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Archive for February, 2010

Come Tour My Workspace…

The creative madness (um, I mean, magic…) unfolds in my head. But I have never in the 10+ years of jewelry making & paper crafts had a proper work area to transfer those ideas into the tangible world. I’ve always lived in apartments for my whole adult life; and when we bought our house 3+ years ago, two children have been born since so I have been working from the kitchen table. 🙂

As summer drew to a close and my youngest was gaining independence, I decided it was time for a proper workspace. But what would work? Where? I needed a place that I could multi-task: make jewelry, fill orders & prep them for shipping, take photos (I was so sick of setting up and tearing down my photo box), and also work on my other creative endeavours which include cosmetic making, paper crafts, candle making…on top of this, I needed a way to keep the girls occupied while I work. So the space would also have to act as a playroom.

Upon pondering on my open-concept home, it became clear that one room would be perfect: the laundry/mud room.

What? You say. A laundry room. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Here is where ” outside the box”  creative thinking is key.

Our laundry room is very large. In the initial plans for the house, it was supposed to be three smaller storage rooms and an exit to the garage. Thankfully, the original owners opted to make it one large back room. Prior to last August, this room served as a laundry room and very large bathroom for my cats; and because the kitty litter was there you really did not want to spend a lot of time in it, let alone have babies crawl all over the floor.

My husband had plans to move his computer gear into that room as well, so a plan formed. Cat litter was moved out of the room entirely. One side would be set up with carpet tiles so the girls could have a play area. The other side, my desk/work station. The room was already equipped with lots of cupboard space and counter space which would house all my creative products. And bonus – I could also get the laundry done as well! Perfect solution for a busy mom who rarely made it down the stairs to do the laundry…

In October we set up the space; and I did some more organizational arranging last month when I realized I was going to take a jewelry sabbatical.

The space esthetically is nothing to shake a stick at: I do hope to do some painting and refreshing in the future. Functionally however, it is a dream come true.

Above is a view of my main workspace. We have three of these flea market tables and one works well for a large work area. The other desk/cabinet was here when we moved in; not great looking but it’ s free and functional! You can see my shipping materials in the hanging file above the table. My light box for photo taking is in the middle and that small fridge at the very left keeps any cosmetic concoctions or supplies that need to be kept cool (and my husband’s beer!). See those two carpet tiles missing at the top left of the carpet? Spilled beer. Sigh. They will return after we can get the smell out. LOL!

The fridge sits on my cart that holds my “hardware”: metal working materials, polishers and all of my engraving fonts. I also have a printer that comes in handy when I am not at my usual computer.

And of course…my daughters’  toys…they never stay in one area. 🙂

The above view is of the entrance to the room. My work area is directly behind me. You see my oldest on her slide on the right. My washer & dryer that I adore; and the cupboards above are great places to stash my supplies for making cosmetics, their packing materials and misc. supplies such as mixing bowls, the ever useful Popsicle sticks, etc. That blue thing on the floor is a tunnel in case you are wondering. Endless fun for babies. 🙂

A view of the play area. There are lots of baskets and bins to store their wooden blocks, musical instruments, and pretty much any toy that I don’ t like to have under foot in my living room. 🙂 That cupboard is where I keep my beading supplies and craft paint; we’ll get a peek inside shortly.

Inside my jewelry cupboard…at least the beading side of it…still room to grow! *grin* It could be neater but it will do for now.

My very useful “built-in” bookshelf that holds paper,  books, jewelry (those two large binders on the right of the third shelf houses my completed jewelry ready for shipping), my engraving plates and charms in metal and wood, and that wooden case is where I keep my hole punches and rubber stamps.

I found this scrapbooking cart at Costco awhile back & although I do not scrapbook, it’s handy for holding all my decorative paper! On top is my Provo Craft Cuttlebug.

The room also came equipped with ample counter space. Here in one corner is my microwave for flower pressing & melting soy wax for candles.

Above the microwave you see my main cupboard filled with cosmetic making supplies. I haven’t delved into making mineral makeup as of yet; just soaps, lotions, scrubs, lip balms, etc etc….

This is a fairly messy end of the room…but I wanted to show two of my three pantograph engravers….my husband’s computer gear is to the left of them (that’s our router stuck to the wall) and recycling bins underneath…it’s a hot mess at the moment so I’m only showing off the engravers. 🙂

Here’s a closer look at my workspace…the wicker baskets above hold remnant fabric, candle making supplies (mostly holders), extra shipping materials, and packing supplies. I use my old laptop downstairs if I ever want to look up something on the internet or get info off our server. That little box on the wall was a great find! I forgot to take a photo of the inside…but I got it at Ikea for half price. It is supposed to hold CD’s, but I keep my inks, pigments, embossing powders, glitter & stamping pads in it. Robbin is kept neat & accessibly hung on dowels and wire off the top rack.

(That hook rug raccoon was a creation of my late mother’s when I was a child. It always makes me smile to look at it).

This little photo box was such a great, inexpensive investment! I still believe natural light is the best light for photographing jewelry, but if I waited for great weather to take photos outside in this climate I would be unable to take photos year round! My photos still could use work but they have improved dramatically since buying this light box.  Underneath I keep props for photos as well as other jewelry making materials.

It’s always great to have a whiteboard to stay organized and brainstorm! Mine is under-used this month; I must remedy that next month.

Thanks for taking a peek at my workspace…it may not look like much, but my girls & I love to spend our time down there. Hopefully it will inspire you & your creative space however big or small!

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4 Gift Certificates to Give Away Via the Market Mommy Blog Party

I am honoured to once again be participating in the Market Mommy Blog Party. This time around, I am giving away 4 gift certificates: one $30 and three $10 to those who participate. The theme this time is “Etsy Shops” so stop by the blog and check out what other creative & ingenious products other Mom entrepreneurs have to offer by way of Etsy!

2010: My Jewelry Sabbatical

In December, I thought really long and hard about what direction to take my jewelry business for the future. Last January, I was very pregnant with DD#2 (now 10 months old) & decided to start this blog and embark on “100 Days of Creativity”.

Last year was a very critical year for me. I had taken a break from designing jewelry (let alone selling it) in 2007 in order to relocate to another province, buy a house & have DD#1. I had put together an Etsy Shop in April 2008, but never really did anything with it.  I was longing for a life less complicated & was concerned my love for jewelry making was adding to the consumerism mindset I was trying to shed.

Luckily after joining an Etsy Street Team and networking with others in the handmade community, I realized that my passion was truly a gift not to be ignored. I was more than satisfied with sales & interest in my business again, particularly since I was doing this all on-line while taking care of two little girls.

As December Holidays arrived, & I had time to reflect on the year, I felt strongly that now was the time to take a risk and grow my skill set. I love gemstone beads but I really want more for myself, particularly in the customizable jewelry market. There are techniques I have been longing to have the time to try out for many years.

Profits from jewelry sales in 2009 was just waiting to be spent. I decided that the best use of this money was to buy equipment & supplies and embark on one year of skill building. To me it sounded very much like a sabbatical (noun: any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc. (per dictionary.com)). So, the 2010 Jewelry Sabbatical was born.

I have spent the month of January buying supplies, & cleaning up my workspace. Some of the techniques I wish to try & hopefully be successful at are: engraving via engravograph (pantograph engraver), jewelry making with resin, copper etching and patinas, wood engraving/burning, metal stamping…so far I have been playing with the engraver and am impressed with the results.

I’ve given myself a timeline month by month to which I will loosely follow in order to keep myself focused and on track, but the journey is bound to change esp. with a creative journeys! Rigidity just doesn’t work in order to have the inspiration flow…

I look forward to sharing my journey on the blog. I still will be taking custom requests and selling my jewelry, I just won’t be heavily promoting it or branding it for now. In the long run, these dreams and goals I have will help expand & streamline my business in the direction I have always wanted to take it. And much more importantly, help grow my creativity which is a pinnacle part of me, as an individual.

Stay tuned!