Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 16, 2009

Q & A : Around the Room


From Sharon: What albums are you using?
I use American Crafts 12×12 3-ring cloth binder albums in Chestnut. I mix in 8.5×11 layouts with my 12×12 layouts within these albums. You can see inside one of my albums here.

From Mandy: Why cover the albums up? Dust? Just Curious.
Mainly for visual simplicity in the baby’s room.

From Camille: Hey didn’t you used to keep those chestnut-colored albums on a shelf in the dining room?
Yep. I moved them out of the dining room during Christmas when I wanted to decorate with other things. The timing was just right in that I was in the process of moving rooms at the same time.



From Vicki: What happened to your red tool box and your spinner?  Those were my 2 favorite storage items.
I gave the spinner to my friend Jill and the red tool box is here waiting for a new purpose. I love that red tool box.



From Paulette: Would you share the dimensions of your space?
13 feet x 11 feet with a slanted ceiling (from 9 feet to 10 feet)

From Caryl: I love your “workhorse table”! I hope it’s ok if I can get the dimensions?
It’s 48 inches wide, 36 inches tall, and 24 inches deep.

From Lola: I was wandering, what does the saying, “mon petit chateau”, on the front of your desk mean?
I am pretty sure it is French for “my little castle.”

From Susan: Would you mind telling me the exact paint colour you use?
I asked Chris and he said he was pretty sure that the color is Ralph Lauren Safari Tan (which sure seems a lot more yellow than tan to me). Part of that could be the warm lighting that I use in here as well.

From Trudy: How can you take such different elements spanning from different time
periods, textures, and sizes and fit them together? Is it where you
place them or choosing a set number of colors in the room or picking
items that blend from the start? You obviously choose things you love
which have good function but how do you get them to work together?

When buying things for our house – or for my office space (most everything in here now was in my other room with the exception of the lockers) I think I am most often looking for things to store things in. I have a collection of baskets and shelves and such that I have picked up over time – often when I wasn’t necessarily looking for them. I have loved the color red for quite awhile so when I see something red (like the chair) I definitely consider it depending on the needs I have at the time (and sometimes I don’t have a need but I just love it and will bring it home and find a function for it).

I don’t choose a set number of colors for the room but instead by the ones that I love – such as red + yellow. I have collected lots of yellow cups + such that I have used in my office in the past and will be using in the baby’s room now. I like to be able to interchange things from one room in the house to another.

How does it all come together? Really, I am not quite sure…it just seems to work (I also don’t stress about it at all rather I am really open to moving things around if they don’t “feel” right).

From Katie: I love the idea of the clipboards hanging on the wall.  What did you use to stick them to the wall?
Just small nails :) .

From Jung: what did you use to hang the wood mounted stamps storage pieces…they look really heavy!
I used picture hangers again with brackets on the back of the wood. They are heavy but less so than they appear.

From Kayte: Just curious if you knew that the larger wooden storage for your stamps
are actually hens bays chicken coups? I see them every once and a while
around here in antique stores. I always wonder if people know what they
were used for in a former life. :)

I actually did know that – pretty cool isn’t it?

From Anna: how do you store your rub ons?
Rub ons are stored in a basket under the table with my letter stickers. It’s actually more of a tray with sides.

From Annette: I’m curious how you put your room together. Did you make lists, sketch
out a plan or just move things around and see what works.

I pretty much did a lot of standing in the space and thinking about what was going to work + make sense functionally before the actual moving day came. I had an idea in my mind of what would work and Mom + Chris + I tried a couple of configurations before coming back to the original idea I had in my head. I didn’t sketch anything out in advance, just had a really good feeling for the room.



From Karen: I was wondering why you don’t use a pen and tablet instead of a mouse,
or if you have tried the pen and prefer the mouse. I don’t do a lot of
detailed drawings but when I do I feel a little encumbered by the mouse.

I definitely do use a Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-Inch Pen Tablet
for hand-drawing out my digital products but have never really moved into using it for everyday use of surfing, etc. The tablet is stored on top of my photo printer in the shelf unit next to my chair.

From Kathleen: Can you give a little info @ your mac?
Sure. The desktop I am currently using is an older G5 (technically
it’s a Dual 2 GHz PowerPC G5). I have had it for a few years now and
love it.The monitor is a 20 inch Apple Studio Display. I also have two external hard drives hooked up. They are both LaCie
drives – one holds a 100 GB and the other is a 1TB drive. One is for
general back-up + holds my iPhoto library and the other holds all my
digital elements and a bunch of other stuff. I don’t know a ton about
computers – I mainly know when it starts to get slow I need to move
things around, delete stuff, or get another external hard drive.

From Mefi: how do you organize your pictures on your mac?
I use iPhoto and right now just simply organize by event/day.
Nothing high-tech or complicated. I upload very regularly after taking
photos and then just label the batch based on the grouping of photos.

From KazT: What kind of printers do you use – laser or inkjet?
I use a laser for class handouts and the inkjet for just about everything else (photos + digital elements).



From Molly: to use your sewing machine … is the foot pedal inside the cupboard? Do you just open it up and pull ’round the chair?
The foot petal is right below the cupboard. One of the things that is great about the cupboard is that there is an opening on the bottom rather than going all the way to the floor. I can just tuck it under when I am not using the machine and then pull it back out when I am ready again. So far I have been standing up to sew on my pages (no bigger fabric projects yet) and the height is just right for that.



From Jen: You have so many stamps – clear and wood mounted. How do you keep track
of what you have? I also love stamps (and am growing quite a
collection) but I seem to reach for the same 10 when I scrapbook. I
don’t know if is familiarity or laziness or not remembering what I have
and not taking the time to search through them all each time. Do you
use all the stamps you have, or are they just pretty? Where do you keep
your clear stamps – like your line at Technique Tuesday???

Good question. I use many of the same over and over and go through phases were I barely stamp at all :) . I have gone through the stamps I have (the ones you see in the photos) and kept the ones I really like and donated the rest. I tend to buy stamps (especially the wood mounted ones) that are really versatile: basic shapes + universal words that can fit lots of different stories. I don’t think I have any that are very theme specific (such as Happy Birthday) with the exception of my holiday stamps that I am currently storing in a ziplock bag in one of the lockers. I don’t need to have those out right now.

My clear stamps are in 3 ring binders that are stored below the sewing machine. Jennifer McGuire has a great video on her blog that shows her system of storing stamps in binders. One of her keys is divided page protectors. She is super organized.

From Nikki: How/in what type of container do you store your ink pads? I want
something kind of funky and different, something that has had a life
before me so I was hoping that you might have a suggestion.

Right now I am just storing them stacked on top of each other inside the lockers. In the past I have used baskets which have worked well. The smaller ones that I use the most are in a little wire basket with a lid on top of the bottom stamp storage unit.

From Gioconda: How do you store your wood alphabet stamps?
Some of them are in a basket under my table and a couple others are stacked on top of the bottom stamp storage unit. I usually just keep them in the boxes they come in.

From Lanette: What’s above the grey lockers? it looks interesting. How is the table to stand at, with the surface being flat? i used to
stand when i was a graphic artist, but i had an angled light box.

Above the lockers is a large wire lidded-basket that holds fabric swatches + a metal flower container that holds rolled papers. I love standing at that table because I like to have the view looking down onto a project rather than at an angle when sitting (if that makes sense). That table has worked great for years.



From Julie: does Simon totally love Horton?
YES. He loves Horton! We saw the movie in the theater and have rented it a few times since it came out on Video. We also have the book now so he is into that as well.

From Nicky: I wanted to know where you get Simon’s PJ’s.
We love Hanna Anderson. Those jammies are super soft and totally worth it.



From Poopsicle: What do you keep or store in those lockers (like them alot)? If you use Tombow markers do you store them upright or lying down?
The lockers hold paint, adhesive (I get it in bulk), inks, ribbon, a box of embellishments, etc. Most of those things are inside baskets or boxes that I have found to fit the dimensions of each locker. I am still getting used to where things are located in there but for the most part the things I have in there are less used items. I don’t use Tombow markers :) .



From Mary: What I really want to know is how you do it all???  Do you never sleep??

Oh Mary, I definitely don’t do it all :) .

We are up pretty early around here with Simon out the door by 7am. I start working after he leaves and work until he gets home from school. I work on different projects and at least for the next couple of weeks it will still be quiet. We shall see how productive I am after the baby comes. I don’t have any unrealistic expectations and plan to just see how it goes. One thing to keep in mind is that this is my job and it is what supports our family so I am very committed to staying on top of projects, posting, creating, etc (in addition to the fact that I love doing most of it – including the organizing, etc). I actually love to sleep and have a pretty regular routine (again, about to change for awhile) of being in bed generally by 10pm and up at 6am.



From Jeanette: I have those very same trimmers and am always looking for a safe place
to store them when I’m not using them. Did you use a cup hook, a nail
or what?

I used picture hangers (like this one) to hang the trimmers. So far that has worked really well for me. I definitely like having them out of the way and using the space under my table for other things.

From Laura: Is the portable rotary trimmer just as useful as the desktop?
I think so. I got the smaller one after the large one because I was wanting something a bit more portable. I find myself reaching for the smaller one vs. the larger one. Both are great.



From Kara:  Can I ask what local antique store(s) you frequent?  I never know where to go in Eugene/Springfield.
I love to visit Ruthie B’s (in Springfield) and a great little place on River Road called Amelia’s (I think that is the name). I used to go to Coburg but many of the little shops that were once there are gone. Definitely check out the Coburg Antique Fair in August. Other than that I like to check in at lots of the Goodwill locations from time to time as well at the St. Vincent de Paul off River Road. So much of finding the things is actually taking the time to look regularly…you never know what you may come across on a random stop.



From Michelle: I’m in the process of setting an “official” studio in part of our
garage but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and don’t have a lot of spare
time (two kids!) Any tips for getting organized quickly?

I think my biggest suggestion would be to break down the tasks into manageable chunks of time. Come up with a list of all the things that need to be done to move into your new space and then give yourself a half-hour (or whatever you can “afford’) and have a specific task to complete in that time such as boxing things up, moving furniture, sorting papers, etc.

One of the things I really noticed with this office move was that knowing I was moving my space was an invitation to pare back and get serious about what I really use and want to keep in my space. My Mom and I moved everything out of Chris’ office and then moved the larger pieces in one day. The luxury I had this time around was that I was not in a hurry or rushed and could then move the smaller things at my own pace over a span of time and really think about each thing I brought down to the new office. It became apparent pretty quick what I wanted to keep and what I could let go of simply based on what I was most motivated to move.



From Faith: I have a one year old and we have a craft room/play room combo. What
tricks do you have for keeping everything within your reach but out of
the little one’s reach? I’m just afraid she will get into everything!

I think maybe I need to wait a year or so to answer this one. Here’s what happened with Simon who was just about a year old when I started scrapbooking and collecting all the stuff: I never let on that anything in the room was “off-limits” for him. He was not a kid that put lots of things in his mouth or ever really got into stuff around the house. In some ways I think that because I never got mad or did a lot of “don’t touch that” sort of thing he lost interest before it even began.

When he was in the room with me I gave him specific things to look at and sort (which was what he liked to do) and he would happily do that while I was creating. Obviously, the dangerous things were out of his reach and I was always in the room with him. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this little girl…


Thanks for the questions and the nice comments on the room yesterday. Hope everyone has a great weekend.


  • 1.
    marg said…

    i am so impressed with the care and time you put into people’s questions. it is really heart warming. i also love your organized style of thinking and living. thanks for being so generous and so real.

  • 2.
    Gayl Staffler said…

    Ali – enjoyed reading the questions and answers. You have such a great approach. My grandson is 4 today and he has been coming into my room since he could walk. I actually plant things in my room that I know he’ll love ~ wind up toys, stickers, action heros, books that he loves. We’ve spent a lot of time together ~ all good.

  • 3.
    colleen F said…

    thanks for answering all of the questions. My “little” girls were scrapping with me from the beginning. I know you have a little bit of time, but maybe start thinking about setting up a little desk with some old stickers and papers. Allow the little ones to create right beside you.

  • 4.
    Kim said…

    …. LOVE this Q&A … Thank you so much for taking the time… it’s so helpful. Truly helpful. ~ kim

  • 5.
    poopsicle said…

    Ali, thank you for sharing and taking the time to answer the posted questions :-) .
    Have a good weekend.

  • 6.
    sue said…

    I enjoyed the tour of your new room and love the questions/answers in today’s post. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • 7.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Thanks for sharing Ali – loved the Q & A. And your room is amazing, it must feel so good to go in there and work – it always feels good to get reorganized. Will need to get some of those PJ’s.
    Hope you have a great weekend – can’t wait to see the baby’s room

  • 8.
    Kim K said…

    Thanks, Ali! Comprehensive tour…comprehensive answers! We love seeing what you do, and can’t wait to see the next chapter when you add your “A” girl! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • 9.
    chantal said…

    “Mon petit chateau” is indeed My little castle in Frech.
    Have a nice weekend

  • 10.
    Sara said…

    Thank you for answering all those questions Ali. And I love your craft room and all the goodies you have. I am trying to organize (a pretty up) mine right now without spending any extra money. Not an easy task, but I’m finding it is forcing me to be creative for sure. lol Thanks again.

  • 11.
    Keely said…

    Ali, I want to thank you for giving so much of yourself to us scrapbookers. Keep up the GREAT work!!

  • 12.
    Linn said…

    Thanks for all your details, as always. I’ve just posted about my newly organized space and its such fun to compare notes. I’m still looking for a good home for all of my AC albums. Thanks for the ideas.

  • 13.
    Angela T. said…

    Thanks so much for sharing your new office space with us, Ali. I am loving that red drawer unit from IKEA. I think 2 of those would be great new “legs” for my desk (a repurposed door). Thanks for the Q+A, too! Always a pleasure to read and get new ideas. :)

  • 14.
    Jus said…

    wow, thanks for all the info and the sneak peak :)

  • 15.
    Karen said…

    Ali, thank you for sharing so much of yourself and also for clarifying to the rest of us working moms that the art of scrapbooking is indeed your full time job and that we should not feel bad for “not doing it so much” when it comes to scrapbooking. I am always looking for a little time after kids and family activities and my full time job (which has nothing to do with scrapbooking),to scrapbook and for me is usually at the expense of sleep hours when everyone else in my household is sleeping. Thanks for inspiring me. I am currently in the process of creating my own little scrapbooking space where i can keep my things accessible and organized.

  • 16.
    Jill said…

    Hi Ali,
    I’ve got another question (no need to hurry on an answer) – how do you find such great stuff on Etsy? I’m overwhelmed every time I try searching on the site, and don’t seem to find the great stuff you post on your site. So. . . I’ve become dependent on you to keep posting your finds! The photographer you featured this week is fabulous. I’m ordering one of her prints this weekend. Lovely!
    Thanks for giving us all a glimpse into your life!

  • 17.
    Mefi Alapat said…

    thank you for answering my question. looking forward to seeing the baby’s room.

  • 18.
    kaitlin said…

    You do such a wonderful job of explaining things and breaking up your blog posts so they are very readable.
    I always enjoy your posts.
    It is very kind of you to answer everyone’s questions.
    Thanks for sharing all of the details with us.

  • 19.
    ErinK said…

    I have been scrapping for about 10 years. I have three girls and was faed with how to keep them around me but out of my supplies. First, we they were really little, I got them a box full of “special toys”-toys that they could only play with while I scrapped. Second, as they began to reach toddlerhood, their boxes were emptied of the toys and filled with craft ideas (coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, etc.). The third step occurred when they started to show interest in my supplies, so my “trash” became their treasure. Instead of keeping my sraps for use later, I passed them onto my girls. Now the 8 year old and 6 year old have moved onto their own totes, with their own supplies, and their own tools. My 3 year old has a clear box with her own papers (my scraps), but now has her own scissors and trimmer. For her scissors and trimmer, I gave her my old decorative edge scissors and she has a small 8 1/2 inch trimmer. We have a great time scrapping together. Their creativity is amazing. I love that they already have a love of crafting.

  • 20.
    Christina T said…

    Thank you so much for sharing, Ali! I bet you are so excited right now! Have a great weekend.

  • 21.
    Expat said…

    Your new room looks great and you are very generous with your time in answering everyone’s questions!

  • 22.
    Kim said…

    Ali – Thank you for taking the time to answer readers’ questions and organize them in the format you did. You are such a gem! Thank you! Have a great weekend!

  • 23.
    emilie said…

    thank you for showing us your new room, i too, have made it a priority to pare down my room to only things i need. you are always an ispiration to me.
    i do have one question, how did you learn to use your sewing machine? and what type of sewing machine do you use? i would like to incorporate that into my scrapbooking, but first need to do some research on how to use it and what to buy.
    thank you for your time. hope you have a WONDERFUL day.

  • 24.
    April said…

    Hi Ali,
    You mentioned that you purged/donated a lot of items before you moved offices. I love to purge but sometimes I feel like items could be put to use by someone else. Can you tell me how you have donated scrapbooking and stamping supplies in the past?

  • 25.
    Pam Ballard said…

    Could you list the four colors of cardstock that you like to use again. I had it wrote down and have lost it. Thank you. I know you are close to delivering as I keep up with Tricia. My daugther is having a girl due Feb 4th. I wish you the best and continue to keep you in yours in my thoughts. Have a nice weekend. love the room and color. Pam

  • 26.
    Ana F. said…

    Ali, thanks for taking the time to answer so many interesting questions. I hope you have a great weekend!

  • 27.
    Nancy Ainsley (aka La gachette - means the trigger) said…

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks a lot for so much inspiration
    (links ans all)…
    By the way I have done an album of the 25 days til x-mas – I loved it – something to try next year for sure.
    And I confirm that – mon petit château is in deed French for “my little castle.”
    Nancy aka la gachette
    (which is french for trigger)

  • 28.

    Thanks for answering all of the questions – it was lots of fun finding out all of the information about your room. Whether you think so or not, you are truly AMAZING!

  • 29.
    tchrtiff said…

    Thanks for sharing the photos and answering all the questions. I’m sure you don’t think it’s all that interesting but many of us do. It’s so insightful and gives me lots of great ideas on what to do with my craft space. Your photos and words remind me to keep it simple; keep and do only what I truly love. Have a great weekend!
    PS: Any chance we can see a photo of your pregnant self? It bet you look amazing! I think pregnant women are so beautiful looking. :-)

  • 30.
    Angie F said…

    I’m only repeating what everyone else has already said…but THANK YOU!! You are a huge inspiration! Love all the room photos and the detailed Q&A!! Take Care!! Angie

  • 31.
    Annette said…

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all the questions!

  • 32.

    Thanks for answering, you’re so inspiring!

  • 33.
    Vanessa said…

    Hey Ali,
    I love your space! Thanks so much for sharing :-) I was wondering if you had an idea of where I could find a vintage-looking magazine stand or rack that can keep my magazines organized, but that is also open enough for me to see and grab one or two at a moment’s notice! I don’t like the idea of an enclosed bin because they’re hidden away. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • 34.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Hi Ali
    Just wanted to say thankyou for sharing – and I just checked out Hanna Anderson – oh my god – I think it will be my downfall. What great stuff. I will be ordering some pj’s for me also!!! :o )

  • 35.
    Jen Gronick said…

    Hi Ali!
    I loved to hear all the responses you posted today. I actually have a question pertaining to one of your answers. We as well have a MAC G5 and I’m just getting into scrap booking and the whole digital side of things and I was wondering what inkjet printer you used? I need to get one and would love a recommendation. Also I want to get a photoshop program – which one are you currently using? Everyone around me seems to use a PC and I would love to know from one MAC user to Another what you use.

  • 36.
    Michelle said…

    Hi Ali,
    Wow! Thanks so much for answering my question, and for the great advice. ALL of the Q&As were very helpful & inspiring, too. I am totally motivated to dig into my garage and transform it into a space I love to create in. I think I’ll head over to Goodwill this weekend!
    I really appreciate the time & effort you put into this post — it couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I think it’s great when women are supportive of each other in their creative endeavors, and are eager to share ideas. It really does mean so much. :)
    Thank you again, I hope you have a great weekend!

  • 37.
    Junglewife said…

    Thanks for sharing the Q&A’s – always enjoy them!
    I have another question for you… I’m trying to do my own version of the 365 project, using mostly what I already have. The only thing I don’t have and am trying to come up with (because I’d really like to use them!)are days of the week stickers or stamps. Stamps would be better. I know that you have days of the week brushes on Designer Digitals. The only problem is that I’m having a really hard time accessing their site. AND I would really love to use them but I don’t use any version of Photoshop and don’t know if there’s any way for me to use them in a non-photoshop program.
    I was wondering if you would consider offering days of the week stamps through Technique Tuesday – I LOVE your other stamps that are available there.
    Thanks again for your inspiration to all of us!

  • 38.
    Jeni said…

    Very impressive. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of the questions.

  • 39.
    Amber Filkins said…

    Everything is beautiful, Ali! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all those questions. I am so excited about the birth of your new little one. Thanks for sharing your journey and your life.
    Love, Amber

  • 40.
    Jude said…

    I enjoyed reading this Ali. One day when I have a scraproom I will revisit this. Thank you!

  • 41.
    Aimee said…

    Hi Ali,
    I just looked at your album and I love it! What I love most about it is that it looks like a scrap-book. I love my scrap albums but the feel of yours seems timeless to me. Thanks for sharing!

  • 42.
    tina said…

    l would really love to pick some organsing idea am a mess. thanks for sharing.

  • 43.
    Julie said…

    Love your new room!! And congrats on the precious life you are carrying! I just have to say (as a pediatric nurse and mother of two) that I appreciate your response to ‘kids in the office’. I am a huge advocate of your approach — not using ‘no’ or ‘don’t touch that’. I took the relaxed approach with my daughters as well — keeping dangerous things out of the way and always being with them to direct or redirect their activities — and I’m convinced it what kept them from being temper-prone toodlers. It’s frustrating for kids to be told ‘no’ all the time — but they can understand ‘hey, let’s do this instead’.
    Thanks for a wonderful, inspirational site every week!!

  • 44.
    Prairie Girl Cris said…

    Thank you for taking the time to answer and organize all the questions! I do have one more question; the HP Inkjet won’t print wide format… are you considering a wide format printer? ie one that will print on 12X12? Or do you find you manage just find and don’t need a wide format printer? Oh, and are you satisfied with the cost of replacing the Inkjet cartridges?
    I need to upgrade my trusty HP Deskjet 812! *lol*
    FYI mon petit chateau does mean “my little castle” in French, but there’s supposed to be an ‘accent circonflexe’ on the ‘a’ like so: château. =)

  • 45.
    Irene DunneI said…

    I can’t believe you found the time to answer all those questions !!!!! But I am glad that you did.
    Cheers, Irene :)

  • 46.
    Robyn :) said…

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of simon’s album. It gave me some ideas for what to start doing with my yearly albums :)

  • 47.
    debbi said…

    thanks for all the info on your setup…a word of warning, i hope you are backing up all of the things stored on those lacie drives. of all the external drives i’ve used, i have never had any of them fail completely except for the two lacie drives. i really like my western digital external….and am anxious to check out the new time capsule we bought to use with our mac.

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