How is your day going thus far? It’s cloudy & humid here in nw Ohio & I am so over summer & so ready for fall. BUT…before autumn rushes through with fresh breezes, pumpkin spice coffees, & colorful leaves dropping, I need to transform what previously was what I called my “space” into a family room/studio. So let me tell you about. . .
As every home I’ve ever lived in…it rests on a corner & is painted a deep red with cream trim. It began as a gun shop, maybe in the 1930s, when tiny villages were vibrant places with businesses & even a small school. It belonged to a couple who I cared deeply for & they are the ones who transformed the space into a charming little house for 2. My daughter, grandson, & I moved in 7 years ago & now it’s Winston, Miss Adventure & me makes three.
The house is indeed small, but the couple were forward thinking adding pull-outs in the 1970s to double the cupboard space in the tiny kitchen. An entire wall in the living room is a bookcase with adjustable shelves.
A very simple rough layout of my home to give you an idea of the space that needs a transformation. . .
It’s an L-shape with NINE windows inside deep sills that I absolutely love, love, love. So much natural light bathes the room & it is my favorite place in the house. I can sit at my computer & look out the window any time of year & see squirrels chasing each other across thick branches & birds arguing over daily events. Spring brings the most heavenly fragrance from a lilac growing against one of the windows. From these windows watching it snow becomes a soft & magical time. This is so close to an ideal room except….how to blend a studio with a family room.
I didn’t do a very good job blending bedroom & studio but I’d like to do a better job with family room & studio. Any ideas?
As you can see…I’m something of a plain jane with white woodwork & a beige sort of wall painted in Dried Hydrangea (BTW…this color is the color I am using throughout the house cuz I like it…ALOT!) I am so open to suggestions on how to make this room work. Oh & yes that is an old, beautiful sewing machine sitting in the back corner. I have loads of old things from glass apothecary jars to canning jars to pretty dishes. A Hoosier cabinet from the turn of the century sits against another wall. I did not take a photo of it because…well…it’s a mess. What do you think of storing craft supplies in the old cupboard? It could use some TLC. Pops of color are sorely needed, but I have a deep greenish/brown, super comfy little sofa that’s not going anywhere.
I need a crafting corner or spot where I can assemble printbles & take fantastic photos to use with listings & social media posts but still have room for entertaining on occasion. I’m thinking of holding classes here, too. There must be room for lots of paperie pieces, accessories for printables, props for photographing printables, & places to keep business & personal type stuff.
Am I asking too much of this L-shaped space? Please comment on your thoughts…I so need some input in how to transform this wonderful room.
Studio on the Corner is into Halloween even though it’s hot & humid. A fun pack of papers, Fright Night, will soon be listed along with tags, & more papers & labels for creating apothecary packages for decorating your home in a haunted, Victorian way.
Here’s a peek at the dozen papers soon to be listed…
Always high-quality, 300 dpi, 8.5 inches x 11 inches so you can print at home, if you want. Wondering what to do with digital papers? Here’s a quick list:
Use for digital scrapbooking
Use for paper scrapbooking
Add a background to a social media banner
Create cupcake toppers &/or wrappers
Use for card making
Wrap a small gift
Cover a light switch
Make paper bows
Use with your Cricut or whatever cut-out crafting machine you have
Add a cover to metal tags
Fold & add as a page in an art or junk journal
Use your vibrant imagination!
Well there it is. . . what’s going on here on the corner. I sure hope I hear from you ‘cuz I really need some input on that room. Have a most wonderful August day!
Have you ever had that moment when you knew this is a. . .
Since before journeying to England in May things have been swirling in a mad dance of changes. One thing led into the next, one event piled upon another. Get ready for England, travel to England, my daughter & grandson’s big move to the city, a home to reorganize for one, please, a momentous first birthday party for grandson No. 2, the annual 127 Garage Sale & today, Monday August 6th I awake with no big celebrations or occasions awaiting my attention. The moving out & in is over, the paint put away, for now, & nothing left but time to make it happen. Finally I feel like I’m starting a new life in earnest.
How I experience these years is up to me, but one thing I know for sure is that Studio on the Corner must take precedence. Building my little business, growing, thriving & making it my life is not only a dire need, but one that I very much desire. And by the way, nothing pushes like a genuine need & fear of the consequences of not rising to the occasion. Creating printables from old, often forgotten images in the public domain brings me so much pleasure. Now, I have to find a way to convince others, many others, that these paperie bits inspired from the past will bring them joy, too.
At times it’s so quiet that I have to turn on the TV just for the noise. I’ve taken to listening to podcasts about selling on Etsy, selling digital designs & entrepreneurship just to hear another human. I’m tempted to begin a podcast about starting over after 50 or something like that because I’ve found none that appeal to me. So I’m mostly learning from those wild gen xers & crazy millenials who run free about the world of social media. Kudos to them!
Then there’s missing my charge, grandson No.1 who I nanny-grannied for 13 sweet & sometimes trying years. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him & the little guy in Colorado so much my heart aches. Once upon a time I would never admit that I was lonely. I have no problem saying it now, I get lonely, but I don’t believe there’s a soul on earth who hasn’t been lonely at some point in life. What always cuts through the missing you & lonely moments is working on my mac, creating, tweaking, or searching. You know you love something when you lose all track of time & space while in its presence.
I’m so glad brilliant people write hit-the-mark prose that can be used by we lowly mortals for aspirational guides. CS Lewis’ quote does just that. He makes me believe that no matter how old I am I too can have goals & dreams, while the dreams are there it’s the goals that I am working towards. I’ve set goals like: How many sales do I need a month, a week, each day? I did not choose a random number…I chose an achievable number needed to create a happy life for myself.
Can you guess the number? “Ten,” you say. Well you would be correct. Out of all the millions, nay billions, of people on this planet I only need to convince 10 each day to purchase something from my little shop, Studio on the Corner. Sounds like a snap, right? Not so…it’s much more difficult to be found on this frenzy of internet shops & businesses than you can imagine. So I’m going the shameless route & hit social media, pin like a mad woman, post on Instagram & share what, why & how I create. Oh by the way you can expect an increase in blog posts. I hope that’s ok with you.
This is where I am right now, today. It’s a new start, a new beginning & while we say good-bye to yesterday, let’s embrace & enjoy today while setting goals, planning & sneaking in a dream or 2 for the days to come.
There’s a couple new listings in Studio on the Corner Etsy shop…The Ginger Piggery package is coming together slowly, but the invitation & a favor bag are listed. I just love the happy pigs that live in the world of Ginger Piggery & I hope you will, too.
Look for another post on Wednesday. I’m thinking a peak into what my transformed bedroom area is turning into might be the ticket. I’ll continue off & on with stories from England, too because reliving that trip is so darn wonderful. Also, I mentioned tutorials in previous posts & you’ll be seeing a few of those along with freebies from time to time. I am so ready to dive into this head first & swim like crazy to reach that goal!
The Cat in the Bowler Hat, the mini poodle, Winston & Miss Adventure along with me
Oh where to begin….the journey to Windermere was fraught with anxiety & nerve-wrenching exhaustion, but once there we parked the car & did not get back in until it was time to travel to the next destination. Instead, we took Sharon’s advice.
We were happy to gaze out the window at the mountains of the Lake District & also stopping to get a closer look at some of the more interesting points of interest in the area instead of navigating ourselves down narrow, winding roads closed in on both sides by stone walls or hedgerows
welcoming us to….
The loveliest spot man hath found
Two things I love: 1. Dogs/animals of all kinds 2. Flowers of all kinds
Everywhere we went in England we saw both in an astonishing number in the most unexpected places, but the Lake District, Hawkshead in particular, seemed to have both in happy, beautiful abundance.
We took a Mountain Goat bus tour, Heart of the Lakes, to see as much of the Lake District as we could with so little time. Our bus driver was fantastic, a story teller & fearless driver. As he drove he pointed out landmarks of interest, gave us names of fells. I must confess, I love English names of places & things, like the word fell. It has a romanticism to it, perhaps because it’s so new to me. According to the Oxford English dictionary, a fell is an old English word that means a hill or stretch of high moorland, especially in Northern England. Though the fells in the Lake District are not that high, they have a rugged, lonely feel that adds to their majestic mystery. Sheep graze on grasses that grow up the craggy sides of the mountains & hills. It’s open range farming called fell farming & since we were there in May lambs were cavorting across the meadows & pastures. It was just about as charming a sight as can be seen.
Taken from the window of a moving bus the 2 photos above tell the story of hills & farming. Herds of hearty sheep, the Herdwick breed promoted by Beatrix Potter, wander the hills & dales as part of the National Trust’s promise to Beatrix. In her will she left acres & acres of farms & robust countryside to the National Trust to be protected from commercialism that may have destroyed the breath-taking views & rural life of this treasured part of England. Today the main industry in this region of England, called Cumbria, is fell farming & tourism.
We held our breath as we squeezed through the smallest of roadways, skinny branches of the hedgerows scratching the windows. I loved it!
Our first stop…
Once upon a time around the year 1840 a wealthy doctor wanted to build his wife a grand home filled with the romance of chivalrous knights, fair maidens & courtly love. So Wray Castle rose up on a hill overlooking Lake Windermere. It has all the ambiance of a gothic novel, but Dr. Dawson’s wife found the place to be hideous & never spent one night in the johnny-come-lately castle that is now a popular site for visitors. It’s easy to dream of another world, but truth is it’s not old by European standards where buildings have been standing in the same place for over a thousand years.
Inside, the ceiling in what was once the music room now a gift shop, was an eye-catcher. One of the volunteers struck up a conversation with me & we shared a bit about farming in our countries. We both laughed when we said we raised Black Angus cattle. Her farm hilly & filled with history; the farm where I raised my children as flat as a pancake & filled with the family history of my ex-husband. I could have sat & had a cup of tea, nibbled on a scone & talked with this lady for hours, but sojourners were getting on the bus & our time at Wray Castle over.
Off we went down more crazy, wonderful roads with stunning views on both sides. So many photos didn’t happen as we traveled along…the gigantic exposed roots of trees that surely houses fairies, sprites, & elves. I failed to capture that mournful, dark feeling of a primal forest, so old & so full of stories. I missed the babbling brooks that skittered over stones, the rugged hikers trekking from one village to another through the woods, over hills, & along waterways. There was so much to see, so much to take in & my mind rushed forward with so many thoughts. Did I take enough time to truly let it all soak in? Did I look with eyes wide-open & appreciate every nuance? I think I did because there was no lack of tears when something so magical would occur & that magic might be nothing more than a thought that I was very near the settings of some of my favorite books…Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, for one. A long held dream coming true is sure to overwhelm & it did…just ask MJ.
Late in the afternoon we pulled into a little stop where a sign said it all…
We stopped for a just a few minutes at Hill Top Farm the house that Beatrix Potter loved so well. When we got off the bus we noticed a gathering across the way & like 2 little girls with their noses pressed against the window of a toy shop, MJ and I stood watching the group that we were supposed to be a part of. We both felt a bit sad that we were not able to attend, but nonetheless we both got photos of the picnic at Castle Cottage with author & water colorist Susan Branch.
You can read about Castle Cottage picnic on Susan’s blog. Just click HERE. It was a marvelous day, I’m sure, filled with all the quaintness of a Beatrix Potter illustration, but a blustery day that was quite chilly. I didn’t get to attend & perhaps seeing the group made the hurt just a bit deeper, but no matter, there was time to take a quick jaunt through the garden. We would be back tomorrow to see the house, spend all the time we wanted in the gardens, & walk the road to a pub for a bite.
Back on the bus we were off for a longer stop.
Here I found the England that I knew from books, movies, & PBS!
We ventured up a little hill & to a closer look at Hawkshead Grammar School where Williams Wordsworth (1770-1850) studied & grew up to write some of the loveliest poems. The first stanza of Daffodils written in 1802 certainly makes me think of the Lake District now & surely Wordsworth’s inspiration.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Just a quick peek into the school room & then MJ & I parted ways. I spied an iron gate & headed toward it to discover a magical, mystical site….
Beyond the gate stood grave stones, time-worn & weathered from the years & standing proudly on top of the hill, part of St. Michael and All Angels church. The people of Hawkshead have been making the walk up the hill to worship since the 12th century. The building has changed, been added to, revamped, but it remains a wonderful testament to the ingenuity & persistence of the human race. No one described this beautiful landmark in a better way than William Wordsworth, who attended the church,
I saw the snow-white church upon her hill
Sit like a throned lady sending out
A gracious look all over her domain’ – The Prelude by William Wordsworth
One more because that’s how much I loved this very old place
The inside was just as grand as the exterior & even more amazing that it continues to be a place of worship.
After spending so much time soaking in the age & wonder of St. Michael and All Angels church on the hill I had just enough time to get back to the bus to continue the tour. Want to know more? There’s lots of information about this glorious place but here’s a start….click HERE Check out the cobblestoned village Hawkshead, too
Back on the bus we were once again on narrow roads that wound upward into fells. Our driver pointed out the Old Man of Coniston, the Langdales, & what one fellow claimed to be the most beautiful point in England, Tarn Hows (more about that tomorrow). I’m so glad we took the drive…it was a great way to see this spectacular part of England.
Down the hill & back to our Airbnb we went, still tired from our drive the day before. We dined on leftover fish & chips that we were too tired to eat the night before & mapped out the next day. I slept happy that night, content with what I saw & knowing that tomorrow would be even better. I was going to tour Hill Top farm & for just a small moment in time be part of a world where Peter Rabbit hopped, little mice sewed a brocade coat & ran out or cherry twist, & Mrs. Tiggy Winkle would find a new home in Ohio.
& I’ve created a whole collection of items under the title A Ginger Piggery Party! The collection will include: invitation, candy wrappers, cookie bag, banner, cupcake topper, & more. I’m trying to work out an adorable centerpiece that can be printed, cut out & assembled. There are so many inspirational moments that I’m hoping to transform into printables & papers, maybe a scrapbook kit. Only time will tell.
Look for a tutorial coming out in the near future. It’s all about putting your own creative touches on printables.