Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Treasures from the Heart

A few have shown interest in knowing how
I got started in my business, and what the store is like,
so I am posting on that today.

This is the long version, but I have hi lighted
the main parts for those of you who only want,
or have time for, the short version. =0))

My Story

About 28 years ago, when our children were young,
my Mom took an oil paining class.
I said to my sweet fella,
"Someday, when i have time, I'm going to take a painting class."
His response, "You never have time, you make time!)

So, I took an oil painting class at a local parks and recreation center.
Not far into it, while having the church ladies over for lunch,
they saw what i was doing and wanted to learn too.
And so began my 27 year
'career' as tole and decorative painting teacher.

After that first 8 week session of oil painting classes,
it would be years before i took another class.
They were few and far between, as i enjoyed the challenge
of figuring out how to do different techniques on my own.
I would just buy a book and figure it out.

The first 7 years, we were at tables in the family room,
and as one might say, it was "the blind leading the blind".
(only under very good lighting my sweet guy had put in for us).
I was glad to share what i was learning, and they were glad to be there.
So much so they insisted paying me for my bits of knowledge,
encouragement and help.

We transitioned from oils to acrylics somewhere along the way,
after dabbling in other things like water colors,
pen and ink and painting on fabric.
I loved the challenge of trying new things
and variety keeps it fun for me.

By then we were painting on wood and not canvas.
Of course that meant i had to buy a saw and figured
out how to cut my own wood.
(another challenge).
I could not be waiting around for someone else to cut wood for me.
If i had an idea, I wanted the wood, right now!

As time went by, and we filled the family room with wood cuts,
and the garage with tools, and more students and classes were added,
We decided to rent a place somewhere, and found a location that worked well
only 7 miles from home.

Classes continued to grow and I did many bazaars,
meaning hours of cutting and painting to get ready.
(ask me sometime about the very first sale i did.)

Another 7 years at that location, and we decided paying rent
was not longer wise use of our money,
and we purchased the property we are currently in.
It was zoned for business, and a fine location for painting classes.
The house needed much repair, some we hired out,
and some we did ourselves.
(that is another long story of it's own!) =0)

After 13 years of teaching in the big room in the front,
with classes now being slower
(fine with me, I had been teaching up to 5 classes a week,
with 8-15 people in a class!) it seemed the Lord's timing to
have my dream of opening a store.

My students were so gracious and encouraged me,
even though it meant they would move into a smaller room for classes.
(they said it was 'cozy". =0)

And more work began.
Although the inside and outside of the building
had been fine for painting classes,
it fell a bit short in being a cute little store.
Friends, family, students, all pitched in to make the transition.
and in May 2008, a store was 'born', and a dream came true!

So my little gift shop, in an industrial area, in a little old ranch style house,
with a gravel parking lot, and weeds in the back yard,
and only open 3 days a week,
continues to grow as the word gets out.

I continue to teach a class a week, and will do more if the Lord sends people.
And we wait on Him to send the people He wants to the store.
You see, this is more than a store to me, it is a ministry.
My heart is for it to be a safe place for people to share.
A place where local crafters can consign their wonderful goods,
and a place people can shop for a unique and
special gift at an affordable price.

God is providing all those and more.

Thank you for reading my story.
Another time i will write the short and on going story
of how i became a part of blog land,
and offer updates about the store,
and what i am learning about life because of it.. =0)

Blessings on your day,
Barbara Jean


Sammy Girl said...

Hi sweet Barb!
I took a few minutes to get caught up on your recent posts, and have to admit to really liking your sleeping "three of a kind". Made me smile!
Thanks so much for sharing the story of your shop.
Your transparency is so appreciated. In this time when so many folks in the world use pretense it is refreshing to know that many dear bloggers are real and honest. Thanks!
HUGS to you and here's to a great rest-of-the-week and a strong (pain-free) back!
Betty :)

Claudia said...

Barbara Jean, that is a wonderful story! I am so glad you shared it with us. Isn't it amazing how one action - like your taking a class - can lead to a wonderful adventure?

Sharon said...

Wow you have had a busy time. I readthe long version. What a nice life. Sharon PS I hope you are feeling better.

Sherrie said...

Hi Barb!

Thank you so much for sharing this story.
I yearn to someday have a store of my own.
At this point in time though I have to keep my job, and dream from the sidelines.
I would love to hear more about store.

Enchanted Rose Studio said...

Hi Barbara Jean, I enjoyed reading your story of how your interest in painting evolved into your quaint and lovely shop. You made the time to plant the seed and now you have a lovely garden of treasures.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us.


Chari said...

Hello my friend...

Wow...what a tremendous experience that you have had!!! It's funny how things evolve, isn't it? I just love your pretty little shop but what I love best is your "outlook" on it! I can see that the Lord has given this place as a ministry for you...how sweet!!! I bet you have lots and lots of sweet fellowship with those who enter in at your doors!!!

I sure did enjoy reading your story of how you got started in the business!!! Have a terrific Tuesday, my friend!!!

Love ya,

blushing rose said...

Enjoyed every minute of reading your life & shop history, Barbara Jean. Your unique shop is wonderful & full of joy for you, & no doubt those you assist. Take care of yourself. Love your sharing ... TTFN~ Marydon

ClassyChassy said...

Thanks for sharing your story - amazing how it started out rather innocently, by your taking a painting class - and now, running a little gift shop. As you are seeing it as a ministry, certainly it will grow into something you have never dreamed of! What an exciting adventure - and yes, there will never be time to do all that we wish to do - we must make time. Seems I said that to you not long ago! Is there an echo somewhere? :)

Kammy said...

Hey Barb !
What a nice story ! I love the part where hubby says to make time - so true, so true ! I am so happy for you to have your own store !I have done some tole painting over the the years (actually stopped when my son was born 21 years ago) and just dibbled the last 5 years...I really want to do more - I love it. Thanks for sharing !
Hugs ~ Kammy
p.s. I just joined your blog as a follower - I can't believe that I hadn't before, sorry ...

Laurie said...

What a wonderful story! Kudos to you for making it happen!

Leann said...

I loved hearing your story! I've been debating for a few years now to do a small catering bs. Family and friends are soo encouraging, but I feels as if they just like my food because they know me.

I just became a follower and thank you following my blog and leaving your sweet comments.

Enjoy your day!


Awesome story and the outside of your shop is sweet!! It looks like a great place to visit!
Deb :)