The Art Room ::: Behind the Book

This is how THE BOOK began.

...and when I turned in my first draft, it looked more like this:
...and this is just one wall -- imagine nature crafts ALLLLLLL around the entire house :)
Now it looks like this:

Let's start back at the beginning...

When I first knew that the book was going to be a real THING, I sat down with two big posterboards and wrote out the table of contents.  Then I scratched a bunch of stuff out and rearranged things and had a giant rough draft that was life-sized and tangible.  Once I submitted my table of contents to the publisher, it was fairly set in stone.  We made a few adjustments, but the basic outline is still very much the same. The chapters went from that big posterboard onto:

In case you were wondering, I was able to make those perfectly straight lines because I used the handy dandy 
vertical lined wallpaper to measure before issuing it a death sentence.  See?  Even ugly things can be helpful! 

The 14 clipboards to the left are for the kids -- star charts, hanging artwork, working math problems, etc.  The two in the middle held a running schedule of current projects for the book (bottom) and blog (top) and the 14 clipboards on the right were separated by chapter for the book.  (Some chapters were paired up at various times -- there are 19 total chapters).  In the corner of each clipboard is the chapter number and the month that I planned to work on it.  The light green post-it notes had projects that needed to completed for that chapter, the yellow post it was an alert that text was not complete and the dark green post-it was for submitted chapters.  Once the wall started winding down to less and less yellow and more and more dark green, my stress level started easing right along with it.

The Workspace:

To recap, the "front" of the room is devoted to the kid's art and all the cubbies that organize our life.  The left of the room is almost all clipboards.  Straight in front of you when you walk in is this:

Note the "JOY" in the form of pom poms :) (Tutorial HERE)

1. The old crib mattress springs held my table of contents until it was set in stone and up onto the clipboards.  Now it has started to hold finished products along with the other IKEA grids (to the right of frame).

2. There are three dressers and a rolling paper cart from IKEA that fit snuggly along the back wall.  They are divided by color and/or season and filled with decor/props. (Remember my color-coded prop drawers in the old house?  Same dressers)

3. The big wooden drop leaf table is also IKEA, but we grabbed it off Craiglist for a song.  The burlap runner is a $4.97 Consumer Crafts "fabric" and is far cheaper than the same $20+ burlap table runners you can find elsewhere. Bleach the burlap yourself for the even more pricey bleached burlap runners!

What is looks like under actual work conditions...
4.  The window to the right is one of two that I use as lightboxes.  I use a square white tabletop from IKEA ($1 in the as-is section) to reflect light or serve as a backdrop in these windows.  In spring, I was able to get outside for different setups, but most of the winter shooting happened in this little window.

You can see how I used the tabletop while shooting in a different area of the house:

The pictures in this shoot are from THIS POST if you are curious :)

Future Plans for the Art Room

While we are finishing out our time in Puerto Rico, I must say that the room that I miss the most is this art room.  It is such a privilege to have a space where the kids can get messy, I can spread out my work (and leave it out) and we can do it AT THE SAME TIME.  I think a room like this is more valuable to us than a formal dining room, a family room/den or even a playroom.  As far as updates to this space, there are a few more things I would like to get to before officially calling it "done".

1. I want to "rope" those planked wood floors (an interesting and old technique that I am excited to try here and in the living room as well!) and finish removing the staples behind furniture that I never got to. 

2. Add french doors!!   To the left of the row of dressers (see above) is an eyesore that I have been making sure to crop out of pictures.  There were two doors there and one was busted out when the house was under foreclosure.  It currently has painted plywood over it and a bookcase disguising it.  The remaining door has slightly damaged glass still in it and lets in a bit of light. It is OK for the time being, but the situation is not exactly weather-tight, so we want to fix it before the worst of winter sets in this year.  Also, our favorite picnic-ing tree is right outside that door and I would love to be able to access it from the art room and perhaps set up indoor-outdoor crafting times??

3. I hated the red carpet that was previously in this room (see below) and it was one of the first things we removed.  However, the room needs some softness underfoot with all that hardwood.  For now, I am using IKEA rugs that I had from our previous house, but they aren't really worked visually for me.  I am planning to scour Etsy, local auctions and various rug sellers for vintage, antique or simply old-looking Turkish-type rugs.  The walls are white, the floors are brown, the wainscoting is brown, furniture is whites and literally ANY fun colors of rug will work!  I am thinking reds or yellows or purples or blues??  Whatever amazing rug (or two) comes across my path will be the next big addition to this space.
The BEFORE shot of the Art Room -- note the red/purple carpet and striped wallpaper!
More to come behind the scenes on the cover shoot, editing process and book publication!
For now, if you are interested in pre-ordering 'Crafting With Nature', you can definitely do that!!  (PLEASE do!)
Pre-orders help boost the book's ranking on Amazon and makes certain that Amazon keeps it stocked.
If you aren't ready to pre-order, remember that ADDING THE BOOK TO YOUR WISHLIST is very helpful as well and FREE!

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!


Jill P. said…
Congrats! That is so awesome!
Amy Renea said…
Thank you Jill!! I am pretty excited :) :)