March 27, 2013


It's hard to believe it's already been 6 months since we moved into our new house and there are still boxes to unpack and piles of stuff in my studio that are waiting to find a shelf/closet/drawer. It sure does takes time to settle in and to figure out how to arrange a creative space. Thank goodness for so many great ideas on Pinterest, but i'd really love to hear from you! What were the best decisions you made about your creative spaces? Storage solutions? Lighting? Organizers?

I can tell you one good decision i made early on. Taking down this wallpaper from the previous homeowners!
I loved it at first, and for about month after we moved in...but then with all the pattern-ie stuff going on in here, it started to wear on me, so i'm afraid it had to go. Removing wallpaper is no fun, but in case this project is somewhere on your horizon, you might like to get yourself one of these nifty little scoring rollers:
Someone recommended it to me and it worked like a charm! It basically perforates the wallpaper so whatever solvent you use can soak through to the paste and make the paper easier to peel off. For the remover solvent, we used a spray bottle of good ol' vinegar and water — but i've since heard that fabric softener does a great job and probably smells a whole lot better! After finally peeling the last strip of paper off the walls, we were finally ready to wash and sand them. Don't you just love the color we found underneath??
washed and sanded wall
I thought you might *wink*. After all the prep, we finally got to my favorite part of all...painting! I picked a hue that would be a nice neutral backdrop for reviewing colors, evaluating patterns and even for photography. It's called "Pigeon Gray" by Benjamin Moore. Of all the birds! Pigeon? I really love the color, but wouldn't "partridge" make it sound a little more appealing? :)
Nothing quite like a clean slate! Actually "slate" would've been a better name too.

So the next good decision for my studio hit me a couple weeks ago after i had been moving a pile of printouts from place to place trying to find a good spot to put them so i could take a few steps back to look at them from a distance. Time for some super simple DIY! 
This bulletin board measures 5.5' x 3.5' and uses a big piece of homasote fiberboard to press pins into. Homasote is a wonderful recycled material, made in the U.S. and is widely available. It's made of post-consumer paper and newspaper that are compressed to form a rigid fiberboard that can be cut really easily with either a sharp utility knife or hand saw. I found it in 4' x 8' sheets (for about $25) and cut it to a size that fit my wall. We'll probably end up using the leftovers in our kitchen with some more colorful fabric...i seem to have some on-hand (understatement)!

If you'd like to make a bulletin board of your own, it's really really easy. In fact it's almost as easy as wrapping a present. You'll need:
• 1 sheet of homasote cut to whatever dimensions you want
• fabric of your choice cut to 4" larger than fiberboard. I used a nice linen-ie looking solid with some visible texture.
• staple gun with 1/4" staples
• stud finder
• level
•wood screws
• optional 1/2" button covers to cover screws

Step 1: Spread your fabric out on a vacuumed floor. Move cat out of the way and smooth wrinkles out of fabric.  If you don't have a cat, proceed to Step 2. If you do have a cat, they'll undoubtedly think this is a game so you may have to repeat Step 1 until your cat loses interest.

Step 2: Position fiberboard on the approximate center of your fabric. Look over your shoulder to make sure your cat is not in the vicinity or they'll think you're making them a new scratching pad.

Step 3: Starting on one side of the fiberboard, fold fabric over and in the center of that side, staple fabric in place. No need to fold fabric under to make a neat edge, and no need to worry about the corners at this point. On the center of the opposite side, pull the fabric taught — not too too tight, but tight enough so fabric is smooth on the "right" side of the fiberboard. Again, fold over and staple in place beginning in the center and stapling out to each side.
Step 4: Cut away a square of fabric to reduce bulk. Make one cut about 1-1/2" from the folded edge and the other cut flush with the edge of the fiberboard:

It should look like this on each end:
Step 5: The corners take a little finagling. Fold the fabric over at an angle and pull from the corner to make sure there's no pucker.
I had to pull and simultaneously tuck the fabric underneath to get it to lay flat, but after a few tries, i got it to look neat enough to staple it down:
 It's a good idea to make sure the folded edge of the fabric is not flush with the edge of the fiberboard otherwise you'll see the folds when you hang the bulletin board.

Step 6: Hang the bulletin board. This will vary depending on what wall type you have. I used a stud finder and drilled directly into the wall studs so no wall anchors were necessary. Tip: Once you figure out where the screws are going to go, use an xacto kife or utility blade to make a small "x" hole in the fabric. This will keep your screw from pulling and twisting the fabric.

Step 7: I wasn't thrilled with having to look at these screw heads, so to cover them up...
...i used some of these 1/2" button covers (follow instructions on the package)...

...and filled the backing with hot glue. Then i quickly then set them right into the screw heads. Tip: I suggest fitting the buttons into the screw heads once before applying the hot glue just so you can feel how they kind of "fit" together. You may have to turn the button a tiny bit so the metal loop on the back of the button fits into the screw head and is flush with the board. But voila!

Look how nice and clean that makes it look!
Now i'm ready to start pinning (the old fashioned way)! Goodbye clutter!


  1. That is a fantastic board!! I totally need to make one!!! And love the little sneaky peeks :)

  2. My blog is the Patriotic Quilter and I posted several idea for my quilt studio there. We moved into this house in August, but we are military and so are used to moving in and getting set up. Anyway, if you are so inclined you can check it out and click on the Quilt Room label at the bottom. It is coincidentally next to the "Terrain" label!

  3. Fabulous Kate! And what a sweet little help you have there. :o)

  4. Great idea! I like the way your bulletin board turned out. I love the fabric samples too. :-). I enjoyed the sneak peak.

  5. Wonderful...and clever too!! Good for you!

  6. Oh goodness. I am not sure which I liked more...the wallpaper or the lovely paint underneath it! ;-) I love the color you chose and that fabric board is wonderful!! Thank you for the tutorial. Many thanks to the kitty for caring so much to want to help!! :)


  8. Love your new studio color - that may be the answer to my question of what color to paint mine! I've got a new sewing table in the works (as soon as my IKEA drawers arrive and my hubby builds the frame for them) and I plan to re-paint the room something brighter before I put in the new table. And I love your bulletin board - especially the covers for the screws. What a bright idea!

  9. That's awesome. I love your studio and board!

  10. I love the paint color. And the board is terrific too!

  11. I love that board! The little covered buttons make it so special!

  12. WOnder how any of us ever found wall paper beautiful way back when . My first house was wall papered to death. Feel sorry for the present day owners but since it has changed hands several times since we sold it years back . I am sure soemonr had to have nixe4d all that wallpaper by now.

  13. I love your paint color, I too have used a soft gray for my wall, it is called "Ashen" by Pittsburg paint. It is a soft gray and my sewing room always has a warm glow!
    I just recently found some 10 drawer rolling carts on sale at our local Sam's club store.
    I really like using these to organize threads, notions, and current projects.
    Each pullout drawer is a different color!

  14. My first thought was "please don't tell us you put up that wallpaper" :) it's pretty but so busy. I love the "dove" gray you used. Only one cat to keep moving?

  15. terrific idea. I wasn't sure why you chose such a plain colour at first, until I saw the fabric swatches against it. Very smart.

  16. Love the bulletin board! Thanks for sharing how you made it.

  17. You are right, pigeon does not sound appealing at all but it really is a pretty color. Love the idea for the board too. I need one of those in my sewing room!

  18. Love the paint color. I think of the yoga Pigeon Pose--a nice, easy stretch of the imagination and creativity. Good job!!

  19. Very, very clever Kate!! Right down to the final picture :)

  20. Wow! huge transformation of that room!!

    Now - am I imagining things - or are the little tiny things stuck on your new board NOT something we've seen before?! I'm sure I spy clouds on one of those prints!!!

  21. Haha - yes, 'Partridge' or 'Slate' would be much better names (love the colour though!)!