And yes, how cool is it that Matthew has included several of my favorite blog projects and home vignettes in his magazine. Along with one of my design idols and authors, Mary Emmerling, and new-found designers that I am now loving too.
Lately, I have been enjoying getting out of my comfort zone creatively. Though I studied painting in college, back then we learned to paint with oils. I hated using oils then, and still do. After graduation, as an illustrator, I graduated to acrylics. But I was scared to death of watercolors and ignored them, and the possibilities, until a few weeks ago.
I began painting simple little kitty and doggie caricatures. What a fun, simple pleasure.
For quite some time I have been creating textured finishes and project for Wood Icing®, mostly with Textura Paste. Today, as I was looking through my supplies, I realized that the Wood Icing® Glazes would make the perfect medium to paint my Grandkitty Chuck Norris – or anything really.
Recently I took a day off to play. Something I haven’t done in a year and a half, since I started My Patch Of Blue Sky. I’ve been itching to go back to my roots. My creative roots, that is.
My career as an artist has morphed dramatically over the years, so much so that I have almost forgotten that after I earned my degree in Fine Art, my very first grown-up job was as an illustrator for an education company. During that time I also did a few book covers that are neatly squirreled away in the attic for our future grandchildren to discover some day.
My Pinterest “likes” include dozens of painted animal portraits. How about you? I have been dying to try my hand too, and starting a new business last year kept me from feeling like I had time to make it happen.
The past year has been a blur of activity for me. My Patch of Blue Sky is my second business, and entrepreneurs know that carefree weekends rarely happen, even though weekends are spent doing what we love.
I have been working like a crazy person for clients on locally owned store updates, social media, websites, creative blogging for DIY paint and products. Not to mention developing training materials and traveling. I love it all!
But, I have had to decide what my business IS and what it is NOT. Sometimes figuring out what you are NOT is harder, but ultimately very freeing. Like getting rid of some junk and keeping the good stuff.
Happy New Year!
I can’t believe My Patch Of Blue Sky is one year old. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and this is not my first business venture. I owned a faux finishing business for over 15 years, and I ran a small home décor shop called Feather Your Nest with three dear friends for a few years simultaneously.
It has been a fun year for me, with the worst challenge being that I work at home. I have always loved to leave the house, dressed for the day, to work in a studio or office environment filled with like-minded folks. The dynamic for creativity has now changed. I have to reach within myself, my print and internet resources and connections every day instead of brainstorming with peers in the room together.
Now I work with Lacey Jane, the kitty assistant, who works and snoozes by my elbow at the computer – or on top of my studio work table. We have some quality time, and I talk to her instead of myself.
WHAT DID I DO IN 2014?
Many readers think of me as a DIY project, design and travel blogger. I have been blogging for years, and love to mingle with other bloggers like I did again this year at the Haven Conference.
But, My Patch Of Blue Sky is also my business, and I am often asked what I do, other than blog.
In 2014, I worked with lots of wonderfully talented, dynamic Annie Sloan stockists. Three signed on quickly as my first clients, then the list evolved. We reinvented their existing stores, or designed new ones. We shopped for merchandise at the High Point and Atlanta Markets. I built websites, created email blasts and handled blogs and social media. We did workshops at their locations, and even created workshops for them to teach.
And we laughed, painted, stenciled, lugged furniture, shopped ’til we dropped and loved every minute of it. And I’m pleased to say that they tell me their businesses have grown with my help.
I also designed and wrote dozens of DIY paint and stencil projects for my fabulous clients, Royal Design Studio’s Paint + Pattern, Wood Icing™, Artisan Enhancements and Modern Masters. At times, I wondered if I had one more new idea in my brain, and somehow, the projects flowed!
Now I can say that I have a large portfolio of DIY paint, stencil, and related products to design with that blend beautifully with each other. Lots of exciting potential.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2015?
And who knew that The Colour Inspiration Notebook Canada will launch soon?
In early January, I will introduce The Workshop Store for retailers of DIY products who tell me they always need new, inexpensive, quality project workshops and furniture finishes to satisfy the never-ending demand by their customers. Running a store is daunting enough without the pressure of cobbling together new content.
The first offerings will be compiled from posts I have written for clients like Paint + Pattern and Wood Icing™, with their permission. Then I will add more, often.
Retailers will simply shop by drop-down tabs, choosing according to the product lines they sell.
For pure painting fun, I can’t wait to start the DIY Furniture Finish Design Challenge. So many times I pin stunning painted finish ideas on Pinterest, but how does one DO IT?
So, submit your inspiring photos for me to choose from on Facebook, and I will create a finish designed from the DIY paint and products I know and love.
Then I will share the recipe!
Our den is where we truly live in the evening. We are empty nesters, and admittedly, we eat dinner here, watch movies and sports here, and find ourselves quite entertained by our three calico kitties each night. The fact that red leather furniture and a crusty old red door make up the décor means decorating for Christmas is a snap. In fact, decorating the mantel with lots of natural holly and large branches in the fireplace that stay in place all year is quite speedy.
I have spent many years in the faux finishing and DIY paint worlds. I can’t even begin to count the number of different products I have used. Some I love to use, and others…well, not so much. I am excited today to play with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for the first time. The look is very “me” and the though of pairing it in a project with Wood Icing‘s Textura Paste made me jump out of bed this morning in anticipation of the possibilities.
Recently I posted several times about transforming our three large master bedroom furniture pieces. They are 1970s Danish modern and after many, many years I was so eager to get rid of the orange hue and change to soft, weathered gray. I prepared for my large refinishing project first by using my Color Inspiration Notebook. I created it as a fun tool to assist DIY furniture painting project lovers with color inspiration and selection. The built-in color wheel walked me right through my basic color scheme. It confirmed that I was happy with my accessories and the major teal color, accented with a bit of green and metallics.
The huge dilemma was what to do with the teak – eeekkkk. It seemed to grow more orange every year! The platform bed and two large dressers are loved for their simplicity and have been perfect for storage capacity (there are drawers under the bed).