One of the home organization trends I’m loving right now, is the clever re-use of lockers for storage. You might keenly remember your high school days: shoving your back pack, lunch, and science project into your assigned unit, then grabbing your math book before slamming the door and running to class. You hated that class.
Anywho. Lockers are finding new life as home storage pieces, with an industrial flair. And in some cases, that includes the scribbles and stickers from their old days.
If you’re from the area, you won’t be surprised at all to learn we’ve been without internet since Wednesday. Violent winds tore through our countryside with a vengeance. We lost power for most of Wednesday, but were fortunate that it was restored that evening. Too many of our friends are still (~4 days later~) without electricity; which means no heat and no water in these parts.
I’d finished up the first round of angel wings and prepped several great pieces for our booth at Hudsonville Antiques. But due to losing connection, I couldn’t tell you about any of it. Better late than never, right? Read more
This is the first year we’re really official. I made the leap from hobby to business, and have a steep learning curve ahead of me. Between Google and my friend D (thanks lady!), I now know what a Break Even Analysis is. (Dang, there are scads of details in business. And how do I handle details? I can spell the word.) I’ve got tons to learn, and a heck of a lot to take care of, but it’ll happen.
One trend I’ve heard quite a bit this new year is in choosing a word as your year’s theme. It’s an interesting sentiment; and certainly better than making resolutions (in my mind at least). But how do you sum up your hopes for the next twelve months into one word? I can’t do it. Can you?
While working away in my basement workshop, radio blaring, I listened to a deejay share his three words. Three. That’s a little more my style. When I stand back and look at who Mickelle is at this point, there are many areas that need growth. And if I’m paying attention, I see overarching themes. I took a cue from my little dance with introspection and chose three words.
Fearless. Wise. Generous.
I’d love for each of these to describe who I am one year from now. Realistically, I think we’ll be camping here for much longer than that.
Do you choose words? Do you set goals at the dawn of a new year? Or do you make resolutions?
I’m goal driven, so the whole goal-setting gig is my bag. I’ve gotta be heading somewhere, aiming at something. January rolls around and I set my sights on targets in several chunks of my life. Spiritual. Health. Creativity. Home. Business.
And while choosing words is not at all the same as setting goals, I think they’re very much related.
Setting goals- that’s easy. Seeing them to completion… not so much. When I analyze my failures, noticeable trends pop up. It’s sickening just how often I sabotage my own efforts- both knowingly, and not. And fear is usually the culprit. Fear and I have spent a lot of time together. Most of my years, in fact. Fear has guided my decisions, my relationships, my dreams, and played a huge role in my health.
“Fear’s been your companion.” My dearest friend saw it and called out the truth. It’s been a constant in my life. Strangely comfortable. Reliable. Imprisoning; but with boundaries I knew and could understand.
So now, I’ve broken up with fear. We’re no longer, you know, together. And can I tell you something? The thought of living fearlessly- without those towering walls, the whispers in my mind, the premature defeats, the safety of it all- well…
Ironic, isn’t it?
Old habits die hard, I know. It’s going to take focus and energy to really rid myself of fear. But I’m excited when I think about the woman on the outside of that cocoon. Bright wings, and flying.
Fear and wisdom have competed for an audience with me, and for the most part, you already know who’s won out. As I ramp things up here at Lost Upon A Time, I’m confronted with the gazillions of decisions there are to running a business. And most of them sit squarely out of my realm of competence. Look, I just want to make stuff.
Having listened to Fear for so long, I’m not very familiar with the sound of Wisdom’s voice. The book of Proverbs says she (yes, she) calls out in the streets. I must’ve walked right past her a thousand times. Now, I’m hoping we can sit down for tea and talk things over. I want to hear everything she has to say.
This one’s a stretch. My Prince Charming could tell you about how I do generous. Rather, how I don’t.
I’ve never really had to share much. And Fear has always told me to hold onto as much as I could -whether it’s time and energy or food and money. Hey- I’ll need it later, right? Not to mention that I so often haven’t had much to share anyway- because I was making stupid decisions in the first place.
See how this is all connected?
Generous to me is giving freely of myself. Not thinking I’m more important, or more in need. It’s listening when wisdom tells me there’s an opportunity to give. And muting Fear when it says I’ll regret it. Generosity is at the core of my faith. I read of a God who provides abundantly. Who lavishes forgiveness, unyielding. A God who gives good gifts, created beauty and life, and sustains us all. Generosity, by God’s design, is tangible and intangible. But it flows from the heart.
To live otherwise makes me a hypocrite in the worst way.
Come to think of it, to live bound by Fear makes me a hypocrite. I read over and over in scripture, “Do not be afraid“. I’m told I’ve “not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.” So, where’d I pick this thing up, then? It wasn’t given to me. I don’t need it.
Ignoring wisdom is to ignore the Source of wisdom. That’s not such a smart move, in my book. (Haha! See what I did there?)
Below is my new favorite anthem. Well, one of my favorites. (I can be heard belting this one out loudly while vacuuming or painting boards.)
So, friends. Here’s to a year of fearlessness! Of wise moves. And generous living.
I’m curious, though. If you could choose three words, or even one, for this new year, what would you choose? Why?
As a long-time fan of old American Standards (think Rogers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Ella Fitzgerald singing the American Songbooks), Rosemary Clooney is in my CD collection. I’m a sucker for those tunes.
While Suzy Snowflake isn’t my favorite by any means, it is catchy. And today, it’s snowing.
You know, they say that when you’re a blogger you should establish yourself as an expert. And when you’re a maker, people like to see your process. So, here I am being an expert wierdo, while standing in the snow and creatively singing at my phone.
As a kid, I did it all the time. Maybe you did too. I’d pick my way through the maze of people, carefully balancing my haul. No sooner would I have set my loaded tray on the table when Mom would say “Oh, Mickelle,” slowly closing her eyes. “You’re going to have to eat all of that before you go to the dessert table. Do you hear me?”
Those All-You-Can-Eat buffet restaurants seemed to be the place to go after a church service. In those days, anyway. And Mom brought me to a lot of church. So, I had plenty of opportunities to learn my limits; or develop childhood obesity. Yet amazingly, neither caught on.
Now many years later, I find that same “eyes bigger than my stomach” tendency shows up in other areas of my life. Like DIY. As a creative soul, I’m always generating ideas. There’s a constant stream of possibilities and inspiration pouring through my mind at any given time. (Especially if that given time is after I’ve had some coffee.) What I don’t naturally have too much of, however, is reason and realism.
Can you relate?
I thought a book nook would be the perfect solution to our aggravating home office. The room is crammed with bulky furniture, yet we never seem to have enough storage. I needed more storage, yet also more space. And I wanted an environment that was beautiful. I reaaaaalllllyyyy dislike doing anything paperwork related, so an inviting space is in order.
While scrolling through Pinterest one day, this pin popped up.
And in that moment, friends, I knew. The closet in our home office room (really, just a bedroom) needed to become a book nook. Half the furniture in there was bookshelves anyway. By building a book nook into the closet space, we could eliminate most of the shelving units, and GAIN space! Using drawers underneath the bench for storing files would mean we could nix our large filing cabinet, too!
I love reading, and the thought of having a little space like that was wonderful. What reader doesn’t want an in-home library? Complete with a built-in nook???
Our home is an early 1960’s ranch, with basic closets. Our space’s dimensions where nowhere near those in the photo, but that didn’t matter. I had a vision.
Of course, a project like this wasn’t in our budget, but I was pretty sure I had most of what I’d need to pull it off. Err, build it in. Mind you, I’ve never done anything like this before. A built-in unit is an entirely different beast than say, a Christmas Tree silhouette. But as per usual,
my ambitions are bigger than my skill set.
I started prepping the walls in March. They were a miserable flat color that may have been somewhere near white at one time. I knew in my mind what I was going for, so I dove right in, fully expecting to have the (entire) job completed by the end of April.
My wise and talented (and SO inspiring) sister-in-law, frequently reminds me,
“These projects always take longer than you think they will.”
Wise words, friends. Get them tattooed on the inside of your eyelids if you’re like me and frequently tend to find yourself drowning in good intentions. It’s December. Mid-December. Christmas is two weeks away and I am just now patching holes and caulking gaps, before priming this beast.
My hope now is to have it done and usable by Christmas. Okay, maybe the New Year. At least by my birthday in February… Next April???
I’ve made so many mistakes, friends. Some of them I didn’t even realize until I was far beyond the point of no return. Several of them are embarrassing, really. But a friend of mine asked if I felt like I could do a better job if I started it again. In other words, if I’ve learned much. HECK. YES.
The truth is, these projects DO take longer. Our office looks like an episode of Hoarders, with everything shoved and piled out of the way. And it’s been that way for 9 months now! I seriously underestimated this thing – but I’m going to finish. And I’ll keep you updated.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve seen some of the progress already. And to those who have encouraged me along the way, Thank You. (I am so cyber-hugging you right now.)
Stick it out, friends. Stay with your overwhelming whatever-it-is. You’ll get there. And remember, caulk and trim hide a lot of bad decisions.
The wood chips have been flying over here in Lost Upon A Time land. The holidays are fast approaching, and I’m in hopes to join the ranks of makers with a line of goods made just for this season. I’ve designed some smaller pieces meant for the Christmas mantle or gallery wall.
Smaller pieces translate to faster turnaround time (if I’m doing it right- which isn’t always the case), and thus a lower price point. The new line is in keeping with LUAT’s aesthetic, and quality. Three pieces so far have passed the test. And the fourth… the fourth was a disaster from the start. I’d like to think I have a head start for Christmas 2017 with that baby.
Developing the Christmas Mantle Line
The tree came first. It’s a fun shape to cut and is a bit whimsical. A friend suggested adding a piece of wood for the trunk, which brought to mind an old yard stick I had. I have to say, that little bit of ruler makes a world of difference to this piece. It adds so, so much. Don’t you think?
The next in line was the Christmas Star, at the suggestion of a friend. (I’m so glad for friends.) I had been working on another design that wasn’t going well (see above). A star seemed easy enough; and it was. Until my cutting blade broke mid-slice and rapidly gouged the face of the wood leaving a string of punctures.
I can’t exactly spin that as a star-dust trail. It’s not a shooting star. But it is a prototype, and it will live in infamy among the rest of my “unique” holiday decor for years to come.
Lastly, I created an ornament silhouette, reminiscent of the vintage ones that hung on my grandmother’s tree. I tried several shapes, but simple won out this time. I’ll likely add more designs later.
Prince Charming and I mulled over several ideas for the top of the ornament. The piece of ruler worked so well on the Christmas Tree trunk, that I thought I’d use that for the ornament’s cap. But it just doesn’t seem to do the trick. However, we’re already working on a different idea. (Okay, if I’m being honest, my Prince suggested the perfect alternative. Hmm. It seems that everybody else has all the good ideas; I just have the saw.)
Photos are not my strong suit. You know this by now, I’m sure. And I love you for enduring my efforts. It did occur to me that you might like to see the size of these pieces, however. I took these shots below in an attempt to give you an idea of scale. (They give me the idea of kilts and Mardi Gras. Not the feel I was going for, but festive none-the-less.)
Each piece of The Christmas Mantle line measures roughly 8 by 8 inches, and 1.5 inches thick. They weigh somewhere around 2-3 pounds.
They’re $25 apiece, or purchase all three for $65. (And I promise, there won’t be any “stardust” on them.)
You can order them here. If you’d like 10% off your order, sign up for my (non-spam) e-mails here and get a discount code sent to you right away.
I’m still developing The Christmas Mantle line and have more rustic holiday decor to come. What would you like to see included? (Cause everybody else has all the good ideas anyway. Ha!)
Don’t get me wrong- it’s always pretty fun. But it’s something special when what I’m making is telling someone’s story. This summer, I had two custom orders that carried with them significant meaning. Both pieces featured dogs- if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know that’s nothing unusual. I make a lot of dogs. In fact, most of my pieces are inspired by rescue dogs. Rescued wood- rescued dogs… it’s kind of my thing.
But these two pups, Izzy and Gamble, they’re different.
they are the ones who rescue.
Gamble is in training to become a service dog. Izzy is a therapy dog.
Tell me, when you think of a therapy dog, what comes to mind? Maybe this?
Izzy is the physician-prescribed therapy dog of Marissa, a beautiful soul. (And no, a chihuahua isn’t the first canine breed to pop into my mind either.) Intelligent, kind and creative, Marissa is plagued by anxiety and panic attacks. If you’ve ever experienced anything like that, you know just how life-altering it can be. However, Izzy can bring calm like nothing else. This little pint-sized pup has changed Marissa’s life. This gal is going places, friends. She’s a brilliant chemistry student, passionately working toward her PhD.
Those ears, though.
Marissa has gone to great lengths to keep Izzy by her side- even to the point of losing her housing. Talk about stress! But she’s a fighter. She tackled the stigma of mental illness, the shade thrown by local media, and this girl fought for her rights.
She’s long wanted a piece of art that represented Izzy, and how much she loved her. I can’t begin tell you how honored I was when she asked me to make it. Together we chose the shape, and she already knew what colors she wanted.
It was so rewarding to make! And I must say, the piece turned out beautifully.
It’s now home, hanging on Marissa’s wall. Seeing a snapshot of it made me smile- and cry a little. It’s profoundly humbling to create with your own hands a work that reflects someone’s heart. With scrap wood and paint, no less.
And now, Gamble.
After their long-loved beagle crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Kellie (another beautiful soul) and her family really missed having a pup. They came to the decision to take part in training a service dog; and after contacting Paws With A Cause, they found themselves with this guy.
Isn’t he adorable?
The family understood the terms- they’d have him for 6 months, then return him for his next stage of training. There, he’d spend phase two in a correctional facility training with inmates. After a third, more specialized training period, he would then be ready to go to his forever home as a service dog.
As you can imagine, Gamble stole their hearts. He chewed their shoes. And before they could blink, those 6 months had passed.
Knowing they day was approaching, Kellie asked if I would make a black lab for her. (Umm, of course!)
Kellie is generous-hearted, talented, and a go-getter. Her family is a pretty great group of people. They’ve poured so much energy and love into Gamble- all for the benefit of someone they’ll likely never meet. It was such an honor to make this piece for them. When she saw it for the first time, she cried. I cried. (Oh my word, pass the Kleenex, will you?)
I drove away thinking about these two – Kellie and Marissa. And their pups. Though Izzy and Gamble have very different roles, I found it interesting to glimpse into their situations. The service dog in training, and the therapy dog at work. The family who lays the groundwork, and the woman who benefits in the end.
I really love making special pieces that tell someone’s story. Your’s is unique. Is there something you’d like me to make for you? Let’s talk!
I’m making some changes around here. Good ones. I wanted to give you a little notice, since we’re friends and all.
I’ve already changed up my header. (See it up there? What do you think?) And I’m making some color and navigation tweaks. Soon you’ll see my e-store roll out, and I’ll be posting information on my handmade wall art.