Hello there, readers! Writing Blanks here, your sometimes-creative-but-frequently-uncreative writer (and habitual craft-botcher). I will labor to bring you heroic and amazing tales about many things…
- Fostering, finding and funneling the creative process
- Discipline (and where you can find it at 2 a.m. when you are fresh out of inspiration and peanut M&Ms)
- Midwest-mouse-meets-metropolis (hey, I’m a writer… we need struggle and drama in this narrative…)
- Attempts at DIY stuff with varying degrees of success
- The projects and lives of any crafty/artsy people I cajole into sharing with us…
By the way, this isn’t quite the first time I’ve put digital pen to digital paper with regard to this Ann Arbor arts n’ crafts venue. Earlier this year I was asked by my (always tolerant) editor at Concentrate Media to write about it. Although I was a local, I had never heard of the place. But then… I haven’t been the greatest achiever of the kind of “handmade goodness” that The Blue House deals in. A total failure, actually.
So when I arrived, industrial-grade laptop under one arm, I had mixed feelings about what I would find: I sort of pictured construction paper and children all over a room… or intense senior citizens stitching images of their now-expired cats and parakeets into quilts… or perhaps even a secret society of highbrow “crafts intelligentsia” who would greet my lack of knowledge by tarring and feathering me (in complementary colors, of course). I was worried.
I shouldn’t have been worried.
What I found were perfectly appointed rooms, a wealth of rich colors, organized shelves, approachability and low-key friendliness… oh, and an overall dose of cuteness. The shop alone made me want to surrender my credit card to its well-packaged charms… But I won’t go into all that now. (You can read the article here, by the by.) In any event, The Blue House was original, one-of-a-kind, and the perfect solution for the craft-challenged like myself. It also provides a great source of inspiration – even if your craft is merely words. So when Siobhan invited me to contribute to her blog of craft-stars, I said “yes” brightly and excitedly, while wondering what the heck I could contribute. A month later, I packed up my Mini Cooper and moved to Manhattan – and into (or should I say UP to) the tiniest 5th floor apartment I ever did see. So while I can’t be at The Blue House in body, I plan to be there in spirit with this blog.
Enough fussing about – my post:
Forays into SPACE (closet space, that is):
So it’s not exactly the final frontier, but my closet looked pretty frightening when I first walked into my New York apartment. Frightening, you say! How could a closet be frightening? Well, I’ll tell you: It was frightening in the way that tiny insects are frightening. The way spiders can be frightening. Or tufts of fuzz that resemble spiders…
I just couldn’t see how I was to fit my modest wardrobe into this shallow-as-a-Jersey-Shore-girl inch of storage. Gazing into that inadequate void, I suddenly realized that what I had been mistaking for closet space back in my trusty, urban-sprawl Midwest apartment had actually been a football-field-sized helping of paradise-like storage. But worse than its size was this sorry-excuse-for-a-closet’s ancillary real-estate consumption: The hinged doors opened outward, so I couldn’t even put a piece of furniture anywhere NEAR the closet. Not only was it small, it SUCKED space like black hole. Here’s the room – with those nefarious doors:
I wasn’t going to lie down and take that, though – in a room this size, I had to put some furniture in that space at the left there. Not only that, but I felt the room needed some texture, some softness, and a bit of feminine lightness. I’m not a frilly or pink kind-of-gal, so I had to tread carefully. So … I took a risk, a power drill, and some bourbon. Then I took off the doors.
Step one: Borrow an electric drill from someone. See if they might want to help you, while you’re at it. Beg if necessary. Tell them that they will be helping not only your storage situation, but also be contributing to the overall beautification of the universe with this one small deed. Suppress expressions of disappointment when they politely decline.
Step Two: Reassure yourself you can do this alone, and without liquid courage. Now, go measure your closet from top to bottom. Taking your measurements, visit a nearby store (I chose West Elm) and buy a curtain rod that’s long enough, and two curtains. (Here’s where if you are really crafty, you make your own curtain… That I can’t do, so… go make your curtain here if you like… we ‘ll wait for you…) For curtains, I chose light colors so as to keep the space fresh and open. Yet I didn’t want anything too busy or too flat. I chose a blown-up African pattern on a linen-like fabric — it seemed both soothing and somewhat exotic.
Step Three: Using the drill and a lot of care, remove the screws from the doors. Be careful that the door doesn’t twist off and fall on your foot. (I still have a bruise.) (Also, make sure you have somewhere to store those doors, as if you are a renter, you will someday have to put them back on.)
Step Four: Set up your curtain rods so that they anchor to each side of the closet space, and measure twice to make sure your chosen curtains merely dust the floor. I borrowed a ladder from my kind sister, who also declined to help.
Step Five: This is the good part. Slide those curtains on and look at what you have made. Now you can fit whatever furniture you want next to that awful space-lacking closet!
Step Six: Brag to all your friends, and neglect to return the ladder and the drill…
Step 7: Take a nap in your super comfortable room, free from the worries of ugly and space-intensive closet doors…