I suppose nothing replaces a real life studio tour, but I hope you at least enjoyed the little glimpses! And yes, I am very blessed. When we built this house, a functional and family-friendly studio was a high priority. It has helped a lot with enabling the art-making to happen within and around family life, and I certainly don't take it for granted!
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You know, I’m not sure if it’s acceptable for a textile artist to say this, but I think I actually enjoy visiting the hardware shop more than the fabric shop. Walking through always gives me itchy fingers and makes me want to do and make and organise.
So I thought I’d share some of my current favourite finds:
Flexible black buckets
I know these are very common, but I still love them. We use them to store toys in (they last much longer than baskets and other plastic tubs, and are super cheap. We also use them to store shoes in the kids rooms, and for camping. I try to stick to black because I like having a consistent look to my storage containers if possible.
I found this beauty last week. $7. Enough said.
I got eight of these from the kids for my birthday a couple of years ago. I use them so often, that I recently purchased some more. There are currently a few holding the fabric drop cloth in place on my printing table. There are also some holding up a photography backdrop. And several more still holding the remnants of a cubby in place (these are the PERFECT cubby-building tool). They are not expensive and I like the look of the metal ones so much more than the plastic ones you can get. (Wrap four of these together with a flat sheet for a fort-building kit for a little person in your life!)
This Kinchrome tray was a bit more of a splurge, but I love it! (And my kids have their eyes on it too.) I’m going to use this one to store a smallish selection of Lego. I have been frustrated with the mess that the younger boys make of all our Lego, so the rule now is that the Lego gets put away on Sunday night and opened up again on Friday after school. But I’d like to have a little bit out for Marcus to play with during the week. I also noticed, when we stayed at my parents house recently, how nicely the boys played with a much smaller selection of Lego. Like it wasn’t quite so overwhelming and they could just knuckle down and start building. This tray has lot’s of little containers in it for compartments. I might take them out for now and put them back in when Marcus is a little bit older.
Actually, really, just sell me all the tool boxes. Some time ago Phil put me on a basket ban, declaring that we have way too many baskets in the house. Thankfully he didn’t say anything about tool boxes! The tool box collection is steadily growing. We have several small red ones. I use one for a sewing box for my hand work and I ne of the children stores all his stationary in another small red one. My most recent tool box purchase is this one. This one stores a range of seasonal wear (snow jackets and mittens from our trip to NSW last year) and we have another one that houses the Lego trains and train tracks. I love that these are basic and no-nonsense. And I love the industrial look of them too.
So now I’m curious… What gets you excited in the hardware shop?
I've had this fabric floating around in my studio in messy stacks, baskets and bags for the past year. They are the bits and pieces that I pull out when I'm planning a new quilt – lots of neutrals/off whites/natural linen, some simple geometric patterns, and some plain fabrics.
As I was preparing my studio for a new year of playing, experimenting and making, I decided something had to be done about them. And when I decide that, it usually has to happen NOW – not next week or tomorrow or even tonight.
I guess it's no surprise then that I love these two-minute shelves as an organising/decorating solution. I blame my mum for that – we grew up with shelves made from bricks and timber. Completely functional and versatile. And of course, quick and easy. Here's another version.
One minute to collect four bricks and a plank from outside, and another minute to assemble. And when I get sick of it, or no longer need it, it will go right back outside. And if you don't like the earthy colours, or if you are a little more patient than me, you can paint the bricks and the plank white for a clean look.
I love that this fabrics are now easy to see and grab. (This spot doesn't receive any direct sunlight, so they'll be safe here.) The rest of my fabrics i.e. my palette of hand-dyed cotton fabric is stored in these six crates, out of the sun but also easy enough to take out if I need them.
If you're a little more patient than me, here are some other diy shelves that I love:
floating wooden shelves – with a secret
So what is your favourite 'instant' organising/storage solution. Please share!
I recently wrote about finding time to make artwork with a busy family. An important factor to me is keeping an organised home. I love keeping the house tidy, and having good storage solutions is vital for these. Here are some of my favourite ‘clutter-busters’ from around our house.
1. Lockers. The children each have a locker for their school bags. The first thing they do when they get home from school is unpack their bag and put it in the locker. The others contain shopping bags, extension cords, sunhats, nappybag/handbags, and various other things for which it is so often hard to find a place.
2. Metal buckets. I love the look of metal buckets. We used them by the toilet, stocked with spare toilet rolls so we’re never caught without. It certainly beats the toilet roll cover complete with Barbie doll that we knitted in primary school :). (Aaah, now that brings back memories…)
3. Bookshelves. Yes, that’s a big bookshelf. It’s currently underutilised, and not as well organised as I’d like – I’ll get to that when we get our library ladder for accessing the top shelves. We also have several upstairs, containing chapter books for the kids, my sewing and art books, magazines, games and puzzles. I love bookshelves for storing all sorts of things. Even messy stuff can be stored effectively on a bookshelf if it’s contained in a nice basket.
4. Flexible buckets. I love these for toys. So much more robust than many other plastic buckets and containers. (We also love these for camping – smaller ones for washing dishes and larger ones for containing kids toys, and dirty washing.)
5. IKEA TROFAST containers. Phil made the cupboards for these many years ago, and we just recently sorted our Lego into them again. They are located out of sight in the playroom. We are in the process of making clear plastic covers for these cupboards to keep little baby fingers (and two-year old fingers) out when required. I’m hoping that we now have a good system for keeping Lego out from under our feet (if that’s ever possible?) but still easily accessible.
6. Little clear plastic drawers. I got ours from K-Mart and Big W, in the office sections. I love these for containing craft bits and pieces. I like it that the clear drawers give you some idea of what’s inside, while still providing a tidy storage solution. The black ones are mine, located in my studio, and the green ones contain various crafty bits for the kids to use when the urge strikes (no need to be bored!) (located in the playroom).
7. ‘To-go-upstairs’ baskets. Three of the children sleep upstairs. They each have one of these baskets (the fourth is in anticipation of Daniel moving upstairs one day). During the day, anything that needs to go up to their bedrooms may be put in their basket. At the end of the day they are expected to take their basket upstairs and empty it, ready for the next day. That way they don’t have to go upstairs every single time I tell them to tidy up a piece of paper or other little treasure (it happens a lot). I also place their clean washing in these baskets. Aaron and Hannah then put their own clothes away when they take their baskets upstairs. All up, it saves us all time and frustration. The only rule is that if I find the basket overflowing, it has to be tidied up immediately, rather than waiting till the end of the day.
8. Black crates. These come from our local salvage yard ($4.50 each) and we have about a billion of them. The ones pictured are in my studio, most of them containing fabric. I also have many in our large walk-in pantry, containing baking trays, party decorations, extra mugs and glasses for parties, picnic stuff and so on. And then there are more in Phil’s workshop too. I love how robust they are, and that if necessary, that stack on top of each other. I also like the slots in the front, for which I have made plastic labels (just have to get around to using them all still).
9. Moccona Coffee jars. I have endless uses for these jars. My favourite is storing ‘open packets’ of food. As much as possible, any open packet gets emptied into a jar. That keeps it well, and helps me to easily see what I have. I try to keep at least one ‘back-up’ (unopened) packet of all key ingredients too. They are mostly kept in the boxes listed under 10.
10. IKEA RATIONELL VARIERA kitchen storage boxes. These are perfect in my walk-in pantry. It’s not very tidy inside each box at the moment, but you wouldn’t notice it if you walked into the pantry.
11. IKEA HELMER drawer units. Each of our children have one of these. We call them their ‘treasure drawers’. All their drawings, notebooks, and other assorted childhood treasures are kept in these. We aim to sort through them every school holidays to keep them from overflowing. Actually, come to think of it, Phil and I each have one as well. They serve as our bedside tables, and are perfect for hiding all manner of bits and pieces. (Unfortunately it appears they have recently increased in price by $50 – what!?)
1. As with paintings, do not hang your artwork in direct sunlight. (Ideally, rotate your artworks so that they have time to ‘rest’ in storage. This extends the life of your artwork AND allows you to display several artworks in one space!)
2. Vacuum carefully on low power (or use a lint roller) to remove dust (place a pantyhose over the vacuum cleaner hose)
3. When storing your art quilt, roll it onto a cardboard roll (or pool noodle) covered with a layer of calico or acid-free paper. Roll the quilt with the face outwards to avoid creating wrinkles on the face of the quilt. Cover with a layer of calico, tied around the quilt with strips of calico (not too tight). Store in a cool, dry room (avoid attics and basements).