Overcoming my overwhelm and letting inspiration strike

Now that may seem a strange title but let me explain. In August I received a delivery from Fellowes of some small office equipment to review. My neighbour's house sitter took in the parcels and then when I popped round to collect helped me bring them home as the largest of the boxes was, he said heavy. He wasn't wrong and later that evening I unboxed a binder (the heavy box), laminator and trimmer along with accessories to get started with the laminator and binder machine.

A delivery from Fellowes taken in by my neighbour's housesitter
unboxed and wow

It's fair to say I was pretty overwhelmed. Not only by the kit in front of me and where I would store them, but also how I could use them. I wanted to do something more creative than organise MOH's shed, labelling where he should put things (although I will do that at some point) but what exactly, I wasn't sure. The Ideas Centre on the Fellowes site helped with the inspiration, and after a little percolation I started to have some ideas.

First though I needed to address where to store them, as MOH kept saying he was getting fed up of walking past them.  I knew I had to have a bit of sort out in our study-cum-craft-room which had become our dumping ground. On the face of it the sort out looked like I'd just moved stuff into the top bedroom (and I have) but I've also rationalised what's in the study.  And the things I've moved out are in a "to be sorted" pile. 

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: BINDER, LAMINATOR AND TRIMMER

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: BINDER, LAMINATOR AND TRIMMER

Out of their boxes the items looked equally impressive; the laminator and trimmer are A3 size, which I know will be handy as often scrapbook papers are larger than the smaller A4 size. The binder - which is the heaviest item looks sleek and I think will fit inside one of the Ikea Corras units we have in the study.

I was intrigued to see inside this machine, as while I've seen many bound documents, I've not actually done any myself. It had the look of a typewriter (without the keys) if you looked quickly. If you're not sure what I mean, you're probably too young to know, so please just humour me.

The binder machine by fellowes was fascinating - I've not seen one before

A hive of activity

With space in the study almost sorted, and renewed vigour to finally tackle the collage wall that I've been collecting frames and pictures for, this weekend we set about making it happen. It seems my frames to pictures ratio is slightly out and we have many more frames than pictures. My thinking is that if we're going to go for the informal collage approach, then all the frames need to be on the wall at the same time, especially as I've pictures ranging from A2 size to A6 (postcard) size. 

I wasn't keen to have empty frames on the wall, so while I find the long-term pictures I decided to fill the frames with scrapbook paper, and so, in came the trimmer.

Trimming scrapbook paper using the Fellowes trimmer
 
Marking out where to cut using the perspex from the frame

After marking where I should cut in pencil I lined it up on the cutting line of the trimmer, which has a LED guide to help you cut just where you expected to.

Lining up the paper along the LED lit cutting line on the Fellowes trimmer

The trimmer was easy to use and easy too to trim small amounts from the edge. As well as the LED guide, the other really handy part of the trimmer was the gripper (the smoky plastic "flaps" to the left of the cutting line in the picture below) which worked well keeping the paper in place. 

trimmings cleanly alongside the trimmer by Fellowes

With my paper cut to size it was easy to add to the frame. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and with how the trimmer performed. The trimmer itself is lightweight and there's some additional cutting blades that I still need to try out. What I like about those is their integral storage - those three orange buttons in the picture below are those blades. They're easily inserted into the cutting head too, I'll let you know how I get on with those.

My completed filled frame with help from the small office trimmer from Fellowes

And isn't it always the case, that once you get started it's hard to stop?

That was me on Sunday too. 

Like many crafters - tell me I'm not alone - I have a collection of paint charts and paint strips, and an idea was starting to form for my next project, and it would make use of the laminator and the binder too. 

Trimming paint charts using the Fellowes trimmer as inspiration struck
 
With my paint chart trimmed and ready to laminate I'd overcome the overwhelm of my new office tools from Fellowes

With my paint chart cut ready, I was ready for the laminator.  But what's my project? Can you guess?  

I'll share more soon, I promise!

* This is a collaborative post, I was sent the small office equipment in this post by Fellowes for use in my creative projects in return for sharing my views and opinions. 

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On my noticeboard: December

I realised last month that my noticeboard often reflects my thoughts as well as my projects for the current month, and none more so than last month. There's often things I've picked up along the way and am unsure of what to do with, but things I know that I don't want to lose sight of just yet, so I thought I'd take this post to walk you through it.

On my noticeboard - December - in my craft room

There's been some more colouring from Johanna Basford's Christmas book. I decided to try water with some of the Staedtler pencils and was rather pleased with how it's turning out so far. I particularly like the parcel with the red bow.  There's still quite a way to go to complete this one, and maybe it'll be finished by Christmas this year!

Christmas colouring, a design by Johanna Basford, on my noticeboard

There's more hints of Christmas too.  The three die cut trees didn't make it onto my Christmas cards - I didn't get around to sharing a post on my cards this year, but these were some pretty test cuts that I either tore or need some extra cuts to complete. So instead of doing that I pinned them onto my board.

Calligraphy and christmas card cut outs - on my noticeboard

The name tag was was from my evening at the London Graphic Centre and reminded me of a calligraphy poster I did for a flower festival many years ago. I expect I've got that somewhere, so I'll try to remember to dig that out.  The robin to the right of the tag was another from the craft supplies provided for the Christmas stocking I made last month.

I've a couple of postcards too. I'm not sure where the Stick To It one came from but it seemed quite appropriate for me. The other one is one I'd found during a clear out. It's from my favourite Norfolk potter - Phillippa Lee Pottery - I'm amassing quite a collection of pie dishes, flan dishes and noodle bowls from there. And every time we go to Burnham Deepdale I have a look to see what's new. Most of the time though MOH is with me and so spending is slightly restricted, but one day... 

A couple of post cards - on my noticeboard

The papercut cards I bought at Makers & Friends, the night I started to make my own neon sign, which I still have some knotting to do on.  In fact more than before as the invisible thread has got itself knotted in the box too, hmmmn..

cards - on my noticeboard

The grey card - Sew Ho - or Soho is one of the Place in Print cards which again is apt for my craft room.  All of the cards are on the noticeboard because they're in the "pretty and not for sharing" category in my head. The diamante dots are a new purchase, in case I needed them for my Christmas cards. I didn't, and I didn't want to lose them, so they went onto the noticeboard too.

frietag pouch and a heart - on my noticeboard in December

The yellow pouch is a Freitag pouch and is made from recycled tarpaulin. This is on my board because it's bright and cheery and because I haven't worked out what to do with it yet. There will be a use for it I'm sure, I just don't know it yet. I've more to share with you soon about Freitag as on the basis of this little pouch I convinced MOH to buy me a larger bag, which I plan to use as an overnight and short trips bag, for Christmas.  More on that soon.

And finally in the top photo you might have noticed a longish strip of brown and cream striped and zig-zagged material. That's my current sewing project, and one I'm stuck on. I'm making a seat cushion for a garden bench, I think that's part of the problem, I know it won't be used anytime soon so I can't quite find the motivation. But I need to, as I want to get started with other projects and I know that if I move on without completing this the project is doomed. 

The feel good factor for this project though is that I'm recycling some of the material from our old bedroom curtains to make this seat cushion cover. I'm taking the same approach - yes freestyling - that I did for my gorgeous yellow chairsbut it feels so much slower for this larger oblong version. 

Both of those feel good, but I really wish it were done.  If you have any tips on how to get going again on a craft project, please let me know!

My craft room takes a step closer

You'll probably remember that when we put the finishing touches to our porch I was left with a "spare" set of pigeon shelves. I quickly thought they'd look great in our study and my plan to transform that room into my craft room started to take shape.  Of course I didn't mention this plan to MOH as I was certain he wouldn't agree, but what I did sell to him was that these shelves would be a great way to store some of my craft items and would free up some other space. He heard this as I wanted to hang these in the study and fill it with more of my junk!  

Which I guess is a loose interpretation of my idea. This is how they ended up.

LOADED, PRETTY AND FUNCTIONAL STORAGE

LOADED, PRETTY AND FUNCTIONAL STORAGE

Not much junk there, hey?  Well I don't think so either, MOH has another view.

Despite making a template when we hung the first set of shelves, this was nowhere to be found. I'd probably cleared it out in a spring cleaning frenzy - that, or I've put it somewhere so safe I just haven't remembered where yet.  Please tell me I'm not the only one that does that?

A CARDBOARD TEMPLATE PATCHED TOGETHER WITH WASHI TAPE

A CARDBOARD TEMPLATE PATCHED TOGETHER WITH WASHI TAPE

With a new template made and hastily mended with some washi tape it wasn't long before the screws were in and we were trying to hook the shelves onto them. This time we'd hung it higher and it wasn't so easy to notch it into place, with a few scratches of the paintwork - thankfully we've not repainted yet, phew! - it was on the wall.

HUNG SUCCESSFULLY!

HUNG SUCCESSFULLY!

So it was time to fill it up. In the middle row I added boxes, twine, handmade cards, my pincushion, some notebooks, a pen pot and a fabric tray:

HANDMADE CARDS  , TWINE, BOXES AND A PINCUSHION

HANDMADE CARDS, TWINE, BOXES AND A PINCUSHION

A BOX OF WASHI, A FABRIC TRAY AND  A MAGAZINE BOW

A BOX OF WASHI, A FABRIC TRAY AND A MAGAZINE BOW

SOME NOTEBOOKS, POSTCARDS AND A POT FOR PENS

SOME NOTEBOOKS, POSTCARDS AND A POT FOR PENS

On the bottom there were storage boxes of ribbons, trimmings and bias binding, a pot of crochet hooks, some wool that I've promised to knit MOH some socks with and a photo frame waiting to be filled:

RIBBONS, BIAS BINDING AND TRIMMINGS

RIBBONS, BIAS BINDING AND TRIMMINGS

SPACE FOR A PHOTO, CROCHET HOOKS AND WOOL FOR SOCKS

SPACE FOR A PHOTO, CROCHET HOOKS AND WOOL FOR SOCKS

Which left room on the top shelf for more functional storage of buttons and threads, card blanks, my letter stamps and another pretty box and a ball of wool that my plan was to crochet some coasters from.  I still need to learn to crochet, one day soon maybe!

THREAD AND PLENTY OF BUTTONS

THREAD AND PLENTY OF BUTTONS

MORE WOOL AND A PRETTY BOX

MORE WOOL AND A PRETTY BOX

CARD BLANKS, ENVELOPES AND   MY LETTER STAMPS

CARD BLANKS, ENVELOPES AND MY LETTER STAMPS

Stepping back I was quite pleased with how it looked, but surprised how quickly I'd filled it!  The one in the porch still has some empty spaces because I'm looking for the right things to fill them - I think I could have filled this one twice over, but don't tell MOH!

And you can see it's alongside my new rainbow board too, with these two additions it's given this wall a brand new lease of life. 

shelves and rainbow board

And my craft room is really starting to come together - and MOH is resigned to the fact too!