Sunday, February 10, 2013

Can't leave well enough alone

(Make sure you read through to the bottom of the post - there's a giveaway opportunity down there!)

Hi!  Yes, it's been a long time between posts again.  The Christmas selling season went well and the non-selling part of Christmas, too!  In January Steve brought a cold home from the office, and that laid me out for a while.  It usually does.  There have been some other personal challenges, but I'm nearly past all that (I hope), and I'm gearing up for a new year.  Details on that to come in another post.

One of the challenges I've been dealing with for years is my house in Waukegan.  I won't go into all the gory details here, but suffice it to say that I've entered into an agreement with the mortgage company to take the house (and mortgage) off my hands and onto theirs.

The reason I'm mentioning it at all is that it provided me with yet another opportunity to reorganize part of my studio.  In case you're new to my blog or need to refresh your memory:

Original post about my craft room
Part 1 of reorganization
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

One would think I'd leave well enough alone.  I had lots of space, and while it wasn't clean all of the time (or at all since the Christmas selling season started), I had a place for everything.

When I decided to give up my house and not try to rent it anymore, I had a dilemma:

Back in 1998 Dave (not my current husband) and I were living in a shabby apartment in Waukegan, Illinois.  We were going to Carpentersville or Algonquin or somewhere for a doctor's appointment for him.  It was a long drive; I remember that much.  We were suckers for stopping at garage sales, and when we saw one shortly after leaving Waukegan (I think it was in Wildwood for those of you following along) we stopped.  I don't know if there was much there we wanted, but in the back of the garage there was this beauty.  There were a few nicks, but all the glass was intact.  There was a $25 price tag on it.  I asked if that was the real price, and they said it was, and I was sold.

Fortunately we had Dave's van.  Unfortunately he had a lot of stuff in it - seats (unsurprisingly), copier parts (he fixed copiers back then), copier manuals, and random stuff that vans seem to accumulate.  Well, we took everything out, seats and all, and we (by we I mean Dave and the guy from the garage sale) carefully put the china cabinet on the floor.  The seats and everything very carefully went on top, and we went on our merry way to the doctor.  I think the drive was about an hour.  Over an hour back home, and the china cabinet was intact.  We crammed it into the eating space of the apartment, and my mother and stepfather thought I was nuts - we really had no space for it and no china to put in it.

That October we moved into a house (the one I'm now giving up), and there was a perfect spot for the cabinet in the dining room.  Mom said, "A china cabinet needs china," and that was their housewarming gift - beautiful white, gray, and black modern-looking china.  Here's a shot of Mom, John, and Steve in the dining room for John's birthday in 2008.  We were playing poker.  I was free to take pictures because I lost all of my chips.

It seems silly to be attached to a piece of furniture like this, but it's a very serviceable piece of furniture that I got for $25!  I think that was actually the first piece of furniture I bought myself.  The table and chairs you see in the above picture were hand-me-downs from the folks in the picture (not Steve), but they were getting all wobbly and were starting to fall apart, so we didn't keep them.

I have always liked studios and craft rooms that use unique furniture.  It gives the room a bit of class.  Brenda (you can see some of what I did in her studio here) painted hers bright colors.  I don't think I'm going to do that, but I did want it in my room.

Getting it here cost way more than the $25 I paid for it 14 years ago.  We had to move out the two tall bookshelves to fit it in:

I had already decided that the scrapbooks would stay on one of the bookshelves that we moved into the bedroom.  The little bookshelf unit that was in there from the last reorganization Steve took down to the basement along with the other tall bookshelf unit.  Then I discovered a dilemma:

If I were to put my jewelry making reference books (which I use fairly frequently) in the cabinet, I wouldn't be able to get to them.  Steve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out a way to get the two side panels off but with no luck.  He didn't want to gouge the frame that would be left.  So poor Steve moved one of the little bookshelf units back upstairs, and that houses all of those books and magazines with a bit of space leftover.

What I ended up putting in the sides were things I don't use very often.  When I do I'm likely going to take everything in that section out to find what I need, so it's no big deal for them to be harder to get to.

I still have some room to grow, which is always good in any room, let alone a studio.

One thing I did to free up a lot of space was to move my beads that I use for stringing (which I don't do much of anymore) into baggies into drawer organizers I found at The Container Store that fit perfectly into these drawers:

I can fit four organizers in each drawer.  I bought six, which turned out to be the perfect number for the beads I wanted to put in them.  Yes, the beads are crammed in there a bit tightly, but if I'm going to string something I'm going to want to take a lot of them out for planning.  They're organized by color, so that won't be so bad.

WAAAYYYY at the top of this I mentioned there was going to be a giveaway.  Zinio (an online and tablet magazine reading service) contacted me and offered ten magazine subscriptions for me to give away on my blog.  There are going to be a few ads in here for Zinio and their current sales - that's part of the deal.  They have some good sales going on.  Feel free to click the pictures and check them out.

I had heard of Zinio from Steve - we downloaded it on our new iPad that we bought with money Steve won at work (Review of the Year!  I'm so proud!), but we hadn't subscribed to anything yet.  I asked Zinio if I could have one of the subscriptions for myself so I knew what I was giving away (and so I could have a free subscription - Mama didn't raise no fool!), and they gladly let me have one.  Since I get all the Kalmbach magazines I want, I chose Beadwork.

Zinio is not just for iPads, though.  You can read magazines on the computer (PC and Mac) as well as many Android devices.  If you're curious about your device, see if you can install the Zinio app.  For use on Kindle Fire, follow these steps:

This sale ends 2/21/2013 

I thought reading the magazine on the iPad would be neat because you can curl up on your couch or wherever and flip through the magazine.  What I didn't realize is just HOW neat it would be.

The first thing I noticed was that there are hyperlinks everywhere.  They're underlined just like on webpages.  Touch them, and you can go to that page in the magazine (like from the table of contents or a different article), send an e-mail, or go to a website.  This was especially cool when I was looking at the ads.  I usually think, "Hey, that's neat - I'll need to remember to look that up," and I always forget to look.  There's an ad for Grace Lampwork Beads with a very cute white bead with a purple iris-looking flower on it.  Every time I see that ad I want to check it out.  However, I have the attention span of a gnat and always forget.  This time.... ::touch:: and I went to the website.  After a brief amount of searching I found the bead.  It's $17 (which is good for a lampwork bead) but out of stock (of course).  I started clicking links left and right to look at all different kinds of things.

The next thing I noticed was the zoom.  I don't think I'd have noticed this as much in a knitting magazine.  In beading magazines there are always diagrams that tell you the thread path for stitching designs.  When you look at a print magazine sometimes they're a bit too small, and you can't tell one thread from another.  Maybe it's just my old eyes.  In Zinio, you can easily double-click (computer) or double-touch (tablet) to zoom in.  If that's not big enough, you can zoom in farther with a sliding control on the computer or the fancy finger-drag thing on the iPad.  If you still can't follow the thread paths then I think you may need new glasses.  :)

This sale ends 2/21/2013

If you like a design or article, you can bookmark it.  I don't know yet if the bookmarks are magazine specific or across all magazines you have downloaded.  Ask me after the next issue of Beadwork comes out.  Even if it is just magazine specific, that will still be useful so I can find those earrings I want to try to make.

On the computer version you can print pages.  I can see this being useful from a knitting magazine so you can mark things up or if you're going to bead with friends and don't want to take your tablet with you.

What kinds of magazines do they have, you ask?  They have single issues and subscriptions for thousands of magazines, both domestic and international.  A very small number of the titles available are: Better Homes and Gardens, Forbes, Wine Enthusiast, Martha Stewart Living, Consumer Reports, Parenting, and even Dog's Life.  I'm not listing them all - that would just be crazy.  You can search from the Zinio website or app.

However, I do want to highlight some of the magazines from the Crafts category that they have available (apart from Beadwork that I already mentioned): Bead&Button, BeadStyle, Art Jewelry, Model Railroader, Fine Scale Modeler, Interweave Knits, Knitter's Magazine, Knit Wear, Interweave Crochet, Crochet Today!, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, PaperCraft Inspirations, Cloth Paper Scissors, American Patchwork & Quilting, Quilts and More, WOOD Magazine...  Again - there are a lot more to choose from than these.

They even have those special issues that magazines put out:  Easy Metal Clay, Favorite Bead Stitches, Halloween (from Better Homes & Gardens), Handcrafted Jewelry, KnitScene, Interweave's Jane Austen Knits, Studios (from Cloth Paper & Scissors)... Those are just a few of the special issues available.

Now that I've talked it up, I'm ready to announce the terms for the giveaway.  They're giving me 10 subscriptions.  Since I'm using one, that leaves me with 9 to give to you.  I want to make this fair, so I'm going to have a contest.

Since I'm always yammering on about my studio, and since we had a whole presentation on studio and bead organization at our last Loose Bead Society meeting, I want to see YOUR workspace.  Whether you have a full room like I'm lucky to have, a corner of the bedroom, a shelf or two in a closet, some shelves in the dining room, or a basket of yarn by the couch, I want to see it.  E-mail me at and send me a picture or three of your area - where you store things and/or where you work - with a description of your space and the types of craft(s) you do.  Tell me what you like and what you don't like about your space.  Also give me your full name, your e-mail address, and which magazine subscription you'd like.  I will post everyone's entries (without the full name and e-mail address, of course), and if I happen to get more than 9 entries, I will draw names out of a hat.  I'm sure I have a hat around somewhere.

The deadline for the contest will be Wednesday, February 20th at 8:00 pm Central time.  That should give you all plenty of time to clean things up a bit and to get me your pictures.

I'm really looking forward to seeing your workspaces and learning more about you all!

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