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Adventures in motherhood

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The Jabberwocky Hand-Painted Step Stool Project

The Jabberwock by Graeme Base

The Jabberwock by Graeme Base

This is what my little feral one wanted to paint on his step stool... himself... with spray paint.

Realistic painting project for a four year old? Maybe not, but I agreed that we had to try to make it happen.

Here we go...

The Feral One with his blank canvas.

The Feral One with his blank canvas.

The Feral One priming his stool

The Feral One priming his stool

Me making the stencil.

Me making the stencil.

Taping the stencil to the painted stool.

Taping the stencil to the painted stool.

The feral One checking out his handiwork

The feral One checking out his handiwork

The Feral One and Snaggletooth adding some texture

The Feral One and Snaggletooth adding some texture

The boys' creation

The boys' creation

I added the final details

I added the final details

The Feral One poses with The Jabberwock.

The Feral One poses with The Jabberwock.

Here is a link to Jabberwocky which is a favorite poem of mine and The Feral One. Enjoy!

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Furniture Painting...With Kids!

My dear husband and I have been quite busy lately (I mean, aren't we all, right?) and working a lot on the weekends. We've taken on some serious tag team parenting - I paint for six hours on Saturday till the end of nap time; he goes into the office on Saturday afternoon till dinner; he goes to a casting call all day Sunday; I leave the house to work on some sketches on Sunday evening. We kind of miss each other. 

We promised some actual, for reals family time this past weekend. The feral one (older brother) wanted family time to involve painting furniture since I haven't let him help me lately. I thought that was an awesome idea. Dear husband was not so sure. Luckily, the feral one and I are good at ignoring dear husband's voice of reason. 

Here's the play-by-play of Saturday afternoon's kid-friendly-ish painting project.

Step 1. Find a piece of furniture in the house that we don't care about. Pretty easy for us since so much of our furniture is from Target or Ikea. We found a porch side table that seemed perfect.

Step 2. Design decisions. "Feral one, what should we paint on the table?" "A dinosaur eating a honey badger!" "Obviously. Why did I ask?"

Step 3. Draw and cut out a stencil out of contact paper and affix it to the table top.

Step 4: Give the boys paint pens and let them go to town. Let paint dry.

Step 5: Tape around the table legs, give boys paint pens and let them at it again.

Step 6: Add a couple of finishing touches as directed by the feral one. "Mom, can you make them talk?" "Yeah, buddy! Of course."

And done! True awesomeness, right?

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The Porch Makeover

The furniture was supposed to live on the porch just until we could replace it with nice outdoor furniture and was then headed for the dump. But, I just could never seem to get rid of it. Since it was supposed to be trash, living out it's final days, I let the kids go to town on it. Outside is where we paint, and everything on the porch but the walls has been fair game.

 

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A Business Plan...of sorts

Here's the snapshot of my day-to-day world. I have two spirited young boys. We call them The Feral One (age 4) and Snaggletooth (age 2), though the missing tooth is becoming less noticeable with the addition of the forehead scars and black eye. The boys are home with me for all but five hours a week. They are wild and keep me quite busy. Building a business with small children in tow is an adventure as well as a daily test of my sanity. I generally keep my creative projects far, far away from my tiny beasts. When I try to combine play time and creative work time the result looks a lot like this.

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Thanks for helping, my boys! (More on this redo project later). Furniture painting projects and at-home crafting projects are limited to those few hours each week when the boys are at pre-school or weekends when my dear husband can take the tiny beasts off of my hands. 

But, a glorious thing has just started to happen. My boys are finally starting to entertain each other. During the day I now have little moments of time, 10 to 30 minutes here and there, where I can work on non-art projects. I redid my website over the last couple of days during these little windows of calm and quiet time and after the boys went to bed.  Amazing. 

I've also been able to spend time focusing a bit more on a plan for growing my little business. It's been an interesting process. I started with a pretty solid plan, but as with most things in life - especially those things involving small children - plans morph. Figuring out how to my ideal vision fits in with my reality has been interesting, to say the least. 

I've started listening to podcasts and following the Facebook feed of The Mogul Mom. I feel a bit dorky and cliched focusing on the "momprenuer" aspect of all of this, but I can't help it. The boys do take up most of my time, and I can't separate my business life from my at-home life very easily.

My original business plan was pure business. I had set financial goals and clear strategies for growth over the next five years. While I haven't completely scratched that plan, I have amended it quite a bit. It is no longer a business plan but rather a life plan. Instead of my financial goals driving everything I now have financial, artistic and personal goals playing equal roles. While my financial goals are based off of commissions and sales, my artistic goals are about recognition and involvement in Austin's art and design and also parenting communities. My personal goals include things like life flexibility and keeping the craziness in check. 

Integrating my life and artistic goals into my business plan has been refreshing. I somehow feel like I am no longer wasting time doing whatever I am doing at the moment. I'm not taking time away from one priority but rather focusing on one of my other priorities. Avery O Design is not my only business, nor is it separate from my other business. Snaggletooth and The Feral One both make it possible and give me reason to paint, design and be creative. Whether I am making a creative space for them, being inspired by them or even involving them in a project, it's all business, and you know what? It's all good.

 

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Expanding Beyond Murals

Fall is here. It's time for a change.

I started this little business less than a year ago and have already managed to fit in a two-month hiatus in order to evaluate the business and refocus my energy. Just kidding! It was to play with my kids at the beach. Nonetheless, I have identified some pretty big issues.

1. My kids take up a lot of my time. And I like that. They're pretty fun. 

2. There is a small market for residential murals. When most people think of murals they envision a Tuscan landscape or cafe scene in one's kitchen or dancing bunnies and fairies in a baby's nursery. Those are pretty dated concepts. I'm working to change that idea of murals with contemporary graphics.

3. Austin has a lot of competition. Artists love this city. 

It's time for me to adjust and expand. I love designing and painting graphic murals, do hope and plan to continue, but also want to add something to my business offerings. My ultimate goal is for Avery O Design to offer a full graphic design portfolio for modern interiors including murals, painted furniture, textiles and framed prints.

I'm currently in the design and skill building stage of my transition. I'm taking a number of art classes and workshops through the Girls Guild and the Dougherty Art Center and will continue to paint murals throughout the year. I'm also hoping to teach myself Photoshop and Illustrator. I'm sure I'll get to it soon... maybe when the kids are sleeping.

Looking forward to seeing where this all takes me.

 

Avery_Finished Piece1.jpg

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