…favorite things friday: vintage tobacco baskets

Durn. Another week has gone by and although the snow has started to melt, my kids all decided to get sick so we couldn’t get back to school and mommy’s desperate need for routine. Pretty pictures certainly help my mood and so do really cool vintage accessories.

I heart these old tobacco baskets from Antique Farmhouse.

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I used to own a few of my own and hung them on my walls. They are an inexpensive way to get really cool wall decor. I’m totally not getting paid for this post, I just love these!

Here are few other interior examples via Pinterest.

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…building a creative business: motivation

Let’s start with what is not motivating. Being literally stuck in the house by bounds of snow and three children for 10 days and then finding out that there is a teacher work day on day 11. I think I literally shut down for at least 8 of those days. I put my head in my little shell, tucked my arms and legs in and hung a sign up that said See You In The Spring. There is only so much hot cocoa, kid’s movies and board games that one woman can handle. And when her hiatal hernia decides to rear its ugly head so she can’t even comfort herself with queso and chips it is a dark day.

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What I know for myself is that I cannot manufaction creativity. And to be creative you must be motivated by something. This something is so personal. For me, it is sunshine, music, art museums, good food, documentaries, a quiet lunch with good friends, watching my son sleep, etc. If I am deprived of some of these things or all of these things for a long period of time it’s like getting dehydrated. It starts at a slow uncomfortablness and then it becomes deseperation. I feel like I will never feel better.

Does anyone out there relate? I do feel blessed that there are things that can hydrate me and spark life. I believe that we all have these motivators. I believe that we all kind of know what they are, we just need to pay a bit more attention and sometimes it takes effort to reconnect with the things that keep us feeling alive. If you are not feeling motivation I feel so confident that you are not tapping into these bits of light. What makes you breathe in deep without thinking? What relaxes your shoulders and brings you a natural smile? We were made to connect to these things. When I feel charged I feel curious and for me, curiosity is the gateway to creativity.

Two things –  if you are feeling low please know you are not alone. If you are a creative person, which I believe we all are in some way, and you feel all dried up, I would challenge you to tap into said inspiration things. If the beach is the thing that makes you breath and you can’t get there then hang a picture of a beach next to your computer. You don’t necessarily need to be there to still feel the stillness and relaxation.

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…blizzard

My downtown is Washington, DC and although we do not tend to snow and storms in a successful manner – ever – it can still be beautiful. I think it’s like any major city, I see these building all the time, but when they are dipped in soft snow,  they take on a magical appearance. (Images via Google.)

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Of course my favorite image comes from our National Zoo. I may have watched this 25 times yesterday because it made me so happy. Check out Tian Tain’s response.

…how to manage your clients.

SouthAfrica

“Hallo I am one of your followers and biggest fan….. but today I need your help desperately…. I am painting this showcase for a client and I just can’t get the feeling for this lady. Can you PLEASE give me any suggestions. I would so much appreciate it!!” – Maron from South Africa

First of all, I love so desperately that my readers come from all over the world. It is so exciting to image my virtual friends painting and creating in their own cities.

I have zero idea what the style of furniture is in South Africa not to mention the type of person that wants painted furniture. I do, however, know what it’s like to work with many different types of people. Here are a few tips when working for a client – someone that you have never met before and know nothing about!

  1. I know it sounds cliche, but I always try to be myself. This may mean me answering the door in my bathrobe on a Saturday morning. It also may mean that my kids want to say hello and buzz around us while we are talking.
  2. Smile. Even if you are exhausted or cranky smile and be cherry. Clients are trusting you with their special pieces and plan to put your work into their home. Be pleasant and smile.
  3. Trust. Walk through the process with your client. Make sure they understand what you will be doing to achieve the look they want. If they seem concerned then follow up via email.
  4. Photos. I also email several photos of the finish piece before pick up so that they can tell me if it is what they expected and want. If there are changes to be made then they can tell you then before they come out to pick up. It will save everyone time and energy.
  5. Manage expectations. If for some reason you are not able to give your client the look that they want then say so! Don’t be scared. You want to manage their expectations and do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. If you are hesitant that you can provide the look they want then “doubt means don’t”. Don’t take it on. Just tell the client what you are capable of and let them decide what they want to do.
  6. Chemistry. There is something to be said about good will and chemistry between client and designer. Sometimes you will encounter kindred spirits and it’s just a lovely experience for both parties. Other times you have to crack the shell of the client a bit and work to earn their trust. And, unfortunately, there are also those clients that are just suffering in their own worlds and are not able to be pleasant. This is when you get to decide if you want to invest time in their pieces. Most of my clients come to me with an appreciation for what I can give them and are amazingly trusting and wonderful. When I started out, however, I had to learn that every so often there is a bad apple that comes through the door and I can smell them a mile away. I have learned that it has nothing to do with me, but it has to do with how this person goes through life. Some people are just no happy. If you can handle this, then just look at it as a business transaction. I am much more emotional about my work so it really depends for me.

So, Sweet Maron from South Africa, if it were me and I was confident that I could give her the look she wanted then I would keep communicating with her. Email her during your process. Check in. If you feel like she is being hesitant then just reassure her. Be upfront as to what you can give her. If you are not able to crack a smile then know that as humans we all have trouble and maybe she cannot see past her. Look at it as a business transaction. If this seems phoney for you then it is a lesson that you know what kind of client that you are able to handle. It is definitely a 2-way street when providing a service like this. At least that is how I choose to see my business.

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