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sorry if the title got you excited for no reason…this post is really just all about custom painted stepping stools 🙂
i’ve been commissioned to work on a stool and i just can’t get into it for some reason. it’s probably been almost a year since we first discussed the order. i think for me i get discouraged because i just want people to see what i’ve made, instantly fall in love with it and purchase it on the spot. although i have fun bringing the visions people have to life for them, sometimes i feel bogged down or pressured by their requests. it’s as if the creative juices are sucked out of me if i am forced to use the colors, images, patterns, etc. they want, instead of just going with my own creative flow…if that makes any sense at all.
in fact, if i had to pinpoint one exact moment in time when my love for making art as gifts really took off and flourished, i would have to say it all started with a stool…
one of my sorority sisters was pregnant and expecting a little girl. i don’t know if my procrastination left me with too few choices on her registry or what, but for some reason, i decided i wanted to make her a gift. her theme was pink and purple “bear fairies.” i thought to myself, “i can work with this. everyone else will be getting her frilly dresses, pacifiers, and johnson & johnson shampoo. what can i do differently? what can i make that’s ‘special?”
i knew i wanted to paint something to decorate her nursery. i knew i wanted it to be personalized with her name and a bear fairy of course. i knew i wanted it to be useful and not just decorative. i knew i wanted it to last a long time, and not just during the infant years.
i went to michael’s for inspiration, saw the unfinished wooden stools, and it was decided.
it was exciting, and fun, and sparkly and everyone loved it…and so the journey began.
remember, i was in college, in a dorm…so please excuse the plethora of bags, shoes, and other random junk in the background. apparently i also thought my legs and feet were a good makeshift table to prop the stool up on.
forgive me for not remembering the exact order the rest of these stools were made in, i will indicate if they were for a gift or for a payment, lol.
my first “real job” after graduation was as a 2nd grade instructional assistant. i absolutely loved the teacher i worked with. although she has 3 beautiful children now, she only had one, molly, at the time. she would get all these cute boutiquey children’s catalogs that she would share with me for inspiration and ideas. she wanted a stool in one of them, but it was going to cost her a small fortune, so she hired me instead. this stool was more challenging than the first one i painted. i haven’t done one like it since, and probably won’t again. the only problem was that it wasn’t made for customizing, it was made to be used as is. so it was already finished, and i think due to the top clear coat, my paint didn’t really “adhere” to the stool, for lack of a better word. it was also very large and i did a lot of difficult details (stripes, argyle, scallops, loopdy loops, etc.) however, i think we were both pleased with the end result. like i said, the stool is larger and actually has a step. it also opens for storage. cute cute.
this next one was commissioned. i had a lot of fun with it because she said i could do whatever i wanted. it was an aunt buying it for her niecey. i love the color scheme and “retro hippy” feel. she has a short name too, so i could make it big and bold.
this next one was commissioned as well. a teacher i work with wanted a gift for her neighbor’s new baby girl. i believe i was given artistic freedom on this one as well. i don’t know if it was the pastels or what, but looking back on this i love the way it looks so sleek and soft. i was really pleased with the way it turned out.
next up, one of my very dear friends purchased this stool for a coworker’s baby shower. i believe the woman that was expecting had a turtle pottery barn theme. this was lots of fun, because i don’t get to make a lot of things for boys. pardon the horrible cut off photo, haha. that was way before my “blogging days,” lol. my friend that ordered this from me is a new aunt and i believe wants to talk specifics about a stool for her nephew, so that should be exciting.
this stool was so fun yet so challenging! a friend that grew up across the street from me was expecting her first child, a son, and her husband is an avid golfer. i had never heard of a golf themed nursery before, but i was up for it. (i even made raised bumps on the golf ball.) i think i am most proud of this stool.
the latest stool i made, was a gift for our good friend’s first son. i snuck? sneaked? lol a look at their nursery bedding, and used my cricut to try to match the colors and characters. (which of course i can no longer find online to show you. tear.) i also like the shape of this stool a lot better than the others. it was very fun and rewarding, and was a big hit. i was honored when our friends got professional pictures of the baby and his room, and they included his stool in one of the shots. that made me happy 🙂
*PS: did you notice that all three of the boy stools i made were for children named mason? wow, popular name 🙂
i do tend to have problems with michael’s stock. half of the time i have to pick through every stool to find one that’s even halfway decent quality. even with that i have a sander at home to fix up imperfections. it’s pretty sad actually. most of them are lopsided, or missing chunks of wood, or have huge ugly wood knots, etc. also, they switch out their stock so much, sometimes someone may want a round stool, but they don’t sell those anymore, etc. i have really started liking the smaller ones because they aren’t as “warped” as the bigger ones tend to be, making them sturdier thus safer. they also have nice handles.
which leads us to where i am now. stuck on finishing one i am not all that into. one of the problems is that i am using white paint. if you have read any of my previous painting posts, you know how much i loathe white acrylic paint.
when this lady was first expecting, my mom and another gal we work with, asked me to paint one of my “baby carry-all boxes,” (perhaps another post on those later) for her. i was asked to match the colors and flowers from her pottery barn quilt. it was quick, fun, and easy. therefore, when the woman loved it and asked me to make a stool for her future daughter, i knew it would be easy to make one using the same colors and theme. i’m not saying it’s difficult, i guess it’s just time consuming, and i lack the desire to complete it. ugh. even writing about it now fills me with the feeling of dread. lol. i’m so over dramatic.
the worst part is that i’m about 92% done, i just need to buckle down and crank it out. i actually did get the legs almost complete during a pacer game the other night, and the lady is being very understanding of my creative block? defiance? lol. the beau is headed home again this weekend, leaving me lonely again this weekend, so perhaps i can suck it up and finish once and for all. perhaps i am making plans i know damn well i don’t plan to follow through with 😉 we shall see.
**days later** 🙂
so i took a sick day today, and after working on the stool a little bit each of these past few days, i finally finished it…YAY! i got a little anxious with the pics, so if the top clear coat and/or glitter coat still look wet…that’s because they are 🙂 lol
soooo excited to get this to little lydia and out of my craft room once and for all…i may be bias, but i certainly think it was worth the wait 😉
now off to more fun things…you may not believe me, but i thoroughly enjoy cutting the grass. haha. you already knew i was weird.
tata for now, xtina