Not just repurposing, but BEING repurposed......" if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come." ~~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's all a Learning Experience!

First a warning -- this post has the potential to be a rambler! I've got a lot on my mind (and on my plate) so it could happen, and I apologize in advance if it does. But I'm going to try really hard to keep things simple and concise -- smaller, but more frequent posts all this week.


It has to carry out 5 functions:

1. House my raw materials a.k.a. Junk (which I have TREMENDOUS amounts of)

2. Function as my workshop

3. Function as a workshop for public and private classes

4. Store my finished items

5. Provide a place for holding sales events

That's a lot of function to pull out of a 1000 sq. ft. space. Fortunately I also have a nearby 500 sq. ft. mini-storage for junk overflow, and I constructed a loft in my unit that's probably about 500 more sq. ft. (it is solidly built to hold lots of junk, but no humans except me allowed there). has been a huge issue for me from day 1 (the issue is huge, definitely not the space).

I've tried various combinations to make it all work, but I still haven't hit the right formula.

My latest "revelation" was last fall -- since my priority was classes and workshops, I tucked away my products wherever I could and converted totally to workshop/classroom mode. "If you build it, they will come" kind of thinking. Well, it's an inspirational saying, but......

At holiday time I knew I HAD to have a sale, .... but how? Fortunately, my landlord was kind enough to let me use the vacant unit next door -- just through the holidays. "No problem" I thought to myself "I'll do so well during the holidays that I'll be able to afford to keep that space". Hmmm. Again, good thought....but not reality.

So now it's spring. My landlord wants my stuff out so he can rent it to legitmate customers, I've been doing speaking engagements and people keep saying "I want to see your shop and all your stuff", and I just want a space where I can create and help others create.


And this is what I came up with.....

1. Raw materials will remain in the loft area, mini-storage, and "storage rooms" (another post)
2. I have set up a makeshift workshop area on my deck at home, not the ideal, but I'll make it work (more about that in another post)
3. This one troubles me as I'd still like this to be my main focus, but for now classes will have to be off-site and/or outside
4. & 5. So, I am now making my space a temporary permanent showroom. I'll probably do this until the fall, then I'll have to come up with something better (create my products on my deck during a Michigan winter?.....I don't think so!) Of course, my terminally optimistic self says "Oh, by then you'll be rolling and you could rent next door if it's still available". We'll see.

SOOOOO....My temporary permanent showroom. I have learned that the occasional sale plan is really not well suited to me so it is probably best that I have more of a permanent setup. But that doesn't change the fact that I have a LOT of stuff and also that I'm not good at all at display. And basically, I just don't get it! Do you group by rooms, or style, or color, or WHAT ? WHERE DO YOU EVEN BEGIN?!!!!
Well I began by visiting and studying blogland. And I think I've learned some things...
1. I overthink and plan too much -- real artists use a lot of "feel"

2. LAYERS -- this is a big one! It makes your products look more interesting and also conserves space (previously I was all about the entire product being visible -- but a little mystery is more fun)

3. Create drama! -- Big, Bold, Unusual
4. Whenever you can, go up - especially useful in my case since I have 15' ceilings.
So in honor of #3 & 4, dramatically UP I went .... (see photo above --it's supposed to be placed here, but... computers! oh well)
That corner is what I call the "contemporary/leather" corner. Several other areas are done or nearly done and I'll share soon. Anyway, I think I'm making pretty good progress on my new showroom. It's been a lot of work, and there's still a lot to do, but I plan on being open this Saturday and probably most Saturdays through the fall. But... somehow, plans have a way of changing. I'll keep you posted.
And speaking of plans, check out the bottom of this page. Another thing that is on my mind is that I really want to post more. I'd love to be one of those bloggers who posts everyday or at least every other day. But I find it very difficult to keep up, and then I feel bad about not keeping up. And then I step back and say "What does it matter? Who am I trying to keep up with anyway?" And I realize that I should be more concerned about whether I spent time with my Lord and Savior today than whether I posted. I'm not saying I don't want to post, (I REALLY do) I'm just saying I want to make my devotional time as important. So the Bible verse at the bottom of this page is my built-in accountability program (I'm not very structured or self-disciplined with my time). Each day after doing my devotions, I will change the verse to something from my Bible reading (hopefully each morning). So feel free to check up on that and yell at me if I need it. This area of my life has always been a struggle for me -- today I'm at three days in a row (WOO HOO!). And just to make myself more accountable, I won't post something until I have done my devotions that day. We'll see how it goes.
So sorry, I think I've stepped into the ramble zone. Anyway, I feel a little more up to date and I'll try to be around more.
Peace Out!
p.s. The suitcase tower was quite an accomplishment and scary ordeal. I am only 5' tall and the ceilings 15' (oh yeah, and I have a fear of heights!). It took 7 or 8 attempts (I was trying not to cry) and I kept thinking, "If I die in a suitcase avalanche will anyone find me?" And yes, the first person in said "Oh, I'll take the top 4 suitcases." Whereas, we both laughed heartily. Then, she said, "No, I'm serious. But I'll come back for them." Gulp.


Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

good luck, midge! i am sure that your space will be fantastic- and just roll with it! though i have to say, i pity the customer who wants the vintage suitcase 4th from the top. ;)

red.neck chic said...

Oh my... what a task you have - but I'm 150% positive you will make it work!!! LOVE your corner!!! The stack of suitcases were well worth your effort and fear - I promise!!!

I can't wait to watch you in progress (and your solutions) - this should be fun!!!

:-D robelyn

Melissa said...

I am proud of you for your commitment (is it fair to say that to someone I don't know face to face and who I am pretty sure is in a more advance place in life than I am?)

I never get my stuff under control and I am nowhere near your scale....I try, oh how I try.

Where is Hudsonville in relation to Fremont? I will be in Fremont this summer visiting my SIS for two weeks. said...

good luck friend! I hope everything works out for you. You have what I would love to have. A building. There is one a block away from me, and I can't help but think "if only" I could use the front for selling and the back for working! :) dreams!
I wish you the best of luck getting it all to come together.
love all the suitcases!

Sue said...

I understand completely! Im lacking space too, and trying to separate the raw materials pile with thework in progress pile, and the ready to sell in my studio is never ending, unfortuately my verandah suffers, and I have stuff out in the yard with tarps over them, but it doesnt protect them from mould...
I'll be watching your progress and solutions to all this!Love the suitcases!

Marge said...

I love a plan!! Good luck in sticking with it, but don't sweat it if you don't. Flexibility is a good trait!! Using your vertical space is a super idea. And there's lots of it!!

Tattered Butterfly Studio said...

I hear you on the space issue too. I'm finding that too. I recently found 8-10 piece of vintage furniture and the workshop you can hardly move around in.
Good luck with your solutions. Could you make build in extra shed at your home? Just a thought...keep on going..LOL said...

I am featuring your blog Friday on my Featured Followers Friday, thanks for being a follower.

Rose said...

This post should be titled; Space: The Final Frontier......
I'm so envious of your space and sad for you that it's still not enough to do what you want it to.
It's funny how we always manage to acquire more than we have room for.
I wish you luck at your project my friend. I'll be watching with great interest, as I believe you and I are a lot alike..I'm hoping to learn something from your experience here!
And I'm so impressed at your self -discipline. I gave up my exercise time to blog. Now I'm putting on weight like crazy! Something has to give!

Tina said...

Love your blog - found featured on a Repurposed Life. I was featured as well. Love those suitcases.

kanishk said...

good luck, midge!
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