You Say You Want A Revolution?

Well, you know, we’d all love to change the world.

And it seems that, just maybe, we can, dear Interwebs.

One of my colleagues, a creative and crafty type who shares my love of all things vintage, furry friends and just all-around general prettiness, found herself inspired by my desk space decor. (Yay!) Out she went and, basing her palette around a pretty stripe she had at home and some fancily-wrapped prezzies from her mum, she transformed her dark and dingy spot into a cheerful slice of brightness.
It looks lovely, doesn’t it?

She chose the same file holder from Ikea that I used; it’s called Kvissle and I love that the drawers pull out so that I can actually see what I’ve shoved onto each shelf. She also couldn’t resist the darling little bum for hanging her keys — it makes me smile every time I think of those two jaunty little bums in our office!

With results like these, can world domination be far behind?! 😉

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Rainbow Bright

So, further to my post about my dear friend who is going back to school, it turns out that my love of school supplies presented me with a bit of conundrum: when picking them out, I had to CHOOSE.  And it was hard. Really, really hard. 

In the end, rather than choose, I went with two themes in the colour schemes: one was grown up (with a hearty dose of the silly–see: hipster pencils), and one was all about neon brights.

Here is a peek at some of the loud, cheerful, bright bits I sent out to my chum to keep her days on the cloudy west coast a bit sunnier.

Of course, I could not resist some Portlandia-style laptop decals. (Ask yourself: could you?)

Make Homework Fun

Last week I told you about my amazing BFF from university. She is starting back to school this month, over 20 years after we graduated with our undergrad degrees! After a career in teaching, travelling the world, becoming a triathlete and a myriad of other accomplishments, she is going to become a speech pathologist. This means she had to go back and upgrade her HIGH SCHOOL science and math credits– can you imagine doing that?!!
The woman is a force, I tell you.

Her return to school also involves a move to a new town in a new country and, thus, new office space, all set up for her by her wonderful fella, who has transformed their spare room into a study zone for her. He’s a true darling, I must say.

I am (surprise!) a sucker for school supplies. In my opinion, they are the best part of having to return to school in the fall. Since my pal is returning to the student lifestyle, I knew she would not have too much disposable income to treat herself to fancy-schmancy school supplies.  I figured that would simply never do, so I treated myself to a shopping trip or two to stock up some stylish supplies to keep her feeling inspired if (when?) school becomes a slog. I also included a Voluspa candle in yummy Goji Tarocco Orange to soothe frazzled nerves after a long study session.

Here is some of what was inside the “care package” I sent her last week:

How cute are the little cat tags below? They have their own names!

The slang cue cards will help her keep up with the young’uns. They promise hipness in “mere days.”  Hee!

Send a Surprise

I can’t post about what, exactly, is inside these pretty pink packages, as the contents are to be a back-to-school surprise for my BFF from university and they are winging their way to her as I type this. I want them to have reached her before I post about them– I don’t want to spoil the surprise by having her see here on the interweb what I’ve sent her before she sees it all in person!

But I can post the wrapped packets! I wrote out a little tease on each tag, hinting at what’s inside.
I thought it would add a little fun to the unwrapping by making her guess at what each package contains.

Desk Space Rejuvenation

Here it is!

I am so pleased with the result; every time I see my “new” desk space, I feel calm and serene and better able to cope with the stress of my workplace. I have even inspired a colleague or two to do the same to their desk areas!

This is a “before” shot– I borrowed my colleague’s space for the photo, but my desk space looked kinda similar before the transformation. (Mine was a bit neater, but not by much.. )

These photos were taken with ALL the lights on in the office– you can see why a desk lamp is a necessity: the place is black as pitch.

Because of the darkness issue, I chose light, bright, fresh colours.

1. Despite studies that say women who post personal photos in their offices do not advance in their careers, I need the reminders of my life outside work. Also, I am as high up the food chain as I ever hope to be! I tarted up the frames with a bit of washi tape and some awesome glitter tape.

2. Cute little storage containers are there with the goal of inspiring me to stay organized. They are measuring cups and coffee/espresso cups, but I like the idea of using them to corral office supplies.

3. A clear blotter with a pretty piece of Lily Ashbury Tradewinds fabric underneath brightens up the desk surface. So much nicer than my old black blotter and easy to switch up  if I want a new colour scheme.

4. My Poketo day timer is cute on the inside, but needed some zhuszh on the outside– enter the glitter tape!

5. I covered my bulletin board with more Lily Ashbury Tradewinds fabric; this one is called Jaipur. You could just as easily use wallpaper or any kind of pretty paper. I attached it with thumbtacks, so it is also easily switched.

6. A couple of whimsical touches– the ubiquitous “Keep Calm” and a little cat bum and tail to hang my keys. I have a cheeky sense of humour, so why shouldn’t my work space?

7. Pretty notepads and washi tape, along with some cute ink stamps will bring me cheer all year long and also add a personal touch.

8. A white file stack replaces the old black one and lightens up the space. It also serves as a handy surface to keep memos with some custom made magnets.

9. A modern desk lamp sheds crucial light and contrasts with the busy prints and bright colours, to keep the whole look modern and crisp.

Washi tape– it’s everywhere, and for good reason. It looks so pretty and is so darned easy to use and so inspiring; I just want to cover everything in it!

Workin’ 9 to 5

Are you reading this while you are at work? (Don’t worry– I won’t tell!) If so, look around. Unless you are a powerful executive in a Hollywood movie, or an artist in a light-filled studio, or someone who works from home in a space designed for  you, my guess is that your office surroundings are pretty soul-suckingly hideous. Mine are. Worse, like so many people, I share my day-job space with 15 other people and all of the detritus that comes with our
occupation– mainly, stacks and piles of papers, laptops, dirty dishes, etc. Yuck.

I always figured that the only people who get to have nice office spaces are the sorts listed above. But, just because you don’t OWN your office space or have it professionally decorated to suit you and to impress clients, doesn’t mean it can’t be personalized a bit. Most of us spend A LOT of time in our offices, so why shouldn’t they be pleasant, pleasing spaces?  I have (finally!) realized that it is possible to translate to the workplace the idea I hold absolutely sacred at home: that your space should make you feel good. Why should I work in a laminate-covered box of ugliness, when I have the power (and the fabric scraps!) to pretty it up?

And so, this year, I have vowed to make my work space a place that makes me feel good. I may not be able to remodel the entire office (a girl can dream….), but I can make my own little slice of it less utilitarian, more welcoming and prettier.  Maybe I’ll even inspire a colleague or two to do the same…

Here is a little bit of what I have in the works:

Owl measuring cups, repurposed to hold clips and pins, West Elm; Poketo daytimer from Target; colourful pencils and clips.

Owl mug, West Elm, Seven Year Pen, Lily Ashbury fabric in Jaipur Pink to cover my bulletin board, decorative binder clips.

I will take some photos of the finished project once I get settled in.
(Hint: there has been some sewing and some crafting!)

Make a Student Smile

At the end of the school year, I always make little University Survival Kits for the Grade 12 students in my life.
In them, I put some (sort of!) tongue-in-cheek little items that will come in handy. The point of the gift is really more the thought than the content; it is a physical marker of a big transition in a young person’s life and it shows that an adult who cares recognizes that transition.

I always fill the packages with treats from one of my favourite food categories, the So-Gross-It’s-Good category. (That’s one of the ones in Canada’s Food Guide, right?)

 Those of you who are already thinking about back-to-school (yikes!) could make some of these up for the students in your life and put whatever you want in them. It’s fun to personalize a bit for each student, too. How about a little pennant or some stationery from his university or college? A long-distance phone card or gift certificate towards extra minutes or data on her phone plan? I think the charm of these little treats is that they don’t contain anything exotic or luxurious, just basic grocery items and necessities fancified up a bit for a laugh.