Woman Warrior Cross body bag.

I have two daughters as you probably know.  I feel an overwhelming need to make sure the have the same rights and access that I had, and that so many have fought for. We (Sarah and I) wanted to design something that would show our support of women’s issues and raise money for Planned Parenthood.

In standard Shannon fashion I let it bang around in my head and Sarah let me take the lead.  Sarah usually does the artwork for our Pure and Sweet ventures, because well I can’t draw and she is awesome at it, but I had trouble verbalizing my vision.  I took to the computer to try to work it out.  I wanted layers, women are multi layered and expected to be all things.  I broke it down to three images: a doily in gold to represent femininity and delicacy: the graphic shape of the female reproductive organs in red, well because women are the only ones that can bring life into this world: and two black crossed swords to protect our freedoms.

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I then readied the screens.  Someday I will have a room to do this, but right now I am crossing my fingers that it works because the conditions in my basement are terrible.  In order to make an opaque silk screen of a doily I spray painted (color unimportant) it to thicken the lines, and when it dries, I use it instead of a transparency to make the screen.

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Yep, that is a uterus and fallopian tubes

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After some difficulty I get all of the images lined up so they print correctly, which is much easier said than done.

Now that I have the images printed, I set about figuring out the most efficient way to make these without sacrificing durability and style.  After several botched attempts I got a good method down and promptly made three to deliver to three members of Sleater-Kinney when they played House of Blues.  They were on tour raising money for Planned Parenthood so it seemed important that they get some.  The stupendous Kathy Blackman of the Grog and B-side helped me get them back stage and I was a happy girl.

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These are the most of the steps, sometimes I get too absorbed and forget to photograph every moment.

First we cut 4 pieces that make up the bag to the same size

Sew the top of the outside panels to their counterpart of the lining.  4 pieces become two.  Lay the two pieces facing each other and pin together.

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Here is where we are missing a step.  After the two sides are pinned together, measure the center top of the two lining pieces.  Measure and cut to slits that match your snap arms through both layers at the same time to ensure that they will match up.  Go in between the two pieces of lining to push the arms out through the slits.  I always add a bit of scrap vinyl (make the same slits on the vinyl)  to the arms before I put on the brace.  The snap gets a lot of use and the added layer keeps it from tearing.

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Now that your snap is in place sew the two sides. (see above picture)

Now turn the whole thing inside out.  and sew the bottom.

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Once the bottom is sewn. Pinch the corners and sew across to add volume to the bottom. (this is really hard to explain feel free to message with questions)

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Turn back right side out and check all sides to make sure you are all good.

Sew strap on and go…..

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Below is the Etsy listing (go buy one!)

BUY THIS AWESOME BAG

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made to order/ limited edition of 75

Modeled by the powerful Ruby.  The Woman Warrior Cross body is hand-made by the loving hands of Shannon and Sarah.  The images are hand screened on a deep turquoise blue cotton duck fabric. They are layered on top of one another representing our femininity, our womanhood and our strength.  (doily/gold, uterus/red, swords/black) The back side is a soft black vintage fabric with gold splatter design. The lining and the handle are constructed of heavy black cotton duck,  and all edges are serged with a contrasting red thread for added durability and flare. A heavy-duty magnetic snap keeps all your crap inside.

The ridiculous attacks on Planned Parenthood, and the attempts to take away our reproductive freedom is truly terrifying.  We responded by designing this bag to show your support!  10 dollars of each bag price will be donated to Planned Parenthood.
We must continue to have safe affordable access to healthcare, family planning and abortion.

This bag was inspired by all the strong women and men fighting for women’s rights.

Knobby

I collect things. It could be years, or it could be minutes, but I will eventually use everything I find.  I have bins, lots of bins, they line the shelves and confuse my family.  I imagine I am a magpie. The items appear to be useless, but not to me.  The shape, the color, the material appeals and I stash.  The other day I cracked open the knob bin, and I was off.

First curtain rods. The curtains come together easily, I measure, iron and sew simple panels.  I want to use these cool knobs that were given to me.  I scour my stores and come up with threaded rod and cup hooks.  I hang the curtain on the rod and put two knobs on the end.  I strategically placed cup hooks in the window trim to hold the rod.  I can easily fit the curtain into the crook of the bay window by bending the rod.  I used chain I found in another bin to weigh down the hem.

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I used the rest of the these knobs in my bedroom in the unusable space next to a window and beside a closet to hang necklaces. I used scrap piece of wood (stretcher bar in this case) Using my necklaces as a guide to far apart to make the knobs I then drilled holes and tightened them on.

I replaced the knobs on the closet with the last two to make look a little nicer.

IMG_1435 IMG_1437Next I took a hammer to a hand railing in the kitchen that I have always hated.  Now that the space was opened up it was easier to plan my next move.  Dumping out the remainder of the knobs and sorting through I made a sort of pattern,  and attached them to a length of wood that I cut to fit in the space available.

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I almost used all the knobs, and I got a very excited reaction from The Associate.

key to my heart.

Anyone who knows me or has seen my work knows I have a thing for cocktail stirrers, as seen below in my TV drawer. I have made and sold many earrings and other accessories made from these molded plastic sticks of wonder.  The whole idea of them overwhelms me, don’t know why.

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One of best selling earring sets is made from a long key, so when I found this little bag of awesome, I pounced.

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More earrings!!! A very good friend told me I had to do a better job of bullet pointing my process so here goes.

1. Measure and mark the center of the stirrer.

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2. Using a sharp wire cutter gently snip it in two.  Any shape wire cutters will do this is just what mine look like.

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3. Using a thin drill bit, drill a hole in the top of each piece. I used my monster drill press, but you could a cordless drill (just make sure you brace it down somehow so it doesn’t slip)

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4. There are talented people out there that make the own earring wires for earrings, this is how I avoid learning this skill.  I buy commercial ear wires from my local craft store and make them look nicer by snipping off the loop on the bottom that holds the spring and the cheesy bead.

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5. Once I have snipped off the loop without taking out an eye (those suckers take flight) I use round nose pliers or looping pliers to make a new loop. It turns out looking like it wasn’t bought at my local craft store.

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no that is not my hand.

6. Cut a small length of heart chain and attach a Lucite heart to one end using a jump ring. I just happened to have this adorable heart chain but any would do.

7.  Attach the other end of the chain to the ear wire and key using another jump ring.  Walla!

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Check out my etsy store to purchase. Electricbelle on Etsy

jewelry converts #7,8,9 (ongoing DIY series)

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Life is pretty busy.  I am working on a huge project called ARTFUL and my days quickly get filled up with meetings and such.  In an effort to stay creative without the benefit of time I am continuing this series.  These are meant to inspire you to fix something instead of throw it away and to develop your eye for finding the parts, among the trash.

So first we add some items to our arsenal.  I love this glue, it works on most surfaces and is durable and flexible.  It is expensive so make sure you close it up tight and you use a coupon.  The second item, ring blanks can be found at many craft stores and come in several finishes.  The last item (not pictured) is a soft toothbrush,  which comes in handy when gentle cleaning of caked on ick is necessary.

#7 I have been looking for a good case for my round business cards forever, and I finally found it. It was right under my nose in a box in my studio, but timing is everything.   All this project needed was a good cleaning with that toothbrush and some dish soap, and we were all good.

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Perfect fit.

#8 This next project I have been meaning to do for a while.  The original concept is so great that all I needed to do was clean it out (toothbrush again), refill with shea butter and add a chain. It still smells like the original lipstick, but oh well.

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I am waiting to see if the shea butter melts in the heat before I fill it all the way up.

#9 This pretty pin was in a bag of stuff a friend gave me to play with.  it was broken, so I decided to turn it into a ring.  Using my pliers I carefully removed the other half of the broken latch and simply glued it on the ring blank.

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It is still drying, but I plan to wear it asap.

now back to life, have fun!

 

 

The Associate turns 8.

Me- (one day prior to birthday celebration) “Good morning sweetie pie, it’s almost your birthday, what kind of cake do you want me to make you?”

The Associate- (eyes still unfocused) “Can’t you just buy a cake like a normal person?”

Me- ( taken aback) “No, your mother isn’t normal, and she never will be.”

The Associate- (resigned) “Fine, chocolate cupcakes.”

I think that it is important to mention that I am making her a duvet cover per her request.  It is apparently perfectly normal to sew a duvet cover instead of buying one, however it isn’t normal to bake a cake. This was fairly easy because Serge is my friend. IMG_8793 and I already had sheet size Bloomcraft fabric from the eighties.  A quick measure pin and sew.

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Unfortunately Serge wasn’t feeling very well and in my rush I neglected to oil him properly.  He is now in hospital at the Husqvarna shop.  I did not finish it time for her actual birthday.  We had a fun friend party in which 10 little girls wore berets and painted with watercolors and frosting. IMG_8817 IMG_8821 IMG_8822 IMG_8823 IMG_8831 IMG_8833 IMG_8838

Each little girl made her own wish, and she got 8 new fish!

Another Aisinine Adventure.

Yesterday I experienced complete cabin fever.  My brain was frozen, and my movement was strained.  I was excelling at sleeping, watching television, and giving into The Associates demands.  She is quite crafty and easily recognized her harried mothers pattern of acquiescence.

My friend Josh called, I reluctantly Facetimed with him and his phone beamed images of large tables and mannequins, and I was up and out the door in minutes. I called my friend Sarah and she was quickly on board.  Her husband soldiered on removing the mom jean wallpaper from their kitchen while I snatched her for what we thought would be an hours excursion.

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We found tables for Sarah within the first 10 minutes of wandering the post apocalyptic Macys.  I had a nagging feeling that someone was going to steal her tables so we rounded back to make sure no body else could have them.  I am pretty sure My Disorder will be thoroughly documented in medical journals soon if it isn’t already.  It is brought on by excessive estate and vintage shopping, and results in adverse reactions like paranoia and overpaying.  A secondary wave is always around the corner when you spy someone else’s name on all the good stuff.  In our case “Erik”  got there first and my anxiety spiked, I did some muttering and was calm again.  Muttering and deep breathing are the official prescription for My Disorder, in case you also suffer.  We were negotiating the price of a large industrial piece.  The price was high, it was massive and it did not break down.

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The manager wasn’t really willing to budge on the price and we were about to leave when our friendly sales lady mentioned that we should see the blue chip room.  The room was quite large and at first glance full of junk but after another turn I began to fixate on red powder coated shelving and pegboard, and guess what?  Yep.

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I have no immediate use for either of these items but they are really nice and would cost a ton to recreate.  We volleyed price quickly realizing that all of us were ridiculously bad at math and had plummeting blood sugar.  The entire staff seemed to be suffering from the same brain freeze/ blood sugar dementia and it took approximately 5 times longer than necessary to pay, only to find that our math was still off by 50 dollars.  We eventually shelled out our cash, and put our outer shells back on to endure the 1 degree weather (feels like -19.)  We hefted table number one and almost fit it in the car.  Sarah ran several miles to Sears to get a screw driver while I devoured a mostly frozen brownie that was in the car.  With brittle fingers we attempted to get the legs off of the table but they weren’t budging.  We dragged the big table back into Macy’s, put the small one in the car and I drove us back to Sarah’s house to gather tools.  After some light nourishment and our common sense restored, we drove two cars back to the mall.

I dragged my pieces from the second floor and Sarah set about taking apart her table with the drill.  Keep in mind that the staff is no longer allowed to touch the objects once they are sold so we were being observed from afar.  I was approached by a fellow customer to help with sizing.  It apparently didn’t faze them that I had both feet planted on the wall and was putting all of my weight onto a wrench to loosen one of many bolts.

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One person asked if we needed help just in time to lift the heaviest part.  I, of course I didn’t take a picture of that one. The Lack of photographic evidence will be especially damning when I go to put it back together and it is one giant jigsaw puzzle.  We laughed a lot, almost cried and froze but we got those bohemoths loaded into the cars.

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Josh- I am not sure whether to curse you or thank you.

P.S. They are still in the car…..

 

Darling Nicky

I am a wee bit of a fabric hoarder.  There is an unknown quantity available at any time, to people I like. Thank goodness my friend Nicky needed curtains.  It gave me an opportunity to hone those rusty sewing skills and bring some beautiful fabric out of the dungeon and into the light.  I had 50 yards of this glorious fabric that brought all the colors of her dining room and living room together.  We decided to use the same in both spaces, not only because I already had it, but we thought it would look more cohesive and cozy when you entered the front door and your eyes scanned the rooms.

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She just happened to buy a house built in the 50’s, which is my favorite type of home.  I had a difficult time not decorating it for her in my every waking moment, so I jumped at the chance to custom make some window coverings.  The bedroom and the dining room were simple.  Subtle decorative rods were easily installed, and a quick eyeball fold, press and sew method was used to create panel curtains that add warmth and depth.  We employed my very technical technique of using the stripes on the ironing board to measure the hems. This by the way is the most awesome iron ever.

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The living room was a bit more of a challenge because of the size and angles of the windows.

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These curtains were to be decorative, non operable and pretty to fit Nicky’s evolving style which I would describe as feminine elegance.  A long curtain rod was not going to work because it would be ugly even if we did consider Lucite.  I did the research on curtain rods for this type of angle, and not only were they expensive they required precise measurements which I don’t do.  I wish I did, but alas I do not.  So instead I wandered around the home improvement store (the blue one) and spent a whopping 11 dollars on the smallest, most basic rod you can buy.

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I bent the rod until the metal broke and fit the ends back together to create a 10 inch rod for either end window.  The center angles presented a challenge and I bent the rods right in the middle to fit the angle of the window.  I had to shorten the other half of the rod so they could fit back together, and added a center support that were leftover from the bedroom.  We used four panels for the center window to add a bit more luxury, and weighed them down with curtain weights so they hung straight, and felt more tailored.

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Nicky, my basement thanks you. Enjoy!!!

three generations of awesome.

I have mentioned her before, my friend’s 90 year young grandmother, Lois and the publication of her first novel.

https://electricbelle.com/2013/11/23/i-only-hope-i-…e-when-i-am-90/

Lois Jeavons, also has a wonderful daughter, Judy who happened to give birth to one of my favorite people, Brady.  Brady did a write up for our community paper about her grandma’s book, and another friend Hillary came up with the brilliant idea of framing them for all three generations.

This is a very easy project and subject to many variations depending on what you have laying about.

Materials:

1. frame (s) plain shadow box

2. acid free glue stick and plain white glue (I used Elmers)

3. Xacto knife

4. scraps of foam board

5. full size pieces of contrasting colors of paper (look to bring out colors in the article picture)

6. several copies of the article in case of mistakes

I chose this small frame from Micheals craft store for several reasons. They came in a pack of three and I needed three, the price was reasonable, and it was small.  I didn’t want to create something large that would take up a lot of room, but small enough to be hung discreetly and still look nice.  Look around carefully because there are many options that are clearly marketed for other purposes then yours, but will work for you.

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1. cut out all parts of the article carefully with Xacto knife (newspaper tears easily) Including name of publication on front page.

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2. play around with the pieces to get a composition that reads well and is balanced.

3. when you are satisfied, glue each piece onto a colored strip of paper that is at least 1/4 inch larger.  I used the glue stick for this because it doesn’t buckle the thin paper (balance out the color so that it is spread throughout the collage.)

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Each piece is now outlined in color and you need to decide what parts you want to pop. In this case I chose the title of the article and the picture.

4. cut thin strips and or chunks of foam core and glue to the back side of your pop pieces (glue stick). You don’t want to see the foam, so you only need a slice.  place something on top of them to make sure they dry flat and let dry. I just happened to have a paint by number horse on my table so I used it.

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5. when you are dried and ready, carefully arrange your collage and glue down everything. I used the white glue for the foam core to base, and glue stick for everything else.

6. Once everything is glued on let completely dry and insert into frame.

TaDA

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Those shady Southerlands.

Talk about an ironic title. These Southerlands I speak of are two of the most generous and loving people I know. Did I mention, patient? Well they have waited over a year for their custom lampshades, and not a peep out them until they arrived. Good people with an enviable collection of beautiful Mid Century items so I must do a good job.
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It all started in the summer on our annual Wilmington, NC visit, I got sidetracked by their new lamps they inherited from family and promptly set about re-wiring them,  after that the shades simply would not do, with the light shining through the stains showed up.

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I tried to clean them, doing my darndest to keep the shape.

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I could not save them.  We put them back on and they waited. The next summer I stole the shades leaving the pretty lamps naked.  I did some research and aimed to acquire yet another skill.  They came for a visit and I ended up wanting to spend time with them instead in my zone. They left shadeless and I had another bump in my education. I could not get the old lamp frame rings back to round no matter what I tried.  I decided to order new ones. They don’t make them the like they used to so I had to factor that in to the new shade and do some very dubious math. Then I decided to change the fabric, and the tape, and finally got down to business.

Materials needed.  (I purchased all of my materials from http://www.lampshop.com)

-2 lamp wire frames, one with bulb or harp holder, and one without. size depends on your shade. I used 12 inch in diameter. (tip- for your first go at this use two of the same size. It becomes much harder when top is smaller than the bottom)

-stryene shade liner (sold by the yard)

-white paper tape.

-fabric

-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife

-glue

-small paintbrush

-rag for excess glue.

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– tape the very springy lamp liner to work surface and trace the old lamp shade on it.

-cut using an Xacto knife (material rips easily so scissors can be disastrous)

– Tape fabric face down on clean work surface.

-lint roll to remove inevitable dog hair, so it is not permanently trapped between layers.

-lay shade liner over fabric and trace if you wish so the design or weave is straight, or wing it like me.

-slowly peel back protective layer on the stryene while firmly pressing on the fabric.

-once it is fully stuck, cut remaining fabric leaving 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

-pin the shade all the way around folding extra over the ring. do top and bottom.

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-fold edges of fabric over and glue the seam, add a little weight on top to make it flat. (you might like me think this is a stupid step, but trust me it is important.)

-sit back and think you are really cool while this dries because it gets a bit messy from here on out.

-when seam is dry stand shade up on one end and get busy gluing, make sure you can complete each end without interruptions #The Associate

-damn lost the image, sorry.

-try to follow me.  apply glue to the paper tape with brush and fold over wire and fabric to connect everything together.  make sure your tape line on the outside of the shade is straight in case you don’t apply trim.  do a couple of inches at a time and wipe up excess quickly. let dry.

– don’t give up!

-once you have done both ends, pat yourself on the back and decide if need to cover up any mistakes with trim 🙂

-wait another month until a gigantic box comes into your life so you can send shades to your longsuffering friends.

 

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YAYYYYYYYYYY

 

 

micro studio makeover.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, I am almost 42 years old and I am finally at peace with my brain funktion (no spell check that is spelled correctly)  It is time to work this out, and the first place is my studio, the smallest room in the house, and now it will be mine! (maniacal laugh)

It is really difficult to redecorate a room when there is a bunch of stuff that has nowhere else to go in it while you are redoing it.  I deftly moved everything into the middle and patched a million holes, primed and did some seriously acrobatic painting while simultaneously painting all of the furniture the same color in the same room.

It is also really difficult to organize a tiny room around a brain that funktions in spurts and sputters, highs and lows, and is always in creative problem solving mode.  Needless to say I have focus issues so I tried to create organized areas for specific purpose.

Here is the before.

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chaotic and haphazard and now that I think about it, hazardous to my safety and to my mental stability.

I moved my desk and arranged my magnetic trays above so that I could organize my thoughts in a visual way.  Each tray will represent a project I am working out in my head or a page of my website.  Please excuse The Associate she was enjoying her last moments of being allowed in my room.

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To the right of my desk on my beautifully refreshed garbage picked bookcase I have all of my businessy housey stuff. I put them as far away as I could from the fun areas because nothing can kill a creative buzz like PTA newsletters and bills.

One of the thought morsels banging around my head all the time is how to re-purpose stuff that nobody wants.  Like these oven trays from the GW that I spent a whole dollar on. I soaked, scrubbed and then hung them on the wall to keep my jewelry sorted by what needs to be photographed, and what is up for sale.

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wow these pictures are bad, sorry.

The next area I needed to resolve is my collage wall/ scrap booking table.  I no longer wanted to pierce the images that I was working with and splurged on three 2′ by 2′ metals sheets,  once again destroying my meticulous patch job with holes big enough for metal toggle bolts. I organized all of my scrap booking supplies and subsequent paper in the file cabinet and boxes below so they are easy to access.

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As far as the large work table is concerned I oriented it differently so I could work on three sides and still easily reach all of the supplies on the shelves above.  I kept all containers the same so my eyes do not jump all over the room when I enter which will likely make me turn right around and leave.

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I made new curtains with fabric that makes me happy to replace the ugly ones that were there 12 years ago when we moved in, and hung my currently favorite works on the wall to inspire me.

The cuporama I made a while back is still doing a good job of  keeping small things I use often in sight, providing a good place for seed pod storage and jewelry in progress can be dumped in a cup if I need to clear off my work space.

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I streamlined all of my sewing supplies, giving up a lot of items I won’t ever use and made them readily accessible on this caddy.

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I am VERY excited to get started using this space, so excited that the tables are already covered with projects and I am about to make a sign that forbids any mess makers entry.  (The Associate and The Teenager)

I would love to hear what you think.