Category Archives: making

a new desk: before and after, and a mess


BEFORE:

Frances' Room 2

Here’s a shot of F’s desk area from her baby days. We used the elfa system from the Container Store because we knew that it would easily grow with her, and it was definitely time to grow! The green Eames chair was just there for that photo, but F had a smaller green desk chair that she received as a first birthday gift from her grandparents.

You can see it buried there if you look closely. It’s underneath the avalanche of school items she brought home and her continuous collection of recyclable material. (Somewhat) in her defense, I had collected everything in her room into one place and dumped it all there so that the rest of the room was neat and orderly for vacation packing. Still, this area was driving me nuts.

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These photos in the middle are crappy and ill-lit, but it was also after midnight on the day we had traveled home from vacation. I brought M along on my before-sunrise jaunt to the lighthouse, which meant we had been up in the 4 o’clock hour (central time) that morning. So naturally, 21 hours into our day, we decided to put together a new desk in a half darkened room, next to the sleeping birthday girl.

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It took awhile, but mostly because we were trying to be quiet and we were also exhausted. We kept dropping things (loudly), and the drywall anchors for the magnetic strip didn’t work, so M had to raid the basement stash. I just piled all the mess up in the other corner of the room, and we did our best to get everything set up for the morning. I also wrapped E’s birthday gifts from her sister because she had passed out in her own bed before doing it.

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I set up this little birthday chain of kids on top of the desk, and we left her other wrapped gifts on the desk.

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She was still pretty sleepy in the morning – so sleepy that she didn’t even notice the changes at first, but afterwards she was really excited for the new space.

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If you look back at the before photo, the desktop was about even with the top of the outlet to the right. It’s about 6″ higher at this point, and works well with the Eames chair that I moved back up here.

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We raised the shelf on the left up, and added to pull out drawers to corral the art supplies. This allowed us to remove the bins that were always overflowing and took up a lot of precious work space. Now she has a ton more space to work on important projects, and it’s easier to see her supplies in the drawers. We have room for a third drawer if we get rid of that second shelf, but we’ll see how she uses the space she has first. We already had that shelf, so if it’s still functional, that’s great. 

Desk 1

We didn’t buy any additional art supplies because the girls already have plenty. My parents did buy the magnetic pieces and accessories that span between the vertical desk standards and add more supply storage that’s off the desktop. There are a few clear bins that have crayons and glues and erasers, some hooks for tape and triangles, these cute loops that hold her scissors collection – all of these just snap into the bracket – some magnetic glass topped containers that will be full of treasures soon, I’m sure… and plenty of fun magnets.

Desk 2

Desk 3

They don’t make the snap in magnetic bracket with the slots in a 30″ width, which is the width of the desk pieces on the right (where the chair is). But they suggested this magnetic strip which screws into the wall and is the same height as the bracket on the right. I picked out aqua and lime colored magnets, and couldn’t resist the birdie set either, right?

Desk

I haven’t changed much on the walls in this area over the last eight years, added a few things, subtracted others. This little desk area just makes me happy. I’ve been missing this kid this week – can’t wait to see her back and busy in this space.

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PS – here’s the other gift she got – a tent and lantern for her mice!

Desk 5

“super” raffle posters

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I haven’t been to bed before midnight in a week, and I’ve promised myself to be there by ten tonight. That’s in eleven minutes, so I’m typing at breakneck speed – I’ll do a quick edit in the morning and then post this. I’m just so excited to have a camera again, and so I’ve been playing around with it some this weekend. I shot some of these photos early this morning, and I was pretty rushed to get out the door to set up for the annual soiree at the girls’ elementary school. I’m glad I took the time to take the photographs though, I love to look back on these each year. There are a few process shots thrown in as well.

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This year’s theme was Super Soulard Soiree – it had a pop art / comic book / super hero kind of vibe to it. I decided to take this really bold, graphic approach with paper as my medium, which gave the posters a really nice handcrafted feel. The top poster above was the crowd favorite, and the last one that I completed. E punched green paper with a hole punch for an hour while I glued the dots on in a grid to form the planet. Then I used two shades of gray to make the buildings, assembling them around the globe. I wove curved rainbow streamers through the building, and this poster was called “Save the World”. It featured lots of civic and good citizen minded prizes, plus a large gift certificate to Peacemaker Lobster & Crab just around the corner from us.

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I loved this second poster – “Kryptonite”. The description asked “What’s your kryponite?” – carbs, beer, working out, etc. I drew inspiration for the background from Lichentstein’s Still Life with Crystal Bowl, and cut dozens of black strips of paper. Then I made dimensional green kryptonite exploding in the center. I love the way it turned out. A bird pooped on it at the end of the event, so maybe pigeon poop is your kryptonite!

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The idea I got most excited about was for this third poster, “What’s Your Super Power?” The prize was full of experiences – music, art, fitness – so many different things to try out and explore. I decided to take inspiration from Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, and opened three of them, with some comic book bubbles asking the questions Could I? Should I? Maybe I Will. At one point I entertained the idea of doing the Campbell’s logo, but even I have my limits. I actually like the simplicity here.

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The last poster was “Lightning Power for a Rainy Day” – it had so many awesome things to do in the summer when it’s raining outside. I had plenty of inspiration for this one last week. The BAM! in the center is dimensional with gold and red sticking out, and I love how the white dot pattern – stretched out into raindrops – turned out. Lots of measuring and marking on these four posters to get them to turn out right.

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The afternoon was perfect – sunny, 70, with a light breeze. The decorations were so much fun – my friend Becky orchestrated all of that, and there was a great crew there Sunday morning setting everything up.

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I’ve heard rumors it was the most successful soiree to date – which is really exciting to hear after all the hard work from everyone.

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I “borrowed” a few of the centerpieces, and tucked them around the house. I was seriously worn out by dinner time, but rallied to do a few more things before bed. My goal this week is to be in bed by 10pm each night – we’ll see how that works out! It was nice to celebrate and visit with friends on such a beautiful afternoon.

holiday wrappings

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I’m never really sure where I’m going to end up each Christmas when I start putting packages together. This year I found myself gravitating towards these ‘peacock’ colored envelopes for my cards, and so I ended up picking up some wrapping paper in the same color. I had some gold twine on hand, and some coppery paper scraps that I thought might look good with it, so I decided to fully embrace the metallics and picked up a long (and slightly tacky) garland that I cut into smaller pieces. I think they sort of resemble feathers.

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They work well for traveling – they stack easily and don’t get smashed in the process. I went looking for boxes for baking items, and found these shiny peacock colored ones – only they photograph as bright blue because of their shininess, so they don’t look so matchy in these photos.

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We packaged up a dozen of our ginger-apricot-chocolate cookies with some Naughty Vicar from The London Tea Room for friends’ gifts, and I delivered most of those last night before heading over to watch the rest of the family, and E’s youth group, ice skating in Forest Park.

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I have the teacher gifts put together as well – I’ll probably send those with E tomorrow, even though school’s not out for another week. These are good sizes for middle school teachers – it gets a little trickier when the kids have eight teachers, but we still like to so something sweet for them for the holidays. We made a holiday assembly line on Tuesday night and knocked out all the string tying and box assembling and labeling, and yesterday afternoon was a marathon baking session at the house. We had girls scouts making six dozen cookies for a local charity, and then I also made the majority of our baked gifts. Just a couple more making items for next weekend, and we’re wrapped up.

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