Thursday, September 5, 2013

A desk, and other good things

Sometimes, I find myself feeling like I don't have much that is just for me. This applies to space as well as time. I feel sometimes like I'm spread too thin. I can only imagine what it would feel like if I had more than two children. But I think the time aspect has been less of an issue for me than the space one has; I often feel like I have nowhere to put my things, no permanent storage solutions - at least not ones I can get into easily when I want to retrieve the things I have stored. I often get rid of my own things to make more space for theirs. We have a medium-sized house with plenty of closets and a two-car garage and a big pantry in the kitchen. The children each have their own bedroom and the Bear has an office (plus a garage workshop). I don't have my own room the way everyone else does. I have to work within the interstices to store my things. I don't mean to sound like a martyr. I had a tiny desk in our office, but it wasn't enough. I'd wish for more, and then I'd feel greedy. But I have begun to realize that I should have more for me too - it's okay, it's for the best, even.

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 schlock items). I could use that wall for the inspiration board of my dreams! Or, at least a moderately-sized board where I could hang things that I like. We put the drawers in, moved my laptop and some other items over to set up my desktop and started filling the drawers with my things.

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.


  1. I am feeling really happy for you too. I have so enjoyed reading about the creation of your space nd I know it will bring you so much happiness and contentment. So glad all the family ave been supportive of your needs.

  2. Jennifer,

    A space of one's wonderful. I struggle with the same feeling. Having Olly has meant that what was mine is now his. And that's fine, I will reclaim my space one day. But how great to see your space. So neat and just so. I am imagining you there typing and crafting away. Maybe at the same time, you seem so productive.

    Loved this post.

    Happy crafting!! And day dreaming too at your little desk.

    Leanne xx

  3. Oh! The joys of an easy access space of one's own! Virginia Woolf eat your heart out!
    Have fun and I'm looking forward to the posts from the desktop! X

  4. You are very wise to carve out a space for yourself. It looks like such a lovely spot to sit and dream and create! I did not do this for myself when my kids were young, and looking back I think it was a mistake.

    After having purchased multiple items for our new home at IKEA I have to be honest and say the picture of the flat pack with the desk in it made me feel a bit queasy. :-)

  5. What a great space you have now- i'm sure you'll get a lot of enjoyment out of it and continue to be very creative- I love your inspiration board, and it was fun top see inside the drawers- They are really neat and tidy- any drawers I have look like everything is just thrown in. Enjoy your new little space:)

  6. I'm so pleased you have created your only little crafting space it's looking so lovey too, happy crafting
    Clare x

  7. Oh, to get away from the kitchen table and craft boxes stored in the cupboard under the stairs! I love your new set up! Chrissie x

  8. Oh Jen your space is beautiful - and you are quite right to have somewhere just for you - 'a happy mum makes a happy family' (I use this one quite a lot ;)) I'm gradually moving my bits into Big Sis's bedroom - I haven't got the heart to take it over completely as I would feel like she didn't have a place here anymore but my goodness it's lovely to give my ironing board and sewing machine a permanent home instead of the kitchen table! Thanks for showing us your space - think I need to go and tidy mine up! Jane x

  9. What a pretty desk area, so relaxing! Perfect to feel creative and spend time with yourself :)

  10. Hope that you have lots of fun and that you enjoy your new space. I spent this afternoon clearing up my space - or actually skiving off most of the day from clearing up my space ha! - so I understand how important it is to have somewhere to go and do your things in your own way. Looking forward to seeing all the things that you are able to produce at your new desk!

  11. There's nothing so good as having your own spot! Just perfect :) You've put into words exactly how I've been feeling lately ... everyone in my family has their own room to be alone in, except for me. I have a very large sewing table (Ikea!!) in the corner of the family room, but I find it's very inconvenient to sew if anyone else is in the room because my chair is blocked by other furniture. I'm really not happy with the set up, but eventually I'll sort it out. I love the cozy little touches you've added to your desk ... the inspiration board, the sewing basket and the bits of crochet here and there ... all so sweet and YOURS! Congratulations!! Wendy x

  12. You deserve your own space Jennifer, and it looks great. I imagine you will be busy making lots of fabulous things here! I know what you mean about the price of shipping from Ikea, sometimes I wonder where on earth they get their prices from. We have one local to us, thankfully! I am glad you found an alternative though. I have a little space too, one day I would love a whole room, but we are in the same situation as you really - we have used all the space available to its capacity! But I like my little space for now, and I am sure you will love being at yours just as much. Happy crafting! :)

  13. So glad you got your own space Jennifer !
    I have been on a role crocheting scarfs lately.
    Glad to see your little postcards of Buttercup arrived.
    Buttercup is such a good poser lol The type of bird he is ~
    Lutino ( a type of albino/yellow bird color) Indian RingNeck Parrot .

  14. Everyone needs their own space. I claimed mine this past Spring and I have been thrilled every single day since I rearranged things. My kids have their own rooms and a playroom. My husband had the office nad a smaller bedroom upstairs that he had some exercise equipment in. I had nothing, we don't have workable attics or basements in Florida. So I had had enough, I moved my husbands office upstairs into his workout room and took over the office. I love my space, although I have a girls only sign on the door, the men still come in. Good for you. You are as important as every member in the family, remember that.

  15. How lovely that you now have a little space all of your own. You have it looking lovely already and I love your bright and cheery pin board.
    Marianne x

  16. Jennifer, your new space is absolutely lovely! I love pin boards, such a nice touch to your space. :)

  17. Your desk is nice and I know you'll be getting lots done in that workspace! I love the cards you got too!

  18. A happy mother is important, so don't feel guilty about taking time and space for yourself! I have a whole room, but I have way too much stuff in it! I am determined to get it in order this fall so I can use it to better advantage. Can't wait to see your blanket! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  19. Hi There!
    It must feel great to have your own space. I think having your supplies nearby and organized can make all the difference when you're working on a project. I'm glad that you finally got something for yourself!

  20. Oh I really did enjoy your post Jennifer and I'm so pleased for you that you finally have your little space - all yours - and so well organized too!
    Sometimes, as Mums, we put our needs and wants on the back burner but, as Teresa already said, it's important that Mum's be happy! I'm so glad that you did this for 'you'!
    Nice boyish colours for LB's granny stripe - I'll be watching out for its progress for it's sure to be lovely!
    Congratulations on your little surprise win too!
    Joy x

  21. Awesome!!!
    You should have gotten your hubby to take a photo of you sitting there!
    I have my own space upstairs in one of our 3 empty bedrooms...and I love it!
    Good for you Jennifer...well deserved!
    Can't wait for all your crochet projects!!

    Linda :o)

  22. Awsome you have your own space and like that desk. I am lucky I have a horn cabinet for my 2 sewing machines and packs away real neat. But having said that i have a LOT of stuff all over the place lol, but only me & the man here ☺

  23. I am so glad you have your own little space now. Every woman - especially mamas - need a little place of their own, even if it's just a desk! I remember those days with little ones and it didn't seem like I had any space to call my own. Now I have two empty bedrooms. That time honestly goes by in a flash.

  24. How lovely to have your own space and it's so neat and pretty. I'm sure you will be even more productive now you have this Julie. x

  25. Hi Jennifer!!!Whoop-Whoop!!!I am so glad for you!!!It's such a special thing to have your own space and I think you are very deserving of it!!!Enjoy your space and your day!!!

  26. Hi Jennifer,

    Your new, little new corner is set up for dreaming, creating, and connecting, which today means, blogging! It's always interesting to see where my blogging buddies type away their thoughts and post their pics of prettiness. Thanks for sharing and missed you, too!!


  27. That's great that you have your own space,, I would love one too.

  28. Every mom needs a little space of her own! I had three children in three years and I can honesty say I might have gone bonkers if I did not have a little space for myself to dream and create! They are all grown up now and I have so much space to myself I don't quite know what to do with it! I love the colours your son has chosen for his blanket - looks like he has quite a good eye for colour! Have fun making it!

  29. Jen good for you to put yourself in a worthy position of something for yourself. I think it's so important and I love how your space has turned out. We did a trip to ikea last week with the exact same aim in mind to get a desk for me, but we haven't had much joy yet, so the search continues. I love your yarn balls and the colours will make a wonderful afghan. I'm really looking forward to seeing you work on this. Wishing you a very lovely weekend and many happy moments in that lovely space by the window xoxo

  30. How lovely to have your own space. I'm sure it will make a great difference to your productivity.

  31. You deserve every inch of your new space, mothers need to have room to just be and to recharge, and if crafting is your thing, and I know it is, then you need a space to craft in. Who knows where it may lead :)

  32. I love your space! It's so cute and perfect!
    That crochet owl, so sweet!
    Have a great weekend Jennifer!

  33. A beautiful space for beautiful you! Happy Crafting and well done on your giveaway win.x

  34. I so enjoyed reading this! I am really pleased that you have your own space, and I totally understand your need for it. My crafting bits and bobs are stashed all over the house in various cupboards, drawers and boxes (none of which are very convenient) and I do dream about the sort of workspace I could create if we could magic an extra room into our tiny house! x

  35. Congratulations on having your own space! Let the creativity begin!

  36. You so deserve a special space of your own and I am so pleased you have got such a lovely new desk and craft space.
    Sue x


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