Transitions are hard......As with everything in life, They takes time. Sometimes it feels like an eternity till things change over, or that you can't do them fast enough.....but all things happen in their due time I suppose.
I have been working a ton lately, so I decided to take the weekend off, packed up my Art supplies, and hit the open road heading North Solo to my friend Kamala's resort, Wandawood. That place gives me such peace, surrounded my Michigan's natural beauty.
4 white-knuckled hours later, I arrived and imediately got down to business......
when I say I am taking the weekend off, this does not really mean that I am sitting still.....you know I can never really do that.
My friend is going through some changes too with her mom and has taken over running the resort for her. This is a large endeavor with 2 kids in college, another child in middle school, and 15 cottages to maintain. So I decided to help her re-vamp some of the cottages to make them even more charming than they already are.
We spent the whole weekend sewing, laughing, and painting. it was a ball.
painting with a lake as a backdrop is a beautiful thing......this is not my idea of work.
We spent the first day taking notes and figuring out our plan.
I love how we were able to quickly tranform some of these cottages into amazing spaces with just simple little touches such as changing out a futon cover, adding pillows, or a colorful rug, and an original piece of Art. So Fun!
here is the 'before' photo of the cottage with a plain checkered futon cover, drab rug, and basically plain decor.....click on pics to see them larger.
here is the 'after' photo where we literally made this place look like an Artful retreat with just a few small additions.
the futon really pops against that red floor with the black cover, and the bold graphic pillows accented with that bright green rug. note the bright pillows in the background on the red coverlet.
I also made simple panels to cover the shelves in the kitchen with this cool fabric we found that ties in with the French chalkboard hanging above, making it all seem cohesive.
adding one of my folk art fish above the retro mustard colored stove that still rocks in this kitchen!
I love how those panels look from the living room, this is honestly my most favorite cabin now, I will be staying here next summer, that is for sure. :)
I made 8 folk art fish in all, adding a few of them to different places, a row of them ended up in another cabin on top of a beautiful window over looking the lake along with blue and green striped pillows. we were really happy with how this one turned out as well.
again, simple touches.....
in fact, if you would like to learn how to make one of my simple little folk art fish, you can sign up online here, I am offering a class this saturday, and one the following week as well, so fun! (and Easy!)
besides making fish, and pillows, I also made her a sign....
and we spray painted some chairs to go with the brown and turquoise theme of another cottage.
honestly, we got a TON done in a short amount of time, I only had a few photos of these two cottages, but we transformed more than 6 or 8 of them. seriously!
In fact, I did some of my own transforming at the shop before I left....painting the hallway a bright poppy colored red....folks, yes, I am on a ROLL.
In fact, I've been going through a lot of personal changes myself, so it's no wonder the shop is as well. So this week now that I am back home, and back to reality ...Life is ALL about Changes and Transitions.
I am not the best at making decisions, sometimes it takes years for me to 'get it'
for things to sink in, othertimes I can make snap decisions and be quite impulsive. But this one finally just seems right.
Ultimately my shop has always been about the Art. It's what got me started in the first place years ago, got me some attention, and beside my family, is truly my first love. all of the other stuff is secondary. But, being the people pleaser that I naturally am, I spent a great deal of time, energy, and money trying to sustain the retail portion of it to please my customers.
I have decided to no longer do that.
I can't tell you how many times I have had customers come into my shop ONCE a year and ask me why I don't have a particular hand lotion in stock.....or have people tell me they "love this shop at Christmastime!" or the people that come in once during Art fair each year for my sale items that are marked far below 75% off and try to get me to come down more on my price, telling me they are "really good customers" while in the same breath make comments about how my shop has really downsized and doesn't look as 'full'. There are also the customers who are unhappy that I don't have more handmade pillows in stock so they can come in a use their groupons to buy something at half price that took me hours and sometimes days to complete.
I wonder if they ever think about these things they say.
Well, after 7 years, and a flagging economy, a person can only take so much.
A shop cannot survive on customers that come in once a year. and only during Christmas or sale time.
While I don't want this to seem like a gripe session, because honestly, the good FAR OUTWEIGHS the bad, I felt the need to spill this......to give you a little view from my perspective. when you put your heart and soul into something, these things can eat away at you over time.
That is if you let them.
I have made many long lasting friendships, and built a customer base of people that are genuinely wonderful. customers that I love dearly and would bend over backwords for. It's for these people that I have kept my doors open as long as I have. I have a serious feeling of commitment to you people, I would never want to disappoint you. I'm told all the time how I 'can never close, because Ann Arbor would lose a Treasure'. So it's for these people, you people, that I continue to carry on.
BUT, I am changing it up a bit to take care of myself as well.
I am not your normal type of retail establishment. My family and my friends come first. and when I say that, I consider a lot of you that have been here with me from the beginning my friends. you mean a lot to me.
Just know I am one woman running this place, handling emails, cleaning, painting, waiting on customers, and creating. I have decided to focus soley on my Art work, and teaching classes. it's what people seem to want, and what makes me the happiest.
yes, this took me years to figure out.
You can buy a lotion or a book anywhere, but you can't buy an original painting, or a Pillow made out of a recycled sweater many places, so it's that what makes me unique that will be my primary focus.
So as I transition the shop to more handmade goods,
and a dedicated class room where I will share my skills,
(in fact there are some classes online to sign up for here :)
I hope you will be a little patient with me, I am going as fast as I can.....
I have a head full of ideas....sewing, Painting and crafting into the wee hours to fill my shelves up with things that I enjoy producing, That I hope you will enjoy owning, because they have been made with true love, heart, and two hands. you really can't say that about something massed produced in China as far as I am concerned and in the end, that is what is truly important to me.