Friday, April 20, 2012

Studio Re-Do

Now, with taxes finally out of the way, I can let my brain wander back to creative pursuits and believe me there are plenty of ideas waiting to be born.  For an embarrassingly long time,  I have wanted to clear the clutter from my studio and create a wonderful space for designing and dreaming up new projects.  With so many creative artisans out on the web now, inspiration is often just a click away.  Feeling rather low a few days ago, as Murphy's Law seemed to be preventing me from the simple task of e-filing and printing out my tax forms to mail, I took a break on Pinterest and found a beautiful photo of Tammy Gilley's studio.  Imagine my joy at finding that she has blogged her studio re-do with before and after photos!  I could hardly believe that her studio was nearly as cluttered as mine where just walking through is a serious challenge.

I have decided that I am going to reward myself with my own studio re-do, and share the process with you here over the coming weeks.  With this promise, perhaps I will stay on track and actually finish.  I have begun my re-do with a very simple project to organize my growing stash of beads.  This has been part of a plan for a while now, and a reward to myself for getting through taxes.  I found a huge oil pan, the kind use use under a car that leaks onto the garage floor, for $12.  You can find these in various shapes and sizes, but this was the largest and the least expensive.  Also, and very important is that it HAS to be magnetic.  Take a small magnet shopping with you to test the metal.

Now then, since the pan is galvanized steel, it can be subject to rust.  Because of this, I did not want to screw it directly to the wall.  I had on hand some rubber faucet repair washers, and used them behind the pan to raise it off the wall (glue in place).  I used long screws that I had purchased complete with toggles and drilled a hole in each corner of the pan large enough for the screw to pass through easily.  Before gluing the washers on, I used the pan as a guide to mark the wall where holes needed to be.  After drilling holes large enough to insert the toggles, and getting the toggles hammered into the wall, I then held the pan in place and tightened down the screws.  As you can see, my pan sits right behind the door.  It is a perfect fit, and does not protrude to interfere with the door standing open.  I can easily reach any of the tins here, and the rest of the wall space is open for decor or other storage.

Next, all that was needed was to add the tins to hold the beads.  Since my daughter-in-law had already done a project like this for her spices in the kitchen, she had done the shopping legwork and I knew right where to find the best deal.  Michael's Crafts had them in the bridal favor section of the store in a tub holding 30 tins for about $17.  Since they were on sale when I went in, I bought three of the tubs because I have quite a lot of beads, and the pan will hold all of these and perhaps even more.  My DIL used magnetic tape for her tins, but I was concerned about the weight of the beads, and a quick inquiry with a salesperson confirmed that the tape was not magnetic enough to keep the bead tins from sliding.  So, instead I purchased small round magnets, a pack of 50 was $7.  

Using E6000 glue -in a well ventilated area! I placed a small dab of each magnet and popped it on the center-back of a tin. Patience is the next step.  Gotta give the glue time to set up properly before placing it on the pan or the tin will fall off the magnet.  ...Yah, I am not known for patience.  I had some tins that already held beads, but I highly recommend doing the gluing before filling the tins.  These tins are not very substantial, and will require gentle handling, so filling them before the glue just complicates things a little.

Once the glue is really set though, you are ready to have fun placing and organizing the tins on your pan.  I have not completely filled all mine yet, as I got so excited that I wanted to post this immediately, telling the world about the beginning of my studio re-do.  The plan is to organize them by color and type.  I can't wait to see them all in place, with an at-a-glance view of what is available for my projects.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools

So here we are, into the month of April and this is Fools Day. Taking a tip from the tarot, the Fool is really an innocent who has everything to learn and is wide open to all possibilities.  What a great way to start a month and even every day. It is like saying: this is the first day of the rest of my life. Becasue no-one is guaranteed an eternal existence, why not decide that each day should be a celebration of this gift of life we have been given and set out on a daily journey of discovery and wonderment. Even when life is seeming drab and uneventful, that is merely because we have chosen it to be so. Becasue I take care of an elderly mother, nearly 97, who has Alzheimer's Disease, more and more time is spent at home. Rather than spend time fretting about lost mobility and freedom to be impulsive about how I spend time, I find this the perfect excuse to pursue my artisan nature and research, craft and develop skills that I knew very little of before. The number of ways I can choose to spend my time now keep getting more abundant. Instead of a narrowing life, I choose to see life with adventure and openness to more wonders yet to be. It has been a good while since my last post. ...Blame it on tax preparation. Each year, I am absorbed into the pressures of doing a mountain of paperwork and exhausting my brain on the frustrations of an amateur's experience with QuickBooks and TurboTax software. I would be lost without them, but I do hate paperwork. I would so much rather be creating anything from jewelry, knitwear, food, faux walls, name it. I do manage to sneak in a few projects amid the numbers just to keep my sanity. 

This is one of the more recent jewelry pieces I finished, which I call Cinderella's Rags & Rhinestones, and it was one of those challenges that I often create for myself to give my mind exercise.  This photo, taken on my back porch, is something I am equally excited about.  I created the form from a cardboard box and using a stencil (from a Google image search), which I printed and traced onto the cardboard.  After carefully cutting the silhouette out with a razor blade, I painted it several times with Gesso.  The final coat was textured. As luck would have it, in the same box there was a smaller box with a slit in it.  I glued a paint stirring stick to the back of the bust form and inserted it into the slit, and "Voila!!!" here you see the results.  I can see from this experiment that I need to tweak the display form a little for better photos, but I am thrilled that I now have a spot that gets natural light and shows off the jewelry to better advantage.