Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Think Tank Tuesday

This week's Think Tank Tuesday is all about lighting. Studio lighting that is.

I've had four studios over the years not including times when I used the living room and dining room. One issue I've always had was lighting. Who wants to attempt to color match cardstock and ink to your papers in the dark or in bad lighting? It's never fun. It's always lovely to discover the cardstock you grabbed really isn't red. It's orange. Oops! Oh and you discover this at a crop! Yikes!
natural lighting
So when we remodeled the room that became my new studio I knew I wanted lots of lighting. Lots of natural and artificial lighting. Luckily, there are four windows and double French doors so I do get a great deal of natural lighting which really is awesome. I try to do all of my color matching using natural light. Makes life easier and fewer surprises at crops.
adjustable track lighting
Unfortunately, the sun doesn't shine every day or all day and night so artificial lighting is a must. I admit I was never a fan of track lighting. Maybe it's because track lighting in the 80's was scary ugly. It looked so office and industrial like. So not my style. Track of 2013 is nothing like that! I purchased a track light from Lowe's that has six halogen bulbs. The lights can be moved anywhere on the track and can be aimed where you'd like. Also the track is flexible! I straightened my track, but I know someone who has the exact same fixture in her kitchen and it is in the corner and curves. It looks really great there. I also put up a medallion to cover up the hole we had to make to install the fixture.

Believe it or not, I actually considered the ceiling when remodeling. Yes, I have wide beadboard on the ceiling. It's not painted ceiling white. It is painted a white glossy paint. Why? Gloss paint reflects light.
work station lamp
My workstation also has a lamp. Granted, it's not super bright, but it does help me late at night. It's not helpful for color matching I admit, but the shade has black damask on it. You know me and damask!

Until next time*

Soak up some spring sun! Go outside and take amazing photos.

Friday, April 26, 2013

O Ribbon How Do I Store Thee?

I may have a small thing for ribbon. A teeny, tiny thing. Ok. Ok. Ok. So it's more than a thing. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE RIBBBBBON! So there you have it.
back rack - photo bombed by Forrest 
I prefer to buy ribbon by the spool. That doesn't mean I don't have shorter pieces because I have about 500 million of them and they're sorted in different jars that you'll see in the future one day when I finish that project. Famous last words, right? ;)

I don't have any wall space left. Well, I do, but it's behind the door and I'm leaving that blank for now. So what do I do with my ribbons? Hang them on the door! Now, I live in a house that's 70 years old and has real wooden doors. I didn't want to damage them because I love them and I can't replace them. Some day, I will strip the layers of paint off of them and stain them. Anyone up for that?

Because I didn't want to damage my doors a trip to Lowe's was in order. Imagine that. Why Lowe's? It's 10 minutes away and Home Depot is 40 minutes away. That's the only difference 90 percent of the time.

I did a little searching online and was looking for an over the door pantry shelf unit thingie. Yup. Another technical term. I needed something that I could just set the spools in without them falling out. And, yes, I did find just what I was looking for at Lowe's. This is what I purchased and it's from ClosetMaid. Home Depot also has a version. What you find in store may be different than what you find online.
front rack
My rack is 18 inches across. There are shorter ones available. Not sure about longer ones. This rack comes with hardware that allows for wall mounting if you prefer that method. So this pieces works for different mounting types and you could use it for punches and other items as well.

I actually had to purchase two of them. One hangs on each side of the door. I can't close my door tightly because of the racks, but I don't need to. All doors may not have this issue. I couldn't close the door when I had one rack no matter which side of the door it was on. Remember, I have old doors and old door jambs.
all of my Papertrey Ink ribbons in rainbow order 
This rack is completely adjustable. There are three sections to it. If you only need one or two sections, then you can use just them. The baskets are completely movable as well. You don't need to use all of them or you can buy another rack and borrow the baskets. I don't have the same number of baskets on both of my racks. They did come with the same number. I just rearranged them to suit my needs.

Until next time *

Organize! It's sooooo much easier when you can find what you're looking for and everything has a home.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Inventory & Organization

I know inventory and organization aren't always the most fun thing to do, but let's be honest. They are very necessary. Ever buy two of the same stamp? More than once? Somehow end up with the same color ink pad a time or two? Love when I'm shopping online and do these things! Ok so not really. Unfortunately, it has happened more than once.
all of the Liquid Pearls available
I spent an afternoon working on inventorying (is that a real word?) on a few of my inks and other liquid colorant goodies. I got to thinking. Instead of making a list that I probably would never update until the cows come home I should make a color chart. This I would actually use frequently. It would be a great resource to look up not only what I have, but what my color options are. There are many times where I'm looking for just the right color to coordinate with a cardstock or patterned paper and I hunt and hunt and hunt.
all the Dimensional Pearls I have
I have completed a couple of my collections thus far. I created an inventory sheet I can add to and print in the future. I have shared the sheets I have created and completed so far. They are on the upper right hand side under the heading Pages and Inventory PDF's. Yuppers, I converted them to PDF's so everyone can open and use them. Make sure you save them to your computer just in case the interweb eats them or they go rogue or aliens invade and steal them. Any of the above are entirely possible.... If you knew half the computer issues I have had in the past, you'd shake your head and walk away hoping it wasn't contagious.
working on the Alcohol Inks
Now some colorants are easier to make a color sample of than others. For things like Liquid Pearls and Dimensional Pearls, I just squeezed out a squiggly line and a dot. Things like Alcohol Ink aren't so easy. They're a tad on the messy side. My first attempt of the Alcohol Inks was messy and not cooperative so I had to come up with Plan B. Plan A was to squeeze out a drop of ink into the correct box. Ink doesn't always cooperate especially when the drops are the size of Texas and hey guess what! Paper absorbs thus ink spreads faaaaaaaar beyond the intended box.
styrofoam plate with several Alcohol Inks
For my Alcohol Inks (these are not the same as the Distressed Reinkers from Tim Holtz - those will be up soon), I used several styrofoam plates, a paintbrush, cardboard, and a pile of paper towels. What's the cardboard (not chipboard!) for? I placed it under my color chart sheet so if ink leaked through it wouldn't be all over my work station. Why styrofoam plates? Alcohol Ink drinks quickly and is easily absorbed. The styrofoam plate gives you an ink palette and doesn't absorb ridiculously quick. Also use a paintbrush you don't care about. Definitely don't use your favorite one! It will forever be stained. If not cleaned well, the bristles may become too stiff to use in the future.

What did I print the color charts on? Do not use regular printer paper! You'll end up with a big ole mess on your hands. Just about all colorants will leak through plain paper. I used cardstock. You can get a ream from Georgia Pacific anywhere from Wal-Mart to Amazon or from your stash. It doesn't need to be the good stuff from Bazzill or Papertrey Ink. I'd save the good stuff for better projects personally. I also wouldn't use the super flimsy cheap cardstock you can get at chain craft stores. Thickness is important.
completed Alcohol Inks color chart
I left my sheets out overnight to dry completely. They will be going into a binder in page protectors once I complete all of them. Why not hole punch them? I want to keep them protected since many of them will have raised bumps. With page protectors, the colors won't rub off onto other sheets either.

One other tip. I have a laser printer. I used that instead of my inkjet printer. This way the colorants won't run. If you don't have a laser printer, see if any of your friends do or you can print these at Stapes or Office Max for a small fee. You have my complete permission to print as many of these sheets as you want! Please don't cut off the copyright though! Please give me credit as I spent a long time working on these and stealing isn't cool.

Until next time *

Get inky! No seriously. Get inky! Get started on your Liquid Pearls and Alcohol Inks color charts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Think Tank Tuesday

I apologize for this week's Think Tank Tuesday for being late. I'm having some health issues with a family member and it's not good so I've been spending a great deal of time with them and dealing with the news.

This week is all about labeling and organizing. I know organizing can be super time consuming, but it really does help out in the long run. Labeling can be as simple as a piece of tape! Trust me. I used painters tape on all of my bins, shelves, and boxes while unpacking my studio. There's still some painters tape lingering around waiting for labels to be made. Don't use a pen or regular marker with any tape though. Use a Sharpie or a marker that will dry on tape. Do a test run to check it out. There's nothing more annoying than smeared labels and being covered in ink. Not to mention the fact that you have no idea what's what anymore.

Ikea Expedit
I have two Expedit's from Ikea and they hold all of my paper, cardstock, and albums. I had no idea how I was going to label them. I couldn't make labels that were six inches long because they're be ripped up every time I took something off the shelf. Time to come up with a plan....

What look did I want? I love all things distressed and old and worn. Thankfully this look works well in my day to day life. A house full of furkids will make you go along with dents and dings.

Supplies laid out
While I do love many of the pieces Tim Holtz has released, I realized it was too impractical to use metal bin labels. I love the number plates he has, however, I needed 50 of them! I shopped around and wasn't happy with what I found especially considering how few pieces you get in a package no matter who makes them.

Granted, 50 is a lot, but what was I thinking? Hello! I have hundreds of stamps at my disposal. Hundreds of dies, punches, and Cricut cartridges. Why not make my own distressed number plates? So guess what I spent an afternoon doing? You guessed it! Best part of this is that it cost me NOTHING! I used things I already had in my studio.

One issue I ran into was finding a punch or a die small enough. That would have been easier on my Cricut, but I really wanted to use a punch or die. Sometimes they give more of a rougher edge and aren't cut so clean. I did want this distressed after all. I did a few test runs with different punches and dies before making a commitment to this punch. It had the label holder look I was going for.

EK Success punch with my labels
The punch I used is from EK Success. I believe I purchased it from Hobby Lobby awhile back. Bring a couple with you! Or if you have a smartphone, find one of the 40% off coupons online and show the cashier. No reason to pay full price for a punch!

The stamp set is from Studio G and the inks are from Close To My Heart.

Complete labels
I began by punching out 50 labels. Then I distressed the edges with Chocolate Distressing Ink from Close To My Heart. I made two piles of 25 each. I didn't want to mess up the numbers and have to make more labels. Punching anything 50 times isn't a party, but it was all worth it. Each pile was turned into three piles. I needed a pile for the 100's, 110's, and 120's for the first Expedit and a pile for the 200's, 210's, and 220's for my second Expedit. Instead of changing the stamp every single time I stamped, I stamped all of my 1's, then my 2's, 3's, etc. I didn't use the numbers in a line. I wanted them to be off kilter from each other. It was supposed to look hand made and old. And by doing each number individually if one was a little crooked or off center, it wasn't a big deal. None were perfect. So much less stress this way!

Labeled Expedits
How did I attached the labels? I wanted something that was removable. Who knows when I'll reorganize and move things around. I change things quite often. So I needed something that I could easily remove without damaging the Expedits. Glue Dots to the rescue!

Inventory notebook
How do I know what's in bin 110? Easy. I have a notebook I wrote down all of the contents of my Expedits in. Eventually, I will turn that into a spreadsheet. I'm waiting until I am satisfied with the layout of my paper packs. I'm pretty close to being there!

So there you have it. Labeling can be easy and cost you practically nothing. I had all of the supplies on hand. Aside from a few drops of ink and half a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock, this project cost me nothing. Not bad for 50 labels especially since the ones I was going to order online would have cost me about $60!! YIKES! Do you know much paper I could buy with that? Seriously!

Until next time *

It's spring. Get organized! It will save you time later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Let's Begin...

Are you ready to begin the tour of my new studio? I am so let's get this party started! We're going to start with the walk-in closet. Yeah, odd I know, but it's not super glamourous so I figured we can get it over with.

My studio was an addition done by the previous owner to give themselves a nice size master bedroom. It's not a master suite and it's on the second floor so we decided to use a smaller first floor bedroom for ourselves until we can build an addition to include a first floor master suite for when we're older or are unable to go up and down stairs 100 times a day. And that is how I ended up with the largest room in the house for my studio. Thank you hubs!

Because this was the master bedroom, there were two closets. The small one we're going to add to the bathroom behind my studio to increase the size of it. It's a bit claustrophobic to me. I like being able to change my mind in the room I'm in. Yup, it's small for a full bath and it will be the only full bath for awhile in the near future. The second closet was a decent size walk-in closet. We used it for our clothes for awhile, but it was a pain with our bedroom on the first floor. So we evicted ourselves and added the walk-in closet to my storage space. It's actually full!

If you're interested in purchasing the storage items or finding out more info about them, I am including a ton of links. You'll notice the business name like Home Depot or Ikea and there will be a link on the name. If you see a store with more than one link, they are different links. Just wanted to make sure everyone knew that you could see Home Depot or whoever listed 100 times and each one will be different. Hope this all makes sense!
sticker and embellishment
wire bins 

Things that aren't super pretty are in there. I'm all about looks and functionality. Function supersedes looks, but some things are just ugly and there's no hope for them. This is very true of my wire storage bins and racks for my stickers and embellishments. There are a couple places you can find these bins Home Depot and Lowe's, but Ikea has something very similar and less costly. The bins are smaller from Ikea however. I'm not sure if you can still purchase the tops or not from Ikea. Lowe's has wooden ones and Home Depot has white plastic ones. Home Depot actually has two different sized racks. This link is for the larger rack.

Mine are from Lowe's and aren't exactly new. I've had them for years.  You were able to buy them in store at that time. I do know that you can purchase the racks and bins online and they'll ship to you or your local store. There may or may not be a shipping fee.

fabric cubes
Remember, the walk-in closet is chock full o' stuff! All of my fabric for my quilting and paper art projects is stashed in here. With it sorted like this, it seems like there's a heck of a lot less than I thought there was. That might be a good thing.

Simple storage for my fabrics. Yup. These wire cubes are cheap and easy to assemble! No tools or wicked muscles needed. They come in white and black and are readily available in Target. I purchased mine in store and on sale. I have two sets being used together. I do have some pieces left over.

wire racks
One the left wall, I have two wire racks from Target. Mine are chrome and are 36 inches long with five shelves and 72 inches tall. These racks hold lots of things that aren't so pretty and fall down all the darn time! I hate having to pick up things that are slippery and can't stand still. My paper mache boxes and acrylic goodies are in the fabric bins on the shelves. The fabric bins are from Target and the colors change frequently.

Close To My Heart
stamp storage bins
My Close To My Heart My Acrylix stamps are also stored in the closet. As you can see, I have a few or maybe a lot. I haven't quite decided yet. :) Anyway, it's best to store them away from sunlight which can degrade them over time. This is true for all types of stamps - rubber, acrylic, polymer, etc. My hubs actually came up with this storage solution for me! I looked for months for something and couldn't find what I wanted. It was driving me crazy and hubs came to the rescue! This Sterlite bins are inexpensive and can be used for many other things if I change my mind later and want to store the stamps differently. This bins are from Home Depot, but you could probably find similar ones at other stores since Sterilite is everywhere! The bins are stacked on a furniture dolly! This way I don't have to carry them around and move them 300 times to get things out of the closet which is awesome! Our furniture dolly is from Home Depot. So now see another use for one!

damask curtain
We took the closet door so we'd have more room in the studio. The door took up quite a bit of valuable space. Well, it wasn't the door it's self. It was the swing space it needed/used. We saved that door for a later project since we will be adding on to this house in the future. I purchased a tension shower curtain rod to hold up my curtain. This is the same curtain I have all over the room. Love the damask! The chandeliers aren't too bad either. These curtains are from Target and come in two sizes.

Well, that's all for the walk-in closet. You probably noticed there were labels on bins and I didn't share that info today. That info will be coming soon and there will be files included so you can print them out and use them!

Until next time *

Storage can be fun! And cheap. No need to spend a fortune when something for 10 bucks will do!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Think Tank Tuesday

You get what you pay for. Man, this is sooooo true when it comes to moving boxes! They are all not created equal.

Granted, I stuffed the moving boes for my studio like there's no tomorrow, but come on! They are moving boxes and are supposed to hold heavy things.

When I started packing my studio in South Carolina, I ran to Lowe's to get boxes. Closest and cheapest place to get them. It was less than five minutes from my house. Bonus! Home Depot was about 15 minutes away, but I quickly learned that the extra 10 minutes was seriously needed.

Both Lowe's and Home Depot boxes cost the exact same amount for the exact same size box. Lowe's does offer you a 5% discount if you pay with your Lowe's credit card so they could cost less than Home Depot which was the case for us. They also have the same numbers for crush tests. Let's face it, paper is heavy. And by heavy I mean wicked freaking heavy!

I hate to say this, but every single box from Lowe's was pretty damaged and/or crushed during our move. Many of the boxes were crushed just from being stacked in our house!

All of my paper and cardstock was packed in Lowe's boxes unfortunately. They all made it safe and sound though. Nothing was damaged or bent which was surprising. All of my albums were packed in Home Depot boxes and I was super excited about that since they weighed about a million pounds each and there were five boxes of them. They were in perfect condition. Very few Home Depot boxes were damaged/crushed/bent/torn. Most of that damage was from some piece of furniture hit them.

When we moved to South Carolina, we didn't buy any boxes. We got almost all of them for free from AC Moore. One of my friends was a manager there so she hoarded good boxes for me.

Those boxes that were made for shipping items from China were pretty thick and held up extremely well. Most of them were actually outer boxes. Sounds strange I know. I thought it was crazy how many boxes are in boxes for international shipping.

Oh I would skip banana boxes and grocery store boxes. Nothing like spoiled food to ruin your things! And then there's the hitchhikers.....spiders....bugs....yuck! No thanks!

Until next time *

Forget the packing peanuts. Go with construction paper from the hardware store. It comes in long rolls. It's great for filling up boxes and it crushes easily. Best of all, it's cheap! You can also use it to cover your floors to protect them and as firestarters in your next bonfire and celebrate the move!