Monday, February 06, 2006

An explanation for scanty blogging

Last week, something snapped.

I posted some time ago about my chronic problems with untidiness and the subsequent solution I brought to my living/dining room (which has been working fairly well ever since). We've also been making some slow, tiny changes to the rest of the house which, while not solving all our problems, have certainly cut down on the time we have to spend cleaning before company shows up.

However, there was still one room that was a veritable horror. Really. I am not exaggerating out of some weird desire to self-flaggelate. This room was akin to the sort of thing one sees in the 'before' shots on Clean Sweep or Neat. The vast majority of the floorspace looked like this:

but WORSE. It made moving about a literal obstacle course. I am talking about...


The irony of all this is that the workroom was supposed to be our haven room. The place where crafts were done, art was created, correspondence was conducted, games were played...all of it. And yet you could not find a more creativity-stunting room on the planet. How easy is it to get inspired to create something really beautiful when you can hardly even walk into the room to do it? Moreover, the beautiful large craft table which was supposed to be the hub of all this creation was always festooned with piles of junk.

An absolute nightmare.

Fast forward to last week. Many things had been boiling in my brain for some time. My husband's efforts to start up a business. My desire to make some extra money from home doing stuff like designing knitting patterns or selling things on eBay, or hiring out my calligraphy services. My desperate longing to have these things bring in enough cash that I could stop spending three hours a day commuting. My eagerness to do our taxes (no, seriously, I'm a total money geek, it's quite pathetic) but knowing that I had a painful search ahead of me before I would have all the paperwork I needed. My ankle, which has inexplicably been in a fair amount of pain recently, not being helped by all the dancing about I had to do to make it across the workroom to my computer. My envy of the Yarn Harlot's tranquil and beautiful knitting space. My total and utter jealousy of my friend Truly's sewing workroom, which has a fantastic, huge table right smack dab in the centre of the room that you can walk all around, surrounded by shelves containing, right at hand, EVERYTHING she needs. I have worked on this table myself and it is divine.

Combine all this with our financial struggles at the moment and you have one frustrated little person, desperate to DO something and make a goddamn CHANGE.

So I started sketching out a total redesign of the workroom. At first it was just fantasy, because we have very little money right now and these were pretty big plans. But then it hit me that really, what I was thinking about didn't have to take a lot of money. I could use a lot of my existing stuff and get the rest of what I needed on the cheap.

And so, I developed The Plan.

The Plan unfortunately involved sacrificing the spare room for the duration - it would have to become the Staging Area (read: a huge mess). However, I reasoned, better now, before we move DD into it when we decide she's ready for a big girl bed. Other key elements of the plan included:

  • Convert the closet (currently housing fabric, a bureau, and a whackload of sewing crap) to a desk and move the household computer into it. DD gets the bureau moved into her closet for badly-needed clothing storage. The games computer moves to one corner of the room and we can get rid of an extra computer desk, thus freeing up space along the walls. DH wasn't a huge fan of this because he gets the task of making the new desk in the closet and hooking up lighting. But too bad. :)
  • Get rid of the HUGE behemoth of a filing cabinet. Winnow our archives to fit into DH's two old small filing cabinets, which will go into the closet (one of the cabinets will hold up the right side of the closet desk). Big filing cabinet will be banished to the basement, to be used (for now) for old archives and DH's workshop-related stuff.
  • Get rid of the three big, clunky storage cabinets - they've never been well-organized anyway. They will also be banished to the basement, and DH can use them as storage in his workroom. DH loves this idea - he needs more storage and was dreading having to make shelves himself to save us money.
  • Clear off the worktable and move it to the centre of the room. Then move our two wheeled sets of drawers under the table, thus freeing up even more space along the walls.
  • Move the existing white shelves in the room next to the closet. Use them for computer-related storage.
  • Put all our fabric into handy organizer bags (which were on sale last week at Canadian Tire for $3.99 apiece). Make a tall, deep shelf to go between the windows in the room to store it all. (Again, DH not-so-thrilled about another construction project, but given the time I am saving him by giving him ready-made cabinets for his workshop, I managed to bend him to my will ;) pretty quickly.)
  • Line the remaining available wallspace around the room with shallow metal shelves. These will store EVERYTHING ELSE - knitting stuff, sewing stuff, embroidery stuff, weaving stuff, spinning stuff, calligraphy and illumination stuff, photography stuff, miscellaneous craft and other project stuff. Purchase cheapie totes and boxes to organize it all.
  • Put a comfy chair in the cosy corner next to the big window, with a footstool in front and a basket o' knitting stuff beside it. (Once finances start looking up, purchase a spinning wheel, too, heeheehee.)

Big plans. As you have no doubt surmised, this involved getting DH heavily onside, not just for the construction bits, but also because he would have to buy the shelves and boxes and stuff, and help me move furniture up and down the stairs. I told him about The Plan. He got nervous but agreed that it could work.

What he did not count on, however, was just how determined I was to pull this off NOW.

Last week DH did some purchasing and I worked on the workroom a bit in the evenings after DD went to bed. But this weekend I went ALL OUT. I hauled, I sorted, I found, I tossed, I moved, I filed, I assembled furniture, I did STUFF, man.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not nearly done. But I got an AMAZING amount accomplished. So much so that it is really, really difficult for me to leave this room. I just keep looking around with this blissed-out smile. There are some shelves:

(very messy and poorly-organized, I'll admit, but we haven't bought the storage totes and boxes yet, so this is just temporary)

There is a stunningly tidy and well-organized shelf in the closet:


(ignore the still-there big storage cupboards, they will ultimately be replaced with the shelves that are still in boxes, leaning against the wall behind the table)

It is so good. It is just so good. And got better.

I was chatting last night with DH about how great the room was looking (and - cough, cough - how rockin' I was for doing so much with the room so fast), and I mentioned that when our finances started looking up again we really needed to give the room a coat of paint. I started thinking about a nice, soft grey - it would match the grey filing cabinets in the closet and the darker grey shelves. It would also coordinate nicely with the white shelves and trim, and if we did accents with a big, punchy colour in places like curtains, we'd have a really nice-looking room with little effort.

And hit me.

Some time ago - I think as a wedding gift - I received this lovely piece:

I really like it and it's been bumming me for years that I couldn't use it in the existing decor of my home. But...if we have a grey, white and black workroom with accents of red, suddenly - BAM! I can use it! And it would speak so well to the 'zen' peacefulness and creativity that the room is starting to have, and I could put shoji screens on the windows, and maybe even cover the arched part of the big window with a honkin' big Chinese fan (I saw some for sale in Chinatown last week en route to Lettuce Knit). It's perfect.

Yes, it's all coming together.

Except that I'm sick. Did I mention I was sick? Yeah. I feel pretty crummy. And I have a training course for two days this week so I can't really afford to be sick. Oh, and the weather is insanely snowy:

And the spare room looks like this:

But you can't have it all.

Minnesota Mitts for DH
I'm panicking a bit now about how behind-schedule I am on this one, but at least I have measured all the fingers on DH's current gloves, so now I can move forward and finish the pinky on mitten #1.

Self-patterning socks for DH
Almost finished!

Sock #1 is here pictured behind sock #2 so that you can see how bee-yew-tifully the two socks are matching up.

Self-patterning socks for moi
I don't think I've made any progress since my last entry, but I do have a picture:

1 comment:

rachel said...

Well done on the workroom, I only have one 'spare' room and that is a tip, I keep my computer in it and just piles of boxes, you've inspired me to get on with sorting it (after the Olympics of course) but I'm about to work out my kniotting schedule for that project and will even see if I can fit some 'box sorting time' into it! Thanks for the inspiration.