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Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year, New Space (and a DIY Idea Board!)

It makes sense to kick of 2017 with a post about renewal and change. Therefore, this is the story of how an old kitchen table set off a chain-reaction, resulting in the creation of my first ever designated craft space.

After Christmas, David and I had hauled an old kitchen table from my mother's house back to Tennessee. My mother had purchased the table on a whim at a garage sale back when I was in elementary school. 20 years and 2 houses later it was just hanging out in the garage. I planned to refinish it to replace our drop-leaf dining table. When raised, the leaves on the drop-leaf table droop ever so slightly no matter how much my husband fiddles with the supports, and the fact the tabletop isn't perfectly flat irks him. He takes it personally that gravity defies his handyman skills. In contrast, the sturdy butcher block top of mum's old kitchen table filled his heart with joy.

After sanding down the table I painted its white base a terra cotta color (the jury is still out on whether we like it) and stained its natural maple top a warm, cinnamon-honey color to bring out the character and imperfections in the wood.


That done, I needed someplace to put our old drop-leaf dining table. Issues of levelness aside, it's a cool piece of furniture with brass-capped lion's head feet and an unusually narrow center piece, making it perfect for smaller spaces.

I had a plan. After Christmas I also brought home my grandmother's sewing machine, which she had left to me in her will. That's right! I finally have a sewing machine! Now I just needed a place to put it, and the drop-leaf table was perfect. Of course, the logical (and only available) place to set up a sewing/craft space was in the mudroom. So the drop-leaf table joined the desk, a printer-topped cabinet, armoire, large bookshelf, musical instruments, dog crates, and large cat tree in the mudroom. The room looked like an unsuccessful garage sale.

My dual office/craft space begins to take shape. The other leaf
on the table can be put up when I need more space for a project.
After much rearranging I decided to get rid of my desk. I'd purchased it off Craigslist and it was a practical but uninspiring piece made of composite wood. Instead, the drop-leaf table would double as a desk AND as my first ever designated craft/sewing space.

Of course, a space meant for creativity needs an idea board: someplace to display fabric and paint swatches, photos, design sketches, and other visual aids to get the creative juices flowing. Something like this:


Because I am me, I had some spare wood lying around. Many people don't realize that your average piece of construction lumber can be transformed into something beautiful with just a coat of stain. In this case I used one coat of Minwax stain in Red Mahogany, rubbed on with a paper towel.

Before: a plain board

After: a coat of stain brings out the wood's natural beauty
To make the board wall mountable, on the back of the board I nailed a picture hook to either end. Using two ensured the board would be stable and that I wouldn't have to balance the weight of the items I hung on the string.

For a string I wanted to use something with a little pizzaz. Several years ago my great aunt gave me a necklace made by her friend. It is a long string with clusters of beading that can be wrapped in various ways to make an artistic looking statement necklace. While my great aunt was able to wear hers beautifully, I never got the hang of mine. It always just ended up looking like a tangled mess. I hated having something so unique and beautiful just sitting in my jewelry box unused, so I decided to repurpose it. 

Using a handheld electric drill I screwed hooks into the board and zigzagged the necklace across it like a clothesline. Small nails in the center of the board help keep the string extra taut. 

Brass hooks compliment the bronze beads
and keep the string taut for hanging items
Small brass nails in the center of each
string keep the lines from sagging
I mounted the board using two screws in my new craft space. Using small binder clips I can now hang swatches of my fabrics as well as photos, sketches, craft paper samples, and other items. Having these items in plain sight means less rooting around in my storage drawers and makes it easy to see what I have on-hand.

There you have it. A chain reaction beginning with a cross country Christmas trip and ending with a DIY idea board. I'm looking forward to using my new craft space and hope to share plenty of projects with you in the New Year! Cheers!

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