The Craft Cabinet


IMG_8967 {our dining room, free of the head chairs and centerpiece}

I never intended to become a DIY blogger, it just happened by chance.  Over a year ago I posted a tutorial showing how I had made a necklace, just for fun, and within a few weeks and many thousands of page views later, I started thinking of other tutorials I could share with readers.  In a matter of months, I went from blogging about crafts and simple projects I was creating just for fun, to purposefully thinking of tutorials that would attract readers and would garner plenty of “Pins”.  I slowly, but eventually fell into a trap last year where I wasn’t blogging what I created, but creating to blog.  It got me plenty of traffic, but left me feeling tired and anything but creative.  It also left me with very little time to complete the unfinished projects around the house, and the feeling to freely create on a whim.  By the end of 2012, I knew I wanted to blog about the things I created in a very different way.

In 2013 I’d like to continue to offer you guys DIY’s, but also the other things we create for fun or necessity.  Sometimes we(I) pigeon-hole ourselves into thinking that “creating” is all tied up in a perfectly styled tutorial, complete with pretty pictures and plenty of pins.  We forget that we have the opportunity, and often do in fact create every day, several times a day.  A freshly organized closet, a twist on a classic family recipe, a simple after school craft project with the kids; these are all ways that we in fact create a life and a home, and memories for our family.  This year I’d like to update the 4 year old family framed photos around the house, finally hang some artwork in our family room, organize a good filing system, craft more with my kids, and yes, create some pretty and unique tutorials to share with you all.  So I’ve set a challenge for myself.  Each week I’ll create something, but my challenge is to share what I’ve created, whether it’s simple and imperfectly styled, shot with my iPhone, and not at all “Pinterest worthy.”

I have 52 weeks to create a home I feel happy and content in, free of blank walls and outdated pictures staring at me.  52 weeks to get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes.  52 weeks to make messy art with my kids and sit down and spend time with them.  So going forward each Monday I’ll publish a new 52 Weeks To Create post showing how and what I created the week before.  I’m excited and feel that this will be a big part of helping me find the joy in “craft and DIY” blogging again.

Care to join me?  I’d love for us all to share ways we are creating in our lives and in our homes.  Join me on Instagram all year long (I’m @fourflights), and post your pictures of how and what you’re creating.  I find inspiration in so many things, from blogs, to magazines, books and most especially Instagram.  I’d love to share with you my favorite sources of inspiration, craft items and projects, so I’ll be giving away something new each month to one of you that joins along on Instagram.  No catch at all, you don’t even have to follow me on Instagram :)  Just use the same hashtag each month, with the month at the end for ease of categorizing, so for January, tag your posts: #52WeeksToCreateJan (in February it will be #52WeeksToCreateFeb, etc).  At the end of each month I’ll pick a winner out of those that participated!  Remember, it can be anything from organization projects, to cooking and baking, to anything crafty.  Use the tag and enter your photo in the creative pool!  The January giveaway is a $30 gift credit to The Container Store!  Start the year off right and help get your supplies and life a bit more organized and in order with the biggest selection of organization products around.  I love the Container Store and can literally spend hours in there dreaming of ways to make my life complete :)

So ready to see what I have been busy creating this last week?  Perfect organization for my craft supplies in my very own craft cabinet, that’s what.  When Hayden took over the office, we were left with zero storage for the very large abundance of arts and craft supplies we own.  In fact everything that was housed in the old office closet including extra blankets and table linens, are all now housed outside in the garage.  Our house does not have a single linen closet.  Our dining room addition does, however, have a huge recess in the wall, so it struck me a while back that it would make the perfect spot for a built-in.  We sat on the idea for the last 2 years and got various quotes and shopped around until we found someone we could trust, recommended by our friend Shelly of VanRozeboom Interiors, and was within our budget.  He completed the cabinet just before Christmas, and we spent the last couple of weeks adding lighting to the upper cabinets which saved us $1100 by doing it ourselves, and organizing it so that everything fit just right and made sense.  Apologies in advance for the awkward pictures, as I don’t have a wide enough lens to shoot properly in this small space, but hopefully you get the idea. IMG_8956 IMG_8961 IMG_8970

The upper cabinet holds all of our china and white party ware.  We wanted wooden shelves as opposed to glass, so we ended up having to add LED lighting under each shelf so the entire cabinet lit up, and we also added lighting underneath the upper so it lights up the serving area.  The lowers consist of solid door cabinets on either side, and 4 nice and large self-closing drawers.  All of the shelves are adjustable.  At this point the overall look is very minimal and clean, and it’s taking me all my might not to want to fill up the uppers with little tchotchkes, or to place crap on the serving area.  I see a horizontal surface and I want to accessorize it, I can’t help it! IMG_8982

While I had storage containers for all of our craft supplies, none of them were cohesive and when placed in the cabinet and drawers, they didn’t make the best use of the space, so I set out to find unison storage containers that would work and be affordable.  After much time shopping around and roaming the aisles of the Container Store, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, I found our solution in shoe and accessory boxes from the Container Store.  The shoe boxes were $1.89 each, and the smaller accessory boxes were $1.69 each.  They are clear so I can see what is in each box and no need for labels, and the dimensions make the best use of space.  The quality is excellent considering the price.  I used 10 shoe boxes and 4 accessory boxes, making this organization project come in just around $25. IMG_8984 The top drawer holds the majority of my jewelry supplies, including beads, wire and cording, and all my tools that I use on a regular basis.   IMG_8985 The second drawer holds my stash of fabric paints for making all those canvas bags, wrapping supplies including cute bags, washi tape and bakers twine, and a whole box dedicated just to Mod Podge items! IMG_8986 The third drawer holds my collection of special pens and markers, and the kid’s stash of markers and crayons, stickers and sparkly things for making crafts. IMG_8987 Finally, the bottom drawer holds random items like thread, glue gun, extension cord, Pantone fandecks, and my giant roll of freezer paper to create stencil crafts. IMG_8973 The left side cabinet holds my sewing machine and all of my fabric.  My machine had been banished to the garage for the last 6 months, so it’s nice to finally have a place for it so I can finally start sewing again when I have some time. IMG_8977 The right cabinet isn’t quite as pretty and organized, but it just holds the kids messy art supplies so I figure it works just fine for now.  Eventually I’d like to get all matching containers, but that’s for another time and budget. IMG_8990 IMG_8991 IMG_8993 Here are close ups of the storage containers.  They’re quite nice for how inexpensive they were, and are by far the most affordable storage option I found.  The smaller acrylic containers pictures on top, which hold my thread and some beads were a bit more expensive, and are also from The Container Store, and were $3.99 and $4.99 each.

So that’s what I was up to this past week. I feel great knowing that all of our supplies are easily accessible and everything has a place.  Organization isn’t necessary for many people to feel creative, but it’s essential for me.  When our supplies are a mess, I’d rather ignore them than even bother digging them out.   I’m hoping that this project will inspire much more creativity in the coming weeks and months of 2013.

Happy creating!

Andrea Howe

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • WOW! It looks great Andrea!
    I wish I would have taken a closer look the other day, when I dropped in.

    What an exciting goal for the year-can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  • Shelly says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out Andrea! WOW…I cannot believe how much you got in that cabinet and how well it is organized. Can’t wait to see what you do this year, you crafty girl you!

  • jenifer says:

    I’m so going to join you in this. I think this is the kick in the pants I need. I’m now 3 months postpartum but still feeling so slow and sluggish getting anything done. It could have something to do with baby always on the boob and never sleeping but I digress. I am newly addicted to Instagram so this will be fun for me! This week will definitely be a baking week!

  • When I first saw the title of this post, I was all, “What! Another Craft Cabinet party, and I missed it!?!” ;-)

    But seriously, I am wowed by what you did with the cabinet. It looks amazing. I’m still plugging away with my piddly little crafts; I will be sure to tag any Instagram pics I take just for fun!

  • Janssen says:

    I love this challenge! And wow, that is a gorgeous cabinet.

  • Leilani says:

    A place for everything and everything in it’s place. -Ben Franklin
    Can I come dig through your drawers?:) They are so orderly!

  • […] Sometimes we(I) pigeon-hole ourselves into thinking that “creating” is all tied up in a perfectly styled tutorial, complete with pretty pictures and plenty of pins.  We forget that we have the opportunity, and often do in fact create every day, several times a day.  A freshly organized closet, a twist on a classic family recipe, a simple after school craft project with the kids; these are all ways that we in fact create a life and a home, and memories for our family. ~Andrea Howe,  […]

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