Art Barn is Complete

Breaking my silence to finally be able to say…

My art barn is done.

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It took, from concept to design to construction, two years. But it’s at long last complete (minus a backsplash and a chandelier, but hey, those aren’t necessarily requirements for making art).

PicMonkey Collage

 

There were some sizable setbacks, like the 6.0 Napa earthquake just two weeks after I closed on the property, and learning–after a soil test during pre-construction–that I needed to excavate thousands of tons of dirt and truck in engineered dirt that was more stable for a foundation. Tantamount to all of this was what I placed on myself: very high expectations. I have felt on shaky ground getting to this point, consistently asking myself, did I take on too much?

Upon reflection, all of those mornings over the past two years calculating every construction cost; waking to the skull-rattling sound of hammering and sawing on the hill; watching (and worrying) as construction workers balanced themselves on narrow wooden beams 30’+ above ground; and the rare, startling occurrences like the emergency landing of a hot air balloon have all collectively been the key part of the journey. Building anything is risky, but the exhilaration during the process and at the end is heady stuff!

I am looking forward to hosting small art gatherings here as well as a few offsite workshops during Craft Napa, but as my office is headquartered in the loft, I’m eager to execute other ventures too.

For the moment, though, I am pretty happy that the building part is finally behind me.

 

Garagaeopen

 

Cheers,

Pokey

Can you move it a smidgeon to the left, no wait…to the right. OK, now move it back.

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Small pink flags mark the general location of where they will pour the foundation. The stakes will be moved back about 15 feet from this location so I can accommodate more hammocks and grapevines in the front!

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Great news: After repositioning a couple of times on the property to optimize views, plans and permits have been approved for the art barn! I am breaking ground next month and it should be completed by the end of this year. However, I know how building goes, so I won’t actually launch the retreat part of Crafting a Life until late spring.

With the approval to break ground, I celebrated by having a few bites of the world’s best sticky bun, compliments of Sweetie Pies, the bakery at the Napa River Inn (my favorite place to stay).

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If you are a guest at the Napa River Inn, breakfast is included. Not only can you order a choice of breakfast sandwich (e.g. egg whites with spinach and tomato on whole grain), you additionally get a choice of a bun or muffin to counterbalance a healthy attempt at breakfast. This gooey, cinnamon treat is simply sublime.

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I also met my new accountant in Napa to discuss next steps. I was a little envious of his business address…

 

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And then later I drove down to Los Altos to my grandmother’s to meet my cousin’s newest enterprise, her first baby.

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All in all, a fantastic trip with headway made and a lot to celebrate. And for the first time, my dream of launching this gig is starting to feel very real.

Dream Retreat Fabric Giveaway Update:

Congrats to Corliss Eden, your name was randomly selected for the huge box of fabric. (I’ll email you for your shipping address.) Thanks to all who spent time sharing their ideas for a dream retreat! I have printed them all out and have gotten a lot of fantastic ideas, Thank you!

Shaken But Not Stirred: Napa Update & a Fabric Giveaway

You know when someone tells you, “I have good news and bad news…which do you want to hear first?” I always want to get the bad news out of the way.  So here goes with the bad news: I had earthquake damage on my recently purchased Napa property where I am planning my new business next year.

The good news (actually the GREAT news): It is not that bad in the scheme of things, can be fixed, and it is not going to set me back time-wise for construction and renovations.

What didn’t fare so well were some of the historic buildings downtown (mostly with brick and stone facades) that hadn’t been retrofitted to withstand a quake of this size. After I flew out to Napa and assessed my place, I drove downtown and saw that one of my favorite older buildings that houses The Vintner’s Collective withstood a lot of damage and was red tagged.

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The above picture looks bad, but they are rebuilding and will be back in business, just like most every other business that was hit. Napans (or as some refer to as “Napkins”) are resilient!

Having lived in California, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Texas, I have learned that Mother Nature can morph into many forms, whether it be a snow blizzard, a flooding, a hurricane, a tornado watch, a hail storm, or an earthquake. You just have to take your pick!

Besides feeling all shook up, the nascent stage of launching a new business has been an exciting project to take on, and I was very happy this summer to host a few sets of moms and daughters to show them my vision:

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Above is my best friend from high school, Cindy with her two girls, Maggie and Lily. I thought it was just my adult friends who would ask me when my place is ready so they can come stay, but nope…Maggie wanted to know if she could have her birthday slumber party at my place next month. Sorry, Mags…next year!

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You may recognize these two former Quilting Arts blondes above: my sister-in-law Sally and my niece Lindsey who came all the way from Massachusetts to visit me. We had a fun time together and they were very excited to go the Kendall-Jackson winery, the “Mothership” as Lindsey affectionately refers to it.

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And lastly, Judy Perez and her daughter Indigo (taking pictures in the distance) came to check out my digs too. Indigo, an amazing artist like her mom, is helping me with artwork for the business.

Judy also proved to me that if her art quilt gig doesn’t work out, she is a very gifted pool cleaner…

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While I prepare to relocate next year, I am paring down my art supplies, including a sizable box of fabric:

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This lot includes hand-dyed and screened fabric, some really adorable prints, and upholstery fabric that would be GREAT for over-dyeing. Just answer the following question by midnight this Friday, September 12, and I will randomly select a winner. (I am very sorry to all my international friends, but this box is sizable, and because of the weight, I can only ship to a U.S. resident.)

Question:

A part of Crafting a Life, LLC, will include retreats. What would your dream retreat be?