The Ever Growing Project List

I really though that completing the last 3 holiday projects would give me time to breathe and relax before I started tackling other things. I thought wrong.

While I was working on the snowmen stocking holders, I had an idea that splintered off from those designs to something else. I figured that since I already had the tools out and was doing the same thing, I’d get the basics started for that side project even though I knew I wasn’t going to get it done by decorating day. So I now have several oversize wood ornaments that are sitting and waiting to be painted and decorated. The plan was to finish those up after I got my decorating done.

Well, we all know how my plans usually end up.

While I was trying to get those stocking holders finished, I had my neighbor ask me to make up a batch of masks for his kid that can’t seem to keep track of the ones he has. I promised I’d get to those as soon as I got my current pieces done.

I hadn’t even made it through the chaos of the Thanksgiving holiday before I had a request from my cousin to work on a family tradition piece for another cousin. So, now I have at least 2 additional projects I need to get done. Both the masks and the family tradition piece are somewhat time sensitive, so I’ve got to get started on those next.

The last week has been absolute chaos with the holiday and with getting all my decorations up. For the first time ever, I had a nightmare in my kitchen trying to prep for Thanksgiving as every single thing I attempted to make failed on the first round. If there is a Mercury Retrograde for things like baking, we were absolutely in it on Wednesday. I was ready to just cry and cancel the whole thing at one point, but managed to push through and get a decent meal out of it all anyway.

In the past, I’ve been able to get my decorating done in a day if I really push it or a day and a half if I take my time a bit. This year, it stretched to 3 because I just couldn’t pull it all together as quickly. My stupid annual cough has kicked in, but it is doing weird things this year, so I’m just worn down more than I’m used to. That said, it is all finally done and looks amazing.

I’m hoping I have all the things I need for these next two projects so I can get then knocked out and finally have some time to just sit and be for a while. I’d also really like that off switch for the creative portion of my brain. I need some quite for a while. And hell, maybe take some time to finally drag my camera out again.

Holiday Project #3: Snowman Stocking Holders

And done!! I kind of can’t believe I got these done it time, but I did. With a couple of days to spare, which I desperately needed because I have way too many other things to do over the next few days. I only managed that because I’ve spent the last several days doing nothing but work on these. During the day, I was in the garage building or downstairs painting and I spent the evening working on crocheting all the hats and scarves. I think I quite possibly put in over 40 hours of work just on this project.

Every single one is personalized in several ways. From design to colors, every one shows an aspect of the personality of the person it goes to. This is one of the times I was able to really pull off my entire idea and it came out better than I imagined.

They are seriously cute and are going to be something I look forward to pulling out and setting up every year. I am now officially ready to start decorating!!

Snowman Stocking Holders
Snowman Stocking Holders
Snowman Stocking Holder: Red & Green - Polar Bears
Snowman Stocking Holder: Red & Green – Polar Bears
Snowman Stocking Holder: Blue - Fox
Snowman Stocking Holder: Blue – Fox
Snowman Stocking Holder: Purple - Penguins
Snowman Stocking Holder: Purple – Penguins
Snowman Stocking Holder: Turquoise - Dog
Snowman Stocking Holder: Turquoise – Dog
Snowman Stocking Holder: Gray - Deer & Cat
Snowman Stocking Holder: Gray – Deer & Cat

Holiday Project #3: Stocking Holders In Progress

Probably one of the hardest parts of building my stocking holders is finished.

Stocking Holder Snowmen In Progress
Stocking Holder Snowmen In Progress

I had to figure out a way to cut “sides” into wood spheres to give the balls flat sides for the top and bottom. Let me tell you, that required some major creativity and patience. And I wasn’t entirely precise, because that is hard to do!

Then, I had to drill holes into those new flat sections so I could put a small dowel piece in between the balls so that when I go to glue all of this together, it has some stability and something to hold on to. Again, this wasn’t all that easy, especially that top ball that is still rounded on the top.

I have to carefully position a couple of these, or my little snowman is going to look like it is about to topple over (I did mention it wasn’t precise). Hubby said that no snowman is ever perfectly straight, so I’m being true to reality. I’m just going to go with it because it all still works.

The next part of this is to build the bottom box. I got some steel jeweler’s bench blocks to give the base of these some significant weight. Between that and the weight of the wood (all of those balls are solid wood), it should be heavy enough to hold full stockings. Hopefully. I’ll be building a wood box that fits around the bench block and the snowman will be bolted to the top of that box.

Box building is on my to do list for today. Hopefully I can get that part done because I have a whole lot of painting to do on these. Each one is going to be painted similarly, but with subtle differences that personalize them for each of us. They are also going to have their own color hats.

Stocking Holder Snowman Hat Prototype
Stocking Holder Snowman Hat Prototype

This was the prototype that I made to develop the pattern I’d need. I’ve made a few tweaks, but the hats will mostly look like this. This is the long tail version, but the guys both chose a shorter, traditional hat with a ball on top for theirs, so there are 2 different styles.

I’m using embroidery floss to crochet these, which is a joy, let me tell you. I adore splitting threads on every other stitch! But, again, it works and looks amazing!

I chose embroidery floss because of the color options that I couldn’t find in anything else in that small of a thread or yarn. And of course, because I’m such a pain to myself, even just using that floss as purchased wasn’t enough for a couple of these because I couldn’t get the exact color I wanted (no, I’m not picky, why do you ask?) I got the brilliant idea to “blend” two colors. That meant unraveling and splitting two different spools of floss and combining them into a new thread.

Talk about a massive headache! The first one I tested took forever and I kept having to stop and deal with tangles. I did finally figure out a process that works relatively well and doesn’t take that long. Thankfully each string of floss has 6 threads in it and I was able to get two spools of the new color by combining the 2 different colors and they had the same balance of color between them.

So far, I have 2 and a half of these crocheted. I need to put the white trim on the third and all need their little puff balls attached (that I don’t have yet). I’ll also be making matching scarves to go with the hats, but I didn’t want to test that out until I had a full snowman to fit it to.

When I first got the materials for these, I goofed and ordered a ball that was WAY too big for the base. They obviously wouldn’t work for this project, but it didn’t take me long to plan out 2 potential projects using them. One I may not do this year, but the other, I want to make at least one.

That will be a large ornament with the hanger top and all. I’d planned on doing that as a test for the whole process to build these snowmen, but I ended up not having the right size drill bit to work with the dowel I bought to be the top. As soon as these stocking holders are done and I have time to look, I’ll get that bit and work on the ornaments.

The other idea requires me getting a lot more materials and I really am trying not to shock the bank account too much. I thought it would be fun to try and build a bigger snowman with that larger ball being the center and the base being a glass bowl that I can make look like a snow globe. But, that is for a much future project.

I’d really, REALLY like it if my brain would just shut up for a while. I absolutely do NOT need any more creative ideas right now.


Holiday Project #2: Stockings

And project #2 on my holiday project list is done!

I had really wanted these to be a bit “more” than what they ended up. When I say “more” I mean that I was imagining that they’d have some really cool embellishments added that I could do just a little differently on each to personalize them fore each of us, but I just could not find a single thing that worked. Most likely I would need to do some hand embroidery on these to get the effect that I wanted (something with snowflakes), but I really do not have the time to do all that and still finish my other projects.

For now, I decided to just keep them all simple and the same. I may go back and add the embroidery at a later date or even add a little something to each one every year. I haven’t quite decided yet what I want to do, but this gives me stockings for everyone this year, which was my main goal.

*I will not go look at embroidery machines! I will not even consider an embroidery machine! Please, brain! SHUT UP!!!*

Other than that little bit of extra, these are exactly what I wanted. Like the hats, I have a good stash of extra material so that I can make more in the years to come when (or if) our family grows again.

BG is a little disappointed that the cats aren’t getting new stockings as well this year, but I decided to just keep our existing ones for them and go back to hanging them on the railing. The railing was really bare last year, so it gives me something pretty to put there. And since they won’t be with the others, I’m okay with them still being different for now. Again, I may go back to that when I have more time.

Next up… stocking holders!

1st Project Done: Santa Hats

I got the first item on my holiday project to do list finished!

Santa Hats
Santa Hats

There were quite a few trial and error tests I had to run on scrap fabric before I could get my final design worked out. I wanted these to be a good quality that would last a long time, so I decided to line them, which made using any kind of standard pattern almost impossible. I took ideas I found online, made lots of modifications, and came up with something that worked for what I wanted.

Once I got that nailed down, knocking these out didn’t take long at all.

I’m really pleased with these. They are so soft, too! And, I still have lots of material to store away for any additional ones that will need to be made over the years, so I estimated well on the fabric amount I needed.

Next up, I’m going to work on finding all the materials I need for my stocking holders, which looks to be harder than I’d originally thought, so that is going to be fun. I also have to finalize my design for the stockings themselves and get started on those.

Not too bad considering I just put together that to do list the other day!

A Stay Puft Halloween

I finally get to post it! This is the costume I made for BG to wear to ballet this week!

It is a tradition at the studio for all the ballet assistants to wear coordinating costumes the week of Halloween. They are supposed to be simple, usually just a dressed up tutu and maybe something for the hair or attached to their leotard. Last year, each girl was a different kind of candy (skittles, kitkat, M&M, etc.)

The theme this year was villains. Most of the girls went with Disney villains, but there are way more BA’s than there are recognizable Disney villains. BG was stuck for a bit on what she wanted to do, then jumped outside the box and picked the Stay Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.

To make life easy, we bought the tutu and I made everything else. It was all really simple and I knocked it out in a day. The bib needed some puffy paint to get the letters and I really drug out my creative brain to make that little hat work in a way that it could sit next to her bun. I had enough material to toss in a matching mask as well.

BG ended up wearing different costumes throughout the week for her different classes. She did a streamlined Maleficent for one class and was a green M&M for another that had the t-shirt, a headband with a little stuffed M&M attached, and matching socks. The M&M class was the one she assisted and all her friends were also M&M’s, but different colors. It was so stinkin’ cute!! It’s hard to say which I liked the best, but I am really partial to this one, though I might be a bit biased.

Newest Project List

I can’t decide if I need my brain to shut up for a while or not.

On the one side, I’ve had so many ideas of things to work on it’s not even funny. I’m exhausted just looking at the potential project list. On the other, this latest burst of inspiration is pretty exciting.

Normally, the holidays and decorating tends to sneak up on me. This year, I can’t manage to get what I need to do out of my head. Things will grow this year because of MCG and I need to make arrangements so she can be included when we are ready to decorate. I’ve been working through all the things I need to adjust or add to for her and how I want to go about doing that. It has given me a new list of things I need and want to work on.

First, we started a new tradition several years ago where we all have to wear our goofy, but traditional, santa hats while we decorate. I only have enough for the 4 of us and I want them to essentially be the same. My choices are to try and find another one like ours for MCG or get all new. Considering what I have are kind of cheap, crappy things, I really considered just getting nicer, new ones.

Of course that isn’t enough for me, so I’ll be making us all new hats with fun, comfortable materials. Knowing that we will most likely continue to add to our numbers over the years and I really don’t want to have to do this every time we grow, I’ll be getting plenty of fabric to make more in the future. My entire project list is going to take that growth into account as well.

The next new item on my list is stocking holders. We moved our stockings from the stair railing last year because of the construction workers being here and I didn’t want them to constantly be getting bumped or potentially damaged. I figured a way to hang them on my mantle with sticky hooks, but that sticky did some minor damage to my wood. I don’t want permanent hooks or anything and the contour of my mantle makes it impossible to use traditional hangers that would just sit on the mantle (at least ones with any kind of hook that hangs over the edge).

I could go back to hanging them on the stairs, but there is just too much traffic up and down now that it isn’t all that practical. We really loved the look of them on the mantle, so that is where I want them, but I needed to figure out at way to make it work.

After some looking around, I came up with a great idea to build my own hangers that would sit on my mantle. Instead of a hook that would hang over the edge, I’ll be making them with a smaller hook I can hang a ribbon from. I’d hung these on ribbon on the railing before, so it works really well this way.

I came up with the final decorative design ideas today. Something that I could easily make now and reproduce again years down the line as needed without having to buy a bunch of stuff on a guess as to how big (or not) we will grow over the years. I’ve learned that you don’t always grow. Sometimes you stay stagnant or even shrink, so I don’t want so much stuff that I may never use and this idea works perfectly and should be relatively simple to pull off.

When working out my plans for my mantle, I decided that I really, REALLY need to find a better home for our wifi router. We’d moved it there right before MCG came because it provided better signal throughout the house, but it is ugly and takes up too much space. I’m going to test out putting it nearby behind our TV in the corner of the room and see if it works. If so, I have a small table I want to build for it. I was thinking about building a similar one to put on my lower landing of my stairs heading to the basement, so I’d already had a plan for how I wanted to pull it off and should be easy enough to add to my to do list. If it works there.

The last item on my list is the stockings themselves. I haven’t decided what I want to do there. We currently have a sort of mishmash of different ones that I’ve gotten as the kids were born. They are fun and cute and I can do that again with MCG, but I’m not certain I want to. I love the idea of them being either coordinated or all the same. Again, that brings up the problem of growth and how I handle that. If I buy them, I have to buy a lot that we won’t use any time soon, if at all. That isn’t something I like. If I make them, I can do like the hats and just buy a lot of extra material. At least with the material, I can decide at a later date to use it for something else if it looks like I won’t ever need it for the stockings.

I really don’t know for sure what I want to do on that last one. BG has reminded me of how wasteful it is to get all new just because we may want them instead of actually needing them. She is my walking, talking conscious when it comes to environmental stuff and being wasteful. Sadly, even with that, she is also torn because she also loves the idea of having them coordinated/the same. I do have to make a decision soon, though. I need to have time to make whatever it is I decide on happen in time to get the decorating done.

Bare minimum, I have 5 hats to make and 5 stocking holders to build. If I do all the others, that will add at least one table to build and 5 stockings to make. That’s quite the list of projects to work on and get done over the next month. It’s quite a bit, but I’m really excited about working on them. My idea for those holders especially is going to be awesome.

The added bonus is that I’m going to have some fun things to share soon!

The Thing About Color

Doing the color series had been a lot of fun. It has been a challenge at times, but still fun. I want to do a few more, slightly different parts, but I wanted to dig in a little and share how my artist brain works when it comes to color.

If I were to guess, I’d have to say that at least 50% of the time, if not a lot more, when someone were to ask me to name the color of something, I wouldn’t just say “red” or “blue” or whatever the basic color might be. I’d probably have to add a qualifier to that and say that it was a red-orange or that the blue has a purple tone to it.

Then you have colors like peach that really are a true blend of other colors and is kind of it’s own color. It could be seen as a pink or an orange depending on shade, but this sits squarely in the middle of those for me so I wouldn’t put it with either one.

For me, I almost always see the blend of colors as so few colors hit a pure enough tone for me to be able to just say the one color. Sure, there are obvious ones and I don’t always have to be really specific, but if I’m trying to classify a color, I find just as many colors that fall in between as I do ones that I could say definitively fit into a color group.

When doing this series, I had so many photos I would have shared, but I didn’t feel they really fit the color. When I was working with the pink series, I couldn’t bring myself to put a dark magenta flower photo in that mix because it was just a bit too close  to red. The orange series had a lot of things that leaned a bit too far into the browns. For the series, I really wanted something that you could look at and say, without a doubt that, yes, that is definitely that color and I struggled with that at times.

That is part of what has made this series so challenging for me, the way I view colors. I love the idea sharing some of those that I consider in between, but I didn’t have enough of any one color to do an entire week on them.

And then you have black and white. Now that is a whole other ball of wax. Do I do only color photos that showcase black or white or do I use color that has been converted into a black and white photo, because that is a completely different thing all together. I adore black and white photos and could probably do a full month or more in just that, but I wouldn’t say they would fit in a color series where the focus is actual black or white. And like the in between colors, I don’t think I have enough to do a full week on either, though maybe white if I’m willing to post a lot of snow photos (I may have to do that one anyway).

So, I’m not quite done with the color series. I just have to figure out where I want to go next.


Birthday #2 for An Unexpected Turn

Today is the 2nd anniversary of me clicking that publish button for An Unexpected Turn.

I cannot believe it has been two years. I STILL cannot believe I actually wrote a book. You’d think that after two years, it would have finally sunk in and settled into a solid fact in my head, but it really hasn’t.

If you want to help me celebrate, feel free to go grab yourself a copy or tell someone else about it!

Remembering And Getting That Creative Itch

This popped up in my “memories” on FB this morning. Of all the pieces I’ve done over the years, this is one of my all time favorites. Seeing it today made me really anxious to get my room done so I can get back to my jewelry bench again. It has been too long.

One of the reasons this is a favorite is because, unlike most of my pieces, this was a custom work from start to finish, from the ground up, including having the stones specially cut just for this design. The guy I got my stones from at the time was amazing and did a stunning job helping to make this piece happen.

The wings were also something I’d never done before as they were hand formed. I was so shocked at how well everything turned out in the end.

While I’m loving working on building my room, I’m really wanting to dig into something different creatively and seeing this is making me impatient.

Cake Theme: Animal Crossing

Cake is DONE!

And I’m so tired, I could hardly be bothered to get decent photos.

I had a few issues, mainly that the icing I used, my caramel cream cheese, is one I’ve never tried to use in decorating. Spoiler, it really isn’t great because it is way too soft. Because of that, the poor house in this looks like it has been through an earthquake and is ready to slide off the base. I also ran out of time so I had to skip doing some extra detail work I’d planned on doing, so it feels a little incomplete to me.

I had the brilliant idea to use white chocolate truffles for the foundation of the “balls” on the trees. It worked amazingly and they were so much fun to do. I’m definitely going to remember that for later.

I’m mostly pleased with how it all came out. BG is very happy, so that is all that really matters.

I don’t think I’m going to move again for a while. Maybe ever.

Christmas Goodies Collection On Redbubble

I’ve been playing again. And having way too much fun with it.

I’ve designed a few new prints for Redbubble, this time with a Christmas goodies theme. There are 4 different background colors for the same pattern of Christmas trees, snowmen, santa and gingerbread men.

Part of the fun of these is that I also did the individual items so they can be mixed and matched or coordinated together.

Normally I stick mostly to the various products and rarely focus on the clothing options because the photos just don’t do as well on those. But with these designs, they all are mostly fun on EVERYTHING. I especially love the fact that you can do up a whole slightly cheesy, but still cute and fun outfit with the leggings.

And as always, there are masks!

So if you are looking for something a little different this holiday season, these might be just the thing you need. Or if you are looking for something different for gift ideas for others, check out all the other non-Christmasy items as well!

Oh, and Redbubble currently has a sale going on. Use the code DEALS2020 at check out to get 20% – 60% off your purchase.

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night: On Redbubble

I again didn’t have the energy to do much of anything yesterday, but I did feel up to playing a bit and this was the result. As with most of these, I have this up on Redbubble if anyone is interested.

I’m apparently ready for the holidays!

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night

Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask

New Fitted Mask Style On Redbubble

I’ve been waiting for these to officially launch! It looks like they are now finally available. I like the fitted design so much better than the flat as that is my preferred mask style, so when I saw they were going to be making these, I just got giddy.

These are adjustable, three layers of fabric and they have a nose wire for a more snug fit.

They ARE available in my TJ Fox Redbubble shop, but for some reason, they are still kind of hard to find and don’t show up under “masks” on the “Shop Products” side of things. You have to go through the “Explore Designs” section, click on the design you are interested in and the fitted mask option will show up for purchase.

Fitted Masks Example
Fitted Masks Example

The above is just a small sampling of the choices this mask is available in. This style does not work well with every design, but I do have it active on most.

As always, I’m open to custom work or if there is an image I’ve posted but isn’t out there, I’m more than willing to work with you. Just send me a note through my contact page!

Craft Room Project: First Router Attempt

While this so isn’t perfect, it absolutely blew apart my expectations for my first ever attempt at using not just a router, but bits that are apparently on the finicky side to use. I’m actually really happy with this little mess! (Sorry for the less than stellar photos, I just nabbed them quickly with my phone and didn’t realize how bad they were until I got them loaded!)

The first thing I attempted was cutting the tongue portion of what would become a tongue and groove join. This after more than an hour reading the directions and figuring out the basics of attaching the bit and adjusting depth and all the other VERY different nuances of using a router than any other power tool I’ve used so far.

First Attempt: Tongue Cut
First Attempt: Tongue Cut

As you can see, this is really wrong as that tongue isn’t supposed to be wedge shaped. I was working on figuring out how to keep the router flat on such a narrow piece of wood and obviously failed on that pass. I was still thrilled that it came even close to what I knew it was supposed to look like.

The second one of these came out much better, but was still not perfect.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut

It isn’t supposed to have that angled divot in it.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut - Placement Goof
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut – Placement Goof

I’m totally okay with not perfect at this point. The tool is doing what it is supposed to do and the tongue piece itself came out wonderfully. The problems with this cut can be solved with a little practice and I’m good with playing some more.

The other part of this join, the groove, was surprisingly easy and came out mostly clean.

First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint
First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint

Part of why I’m surprised this came out as cleanly as it did was the fact that the router tended to hit in places and jerk a little. I think those were places where there were knots in the wood. This was probably close to a 3 foot long cut and it only had one noticeable wobble in the groove.

Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove
Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove

Considering this was the first time attempting this, I’m thrilled as this was the piece I was most concerned about being able to pull off.

The true test of how well this little play session was is seeing if those pieces actually fit together. And yes. Yes they did!

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove

It was such a nice, snug fit, I wasn’t certain when I first tried it that it was going to work. Then it just snugged in perfectly.

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove - Close Fit
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove – Close Fit

The above picture makes me excessively happy in that it not only fit together, but it LINED UP! The surfaces of both pieces hit at the same spot. Sure, the edge of the one is a little rough, but a little sandpaper or a file will fix that completely.

Being able to pull these cuts off is a critical piece to building the cabinet doors. If I couldn’t pull this off, then I was going to have to look into a much more expensive option of getting a table saw and special blades. I’m almost certain after this experiment that I’ll be good with that I currently have.

The cool thing about this is even if it isn’t perfect, I’m still probably going to be good. I’m going to paint the cabinets, so any small things can either be fixed with wood filler or I might even leave some of the imperfections and keep these looking a little more rustic. The wood I use on the cabinets is also going to be a much better quality than what I used here. It will probably cut more cleanly than these did because of that.

I still need to practice more and try and work out some of the kinks to make sure the cuts are cleaner than what I got today, but this was a promising start.

Next up to test out and play with will be the nail guns. I think that all the playing I need to do to get ready for the cabinets is going to be its own project. I have enough wood, I think I’m going to build a small storage box for outside. If it is ugly, that’s perfectly fine, but it will give me the practice with all the new tools that I need.

I’m so happy with how everything worked out today!

Now I just REALLY need to hear back from this last company on a bid. I sent an email yesterday, so hopefully that will get a response soon.

Halloween Ghosts And Jack O’Lanterns on Redbubble

I have a couple of new designs done for Halloween masks out on my Redbubble shop. The only difference is that I liked these designs for more than just the masks, so there all kinds of fun goodies to choose from.

Like travel mugs and aprons.

As always, I’m game for design or image requests if you are looking for something in particular. Just drop me a note through my contact page!

Contractor Search: First Bid – Sticker Shock

I have gotten my first rough estimate to finish my craft room space and… I’m kind of speechless.

Hubby and I did our research, so we had a kind of broad price range to expect this project to come in around, or at least a close ballpark figure. Remember, I’m supposed to be doing a large portion of the work myself, some of the big expense portions if you consider the cabinet work.

The number I was given today? It was 4 times higher than I’d really kind of hoped, but maybe only about 3 times higher than the top of what I expected. That wasn’t including the VERY high estimate I got from our HVAC people to take care of the ventilation portion of the project (again, wasn’t expecting that cost, though I will note part of their estimate included things I did not ask for, so this number isn’t completely accurate).

I’m so shocked and discouraged right now it isn’t even funny.

I know that a portion of this, the electrical, is going to be kind of a beast because we are going to have to expand our panel to accommodate the new load. I fully expect this piece to be on the bigger end, but… just wow! Not even CLOSE to what I was figuring.

What makes it even harder to swallow is the fact that this bid was from the only company that I have liked so far. Partly because the others haven’t even bothered to return calls. Or show up. What is left in my line up is Misogyny Guy and two other companies that haven’t returned calls to even set up appointments yet. I never heard a word from No Show Guy.

I have no clue what I’m going to do from here. One option is to have an electrician come in and take care of that part, but still do everything else myself. I’ve not done any framing before, but been around projects that have had it done, so I understand some basic (though probably not nearly enough). I’ve helped with drywall in the past, but not done it all by myself. What parts I did, I really disliked and is why I wanted to hire out that part.

I really need at least one other number before I can make any decisions, but there is a very real chance that this project, that I’ve already bought stuff for, may not get done. Or at least, not done in the way I want it. I may have to completely rethink my plans.

Not feeling overly happy today.

Only The Beginning

I spent the bulk of my day yesterday working out cabinet and shelf layouts for my craft room. I got probably one of the hardest spaces worked out, the one that ties all the sides together. It was kind of like trying to figure out an extremely difficult puzzle and the most obnoxious brain teaser combined, but managed to do it. I still have several sections to work out, but they aren’t as tricky or problematic.

Once that is done, I can finalize my lighting and electrical layouts, which means I can move forward with finding contractors to start the parts I can’t do myself. I still have the specific interiors and storage elements of those cabinets to do, but that can be done at any time and won’t impact any contract work.

I have all the tools I’m going to need either here or on their way and Hubby and I went ant picked up my counter tops the other day. I learned that this is so NOT going to be a one person job and that I just might die before it is all finished and I can enjoy it because those suckers are HEAVY!! I’m still feeling it a couple of days later. And that was with help hauling all 4 pieces to the basement.

It feels amazing to finally be making progress!

*There isn’t any context and the colors aren’t correct, but this is going to be the layout of my back wall.

Craft Room: Back Wall Design
Craft Room: Back Wall Design

Orderly And Logical… Yeah Right!

I think it is completely typical of me that I can’t do things in any kind of “normal way” and my craft room project looks to be right in line with MY normal.

A project like this should really have a nice linear kind of a process. Come up with a design plan. Research your resources like contractors or materials. Get any needed quotes and schedule work or start buying materials if you are doing it yourself. Begin working. Simple, right?

Yeah, that isn’t exactly how I’ve done things.

I have struggled so hard with the design for starters. I have SO many things that I do and I needed to take all of them into consideration when laying out my workspace that it was nearly overwhelming. That was just for a basic layout. I also had to figure out good lighting for all those different types of work.

If I do any silversmithing, I need the right kind of direct light for the little details, but I also need to make it dark enough for when I’m firing something to see the color changes in the metal. While that direct lighting would also be perfect for sewing, I’m not getting any fabric even close to my nasty jewelry bench. Not happening! They need to be very different spaces. But I also needed really good general lighting for the whole space.

In an effort to try and solve that problem, I bought a really nice main light fixture and installed it in my completely unfinished space just to see if it is going to work (it is, thank goodness). This alone has already messed up that linear process as I’m buying and installing stuff well before other needed things have been done.

I couldn’t plan out the rest of the lighting, which is needed to be able to get a quote from a contractor, until I figured out exactly how I was going to lay out the rest of the space. That meant I had to figure out how I was going to tie that nasty jeweler’s bench and firing station (two separate pieces) into the rest of the space. Both pieces are kind of just pieced together. My workbench is really just a top that I’ve got sitting on an old desk. It’s functional, but not even close to decent looking.

That made part of my decision making even harder. I really wanted to try and make use of what I had and keep my overall cost down to reasonable, but what I had wasn’t great for different reasons depending on what it is. The jeweler’s bench top, firing station, random cabinet that was designed as a microwave stand, a crappy folding table, an industrial looking but also crappy storage cabinet that originally lived in my garage, an old dresser, and a very nice, but not practical antique dining table that is in need of refinishing. None of which gave me any kind of real storage I desperately needed.

I’ve kind of just been sitting on a lot of this for a while now. Ever since I got the light fixture a couple of weeks ago, I hit a “no progress” wall that I couldn’t get past.

Then I saw a photo of a room, no clue what it was actually for, but it gave me the base inspiration for the finished look I really wanted for my space, something I hadn’t been able to come up with until then. And a look that is SO very different from anything else in my house, which is odd for me.

It gave me a real direction to go and I was able to start working on some real design plans. It helped to funnel me into a direction, but I was still scattered. I still had to work out how much I’m doing myself and how much I’m having done. I did manage to settle on doing all the cabinet, flooring and finish work myself (after hours researching tools and material costs), and having all ventilation, wiring, framing and drywall done for me.

Deciding that, I told Hubby to let me know when we got coupons from our home improvement store, so I could start buying the tools and get them at a discount. We got a coupon like two days later, so I already have tools on the way (even though I’m SO not ready for them yet!)

When looking into options to get my bench top to tie into the rest without being ugly, I was forced to consider a full on rebuild. I was already planning on building a base, but I was struggling to get it to work with my existing top. My options were, leave it as is and have it stand out like an ugly sore thumb, attempt to add a surface that would tie into any other surfaces I’d use in the space, or I could completely rebuild.

The first option was already out for me because I really need this to be a calm, cohesive space or I’m always going to feel out of sorts in it like I do now. That and the look I’ve settled on is awesome and I didn’t want to mess that up. The second option is the less expensive option, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same because I have to have a surface that can tolerate the heat of a torch, which limits my options. Those aren’t options I want for my other surfaces giving the space too may colors and textures even if they were similar. The final option would be so much better aesthetically, but would cost more and go against the whole trying to use what I had.

I spent the last week doing research on materials so I could decide on which option I was going to choose. I wasn’t liking my options for resurfacing my bench top, but I had a couple that might work. In the process of looking at full rebuild options, I ran across some butcher block kitchen counters that had an incredible deal going on right now. After spending the day attempting to work with the available sizing to see if I could even get it to work and then figure out how expensive it was going to be, I now have a basic counter/table/workbench layout set and counters on order because I’m going with the rebuild option.

So I am going to have tools and surfaces purchased and here, but I haven’t even begun to play with the actual electrical layout or the rest of the cabinet designs, let alone researched and gotten quotes from contractors. I have some vague ideas of finishing the design, but I’m nowhere near ready to even think about starting to build.

I’m so backwards sometimes!

As crazy and chaotic as I’m making this, I’m absolutely in love with how it is unfolding so far. I’m going to be able to stain and finish those counters to match want I want to do on the floor. I don’t have flooring picked out yet, but I have the general color and look I want.

I also discovered that my existing bench top will work perfectly in our garage for a true tool workbench. I need to modify it and my firing station a bit, but the materials will be used. Right now I have plans for nearly all of the stuff in my current space, even if it isn’t in that space, so that is also a huge bonus.

I’m giddy that I’m finally making progress.