Behind the Scenes: My Desk and Workspace

I don’t know that too many of you will be extremely fascinated at the cogs and inner workings of our humble operations here at Wonder Pens, but I thought I would share a bit of the behind-the-scenes of the shop, and where all the logistics and brainstorming (and headaches) happen.

Actually, what I’m really excited about is that I have a new desk, and after a few weeks here, I’ve finally gotten settled into it a bit!

This was my original desk back when I was a teacher, but after we started the business we had no money for shop furniture, so we used it to display notebooks. After that was gone, I had this surprisingly useful and durable Ikea table as my desk for a long time. Most of the time Ikea furniture has a very finite (and low) number of times you can disassemble and reassemble it, but this table has actually been taken apart and put back together probably close to a dozen times, having been used it in all of my classrooms as well as some of the homes I’ve lived in, the old shop and now here, making it one of the cheapest, oldest and definitely the best value pieces of furniture we have.

However, having so valiantly sacrificed my desk in the name of displaying our wares, I’ve been telling Jon for the longest time that I wanted a roll top desk to house all of my secret and random treasures. Roll top desks are pretty expensive new, or pretty expensive to get refinished in “vintage” condition, and also hard to find. I coerced Jon into promising that if we ever won the lottery he would buy me a new one, although I think he only agreed because we don’t play the lottery.

One day, in the bitter cold and with the baby in tow, I was sent to the west end to roam some of the antique shops on Queen W for great deals on furniture for the shop and before my eyes, I stumbled across this beauty – a newly refinished roll top table tucked away at the back of a long and dark shop, on sale and in perfect condition. It was simply too much to resist for someone who has basically as little self-control as is possible to have. There was some back and forth with Jon on the phone, where I may have used such phrases as “despite having you and the dog and baby and running a business where I get to play with inks and pens all day, my life will be incomplete without this piece of wooden furniture,” and then money was exchanged. I believe I came home this day having bought nothing but this desk, but all’s well that ends well!

Joy and completed-life-ness was further heightened by the long delay between purchase and the move into the new shop when delivery was arranged. I was slightly deflated/demoralized/crushed because of a small dent in the wood during delivery, but I am nothing if not long-suffering…

Wonder Pens Rolltop Desk

And here is where all the magic happens!

It’s where emails are sent and blog posts are hashed out and where I post-it note catalogues and research products. It’s also where a lot of hair pulling goes on over the calculator, tripping over the dog when I’m trying to get up, trying to clean out the printer so the toner doesn’t keep making weird lines on the paper, and a whole lot of staring at the baby monitor and wondering if the baby will go back to sleep on his own. The baby part happens about once every twenty times, but the hope is always there. Although, he’s getting better, so I probably shouldn’t jinx it.

Jon’s desk is on the left side, and on the right we’re hoping to one day get a shelf for catalogues, books and office supplies. Just beside my desk we also have a couch, which is great for when the number crunching gets too exciting to handle.

Having had a table with no drawers for so long has forced me to consider what is a necessity for my work. Now that I have a desk with such abundance of space and storage, it feels a little like letting a starving man into a grocery store. I had all of my drawers empty for a while there, but I’ve been filling them up! (There are still some empty drawers, but I’m working on it).

I don’t really have a purpose to drawer number one, it mostly houses miscellaneous things on a rotating basis, although I generally have dog treats nearby to keep the barking down.

I also have my button maker here. It sounds a bit strange to need to keep my button maker so close, but I have the drawers, and also, I really enjoy making buttons. I always feel very productive after making a button, even if I have spent the entire day on half a load of laundry and nothing else. Jon has a small but growing collection of personalized buttons (mostly personalized in regards to my mood towards him).

In the top left drawer, I have my correspondence folder, which I hope to share more with you about soon!

This is another pretty miscellaneous drawer, although I think it’s mostly to house pens and writing tools. I carry most of my pens with me in a pen roll, and Jon and I also share a box of pens that are un-inked, so this is looking pretty sparse now.

The reason the drawers are mostly empty is that the majority of the stuff I actually use is on the top of my desk. I tidied up a bit, although apparently all the duds of my button making survived the organizing, along with a package of notebooks that is meant to be out on display.

In the top left cubby, I have the Wonderpens debosser (that impressions on paper with our logo), and beside that I have my spare nibs as well as the spare Lamy cartridge and cardboard ring that came with my recent Neon Lime Safari Edition. Irony of ironies, both because I am not really one to lose pens, but also because which I touted this pen as being “impossible” to lose because of its bright colour, I lost my first Neon Lime, but loved it so much I begged Jon for another. I think it fell out of the stroller one day, or maybe I’ll find it under the couch in a few months.

Below that I have my agenda, some notebooks, and my wallet.

On the right side cubbies, I have inks – sometimes inks that have damaged labels, or sometimes just inks that I like – some photographs and cards. Below that I have some letters that I need to respond to, and below that I have some more random notebooks.

In the centre I have whatever I’m working on, along with my laptop. Jon drilled a hole into the back of it so I could feed the wire through, although it’s fallen back through so many times that I’ve resorted to tape. Sometimes it’s catalogues although a lot of stuff is online or sent through e-mail these days, today it’s a book I’m looking at for the blog (I hope coming soon, it’s been a long time percolating). I also sometimes have my journal, or other notebooks.

Being in a live/work, I use this desk for both personal writing, letters and journaling, as well as work. Sometimes stuff is a bit fuzzy, like writing letters to customers who have really become friends, or testing out new products just for fun. Now that the baby is crawling around and climbing up everything, though – it’s really insane how fearless he is of gravity, despite having fallen so many times – when the baby is up and awake, I’m mostly in the apartment, so I usually only spend time here during his naps, or in the evenings after he’s gone to bed. This also means when I’m here, I get to spend some quality time with the hairy guy of the family (the dog, not Jon).

One of the delights of a roll top desk is that you can close it to hide all of your secrets, however, I never remember to, so this shot is just for posterity.

5 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: My Desk and Workspace

  1. pamelake

    Liz I have a tip about your computer wire. Get a small binder clip that is too big to go through the whole Jon drilled. But also too small for the computer connector end to slip through. Then place the clip around the wire. When you unplug, the wire will slip down the hole until it reaches the binder clip, holding the computer connector above the hole. I hope my instructions are clear.

  2. Ruth

    That’s EXACTLY the kind of desk I’ve always wanted. It’s gorgeous! Thank you for sharing all the lovely pictures of it.


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