Atelier? Chick Corner? A little of both, please.

Dear friends,

I spent a good part of Saturday unpacking art and craft supplies and making a workspace for myself.

In our former home, we had a large and light-filled sunroom with a southern exposure. I co-opted half the room as a crafting area and gave it a formal name — the Magpie Dream Studio (Magpie, after my former blog moniker). I miss it.

In our new home, I’ve spent 10 months pondering where to set up shop. Should I decamp in our basement (spacious, and the mess is hidden)? In the laundry room (huge, with oodles of built-in cabinetry and a desk)? In the back-entry alcove (tucked away, perfect size for a desk, and near a large pantry)?

As it turns out, the basement got filled fast thanks to Mr. Mom’s workbench and the kids’ ping pong table. He also co-opted the laundry room. I know it sounds like a strange place for him to hang-out, but our laundry room is a gigantic space. It’s filled with light, and because of the built-in desk, it’s a perfect place for our large iMac computer. With both a computer and washing machines handy, the laundry room has become Mr. Mom’s Man Cave. And the back-entry alcove — my final choice for a crafting space — has been consumed with jackets and shoes and boots and bags. It’s just waiting for me to hire a carpenter to build a mud-room type bench and cabinets.

So every single space I contemplated has been otherwise occupied. There was only one other possible location — an alcove in our master bedroom. It wasn’t really on my list because — I don’t know — it just seemed like a mixed metaphor, of sorts.  But, upon further reflection, the idea began to grow on me.

Our bedroom is plenty large enough. Like the rest of the house, it’s light and bright, and the alcove is near a large window. I have an easy chair and side table near a television in our bedroom, which is situated right by the alcove, so I could go back and forth between my new crafting corner and my reading/TV corner. And, best of all, it’s one of the quietest spots in the house. All it would take is some shuffling of furniture.

I started by moving a bookcase that had been nestled in the alcove to another location in our home. Then I scavenged a work table (my grandmother’s antique oak table from my former Dream Studio), a shelf, a slip-covered chair, a pin board, and a lamp from other rooms — and I was almost in business.

Here’s what it looked like before I got organized.

Photo by Instagram, 1977 filter

That stack of family photos had been hanging on the wall above the bookcase before I moved it. I took them down to make room for the new set-up, not sure what I’d ultimately do with them. But once I got everything organized, I realized they’d look just fine (and provide inspiration) hung salon-style back where they began.

It looks like this now:

Here’s another view:

The green shelf is part of a two-piece bookcase that’s been unused since we moved. It makes a perfect cubby for organizing things.

Remember my friend Maridel, the collage artist I introduced you to in this post?  Here’s a couple of shots of her creations, strategically placed to inspire me.

Did you know that shells and stones . . .

and tiny vases could be such lovely works of art?

I’m itching to make my own, along with a collaged greeting card series I’ve got percolating in my brain.

After almost a year on hiatus, I’ve got just the place I need to get creative. Not as large as the space I was used to, but quite lovely nonetheless.

With gratitude {for a quiet place to dream},

Joan, who must leave this post to run to the kitchen, her other dream studio, where some peaches are calling out to be made into pie



  1. I love that your dream projects will happen in your dreaming room. So apt!

    I struggle with a designated place for working on my varying ongoing projects. A major concern for me is whether or not any particular work in progress must be left out in plain sight – where it might be mistaken for mess but more importantly will be vulnerable to cat attack(s). I finally realized I need a space with a door that can stay firmly closed. Onward!

  2. Arriba atelier! Honored to be included in your post. I found those abalone shells for sale on the Santa Monica Pier. And the rock came from the beach north of the pier. Good memories!

  3. Joan, it’s perfect! Having a designated space to create is half the battle. Like TexasDeb, I have to hide things away from animals. Darn labrador tails (my jewelry table has gone flying more than once ~ ugh). And did I ever tell you about the time I came home to find Leo had pulled my knitting off the coffee table and had eaten my beautiful Brittany knitting needles? There was not a shard of wood anywhere, he was so thorough. Thank goodness he left the yarn. Better in a tangled bundle on the floor than in a tangled bundle in his gut, right?

  4. Deb and Jenn — Having the “mess” visible in my bedroom is what took me so long to embrace this space. But really . . . no one sees our bedroom but us. And I’m not that messy, anyway, so I don’t know why I was creating an artificial barrier for myself (except I’m good at that). I’m lucky my animals aren’t an issue. Sweetpea is so short she can’t even jump in a chair, and Sushi the cat is fairly well trained to stay off counters and tables.

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