Craft fare: Creating a room devoted to your passion is on the upswing

Creating a room devoted to your passion is on the upswing
2013-07-07T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:50:12Z Craft fare: Creating a room devoted to your passion is on the upswingValerie Vinyard Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tracy Holsinger corralled her scrapbooking passion into a craft room when her son moved out to go to Arizona State University.

"It's a place to go and be creative and everything I love. It's very peaceful," said Holsinger.

She is not alone.

"A lot of people are deciding to stay in their homes even after their kids are gone, so the houses are kind of becoming repurposed," said Liz Ryan, CEO of Liz Ryan Design in Tucson. "It's a very strong trend. People are afraid to get rid of the square footage they're used to."

Holsinger's room, which is painted in beach colors, offers a nice view of a large African sumac, where she can see rabbits, chipmunks and roadrunners frolic underneath.

An administrative coordinator at St. Michael's School, Holsinger has been scrapbooking about 15 years and likes to make books for family and friends. Besides all of the supplies, her room contains a computer, television and table made on hydraulics that can be lowered over the room's twin Murphy bed.

She said she does better work in her craft room, where everything is neatly organized by color or theme. Her average scrapbook is 20 pages with four to six photos per page. That's really just the beginning, though: Accoutrements must adorn the pages, from ribbons to paint to stickers.

"It's not just putting in pages - it's telling the story," Holsinger said. "I've done crafts all my life - macrame, cross stitch, leatherwork, reupholstery. I'm in my room every weekend. It's my 'woman cave.' "

Setting up a craft room makes a lot of sense to some people. Before the advent of these rooms, artists were relegated to stuffing their materials in corners, under beds and in drawers, only to have to pull out everything each time they wanted to work on their craft.

Tucson blogger Victoria Swanson said her craft "room" started as a "big drawer under the waterbed."

Now the former graphic artist has converted a bedroom in her east-side home to blog and create.

"I knew this was the room I wanted for a craft room," said Swanson, who's also a photographer and painted her craft room in cream, sage green and turquoise. "I had to have one because I can't stop doing artwork."

Ryan has been designing home offices for at least a decade, but more unusual requests have come in more recent years. She remembers designing a music room for a woman in her 60s who plays electric guitar.

"A lot of it had to do with the economy," Ryan said. "They could stay home and satisfy their creative outlet.

"Media rooms are still strong among men, but now women want a place of their own," she continued. "They want crafts, of course - from sewing to scrapbooking to writing to meditation rooms."

Many times, if you hire a professional to help design your room, it can get expensive. But it doesn't have to be, said Sandy Keeney, an interior designer with Sandra Keeney Interiors in Tucson. The former professor of interior design for Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., specializes in residential and commercial design.

"It can be done without great expense, especially if you buy things that are prefabricated," she said.

The variety of craft stores in Tucson and a proliferation of online sites have fed the attraction for craft rooms.

"With the popularity of things like Pinterest, having a craft space is becoming more and more common," said scrapbooker Lori Riegel, who has been on the social networking site a couple of months and already has dozens of followers. "When people are buying a house, they have in the back of their minds, 'Where am I going to put my craft area?' "

Riegel is a master scrapbooker and paper crafter. She remembers moving to a rental home that didn't have enough room for her craft.

"I went from having a craft space to not having a craft space," said Riegel, who teaches scrapbooking classes at Hobby Lobby. "I had everything packed up in the garage. It was very depressing. I wasn't doing anything creative just for myself."

When she went house hunting in 2009, she looked for a dedicated room for scrapbooking.

When she first toured what would become her home, she saw that the master bedroom was more of a suite, with an extra room connected.

"The first thing I thought of was, 'scrapbook room,' " said Riegel, who is the coordinator of religious and cultural education for Handmaker Jewish Service for the Aging and is working on her master's degree in Jewish education at University of Arizona. "This house was ideal for that."

The front of the room already had built-in bookshelves for storage, and Riegel is able to store her eight rolling carts with drawers and the three full sets of floor-to-ceiling paper shelves she bought when scrapbooking shop Making Memories closed.

"A lot of people go places (to scrapbook)," she said. "That is not something I can do. I have everything here."

Susan Early feels the same way. A few years ago, with the help of Keeney of Sandra Keeney Interiors, she converted the master bedroom of her east-side home into a craft room for her quilts.

Early met Keeney though her volunteer group, Philanthropic Educational Organization.

"I was doing some remodeling in my home, and I was going to do some more," Early said.

The idea of a craft room was born.

"I had my sewing machine in the other bedroom," she said. "It gives me much more space and storage space. You can leave things laid out if you want to, and you can always shut the door."

"It was kind of a calculated risk," said Early, who retired from the National Parks Service in 2007. "In the resale (of the home), it might not be the best idea. But someone could always tear it out."

That doesn't mean that craft rooms guarantee neatness.

"I have things hanging all over," said Early, estimating that five quilts in various stages of completeness hang around the room. She likes the design walls in her craft room so she can hang up fabric to plan with and move around.

In her craft room, she uses a 72-by-36-inch folding table. She has two sewing machines - a Pfaff and a Kenmore - and while she works, she can look through the wide window that overlooks her large front yard. She also has room for a sewing table with drawers for storage, and in the corner, another large cabinet that also holds a phone and television.

The room doubles as a guest room, too. In the middle of the room, a Murphy bed folds up when not in use.

"I am glad I did it," Early said. "I'm not going to move out of the house until I have to."

Sometimes crafters like Perlana Howard pool their resources. Howard teamed up with a crafty friend she met during her days at Canyon Del Oro High School.

A couple of years ago, that friend, Meadow Bradley, offered up a small bedroom in her midtown home for them to create their decorations, craft eggs and to wrap gifts.

"We work really well together," said Howard, a research technician for UA Family and Community Medicine. "We kind of are hoarders about our craft stuff. It's not a job for us - it's more of an outlet."

Riegel echoed the sentiment.

"Just to be able to sit down and make something is important to my emotional well-being," Riegel said. "It is my therapy."

Creating a cool scrapbooking room

Kristy Thomas is an interior re-designer and artist who has owned Kreative Designs in Tucson since 1997.

"I'm interested in recycling and repurposing things," said Thomas, whose website is at kreativedesigns.org "It's mainly my design mission: Use what they have; keep what they have."

She and Kim Labriola, a certified kitchen designer with Davis Kitchens, offered some tips on creating a cool craft room:

• Use a portable kitchen island. "You can move it around the room," Thomas said. "You can work on all sides of it, plus it usually has storage."

• Use mason jars to store things that you want to be able to see easily. This saves room, plus you can see what you have rather than using drawers.

• Over-the-door shoe storage bags are good for tools.

• Jewelry pockets can attach to the wall and store things. They have plastic see-through pockets.

• Use closet organizers in the room instead of in the closet.

• Put boxes and baskets of supplies on bookshelves.

• Add some little spice drawers to store small pieces, but also have a space for a tall cabinet to keep larger items.

"I am all about affordable design," said Thomas, who graduated from the Arizona Institute of Interior Design. "It doesn't have to cost a lot; it's more about good ideas."

Resources

• Davis Kitchens: daviskitchens-az.com

• Sandra Keeney: aestheticsinteriordesign.com

• Kreative Designs: kreativedesigns.org

• Liz Ryan Design: lizryandesign.com

Working crafts into your busy life

Lori Riegel, who teaches scrapbooking, offered some tips for staying organized and working crafting into a busy life:

• Set appointments with yourself for 15-minute chunks of crafting time. Put it on your calendar and hold yourself to the commitment. Dedicating two to three times per week will create a habit that becomes a regular part of life.

• Broaden the idea of whatever craft you are doing to include digital expression, such as Pinterest or blogging. This helps with touching your craft regularly and staying current.

• Let go of the idea of trying to work in order.

• Create smaller, more manageable projects that take a shorter time to complete.

• Let go of perfection. The people who will benefit from your crafts don't care if something is exactly straight or perfect. They are happy to have something you made, and they might even appreciate the imperfections.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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