workspace clean up, before & after

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump lately. There are a number of reasons that have contributed, one of which was the fact that the mess of my studio and desk was getting out of control to the point where there wasn’t a clean surface for me to actually work on!


It’s been on my schedule to clean up my desk for weeks now.

I’d made a few false starts before, but would always get overwhelmed and find something more interesting to do. Last night I finally got focused. This time I told myself I would just dive in and not stop until it was done! It worked!

I got the surface clean, and even windexed it til it squeaked (which wasn’t hard considering it’s a glass table).


I was proud of my accomplishment, but after posting the images to twitter, I got a couple comments that made me pause.

@kimikobashi said, ah! i need to do that. but it almost looks like no one works there! 🙂

@jessicagowling declared, scary – i dont like empty spaces – clinical and weird. GET SOME ART, BOOK PILES AND MESS ON THERE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I definitely saw their points, and I decided I’d have to take another photo with my desk set up for working. I was done for the night, but this morning I went about setting up my desk to get ready for painting. Then I took the “after-after” shot.


There’s some creative decoration/clutter, but plenty of space to work. The last photo makes me feel even more satisfied than the second completely clean surface. To me it’s inviting and organized, and makes me want to sit there for a while and make some art, which is exactly what I was after!

What do you prefer for your workspace? A totally clean surface so you can focus on your task? A few knick-knacks to keep you company? Or the more chaos the better?

Mailbox Fail

A few days ago, our trusty old mailbox’s door hinge broke. Time for a new one!

I went to the hardware store and picked out a basic black steel box. I also picked up a can of yellow spray paint.

Since I wanted to have black numbers, I decided the easiest way would be to make stickers of the numbers to stick on the box before I sprayed it yellow.

Improvising with what I had, I used the sticky side of a laminating sheet to make the number stickers. I first printed the numbers on paper, and taped it to the sheet.


I cut out the first number, and then discovered I’d taped the paper on the wrong side! I hadn’t really thought about it when I taped it, so now I had one backwards 2.


I flipped the laminating sheet around and cut out the remaining numbers (plus an extra non-backwards 2).


After peeling off the backing, I taped the clear number stickers to the box, along with a number of triangle stickers to make a pattern around the address.



After the first coat of yellow spray paint, I realized I probably should have gotten some primer, or at least sprayed a coat of metallic paint first.

It took a number of coats to get the fully saturated bright yellow.


Unfortunately I didn’t get all the coats completed the first day, so had to wait for another bright, sunny, not windy day to finish the last coat.

Finally I was able to reveal the numbers!


(Note that the newspaper I put down to protect the deck railing worked great–except for the parts of the railing that weren’t covered! oops!)

Since I removed the stickers after the paint was completely dry, some of the edges chipped off, but from far away you couldn’t really tell, so I was happy with the results.

I grabbed a screw driver and my new yellow mailbox and went to make the switch.

It wasn’t until I got the two mailboxes together that I realized a big problem. The new mailbox is too small!


I could hardly believe it! It doesn’t even look so much smaller, but it won’t fit on the existing plank.


So I’m back to square one. I really think it’s funny that I went through the whole process and never thought to check that I got the right mailbox in the first place. Coincidentally (and luckily), my brother also needs a new mailbox. He doesn’t even mind that it’s yellow! He’ll be able to put the smaller one to good use, and I get to make myself another yellow mailbox. 🙂

Live and learn!