Lessons and stats of 2013

Happy New Years to you! No matter what's behind you in 2013, I wish you all a refreshed sense of joy and peace looking ahead at the new year before us. I wonder how long it will take me this year to get used to writing 2014. That's always a fun adjustment...

I wasn't planning to write today, but for the fun of it I was looking back through my archives to see what my first post was in 2013, and was surprised to see that I posted on January 1, 2013! It was a reflection on the 2012 year. This blog has become so much more than Before & Afters of refinished furniture pieces. It's become a sort of window into my life with my family, thought processes of fresh ideas, new discoveries of painting techniques and products, inventive home decorating tricks, and even a place I have felt comfortable opening up about my experience raising my three little ones at home and balancing that, my favorite job, with my other job - Chelsea's Garage!

And on that note I will be completely honest with you, as I always am; 2013 was hard for me. It beat me down. Chelsea's Garage picked up tremendously this past year - both my business and this blog. Growth is like a rose with thorns. It's a beautiful thing, but comes with unexpected challenges. So, at the same time that this business was more than tripling itself from the year prior, our children got older, (the nerve of them)! For the bulk of the year, we had two 3yr olds and a 2yr old. I think if my husband and I could survive that, we can do anything together, (I'll probably be laughing at that statement when they're all teenagers).

Since our twins are October birthdays and will be older for their grade, last fall I thought I would try to homeschool them in preschool for this school year before sending them to public school next year. Oh baby. No sooner had I begun the homeschooling than when the palpitations started in my heart. 6 weeks later I was meeting with a highly recommended cardiologist and getting a handful of tests done. And I've got nothing to show from the tests, thankfully, except a pretty fresh perspective on the priorities in my life.

I quit homeschooling and I can't tell you how happy I am to admit that, because the tail two months of 2013 were our best. I gave myself back to my kids and reclaimed a gift I didn't realize I had.  Time.  The twins will be starting preschool in the fall, leaving me a few days a week for the first time in their 5 years of life. Never again after that will I have these three little people home with me all the time at the same time. So we're just going to have fun and make the most of our time together. That's the new plan until preschool starts next fall.

With the plate of my life becoming substantially fuller over 2013, I learned a few lessons over the year that I'm grateful to share, (for anyone still reading):

Lessons of 2013

~Say yes to my family more. I had the honor of responding to quite a few emails this past year asking for advice on starting a furniture refinishing business. One thing I always stress is that much of this business is spent on the computer. How else will my furniture sell if I am not being proactive in editing photos, writing descriptions, getting them up in various online selling forums, and then responding to all the inquiries?! It's how my business moves. But, it is extremely time consuming! I was getting so angry with myself every time I uttered the words, "Not right now, sweetie" to any of my kids when they asked me to do something with them. So, enough of that. This girl is closing her computer more and getting some real face time with those sweeties. 

~Choose my jobs wisely. Just because a custom order may pay well does not mean it is worth it. In fact, looking back over 2013, I think I turned down a total of about $2,500 worth of work that I just didn't feel good about. Whether a job was just extremely involved to the point where I could not handle it and my kids, or because I didn't think I was the right person for the particular request, learning to 'pass' was a wonderful lesson. It's grown me as an artist and has helped me zero in on what actually makes me unique from anyone else who refinishes furniture.

~Stay true to my style. When I look back on all the pieces I did in years prior to 2013, the styles really range. I was very experimental when I first started refinishing furniture - which was extremely fun! But I really hit a groove this past year and found a niche. Not too sweet, not too feminine, and a little edgy. That's me in a nutshell. Each piece is a reflection of who I am, for better or worse. 

~There is peace with Jesus. This was a very un-peaceful year for me, until the end. I was working so hard. At everything. I like to work hard, I really do. I'm not trying to brag, I just really like it, (However, I am not a perfectionist and am choosey about what I'll work hard at. For instance, I do need to work at cleaning my house more). Anyways, I found myself juggling a lot of balls at one point and learned that I'm no juggler. I wasn't sleeping and my heart kept racing like it does when I ride roller coasters. Enough was enough. I started spending more intentional time with the Lord in the mornings and writing in my journal again. And there was the peace. I asked and He answered. 

To close out my first post of 2014, here are some fun stats I found from the past year!

-A whopping 34 pieces from this past year sold to young residents living in the heart of Washington D.C. I may never live my dream of residing in a big city, but I love knowing that there are little pieces of 'me' all over one.

-This piece was the most frequently viewed on the blog:

IMG_2945.JPG

-The post I wrote in the Spring about my favorite outdoor Ikea pieces received the most hits in 2013. The images at the end of our Ikea decked deck have made a splash on Pinterest! Go Ikea!

-The paper wreathe tutorial is not only the most pinned image from Chelsea's Garage, it was one of the most pinned /repinned paper wreath tutorials on Pinterest.

Chelsea's Garage: Paper wreath tutorial

Thank you all for being a precious part of Chelsea's Garage. Every hit means a lot and I'm so grateful for you. Looking forward to taking the lessons learned from 2013 and applying them to 2014!

~Chelsea

This post was originally published under Chelsea's Garage, now affectionately known as StyleMutt.