I started shopping around. I initially had my heart set on buying an IKEA workspace setup which involved a "tower" of drawers at one end of the desktop, and a simple leg at the other end. I knew I wanted white; I like the clean look, but I also wanted a bright space to work. A white surface is also a great photo backdrop, especially for photos of a crafty nature. I've seen some lovely craft/workspace makeovers around Blogland in the past few months and while I dream of having a whole room with worktables and large banks of storage compartments, it's just not feasible right now. But there are lots of solutions which are inexpensive and can fit into smaller spaces, with IKEA being a great place to start. However, we don't have an IKEA store in our area and I would have to order from their website and pay for shipping, which isn't cheap. The Bear offered to build something, and he is very good at carpentry (he built his own very nice desk a few years ago), but I felt impatient. In the end, I was very fortunate to find a great solution locally.
On our first "private Friday" two weeks ago, the Bear and I visited a local contemporary and Scandinavian furniture store, TEMA, and we found just the right piece in the children's furnishing department. It's a white desk (MDF covered with Formica), with a tower of drawers at one end and a simple leg at the other, and it's just the right size. It wasn't even expensive. And they had one in stock in the store warehouse, so I wouldn't even have to wait for a new one to come in (it's a product of Denmark and has to be imported). We bought it on the spot and took it home to assemble it and do some rearranging in our office. I was overjoyed with our find! I really was bubbling over with glee.
It came in a flat-pack crate, just like IKEA furnishings do. The Bear and LB set up shop in our foyer, unpacking and assembling the pieces. It was a bit complicated but they figured it out. Soon, we were able to carry the desk into the office and begin moving some things around to make room for it. It turned out that the best place for it was right next to the window, which works perfectly for me because I have natural light for any crafting I might want to do.
There was just enough room for my desk to slide in between the windowsill and a bookcase to the left of the desk. I have an empty wall above the desk (other walls in the office have shelving installed by the Bear, to house all manner of books, computer equipment and other assorted
I now have room to keep my sewing machine and everyday sewing basket on my desk, along with my laptop. I can sew at my desk too; I just need to slide the laptop into a drawer and bring the sewing machine forward in front of my chair. I'm really excited about this. With the new arrangement in this room, I even have space to set up the ironing board to use while I sew. Before, I did everything in the kitchen. I really don't need to do that anymore.
The top drawer has small items like my crochet hook roll, bobbins for my sewing machine and my own personal set of markers that I don't let the small Bears use (they have plenty of their own; Mommy likes shiny new markers as much as the next guy).
This drawer is holding card-making supplies, so far. The shoebox holds my stamps and ink pads, as well as my beloved cache of washi tape.
Both of the bottom drawers hold (color-sorted) smaller cuts of cotton fabric (calicos, mostly). All of these pieces are half a yard or smaller, plus there's a coil of jelly-roll strips. My larger cuts of fabric (including vintage sheets I've collected for future quilt backings) still have to live in a box on shelving wall on the other side of the room. I can't fit it all in the drawers. Other sewing notions, like buttons, ribbon and lace rolls, elastic and such, are in a plastic bin on the same shelf. They're easy to get to and anyway, they're nowhere near as pretty to look at as the fabric is. I've taken to opening these two drawers a couple of times a day just to look at my fabric. I couldn't see any of it before, it was all packed in boxes! Now it's right here, a feast for the eyes.
I love being right next to the window. The natural light is lovely and I will enjoy having the sun stream in while I work in the wintertime. Right now, it's still hot in the sun, so I've been partially closing the blinds when I sit here in the afternoons. This particular day, the Sunday after I got my desk, it rained on and off all afternoon and I loved watching the raindrops accumulate on the window. This window looks out onto our courtyard, which we think is lovely, and beyond that, to the house across the street, where the neighbor has trained pink and white roses to climb up the bricks. I sat here at my new desk that day, thinking about how far I've come. A desk of my own might not seem like much to some people but it's a pretty big deal for me. I didn't have any desk at all a few years ago; I kept my laptop on the kitchen counter. I was very busy with two little children, having all but abandoned most of my hobbies (aside from reading). I didn't take much time for myself, or space, for that matter. But the children are getting older and I feel better about taking the time, spending a little bit on a nice piece of furniture that suits my needs as well as my taste, and giving myself a dedicated space to do things that make me happy.
I hung a French-style bulletin board over my desk a few days ago. The bulletin board came from Hobby Lobby; I was going to make one, but the materials would have cost more than this ready-made one cost after I applied my 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby. And I really like the colors so it was a better choice all around. I've begun to hang some things I like and find inspiring: the owls my bloggy friend Janine sent to me; a pretty illustrated matryoshka postcard; a beautiful photo card enclosed with an order from Alicia Paulson's shop, Rosy Little Things; one of my Granny Bunting Triangles; and a stack of Stylecraft Special DK ball bands, all of which belong to yarn I'm using in a new project, just started this week.
It's my own little space and I love it. I have always been one to keep her desk neat and tidy. There's my laptop, open to my Gmail account, where I read your lovely comments on my blog. There's my sewing basket, with another granny triangle on top. There's my OttLite, which finally has a permanent home (I even threw the box in the trash! Whoo-hoo!), my crocheted pencil-can jacket, my file box and my sewing thread caddy. Oh, and a baby ripple I will share soon. This little space, all forty-three inches in width that it takes up, is making me really happy.
The one thing my new desk isn't very good for is winding yarn cakes. This is because the winder's clamp doesn't open wide enough to accept the thickness of the desk's edge. This was a stumper for a little while, but the Bear came up with a good solution, giving me a piece of wood that I used to cushion the living room coffee table so that I could screw it onto the edge. That worked fine and I spent awhile winding balls of Stylecraft Special DK into these cakes, which will become the LB's afghan. I have decided on a Granny Stripe for him (thank you for all the feedback!) and these are the colors he chose. I guided him with the blues, browns, cream and gray (all colors in his bed quilt), and he chose to add shades of green and red. I think it has a masculine look, boyish but playful and young. I labeled them in case anyone is wondering which shades we chose (they look really washed out here, it was very sunny in the room):
1. Bottle 2. Cloud 3. Natural (this one is King Cole Pricewise DK) 4. Lipstick 5. Claret 6. Grey 7. Walnut 8. Midnight 9. Green 10. Denim 11. Camel
Also, this little guy is so neat. He loves to make things. We worked together and made a teeny little hammock for Daddy's Cafe. I helped him hand-sew it from a scrap of flannel. We added sticks in the ends and string to hang it with. How many coffee shops let you laze in a hammock when you visit? Daddy's Cafe is the place to be.
I'd like to thank a blogging friend for the fun package I received from her a few days ago. Willow, of the lovely blog Whiles of Willow, held a giveaway recently and I was one of the lucky winners. The prize was a set of ten adorable postcards that she made from a photo of her beautiful bird, Buttercup. I don't know exactly what kind of parrot Buttercup is, but from what I hear, she's very sweet and smart. She is clearly a gorgeous creature. Willow sent me the postcards in a little package with a very kind and friendly card that she wrote for me, with a fun zebra design on the front. I really appreciate having these cards and I know some people who will enjoy getting one. Thank you, Willow and Buttercup. Please stop by and say hello to the very friendly Willow, who shares photos and tales of her life with all different kinds of animals, plus lots of beautiful flowers and other plants. Her blog is a wonderful place to visit.