Friday, October 26, 2012

103 A Surprise Craft Room Before & After Story

Every once in awhile you hear a story that really hits close to home.  A story that does some tugging on your heartstrings.   The kind of story that fills you with emotion and all you can do is wish there was a way to help.

That is what happened to me.

I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this post, but it is a story I just had to share...

I offered to keep the family's identity private, however, I was granted permission to share the amazing outcome that the love and kindness that a set of friends gifted to another friend.  And my husband and I were fortunate enough to be a part of it all!

A local family has been managing through the recent news of an illness.  They have been incredibly strong through their recent findings, however, as you can imagine, it is never easy.  Knowing what this family has been going through, a few close friends wanted to give the Mrs. an extremely happy surprise.

The Mrs. is an avid scrap-booker.  It is her hobby and passion to document all of the cherished moments in her life.  She loves taking photos of her family and creating endless books of their stories and memories.  With all of the supplies that have come with this hobby over the years, she has grown an extensive collection of papers, tools, embellishments, etc...  They had the room in their home to give her a designated place to work on her scrap-booking with her children and friends, and her husband installed some built in furniture to give her workspace and storage.

The room gets lots of love and over the years of being used, it has slowly lost order.  I think it is so wonderful when a mom has a special place to call their own, one to find quiet time within and to take a moment to enjoy a hobby.  However, I also know, being a mom myself, that there is limited time to work on our hobbies, so when time is up, Time. Is. Up.  Things get left out and unfinished until those next spare moments come around.  I also know, that moms have a tendency to put their family and the rest of the home before themselves and their own personal spaces. 

So when the Mr. and Mrs. had to travel out of town, a few of her friends stopped by to clean their home.  And what they saw was a neglected room that needed a little bit of organizing and tender loving care.  They wanted to give their friend a room update, a place to go to smile.  To enjoy her hobby.  To feel relaxed.  And that is when I got the call.

I was asked to help them give the room a little surprise makeover, and in an instant I said in a single word, "Yes-please-I-can't-wait-to-get-started!"

We decided to let the Mr. in on the surprise since we would have to take over the room at times when they would be away.

The project started out with a quick visit to the space.  I just needed to get an idea of what we were working with and a scope of the project.  I used my phone to take a few photos of the room {which are now the oh so fab, "before" shots}.


What I noticed right away is that the Mrs. sure has great taste.  And loves bins!  Which of course, I can totally appreciate!  She had working systems in place, and some that needed a little bit of attention.  She also works on the side as a Thirty-One consultant, and the desk is intended for that business.

After the initial visit, I had a few ideas swirling.  I knew that I would have limited time, the help of two amazing gals {her dear friends initiating the update} and the my hubby.  And that is when fate stepped in.

Sometimes the craziest of things happen and the second I said yes to this project, I also received an email from The Original Scrapbox.  They wanted to offer me a product to use in a blog project.  It didn't take me long to connect the dots and ask if I could use it for this specific project, and gift it to the Mrs. we were helping out.  The kind friends at the Scrapbox smiled and said, "Absolutely!"

So while we waited for the Minibox to arrive, we also waiting for the Mrs. to head back out of town for a few days, so we could takeover her space!

And then the time came.  The Mrs. was heading out for a week, the Mr. would be home during the week and leaving to meet up with her over the weekend.  We figured we had two "after work" nights and one weekend day, to get the room completely done.

Day 1

The girlfriends and I started out by completely emptying the room.  I always love to start with a blank slate, it seems to make the process a little less overwhelming.  By emptying out the room, we would be able to assess current storage {which I knew she already had plenty of} and be selective about what came back into the room and where it would get sorted down to.  When emptying the space, we made sure to keep all of her current "in process" stacks together the best that we could, and be careful to maintain any systems that she already had working.


We gave the room a quick cleaning, and while we did that, the boys were busy in the garage assembling the new Minibox {which totaled two and a half men and two and a half hours}.


Once the room was emptied, cleaned and the Minibox was assembled, we started the process of slowly bringing things back into the space.


The Minibox comes with 40 {yes 40!} canvas bins and we started out by spreading them around the room and giving each one a category.  As we started bringing things back into the room, we matched up the item to the necessary bin.  Easy peasy!

And that is how the room looked at the end of day 1!  Job well done guys and gals!

Day 2:

Day two consisted of getting the rest of the belongings into the room.

I thought it would also be fun to line the back of the built in bookcase, with fabric, to divide some of the blue on the walls and add a little backdrop to all of the cute storage she had.  To do so, without damaging her walls or bookcase, we wrapped cardboard, which was cut down to size, with the fabric and stapled the fabric in place.


Sorting, sorting and more sorting, was the name of the game on day 2.  The Mr. had already left and one of the two gals couldn't make it, so it was down to me, the hubs and friend C.  The three of us managed to get the entire room sorted and everything put into its place.

Since this wasn't our personal space, we made a pile of anything we didn't think belonged or had a home within the room.  We saved the pile for the Mrs. to go through when she returned and after the room was revealed.

Here is how the room looked at the end of day 2:


Crazy amazing eh?

Day three was the final day intended for the finishing touches.  This is my favorite part!  Label making, accessorizing and giving the room one last sweep to get it ready for the big surprise reveal!

I started out by labeling everything on the bookcases....  I added my favorite Martha Stewart bookplates to anything that didn't already have a label holder:


I could tell from the items that were already in the space, that the Mrs. loves fun colors and patterns.  So, I pulled out the Washi tape to spice up all of the labels on the bookshelf!


I also labeled all of the bins we had sorted out in the Minibox!  I even added a strip of Washi tape to some of the bins to give them that pop of color that I and the Mrs. both seem to appreciate!


While I labeled, friend C added decorative paper to the fronts of the plastic drawer carts...


Ready to see the final "after" photos?  Here is how the space looked after just a few short hours on day 3!



Here are some of the other details to this new, super fun and organized space.

I dedicated the bookshelves to hold anything that she may want to grab at while working at her counter.


This also included larger, heavier items, such as all of her scrapbooks and her stacks and stacks of scrapbooking magazines, all of which were sorted down by type.


While sorting, we found a lot of special moment items.  Ticket stubs, important papers from school, etc... Those items went into a few drawers that I labeled, "Memories".


The goal was to keep both of her work areas, nice and clear.  Nothing but a large cutting mat and a caddy to hold all of her printed photos, remained on the built in counter.


I didn't mess with the contents of her cabinets or drawers.  They were already all divided out by categories that made complete sense.  {Cutting tools, adhesives,  paper punches, etc...}


Since she often scrapbooks with her kiddos, it will be so so very great to have two work spaces!  I topped the Minibox with some pretty, "Welcome Home" accessories set out on a portable tray.


Above the Minibox, to balance out the single frame, I spray painted two of these super fabulous metal trays we found in her room {her Mr. gave me the OK}.  They now act as memo boards for her favorite family photos.


But let's take a moment to chat about the inside of the Minibox.  See how nice and compact it is?  When not in use and all closed up, it is only 37" wide.  However, not only is it on casters that make it easy to move around the room, the all of the doors are open, it can span up to 9 total feet!


All of the doors are on hinges that allow the doors to continue to open and open again for more storage.  Unfortunately, this room didn't allow it to span the entire 9 feet, however, even when opened as far as the room would accommodate, she still has access to all of the storage it boasted!  And when I say it boasted a lot of storage, I mean it!

It comes with 40 bins which range in multiple sizes.  We opted to mix and match in some of the storage she already had, with the new bins that came with the Minibox.  Of course, she can always update that as she pleases once she gets settled in the space.

All of the shelves are adjustable, allowing you to customize how you want to use it.  We divided out the colored paper onto open shelves, since I thought it would be easier to just pull the paper straight out, vs. pulling out a bin to sift through.  However, all of her "in process" projects, each got their own large bin.  The bins are large enough to fit 12x12 paper, embellishments, stickers, etc... and now she can just pick which project she wants to work on, pull out her bin and pop it up onto her workspace.  When she is done, back into the bin things go, and back into workbox.  So simple!  Hopefully that will help her to maintain a clear workspace each time she wishes to project.


In the smaller bins, that is where we sorted down different types of stickers, brads, embellishments, borders, etc...


I was even able to leave her a couple of empty bins!  There was just sooo much storage in one, space saving cart.  It is pretty incredible!

Oooh, and just to show how much the Minibox was able to hold, check out how many empty bins we were left with after this project was over!


The Mrs. will never have to purchase another bin again! {You're welcome Mr.}

On top of the workbox, inside the workbox, and on the wall above the workbox, lives her entire stash of ribbons!


And to mix function with decor, we also put some categorized embellishments in simple mason jars.

 

As I mentioned earlier, this gal is a Thirty-One consultant.  She needed a place to manage that side business, so on the other side of the room, I gave her a Thirty-One desk.


We installed a dry erase board, where she can put down party dates and order deadlines...


Used a clear storage divider to hold her thank yous and catalogs...


Found this super awesome little spiky thing to hold some of her business cards...


Made a rubber-band ball for her desk... and organized the drawer too!


And that completes the tour!

But here is the best part.  The part that I am sure you had to be there to fully understand and comprehend the awesomeness.... The REVEAL!

The Mr. came home a day before the Mrs. and turned the doorknob around, locking the Mrs. out of her new room and hiding the key.  The kind friends, myself and my husband all met back at the home after work.  Her friend wrote the Mrs. a letter and left it on the door, explaining the reason for the makeover and why we all felt she was so deserving of her new space.  We all stood outside of the door, waiting for her to open it and see her new room.  Goosebumps my friends.  I had major goosebumps.

And then she saw it.  And the tears came.  Tears of happiness.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief, of love, of gratefulness and gratitude.  It was one of the most amazing moments I have personally experienced and one so hard to put into words.  It felt so amazing to be able to completely surprise someone with a new space that they can just come home and enjoy.  This is why I love to do what I do.

So lets just take one more minute to look at the before and after photos of the incredible new craft room:




A huge thank you to the gals that invited me to be a part of this incredible process!  It was so much fun to get to know you and to be able to do this for such a wonderful woman and mother.

Disclosure: The Original Scrapbox provided me with one Minibox to review and share within this post.  I am committed to sharing only products that I feel my readers will benefit from and enjoy, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

103 comments:

  1. LOVE THIS!!! You did such a great job. It feels good to do things for others, right?! I got goosebumps and a tear in my eye! Love the Minibox! Only wish i had a craft room to put it in. Someday!

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  2. OMG, this is so awesome!!! What a sweet story!

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  3. Beautiful room and beautiful story!!! I enjoyed this post Jen--your blog is my absolute favorite.

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  4. Great Job ! It is so cool to hear stories like this and to know that there are people out there that have big kind hearts, such as you and your friends. I'm sure that you made another special memory in this ladies life and it will be one that she will relive forever. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Jen - this is so amazing! The room looks fantastic and I'm sure it's just this sort of thing that makes it all worth it. To say it's rewarding to help someone organize and improve their space is one thing, but to bless someone unexpectedly like this is incredible. What a perfect way to use the Minibox :)

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  6. What a wonderful surprise! I love all of the colors. The spiky thing is a flower frog. They went in the bottom of vases to hold up flowers. Kind of like a precursor to floral foam. :)

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    1. Thanks Cara! It was a mystery to me!

      xo!
      Jen

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  7. That is so nice what you did for the Mrs. The room came out so wonderful!

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  8. Wow Jen! This is such a great story! I bet she really appreciated it - you did such an awesome job!

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  9. What a wonderful gift you gave the Mr. and Mrs. The room looks awesome.

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  10. Wow, I SO need that mini box in my scrap space!! Also, I love the idea of using patterned paper to line clear storage towers. I'm SO going to do that too!!

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  11. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and generous story! It's wonderful to read about kind acts for deserving people. You and your crew did an amazing job on the room & it looks like you made it a lot easier for the Mrs to enjoy her hobby. Best wishes to the Mr & Mrs for many more memories to be scrapped in a fabulous new room! :)

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  12. How wonderful to give such a neat gift to this special lady. I know it will be a favorite memory of hers forever-

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  13. wow! What a great surprise... (you can surprise me any time. :) ) I'm sure she will love it for a very long time. Not only the craft room itself but the memory and the knowledge of knowing she has great friends. :)

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  14. Amazing makeover and story - I'm sure that this will be remembered and appreciated forever!

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  15. Oh Jen, that is so awesome!!! What a memorable moment for you and her!!! To give someone such a great gift is such a great feeling. I am sure she loves it!! It turned out so wonderful!!!

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  16. WOW! What an amazing and inspiring story! Organization is such a wonderful gift to give! It must be so great to know how much you've helped her...I hope I can one day do the same for someone :)

    Thanks Jen!

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  17. So gorgeous - that minibox is amazing!

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  18. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    Touching story. Got me all teary.

    And that Minibox - never seen anything like this. Incredible amount of storage in a tiny space. I am in love!

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  19. Great job on the room and such a beautiful story! Can you tell me where the rug came from?

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    1. Hi bugfanerin!

      Here is the rug source: http://www.dashandalbert.com/product/view/garden-stripe-woven-cotton--RDA211

      xo!
      Jen

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  20. Beautiful story! I got choked up! The transformation is simply stunning!

    And that minibox? I got chills.

    What a lovely thing you did!

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  21. Great job on the room and such a beautiful story! Can you tell me where the rug came from?

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  22. Wonderful story ! It is heartwarming :). And that mini box thing is amazing.

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  23. That is such a wonderful story! Well done.

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  24. This is just awesome (sniff sniff) & your are so sweet to have worked your magic. I know you feel blessed to have been able to do that for someone so deserving. She also has incredible friends and a great hubby!

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  25. What a wonderful surprise it has been to her! Brilliant job with it too!

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  26. Please come to my house and do y room! Beautiful and amazing! Wow!

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  27. I love it!! What an inspiring place for creativity this has become! Now all I would need is an extra room, and I'd create a craft heaven just like yours for myself (-;

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  28. What a lucky lady Mrs. is. The room looks fantastic and now I think I need to find out what this Washi Tape stuff is all about.

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  29. Wow one of my favorite posts EVER.... and I stalk your blog daily! To read all the time about all the amazing opportunities and products that come your way and to see how you happily gave of your time and energy to someone to make their day better is just wonderful! This gives me another reason to add to the already long list of reasons why I am always on your blog when my hubby asks me "are you on there AGAIN!!"

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  30. Sitting here crying and I don't even know these folks. Thats why I love your blog so much-you make us all feel like we know you! Such a wonderful thing to do for someone who is dealing with her own life circumstances. I'm sure she was over the moon to find her new room!

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  31. God Bless You, for using your powers for good! I'm tearing up just reading this, makes me so happy! The power of an organized and beautiful room to be an oasis can't be beat. Great job and yeah if you're ever in San Diego I've got some places you could work your magic;)

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  32. This is quite possibly my favorite project you've done- what a great story and example of true friendship!!! Love all the components of the new craft room!!

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  33. Wow, just wow. Inspirational and heartwarming. The room will be so wonderful to work in! Well done :-)

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  34. Not only is the room gorgeous but you helped to do something so amazing! This was such an uplifting story. Well written, well photographed, and well done :)

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  35. Amazing transformation! You did good!! This has now inspired me to get my hands on our craft space, thanks!!
    xx

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  36. What a fabulous gift you gave to the family!

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  37. Oh my goodness!
    What great friends and what a great room!
    It is beautiful! very inspiring! I can't wait to get started in covering my husbands office into my
    craft room! You gave me lots of great ideas!

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  38. I am beyond in love with this post. Not only did you do something wonderful, the after is amazing. I am addicted to your blog and will be "copying" many of your ideas when I finally have a space of my own (I am graduating college in December and still live at home). Until December, I will continue to check out your blog and make a note of the great ideas that I can see in my future space :D

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  39. What a great story! I'm so glad you guys were able to come together to do that for her. Very sweet! Also, that Minibox is pretty awesome. :)

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  40. Oh, for cryin' out loud (no really, actual tears!), there isn't a single aspect of this post that isn't beautiful! Truly a room absolutely oozing with inspiration (and charm and color and that fabulous stool!) was necessary if it were to hold a candle to the story itself; without question, Miss Jen you succeeded!
    Cheers,
    Erin

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  41. What an awesome story! It is so nice to see great people like you using their resources to help out a friend in need, that quality is a rarity nowadays! I love your blog and this post is just wonderful!

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  42. Mrs is so lucky. Not only to have a fantastic 'new' room, but to have such amazing friends! This is by far one of the greatest posts I have read in a long time!

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  43. This was an amazing read! I love before and afters, and the fact that it's a crafty related room just tops it off for me!! <3

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  44. Wonderful story and what a beautiful piece for anyone's craft room.

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  45. Just beautiful - she is so lucky to have such wonderful (and amazingly talented!) friends to do something so sweet. Gorgeous work!

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  46. aw man -- now you've got me all weepy. What a great room and a sweet story!

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  47. You are the sweetest...and so crazy talented!!!

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  48. God Bless You! What a wonderful story and a beautiful space you created. The Original Scrapbox armoire is my "dream item" for my craft room someday, thanks for showing the Minibox and all of its features.

    Sue

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  49. What a fabulous makeover! I love the minibox! I also thought it was great how you covered the backs of the bookshelves with fabric-covered cardboard. Don't know why I never thought of this, but I'll put it to use ASAP! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  50. Oh my god that room is so beautiful now, totally inspirational and tidy!
    J
    http://www.lifelovesand.blogspot.ie/

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  51. When you're dealing with an illness, the little things in life, either good or bad seem huge. The good or bad big things in life are overwhelming and astronomical. Your gave your friend not only a place to walk into for a little peace, you also gave her a reminder that calm does come out of chaos with a little help from family and friends.

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  52. What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing.

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  53. Loved this so much I shared a link on my blog. (I'm a scrapbooker!)

    http://alicesatticart.blogspot.ca/2012/10/scrap-room-make-over.html

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  54. Really incredible! Such a kind thing to do--I hope that when you start your own organizing business, it is the most successful thing on the planet, because you deserve it! Thank you for brightening my day and inspiring me to clean out and reorganize my bedroom yesterday!

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  55. What an amazing random act of kindness!! the room is stunning and I am sure the Mrs. will enjoy it very much! Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us. This story really brightened my day!

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  56. Wonderful story, both for the human side of it, and the great organizing job you all did! Just loved it, and thank you for sharing.

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  57. Beautiful! What a blessing for all. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  58. Wow! What an incredible story! You did a beautiful job on her craft room....I am sure she loves it! What a way to bless her!

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  59. What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing. Very thoughtful of you to help, and what wonderful friends the Mrs. has to give forth such a kind act to a friend in need. Love the bright colors, organization and function of the room. Great job, as usual.

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  60. Awesome!!!!!! Very inspiring and i am so envy to that kind of new 'me' room.....thanks for sharing jen...your ideas are just wonderful and brilliant!!!

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  61. Hey there! Lovely Blog! This post is so great.. Have you checked out my blog lately?
    Maybe we can follow each other?!
    Check out my blog and tell me what you think!
    www.Ultimatechicdiary.blogspot.com

    Xo,S

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  62. this blog keeps getting better and better. i even teared up! great story. great room.

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  63. Where did you get that fabulous stool? What a humbling and generous deed you did! Inspires me to make a difference in someone's life as well!

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    1. Hi Kristen!

      The stool was found at a local thrift store in the twin cities.

      xo!
      Jen

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  64. This has made my day! What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing, Jen!

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  65. OH my.....You sure know how to pull the heartstrings for sure. What a Beautiful thing to do for someone. Awesome...

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  66. Amazing. I'm so glad you could help. Having that room organized is so great: she doesn't feel the weight of taking care of that. Instead it can be a respite. Art making is so important. Brava!

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  67. This was a marvelous idea, and thank you for participating! One of the passages I live by is "All things work together for good..... And it has been illustrated here. Yay for you and those sweet, thoughtful women who initiated the event. Good joib!!

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  68. Lovely job!!! Everything looked amazing!!! I was wondering...where did you find that dry erase board calendar?


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    1. Thank you! The Mrs. already owned the white board, however, I believe I have seen similar items at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

      xo!
      Jen

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  69. Wow, the room turned out so amazing! You did such a great job, there! And you make it look so easy. Being a pro, it probably is easy for you, but I admire your vision and creativity! Thank you for this insight (as well as many others before!)

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  70. Jealous of this room. Such a sweet project for someone who I'm sure is a treasure to many.

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  71. How precious to have friends who care so much and give from the heart. Great job!

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  72. Great job, Jen! I just moved into a new house and I'm now able to have an actual craft room. You gave me some great ideas from this blog post! Can't wait to get my space just as organized!

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  73. Oh Jen, what an incredible surprise - I'm fighting back the tears! You did such an incredible job, and that Minibox is amazing!

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  74. Where did the clear storage divider on the desk come from?

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    1. The Mrs. already owned the clear storage divider and we just reused it, however, I believe similar items are sold at Staples or Office Max.

      xo!
      Jen

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  75. I loved this story and the room came out amazing! I didn't think it was possible to like you or your blog any more than I already did but I do!

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  76. I forgot if I commented on this (yet) so if I did I apologize for the duplicates. I think this reveal was gorgeous. I know when someone goes through a tragedy or hard time people often struggle with knowing what to do. I love how personal this was! Kudos to her friends and to you and especially for putting that sponsored item to good use. I've stopped reading a lot of blogs because they were not so classy about freebies so I love that you used one of yours for such a nobel cause.

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  77. Great job! And just so you know in the future -- that "super awesome little spiky thing" is a flower frog. You put it at the bottom of an arrangement so that the flowers stay in place. But I like your use for it too! :)

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  78. What a truly amazing gift you gave her that she can use for years to come! What label maker did you use? I am looking for one that has fun fonts like that!

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    1. Thank you! I actually used my printer to make the colored, cursive labels, and my Epson LabelWorks LW-400 Label Maker, which you can find here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005J7Y6GS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005J7Y6GS&linkCode=as2&tag=iheaorga-20

      xo!
      Jen

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  79. What an amazing job! This room looks fantastic and totally functional. I love the colorful rug! And the minibox is incredible. I choose this as one of My Friday Favorites this week. You can check it out here: http://wp.me/p2hp9V-FN

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  80. You and the others involved did such a good thing! I imagine you got as much joy out of this project as the Mrs. did. Congratulations on a job well done.

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  81. Amazing! What products did you use for the ribbon storage? One kind of looks like a paper towel holder.. and the shelf looks nice too.

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    1. Hi Kerri!

      The owner of the room actually already owned the amazing ribbon organizers. She has great taste! :) I am guessing that was their original intention and they were from a craft store. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Wow, this is amazing, sure wish I had the energy to do something this lovely ...but at 73 I am lucky I can still craft...great job....

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  82. Can you come to my house!!! OMG this is awesome! I have 3 rooms that need organizing....you've inspired me!!

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  83. I love it, when I first started reading your blog about this it sounded like my story with craft room. I recently tried to do some organizing so I could actually scrap in my room instead through out the house. I Still have over abundance of scrap stuff on every wall, shelf,ect. I can scrap in my room now which is good. I just can't get rid of all clutter everywhere. Any suggestions would be grateful for, I know that is your expertize is organizing. I did donate some scrap stuff to a charity but couldn't part with much more than I did already. thank you for sharing your blog about the scrap room.

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  84. What did you do with her television. An important part of my craft area....

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    1. I believe her hubby and friends pitched in to get her a smaller flat screen that would take up less room. :) I agree, a TV is a necessity in a craft space!

      xo,
      Jen

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  85. Super wow, when are you coming to my house? My problem is my collection of rubber stamps is growing and I don't have a really good inventory system... help!

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  86. Amazing! what a wonderful gift to give someone...and the miniscrapbox is great - I would find that very useful.

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  87. WOW THAT IS AN AMAZING STORY!!! AND WHAT FRIENDS SHE HAS!! SHE IS TRULY BLESSED!! GREAT JOB!! ITS AWESOME!!!!

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