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?

Redlands with the Girls

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I happened to schedule a visit to my tax guy during Spring Break. Not smart on my part. I spent the first part of the week adding up receipts (the exact opposite of my idea of a vacation) and the last day taking a trip to Redlands where my tax guy works. I would have much rather been in Paris but well, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

On the upside: I ended up taking the girls with me to Redlands and we found this cute little photo op in downtown Redlands called Orange Alley. Nothing like a photographer with a new camera and two cute side-kicks! Bring on the instagrammable moments! Bug just bought herself a new dress so she was happy to oblige and Joon is just a good sport.

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Orange Alley is where it’s at. It’s not a huge tourist attraction or anything and you can walk the whole stretch in less than two minutes but it’s a nice little spot. I really appreciated who ever thought this art installation up. Way to brighten up an otherwise dreary downtown!

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Pretty, right? I wonder what they look like in a rain storm.

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Joon especially loved the “Hannah’s Wings” painting since Hannah is her real name after all. I’m not such a stickler about protecting their names anymore now that they are old enough to have their own online presence and embarrass and exploit me all they want. Believe me, they do. I have a whole gallery of fat arm photos in Bug’s instagram feed. Turn about’s fair play I guess.  I actually don’t mind. It’s kinda cool to see what I really look like. I have such a distorted version in my own head.

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There she is. Just touching down for a minute before she flies off to grace some other place.

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I was desperately hungry so we went in search for a restaurant that everyone could agree on. This is no small task. Sometimes I think the girls set their parameters on what is acceptable and not acceptable to eat based on how much resistance the other will guarantee. I guess there’s an easier way to say that. They are opposites and will fight to the death over it. If Bug wants Mexican food, Joon wants Italian. If Joon wants pizza, Bug wants hamburgers and never the twain shall meet. Rinse and repeat until you are clawing your eyes out and eating your arm off in starvation. Of course I could just put my foot down but that would be like parenting or something.

Anyway, we found a fondue restaurant that we all liked and had a glorious afternoon eating bread with long stringy pieces of cheese hanging off them and delicious strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. Not the cheapest lunch but I wrote it off for business since the whole reason we were stuck there was because my tax guy lives in Timbuktu aka Redlands. I really need to get a new tax guy. Too bad I like this guy so much. And guess what guys? He told me he wished all his clients were as organized as me! *bats eyelashes and feigns false modesty* This is a new high from the girl who hates math. Did you hear that? I’m organized! I have spreadsheets! Who knew! Turns out I’m a lot more left brained than I thought.

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Then we stopped into Bug’s new favorite store, Nectar. She is obsessed. Every time we go there she tells me that she wishes the whole store was her closet. At least she’s easy to figure out these days. She loves muted colors, all white walls and plants. Plants, plants, plants! I love plants too so I’m super happy about this latest trend.

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She bought herself a pathos and carried it around in her backpack all day with the leaves hanging out the back. She calls herself a plant mom. Heart eyeballs!

And then we went home and lived happily ever after. Sort of. Until next time!