to bring in all of the many rolling plastic drawers we have and have been given, some of which are full of random stuff that needs to go into boxes so that I can figure out how to organize them and where to put them
*I need to start sorting through boxes, putting paper in one area and paints in another, some stuff like pens/pencils are mostly already sorted but there is so much random stuff.
* First a base sort, like with like and not stress out about further sorting until the second sort,
*Then I can take something like paper and sort it by type (I.e. scrap booking vs watercolor paper) and not worry about size or color until the 3rd sort…
*Finally I can sort everything by color and/or size etc…  note: with just paper alone I have maybe 80 pounds and an entire liquor box full of pens and markers and pencils and many more random paint types
*Before putting things back in the room I will make up a plan and label each drawer/box/bin with what will go there.
*Danielle Oremus gave me tons of different sized small boxes that held glasses and I plan to use them to make dividers for drawers to put small things in

I CAN DO THIS I just have to be serious and not lose momentum this time

Mini list of holiday projects

Working on my mini list for Christmas

Window decor (hanging ornaments)
Wreath for the front door for November using my Halloween hair wreath and glittering butterfly
Wreath for Dec made from green coffee filter flowers and ornaments
hand made Christmas cards (possibly small 4×6″ paintings instead)
Rice hot socks with lavender
Pesto from home grown basil
Ornament making salt dough kits for 5 kids
Painting for mom
A garland of bird ornaments for grandma
Christmas journals (journals for listing gifts and cards)
Organizing new art room and art supply storage in garage

My Big fear right now

I almost cried yesterday as my husband Alex loaded the boxes of basically sorted art supplies BACK into the studio and into the dining room.  “Be careful honey dont spill them, what if it ends up like before and just gets worse all over again” I said woefully even as he assured me he would not let it get that bad even if he had to sort it all out again.

We host a weekly game on Sundays and because of the holiday season I had 2 weeks where I could fill the living room with boxes and bins and do a primary sort of my couple of hundreds of pounds of art supplies.  Yes everything pretty much needs to be sorted some more, big bins of pencils, markers and gel pens are sorted into Ziploc bags but there are so many colored pencils I am having to make containers to organize them by color and type (watercolor vs plain) and the same is going to happen with markers.  I am hording aluminum cans with the lids carefully removed to create smooth edges and I am planning different ways to mount and stack them to use for storage and organization of supplies

Here are some of the ideas I have seen.

Obviously my big terror is that things will get messy, will get dug through and disorganized beyond easy recovery (not that I am at the anywhere near easy stage yet) I have to stay on top of this, I have to make this work because I feel smothered by the amount of stuff I need to organize and I want to get it done in a way that it wont just fall back into a disaster at the first large project.

I have told Alex that as soon as the Sunday game is over he better plan on emptying out the closet again, I will have one week of being able to use my front room and I need the closet empty so I can start to put things into it in the right order.  We removed the door so now I have a large shoe bag hanging from the wall ready for stuff and I plan to put a small rack of shelves in there soon also (possibly another set of drawers, which ever works best)

I am determined, just seeing the bins in here again is stressing me out, I WANT WANT WANT this room organized!!!

So much still to do in Organizing my Studio

My number one goal for this year is to get organized, the house and most of all the studio and I AM trying, really I am but this is the worse possible time of year for me with seasonal affective disorder and what I think is now a case of anemia (if not than certainly iron deficiency…got blood work Tuesday the 3rd) and I just have NO ENERGY.

I would say I am now about 35% done, I have been sorting the stuff out of the studio into boxes in the front room by types as much as possible but I have so many random things I am not sure how I can possibly organize it all.  I know I have or can make space and I have come up with a few ideas for storage options from searching the internet and Pinterest.

The main thing for me is Shoe Bags I have used them for years and have them on most available surfaces, and soon I am moving the book cases around to have more use of my spare table and also so I can put show bags on the back of the bookcase at the end of that table.  I figure right now I need about 5 of the long clear ones, I just dont really have the money for them right now, I might be able to get one or two at this time.

The door to the closet in the studio was removed to use the swinging space and now it leans against the wall in the large walk in closet (this was suppose to be the master bedroom though it is nearly the same size as our room and I prefer an outside wall to a wall that has a stairwell against it)  We will take it to our garage and store it in the rafters and I will be able to use the wall space it now takes up for more bags.

I am trying very hard not to get dissuaded, I feel pretty awful right now and I still have stuff to sort out and then it has to come back in here to be put away, I am scared to death that it will just end up a huge mess again but I can’t put off the game we play here on Sundays since it has been a month with holidays and people being sick and out of town and this is Alex’s home too and he doesn’t ask a lot but he loves role playing games.

I think some of it is going into the dining room and some is going carefully on to the desks and NOTHING is going to be stacked on top of anything else (toppling boxes had a lot to do with the last big mess)  I really only have til Saturday afternoon since I work Saturday night and so by 5pm Saturday everything has to be out of the front room for Sunday.   This means that we need to move the door and the bookcases Thursday and I need to see about buying shoe bags as soon as I can.

Speaking of shoe bags I have had a set next to my desk under the window and had my makeup there for ages and when the heater goes on it tends to get hot so I am removing it, (I dont wear much anyway) I have a drawer for it but mostly I intend to weed through it, toss or give away stuff I dont use and then I will do this project higher up over my desk with just the items I do use.

After i move everything out of them I will use them for a combination of random things I use on my desk and pencils and the type where I dont have to worry about the heat effecting them.

So as I start to fade it looks like another nap for me and then I will get up in a few hours to give it another go…. exhausted insomnia (you can’t sleep or sleep in only small bursts but have no energy) is really driving me mad.  I am only a few bins away from being done and then I need to empty some sets of drawers so I can put stuff back the right way. The moment the game is done I am hauling the bins out into the front room again and putting stuff away one bin or box at a time.  For now I am too tired to think so wish me luck where sleeping is concerned.

I WLL be organized by Feb 29th come hell or high water

So for the last ……ummmmm…. damn at least 7 months I have been planning on organizing my craft room and in the process of pulling stuff out and trying to sort it then being forced to put it all back in to the room in a rush when guests come over it has simply gotten WORSE.

Not like oh it’s a bit untidy or oh no there is a mess in here but OH MY GOD WHAT DID YOU DO IN HERE SET OFF A BOMB????

And now I am paralyzed by the sheer mass of stuff that needs doing and I feel as if I drowning.  Every time I go to get started cleaning I panic and the room just gets worse and then I panic more.  I am this close to tossing everything (not really I love my supplies I just want to access them)

How this happened, about 6 or 7 months ago (early summer of 2011) I decided my some what messy and disorganized room needed a full make over and foolishly decided the best way to do that was to pack everything into boxes and take them in the front room and sort them.

The idea was I would be so annoyed at the stuff in the front room that I would be forced to clean up.  Problem?  My wonderful and very CDO (that is OCD in the right order I am informed) Sister in law decided to put all the boxes in lovely stacks out of the way and well for a few MONTHS I just lived that way slowly getting in the boxes and making everything a total mess.

Then came the day we had to get it out of the front room so a guest could stay over and all the now disorganized boxes got shuffled and in some cases spilt back into the art room, on top of the bins that I was suppose to be sorting but hadn’t.  If you are getting the idea I am a procrastinator you are right on the button (one of the few craft supplies I don’t have making a mess in my house actually)  I am also a hoarder and I am trying to break both habits but failing though lack of cash is helping to hoarding a lot, that is til I discovered sites on upcycling, now I have even more stuff to deal with.

And now every time I walk into the now even more disastrous craft room I want to cry and since my main computer had to have most of it’s memory stripped due to virus and my SAD lamp is in there not to mention my vitamins I have to go in and work but I am crafting away from home a lot or in the front room then bringing stuff back in and making a bigger mess.

Part of the problem is we have a weekly roleplaying game at my house and I have to have the front room cleaned up each week… well this is the one week we don’t have so I have from today, Thursday the 29th of Dec to Saturday the 7th of January to get a serious dent into the mess since right now I need to again haul stuff out into the living room and sort it out into smaller boxes, label stuff and This time PUT IT BACK WHERE IT GOES.

If I can even get it basically sorted and put together I would be happy and it would be a big start, also if I can get the basic part done now I would be able to actually use the art room as a place to do the actual organizing once the sorting into types is done.

I figure Leap Year Day is a good enough goal since it is in fact a BONUS day right?

Here are pics from mid summer:

And now: