I've been having a hard time keeping up with my blog posts lately. The dreaded Tax Season is upon us and I'm trying my best to keep myself focused on getting my spreadsheet and receipts organized and wrapping my head around all this. It is my very least favorite part of owning a business and always instills fear in me. I find every excuse in the book to get up from my desk and do something else.
In the meantime, Susan and I are off to the Cape today for two consultations. It's a lovely Spring-like day here in the Boston area, so we are excited to get out in the fresh air and do this road trip. First, we will visit a farmhouse in Wareham, Ma to look at a kitchen floor. This client is interested in a splatter paint technique. Next, we will venture on to Hyannis to view a bedroom, livingroom and some furniture at a condo.
So, as you may have noticed, I did a little work today on this site. I can't tell you how painfully long it takes me to make changes to this site, which is why I undertake this task so infrequently.
I decided to give the blog a new Banner. For this I used a photo of myself in one of my favorite pair of paint overalls (note my pinned buckle). Although I did buy 2 new pair some time ago, my oldest ones are still my most favorite ones. Getting the lettering on there and the whole thing to fit into that space is what took me forever.
My next agonizing job was to find an updated photo of myself. My brother Chris took some absolutely horrid pictures of me at Christmas, so I could/would not use those! It was quite a challenge to find a recent head shot of myself where my neck did not resemble a Turkey's Neck. I just recently realized how wrinkled my neck is, how droopy my eyes are now, and how "jowellie" I've become. I much prefer to look at myself in the mirror before I put my glasses on. I am now at that age where I must hold my head up and at a certain angle when my picture is being taken. Candid shots are quite frightening.
Finally, I did some work on the links in the sidebar. Some of them no longer worked, I added a few new ones and deleted some. I still have a few more I want to add, but just cannot work on this site any longer. I need to get my January/February e-newsletter out, so on to that.
In my constant battle to find places to put all of my "things" in this small room, I decided to hang my large Faux Marquetry floor samples on the wall. I patched all the holes that were left when I took down some pictures and touched up the spots with the base paint. Next, I went to Home Depot and bought two pieces of corner molding, cut to the size I needed. I used some Stain and Seal I had in my studio to stain the wood and then nailed the pieces to the wall to use as long, shelving. Now my samples are not lying around getting damaged and act as art work on my walls. Modello's were used for all of the sample designs shown here. You can read more about these samples in a previous post here.
Another project I finally got around to completing is this door. The door was a great score a few months ago, that someone had put out in the trash on their sidewalk in my neighborhood. I had been looking for a door that had these panels, so I could use some for chalkboards and others for bulletin boards. This was a very quick and easy project that cost me nothing but my labor. The door was free and the homeowner even helped me put it into my car. I had an opened roll of adhesive backed cork in my studio that is so old I don't even remember why I bought it in the first place. (Because it was soooo old, I had to spray the back with some spray adhesive to get it to stick.) The cork was cut to fit 2 of the panels and applied. I painted the remaining three panels with some chalk board paint I also had in my studio. I had a magnetic strip tacked on my wall before, so I decided to add this to the door. Now I have 3 different functions all on this one door: bulletin board, magnetic strip and chalkboard. As you can see, it did not take me long to fill it right up!
With September almost here, I made my annual pilgrimage to Staples for my "back to school" supplies. Although I no longer have a school aged child and I myself am not currently in school, I always like to re-group and re-organize myself for the Fall.
With a stack of magazines piling up, I am going through them, ripping out the pages that I want to save and putting those in protective pages in notebooks for future reference. It's a task you just have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle! I try to do a little every day, so it's not so overwhelming.
I also decided to take some photos, etc. off of this wall, so had to repair the many holes. :-( I will sand and touch up today.
My home office gets messier and messier during this re-organizational process, which always drives me crazy! It does, however, make me finish this task much quicker, so I can get back to business!
I finally had some office time on Monday and was able to finish my overdue May/June e-newsletter. This month focus is on three different glass techniques and sport theme rooms. It typically takes me about 3 hours from start to finish to pull the newsletter together. I find it hard to sit at the computer that long so I wander about the house doing a few miscellaneous projects to give myself a break. My clients do seem to enjoy getting the newsletter in their email boxes and I get some great feedback from them, which keeps me motivated to research topics for more issues. If you would like to subscribe, you can do so by clicking on the box in the right hand sidebar.
Today I am having an Office Day, or at least half day, to do some promotional work while I am waiting for some moldings to be put back up at the job site where I was working last week.
I designed this 4" x 6" postcard about two weeks ago, using Vista Print. I have mentioned Vista Print here before because I use them often for my business cards and all promotional materials. They are inexpensive, fast and the quality is great for the money. This promotion is for the four Learning Zone Day Care Centers where I have done quite a bit of mural work.
The back is black and white, with a $50 credit toward any Sports Themed Mural commissioned now thru the end of May. I think this would be a great Father's Day gift for some sports loving dad!
I am going to drop these off at the four locations later this morning.
While I was on the Vista Print website, I was fooling around designing a baseball cap for myself. :-)
Wednesday I spent most of the day with my friend and fellow decorative painter, Chris Smith, meeting with a designer about a job we've been proposing for the past few months. I will go into more detail IF we actually get this job.
I am still fighting a head cold, so am not at my best this week. I decided to scale back the remainder of this week a bit to relieve some stress, rest a little more and work a little less. Today I finally finished my tax prep and was able to sneak into my accountants office without him seeing me, to drop it all off. :-)
This afternoon, a fair amount of time was spent cleaning up my desk and opening lots of mail. I also put in an S.O.S. call to a friend of mine to see if she might be interested in taking on some of my office work a few hours each month. It has gotten to the point where I feel I spend too much time doing data entry tasks and computer related tasks that someone else could be doing for me. I think my time would be better utilized doing more creative work and this would generate more business as well. I'm feeling stretched in too many directions.
Tomorrow I will return to finish up in the Laundry Room and Back Hall, but still have one more new project to sort out in the Back Hall. If I did not have to spend so much time opening mail and pulling tax info together I would have already sorted out the details of the new project!
We had another snow storm yesterday, so I stayed inside most of the day, cleaning up the piles on my desk. I wish I could say I am making great progress with getting my Tax Prep work done, but that is not going so well, so far. I will make an honest attempt to work on that today. I have been catching up on some of my favorite blogs, shoveling more snow, and talking with clients about their upcoming jobs.
February's projects are shaping up and looking like a lot of fun. On deck, I have a ceiling in a Master Bath I've been dying to do; some new themes to add to the addition that is being completed at one of the Learning Zone Day Care Centers; the kitchen project that has been on hold forever (waiting for cabinet maker!), a laundry room, mudroom and maybe a kitchen cabinet job. That should keep me busy enough and give me more interesting topics to write about than office work and snow shoveling!
My sample boards are done and approved for the kitchen, laundry and mudroom. I need to go pick up my samples for that Master Bath and tweak them a bit. I also need to spend some time doing a few rough sketches for the day care center, so that's how I will be spending my time for the remainder of this week. I hope to get out to see the kitchen cabinet job Friday morning so I can determine what's going on there.
Today I also did some research about getting Commercial plates on my vehicle. Since I have to change my license plate I decided I might as well get one that means something to me, so I may go for a Vanity Plate! I've never had one of those before. I want it to be work related, so am exploring a few options. Here in Massachusetts you can only have 6 letters on the plate. You can use numbers, but only at the end of the letter configuration. The plate has to begin with a minimum of two letters and you can't put a number in the middle of the letters like: pay8tr, which would have worked great! :-( I'll let you know what I end up with.
Continuing on with my theme of "Tasks I Hate to Tackle", I am chaining myself to my desk today to face my spreadsheet. This, I know, is something I should be doing, at least quarterly throughout the year. But, because I find it so boring, I always quickly migrate to something much more fun.
Warning, these sites can be hazardous to your productivity!
And speaking of themes... although there is not much creative painting happening here this week, I am running an "Embellished Stenciling" theme over at the blog I share with Julie, Stencil Talk. Some incredible work will be featured throughout the week, showing just how creative and elegant stenciling can be on walls, ceilings and fabric! This Chinoiserie stencil design by Helen Morris, embellished with crystals, is just one example.