Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Book Review: Organizing Your Craft Space

Organizing Your Craft Space gives some straightforward advice to organizing your craft space. Imagine! The book is divided by type of craft: rubberstamping and stenciling, scrapbooking, paper crafting, quilting, stained glass and mosaics, beading, and yarn crafts and needlework. I would have to say the weakest section of the book is the one on yarn crafts and needlework. Perhaps it is my bias as a needleworker, but they didn't seem particularly inspired in their suggestions. Plus, they didn't have a “guest artist” whose craft of choice was knitting, crochet, or needlework. (Guest artists included Dee Gruening (stamping), Anna Corba (paper crafting), Sandi Genovese (scrapbooking), Freddy Moran (quilting), Susan Pickering Rothamel (stamping), Suze Weinberg (stamping), and Linda Woodward (stained glass).)

Ultimately, most of us are probably cross-over crafters and we'll all find something useful in this book about organizing our particular mix, taking a bit of inspiration here and more from there.

The book begins with a sort of schedule for organizing your room. It's a little remedial which the most disorganized of us really need. Two quizzes follow. Purportedly, these assessments will tell you what kind of style you have and what colors you should use to decorate. I thought these were a crock o’ baloney. First of all I scored 8 As, 8 Bs, 2 Cs, and 7 Ds. Am I an A, B or D? A leader? An idealist? Indeed. The "personality assessment"--to choose your colors--came up 9 As, 7 Bs, 10 Cs, and 7 Ds. Color C is Fire/red and I should choose this because I'm a hard worker always striving to be my best. Yes, right. And the tooth fairy's dropping by later this week to stamp with me. I got your personality right here. I want a green room, and green was not one of the choices.

An interesting thing about the book is the various styles that people use. There is something sort of appealing about every flat surface being empty—more room to work—but ultimately, that style seems sterile. In fact when I showed my sister how the paper storage unit I wanted would look in a craft room she said, "That place looks like a store!" (It had more than one of those units.) She's right. It didn't seem like a place people lived. When I think about what I want the room to be like, I think I want empty flat surfaces for doing what I do, but I don’t like the way those rooms feel. Empty flat surfaces are utilitarian but not inspiring. When I was perusing the pictures in this book, I liked the ones that had wooden sets of drawers, the ones where the furniture had meaning and personality, not necessarily just utilitarian furniture. I know wooden drawers aren't entirely practical since I don't have x-ray vision to see through wood. Plus they can be expensive. I know I can afford plastic, but would I want to work in that room?

There were no suggestion for locating the storage or other items used in the rooms. Like I have time to scour stores for this crap. I want to get to work!

So, back to what was so bad about their suggestions for needlework: they put floss in old cigar boxes and Krienik spools in glass jars. Oh, sure they look pretty, but doing those things is about as practical as these suggestions: "Empty floor space can be a great place to stack books [which can] serve as a makeshift table for displaying cute knickknacks or fresh flowers," and "Personally, I like to organize my books by color." I don’t know about you, but how am I going to use a book that's on the bottom of the "makeshift table" that's holding the knick knack collection? I’m not. And if I'm not going to use the books, what are they doing taking up space in my room? As for visual organization, I don't get it. Oh yeah, that pattern is in my orange book. This is why they write descriptive titles on the spines, people.

I really enjoyed seeing the pictures of other people's spaces—and there are a few that aren't dedicated rooms, one space is just part of a bedroom, for instance. I have a better sense of what I like and I know where I can compromise and where I cannot. The styles range from sterile galvanized tin storage to pretty shabby chic florals to wild burst of color so there really is something for everyone in this book.
Last Saturday I popped into Mar-Stans the local unfinished furniture place. I looked at kitchen islands, but they were pretty expensive, and none of them seemed big enough. If I rely on this sense of seeming big enough I'm going to end up with a huge table. The room's going to be all table. It's like when I was a single girl in New York City, and I had the tiniest bedroom that I filled up with my queen size bed. When you walked into my bedroom you were on the bed. Oh, those were the days...but I digress. So we kept looking around the unfinished furniture because Sissy and I both need things for our new houses. (Sissy closes on her townhouse on the 24th!) And then we came to the gathering table. The price is right, it's unfinished so I can choose the color, and it's 54x36 and with the leaf it's 54x54. Perfect! The dude's out of town this week. Boy will he be surprised when he returns!


Cheryl in DC said...

Congratulations on your table. I can't wait to see pictures.

jo said...

I'm enjoying your craft space journey. Wishing I had space to do my own. Maybe I'll get motivated to carve out some room.

Elaine said...

I, too, was disappointed in this book. It really is more how to decorate your craft space so everything look pretty until something is actually touched, then it is how to organize one.

That isn't to say that there aren't some useful ideas in it; just not as many as I expected.

BTW, just found your blog, and am enjoying it.

Norman, OK