Savoring Now, Gratitude and a Studio Tour

The other day I mentioned that I spent some time re-arranging my studio and shared a couple photos in that post. My intention was to give a little studio tour (like I have in the past here, here and here), but somehow time kept slipping away from me.

I also kept second-guessing my photos and looking at them with an overly critical eye. Although I adore this space, I also have all sorts of ideas for improving it and I ask myself, why share a photo now, when it has so much potential to be more?

The truth is, we only ever have now and it's important that we remember to savor each day in all its imperfection. I'm grateful to be living this creative life, to have a room of my own filled with art and supplies and inspiration. I have everything I need and so much that brings me joy.

And so, welcome to my studio.

studio, workspace, art space, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

One of the biggest changes in this space is that I shifted the position of my computer desk and now the beautiful patchwork back of it no longer forms the entryway to my studio. I'm happy to have the extra floor space.

studio, workspace, desk cabinet, armoire, secretaire, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Even with the doors to my desk open there seems to be more room.

I'm so happy I took the time to rehab my computer chair. I showed it before, but here it is, again.

I wish I'd taken a "before" photo, but you can catch a glimpse here. It was a roadside find and a fun project. The seat and back are both attached to the frame with screws which made the tasks of upholstering and painting much easier.

To upholster the chair I simply raided my stash and sewed pieces of fabric together (linens, vintage bark cloth and a remnant of upholstery fabric) to create finished fabric large enough to wrap around each part. I layered them over pieces of quilting batting to add some cushioning before stapling the fabric to the seat and back, trimming excess as needed. I didn't remove the original fabrics (pleather and a heavy woven) because I wanted to keep their sturdiness. On the bottom of the seat I just left the staples as is because you can't see them. On the back I took another piece of fabric and fused it to the base to cover the staples, finishing it with tacks. It's not perfect (the spacing of my tacks is really pretty wonky), but it's bright and happy.

Rearranging my studio also allowed me to move a comfy seating area into the corner to the right of my desk.

studio, work space, vintage typewriter, vintage embroidery, handmade quilt, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I have yet to sit there, but the possibility makes me happy.

The printer I use to create my prints and calendars used to live in that space and now is the first thing you see when you enter my studio.

studio, work space, printer table, upcycling, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The desk it's on is my childhood desk. I repainted it in one of my favorite colors and added some fun knobs.

furniture refinishing, knobs, drawer pulls, roses, flowers, turquoise, studio, work space, art studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

They're a bit big, but I had them on hand and wasn't using them for anything else. Better to have them bringing me a bit of joy each day than hidden in a box in the basement.

I feel the same way about my printer cover, which is simply a vintage tablecloth. It was folded away with other linens, never seen except for when I was putting away laundry. Now it not only brings me joy, but also keeps dust off my printer.

The desk butts up against the long work table against the wall.

studio, work space, art studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The table used to be a door and it used to be propped up on the storage drawers beneath. It wasn't the most sturdy arrangement. I also kept wishing it were higher. This fall Matthias built some simple legs for the table (using wood we already had in the garage), raising it up and making it much sturdier. I use the cutting mat for trimming my calendars, prints and paintings as well as fabric when I'm sewing. Not having to hunch over a low table makes a huge difference. The height also gives me more room for storage underneath.

I still want to replace those plastic storage drawers on the left, but finding just the right piece takes time. I want something vintage and sturdy.

The flat file drawers from Ikea, as pretty as they look, are sadly pretty flimsy. Filling them with heavy piles of paintings and blocks of paper has caused the bottoms to bow out of the back drawer frames. I tried gluing them back in, but it didn't hold. I may have to take the whole thing apart and add some bracing. Have any ideas?

studio, work space, painting table, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My painting table is still in the middle of the room. It has two leaves that fold down, but I usually need the table space and rarely fold them down. I moved my small printer/scanner to the back corner and placed my hand-me down filing cabinet beside it. It's another piece of furniture I painted and I'm glad to have it in a spot where I can see it instead of jammed in the other corner where it was. I like creating little arrangements there.

studio, work space, inspiration, art studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Perhaps not the most practical use of the space, but it brings me joy.

There's a lot of that sort of thing going on in my studio.

My flying pigs.

flying pigs, Studio, art studio, inspiration, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Nods to my nerdy nature.

Han Solo, action figure, inspiration, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And now I'm laughing at that phrase.

Jean-Luc Picard, Small Dogs, Star Trek, Small Dog Electronics, Studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

But it's true. I have a nerdy nature. At this point in my life I am proud to admit it. I don't want to be anyone but me. Life is too short to conform to anyone else's ideals.

I'm proud, too, of my journey, of my stubbornness. It certainly hasn't been easy and there's still so much farther I want to go, but I can't forget to cherish the now.

Studio, Work Space, Inspiration, Art Studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Thanks so much for stopping by my studio. And, again, I also want to thank each of you who are reading these words, accompanying me on this journey, cheering me on.

Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, Studio, Art Studio, Artist in Her Studio

Your encouragement, support and friendship mean so much to me!

Have a lovely weekend!


  1. Anne, I loved your newly rearranged studio tour! It's so light, bright and happy. While I have a nice sized space, it's so dark and basement-y. I adore that built-in with your plants.

    Great job on the seat cover you made and the knobs don't seem too big to me, they're fun. I do miss that gorgeous patchwork art on the back of the cabinet but maybe you can photograph it and print it out and use it somewhere or perhaps just frame it?

    Love seeing you so happy in your studio! Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Jaime! I love the light in my studio and so do my plants (though I'm still on the lookout for supplemental light for dark days and nighttime)! I'm envious of the fact that your studio leads into your greenhouse and out to your garden.

      I might end up doing another patchwork collage, maybe on foamcore, that I can hang up somewhere.

      Merry Christmas to you, too! Hope it's a lovely one!

  2. I love your studio, Anne! The color and light are beautiful, and it looks both practical and whimsical at the same time. Your vintage tablecloth coupled with the light aqua - lovely combination! I'm doing the same kind of reorganizing right now, so you have inspired me!!
    Loved the tour - thank you!!

    1. Thank you, Judy! I love the aqua with those vintage roses, too. :)

      It's funny how reorganizing can totally reenergize your creativity. I hope you'll feel it, too. It's always nice to start fresh!

      Have a lovely week leading up to Christmas!

  3. What a wonderful light filled space! Your studio is fun and inviting, thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. Thanks so much for coming along for the tour. I'm glad you liked it!

  4. It's gorgeous! I'm sure it will serve as inspiration for people creating a studio space. I would never want to leave. :)

    1. Thank you, Dana! I do spend a lot of time here. I wish you could have a room to spread out, too, (and I know you will!) but as long as you have your art supplies and a table...

  5. Thanks fo the trip round your lovely light and colour filled studio. I liked your "arrangement" on the filing cabinet, maybe something to try, it looks fun, and loved your patchworked upholstered chair.
    And yes, nerdy and being you is good!

    1. Thank you, Sheila!

      It's fun to arrange little bits. I'm always collecting natural materials that inspire my paintings and they make me happy.


  6. Lovely, bright, and airy - it looks like a very inspiring studio at any time of year. Thanks for showing us your pretty space.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! I think it's actually brightest during the winter, especially when there's snow on the ground. The light just reflects and reflects.

  7. All that light! And special trinkets! So much creativity going on in this beautiful space! What a treat it was to have a virtual tour of your studio space Anne. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. xo

    1. Thanks so much, Karen. It sure is my happy place. Glad you enjoyed the tour!


      p.s. (I love that you call them "trinkets". :)

  8. This is a post I needed to see today, Anne. I really need to change my studio layout and reorganize. My creative endeavors have expanded and my original design just isn't working for me anymore. Like you -- before the makeover -- I feel stymied. There's just too much stuff in the way and I dislike this very much. Anyhoo, you've inspired me. Your studio is gorgeous. Love it all!

    1. Thank you, Nancy! I know what you mean about how changing creative endeavors mean you need a change in your space. My space used to be geared more toward sewing and crafting and as I've shifted to doing more painting I needed to change my space, too. As I mentioned, it's still "getting there", but it's working and bringing me joy.

      Glad you enjoyed the tour and are feeling inspired!

  9. Wow, Your studio looks great and it is good to see you on the photo too. You look great as well. Best christmas wishes to you!

    1. Thanks so much, Aga!

      Happy Christmas to you and your sweet little family!!

  10. Thank you for the studio tour Anne. You have a most wonderful work space! I don't think of you as nerdy at all. If you're a nerd then I'm a double nerd!!! That is a lovely photo of you - so relaxed and happy. I wish you many hours of creating in such aesthetically pleasing surroundings! :)

    1. Thank you, Simone! It helps to have a lovely space to work, but it takes time to craft the space into something "perfect".

      It's funny because I would have said the same about you, I don't imagine you as being very nerdy at all. :)

  11. Thank you for sharing it with us. Keep up the good work.

    - Gustavo Woltmann

    1. Sorry I missed your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my studio tour. Thanks so much for stopping by.



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