Friday, 18 October 2013

My New ARTHaven–Starting to Get Organised

I haven’t posted for a while about my new ARTHaven because we’ve been so busy with other things, and it was relegated to a dumping ground, and for some time I could hardly get in there. The office is up and running, but there is quite a bit of organising to do in there until I’m happy with it, but over the past few days I’ve had a blitz on the ARTHaven proper and things are starting to take shape.

First of all, last time the builders were here, work has progressed on the sink. Andy has put a plinth under the unit – at first we weren’t going to bother, but decided to do it in the end because the laminate flooring stops short and it looked a bit untidy.

01 Sink Unit Plinth

The first stage of constructing the shelf for the microwave.

02 Beginning to Create Microwave Shelf

The shelf complete, with the microwave. Eventually I shall paint this shelf white, to make it look a bit tidier.

03 Microwave on Shelf

The tiling is now complete, and the microwave has been wired in, and everything is working fine.

01 Sink with Tiling and Microwave

You can see that I have also started organising all my paintbrushes. Whether they will live permanently on the sink is another matter! My whole ARTHaven is in a state of flux at present…

It’s great having a sink upstairs as it means I can easily wash up my morning tea stuff, without my poor hubby having to carry trays up and down the stairs for me all the time! Actually, there are so many helpful adaptations built into our new house that my hubby is having to do far less for me all round, which is great for both of us.

I have also moved Mum’s old pine table from the ARTHaven proper to the space which it exactly fits, in front of the balcony door. This table is quite lightweight, but strong, and is easily moved. I have put my vinyl tablecloth on it, and it will be useful when doing mixed media work, with the sink beside it, and just the other side of the wall through the doorway, all my mixed media stuff on the shelves. This is not a fixed position for the table, and I shall also use it in the main ARTHaven, where it fits nicely in front of the storage units. If I have a friend round to share some crafty/art time, it will be good to have another table to work at.

02 Table across Balcony Door

It was always my plan to be able to use this table beside the sink, which is one reason why I asked Andy not to put the cupboard doors back onto the sink unit.

You may remember a while back that I posted about getting an Indian textile doorway hanging (known as a toran) for the doorway into the ARTHaven proper from the office section. The other day I put this up, together with a curtain made from a double layer of voile, one of a pair that I made to go over the spare bed in our old house – I thought the colour was perfect with the hanging. (The Indian voile drapes I bought at the same time as the toran are for use elsewhere.)

03 Curtain Closed

It is installed on a flexible net curtain rod on the other side of the doorway, and can be drawn aside if necessary. I shall make a tie-back for it eventually, as it is fractionally too long and trails on the floor.

04 Curtain Open

The other curtain from the pair, I think I may hang over the balcony door. The curtain there is not very nice, and the curtain pole much too heavy-looking. I have a fairly short brass one that might just do.

Last night I installed some shelves and other refinements in the space between the wall units above the main work area. This is how it looks now, although the contents of the shelves will no doubt change until I make a final decision about where everything will go.

05 Main Work Area Gen View

Some detail: I have installed two of my four Ikea rails high up under the top shelf, allowing just enough space above and below to take my punches. Compared with other people, I own relatively few punches, and there is some more space to the left for additional ones. I also have some very large ones, and some small ones, that don’t hang on the rails, and these are in boxes at present.

06 Ikea Rails with Punches

This small pine shelf unit is my mum’s old spice rack, which she said I could have when we were packing up her old house. I love the way my complete set of Dylusions sprays fit on one shelf – but I think it is unlikely that they will remain there because I shall probably create a spray booth elsewhere in the room, but they do look good there! The objects on the shelf above are a collection of clear mounted stamps which don’t yet have a home – each one is individually boxed. On the bottom shelf are all the supplies I use regularly, such as Glossy Accents, alcohol blending solution etc. etc.

07 Spice Rack

This pine shelf used to be in the upstairs loo in our old house, and had pine supports which I removed.

08 Shelf with Hanging Rail

I replaced the pine supports with a pair of fancy metal brackets which I bought recently at B&Q.

09 Fancy Bracket Detail

A few weeks ago I bought some stainless steel rods which I was going to use with this system, but they proved much too flexible and were bending under the weight of the things hanging from them, so I have put in an old piece of wooden dowelling which I had.

10 Hanging Rail Detail

I found the split rings and the small metal clips (which are supposed to be to clip name badges to the clothing of conference delegates) on Ebay – I bought 50 of each. I am using this system to hang all my rubber stamps mounted on Easy-Mount foam – as well as a few other odd bits and pieces, I have put the stamp(s) and their original backing sheets into individual zip-lock bags so that I know the name and manufacturer of each stamp for future reference. All I have to do is unclip the relevant stamp, extract it from its bag, use it and replace it. I got this idea from a picture I found on Pinterest – here and here. I thought this was such a cool idea that I had to incorporate it into my ARTHaven somewhere! Not only do you get a convenient hanging system, but a useful shelf, too.

Andy made the unit to sit on top of the work surface, and I am using this for my carousels, with small drawers and other bits and pieces underneath. On the left is the new Stickles carousel I bought a few months ago, and in the centre is my fabric caddy with all my regular-use tools, on its dual function revolving base – a Martha Stewart circle cutter! On the right is a new craft spinner I  bought recently, with my Inkylicious Ink Dusters and a couple of Tim Holtz blending tools. I have also got a couple of Dad’s old pipe racks for small pliers and tweezers.

11 Carousels

My friend Lucy came to visit me the other day, and she told me she has designed a marvellous carousel to hold the complete set of Distress Inks. She says she will be doing a detailed blog post about it soon, with the pattern, and I am keen to make this – I have seen something similar online and know that this will be exactly what I need to make my Distress Inks a lot easier to use than my previous system – several piles of ink pads, with the one you want at the bottom (of course…) or latterly, in a Really Useful Box, also not desperately easy to access the one you want. The carousel is designed to be made from A3 sheets of foam board, assembled with hot glue, and I have the materials all ready to construct it.

General news – today I am having a bad day with my M.E., which is hardly surprising given how much I have been overdoing things lately. My only surprise is how well I have been till now – and how much I’ve managed to do! I am sure I shall be OK again in a day or two. I have had a good rest today and not done much but have a lovely shower in my beautiful new bathroom, wash my hair, and take some photos!

We took Mum and got ourselves registered at the local doctors’ surgery yesterday, and today I had a call from one of the GPs, asking me to arrange an appointment for some blood samples to be taken, and to have an ECG. This is as a result of my problem with my legs swelling up – this doctor also said she didn’t necessarily expect to see a positive result, but it was good to have an initial “MOT” to give a base-line as I start with a new surgery, and she said that my colitis is likely to be causing continual blood loss even if I am not aware of it, possibly leading to anaemia which may be a cause of the swollen ankles. I shall be going next Thursday afternoon. So far I am very impressed indeed with the efficiency of the new surgery and think I shall get on well there – not that I am one for popping in all the time with every minor ailment, but it’s good to know that they are aware of my problems and will be keeping a watching brief. I have also found out how to start the repeat prescription procedure for my colitis medication, so that I can collect it from the pharmacy which is only a couple of hundred yards away. The surgery is only at the bottom of the hill, and both will be easy for me to reach independently once I get my mobility scooter.

It is great living in an area with so many amenities so close at hand! Previously we had to drive 5 miles to access anything, although the village shop was very good, and had a post office too. We now have two small supermarkets, post office, a baker, a florist, a pharmacy, the surgery, the vet, two local churches, and – as my hubby discovered yesterday – the mobile library comes every other Wednesday, only a few yards from home! There are also several quite excellent takeaways (2 fish and chips, Chinese and Indian) for those days when I am not well enough to cook, or when we feel like a treat! We love the area, and the neighbours are very friendly. I think we are going to be very happy here.


  1. I am so glad things are starting to settle down, and that you have the things you need close at hand.moving is hard, with finding new doctors etc.
    Ilove your art haven!!Wow!!So well thought out! Everything you'll need to make lots of lovely things.I'm happy for you!!

  2. Thanks for all the updates, Shoshi! I'm glad you had an easy day on yourself. Your area sounds like a wonderful and convenient place to live.

  3. It's all looking superb! Next I would like to have a video tour of the house and occupants!

  4. I am getting art room envy.... Looks great! I am glad to read that you like your new area! Stay well, hugs, Cornelia

  5. I love to see all your beautiful spaces and the beautiful insights, you grant to us. Beautifully!


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