Monday, October 10, 2016

Serious as a Heart Attack

     I used to say this phrase a lot.  And now I know just what it means.  Some of you follow me on my personal page and already know this.... but Yours truly had a heart attack last Friday!  Yes, that is why there was a lack of posting on my Coastal Star Decor page last week.

No, I didn't know there was a problem, 
No, I am was not on any medication.
No, I don't smoke. Never. Not even once.
No, I am not a regular drinker.  Maybe an occasional cocktail once/twice a year. Maybe.
Yep, only 46 years old.  
(All of you that I told I was 68 so that I looked really good to you, I guess the gig is up.)

I already feel empowered to be an advocate for heart health as a survivor.  So here is my story,  I hope that any of this story may help you.  The most asked question of me this past week were from women asking about my symptoms.  I want to share my experience, and yes please feel free to share this if you think it may help someone.  Women are not always the targets for heart health literature but I am here to say, yes HEART ATTACKS HAPPEN TO WOMEN, EVEN YOUNG(ISH), WELL MIDDLE AGE(ISH) WOMEN!

It was Friday morning and I was prepping pieces for the Poquoson Seafood Festival.  I was cutting wood with my chop saw and building.  I had just unloaded my lumber from my truck and had given a joy ride to my Rottie up and down our street.  I felt anxious about my workload, but was feeling pretty good at having the entire day to do what I love.
Sophie, Coastal Star's newest assistant enjoying job perks.
As I was cutting my wood I noticed I was sweating a lot.  The morning was a beautiful 73 degrees and I was frustrated at how uncomfortable I was beginning to feel.  I thought Kim get a grip on yourself, it is not that hot.  My elbows started to ache, both of them equally.  Shucks, my arthritis is flaring.  I had loaded two loads of lumber the day prior so I was not surprised I was getting achy.  But then the pain started moving up my arms and within 10 minutes my arms were too heavy to lift.  Again, a heart attack was NOT on my agenda for the day, so I began to think... FLU?  MONO?  WHAT IN THE WORLD?  

OK, I will finish this piece and go inside to sit a moment and assess. 

I didn't finish the piece.

As I walk to the house I realize I am out of breath and beginning to be nauseated, and I am mad as a hornet that I am about to spend my free day getting sick.  Walking in the house is when I felt the truck being dropped on my chest.  The chest pain is unreal and I now know I am having a heart attack.  I tell my daughter how I feel and notice that my jaw feels tight, like it was locking up.  

Off to the Emergency Room we go. (yes, no need to time we will call 911, and you should too) Within 5 minutes of my arrival they do an EKG, see I am indeed having a heart attack and 20 minutes later I am in surgery where they find an artery 100% blocked and they insert two stents for me.  It is one week and 3 days from the event and I am already feeling like a new person.  I have cardiac rehab and a lifetime of medicine taking ahead of me, but I feel blessed to be able to do it.  And the best news is that I have little if any permanent damage to my heart!

Were there any symptoms before the heart attack in hindsight?  I think so.  I had a general tiredness feeling all summer.  I attributed it to my RA and just thought it was par for the course.  And the RA, well my symptoms have been 10% post heart attack of what they were all summer.  HMMM?  Will continue to monitor that of course but HMMMMM?  My mood was short and I had to watch my temper.  Again, something I chalked up to the arthritis pain and achiness.  In the month prior to my attack, I had three big Dr Appts where they listened to my heart with a stethoscope.  Nothing was said or noticed then.  I do have genetics against me, my Dad and his Dad both died in their 50's having had heart attacks. 

I do NOT have any medical education, and please don't take my symptoms to mean they are the only ones.  These are just my symptoms I experienced.  I think women can have a spectrum of symptoms that we too easily ignore.  If your intuition tells you something is wrong, please get seen asap.  I wish I had.  Heart attacks hurt.  Bad.

So here is my story, I will keep you guys posted on my progress, and if you have ANY questions about me that could help you about you or a loved one, please ask.  I have a journey of recovery ahead of me.  I am blessed.  I have had an outpouring of love and kindness since my heart attack.  I joke with my family that I feel like I had a funeral without having to die to get it.  I hope to pay back with information and to let my blog followers and fellow Coastal lovers know that I so appreciate you and your support of me and my little business.  

Keep creating, do what you love, and take care of yourselves.  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Beach Scene Dresser Makeover

I received a text from my niece... "Hey if you want a dresser my friend has one he will give to you but you gotta get  it now. I look up from my phone and see my Grom and lo and behold my Grom's friend.  MUSCLE!!!  I am getting ready to feed them a steak dinner, time to make them earn it.  
"Yep, I can be there"

We pull up and it is sitting on the front stoop, looking very abandoned.  
The owners had even left the house.  

As we took the drawers out to move it, we could tell that it had a hard life.  The 70's trademark shiny surface had many nicks and cracks, and many of the joints were loose and unsturdy.  

I started cleaning and repairing, determined to make this a piece to love.  
The hardware had to go.  
I love to salvage hardware and give it a new look.  These pieces were cheap and broken.  Off you go.
Then I started bracing loose joints, and filling in cracks and loose veneer and clamping things down. 

 I knew I wanted new hardware so I filled in the existing holes and got rid of them so I could add whatever I wanted when I was done.

A good sanding and cleaning later, she told me what she wanted.  
The front surface was so smooth it just cried for a beach scene to make her pretty. 
So I did it.

A good hard surface sealant to protect the paint, and then antiqued glass knobs later... here she is!

Once destined for the dump, will soon be a treasure in someone's home.  

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Here We Grow... again!

Ok guys... so a lot has been happening here at Coastal Star Decor.  Lots of evaluating, and honestly it just came down to searching who I am and who I have become.  I had started working full time again last fall.  I was looking for some guaranteed money to complete some projects and well... I discovered that the administrative office person that I once was is gone.
 Long gone.
Out of the park gone.
No longer in the building gone.  Get what I am saying to you?
Pushing papers, answering phones, worrying if a reservation was made correctly, caring whose fault something is... I just couldn't wrap my brain around that any longer.  What totally used to by my jam was no longer there.  Not saying I couldn't do the job, I did and I believe I did it well.  But everyday I felt a part of my real self disappearing, and that my candle was dimming... and worse?  I was missing my Grom's appointments and school events.  I was tired.  So tired.

The company I was with was fantastic.  The people were even better.  I am even still dabbling there a couple of mornings a week part time just because it benefits us both for the time being.  I am so honored and humbled with that.

But I discovered that I have changed.  

It is hard enough for creative people to work 9 to 5's.  Most of us don't have a choice and have to plug away.  I respect that.  I have been there.  I am actually still there but Mr. Star and I are willing to take the risk.   I am so fortunate that the hubsters believes in me enough to say... "Ok, let's do this."  Enough so that he is willing to work his career job and come home and help me in mine.  Enough so that he is willing to take on the extra so that I can bloom again.  That... is what marriage is.  And he respects the fact that although I was a total business workhorse OUR ENTIRE MARRIAGE and now all of a sudden I just can't make myself do it?  

"Ok, let's do this."  
 Those words were exactly what my heart needed to hear.

This said, I have taken some time to evaluate what worked with Coastal Star and what didn't and we are coming back strong.  Not saying I will be working mistake free, but I sure will be streamlining man of my processes.

I will still be painting furniture and I look forward to doing custom work for you.  I love custom jobs and enabling my clients to love their own things again.  Taking a piece from their attic and turning into the focus point in a room just makes my heart soar.

I will still be painting art and teaching art classes.  I love the One Stroke method and will continue teaching that technique.

With Donna Dewberry at a One Stroke Convention

Focus will be turning toward the furniture building.  We love our surfboard furniture and decor here at Coastal Star and have begun building Farmhouse tables and other pieces of furniture as well.  What a rush to create a piece out of raw material and straight out of our barn.  No outsourcing materials, we are using American made local products while supporting our local hardware and lumberyards.

I hope you stick with me as I navigate these changes and continue to raise my family and hit the beach whenever possible.  The blog will turn a bit more personal as I will be documenting growing as a small business working wife and Momma who really just wishes she was a mermaid.  Of course, don't we all? 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Your Painting Questions...

Coastal Star Monday Questions for Kim

Sorry I am a day late!  Two weeks ago, I started having cold symptoms and yesterday was treated for pneumonia... already feeling better and ready to get back to work.  All of them!
Don't forget to email/message me your questions for the next Q & A blog!  I love getting your messages!

I see the expensive round brushes for sale, does it matter what paint brush I use?

Well no, you definitely do not NEED a round brush to "chalk" paint.  This is one of those areas where it becomes personal preference.  And honestly, I believe it is just another way for some chalk paint companies to rack up sales.  That being said, I do love a round brush, although I primarily use them for painting, not waxing.  I use the large round brushes for covering lots of footage quickly on large pieces.   You can really get moving with these!  I do use the small round brushes for applying dark wax, particularly when doing lots of detail work in crevices.  For small piece painting, I use the Blue Hawk 2" slanted brush with the blue rubber handle.  The rubber handle is so kind to my arthritic hands!  When you paint a lot of volume like I do, this is important.

How do you clean the round brushes, they look nice, but I'm afraid I would use once and then ruin the brush if I don't clean it properly?
To clean all of my brushes... I use lye soap, or plain old blue dawn dish detergent.  And if I use it for wax, I don't wash everytime, I keep it in a ziploc bag. But only if I will be using it again soon. Really, I use those brushes for painting more than waxing. I generally use lint free cloths for waxing. My brush cleaning strategies... First I use hot water to rinse out all paint until the water runs clean.  Then I massage blue dawn or lye soap into my bristles.  Then I soak in a coffee mug with hot water overnight.  In the morning I just rinse clean and hang to dry.  I haven't bought brushes in ages... they just keep getting better.

 I’m seeing tiny specs of dust and particles under the wax or Polyurethane and can’t get rid of them – 
You need to sand.  And to prevent this from happening, yes, sand in between each layer.  If you take your time and pay attention, you may find there is always going to be hair and dirt in your paint finish.  Sanding in between each coat really reduces this.  

I want a dark waxed look to my kitchen table.  Can I poly over wax?  No.  And I don't recommend using ANY wax on a surface you will be wiping down constantly or in a high traffic area.  Poly to protect your surfaces.  You may look into different ways to use glazes, but I never recommend wax on a kitchen table. 


Monday, January 11, 2016

Coastal Star Monday Questions for Kim

Here is the start of my Questions for Kim series.  Thank you so much for everyone who responded!  What fun!  Email or Facebook me your questions to be included in the next Questions for Kim blog!

I'd really like to spend a little time talking further with you about your business, how you've grown it, some do's and don'ts etc. I really need to begin expanding my vision for my own small business and feel a bit lost with where to place my efforts. 
I love to mentor new painters!  I do offer a personal one on one service.  Online or in person, I will meet with you and discuss building your business using my experiences and lessons I have learned from courses I have taken.  Includes Membership to special FB group that will work together and discuss your businesses.
Private Initial consult $95/hour
Private Half hour session after Initial Consult $30

Email me at to get you started and schedule our initial consult!

 How much would you charge to paint a full size bed? I want it in a neutral color. 
Email me a photo of your  furniture that you would like to freshen up. We will discuss colors and find a great fit for your home interior. Based on labor & materials I can give you an estimate per piece via email. We will then schedule a drop off/pick up time. Allow 2-3 weeks for completion.

  If you get too dark wax happy is there a way to correct it or tone it down?  Absolutely.  The key is to wax correctly to begin with.  Always apply clear wax first.  This enables your dark wax to "move"  If you apply dark wax first, the paint grabs it and the dark wax will stick to it, keeping you from being able to manipulate it the way you want to.  You can always add clear wax after the dark as well to work as an eraser and take away excess dark wax.  Clear-dark-clear.

I painted my table but after a few weeks the paint started peeling?  What did I do wrong? The most common mistake I find is not cleaning your piece well.  Always use a degreaser.  NO paint will adhere well to grease.  And just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. 

How do chalk paints do on laminate furniture?
If it is laminate or has a shiny surface, the paint will not adhere. Do a sample if you are unsure.  I always prime my laminates, no matter what brand or type of paint I use.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Review and what will change for Coastal Star decor in 2016

Happy Anniversary to us!  Coastal Star Decor just turned 3 years old today!  Still, just a baby.  
But boy have we learned a lot in those 3 years.
There are some changes happening, mostly from learning the business and trial and error.
My First Show a few years ago -Langley Raceway
First off, I will be specializing more on certain things.   I was all over the place for this last year and a half.  Teaching, booths, shows, in stores, custom work, painting restaurants and businesses, social paint nights, you name it... I did it.

Large restaurant job I tackled

 But I did these things on purpose to see what works, what fits my style, what I do and don't like to do.  And most importantly, what is profitable.


I painted anywhere they would let me

I also learned that this is a tricky business.  And one that, as an artist, I don't really have the stomach for.  There is a lot of dog eat dog, and wolves in sheep's clothing.  Friends that are only friends if you are renting from them or purchasing their product.  (Hint: if your relationship with me is strictly business... that is great.  Don't pretend otherwise.)  And people that copy, or run their business as a direct copy...I just don't know...Even naming their business eerily close to mine... hmmmm.... 
I just don't have it in me.  

I love to hear that I have inspired others, but inspiration and copying is totally different.  I could go on, but that's not moving forward.  Integrity has always been a big part of my business and will continue to.  I can't sleep at night any other way.

How about turning a profit?  Yes, I run my business to turn a profit.  Yes I am an artist.  Yes, I would love to give all my things away.  I just can't afford the time to do that.  I am an artist, and a mom, and a wife, an employee, a sports enthusiast, and a beach lover... many things that claim my time.
 I know you have a hard luck case and want me to paint this dresser for free or next to nothing.  But that, in addition to the charities I already support...  All of a sudden I don't have time to paint for profit!  I have also had to leave and trim down my presence in many places because of not being able to turn a profit there.  Does that mean it is a bad store?  Of course not, and I have never sold in a store I didn't make checks from every month..
  Just means it didn't work for me.  And that I sell things to make profit.

 Yeah, keep reading...

Ok, Y'all... here is the core of what I have learned.  All of my friends that paint furniture and flip for business, here is free intel.  Really... and I mean REALLY look at your bottom line.  Write down your numbers, and account for all of your expenses.  How much $ are you really making?  A $1500 monthly check from a store... Isn't $1500.  Take out your rent, store percentage, inventory cost,  credit card cost, cost of supplies (be honest here/it is more than you think), gas and time from moving your inventory (from find to storage to painting to store), time for Phone calls/emails about your piece (will you take $15 less than listed?), reinvesting in your business(cards/signage/advertising).  Your time... unless you are a "paint slapper" and don't take your time to ensure a quality job.  (Hint:  If you are using the same painting procedure regardless of what furniture you are painting, you may be a paint slapper) Your check just shrunk.  Considerably.  Is this a hobby business for you?  Great, take your $200 for a month's work and enjoy.  No sarcasm intended here.  A hobby business pays for your habit, and there is NOTHING wrong with that.  But to live on this, while those hobbyists are pricing their items so low that you just can't compete.  Well, here come the bad stomach ache again.  LOL

Now that I have learned my lessons, what's on the docket for 2016?  I can't wait to show you.  Custom work has turned out to be one of my loves.  I will continue doing customs.  I will continue  my presence in a few select stores.  I plan on providing quality furniture with one of a kind artwork.  

Providing one of a kind decor pieces. 
 Not created to sell as bulk, but creating found objects into useful current decor.  
And the art.  I will be celebrating my love of art and continuing to teach One Stroke Painting.  


Coastal Star Decor
Continuing the blog?  Yep, planning on it.  Even starting a weekly "Ask Me" blog.  Send me your questions... I will answer them weekly on my blog every other Monday.  And to those of you who have missed my regular blogging... how kind of you to reach out to me to tell me just that!  I have been so touched by the "Where are you"s and my favorite... "I need my Kim fix".  Thank you all so much for your support.  In response to your sweet messages and comments, this year my blog will be more about my observations and experiences and growing as an artist/person than strictly painting.

And thanks to the friends and loved ones that I have made in this business.  I have met artists and business owners who have just really shown me about the type of person I want to be when I grow up.  My customers that follow me to stores, lessons, and art shows... I love you dearly.
 I have made life long friends that I am not sure what I ever did without them. 
 Thank you for your support in 2015 and GET READY TO ROCK 2016 WITH ME!
Let's CREATE the life we want in 2016!

The possibilities are endless


Monday, June 29, 2015

No Bench Left Behind!

A friend of mine asked for help getting his bench back to business... Here is what I received...

Note the three pieces of wood that are just barely hanging on...
This is what we replaced totally with beautiful Oak.
We trimmed them to size (Mr Star and the Grom helped me with this while I worked some other projects...

Here is the Grom wondering what in the work he has gotten into.              

After painting the metal a beautiful gray, staining and sealing the oak, Mr Star and I assembled the bench.  Yes, 4 hands were needed, but many hands make light work, right?  Quite a few hours went into the project, but I am very happy with the result.  The color choice really updated the look of the bench.
So now you know... don't pass up on those metal bench pieces on the curb.  ;)