Monday, January 22, 2007

“SNOWFLAKES”….No two are alike

In 1997 I had been widowed for 7 years and was still working full time as a secretary in our local Emergency Department. My husband had been in his own business, in poor health and unable to get medical insurance, so my job, (complete with benefits) had been a necessity. The job took little in the way of intellect but it was a challenging and exciting place to work and I had spent the past 19 years there.

After Dick died in 1990 I made some reassessments and some big changes. I refinanced my house and put myself on a stringent budget and life went forward. Now it was 1997 and I could feel myself getting restless and out of sorts, both at work and in my life in general. My good friend, Bonnie, (who is also my AA sponsor) saw this in me before I did and she suggested that we talk about it. We spent a day walking in the woods and talking.

With a little prodding from Bonnie I came to realize that what I really wanted to do was cut back on work but I didn’t see how this was possible. She asked me what I would like to do and I told her that I loved to decorative-paint furniture and wall murals but I didn’t have the confidence to make that plunge.

Now, Bonnie is one who never takes “no” for an answer and, before I knew it, we’d mapped out a plan. I would talk to the boss and see if I could negotiate a part-time work deal…and then I would start my own business!! My house would be paid off early in 2001 and then I could afford to retire completely. It would be tight for the next few years but it was do-able.

Looking back on it now I am in awe that I actually had the guts to take the risk. I decided to call my business “Snowflakes, Custom Designs”...based on the fact that all pieces would be one of a kind and “no two were alike”. I had a lot of furniture in my house that I had decoratively hand painted, (as well as wall murals), so I used those as samples and, before I could reconsider, I was off and running. I have never thought of myself as a "real" artist but I do have a good sense of design and that is about 80% of the finished product. You can see some of the pieces I've done in the picture above.

The “powers-to-be” in the ER were thrilled when I offered to work every weekend since that’s the hardest time to cover with reliable help and I was able to keep my benefits because of the longevity of my service with the hospital. It was a win-win situation for everyone.

I can’t say that I’ve set the world on fire with my creativity, but it’s been a lot of fun and I never know what will come next. Just this past weekend I painted a wall mural, (a scene of Tuscany), in a restaurant in Southern Pines. Tomorrow??? Who knows...but, whatever it is, it will be “one-of-a-kind”.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I am very impressed with both your talent and character.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are TOO an artist! Your pieces are lovely and unique. How brave of you to take that plunge and how nice that there was someone there to support you and cheer you on.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for what You are doing!Information, that I managed to find here
is extremely useful and essential for me!With the best regards!

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IT's wonderful! There's nothing like doing something you really enjoy to make a living. Not everyone has had the opportunity to do that.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always inspired after reading your blog. What an accomplishment.

3:14 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Ginnie, I am SO impressed! You appear to be very talented. My aunt did Tole painting and some furniture too, and I always thought I might follow in her footsteps, but I took a different turn.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

Those are delightful pieces, and a wonderful story to go with them.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you have kept that talent and creativity hidden now haven't you?

That is great. You will have to post photos of your creations from time to time.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bloody fantastic 'old girl' !

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such an incredibly resourceful person! I'm coming to believe you could deal with just about anything and create something good from it.



9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginnie, you never cease to amaze me! Your artwork is superb, and what a wonderful way to spend your time!
How lovely, too, that you had Bonnie to encourage & support you while you were taking such a big step. 'Snowflakes' is a beautiful and very apt name, too. You are such an inspiration, and deserve all the success you can get!
I am in total agreement with anvilcloud, and thank you for sharing your stories with us.
My best to you,
Sue x

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Are those really your pieces? They are beautiful. I like seeing the way that you have ralleyed with life, never letting it get the better of you.

AA sponsors seem like such great figures.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Wow...everybody! I had no idea that you would respond with such heart-warming words of encouragement. Thank you so much. I have had so much fun with this and have had many challenges..such as painted floors, custom rooms for children, etc. and I will try to blog it to you from time to time. Hugs, Ginnie

1:15 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I am so impressed with your painted furniture and creativity. My daughter did a few pieces of furniture and she was quite good at it but she got busy with children and so forth and has not done any recently.

Beautiful work Ginnie.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you must take after your photographer grandmother.

This is a great example of following your heart's desire and not "shoulds." I too sometimes look back and wonder how I had the guts to do some things.

It's nice to see this side of you.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on you, Ginnie. You've been holding out on us. I had no idea you had such artistic ability.
The pieces you did in the photo are just gorgeous.
And weren't you the savvy woman to get yourself in that win-win situation. I admire strong, independent, women and you certainly fit that category.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first heard the term 'snowflake' a few years ago, referring to a dining room set in which each piece was unrelated to the next. I thought it was clever.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job done, keep it up!with the best regards!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bravo for starting your own business!

When you find a way to express artistic talent like yours in a way that actually brings in MONEY, then you have truly found your avocation.

Well done, young lady!

7:36 AM  

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