My Fiber Studio: Spring Cleaning Before & After

Photography is fascinating, isn’t it?  Because while it’s true that the camera doesn’t lie, it’s also true that, depending where I point my lens, I can include (or exclude) key elements of my visual field to tell a certain story. Careful composition is fundamental to good photography.

So, too, by choosing certain photographs (and not others) to share, a person can present themselves in such a way as to tell a carefully curated story of who they are. Not necessarily to be deceptive, but in the human way that each of us wants to put our best foot forward.

Recently, I found myself doing just that. I’d been very productive shrinking and shaping a greater number of hats than usual and wanted to share the most recent crop with friends, fans & followers.

Here’s the image I shot and shared:

Recently felted & hand-shaped, felt hats in every color dry in the home studio of NH fiber artist, Carrie Cahill Mulligan.

A VERY carefully framed photo of my studio showcases my hats… And nothing else!

Cheerful, fun & tidy, right? I agree. I love this view. I feel energized and inspired to start embroidering just gazing at the neat, colorful rows of woolly goodness!

Inevitably though, I would turn around and feel some of that joy dulled by the sight of my poor, neglected desk:

My office desk BEFORE the cleaning bug bit me.

Uhh, yeah. That’s for real, people. Oof. I’m not proud.

Behold the stacks of years’ worth of random files, receipts, inventory lists, and who knows what else! I certainly didn’t, despite hauling the piles to & from my closet multiple times to hide the mess when visitors came. Live with clutter like this long enough and eventually your brain tunes it out.

But, ignoring clutter comes at a cost. It drains energy and zaps creativity. It alters my studio from the fiber playground I love into a place I start to avoid…. And that’s no good!

And so, struck by a powerful bout of Spring Fever and inspired by the ideas of Gretchen Rubin, Alyson B. Stanfield, & Marie Kondo, I scheduled a single 30 minute block a few weekends ago to just begin. Just get started.

I set a timer and set my mind to do as much decluttering as possible in a half hour. Make it a game. Keep expectations low. Without internal pressure to complete the whole task perfectly, I set to work. When the chimes sounded, I was just getting going, so I worked another 30 minutes, feeling energized.

The next day, I was surprised to find I could hardly wait to get back in my studio and finish the process! And, though there’s more yet to do, I’m so pleased with the end result:

After a flurry of Spring Fever cleaning, the beautiful slate top of my office desk returns to view!

Ahhh…. After!

Isn’t it gorgeous? Not only do I love to see the textured slate surface of my desktop, but now I’ve got that physical space back to actually work on projects.

Most importantly, though, I’ve freed up precious mental space to dream up new designs, and have increased energy to execute them! So much winning!

Roughly 80 felt hats line the walls and all flat surfaces in the home fiber studio of Carrie Cahill Mulligan of Canaan, New Hampshire.

Behold! My (currently) clutter-free fiber studio in Canaan, NH.


Do you struggle with reducing clutter? Or maybe you have tips on how you keep your clutter at bay? Either way, I’d love to hear all about it, so please leave a comment below or connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

NH Open Doors 2013

After weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures, the weather over the past weekend finally turned towards autumn just in time for the statewide 2013 NH Open Doors event.

Felt hat maker, Carrie Cahill Mulligan's house in Canaan, New Hampshire, ready for the 2013 NH Open Doors event.

Custom felt hats available at 693 Canaan Street, Canaan, NH 03741.

This year, I had a real mix of visitors: friends, neighbors (a few whom I’d never met!), some in-state folks finally cashing in a holiday gift certificate, and several intrepid travelers from out-of-state, too.

I love having people over to my hat studio. There’s something wonderful about sharing where my hats are made. And folks love seeing all the different types & colors of yarn in their natural setting.

Thanks so much to everyone who managed a visit. If you couldn’t make it this past weekend, you can always contact me to arrange your own personal road trip to Canaan.

Cast Off and Counting Down – Andy Update #3

Andy’s 1st wrist cast was white. That’s generally what you get in the emergency room.

Andy's first cast

Andy’s first cast.

Two weeks later, due to normal muscle atrophy, Andy got a 2nd, snugger cast, this time, any color he liked. He chose purple.

Cast color options

The cast color options at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, NH.

Over the following 4 weeks, Andy did a great job keeping the purple cast dry, through all of his light-duty yard work and special bagging and taping for every bath & shower.

However, dishwashing was the eventual demise of Andy’s purple cast. A wet cast is an unhealthy, unhappy place, so even though removal was officially scheduled for 5 days later, Andy got his 3rd cast just in time for our visit to Maine over Memorial Day.

Feeling festive, Andy selected purple with a glow-in-the-dark stripe, which was a big hit with our youngest friends:

Checking out Andy's glow-in-the-dark cast...

Checking out Andy’s glow-in-the-dark cast…

Fun as the 3rd cast was, though, it was with great anticipation and relief that this (hopefully!) final cast was removed last Wednesday!

Cast removal

Cast removal with a special little rotary cutter… the big moment!

Andy got more x-rays of his wrist and collarbone, which the doctors think look great (lots of hazy sections signifying active tissue re-growth).

And best of all, the doctor prescribed a sturdy wrist brace, only occasional sling use, and immediate physical therapy for shoulder & wrist.

Happy with his new wrist brace!

Sporting his new wrist brace!

He’s definitely on the mend, now and hoping to be %100 in 4 more weeks. That would mean we could be swing dancing in time for Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in July! Keep your fingers crossed & I’ll keep you posted…