You wouldn’t think the tiny books I make create such a mess, but they do. My paper crafting studio is not really big enough to do more than store supplies and write blog posts, or enable me to complete one very contained task at a time. And if my husband and I didn’t already use the long kitchen table for eating, reading the newspaper over breakfast, or (for me) laying out patterns for sewing, I’d have a permanent extension to my paper crafting work space.

“Not gonna happen,” John reminds me.

But I must admit that the kitchen table is handy for setting up bookmaking stations all the way around its perimeter for cutting paper, gluing and pressing paper flat, sanding chipboard smooth and staining the edges, rounding the corners of pages and covers, punching pages and covers and binding them together, gluing embellishments to the cover, and tying ribbon to the owire and/or adding labeled tabs to book sections. That’s 10 or 11 steps, depending on the type of product I’m producing.

Work stations

At any rate, my husband and I have a pact for the moment. There is no place in the house that is better for all of these bookmaking work stations than the kitchen table, but for obvious reasons I can’t leave them there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Between work sessions, I have placed neat work stacks on the piano bench, beneath the piano bench, and on the flat surfaces of the piano. Basically, if it’s horizontal, it’s potential storage space. The piano is in a corner of the living room and I don’t know how to play it, so at least it’s being used for a good purpose. Our son, of course, took many years of lessons and one day—if he comes and collects it—the piano will be his. But for now, it’s a great place to keep my work out of the way.

Piano bench storage

Long term? Well, I have an old dining room table in the basement family room, filled with unorganized bits of this and that, plus a photography station. That’s the future home of my paper crafting work stations. My husband can’t wait!

This evening I used all of the work stations in the first photo to complete a custom order for a “Save the Date” book. My buyer wants a shamrock-embellished, Irish-themed book, so she chose papers from my inventory and I cut out a shamrock from card stock, backing it with “Fun Foam” to make it dimensional. This was a fun project to complete, and the first one where a customer asked for a cover embellishment that was different from the buttons or flowers that normally get adhered to the front of my books.

Shamrock Save the Date Notebook

I know that I’m not alone in feeling cramped for workspace. If you’re like me—and I believe this is more common than the editors of magazines that tout so-called “small” workrooms measuring 10 feet by 12 feet would guess—you are probably taking over multiple rooms in your house. How do you manage your craft? What rooms of the house do you use all the time, or part of the time?

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Containing the mess”

  1. Crafters ALWAYS need more space!!!
    I like how you organized the paper crafting work stations. Seeing as your books are selling so well, your hubby should give you some leeway 😉
    LOVE the little green book!

  2. I am glad to see I am not the only one who has a multi-tasking dining table! – even though I have a craft room – it just doesn’t seem to be enough!

  3. The shamrock book is so cute! I have plenty of space though it’s spread out throughout the house. I work on beading in one place, I work on paper crafts in one place, my computer is in a different place, etc.

  4. Sarah ~ Magnolia Surprise

    The kitchen or dining table always seems to catch a lot of projects! I crochet on the couch in the living room, have an office for computer tasks and yarn/vintage stuff storage, and my dining table gets used for any painting project going on (as well as granddaughter projects)!
    That’s a beautiful piano btw — David will be lucky to have it one day!

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