Craft Room—er, dining room—Tour

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking29 Comments
The dining craft room was in desperate need of some love. Some organizational love, that is.

Many of you know this already, but I don’t have a craft room per se. What I have is a dining room with unfinished wood floors where me (and others in my family) have made stuff for the past 20+ years. My main work table is a nearly 100-year-old table that came from Dan’s great grandmother. Other than a few custom pieces of furniture I had made, the space is what it is. I’ve always liked being in the main part of the house to create stuff. I think it goes back to when my kids were little and I could make things while they were in eye or earshot, or just have them right there with me making their stuff, too.

Today, I thought I’d show you what happened after I cleaned out a bunch of crap and reorganized my stuff. Let’s begin.

First up is my main storage cabinet. It has a top part and a bottom part and it tucks back into a weird cubby space that has always been part of my house. (And yes, one day we might finish stripping the white paint of the trim. We started that project about 15 years ago, so… you know, we’re on schedule!) The top part of the cabinet holds supplies, namely my 8.5 x 11 card stock (which is presently sorely depleted), and most of my embellishments in tins. Because the shelves in the upper cabinet are removable, I can take as many out as I need to accommodate other things. Things like my little wooden bins from IKEA (sadly, no longer being made.)

In them, I now keep embossing supplies:
Shipping and mailing stuff:
Pens and a few random stamps. (Yes, these are my first brush pen purchases and let me tell you, I now have major Pen-vy because there are so many colors and types of pens out there to choose from!)

I’m also keeping my small collection of clear stamps and dies in the upper cabinet. I took Jennifer McGuire’s advice and am using her system (albeit extremely pared down, lol!) to store this type of thing.
The bottom of the cabinet holds nearly all of my scrapbooks and as you can see, the space is at a premium. (Like those album binder labels? I have a free template for that!)

Next up is my second piece of custom furniture: the big paper cabinet. I should note that the same builder made these for me back in 2006 but alas, is not longer in the craft cabinet business.
I didn’t take a “before” shot, but you’ll have to trust me: this cabinet was packed with way too much crap. One full column was just old projects from Cole and his school papers. Now, behold! The left hand side holds my 12 x 12 card stock (I really don’t have a ton because I scrapbook in 8.5 x 11), and my patterned paper divided up by color. This is represents a LOT of paring down. I gave a bunch of paper away and stored another batch in my basement in what I like to call “Deep ‘One Day I Hope I Get to be a Grandma’ storage”, for future craft projects with future grand babies.

I love having my patterned paper set up like this. I am much more likely to work by color, than by any other parameter.
I keep CZ Stamps shipping supplies in the middle and this ebbs and flows depending on what stamps I have in stock. (Hint: new preorders will be coming in the next few weeks!) I love that these shelves are removable and slide, so I can easily customize the depth of what I need to store.
I’m also keeping a few paper scraps shelves, as well—one for patterned paper and one for card stock.
I also have shelves on the right side to hold new product as it comes in. I will also use shelves on this side for works in progress, so I can store everything I’m using on one shelf. This is something I’ve been needing to do for a while: clear out stuff so I can actually earmark stuff I want to work with.
Other shelves can hold other inspirational things, like the current issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine! (Okay, this is not the current issue, but the good news? You can see it online for free.) Click here to read today. I will be sharing more about my new column next week!
Just to remind you, there is a room adjacent to this creative space: my kitchen. I keep my laptop on my paper cabinet and use it primarily for shipping purposes, managing my classrooms and general browsing time.
And of course, life is always just around the corner, so to speak.

The built-in cabinet you saw in the very first image presently has one drawer devoted to scrapbooking. Here’s the full cabinet plus a close up of the single drawer. (Note: you never know when you might need some Wild Turkey while crafting.)
Here I keep adhesives, attachers and spare X-acto blades, alone with a few other things. I have a dream that I overtake the entire cabinet, but that dream may be met with resistance as there’s a lot of other junk filling up the other drawers. Plus, it holds the bar ware and I’m guessing Dan might have something to say about that.

Long term goals: stamp ink storage. Yes, ladies… I’m going to get more into stamping. Why? Because… what the hell!

So I have this cabinet and see where my purse hangs?
I want to order a narrow wall-mounted stamp ink holder, possibly like this one (the 24, 2 x 12 configuration) from Stamp n’ Storage or this one from Organize More. I would then mount it on the size of the cabinet. Just thinking out loud right now on this. I could also order a different configuration to fit into the cabinet itself and ditch some of the shelves. The good news? I don’t have a ton of stamp pads to worry about. Just the basics for now.

I hope this little tour shows you that you don’t have to have a customized, fully tricked out room to carve out some space. The big cabinet closes up and you’d never know it held crafty goodness. The paper cabinet? Well, that’s a bit harder to hide, but again, our dining room is for making, not eating. It’s all good.

Still, I’m always thinking of things to add, or ways to improve my work flow. I’m hoping this latest round of organization will help me to get into the creative flow a bit more often.

Questions? Comments? I’m happy to answer.

Our Template Sale kicks off today at Designer Digitals! All of my templates will be on sale for 30% off, plus you can save an additional 20% off your purchase using the code: LUCKYYOU at check out. The sale ends Friday, March 24 at 6 a.m. EST. Note: new release templates will be on sale for 20% off, but you can use the coupon with those, too!


Cathy ZielskeCraft Room—er, dining room—Tour

29 Comments on “Craft Room—er, dining room—Tour”

  1. #1
    Diane Downs

    Thanks for the look-see into your space! I have a small space as well. One desk and 2 1×4 ikea shelves in our 10×10 home office. It really helps to prioritize what supplies are worth keeping. I did a major purge last month and gave everything to a local woman’s shelter. win-win!
    That stamp ink pad storage from Stamp N Storage looks an awful lot like the cassette tape holders, of which I may or may not have 6 of in my basement full of hair band tapes…. Maybe if you have one of those you could repurpose it on the cheap?

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Oh my gosh, we DO Have olden wood ones in my office closet. Of course, they presently hold Dan’s cherished cassette tapes. I may have to see if ink will fit! 🙂 But me and Dan might have to have a conversation before I make a move. lol!

  2. #2
    Sharon Faulk

    I have always admired your restraint in purchasing supplies. (Dan may disagree.) I start and keep going until all of it is purchased or, more likely, I have run out of room and/or money.

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Dan gave up years ago. He does get one corner of this space where he stacks things, and I’m not joking, FEET high. But I cannot complain about it. 🙂 Although today I literally just measured if a 4 x 4 Kallax IKEA unit would fit where the corner table is now (the place he stacks things.) I didn’t take a photo of that corner. Lol! But… Stamp ‘n Storage has units designed to fit those IKEA shelves and part of me is thinking… hmmm. THAT is where I could put stamp inks and pens and… and then I have to stop myself. 🙂

  3. #3

    I really like this post! I’m a fan of yours since about 2002 or 2003, and I’ve always liked how your space is REAL — you don’t have a “studio” like so many people these days.

    We are moving in a few months, and I’ll finally have a dedicated office/craft space again. It’ll be off the dining room, with a big window. A separate space, but it’ll be right around the corner from life, as you put it. I haven’t had crafting space for several years now, and I’m excited to be able to organize my stuff and finally be able to play again.

    I have one question for you, and it’s not even craft-related: What is that tablet stand (in the photo of the table, I think it is?)

    1. #3.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Heather! That stand… OH do I love that thing. It’s by a company called Merkury.

      I have been unable to find it for purchase online. Dan gave it to me years ago as a Christmas present and I use that thing DAILY. I watch TV at lunch on my iPad, and I use it when I’m reading books, to hold up my iPad for hands free reading. 🙂

      You should definitely check out Stamp ‘n Storage for your new space. They design stuff for use in Kallax IKEA shelves that have me drooling. OH, and there is going to be a CRAZY good giveaway on the Scrapbook and Cards Today blog on March 28th! Just sayin’…

  4. #4

    Where is the new baby? Your big shot? Will you store your dies ala J McGuire? Love the simplicity. Inspiring!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      The baby is on the dining room table presently. You can see it at the end of the table.

      Now, I did take out a few of the shelves yesterday from my paper cabinet and the Big Shot would fit in there, mostly. So for now… I’m torn as to where to store it. Still working that out!

      I do love all of Jennifer’s tips for storage. I could live in her craft room. 🙂 But, because I am not going to lie, I have my eye on the metal cards and storage box from Stamp ‘n Storage.

      I really like the idea of those metal cards and presently, I have so few dies that it could be a great way to store them. I could fit their boxes on my shelves, too, just by taking a few shelves out.

  5. #6

    I love looking at where other people create! Of course the booze is important to have close by! 🙂 Wondering what that little machine above your purse is?

    1. #6.1
      Cathy Zielske

      That is my Dymo Label printer that I use for shipping labels for my stamp business. It’s the BEST little product. Finicky at times, but it makes shipping labels so easy. I use in conjunction with it.

  6. #7

    Thank you for the awesome tour! Love seeing where people create and I love seeing real life incorporated in your pics. 🙂 Laundry on our kitchen bar is pretty much a constant except at holidays when I go all out and clean off the counter.

  7. #8

    Love your space Cathy! I have a room at the very back of the house and I hate it. It’s so far away from the family and I have stopped crafting for that reason. We have the tiniest kitchen/ dining room but you have inspired me to clear out a shelf or two. Will let you know how that goes!

  8. #9

    Love your space!! Where did you get the lower cabinets in the third picture (the one that holds albums)? You must have more albums than that?? Love how you don’t have a ton of stuff. As always, clean and simple and I love it!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      1. #9.1.1
        Cathy Zielske

        And yes! I keep embellishments in the tins you see on the big shelf. There are some silver ones and a big pink one. Plus, I do have more in my basement in an old library card file, but those are mostly just for house use, lol. Not really in circulation.

    1. #9.2
      Cathy Zielske

      My albums are mostly all in that lower cabinet. : ) And that was made for me by the same guy who made the big paper cabinet, a local craftsman from Minnesota who no longer makes stuff.

      I have albums in two other places: in my office closet upstairs (which has a lot of potential but is a present hot mess). The albums I keep there are my smaller albums (December Daily, 30 Days of Thankful). And in the cabinet where Dan stores his junk which I did not show on this post… I store the three sets of Project Life albums I did. I’m hoping to one day go into my office closet and add some kind of permanent shelving (it’s a weird shaped closet) so I can store albums in a better way.

  9. #10

    Thanks for sharing! I looked at the Organize More ink pad storage and noticed it says it does not hold Stampin Up ink pads…be aware in case those are what you have!

    1. #10.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Ah, good to know. I have REALLY old SU pads from… oh, about 2003 or 2004 down in my basement right now in my old library card file. I consider it cold storage, lol, only because I don’t access that cabinet very often. I used to have it upstairs and I thought I had a blog post about when I refinished it but I think that was before 2007, when I closed my blog for a few months.

      1. #10.1.1

        Both companies you mention make storage for SU ink pads. Just make sure you double-check which ones you pick. You’ve got me drooling with the organization supplies and the pics of your set-up. Very doable and I love that. Thanks for the peek into your life.

  10. #11

    I love that you make your house work for you and that you don’t worry about having to have a Pinterest-worthy dining space that you never use. So many people think their houses are too small when they really just need to get over what a space is “supposed” to be because of what it would be labeled on a floor plan.

  11. #12
    Megan Hoeppner

    I love your house! It’s full of character, just like those who dwell there. Thanks for the inspiring glimpse. I have an old cassette holder that I bought for ink pads but have yet to paint and put up. Do you want it? If so, I’m happy to send it your way. XO!

    1. #13.2
      Cathy Zielske

      Okay, that paper will not actually be out until June! It’s coming! I have an advance of it because I’m using it for a project in the summer issue of Scrapbook & Cards today. So hold tight!

  12. #14

    Hi, Cathy~

    I am catching up on posts I hadn’t yet read. As soon as I began reading about your storage problems and your cabinet guy being out of business, I thought I would tell you about Brett Haugen, in my town. You already know, though! Great! Very nice family…many talents!

    All the best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *