{on pulling yourself away from the noise to keep focus.}

do you ever find yourself sneaking out of your office and making a cozy spot elsewhere in your home to work? i know i do — and lately that “elsewhere” has been our living room. this may sound silly, but when i sit in my office and leave bauer alone in the rest of the house i sometimes feel like i am missing out on the sweet parts of life. there are reasons why people work from home — right? so a few times a week i pack up my computer and head to the living room. a change of scenery, it’s proven to be good for the soul. also: so is a cup of coffee, a candle burning, and a little notebook full of ideas nearby.

bauer chews his bone or looks out the window {adorable} and i get my work done. i’ve learned i’m a tough boss to myself. i always have a list of things for myself to work on; sometimes these are blog-related things, other times they are projects like photography or working on a collaboration ~ things that require me to work in my studio a bit more. i like to get things done. i like to have a lot to do, i like to challenge myself.

eighteen months ago, when i quit my day job to focus on Gussy Sews full time, i wasn’t quite as aware how important having dedicated space to work and feel inspired would be. and while this dedicated space doesn’t always look the same from week to week, i’m learning rather quickly how important it is for me to pull myself away from the noise around me so i can focus on the things that make a business grow.

like megan auman said, it’s important to take action from what you learn.

PS. just keepin’ it real with ya: i have a real obsession with this cowl. i think i’ve worn it every day this week ;]

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  1. 1


    That cowl IS really cute. I don’t have a studio at home to work from. My stuff is always spred across my dining room table. But its nice to still work and see the kids play! And my yankee candle right now smells like a christmas tree!

  2. 3


    I have a similar cowl (a big chunky brown one that doubles as a hood) that I’ve been wearing all week and finally wore to work for “causal” Friday.

    I find that I have to get out of my office space when it is getting messy or cluttered. My mother and I actually had a nice chat about it last night and decided we both tend to feel overwhelmed when we’re surrounded by mess (ie the bedroom isn’t relaxing unless the laundry is put away and the bed is made, I don’t want to be in the kitchen if their are dishes in the sink).

    I wonder what other reasons people have for getting out of their normal work space and getting a new perspective…

    • 4


      yes yes yes — if our bedroom is a mess i can’t relax. i will sit in there some times, we get great sunlight in there in the afternoon. Bauer snoozes, i write blog posts = happiness!

      PS. i’m wearing my cowl again. it’s like wearing great mascara — so simple but makes me feel sooo happy & put together ;)

  3. 5


    Love this post! I don’t have an office, I always work in my living room around my little one’s and I really enjoy it. I can still get what I need done and I get to be right there with them. =D Happy Friday!

  4. 6


    I do all of my handmade business work in my kitchen…. which is also where the dogs live, the meals get cooked, the laundry gets done and the main door in and out of our house. My “studio” is in there (also known as my dining room table) as well as my desk, computer and printer. Needless to say it is a really busy part of the house but I love working there! I love the hustle and bustle and being able to do many things at once, which I have discovered is when I get my best work done. If I am left alone to relax and don’t have anything to do, it usually leads to sleep! My brain require constant activity to keep my nerves all firing!

    This post has me wondering, however, if I am limiting myself and my creativity by just sticking to what I know works. I can’t wait to try finding another spot to get simple things done, like answering emails, so that when I am in my creative zone I don’t worry about little things like that and I can focus on my business and new ideas! Awesome post and great ideas!

    PS – The cowl is awesomesauce. Heart it! :)

    • 7


      …makes me really wonder how you would do if you changed things up? ;D

      imagine how successful you are now, and how a little scenery change normally gives people amazing new ideas! worth a try for a few hours, perhaps? xxoo

  5. 8


    I had some huge, time consuming projects a couple weeks ago and I pulled all my sewing stuff out and put it in the living/dining room. It gets lonely in the sewing cave!

  6. 10


    I completely understand packing up & moving your office. My co-worker & I are heading to Caribou to have a creative brainstorming event – sometimes a change of scenery is needed! Happy Friday Maggie – thanks for always inspiring!

  7. 11


    Hi! I saw your feature on Freckled Nest (congrats) and giveaway (YAY!) and I wanted to stop by and say hello! Your shop is beautiful. I truly do NOT have enough ruffles in my life. And I wanted to say that you are an inspiration to me. I’m a girl that looks forward to quitting her day job one day (SOON) and being my own “tough” boss. Kudos to you!!


    • 12


      hi LB! oh yay — thanks for liking the giveaway and then taking a few minutes to pop over and check out my blog. AND for leaving a comment!!! :)

      happy friday ~ one of my favorite quotes: “inspiration is all around you”

  8. 13


    Ha! I love it! My living room doubles as my office right now. I store everything in the living room closet and pull it all out when I need it. It gets a bit tedious pulling things out and putting them away but I like plopping on the couch once I get to the point in my work that I can.

    I have had a mini obsession lately with candles! I got it stuck in my head that I wanted that comforting glow so I headed to the natural food store and picked up a pack of local soy tea lights and 2 beeswax candles. Lighting them in a dark room reminds me of when I would write in my journal by candlelight when I was in middle school. Oh isn’t that was life was simpler… I enjoy being reminded of that feeling.

    Happy Friday! Thanks for sharing!

  9. 14


    I do this too. I have a little basement studio space for crafts and sewing, but if I’m just doing something computer related, I like to be cozy about it … Coffee, blankie, my little guy. Much better than an office chair!

  10. 15


    I spend 95% of my day in my basement studio…it’s bright and happy, but my little doggie sleeps in the sun upstairs, the hubs is at work and my girls are at school. I get a little lonely at times :) Maybe once in a while, I should try working from that sunny spot in the living room, snuggled up with my doggie :) Great idea!

  11. 16


    I wish I had a “real” studio instead of sharing our 3rd bedroom with hubby’s stationary bike. I’ve reorganized multiple times and can’t get it right. After the 1st my new promise is to redo it one more time. Your studio is an inspiration and I need to spruce mine up. Since I knit and crochet most of the time, my real studio is the “couch” which is great for watching TV while crafting! But I do need to sew at times and have a big 5 foot table with my machine on it. I can’t complain too much! It’s got great sunlight mid morning and most of the afternoon so that’s wonderful. I hope to get the studio done and pics taken and put on my blog after the first. Oh no, my 1st New Year Resolution!

    • 17


      what if you make a little wall to separate you from the bike? it could be one a giant chalkboard or something you make from fabric and a rod so it hangs down, or an Ikea bookshelf? is there anyway to make the room feel like it’s two different rooms??


  12. 18


    Love, love , love the cowl. I think I need one. Ya know – I have the perfect studio space upstairs over the garage. It’s warm, cozy, and cute and I never use it. I always feel like I’m missing out on something downstairs. Obviously something must be going on that’s important and I’m not being included. I have good intentions of using my space but somehow everything always ends up coming back down on the kitchen table. My sweet husband has tried to put my stuff in other rooms and bam – there I am at the kitchen table. I think the kitchen table is my comfy spot and that makes me happy. :-)

    • 19


      hah! your comment is really cute. studio space over the garage sounds like a dream. i would sacrifice a lot right now to move our studio away from our home. i feel so distracted and so non-creative when our home is busy with sewing & packaging noises. what if you committed to just 2 hours at a time in there? i bet you would fall in love with it. otherwise please send me your address and i’ll move in ;D

      • 20


        Oh I’d give anything for some packaging noises. :-) So funny – my hubby and I just cleaned off the table last week together so I use “the room”. I said “I’m really going to try and use my space so we can have a table again. Last night he said “what’s all this stuff on the table again”. So I said: see I figure if I keep bring stuff up and down the stairs I’m getting my exercise. :-) So sad. I’ll try your idea – you never know I might just fall in love with it. :-)

  13. 22


    This is SO true. As I type this, my three year old is cutting up paper next to me. I’m reading blogs and making a book (we’re at the kitchen table). Often, the needs of the little ones help dictate where I work (even though I’m fortunate to have a dedicated space); they also dictate WHAT I work on. If they need my presence, I’m more likely to do computer work or small stitching/bookbinding projects than other stuff. At least one morning a week, I head out to Starbucks to work on the computer. I get SO MUCH more accomplished on that one morning than I do the rest of the week at home :)

    • 23


      you know what? tonight i felt really inspired to finally finish a project that i had been putting off for WEEKS, months probably! i needed to make a little curtain for a closet that’s inside my office ~ to hide all the “stuff” that we toss in there. i had about 45 minutes tonight, hubby was busy with his buddies that are over, so i snuck into my studio and made a curtain in what seems like a snap! i think because i don’t always get to work in my studio that i felt inspired to work on this project. i also had the time and space to do it — even though working on a saturday evening is so not what i normally do.

      thanks so much for your comment!

  14. 24


    I love this! I recently moved a table into our living room and put the computer on it because I hated being in another room to work on stuff when my husband is home. I do not want to be hidden in my craft room all day…I like feeling like the whole house gets used. I am learning to make my home more functional for how we live and not just what is normal to everyone else.

    • 25


      you know what i heard recently that i think is awesome? moving the living room into the dining room, and the dining room into the living room. i know not everyone can make this work, but for some it’s a really awesome switch. especially if you have a fireplace in your living room {how awesome would it be to host dinner and have a fire going???}

      also – i’m a HUGE fan of doing what works for each unique family. and that makes me happy you guys do that, too :)

  15. 27


    I agree that working in a space that inspires you is helpful. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that one day; for the moment, I am relegated to the kitchen where it’s easier to keep an eye on DS, but I am surrounded by clutter.

  16. 28

    Emily says

    Love this! I have a mini studio in an alcove in our bedroom. Perfect place to occasionally “get away” from the noise of my studio just down the stairs.

  17. 29


    Our house is small and my home office is in a small corner of the living room. I love it that way though, for the same reason regarding my pets. I love that we’re just hanging out together and enjoying our day – the pup doesn’t know I’m working. :)

  18. 30


    Yep, I love them! I have bought a few peceis from them at Long Beach in the past… I have an awesome table cloth that they brought back from one of their trips it is crotchet and is round the detail is stunning yet simplistic. I hope you day is full of bliss :)Smiles,Sheila

  19. 32


    Howdy! I’m at work surfing arnuod your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!


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