I was supposed to be cleaning. Let me say that right upfront. It was a self-imposed task, but my home projects have distracted me from basic housekeeping. I gave the kitchen a quick cleaning – wiping down the counters and the stove, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming. I even got as far as cleaning the toilet in the 1/2 bathroom and running the vacuum in the living room, but the cleaning stopped there. The rabbit trail started with hanging a picture light over my Manet study and it turned into reclaiming my office, rearranging furniture, and gold leafing my inspiration board frame. It wasn’t what I should’ve done, but it’s what I needed to do. I’ve learned that when inspiration strikes, I just need to roll with it and the cleaning can wait.
Jeff has been inhabiting my office since March, but he’s working at the church more often and, when he’s home, he’s usually working from the couch or pacing outside on the phone. I love working in my studio, but it’s set up for specific creative tasks and my office is set up for business work and writing. Setting up zones for specific tasks helps me to focus better on what I’m doing. I’m not distracted by notifications or tempted to check my e-mail when I’m painting or working on a photoshoot if my computer is in the other room. And I’ve missed my office.
It started innocently with cleaning up his books and papers, collecting them in a stack for him to take into his office, and things just progressed from there. I fiddled with the desk accessories and dusted. And then I decided to frame a couple of my index card paintings and a color chart, rework my inspiration board and apply some gold leaf to the frame while I was at it!
The gold leaf was absolutely the right call and I can’t believe I’ve lived with this board for almost three years without thinking of doing it until now. I had all of the materials on hand and it was quick to complete. You can find a tutorial on applying gold leaf HERE.
And I played with my inspiration board for a long time. I scooted around paint samples and fabric swatches and enjoyed the process of experimenting and creating groupings I liked. I kept going to my sewing room or studio to collect more bits…papers, ribbon, some of my small paintings, etc.
Jeff was watching me walk back and forth through this whole process and I finally told him that my exercise plan for the day was just walking all over the house from one room to the next and back again. I was joking, but I did end up getting over 10,000 steps in the process!
The pressed fern came from France in the antique paint box I purchased a few weeks ago.
I also included words I like… a Mary Oliver poem, a Theodore Roosevelt quote, an excerpt from a devotional…
I feel like I could live in this board…
A few people have asked me how to frame the color charts and index cart art I create and sell and this is how I did it…
I brought the top in for the hutch and removed the large antique map of PA. I’ll move that down to the basement. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the hutch top next to the tall bookcase, but it works in an office scenario. I have filled it with paint samples and office supplies – printer paper, notebook refills, classification folders, business cards, envelopes, rolls of branded masking tape. I have some decor in there as well, but it can be replaced with books if (when) my collection grows out of the bookcase.
All of the ugly stuff like boxes of folders, sheet protectors, extra cords, etc. are in the bottom cabinet.
And I swapped one of my wing chairs from the basement with the leather club chair in the corner…
I put some new glass knobs from my stash on the doors of the bookcase (they were just black metal)…
And I rearranged the bookcase! I used this picture on my inspiration board as inspiration to create clusters of color with the books.
I had all of the books that were in the same color family together, but that resulted in an entire row of white books, making the colorful books look visually off-balance. This option distributes the color around the bookcase and making smaller groupings means I can be more specific about the color…purple blues, pale blues, green-blues, orange-reds, pink-reds, etc.
I hung the original painting I got at a school auction (for less than $50) a few years ago on the middle post. The colors in the painting tie together many of the colors in the book spines.
I’ve shared before that I consider books to be my continuing education and have been intentionally building a library of books on design, decorating, art, and creativity over the past few years. I collected decorating books for years and did a great purge a couple of years before we moved to MN, keeping only my very favorites, and I wish I hadn’t done that! I just felt like I didn’t need so many books with the plethora of information and inspiration online. But, books are just different and I realized I missed having a robust library, so I’ve been building it up again with a mix of new and used books. Some of them are old library books with the cards still in them! I sort of love that.
Anytime Jeff gives me a look when new books show up on the doorstep or when I walk to the counter at Barnes & Noble with a stack in my arms, I remind him that we paid for him to get two degrees and my book collection will never come close to touching that total!
I still have a bit more to do, but it was so great to reclaim this space and freshen it up with things I already have. In our mentoring session yesterday, Shaunna and the group noticed that I was especially energetic! I am just in a season when I really am enjoying what I do and I guess that makes me act like I’ve had way too much caffeine!