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New Year's Resolutions

I'm a total cliche when it comes to new year's resolutions. I change my diet for about a week, organize a few drawers in my house, and then quickly forget what I had originally resolved to do. And I just can't cut back on my coffee intake no matter how hard I try. So, forget it. No more resolutions!

This year I'm forgoing personal improvements for a hearty list of art-based home projects. Inspired by Apartment Therapy's January Cure, Young House Love and dream to be part of the West Austin Studio Tour, I've created a pretty thorough list of painted furniture and art pieces for my soon-to-be progressive home gallery. I'm looking forward to making it all happen. Take a peek!

Cheers to a fantastically creative 2014!


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Happy Birthday, Avery O Design!

It's been one year since I officially started my business, Avery O Design. Still so young, but slowly growing! It's time to list my first year accomplishments and give myself a little happy birthday feel good moment:

  1. I've completed nine murals for clients, with two more commissioned pieces being painted in the next month. 
  2. I've completed three mural pieces in my own home. 
  3. I've begun playfully and experimentally painting furniture.
  4. I've led a community mural project at the Austin Mini Maker Faire.
  5. I've built two websites.
  6. I've learned marketing via social networking and I've kinda gotten into this whole blogging thing.

Huh! Okay, not a bad start looking back at it. In fact, I'm pretty proud of all that I've accomplished, especially since it's been done with two wild toddlers around most of my days. 

So, what's a birthday without presents? No, no. Not for me, silly. A present for you! Well, a present for ONE of you. I just finished painting this nightstand/sidetable, and am giving it away to say thanks for all of the love and support in my first year of business.

Interested? GIve Avery O Design a shout out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or wherever you socially network and leave me a comment with any suggestions for my next furniture project. A lucky one of you will get a birthday present from me! Oh, I do love birthdays!

Much love and thanks, Avery O


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Home(made) for the Holidays

Oh, dear! Christmas is here. Well, not really, but Retail World reminds us that it is quickly approaching. This is the first time I have ever had to think about the holiday season from a sales point-of-view, and I'm both excited and overwhelmed by the potential. And wildly unprepared. It's okay, it's okay. Baby steps. First, what's my plan? Okay, here goes. I'm formulating a plan.

  1. Produce inventory to sell. Oh, yay! My favorite part. I've been asked to sell some of my furniture pieces at Toybrary's Toy Swap and Christmas shopping event on December 7th. How lovely! I'll primarily be painting kid-friendly small dressers and step stools since the audience will be parents with young children. Come shop!
  2. Offer holiday specials. Well, obviously. Awesome specials? Let's do it. 
  3. Promote like crazy. Dear Facebook and Twitter, you may be hearing a lot from me over the next few weeks. Let's get chummy.
  4. Set my limits. Ahh. Here's where is get's interesting. There are six weekends before Christmas (remember, this is when I get most of my work done due to the feral children at home with me). One will be filled with family Thanksgiving; one will be spent on the road; two will be filled with already commissioned murals. So, two weekends left open for painting new things.... Yep, got it! No problem.

Okay, okay. Enough of my interior monologue. Let's get to the good stuff.

Holiday Orders

I'm really getting into painting and staining furniture, and lucky for you, custom furnishings really do make fantastic holiday gifts. If you or anyone you know is looking for painted coffee table, side tables, night stands, dressers or step stools as gifts, let me know ASAP! You must get your order in before Thanksgiving to guarantee a finished piece by Christmas, and once my job sheet fills up (see number 4 above) only holiday gift certificates will be available (but those will at least be hand painted too so that you can give something pretty). Gift certificates are also available for mural work, for all work will be completed in the new year.

Holiday Specials!

Here are the fantastic custom painting deals I am offering for this most festive of seasons:

  • A limited number of half-priced mural gift certificates - you pick the price and I'll paint twice the mural
  • $75 for large painted furniture (dressers and large coffee tables)*
  • $50 for medium painted furniture (nightstands and side tables)*
  • $25 for painted step stools*

*You can either provide furniture to be painted or choose wooden step stools or a piece from the IKEA  Tarva series (added to the total cost, obviously). I'll even make the trip to IKEA and put the furniture together for you! I mean, that alone totally worth the price, right?

Ooooh! This will be fun. Let's do business. Get in touch today

Merry merry, Avery


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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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Murals vs Wall Decals

In all honesty, I love the modern design of some of the wall decals out there. I noticed recently that so many of the murals that have inspired me on Pinterest are not, in fact, murals but rather decals. So what's wrong with decals? Great designs. Fairly inexpensive. Temporary. Nothing wrong with any of those things, right?

But, I still don't like them. Why not? Well, here are my top three reasons.

1. They look like wall decals. The photos you see in catalogs, on Pinterest and on design blogs are taken and edited by professionals. Don't be fooled. They never look that good in real life. They often have a plasticky glare when seen from an angle and they never look right on a wall with any kind of texture since, well, wall decals aren't textured. Kids' rooms are the only rooms that you can get away with using wall decals, but then there is my second problem with them.

2. Kids will pick at them. I promise. If you have a children under the age of 3 or maybe even 4, don't put a decal where it can be reached. My kids mess with everything. All kids mess with everything. They will get pealed off as soon as your kid realizes that they aren't painted on. Cheap ones will peal off on their own, even without a kid picking at them.

3. They are limiting. Most wall decals don't come in an endless array of colors like wall paint. You won't be able to perfectly match or compliment your wall color, furnishings or decor. Also, you won't be able to fit them to your space exactly. It can be quite tricky to work wall decals around windows or doors the way you want to.

As with most things, you pay for what you get. Cheap wall decals aren't ever worth it, and the higher quality ones may in fact be too adhesive for your own good. Some wall decals can actually damage a painted surface so that your "temporary" art work leads to a much more expensive fix-it job than just simply painting over a mural that you are tired of.

So, there you have my personal opinion on wall decals. Take it or leave it, and have fun decorating either way.




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.


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