Craft Room Re-Do: Tiffany Lowder
Craft rooms are our creative sanctuaries – let’s check out Tiffany’s!
How many of you have dreamed of re-doing your creative space to better suit your needs?
How about to better suit your design aesthetic?
Well, you’re not alone!
I’ve seen many references to craft room re-dos while posting to our social media channels, and by reading the blogs of many wonderful and creative folks (yeah, in my spare time! ha!), and I decided it might be fun to share some of these spaces here, with you!
And not only are we thinking about sharing the rooms of other papercrafters, we’d like to interview them, finding out: what kind of papercrafting they’re into, what other crafts they dabble in, whether they’re an organized creator or a total mess or somewhere in between, what aspects of keeping their space organized and productive are most challenging and easiest, and what their room looked like ‘before’ and ‘after,’ plus a whole lot more.
Now, if this sounds like something you’re interested in us doing,
please leave a comment and share this post –
we want to know if this kind of content is of interest to you!
Today we’re heading to Kentucky, to visit with Tiffany Lowder, a gal who makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis!
Now I’m sure you’re wondering how that can be when she lives in Kentucky and I live in Texas, right?
Well, if you’re a scrapbooker and you’ve never listened to Tiffany, and Tracie Claiborne her Tennessee-based co-host, chatting about scrapbooking on The Scrapgals Podcast, you MUST check them out – they are a hoot!
But I warn you, don’t try to listen to them late at night in bed (even if you’re wearing headphones) while your significant other is trying to sleep – I about busted a rib trying to contain my laughter so I wouldn’t wake up my hubby!
And that, my papercrafting friends, is how I ended up contacting Tiffany about being a Craft Room Re-Do guest here at PCC – the almost-rib-busting show I was listening to was the one where Tiffany explained the process of clearing out her craft room and trying to refinish the floor before re-doing the set-up.
I am telling you, I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time!
I’m not going to spoil that episode for you by sharing the details, just trust me, it’s well worth a listen…when no one next to you is trying to sleep!
Here’s a link to that show – Tiffany Lowder’s Craft Room Escapades – in case you want to listen to it after reading this post and checking out pix of Tiffany’s ‘before’ and ‘after’ spaces.
And if you want to see photographic evidence of Tiffany’s floor adventures, check out this post: Tiffany vs. The Craft Room Floor
And now, here’s my interview with Tiffany,
and pix and details from her craft room re-do…
Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself – what do you want people to know about you?
A. I’m a procrastinator. It’s driven by fear or by not wanting to do something. And deadlines are intimidating – I resent them! I’m a visual learner. I like instant gratification, specific goals, dedicated time periods and rewards. And, I don’t own a label-maker!
Q. What kinds of crafting are you into?
A. Scrapbooking, home decor crafting and cross stitch.
Q. What inspires you creatively?
A. I’m not about the finished project – it’s all about the process. ‘Deliverables’ are stifling. I get joy from possibilities, and live in the future in my head.
Q. Who inspires you creatively?
A. Ali Edwards – she has a unique style and fresh ways to tell stories, stories about what she does and who she is, rather than what she uses; Maggie Holmes; and, Kelly Purkey (my younger self).
Q. What challenges you creatively?
A. Die cuts! I have them organized in a three-drawer cube, by theme (except for October Afternoon die cuts), and I have a hard time remembering where they are and what I have, which leads to duplicate purchases. I also don’t take enough risks creatively – I want to be brave, but not feel negative as a result of failure. So, I’m in a rut, doing the same thing over and over again. I have to force myself to try new things.
Q. How do you find (or make) time for creating?
A. I’m lucky because my time is largely my own, but I teach during the day and two nights a week, and do some tutoring and have to make time for my relationships (“the Fella,” my daughter, etc.), so it can be hard to find ‘free’ time. I use Sunday afternoons, and late hours one or two evenings (Mondays and Thursdays) a week. If I’m not ‘feeling it’ on those days, I will push myself to create, but the outcome is not good! I do try and play a bit every day though. I get grouchy and feel restless if there’s no creating going on!
Q. Do you consider yourself: über-organized, somewhat organized, occasionally organized, a creative mess or an organizational disaster?
A. Somewhat organized. I know where things are, generally.
Q. Do others consider you: über-organized, somewhat organized, occasionally organized, a creative mess or an organizational disaster?
A. Somewhat organized…occasionally organized! They know my habits, and Tracie [my Scrap Gals co-host] knows me very well!
Q. Tell us about your creative space – ‘before’ and ‘after’ (now) – what inspired you/required you to make changes?
A. My biggest motivator was that my space didn’t make me happy. My stuff was getting in the way of creating.
Q. What was definitely NOT working for you in your previous space set-up and how did you address this in your new space?
A. My desk was under the window facing the street – I was just sure there were people watching me! I had a long table to my left and it was filled with electronics, which led to an issue with me piling things on top of them. And, I had little desk space – it was mostly being used as storage so I had no room to work, and access to things was an issue. I like glass jars for storage, but they looked chaotic because I had too many of them – they were no longer decorative, but cluttered!
Q. What, if anything, did you LOVE in your previous set-up, and is this the same in your new space (why or why not)?
A. My paper drawers. They protect my paper, there’s an even number so they’re symmetrical, and my papers are organized by type or manufacturer or color. I have one drawer that has cardstock, transparent paper, etc. Another that contains my favorite brands of paper. And a third that’s a hot mess! The last drawer is mostly empty since I purged my paper in my renovation.
Q. What’s your favorite spot and/or organizing/storage solution in your new space?
A. I love my shoe organizer which hangs on the outside of the closet door and holds punches. I had planned to add a large armoire to my space, but that didn’t work out, and that’s a good thing. I store my less used items (such as flowers) inside my closet. It’s still a work in progress!
Q. What organizing tips would you like to share?
A. Just because someone else has/does it does not mean it will work for you! I don’t want to buy a bunch of something, and spend a lot of money, only to find out it’s not for me. So, I ‘test’ and see if it works – washi tape is an example of this.
Q.What are your favorite colors and did you incorporate them into your creative space – why or why not?
A. I wanted to go neutral, so I used a ‘restful’ grey. I had black items and I bought a black and white rug. I was going for a ‘Zen’ feel. I also wanted my space to have ‘personality.’ I chose some small items, like frames, as accents.
Q. When you create, do you prefer: absolute silence, ambient noise, watching TV or movies, listening to music or podcasts, chatting with family or friends, or?
A. I like streaming a series (something non-captivating). I’m a multi-tasker, and I like to listen to the news or brainy documentaries, sometimes.
Q. When you create, do you like to snack? And if so, what are your favorite snacks (and drinks)?
A. I usually only drink something. I prefer a Coke with crushed ice in a Styrofoam cup – it’s my addiction!
Q. Did you choose a word for this year, ala Ali Edwards’ One Little Word?
A. My word for 2016 is Try.
Q. What advice would you give someone who’s going to re-do their room?
A. I used my dining room to store the stuff I took out of my room – that was a good thing because I had no patience for the mess, so I made a lot of progress! I also committed to a new project – Ali’s Week in the Life – as motivation to get my room set up. Also, you may need to try out storage solutions (like I’m doing with my stamps and inkpads storage) – if you use the items inside, then it works; if not, then a new plan may be needed.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, or anything else you’d like to share about your craft room re-do or how you feel about scrapbooking?
A. Scrapbooking helps me live a creative, authentic life, something that is very important to me. While organizing my supplies isn’t how I like to spend my time, my craft room renovation was well-worth the effort because it ultimately helped me to be more productive and to enjoy my crafting time more.
We hope you enjoyed ‘meeting’ Tiffany today –
now let’s check out her craft room re-do pix
and commentary from Tiffany’s blog…
First up are some ‘before’ pix:
“…here are the pictures from last fall that sparked my desire to rework my studio space. Horrifying, right? I mean, I knew it was bad, but it took these pics to convince myself exactly how bad it was and that I needed a real change in there. Same exact space. Most of the same furniture and storage pieces. Same windows. The real difference occurred with color, purging, and organizing my supplies.”
“Let’s leave crazy, hoarder land behind and gaze once more upon my renovated, fairly well-organized scrapbook space [below]. I think it’s important to mention here that I did NOT spend much money in accomplishing this transition. I bought paint; I stripped the linoleum off the wood floor; I bought a new rug and a Raskog cart; I bought two sets of embellishment drawers and a plywood top that I painted. In all, I’d say I spent less than $300 on the total room renovation. And let’s be honest – I didn’t HAVE to buy those things. I could’ve achieved a similar result by simply painting, purging, and organizing.”
And now, let’s check out her ‘after’ pix and more of Tiffany’s commentary about her new space…
“…from the doorway as you enter my space now.”
“And if you turn slightly to the left upon entering, this is the view of my space.”
“If you stand in front of my desk, this is the view now.”
“And directly in front of my desk staring straight ahead, this is my view. I keep most of my stamping supplies in this cubby underneath the windows. On top, I have the albums I’m working in right now as well as my 2015 December Daily. It just makes me happy to know that I could look through them if I wanted, plus I’m still adding pages to the large albums. On top, I have a chipped up divided drawer where I store things like roller stamps, embossing powder, and various tiny products like spoons, acrylic blocks, and glitter.”
“Here’s what I see if I look slightly to the right of my desk. (Yes, that’s a small pile of photos and ephemera on the right hand side of my desk. Once a piler, always a piler, I guess. Haha! I just try to keep it under control better now.) I also have a couple of containers on the right hand side of my desk near the lamp. The striped tin is holding stamps that I’ve recently purchased and want to use ASAP. I’m not sure if keeping them on the side of my desk will help me do that, but I’m willing to experiment with that possibility. The wire basket holds product that is new and I don’t know what else to do with – mostly enamel dots and packages of printed diecuts. I’m still working on a plan to deal with those things. The crystal dish holds my tv/ROKU remotes, an adapter for my iPad, and a random cord. I should probably put the random cord in the drawer where I keep all extra electronic things, but I’m trying to keep it real as you look at my space. The muslin bag leaning against the lamp holds extra products from my Cocoa Daisy Daisydori subscription. By keeping them altogether until I’m finished with the last couple of months, I feel like I’m more likely to reach for them. It’s not a long term storage solution, but it’s working for me short term.”
“Embellishment drawers divided by theme. The top drawer houses travel embellishments, the middle drawer is Valentine’s day and school themes, the bottom drawer you see here is for stencils and stitching templates. I have 9 of these drawers in all, and I think that’s plenty for me. If I ever did decide to organize by color, I’d have enough drawers to do so. For now though, I think I like thematic arrangements the best.”
“Paper drawers – I have four of these that honestly aren’t very well-organized. This one houses my favorite paper organized in folders by manufacturer. Another drawer houses cardstock by color and printer/photo paper. The other two drawers are kind of a hot mess of paper without any real organization. It’s one of the things on my to-do list. Maybe I’ll get to it over spring break.”
“Seated at my desk, this is my view to my immediate left. I hang my cameras on the hooks and store punches in the shoe cubbies.”
“My Raskog cart at the end of my desk houses all of the tools that I use each time I craft as well as a few embellishments I want to use more often, like Flair, PL cards, and clips. Each item is housed in a different container on the Raskog which keeps it from being too chaotic.”
“And this is really my big quandary at this point in terms of organizing. I don’t know what to do with the multitude of printed die-cuts that I have. This little organizer is only a small fraction of them; there are many other packages in a basket of my desk that also need to be sorted and stored in a reasonable, easily accessible way.”
“Honestly, my closet probably still needs a bit of work. I’m cool with it how it is right now though because it’s at least organized by zone/function. For example, I have all of my fabric crafts on one shelf (cross stitch, sewing, burlap, etc.) I have messy crafts on another shelf (stencils, paint, brushes, etc.) The cubbies on the inside of the closet door mainly house scrapbook items that I don’t use often as well as some odds and ends things like wire cutters, ‘dirt’ scissors, pencil sharpeners and the like.”
“Anyway, what I do love is that the purging and renovation I experienced did give me the results I wanted. I have a cleaner, more peaceful space that brings me joy when I go in there to play. I didn’t spend a lot of money to achieve my goal, and the entire process only took me about a month. (I worked full-time and lived my life during the process; I did all of the work myself too.) The whole experience was totally worth it because I now look forward to going to my studio. That’s what a creative space is supposed to be, right?”
“Before you go, take one more quick look at my renovated, peaceful scrapbook studio. Man, it makes me happy to go in there now. If you’re thinking about purging, I’d advise you not to wait until your space is as out of control as mine was. Start now and keep in mind how far I have come…”
Fun re-do, right?
A few observations about Tiffany’s craft room re-do process and the results, and tips for you!
- I love that Tiffany started with a goal for how she wanted her space to ‘feel,’ not just function. That said, she was also mindful that her space needed to be set up in such a way that it would enhance rather than inhibit her productivity. Starting with goals almost always results in a better outcome!
- Tiffany took most everything out of the room first and did her purging before bringing anything back into the room. Great idea! It’s much easier to be ‘picky’ about what’s in your space by using this methodology. After many organizing client engagements, I can tell you that starting with a clean slate works!
- She also made sure she couldn’t easily procrastinate completing the re-do – most everything she took out of her craft room was placed in other living spaces she needed to use, so continuing to work through the items so they could be disposed of or organized into her new space was more “urgent.” It’s really important to keep pushing through when tackling a project like this – let the momentum work for you, and employ ‘forcing functions’ if they’ll help you!
- Tiffany mentioned that she doesn’t like the ceiling fan that’s in this space, but that she could ‘live with it.’ This kind of ‘choice’ is highly likely when re-doing a space, especially if money is a consideration. It’s important to run your choice through the goal filter: ask yourself, “will this choice have a negative impact on my reaching my goal (in this case, to have a ‘Zen’ space)?“ If not, then go ahead. If so, what are your options for reaching your goals without breaking the bank? As Tiffany has demonstrated, a little paint can do wonders!
- In the work surface image above (marked 4a) you’ll see that Tiffany has a container that houses items she’s recently purchased and wants to use ASAP. This is another GREAT idea, and not just for new items, but for long-forgotten items you might discover while emptying out your space and/or going through the purging process. Bring those items you want to use ASAP front and center so they’re not forgotten!
- Check out how Tiffany’s storing her embellishments (image 5 above) and note Tiffany’s comment about how these drawers are organized. She has a system that she believes works for her, but she knows she can change it up if she decides another system might work better for her down the road. Great way to think, Tiffany! It’s important to remember that few systems are ‘perfect’ – one might be perfect for me, but not for you; and, even if a system is ‘perfect’ now, it might not be down the road. Consider using organizing and storage products that are easily adaptable and know it’s highly likely you’ll change up systems as your needs change over time.
- Are you into lots of different types of crafts? Then stashing items together by project type can be a great way to store them – you won’t be hunting all over for the tools and supplies that are needed when you want to create (something that frustrates many of us!). Note that Tiffany has her non-papercrafting supplies, sorted by project type, stashed in her closet (image 9 above). And, she keeps those items she doesn’t often use here as well. A primary rule of organizing is to keep those items you use most (or want to use most!) close at hand (like Tiffany has, image 7 above), and those you don’t use often in locations that are further from you primary work area (again, like Tiffany does, image 9 above).
- Stuck for how to organize a specific type of supply just as Tiffany is with her die-cuts? Think about how you create – if you wanted to add that supply to your project, where and how would you search for it? Whatever first pops into your head is likely where and/or how you’d ‘naturally’ look for something. So, give it a try – store things where you’re most likely to ‘naturally’ look for them, and in the manner you’d most easily find them! And remember, no system is set in stone – you can always change your mind about it if it doesn’t work for you!
- If you check out Tiffany’s numerous craft room re-do blog posts (linked below), you’ll see that Tiffany kept a running list of what needed to be done and what she needed to buy. And she not only started with such a list, but added to it as the project progressed. The benefits of doing both are: 1. You can look for sales on what you need and not forget anything when you do your shopping; and, 2. You get to cross items off the list as you complete them, something that can be hugely helpful when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere and might want to quit!
- I also love the idea of keeping finished projects out where you can see them – a shelf of completed or in-process albums or a basket of mini albums is a great reminder of how much you’ve created, and how skilled you are at doing so, when you may be feeling uninspired or bad about your creative progress. Display your art!
- Always leave room in your calendar and budget! It’s rare that projects such as these get done on time and/or within budget, even for those in the organizing profession. There are just too many unknowns as you start a re-do project (and if you don’t believe me, be sure to listen to Tiffany share her floor woes!) and life has a funny way of throwing us curve balls (and sometimes smacking us right in the noggin!).
- And finally, this re-do didn’t cost a lot – yay! Re-purposing craft storage items is a great way to save money, and a few great decor items (like her awesome rug!) can make all the difference in how your space ‘feels.’
So, what are your thoughts –
what did you see that might work for you?
Any tips to share with Tiffany?
Please leave us a comment –
ask questions, share ideas and by all means,
show Tiffany some PCC love!
If you want to follow Tiffany’s craft room re-do from beginning to end (at least the end of this incarnation!), check out these posts on her blog:
- The Great Space Reno Has Begun 9/8/15
- Scrapbook Space Reno Update 9/11/15
- Great Scrapbook Space Reno Update 9/14/15
- Scrapbook Reno Update Upcoming To Do 9/21/15
- Craft Closet Scrapbook Studio 10/1/15
- Scrapbook Reno Flooring Woe 10/7/15
- Scrapbook Studio Update 3/16/16
Tiffany, we sure appreciate you sharing a bit about yourself, your crafting pursuits, and your craft room re-do with us.
You incorporated a lot of great ideas, ideas we can all benefit from and use!
And girl, thanks for the many hardy laughs – you and Tracie are “the bomb dot com!”
PCCers: Don’t get that reference? Then you’ll have to listen to Tiffany and Tracie!
You up next, Tracie?
Thanks for tuning in today and remember,
if you like checking out other papercrafters’ craft rooms,
leave us a comment and share this post with others –
that’s how we’ll gauge whether or not we’ll be making
Craft Room Re-do’s a regular series!
Have a great weekend everyone,
Steph & The PCC Team
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