Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Storage Solutions: Ribbon

Hi there! I kind of took too long, but I'm here :-) And in this post I want to share with you the storage solution I found for all my ribbon.
It's a good thing I don't have a huge collection of ribbon. Still, before, they were all dumped into one of those plastic storage drawer-type-things. I don't have to elaborate on what a mess that would've been! So I definitely needed a better, more practical solution to store them.
I had a couple of ideas in mind - putting them on a dowel, or keeping them in baskets or something so they also double as pretty display pieces, etc. All that flew out of the window when I thought about my toddler unrolling yards of ribbon all over the room! So they had to be stored somewhere where she couldn't lay her tiny little hands on them. And then I found this brilliant idea on the internet. It is simple and works perfectly for me as I don't have a lot of ribbon.

I cut 2x3-inch rectangles from card stock. Then I punched half a circle on either of the short sides with my small circle punch, and there you have it - a cute little ribbon holder! So simple! I did spend a lot of time taking all the ribbon from the original packaging and wrapping them onto the cards, but it was worth it. I used inexpensive rubber bands to secure the ends. Now all my ribbon is neatly contained in one big box. I love being able to see all my ribbon when choosing something for a project. I also made a few extra holders so they're all ready for any new ribbon that I buy. And when there isn't any room in this box, I'll simply get another box. I love easy, practical solutions like this one!
So, that's pretty much what I have to share in terms of storage solutions. Rest of the bits -

  • Ink pads: I have them all in one drawer (I don't have too many)
  • Adhesives: Again, in one drawer
  • Punches: I have them on the Ikea rails
Hopefully, I'll be able to do the big reveal of my craft room soon :-) I'll also attempt making a video tour.
Until then, happy crafting!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Storage Solutions: Stamps

'Hello!' on a beautiful autumn day here in Sydney! The sun is out and the birds are tweeting, and it's just the right amount of 'cold' for a nice hot cup of coffee :-)

This is the second post in the Storage Solutions Series. The first was all about paper & card stock. Today, I want to share with you my storage ideas for stamps.

My love obsession for stamps goes way back! My first set of stamps ever were from Stampin' Up! It didn't take me too long to figure out I preferred clear stamps over rubber stamps. I like the simple idea of being able to see exactly where I'm stamping. I'm not too good with precision and hate it when images end up being stamped off-centered. (I keep thinking I should get one of those Stamp-a-ma-jigs) Anyway, over the years, I've collected quite a few stamps - not too many rubber stamps, tons of clear stamps. I've always struggled with keeping them neatly organised and easily accessible.

Clear Stamps: I started by putting them into page protectors that were filed into one enormous binder. But I hated the way everything sagged and looked messy. Then, I backed the page protectors with A4 size card stock, which did make things slightly better, but I still wasn't happy. This isn't such a bad storage idea - if you find the right sized binder and decent, sturdy pockets to hold everything. But somehow, it wasn't working for me.

Then last year, I organised them into categories -

  • Alphabet
  • Sentiments
  • Patterns/Backgrounds
  • Birthday
  • Holidays
  • Baby
  • Girly
  • Boy/Man
  • Cute Mini Stamps
  • General Sets
I got clear plastic containers, one for each of these categories and labelled all the boxes. It wasn't a bad idea, but I did face a couple of issues with it: A. The boxes were taking up too much space, B. some of the stamp sets didn't fit into the boxes, so I had to trim them to size; which meant I had to take them off the original packaging. Somehow, I still wasn't convinced it was the best solution.

Now I have them in clear filing cases/folders - the ones with zippers. I still have them in the categories, which makes everything easily accessible and doesn't take up too much room. I got mine at Daiso and I got them in B5 size, so everything fits in there in the original packaging. They hold everything quite comfortably, with enough room for more, knowing my obsession for stamps :-) For some reason, the labels from my label maker wouldn't stick onto them, they kept falling off! So then I just took a black Sharpie and wrote on the folders, problem solved! I have them standing up neatly on the Expedit units and I'm a happy crafter :-)

Rubber Stamps: I don't really have too many of these, well, not as many as my clear stamps. Before, I had them all dumped into two small drawers, which meant I had to rummage through everything to find a particular stamp. But now, I'm lucky enough to have three dedicated drawers for all of my rubber stamps. I love the drawer inserts we got for the Expedit unit.I've put all the stamps face down, so I can see every stamp at a glance. That way, hopefully I'll be motivated to use them more often. And yes, I really need to get the Stamp-a-ma-jig :-)

So, my dear crafty friends, that's how I have my stamps organised. How have you organised yours? Drop a line here...would love to know :-)

In my next post, I'll show you how I organised my ribbon.

Until then, happy crafting!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Storage Solutions: Paper & Card Stock


As promised, I will be sharing all my organising and storage ideas in my craft room. I thought I'd start with paper & card stock.
This & this will tell you about my journey so far...

**Edited to add: This has actually ended up being one super long post! I realised I'd actually rambled quite a bit! So, if you'd rather get straight to the important bits, then please just scroll down until you find some text in blue and read starting there. On the other hand, if you're up for some virtual (one-sided) chat with a girlfriend, then sit back and read it all, maybe with some coffee? :-)**

I'm a paper hoarder (actually I think all we paper crafters are big time paper hoarders!) and this is kind of an important area for me. It's always been a problem area for me, to be honest. Back when we used to live in a two-bedder, I had crammed all my craft supplies into the closet in the spare bedroom. I had these canvas hanging shelf thingies from Ikea and had stacked all my paper and card stock on one of them. It got to a point where the cubby holes started sagging and everything was just one big mess. I hated looking at it! Well, not as much as I hated the state of my paper and card stock in the study in our new home before the big transformation! You see, on a mini organising whimsy I went and got a couple of those bog-standard white storage cubes. I didn't even think for a second if the cubby holes were deep enough for my 12x12 patterned paper and card stock to fit. I think I'll safely blame it on baby-brain, I was heavily pregnant at the time :-) So when we got home and found out that the paper wouldn't fit, hubby gave me a big fat "Oh, you didn't do your research" look. But there was no way he was going through all the trouble to return them or buy more stuff. So, as ghastly as it sounds, all my paper and card stock sat in there, pathetically hanging off the edge of the shelves! Such an eyesore! And not to mention a potential threat of them getting wrecked. So when we decided we were going to re-organise the room, one of my big priorities was finding a practical solution for all my paper and card stock. I wanted them to be neatly organised and easy to access.

My friend (Linnie) suggested stacking them horizontally - either on storage cubes (ones that are big enough, heh!) or tucked away inside deep drawers (the Alex series from Ikea are a great, great size). I ended up getting two units of Expedit from Ikea. The cubby holes are big enough to hold 12x12 paper. While stacking paper and card stock horizontally was a great idea, I still wasn't very sure. Of course, it could work well for some people, but for me, I find it rather difficult to get to a particular sheet of paper somewhere in the middle of the stack. I'd either have to pull it out carefully (imagine the table cloth trick!) or pick up the rest of the papers on top. Also, I'm the kind who likes to flip though all my paper and muse over the patterns and colours before I pick one, so horizontal wouldn't really work for me.

The other option, of course, is storing them vertically. I had seen quite a few craft room tours on YouTube where people had stored their paper & card stock vertically in magazine holders. "Now that's a brilliant idea!", I thought. Soon I realised the magazine holders available locally weren't big enough for 12x12s. Aaargh! Then I saw the Cropper Hopper paper storage folders and thought they were great, only they were 40-something dollars a piece, and before shipping! Never mind.
Then one day, I left the kids at home with hubster and went shopping, alone. If you're a mum to two little ones, you'd know the magnitude of that sentence, LOL! There's just so much peace and quiet that your brain can actually process better :-)  And at this fun Japanese store called Daiso (where everything is $2.80, by the way!) I found some plastic bin-like things that looked a lot like the Cropper Hopper paper holders. I was so thrilled, I can't tell you! $2.80 a piece, sturdy and big enough for 12x12s?? It was like I won the Lotto! Well, almost...because I did measure them (see, brain functions more efficiently when kids aren't around) and it was a teeny-tiny bit smaller than 12 inches. Ah, never mind, they were an ugly cream-ish white colour anyway.

Then I went into a Dollar King store and after a casual look-sy around I was just about to leave when something caught my eye. There were these clear plastic bins on the lower two shelves, in the far left aisle, some place I almost never get to. They had actually used them to hold some page protectors and other stationery that were for sale. And luckily, they were for sale too. (Even if they weren't I was quite happy to negotiate with the pretty Asian lady at the checkout counter!) They were strong and big enough for my 12x12 paper, I checked :-) Now, I'd won the Lotto!

See I would never have been able to find hidden gems like these with a screaming toddler, a fussing baby in the pram and an impatient husband in tow! And at $7.50 a piece, these babies won with a big, big margin over the Cropper Hopper ones :-) (Oh yes, not a dollar. Here in Aussie not everything in a Dollar Store is $1. Makes you think why they'd name it that! Anyway.)

Them and my paper & card stock - a match made in crafters' heaven :-)
Look how they sit pretty, all snug in the cubby hole.
I got 4 of them and ALL my 12x 12 paper & card stock fit in nicely.

Next, A4 card stock. This was easy peasy. I just got a couple of magazine holders from Ikea. problem solved.
Okay, last but not the least - paper scraps. Did I say I'm a hoarder? Yep, I can't part with all those small bits of paper or card stock leftover from projects. I save them for other projects so I can get best use of all my pretty paper :-) But things were getting out of hand when I had too many of these saved bits and no organised place to put them in. For this I had a clear idea in mind. I got these B5 size clear folder cases from Daiso.
One for each colour, labelled and neatly stood up, how cool is that?
A good word of advice here, if your leftover piece is anything smaller than a 3x3 piece, chuck it in the bin. Not worth saving, only adds to bulk.

So, that was all about my paper & card stock storage. Hope I didn't bore you? Did I cover everything? If you have any specific questions please ask :-)

Next up - Stamps!

Until then, happy crafting!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Only a few steps away from my dream craft room, yippee!

Hello me Lovelies!

It is with great pleasure and utmost excitement I announce that the craft room of my dreams is ready, well a.l.m.o.s.t :-) Just adding a few bits 'n' pieces and some finishing touches, but other than that, it's already such a happy little place! I won't show you pictures just yet, 'cos I still need to set up a little crafty nook for Sia, my 2.5 year old missy, and then a comfy little play area for my little man (who's almost 8 months! Wow! Time flies or what?) Even Hubby is beaming ear to ear - he's got his own shiny new table and we had an electrician put in some much-needed extra power points. That means no more snake-like cables running all over the floor and no more of those bulky white extension cord thingies. So, yeah, lots of good things; but not quite there yet, nearly there :-)

But I thought I'd get started off with sharing what I (we) did - right from, "Alright, let's do this!", up until now. I'll pick one area, for example - paper and card stock, and share my ideas and solutions for storage. So, eventually, I'll share everything in there, but a topic a post. I'll try and cover as much as I can and if you have any specific questions, please ask. Actually, I might even make a video tour. But let's not get too ambitious, ahem!

Here are some handy tips for the 'Getting started' phase -

  • Get in there! Seriously, I was scared of that room, like really, LOL! It was overwhelming. But once we took the first big step of getting in there, rolling up our sleeves and starting off, everything simply followed!
  • Have large boxes/garbage bags set up, preferably in 3 main categories (or maybe 4) -
  1. Chuck
  2. Keep
  3. Donate
  4. Hmm...not sure! (be careful about this category though. It's good to have someone else with you who can help you decide. I know I can easily end up putting everything in this category, ha! A stern 'No!' from someone else really helps when you're indecisive.)
  • Move everything out of the room. This was L & S's great idea and it made so much sense. It's like having a blank canvas, which is very exciting. Plus it helps to measure the room, plan layouts, etc.
  • Decide on a colour scheme/theme. Actually, it's not a must, you don't have to play by the rules. You could pretty much just go for a practical space that works for you - theme or not. But having said that, a colour scheme does add an element of fun and makes everything look oh-so-pretty. Not to forget how much fun you can have shopping, looking for just the right things to put in there :-) On an important note, this could actually help you decide the colour of furniture you want to buy, assuming you're buying new stuff. If you're working with what you already have, skip this bit.
  • Plan, plan, plan! Plan for every single bit, every craft supply, every item you have in there. Without a plan you'll be running around like a headless chicken, believe me. My point is, think of where and how you'd want to store your paper, stamps, tools, etc. 'A place for everything and everything in its place' - couldn't be simpler! This makes maintaining your craft room that much easier. You really don't want to end up with clutter, again. Heck, no! Also, plan a layout that works best for you and take note of important measurements/dimensions.
  • Go shopping. Based on your planning, your shopping trip can turn out to be a fun and pleasant experience or a nightmare. So, you decide :-) Another important bit here is to have a budget in mind. And keep all those receipts/dockets in a safe place until you're all set and done, just in case you want to return/exchange something.
  • Don't stop, keep going! This is it. Don't fall prey to old habits again. Keep up the momentum and get on with it. I've had one too many unfortunate instances of leaving things half way in. So unpack, assemble, arrange, organise - get busy! Go get the room you always dreamt of! I've almost got mine :-)
Hope I've encouraged someone today just like our friends did to us!
I'll be back again, starting a series of posts on organising and storage solutions I've used in my craft room. Until then, happy crafting!

Monday, April 28, 2014

And when it rains, it pours!

Hey ya'll!

Just when I thought there was some excitement in my life, my back decided to give up on me! It seems my (t)rusty old back had had enough...after two babies and a couple of years of neglecting good advice, my lower back just froze one morning. I couldn't get off my bed, I couldn't sit, I couldn't walk - I couldn't do anything unassisted. My eyes filled with fear and tears, "What if I couldn't stand up straight, ever?". OMG! The things we take for granted! After half a day of excruciating pain and the terror of ending up with a slip-disc, seeing a doctor was the obvious thing to do. Turned out my lower spine had taken a lot of beating from the strains of everyday life. "You need complete rest!", said the doctor. So that translated to no picking up my little man, no picking up anything heavy, no house work (yay to that, by the way!), no nappy changes (yay to that too!), nothing. Just plain and simple rest, rest and more rest. And medication. Oh yes, the blessed little pills that knock you off completely, LOL! So then, thanks to my hubster, I rested. I rested while he looked after the kids, cooked and cleaned up. Bless him! And now, I'm so much better. I can sit up and walk and be myself again, hallelujah!

Anyway, that was my little woeful story. But all this stalled my craft room transformation. It's going to take longer than I'd planned. Damn! Oh well, better late than never, I guess? There has been a whole lot of progress though. Thanks to Linnie & Shiva (again) the furniture was all up pretty soon. Then we went shopping for storage - fun 'n' pretty storage. I have a colour theme going...won't say it just yet : -) It's fun to go shopping, looking for pretty things in a specific colour (or two).

So, it shouldn't be too long. I'll share e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g about the room here soon. Now, where's hubby? The little man needs a nappy change (wink).

Happy Crafting!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The end of a hiatus...

Hello there! (is anyone even there?) I'm hopeful that the long hiatus ends here. From this post on, I hope I'm able to keep posting here regularly. I hope I'm able to spend more time crafting and creating, and feel the peace within. I hope.

My crafting space (and husby's home office) is going through a much needed makeover, yippee! And all thanks to our friends 'cos if not for them, we would never have gotten off the couch and actually done something about it. So now this has turned into an exciting and fun little project for us :-)

Okay, want to see the study that had turned into a portal to clutter-hell?
In there, hidden somewhere, is a pretty little craft room (and a home-office). And we're determined to uncover it. Then, I can actually go into my happy place and do what I love doing :-)

I just want to take a moment and say something about 'positive influencing'. Yes, that's what our friends - Linnie (Malini) & Shiva are kind of doing to us now. It's something like peer-pressure for grown-ups, only in the most positive, encouraging and motivating way :-) Like I said before, if not for them, we would still be on the couch, drooling over all the picture-perfect rooms on Pinterest and sighing in despair, doing nothing about it. I tell you, with two little ones who need a lot of attention and looking after, it's not easy to be self-motivated. So Linnie, with her organising and decorating expertise (see her blog, ColoursnMe), kindly offered to help me kick my butt off the damn couch and help make it the perfect place to be creative. And husby darling generously offered to finance the entire project, aka, The Much-needed Makeover!
Am I excited or what??

After a long day of clearing out the room and a trip to Ikea, this feels almost surreal -
There's a lot of work to be done and I'm confident we will do it all. And I'm most excited about sharing it all here with you, and maybe being a positive influence on someone else out there, in creative space!
Will be back soon with more updates.
Until then, Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A New Year and hopefully New and Better Habits!

Hey there!

Pathetic is just the word that springs right at me when I see my last post!
What started as a nice decent series ended even before it even took off properly, sheesh!
Well, here's to the New Year and new beginnings (hopefully!)

We just got back from a much-deserved holiday and it was destination California! Three whole weeks well spent with family, lots of laughter, lots of love and lots of shopping!

I for one couldn't help shaking my head in vigorous approval when I saw all the scrumptious craft goodies, and at such affordable prices too! So it's no big wonder that I bought quite a load of exciting crafting supplies. But right now, they all have to be organised, neatly so they work their magic on me and I actually put them to some good use. I need to get working on my craft room, enough with the excuses I guess!

So, here's hoping that this new year brings with it all things positive, all things fun and all things happy!
Wishing you all a creative, crafty and wonderful 2013!

Happy Crafting!