What is the Oodlearium?

The short answer? It’s where creativity grows. For the long answer keep reading.

For years, my husband felt bad that he has a shop in the garage for big projects that involve power tools, a “clean” shop in the basement for smaller projects, and his office upstairs where he can play his guitar or work on computer based projects. My art supplies have been inconveniently stored in closets around the house. I didn’t care though. I am a flexible person. There were plenty of places for me to set up shop around the house, but none that were just mine. 

Our house has a loft that looks out over our family room and through double patio doors to our patio. It has two skylights and a giant window that provide gorgeous light throughout the day. For most of the 17 years we have lived in our house, it had a billiards table and a ping pong table that we hardly ever used. We thought it would be fun for parties, until we realized we did not want people traipsing around our upstairs. When a kid threw a ball over the railing onto her mother’s head the deal was sealed. Selling a pool table is difficult at best. By the time the person pays someone to tear it down and reassemble it they can practically buy a brand new set-up. It took months of hard work, but my husband finally found a buyer. Looking at the 20×10 space, I could start to imagine what it might be like to have so much room for storage and projects. To be able to leave a project out on the table instead of having to always pack everything back up would be amazing. My husband really wanted to do this for me and after my initial resistance I was ready to let him.

The back wall has an angled ceiling that created the perfect space for built in shelves. The shelves vary in height and width allowing for incredible storage customization. There is room for everything from my tubs of yarn to my sewing machine and wax seal supplies and even a retro Spirograph. He is currently working on a custom table that will have additional storage and a full-size butcher block countertop (more on that piece when it’s done). 

To my right is an antique Singer Sewing machine that I nabbed through a Facebook group. After doing some research my husband discovered that it is an 1889 model. It needs a bit of TLC, but it is beautiful and will eventually be fully functional. Next to it is my most prized possession. On a recent trip to visit my family, my aunt showed me a sweater and skirt set my grandma crocheted for her 30+ years ago. There was no way that it would ever fit me, but there was also no way I was letting it go to Goodwill. 

My sister-in-law found me a simple dress form and voila I had the perfect way to display her work of art. My grandma embodied everything it means to be creative. She crocheted hundreds of blankets and baby sets for people around the world. In the kitchen she was a master of baking and Italian cuisine. Having one of her most beautiful pieces is the closest thing I can have to having her here with me. 

When we were designing and building the room, we kept calling it the craft loft. Sure it’s a loft, but it is SO much more than a craft room. To know where The Oodlearium came from we have to take a small detour. There is an awesome art organization in my hometown called Oddball Art Lab.  A few years ago they repurposed an old cigarette machine into a machine that now dispenses the work of local artists on small pieces of wood. After I had what I felt was a nice collection of my doodles, I applied to have a set of blocks in the machine. During the application process I had to provide a link to a website where people could find out more information about my art. I threw a quick Facebook page together and called it Jen’s Oodle Doodles. One day I was walking up the stairs to head into the loft and it hit me— The Oodlearium. 

The purpose of The Oodlearium is to inspire a creative mindset. Here is what you can you expect to see here in The Oodlearium:

  • Stories of my own creative journey 
  • Resources to help you develop your creative mindset (articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Discussions with creatives to help inspire you
  • Exercises to stretch your creative muscles
  • Challenges that allow you put what you have learned into practice
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