Friday, October 19, 2012

Sort It, Store It...

Thank you all for so many great questions about my space and my process. It blows my mind that you would find any of that interesting, but I love that you do!

I have shown you a glimpse of my studio before, but didn't go into too much detail on my organization (or, I should perhaps warn you... a lack thereof). The most common question I received was regarding how my organization translates practically as I work. How do I make my selections and choose my goodies that will make it on the page?

This brings me to the first part in this two part post...

Typically, I would not think to go this detailed into my organization. Why? Well, because we all think different. We all have different areas in our home. We all have different needs. But, as your questions have come in, and I have pondered... I think that my process and my space work hand in hand. And, it might be fun to explore that a bit more. I do hope you will come along for the ride :)

What you are about to see is a completely unedited, un-vacuumed, un-photoshopped view of my mess. It did cross my mind to take a bunch of picts with a super shallow depth of field, to apply some awesome lighting or bokeh effects, or to *gasp* clean my space before taking these pictures. However, that would not be very accurate, now would it? Nopers. 

If this doesn't interest you in the slightest... scroll down to the last picture and you will see the photo that I plan to work with in part two of this post. I will show you how all of this mess translates to my process and how I go about choosing things for a layout.

But for now, if you are still with me, let's get on with it! 

This post is a bit text heavy as I will attempt to explain some of the madness that you are about to see. So, I thank you in advance for reading it.

First up, this is what you see when you walk through the door to my studio. My area is the far right corner. The rest is the kids'. The previous owners of our home converted the 2 car garage to an interior space. I.LOVE.IT!
As you walk around those folding tables (tops painted white with Rustoleum), you come around to this shelf that houses my albums on the right and my paper and photos on the left:
A close up of the left side here. My entire stash of patterned paper is in that white bin. My photos are in the red boxes and my page protectors are to the right of that:
I love this little bin for my papers! 
  • I have them sorted by alphabetically by manufacturer, then by collection - oldest to newest. 
  • The brands that I tend to buy the most (American Crafts, Basic Grey, Studio Calico, Crate, Echo Park)have their own tab. 
  • The ones I cherry pick from are in a tab called "other." 
  • There is also a tab for solid card stock, which really only has kraft, white and grey in it) 
  • And at the moment I have a tab for Christmas as I am starting to prepare for JYC
  • Once the bin is too full to easily flip through, I don't let myself buy any more. 
  • I also try not to have any paper that is more than six months to a year old. 
  • Look at all the room in there! I may need to go shopping :)

And then... you get to my space! The only thing you are not seeing in this picture is the ginormous black office chair that I sit in.

  • When I sit down, the area to my right has my paper trimmer and a little Target organizy thing that holds stamps and dies. 
  • In the big red bin are my punches. 
  • That little plastic drawer unit holds misc. items like tags and embossing powders. 
  • The polka dot bag on top holds items that are set aside to work on for design team assignments:

And directly underneath that, you have this little mess. 

  • In the drawer unit I have stencils, ribbons and misc mixed media goodies. 
  • The bag to the left holds rescued tissue paper for collage work and the bin to the right has things that I may use to alter. Things like frames, boxes, etc.... 
  • Oh yes and of course a baby octopus toy. 
  • I'll let you decide if that is for altering or for the actual baby:)

As you might have noticed, my workspace is two folding tables in an "L" shape. 

  • In the corner of that I have a little box that holds up my purple Christmas Tree. It lives there all year and makes me smile. 
  • In the box that holds my little tree up, I keep packaging I plan to repurpose and chip board. 
  • To the left of that is a vertical filing thingy that holds large photos I plan to work with as well as papers that I plan to fussy cut and add to my die-cut bow. 
  • Oh yes, let's not forget the glass bowl full of punchinella that sits there too:

And then we swing around to the left to find my bowl of die cuts, some sequins, a bowl full of lace, my adhesives, my pen holder, and my random mess:
Just to the left of that, we have my work space. 
  • I do everything on a Ranger Mat. 
  • I love that thing. 
  • It doesn't move.

Right above my mat is all of this little goodness! Things like bling, brads, twine, etc:
And to the immediate left of my matt are all my mists. 
  • If you couldn't already tell - if I can't see it and reach it, it's not making it on the page! 
  • I also keep a little wooden bowl of random letters that won't stay stuck on their packaging sheets. 
  • If I am missing a letter, I look there. You all know I have to use every.little.bit.

To the left of that is my washi tape and a bin that holds various border pieces and tends to get letter sheets thrown on top as I work:
On the floor to the left of my chair is this plastic drawer unit. 
  • In the top drawer it holds all of my stickers and letters. 
  • Stickers first, in no order. 
  • If they came on a 12x12, I cut them in half. 
  • Then the alphas. 
  • They are in ROYGBIV order with black and white first and brown in the back.
  • The second drawer holds all of my scraps. 
  • I do not consider something a scrap until it is smaller than 4 to 6 inches. 
  • They are stuck in there in ROYGBIV as well. 
  • All of the larger pieces go right back into my patterned paper bin with their brand and collection. 
  • This is a HUGE part of my process and scrapping. 
  • More on that in the next post.
  • The lower drawer is misc mixed media stuff. 
  • Things like foam brushes, paints, modeling paste and my Big Bite:

On top of this cart, I have a small binder of clear stamps. 
  • I don't buy a ton of stamps. Mostly because I don't use them a ton. 
  • But, this binder sits out all the time and I flip through it with almost every project I do, just to make sure and see if I want to use one. 
  • The larger cling and wood mounted stamps are in the previously mentioned Target organizy thing.
  • Oh yeah - and baby wipes, of course! I use those ALL the time!

And, when I look directly up from my Ranger mat work space, I see this. A little row of dinky curtain rods that hold layouts that I want to look at for a little longer and not stick in their albums right away. Happiness.
From my chair, if I turn my head a bit to the left, I see this. It is where I take picts of my projects. See how fancy I am? HAHA! The window seat to the right is where my chihuahua sits:
Whew! There you have it! If you are still with me, thank you!  As you can see, it is not even close to magazine worthy. I don't care. I don't even read magazines. It stays messy. I love it.

So, want to see how all of this translates to my actual process? 

  • Stay tuned. 
  • Next week, I will show you a layout from start to finish using this photo. 
  • I will show you how I choose my papers, why I pick some over others and how I decide what techniques to use or not use. 
  • Not rights or wrongs... there is no such thing. 
  • Just what I do and what makes me tick :)
  • Many of the questions I have already received will be answered then. 
  • I tried to pick out a photo that is a bit tricky, so here's hopin' it will all work out!

I hope you will join me then... 

Oh, and if you thought of any more specific questions after reading all of this madness, ask away! 


  1. It's always nice to see how other crafters organize their space. Thank you for sharing yours!

  2. I just want to know if you ever leave this room? Because I sure wouldn't! Can't wait to see what you've got up your sleeve for that photo.

  3. I have been waiting for this post!! It was so fun to read and see where you create! Your room screams creativity! I love it! What do you use the plastic forks, knives, and popsicle sticks for?

    1. LOL. A little of everything... scraping paint, digging things out of jars, creating texture...etc :)

  4. thanks for the peek into you space!

  5. Its really a great space and I too wonder how you can leave it. Twas a great read into your process. Staying tuned.....

  6. So much fun to see where you create!
    And to see so many goodies that I recognize from my own stash.
    And I love that it is a repurposed garage :)
    Looking forward to the next post!

  7. Wow, and again wow... you say it's not organised, but I beg to differ. Yes, there's a glorious freedom and creative chaos to it, but you know exactly where to lay your hand on what you want!! Gorgeous - thanks so much for sharing it with us...
    Alison x

  8. i love it! we have an enclosed porch that i was thinking about turning into a studio - love spaces like this! thanks for sharing!

  9. Great post! It's always fun to see inside another's space and see how they do things. I love the bowls you have embellishments in. I wish I had the space to keep stuff out like that. Love how messy your craft mat is. I have 2 - one that stays messy and one that I can photograph on. Looking forward to your post next week! :)

  10. Luv this post...Awesome to see where the creativity begins. Great storage ideas and I love how your work space is organized...TFS!

  11. awesome tour Ashli!!!! Your space is so you ~I'll beback to see what you do with Barbi!!!:):):)

  12. Thanks for the little peek into your studio! Lots of creating going on there.

  13. Oh my gosh look at that GLORIOUS window! So much natural light!!! I'm GREEN with envy! Wonderful space- it looks exactly like it should- like you have loads of fun working there there and spend time with the youngins as well- it doesn't get better than that.

  14. Loved the peek inside your room!

  15. Thank you...I wait for your next post :-)

  16. Sharing your private space is very kind of you. It's an amazing space full of personal stuff, place for your dog and all your masses of stash. A space for you to be you. Priceless.

  17. Thank you for sharing your space with us! I love to see everyone's spaces and gather a little insight to their process. I also love that creativity happens here and that it is obviously much loved!

  18. I love your purple Christmas tree - i love your bowl of sequins - i love that you showed us all if it!!! Makes me happy that you shared! Thanks Ashli

  19. So spacious! Awesome that you can spread out!

  20. Just LOVE this post from you!!!
    I'm a fan of your scrappingstyle, and I really loved your "sightseeing" in your studio!
    Lookin' forward to next post! :-)

  21. What a lovely creative mess! Thank you for showing us your studio!

  22. Love your fun space, Ashli!! And my philosophy is, if it isn't messy, then you must not be doing something right!! :)

  23. I just love your studio and I totally LOVE you showed us it just the way it is. No cleaning or making magazine-like. <3 Really looking forward to that other post!

  24. This was such a fun post! I think seeing a persons work area is like seeing inside their brain :) Love the purple Christmas, and that it's out year round. Also love that you have to see it or it doesn't get used. I'm a visual person too, so totally get this!

  25. I am really glad to see that I am not the only messy crafter out there contrary to my family's beliefs! LOL!

  26. I love you gorgeous window (you knew I would say that as my room is in the basement with no windows)
    I also love the room you have. I would love to have a huge table like that in the center of your room to have all my scrappin' friends come over and play with me.
    I sooooo want to come and play in your room :)


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