creative space

My Creative Space

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The end of October will mark 6 years since we moved into our home here in the Tampa area. We live in a boating/fishing community, in a "Key West-style" home on a cul-de-sac street. There are neatly manicured lawns out front and a canal out back where dolphins and manatees pay us a visit every once in a while. One of the windows in my studio/creative space looks over our canal. I love the view and I love my space that overlooks it. But after 6 years, the space was looking a little tired and uninspiring. It was definitely starting to feel cluttered. I needed to open things up a bit so it could breath and look as fresh and inviting as the water outside my window!

I started this refresh back in mid-August. And although I am still waiting on a few things for it, like shades for instance, I am going to consider it DONE! And I love it. In this post I am going to share what I did along with some 'background" of the room. So grab a drink and snack, because this may get long.

Our home was built in 2006, making it around 7 years old when we bought it. Although we have done a TON of updates to our home, my studio is one of the rooms that hadn't been repainted. It still had that builder's grade paint. It was a neutral-beige color and over time has gotten to look pretty dull and made things look too "warm." I wanted things super bright and selected a plain white paint for the walls and baseboards. I went with "Oxford White" in eggshell from Sherwin Williams. While I love the plain white, let me tell you, I was not happy with Sherwin Williams paint at all. I mean I have painted PLENTY of walls in my time, in all different finishes, and usually it is a latex paint. Even Chris thought something was a little off about this paint. This paint didn't seem to go on "smooth" and seemed to "drag" across the walls. And then when it came time to clean up...I just threw away the brush (I was able to save the roller). The paint clumped to the bristles and just wouldn't come clean. I took a closer look at the can and realized that instead of a latex paint, this was acrylic. What???? Seriously, I have NEVER painted walls in acrylic paint before! And I assure you, that will never happen again. Anyways, even thought the paint itself was not the best, the walls are a nice & bright white, making me a happy girl.

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So I'll give a tour of the room as you walk through the door. To the left is a large wall where I have my workbench. It is actually a kitchen island from Ikea that we bought from Ikea back in the mid-late 90s. They don't carry it anymore, but I will share a link to one that is similar at the end of this post. This thing has been a workhorse! It has even traveled overseas with me! In the drawers I keep rubber stamps, various paper trimmers, and odds & ends crafting supplies. Nothing too exciting. On the shelves below I keep whatever physical scrapbook supplies I have on hand, which isn't much (more on that in a sec), loose memorabilia for each member of our family, some other items that need to be filed away.

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As far as any physical scrapbook supplies go, this is a VERY SMALL collection compared to what I used to have. What I do have are physical products from Ali Edwards' December Daily and Travel Collections, some random Halloween & Beach products, and lots of Alphabet and Label/Tag stickers. Years ago I did subscribe to the Cocoa Daisy and Studio Calico kits, so I do have a container with those items as well. Even though I am a full-blown mobile memory keeper now, I do have Physical Project Life albums that I need to go back and complete, so I will hand on to some physical scrapbook items in order to do so!

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Above the workbench is something totally new for me. This is a Skådis Pegboard System by Ikea (it's pronounced "sk-oh-dis," I believe). One of my goals in updating my space was to clear all clutter from my workbench and desk. And this system definitely helped to do so. All of what you see here used to be in bins or totes or desk organizers. I just wanted to get these supplies out of those collect-alls, be able to see them, and have them in reach. What you see here are three 22x22 pegboards with a variety of containers, shelves, clips, brackets, and elastic cords. This system is very fluid and all of those items can easily be moved around. I will be adding another row of pegboards in the near future as I found there are more things I want to put in reach. But for right now this is working for me. And I do have it organized in a way that makes sense in my head: The board on the left has all things that poke, punch, or cut. Things like scissors, paper punches and Xacto knives. The center board has all office supplies–pencils, pens, highlighter, alligator clips, rubber bands, ets. And the board on the right has all things that "attach"–adhesive, glue dots, stapler, washi tape, etc. Something to note: When I purchased these boards I went to our local Ikea here in Tampa. It just so happened that it was right as college students were getting ready to go back to school. Our Ikea looked like a tornado blew through it! While there were plenty of pegboards, all of the shelves, containers, etc that attach to them were sold out. Many of them were sold out online as well. I ordered what I could and due to Covid, Ikea's delivery times are pretty long. Those items took about two weeks to arrive. As I mentioned above, I do want to add three more pegboards above what I have now, but I will wait until sometime in October. Hopefully the supply chain will be replenished a bit! 

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Moving on to the back wall. This wall has the window that overlooks the canal. My desk faces the window and I have two Ikea cabinets on either side. Again, this furniture was purchased at the same time the island was. I am not sure if it is available anymore.

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To the left of my desk is my Silhouette. The cabinet is sits on has some Silhouette supplies and empty 3-ring binders (school binders, not scrapbook albums). Above the Silhouette is my "Kelly & Jill" wall. Jill has been my best friend for 35+ years. After moving all over the place during Chris' time in the military, Jill and I finally live in the same state again, about an hour away from each other. I have had a bunch of things she has given me over the past few years that I knew I wanted to one day display in my space. So excited to have finally made that happen!!! The illustration of the two girls playing in the leaves is from Roxy's Illustration's on Etsy (link will be down below). She gave that to me for my 50th birthday. And that one of the yoga girls with wine? Same artist. But I gave Jill an 8x10 of that one. When communicating with the artist about the yoga illustration, she gave me the 5x7 size so Jill and I would each have one. I just love the way this wall turned out and I still have a little room to add things in the future.

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Now on the other side of my desk is my printer. It's an older Epson, but still going strong. The cabinet underneath has extra ink cartridges along with lots of photo paper. Above the printer is my "Kelly & Kristen" wall. Kristen is my sister and one of the most hilarious people I know. Here I placed a folk-artsy poem she gave me years ago along with a few photos. Years ago Kristen and I took a letterpress class together when I lived in Virginia. I framed one of the cards I made in the class. And on the clipboard I have two letters she wrote to me when I lived in Kiev, Ukraine. They were included in some "goodie" boxes she would send. They are soooo damn funny to read. I used to keep them folded up in my desk organizer and would read them whenever I needed a laugh. I like the idea of keeping them on a clipboard. I will scan these because I am sure they will fade over time since they are now out in the open. 

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The wall opposite my workbench is so different from what it used to be!!! It used to have a tall Ikea bookshelf, filled with 12x12 card stock, professional design books and other memorabilia. But no more!!! I purged and reorganized big time! It totally opens up this space! The letter ledges are from the Etsy shop, Spotted Owl Avenue (they are on a break right now). I bought them 2 years ago when Becky Higgins featured them on her Instagram feed, with the intention of one day putting them on this wall (she had a discount code)! So you could say that this refresh has been two years (or longer) in the making!

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I replaced that tall Ikea shelf with the Kallax (still from Ikea). I kept only the design books that I felt I would refer to from time to time. I was a huge Martha Stewart fan back in the day and kept some of her books as well. As far as the card stock goes, I took all of it out from those upright holders and it is now being stacked in the shelf. Most of those holders have been repurposed which you will see in a moment. Chris and I will be building two horizontal paper holders this fall to make the paper easier to access. They will be like the ones from Stamp and Storage (they are REALLY expensive to purchase there, so I know we can make our own). That will be a project for October. The water hyacinth woven baskets are from The Container Store.

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On the shelf you will see a wooden box. I bought this thing from Ikea 15 years ago. It came unassembled. I just now put the thing together!!! I have some essential oils stored in it. There are also some random cords for Apple products and some electronics instruction brochures.

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On the side opposite the box, I have a small display of some family photos and a "For the Love" foiled art print by Ali Edwards.

Now can we talk about these closet doors??? Like I mentioned earlier in the post, this house was built in 2006. And even though we have done a lot of upgrades to the place, all of the closet doors look very dated to me. I can't stand that rounded top inlay. I wanted something more modern, but didn't want to buy new doors. So after jumping down the Pinterest rabbit hole, I found several tutorials on how to resurface bifold doors. I went to work and just love, love, love the results!!!! After the Sherwin Williams disappointment, I went with Behr paint, which is what I should have done for the white walls. The color, "Racing the Rain" is actually a Sherwin Williams color, but I took the paint chip to Home Depot and had them color match it in the Behr brand. I'm just so happy with the way it turned out!

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I would say that the inside of the closet is still a work in progress, but everything has it's place and I know where to find things. The upright holders from the card stock have been repurposed to hold a variety of things like PL protectors, travel memorabilia, and even 12x12 Project Life papers. You can even see that I still have some of the original Project Life Kits! I will definitely use these again when I go back to finish those physical PL albums that I started! The cabinets hold family photo albums from Creative Memories. On top of the cabinets I have my December Daily albums and Cropper Hopper totes FILLED with printed photos. 

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And there you have it. My Creative Space. It's open & airy and filled with my favorite things. I can't wait to create here. I'm a happy girl.

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What do you think? Leave any comments or questions below and I will be happy to get back to you!

A few product links:

Ikea Skådis Pegboard System

Similar Ikea Kitchen Island

My favorite Art Bin

Etsy Illustration

Water Hyacinth Baskets