Our Year Of Living (Beautifully) Without WalMart

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Art Cabinet



I LOVE the art cabinet. It is one of my proudest Mothering thingies. I first read about this in the book (that i LOVE) Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach. (Someday I will blog about the book. Till then, you'll have to find it on your own. Its card catalog number is: 646.78) SHe called it a "Rainy Day Cabinet" filled with things to amuse the children on a rainy day.

The idea is to make a cabinet where your kids can always find what they need to create art-type projects and crafts. One centralized location for all their fanciful needs. And as they grow it is more and more invaluable. I have had mine since Sebastian was very small, I would say three, if I remember correctly.

It is pretty uniform at this point. Sometimes I add new things that I didn't have before. But normally I just stock up on things during Back To School and at Tax Time when we have a bit of extra money. But the possibilities are endless, and the value is immeasurable.

The cabinet itself was Sebastian's Great-Great Grandparents'. When they passed, it is the thing I picked for our family (without knowing about the art cabinet quite yet)....I started it then, when Bastian was three....Not even knowing I was doing it. It sat by My desk in the old kitchen and i put my envelopes in it and stuff and Bastian's coloring books, and odd stuff. I have always kinda had a school/office supply jones....

I decoupaged it and really started the Art Cabinet in earnest in the fall of 2006 when we moved to the Basement Apartment in Greeley. When we went for Bastian's School supplies i resolved that that weekend was THE weekend and the art cabinet would be born.

I would encourage every mother and other to make one. Even for yourself, as a creativity haven. It is amazing to have everything in one place. And, I believe, it is an INCREDIBLE parenting tool, for the littles. I know that Bastian feels pleased to've had one his whole life. It really is a special thing.

Here is what is in ours....(and on ours....and yes, i just cleaned it out and organized everything...it is NOT always like THIS....)


On the top are containers for:



  • Pens

  • Pencils

  • Colored Pencils

  • Sharpie Markers

  • coins/money

  • one small container for "Stuff"


The camera also resides on top (we had a time this afternoon when we thought the camera was gone! yikes!) normally. As do wallets, and all sorts of junkola...but not this day :) on closer inspection i also see the HOTSAUCE for cursewords....(which are almost nonexistent now, thanks to the HOSSOSS)








On the Top Shelf inside are:
  • Index Cards/Post-It notes (for scribbling, mostly ha...and at back to school time you can get the packs of index cards for a quarter or less...)
  • crayola markers
  • beads
  • glue gun/glue sticks
  • stampers and stamp pads
  • stapler and staples
  • watercolors
  • oil pastels
  • modeling clay
  • The TAPE (having the tape in one place is incredible in itself)

Normally I also have Elmer's school glue and Rubber Cement, but at the moment it appears that we are out....( i think i might i remember a cataclysm with the glue-all....)

On the second shelf are Mostly my stationary and things. What a great thing, eh? To have all this in one place. Mostly I have bought vintage cards and stationary at thrifts and yardsales, etc. VERY cheaply. For pennies, really, at the most. By the bag for a buck or less, preferably.

On This shelf are:

  • Envelopes (Normally Long AND short, but only short today....i think maybe it might have something to do with glue-all)
  • Extra Index cards (looks like I need to stock up....I had, but gave some to charity with a stack of school supplies)
  • Packs of Recycled Looseleaf paper (watched it go from $3.29 to .63 cents...yay)
  • cards, cards, stationary, cards, stationary....Sorted by different occasions (in another fit of organization, of course)
  • my BIRTHDAY BOOK....one of my favorite things....It is sorted by month and then has a page of numbered "days" of the month where you write the birthdays in it. It helps, because I really do aspire to send cards. It's something that makes me happy.
  • the multitudinous address labels aforementioned....



Third shelf down is The Children's Shelf.... Can you imagine having something like this when you were little??? Did you? Lucky duck!...

  • The tin is my FAVORITE mucha...The Zodiac...this is maybe my favorite tin of them all. Inside it is full of Crayola (only! and the extras from when we go to Frisches) Crayons...Bliss!
  • Coloring books
  • The white box holds a project I have been working on since I was pregnant with Sebastian, that I will complete, I HOPE before Fred's Birthday next year...It is an Alphabet/Color Book.....I am sure I will blog more about it soon...
  • Construction paper (lots! always!)
  • The brown box is full of stickers (see earlier blog "frugal hack: FREE STICKERS") and in the ziplock baggie are even more stickers that wouldn't fit in the box for size.



Fourth Shelf holds the box i created to hold my beatiful magazine clippings in. The plan is to get another box for the littles with pictures they love in it someday..... Under it is the "fancy paper". I like to stock up on "scrapbooking paper" at the craft stores when they are on sale. I won't pay over 10 cents/ sheet, though. I am cool like that. The other thing on the shelf is a HUGE box of old printer paper that our old neighbors were throwing away a couple years (!) ago when we lived in the basement apartment. A couple years and we haven't even made a Dent in it.

The bottom shelf (which is broken and sure, yeah sure, i am gonna fix it...) is loaded with Highlights magazines from when Bastian had a subscription from grandma mae for a couple/few years and some that Jonathan's grandma had held onto since he was little and others we have found at yard sales, etc. Also a Big stack of Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill magazines from the 1960's....awesome!

I imagine we can only branch out in our new home. (the manifestation is a craft ROOM with LOTS of closet/cabinet space) To fabric crafts/knitting/sewing/painting for ALL :)



Thank you for sharing...Go forth and make your own Art Cabinet, mothers and others!

***BONUS picture....the side of my fridge that sits next to the art cabinet***

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