Bird by Bird: Creating a Studio.

I guess if anyone asked me my philosophy on life (which no one ever has, thank goodness), I'd probably say something that includes the thought "just take it bird by bird." I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but I must give full credit to Anne Lamott who wrote a book called Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. My husband, a writer, introduced me to this book and told me the story and how the writer came to the title and one of the most usable pieces of advice she offers in the book. Taken from the book description: "Among the pearls she offers is to start small, as their father once advised her 10-year-old brother, who was agonizing over a book report on birds: 'Just take it bird by bird.'"

How brilliant! How simple! Just start. Do one thing at a time, then move onto the next. It's overwhelming, possibly even paralyzing, to think about starting and completing a project that will take weeks, maybe months, if you think about ALL of the things you need to get done in order to get it done. It's a lot easier to focus on that ONE thing that you can do right now, the first step. Everything, no matter what it is, is really just a series of steps that need to be taken, often times in a particular order, sometimes not. I am a person who will get bogged down by sorting out every single detail to perfection before even starting something. Sometimes that works out for me, other times not so much. But as long as I think about taking things one step at a time, I'm certain to get things done, even if it takes me a little longer because I want things a certain way. And doesn't getting something done feel so good?! Yeah, yeah it does.

Anyway, the first installation of the Bird by Bird project series is creating a studio space for me to work on paintings - and other top secret-but-awesome projects - for the Senn & Sons shop. Right now, half of our beautiful new dining room table has been taken over by a drop cloth, canvases covered in layers of bright colors, paintbrushes, tubes of acrylic, jars of varnish, chalk pencils, sketch books, color inspiration, printouts, packing materials, stamps and ink pads. The other half is covered in applesauce and Cheerios. (Blame the little guy for that.) Needless to say, the dining room is not functioning quite as we had planned...you know, for dining. So after some deliberation on how to rearrange our space, and even considering leasing a separate space, the hubs and I decided that I would take over half of our den/guest room/office as my studio. It makes more sense for the space to be at home - I'm a full-time mom and my work happens when the kiddo naps and after he goes to bed at night, so I need to be able to jump from mom-duty to biz-nass quickly. It also makes sense to use the room that we don't use daily as a family and that I could close off if it's a real mess. The room will also function as a guest room when we have overnight visitors (usually the grandparents), which is why I only get to use half of the room for my workspace. I'm pretty psyched to have a dedicated space at all, so I'm happy to share with anyone who wants to come visit us.

So I guess that was the first bird - deciding where to create a workspace. Onto the next, I pulled photos of a bunch of inspirational workspaces. While they might not be the exact configuration for what I need, nor are they the exact room layouts or even decor styles that I'll go with, I like 'em. And maybe there's a thing or two in each photo that I can use to help create my space.

(Admittedly, I pulled all of these images before I knew I'd publish them and want to give credits for the design & photos, and before Pinterest came along, so if you have information on any of these photos, I'd love to add it!)

The next bird will likely be creating a list of functionality for the space, then sketching up a floor plan that includes ideas for how to incorporate all this functionality. I'm not there yet, but I have some ideas for how to make it work. So, here I go, taking the studio creation bird by bird.

And despite knowing its truthful origins, I will admit that every time I think about going bird by bird I think about this.

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