Creative {Studio} : Part I

March 3, 2014  - By Gretchen Saffles

Welcome to the Life Lived Beautifully creative studio! My husband and I moved to Knoxville, TN, in February 2013, after being married for three months. I officially began Life Lived Beautifully in May 2013 out of our little, cozy apartment.
Life Lived Beautifully It Is Well Print

It has now been almost one year since I began the adventure of owning a small business, and I want to share with you all that I have learned (the good, the bad, the not-so-pretty and the whole truth). To start off this teaching series, I want to invite you into my “studio”/aka- the second bedroom in our apartment/our storage room. I dream of having a beautiful space to create in someday with lots of storage, windows and flowers.  For now, I am thankful for the tiny room I have to create in. I have learned to make the most of the space I have and to be creative in how it’s set up!

In order for me to create, I need to see beautiful things around me. I am a lover of natural light, but unfortunately, my workroom only has one window and the sun stays mainly on the opposite side of our apartment (leaving our kitchen with the most beautiful light and my workspace dimly lit). I have three lamps that I turn on when I come into the room in the morning. I open the window to let in whatever natural light is available and I start working!

Life Lived Beautifully Desk

My studio is full of antiques and meaningful decor. I inherited my momma’s sewing machine (which is over thirty years old) and use most of her materials. She was a world-traveller and avid creator. I have a lot of her ingenuity in my blood and love it! I placed my Bernina 1230 sewing machine by our one window to enjoy the light and birds dancing outside for me!

My husband and I share a work desk that he built using a hollow door from Home Depot and storage shelves from Target. It is long and the perfect place for both of us to work. We store our books, journals, pens and organizational folders in our bins on the side.

Life Lived Beautifully Desk

Our home is intentionally filled with items that have worth (not monetary), value and meaning. Here are a few that surround us everyday at our desk:

  1. Our paint fight engagement picture! You can watch the video of our paint fight here! It was seriously incredible and you should do one.
  2. My Pawpaw and Mawmaw had the names of God hung by their front door and in their house. I always loved reading them growing up and learning more about my Lord. They ended up giving me one that I cherish and now hangs beside my desk! I made a vintage stamp frame using stamps my Nana collected from all over the world.
  3. A prayer calendar from Voice of the Martyrs. I LOVE this organization and its’ heart to reach the nations for Jesus. Everyday a different county is listed to pray for. It reminds me of those who are in chains while I enjoy my freedom. We must pray for the persecuted church!
  4. An olive wood camel that I received as a gift four years ago when I went on a mission trip to Bethlehem, Palestine. It was a life-changing trip and I love my camel.
  5. A print I purchased from SpoonLily on Etsy for my husband for Christmas! It says “Adventure is worthwhile in itself” ~Amelia Earhart.Workspace
  6. An engagement picture and a wedding photo next to it! These were taken by Nancy Ray Photography. She is an incredible photographer!
  7. Lastly, a globe. We love to travel and hope to travel the world one day. For now, we can travel the world through this tiny reminder.

My work desk where I create was given to me by a friend and has stuff under it, on it and all around it. This is what life looks like when you live in a two-bedroom apartment! Once you get creative and think outside of the “I have to have a perfect workspace” box, you can truly make the most out of a small space! I hang the necklaces I’ve made on the right and the left and store all of my material underneath in bins. If you look to the right you can see my “shipping” area. The more orderly things are the easier it is to ship and to work. Order is key in a small space.

My advice to you if you have a creative business out of your home or apartment is to be grateful for what you have. Even if it is not ideal and may seem hard to work with, ungratefulness kills creativity. As a matter of fact, having to work with a small space (and keep it clean) has made me stretch my creativity beyond its limits to learn to make things work. Let it be a challenge rather than a stress.

Book Clock

My other piece of advice is to keep most of your creative projects in the space. The more I was spreading out my creative ventures the messier our home became. I would be cleaning up like crazy by the time my husband was about to get home. It is much better for me to do one project then clean it up or set it aside in my tiny space.

Enjoy creating friends! I’d love to see pics of your creative spaces! If you have some or are doing a studio makeover, snap a pic on Instagram and tag it with #lifelivedbeautifully to share the love of creating and gratitude!

a fellow entrepreneur,


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