Tuesday, January 20, 2015


2015! I've been waiting for this year! It's a new year with new possibilities.

I  spent a lot of 2014 revising, re-doing, and treading water. Sometimes growth isn't sexy. It's a lot of hard work as in literal gross, stinky sweat. Euphemeral Designs Studio had highs and lows, plus lots happy and content periods of enjoying the ride and being kind of stupefied at how far we've come, if I'm honest. There's nothing that beats the satisfaction that comes from building something and sharing it with the world.

I have to say, as I continue with my third year in retail, retail is NOT for wimps.  It really isn't.  I think 99 percent of people are not cut out for doing this long term because it is entirely too easy to succumb to the stress of day-to-dayness. You can't be a dreamer and an idea person only, you have to be a do-er and a keep-doing-it-er.

I also found 2014 was year of observation- observing myself in this business and watching others, quietly, with compassion and admiration.  I'm fortunate to have friends in this business who are not only crazy talented and innately gifted, but generous and kind human beings. They teach me all the time how to be a better person. I'm grateful to them. Plus it's kind of nice to have folks who "get it." It's been fun to see them hit their stride.

The longer I do this, truthfully, the less I have to say and the more I have to do. So  blogging has absolutely gone by the wayside. I suspect this will continue.  I'm as passionate as ever, but I find I have to channel my energy into production and the needs of the store. It doesn't leave me much time to blog about it. Long gone are the days where I can spend hours hunting for a single piece, painting it, staging it, taking photos, and writing blog posts.  I mean I could but then my children would be naked, unfed, and I'd pretty much never be home. Ha. That's the main difference between being a painter and a store owner -your responsibilities are multiplied a hundred-fold. 
Still, it's nice to connect and share, I've missed that.

This year I have put myself to the task of improving, stretching, trying new things, expanding beyond my comfort zone (and how!)... and really pushing myself to hone my vision. We all have a unique voice and a unique vision to offer the world, and I really want to do this more fully. I feel ready this year to re-articulate my vision for the store.

I want to get back to basics, to really focus on my brand, and to return to our mission- to bring handcrafted luxuries, quality goods by local artistians, curiosities and notions, and premium paints to our customers.  So we will be working towards that end: evoking the extraordinary with everything we do.

Kevin and I spent all day re-arranging the store recently, closing the second floor to make room for a new painting studio for me (yay for efficiency), while keeping the classroom available for our monthly classes. We relocated the counter. We opened up a back room that had been closed for a few months (after we sold it out in one week! I have to admit it took me forever to recover from that). Now we're focused on wrapping up 2014 with the dreaded paperwork and all that it entails: taxes, book keeping, and renewals- oh my!   But it's not all grunt work and drudgery- we also sat down and penned out plans for our new lines, the direction we are taking the store in, and the steps we need to get there.

Exciting times ahead my friends! I'm so lucky to have a platform to do what I love and share it with those I love.

Thanks for sticking around with me while I continue this journey. I wouldn't be here without you all!



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Catching Up!

Happy Fall! Where did summer go?!

Holy moly my friends, has it really been three months since I've last penned a blog post?  Dang. I was going to be better about this too and like quite a few things, it has fallen off my radar.  

So lets catch up! Summer was one of our busiest seasons we've have yet at Euphemeral Designs Studio.  I was in  constant state of scrambling, trying to catch up but falling further behind.  I stayed awake at nights after putting in long days trying to figure out how to keep the store stocked.  

I did one of my favorite collections ever, on the fly, in August. I was inspired by the colors in the Suzani fabric I ordered for some pillows: whites, grays, aquas, reds. I love creating collections. It is deeply satisfying to me to see something come together. This collection was also my fastest-selling collection too. 

We brought on several new furniture artists to help us because it finally got to the point where I realized this lady needed help. I'm a slow learner.  We now have ten different furniture artists contributing to the store (some a little, some a lot) and while it is vastly easier than me trying to stock it all on my own, we still have weeks where we have to scramble to re-stock.

I want to extend a hearty welcome to the Euphemeral Designs Studio family: Planks & Pieces, Mama Bean, Northwestly New, By Sarah, Miranda, and Blue Chair Reclaimed. They're joining City Mouse, Glitter & Glue, Holy Craft, Beautiful Junktion, and several other artists who don't paint furniture but make our beautiful hand-crafted items and jewelry.  I am so thankful for each of them and their friendships. They are amazing women and are such sources of inspiration for me.  I'm a lucky lady! 

I am grateful to my toes that this is my biggest problem. (keeping the store stocked).  I am also bone-tired.  The last two months have been a serious time of reflection- how can I keep the store going and keep my family happy? What do I need to do to take better care of myself and be healthy?  What are some things that I need to let go of and what do I need to start saying no to?

It has been a time of acknowledging I have some very real limits. Not easy for this lady!  I keep having to re-learn this lesson.

It's also a time of setting goals and getting ready for our busy holiday season too.  We're scaling back on events (going back to that setting limits thing), and focusing more on classes.  I'm considering taking on a couple interns soon.  That feels like  big step for me.

I also have a really lovely apprentise who comes in once a month to help out with painting and I get to teach her about the Miss Mustard Seed's Millk Paint line. She is beyond lovely and I am so grateful for her.  Introducing Chantilly of Northwesterly New. Isn't she talented? 

I also have the best shopgirl friend on earth who helps me out once a month at the store, Deniece from City Mouse. She's the cutest, sweetest lady. I don't know what I would do without her. I'm so lucky to carry her pieces in the store too, they always fly out the door.  Isn't this desk by City Mouse to die for? Thank you my friend!!! 

And I'm super grateful for the friendship of my friend Alison, owner of the most gorgeous store in the region- The Modern Cottage Co. We are stinking lucky here in Tacoma to have her store right in town and it's probably one of my favorite things to do, to send customers over there. Al knows where the bodies are buried and I can always count on her to be there when I need my hands held, advice, a shoulder to cry on, or someone who gets the crazy-train that is retail.  Plus she's just as wacky as I am. She's my hero, no lie.

Isn't her store front to die for?

Autumn is in full swing. We have some really sweet seasonal merchandise up. I'm excited about the winter holiday season too- lots of fun stuff planned for that!

Here's a few autumn-inspired goodness for you. 

So I've got quite a lot to be thankful for! And quite a lot to learn still.  Tons more growing ahead, and hopefully more sleep, more paint in my hair, and a clean(er) house.  Heh. A girl can dream.



Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Cheerful Collection: Easy Decorating by Euphemeral Designs

I love this cheerful collection of teals, greens, and bright pops of yellow.  I think I need to start making this part of a series: Easy Decorating by Euphemeral Designs.

Here's what I would do if I was to put this collection in my home:

Dining Room:
The dining table would be great paired with bright yellow chairs around it.

I would use the striped teal and green dresser as a scaled-down buffet and top the You Are My Sunshine Canvas on top of it for dramatic impact- that pop of color is just pure sunshine.

Living Room:
I'd toss the yellow chevron pillows on my sofa.

Id put the green empire with the aqua knobs near the door for a great catch-all station to store mail, shoes, and even games and DVDs/Blue Ray disc and all that random technology stuff that comes home (ipads, ipods, laptops, etc).

And the teal coffee table would be an easy way to tie the teals into the other room along with the citrus artwork and the Quotation print on the wall above the sofa.

There you have it! An easy, fun and accessible collection at your fingertips from furniture all the way down to pillows and art.

One of the great things about designing collections for the store (from the furniture down to the pillows and artwork) is that a person can come to Euphemeral Designs Studio and find several pieces that will work together and be cohesive.

I want decorating and design to be easy, fun, accessible and not something that is taken super seriously.  Maybe that's because I have kids and there's no such thing as a perfect home, just a cheerful one. Or maybe that's just my personality, I don't know. And this collection, to me, would make such a cheerful, happy home.

Life is short, y'all. Make it good. 



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shop Days

This buffet is my favorite thing I've found and painted all year. Seriously. I want to keep it SO bad. Maybe it won't sell.  It's also super long. Six feet! 

I'm going to share photos and ramble. Bear with me.  Or just look at the photos, I won't mind, smile.

Today is a quiet day.  We've had a few weeks of nearly-always busy days.  But retail has its ups and downs and quiet days do come.  It's the nature of the beast, like I often tell people.

I was going to dip the legs white. But the wood looked so striking that I opted not to.  I find that warm grays with some green in them look awesome with this tone of wood.  (I think if I had painted this desk a cooler, bluer gray, I would've stuck to my original plan). 
Honestly, there's no rhyme or reason to slow days- although I do love to make up arbitrary reasons: the weather, the rain, the sun, the holiday weekend, the time of the year, the wind, I forgot to advertise, the balloon that flew away...   Then the shop across town will be crazy busy.  So whatever.

But slow days are nice too sometimes.  I get to take more photos. I re-merchandise to keep things fresh for our repeat customers. I place orders. I have time to sit down and catch up on entering inventory into our point of sale system.  It feels like I can breathe. It feels like "I've got this."  

Another work-in-progress.  This piece was partially painted when I found it. And now I'm adding my own touches.  And I am so digging the natural wood shelves here.  I'm leaving them just as they are. It adds, in my opinion, the perfect rustic touch. 

I have a couple folks in my life considering retail for the first time.  I used to have tons of advice.  Right now I have no advice but more experience. And the wisdom in that folks need to figure things out for themselves.  And I'm still learning too. So much.  Every season that goes by I get to make more mistakes and grow from them.  I get to fail and learn about how to improve.

Because like anything in life, it's not about your success, it's about how you respond to failure.

Awesome new salvaged sign.  Huge. I love the shape and hand lettering too! 
Having a shop is a dream.  And like all dreams that come true, shit gets real.  80 percent of what I do is run the business.  20 percent of what I do is being creative and painting.  I'm a business owner first.  And this has taken me a long time to understand what this means.

It's not sexy all the time. I clean toilets, I sweep, I weed the grounds, I crunch numbers, I place orders, I do inventory, I enter inventory into my system, I tag, I dust, I respond to emails and inquiries on Facebook, then there's the really fun stuff like taxes and fees and... well it's easy to lose the joy sometimes in the mundane. 

A serpentine dresser/buffet in progress. I love that I get to paint while I work! 
But someone once said, in a room full of women entrepreneurs: you've got to love the problems. You've got to be passionate about the problems.

So I've taken it to heart- I'm learning to love the challenges.  I'm committed to growing new skills and challenging myself to grow as a business owner. And yes, as a painter too.  But it's striving to be a good business owner that lets me keep painting. And not the other way around, like I thought.  (As an aside: I've returned to my Gray Period and am painting tons of pieces in warm, cool, and soft grays. It makes me happy.)

Bar Station by Glitter & Glue, one of our many amazing talented Furniture Artisans at Euphemeral Designs Studio.

I hope I get to do this for a long time. It's hard but rewarding. I love our customers.  I love making old things beautiful.  I love sharing the work of other talented artisans with our customers. There is joy-filled, beauty-filled days, even when it is slow.



Saturday, May 17, 2014


 Just when I think it's going to slow down, it picks right back up.  Wondering if I will ever get used to that?!

But I'm busy doing my favorite things, so that's not a bad thing at all!

June has our Seasonal House: Artisan Market scheduled and we have another fabulous group of vendors joining us.  Super excited about that.  I love doing events and I hope it shows! Here's a link to the Facebook event page for the show

Our May Kitchen Stool class using Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint was so much fun.  The stools turned out great too. The more I use and teach about this paint, the harder I fall for it. It is such a wonderful product.  

Our next class in June will focus on coat racks, another popular project we do.  They turn out super cute.  Check out the photos a student took from our last coat rack class? Cute right?! The June class is already half full. The classes are poplar and usually fill up faster than we can advertise them and always have a wait list.

Here's a link to the Facebook Event page for June's class.

The store is finally filled to capacity. It has never looked better and I have been busy and kept on my toes trying to keep it stocked. We have several new furniture artists in the store who are so talented and so lovely. I need to do a blog post soon and introduce them all to you! Thankful to my very toes to have the on board. I couldn't possibly keep the store stocked with furniture on my own.

 This spring I have brought in over 30 new lines (!) and it has been fun to fill the store with my favorite things.  And many of them are hand crafted by local and regional artists. Thank goodness you all like what I do, because several of the lines are already sold-out and we're working to bring more in.

Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint has been flying all spring long and it is such a joy to paint with, and sell to you all.  I can't keep the Milk Painted furniture on the floor very long either. There's something absolutely magical about the finish and look of milk paint. And folks all over are discovering the same magic and falling in love with it too. And buying it in droves.

Thankful. Tired. And always-always painting.

Thanks for keeping me so busy!



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quotable Quotes

Bringing back an old feature, Quotable Quotes. 

Happy Sunday y'all! 



Saturday, April 26, 2014


Well hello there! Seems like I can't keep a regular journal of my doings on this blog.  I have paint in my hair more days than not.  And am having fun with colors as usual- starting to embrace warmer colors: yellows, reds, pinks which is a departure for me. But it has been  nice way to transition out of the Spring Renewal Collection which was predominately greens & teals and is now mostly sold out except for a handful of pieces. 

So new stuff is being brought in.  I've needed help restocking, it's our busiest time of the year and won't let up until fall which kind of freaks me out but this is my third spring and I hope I have learned a couple things by now. So part of my effort to not become a crazy, cranky, panicky painting lady is to bring on a few consigners.  I'm so thankful that the right folks have come just when I've needed them most.  I'll be sharing their beautiful works soon, I love what they bring to the store and how good they make the store look.

I'm still trying to wrap up my custom painting and I am almost caught up, thankfully. My poor clients- they've been so understanding and patient. Beyond. I didn't anticipate being as busy as we are and how much work the store would be to keep stocked. Sometimes I'm a slow learner...

Here are some of my favorite pieces I've been working on the last couple of weeks.  Loving Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, so thankful to be able to carry it and have access to it when I need to paint- one of the better perks for sure is to just go pick out whatever color I'm digging whenever I want. And lately I've been digging  on Apron Strings, a beautiful pink coral & Tricycle, a brilliant and vibrant deep-red.  

I also have been using General Finishes paint, carried by one of my favorite stores The Classic Farmhouse.  Sunglow & Coral Crush are such fun, bright colors. Perfect for my mood these days.  I don't feel like being mellow, sophisticated and subdued. I want fun, bright, perky! 

No mellow-yellow here, more like YO! Yellow! Best part, I have two of these. It is harder than dickens to find matching side tables these days. 

And here is a photo of one of my favorite finds, a 10 foot church pew that is super old. A big thanks to an awesome woman who picked these up at a church and distributed them to a lucky few folks in town.  Stoked to own a little piece of local history. I was going to paint it but I find its original, worn patina so charming that for now I'm just going to enjoy it as it is.