24 Jan

Stop Stealing My Joy

Hello friends! It’s been a while and I’m sorry. I could spend the first few lines here giving you all sorts of excuses about how busy I’ve been, detail the long lists of projects I’m working on and parade my ever-growing To Do List in your face. Or I could publish a new project post and pretend I never skipped a beat.

But – instead I’m going to get personal. There’s something I’ve had weighing me down for too long and it’s affecting me. It’s seriously depleting my stock of creative juju. My heart isn’t singing as it should be. As much as I’ve tried to think it away, talk it away and pray it away, it’s still there.

And, it’s stealing my joy.

Back when I was dabbling with ideas for this website and deciding how I could put my stamp on the DIY world I remember sitting with a woman who owned a shop uptown, discussing furniture prices. I’d finished my very first painted piece and as a friend suggested took it into Janet’s shop for an opinion. It wasn’t long before the conversation moved beyond my little table to the wonderfully upcycled pieces (that women just like me had created) filling her shop.

A large white cabinet-ish thing caught my attention. The longer I admired it I realized it was constructed of several other salvaged pieces (a dresser, shelves, cabinet doors), painted and married together with new purpose. Now, I had just finished reimagining a curbside student desk to kitchen island so this piece was right up my alley. Janet told me a little about Joy, the woman who had built the cabinet, and showed me a few more of her pieces. I was equally impressed with those and immediately inspired by her work.

I said to Janet “I love how she takes things that no longer serve a purpose, deconstructs them then puts them together to create something entirely new. That’s exactly what I want to do!”

And – that’s how Deeconstructed was born.

But very quickly after I registered my URL and secured all necessary social media accounts my enthusiasm began to wane. Other than Janet’s store there were no other painted furniture shops in town (yet) to sell my soon-to-be-created goods. And, since I wasn’t going to rent/buy space on my own I started a Facebook group and invited all the women Janet had told me about locally. For free, we could all market our pieces in a virtual shopping mall. Janet was the first person on board and got started posting photos of items available in her shop. A couple of the other girls asked if they could join but see what others were posting before jumping in with their own items. One woman sent me a scathing message calling me everything under the sun because, apparently, there was beef between her and Janet.

Oh boy.

That night I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the painted ladies of this town. Somehow my new hobby found me smack dab in the middle of a war between two business owners and their staff. And since Janet was the first to jump on board my flagship venture I had been cast in her army. Seriously, I’d known the woman for 5 minutes. This is precisely why I prefer working with men.

But I digress. Since no one was willing to share their photos or pricing the group never got off the ground. I retreated to the garage, spray paint can in hand, and got to work. I posted my projects here and kept to myself until I got an email one day saying I was mentioned in a public Facebook post. So excited that someone shared my work with their friends I clicked through…

…only to find, instead, that the very woman whose work I so admired was running my name into the ground.

Now listen, if she had commented about my affinity for graffiti art or my naivety of chalk paint then fine, I was open to some constructive criticism. If she was joking about my lack of actual construction skills after years in the industry she’d have been on point. But her comment that I should have my kid taken away because I was a horrible mother and evil person was a tad out of line. Apparently, she’d been reading this blog. And when she came across my Mother of the Year post felt compelled to share her opinion of me with her followers.

In case you don’t want to bother reading that post I’ll give you the jist. I never planned to have kids. I got pregnant. I have a kid. Life goes on. It’s sorta out of my hands ya know? Just like her inability to have kids. It’s not her fault right? And it’s not mine either. But it doesn’t give her the right to be mean.

In my private message to her I asked that she update her post to include the backlink to my story. At the very least, the folks she was rallying for a DCFS visit should read it for themselves right? And, what’s the harm in a few extra pageviews? Instead, she removed my name and website from the post and continued the verbal abuse.

For two fucking years, people. And, yes while I try to be a good Christian there is only so much slander I can take. This chick is here, in my town. And while I’ve never met her she continually posts passive-aggressively in my honor. Not long after our initial conversation I invited her to coffee. I figured if we could just talk for a bit we’d either laugh about the whole thing or agree to disagree. She ignored the request.

I’ve met friends of hers and extended the same invitation through them to her and received no response. Earlier this week, I shared her public status post (pertaining to me) on my newsfeed and responded to her directly. She responded with a slam on my faith, a screen print of my post and her version of the truth. To which, her tribe responded – saying they’d love to have my head on a platter.

What is interesting, actually, is that it turns out she was abused. By her boyfriend. Gee, that story sounds very familiar. If she’d have taken the time to meet me for coffee she might have realized it’s not just our furniture styles we have in common. But, the opportunity to find common ground has passed.

So – I’ve decided – there’s nothing more I can do. I can not care any more. I will not care anymore. And I will not allow this woman to steal my joy. Instead, I will address her one last time, on my terms, on my turf, for all to see. And then, I will move on.

Joy,

Your negativity has no power over me. Say what you want, believe what you want. It’s no longer my issue. I sincerely hope you are able to work through your personal demons. It would be nice if you stopped dragging innocent people down along the way.

Best wishes,

Dee

As I said to another friend, this is not the first woman who has blamed me for her unresolved personal issues and I sincerely doubt she’ll be the last. But it’s not my cross to bear. In time, I will have forgotten the spiteful things she’s said. Once I move, I don’t even have to worry about running into her around town. I will be forever grateful to her for inspiring my work.

Like I tell my son, although you can’t see it all things work for good. Even bad things happen for a reason. Eventually, it all comes out in the wash.

Whew. I feel better already. Let’s get some painting done!

Choose Joy

23 Dec

DIY Lego Table for Her

DIY Lego Table

Just popping in to post some project photos before jumping head-first into a much needed vacation from the workshop. While I realize I have yet to post any of the awesome commissioned projects from last Christmas, I had to get this one up for you to see. Partly because I’m so proud of it but mainly because it’d be poor form to let my client do all the pimping out of my work (even if she is a really good pimp-er!)

Amy tasked me with creating a Lego table for her two daughters. Here’s what I started with (all curb-surfed):

DIY Lego Table

She had her heart set on the Lego table made from a converted dresser that another blogger completed this summer. I {subconsciously} opted to create the exact opposite of Gail’s boy’s table set. (Am I the only one who cringes when a client says “I saw this _____ on Pinterest…??)

After some major refabrication, paint (in official Lego Friends colors) and fabric this is what is patiently awaiting two little girls in the morning:

DIY Lego Table

DIY Lego Table

DIY Lego Table

DIY Lego Table

DIY Lego Table

Think they’ll love it? I sure hope so. As for me, I love that this project is done! Now, to get last year’s projects posted…

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