Off Topic: My Craft Room

11 Oct

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Dedicated to my mom for getting me The House That Had Enough when I was wee.

Okay, my craft “closet”. I can’t really do any crafting inside of it because it’s a little pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter closet underneath the building’s staircase and when my landlord comes bustling down the stairs it sounds like two parts scary thunderstorm and one part shoot-out scene from The Departed. Not ideal for needle crafts or hot glue projects. No sir.

It’s also the cleaning supplies closet, the bedding closet, the tools closet, the coat closet, and the company’s-coming-throw-all-your-crap-in-there-so-the-place-looks-semi-clean closet. What had been organized into Sewing, Needlework, Felt Crap, Paints, Future Dio-rama Projects, Drawing Stuff, Yarn Stuff, Jewelry Stuff, and Craft Books when I first moved it in there two and a half years ago had fallen victim to scattered piles of mending projects, mop buckets, and my plastic light-up jack-o-lantern, Vern. To add insult to my organizationally injured closet, every time I went in there to clean up, I would end up spending the entire afternoon re-discovering all the stuff I hadn’t been able to get to because of the pile of crap it was under.

“Oh, look the vacuum! Oh look Jack-o-Lantern Vern! Oh look! That picture of a little boy staring at a toilet that I was going to use for my Christmas card picture and make a joke about how Santa Claus would find his way in even if you didn’t have a chimney! Oh yeah! That awesome vintage dress I found in 2003 and ripped all of the seams out of because apparently women in the 1940s weighed between six and eight pounds!”

This activity will make perfect sense to my mother who saw all this coming. When I was a kid and I had to clean my room, she would come back to check on me four hours later and find me scrunched in between my own bed and the bed of whichever sister had to share a room with me that month, looking through my half-finished crayon storybooks, or picking the dog hair off of the clay figurines that I never got around to baking in the oven, or pressing my silly putty onto the comic strip I found under my bed to make the picture transfer (it works). Friends and neighbors came and went, ice cream was had (that’s a sad story for another time), Saturday night movies and Sunday morning breakfasts were served up and Annie stayed in that room: mesmerized by the artifacts I had collected and then buried, so to speak. A six-year-old who was already nostalgic for her youth.

I like this way of cleaning. I’ve taken to calling it Discovery Cleaning. How else would I have come across a birthday card from my grandfather, the only thing I have of his, that says “Monkeyed Around and Missed Your Birthday”? The child me probably kept it so she could make that monkey collage when she got around to it, but the adult me keeps it for sentimental reasons. It may take me four days but that room will get clean and I’ll have several balls of yarn, that book I thought I lost, and a dress that’s fois le nouveau (Google French for “new again” meaning I put Dress in GoodWill pile but never actually took it to GoodWill and decided to get back together with Dress) to show for it.

All of this is to say that I recently poured myself a thermos of tea, put on The Miracles: Greatest Hits from the Beginning, and locked myself in that damn craft closet. I took everything out. I washed the bedding. I folded all of the fabric. I boxed and labeled the tools, extra hats/scarves/gloves, and holiday decorations. I turned one of my bookshelves on its side to more efficiently store my sewing crap:

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DSCN1308I made the things I use least (tools) the hardest to reach and the things I use most (hot glue, pretty paper, colored pencils) easiest to grab. I divided my shelves into Sewing, Needlework, Felt Crap, Paints, Future Dio-rama Projects, Drawing Stuff, Yarn Stuff, Jewelry Stuff, and Craft Books.

DSCN1305I swept. I mopped. I, gulp, discarded. I also discovered gifts I had set aside for holidays and forgot about, a pair of pants I had actually already hemmed, several promising buttons, and felt galore. I plugged in Jack-o-Lantern Vern and discovered he burns just as brightly as ever. I found an old disposable camera that ended up having pictures from six years ago on it. And lastly, I discovered it’s a lot easier to have a “crafternoon” when all of your glorious craft materials are right there in front of you.

Successful Discovery Cleaning. I can’t help it. I’m beaming with pride.

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2 Responses to “Off Topic: My Craft Room”

  1. Erin MIshler October 12, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    Annie, I just keep wondering where you have been all my life. I was always the kid that wanted to craft, but had no idea what to really do… I didn’t have the things required to craft. I made stuff up and gave things to my friends and family. I really could have used a friend like you! You inspire me ever day! I love all of your stories. Still waiting for you book! xoxo

  2. anniee October 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Aw, thanks. We should have played together as kids! Thanks for reading. You’ll be one of the first to know if I ever get a book deal!

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