Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm Back (in a round about sort of way)

Well, I hate admitting defeat but I'm afraid for the last three months my PC has defiantly beaten me to a pulp. Little by little one thing or another would fail, not play ball or down right refuse to do what I asked of it.

Now I may not be a technology whizz kid but I know enough to keep my system clean and in good order. I regularly do my housework, back up my system and de-frag my hard drive. So you would think it would show some semblance of respect wouldn't you? Nahhh! To cut a long story short I've wasted so much time trying to sort out the problems and got absolutely nowhere. Norton and AOL seem to hate each other with a vengeance, blogger has blogged off and won't let me create hyper-links and the 'browse' button is inactive and won't let me 'browse' my photographs. To add insult to injury, the search page is all jumbled up and system restore won't restore.... time to call in the big guns I think.
Anyhow, by hook or by crook I'm going to update this blog if it's the last thing I do so I'm using my Mum and Dad's PC to get me back up to date while I work on mine to sort out all of the problems.

Going back to the end of March and beginning of April I had a weeks leave. So I thought what better way to spend a couple of those days than cleaning out and redecorating my studio? To be honest I should just say 'decorating' my studio as it has never really been finished properly.
I designed the room some four or five years ago while I was still designing kitchens for MFI and my DH made my designs come to life. He built everything to my specifications using a combination of kitchen carcases and custom built units. While he worked on making my designs a reality my thoughts turned to the interior decoration and I hunted down the fabrics and paper that I wanted to use.

However, I was so impatient to get the room into use to see if my designs would fulfill my needs that I never really got round to the decorating part and I turned a blind eye to the cracks in the walls that needed filling and flaking emulsion that had come off when I stripped the wallpaper off to start the refit.

I'm normally quite an organised individual and I don't like working in a mess but when your time is divided between work, looking after a house and all that entails and having an all-consuming hobby (make that addiction), sometimes you just have to ignore the mess and get on and create. But faced with this........I just knew that it really was time to gut the room, get the paint brushes out and re-organise. I thought a couple of days would see it finished and put back. Huh! how wrong could I be. First of all the paint wouldn't cover properly so I had to apply an undercoat - like this.......
and then I decided if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well, so I gave it two top coats of emulsion in a lovely rich shade called Brown Sugar. Then the paintwork had to be glossed etc. I wanted a simple white blind for the window, how difficult could that be?........ Very!

Magazines and books in abundance had to be sorted and catalogued..........

So I bought some nice new magazine files that would complement my new decor and set about sorting through mountains of American and English mags, keeping the American ones and ditching most of the others. Then, as I brought everything back into the room it was sorted and found a home (well most of it found a home). Some of it is still in the lounge and one of the bedrooms! I'm still trying to convince DH that he should custom build a large log house in the garden into which he could move his model railway and then I could convert the integrated garage and move my little empire into a ground floor room..... a bit more work is needed to persuade him I'm right.
OK, so back to my current set-up. As you can see, the room is very compact but I've tried to make good use of the space available. Leading on from the book shelves on the left hand wall is open storage from floor to ceiling. Originally, I had intended putting doors on but as the room is so narrow I decided against it and being able to see what's on the shelves helps me to use things that might not otherwise see the light of day. A portable 12"x 12" paper storage stands at the far end and is home to my two tier Clip-it-Up.
Lighting is extremely important and I have three different lighting systems built in. Phew! it can get hot in here when they're all on together.... but great in the winter!

Coming down the right hand side is an end to end work top with storage built in above and below. The narrow drawers on the left of the photo above house just some of my wood mounted stamps. As much as I love unmounted stamps, I also love my wood mounted stamps and couldn't bring myself either to part with them or to desecrate them by removing the wood - they just wouldn't be the same. Some stamps are just meant to be on wood! I also have my little TV, Video and DVD player mounted onto a bracket on the wall so if there's something worth watching on TV (like one of Glenda's shows) I don't have to stop crafting to go watch it in another room.Located under the work bench is more portable storage on wheels, and some A4 paper and card towers. At this end of my work top is a tall storage unit which houses a collection of Xryon machines on the top shelf, then DVD's and Videos and three shelves of A5 card and printed paper collections. The black wood display unit is going to go on the wall eventually.

I have a pull out shelf to the right of my sitting area and this is where I put my machines when they're in use. The Cuttlebug, Cricut and Sewing machine (for sewing paper of course) all fit beautifully on here but the Cricut Expression is a very tight fit.

Here's a better look at some of my wood mounted stamps. I have quite a collection since I bought my first stamp back in 1981 when unmounted stamps were unheard of. In fact, stamps of any kind were unheard of in the UK except for maybe foam ones for splodging on walls. My very first stamp was a Rose design from a lovely company called PSX but unfortunately they disappeared a few years back. Some of their original designs are now available again from Inkadinkado.
I need another set of these drawers putting in at the opposite end of the unit for all the stamps that are currently homeless and living in boxes. The runners are fully extendable so that you can get right to the back of the drawer box. Neat eh? DH's unique design! I just told him what I wanted and how it had to work and he made it happen.
A lovely little nick nack that was just waiting for a home in my studio..... another TK Maxx find!

Essential tools.... the Making Memories carousel, I can't do without it now, it's brill and more portable than you may imagine. My large Score-It Board, Mini Misters filled with Distressed Inks and of course 'Tim Hotlz Scissors' superb for cutting out unmounted stamps on EZ Mount cushion. Boy do they make life a whole lot easier with the amount of stamps I cut out!

The pull-out trolley is home to mainly ink pads and is great for standing the Ink Locker on when I'm sitting at the bench.... everything to hand.

And finally, back to the wall behind the door and leading on from the book shelves. The glass fronted drawer unit is home to large spools of ribbon, wools, tissue paper, fabric etc. Then more 'stuff' on the open shelves.
Since these photos were taken I've tweaked the decor and added a couple of nice finds which I'll post next time.
Well, I'm going to call it a night for now. My poor Dad thinks I've hi-jacked his PC for good..... little does he know that he may be seeing more of me than he would like (at least until I get mine sorted out anyway).
Back (hopefully) in the not too distant future.
PS: Most of my tools and gadgets can be sourced here.....