Thursday, January 23, 2014

Becoming an Entrepreneur

On Friday morning I am speaking to three different groups of Jr. High School students for their Career Day. 

Rather than talking about the shop, I am going to share about what it means to become an entrepreneur and how you can turn your passions into your business.
Passion #1:

Painting Furniture

Who doesn't like a bunch of good before and after photos?

 Passion #2


Passion #3


Passion #4


Passion #5


Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Foothills Burning

I've never written about my "old life" on my blog. After all, this has been a decorating and refinishing site. It never seemed relevant to reference my previous work experience or talk about what I used to do. 

But, today is just the day to share a little bit about my pre-knot too shabby life.

You see, this morning at around 6:00, we were awoken to a barrage of sirens and helicopters flying so close that the house shook when they were overhead. A little while later, my husband yelled from the bathroom, "DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT?" He had the radio on and heard about the fire. 

 We headed outside to see what the fuss was about. That was the view from my front porch.

You could see flames from our house of the beautiful Foothills (much more vivid than pictured).

It's been over six years since I quite my job to stay home with the kids. When I hear the fire engines, see the smoke and listen to the radio, six years later, I have a pang of longing to go back to work.

That's me, in uniform
I used to work for the Anaheim Fire Department in the Emergency Services Office. I managed and trained city volunteers in disaster response (CERT). I trained city employees, community members, teachers, business owners and even kids. Together with fire fighters, police officers and other professionals, we had an extensive crew of volunteers who were trained to help coordinate emergency events. 

In 2007, I  responded to the Command Post for the Santiago Canyon Wildfire. I remember getting the phone call at about midnight that responders and volunteers were being activated. I was in my home office, calling volunteers to respond to the event with a 9-month old sitting on my lap wondering what on earth we were doing up at 2:00 am. 

Then, I loaded up my gear to head to the Command Post for 12-hour shifts. My gear included a fire jacket, uniform, badge and breast pump. 

Amidst the chaos of fire, an event like that was what we all trained to respond too. There was an excitement and anticipation to put training to use and be involved in the response effort.

So, as I hear sirens this morning, see flames licking away at the foothills and hear about the Middle School being closed to be used as the Command Post, I have this odd longing to go check it all out. 

Instead, I'm checking it out from a to speak. 

Literally, watching someones house burn just a few short blocks from knot too shabby. 

I know many people who have been evacuated from the hundreds of homes surrounding north Glendora. A fair amount of our city has been displaced today, and some will return to nothing but ashes. 

Please pray for the first responders, that they escape injury and for those who have lost their homes. And, pray for a relief in the abnormal hot weather we are having. We are expecting mid-80 degree temps today with high winds this afternoon. Ideal conditions for a fire storm. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Luxembourg Day 9-My last day

It seems strange that I've been home from my trip to Europe for a couple of weeks and I am finally just now writing about my last day. I'm committed to writing about the entire trip, if for no other reason than to preserve my own recollection of all that I did.

My last day in town took us to the oldest city in Germany, Trier. Trier at one time was part of the Roman Empire and boasts some gorgeous ruins. 

The Porta Negra sits empty now, but in its former life has stood as a military front to the city and a chapel.

The stonework is so old and worn, it looks as though it's survived a fire. 

Inside, the stone carvings are beautiful. It's hard to believed they were carved so long ago. 

At the far end of the Porta Negra, we visited a large Cathedral.

Then, we headed to another site of some early Roman Empire ruins. 

There was some great shopping in Trier.

I found a fabulous antique book store that had awesome antique maps. I bought a vintage map of Paris from 1865 for my sister and snagged this United States map from the late 1800's that is marked entirely in German. 

Then, we cruised by this Antique Store and stopped in to check out everything from furniture, glassware, name it, they had it by the boat load. 

All in all, Germany was one of my favorite places, due in part to the fact that I was able to recover a fair amount of what I learned way back when in High School and College and speak some of the language. At least, enough to say, "Ich spreche sehr kleine Deutsch. Sprechst du English?" 

Antique Postcards, Image Transfers and Furniture

When I went to Europe in December, I had a list of things that I wanted to find.

1. European Grain Linen
Didn't find any. The closest thing I brought back was antique liner fabric that had been turned into tea towels and table runners. I bought three of them to give as thank-you souvenirs to those who helped with my kids while I was gone. And, I kept one for myself.

2. Dough Bowls
I found tons of those. And they were cheap!!! Compared to the ones you find in the states, anyway. I bought one small one and have it for sale in the shop.

3. Furniture..
Which, I knew I wouldn't be able to bring home with me but I wanted to check styles and prices to see if it would even be a possibility to ship back in the future. 

4. Anything French

What I found in abundance was ephemera.

Stacks and stacks of awesome antique papers.

I bought over 100 antique postcards that date back from the late 1800's all the way to the 1950's. They are all in French or Dutch.

My eye was drawn particularly to the ones that had been written on.

I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with them, other than sell them in little sets. But, as I was going through them on the airplane, I was seeing these images transferred on dressers, desks, buffets and tables. 

I have a stencil with the stamped postage stamp that is used on furniture. But, how much better is using the real thing. An actual vintage postcard, with a real vintage stamp and a real handwritten another language!?

My first weekend back in the US, someone stopped by the shop and sold me a set of desks.

Not my favorite style, but the long flat surface on top was too perfect to transfer a postcard. After nearly three weeks away from a paint brush, I couldn't wait to tackle a project using what I brought back from Europe!

I painted the top in Old White and did the entire base in Louis Blue.

I used a lot of dark wax on it to give it that old, worn look of parchment paper.

I transferred the backside of one of my vintage postcards on the top.

I picked one that had some writing on it, but not too much. 

Straight dark wax was applied in some areas while a mix of clear and dark were added elsewhere to help blend the colors.

I could really go crazy with transferring all of the book images and postcard images on furniture. I'm trying to reign it in a bit, though. 

As I mentioned, I have sets of these vintage postcards for sale in the store. They come in a set of five for just $10. I will also be adding digital files of these images in my etsy store over the next couple of months so that they can be downloaded digitally and used for all sorts of projects. 

It all takes time, though. I will be sure to update facebook when those become available! 

If you are interested in learning how to do this image transfer process, Michelle E. Black our resident image transfer artist has a workshop coming up on January 25th and again in February. Check out our workshops page for more info!

How would you use these old postcards in your decorating?
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