Friday, October 3, 2014

Creative and compact


Workspaces have always interested me. I loved arranging my desk in school as a child, optimizing the space and keeping it organized so everything was easy to find. As a college student, my desk was where I studied and wrote papers, but also where I wrote letters and made phone calls, and learned to make a personal budget, balance my checkbook and pay bills. In adulthood, I've come full circle - for years, I had no desk or designated workspace; I worked at the kitchen table or even the counter (I kept my laptop in the kitchen when my children were very small). I didn't craft as often back then - there just wasn't enough time in my day. But I did occasionally sit down to sew or draw, and longed to have a space just for me. A few years ago, I decided it was time to make a personal space for myself again. I joined Pinterest and started a "workspaces" pin board to gather ideas. About a year ago, I began building my new workspace. My desk, and my personal space, have become an important part of my life again.

WeWork, a co-working company which builds communities for creators, has asked me to participate in their Show Us Your Workspace project. I absolutely love sharing my workspace because I am very proud of it, and am happy to be part of the project. My workspace is precious to me. It's small, just one corner of one room, but it's all mine - I spend a lot of time in my space and I enjoy personalizing it. I fill it up with things that inspire me.


My space is really dual-purpose. I use it to create and craft; making things is an important part of my life. But I also use it for work. I'm a stay-at-home mother, and this is my priority, but I occasionally do a little freelance writing work. I don't earn much money, but it keeps my mind sharp and eventually, I'd like to do more. When I created my space, I spent quite some time hunting for the right desk - one where I could do it all. I finally found it about a year ago, in a local store specializing in Scandinavian furnishings. It's actually a child's desk, but it's perfect for my needs: compact but not too small, with a deep work surface and plenty of legroom. It has four drawers at the side, which are just right for keeping supplies at hand. My desk is versatile; I can sew or craft here, and I do this as often as possible. I have an OttLite, which I use often for hand-work and sewing. I can also work on my laptop here, editing photos and writing. I keep my sewing machine on the desk along with my sewing basket. I can easily switch between laptop and sewing machine with a little rearranging. Ideally, I'd have two separate tables or desks for these purposes, but I don't have room for that. So I make do and it's really very good.


I haven't always been able to sew at my desk, but I can now, thanks to the old wooden chair I've re-purposed as a desk chair for myself. I was using a rolling office chair, but the height was wrong for sewing. Last spring, I found this chair at a rummage sale. It has been perfect for my needs. I would really like to paint it, but haven't gotten around to it yet. The main issue is color! I had planned to paint it a pale aqua but I've been waffling lately. White? Baby pink? Dove gray? I'm so torn. I like the look of natural wood, so it's no hurry. I did make myself a patchwork cushion, which is both pretty and comfortable. Patchwork makes me happy and I love seeing it in my workspace.


My desk drawers are filled with supplies and inspiring items, as well as practical stuff like cables for my phone and camera. I try to keep the drawers organized but they can be a bit of a jumble when I have a lot of projects going at the same time. I usually have a clean-up session every couple of weeks, just to keep everything under control.


There's a bookcase next to my desk. The whole family uses it, but I've staked out one shelf for myself. Here, I keep some of my most-used crafting books and magazines. This way, they're in easy reach when I need to look up a reference or refresh my memory about a pattern.


I always keep my current crochet project in a big straw basket on the floor next to my desk. I do crochet at the desk sometimes, especially small items like decorative flowers, but I usually carry the basket out to the family room to work on a big project such as a blanket. But when I'm not crocheting, it stays near the desk, safe from family traffic, organized and ready to pick up when I have time to crochet.



My desk is a place to work out the details of household life too. I keep a calendar and a file-holder with notebooks, important letters and notes. I make doctor's appointments and work on homeschool lesson plans. I plan shopping lists and weekly meals for my family. I transfer important dates into my phone's calendar and make sure that everyone is accounted for. But I also read here, crafty books as well as whatever I've borrowed from the library - and email or hand-write letters to friends and family.



I don't have a lot of room for decorations in my space, but I try to keep it cheerful and bright. In my space, color and light are important. Because it's a small area, I like it open and uncluttered, but personalized. I have a French-style bulletin board above the desk, where I save little mementos from friends and family, as well as inspiring bits I find here and there: postcards, ornaments, pretty crafting items. I like to have handmade items around, like my crocheted pencil-holder jacket, pompom garland and crocheted owls. I let craft supplies be decorations too; a small jar of colorful buttons, a tin full of brightly-hued perle cotton, a pretty box to hold my card-making supplies - all add interest, and whimsy, to my space. My desk is directly next to a large window, which I really love. I have daylight for hours if I need it, and it's the perfect place to daydream while gazing out the window. I can see our flowering herbs in the front yard, road-runners chasing lizards, bluejays and crows and the occasional squirrel. I get things done in my little workspace but it also allows me to enjoy time to myself, doing the things I love.

This post is in collaboration with WeWork.

30 comments:

  1. What a great space, you have personalised it beautifully. I love the patchwork seat pad and the great notice board, stunning.

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  2. oh what a great creative use of space, and I love your cushion.

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  3. It must be lovely to have your own personal space. I don't have a space I can call my own, but I suppose that will come all too soon when the kids have flown the nest. I have to make do with the table in the meantime, but that means clearing whatever I'm working on when it comes to tea time.

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  4. Such a great space compact but perfect for all the things it's needed for, you're so organised, love the notice board
    Clare x

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  5. What a well organised space. My own work space is very cluttered and in need of a tidy! x

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  6. It looks perfect for you! Your space looks very well organised. I am currently eyeing up the space on my landing, there seems to be a space big enough for me between the boys bedrooms.

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  7. What a lovely space, I did actually clear a little space on my desk today, but you have inspired me to make some plans for it.

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  8. It's a really nice space - next to a window is a great position. And you've personalised it and made it work for you. It's lovely. X

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  9. You are SO organized! I could only wish to be so tidy. You do inspire me to try.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  10. What a lovely and creative space! Love it!
    Have a great weekend, take care...
    Love Titti

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  11. It's absolutely lovely Jennifer. I'd so love a little space of my own, but alas it's not likely. You've got lots of inspirational books, it's always nice to be able to flick through favourites and find things to make. You've created a really pretty and functional space, and it really reflects who you are. Well done! CJ xx

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  12. You have a lovely creative space, Jennifer. :o)

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  13. I think it's wonderful that you have a space to create now! And I loved hearing the history of your spaces through time! Though you say your space is small to me it feels very large as there is a place for all of the important things and the colors are exquisite!!! Well done Jennifer! A lovely weekend to you friend! Nicole xo

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  14. I'm a great believer in having a space for yourself, no matter how small. Just somewhere that is for you alone, not a space to share with children or partners, just yours. I love what you have done with yours, it looks colourful, inspiring and welcoming, and it must be a joy to sit there with a large window to gaze out of too. I have that luxury, plus the luxury of a large-ish room all for me, somewhere to retreat to for meditation, to sit and read quietly - though truth be told this is a quiet house with just me and Himself so a quiet spot isn't hard to find! But this is MY spot, so precious and special. As yours is to you, thank you for letting us see it.

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  15. I have a similar craft/work space to yours in a corner of Lulu's bedroom but it's not as neat or well used as yours at the moment because we still haven't gotten around to getting both girls in one bedroom. But it's still nice to have a little space to keep most, if not all, of my craft things. You've made yours very light and pretty. I love it! x

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  16. I love your workspace Jennifer and I'm impressed it's so tidy! I love my workspace too but it really needs a good sort out you have put me to shame haha. Have a great weekend. :)

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  17. You have a lovely space to work and create in, such a bright and cheerful place. I love the notice board, I think I'd paint the chair a similar blue.

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  18. I absolutely love your work space, Jennifer. It makes me want to go and rearrange mine! xxx

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  19. Oh Jen, I had a little lump in my throat when I saw my card on your little board above your desk. Your work space is so beautiful and small just like mine. I hope your little turtle tape measure is not far away and then we really can feel like over the ocean buddies! Jo x

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  20. Such a beautiful restful space Jennifer :)
    But mostly I am intrigued about road-runners, they do actually exist then? I thought they were just a made-up cartoon!!
    Jillxo

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  21. A lovely looking workspace. Thank you for sharing and for the pictures. It looks so nice and I love the owl on the shelf and the patchwork seat cover and colourful penholder. :)

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  22. I am the same way with my little work space and it gives me a lot of joy
    ~ well as long as I have time to I keep it tidy . If I get too many projects going on at once it can get a bit busy and that I must admit frustrates me . lol
    I too was the same way with my school desk !

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  23. I feel the same about my little craft area, I love to be here, reading blogs, sending emails, creating..... it is my safe place.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  24. What a beautiful creative work space.I think its so important to have a place to create x

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  25. I understand ! my workspace is a really important place in my life ! Have fun and have a lovely sunday !

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  26. Olá Jennifer,o seu canto da arte é muito bonito e aconchegante,parabéns.Beijo.Valéria.(Brasil).

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  27. Excellent place to work and craft. I'm in the process of changing a bedroom into my craft room but it's taking a long time.

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  28. Thanks for sharing your workspace - I could do with a bit more of your organisational skills tbh. I'm learning - its a work in progress but I am currently trying to create me a space having been relegated from my previous desk due to the hubby working from home with his injury! I've claimed a corner of the conservatory - cold for our winter but a space for me none the less!! It's slowly coming together but I do admire your creative space, x

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  29. Yes, you have inspired me to work on my own personal workspace, which I started about two months ago. It is in my large walk in closet, and of course, there are too many things in there, besides my clothes. I'll get working on it! xxoo

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  30. I love your workspace. You've really made it yours. Such good crafty ideas in there too. Superb :)

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