Friday, January 22, 2016

Finished studio!

Creating an inviting, inspiring studio space was a lot of work. A lot more than I expected. But it was TOTALLY worth it. I've been heads down buying furniture (all second-hand), painting it to unify the pieces, finding storage items, and organizing everything. And now I'm head over heels in love with my studio. I love being in this space. I'm ready to work.  

When I moved to Hong Kong, I hadn't planned on moving back to the US. I sold everything I owned. If I knew I was going to come back I would have stored my furniture. I have some pieces I really miss and would have loved to have in my home here in Florida. When I returned to the US, I didn't have enough energy to collect furniture organically the way I like to do it. So, I just bought everything from Pottery Barn. Then I went through another phase where I downsized again (sold the majority of the furniture I had just bought) and moved into a 5th wheel camper. Until I tired of that and moved back into a house. 

Now I'm renting a 2,300 square foot town home. I love this space. It's a beautiful home. Since I spend 80% of my time here, it's nice to have a little more space for rattling around in. I struggled to find my new style here in Florida. I missed the southwestern style I had collected over 9 years in Texas. I haven't been able to find pieces here in Florida that match that style. So, I just started collecting pieces I really liked. Craig's list, antique shops, flea markets, architectural salvage shops, thrift shops, cast-offs from family. 

I had a lot of pieces, but the theme wasn't unified yet. Living in Florida, so near the Atlantic and beautiful pieces, I wanted a coastal theme, but without all the beach motifs. So, I elected to create this through color. I have my own fabric collection printed through Spoonflower and this provided the jumping off point for developing the theme. I started painting furniture and it wasn't until I bought a dark turquoise dresser off Craig's list that the theme really started to emerge. The coastal theme I wanted to pull off emerged through using blues in all different hues and tints, just like the water. I add splashes of green to break it up and crisp whites to offset it, as well as contrasting browns. 

A vintage window as decoration on top of my hutch. I just finished painting this hutch an Annie Sloan duck egg blue and old white. I love how this turned out. The primitive hutch was a perfect match for the paint. The paint highlights the beautiful texture of the old wood. The hutch actually has doors on it, but I liked the hutch better right now with the doors off. 

I still have some tweaking to do with how the supplies are organized, but the organization items are from Hobby Lobby. I have been eyeing up these different small storage bins and they are perfect for craft supplies. They recently had all of these bins for 50% off so I snagged several different ones. I like that every piece is different which adds character to the storage. I'm not really a matchy matchy type of person. I found some pieces from antique shops like the vintage yellow tool drawer in the bottom left below. I also really love the wire bins for visibility from Magnolia Market (Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper's online shop), although the bins I liked the most are apparently sold out. These will be great if I start doing shows or have a little booth somewhere.

From an organization perspective, I used the KonMari method (wow! I wrote that post six months ago!!! that's how long this process has been going on) for organizing my supplies. I need to get my label maker and then everything will be super organized and findable. I've been trying to keep negative space between the different organizing bins. I find it easier and more pleasant on the eyes when it's not all crammed together and on top of each other. Which means I still have some editing and reducing to do.

I found a punched tin mirror, which is one of the items I missed from my Texas style. The bistro set is from an antique shop in Kansas. I recovered the chairs with my own fabric and spray painted. The kiln is on a rusted out typing table that I found at the flea market for $10. The locker basket below the kiln is another Magnolia Market find. The Island Time sign is a $10 find from the flea market.

The table below is an English pub table. While I love the dark wood, it was really weighing down the space. So I painted the bottom a pale green (hard to see in this photo). I recovered the six chairs that came with it with my own fabric and painted them white. I put two chairs up in one of the guest rooms and then balanced this table with an eclectic inclusion of Spanish style leather chairs that I found at an architectural salvage company. I'd really like a bigger table for this space, but for now, this is perfect.

The cream couch is a $75 find at the thrift store. It was in excellent condition and makes a nice space for contemplation and relaxation. The side table was a beautiful piece from an antique store in Florence, SC. I painted it this bright turquoise and now the multiple shades of blue make more sense in this space.

The bright green dresser was another Craig's list find. It houses all of my shipping materials.

And now I have a studio space that is conducive for creating!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Setting up the studio

I went dark again! I switched roles at my day job and that has been consuming a lot of my time and energy. I also decided I wasn't motivated the way my studio was currently set up. Everything in this space is tan/beige. At night it feels dark and closed in. So, I decided I needed my studio bright and inviting. So, I dove into painting all the furniture into light and bright and motivating (to me) colors. Blues, whites, and greens. 

The dark furniture was really heavy. 

Vintage white and Charleston blue. 

Work in progress and starting to stock the shelves. I'm in the process of sorting out what I can still do as a renter in my current studio and what I need to put away until I move into a house I own.

More work in progress. Found some fabulous leather Spanish style chairs at a cool architectural salvage place up in Jacksonville.

Significant progress! Table is almost done. I just wiped down the top with mineral spirits. Will need to varnish it tomorrow.

I really love the chairs! I reupholstered these with my own fabric. It's a fun bohemian look with different patterns in the same color way.

I'm also trying to make the storage on the shelves attractive and practical. I've been obsessing over Fixer Upper and the farmhouse, industrial, shabby chic vibe. So, I've been checking out the cool architectural salvage, antique shops, flea markets, and the craft stores for items for storage and it's all coming together.

I need to take pictures during the day so the colors show up better, but in a way, I like the evening pictures... this is the light I spend doing my art, so now you see why I needed a brighter, lighter environment. I have more plans for painting and organizing and it's coming along! Yay!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Resident Adventures - Florida Edition

Lately I've been delighting in resurrecting the idea of being a Resident Adventurer. After I had lived in Hong Kong for a year, I was in a state of "in-between"...I wasn't a native, I wasn't a tourist...I was a Resident Adventurer. I've been continuing to move and am now living in my 10th state. I've been trying to bring the idea of becoming an adventurer in my own back yard. 

It looks like I'll be sticking around Florida for a while. It took me a good year to settle in a feel like home. There are elements that made me feel at home immediately because it mixes elements of two places that I have very fond memories of - Texas and Hong Kong. Florida has the flatness (even flatter) of Texas and the weather of Hong Kong. Who knew Florida could be my version of a TexKong? (It's really hard to make up a compound phrase out of Texas and Hong Kong. Texarkana or Texhoma are a wee bit easier.)

These beaches make it easy to adventure. I mean, seriously? How cool is this? It's October!

And my favorite part - my little buddy that adventures with me. This little mischief-maker who likes to take herself on her own adventures if she can escape the fence in the yard (scared me half to death two weeks ago... grandpa fixed the fence so she can't do that anymore), will walk for 2 hours around the beach with me. After the first wave scared her a wee bit, she'll walk in the shallows with no issue whatsoever. 

I thought I wore her out.

But after a 5 minute Trix-nap, she was fine. Too bad for me.

Where are you Resident Adventures?

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Ain't that the way it goes,
Always stumbling into something,
Life's an open road,
You gotta take it,
If you just let go,
Lose your way to find that one thing
You've been missing
You almost missed it all
- "The Way it Goes," Gloriana

Songs that Speak to Me

There is something about the lyrics in Gloriana's 2009 song that really speak to me about my life's journey and my creative exploration. Sometimes getting lost leads to the best breakthroughs!

Texture & Patina - Where I Started

When I started the Texture & Patina collection, I took my cue from the colors in the photographs I took. Then I modified the colors a bit to capture more of what I really wanted. The core design that really struck my fancy was the textured plaid. 

I then added fruit designs with Zentangle inspired doodling in them. My mom thought the fruit made it country-ish. I think I agree.

I'm really torn between the above plaid and the Zentangle inspired background below.


And then I moved to Florida and wanted beach inspired decor. I started with the plaid that I loved so much and just fell in love with the coloring. So, I kept going and created a total of 8 color ways to expand the Texture & Patina Beach Bright collection. There are 12 designs in 8 colors coming over the next three months.

Your turn:

Have you ever "pivoted" creatively? Were you happy with the results? Or disappointed?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

8: Review

Previous Post - 7: Flex - acknowledge changes and adjust

Principle #8: Review

At the end of your self-defined window of time, you take some time to reflect (ideally with your support team), figure out what’s working, what isn’t, think of ways to make it work for you.

At the end of every time box, reflecting on your progress continuously and how you can continue to improve, estimate more accurately, figure out what works for you, what doesn’t. Rework your art. Rework your progress board. How often have you had to change priorities.

Tweak the System

Another area that is ripe for change and adaptation is this process itself! You don’t like sticky notes? Try note cards. Maybe you like technology better than sticky notes? There are a whole host of tools like Trello, Rally, VersionOne, LeanKit, that mimic the paper version. (You can look up Scrum or Agile tools and find a whole host of tools with free subscriptions for individuals.) Maybe this process doesn't quite work for you or sort of does, but you still need a little better task management with a virtual team, so a tool like Asana for virtual team and sticky notes for personal work might be best. Or create your own art and sticky notes. You don’t like coordinating the sticky notes? Mix ‘em up? The whole process is up for grabs for you to tweak and adjust until you are happy with it.

Beyond this system

It might even worth the time to set up a regular (quarterly?) review of your overall business and make sure everything is still working for you. 

  • Does this still work?
  • Is my pricing strategy still working?
  • Is my shipping process efficient?
  • Etc.

Grow the System

If your business grows, you start planning for a large order, a show, or you have some kind of large influx of business, you may need to make modifications to grow this system. If you get to a point where you feel angst and stress, maybe you're finding you have outgrown the system. If you get to this point, let me know! This is great "problem" to have. We can figure out ways to grow the system to meet your new news. This process works with teams of 10 to organizations of 100's.

Changing the System

Nothing in here is required. These are merely a set of guidelines we use (with adaptation) in corporate project management. This process has been adapted to work for the individual and personal time management. I am personally always adapting to see what works best for me and for the teams I work with. The same goes with this system for you. Do what works best for you!

Wherever you are at right now, just take time to sit and think about your feelings towards the process. Do you still feel comfortable? If so, great! Maybe the changes only need to be minor, if at all. 

If you are feeling angst or stress, try to pinpoint what makes you uncomfortable and try some things to change it. It is possible you need make changes: this process is geared to a small scale and maybe you need to figure out how to grow this to handle bigger projects. We run into this same issue technically. You never know until you move forward. Sometimes we know more when we get into the process and if we DID go down a wrong path, we'll take some time to "refactor" (or redo). You know the best for you.

You did it! Are you going in the right direction?

Are you still aligned with your company Mission and Vision? Do you have a Mission and Vision for the product itself? Is the product and your company still aligned? Are you Life Priorities being impacted by your work? If so, are there some adjustments you can make in your work habits to maintain your Life Priorities? Or is hyper-focus and extra time acceptable to your family while you are launching your Product?

Take a few minutes to celebrate your forward movement! You did it! Reward yourself with one of your fun ideas. Take a breather to rejuvenate, get yourself ready and move forward.


At 2 months, we start grooving along, at 5-6 months, we plateau. Either it's getting stale, boring, rote or we're running into real technical problems that the process can't solve. This is when angst, discord, frustration starts manifesting itself on the team. In the case of art, it would be with creative or process issues. Or growing pains! Try to get into a pattern of constantly renewing, revamping, and trying new things at the end of each time box.

Sometimes I let the discordant feelings sit with my teams. Sometimes I look for ways to shake things up. It depends. But one thing important to note: there is never a "destination" in this process. It's always a journey of constantly trying and tweaking.

Thank you for following along in the basic process of using Sticky Note PM (aka Personal Kanban) for your processes. I will continue to talk about Agile and different aspects of it in the creative environment in future posts.

Table of Contents for the Sticky Note PM Program