Diary of the Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone

January 6

Start with a Blank Canvas:  I
promised to share my progress during the creation of my new stamping
space.  I’m still working on the final details.  However, so many of
you are asking that I thought I would toss out a few ideas and
pictures that may interest you.


Here’s my “blank canvas.”  It’s a 7′ 6″ x
19′ 8″ hallway in our basement that’s finished off.  It originally
was a library area to store our books (hence the bookshelves). 
However, my stamping wheels began to turn and I felt it would get
much better use as my  Stampin’ Pretty Stamping ZoneTIP: 
I used masking tape to lay out office furniture and a paper storage
rack in the space.  As with a good card sketch, thoughtful space
planning is a must.


The bookshelves are a puzzlebox style (from Crate and Barrel),
meaning they slide to “expand and contract” in width, with lovely
little cubbies for easy access to storage.  They will be used again in
the Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone.


From order, there is chaos.  This is the uninspiring view after my
work space furniture was delivered and I began to move many supplies
into the work space.  Confession:  Messes make me freak out.  My family runs for cover. This motivates me to stay on track 🙂

S7303380-1For each desk/hutch combo (one on each side of the hall), I purchased long tackboard.  I found this funkalicious material (www.warehousefabricsinc.com)
called Dandie/Sweet Potato (is that a cute name or what?), that I
“attached” to the tackboard with a staple gun (upholstering would be an
overstatement).  My task chair will get the same treatment.  TIP: 
This adds some instant polka dotty razz-ma-tazz.  When I feel like a
new look and colors, I can take off the old and pop on some new

S7303395January 7

I wanted to share a quick and budget friendly storage tip today from my
new Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone.  These 39″ rails were $3.99 each
from Ikea and
are “the bomb” for organizing punches. There’s a smaller version for
$1.99.   The sad part for me, is that I don’t have an Ikea store nearby
and the shipping was as much as the four rails.  I had to look past
that detail since they were essential and still cheap relative to how
efficient they are.

January 9

S7303380 Remember
this fabric from my previous post?  It’s called Dandie Sweet Potato
Natural, a burnt orange background with big, natural colored polka
dots.  I discovered it on-line through Warehouse Fabrics, Inc.  Click here for details


where it ended up?  All the mahogany (darker colored) office furniture
was purchased recently at 60% off as a result of scratches on the panel
of the hutch area.


I purchased inexpensive tackboard and covered both of the open hutch
areas with my Dandie Sweet Potato . . . just the pizzazz I wanted. 
Even my budget task chair (Target), get’s in on the polka dot action.


polka dot tackboard is not only “dishy” (as my friend, Karren would
say), I can pin up my sketches and ideas (note the inspiration page
from a Grandinroad catalog for today’s card) when I’m working on a
project.  Along with adding 48″ strip lighting under each set of hutch
cabinets, moving these pages off my work area is divine.  Otherwise I
wind up with the dreaded “heap” and I can’t find a thing.

January 13


designing your own stamping space, inject your own personality among
all the practical ideas (and you thought giant polka dots were enough
for me)?  I have lots of cubbies that will be filled with tool storage,
ribbon holders, accessory organizers–the essentials for the Stampin’
Pretty Stamping Zone.  However, I still wanted a few special (and
inexpensive) things to make it mine.


a big bird lover (always a bird book ready at our back window for quick
identification).  This simple ceramic bird was marked down to $4.98 at
Pier 1 (from $25).  It slips into my storage landscape without chirping
for too much attention.


tucked in this pretty glass bird (also Pier 1) next to an accent light
I purchased at Target years ago.  The glass bird looks lovely in the
reflection from the light.  The light warms up the overall look.


everything need to be modern?  If you love modern, toss in a touch of
traditional–and vice versa.  I loved the colors and pattern of this
grouping of traditional vases (Pier 1–I tend to shop in one place when
I don’t order on-line) and thought they added a sophisticated touch. 


but not least, I stopped at Staples to grab a postal scale (enough
trips to the post office finally convinced me).  I glanced at the
clearance bin and found all kinds of funky things for $.50.  My
favorite? These lady bug push pins are now proudly flashing their spots
on my tackboard. 

January 16

Stampin up stamping storage and organization shelves 2

post highlights a bit more of my Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone and
hopefully inspires a few ideas to make your own stamping space more
organized and efficient. 

NOTE:  My designer paper and ribbon look a little sparse right now.  I just cleared out most of the retiring accessories
and the open spaces are ready to welcome the beautiful new options in
Stampin’ Up!’s Spring/Summer 2009 Idea Book and Catalog, available Jan.

Stampin up stamping storage and organization shelves 3

and for all, I wanted clear and open 12 x 12 storage for Stampin’ Up’s
Designer Series Paper and 12 x 12 card stock.  However, it doesn’t come
cheaply.  These stackable, lipless, clear storage bins run $60 for 10. 
I purchased them for $49.99 (per set) on sale at Scrapbook.com
If you can get past the price tag, they are wonderful combined with
Stampin’ Up!’s 12 x 12 Dividers (105528, sold in packs of four). 
Perfect for additional organization and labeling.

Stampin up stamping storage and organization 5

divided my 12 x 12 Textured Card Stock by color family (108697-Earth
Elements, 108695-Soft Subtles, 108696-Rich Regals, 108698-Bold
Brights).  Stampin’ Up!’s Die Cut Blooms (111376) are tucked in below. 
The stackable trays keep both my paper and open storage shelving
looking neat and tidy.

Stampin up stamping storage and organization 4
I use lots of In Color Textured 12 x 12 card stock (111345) so each color gets it own little home.  TIP: 
On a budget?  Stampin’ Up!’s 12 x 12 Paper Holders (115528, one is
featured on the right) are a less expensive alternative.  They hold up
to 200 sheets and accommodate the 12 x 12 dividers (105529).  I’m using
mine here to keep paper scraps organized.

Stampin up ribbon storage and organization

Up!’s Ribbon Keepers (107634-Small, 107635-Medium, 107636-Large) turn
ribbon storage into a little grosgrain and taffeta library.  I love how
they stack and are sized to coordinate with three different sized
“wheels.”  With the three sizes stacked (large, medium and small on top), they are approx. 12″ high, 6 3/8″ wide and 4 3/4″ deep.

Stampin up marker storage

These Rubbermaid X-Cube Shelf Savers
are divine for marker storage and much more.  The top box divides the
markers by Stampin’ Up! color families (105539-Bold Brights,
105539-Earth Elements, 105540-Rich Regals, 105537-Soft Subtles) and the
lower holds the neutral markers (Neutrals, 109126), my blender pens
(102845, right) and gel pens (non-SU, left). 

Stampin up cargo storage

These dusty blue magazine holders by
Cargo are luscious to look at and keep my magazines and catalogs ready
for duty.  I purchased many different Cargo storage options (to be
shared soon) at 50% off (plus free shipping that particular week) HERE.  The colors choices are delightful.

Stampin up forget me not keeper
use Stampin’ Up!’s Forget-Me-Not Keeper (105525, in the background) for
organizing and storing my completed cards.  It includes perfectly sized
dividers which I label by occasion.  I plan to get another as my
valentine collection expands (and it was overflowing during the
holidays).  Since Miss Isabel (my aging pug) kept wanting her belly
rubbed every time I got down low to take the picture, I allowed her in
the shot once she willingly “struck a pose.”

January 26

Stampin up decor elements tree

I spruced up my Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone
today using the smallest Thoughts & Prayer Tree (116002, in
Chocolate) from Stampin’ Up!’s D?cor Elements (a budget-friendly line
of vinyl wall coverings).  The English Major in me couldn’t resist the
quote from Henry David Thoreau (116076, Chocolate) either. 

process was surprisingly easy (think rub-ons on steroids) and the
results rival hand painted.  I love the latest additions (and more
colors) to the D?cor Elements Catalog.  It’s available for download on
my right side bar or email me if you would like me to send you a free copy (US only).

January 29

good news?  Hooray, my Stampin’ Pretty Stamping Zone is complete and
all my beloved supplies have been tucked into their comfy, new homes. 
I made a video to take you on a little tutorial tour.  The not so good
news?  The “stamper cam” isn’t going to win any Oscars . . . very
homemade–but we all love homemade, right?


For those that prefer things that don’t wobble, I took still photos for you.

Stampin up stampin pretty zone 1
    These Dusty Blue Cargo Boxes are from www.shopwer.com

Stampin up stampin pretty zone 2
Remember when this was an empty hallway?

Stampin up stampin pretty zone 3
A separate work area for my Paper Cutter, Scor-Pal and Big Shot is divine.

Stampin up stampin pretty zone 4
My desk is clear for designing, coloring and assembling.

Stampin up stampin pretty zone 5
Having excellent paper storage is key. 

The organization question I get asked most is about stamp storage.  Here’s what I do:

  • Remove retired stamp sets every six months (watch for my retired stamp sale in the upcoming weeks).
  • Stamps are mounted, stacked in their cases alphabetically and tucked out of sight in the hutch featured above.
  • I keep a 3 ring binder which holds images I stamp for every set.  It’s organized by nature, greetings, occasions, etc.
  • When I start a project, I grab the binder and flip through in a flash.  No need to dig through my stamp sets.

Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive during my Stampin’
Pretty Stamping Zone journey.  For the details from it’s bare
beginnings, CLICK HERE.


UPDATE:  July, 2009.  We moved to Tucson AZ . . . fortunately most of my “zone” could go with me.  Here are the full details and more photos of my Stampin’ Pretty Stampin’ Loft, complete with view of the mountains.


The inspiration:



To Order Stampin’ Up! Products On-Line 24/7,  CLICK HERE.


  1. Mary, Thanks for the organizational inspiration! I definitely am more motivated to stamp when my work area is tidy. Speaking of which, I think I’ll go tidy up now! One question, how do you store the new styled punches? Thanks again!

  2. Hi Claire

    Thanks so much for your kind comments.

    I upholstered the chairs myself using fabric from (www.warehousefabricsinc.com) called Dandie/Sweet Potato.

    Hugs, M

  3. Claire Ventre

    Someday….I would love to have a space like this – I go back every once in a while just to admire it!! Just wondering, where did you get your lovely, upholstered chairs?

  4. You are so inspiring! I love your room. I have a great space also but have been lacking motivation. Your page gave me a little jolt! I’ll have to spice my space up a little more. Love the Dandie-Sweet Potato fabric! Cute

  5. HI MARY,
    Your space is to die for! I share my craft space with two dog crates and my daughter’s fancy rats in their cage. I also have my sewing area here as well. I totally am in need of organizational skills to get my section of the room to a functional order. Hopefully it will all come together soon. I’ve been in this house for six months, so I am adjusting, still, in other rooms. If I didn’t need my walk-in closet for clothes, I’d convert it to my craft space. Anyway, thanks for sharing your pictures. You did a great job.

  6. Hi MARY,
    I recently subscribed to your posts and I must tell you, I am jealous of your new space. But, happy to see that you have moved not too far from me. I live in Gilbert, about 2-1/2 hours away. I love your space and you have given me a lot of ideas. It seems every weekend I am looking to reorganize; I just can’t seem to get it just quite right. I think the problem may be I am an avid crafter and do other things; jewelry, flower crafts, etc. But, I will keep at it. Love your ideas and love your cards too! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Realmente hermoso! Se ve que le tienes mucha pasi?n a todo tu trabajo! Felicitaciones.

  8. That is the most AWESOME work area I have ever seen…Gave me lots of ideas for my on space.

  9. Gorgeous Loft — a scrapper’s dream. Looking at the desert plants and mountains I just knew you live somewhere in Arizona. I live in Surprise, AZ

  10. Wow! I am so jealous! I am moving next week and will be getting my own room to stamp in! You have given me inspiration!

  11. What a great stamp area. I love the punch holders (upline has them too). You did a fantastic job and it looks great.

  12. I LOVE your space and your pug! I have a black pug named Jacqueline Bouvier (we call her Jackie B for short). She is always with me and lays under my chair when I am stamping! And I must say a HUGE THANK YOU for reminding me of the Rubbermaid cubes. I have had mine for a very long time and wanted to get more but forgot who made them. THANKS. Also, love your blog! You are so good!

  13. This is absolutely fabulous! It’s awesome that you can sell retired stamps. I would want to keep them all, LOL. Hugs from Conroe, TX!

  14. Oh beautiful! I’m finally going to get a craft room so I’m looking at all the pictures I can. Yours is certainly one of my favorites! Great job!

  15. Hi,

    Your scrap-room is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures with us and all the explanation was fantastic.
    Love the color of the walls, the furniture and all the details. Gorgeous room to play and relax. Enjoy!

    PS: Where do you find the paper rack? It’s wonderful!

  16. Mary,

    You are amazing and inspiring…what else can I say.


  17. Wow, what an amazing room. From the little glimpse we can get of the room your craft room opens up to, it looks like you have amazing decorating talent through out your home as well.

    Where would you purchase tack board?

    Love your blog–Jen

  18. Absolutely stunning Mary! You’ve done a beautiful job of your stamping space, everything looks fabulous. I must say too your Miss Isabel is just gorgeous 😀 she looks like she’s guarding your completed cards. LOL

  19. Holy cow….I thought I was organized but that space is absolutely fabulous. Well done!

  20. What a great use of space Mary.
    Your craft room look greats.
    Just wondering where you got your wire racks for the 8.5 X 11 card stock?

  21. I rent a room in a nice house and I have a tiny bed in one corner and all my stamping tables and stuff in the rest of the room. I love it and I love your space too. Need a personal assistant?

  22. and I thought my space was cool! This is really elegant looking, Mary. Just beautiful!

  23. Absolutely stunning! You are so lucky to have basements – we don’t have them in Australia! I was scrolling down admiring it all and then couldn’t believe I found a pug! She’s gorgeous 🙂 I have a 1 yr old one called Buffy.

  24. What an amazing space. You did a wonderful job on it.

  25. love your house would love to see more pics of your home.

  26. Kylie Bertucci

    Too late dear husband!! i have got all the ideas that i need

  27. Bruno Bertucci

    Please do not show my wife this!

  28. This is so inspiring! No wonder you create such wonderful creations – I envy your organized space. I do have my craftroom but its just that. The furniture is totally mix and match for now and it gets to me. I am planning on redecorating and this is really a treat to my eyes. Thanks for sharing all these tips and links. I will definitely come back for inspiration and have put you under my Fav!

  29. This is very inspirational indeed. ONe thing I used in my very small space that works well is a computer desk from IKEA. The nice thing about it is the I put all my “cropping” tools on the slide out shelf (that is meant for the keyboard)so I can tuck those tools away when I’m not using them and then it keeps the main desktop clear for projects. It also has one small drawer and 2 little cubbies. Like I said, perfect for a small space 🙂

  30. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this set up. Specially Isabel! I love pugs! It’s a complete ensemble for your work station! Where did you get your paper rack? I need to store my paper. I currently have it in 12×12 plastic storage but need one where I can just easily grab paper!!!

    Hi Kay:

    The paper rack was a major “find.” It was a display rack for a craft store that they had on clearance. Sorry I’m not much more help. I know if you google “paper display rack” you will come up with possibilities (but they can be pricey). Thanks for all your kindness. Mary

  31. Your stamping room is gorgeous. I love the colors that you used and the way that you used your space to fit your style. Thank you for sharing your photos.


  32. Awesome stamping space. I just moved all of my things in to a room down in my basement and even though I have many stacking storage containers, I will be using your ideas to add to what I have since some of the embellishments don’t work into the storage I have. Thanks for the great ideas.

  33. All I can say is wow. The is the most gorgeous craft area I have ever seen. I am so jealous! I cannot wait until our basement is done. I was going to put my craft area in the hallway as it is wider like yours but I still don’t have alot of room so I am using a wall space in the rec room instead & then put the kids play area in the hallway. You are so organized & I love the polka dot board with the matching chair. Great job in decorating & putting everything together & so functional. Thanks for sharing! Just a question…what size of pot lights do you have in the hallway??? We put a whole bunch in & wondering if we have enough. Thanks!

  34. Mary,
    What a beautiful stamping area. You have a wonderfully organized place here. I too love to be organized. You’ve used this space beautifully.

  35. Can you hear me weeping? Your room is beautiful!!!! I am definitely going to check on those boxes….
    Thanks for sharing this!

  36. Hi, Mary, I am very impressed and, yes, a bit envious of your studio. You are so neat! I am wondering if you ever use any products other then Stampin’ Up! But then they have everything. And coordinated too. I am working an empty spare bedroom in my home, crowded, but doable. Or, it would be if I didn’t have so many materials! I appreciate your samples of the new products.
    Nancy E

  37. I am impressed and a bit envious of your wonderful space. I am working out of a spare bedroom. Do you use any other materials other than Stampin’ Up!? They have everything already and coordinated too.
    It is obvious that you are very neat. Keep up the good work. Nancy E

    Hi Nancy:

    Thank you for your comment. As a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I primarily focus on Stampin’ Up! Everything coordinates, there’s a huge variety of stamps and embellishments and the products are quality. It’s much easier than spreading myself out over many different lines and ending up with more than I can organize and handle.

    Hugs, Mary

  38. Drama queens mum

    Very nice room.

  39. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful new space. We are finishing a space in our finished basement for me right now and I was wondering where you got the paper organizers you use for your 8 1/2 x 11 paper?

    Hi Holly:

    I purchased the 8.5 x 11 paper racks at a clearance sale at a local craft store (it was a display rack). It was a steal and I wish I could find another inexpensive option for all those who have asked. If you find something great to share, please let me know.

    Hugs, Mary

  40. Hi Mary,

    I was just wondering where and how you store your stamp sets in your new Stampin’ Space. Thanks! Love your projects and your blog!


    Hi Emily:

    I hope to wrap up my stamping space in the next couple days. I’ll show you pictures.

    I do my best to trim down to the bare bones (current sets and sell the rest), alphabetize and store them in one of my hutches, stamp each set in a 3 ring binder and flip through the binder when I’m making decisions on a project (vs. digging through my stamps). Every thing is mounted and ready to do.



  41. Love your stampin space… When I moved I lost my studio, so I am now working at turning my garage into a workshop, since it is too small to park cars in…

    Very nice arrangement of the space.


  42. Hi Mary, Kristen and I are busy packing her up in Phoenix. She would love to book you for next August when she will be moving into her next apartment to help decorate. Your new area is gorgeous!!!!! We love you. Patti

  43. Absolutely Adorable! I just wish we didn’t live so far apart…I would come play 🙂 and learn from you!

  44. Hi Mary,

    Your new space looks heavenly! I agree that having space to work is important, so scoring, cutting are done elsewhere much more efficiently. I’m still in an extra bedroom, too, but it’s better than using the kitchen table like I used to have to do! You are an inspiration, as always.


  45. Great job! The long narrow space would have been a challenge for me. We have to take space where we can get it, though! You really made it work. It looks very functional – a MUST. Plus! It is pretty!!

  46. This is just gorgouse Mary, I love the polka dots, every thing is so serene. I too am curious as where did you stamp before :).

    Hi Rebekka:

    I stamped in our guest bedroom previously. I sure don’t miss walking around the bed to get to different supplies. The biggest boost from the new space is the added work area. I love having a desk/design area and a separate cutting, big shot and scoring area. Much more efficient.

    Thanks for asking. Hugs, Mary

  47. Hello, I’m very love stampin up produce. Would you mind shipping to Hong Kong…. Please kinldy comment. Thank you very much. Mabel

    Hi Mabel:

    Thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, US Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators can ONLY ship to US customers. Stampin’ Up! is expanding to other countries. I hope China happens soon. I get lots of requests. Hugs, Mary

  48. Mary – Again, I LOVE your space and the progressive pictures you’ve been sharing! I love the birds and I have those same lady bugs! Fun! Show us more when you get a chance!

  49. Love, love, love your new scrapping space. I hope the Pier 1 near me has one of those beautiful white birds! I am curious where you did your papercrafting before moving into this new space. Have you ever posted pics? I just love your style! Thanks again for sharing!

    Hi Kim:

    I did my stamping in our guest room. I used a closet to hang rails for punches and store the paper racks. Everything else was tucked away all over the place–drawers, dressers . . . not efficient. Not photo worthy!

    My favorite part about the new space is having two work areas (one always ready with my papercutter, Big Shot and Scor-Pal) and the other open for creating. It’s so fabulous to have too much storage space (which is the case right now–who knows if that will last with the release of the new catalog). Hugs, Mary



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *