Who knew the can of worms I was opening when I decided to take myself and my business seriously and redesign my studio space? Who knew that it would turn into such a huge project and become a major emotional journey? I figured it would be an easy one-month project, simple and fun. But nope! Not so much! (Though it was fun.)
My main goal for this project was, of course, taking myself seriously. This is very difficult for me since I suffer from an extreme case of Lack of Confidence-osis. I tend to dip my toes into something and never venture any further because I worry that I just can’t do it. I felt that turning my messy, ugly studio into a functional and beautiful workspace would send all the right messages to myself (“I can do it,” “I deserve it,” and “I’m confident, organized and inspired“) and become a place where my energy was uplifted and brightened so I could, in turn, put this energy into my products and share it with my customers.
I sketched a diagram of how I wanted to use the room, where each “station” would be and what kinds of furniture I would need to suit each space. I found a beautiful vanity table with a mirror and a chest of drawers that matched at Patina’s, my favorite antique shop here in town. The handles on the vanity were hideous plastic bars that I replaced with prettier, metal handles. I removed the mirror and put it on the dresser, which now serves as my shipping station.
I started buying a few items here and there and making (or improving) some. For instance, I…
…painted an old picture frame green and painted the glass with chalkboard paint to use for my to-do list.
…bought a beautiful fabric-colored Y from The Hen’s Den.
…bought my first official piece of art, a stunning painting by Stephanie Ryan (next to the chalkboard).
…bought a magnetic calendar, painted it yellow (it was black) and added beautiful number and letter magnets from Colorstory Designs.
…changed the fabric cover on my bulletin board (though I’ve yet to figure out what to hang on it).
…lined my black bookshelf with osnaburg, which both brightens it up significantly, but also gives it a more rustic appearance, which I love.
…bought a beautiful, deep turquoise mirror from Vintage Chichibean to make the room as bright as possible (in the picture with the chalkboard).
…pulled out my collection of depression glass plates to use as saucers for my potted herbs. I absolutely LOVE the rainbow of colors.
…purchased the most beautiful mouse pad I’ve ever seen – a scene of Paris with a bicycle! Yes, a bicycle! I got this from Marci Ann Designs.
And the piece de resistance… I wanted to capture the message I was trying to send myself with actual words. You may remember the video I posted on the last entry about my studio – cutting out letters on a CNC. No one ventured a guess on what it might be, so here it is:
This is the project that took the longest, but not just because it required my friend, an amateur machinist, to help me, and not just because it was so labor intensive. It took a long time because I simply procrastinated getting it done. I can’t even exactly explain why, except to say that I kept asking myself, “Can I [do it]?” This is when things started getting interesting and the entire process slowed down to a snail’s pace.
It took two weeks to paint the pieces, cut and fit the decorative paper, add rustic edging with ink, find the right flowers and vintage buttons for embellishments and acquire and attach the mounting brackets for the back of each letter. Throughout the entire process, I was wrestling with some intense self-doubt. I stopped setting goals for Five Seed, I halted all my previous attempts to expand and things got really slow and quiet.
But as I struggled through this, I kept telling myself to believe in those words. I had been drawn to create them for a reason and that reason is that I am a capable, creative person who can do anything I set my mind to. The trick is setting the mind.
I worked through the resistance as best I could, some days being more productive than others. And once my day job ended for the summer, suddenly, I kicked into high gear. (It is amazing what you can do when your time isn’t split into two separate schedules!) I finished the last few details of the room and started getting back to work. I was delighted to find that the room works very well and though things still get pretty messy, they aren’t nearly as bad as before. I’m always happy to come into this room, rather than stressed, as I used to be.
And best of all, I’ve found that this look has somehow transformed my Etsy shop, as well. Several weeks ago, I sat down to take some pictures of new products and decided to try using my antique desk as a background, rather than the flour sack towels I usually use (which, as it turns out, don’t photograph as well as I’d thought they would). In a moment of inspiration, I took my DIY chalkboard off the wall and put it in the background and viola! Just the look I was going for – farmhouse chic! I couldn’t believe it. I spent the next three days taking new pictures of EVERYTHING in the line (except a few items I am considering discontinuing). And so the redesign is expanding and continues on!
I have more to do in the “IRL studio.” I want to add a banner or something similar to the walls above the two desks. I also need to paint my old desk, which is in a sorry state. But that will probably have to wait until next summer. Finally, I want to add one more osnaburg-lined black bookshelf to the other side of the window to use for products that need to set and orders waiting to go to the post office.
As for the CAN DO, I can’t say I’ve made peace with my beautiful letters. Sometimes, they feel very aggressive and I get frustrated with myself for not having more confidence. But every day is a step in that direction and getting there slowly is better than not getting there at all.
So onward I go!