Crafting · Tuesday Tips

Craft Room Envy

Picture your dream craft room.

Mine has big windows letting in lots of natural light. A wall of shelves showcases my fabric and embroidery floss (all organized by color, of course).  I’ve got an entire wall covered in felt for me to use for designing quilt blocks and laying out patterns. All the furniture is vintage and bohemian, and naturally the decor is all crafty cool. Basically, something like this or this. In fact, I may or may not have an entire Pinterest board devoted to furnishing and decorating my perfect crafting space.

The reality of my crafting space is…slightly different:

My closet holds my fabric stash (squeezed in between scarves and shoes)
The dining room table pulls double-duty as a drafting table
Sewing machine
My sewing machine shares a desk with the computer and printer (note the iron in the background–the desk also holds my mini ironing board when needed)
Cutting table.jpg
A card table takes up the living room when I need a cutting table for quilting projects

You see, I don’t actually have a craft “room”–I’m guessing most apartment dwellers don’t. Even for folks living in houses, it’s hard to find space for that perfect creative retreat. It can be really frustrating not to have a dedicated crafting space. Your tools are scattered all over the place, you have to pack up everything in between working on projects, and (if you have kids or pets) you also have to worry about little hands or paws.

But there’s another way to look at this: instead of being bummed that I don’t have a separate craft room, I’m grateful that I can use my whole apartment as my crafting domain. I’m lucky that my boyfriend doesn’t mind when I commandeer the table or the living room in the middle of a project (I’m especially thankful that he doesn’t mind when a project takes longer than expected and we end up eating on the couches instead of the table for a few weeks!). It’s not a lot of space, but it allows me to get the job done.

Abby Glassenberg, one of my favorite craft bloggers, wrote a great post about the false idea that you need the perfect craft room in order to create great things. Abby identifies one of the principle rules of crafting: sometimes, you’ve gotta just get started and make do with what you’ve got. As she writes, “If you believe you need inspiration, or a beautiful space, or just the right environment in order to make creative work, you’ll never begin.” As in so much of life, there’s really no “right time” when it comes to crafting–you could always have a bigger space, better tools, nicer supplies. But if you hold out for those things, you’ll never achieve anything. And in the end, it’s the process (and not how we look doing it) that’s most important.

It’s hard to remember that those Pinterest-perfect images of craft rooms on HGTV or Instagram aren’t real spaces. They’ve been carefully staged and edited to achieve that look. My crafting spaces aren’t perfect, but you know what? They’re real. I’d rather have a space I can use and get my hands dirty than that spotless white dream room. As my beloved Paul McCartney pointed out with this album, you can’t have creation without a little chaos. So, friends: let loose the chaos and make time (and space) to make!


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