27 Nov

A Tale of Thanks Giving

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was stuck at the office.

Hours after everyone else had gone home, I braved the cold towards the parking garage, hopped in my new Honda Civic and threw it into drive. As I made my way to the grocery store, I gave thanks for great friends willing to open their home to us the following day.

I was stopping quick for booze. Since Kristin and Mark were providing the food the least I could do was bring the spirits. And after the week I’d had, only the hard stuff would do.

I grabbed my phone to call Dave. The night before we’d had the same, tired argument. The one about me not knowing the difference between five minutes and three hours and him not being my father.

“If I’m not here when you get home it’s safe to assume I’m working late” I chastised him. “You don’t need to worry and you don’t need to check up on me. I’m fine.”

I changed my mind and disconnected the call heading into the store. On the way out I nearly busted my backside on a fresh patch of snow. Surprised by how much had fallen in so little time, I started for home. I didn’t get far before realizing my headlights were covered and I couldn’t see the road. I pulled over and hopped out to brush them off.

Now, I don’t know much about cars but I know they don’t drive themselves so I was more than a little surprised when the Honda lurched forward. Standing in front of the driver’s side I instinctively put my arms out in a vain attempt to stop the car from careening back onto the road.

Just then, a nice woman drove by slowing for the red light. My car was inching forward and soon I was pinned between the two. As I stood pressed against my driver’s side door looking into this woman’s windshield I tried frantically to get her attention. But she was oblivious to my precarious situation.

The light changed. Her car jerked forward and I rolled down the entire side of my car. Just before my face hit cold, wet pavement I crawled around the back end, up the passenger side and grabbed the door handle. The car coasted towards the light as I maneuvered the gear shift from neutral into park.

Standing there in holiday traffic, on the wrong side of my car I suppose I deserved the honks and obscene gestures being served up. I walked around and got back into the car.

Soaked and sore I drove home.

In the garage, a loud *pop* interrupted my thoughts. Apparently, the ass-shaped dent in the driver’s door had worked itself out. The rest of the quarter panel wasn’t so lucky.

I climbed the stairs, passed the living room and set the paper bag on the kitchen counter. Dave was on the couch watching TV. I was over two hours late and he didn’t even bother to ask me why. Men.

We made it to dinner the following day; enjoyed good food and great company. The car got fixed and my bruises healed. My ego, however, is still on the mend.

This happened 10 years ago today. I’m lucky my stupidity didn’t get me killed. I still work later than I plan and Dave still worries about me.

And for that I’m thankful.

14 Nov

How you doing?

I got an email the other day from a reader asking if I had given up writing blog posts and project tutorials. She’d noticed the website redesign (still in progress) and assumed by my latest Facebook posts that I had gone back to work full-time. After assuring her that the blog was still a go (and realizing I completely missed its second birthday last month) I sat down to whip up a new post. And had no idea where to begin…

See, she wasn’t exactly wrong in thinking the focus of this blog had changed, it has. And she wasn’t wrong in assuming I was working full-time again, I am. And if I’m being honest her “its okay to have nothing to say” felt like the out I’ve wanted to give myself for some time now.

But I won’t because, as I told my sister the other day, I am not a quitter.

I am, however, real enough with myself (and complete internet strangers) to admit when something isn’t working. And I guess not saying anything came through as loudly as spilling my guts (which I was avoiding) would have.

And I have plenty to say. So here goes…

What’s going on with the blog design?

I’m still trying to decide exactly how I want the menus set up but the goal was to make navigating this place easier. For you, for me – it’s total b.s. when I can’t even find something I’m looking for so I can just imagine how annoying it is for you to get around. Nevermind what a train wreck it must have looked like to someone new to the site.

When I first jumped into the blog pool I swam around like everyone else who was blogging. After two years of treading water, I realized I can’t stand the format of most blogs. A homepage that dives right into the latest blog post seems about as welcoming as a house where the front door opens into the bathroom. So, the new design offers a foyer of sorts – giving you the option to decide which areas you want to peek in to (or not).

Am I doing any more DIYs?

I don’t necessarily understand/agree with how bloggers use the term DIY. Sure, it’s an acronym for Do It Yourself, but no one seems to have a clear-cut understanding of what “It” encompasses. Since most of my projects are completed for someone else, I like to think DIY stands for “Do It for You.” In that case, yes! I’m pretty much only working on DIY projects.

But as it pertains to things I’m doing myself around my home, notsomuch. Not because I don’t have projects I’d like to/need to get done but because there are only so many hours in a day.

What’s with all the painted furniture?

Full disclosure – I clearly remember dissing people who paint furniture for painting furniture. “It’s a table. You took a white table and painted it blue and it’s still a table. Big whip.” is pretty much exactly what I said a year ago whilst perusing Pinterest. Color me unimpressed.

I’ve since changed my tune – completely. {I also spend no time on Pinterest.} See, painting furniture isn’t hard but all the other stuff that goes along with it – finding, cleaning, restoring, finishing – fascinates me. Done right, painting and/or refinishing a table (and letting it remain a table) is an art form. Done wrong, well, rewards you another chance to get it done right.

Did I get a job?

Yes. No. Maybe? Okay, let’s first decide what exactly a job is. If you’re asking if I am pulling a 9 to 5 gig, away from home in an office – no. Then again, I wasn’t doing that before I started blogging. Who works 8-hour days in construction?? If, what you’d like to know is am I keeping busy for the majority of the day and getting paid for that effort – kinda.

I’ve officially moved my inventory and shop underground and printed business cards. I have a design ready to go for work shirts but haven’t pulled the trigger.

I know the real question you want to ask is…

Are you making money?

Yes. Somewhere along the line I built up a client base and they are keeping me busy with custom pieces. As I type, I have 6 projects I should be working on – one of which is close to being late and another is due by Thanksgiving. This is why I have slacked severely on the blog posts.

Remember the projects I was working on this time last year? No? That’s because I still haven’t gotten the photos edited and loaded up for posting. I suck. I know. And spending 10 days on-site at a commercial project three counties over didn’t help scheduling matters.  But work is work and cash is cash and it all helps in the long run. Besides, sleep is overrated.

Why don’t you sell out of a shop?

Of all the questions I’m asked this one comes up most often. (I lie, “Is your website on Facebook?” is the most frequently asked question but I can no longer spend time explaining how the internet works.) The short answer is because I don’t have to but the real answer is a tad more complicated.

I’ll probably pull an entire post together about this somewhere down the line but know that there is a great deal of overhead built in to the price tags in co-op retail shops. Better are the savings on upcycled/recycled pieces you’ll find at flea markets and vintage fairs and not just because the vendors don’t want to load up and lug the pieces back home. What this means to you is that if I sold out of a shop my prices would increase – by double.

Aside from the upfront costs, I’ve found the local painted furniture scene to be cliquey. I can’t say I’m surprised since it’s made up primarily of middle-aged women. Since I don’t partake in junior high school antics I’ve opted to steer clear of that scene. Plus, I really don’t align myself with the painted furniture party – my skills and experience are much broader and I can (and do) offer more than the competition. So, it doesn’t make much sense to me to rent booth space along side them.

I do, however, support single artist shops and have my sights set on this business plan for the future. #suchatease #spoileralert

So, what now?

For the immediate future I’m going to work my tail off to clear the books of the pending commissions projects. Then, I’m hoping planning to get the last ‘built in’ project here in the house completed. It hit me a few weeks ago that we’ve got less than 18 months left in this house. That may seem like plenty of time but we still haven’t decided where in Colorado we want to go and since I’m still planning to work out of the house and open a shop – we’d better nail down a location. And soon! Plus, houses in our neighborhood are selling in a day. One day – that terrifies me.

If you’ve taken a gander at the photo gallery of raw inventory you know that the basement and garage are full of pieces to be rehashed. I don’t expect to have it all complete before we head out west and keep telling myself it’ll pack better if I don’t. Dave has his heart set on a going away party complete with massive bonfire.

I think he’s just worried I’m going to die and he’ll have to do something with it all. #paybacksabitch

As far as the blog is concerned, I really want to write more. I’ll still post my projects, before and afters and tutorials but I gotta tell ya, I get pretty bored with all the “I did this, then I did that” posts. And if I’m bored with them you’ve got to be dying over there.

So, you may not see as many pretty pictures. And it’s okay if you want to skip over a post or two but I hope you’ll stick around as the site (and my work) evolves. Because you’re pretty much the reason it exists.

Without you I would totally be vegging on the sofa.

Um, thanks?

30 Sep

Under Construction

…bear with me as I make changes to the site. :) In the meantime, you can find me on Facebook (click here). Feel free to make suggestions or share ideas – things you’d like to see on the site – or give other constructive feedback.

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14 Aug

Sound It Out

I don’t know about the rest of you but I love music. Not just the beat or the rhythm but the lyrics themselves. When I have something to say – something really important, more often than not it’s already been said and set to music. If I can’t find the words, just the right song seems to be waiting for me to come across it to fill the void.

A lot of songs, I take to heart. I’ll apply them to my situation and if they fit, they become part of the soundtrack of my life. Typically, Read More

30 Jun

Color Inside the Lines

Build a DIY Paint Booth

There comes a time in every adult’s life when they can no longer shush the aches and pains telling them they are getting old. For the avid DIYer, those grumblings from overworked and under-iced muscles are heard over even the loudest of power tools.

A few weeks ago, the ligaments in my right shoulder and forearm were screaming at me to stop painting. When I could ignore them no longer, I put down my brush, picked up a pencil and sketched up a simple solution to help me work smarter and whine less.

Once it was all worked out in my head, I enlisted the guys’ help to clear out a 9′ x 9′ area in the garage to work in. Read More

24 May

Hot Mess Saturday

I’m heading out to the shop to move some things around. Pretty much everything inside will be moved outside to make room for the walls I’m building. If you’re in the area feel free to drive by and see just how much crap can be shoved into a 2-car garage. If you’re not local, you know I’ll be posting pictures of that hot mess for your viewing pleasure.

Speaking of, Read More