After racing against the clock to get dressed and force down a bowl of oatmeal, I get three boys off to school, let two dogs out and feed the two cats that have never killed a single mouse even though that was the unspoken agreement of their joining the family, I am off to the shop- one that I never saw in the cards. A shop that didn’t exist three years ago, but now sits waiting for someone to finish the many orders that lay waiting. After being given my first barn to deconstruct board by board, I had to find a home other than my barn lot for all the wood I would acquire. Currently, the little cement block building is surrounded by lumber that has been reclaimed and stacked waiting for its next place to call home. The building itself is packed with reclaimed hand hewn barn beams that have been kiln dried and are just waiting to be turned into fireplace mantles, decorative ceiling beams or rustic table bases. Heritage beams are filled with history. If only we could listen, as they share their stories from times gone by; from the mortise and tenon pockets to the nails that were driven into them nearly one hundred years ago the rich character and old growth wood has withstood the test of time. When the green lumber was milled using trees that were growing in the area near where the barns were going to be erected Woodrow Wilson was in office and the roaring 20’s were in full swing. In the Midwest I find a lot of Oak, Beach, and Hickory heritage wood that if it were not reclaimed it would end up forgotten and rotting in a field or buried to be forever lost. We take for granted that heritage barns will always exist, but more and more are taken down each year. They have outlived their purpose or construction growth calls for their removal. Old growth wood is not like the wood we find today at the local mill. This lumber had to carry the weight of the barn, the loft, and whatever else needed to be stowed away inside. It grew at a slower pace and is denser than wood that is genetically designed to shoot up quickly today.
It can be a crowbar, a hammer, or a chainsaw in my hand. I love the work. There is something exciting to me about being in these old barns. You never know what you will find or what someone else will create from what I find. The work is hard, tiring, and so very dirty, but I just love doing it.
Reclaimed Barns & Beams provides lumber to those who create using historic wood that has a story.
I read some where that the flaws that someone has is what makes them who they are... and that admitting to one's flaws is the first step to fixing them. But, really, I feel I have to disagree... I admit to my flaws all the time.. yet I don't really do anything to change them. Being aware and being willing to change are not the same thing.
That person may not have had nearly the number of flaws that I have either. And I am so aware of what they are. My children are happy to point them out on any given hour of any given day. Those with children- especially teens understand this. It is not that we are not reminded of our flaws....
I’m impatient. I am always late. I’m always right (this may be a flaw...and a fact). I never put my laundry away and I hate doing dishes. I wear mismatched socks. I have opinions about opinions, which I share without being asked to do so. I ask inappropriate questions. I’m forgetful. And I’m very loud- especially when I laugh.
I could go on, but that’s just enough vulnerability without sharing too much- yet another flaw.
I’m thankful for patience and grace.. I’m thankful for the people that see my flaws and love me anyway.
Wanna bond? Share a flaw (or ten) to join the journey toward self-betterment.
Starting over is in no way like starting off fresh. It is a lot like finding yourself at the end of the third quarter of a football game with the score tied. Unlike when the score was zero zero at the first kickoff, you are now exhausted from the hard tackles, lost yardage, failed defensive attempts and let’s not even mention all of the bad calls. You have went through decades of your life and thought by this stage in the game you would be up. Regardless of whether it is a relationship, career, hobby, or a new idea, when you are 49 and starting over it is not the same as it was when you were in your 20’s. You have already played three quarters; you are no longer fresh and ready to strike.
By now your bank account is supposed to be padded and all those goals you made for yourself have little check marks beside them. But somehow the play clock just keeps running and the playbook you created is not leading you to the “W” you had hoped to get. So you find yourself dreaming of new plays. And even though you have been hit hard you have to find it in yourself to get back up keep your head in the game and play.
The difference is in reality there is no coach to blame the wrong routes that you took. It is all on you. That in itself can be a game changer. You might find yourself more hesitant now. Knowing that the decisions that you made before led you to failed attempts. This knowledge at this period in time can be harmful. It can cause you to second guess your every move and even keep you from making big plays. So do what great athletes do. Shake it off. Leave all the past plays right where they belong… in the books. Gain as much ground as you can. Surround yourself with fans and teammates that will encourage you, and support you, and most of believe in you. Take all the lessons that you have learned and use them. Because regardless of how battled and bruised you are as long as there is time on that clock, there is time to score.
Keep Reclaiming your dreams,
There just really are a lot of terms thrown around in the woodworking world. Milled, green, old growth and live edge to name a few. What is this live edge idea that people are talking about?
Live edge wood, also known as natural edge wood, involves leaving surfaces of wood such as bark, gnarled pieces with knots, holes, and curved spaces within a piece, bringing out the natural shape of the tree. Live edge wood started as part of the Arts and Crafts movement in America in the 1880s to the 1910s, and then Japan in 1940s. Artists and interior designers classify some pieces of live edge wood as Western or rustic. Live edge wood keeps the original lines of the trunk along its edges, portraying the wood in its very naturalistic and raw state.
Live Edge describes the shape of the edge of the table top, shelf, or desk top being created. Often the bark is carefully removed from the lumber without disrupting the natural appearance of the edge. This allows for unique character and a smoother surface to be seen along the edge of the piece. Our furniture built with live edge wood is custom hand sanded and coated with an acrylic just like all of our other furniture. Rustic characteristics of the wood remain and knots are filled to avoid an uneven surface, but remain visible. The natural beauty is maintained. As beautiful and unique as the trees they are produced from, live edge wood refers to the natural edge of the wood under the bark after it is removed, but some beautiful designs allow for the bark to stay. This is often considered a more rustic and bold choice.
For centuries the live edge look has stayed popular. Live edge furniture will have the same generational life expectancy of all our other furniture. It can be found in Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Black Walnut. Live edge furniture is completely original by definition. No two pieces of live edge furniture can ever be exactly alike. Further, live edge can combine the rustic appeal of solid wood furniture with the refined appearance of upmarket design.
When all the signs are saying "Go back to bed", turn on endless episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and hide from it all. Get out there and fight!
I feel like these are the times that test my endurRead More
How to Get Rid of Powderpost Beetles
The following points will help discourage powderpost beetle infestations:
- The first thing to do is reduce the moisture content in the wood, to less than 20% moisture. Moisture meters can be used to determine moisture level in the wood. Central heat, vapor barriers and good ventilation can help control moisture. Rough-cut lumber should be dried in a kiln to kill all stages of the beetle. Reducing moisture may not be enough to completely control powder post beetle infestations.
- Sanded and varnished wood will not be as attractive to adult beetles. They can not penetrate or find cracks and crevices in the wood surface in order to deposit their eggs.
- Don't store valuable items in sheds and barns. Wood boring beetles are common in these areas.
- Infested furniture that is unfinished (unvarnished, not painted, not waxed or not sealed) can be treated with Tim-bor or Boracare. Boracare and Timbor will prevent newly hatched larvae from entering the wood. Infested furniture that can not be treated with a product like Tim-bor and Boracare can be treated in fumigation chambers. Fumigation chambers are used to fumigate infested furniture. Look for pest control operators that are licensed for fumigations.
- If practical, remove infested wood. If not, use residual borate insecticides such as Boracare or Timbor. Due to its long life cycle (12-18) months in the wood, you may see emerging beetles emerge even after treatment. The eggs and coming larvae will come in contact with the insecticide to kill them.
Reclaimed lumber has air dried for many decades. So many feel that there is no need for kiln drying. That is simply not true. Dimensional lumber that is 1 to 2 inches thick requires kiln drying for a couple of reasons. First, the lumber still holds true to the relative humidity levels that are outside. Those differ from the levels inside of your home or office greatly. What does this mean for you?Read More
I am sitting in my own honest to goodness store. Not a store that I work in for someone else. Not something someone gave me, or I own only a percentage. My very own store. I should add that it is open for business. I should also add that it is not finished yet. For those of you that know me you are not surprised that I went ahead and opened the store before it was completely finished. And for those of you that do not know me, I hope this is encouraging to you. The older I get the more I realize that 100 percent just is not important. The act of doing is what is important even when all the i's haven't been dotted and all the t's haven't been crossed.
I am sitting at a beautiful ten foot long black walnut table that I designed. Surrounded by Christmas Music and recently exposed brick walls that are close to their original look dating back to the late 1860's when this space was a General Feed Store, I take it all in and realize that the store is as much part of my journey as I am part of this building's journey. As many have passed this way. Some have left their mark while others have not. The plaster and dry-wall have all been removed and are just a memory in a photograph now. I walk across warm refinished oak floors that have been secretly hiding under layers after layers of sub-floors. Above me is the very rustic tin that covers the ceiling. The partially painted tin tiles still wear the yellow paint that is holding onto the tin with all its might. There are still spots waiting for the fallen tiles to be patched and healed. The back wall waits patiently for me to finish covering the wood frame with the reclaimed poplar barn siding that is prepared just for this space. Lumber that was reclaimed from a barn in Central Indiana. Saved lumber from a barn built in the late 1800's waiting for its new forever home. A sliding barn door rests waiting to be hung so that it can hide the back room that is still very much in disarray. All of this is lit by four lonely light bulbs illuminating the space the best they can until their replacements arrive. The new pennant lights will create a finishing touch while bringing that old fashioned flare along with them.
Each phase of this transformation was so worth it. The splinters I received, the back ache from the drum sander, and the hours spent removing thick plaster walls were all worth it. I feel like I am stepping back in time every time I step inside. I can only imagine what this space used to look and feel like. Who else sat under this tin ceiling? Were they as excited about having a store front, meeting new people, and providing a service for the community as I am?
As for completion, I will get there in time. For today, nothing is standing in the way of sharing this space with anyone that would like to stop in and see the progress, step back in time and see some of my designs. What a great way to share Reclaimed Mantles, Breadboards, Tables, and more! The conversations have been wonderful and the encouragement has been so appreciated. Taking on a huge project like this can be a roller coaster ride. The highs and lows each hour are challenging. Reclaiming dreams is not done over night. It is truly the journey that is important. This old building has endured the years. The reclaimed lumber that I work with has withstood time. So it is only right that the two work together under one roof. I know I am only part of the story. A spec in time in this building's journey. I hope to do it justices.
The entire time I was in my 20's and 30's all I heard was how much wiser I would be when I was older. This thought always made me wonder... would I suddenly find great wisdom? Would I make wiser choices... Surround myself with others that also had acquired such great knowledge and learn from them? How would this happen?Read More
Starting a New Adventure… Join me- Won’t You?
When you are planning an adventure what are some of the things you have to plan?
I think most of us start with the Where! ---Where will we go? When! --- When is the best time to set out? How--- how much can we afford to spend!!
This new adventure I am heading to iis not any different.
I have had so many people tell me they think I need a SHOWROOM. A place where the beautiful pieces of furniture that we create can be seen in all of their glory. And I could not agree more. It is hard to display the beautiful hand crafted mantles when they are covered in sawdust, and even harder to select one. Don’t get me wrong. The shop has a great atmosphere. And that will always be a space for customers to pick out their own mantle from a reclaimed beam, or for builders to select their own reclaimed lumber materials. But, for those of you that are not interested in walking around in a lumber yard or two inches of sawdust in our shop building, then this new space will be perfect for you.
Those of you that have gotten to know me know that adventure and risk are two things I embrace. So off I went searching. Searching for that perfect space. A space that were great answers to our three original questions: Where? When? How?
I am thrilled that after searching, and looking, and thinking, and driving, and driving, and looking… Every since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a space where people gathered, shared, and dreamed. Yesterday, that dream began to reveal itself to me.I have found an amazing space for this new adventure to take place.
Now, I would love to have your help. This space is a building in Shelbyville, IN as one of my goals was to stay local- for now anyway! We never know what the future has in store! The space was built in 1901. It is on the corner of Harrison and Hendricks St. I have found a couple of older pics of the building, but would love to know its history. So those of you that have a love of history, what can you tell me about 19 N Harrison St, Shelbyville, IN?
For those of you that love to design and create, I need your vision and eye for restoring this amazing space to its original beauty. There are brick walls under plaster and drywall. There are hardwood floors, artistic tin on the ceiling, and an amazing showroom window in the front of the building. Do we uncover the brick? Do we dig down to the hardwoods? What should we do with this ceiling? Lighting- pictures please? What would be the best lighting for this space? And the walls- what about accent walls?
And, calling all customers!!! What pieces would you like to see in this new space? I would love to see inspirational pictures or hear your thoughts on how you would like these pieces displayed.
Strong men and women! Friends and neighbors! Anyone interested! Help is needed. We are looking to do some major work to this space. Anyone interested in putting some muscles to work? We are going to plan a get to work weekend. Anyone wanting to jump in and rip up carpet or tear down some walls, let me know. Take some frustrations out, make some friends, and restore a 1901 space. Lunch provided!!!
I have loved meeting so many of you on Facebook and Instagram, on my website, at the shop, and at the shows we attend. I look forward to having coffee- and diet coke- in this new space as we design, plan and share something special for you. My hope is that as we go on this adventure together, you will feel a part of it. This space will be as much yours as it is mine and together we will Reclaim our Dreams.
Dream big, Angie
Two years ago I was driving around looking for some barn wood to build a couple of farm tables. I know, Who does this! Life sure is different today. It has taken courage, risk and determination to get through the past two years. I’ve had to look past my roller coaster bank account balance to see the possibilities that lie ahead. Sometimes those possibilities seem like mirages that people find themselves moving toward in the desert after days with no water. Mirages are everywhere. Equipment that needs to be purchased, employees that need to be hired, endless marketing options. All great ideas; but are they? Doubt is around every corner. Will the investment payoff? I have so many big ideas.
Courage runs strong some days and others not so much. I feel like that lion in the Wizard of Oz, scared of my own tail. It only takes one instance to drain all the courage from a person. Luckily it only takes an instant for a person’s courage to be regained. An angry customer versus a positive facebook post. A project that costs more than quoted verses an opportunity to help a husband create something special for his wife. The endless ups and downs can be exhausting. Quitting is an option. I know that no one says that out loud at commencement speeches, but it is. And every day I have to make a choice. Well let’s be honest, several times a day I have to make a choice. Fear and doubt are everywhere! Do I have the courage to move forward? After all the lion had courage within himself the entire time. Do I?
Risk is scary. It is scary because it could lead to failure. But it could also lead to success. It is this belief that I will succeed that keeps me going. I have to be honest though: It is all my failures that make the risks less scary. I have failed in everything possible in the past. And yet here I am still taking risks. Maybe I have blinders that keep me from seeing the failure like the race horse that cannot see what surrounds him- only the finish line that lies ahead. Maybe it is the knowledge that you can get up, wipe yourself off and try again, that allows me to embrace risk. I know that no matter how often or big my failures there is always a new beginning. A Mulligan if you will. A fresh start. Because of my failures, I am smarter. I am stronger. And I know that there will be more failures in my future.
When this journey started, it took a great deal of determination to take down a barn. No equipment, no knowledge, no crew, and no idea what I would do next. So all things I have come to compare to this. When it came time to expand to the shop for example, I thought I can do that. I took down a fifty five foot tall gambrel barn. If I can do that, I can open a shop and fill it with the right equipment. It is my yardstick for most things that come up. Is too much determination dangerous? After all Kennedy didn’t look at the moon and say- that is too far- that cannot be done.
I am excited that new things are taking place. New opportunities are presenting themselves. I have left my corporate life. A few people have been hired to take down barns. And Reclaimed Barns and Beams has made it to the two year mark. I hope that the courage I hold desperately to carries me through the risks that will come, because I know they will come. I hope that I am determined enough to grow and see all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
I still have a lot of big ideas but I have removed the blinders and cannot wait to see what they grow into. Join me won’t you! What are your ideas? Fight the lion that hides inside of you. Be courageous. Take the risks. And with all the determination you can muster up reach for the moon!
What if you do not know what that looks like?
What if you are one of those people that always carry around guilt? …One of those people that are always late and feel as if they never do enough. How do you even learn to do anything else if that is how you have always been? Some have tried to help me. Relax… they say. Take a break… they add. Get up earlier some suggest as I go on ad nauseam about not having enough time in my day. Really helpful, I might add. A thought I have never come across on my own… you too, right! There is the super helpful advice, to just cut back. Remove some of the stress from your life. You have heard this. You have tried to do this too, I am assuming. But then wait, maybe you are like me… which stress should I remove. I won’t feed my boys- well, nope not that one. I won’t check email after 7 pm… yeah, cannot do that either. Maybe I will accept less new business; ok well that makes no sense at all. So, here I am never enough time… too much guilt and the feeling of never doing enough.
One should just start somewhere. I know I should leave earlier so that I am not perpetually late. It isn’t that I don’t know. I see it happening, but much like a train wreck; you see it coming, but you cannot stop it. It is the “One more thing” that gets me every time. You know how it works. You are all ready to leave. You know you should go, but you see that one more thing ... if you do it, the world will be a better place. Or at least the laundry room will be. So you do it. And then low and behold …you are late. So you swear you won’t do that again. Next time you will get ready earlier, leave on time, and be one of the many that aren’t late. – The only thing that stops you, if you are like me … That “One more thing.” And how do I look past that?
The feeling of never being able to do enough is overwhelming. It stops you from being able to do those things that you see others doing. The things people keep telling you that you should be doing. That trip to just get- away, dinner out with friends, a movie, reading a book from cover to cover- just for fun. Those are the things that people like me only think about. Instead of doing them we are working, planning, running errands. We are doing all the things that we think will get us ahead, but never really do. So I ask where the grace is. Not the grace from those around me, but the grace from within myself to understand that it is ok to not slow down… to not feel guilty just because we find ourselves working endlessly. The grace to not feel bad about who I am… Are there some people that just never know what that is? Am I one of them?
Should I just accept it?
Maybe that’s the grace. Maybe it is accepting who I am- that being a workaholic is just who I am. Maybe…
I had a couple, mid 60's travel from CA to IN. They were traveling for family reason's, but traveled 6 hours- a long way out of the way to pick out a beam that will be transformed into a fireplace mantle. They were wonderful people designing a summer home out west that they are building. This piece is the first piece they are purchasing for that home. I took the couple to a barn that we are reclaiming. Just watching them explore the barn was awesome as they took pictures and listened to the stories. It was touching to see this 6 1/2 ft lawyer from CA with tears streaming down his face as he found such compassion for the history of this old barn and its family that cherished it. They were so excited to pick out a beam to have shipped across the country to their new home. I was touched by their compassion.
Later that day, I took a young couple, mid 20's that are flipping their home to that same barn. They wanted to find historic wood that would make amazing flooring. I might add they have weren't sure about the whole process. They were so excited to discover the oak wood flooring and talk about how we would recreate their kitchen while correcting doors that had been hung by someone and were not where they needed to be. We will be ripping out the current floor and replace it with a hayloft flooring from the 1880's. And on the wall in their home will be a photo of this old cherished barn. So many designer redoes and home flipping. The chaos, the decision making, the mistakes along the way are sad, hilarious and touching.
I listen to the heartbreaking story of a woman that needs a barn deconstructed. Her mother raised her and her brother after their dad died when they were 6 and 8. Their mother still lives on the farm that she single- handedly kept running all of these years. Her mother is now 84 years old. This isn't just a building. This is a part of their family. It is a pre-civil war built building that has been part of their family all these years. It has memories and history that she shared with me through her tear filled voice. It touched my heart. These are the reasons I do what I do.
A 70 year old couple that came to me to select a hand hewn beam to wrap their current mantle. They touched the wood. Smelled it. Shared their love of heritage, and we designed a new mantle for them. Their excitement for this remodel to their forever home while in their late 70 struck me as precious. I want to be that passionate about someone and have someone there to share that with me like this couple.
During The Maker's Space- A space where people create their own DIY pieces with help from us- I watched people learn to do things they had never done before. I will quote a recent attendee, "I have never held a tool in my hand in my life!" She was able to create her own fireplace mantle that she sanded. Then she was almost in tears to find that the builder did not prepare the fireplace to hold that weight and so lots of adjustments will need to be made. Her husband later carved their initials in the end of the beam with a heart. It was touching. Groups of like minded people of all ages and backgrounds coming to one space to create, laugh and learn together.
I sold a piece of lumber from a barn where the story is heartbreaking. In this story the family farm wife that raised 4 children alone after her husband was strangled by a piece of farm equipment on their family farm broke my heart. The jacket that his wife gave him as a pre- Christmas gift to keep him warm from the brutal cold was caught in the farm equipment later that same day... 2 days before Christmas. Their memories of their mother and her strength to keep their family farm from being lost to the state is touching and remarkable. I hear these stories daily but this one touched me deeply. The family was in tears as we started the deconstruction.
I have designers that come with no measurements, no photos, and big needs. They pic out mantles, floors, accent walls and other crazy customer request, Their unprepared needs and their mistakes are comical just in themselves. And I love helping them through their struggles as most of them are struggling small business owners that work around the clock to live out their dream.
Then there are the married couples. They are the best of all. They come in vehicles that the materials won't load into. They argue over ideas for designs as if it is the first time to discuss the project with no clue at all what the other is thinking. I often wonder if they even live in the same house! They make me realize that patience is a gift and compromise is a treasure.
I am a single woman with 7 children. Working in a man's world. I get criticized for every move I make. Wrong tools, tearing barns down incorrectly, missed deadlines. Not wearing a mask in a hayloft. I probably cry at least 3 times a day for the mistakes and frustrations that starting a business from scratch causes. -But I keep pushing forward into some unknown space I didn't even know I wanted to step into in the first place.
The entire concept of starting a small business and how incredibly hard it is well that I face every day- that alone is huge. LLC? S-Corp? EIN numbers, FB, INS, Post what where ??#reallystressful Seriously, there is no course for the alphabet soup that one must decipher when doing business in this not so small business friendly world. Social media is a series of constant criticisms. and sets the expectation that business owners are awake 24/7 waiting to answer the middle of the night text or email.
Failure is hard, and I fail a thousand times a day.
Today was no different. Quitting though is not an option. Why? Because of the people!
It is not why my story needs shared. It is not why people are constantly telling me you should get a show on HGTV. It is the people- the barn families and the designers and the DIYer and the passionate customer... their stories, their tears, their mistakes, and their dreams that are the real stories. the real reasons I do what I am doing.
This world that I have accidentally created allows me to flip-houses, teach people about reclaimed lumber and how to make their world special by using it, and share the stories of generations of people that have bonded with a building that is now dying. It is my job to comfort them during this time of loss while passing on the history to so many others. This is the story that needs to be shared.
So thank you to those that have sent me encouragement, If you are reclaiming a dream, I would love to hear your story. Your daily- what keeps you moving forward.
All my best,
It is going to be ok…
I tell myself that at least a hundred times a day. Do you find yourself doing that? You take on something that becomes bigger than you are; Bigger than you ever expected it to become... And then suddenly you find yourself responsible for things. Making decisions about things you really never intended to know anything about. And with each one you wonder, is it going to be ok?
Is this a good decision? Am I just convincing myself that it is the right thing to do, when in fact it could very well be a horrible decision in the long run? Is it going to be ok? That seems to be a question that haunts me these days.
As so many of you know that follow me, I got here quite by accident. This business, this day to day thing that I am doing, this work: it was not planned. So making gut decisions, not over thinking things and taking chances has worked out fairly well so far. Could that all change?
So what exactly is it that keeps me awake at night?
Do I expand? No, that would be too risky.
Do I buy new equipment? No way. What if business starts to fall away?
Do I hire more help? Never- Then I am responsible for other’s finances.
Do I just take the leap? Maybe, it has worked out this far.
Can I afford to keep moving forward?
Is all of this worth it?
Is this the right direction?
Is it going to be ok?
I spend hours agonizing over my decisions. I know, I am not alone in this. We all have our sleepless nights worrying if we are moving in the right direction.
So, here’s what I decided to do: I added help. I bought equipment. I wrote a check to rent machinery. And I am moving forward. Scared. Nervous. Worried.
Every single day, I am scared, nervous, and worried that I’ll fail mostly due to the inexperience that so many want to remind me that I have in this line of work. I am often critiqued by those who feel I am WRONG and don’t know what I am doing in social media. It creates doubt. It causes me to think that It will not be ok. Is this TMI? Am I babbling from awkwardness?
Never mind, don’t answer that. I know the answer is unequivocally yes.
But I’m writing this letter as a way to bring you on this journey with me.
Sometimes social media has a way of making a situation appear one way, but the truth is always a little more complex. Aren’t all aspects of life like that?
The truth reveals fear, doubt, and insecurity in embarrassingly authentic ways, but I want to invite you in to share this moment with me as I take new chances, learn, and try to grow. Why? Because I can’t wait to share everything I learn along this journey and continue to move us closer to our wildest dreams and passions. I hope my journey inspires others to take risks and dream big.
As friends, entrepreneurs, and like-minded people; Here’s to making big decisions...together and hoping It is all going to be ok.
The sun comes up and with it a fresh new day. Hope and excitement fill my thoughts. I create a list of things I want to accomplish. The list is long, but that is ok. I have the entire day ahead of me. I grab my diet coke and whatever is appealing on the McDonald’s menu… You relate. I know you do. I have never been a coffee drinker… diet coke is like oxygen to me. I cannot be without it.
I have already answered emails, sent text and chatted with those that left late voicemails. The kids have been scooted off to school. I will either go to a barn, the mill, another lumber yard, the shop or to my office. Invoices need sent and photographs need to be taken. I love the variety of what I do. I am not the kind of person that can do that same thing each day. So the fact that no two days are alike is perfect to me.
I never expected or dreamed that I would be doing this. I did expect to be doing something very different than most. I just always seemed to follow the path not taken. This path was so unexpected. I tell people that I accidentally started this business. That is as honest as I can be. I was searching. Searching for something I could feel passionate about. Aren’t we all? A place where I could call my own shots. A place where I could follow my heart. A place where I could make a difference. I never dreamed it would be reclaiming barns. (So don’t limit where your search takes you)
So as I continue my day, there is no one to blame when things go wrong. And go wrong they do. Products take longer than expected to create. Shipping gets turned upside down. Quotes get rejected. The weather refuses to cooperate no matter what Weather Bug says each hour will bring... Everyone seems to need things yesterday…. But that isn’t just small business owners that feel these issues- is it? Don’t we all feel them?
If we were perfect people in a perfect world, wouldn’t it all be easier. The feeling of being invincible that we wake up with would still be there come night time. But we are not. We are imperfect. These imperfections seem to eat at us as the day drags on into night. By the time the sun has set and the kids are in bed, I have no excitement left in me. I have very little hope left. Instead I am full of doubt… often left asking myself… what was I thinking?
But failure isn’t an option. So, I look forward to tomorrow… when the sun comes up again, when the wave of new hope and excitement set in again, because failure just isn’t an option. The path not taken is such because this is hard work. Going where others have not gone is hard work. If you are on this path, you are not alone. I am excited for you. And I am here if you need someone to cheer you on!!!
Moisture Content and Wood Movement When Building Furniture with Live Edge Lumber
Wood shrinks and warps as it continues to dry. Ever build a table and look at the top… there are gaps in places there weren’t? Cracks that are new? A slight warp that grew more and more over time? In fact, boards that are freshly cut from a log (green lumber) will shrink and warp considerably as they dry. Keep this in mind as you consider live edge lumber. Woodworkers, for practical purposes it’s better to think in terms of using lumber that has been pre-shrunk and pre-warped. In other words, I want the wood to shrink and warp before I build a piece of furniture with it, not after.
While cleaning out the barn, we found a cigar box full of love letters from 1912 and an autograph book with writings from 1886. Frank worked in Little Rock, Arkansas. Cuba lived here at our house. I enjoyed reading their love letters back and forth and learning about their lives. Frank came back to Eaton for Cuba, and they married. I have the letter Frank wrote to Cuba talking about marriage and how he couldn’t wait for spring to come so she could be his wife. I also found a Valentine postcard dated February 13, 1912, from Frank. It’s so neat to have and hold something that was written over 100 years ago. Happy Valentine’s Day to all. I’ll leave you with a quote Frank had written to Cuba. He wrote, “Each day of my life is yours dear and all of my thoughts are to, so if giving were all there was dear I really belong to you”.Read More
I love old hard wood floors and the sound of my children running through the kitchen and hearing their bare feet smacking against it. I treasure the feeling of my handmade table top. It reminds me of my grandma’s house when I was ten. Knowing those things about me doesn’t tell you how long I’ve been in business or how skilled I am at woodworking, but it will help you understand how passionate I am about what matters most... How you feel about your home! It tells me what you want that space to reflect about you. Maybe you grew up in the country, but live in a busy town now, and you want a piece of country to share with others when they visit and to remind you of where you came from…. Or you are like my customer last week. You purchased a new apartment in the city and it is filled with iron, brick and beams. He wanted his décor to match that. He wanted those that entered that space to feel that industrial look that he loves so much.
I love to search through the piles of lumber to find something you will fall in love with. That wood for your dream table that will find its way into your forever home. A space in which you will share memories, laughter and tears with your friends, children, and loved ones. It isn’t about just purchasing a new mantel to replace the old one. It is so much bigger than that. It is about finding just the right piece that reflects who you are. That special memory that has stuck with you since childhood. That design you saw in a magazine that grabbed your attention and stayed with you. A feeling you get when you see something you know is all you.
Knowing you as my customers helps me do more than create a special design or look for your home, and your families. Taking the time to sit and talk allows us to get to know one another. Sharing with me how your home feels and looks creates a connection. What colors you enjoy and what you just cannot stand gives me insight…. Where you drink your coffee, your favorite T.V. shows, your children’s lives... I find out where my customers work or about their pets. Taking the time to get to know each other allows me to learn about what matters to you; your home, your style, and that special environment that you want to design.
The idea that I will create a piece of furniture or an accent wall that will express who you are is almost overwhelming. It is absolutely humbling to think that so many will trust me to be part of their personal space. Because isn’t that what our homes are; our most personal space. Where are able to let our guard down, surround ourselves with things we treasure, and entertain those that mean the most to us. It is an honor to be part of that space.
That is why it is so important that we get to know one another. “This isn’t just business: it is personal.”
The house is so quiet now: they are asleep. I open my computer to check Facebook, answer emails, and blog. The day will go so fast. I will barely get done what I have planned. Does anyone ever get done what they have planned? They will be awake soon…
I have been up for hours. So much to do! Where to start… I walk through the living room gathering dirty clothes and empty glasses thinking about blog topics that I need to get started. Soon, four of my children will run out the back door in hopes of not being late for school. Only four because the other three got out of Dodge and went off to college or work; truthfully, they found peace and quiet and never looked back. Big families are rarer than they used to be. They are exciting, and tiring; rewarding and challenging, and I love it.
Maybe this is what prepared me best to be an entrepreneur. Juggling a career and a large family gave me the skill set better than anything else to start my own business. I mean you work and you work for your children all for questions and criticism. And like our children as much as we love the businesses that we start, they exhausts us.
As mothers and as entrepreneurs we constantly question ourselves. Are we making the right decisions? Should we spend this money or save it for the rainy day. How hands on should we be? Whose advise do we accept and whose do we ignore?
Like our children our businesses will always be our babies. And when they succeed or fail, we take it to heart. We don’t give up on them; we just love them and work harder for them. That is who we are: moms… entrepreneurs.
I am beyond familiar with failure.
My failures have been public and private.
I do not believe one is worse than the other.
I have failed my friends, family, and myself.
Not just once or twice, but over and over again.
I have failed more than I have succeeded.
My career, my businesses, and crazy hobbies I’ve started along the way.
Through a lifetime of failure, I have learned that the fastest way to recover is to start again. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I don’t quit or believe in giving up. I have this need to keep moving forward. I have lost friends, family, and self along the way, but I have gained courage, strength and optimism. I don’t fail, I grow.