My two Etsy shops, Furniture Alchemy and Alchemy Home Decor are inspired by vintage, rustic tones with a modern twist. I love creating one-of-a-kind accents for the home, and dabble in a little bit of everything DIY!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Journey to an Inspiring Workspace (Part 3): The Reveal!

I've had so much fun over the past couple of weeks with my studio makeover; taking the time to make thoughtful choices about the functionality of pieces, organization and storage, and overall design aesthetic was something that I've really enjoyed.  Now it's time for the final reveal! My studio isn't 100% complete, there are still a few missing pieces, but it's close enough.  I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking in this post and show you guys what it looks like now! 

*Remember, you can go back and catch up on the "before" posts in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series!*

My favorite area- My drafting desk is amazing, so much space to create!

The Emerson Bookshelf from World Market provided a place for all of my fabric, paint, tools, and supplies!.

I purchased all of my storage baskets and bins from Home Goods (along with the adorable curtain panel), and labeled each bin so that I would know what's inside without having to dig around.

My fold-up sewing desk fits perfectly between the closet and entry door, which turned out to be a great way to maximize space.

I made full use of my closet by hanging all of my large stencils inside, using a plastic drawer storage and metal shelf to hold all of my shipping supplies and mugs, and organized the top to hold plastic bins of craft supplies and "ready to go" items from my Etsy shop.

I've left the other half of the room open, giving me a full 10 feet of wall space to paint furniture and work on anything larger!

So, what do you guys think? I've come a long way from the chaos of my studio in my old place!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Journey to an Inspiring Work Studio (Part 2)

My home office is in full on, unpacking and organizing mode! A daunting task, as you'll see from the pictures, but we're making some sort of progress. Don't forget to check out Part 1 of my journey to an inspiring workspace, found here.

So far, things aren't very inspiring, but here's where we stand:
Still a complete wreck; but boxes are starting to be emptied, which is a good sign.

I've invested in a couple of new furniture pieces for the room.  I carefully selected these, after many *many* hours of shopping around, for their quality construction, price, and functionality.  It's always been difficult for me to buy new furniture, especially considering that most of my business is hunting down and refinishing older, vintage pieces, but these guys were perfect for what I need, and saved me a lot of work.  They are also quality pieces;  I can see myself holding on to them for years to come, so it made the purchasing of *new* furniture a little bit easier to swallow...

  • The Desk:A new desk was the first thing I really needed; something that could be used to save space, if the situation warranted it, yet still had a large work area.  I already have a small, fold-down sewing/craft table; so I was looking for something more where I could work on painting my larger signs, stenciling pillow covers, and cutting larger pieces of fabric.
I opted for this drafting desk from World Market (which, by the way, is on sale right now for only $139!!! A steal for a desk of this quality and size!!):

What I really liked for my purposes was the fact that it can fold up flat like a table, open at an angle (perfect for painting signs and smaller items), or fold down flat for storage, if needed.  And it's completely gorgeous!

  • The Bookshelf:  I also needed (and wanted) a really large bookshelf for storage.  In my old workspace, I had everything scattered between different areas, so I need something that will hold most of my paint, fabrics, and tools all in one place.  Since I'd already found the desk that I loved at World Market, I ended up going with the Emerson Bookshelf from there as well. 

It is also on sale right now, and though still expensive, much less than it's counterparts from other places I looked, and it's spacious.  At 44" width and 71" height, I'm hoping that it's going to hold most of my materials.
I've already unpacked my paints, which all fit perfectly on one shelf!

  • The Rug: The last big purchase (which wasn't that big ) was an area rug.  I needed something that was around 8'x10' to cover most of the carpet in the room and help protect it from spills and splatters (remember, we're in a rental condo, and I need my deposit back!).  Turns out, I have really expensive taste in area rugs :-/   Even my "go-to" store, Home Goods, ran at least $300 for rugs of that size.  Waaaay to expensive for me to justify all of the paint that it's bound to get on it.  So, I ended up ordering this rug from Walmart:

I love the colors and bold pattern, and at only $90 for an 8'x10', I figure I'll be okay if it gets a few stains.  Since I have so many darker wood grain furniture pieces in the room, I'm hoping that this will brighten things up a bit and start to bring the room together from a design aspect. Lately, I've been really feelin' yellow, which is odd because it used to be one of my least favorite colors...but I've decided that little pops of it around can really add a fresh and cheerful touch to a room! 

 By the time I check in next week, hopefully we'll be starting to see the "organization" part of my studio come together a little bit better! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Journey to an Inspiring Work Studio (Part 1)

I've decided to do a blog series on my "journey" of setting up the new studio space/work room in our new condo! We got moved in last weekend, and  I'm on a mission to declutter, organize, and set up a workspace where I can actually feel inspired; rather than just a jumbled mess of paint, tools, and fabrics everywhere.

This first post is a little wordy, but I want you guys to really get a feel for what my space was like before and help hold me accountable for organizing my new space! It's going to be a process that may take a while but I hope you guys will stick with me and join in the redecorating and organizing fun!

To start off, I'm going to share a few (rather shameful) pictures of my work space at our old place. It's bad. Really bad. Here we go.....

This is the part that doesn't look super embarrassing: my sewing corner, which doubled as an office space.  Last fall when I added AlchemyHomeDecor to my plate, I was forced to take over our dining room.
 So, out went our only table, and in went my little desk and crate shelf for storing fabrics.  For the remainder of our time living in this condo, we were condemned to eating off of tv trays or outside on the balcony table if the weather was cooperating.  It's not shown in the picture, but I also had a secretary desk with my printer, silhouette Cameo, and various other accessories so I used this desk as my shipping/packing station as well.
"Sewing Corner" before aka our dining room 

 Here's where things get rough. Where did our dining table go, you might ask? Into our second bedroom, which really hasn't been a bedroom since 2012, but instead has been my workspace where I did all of the furniture restoration, painting, and wooden signs.
Yep. For the past 3 years, I've worked out of a tiny 8'x6' bedroom jumbled full of everything.  I do have a storage unit where I keep projects that are finished and waiting to sell, as well as pieces that are unfinished, but it still got very crowded!

Workroom before (left side)

That was one half of my workspace in it's normal state. Plastic everywhere (because remember I'm in a rental bedroom with carpet!), stencils hanging on the wall, and tools strewn about. The below picture shows the other half of the room. As you can see, there was barely any space left to move once you put a piece of furniture in there to paint.
Workroom before (right side)

It wasn't always this messy; but the past year and a half when I got really busy I just kind of let things go and pretty much surrendered to the mess, working around it.
Somewhere along the way in the process of cleaning out this space, packing up what I needed, and letting go of things that I didn't, I really began to realize how bad it had gotten.  Thus has begun my mission to organize and inspire!

Part of my difficulty comes with the fact that we were, and still are, renting  (the other bigger part of my problem simply comes from my un-organized nature).   I didn't take the proper measures to really protect the walls and carpet from paint splatters and to maximize the small space I was in.

Here's where we'll begin the new journey to an inspiring studio.  We've still moved into another rental condo, but it is a little bit bigger, and *hopefully* I'll be able to fit my entire workspace and office all in the second "bedroom".

What's different:

  • The room is bigger than I had before, it's about 10' x 12' vs. the old 8' x 6' and very small dining room.
  • A pretty sizable closet that I can utilize
  • It has a much bigger window, providing tons of natural light!

I didn't get a picture of the space when it was actually empty, but this is what it looks like now.  Cluttered, of course. That's all going to change over the coming weeks!

I'll be updating again soon with lots of pictures along the way; but in the mean time, I'd love to know....What are some of best your tips and tricks for organizing and maximizing small spaces?!?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Spoonflower Designs by AlchemyHomeDecor

Did you know I also have a fabric shop on Spoonflower?! You can find it here: http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/alchemyhomedecor

These are some of my newest designs, and there are more on the way!  I started designing these because I just couldn't find exactly what I wanted for our sofa, and love the result:-) 
 All of the colors in each pattern coordinate, so it is a fun way to mix and match patterns while keeping the same color palate. 
Large scale tribal feather- a fat quarter of this fabric works  for the front of one 18" x 18" pillow cover! 

Large scale Aztec style cross with birds and feathers- a fat quarter of this fabric works for the front of one 18" x 18" pillow cover!

Coordinating Aztec stripe pattern- One yard will make the front/back of two 14" x 18" pillow covers
Large scale Aztec pattern- I used this fabric for the backs of my feather and aztec cross pillows!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Luckett's Spring Market 2015 Recap!

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to participate, for the very first time, in the Luckett's Spring Market; an annual event run by the good folks over at The Old Luckett's Store in Leesburg, Virginia. When I found out my vendor application been accepted for this year, I was ecstatic! And so began my journey...

We rented a cargo van and packed it the night before set up.
Exhausting work and this picture was before it was even full!
I must say that the months ahead spent prepping for a market of this magnitude (which happened to be my first large market ever) were busy, crowded, and exhausting. Looking back, I learned some lessons and had plenty of ups and downs, but it was totally worth it! All of that will be for another blog post, but in the meantime, here's a big picture recap of how the weekend went down:-) 
Vendor badge selfie!
Unloading and set up day on Thursday!
Day 1- Friday was the VIP Early Buyer's Day and here's how the booth looked before we opened for business! I do believe we were the only turquoise colored tent, which was my hope in buying it (although with over 160 vendors, I can't be sure!)

Only about 15 minutes into Day 1,  this little Ampersand side table found a new home!

We used up every available "display" space, including the insides of the drawers....but hey, who would ever want to close the drawers on this lovely dresser anyway?!? 
There were lots of favorite moments, but when a lovely young lady walked in to my booth, saw this navy blue dresser, and said something along the lines of: "There it is! This is the dresser I've been Instagram stalking for months! I can't believe it's here!!! "...it basically made my whole weekend, and the previous months of planning and prep, worth it all! :-) 
Day 2- Here we are mid-way through the day on Saturday!  

This lovely Singer sewing machine/world map piece found a new home on Saturday, destined to be an amazing coffee table in an office in Fairfax, Virginia; and my mini succulents were a hit!! 

One of my other favorite parts of the day was when a mother/daughter trekked all the way back to our booth, at the end of a very long day on Saturday, because mom said the little girl just couldn't stop talking about that little red cactus! She left so pleased with her new succulent and couldn't wait to put it in her room at home and take care of it...love!!

My favorite piece was this gorgeous mint cabinet! It actually ended up back at home with me, and has a place in my office now; which I can't say that I'm at all sad about!!
Day 2-  Around 5pm on Saturday, we had a sudden (and pretty major) wind/rain storm!! We were literally holding our tent down, putting tarps over everything and shoving pieces of plyboard underneath all of the furniture, to save it from getting wet when we started taking on water. Thankfully it didn't last too long and everything was dry and safe when we got back on Sunday morning!!
Day 3- Here we are Sunday morning before opening! As you can see, the merchandise was dwindling (yay!) and we had to strategically place some tarps around to protect some of the furniture, but it was a great day!
This little lovely found a new home with a wonderful family who were visiting all the way from California, along with one of the hot air balloons shown below! They were excited to find a few things that they loved, and that would fit in a suitcase:-)

All in all, it was a great weekend.  I'm so thankful to my mom (who came up for the week from Mississippi!) and Sam, who were there to help me out! I couldn't have pulled it off without "team Furniture Alchemy"!! It was wonderful to meet lot of people who have been following my page and Instagram (we're @alchemyfurniture ) and gaining lots of new friends and followers!

By the end of the day on Sunday, we were so completely exhausted, that we started packing up and breaking down as soon as possible- so there wasn't a lot of time for picture taking....
So, to end the post, here's another highlight from my weekend- meeting, and taking the obligatory Luckett's selfie, with Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer to Fall

 I'm back at work (what?!) and ready (I guess...) for the new school year teaching 7th and 8th grade....July and August flew by so fast!  I'm loving the temperature change here in Northern Virginia this morning....fall has arrived!

The biggest announcement, that I can't believe I haven't posted about yet, is that I opened a second Etsy shop :-)  Don't worry, Furniture Alchemy is still going strong; but I needed another outlet to sell some smaller, handmade items, so Alchemy Home Decor  came about!

So, I've been super busy trying to fill up that shop and getting better at my sewing skills! But, Furniture Alchemy has been keeping me busy too! Here are a few pieces that I worked on over the summer:
This piece was featured on the Country Chic Paint blog a few weeks back! You can read about my process here and see more photos:

I love both of these pieces, but they sold right away! I just had to toss them in the post because they are so cute :-)

This piece is still available! You can purchase it here in my Etsy shop!

What did you create this summer? Share your summer projects with me on Facebook and Instagram (@alchemyfurniture)  using #alchemy 

Happy September!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July So Far

It's been a chaotic past week-far too much going on to include in one Facebook status update; so I figured I would just do a quick blog post to update everyone on where I've been and why the unplanned social media absence!

Sam and I left on the 4th to head down to the Tampa area to help out with a family situation; my  father-in-law has been very sick this year battling lymphoma and hadn't been doing well, so we knew we needed to come down for a visit.

 Originally, Sam was going to come down by himself on the 4th and then I was going to fly down later the next week for a visit and we would come back together. However the night before we left, I felt so strongly that I needed to come with him right away and not wait that I packed up my bags and we hit the road very early Friday morning to make the 16 hour drive to Florida.

When we arrived, I knew why I'd had the feeling that I should come with Sam; his father was very sick and weak.  He did pass away during the night on Sunday and it has been a tumultuous time for all.
When I walked out of  the hospital Monday morning around 6am, for the first time in about 12 hours, I looked up in the sky and saw the most beautiful dawn rainbow;  I knew that the rainbow was a sign that he was peaceful now, and it did bring some sort of solace to us all.

After all of the trials of the past week, we finally have all of the arrangements made and will be heading back to Va around the end of this week.

Thank you all for your thoughts and support during this time, it is very much appreciated.  I'm looking forward to getting back to work into the furniture factory next week and participating in some much needed paint therapy!

Furniture Alchemy on Etsy!