Sunday, May 31, 2015

My kitchen makeover-before and after

Blog what blog? Huh? I have been so overwhelmed with work and house reno and life that I can't see straight but I have been dying to show this off. This was a major part of the upgrades that have to happen before we sell but it doesn't hurt that I like too.
We all love a good before and after so here is my partial kitchen reno. We left the cabinets in place and chose a quartz counter with white subway tile backsplash. There is also a new sink and faucet. I should add that marble was a no go since we are selling.

 I am purposefully keeping the shots tight here. We still have the floors to do.
Here is the before.

Can you say fugly Formica?
 We added this light several years ago. I recommend it if

you like to clean glass while standing on a ladder once a week. uh huh.

Let me start with the counters. I will do my best not too swear here but it was a trying process. I started my shopping at Lowe's and Home Depot for a baseline price thinking they would be the cheapest. *sigh* Nope just the dumbest. *sigh* You see, everyone in this area has brown granite (or some form of brown/beige/black) in their kitchen. The guy at Lowe's made such a weird face when I mentioned a white marble-like counter with my brown cabinets. He asked why on Earth I would want such a thing. *sigh* My tongue still hurts from biting it so many times with so many stone people. I mean, really, if you are wearing brown pants do you reach for a brown shirt? Duh! And hasn't anyone opened a freakin' shelter magazine in the last 5 years? Ugh!

I did find a lovely white and gray veined granite that I could have loved and loved hard but the dealer was an asshole and kept changing the price. I ended up with Cambria quartz Torquay. My goes pitter patter each time I look at it.

The best part is that Mr. Designdumonde has got some mad skills and he installed our gorgeous backsplash. Check it out.

He insisted I call this "design on a dime". They were the perfect spacer
The mosaic insert took the better part of a day...hunched over. My poor guy. It was truly on a dime because the materials were about $225 for a backsplash that would have been at least $1000 installed by someone else. It took a bit longer than we estimated. The next bit was the caulking and I found a tip on Pinterest that saved the day.

Caulk is so difficult to get right. Taping with painter's tape did take 3 hours but the result is perfection.

We have a running joke that we are making our house so much nicer that I won't want to leave. We are adding hardwood floors and still have painting to complete in the kitchen but we are this much closer to moving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Organized business for artists

I have been asked about this several times by other artists and that is my cue to write a post on the subject.
Running a tight ship in terms of paperwork and numbers is important to me as a businessperson who happens to be an artist. Artists have a stereotypical reputation for being flaky and disorganized. Let me tell you it is not cute, quirky or interesting to be that artist. It is a mess, both literally and figuratively.
This is a wordy post but I hope it helps some of you that are just starting out.
Here are some of the very simple things I use to stay on top of my business.

This is a screenshot of a sheet that I print out and add up every month. I do not want a program that will do it for me. I am a visual person (duh) and seeing everything in this "big picture" way makes the most sense to me.
In the two left columns I simply write the sale amount or the amount I receive from a gallery. I then write the amount of shipping ( if applicable) in the "shipping in/out column paid by the customer and the amount it actually cost. Let's say they paid $25 and it cost me $21.53 actually. Then I am on track because the cost of packing supplies is in another column.
Each time I purchase shipping supplies, paint, wood for crates etc. I save the receipt and add it to the supply column. This is a negative column and is subtracted from the gross sales at the end.
There are other columns that are part of the cost of doing business and are subtracted. The cost of webhosting and fees from Etsy and Paypal transactions are added in the appropriate columns as would any fee for entering a juried show and other miscellaneous costs related to your business.
Make sense?
Each month I pull out my sales sheets and receipts and enter them all in. Once each column is added up I know my total sales for the month. I also know how much I owe my state for sales tax that I pay quarterly. I add up all of the expenses and subtract it from those sales and I have a net profit. Easy. It is great to know how much you are selling and more importantly how much you are keeping and owe on tax day.

I also have a monthly binder that has folders and pockets for different things. The very front is for those receipts and sales. I also have a place for my commission contracts and contracts with galleries. There is another that holds all of the spreadsheets and SKUs for Serena and Lily. Each month I empty that front section, add up my numbers and place it all in a huge binder that is sectioned by month with this sheet right on top so I can refer to any month easily.
There are other ways to go about doing this. My sister in-law insisted that I get a file box but I know that I'd just stack everything on top and never organize it, so my binders work best for me.
I hope this helps. It took me many months to figure this out and was stressful when I did not know what to do with my sales numbers.

So tell me, business people how do you stay organized... or do you?

Monday, May 11, 2015

What is your "safe" color

A "safe" color is the color that you end up with in a the case of indecision. When you love the red chair but worry where to put it and you get the oatmeal fabric instead.

In looking around my own house I realized that my "safe" color is black. I have caught myself thinking, "Well, I can always move it to another room if it's black."

I have painted furniture black, chosen black lampshades and fabrics, and moved that black chair from room to room.
So tell me, what is your "safe" color?

Friday, May 8, 2015

A colorful update

I suppose this post should be titled "Happy Mother's Day to me" or "The family room isn't ready". As many things go in improving or decorating your home, one thing had to happen before the original project can be completed. The color neutralizing in my family room led to shopping which led to brightening my living room and not finishing the family room.

Here is a partial before, so you get the idea.

Totally tired of it!

So I removed the vibrant pieces from the family room and went pillow shopping for some comfy pale gray pillows for the sofa. I only bought one and then raided my son's room for more. I figured It would make a good blog post with before and afters.'s not finished and I had colorful things that make me happy that needed a home.
A conversation later that day.
Me: "Want to know what I would like for Mother's day?"
Mr. Designdumonde: "Yes! And I want you to shop for it and wrap it"
Me: "OK!!!!!"

My pillow shopping had led me past these cunning little stools at Target.
 I wanted two but two just did not work in my living room. In fact, pink did not work in my living room even though the walls are the palest pink!! Horrors!

More shopping happened and the bombe chest and desk traded places.

I made sure there was a bit of vibrant pink and orange sprinkled about the room. The foundation is still ivory fabrics with dark woods and though predictable, I am really happy with it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Serena and Lily in May


Have you seen the May Art Collection on Serena and Lily? I think it is one of the best ever.
I have 9 pieces on the site this month. There are so many fabulous pieces by other artists and you really should take a peek.


Last month I decided to try something different and pull my colors from the Serena and Lily catalog. Now, I know that art does not need to match but many people want a pulled together look and will shop based on their colors.

Along Mount Vernon Trail

Behind the falls

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why, don't mind if I do..

and a cozy throw if it's not too much trouble.

From Romantic Irish Homes by Robert O’Byrne and photographer Simon Brown