Thursday, March 31, 2011

Collector's Paradise

From a very young age, my parents were well aware of the fact that I was a packrat.  It was in my genes, afterall.  Growing up (and to this day) my dad had a 3 car garage that no one ever parked their car in.  I loved it! Everytime I went in there, I saw something different.  Even now, as a grown adult, I stop in the garage each time I come over just to see what's new.

His dad never threw anything away, he never threw anything away, and I never threw anything away.  Every nook and cranny of my childhood bedroom was crammed with some "important" item that I swore I would use again someday.  Now don't get me wrong...our house wasn't worthy of an episode of Hoarders or anything.  We just liked to collect stuff.

With that being said, I have successfully acquired quite the collection of collections in my relatively short lifetime thus far.  Each one is special, each one is important, and each one has a story.  I get a thrill when I add a new piece or when I find the perfect piece I've been searching for.  And new collections branch off all the time.

Anyone have a collection(s) they are particularly proud of?  Or just love to talk about?  That's the thing for me - they become a conversation piece when displayed on a shelf or in a little nook somewhere in the house.

I found a website today where a woman posted a picture of a different collection she had every day for an entire year!  That is insane!! (although, if I thought about it enough, I could probably almost match her!)

So tell me about a collection you have, or one you want to start.  It can be as little or as big as you want.  I'd love to hear about it - even send me a pic.  I'll post some of my favorites for you :)

vintage coffee cups

vintage thread spools

cobalt wine bottles

random coffee cups from vacations and trips

Coca-Cola memorabilia

shot glasses from places I've been (and then some)

vintage cream and sugar dishes

old and new teacups - by far my biggest collection (I have over 50! not all of them are even up yet!)

model cars - can't take credit though - these are Dan's :)

vintage perfume bottles and candy dish in the hob-knob style

vintage suitcases and steamer trunks

skeleton keys

hat boxes

probably my favorite - Eiffel Tower statues :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anthropologie = Love

If you have never been to an Anthropologie store, I suggest you do some mapquesting and find your local branch.  Or just google the heck outta "Anthropologie window displays" and you will see why.  Now, the clothes and home decor is waaaaaaay outta my price range, but it is definitely worth checking out in person.  The piece de resistance of the entire store are the windows.  I'm not sure how often they change them out, but they have an entire team of people who's only job is to spend ALL day creating these incredibly unique displays.
I mean, these are BOOKS for crying out loud.  I've done this bookfolding technique before, and let me tell you, it took me two hours to fold just ONE!
More books!
Balloon Animals - I mean, come on!
I'm not even sure what this is exactly, but it is definitely one of my all time favorites!

Now, I could go on forever and ever posting pics of these fantastic windows - or you can google like I previously suggested.  But my point of this post is that one of my new tasks at my new job is to decorate.  I was given complete artistic liberties to come up with something to decorate a 20 ft long by 4 ft high space above some shelving in the showroom.

Here is my inspiration:

Made entirely of coffee filters.  I spent all of my Saturday shift (and most of my Saturday evening) making hundreds of coffee filter flowers.  Of course, my designs are usually better in theory than in actuality, so we will see how the installation goes.  But stay tuned for updates of how I implement coffee filters into a carpet store display :)

New Look, Same Great Taste

Since I am no longer renting in Kent, I felt an update was appropriate - refresh, renew, rename.

Plus, I feel like my brain is overwhelmed with these awesome and awe-inspiring ideas on a daily basis and I just don't have anywhere to release it all.  So instead of just "finished" products as they slowly occur, I thought I would get into the habit of posting inspirational pictures and ideas that I find too good to pass up.  It is just as valuable to me as it is to all of you - it gives me a virtual catalogue (besides bookmarking everything I like) to keep all of my design desires in one place.  Plus it provides a portal for you to be able to feel the love on all of the nifty and funky designs I come across.  So please peruse and enjoy :)  Happy Designing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do What You Love & Love What You Do

I know, I know, it's been awhile.  But cut me some slack...I've been busy getting a life!

It's time to share with you a little less creativity and a little more reality.......

I truly believe that once you have hit rock bottom in the job market, that is when you have no where else to go but UP.  I'm living proof of this statement.  After over 6 years doing a job I adored,  I was ready to move on to a position that would allow me to grow.  As much as I loved The Frame Depot, I knew I would never be seen as much more than the 17 year old kid who's grandma got her the job.  There was no growth potential there.  Although I was good at it and had a degree in design, in a company with only 3 employees, I would always be the low man on the totem pole.  So I left a world I was comfortable in to explore greener pastures.  Believe me, those pastures were more full of cow pies than green grass.  My "between" job was a glorified receptionist.  It was not only intellectually UNstimulating, but it was downright depressing.  For 6 months I faced the daily grind of having to actually drag myself out of bed every morning and psych myself up.  I became grumpy, irritable, and just plain mean to everyone in my personal life.  Although he never admitted it, I was beginning to not resemble the woman my fiance' had fallen in love with.

The benefits were spectacular - 2 weeks paid vacation, 12 personal/sick days, free medical and dental coverage - and the hours were perfect.  But at what point do you sacrifice your happiness for the "perks"?

I put in application after application to any job that looked somewhat interesting.  I had a few return emails (mostly asking me for my credit score before they could set up an interview).  And then nothing for a couple of months.  I got discouraged, finally accepting the fact that college meant nothing for me and my degree basically amounted to a wonderfully worded piece of paper in a fancy leatherbound folder that was currently in a box in the basement.

And then one week, I got a hit.  A gentleman called me from a company that I hadn't even remembered applying to.  We set up an interview and it had gone well.  It was for a carpet and flooring company that was currently seeking someone with a design degree (and preferably a woman) to offset the "salesman" personna that this kind of industry often received.  It seemed great and I was looking forward to hearing from him within a week as to whether I got the job. 

And then...I got another hit.  I had sent an impromptu application to an ad in the paper for a "personal assistant" having no idea what to expect.  A woman called me - one who talked a mile a minute and was full of "great ideas".  She went on and on about this clothing/interiors/furniture store she was opening up in a couple of months.  I was apparantly just the thing she was looking for.  She was going to hire me right away to help get the store set up and ready.  I would be responsible for in-store displays, window displays, interior design services, upholstery work, the whole nine yards.  She was even going to pay me extra so I could go and get my own health insurance policy until Dan and I got married.  Sounds perfect, right?  Well, I met with her business partner, we discussed details, but I was still uneasy.  This woman ran her life and her business at an incredibly fast pace and I was worried about getting lost in the fray.  I didn't want to tag along for this crazy lady's "fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants" business venture.

So when Carpet Guy called and told me the job was mine if I wanted it, I told him I needed a few days to think.  I went from zero prospects to two in just one week!

I weighed all the pros and cons of each offer and went back and forth trying to make my decision.  Carpet Guy actually called the next day, offering more hours, more money, and reminded me how interested in me they really were.  Needless to say, it felt good to be wanted!  Ultimately, I had decided to go with Crazy Lady's offer and would see where it took me.  It was the less reliable of the two, but it sounded the most glamorous.  Until the woman called and said she reviewed her budget, and realized she just wasn't ready to hire someone full-time yet.  Boy, did that let the wind outta my sails.  But the beauty?? I had another job offer on the table!

I immediately called Carpet Guy, graciously accepted the position, and started two weeks later.

It's been two weeks since I started this new adventure, and I am happy to report that this has been the best decision I've made (besides choosing to marry Dan, of course!).  I am in a position that is actually respected, my creativity is utilized every day, I have business cards with my name on them followed by the title "Interior Designer", and my diploma is framed and hanging above my desk.

So, my point, you ask?  At the risk of sounding like every sappy self-help guru out there preaching about living your dreams, I say LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!  I know it sounds cheesy, and I know for those of you still stuck in that terribly soul-crushing job it sounds as far away as the moon.  But after 6 years of a job going nowhere, 6 months of a job that left me in tears, and a million unreturned job applications, I finally get the opportunity to put my knowledge, instincts, creative prowess, and college education to good use.  I'm happy, successful, and respected.  And really, who could ask for more??

Check out my new career at the company website (and note the giant yellow banner on the homepage!)

And here is a image of the store window I got to design the first week on the job (the medium is discarded carpet tubes and flowers made from carpet company fliers)

And the coveted business cards that were waiting for me on my first day (I've given them out like candy!)

Until next time, I will be living the dream and changing the world one flooring sample at a time :)