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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thank You God For This Journey

The last few days I have been kid-less.  While I miss those little faces, it has been awesome!  I have gotten so much done!  I have spent from sun up to sun down in my workshop or on the road looking for treasures.  I have done almost nothing but work on new pieces to put in the shop and for an upcoming festival.  I am so excited about this opportunity.  It could turn out to be nothing, but it could also turn out to be big for me.  I have two very big fears of making this passion I have, a career.  The first, is that perhaps, this is something I love to do, and for my home and maybe my friends, it's good enough.  But to make a living at it, I fear my talent is not what it should be.  My second big fear, is that if I make this a career, the passion will disappear and the inspiration will be gone.  In June, I jumped out of an airplane with my sisters and was determined to leave my fear in the sky.  I think I did just that!  I am still trying to "kick doubts ass", as my best friend refers to it.  But the other fear, of the passion disappearing, is gone.  Over the last three days the work in my shop has been so freeing!  I have loved every second of it!  I think committing to this dream has only fueled my passion.  It has given it a purpose and a freedom to unleash it.  On the road,  looking for treasure has gone from a time I just dream about "what if", to a journey of challenges and wonderful surprises.  I have always loved treasure hunting, garage saleing, rummaging, whatever you want to call it.  Before this, I would look at things and say "Wouldn't it be so cool if...".  Now, I scoop them up with a purpose and a vision that I know I can make real!  Over the last three days I have also realized that I have committed to this.  I am scared as hell, but committed.  It scares me because now that I have put it out there, I have also put myself out there.  Each piece that will go out the door, is a piece of my dream.  MY dream, out there on display for judgment, for inspection.  Each person that buys a piece, buys part of my hopes.  Each person that walks away or turns there nose up at it, also does that to my dream.  But it's out there!!!  And for me, that is the hardest part.  I know not everyone will like what I do, I know there are far better designers out there, but I am no longer limited by my fear.  That is HUGE for me!!!!  I will not back down from making this dream a reality.  I have cuts on my fingers, a splinter in my thigh (have no idea how it got there), paint still on my feet even though I have showered 3 times since it got there, and I love it!!!!!  It's all there and reminding me, I am doing this!!!!!  Maybe the shop won't be what I hope.  Maybe my Etsy page will drive me insane before I get it running. I am still trying to figure out my photos and layouts for my blog.  The point is, I know there will be roadblocks. But they WILL NOT STOP ME!   I don't know if it was the jump out of that plane that brought this courage to the surface or if it was God working on me over the course of the last two years.  Most likely it is both.  However it got here, it is finally here and I am grateful!  Moving away from my family and my friends, was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  But I know God put me here for a reason.  I think this is part of that reason.  Regardless of what happens, I committed to my dream and I followed my heart.  For the first time in my life, I am doing what I feel in my soul, I was meant to do.  I am doing what is best for my heart and my head.   I am not doing what makes sense or what is easy.  I am doing what I love and I couldn't be happier.  I know, while my friends and my family are not physically here, they are cheering me on from a distance.  They are praying for me in their quiet times.  That is finally enough for me.  It is comforting.  My husband is HERE.  My kids are HERE.  They are with me on this journey, cheering me on and believing in me.  My husband sat with me while I painted.  My kids loved my first piece for the shop.  My daughter, Emma, told me "Mommy, you are so good!  I think you can make anything!"  That alone, makes it worth it.  I think, maybe I CAN make anything. Maybe I am good enough.  Thank You God for putting me in this place where I had nowhere else to turn but my dreams and fears.  Thank You God for making it the only option to face them.  Thank You God for this journey.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michigan Treasures

June has been crazy!!!  Or should I say, WAS?  It's already gone!  It started, of course, as my June's have for the past two years,  with my 400 mile yard sale trip with my two best friends. So much fun!  June was, so far, my best month of this year.  I went to North Carolina to visit my sister for a week.  We went bargain hunting, I appeared for a second time on Charlotte Today (link to follow), had Camp Cousin (so blessed), and jumped out of an airplane with my sisters, at 14,000ft!!!!!  Wow!!!  Followed that trip up with our annual grown up trip to Bear Lake Michigan, my favorite place on earth, with my husband Chris, my best friend Wendy and her husband Scot (our best friends)!  If you haven't ever been to Bear Lake or Frankfort Michigan, you really should add it to your list of places to visit.  All those commercials you see about "Pure Michigan", are right on.  It is brimming- no, it's overflowing, with natural, untouched, quiet, beauty.  As we pull into the village of Bear Lake (I love that it is a village), I roll the windows down to smell the pine.  My soul is at peace here more than anywhere else.  The lake is small, but untouched and clear enough to see the bass we are after 14ft down!  It is a quaint little place with no Walmarts or chain restaurants of any kind, which, for me, makes it perfect.  It is 5 minutes to an undisturbed, small, beach on Lake Michigan.  Our own private little piece of heaven.  Frankfort Michigan is about 30 miles away and is on Lake Michigan.  Between the two, there are antique and art shops scattered about.  Wendy and I found some really cool pieces we were dying to take home, but the boys put a stop to it because we were out of room in the truck!  She and I think we need to drive 2 vehicles next year so we can bring home our treasures!  I found a great vintage feed sac at a place called Monumental Finds, for $5!!!!   If you are ever around Frankfort, you simply must visit this store.  An amazing sculptor calls it home to his creations made from "found objects".  So cool.  ANYWAY, when I found it, I knew it was the perfect new upholstery for a little stool I found on the 400 mile.
Here is the little stool I found on the 400 mile before I have done anything to it.    Pretty ugly huh?  Typical 70's upholstery, but it was sturdy, had clean lines, and was only $3!! 

I needed to wash the feed sac, but before you do, be sure to turn them inside out.  If they were actually used, as this one was, there may be straw or left over feed hulls inside.  Which, once put through the washer, really stinks.  (I know this from experience unfortunately)  Check to see if the design is woven into the fabric or if it is just printed on.  If it is just printed on, it could run off.   This one was woven in so I was good to go.  I was excited it was only $5.  It is a great size and really thick material.  Which I really needed to cover the nasty stuffing.  I added two new layers of batting before reupholstering with the sac.

After a quick cleaning, I lightly sanded the surface of the whole piece.  Then went to work with some paint I had left laying around from one of my many projects.  I wanted it to be about the same color of the feed sac, but for it to look worn.  I was lucky enough to have company during this process.  Normally my husband, Chris, just walks away when I have a project going.  The mess usually makes him twitch, but today, he and my dog Jack joined me with some good tunes and a cold beer.    He was surprised it took so many layers to make something look old.  I think he thought you can just throw paint on anyway you want!  

I started with just two layers. The first was a color called Natural Tan.  The second, was an antiquing glaze.  I liked it good enough at this point, but there was still something missing.  Don't ya think?  There wasn't enough dimension to it.  So I decided to add a layer of brushed on and wiped off antique black.

So here it is!  The finished product.   I love it when my projects turn out looking like they did in my head.  This one is exactly that way!  I am very happy with it.  I was tempted to keep it, solely because the feed sac came from Michigan.  But I have decided I will take it up to the shop.  I had so much fun working on this piece.  The fact that my husband sat with me, for the first time, and watched me do what I love,  makes it even better to me.   I hope the joy that I felt being able to use one of my Michigan treasures is passed on to someone else.   I hope it will find the perfect little spot in someones home. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

400 Miles of Treasure!

It is one of my favorite times of year, YARD SALE SEASON!!!!  To kick it off, my two best friends and I hit the 400 mile yard sale that runs right through the town I live in.   Seriously, 400 miles of yard sales, laughs, good eats, and the best girls you could ask for, what could be sweeter!?  I get most of my trash to treasure projects from yard sales, and this is the mother of yard sales.  Deals, Deals, Deals (and we got a truck load of them)!!!!                                             
Thanks to my husband for letting us take his beautiful truck! 
How's that for some loot!?
I am so excited about my finds from this year!  I am most excited about the saw table I found and the huge transformation it will undergo.  I will take lots of pics so you all can see the project unfold!  I thought I would share with you a project from last year to hold you over until the posts from this year begin!  Last year was our first year for the 400 mile yard sale.   We began on a Friday with my sister, Allison, my neice, Sid and my son, AJ.  We were on the hunt for a vanity for Sid  The plastic ones were too little and the antique larger vanities were too big.  We found the vanity on the first day.   My before pictures are not as great as I'd like, but these were before blogging, so this year's will be better.  

The is the vanity as it starts.  This was a console/ entry table.  The original color was white.  It had 2 drawers and was much taller.  What made me pick this table?  #1.  It had great, simple lines.  It was a blank slate.  #2.  It was solid wood. #3  It was the right width and length for the space it was going to go in.  So the first step was to take out the bottom drawer and  cut the supports so Sid could get her legs underneath.  Next, I sanded the entire piece.  There were two reasons to sand; to get off the original varnish and to smooth out the cut pieces.  Then we painted it pink!

The following day, we found the stool.  This is my sister Allison looking it over and measuring.  No, it was not the right height, but nothing a little saw couldn't fix.  We found this stool at a "Barn Sale".  Those are my favorites.  Check out that lovely fabric!  It would definately need some new, so we added that to the list! 

I have a huge paint stash at my house so I had Sid pick the colors she wanted before we left the next day.  Look what we found!!!!  Not even kidding, the fabric we found matched PERFECT!  I actually got this piece for free, which fit our budget perfectly.  Did I mention we had a budget of $25?  The fabric was a bit dirty and had a giant peacock on it.  I washed it, cut the piece to fit, and since it was quilted, we used the back of it!

No vanity would be complete without a mirror.  We found our mirror at another yard sale for $1.  It had a cheap gold frame, but we took that off.  Remember the bottom drawer I removed?  I used it as the top of the vanity.  I affixed the mirror to the bottom of the drawer, flipped it upside down and screwed it to the top of the table.  I took the original knobs off and replaced them with some glass curtain finials I had at the house.  $0

My neice, Sid and I painting the vanity.
  Sid was so excited to have a new vanity and was so happy to have Aunt Nae Nae (that would be me) be the one doing it.  Which, of course thrilled me.  It was a really fun project.  We went over budget by a dollar but Sid loved it, it fit perfect and it was exactly what my sister was hoping for.  The best part for me was the hunt, the challenge, doing it with my sister, and of course, seeing the smile on Sid's face when it was done! 

Here is the finished product!  I suggested trimming out the mirror with a boa when they got home, which they did.  It looks fabulous!  Sid now has all her makeup in the drawers, her necklaces hanging off the glass knob tops, and the perfect place to make that already adorable face even cuter!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There has to be a starting point...This is it.

So I guess, this first post, is the first step, to being an official blogger.  For those of you who don't know me, this is a giant step!  I am putting myself and my passion out there.  What is my passion you ask?  There are many, but this blog, is all about my passion for design.  Growing up in a family of 6 children, there was not a lot of money floating around, but I never wanted for anything.  I can remember watching my Dad create the most amazing things from objects we had laying around the house.  We never threw anything out.  It was always fixable.  Not just to look ok, but Daddy always had a way of making it better.  My Dad can do anything.  To this day, when I complete a project where I have taken nothing and made it into something spectacular, I call my Dad and say "You would be so proud, guess what I did!" or " I wish you could see this.  It reminds me of something you would do."  So my love of taking things that are old, or broken, or tossed aside, grew from a necessity.  It also grew from a love for my Dad and all things that tell a story.  I love old pieces because they tell a story.  I love to listen to my husbands grandma tell stories about her youth and how they use to do things.  She has managed to hang on to objects from her family's history and I think it is important to pass those stories, along with the objects, down.  It is important to know where you come from and how you got to where you are.  As I redo each piece, I wonder about where it came from and what stories it could tell.  My workshop and my paint, are my worship and my therapy.  With each piece I create, a problem has been pondered, a prayer sent up, a good cry has been cried, or a shout of praise has been made.  This blog is my journey to find a voice.  I feel deep in my soul, I was meant to do this, to create.  Here, within these pages, I want to share with you the joy that creating these pieces brings  and the journey to make this dream come true.  It is my desire that each piece reminds you of all the simple things in life.  I want my pieces to help you remember your favorite vacation spot, your best childhood memories, and to slow down.  God has given us one life.  He has given us limitless love.  I hope my journey helps you to remember that.