Friday, February 26, 2010

Simple Tips: How to Organize your Craft Space

To tell you about my craft space, first I have to tell you a bit about my apartment. I love my apartment. But not for the size, or the landlord, or the arrangement, or the way the kitchen appliances are over 35 years old and the colour of crusty mustard. Though that last one grows on me more and more with each addition of blue kitchen-ware. I am in love with the location and the relatively inexpensive rent, considering I live very central in a pretty large city. The building is sinking and I hear sirens, traffic, and wanderers at night - but the people who live in this neighbourhood are so diverse, interesting, and mostly harmless - anything less just wouldn't be home to me, now.

But the limited space does mean that my handsome manfriend and I need to be creative when figuring our how to be productive in our tiny place. My craft locale is a folding table, nestled delicately between the sliding balcony door (one of our only sources of natural light!) and the giant bookshelf full of novels, texts, my gigantic collection of national geographics, and vinyl records.

I had a lot of fun organizing everything and learned a lot for next year - as I definitely seem to be the kind of crafter who collects odds and ends with the hopes of doing something fruitful with it another time - hence the 200 issues of National Geographics. Ha.

Here are some of the little tidbits that made my re-organization successful, pleasurable, and efficient:

1) Start with five piles or boxes: things to keep, things that need a "forever home," things to recycle, things to give away, and things to throw away. Be ruthless. If you don't do it now, it will just haunt you later. Get rid of your trash, recycle, and give-away boxes immediately, don't look back!
2) Once you have figured out what is staying in your craft space, spread it out in front of you. Dump out drawers, open all your boxes, empty all your kits and cases. Start to really consider your art.
3) This is where it gets personal. Think about your own method. What works for you? What is important to keep you motivated? I like sunshine and plants, so I made sure that was a part of my craft space. I found an absolutely gorgeous vintage picnic basket and decided to use it to store unsold finished projects, and soon after stumbled about a vintage child's toy picnic basket which worked perfectly as an area just for my unfinished projects, as I can't stand constantly putting them completely away.
4) Group like with like. This is a great way to visualize how much space everything really does use. I put all my scissors and art knives together, all my different glues and adhesives together. My elastic and ribbon, my thread and bobbins, vintage buttons, stamps, everything went into little piles all over my table and floor - I pulled out every photo box, every old jar, vintage make up case, wicker basket, pencil box, or antique tin I had lying around to see what might fit where. Other ideas to contain your supplies include napkin holders, cake platters with domes, and envelope books. is a great place to look for items such as these!

5) Don't forget to think outside the box, too! I'm very visual and tactile, I like to see and be able to touch all my supplies immediately. Everything that I use often found a spot directly on my table or closest shelf. My top drawers reserved for items I reach for most - but I also decided to hang a few things - like an envelope to hold recent receipts until I can file them as well as small butterfly clips on a string so that I can hang baggies of earring hooks, snaps, and brads. I make my own patterns, so I finally made them each their own envelope and then drew the garment on the front of the envelope in neat sharpie colours and slid them all into their own little box.
6) Be comfortable in your own space. Stick to a style you love. I love warm, open, and cozy spaces and wanted my tiny craft nook to reflect that style. And I wanted it to be a place where I love to spend time. Mission Accompli!

For me, this organization project was at first a daunting task that turned out to be a lot of fun and didn't quite take the effort I was expecting. It can be very inspiring to see all the supplies, colours, and tools to have at one's disposal! Good luck to everyone launching their own organization project, I think you will find that a clear space translates to a clear mind - which really lets those great ideas sparkle through. Shine on you crazy diamonds, Shine on!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don't fear growth and change.

Susan Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology -- and how much by cultural exposure.

Go, Monkeys, Go!

The sexual, extremely social Bonobo apes are amongst the most empathetic and egalitarian species in the world. They use their sensuality for communication as well as conflict resolution. I'm actually not sure what species of primates featured in this photo, but I found it myself in one of over 600 National Geographic Magazines I had "inherited" at one point. An incredible photo, that toothy grin says it all.

This is one of my most favourite TED Talks that I have ever seen. Starting around 5:30 onwards literally causes my jaw to drop. How anyone could watch this video and deny evolutionary science astounds me. Why do people get so offended by the ability to admit that as a species, we are here through growth and change? An incredible story of sharing culture, tools, and language with another species:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TED Talk Tuesday - Patients Like Me

When a TED Talk opens with "We need to give to others to be successful," I know that I have struck gold. Are all TED Talks amazing? Yes. Are they all incredibly inspiring and interesting to watch? No. But I sort through them all and pull the golden ones here for you. This one is incredible.

When Jamie Heywood's brother was diagnosed with ALS, he devoted his life to fighting the disease as well. The Heywood brothers built an ingenious website where people share and track data on their illnesses -- and they discovered that the collective data had enormous power to comfort, explain and predict.

Wouldn't it be great if we used the advanced technology we have to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, instead of just for making money?

If you or anyone who know has been prescribed medication to help with any long-term conditions, visit

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Sale!!

A lot of people get really down about Valentine's Day.

As in, "This is just a hallmark card holiday designed so people will spend money on the person they love when they can just show that love the whole year 'round."

Well, do you show love the whole year 'round?? The thing is, the world could always use more love. Always.

Usually I am the kind of person who likes to express my love in an intimate way, one on one, by telling people the impact that they have really had on my life in an open and honest way. I think genuine words are my favourite way to share love with another.

But there are times when I think it is important to SHOUT LOVE! To tell everyone in your whole world that you REALLY REALLY LOVE THEM!! And Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse.

So here I am world, stating that I enter each day with the best of intentions, to deliver more beauty, more empathy, more compassion into the lives of everyone I meet each day. But today, I get to shout it.
I FREAKING LOVE YOU, WORLD! And everybody, everything, every animal who lives inside it.

And as a gift to all my readers and anyone who happens across this humble blog of mine, I am offering 14% off all items in my store for today only! Just use coupon code "VALENTINE" in notes to seller!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New! Come Learn to Hoop Dance!

This ain't the hula hooping you may have done as a kid. These are real dancing props, made for adults who still feel young at heart - and those that long to!

Come join the feel-good revolution by smiling as you sweat and lose all that stress in your life - by spinning!

Starting February 9th, I am offering hooping classes for all experience levels! We will be focusing on mastery of the hula hoop as a dancing prop, the health and vitality of movement for fitness, and the free and creative connection created when inside the circle.

What: Hoop Dance Class with Farren Square

When: Tuesdays 7:30pm - aprox 8:40pm Starting February 9th

Where: We are renting Gymboree –13533 St. Albert Trail NW Edmonton, next to the old ClubFit (now World Heath Club)

Why: An innovative and fun way to be active, meet other people, gain confidence, and focus on you for a change.

How Much: Grand Opening SALE! Sign up for all nine classes for only $80.00!! Drop in fees are also only $10 per class, for a limited time!

Hoops will be available to use, as well as for sale! Bring your own if you have it, a water bottle, and wear clothes you would wear to the gym.

For more Information, join our Facebook Group or e-mail me at farren [!at]

And I Won't Back Down.

I constantly find myself apologizing for myself. So sorry that I have these ideas that fly out of my mouth faster than I can contain them. So sorry that I feel the need to dance and move my body. So sorry that I'm intense, that I can look through your actions and see your intentions. So sorry that my intelligence and quick wit make you feel intimidated. So sorry that my hair is different, my clothes are different, my music is different. So sorry that I have an opinion on the topic, so sorry that my opinion differs from yours. So sorry that I feel the need to stand up for other people, so sorry that I stand up for what a believe in.
So sorry that I educate, activate, engage, confront, defy, and create.

I am an emotional being. And I will cease to apologize for myself from now on.