If the crafting community ever had a pageant, we think Jennifer Maker would be hard to beat! As a crafter, teacher, and a well-known author, she's got all the skills and attributes that make her a creative queen. She's a go-to-crafter favorite for all things DIY and inspires us through her craft studio transformation and organization. Check out her DreamBox tour below:
One of many things we love about Jennifer is her inspiring advice for crafters and creators alike. Despite her amazing success as a crafter, she’s faced several setbacks and struggles over the years that have given her a valuable perspective on creating. We’re excited to share all she has to say about her crafting journey and how she creates a life she loves through art and creativity.
Can you tell us a bit of your crafting journey and how you got into crafting?
I’ve always been a “maker” even as a child. My mother is an artist and taught me to be creative from a very young age.
Most people know me as a “thing maker” — like how to make felt sunflowers or reversible welcome signs. But I am a maker of many things: a wonderful child, a happy home, and a loving relationship. A series of bestselling books, an award-winning company, a community of like-minded people, and, most recently, I am a maker of my blog, channel, and academy.
Of course, it’s never really that simple, now is it? We don’t just wave our magic wands and have what we want to pop into perfect existence. Not so long ago, all the things I’d made were struggling. My business. My family. My home. And me, too. So I dug deep, really deep, to get back to what mattered the most to me. I asked myself, “What is it I want to give to the world? What does the world truly need from me?”
And every answer pointed me to here, where I can share everything I know with others. Helping others make things they cherish, helping others make a living they can be proud of, and helping others craft a life they love . . . this is what gets me out of bed in the morning and fills me up.
I love love love to create beautiful things, solve storage solutions, and save money. Every time I can show my readers exactly how they too can have something so amazing of their own, my day is made. I can help you make and CREATE something uniquely YOU!
You’ve had your DreamBox for a few years now. Can you tell us about your craft space transformation?
I started working from my kitchen table about five years ago, and slowly migrated to an unused room in our home. Over time, I painted it and added organizers and storage, which took over the entire room, much to my family’s dismay. When I discovered the DreamBox, it changed the way I was able to store my craft tools and supplies. I was able to contain the sprawl of “stuff” into a neat and tidy cupboard, where everything had a place and I could even close it when I didn’t want to see it all. This gives me room for other things, for which I am so grateful.
The other wonderful thing about the DreamBox is how pleasing I find it to look at. I use my DreamBox at my craft studio, where you can see it behind me — both open and closed — in many of my videos. I love how versatile the DreamBox allows my space to be!
How did the DreamBox help improve your crafting experience for you and solve the setbacks you faced with your old crafting space?
The DreamBox made it so I was able to find my crafting items easily and quickly. Before all of my craft items were in bins or positioned throughout my room. Now all of my tools and materials can be in one place. Plus, with the addition of the Sew Station, I’m able to easily transition between my Cricut® crafts and sewing projects.
The Dreambox makes organizing easy and fun. There are over 80 totes that you can fit in the DreamBox. I took those totes and was able to organize my materials by type and can now easily find what I need to get my craft projects completed in a timely manner.
Most recently we used the DreamBox at the studio for our Maker Academy Weekend event where I presented 20+ crafts to our community all in the course of three days. I was able to put all 20 projects into their own tote. It made it so easy knowing all the materials I needed to complete a project were in one place. All I needed to add were my tools which hang easily on the doors, everything from my scrappers & scissors to my glue gun and cutting mats have a place. There is even enough space under the table to store my Cricut cutting machines and EasyPresses. There is no better feeling than knowing where everything is!
We saw that you bought a DreamBox for your husband as well. What are his favorite features of the DreamBox?
Our first DreamBox was actually for Greg’s space in our house. We purchased the DreamBox to help organize all of the small tools, paints, and items he had throughout the home. Greg now has a comfortable office where he can readily access the tools and materials he needs for the project he is working on. His crafts are model building and miniature painting, and the DreamBox does a wonderful job of organizing all of those things. Some of his favorite features are the lighted work surface, adjustable shelves, and the pull-out table. He loves his DreamBox!
You often emphasize the importance of “crafting a life you love”. What sort of advice do you have for our readers on how they can achieve that?
“Craft a life you love” is my lifelong mantra . . . it means to intentionally create a life that brings you happiness and joy by following your passions and dreams. It’s my guiding principle, and one of my reasons for success. I love what I do, and I do what I love. I pursue my happiness in all aspects of my life, at home and in my career. I am not content to trudge along in an unhappy job or home environment, and when I find myself in those — as we all do from time to time — I work hard at lifting myself out of it and creating joy and a purpose I believe in.
Crafting a life you love applies to everything I do, including my home and craft space. It’s easy for a house to get messy and a craft space to get out of hand. And when this happens, I find my mind gets cluttered and messy too, and it’s hard to focus and create. So when I intentionally take the time to organize my things and create room to make and craft, the distractions lift and I reignite my passions all over again. The DreamBox makes it a joy to organize my stuff! And I particularly love that I can close it when I need to focus on something else for a while. It really plays into my desire to do things intentionally, and that’s probably why I love the DreamBox so much!
My advice to readers is to be intentional about how you spend your time — spend it doing things you love. And if you don’t love what you do now, work actively toward changing it.
You also have a DreamCart, Cubbies, and a Sew Station. Could you tell us how these helped you make space for pursuing and creating all the things that you love?
The DreamCart is a perfect addition to my studio. I can easily move this table around the studio and set it up where it's needed, as big or as small as I need it. I use the DreamCart to store my mats under it for quick easy access. And I just love that the sides fold down when it’s not in use so it becomes a smaller side table that can easily convert into a large craft table for groups. The DreamCart is very versatile in its use and a great addition to my studio.
The Sew Station is another wonderful addition! Sewing is my first love but not something that I get to do as much as I used to. The Sew Station makes it so I can easily transition between the type of craft I am working on. It easily stores my favorite sewing machine along with any tools and materials I need under the work surface, leaving a clean workspace until I’m ready to slide the doors open and raise my sewing machine with the electric lift. Thread is simply stored in a spool holder that stores 64 standard threads and 12 serger threads. There are three shelves on one side that store more InView™ Totes to hold any extra fabric, pins, scissors, and other tools/materials. The sturdy wheels make it easy to move next to my DreamBox when I’m sewing.
I love that I can open the side and back leaf to nearly double my workspace and I can easily close it up when I’m done. The Sew Station is more than just a leaf table you can buy at your local crafting store. With the SewSteady machine insert and locking wheels, the table is stable for all your sewing needs.
Oh, and I can’t forget the new Cubby, which I just adore! This is a perfect start for a modular organization and storage solution. These are like mini versions of the DreamBox that I use as extensions to my big DreamBox. Do we ever have enough storage? Greg has added wheels to the Cubbies in our studio to roll around as I need them. They comfortably fit a Cricut cutting machine on top and all the materials and supplies inside that I could need for an upcoming project.
Jennifer loves to inspire and teach others to make beautiful things. Go visit her website at jennifermaker.com for ideas, tutorials, and so much more!