Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 14, 2009

Three Things : On My Table


My work table is a total disaster right now (not to mention the floor around my table).

Piles of things I have pulled out from the lockers; pieces of paper with notes jotted on the front and back of concepts and ideas I want to implement (these notes are currently keeping me sane); punches; adhesive; paint. Projects in progress.


Yes, it could be more of a mess. I’ve seen worse around here. But for someone like me who was really getting the hang of cleaning up everything after completing a project this feels like one big mess that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

These days those longer chunks of time are harder to come by (hence the very messy table) yet the ideas and the passion is definitely still there. I am relearning how to get things done & how to work in minutes rather than hours. In between feeding and changing and playing with Anna I am scanning and uploading and printing and adhering and painting. Less concerned with the mess than attempting to get some creative work done in the moments I have available.

Luckily, in the midst of all those piles, I have been inspired by a bunch of new-to-me products including the three shown above. All found on my table this week:

1. Martha Stewart Scallop Dot Edge Punch. I noticed last week that now carries some of the Martha Stewart craft products. I ordered this one last week and am really excited to put it to good use.

2. Tim Holtz Mini Paper Clips. Looking forward to using these to attach some real life ephemera. The size is just right: not too big + not too small.

3. Jenni Bowlin Pearl Flowers. These little gems have made their way on to a couple of my projects for the magazine recently including the layout featuring the Anna’s playlist. It’s a great little touch.

What’s on your desk or table today? Are you working in the midst of a mess too?


[ Three Things is a weekly product series : check out the archives here. ]


  • 51.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Creative mess is totally a part of the process for sure!!! I should have taken a photo of the floor so you could see the piles there too.

  • 52.

    Ha! I just spent a full week (and I’m not joking) cleaning and editing and organizing my office. I feel so good now. Your place looks so creative and inviting and wonderful!

  • 53.
    Leslie said…

    The mess I have right now is…
    1-My cute little Emma made us a darling Easter sign…so the scraps from that are still there.
    2-A layout of my Mom, husband and kids I’m working on. Just need to glue everything down.
    3-Lot of flowers and notes scattered about as I ADORE flowers and I must write my ideas on bits of paper or I will forget!!:)

  • 54.
    Lani said…

    My son’s 5th birthday party. I am making tshirts with iron-on transfers instead of ‘junk’ bags for the favors. I hope it works the way I want it to, and that people like the idea.

  • 55.
    Michelle W. said…

    Wow, I have to say that it makes me feel SO much better to see your scrap area a mess!! Cause that’s what my table looks like right now :)

    • ….
      Gracelyn said…

      Action requires knldoewge, and now I can act!

  • 56.
    lindsay said…

    I was completely inspired by a combination of your amazing Baby Anna album and the fact that I never LOVED the baby book I created for my 2 year old. SO, I spent the weekend revamping his book and creating the “bones” for the baby I am expecting in August while my mom had my son. What a fun Saturday scrapbooking with no interruption. Never quite got to the cleaning up part because I was trying to get so much done in my very rare free time. Desk is now covered in various baby paper, embellishments, clippings, etc…Thanks for the inspiration Ali!
    p.s. had so much fun with the 6×12 page protectors!

  • 57.
    carolkolakowski said…

    What’s on my work table today? TAX RETURNS – yuck.
    You were so smart to do yours before the baby!

  • 58.

    Ali, this seriously is the happiest moment of my life!! lol.. I am always SO intimidated by your perfect and orderly space! now I see you’re human too! :o )
    On my desk are my new favorite gray corduroy brads form Stampin’ Up!, my stack of distress ink pads and a cluster of homemade model magic “transformers”! (don’t ask me how those got there!)
    Enjoy the creative process!

  • 59.
    Christina O said…

    My whole scraproom is a mess but a guess a creative mess :) I feel you with the taking the time to get some work done in between caring for the kiddos. And thanks for the heads up with caring MS products.

  • 60.
    NancyN said…

    Messy just doesn’t describe my craft area. I’ve got 3 projects in the works right now. My DD needs some picking up so I am making a mini book of reasons why I admire her. I am working on a family book for my sister. Finally, I am working on gift card holders for 180 faculty/staff. I thought as my children got older, life would get easier. Not true.
    I love ribbon and buttons. Can’t seem to get enough of them. My favorite is my Grandmother’s button box. LOVE IT!

  • 61.

    Project 365 book, getting caught up. Finding creative ways to fill the holes on days I forgot to take picts. Thank goodnes for notes! Latest Cocoa Daisy kit. At work, WASL testing materials. Let the testing season begin, because Spring sure hasn’t!

  • 62.

    Messy during the set up, but SOOOO worth it in the end! Now my workflow for pictures is so NOT messy it almost scares me…Isn’t the LOM class the BEST!

  • 63.
    Kathy F said…

    I am known to have a TON of clutter and organized mess everywhere! :) LOL! My “area” looks a lot of the time like an atomic bomb hit it! :) It is a “mom”, thing…so I hope you aren’t worrying about it.
    It is nice to hear that you would rather create and play with your little ones (yes, Simon, too)than worry about what your “table” looks like! :)
    I just love how easy going you are Ali…such an inspiration!

  • 64.
    Sam said…

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a scrap space at the moment so my “desk” is actually a big plastic container I use to hold the supplies I’m interested in using. (I bring up the plastic bin from storage in the unfinished basement.) Not the best situation but it’s what I’m able to do for now.
    So, anyway, now that you know I’m not really using a desk, I do have some products that I’ve been using recently. A couple of them are the new upper crest border punch from fiskars and a scallop circle punch.

  • 65.
    Amanda S. said…

    All my acrylic Stamps, a pile of nearly finished projects, my laptop, some patterned paper I ordered that came in…. all-in-all my desk is a hot mess! LOL :)

  • 66.
    debbies said…

    I have recently taken up art journaling. I kept a journal for many years, but this is a whole new level, and it has been keeping my desk covered with bottles of MM paint, paper scraps, silk flowers, wire and beads. I also have my boy’s baby-album-in-progress pile. The American Crafts three-ring binder album, ultrasounds, and lots and lots of Prima and MM paper! It can get overwhelming trying to get all these wonderful ideas out of your mind and onto a canvas of some sort.

  • 67.
    Lisa said…

    The scallop circle punch from Stampin Up! is on my table a lot lately. And buttons. Hybrid layouts are making a big mess there, too. Really enjoying being able to scrapbook on weekends away or vacations without having to take a ton of stuff…then putting the stuff on when I get back home.

  • 68.
    Ali Edwards said…

    awesome :)

  • 69.
    Ali Edwards said…

    HA! Sounds like I need to show my mess more often!

  • 70.

    My table it’s not really messy right now… I have my Xmas stuff out as I’m working my Xmas 08 album.
    I try to keep some kind of order so I can find everything and work fluently.
    My side table is messier (sp?). I have a binder with Shimelle’s Journal Your Xmas lessons, an album with rubons, journaling spots, etc, foam stamps, my binder of scraps,… but everything is in its place! :o )

  • 71.
    Maureen said…

    lets see…I am staring at a couple of camera manuals, notes from the ATJ class at BPS, punched accents for a mini album project, and SS Quick & Easy Photo Albums special issue, to get ideas for same project, and way to many other things to list…..

  • 72.
    JustMeAgain said…

    Ali, I love seeing your fun and creative table…it looks just like mine right now! For me, with a full time career, a two-hour daily commute, a daughter, a husband, a house that is in constant need of attention whether inside or out in the yard, “relearning how to get things done & how to work in minutes rather than hours”, has been my life motto!
    Thanks for making me feel NORMAL! :D

  • 73.
    Sandi Malloy said…

    Nice to see I’m in good messy company. I always thought it was just me who had working piles. I have 2 scrap desks and right now both have chipboard pieces and letters to make an album, modge podge and a variety of paper on them. I’m showing my friend how to construct one from scratch. It’s so much fun to scrap with a friend sometimes.

  • 74.
    Melanie said…

    “Are you working in the midst of a mess too?”
    Always … I do try to clean up, but while I work, I grab and throw things around … end up working on two or three things at once. When finished, I attempt to clean it up and put it all back, but something usually inspires me again and away I go … having three kids though usually means working in fits and starts, so it takes me weeks to complete anything. Much less get it all cleaned up! Vicious cycle.

  • 75.
    Erica Hettwer said…

    I’ve got piles of goodies from the hospital on my desk. Audrey’s birth certificate, wrist bands, all that good stuff that I can’t wait to put in her book…or a shadow box.
    I’m another one that really struggles to put stuff away between projects. I think I’m just afraid that my mojo will go-go if I stop! LOL! :D

  • 76.
    hedwig said…

    Hi Ali
    my working table is ok. Has been better, has been worse. I am happy with my sewing machine on hand immediatly, like i saw on your blog. I put a taylormade shelf on a ikea dresser and montaged it myself with skrews and a skrewdriver! Working on a lot (couple of swaps) but NEED to finish the scrapbooking of 2008 (i want to make an annual of the non festival / holiday happenings. But i started, made 4 pages in January and still did not progress. OK of to make the progress!!!

  • 77.
    ms.cheryl said…

    Right now I am into beaded trims so I have a few of those on my desk. There is some Ten Seconds Studio metal and some paint also on my desk. I have tried my hand at collage.I’m kinda liking it.My desk is an absolute mess at all times. I always have at least three things going at one time. It’s nice to know even the pros are messy too. Thanks, ms.cheryl

  • 78.
    Michelle said…

    Messy table here. I like to pull things out and see if they might work with whatever I am working on. Problem is, I don’t put them back after I am done. Oh well!
    Not working on anything this minute, but thinking about doing some Easter lo’s.

  • 79.
    Aimee said…

    Um, totally have the movie “Singles” for the next time I scrap and lots of Studio Calico goodness that I haven’t had a chance to break into yet. Four cut-out aprons ready to be sewn and an iron :)
    I better get going!

  • 80.
    ashley m said…

    oh goodness am i ever!!! my scrap table is a disaster right now! i have bills and projects galore for my 3 DTs that im working on!!! They tend to spread out onto my office desk and the guest bed and any other surface i can find until i have the time to go and clean up!

  • 81.
    COEngrGirl said…

    Ali, have you seen the latest on the proposed new FTC rules regarding product endorsements and reviews? The 3 things post reminded me about the reading I did yesterday over on Scrapbook Update. Here’s a link:
    This is my 1st comment on your blog – You inspire me with your creativity and realistic approach to all parts of your life! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  • 82.
    Amanda N. said…

    Both of my scrapping desks are currently in a state of dismay, but I did get some creative things done last week in there! BTW, you will love the scalloped MS punch! My favorite way to use it is to take vintage flashcards and punch the edge.

  • 83.
    Stephanie said…

    My craft room is in a shambles as we are peeling wallpaper and preparing to roll on primer to paint my craft room! I can envision what it will look like when it’s done, but right now I have my “must haves” in a rolling cart so that I can still create while we are re-doing my room!

  • 84.
    Jenell said…

    Ali – I have been working in something I call “scrapbook bytes” – on the same realm as “sound bytes” – just little minutes here and there to work on a project or create a card or two. I’m working on about 1/8 of the table because of the mess. I’m stepping over piles of paper, my scraps aren’t hitting the trashcan, and it’s getting out of hand!!! I plan to really clean my room this weekend and I’ll probably find a lot of things that I’ll be able to use soon!!!

  • 85.
    Janelle Shultz said…

    my scrapbook area is normally in our unfinished basement- however, the winters in MT are cold & so i move my stuff up to our dining room. it’s a mess right now…trying to get class samples ready…going to start teaching again. feels good to have new stuff to play with.

  • 86.
    Kimberly said…

    My husband and I share a space and if I go too long without cleaning up he starts telling me that going into the “office” makes him depressed. So, he was feeling mighty depressed last weekend, so I spent almost all of Saturday sorting, purging and reorganizing! I’m just waiting for those clear paper trays to come from and my area will be completely reorganized!
    But yes, I know about the mess. It’s hard to keep on top of it. The other problem I have is with mail. Even with reducing the number of catalogs and stuff I receive, the volume of mail we get seems ridiculous.

  • 87.
    wendy G said…

    My work table is filled with things I’ve been working on for my scrappin’ retreat this weekend. I have table numbers that I made, menus for our guests to choose from, welcome gifts, welcome packets, rooming lists, massage schedule, door prizes, scraps of paper from the welcome sign I made and the start of class kits for both of the classes I’ll be teaching. I hope to be able to see the actual table again after the event is over!

  • 88.
    Casey Maupin said…

    My desk is never really clean, except for the time company is coming and I throw everything on top into a box to store in the garage! Tim Holtz said he always puts everything away, every night, but if I did, I’d never finish anything. When you have little kids, you find moments to steal away to the desk to put a little paint here, or a little item there. If everything were put away, I would lose those moments, and thus lose art time!

  • 89.
    Carrie P said…

    Someone once told me to take a look at the teacher’s desk when making the choice of whom to choose as a teacher. If it was neat and tidy, were they spending more time being neat and tidy or more time teaching? So, glad you are spending more time with Anna!

  • 90.
    Lora B said…

    OH! I love the MS punch. I just bought that last week. LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!

  • 91.
    Leslie said…

    So, this is probably a silly question…how do I get a photo of myself in the little square like many of you have? Thanks for the help!!:)

  • 92.
    [Sue] said…

    My area is definitely a mess. My word for the year is simplify and therefore I’m thinking organizing and purging would help me do that. It’s amazing what we find when we start digging.

  • 93.
    KazT said…

    okay i admit it, my desk is always a mess! I’m usually surrounded by paper, paints, inks and pens, with a small square do actually do the work on. Time is so precious when you have four-year-old twin boys that tidying up always seems to be a want to rather than a do!

  • 94.
    KazT said…

    Ali I know I just left a comment, but whenever someone complains about a messy desk I’m always reminded of the quote:
    “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk a sign of . . .?”

  • 95.
    julieann said…

    The bigger the mess, the better the project;) I am in the middle of a creative mess right now too! I have had time in the past few days to sit down and actually scrapbook:) It has been great, but the mess is a bit out of control right now – I want to leave it as is so I can just jump right back in later!! Love todays 3 things, especially the Martha punch!!!

  • 96.
    Michelle Giaimo said…

    Try a I may I alway seem to be working in a mess. On my desk everyday are pens, post it notes, scrapbooking books and magazines, photographs and my computer and wacom pad and pen.

  • 97.
    Linda said…

    On my desk is one of my 3 up albums that I store photos in–I put more pictures in last night while watching a little TV; some picture coasters that I got for Christmas that I actually want to put pictures in and use; and finally my gratitude spinner! I started mine like yours–have a section for each of us and now I am adding twice a month a challenge I am doing called His Holy Name 09 challenge and I am making my pages 4×6 and adding them to my spinner–I am slightly behind so I have it here so I can get these done!! Oh and by the way your desk is NOT a mess!! Mine was on Saturday when my youngest daughter surprised me and came home from college and needed to sleep in my scraproom!! :)

  • 98.

    hey Mel, let me tell you, you’re not the only one. I create, and create, and create until my scrap space (aka hole in the wall basement – smile) is overflowing with stuff, and piles and ribbon, and what seems like trillions of little itty bits of paper strewn all over the place. Then I visit the two peas gallery and seem some pretty awesome, snazzy and TIDY scrapspaces and think, my gawd, I’m awful… but you know what, I think there’s more of ‘us’ than ‘them’. Laugh. I’ve learned to just let it all go and clean it all up when my brain can’t take it anymore, I call it messy chaos creative block. Geesh, if it were tidy all the time, I’m sure we wouldn’t be having as much fun as we do creating. Right?
    Have a great night.

  • 99.
    Sheila said…

    I just got done cleaning up my mess so that I can start making a mess all over again. What a fun and wonderful cycle.

  • 100.

    I know that feeling of “studio heaps” so well :)
    And when the time is right, it feels so ding dang good to go through the heaps. You will find little treasures in there! :)

Post a comment