Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

June 2, 2012

The Unveiling of...The Torrey Zone.

I live by the adage "I'm not messy...I'm creative"...but, to gaze upon the ferocious chaosity that was once my studio, one would probably think to oneself, "Come on, Torrey...NOBODY is THAT creative." As many of you may (or not) know, I have recently OVERHAULED my studio. I just couldn't stand the clutter anymore. Now, let me preface this unveiling with the fact that my newly-overhauled studio is NOT like those beautiful matchy-matchy Martha Stewart Pottery Barn rooms. There is NOTHING "designer" about it. It's hodge-podge and filled with bits of stuff I love. It's functional but NOTHING matches...and I like it that way. After all...how many of us actually have the funds to devote to a designer studio??? Sure, I wouldn't turn one down if it were handed to me...but I like my quirky, funky studio. It's a reflection of who I am--complex, diverse...creative.

(Okay Sherman, set the "Way-Back" machine to a couple of years ago).

 ...this is what my studio here in Texas USED to look like before I went on my Martha-Stewart-organizing frenzy: piles of stuff EVERYWHERE and just the tiniest of pathways to my chair (see that little patch of carpeting? That's the path). Now, you have to understand...having a disaster area as a studio is not new for me. Au contraire. As a matter of fact, in 2003 Memory Makers put out a book titled ""How to Organize Your Scrapbook Workspace". If you turn to page 10 of that book, you'll find a photo of my studio back when I lived in Colorado. Was it neat and tidy? Heck no. I was the "before" picture. The editors approached me and asked (very nicely) if I would lend evidence of my messiness as a beacon of hope to all those in need of organization. I agreed and thus became the literal poster child of a train-wreck studio. *sigh*...the things I do to help other artists feel like they're not alone. I'm selfless like that.

When I moved to Texas, I had the best of intentions on getting my studio organized...but a month after I got down here, I ended up with a severe injury that left me bedridden for several months--unable to walk. So my studio NEVER got unpacked properly. This led to a MASSIVE pile of disorganized chaos. I could NEVER find anything (gee, ya think?). It was completely...STIFLING. I now cringe at the sight of this.

 So, I made a goal for myself--to FINALLY clean out and organize my studio before my sister and nephews arrived for a visit on June 1. From the ground up. Every drawer, every shelf...everything.

I started by taking accurate measurements of every piece of "furniture" in the room--every table, bookcase, storage tower, cubby thing...everything (even the room itself). I found a free "room arranging" program online that allowed me to figure out the most optimal placement of all my "stuff".

I boxed up EVERYTHING and hauled it to the living room and hallway. I then enlisted the help of my dear hubby, Jonathan (DHJ). DHJ helped me drag all the furniture into place and then he built me some lovely shelves on the east and west walls. With as much stuff as I have, I had no choice but to go vertical. Then box, by painstaking box, I unloaded EVERYTHING. Then I labeled EVERYTHING.

Without further ado...here is the final result--the unveiling, if you will, of...
the TORREY ZONE (aka the Labora-Torrey).

The doorway into the Labora-Torrey
A painted metal Poison Dart frog perches on the door jam as a flutter of 3-D butterflies gently flies off into the distance. I recently took the door off. It was getting in the way. Maybe I'll hang retro hippie beads-groovy baby, groovy.

Enter, the Torrey Zone
Standing in the doorway of the Labora-Torrey, this is what you see when you first walk in. I will start the tour from the immediate left--the SOUTH WALL--and continue clock-wise around the room.
I feel like a tour guide at Disneyland.

 "We're walking, people....and we're stopping here at the SOUTH WALL."
(makes stewardess-like hand motions)

South Wall
From L to R--Tools, Books, Stamps
  • On the far left is the hanging "shoe" organizer that holds tools like heat guns, Cropadiles, crimpers, light boxes, wood-burning tools, acetylene torches, C-4 (just kidding...I don't have a light box) .
  • The bookcase in the middle houses my "library" of craft-related books and magazines--most of which feature my artwork, and several of them I've actually written. How cool is that?
  • The right bookcase is where all my mounted rubber stamps live. I have them divided into plastic shoe boxes according to "theme" (Asian, Animals, People, Retro, Travel, Food, Flowers...etc.)
South Wall...complete view
 Next to my stamps lives my "pantry". Its face is covered in bits of inspiration. The left side of the front is plastered with a bunch of "tags" from a tag swap I was in. The right side hosts various bits and pieces of things I love. On the top are my "tool boxes" (each filled with specific things). On the right side, of the pantry itself, is home to my Martha Stewart and border punches-- all neatly hung on Ikea rails. 

Here's what you'll find on the inside:

L to R, Top to Bottom
  • die cutting systems/dies, embossing folders/plates, stencils
  • Letter embellishments, fancy buttons, Bedazzler/rhinestones, polymer clay, tools, oven
  • Metal and their tooling supplies, glue gun, binder punch, Dremel, adhesive machines
  • Stickers, bulk OMS, punches

 And here is the closet which is just to the right of the pantry. It holds overflow and stuff like spray paints, glues, more stickers, glass, Dymo label makers and a giant roll of yellow "caution" tape. What? Doesn't everyone have a giant roll of "caution" tape?

It is a walk-in closet, so you can't see the spaces on the left and right sides from this photo. On the left side is frames and misc. boxes (tucked out of view). On the right side is an Iris cart filled with fibers and beads. You'll notice, I took the door clean off of this too. Who needs doors?

 Moving around now to the WEST WALL. The west wall is where all my Iris Carts and the "wall o' paper" reside.

West Wall corner
 New shelves built by DHJ!!! Buttons and ribbons (and UTEE) on the shelves. There is a loose shelf resting on top of the Iris carts. On it you'll find my spinning cube o' paint--acrylic on this side, fabric on the back. Next to it, my Wizard and most-used Spellbinders Nestability dies. Yeah, that's a giant Peep on the top shelf. Doesn't everyone have one in their studio? Oh yeah...see that black case on the middle left shelf way in the back? That's where my Copics live. Hee hee hee.

West wall- complete view

Iris carts on left hold everthing from embellishments, doo-dads and whatchamacallits, to adhesive runners and refills. The cart just to the left of the TV holds my scrap paper. The one under the TV holds my pens, pencils, markers, paints--colorants of all kinds. Next to the Iris carts is my "wall o' paper". Since this picture was taken, I have TOTALLY rearranged this unit because I got an AWESOME deal on plastic paper boxes. Can you say "buh BYE pizza boxes? (more on that in a minute). OH!!! And there's Einstein. He watches over everything I create. He's my guardian angel. I also have Tibetan prayer flags watching over me too. Not that I'm Tibetan.

Wall o' Paper
Here is my newly revised wall o' paper. I admit it, I LOVE paper. Try as I might, I could just NEVER become a digital artist. I luvs mah paperz 2 much. I recently scored 20 clear-plastic paper cases (from Michaels). It was SUCH a good deal, I couldn't NOT do it. I filled them with all the color-arranged patterned paper I had previously stowed in pizza boxes--badly deteriorating pizza boxes I might add.
  • Top shelf is 12 x 12 patterned paper arranged by color and a basket of small scraps. 
  • Second shelf is 12 x 12 cardstock. 
  • Third shelf is 8.5 x 11 cardstock and patterned paper and small paper pads.
  • Bottom shelf is white-core cardstock and large paper pads--most of which are by DCWV (Die Cuts With a View for those not in the know).
  • On the ends of the bottom 3 shelves are boxes of patterned paper arranged by manufacturer/theme.

Now, we continue on the clockwise journey to the NORTH WALL...the workhorse and heart of my studio.

North Wall
Here is where my work surfaces are. I have 2 tables--in an "L" configuration. Here is where all my most-used tools/supplies are housed, like:
  • Blank cards/envelopes
  • scissors
  • rhinestones/gems
  • glitter
  • acrylic stuff
  • alcohol inks
  • tags
  • corner and hole punches
  • adhesive dispensers
  • pens/pencils
  • tape
  • distressing equip.

My Work Surface
Here's where I create--on my lovely Ikea gate-leg table. I can fold out the left leaf to accommodate at least one (maybe 2) additional crafty friends. There are my buddies, Hoops and Yoyo, keeping me company (it looks like they've had too much caffeine). I have all my Prismacolor pencils stored in this wine rack with plastic cups. It's TERRIFIC! I picked up the idea from an organization issue of Better Homes and Garden. Hi Einstein...I see you! (see? He's always watching).

Ribbons, inks, and more stuff...OH MY
Hmmm, this photo seems to be listing to the right. Or maybe I was.

To the left,  in the black Iris cart, are my artificial flowers, wooden stuff and metal stuff. That's a tub of unsorted stamps on top of the iris cart. The top part of the "Chester drawers" thing  are two shoe-cubby storage units that I picked up at an estate sale. I found boxes on Ebay that just fit in their cubbyholes. I attached wooden knobs as pulls on each "drawer". I store my stamping ink and stamping paraphernalia in the bottom cubby. In the top cubby, I have my sewing notions and other miscellaneous things. I haven't printed out all their labels yet as you can see.

Ribbon galore
In the "Chester drawers" (that's actually what I thought they were called when I was a kid--and I wondered who Chester was and why would they name drawers after him). On the bottom, I stow my ribbon--4 drawers total--arranged by color of course. This is what each drawer looks like inside.


Last stop...the EAST WALL. This is where my computer and Cricut are.

East Wall
My computer table is on the left. Cricut station on the right. These are my new shelves that my DHJ installed for me!!! Aren't they WONDERFUL? The bottom shelf holds a bunch of pretties and inspiration...stuff that makes me happy.. The middle shelf holds albums, wire/tools, 3-ring binders of unmounted acrylic stamps (a work in progress) and foam stamps. The top shelf has my alterable stuff, some craft books from when I was a kid (Family Creative Workshop) and empty bottles. The sunflower box has all my sewing patterns.

Cricut Station
The cart my Cricut is sitting on is an old dentist tool chest from the 1950s. I found it at a garage sale, and it begged me to come live in my studio. I keep all my Cricut cartridges in the bottom 2 drawers (I have over 30 of them...but if you talk to my husband...I only have 3, got it?). I also keep brads and eyelets in here along with a drawer filled with Cricut paraphernalia. And I actually have 3 or 4 drawers that are still empty. Guess I need to get MORE stuff. Hee hee hee.

Thus ends the tour of the Torrey Zone.

Admit it...y'all are just ITCHING to come play with me in the Labora-Torrey now, aren't you???? 

So what's keeping you?
(I'm serious...I want playmates)


  1. Wow lady - you have really been a busy bee. I am so proud of this space and what you have accomplished in there. Now, come home and do mine! hehe

    When should I come out? I'm thinking fall....

  2. Wow. Yikes. Fabulous room. Great dh. I think you need to add a LaboraTorrey sign. Just sayin'.

    I want to come visit you. Do you have frequent flyer miles for me?

    I covet that Dentist cart. I really always wanted to steal the ones from my old-retired dentist. They were like this, but a lovely teal.

  3. Oh Kathi and Jodi...I would LOVE for you guys to come out. Sadly, I don't give frequent flyer miles...but I do give out cookies. Jodi...Fall is good!

  4. I think I hear angels singing! That is BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I can't wait to see what awesome Torrey projects come out of that room. =)

  5. Ooooooo!!! I am loving the Torey zone!! I am feeling inspiration to clean and reorganize my space!! Muhaha

  6. I love, love, love how your craft room turned out! Mine is much more like your before photo! But, I have slanted walls, ('cause of the roof) so I can't really hang shelves. It bites. But your room...oh, to have a room like yours! Everything you've done is amazing. I LOVE that you labeled everything! My only change if it were my room would be the paper. I can't live without my paper trays. You did an incredible job! Kudos to your husband too! Thank you for sharing. I hope you don't mind, but I pinned this for ideas!

  7. Gorgeous Darling!!!! I don't know if I could ever do this...well, I'm sure I could if my children were tied up and threatened by terrorists and the only way to save them would be to organize. Or if I had a visit from you... But your space looks really fabulous!

  8. I made my husband come and look at this to prove that I did not have too much stuff!!!!! Love it!

  9. Anne (your friendly coordinator)June 25, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Your studio is AMAZING!!! Monica and I want to come play!


  10. I love your room but . . . I love the name even more! Labora-Torrey! SOoooo punny! I wish I could think of a similar name for my craft room... Thanks for sharing - oodles of ideas and a long list of things I NEED in my stash!

  11. Wow Ladies You are organised!!! I'll just dream of being organised like this. Thank you for all the nice tips of storage!

  12. I love, love the name labora-torrey... So catchy :-P

    I'm in awe! You have such a big crafty room full of goodies. You could even open replace your LSS! Anyways, brava for the new room! Can you do mine now?

  13. Torrey, you have given me my inspiration back to finish my craft room! I just realized that I have all the tools I need I just need to separate and conquer. I was on the road but ran out of space; and dealing with the death of one of really good my crafting friend and when her husband asked if there were things that I wanted...I now realized that I am in mourning. I knew she wouldn't want the supplies to go to waste so it is now added to mine unfinished unsorted supplies. I will show you my progress soon. Thanks again for the "pushing through it moment" as she would tell me, because it's possible!

  14. Wow What a beautiful craft room. You sure have a lot of nice crafting stuff. Thanks for sharing with us.

  15. wow You sure did a wonderful job organizing your room. Thanks for the tour.

  16. If I lived closer Torrey, I would TOTALLY come and play in your scraproom but I'm almost as far north of texas as you can go before canada - in Minnesota. : (

  17. Hey girlfriend, I love your organization. That is my biggest problem. I outgrew my craft room on the main level. It started out ok but my toys grew when I wasn't looking- hehe. Now that my kids all have their own homes my hubby took over upstairs. Well..... I took a walk upstairs and to my surprise it was no joking 100 x worse than when my 3 kids were teens!!!! Now mind you my upstairs was an in law set up when we bought this house and worked great for the kids. So because it was so DISGUSTING I told dear ole hubby no more smoking he has to go outside and he can have the little bedroom I used as craft room.!! He was not a happy camper but too bad. So a friend of ours has done a lot of work up there for me. We dismantled the in law set up I bought several white base cabenits and a pantry cabenits. My plumber took out the sink so I will now have a 10ft counter top on top of my cabenits. He cut the pipes so cabenits will be flush against the wall. He is going to put a utility sink /w

  18. I feel like I'm there when I look at your pictures. I want to cry because it's been WAY too long. Maybe I'll come in the Fall. I love you! - your sister


Thank you for taking the time to comment! It is always wonderful to get virtual pats on the back!! I truly appreciate every comment...they are little bits of love.