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Archive for Craft Room

post-deadline goals

Now I’m over my deadline, I finally have time to make a dent in the huge to-do list of ideas I’ve amassed over the past few months while I’ve been too busy to work on any of them. I have 4 projects on the go already, but ‘reorganise craft room/office’ has to be the most important (if boring) of them all.

I’m posting this now in the hope that I’ll finally be able to show you pics of my craft room next week (something I’ve been planning for a long time but it’s always too embarrassingly disorganised to photograph). I hope you’ll forgive a little mess – it’s a working room and I have a lot of craft supplies, so it’s just not possible to ever get it completely tidy!

crocheted orangutan and tissue paper flowers by planetjune

For now, here’s a little sneak peek of the top of the cubbies that sit on one of my desks. One of the nicest things about making pretty things is getting to look at them: here’s my orang utan and my tissue paper carnations. In a crazy ‘night before the deadline’ moment, I decided my orang utan looked a little hungry and freeform crocheted a little amigurumi banana for him (that’s not weird, is it?!). I think he looks much happier now – what do you think?

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photo studio for craft tutorials

Yesterday on Twitter I let slip that I had just turned in the manuscript for my new book! I’m so excited – I’ve been wanting to write this book for a long time and I’ve finally had the chance. I’ll share details of the book itself closer to publication – there’s still a long process of editing and printing to go through before it’ll hit the shelves.

This is the big secret project I’ve been alluding to for months, and the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like to for a long time – so now I have some catching up to do! I’ve been making lists of things I’d like to do ‘when I finish the book’ – new patterns, new products for the shop, and a lot of improvements I’d like to make to the website. And my craft room/office is in serious need of organisation…

As I’m the photographer as well as the author of my book, I had to develop some novel methods for taking print-quality photos with only two hands at my disposal! I thought I’d share the method I came up with for taking step-by-step photos that include my hands – you’ll see the benefit of this when I next make a tutorial, as the pictures should be much improved with this new setup.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering how I took this shot of myself at work, I used a 2nd camera on a 2nd tripod with a 10-second self-timer!)

tutorial photography setup by planetjune

A: White bristol board used as a seamless backdrop

B: 2 very bright lamps aimed at the backdrop to make it as white as possible in the photos

C: 2 less bright lamps aimed at my hands (one on each side of the camera) to light them without shadows

D: This is where the camera is pointing – at my hands

E: My DSLR camera on a tripod, angled so that I can comfortably look through the viewfinder as I sit

F: (Out of shot) Remote detonator control for my camera so that I can operate it with my toe when I have the perfect shot set up

I bought the remote control on eBay and it’s literally changed my photo-taking life. I’ve always had to take my tutorial photos by setting up the shot, moving my right hand to press the shutter release while keeping my left hand hand still, then scrambling to get my right hand back into position before the 10-second timer ran down and the picture was taken… Now I can just press the remote button with my toe (minimal dexterity required) at the appropriate time and I don’t need to use the camera’s timer at all. Huge, huge improvement.

Of course, this isn’t the only way, or even the best way, to light for this kind of photography, but it works for me and only cost me 2 cheap IKEA work lamps, 2 clip-on spotlights, and a sheet of bristol board, all of which I already had from my light box (shown below, click through if you’d like details of that too):

lightbox setup by planetjune

So, when you see the clear and helpful pictures in my new book, you’ll know exactly how I managed to take them – I hope this hasn’t ruined the magic! But seriously, if you make tutorials, I hope this little glimpse into my lighting setup has been helpful 🙂

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trinket shelves

I have lots of little ornaments etc and nowhere to put them, so I made some basic shelves to display them. I had some wood cut at the hardware store to fit the space above my computer desk. I sanded and primed the wood:

shelves in progress

Then I spray-painted the shelves this gorgeous greyish purple colour and mounted them on the wall with brackets:

craft room shelves

I just threw some of my trinkets up quickly so I can see how the shelves look. In case you’re wondering, most of the little ornaments are made by me from crochet, orgami, needlefelting, polymer clay, sewing, or beading. The rest are artwork, travel souvenirs, and a few other bits and pieces.

I’m really happy with how the shelves turned out – my favourite part was discovering that the wooden chickadee and flying piglet can hang from the brackets. Now I get all the fun of unearthing all my other favourite treasures and rearranging everything!

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displaying finished work

Do you ever have the problem of figuring out what to do with things after you make them? Unless a handmade item is a gift or something wearable, I usually don’t know what to do with it, and it ends up buried in a pile of ‘stuff’ or hidden in a box and very rarely gets seen – such a waste!

My craft room really needs some decorative interest; it is still completely unaccessorized apart from my glass toy shelves and some origami in the window. So, I’ve decided that I should try to display some more of the things I’ve made, without making the room look too busy and cluttered. This is going to be a long-term project, and I’ll show you my progress as I come up with ideas.

felt sea creatures on display
Click for larger image

My supercute felt sea creatures have been homeless for months, so my first task was to find a way to show them off. I sewed up a quick pennant yesterday using the leftover lining fabric from my laptop sleeve, reinforced with some fusible interfacing on the inside back so it won’t stretch under the weight of the animals. I hung each animal on a simple loop of embroidery floss through the topmost blanket stitch, brought the floss ends through to the back of the pennant, and knotted the ends together. The long tall design means it fits perfectly down the side of my bookcase, so it looks good AND fills a space I hadn’t previously considered as useable.

I think having more of my work visible like this will add a lot more personality to the room. Stay tuned for more craft room progress posts 🙂

Comments (4)

chair makeover

Although I have my new leather desk chair in my craft room, I stored my old chair in the basement, just in case. I saw a great post (‘save your old chair with a new look’) on IKEA Hacker a few weeks ago, and recognised my boring old Svenning chair given a fantastic makeover. Well, I do have two desks in my craft room, so having two chairs wouldn’t be a bad idea…

I went to the fabric store and managed to find some fabric in the exact colour scheme I used to crochet the throw for my other chair!

matching fabric

Holly’s method involved removing the old fabric from the chair, and then stapling the new fabric over the chair padding. I don’t have a staple gun, and after reading about Holly’s stapling difficulties, I decided to try a different method to attach the new fabric. I removed the backing fabric from the seat, and the plastic backing from the back rest, but left the original fabric stapled to both parts.

seat with backing removed

I stretched the new fabric over each piece and pinned it roughly in place so the dots pattern would be straight. Using a curved upholstery needle and strong thread, I stitched around the underside of the seat, sewing the new fabric to the old fabric.

upholstery needle

I used a combination of running stitch for speed and backstitches for extra security every few stitches and around the corners. No need to be too neat – none of this is visible in the finished chair.


When I’d finished sewing, I trimmed the excess fabric, leaving about an inch beyond my stitches.

all sewed up

I reattached the plastic back to the back, and blanket stitched the original backing fabric to the seat, to hide the raw edges.

blanket-stitched underside

And the result? Better then new!

finished chair

I love it!

finished chair

Comments (13)

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