Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Here We Grow Again!

I am so proud to announce that I have agreed to be a Resident Artist at Mint Julep Antiques & Art in Downtown Hampton!  I am so humbled to join this wonderful group of very talented artists!   I will be on site regularly painting, holding workshops and classes.  I am also available to do custom pieces for you and help to decorate your home with artwork and murals.  I will post on Facebook when I will be in store and I hope you come to see me!  Many thanks to Susan and Diana, Mint Julep owners, for taking a chance on my crazy self and willing to put up with my shenanigans full time! 

Recycling Old Pallets, and Why I Don't Do It.

Ok, so this past weekend I had several folks come up to me and want to talk about re working the wooden pallets they have.  I feel like I need to post this because when I answered the way I did, it turns out many of them did not know this....  MANY pallets are treated with very harsh chemicals and pesticides.  They are very susceptible to critters (re:roaches) and mold.  I have heard about termites hiding in much of the wood.  I don't use pallets and never have.  
For my clients well-being and I, it is not for me. 
I am not telling you not to reuse pallets in your own designs.  But please reconsider using them IN your home and especially for your children.  I recently saw a child's bed made out of pallet wood and it worried me to pieces.    And this can be true of all reloved items.  I have to tell you this is a concern of mine.  I thoroughly clean my pieces and if I suspect any infestation... the piece is G-O-N-E.  Yes, this can happen in any reloved item, but the percentages I have read and heard about with pallets is VERY HIGH.  Unlike the occasional piece of furniture. 
If you research it, you will find that there are stamps put on pallets that are free from treatment, although that still wouldn't stop the roach, termite (or eggs) and mold from being on them.  If you are selling items made out of pallets, I think you need to disclose the info to the buyers.  Even if it is saying that it is "Certified free of chemicals" (Plus it would be a great selling point!) This is my personal opinion, and I am sure there are many special circumstances.  There are ways of knowing where your pallets comes from and where its been and I am sure there are some safe ones out there.  I am not denying others of pallet use for their art, but I do want to bring awareness.  If you have a good clean and safe source, but all means REDUCE REUSE AND RECYCLE!
Just get out there and create!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Well, Thank You, Bodacious Bazaar (Hampton, VA), you have absolutely ruined me for every other show.  It is true that I have only been doing shows for almost two years.  And in all honesty the shows that I am in are very well run and organized. One was quite the clunker but we won't talk about that one ;)

Bodacious Bazaar is quite the exception and I have to say that although I am a very tired Coastal Mermaid today... I hate that I am not waking up and going to "the show"!  How many vendors can say that after a three day event with THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of shoppers?  

Every aspect of the show was well run.  From the application process to tear down on the last night it was extremely professional.  I had first applied for the spring show in Fort Monroe.  As it turns out, my mother had unexpectedly passed away the week prior to the show.  Bodacious did not have to refund me or work with me in any way according to the contract I signed.  But when I contacted the organizer, I was assured that all is well AND had my money transferred to the fall show at my request.  No questions asked.  No grief for having missed the show.  Just sympathy and empathy that totally eased my anxiety over missing the show. 

And in case you missed my previous post, My House Looks Like a Trainwreck, But My Booth is Cute, I have to say it again... the check in and set up was a WELL OILED machine.  With over 300 quality vendors (from all over the country!) they had quite a job getting us all in... and not only did they get us in but they had volunteers to help us unload our goodies AND took them to our booths!  I still can't get over that.  As a furniture and big piece vendor... this one thanks Bodacious Bazaar for this from the bottom of my heart.  And the volunteers did NOT make me feel rushed and they treated my lovelies as their own product.  Just can't ask for more than that.  One of them even purchased from me as they unloaded me!  (Pretty good start for me)
Even Santa was on hand in his work britches. 
The show snapped a photo of me as I was setting up!

The show kicked off Friday morning with encouraging words from the organizer Sandra Gardner, who is QUITE a DYNAMO!  And then she sent us off to our booths with a prayer.  This woman speaks to my heart, I tell ya.  

But don't think that is all... all weekend Bodacious volunteers stopped by my booth to see if I needed anything.  Change?  Bathroom break?  Bite to eat?  Yes, I kid you not... they had booth sitters.  Wowzers!  They were truly there to serve their vendors.  It turns out we needed this as the show was so well advertised and marketed that entry to the venue had to be closed twenty minutes after opening Saturday morning because we had met fire code capacity.  Fire marshalls were on hand to assist the over 300 waiting in line to get in as shoppers exited.  Did I say Wowzers before? And I mean WOWZERS!

Then the wrapup...tear down... Show hours on the last day was 10-6.  When you applied, the show hours were posted.  Folks paid to get into this show... at 5:50 the guests should see what they would have seen if they were there at noon.  Mrs. Gardner had her expectations clearly listed and reiterated in writing and by speech.  And my inner rule following self cheered with glee when she charged up to a neighbor vendor at 5:45 who had pretty much packed up his entire booth.  She explained that this was against the rules and totally out of guidelines to do this.  She called him out.  And it was beautiful.  Mrs. Gardner has standards for her vendors AND her guests and this is why it is a quality show for all. 
Lots and Lots of takeaways for me as a vendor, a professional, and a Christian business owner.  So glad to have been a part of this event... and I CAN'T WAIT for the spring show in Fort Monroe.  If you are a vendor I highly recommend you apply.  It is such a great experience.  Tell them Kim from Coastal Star Decor sent you!
 Here are a few shots of my booth from the weekend.  Hope you enjoy!  Ask me about any items you may be interested in.  I am taking special orders for the trees (I ran out)  and my items will be placed at Mint Julep Antiques, Design & Consign Artisan Gallery, Poquoson Art League's Holiday Gallery, and Concrete Creations in Va Beach. 
My lovelies qued on the loading docks ready to go back to their retail stores!

No, I do not know why my lips are blue.  But these are my mermaid girls and I love them and their support!

Saturday I had great help from my BFF so I was able to do painting demos!

On Friday mermaid Laurel stopped by to help!

Added a little Christmas spirit to my booth sign ;)

 My items will be placed at Mint Julep Antiques, Design & Consign Artisan Gallery, Poquoson Art League's Holiday Gallery, and Concrete Creations in Va Beach. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My House Looks Like a Trainwreck, But My Booth is Cute.

WHAT A BUSY AND EXCITING SEASON!  Being in full time "retail" again at Christmas... well... it can be a little overwhelming!  As a small business owner, we NEED to capitalize on this time of year.  And the shows are there for the willing and able.  As many other business owners can attest, the end of the year is here and the numbers better come in!  
So there are ugly high pressure situations to every career.  Even artists.  The misconception is that artists create when they want, what they want, and can live on any money because most items are all profit.  Well, that is not exactly how it works.  There are so many expenses, and when you are growing your business, the expenses grow even larger as you reinvest.  
So the past two months have been about product for Coastal Star, along with many of my peers.  Capturing Holiday Sales.  And with this of course comes shows and retail spaces.   Less blogging, more late nights.  More shaking hands and kissing babies.  More cutting off nonproductive business relationships.  Feeding the productive ones.  And there is nothing wrong with this..." Tis the Season", right?  
Coastal Star is coming off of a very productive Seafood Festival, and this week I moved into the Poquoson Holiday Gallery, am Demoing at the Ladies Night at Ace Hardware (tonight) and I just moved into my new home for the next three days at the Bodacious Bazaar in Hampton, VA.  I have just recently moved into Design & Consign Artisan Gallery and have recommitted with Mint Julep Antiques in Downtown Hampton. 
What does this mean?  MY HOUSE IS A TRAIN WRECK!  As I moved out furniture and decor out of my barn, upstairs studio, downstairs den I see a month (er, um maybe a little more) of neglect.  Things are everywhere.  Decisions of "Should I paint one more set of glasses to get them in the oven or should I dust the den?"  Do I need to tell you which one I choose?  Dirty laundry hampers are waiting in their nice polite line at the washing machine.  Next week it is about regaining order here... and distributing inventory to retail.  
But this weekend is about FUN!  And it has already started out a winner.  Hauling furniture, I am always concerned about loading/unloading, hauling etc.  At this show, you pull in to the unloading lineup and two volunteers come out to your trailor with a cart and start unloading FOR YOU!!!  Then they took it all to my booth and unloaded it.  WHAT?!?!  AND, GET THIS... SANTA HIMSELF UNLOADED MY FURNITURE!  I found out today that I am on the GOOD LIST!  WAHOO!!!!  
These awesome volunteers saved my morning!  And my BACK!
And here are some sneak peeks of my booth this time.

Come see me!  Let me know you read the blog!  You might find yourself with a surprise!