Friday, July 12, 2013

Where Bloggers Create 2013

Come on in. I've been waiting for you and now I am so excited to have some friends over. You are just the one I have needed to give me some decorating advice.  I am participating in the Where Bloggers Create 2013 event sponsored by Karen Valentine of My Desert Cottage.  Five weeks ago we moved to another town and another home. My studio space here is very different than the one I had previously, including the fact that it is 30% smaller.

OK. I'm up for the challenge. The studio isn't completely unpacked or organized or decorated. But I was able to accomplish enough to get to share a bit with you here. There are just a few spots where I need the advice of a creative friend. That's where you come in. Like I said, I'm so glad you are here!

My name is Elizabeth Johnson and I am a pencil artist.  I specialize in animal portraiture and whimsical art.  I teach drawing online through a video format.  I teach a wide variety of drawing subjects, styles,  and pencils.   I love watching my students blossom and grow as artists.  You can see my work here and where my students learn here.

So, now that you know me a bit, let's get back to the studio.  

As I mentioned, this room is quite a big smaller than the large studio I had previously.  I was determined to be on top of things so I put quite a bit of thought into what furniture I would use and how it would be placed.  I looked around at my former studio and contemplated what I really needed in a studio.  I realized I did not need a large space but I did need multiple work stations.  I had a table, a desk, and a drafting table in my large room.  I often had to push an incomplete project aside to work on something that involved a deadline.  The problem was that once I'd pushed my project aside, it had lost its mojo and I often never got back to it for completion.  I decided I needed a place to keep my drawing projects clean and in progress.  That was easy -- my drafting table.  I needed a place for a very special big drawing project that I have started.  This would need to be separate from my drafting table project.

I needed a place to keep crafts in progress.  A place to keep my journals and supplies.  I needed a place for my computer and a place for recording the workshops I teach.  Wow!  That's a lot to ask of a very small room.  The more I thought about this, the more I realized work space was more important than floor space.  I didn't need to dance in this room.  I needed to work.  

I began at the beginning - with the drafting table.  There is no room for it so it sits in the middle of the room.  It is on wheels so if it gets in the way, I'll have to roll it out of the way.  Remember I've only been here 5 weeks and have spent most of those days unpacking boxes.  So, this is a theory.  I'll let you know how it works out in a couple of months.

We took the closet doors off so I could utilize all of the wall space for my desks.  We have two old oak teacher's desks.  They are both 5 ft. wide.  The darker one was in my previous studio and the lighter one was in my husband's home office.   I will store my computer and record workshops on the darker desk.  The TV is for monitoring the filming.   And I will be crafty at the lighter desk.  Do you think I should paint the desks or leave them the colors they are?  Or maybe just paint the lighter one?

When I was pondering the number of work stations I needed, the thought crossed my mind that it would be grand to have a place to keep my sewing machine.  Now, I am NOT a seamstress.  But I do pretend that I know what I'm doing every now and then.  Dragging the machine out of the closet is kind of a hassle, though.  I was quite sure that the sewing machine was one station over the line for this little room.  So, I put that idea aside. 

But look here!  I am SO EXCITED!!!   My sewing machine fits right here on the stand for a typewriter.  And it even fits when you put the stand back inside the cabinet and close the door.  How cool is that?!!  It can be ready to use and easy to get out and then be tucked away and out of sight in a jiffy.  I LOVE it!

I've used some vintage suitcases and a breadbox to hold the crafting supplies that are nice to have handy and some miscellaneous ephemera.   And some things are out just because their presence makes me feel more creative.  

Here is one of those projects where I need your advice.  I think I want to paint this wardrobe.  And I don't love those curtains.  I've thought about purchasing punched tin to replace the curtains.  But I thought I'd see what creative ideas you have.  I can't wait to hear them.  And if I paint the wardrobe, what color should it be?

OK.  So, we've moved along now and we have turned the corner to the wall opposite of the 2 large desks.  These desks both lived the lives of vanities in the previous house.  They both had mirrors.  The darker one is where I will work on my other drawing project.  I'm thinking about painting this one.   Behind it is the white iron headboard I used in my other studio as an inspiration board.  It works so well for this.  Pictures stay up with a magnet and it takes up very little room against the wall.

The painting above this desk (aka vanity) is a self portrait of my daughter.  When we were moving we found this painting in her stash of work from college.  I had never seen it and she was getting ready to throw it away!!  I snatched it from her and claimed it as my own. 

The wooden file cabinet is genuinely old and was a $10 find at a thrift store when we were on vacation.  At the time, we were driving a Buick.  Not exactly a truck for hauling stuff.  But I tended to use it that way.  Haha!   My husband said, "You'll never get it in the car.  It'll never fit."  I said, "Watch me!!"   You couldn't have slid a piece of paper between the cabinet and the doors on both sides in the back seat.  But we got it home.  : )  He really should know better by now!

Seated sweetly on top is my Raggedy Ann and my father's Raggedy Ann book.  They are both a little worn from the years.  But are very special to me and have a place of importance in every studio I work in. 

The green vanity is my journaling station.  I've only had time to sit there one day to work so far.  But I'm really looking forward to have a place to begin a page and then leave it until my next chance to sit.  BTW, I got those way cool knobs on clearance at Anthropologie.  I was so excited.  I paid a song for them!

The inspiration board above it is the porcelain top to the Hoosier cabinet that was in my husband's great grandparent's home.  The rest of the cabinet was not salvageable.   Magnets stick to it and it works perfectly here. 

This is Lydia who does need floor space, but hopefully there is enough here for her.

Now for the window.  This is where I really  need your advice.  In my old studio, I used this baby gate against the wall to hold photos and images I needed to have up.  In this studio, I've decided to hang it in this little nook for the window.  I have a vintage wooden window hanging below it.  I have hung some crystal leaves and flowers from ribbons.  I have enough of these to fill it.  But I thought, perhaps, it needed something else for variety.  What do you think?  More crystal leaves and flowers or something else.  And if so, what else?  And should I cover those wires above it with ribbon or fabric or what? 

Here you can see the whole window.  The cat baskets are in the window seat.  Although they chose not to grace us with their presence today. 

Bo says Good Day from the back yard.

Some of you may remember from the last 2 years that I had a favorite stuffed rocking chair in my studio.  Well, no room for it in this one.  I've placed it in my bedroom.  This one takes less room in this space where every inch is of a premium.

I'm not thrilled with the curtains on the closets.  Maybe you have a better idea for that too.  

Well, this has been fun.  I've loved having you here and am so excited to hear your ideas to help make my new studio a more creative space.

Thank you for joining me for this party.  I'll be stopping by your studio too. 

Wind and Honey Creations


Art and Sand said...

You have gotten a lot done in 5 weeks.

I love the green desk - I think you called it a vanity - because of the great color.

I think I would paint the desks, but it sounds like you are really working and not just playing like me, I would only paint them if there were no deadlines.

Good luck on settling into you little space.

cathy @ ma vie trouvee said...

Hi there - I went straight to the last one : ) I have moved 2 x in five years so I feel your pain of setting up a new studio - but it is fun too! your drawings are stunning! i enjoyed seeing where you create! cheers!

Judy McCarthy said...

Yes, down sizing to a smaller creating space is hard.We did that a few years back, but you seem to be managing very well, and your studio looks friendly and inviting.i'd like to work there.Happy creating.

Melissa Bishop said...

Looks good to me. I do not know what I would change.

Sandra Kaye said...

Nice space..I like the cat baskets...sweet:):)

Something Special said...

Enjoyed the tour here. You are very talented. I love how everyone puts in their studios many different pieces of vintage furniture right up against one another getting the most efficiant condusive to creativity.

Ava Gavloski said...

i have started at the end of the list to check out the studio's. I thibk I have one of those wooden oak desk', it a bugger to open!!! Love your blog wall paper. Sketches are wonderful. Be proud of your craft and sharing the joy which is so much fun...

Patti said...

IWW, you have been busy organizing and setting things up! Your pencil drawings are amazing!

Tamatha said...

You really got a lot accomplished in a few short weeks! There are some lovely furniture pieces and I especially like the green vanity. You could use that and the blue rocking chair as inspiration for the other pieces if you decide to pain them. Painted furniture is the hot decorating trend right now, but really it's a matter of do you prefer the warmth of wood tones or does color make you happy--or a mix of both! It's a fun project either way!

fairyrocks said...

A fresh start, in a smaller space. That is a challenge. I love that you are a real artist. Love that Lion drawing. As for advice. When I was getting ready to do my room, I went to my collection of magazine tear outs and favorite bookmarked sites. I then decided what it was I was drawn to for colors. I am a fan of real wood, however, big pieces either have to be separated physically or the same color. You could stain the lighter one to match the dark, or paint them both. Love your green cabinet, distressed and very interesting. You could lighten up the curtains by using ribbons or sheers over them. I will be checking back to see what you decide to do. Keep smiling and creating. Thanks for sharing your space and art.

Annette said...

I'm in awe of how much you have done in just a few weeks! I LOVE the wardrobe just the way it is, so I'm no help there! The first thing I thought of hanging from the rack by the window was a wind chime. Your space is amazing and I know you will come up with great ideas the longer you're there.

Michaele said...

Isn't moving a pain? I've had to do it a few times as a military wife (husband is now retired), so I understand the challenge of rethinking/reworking the elements that can be changed and the importance of not sacrificing the "must-haves." How's your light in the room?

I like layers myself, so I'd probably paint everything, the walls, furniture (except for the green buffet- what a gorgeous pop of color!) a much lighter color and invest in cabinetry hung at eye level: use the vertical space to free up the floor. Hooks or clips could be put on the front of the cabinetry so you could move your art up and out of the way but still in plain sight so it stays inspiring.

I look forward to visiting again to see how your space evolves!


Michaele (Twigs and Tulle)

Connie said...

Your space is intriguing. I like that you are into many different things, me too. If i could draw like you, i might only want to do that, you have an amazing talent. Your work is gorgeous. As for the window, what would you think of adding small bunches of lavender, the warmth from the sun would spread their scent around the room, and it is such a pretty smell.
I'm having a Give-A-Way on my blog for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, and it is good anywhere in the world when there is internet. Please come over and put our name in the hat. All you have to do is leave a comment and follow me back. I am excited to have found you, now I going to look at some of your past posts :)
Have a great day, Connie :)

Carmen said...

Elizabeth, you have such a great space to work with. My opinion is to stain the lighter woods to match the darker desk. I think the combination of the darker wood with your green vanity would look so rich. I really like what you did with the child gate on the ceiling above the window. It would be neat if you could incorporate little lights up there without any cords getting in the way. Anyway, thank you for sharing your space and I hope you keep us updated on what you change. :-)

. said...

only 5 weeks and you got all this done, that's really good. You have a lot of great work surfaces and I love your drafting table, its a great size. I noticed that you have some things through out your space that's turquoise (storage, rocking chair, lamp on the green desk) if that's one colour you like then how about that for your wardrobe? or maybe the green like you have on the desk. You have a lot of different wood tones in there and if you want that to look more united then maybe a milkwash to them? The space and the beautiful wood pieces you have are really lovely.

I was looking at some of your drawings, really lovely work and will have to see more of your posts.

Elizabeth (Blue Clear Sky) said...

What a great space! I could spend lots of time in there checking it all out lol. The wardrobe is a great piece and if you do decide to paint, an aged white or the green of the desk would be really pretty. Thanks for the tour.

Beansieleigh said...

Well, having moved from a larger home to a smaller home.. I know the feeling, but I hardly feel qualified to go giving advice on YOUR craftroom.. HOWEVER, the only one idea I had, that is IF you like fairies, was to maybe buy or make one or two, to suspend, perhaps on clear fishing line, from your baby gate over the window. I just thought that might look so pretty, magical perhaps, little fairies flitting about amongst the crystal leaves and flowers you spoke of!.. LOVED the tour, and hope you're enjoying your weekend! ~tina

Kathy said...

You are off to an amazing start! If the wardrobe happens to have glass in the doors then I would leave it without curtains but it depends how you plan to use it. I think crystals from the baby gate is a marvelous idea and I wouldn't worry about the wires. Maybe you could put some very light weight things on TOP of the gate, like paper lanterns. Miss-matched furniture has never bothered me but if you want the desks to look more like they go together then maybe paint the handles on BOTH of them to match. Using the typwriter stand for the sewing machine is inspired. I love that idea!
Thank you so much for sharing your creative space!
Oh, and I forgot to say, love the self-portrait of your daughter and bravo to you for rescuing it!

Cindy said...

Love your space and furniture! That wardrobe is great! If you are looking to paint some furniture, try to keep them all the same colour or colour family... greens maybe to match one of the desks? I'd be tempted to paint all the walls a pale yellow, bit brighter than now. That baby gate was what first caught my eye! Ribbon around the wires would be perfect and definitely add more hanging things at different heights! (Sorry! You asked and I love to give opinions...) Hugs!

Sugar Lump Studios said...

What a wonderful place to create! Your space is filled with vintage charm and treasures! Loved the Raggedy Ann items - brought back some memories.
thanks for sharing!


Susan Clayton said...

The lace panel on your closet is charming! (I use a lace panel on my closet too) The window photo of the prisms hanging from the lattice.. .inspiring. So glad I got to see your lovely space.

Connie said...

Thank you for the lovely visit, I am now following your blog. Please return and follow me back, so that I can put your name in the hat for the give-a-way and count you among my lovely and talented followers.
Have a wonderful week,
Connie :)

Terry said...

Hi, Elizabeth!

I love your space! I absolutely love the baby gate over the window!!! How about a vine of some sort - leaves, floral or maybe just twigs - weaving through it?

I would love to see photos of any changes you make.

Happy studio hopping!

Donna said...

What a great space! I love that you draw animals, your work is just gorgeous! And I am in love with your beautiful Lydia:) How about hanging some small framed photos from the baby gate? I think covering the wires that suspend it in fabric would look great!

StasaLynn said...

Your space is coming along just great! I personally would not paint the wardrobe - but I would do the punched tin... you could paint the tin if you wanted to add color.... I love how you hung the baby gate and love where you are going with this... Yes, I would continue to use ribbon and maybe you could find a neat stained glass window to hang down or a witch's ball or several of them... to add more color. I think your space is wonderful and extremely functional!!! AND your artwork is AMAZING. Thanks for sharing your space and take care!

Sue @ Miss Phoebes Perch said...

My, you have done a lot in just a few weeks. I think that instead of the baby gate having flower crystals hanging from it, you might try some plain ones. Along with glittered stars, which would be in a theme and pick up a lot of light coming from that window. You could cover the chains with some sparkly ribbon to match. As for the closet curtain, I would perhaps replace it with one made of a pretty patterned fabric. We are actually getting ready to do this in the vacation home we just bought, plus I need to do it in my own studio. Have a great day! Sue

lynn said...

love your wardrobe and green vanity! i'm amazed how great your room looks in only 5 weeks! do what your heart loves-if you love painted pieces--paint them! (i'm big on painting everything white but, it's not for everyone:) the baby gate is so creative!

ps--your drawings are amazing!

Gwen Simmons said...

You've done amazing things in just five weeks. When we moved last fall, I am afraid that the studio was way down the list of things to do. All these months later, I'm still playing catch-up. I love your work and have forwarded link to your blog to my daughter who has done some amazing sketch work in her college classes. Also, I love your eclectic mix of furnishings. Were I you, I might paint the lighter wood desk-- the darker one has amazing grain. And I would think of doing some sort of artsy, maybe parchment color panels in place of curtains in cabinet, using your own very beautiful drawings. Okay, I am long winded and now I am going. Best of luck and thanks for sharing.
Gwen Simmons

{oc cottage} said...

loving your space! and your drawings are AWESOME!!!!

m ^..^

Lorena Wheeler said...

I really enjoyed touring your your space. I actually painted all the furniture i use in my studio a few years back when i moved everything from my basement to a spare bedroom. The lighter furniture does help give the room a light feel especially on overcast days and makes my smaller space seem bigger...hope that helps a little.
Btw, love you animal drawings!
E blessed,

Becky @ Vintage 541 said...

I especially love the green vanity and the iron headboard inspiration board. Your drawings are wonderful too!

Becky @ Vintage 541

Nanna said...

love your space!the use of antiques makes it cozy & inviting

Lori said...

I can't believe you got so much done in just a short amount of time. I'm loving all your furnishings and all the decorative details in your room. Wow! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Your new space is very cozy and inviting. I love all the antique furniture, especially the desk with the perfect spot for your sewing machine.

Graceful Rose said...

love your drawings! You are very talented. I paint everything white,but that is just me. It makes for a bright and cheerful work space, however, white does get dirty over time, so that may not be a great idea. I love the chest with the curtains, it probably had mirrors in it originally, you think about doing that. Enjoyed my tour!

bobbie said...

You've done great in just 5 short weeks!!! Thank you for the great tour ~ I loved seeing all your pretties.

Some suggestions... you might want to think about unifying all the wood furniture with paint ~ maybe white, or another light color you love to help make the space feel bigger. Chalk paints are easy ~ no sanding!!
About your curtain ~ me, I kind of like the lace! But once you pick a color for your wood, go find something that co-ordinates...

I can't wait to come back net year and see what you've done with the space! I wish you all best luck, and happy crafting!!!

Patty said...

I love your creative space, Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing it with us. said...

love the green desks


Maureen said...

Wow Elizabeth, you have certainly been busy for just moving in recently! Love that you can store your sewing machine away; that is something I had to keep downstairs when I moved upstairs. Just not enough room for everything.I also love that you too have cat baskets; I have a few around the house, and I love seeing our three kitties curled up in them! I adore your work; you are so talented!!!

Thank you so much for the tour!

Glenda said...

Thanks for sharing. I love the spaces. Maybe paint everything one color, maybe even the green of that lovely piece you have. Great use of the kiddie doorstop.

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