Show Us Your Workspace: Silhouette Blue

by Megan Nutley of Silhouette Blue

Hi there! My name is Megan Nutley, and I’m the owner and designer behind Silhouette Blue Stationery & Invitations. My studio is in the spare bedroom of my apartment in Forest Park, Illinois (a near west suburb of Chicago). I spend so much time in this room and have really tried to make it a warm, cozy space that is both peaceful and energizing. I get great light from the two windows, and the space is large enough that I don’t feel trapped in an office all day. The room is about 100 square feet, and is awkwardly long and skinny.

The built-in shelves were here when I moved in, which sometimes makes me feel like this room was destined to be my studio. I use these shelves to store almost all of my supplies – paper, envelopes, boxes, ribbon. I love the easy access these open shelves provide.

I spend most of my time at my computer desk, which is an Ikea tabletop and legs. I kept this desk small, since I have a tendency to let papers and notes pile up. The less space, the fewer piles!

My work desk is my favorite place to be in my studio. I made it out of a hollow core door and Ikea sawhorse legs, and it’s perfectly huge. I hung wire across the walls where I clip little pieces of art that inspire me. Next to my desk is a clothes drying rack, which holds tissue and wrapping paper. (The large closet on the back wall would be great for hiding away more supplies, but I use it for my clothes instead. The closet in my bedroom is tiny!)

This ugly and boring picture is of my equipment. I have two printers – one to print my work, and an all-in-one for test prints, documents, scanning, etc. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect printer shelving system, so for now they rest on small tables. The white desk houses my heavy-duty paper cutter, and my paper scorer is on the bottom shelf. I don’t know how I survived before purchasing these tools!

I use a shoe rack (customized with beautiful printed paper) to organize orders waiting to be shipped, and my vintage library card catalog holds small supplies like sharpies and craft punches. This is my most treasured piece in the whole room. (Fun fact: the trophy on top of my organizing cube is the only sports award I ever received: Most Improved Swimmer!)

  • http://www.sweetpapier.com Danette Yepsen

    such a super pretty space ~

  • http://www.perideaudesigns.com/blog Bridgett

    Lovely work space! What type of paper cutter is that?

  • http://citychiccountrymouse.blogspot.com/ City Chic – Jamie

    Love the shelving! And the vintage library card catalog! My mom has one in her sewing room – it’s the best for storing small supplies!

  • Megan Nutley

    My paper cutter is the 1200E by QCM. You can check it out here:
    http://www.qcmcorp.com/1200E.html

  • http://www.emilyleypaper.com Emily Ley

    This is just too cute! I love the library card holder idea!

  • http://www.lockette.etsy.com Paper + Fabric

    Love the shoe rack idea! Can you tell us more about that paper scorer? I’m in the need for one!

  • http://purplevinedesign.etsy.com Kelly Jo

    Can I come work with you? I’d clean up my messes….PROMISE!! Lovely and well organized area.
    I, too, love the card catalog-beautiful!!

  • http://steliedesigns.etsy.com Stelie Designs

    Beautifully organized. Inspiring me to clean mine up. Thanks for the paper cutter info. I’m in need of a heavy duty one and have tried others that I didn’t like.

  • Amy

    Love your fun patterned chair! Would you mind sharing what brand/model of printer(the main one you use to print your work) you use. I’m looking for a nice printer to use for graphic design work. I’m leaning towards the Epson Stylus 1900. I hear good things about it for photos but don’t know if it’s good for graphic design w/ clean crisp lines/text. I would appreciate any advise you could give on printers. Thanks.

  • http://designsofartisan.etsy.com april san pedro

    what a lovely workspace…
    -thoughtsofartisan.blogspot.com

  • http://www.lovelyandgracious.com Hilary / Lovely and Gracious

    Ahh! I love it! I’m so jealous!!!

  • http://www.lifeverse.etsy.com julie chen

    so fun to see!

    oh to have that much space! dreamy.

    http://www.lifeverse.etsy.com

  • http://www.sweetmadys.com Michelle

    Great space! Love the vintage card catalog for storage.

  • http://www.silhouetteblue.com/ Megan Nutley

    I bought my paper scorer on eBay. It’s a little enormous for how small my notecards are, but it’s been a life saver. The listing has a nice little video about how it works.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/PAPER-SCORING-CREASING-MACHINE-MANUAL-SCORER-CREASER-/230433113886?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35a6e2471e#ht_2313wt_941

    The printer I use is an Epson R1900, and it’s been great so far. I did have to buy a monitor calibrator (the Color Munki) to get accurate colors, though.

  • http://www.whiskergraphics.com Whitney @ Whisker Graphics

    Thanks for sharing your studio! I’m always fascinated to see how small business owners organize their work space. You’ve inspired me to rethink my studio (which currently looks like a bomb went off!). 🙂

  • pam

    I love that chair!! Where did you find it??

  • http://www.greencard.etsy.com Katherine Kelly

    Thank you for this wonderful information! My studio got taken over as a nursery and now I’m on the kitchen counter and in 2 closets. I don’t know what I would do without the container store.

  • Kelly K.

    What a beautiful space! I do some work from home, but my office is not fit for pictures of any kind. You’ve inspired me to do some spring cleaning and organizing! I would love to know more about the Color Munki you used to calibrate your printer. I have been dealing with that problem for a while now! I can never get mine to print the colors I want. augh…

  • http://www.olliegraphic.etsy.com meg b of olliegraphic

    I like the chair too. And your trophy. 🙂

  • Sandra McArthur

    I also love that chair! I purchased the Epson 1900 thinking I would get great prints and I am very disappointed with this printer. I wish I had gone with the Epson 1400 instead. Does the Color Munki really work? Did you get the black or white? Thanks so much for sharing your great office!

  • Amy

    Sandra M. – could you please explain a little more on why you are disappointed with your Epson 1900 and why you wish you would have gotten the 1400. I’m in the process of getting a new printer and was looking at both of these. Thanks.

  • Sandra McArthur

    Hi Amy! Yes, I am disappointed because I expected more saturated, quality prints than I was getting with my HP all in one.The 1900 is designed more for printing glossy photos and for that it does seem to work pretty well. In order to get the colors right on matte papers, it looks like I am going to have to spend another $400.00 for a monitor calibrator. I have not heard anyone having this much trouble with the 1400 and the prints I have seen look really good.

  • http://tarjetasyari.blogspot.com/ Yari Rosado

    It’s great!!! I like the printed chair.

  • Amy

    Sandra M – Thanks for the additional info!!

  • http://www.silhouetteblue.com/ Megan Nutley

    My (super comfy) patterned chair is from Ikea:
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80121649

  • http://www.silhouetteblue.com/ Megan Nutley

    My knowledge of color management and monitor calibration devices is limited to simply owning one, so I am by no means an expert in this field. If anyone knows more about this, please chime in!

    I purchased the Color Munki Design. This is the only device I’ve ever used, so I can’t compare it to the other options out there. (But I can say that Color Munki has horrendous phone support. They do have a huge FAQ section on their website, though.)

    First, you have to calibrate your computer monitor. This is very simple, and the instructions are easy to follow. Basically you just put the device on your monitor and wait. Your newly calibrated monitor will probably look weird and dark, but you’ll get used to it quickly.

    Then, you have to make a printer profile for each paper type you’d like to get accurate color for. You print a page of colors, and measure the results by sliding the device over them. Then you print another page of colors and measure those. The program creates a printer profile that you apply every time you send a document to print.

    One thing to consider is that not every single application can be color managed (from my understanding and experience). I get the best results out of Photoshop, so I use that program to print my work.

    Using and creating the printer profiles did take a bit of work to figure out, but once I did it was well worth it. I know the device is expensive, which can be frustrating for many users. As a freelance graphic designer, I was planning on using one regardless of what printer I purchased, so I didn’t feel forced into it like some unhappy printer customers do.

    I hope this helped! If anyone has any questions or would like me to elaborate on anything, let me know!

  • http://www.silhouetteblue.com/ Megan Nutley

    OK, so choosing a printer! I do get bright saturated color using my Epson 1900, so I have no complaints there. Paper choice and printer profiles are so important. I get different results just by using different papers, so I suggest experimenting to find the perfect printer/ink/paper combination. Epson has an expanded list of printer profiles for free download on their site – maybe try those?

    Sandra, if you’re unhappy with your 1900, maybe you should just purchase the 1400 instead of the calibrator. I know that purchasing another printer is not ideal, but the 1400 is $300 less than the Color Munki. Have you considered contacting Epson regarding how unhappy you are? Maybe you can do a return? It’s worth a try.

  • marcy

    Hi Megan. I am shopping for a great paper cutter. I have heard so many comments about the South Coast Designs one. It worries me that it only cuts a few sheets at time, but I am sure the quality is great. I noticed you have a stack paper cutter and I was looking into yours. Any reason you chose this one? Do you love it? Thanks so much for your help.

  • http://www.silhouetteblue.com/ Megan Nutley

    Marcy – I first heard about the QCM paper cutter from fellow stationery designer Emily, of Orange Beautiful. I did a little research in the Etsy Forums, and found that many other crafters use it as well. I absolutely love it! My only complaint is that it doesn’t come full assembled. I had to attach the ruler/guide myself, and it took a bit of trial and error to get it perfect.

  • http://www.atouchofwhimsy.com Gina @ A Touch of Whimsy

    Oh the library catalog…swoon!! What a fantastic space, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Caitlin

    Hi Megan! Quick question about your QCM: does it leave grease marks on the edge of the paper your cutting? Mine is about a month old and I’ve cut through two phonebooks and wiped it down with several rags before, during and after cutting orders but it never fails to leave some kind of grease along the edge 🙁 Do you have an insider’s solution for this haha?

    Also, how did you get the side gauge to align perfectly? I’ve moved mine 3 times and still have to manually set up the pages in order for it to cut straight.