The Diagon Alley Craft Cabinet

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Different people do different things to cope with their anxiety. Some people smoke pot. Some people drink. Some people run marathons or join cross-fit or become extreme yoga enthusiasts. Some people watch cooking shows, eat Cheetos all day or go to health food stores obsessing over ingredients. Some people watch cute animal videos on high volume or pimple-popping videos (Ew, David!). Some people watch the NEWS all day and get in heated political discussions. Some people garden or trim bonsai or make tiny houses out of milk cartons. Some people play mindless video games… There are so many things to do to keep yourself from going crazy. I do (and don’t do) a lot of the above but one of my favorite things to do is organize.

I know! It’s a sickness. But it really does make me happy.  Do you know that show: The Home Edit? I loved it. I binge-watched it in a few days and immediately had an unbearable urge to go The Container store or order all the clear plastic bins on Amazon. I talked about the show to a few friends and they looked at me like I like to drink sour milk.  Organizing freaks with high squeaky squealing voices!

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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I am one of those crazy organizers. I don’t have a high squeaky voice, I promise! I have a quiet soft voice like a mouse that nobody can hear. I do sometimes get excited and talk too fast but it doesn’t squeak. At least I don’t think so anyway.

So let’s talk about my pride and joy: my craft cabinet! I call it Diagon Alley. The photo above is the before. It wasn’t that unorganized. But things were getting slightly out of control. Bins were getting too full. I was stuffing things above, beside and around the bins which made it impossible to pull them out without causing a small avalanche.

Why do I have so much stuff? Well, I come from a long line of hoarders (probably brought on by poverty) and I do crafts all the time for my job and just because I love to. Since I hate the craft store I like to keep things and re-use them. I hate having to re-buy things just because I can’t find them.

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You know how organizing goes, it always gets way worse before it gets better. I subscribe to the “A place for everything and everything in its place” method and that doesn’t mean just adding on a second story to your house or renting out a storage unit when you over-flow, though I’ve dreamed of those things many many times.  I say get everything out and then shop from your stuff putting only the things that you really need/want back. It’s a massive purging opportunity.

And it’s work. I have to shake every paint bottle to make sure it’s not dried up and draw with every pen to make sure it still writes. I have to go through old notebooks and pull out the blank pages if they are nearly filled up. I have to throw out whole projects that I really wanted to do but they’ve been on the back burner for way too long… It’s a long arduous series of decisions.

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I just put on some headphones and commit to rocking out for a good day. Wittle wittle wittle away at the giant pile of crap, grouping like objects together, consolidating and then, of course, tossing a good percentage because EVERYTHING HAS TO FIT!

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When I’m done I am exhausted but it’s peaceful exhaustion where I sink into the couch, completely relaxed and happy. I try to watch television and unwind but I constantly interrupt whatever show we are watching to gloat about how great the organized cabinet is. Payam is used to me. Murder, schmurder, crime show schmimeshow…Did I tell you how great it is to go out into the Diagon Alley and gaze at all the perfectly aligned bins of crafty goods? It’s like angels sing!

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As you can see I am not a perfectionist organized freak. I’m somehow missing the OCD part of this mental illness. It suits me because I think often perfectionists get hung up on the details and get overwhelmed by the sheer effort needed to organize all the details perfectly. Not me. I just throw things willy nilly into my sense of order (whatever level of type A I happen to be that day) and then shrug off anything that doesn’t quite fit. My stickers are not even, my fonts change, some pricetag stickers are still slightly stuck… you get the idea.

But this time I decided to step up the organization a notch and I made a spreadsheet! I kid you not. I have a google spreadsheet of every single craft supply I have and a corresponding bin number. It’s goooooood.

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The great thing about the internet is that I’m sure there is somebody out there who is looking at these photos and saying, “me too!” In fact, I fantasise that someone will even zoom in and take notes of all my supplies. They are great supplies. You can make so many things with these odds and ends.

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Sharpies, fabric paint, craft paint, feathers and shells, raffia, ribbon, tissue paper…. so many things!

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Glue, tape, foam, all those containers and odd collections. Looking for a cassette tape? It’s in bin 15 of course with all the other tape. Makes perfect sense to me!

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So anyway, you get the picture. Ooops, I repeated a picture. Oh well, I’m not fixing it because I have two pies to make today and a needy client. I think all three readers of this post can acknowledge the imperfect in me.

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At the end of the day, I am a happy crafter. I love to take anyone and everyone out into my garage to show them Diagon Alley and brag about it. Need to borrow some craft supplies? I’ve got you covered!

I know I’m super lucky to have so much space but on the flip side, I can’t park my car in my garage because we have a man-cave/woodworking shop on one side and an awesome Diagon Alley/laundry room on the other. To each their own, right?

Quarantine Day 12: Rando Bits

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If it wasn’t for the fact that I have the worst cold I’ve ever had in ten years (!!) (just a stupid fatal-attraction-level sinus infection and NOT covid-19, don’t worry) and the fact that I have anxiety, I would say this quarantine has been good for me. I love staying home and I have more time than ever to be creative. I didn’t think I was an introvert but maybe I am! I’m cooking, I’m cleaning, I’m mom-ing, I’m making things! I even pulled out the sewing machine which I’ve been dreaming of for years! I’m pretty low-level happy. That is until I start worrying about how many people are dying, my parents and whether or not this is the end of the world. You know, just your normal 3 am freak-out stuff.

It’s been cool having the kids home all day long. I can be my old helicopter parent self and not feel guilty about not letting them go out ever. They don’t seem to mind. Their faces are permanently glued to their computers, playing Minecraft or doing school work. I hardly hear a peep out of them unless they need food. And since I miss them so much, I’m happy to play short-order cook. My kids are spoiled rotten. But you knew that already.

We do insist they sit down to dinner with us and even though they roll their eyes I think they like it too. Some lively discussions go down.

Bug and I have taken a few walks together which is nice. I’m loving the corona-swerve since I never really like interacting with other people when I’m walking the dogs anyway because Whiskey is the super-hyper-attack-everyone terrier that he is. I told you the quarantine is sitting well with me. Weird, right? Though I do miss a good coffee date.

There is a new Starbucks around the corner from us and it opened up this week. I spied it while I was out walking the dogs early this morning and the minute I got home Bug and I rushed off to visit it like a long lost friend. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a drive-thru.

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One of you asked how Bug and I are I’m dealing with our anxiety. Bug has decided that “anxiety” doesn’t exist. I think her dad is rubbing off on her and she’s in the I-can-fix-myself-just-fine, you-wusses stage. It’s a blessing because I don’t think I could deal with her going through what she went through in second grade all over again. The endless questions, the dry-heaving, the worry circles. You all remember what we went through. The doctor said that she will always have anxiety but that it will come and go. So I think it’s just on the go side which is great. And I’m sure she has matured a lot and uses a lot of her coping mechanisms.

Me, on the other hand. Well, I’m medicated so that helps. Like a TON. Whenever I feel myself starting to freak-out I just remind myself of my upcoming doctor’s appointment and store whatever worry I’m obsessing about in a mental box to talk to my doctor about. I LOVE my doctor. She is so nice and she always makes me feel like I’m normal.

Am I worried that I won’t be able to see her during this quarantine? Yes, of course. But I know she will do her best because she’s always worried that her patients are going to commit suicide if she isn’t there for them. I don’t need her that bad but she always tells me to call her immediately if I ever get worse. I never have called her so I feel pretty good. But then I worry that the government is going to fail and I won’t be able to have insurance anymore and we’ll all live in poverty and I’ll have to go cold turkey on my meds and live in a cardboard box in an alley somewhere getting gangrene… but then I remind myself that my brain likes to tell me lies so I shut that up and think about something happy instead.

Like postcards! I haven’t made any kind of formal quarantine journal but little things like blog posts, Instagrams and postcards tell the story. I doubt anthropologists will ever thank me for all the documenting I do but I like to imagine they do. What a gold mine of information I would be if there weren’t all the other social media megastars that there already are.

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In other bits: gardening! Spring is here and I am pottering around happily with my plants in the house and my pots and planters outside. I’m growing mung bean sprouts for my cat who likes to eat the house plants and throw up. They aren’t growing fast enough and she keeps eating Bug’s spider plant.

Bug is so funny, she’s named the plants in her room in zones: Her rubber plant and pathos are “The Tropics.”  Her fern and ivy are “The Northern Coastal” and her spider plant is “The Grasslands.” Apparently, Kady likes to visit The Grasslands frequently.

I don’t know why I put that photo of brown sugar up there. Maybe because I love a good circle shot and I wanted to share that I put a teaspoon of brown sugar in my coffee every day with my magic spice mix. It’s delicious. Do you know what is funny? I am still losing weight even with that teaspoon of sugar every day. I do eat a slice of peanut butter toast for breakfast and I usually have a glass of wine every night but cutting out carbs and not going to restaurants seems to be the magic cure to my weight problem. Who knew! Everyone else is complaining that quarantine is making them gain weight. Not me!

Next up is my sanitation station. I love the sound of that. I’m thinking I should make it into a shrine or ofrenda of some sort. I mean, if it is going to live there by the front door it might as well look cute, right? Right now it looks pretty pathetic. I’m thinking maybe there is a saint who is in charge of cleaning? A portrait of Zita, the patron saint of house-cleaning?

Masks! They are for fashion! I know, I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying that but since I can’t mass-produce masks (I can only make about two a day after I get done with my day job) I’m mostly just making them for friends and family. And if I’m making them for friends and family I might as well make them cute, right? So far I’ve only dug around my fabric stash but I have day-dreams of creating masks that have facial expressions on them and maybe a baby shark for the little boy who loves baby shark so much. Wouldn’t that be cute?

You might know that I am a HUGE fan of Project Runway. It’s my favorite show. And yes, I watch all the spin-offs and project-runway-wannabe shows too. I think I missed my calling when I passed up going to FIDM right out of high school. Can you imagine me as a fashion designer? I know I’m not the most fashionable person but I dream about it all the time. So when Christian Siriano started making plain white masks (and not designer masks that would become collector’s items) I swooned. What a hero!

Next is a pathetic picture of Whiskey. You’d think he’s a poor neglected puppy the way he mopes around. Not the dog who gets peanut butter twice a day with his allergy medicine and the dog who gets walked regularly, patted and crooned to all day long. He’s just playing on your emotions folks, nothing to see here.

Speaking of short-order cook, I can make a mean sandwich! Just ask Bug. Payam would agree too but we aren’t allowed to have bread anymore so we just wist from afar. I’d also like to note my sliced-up hand from making soap. It is a beeyotch. So not helpful when obsessively hand-washing.

Lastly, I give you a shot of my African violet being all pretty in my kitchen window. It’s the little things that keep me sane.

How are you coping?