Monday, May 6, 2013

Open For Business

Opening day for All Things New Studio
Saturday was a big day for All Things New Studio. It was the very first day to open! I got lots of positive feedback on the pieces, which was a real confidence and faith builder. I am excited to learn, grow, develop and be a better steward of any talents God gives to me. This post is going to be a short one today. I think I am worn out from last weekend, so anything more I write probably won't make much sense. It's all new to me and as I am somewhat naturally introverted, I am not used to much attention so I am trying to process it all. I did want to write something, though! Here is a fun flashback from where it was back in January...

and again, now...

By God's grace, I hope to keep growing, improving, and developing more the style and voice that God has created in me. I am so encouraged at how far I've come in the last few months, all the things I've learned about paint and furniture and wood, etc. I really look forward to the time I will get to look back on this time and smile at how far I have come from "that first Saturday I nervously opened in a storage unit with a bunch of crackle painted furniture and experiments." 

All this is a bunch of stuff, but I like fixing it up during this season of my life because it helps me meditate on what God does in my own life. To know that as messed up as I feel sometimes, God is bigger than that and sees me as beautiful and purposeful and makes me new and full of life again through His grace, forgiveness, and kindness each day, bit by bit. The whole process is reminding me and teaching me so much in this regard. It's good to know it's sometimes messy getting to the end result. So glad I do not have to be perfect, or have what others would consider an ideal life, or even a perfect mindset for Him to work and allow me to grow and to be used for His purposes. I am veeeerrrry slowly learning this, but I am learning and it is starting to get more freeing. I could wrap this up in a nice neat, bow, but this story is not finished for sure...

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Business Cards - Old Grocery Bags

Today I finally finished my business card design. I have been working off and on on it for months now. I was about to go to somewhere fancy today and pick out some paper for it - but I saw an old grocery bag and thought, "Hmmm, why not just use this for the paper? How fitting would that be? Why not use paper that most people don't think twice about tossing aside? Not only would it save money, but I think it goes along with the concept of this venture much better than the conventional method of printing business cards. And hey, I'm all for recycling and love the natural, rustic look, too! Grocery bags, you are redeemed and made new again and you now have a new purpose!"

So I actually cut out a piece from the bag the size of an 8 1/2"x11" paper and put it through my home printer and printed out a sheet full of cards. Loved how they turned out! I am still not sure whether or not I want the edges to be fuzzy, like they are in the picture, or straight edged using my X-Acto knife. I could see how both could fit the concept of this venture in different ways.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Awesome Tool to Discipline Your Mind and Accomplish Goals

Woah, sorry everyone! I've neglected the blog for the last almost month now. As my target date to open my shop space has been quickly approaching, I have been heavily concentrating on my projects and setting everything up.

I want to stop awhile, though, and talk about something that has really been a huge help in my process the last 2 weeks. I think it may especially be helpful to others who may be working for themselves or are creative types and need some structure. I know I have overthinking and perfectionistic tendencies coupled with a wild imagination, which, if not managed well, can make it difficult to get projects done on time. BUT, I think I may have found something to work these tendencies to my advantage by managing them and not letting them manage me in this tool I am about to share.

What led me to this tool was, three weeks ago or so, I ran into a hurdle that put me a week behind and I got a bit overwhelmed. I’ve noticed when I get overwhelmed, that's when overthinking, perfectionism, lack of focus really comes out, and my wheels are spinning but I'm getting nowhere. So everything was pretty much in chaos for a bit.

Thank goodness for friends, though! A friend of mine came one weekend to help hang some boards on the walls for me. It’s so good to have someone with a different perspective watching you work. I was being unnecessarily perfectionistic and didn’t even realize it until she pointed it out. She then proceeded to help organize my space, which was taking me forever to do because, again, perfectionism. I learned so much from that and seriously prayed for a way to learn to break from this pattern of “paralysis of analysis” and become more focused. I think that prayer was (and is still being) answered.
I just saw this on one of my former art school classmate's facebook page. Ha! So true!

So not long after I prayed for God to provide a way to break this pattern, a very practical and simple time management tool called the Pomodoro Technique, was suggested to me from someone with a similar temperament as myself. She was a freelancer who also had the same tendencies.

The website has a whole manual for it, and explains more how it helps you function more efficiently, but basically, you break up each task into doable chunks of time - most people do 25 minutes. You concentrate on one task during that chunk of time, which is called a "Pomodoro." After a Pomodoro is complete, you stop no matter what, and take 5-15 minute breaks to chill out, let your mind wonder, and/or take care of any distractions that may have come about during a Pomodoro. The breaks let you come up for air, allow creativity to flow, and help you to be more alert and productive to achieve optimum potential during the next Pomodoro. The great thing is, all you need is a timer and the rest of the minimal materials needed are free on the website.

I have to say, these last 2 weeks have been like night and day with the things I have been able to accomplish because of the way this simple structure successfully helps manage my temperament to my advantage. That being said, I’m not perfect at it yet, but it has really helped me already and I look forward to improving and moving along by cutting down more and more on wasted time and wheel spinning!

(I just want to say, in no way do I believe systems and tools like this are absolutely needed all the time. It is ultimately the Lord who sustains us and I truly believe he provided this tool at this specific time in my life. Who knows, it may not work for me later on. God is always changing things up like that so we have to keep depending on him and we do not go into auto-pilot or rest in systems. But I learned a lot and God was gracious to me through this.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Follow All Things New Studio Through Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin <---- If you want to get updates on new posts, click this link! I was trying to get a button from this site to put in the tabs so you guys could get the updates as soon as I write them. They made me make a post with this link to get signed up. Not sure why, but somehow the button is not letting me copy and paste the html text. grrr! So this will just have to do for now until I have time to figure it out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ta-da! It's a Nautical Treasure... Chest of Drawers!

It's the moment you have all been waiting for... here he is!

{humble beginnings}
I was going to post this yesterday, but my computer has been randomly erasing the pictures from my camera for some reason and I couldn't take anymore pics until this morning. 

This project really took awhile for me. I did a few things that were time-consuming. The collage you see are all images of old, nautical 17th century typography, calligraphy, and drawings. It took about two weeks to collect these and get them printable. I found a few from Graphics Fairy that were print-ready, so that helped. However, with the amount and specific types of images I needed, I had to find most of them from other places. That was quite an adventure.
{detail of the transfer images}
 I chose to paint the furniture using a wash I made from Annie Sloan's chalk paint in Louis Blue because the wood was oak and I wanted the grain to show through. The great thing about these transfers is that you can see the wood grain through them because they are transparent. Here is one of my favorite transfers on here... 

 I layered some of them, so you can see the typography behind the image of the boat.

The second thing that took awhile was figuring out how to make these rope pulls cost-effectively. My, that was a challenge! I tried to look up how to make rope pulls, but all the methods I found were a bit expensive to do. The cheapest I found was about $7/pull. Do not despair, though. I put my head together with some people and we found a way to do these for 29 cents a piece.


{before + after}
Linked to:
Miss Mustard Seed

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Teaser Today!

So I thought I would put out a teaser for some of you who are actually starting to read this regularly. (Mom... maybe, my mom?) ;P

This guy is in the works right now, as we speak. What's the finished product going to look like? The big reveal is in a few days! He's almost ready!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Picture This... A Frame Turned Tray!

I could kick myself for not getting a before shot of this before I made it into a tray! I got this picture frame at an estate sale for $1. It was brown and dusty and dirty, with an ugly cardboard print of a duck. Nevertheless, it was just what I was looking for and just the right size for the tray that I had in mind to make out of it.

So here is how I made it...

I took out all the hardware, nails, glass, and backing and stripped it down to just the bare frame. I then painted the frame with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.

I bought two drawer handles like this...

{a good manicure is recommended before hand-modeling for blogs ;P}

The handles are the kind that are not flat on the bottom, so I had to drill holes in the frame for the handles to lay flush on it.


I drilled a hole through it!!!

The drill I have right now is not the easiest to use. It only has one speed - too fast! Thank goodness for wood putty! I filled the hole with it, sanded over it, painted it - good as new!

Next, I took some board that I bought at Lowes. You can get the board for pretty cheap and they will cut it to size for free for you if you don't have any tools to cut it yourself. And of course, I painted it with the chalk paint, glued it into the back of the frame with wood glue, nailed some small nails into it to reinforce it, and filled any cracks with wood putty.

Now for the fun part. For the graphics on the front, I picked out an image from the Graphics Fairy.

There are tons of ways to transfer these images, but the easiest and cheapest way for me was outlining its mirror image in pencil, then laying it down where I wanted it on the board and tracing over the back of it to get the graphite on the board.

I then went over it with fine tip Micron pen that you can get at art supply stores. Do not use a Sharpie. You won't be able to get it as exact and it can bleed a little. I once made the mistake of using a Sharpie for my very first graphic design project in college and got a "C" because of it! The next time, I used one of these pens and got an "A." Good tools make a HUGE difference in the quality of your work!

Thankfully, this graphic was simple, so this transfer method didn't take too long. If it weren't so simple, I would have spent some money to buy supplies to get it done quicker with one of the other transfer methods.

And of course, I distressed the frame by sanding it and applied Annie Sloan's clear wax. The last thing I did was attach the handles and I used Liquid Nails for that.

And there you have it! A picture frame tray! It started out ugly as dirt (because it was covered in dirt) and endured a few trials and tribulations, but I think it still turned out great! 

Link parties this is posted to ~


Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I was going through some old pictures and came across this funny project that I did for a ceramics class in which I used a crackle spray paint as a cold finish. 

{My li'l Zorro figurine}

If only I had known then what I know now about how to use green, non-toxic finishes! This one was not the healthiest of crackle mediums! I've since found the much more "green" crackle pastes and also, a way to get the crackle finish using Elmer's glue and water-based paint, such as chalk or latex... Much better than the aerosal used on this with lead in it, which you most definitely should not sand! :)

About this project... this was actually a 2-part project. In the first part, we were to involve a human and an animal. That semester, I was feeling pretty nostalgic and thinking back to old childhood memories. I chose to make a little girl dressing up her cat, the way my sisters and I used to do growing up...

 I don't have the guts to post that little creation on the interenet right now, though, because now that I look back, I don't really like it! Maybe someday.

This part of the project, though, was to go along the same theme, but utilizing a base for the ceramic object. I chose to make an old looking ceramic cradle. The cat in the cradle is based off of my cat, Zorro - dressed as a baby! ha!


Before and After

Here is a fun little project I did yesterday. I found this little guy at a thrift store for pretty cheap and painted it. This would be a fun little jewelry box, I think. Again, I used the dark gray chalk paint so you could make designs or put lettering to label them with chalk if you wanted. I was thinking of taking the knobs off and putting them at the top of the drawers so there would be more room to write. And I used some of that trusty Sophisticated Finishes copper oxidizing stuff to age the wire.


 {close-up of the wire}


Finished this thing!

Update from Project-A-Week 1

So I finally finished this drawer project that I found off The Rustic Pig! I actually decided to paint the front with the black chalk paint so you can change up the design however many times you wish! I am using this for a display for pillows, but who knows? It may be used as a bed for Kitty Zorro and he may want his name on it some day! As you can see, it works quite nicely as a pet bed!  :)

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Furniture Feature Fridays




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspiration - William Cowper

On the theme of restoring the old, damaged, broken, etc, I want to share about a guy whose life God did just that. And I want to share some things I think is important to remember about a transformed life. The main being, that while we can have peace that good triumphs in the end, the process doesn't always look so great in the middle of it.

Recently, my pastor recommended a book by John Piper to me called, The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd. I enjoyed reading about all three of them, but especially about William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"), probably because I had heard a bit of his story before and he was a creative type. You may have heard many of his beautiful hymns... But few people know of the pain and struggle this man went through to learn the things he did in order to write such beautiful works. This was a man who suffered so much mental pain, thought God had shut him out up until the day he died, and attempted suicide several times throughout his life. It is even said that on his deathbed, as he proclaimed in joy, he cried out, "Look! I am not shut out of heaven afterall!" So this poor guy - a hymn writer - obviously felt like God had rejected him this whole time.

What does this guy's life say about the transformed life? Well, it's multi-dimensional. But what jumps out to me right now is that God uses even the lowly things in a transformed life. He used Cowper even in his depressed mental state. Those who are often marginalized in our society, who suffer from mental illness, or severe doubt, etc, are not out of the reach of God's grace. One can have strong faith and still be in great spiritual anguish. And even through our struggles, God speaks. Some of Cowper's darkest days were the days he wrote hymns.


Side note:
It's interesting to add, when those days of deep contemplation took it's toll on him to the point of near death, Cowper's friends would sometimes try to distract him by getting him to simply garden or work on a farm to sustain his mental and physical health. I think Cowper really saw the value of this in his life. He once wrote, 

"Absence of occupation is not rest;
A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed."

There is obviously great value in contemplation. Without it, we wouldn't have the hymns Cowper wrote, but God knows as long as he wants us on this earth, the body can only withstand so much of that and there is also great value in mundane distractions such as work or chores, etc. I think it's God's way of getting us back to sanity (which is why I've got a not-so-deep post about adorable shabbyblog buttons below!)

William Cowper's life story actually greatly influenced my vision for All Things New Studio. I hope to inspire others who may need an artistic outlet for their contemplations, yet to also fulfill the need for the practical and even the mundane. Thank you, William Cowper.

{William Cowper}

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just for fun - and a blog learning experience

I found these fun buttons from this awesome website,, that opens up new tools for customizing your blog on Blogger. If you're just getting started blogging and don't know how to structure your blog, have a design of your own, or don't have time to do it yourself quite yet, they have free headers, backgrounds, and other things. I admit, I borrowed part of one of their free headers for now until I am done designing one of my own! Check out their tutorials on how to customize (and really even create) headers and such! Here are some super fun buttons you can add to your site. Hey, I put one on my sidebar! :)

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