Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com
Etsy is absolutely dizzying! I just spent the better part of this day adding some things to my etsy shop that I actually started a couple of years ago (but pretty much ignored)....its all so overwhelming. I decided I might as well try and learn my way around the site..... that if I can learn how to work it, it might come in handy as another source for income if I need to give up the studio. Lets face it....one or two people coming into my studio/shop a day is just not going to cut it. I'm just spinning my wheels there. I'm only selling enough there to pay my living expenses (which I've pared down to nearly nothing!) and to buy more supplies and things to work on, I never get ahead.
And now the girls will be gone, today is there last day there, cleaning out the final bits and bobs. I'm depressed.
OMG.....look what I found on simplykidsfurniture ...the exact pieces I've been working on! I was just having breakfast before going to the studio and decided to take a look at what was out there in kids furniture....this was the very first site I went to and the very first page I clicked on....crazy. What surprised me most was that someone could have paid over $800 on a piece and then paint it that yucky brown color!
So here's the before and after. I still have to sew the seat cushion cover and I still want to try and find some small lamp sconce that I could hang inside.

I got the other one started, the paint is a really dark blue black color and I've decided on a nautical theme for this....crumby photo but you get the idea.
I continued the work on the 'reading nook' yesterday and got all the panels done and installed. I just used cardboard for the panels...covered them with batting, then the material, and I just used these little brads to do the tufting. The tufting is very subtle, you can kind of see it in the third photo down if you look closely at the side panel.

I haven't sewn the cushion cover yet...I'll take my sewing machine in today and do that. Then I'll add a trompe l'oeil sleeping puppy to the drawer front and we'll pretty much be ready to hit the shop floor. I'd still love to find a little wall sconce to hang on the inside, but I'm not sure that'll happen.
I think I'll do the other cabinet in a more masculine theme....a gorgeous plaid perhaps?
OK :-) Today I got both the bookcases I bought on Monday done......just painted them both a shade of black and distressed (I'm getting tired of white....sorry Florida;).
Then I got started on one of these guys.....so glad to get rid of that baby poo brown!
Here's where we are so far.........
When I started working on it my first thought was to turn it into a seating area with coat hooks, but its not quite tall enough for that, so I decided on a kid's reading nook.
I took out the two shelves and I'm going to line the inside walls with padding and a cool fabric (cushy for leaning against:) maybe do some tufting using upholstery tacks.....on second thought maybe it'd be easier to make padded and tufted panels that I could then attach to the walls, yes....that'd be easier. Then make a coordinating seat cushion, put some kind of design on the drawer front......right now I'm thinking a trompe l'oeil napping puppy or kitty.....and try to find some sort of small (non-dangerous) lamp to attach to the inside wall for reading. What fun!
I got a lot done today...the corner cupboard just needed a good cleaning and some additional distressing..e-z.
Got the little four drawer chest painted and the tall narrow bookcase is primed and ready for paint. But I started the day by knocking out that beautiful dresser. Bad picture but she's gorgeous in person with her french-y blue/gray paint and light distressing.
Anxious to get back to the studio in the morning to get more pieces out on the floor so I can get back to the pet portraits. Its hard being a one man band....not enough hours in the day.
I just think these are so sweet.....some hand painted knobs (or nail head covers) I discovered on etsy.......she's got bunches. And.......as I see some of my furniture pieces that I spent many hours painting images on for childrens rooms still sitting on the shop floor, something like this might be more appealing to shoppers. Murals on the face of drawers might just be too limiting.....colors aren't right, child outgrows the design, etc....but knobs are very easy to switch out.....hmmmmm?

And OMG how cute are these guys! I gotta visit etsy more often. See more of these here.
I had a Taa---riff---ick day today! I started the day moaning and groaning to myself about going out to my favorite thrift shop, but I had to go, I had to take the chance that today I would be able to find some things to take back to the studio. Ignore the dealers and pickers I said to myself......if they're there just ignore them, focus on other things.......so off I go. I probably got there around ten or so and there didn't seem to be the usual amount of 'people' there, I began to relax. There weren't any beautiful old vintage pieces today, but I found some things I can work on and make beautiful :-)
Here's what I brought home today.........
two of these units (identical)..............

All of the above plus a small white bedside table..nothing fancy, just a little two drawer unit, all of this was $43 and change. See why I like to be able to shop there?!
Then I totally splurged ............I stopped at my local Salvation Army and fell in love with a dresser....what can I say, I'm a sucker for old furniture with gorgeous handles. I also got a huge rug there for the shop...forgot to take a picture of that.
Being a Philly girl at heart it was cool to find this Snellenburg & Co. tag on the back of the chest......
And finally, also at the Salvation Army Thrift Shop this mirror was laying right on top of the dresser.....I love this mirror! I loved the gold design behind the glass when I was looking at in the store. When I got home though, the gold was gone!......what?? When I moved it around I heard this strange rattling sound inside the mirror, so I had to take it apart to investigate. And there it was.....I assumed the glass was painted but the design was backed with embossed gold colored tin panels and they had fallen off.....yeah!....just needed to reattach them and they're beautiful once more.
Then one final purchase from the girls next door......I also adore old lamps and so I bought this little cutey from them.

Drum roll please.............

And according to random.org the lucky winner for this pet portrait giveaway is..............Michelle from walkintheclark. Congrats Michelle, be sure to email me a favorite picture of Leo. And when Leo is completed that will trigger the next pet portrait giveaway so keep checking back.
Well the fireplace job is out so my attention is turned back to my pet portraits, the exterior mural for the outside of my building, and what will be the future of my shop now that the girls next door are leaving. There was a lot of activity next door yesterday, the girls are having a 50% off sale, and fortunately some of that activity spilled over into my shop.....I made a few sales too :-). I'm really nervous about how things will be when they're gone.

I have two commissioned pet portraits right now and I finished one of them on Friday....
and will work on getting the other one done this week....a very, very furry cat!

Towards the end of the day yesterday I bought a plant stand from the girls next door, quickly brought it to my shop.
I had to fashion a new piece of foot for one of the legs, painted and distressed it, I couldn't wait to get it home. Alas.....and sigh.....as cute as it is, it doesn't look well anywhere I try to put it in my apartment. So.....its back to my shop now and for sale once again.
Well I finished the second sketch this morning....the interior decorator's second idea was to have an oriental charger sitting on a stand inside the fireplace opening.
Disappointed that none...I repeat....none of my cute little stools that I made have sold, I took some home with me. I was so happy to see how well they looked under this print. I love this print, don't know why, just do. I got it from the girls next door, a furniture exchange so to speak :-)
The stools though got me thinking......why don't I use the other cubbie space in my studio to house all things handmade by me?! Someone expressed interest in that tall black unit, so that will be out of the way soon.
I think I'd enjoy making a few folding screens again.
I could make a couple with cloth panels and then again I could just make the frames and let people make their own custom panels ......no sewing necessary if you use just a bit of liquid stitch or some velcro. The rods in my screens move from side to side so that you can slip them out.
Add some stools, some benches, some shelves with hooks etc.........could be cool. Maybe through in a couple of hand painted floor cloths?
I was blog surfing again this morning......something I do with my morning coffee....and came across this site where some gals put together craft project kits you can purchase.........hmmmm??...another idea perhaps??

PET PORTRAIT GIVEAWAY (this giveaway has ended)

OK.....Zoe is finished and I'm just waiting for Melanie's address so I can send it off. And......... this triggers my very first try at a giveaway on my blog. So if you would like a chance to win a 5"x7" painted pet portrait just leave a comment on this post and I'll do a random drawing on Monday the 24th for a winner. LOL.......I don't have the following that Better After has (yet:-) so your chance to win is good. Good Luck!
And here's my 1st sketch for the decorator. She asked for just a simple sketch with no color, colors will be decided later. Not sure what kind of pot she wants and the plant will be much fuller......I paint better than I sketch :-)
Getting ready to finish up Melanie's giveaway portrait.
And will then start sketches for this fireplace. I'll be doing either a trompe l'oeil oriental charger on a stand for the opening or a large plant....I'll be doing sketches for each.

Picasso is painting


I found these two little Picasso prints in a thrift shop today ($.99 each). I can't quite figure out how they were done. I took one out of the frame and the colors were raised and felt sort of waxy? Anyhow, I was immediately attracted to them and realized I don't really know that much about him....so natch I went searching for info and landed on this video.

Well, as perfectly as the buffet would have gone with the table and chairs, the buyers of the table and chairs showed no interest in purchasing it :-(
Hopefully soon it will become someone else's special find.
I've been doing a lot of thinking the past few days, spurred on by my last few trips to my often talked about favorite thrift shop....its starting to become my not so favorite thrift shop and that makes me kind of sad. I'm sure I've mentioned in the past how its become 'thee' place for dealers/pickers to hang out, making it nearly impossible to take back to the shop any bargains that I used to be able to find there. I just don't have it in me to join the ring of people that forms around the trucks trying to lay claim to items before the poor workers can even get them to the sales floor. I was so frustrated last week by the negative atmosphere this aggressive behavior has created that I sat down and wrote a letter to the directors suggesting small changes that could be made to make this a more 'fair to all' place to shop. I just needed to say something.
Anyway, dealing with the reality of it and the likelihood that things will remain the same, I realize I need to make some changes.........but what? This is where the days of thinking comes in, and I haven't come up with anything yet.
I started going through pictures of my old work looking for inspiration. I came across some pictures of some folding screens I used to make.......probably fifteen years ago now.....they were such fun to make. I'm sure I've shared with you before how next to painting, I love working with tools.
I hardly remember when I lived at the address on the picture, but I remember it was a one room efficiency apt.
What a mess I would make in that small space.
I used to call these my cookie cutter screens because I used cookie cutters to trace the design onto the wood before I cut them out.
Then this one was made out of bi-fold doors....
Then I started making these little side tables..........
I've probably posted these things before, and I'm really not sure I should be revisiting these as a solution to my situation.......remember all the little foot stools I made a couple of months ago?........thinking they'd be an easy sell? Not one has sold.
I'm going to spend this morning looking at tons of blogs I've saved as favorites and look for some outside inspiration. I need to learn to think/see outside of the(my:) box.

Oh.........and I'll be finishing up the giveaway winner's pet portrait. I got it started yesterday and its nearly finished.
Finally got some work done today. I've been having trouble with my energy level being low because I'm in the midst of switching my thyroid medication from synthetic to natural........can't wait til the new stuff kicks in(takes up to six weeks)!!
Anyway here's the before and after.

And remember how I said this would go great with the table/chair set below?.....well, don't ja know.....a couple came in today and bought the table and chairs. Ummmm.....maybe when they come in to pick them up this weekend I can convince them they need a buffet too :-)
Got an email from Melanie (the Better After giveaway winner) with a photo of her dog Zoe. So here's a look at my next 'model'. Too cute! And I will start this in a day or two.

But today I'll be coming up with some ideas for a picture/photo board.......not sure what you call them but like this.............
Not this fancy probably. This will be for the restaurant in Lantana, FL. that I've done a lot of work for, The Old Key Lime House. I did one sketch, a muscle beach guy holding a mermaid, but they'd prefer something more family oriented, so back to the drawing board.

And here's my latest acquisition. Five bucks!..can you believe it?!
OK.....so there's been some foot damage and someone tried to square off what probably used to be ball shaped feet, and bits of trim were missing, but all painted up it'll work. One of the dangle-ly knobs was missing so the bottom draw will get something different.

Hey!! This will go perfect with the dining set!!