Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Story Central: Simply Amazing

I began the task of scrapbooking in a rather modest fashion, as a 29-year-old young, stay-at-home mom, working at the breakfast table with a stash of supplies that would fit into a Craftstor bin. 

Did you have one, too? I was rather proud of that bin. And then I required a second matching bin. And the coat closet, seldom used in the gulf winters of Houston, gave way to usher in a scrapbook closet. And before too much longer, the dining room became the formal living room, and the formal living room became a combination home office and scrapbook space. 

And that was just in the first house. I am about 3 months short of the 23rd anniversary of that day I went to that fated, memorable Creative Memories class. ;-) And in that span of time, over the course of twenty-three years, I have worked in the above scenarios: in the corner nook of a playroom, on the side of a bedroom, in 1/3 of a bonus room, in one corner of a home gym, in 1/2 of a home office, and now, finally, in the fifth home in which I've scrapped, and for the first time ever, I finally have my own whole room, dedicated completely to me, designed exclusively for me. It feels like heaven.

Of course, my style of scrapbooking has evolved and tectonically shifted as much in all the time which spans over two decades, just as the space in which I've worked. Thank goodness. ;-) I'm so glad I live in a scrapbooking world that contains the goodness of Echo Park, Carta Bella, and Simple Stories, all companies that have come along in the last ten years or so, companies that have come along "after the scrapbooking boom ended".

When we set about to move to our downsized nest, a downstairs study for my scrap space was on the must have list. When we found and selected the first house's floor plan, the Samuel, which had a 12 x 15 study, I was ecstatic. And then when we changed builders and neighborhoods, and selected and bought our Roseman floor plan, 8 months after the contract signing of the Samuel, it was delightful to discover a 12 x 15 study in it as well. 12 x 15!! So much real estate for my part-time love affair. I've come a long way from that scenario of one end of the breakfast table paired with a coat closet.

Not only was I granted the dream coming true of that much space all to myself, but I was given the permission, and the invitation, and the support by my husband to design my space. I initially planned to use stock Ikea cabinets. But as I thought about the Roseman and the finish-out of this second downsized house, the idea of a "second kitchen" right off the front door did not really appeal to me. I was driven back to Pinterest to start over on my design, and to find inspiration to go perhaps in even a new direction. Somewhere along the way, I saw a built-in secretary type of a bookcase, and my mind had a big light bulb moment, and I took to Numbers to draft up what would become my scrap space storage.

Two months. I spent over two months on the drawing. I studied everything I owned. I measured masses: height, width, quantity. I contemplated future buying potential, the need for expansion, my frequency of use, the need for accessibility.... Every little detail was poured over and over, and over with a fine tooth comb -- with 20 years of history and knowledge and desires and ideas. I decided I wanted to have an L-shaped workspace. I spaced out what would go where within the room. And then I took all of that information, and began slotting its space in the room, and into the designated wall of cabinetry. I finally got the design where I wanted it, and set back and waited for the house to be finished, and for it to become cabinet time.

When the house finished in November, I knew I would need to wait until after Steve's fiscal year-end for his assistance in overseeing the work, as his days off are more often than not weekdays. It was okay. I kept my design fresh in my mind, and busied myself with setting up the rest of the house, preparing for the holidays, having family over for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The New Year rolled around, and Steve's work fiscal year-end passed, and I set out to get quotes on my design. Four quotes. I went with the one that was in the middle on the pricing, and that offered a warranty on their work, and that when talking to him, felt like I was maybe talking to an uncle. Such a kind man. It took them seven long weeks from my meeting with them and paying my deposit on January 19 to the two-day installation which began on March 10. That's the time frame you're looking at for custom, complex work when you currently live in an area that has a booming home industry and several corporate relocations occurring.

Once I got a firm installation date set with my cabinet team, I could then schedule my painters. I had done my painter research during the long arduous weeks of the cabinet build. Armed with a few possible painting dates, I reached out and scheduled the painting. And then I set out to firm up my paint color choice. {Which selection I completely and absolutely adore 110%.} Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. My painting crew was as wonderful as my cabinet crew, but humidity and complications had the painting stretch from March 23 to March 31, and then I had to let the enamel based paint cure for 5 long days. The saying "Great things come to those who wait" had never felt more authentic.

Finally, finally move-in day arrived! The displaced scrapbook stash -- that had come out of four Expedits and been piled in the dining room, the living room, the retreat, the hallway, and one son's bedroom -- could finally begin coming downstairs to its new and beloved home. And as the migration commenced, the utter neglect of my basic and fundamental stash organizational discipline quickly became evident, and quickly came home to roost. Practically everything I went to put away had to be tweaked either by collating new purchases into the existing supplies, or by purging some unwanted excess, or by changing its storage container, and all too frequently, tweaking had to occur in all three areas. That is I guess the ultimate consequence for shopping for twenty-two months and not being able to properly put things away. I had some wonderful friends during this time that kept encouraging me as I waded through my self-made abyss of bliss.

I made lists. I prioritized. I had to go slowly and intentionally, as I wanted everything to be logical and accessible. I religiously studied my initial drawing, and had to adapt the placement of some things as I dealt with the actual masses of certain collections and the finalized dimensions of the cabinet uppers and drawers. {This is where I encountered and slayed daily my inner Perfectionist demon.} Every day I worked hard to cross things off that list. Sometimes the desire to empty a space upstairs would override the next logical thing on the list. I was balancing clearing out the chaos upstairs with creating order downstairs. As I finished or completed an area, I would highlight it in orange to let me know that section was full and done.

I was constantly collating new purchases into an existing stash. Sometimes I would find more of something that had been packed away with the wrong type of items, and have to revamp new spaces again. Lots of late nights. Innumerable trips to The Container Store. {When the managers at two locations greet you, you know you've been in too many times.} A frequent trip to Joann's and Michael's and Hobby Lobby, looking for the ideal storage was sometimes the back-up plan for failed Container Store excursions. Always carrying with me the dimensions for my necessities de jour, and more often than not, carrying my cabinet print out in my purse.

Thankfully, my husband was so patient as I sat in my new digs night after night, listening to reruns of HGTV, Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Law & Order episodes. Who am I kidding? He, too, was ready for the return of order to the house! He even patiently spent one evening with me working on a new brad storage system. Poor guy. His lack of fingernails made the end of his fingers so sore and tender after countless times of peeling brads off of cardboard backers. And he's done more than that. He's done just anything I've needed him to! The day recently when he did "my cross wall" was such a day of joy to me. My space is nearly done. There is one pile that haunts me. And, full disclosure, there is memorabilia in the garage to deal with. I count that more on the Moving In/Housekeeping side of the To Do list rather than the Scrap Room Set-Up To Do list. ;-)

But, the small, resolute, lingering, seemingly indestructible pile aside, I'm ready. I'm ready to be done. {There will always be a pile, yes? It's time to move on! Yes? Yes!} I'm ready to play. I'm ready to stop cataloging and purging and organizing and placing. I'm ready to cut paper, and play with photos. I'm ready to sail past the "soft opening" test runs with my new space that I've experienced to meet some project deadlines. I'm ready to launch into the wide open clear spaces of unencumbered scrapping, endless projects going on, fun piles here and there, and embracing the freedom and the time to tell stories that need to be told, stories that are welling up inside of me, stories that are ready to be birthed.

As I contemplated and pondered Every.Little.Detail. of this space, from supply storage to stash placement to workflow to lighting to paint colors to fabric choices to wall decor to cabinet knobs, I came to realize that Scrap Central wasn't going to be the name of my play space anymore. That sounded not only a little pedestrian, but a little too negative. This beautiful new space isn't to be about scraps, it's to be about stories! It's to be about memories, and photos, and sharing what I love about the people I love, and the very good life that I am blessed to live.


  [stawr-ee, stohr-ee] 

nounplural stories.
a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
such narratives or tales as a branch of literature:
song and story.
the plot or succession of incidents of a novel, poem, drama, etc.:
The characterizations were good, but the story was weak.
a narration of an incident or a series of events or an example of these that is or may be narrated, as an anecdote, joke, etc.
a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration:
the story of medicine; the story of his life.
a report or account of a matter; statement or allegation:
The story goes that he rejected the offer.
a lie or fabrication:
What he said about himself turned out to be a story.
Obsolete. history.
verb (used with object)storied, storying.
to ornament with pictured scenes, as from history or legend.
Obsolete. to tell the history or story of.

And so I knew in my heart that when I unveiled my new space, I would be unveiling a new name as well: Story Central. 
Story: "A narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale" or "A narration of the events in the life of a person...the story of his life." 
Yes, yes, one million yeses! That is what I want to be about - narrating the story of my life, and the life of my family. 

Thank you for hanging with me during the transition, during all the dusty, neglected days on this blog. It's definitely now time to turn a page and begin a new chapter in my book.  And so I unveil to you Story Central, my beautiful, custom, delightful spot from which I pray I will sit and share with you many more days of my crafting the good story I love. She is simply amazing.

Story Central ~ Documenting the Design ~ April 2017

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Simple Stories
Title Font: Watermelon Script

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely blog post and layout to document your passion project! I enjoyed following your journey and am so impressed with your planning, organization and execution skills! Enjoy!