Friday, 12 January 2018

Creating a Croffice

Wow, blog post number 50.
I honestly thought when I started blogging that I'd last five or maybe ten posts, no-one would show any interest and I'd slope back off into obscurity, gently and quietly knocking Comfy Marmalade on the head and putting it down to experience.  And here we are, 16 months and 50 posts later.  Thank you so much for all your support, and thank you to everyone who follows my Comfy Marmalade exploits on Facebook and Instagram too - your encouragement and enthusiasm is infectious, and is what inspires me to keep on keeping on.

Anyway, enough. What you really want to know is - what on earth is a croffice, right?

Well, it's a term our ever-resourceful and ever-imaginative daughter has given the space that occupies her recently vacated bedroom.  The Girl now has a brand spanking new bedroom in one of our two attic rooms, of which I'll tell you more at some point in the future.  She's moved into what was my craft room, and so all my craft stuff has moved into her former (and smaller) bedroom.

This small but perfectly formed dog was made from a pattern in
a fantastic book called Felt Friends from Japan by Naomi Tabatha

A charity shop jug in front of some alphabet cards by Jessica Hische, which I plan to display

This plant and plant pot came from Dad's house recently.
I am well known as a plant killer, but I'm going to try my hardest with this one...

However, I was keen to make it more than a craft room.  For one, I wanted to store our paperwork, which had previously been filed (in its loosest sense) in the attic, in the new room. I'd love to say that we are fastidious about sorting out our paperwork, putting it away as soon as it lands and disposing of out of date correspondence. Sadly, however, this is not the case.  The paperwork comes in, it gets put on a sideboard, then at the bottom of the stairs, then at the bottom of the attic stairs, then 'filed' in a pile and left there for six months or so until one of us gets up enough energy / enthusiasm to do something about it.  Not good.  So, in an effort to try and be more pro-active about filing, I thought it might be better to have some proper storage for it, and to have a table, stapler and hole punch to hand. Also, if I can see it (in a bedroom) rather than ignoring it (in an attic) I might be more tempted to be more efficient in filing it.

I also wanted a space that felt more 'connected' to the main part of the house, rather than hidden away in the attic.  And I wanted a multi-functional space that I can escape to to work on Comfy Marmalade stuff, on the iPad, on developmental ideas.

Basically, I wanted a craft-room-come-office.
Craft-room-come-office: Croffice!

Luckily, the room (like most rooms in our house) is painted white, so no decorating to be done.  Pointless replacing the carpet, which is not only completely serviceable but is likely to be subject to all manner of ink, paints and general messiness. Curtains? Lovely. Lighting? Simple but effective.  So the only thing I needed to do really was to move in.  It took a couple of weeks of faffing to get it completely how I wanted it but I'm now ready for the big reveal.  Would you like to see it?....

Craft room come office! Croffice!

Check out that tidiness. How long will it last?
Probably not very long tbh...!

Well, what do you think?!!!

The sign was another charity shop find; the books and pape
 to the left I use for decoupage and papercraft projects

All the furniture in the room is either from my craft room or re-hashed from the Girl's room.  The smaller shelf unit is an original G-Plan unit that I bought for £30 off eBay a couple of years ago and is possibly my favourite item in there.  It has a lovely mid-green back to it, and stores all manner of crafty stuff including my spare wool. 

Bargain eBay G-Plan unit (love!) and various bits and bobs

On top of the unit is a robot tea strainer that I bought last week in the sale from a local shop called Bolthole for £2.50.  I don’t use loose tea, so it's never going to be used as a strainer, but it was so cute that I couldn't leave it behind at that price!

Robot tea strainer - it's all squashy and everything. I love his half-smile...

The red owl money box, the red 'atomic' patterned bowl and the tin holding my collection of seaside driftwood are all charity shop buys, as is the sweet jar set which holds my buttons.

The shelves next to the G-Plan unit were from Ikea years ago, and hold all manner of bits and bobs. And do you see those white magazine filing boxes? Paperwork, my friend, paperwork! All neatly categorised and filed.  The magazine filing boxes were a recent Ikea purchase and only cost 75p for four, an absolute bargain.

The white desk is from Ikea, and the high stool was another charity shop find for £6.  The chair I showed you last time is tucked under my sewing table, and I'm using the wall above it as a kind of 'inspiration board'.

My sewing table, complete with inspiration wall
and hopefully-soon-to-be-made Jane Foster Animal Factory

I've put everything up with washi tape so it won't mark the walls and I can move them around as and when I feel the urge.

The pictures on the left are actually from an inexpensive doodle book;
the robots were part of a birthday card the Boy received in December

There's cards from friends, inspiring quotes, pictures the kids have made me, greetings cards I've bought to display rather than to send, and original and print artwork from lovely creative types such as Clare Waterfall Pictures (the 'Help' papercut), Five Red Hens, Amongst The Trees Design (the gouache tree scene) and more besides.

Clare Waterfall Pictures 'Help' papercut, and Amongst The Trees
gouache tree scene, as well as many others

At the far end of the room is a curiosity - a window built into the wall, presumably originally installed to throw natural light into the cupboard under the stairs on the other side of the wall.  Since then, the glass has been wallpapered over (not by us, I hasten to add) and looks unsightly when on display.  I came up with an idea to 'hide' the window, using a piece of 1 inch foam cut to size, covered with material and placed in front of the glass.

The window. Minus foam but plus wallpaper...

I chose foam for a couple of reasons: it's very flexible, which means I can easily manipulate it and squeeze it to fit into the available space, and you can stick pins into it, so it acts as a noticeboard.

The apple was made by the Girl at a craft class at Stitch Studio last year

I made the flower brooch, and the bird badge came from I know not where

The Boy had the room before the Girl, and when he was in it I covered the foam in a funky retro-inspired camper van fabric, but it wasn't really doing it for me in my craft room.

In its previous camper van cover

I had a piece of lovely elephant fabric in my stash (Premier Prints Ele the Elephant in grey twill, I think) which fitted the foam pretty much perfectly.

I pinned the fabric in place, stretching it gently and making sure that the elephants didn't get pulled out of shape.  Then I hand-sewed the fabric to the foam (another reason foam is so good!) with a running stitch, tucking in the corners neatly.

You can be as rough as you like with the sewing - no-one can see it.
In fact the rougher the better in that it's easier to unpick if and when
you decide to change the material

To keep the foam securely in place in front of the glass I used a thick roll of sticky-backed Velcro, attaching one side to the window and the other to the reverse of the foam.

Sticky backed Velcro, voila

And it looks great! Much better for my purposes than the camper van fabric.

Soooo much better. Loving the elephants! And the grey too, obvs.

The 'window' has a little ledge, onto which I've placed a bright yellow Ikea napkin holder, re-serviced as a letter rack (50p, charity shop), a tin I bought from Home Bargains a couple of years ago for a pound or two, a toy cat (charity shop around £1.50), and a box of My Room language learning cards (English, French and, randomly, Chinese), again a charity shop find a couple of years ago.

I love these cards and am considering displaying them somehow - possibly in a single frame or possibly washi-taped to the wall. Or I might keep them in the box. I can't decide.

I got these in a charity shop (surprise, surprise) but you can still get them on Amazon

I only finished the room properly yesterday, and I'm so looking forward to putting it to good use.  I'm going to try and keep it as tidy as I can, clearing up my mess as and when I complete a job, and making sure everything has its place.  And I'm definitely going to try my hardest to keep on top of that flamin' paperwork!

Bye for now xx

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