Work Room Organizers (garden and craft )
Garden shed a shambles? Shaker-style peg racks offer the perfect perches to stow essentials. Start with strips of wood the length of your wall (we used 3 1/2-inch-wide poplar) and 3 1/2-inch-long 1/2-inch-diameter pegs. Paint both to match your trim. Let dry. Drill a hole in the rails for each peg, and then glue pegs in. Attach the rails to the wall with screws (we hid ours under a few of the pegs).
Keep unruly balls of twine in line with big aluminum funnels, which serve as organizers and dispensers. Hammer a nail through each funnel near the top lip, attaching it to the wall of a shed or back of a door. Place a ball of twine or string in each one; run the ends out the spouts.
Like vines, gardening tools can get all tangled up, so organize them on a trellis: It has a ready-made grid from which you can hang many things. At the top of every other vertical strip, drill a hole with a 1/8-inch bit, then insert a 1 1/4-inch No. 10 screw to attach the trellis to the wall of a garden shed or garage. Suspend tools from S hooks; use paper clamps to hold items that can't be hung directly from hooks.
To ensure that seeds wake up refreshed from their long winter naps, take the time to tuck them in properly. Moisture, heat, and fluctuating temperatures are a seed's worst enemy, so don't simply abandon your leftover packets to the elements by leaving them in a garden shed. By the next spring they will have lost much of their vigor -- the ability to germinate quickly and healthily -- and many may have died. Instead, place packets in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with a new lid. Then make a few moisture-absorbing sachets to store with them by wrapping 2 tablespoons of untreated cat litter (avoid colored or scented litters) or powdered milk in a double layer of tulle. Close the lid tightly, and put the jar in a cool, dark place.
Leftover farm-stand-style bins can find a new purpose as whimsical desktop sorters. We grouped gardening goods -- catalogs, plant markers, tape, twine, and wire -- in four containers, and turned a fifth into a contact file (trim tabbed cards to fit into your containers).
Secure stacks of terra-cotta pots so they don't stick together or tilt dangerously. Drill 1/2-inch holes, spaced to fit pot diameters, through a 1-by-10 (atop scrap lumber). Apply wood glue to bottom inch of 1/2-inch dowels no longer than 18 inches. Insert in holes, squaring with base; let dry overnight. Sandwich 1-by-12-inch corrugated-cardboard strips between pots on rack.
Ribbon Storage Racks
To keep ribbons organized, build storage racks from copper gutters. Have a lumberyard cut a half-round gutter and cap the ends. Punch holes along top edge; mount in a dry place away from sunlight to keep ribbons from fading.
Get organized -- again and again -- with these chalkboard drawers. The labels can be erased as contents in each drawer change: Affix masking tape in square outlines to fronts of drawers or tins; cover each square with latex chalkboard paint. Let dry, and remove tape. To add a border, place two strips of masking tape parallel to each other on opposite sides of square; paint, let dry, and remove tape. Repeat with two other sides.
Perhaps it's time to graduate from the shopping-bag school of organization. Ribbons will stay untangled and ready to use in this easily made box (a shoebox will do). Use a utility knife to make slits. Or use grommets; you can find them, and the tool to install them, at hardware stores. Make round holes with a utility knife. Push male half of grommet through hole and rest on anvil; add female half, set mandrel in place, and hammer. For both versions, make a 1/4-inch hole on box ends. Place ribbon spools inside, then slide a 1/4-inch dowel into one end, through the spools, and out the other. A thumbtack on each dowel end keeps it from shimmying into the box.
Here's a quick and easy way to brighten your work space: Measure the dimensions of a clear, straight-sided drinking glass, and cut a piece of card stock to the vessel's height and circumference. Next, cut a piece of decorative paper to the same height as the glass and 1 inch longer than its circumference. Center the card stock on the back of the decorative paper; fold excess paper over the edges of the card stock, and secure with double-sided tape. Line the glass with paper, and fill with supplies.
Crafting Tool Pouch
Don't fritter away time foraging for implements. Stow them in a customized pouch instead. Cut two 11-by-19-inch pieces of Ultrasuede fabric and a 45-inch length of 1/2-inch-wide ribbon. Center ribbon horizontally on the wrong side of 1 piece of fabric; with a ruler and a pencil, trace the length of it. Line up your tools on ribbon lines, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch between each. Mark left and right sides of each, and then cut a slit slightly longer than ribbon width. Thread ribbon through slits so loops for tools fall on right side of fabric. Stack fabric pieces, wrong sides facing. Align left end of ribbon with left edge of pouch, and let right end hang out; pin in place. Machine-stitch around all 4 sides of pouch, except where ribbon exits pouch. Trim seam allowance.
Basic Craft Kit
When making gifts or decorative items for your home, it's essential to have the right supplies accessible. The basics listed here, which should cost less than $200, offer virtually endless possibilities for craft projects. Store your kit in a toolbox, a painter's tray, or a picnic basket.
Craft Kit List
Glues, Tapes, and Adhesives
Glue gun and glue-gun sticks
Adhesive transfer tape
Blue painter's tape
UHU glue stick
Heavy-duty craft scissors
Needle-nose pliers and wire cutters
2 or 3 basic punches
Awl (for poking holes and scribing metal)
Small spring clamps
Heavier mat knife (for cutting tougher materials like steel, veneer, cardboard, or wood)
No. 2 and No. 3 pencils
Craft sponge brushes
Workday mornings are busy enough without having to deal with a missing button or a ripped hem. One way to save valuable time when these little emergencies arise is to put together a sewing kit -- complete with a pincushion on top. All you need are a Ball jar, some fabric, and a few other basic supplies.
Tools and Materials
Ball jar with lid
6-inch square of fabric
Transparent adhesive tape
Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
Assorted buttons, threaded onto a safety pin
Assorted safety pins, with another safety pin threaded through the bottom eyes
Thread in several colors
Hooks and eyes in several colors
Snaps in several colors
Small pair of scissors
Small tape measure
Assorted pins and needles, to be stuck in pincushion
Mending Kit How-To
1. Separate the lid and ring portion of the Ball jar, and center the ring on the fabric. Trace a circle around the outside of the ring, and cut it out; an extra inch of fabric should now remain around the circumference of your tracing.
2. Cut out six concentric circles of Fiberfill, available in fabric stores, in decreasing size. The largest and bottommost circle should be the same size as the Ball jar lid, and the smallest, top circle should measure about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
3. Trace the lid on a piece of poster board, and cut along the line of the tracing.
4. Center the circle of fabric on top of the pile of fiberfill, and stick a pin through the middle to hold all the pieces together. Push the fabric and the padding up through the underside of the ring, and secure it by pushing the poster board over the bottom.
5. Adjust the gathers around the cushion so the fabric is smooth, and affix the loose ends of the fabric onto the poster board with tape.
6. Dribble glue around the fabric and poster board so there is enough glue to secure the lid in place. Press the top of the lid against the poster board, and hold it until the glue cools. The metal may become slightly hot, so be careful during this step.
7. Once the glue cools, fill the jar with sewing supplies.
Don't let craft-project leftovers -- odd lengths of ribbon and oversize papers -- get crumpled: Keep them orderly with large clips that are hung on nails in the door of a supply closet or sewing room. Organize papers by size so you can see what you have. Fold an index card around the layers to prevent the clip from making a dent. Suspend scissors and other tools from string.
Magnetic Pin Dish
When using a lot of pins for sewing, it's more convenient to pull them from a dish than from a cushion. Pins will cluster together if you epoxy a slim, powerful magnet to the underside of the dish.
Construct an Office Organizer Out of Pegboard
Insert pegboard into a frame, and secure with metal frame clips. Thread thin elastic through holes, pull tightly, and knot in back to contain loose papers. To mount a box, drill holes in bottom, aligning with those in the board; attach to board with screws and nuts. For more stability, instead of picture wire, use two security hangers (available at frame shops).
Good Thing: Drawer Dividers
There's nothing more satisfying than a well-organized drawer -- it really is a Good Thing.
Drawer Dividers How-To
1. Purchase the drawer-dividers kit from lifestylesystems.com.
2. Score drawer dividers with a mat knife to desired length. Snap off the polystyrene material so the dividers take the scored shape.
3. Place the dividers into the holders to design your desired drawer configuration. Attach the holders to the bottom of the drawer with the adhesive back.
Making a Craft Armoire
Most people don't have the space to set aside an entire room for craft projects, but a smaller, well-organized spot can serve your purpose almost as well. Martha demonstrates how to create a "room" in an armoire or closet to provide convenient storage for craft tools and supplies.
Converting an armoire that already contains shelves involves very little carpentry work. Martha removes one shelf of her large antique country armoire to accommodate a row of magazine holders, taking advantage of the extra space left above the holders by attaching a row of small drawers to the bottom of the shelf above. The small drawers contain Velcro, raffia, twine, and similar frequently accessed supplies; Martha indicates the contents of each one with a Brother P-Touch label. Since each drawer contains a small hole that functions as a handle, the end of a piece of twine can be drawn out the hole as if from a dispenser.
On another shelf, Martha places a similar set of prefabricated wooden drawers (these particular drawers were purchased at Ikea). They come in natural-colored wood, so before organizing her armoire, Martha painted them a pretty shade of green. The drawers are removable, so she will be able to pull out and carry an entire drawer to the place where she's working on a project.
On the shelf below the small drawers, Martha inserts a large roll of white butcher's paper. The paper is inexpensive, and you can rip off exactly as much as you need for a project. It's also handy for protecting your work surface -- and wonderful to have on hand as drawing paper for kids.
Martha gets the most from recessed corner shelf space with several small lazy Susans, using single-level lazy Susans for tall bottles and jars and two-tiered ones for smaller containers.
No space in the armoire goes unused, including the insides of the doors. A cafe-curtain rod stores rolls of ribbon; a stainless-steel wall organizer, sold as a wall-mounted magazine holder, holds rolls of paper. A metal ruler and a self-healing mat, invaluable for protecting surfaces when you're using a utility knife, hang on C-hooks on the inside of one door. On the opposite side, Martha screwed in two eye hooks and strung a wire between them to hold an oversized pad of sketching paper. (Before mounting anything on your door, check to see that the hinges are strong and well attached.)
Martha protects the bottoms of the drawers in the armoire with sheets of galvanized steel (most home centers will cut sheet metal to your specifications). She organizes the drawers with galvanized bins and wooden crates, each of which contains a specific category of items such as kids' paint supplies, a flower-arranging kit, or safety goggles and masks. The top-right drawer is reserved for gift-wrapping supplies, like rolls of paper, tape, scissors, and ribbon. A small box within the drawer holds scraps of beautiful paper and ribbon that can be recycled into gift tags, greeting cards, and other small items.