Thursday, February 28, 2013

Simple Photo Backdrop Day 28 Feng Shui

paper hanging from door over table
I have set up photo areas in my laundry room, dining room and studio. I use them a lot and then they sit for long periods unused.

It's a pain to set them up for a single photo but I don't need the photo area frequently enough to live with mess.

The best natural light in the house is in my studio so it makes sense to stage photos here. I had taken a sheet of paper and clipped it to a bookcase but I couldn't get to my books and people kept bumping the clamps when they walked past.

I had a huge "duh" moment. I almost never close the studio door and it adjoins the bookcase. I attached the heavy white paper to the door and stored a small folding table behind the door.

It's a quick set up for small photos and out of the way when not used.
paper hanging from door

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tool Box Day 27 Feng Shui

tool box

I had tools in the back of my car, a kitchen drawer, various desk drawers and shelves so I did the easy thing and used my daughter's since her tools are in a handy toolbox. It was becoming embarrassing to keep using her stuff so I went to the hardware store and got one of those fancy, new-fangled tool holders.

top of tool box

The top has one of my favorite items, carabiners.They corral jump drives, hold keys, and dangle off my Jeep bumper for tying objects to the roof.

The other side holds extra screw driver heads, socket and allen wrenches. nails, screws

top insert of tool box

The top tray holds:
a first aid kit, a didn't claim I was adept
bungie cords
assorted tape measures
screw drivers
Dremel bits

tool box full of tools

The bottom contains:

a Leatherman multifunction tool
swiss army knife
a couple of Leatherman type tools

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Storing Seldom Used Paper Day 26 Feng Shui

paper stacked in desk

I used to buy fancy scrapbook paper. I don't use it anymore since I now print photo books but I hate to toss all that acid free paper. I use it now occasionally for collage or bookbinding but I don't do that often. This paper was stored in under my huge desk and now it has it's own cubbie.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Too Many Books Day 25 Feng Shui

book shelf

I used to use moving as a way to cull books but I've been here a bit too long and the books are taking over.

I have several cases of books throughout the house, heck, they are even stacked on the floor, so some weeding needs to occur. I have so many books I don't remember which ones I own. I found that out when I bought some books that I already own and meant to read. (This happens more frequently than I care to admit.)

Normally I would donate them to the library or sell them at a used bookstore. The bookstore offered me $2 for a stack of pricey design books. I thought it was an error so I brought them to another used bookstore and they offered a $1. Really... I decided to try selling them on Amazon and sold one the same day for $24.50. Booaya! OK, I paid more than $24.50 and the Amazon commission is huge but it's still a lot better than a fraction of $2. I got $93 for an art text book that I paid $125 for. The college bookstore offered me $23.

It's easy to set up a selling account and they transfer the funds to my checking account. I do have to pack the books and ship them but that's easy and you can buy postage online. I did lose money shipping a very heavy, over sized book but as long as the value is over $10 it feels worthwhile. The books valued under $10 I donate.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Everything Looks Better in Black Day 24 Feng Shui

painted blacked shelving unit

We made this shelving unit several years ago and it was painted green with a Danish Oil finish. Danish Oil makes the paint very sturdy but it can't withstand a wet, black leather glove. The glove left a black mark on the top so I painted it orange.

I really like orange but not that shade. The bathroom cabinets look so good I decided to paint this shelf black as well. It was a good choice.

painted blacked shelving unit with towels and sculpture

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Updating 1970s Era Bathroom Stock Cabinets Day 23 Feng Shui

bathroom cabinets before

The upstairs bathroom has homely, dated cabinets that needed refinishing. The photo makes them look much worse than they were but I have to admit they looked dreadful.

I was torn between removing the cabinets or refinishing them in the spring but went for option C, paint.

bathroom cabinet drawer before

I removed the hardware, and scrubbed them with my sure fire combo, Palmolive dish soap, water and a Magic Eraser sponge. You can see the gloss and grime are gone. I have to wear gloves with a Magic Eraser since it's tough on my skin but it cleans like, I hate to say it, magic. The varnish was the original 1970s finish, not polyurethane.

bathroom cabinet drawer after painted black

I painted the cabinets with black paint, added new knobs from Ikea and the entire project cost less than $50.  I did paint the other 2 cabinet doors but for now I like the look of the open shelves.

I need to let the paint fully dry before I refill the cabinets but I got all this done in a day.

Follow up March 2014:
The paint I used was Blickrylic, economy acrylic polymer from the art store Blick. I painted the kitchen cupboards the same way and both have held up well. I chose this paint because I like the smooth finish and if I want to repaint it's easily accomplished. I found a dried spill on the kitchen cupboards, the surface washed clean but I wouldn't consider it to be a scrubbable surface. The original finish wasn't scrubbable either so that doesn't bother me.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Begone Clutter Day 22 Feng Shui

bags of charity merchandise
This is one of the best ways to clutter clear, have a charity service pick it up. These are waiting for the nice driver from Courage Center.

The swim fins work well but I replaced them with better ones that will fit into a carry on suitcase. The ones I donated need to go in checked baggage.

I have some  storage boxes that don't match, clothes that don't fit or don't make me happy. I probably should have taken them to a resale shop but they had too many rules.

The resale shop wanted everything ironed, I have an iron somewhere but I wear my clothes wrinkled. Why would I want to iron them just to send them away? They also wanted everything on wire hangers. I've seen the trailer for Mommie Dearest and I think I know how that turns out.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vintage Red Office Labels Day 21 Feng Shui

vintage office label

I scanned some antique labels and converted them to vectors. They were applied to the metal picnic baskets with tape.

Most of my baskets are natural printed but these 2 are a bit more wild.

yellow plaid metal picnic basket

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ikea Boxes Update Day 20 Feng Shui

brown ikea boxes

 It took awhile but all 20 Ikea boxes are assembled and filled. The natural cardboard is discontinued but I like it a lot.

The boxes look so much nicer when I use printed labels vs hand written.

It's a little ironic to have a box for checks since I almost never write them anymore. I got my first checking account at age 12 and I doubt I wrote that many checks in the last 5 years years.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Charcoal Supplies Day 19 Feng Shui

artist charcoal in glass jars
My charcoal art supplies used to be in a tackle box and got everything messy. Vine charcoal would break and I had blending stomps everywhere.

I have some vintage jars that weren't food safe since they had a flint glass tint (purple from lead content) and  zinc lids fit them nicely.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mirror To See The Doorway Day 18 Feng Shui

mirror on desk
A basic feng shui principle is not not sit with your back to the door. The problem is my desk is a huge L shape and  I don't want windows to be reflected in the computer screen.

I can only have the desk in one spot but the door is behind me. I put a mirror in the corner about a foot above my head and now I can see at a glance anyone who walks in.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Clean Up To Smile About Day 17 Feng Shui

smile face dust pan

I found this cute dust bin at World Market and it will be perfect for my many art related messes. I just need to figure out how to stop getting India ink on the ceiling.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Daleks in Jello Day 16 Feng Shui

daleks in vintage stacking jello mold

I kept planning to get rid of this jello mold since it just sits in a cupboard but it's so cool.

Right now it only holds Bakelite push pins, lady bug push pins, cyber men and daleks. The Daleks probably should be kept separate from the cyber men since they could conspire against me and those pins are sharp.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lead Crystal Curtain Day 15 Feng Shui

crystals in a window

The next door neighbor used to be a pleasant woman who was friendly and kind. She eventually relocated and a troll moved in.

He is such a negative person that I put up a wall of lead crystals to break up his energy. This is the only window that faces him and the garage adjoins his property so contact is minimal.

The afternoon sunlight leaves little rainbows throughout my studio.

Some of the crystals were purchased in gift shops over the years and I kept them in a bowl. I was in Lowes and spotted a homely chandelier on clearance and took it apart. Now I have a bead curtain of lead crystal. The crystals are suspended from a small curtain rod.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Inaccessible Bulletin Board Day 14 Feng Shui

magnetic bulletin board covered with papers

I had a magnetic bulletin board over my desk and it it only had a few problems.

I ignored everything on the surface.

The span was too great to access easily.

I had to stand on a stool to get behind the iMac.

OK, this doesn't sound terribly useful.

magnetic bulletin board covered with single poster

This isn't a permanent solution but the simple poster is more pleasant that a board of neglected reminders.

I scanned most of the papers and put them in tidy computer files where I can ignore them more efficiently.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No More Messy Bar Soap Day 13 Feng Shui

bars of soap in a pink bowl
Bar soap never dries at the cabin so I got liquid soap for there. We don't leave liquids over the winter so I had an extra bottle that ended up by the downstairs bathroom sink.

It was normally almost impossible to clean but thanks to the liquid soap we no longer have a scummy sink.

I've been wanting to change out all the soap but I have so many soap bars it bothers me to toss it.

I walked into the other bathroom and there was a puddle of soapy water around a nasty cracked bar. Why the heck am I keeping something I don't like and isn't working well for us? It felt very liberating to toss the whole mess.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cup of Hooks and Chemicals Day 12 Feng Shui

cups filled with art and craft supplies

One of the mugs contains nasty chemicals. I use the Simichrome to test for Bakelite and shine silver. The silver tubes are vehicle paint and Shoe Goo is for a pair of shoes that keep loosing their sole.

I had crochet hooks in 3 drawers and in a pencil container. The rug hooks were in a downstairs closet, the embosser doesn't fit any where and the ink stone brush and bamboo pen can't live with my other brushes. It's good to have them in one place.

When I locate my ink stones I'll put the all the Chinese ink things together.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hard Drive Shift Day 11 Feng Shui

stack of 3 external hard drives

hard drives in a white planter
I kept the back up hard drives in storage bags under the Mac. They were handy but tended to be covered by office papers. I moved them into a vintage planter alongside the computer.

Now they are a bit more accessible and the 3 drives fit nicely in the container. Surrounding the Mac with white has been quite pleasant.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ikea To The Rescue Day 10 Feng Shui

messy shelves

This corner is a bit of mess. I have 6 styles of cardboard storage boxes; even the white ones are different shades of white with a variety of hardware. Most of the boxes are unmarked and I have no idea what they hold.

I'll keep the painted wood cheese boxes but the cardboard ones need to coordinate. Dum Da Dum, Ikea to the rescue.

I put stuff that I want to photograph and sell (my goal is to get some of my money back) in the white boxes and stored them outside of my studio. They have spiffy new labels and look so much better.

The red boxes were re-purposed to hold hats, lap pool equipment, wallets, and bandannas in my closet. The Christmas themed boxes are going to be given to a woman at my husband's office and map one is going to hold small car junk in my Jeep.

unassembled ikea storage boxes

Ikea had some cardboard boxes that will suit my needs nicely. I really like the look of the natural cardboard.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sorting Gouache From Watercolors Day 9 Feng Shui

glass jars with paint tubes

We sorted many of the things stored at the cabin in glass jars to keep out marauding mice; it worked so well I started doing it at home.

Fortunately, we dont't have the occasional mouse, but it's still a good system. I used to collect vintage jars and they mostly sat empty, stored in the highest kitchen cabinet.

The small tubes of paint were kept together in a large plastic food container. It's nice to have they two types of paint separated since they tend to mess up my palette when I don't pay enough attention.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Washi Tape Day 8 Feng Shui

bowl of washi tape

Why did I keep all this tape near the computer? A large bowl of colorful tape in a cupboard is much better than the tipsy pile that was on my desk. I don't even use it that often so it didn't merit that much prime real estate.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saving My Wood Floors Day 7 Feng Shui

bottom of chair leg

The wood floors have taken a lot of abuse by the dogs but the biggest problem has been chair scrapes.

I've tried several chair coasters that haven't worked very long but I'm hoping these Magic Sliders I found at the Container Store will be better.

You put the double stick on the slider and affix it to the chair leg. I can't say how well they are working since anything should be good on the first day. The floors need to be refinished but I'm hoping this limits the damage until they can be redone next spring.  The package indicates the sliders shouldn't be used on refinished floors until 4 months have passed.

I know a lot of feng shui is charts and such but to me it's good design, clearing clutter, fixing things that bother you and trying to make your surroundings run smoother.

package of chair sliders

chair slider attached to leg

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Orgainizing Dry Art Supplies Day 6 Feng Shui

containers of art supplies

I am fortunate to have a surplus of handmade pottery and prefer to use items with personal significance rather than purchased items. Most of these pots were done last December by my daughter, I only made 2.

They are on the back left side of my desk and are mostly used when working in my art journal. I used to have them stored in an art cabinet but having them closer should work more efficiently. The contents include Prismacolor markers, Sharpies, Pens, Pitt Pens, Colored Sharpies, Pencils, Watercolor pencils, Staedtler pens, Carbon and Charcoal, Pigma Pens, Color swatches for frequently used printed colors and kneaded erasers.

The print color swatches have the CMYK and Pantone numbers on them. I have Pantone chips stored inside my desk but it's nice to see the Epson printed examples when planning colors. I have an Illustrator file that I can add colors to when I find new combinations that are pleasing. I was surprised how long these took to do but it was time well spent.

containers of art supplies

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shifted My Easel Day 5 Feng Shui

easel in artist studio
My easel used to face the other direction. It looked better when you came in the door but there was no decent light.  What a stupid reason to position an easel.

I used to have my acrylic paint in a trug but it would become very dusty if I went a long time without painting. I think a metal picnic basket will work better.
vintage metal picnic basket

Monday, February 4, 2013

Recycled Comic Book Covers For Notebooks Day 4 Feng Shui

comic book covers on blank books

I did a tutorial at It's About Art and Design on how to make these handy little notebooks. They are simple and cute; I made about 40 of them in less than an hour.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Prettier Shampoo Bottles Day 3 Feng Shui

5 bottles of shampoo

We have a lot of shampoo and shower gel bottles next to the tub and they have been bothering me.

I went to the Container Store and bought identical translucent plastic bottles. I have some lovely cobalt blue ones left from another project that I would have preferred to use but that seems dangerous. We frequently drop the plastic bottles so glass is not a good choice.

I will keep an eye out for waterproof labels or color coded caps. This will look nicer and keeps everyone on their toes; it's like a bath time quiz.

I'm justifying expanding my feng shui project to the upstairs bathroom since that is my water source. I would love to have a sink in my studio but this works.

5 translucent plastic bottles filled with various colored liquids

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Taming Electronic Clutter and Mystery Cords Day 2 Feng Shui

electronics cord with tag

When I buy new electronics I think I won't forget what this cord is for; I am consistently wrong...

Now I label all cords for electronics as soon as they are purchased.

I take labeled key tags and put them on the cord. Many of my cords are smaller than the metal keyring so I make a loose knot and keep the tag in the knotted section.

Cords are kept tidy by velcro bands.

Many of my electronics are used in low light conditions so I put blue painters tape on the side that goes up. Whatever I plug into will also have blue painters tape and the blue sides match up. No more bent pins.

I have a box of mystery cords, some dating back to the 1980s, that I put into zip lock bags. The bags are marked to toss in a year. If I haven't needed the cords in that time I probably will never miss them.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Taming Paper Clutter Day 1 Feng Shui

pile of papers

I decided to do a a new project a day for a month. I figured you can do anything for about 30 days and a month gives me enough time to truly explore a subject.

I have a lengthy list of artistic endeavors planned but since my studio is a disaster zone; Feng Shui is in the starting lineup for February. I have a lovely Epson V500 photo scanner that can also scan slides but for some reason I haven't used it for receipts and important papers.  I will be better.

I started by going through 2 grocery bags of receipts from last year, darn tax season, and scanned the ones I need to keep. The IRS is fine with scanned receipts so that's good enough for me. Some stores will only accept original receipts so I am keeping them on a yearly basis in Ikea storage boxes.

The nice thing is, I can look them up more easily in my new tidy folders on the computer. I have all my files saved in multiple backups as well as burned to a disk that is kept with my tax papers. One of the external backups is stored outside my home just in case something happened here.

Many of my receipts are almost unreadable since some stores seem to print the information with self destructing ink.

The file structure is taxes by year, with sub folders for the different categories. Charity items are photographed and stored with their receipts.

Major purchases have their own folders and include instruction sheets. The dogs have their own folders and contain everything from puppy papers to vaccination records. The naming format is year-month-date_dog name_subject. 2013-01-07_Zelda_rabiesCert. I use zero in font of single digit numbers since they are easier to read when everything lines up.