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.