Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Story of the Yellow Art Room

I must create!  Without a creative outlet, I feel my soul become stale, my days become routine and my mind become dull.
After closing a bittersweet chapter on our lives, my husband and I have been searching for how to fill our time.  Going from working 17 hour days to only 40-45 hours a weekalmost feels like retirement.  Some days are long and we find ourselves walking around, partaking in the mundane routine of daily life - laundry, helping with homework, meals, chaffeuring, work, needing a project to work on, something more to accomplish.
The kitchen table has become a place where we all live.  Homework, reading, crafts, bill paying, everything piles on the table until there is no room  The desire to create wells up in me, but the thought of clearing a place, beginning a project, then having to put it all away again suppresses all creativity.  If I can't make a mess, how can I make?
An inkling of a thought...very small, indeed, began to take shape in my head.  I began to visualize the utility room in the basement as "my" space.  Among the hot water heater, furnace and sump pump, there could actually be room for me.  And my projects.  Behind a closed door!  Out of sight from visitors!  As usual, the inkling didn't stay small for long. It soon bloomed into a full-blown plan.
You can find anything on the internet.  I began to search for Art Rooms, Craft Rooms, Art Studios...and found so many art spaces. From cramped, repurposed closets to magnificent studios with soaring windows and abundant light,  people make while making do with the space they have.
As I gathered ideas, I shared my vision to my husband who embraced it with manly enthusiasm.  I'm not sure if it was to give him something to do, to keep my messes in one spot or to make me a place because he loves me (or maybe all three?) but he, too, became involved in the Yellow Art Room Project.  And best of all, it required TOOLS!  Maybe even a new one or two!
The only rooms we had were an extra guest room and the basement utility room.  I was really excited about converting the bedroom into a bright and sunny art room, but with visiting family and carpet, it just wasn’t a good idea for my kind of crafting.  I needed a room where I couldn’t hurt anything!  We decided on the basement utility room. 

 The room was set up with my stained glass table and supplies, but over the years the lack of time and energy had kept me away from creating any stained glass pieces.  The table became a dumping ground of stuff…and under the table…and around the table…and junk eventually overtook the entire room.
The first thing we did was purge and organize!  It’s amazing how much JUNK you can collect in a few years!  I have a bunch of stuff ready for the summer garage sale.
I first found an entire kitchen with upper and lower cabinets and the counter at Restore for only $350.  It was perfect.  We went back to get it the next day and it was…gone.  I was soooo disappointed.  Seriously, I almost cried right there in the warehouse.  I couldn’t believe it! Apparently, God had other things in mind, and they didn’t include spending $350 that we couldn’t afford.
However, we did purchase cabinet doors for our office at $1 a piece.  That will be a spring project.
Lesson #1, Buy it when you see it or you might lose it.
In my throes of disappointment, I bought the YELLOW paint (Behr’s Indoor Latex Semi-Gloss in Twenty Carat).  I primed the walls with concrete primer and that was a major pain.  The concrete walls are very pitted and it took forever to cover.  The yellow went on much easier!  Here is where I say that I worked so hard I slept like a baby – but NO! That yellow is like a JOLT of caffeine!  It kept me awake ALL NIGHT.

At this point I was getting a little discouraged.  I wanted this room DONE so I could create.  However, money was tight and we weren’t finding what we needed to build my vision.  But now I had a Yellow Room!  I didn’t tell my husband, but I had few doubts about the color now that it was up.  It’s really, really, really (really really really) bright.
In my sorrow and desperation, I bought a 9 cubby organization unit at Walmart.  It was $47. Youch.   I found pegboard at an auction in a bundle for $.10 (yes 10 cents) per sheet, but the bundle was 212 pieces.  We couldn’t deal with that much pegboard so we bought 3 sheets of pegboard for $16 each at HD.  Youch again.  At least it was already white so that saved me some painting effort.  Dear hubby sold a couple of things on Craig’s List and bought another organization unit because he felt so bad for me about losing the cabinet. He’s so sweet. He moved the outlets so they would be above the counter…if there was ever going to be a counter…

Wait!  I found a 12′  uncut white counter at Peddler’s Mall.  We bought it on a Friday night, since we were heeding Lesson #1.  On Saturday morning, we rented a truck for a couple of hours from HD (great deal!) and went to pick it up.  As we walked in the building, my eyes went directly to the corner where the counter was and it. was. not. there.  I am not kidding.  They resold it to someone else that morning.  I was absolutely fuming.
Lesson #2 Take it home right away or have them move it to a secure area where customers are not allowed.
A customer simply removed the Sold sign, threw it on the floor and proceeded to repurchase my countertop.  There is no validation system in the simple check out method at Peddler’s Mall.
I was scouting the ads on Craig’s List every single day.  If you haven’t checked out Craig’s List, you are missing some golden opportunities!
First I found a listing for shop lights.  We got 4 shop lights for $5 each. What a deal!   The next day I came across this ad for a Men’s Indoor Yard Sale.   This fantastic couple was selling the man’s entire basement full of tools and woodworking materials.  This guy is a master woodworker. His furniture was absolutely amazing, but he could no longer do it for health reasons.  We walked into the basement and along one wall, he had a 10′ workbench and shelving just like we had designed!  This guy was a manager at a major department store and had salvaged STACKS of 10-12′  3/4″ melamine boards from a display that were going to the trash.  We bought all the wood we needed for $60 AND spent $25 on some tools.  The wood was sufficient for both the shelving and the countertop.  The most expensive part was renting a truck for a couple of hours to haul it back home!  Ok,  God provides. I’m convinced He has a better plan than I do!

I found some black photo boxes for the craft supplies at Michael’s, on sale 2 for 1. Hubby installed some dowel rods for my ribbons, and mason jars hold pens, brushes, markers, beads, etc.  There is room for my tools – glue guns, heat gun, stapler, dremel, drill, and hand tools.

The section on the right holds wrapping paper, boxes, ribbon and tape for easy gift wrapping.  My mat cutter and boards are on a big shelf and my fabrics are in storage boxes on the big shelves.  I set up my antique table for further crafting and to permanently hold my sewing machine.

The Yellow Art Room is still a work in progress.  I’m painting some boards with magnetic paint and chalkboard paint for my inspiration boards.  They will go along the wall where the sanding table currently stands. (got those from the same guy for $1 each 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″) We are going to cut down the glass table to 4×4 and reposition it.  I’m still in the process of cleaning it off and finding a place for the glass supplies.
I love my room!  A big shout out goes to my husband who has put a lot of labor into making me a special room.  He’s so good to me :o) . I love you, honey.
In future posts I will share with you some of the arts and crafts that here. Come craft with me!


  1. Awesome!!~ And yes you buy it when you see it...I tell my husband that, he is not understanding that theory. What a great space you are creating. Vision is good, I have them often:) Thanks for joining me. I look forward to seeing you again.

  2. What a great story about your Yellow Art Room. Good deal on finding a "man's sale", too. Thanks for sharing, ~Michelle

  3. hiya i am visiting from debbies newbie party xyour craft room is gorgeous and it is all yours ..yay aren't hubbies great x i am going to have a look around your blog x maybe iw will see you at mine soon x

  4. Such an amazing story! You've been through an adventure for sure! It has turned out beautifully!! Thanks for linking up to the Workspace Showcase at WWC!