What a tumultuous year. I launched this blog and opened Finder Not Keeper. One of the initial decisions I had to make was whether to work out of my home or occupy a space. I realized our house -- not large but with interesting architectural detail -- is a great photographic backdrop. And the rent can't be beat.
More importantly, when I live with the objects I sell and mix them into everyday life, I often see them in a new light. They show themselves capable of evolving in a modern way. It is much easier to form collections with items I've gotten to know and love on a personal level. When it comes time to shoot them, they are content in this space, and that spirit shows through in the photographs. Weird, huh?
However, the disarray that the business creates is significant and lasts for days. I've painted the walls so many colors that my affable painter, Kirk, who comes over at the drop of a hat to help me, is like a family member. I call him Eldin behind his back, after Murphy Brown's painter-in-residence. And God love my patient husband who, as a former member of the U.S. Army, has a strongly-hued sense of orderliness. The mess and its migration into every corner of every room is tough on him.
Slowly, this year, out of the chaos, some systems have emerged. 'Shipping and Receiving' have a designated space where the camping equipment used to live. The cedar closet now contains all of the linens and textiles waiting to be photographed. The family desk in the kitchen is now my headquarters.
And I love being at home and working in a space that still echoes with the racket of four sons, where skateboards and guitars get cast as stars in a new video, where I can raid my fridge for green beans to accessorize a set of vintage yellow enamelware, where the pink straws left from a party add color to the bar cart below.
But the venture is far from a well-greased machine. Which brings me to my New Year's goals:
- I will find a bookkeeper/accountant. It's a task right up there with waxing your own bikini line -- best left to the professionals. Email me if you are interested. In addition to paying good money, I'll bake cookies like this for you on April 15th.
- I will incorporate a consistent system for when I'm traveling. No more frantic long-distance calls to my husband, my son's tutor, my neighbor to package and ship. Not cool.
- I will meet monthly with the person who kicks my butt and inspires me. Her name is Jennifer Zoeller and she too started a business called XOXO Deliveries. They send care packages to loved ones. Last month she dared me to send a newsletter to personal contacts. I'm doing it!
- I will take daily screen breaks to walk regardless of the weather. A new podcast will help, including this one which won a prestigious award for Love+Radio. It's about an at-home strip club manager.
- I will clear off my desk once a week. And to reward myself, I will buy this acrylic stapler if I make it six months.
And my last goal is to cut myself a break here and there. I must remind myself that the first middle school carnival I ran featured a game called "Fear Factor Extreme" where kids had to eat strange foods for a chance at the raffle prize, a gum ball machine. After more than a couple of 13-year-olds puked (Limberger cheese and fried ants don't mix), I knew it had been a bad idea. Ten years later, my middle school carnival ran as smoothly as a Disney park. My last and really most important goal for 2015 is to enjoy the journey, learn from mistakes, and appreciate the beauty that does emerge from the chaos.
Happy New Year, Friends!
P.S. One last new goal. I am going to end each week with a link to a relevant post from the blogosphere. This week's is from Amanda Blake Soule, author, editor, blogger, maker, and mother of five. She writes a very heartfelt post about why she decided to keep her studio in her home. Read it here.