Wednesday, February 14, 2018



I feel like I need to give you an update on what I am doing.

I am not going anywhere. If anything I will have more time to dive into my interests, make things more personal, share more tips.

There wasn't one reason I decided not be a store owner any longer. It wasn't my new job, I had it decided before. It definitely made it a huge juggle but it wasn't the only reason. 

For me it was mostly the season had changed for me. Really I never felt the same after I closed my shop a few years ago. That was me. I became less inspired, I never got time off, felt creatively tied down a bit. And the wheels in the retail world have been slowly coming off, any small business will tell you this. 

Mostly, I need a break. You don't get a break when you own a store. There are no excuses in the service industry. It wasn't for me any longer. I need a weekend to turn off my phone.

I am very, very different than when I went into this business. At the same time a bit more cynical, I have seen some things, I have done some things. I would say for the most part I came out softer and more self aware. Way less judgemental of what others are doing in their world and only focused on my lane. I wasn't always this way but I definitely came out this way in the end.


The thing is, I want to do my thing. Be fully creative, a free spirit, and make mistakes.

I could do none of those things running a store. And I had 6 years to work through that.

I will say that professionally I am taking a pause. But I am not done. 

I am open to what comes my way. I have already had a few......

We should always believe the best is yet to come...

I am excited to share the ride with you.

So, lots of love to you on this day of love!

-Alison 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

holding pattern

I spent the last year and a half in a holding pattern. If you have known me before this time, you knew my sparkle was gone. There was a point last year when I was so scared of the future, even the next day. When everything seemed to be going wrong. Hard, sad.  Like the door shut on me and I couldn't open it. I needed to be shut in though, I needed that year to be home with Cooper. 

I lost myself in that space though. I battled the fear but I started leaning on faith. I would have days that I would drop off Cooper at school and cry all the way home. I was also holding on tight to my business, even though I knew it wasn't ever going to financially support us the way it needed to. We were starting to sink. I knew I needed to let it go but I didn't have another plan. I had spent 7 years building it, it was like a child to me.

And then I started to resent it. It started to become a stress on me and not a joyful creative outlet. This sounds negative but I think it was actually a good turning point for me. A way of letting go. I started to have this desire to just close every MCC social media outlet and just be Alison. 

I started slowly this summer with a part time job, and now with a full time marketing job. I started to find myself and let go of weights on me. Pressures and expectations of the business. I am still in a holding pattern, but the weight is slowly coming off. 

I am learning it is not only ok to let go, it is necessary. I need to pivot, let go and be ready for the next thing. Even if that next thing is finding myself again.  

Monday, May 22, 2017




The last open studio ever!
Held at The Modern Cottage Company Studio - Tacoma

Studio is behind the home, it has it's own entrance. Address will be provided prior to date. 
Limit is 6 people per date, 3 hours.

Must bring your own project. A good example is a set of matching side tables or a small desk/dresser. Be mindful of the space but it is best to bring a project you want to work on to make best use of your time. 
This is not a formal class, but I am there to help. You have access to all of my supplies. Primer, basic paint colors, wax, brushes, glaze. Basic paint colors I will have available are white, off white, navy, red, light grey, dark grey, black, green. You can use these colors to mix your own custom color. 
Most open studio participates take up the full 3 hours. It is a fun way to get that project done that you have had in your garage! $89 non refundable 




Thursday, April 6, 2017

t h i s   w e e k   4/2/17
 
 
 
As I type this Saint and Cooper are about to be home from a 5 day road trip to San Francisco. We went round and round last month trying to decide if any of us were going to go or the whole family. We decided that it would be the most fun if just the two of them went. 14 hours in the car with an 11 and 14 year old with various sensory processing disorders and vastly different ideas of what would be exciting, didn't sound that fun to me or Saint.
 
 Plus this is absolutely my busiest time of year at work. April-June is buying season for my furniture business. A huge amount of my business comes from people moving, buying a first home or remodeling. Most of this happens in the Spring. Amanda and I have been blessed with a blossoming design business along with our retail store. The design side of our businesses is at the heart of what we are loving to do creatively right now. We don't often show that side of our businesses, but we should because I think it would surprise people. Currently our clients are going for a mix of very modern, a touch of classic, and a hint of vintage. It is fun.

Oh, and staging, We are staging homes right now too. This is in fact home buying season. There is a lot going on behind the scenes.

I had a great week of antique buying last week and this week I spent painting and restoring a lot of it. With Coop and Saint gone, I spent long days in my studio. I almost never do this when we are all home. The door to my studio usually shuts at 150pm for the day, when I pick up the kids from school. Camden didn't mind me painting all week, she spent long days sketching and using her drawing pad. There was a lot of creative energy going on this week with just the two of us home. I have to say my house stayed pretty clean with just the girls home this week. We are excited to have them back though.

And I took a lot of pictures of trees this week. I don't know why, they were pretty... 
 
 Next week is more painting painting painting! And maybe some weeding. With the sun, the weeds have come up. 
 
I kind of like this weekly post. I think I will keep it up.  

Hope your week has been smashing.
-A.



 
 


Friday, March 31, 2017

t h i s    w e e k   o n   I G   MCC




I thought I would start a new weekly post. Really it is a rundown of what I did that week and my Instagram pictures are the guide. My kids are off school next week so I kind of buckled down and worked in overdrive this week. 

Two weeks ago I had an open studio and my studio was pretty much cleared out of projects. For some reason the furniture angels (my pickers and friends) found me a months worth of projects (about 20) to work on. Some are slam dunk painters and some I will spend time rebuilding before I can prep for paint. They are all gorgeous and inspiring. And when I have pretty pieces in my studio - I get to work. I don't sit on projects. I never have. Ever. It is not how I work. I buy it, I paint it. Year 7 and it is the way I groove artistically. So I painted a lot this week. And I sent some pictures to long time clients looking for specific pieces that might work for a custom paint job. 
(I don't normally custom paint. I like to pick the projects. For some reason I have been doing a lot of it lately and it has been fun~!)

I spent Sunday with Camden going to Vashon to pick up pieces. It was grey, cold and rainy but we still had a good time. On the way home we drove though the 5 mile drive at Point Defiance. I haven't done this 30 years. It was breathtaking. The moss on the trees looked magical. I need to get there and shoot a picture for you. 

I started off the week just looking at what I had in studio and jumping in. I have been painting more than I have room for in the shop or in my studio so I haven't totally figured out the solution to this yet but it will come. It always does. I had an idea just today that I will put away and see what becomes of it.

Monday came and I was full of energy. I painted, cleaned the house and hung pictures that I had been meaning to hang for a year. Coop has been doing great again at his new school and things have been running more smoothly.

Tuesday rolled in and I started getting anxiety. I hate it, I have never had anxiety before in my life until the last few years. I just plug through it. It usually teaches me something. I still hate it though.

Wednesday I shared a picture of my first shop 5 years ago this week. It seems like forever ago. I also know I am a really different person than that lady that walked into that first shop- that was handed to her. It is sad, inspiring, sometimes embarrassing to think back to that time and fast forward now. I think if I had to do it over again I wouldn't have been open and inclusive. I would have been stronger on my own and a bit more selfish (I know this sounds weird but it makes sense to me).  I was a lot more naive, I was probably a lot more competitive. I am neither naive or competitive now, at all. I could get carried away in the drama of things around me. Which really isn't in my nature. Time humbles you a bit and I think it strengthens you. But in someways it makes me think 1000 times more about every decision I now make and ask myself is this going to be what I want - not only in the end, but in the middle.

Last night the family went to Cirque de Soleil and we had a really great time. We took the train up to meet Saint (Coop loved this and I didn't have to drive in rush hour traffic up to Seattle). I saw Camden light up during the performances and it is cool to see a 14 year old excited about something.

Today I dropped of a piece at Clementine and then I went thrifting. Saint was home to get the kids from school, so I could take my time. I haven't had a day of thrifting in a very very long time. I can't even tell you the last time I did. And I had a blast, by myself- in the junk. And I found a truck load of treasures to add to my stuffed studio.

So even with a week of hard work, looking forward, a step back of anxiety, a couple moments of self doubt, a few more of keep plugging through, I ended with a full studio of projects to paint and paint.

And I think that is a sign to keep chugging along.



Friday, December 9, 2016

new year
 
I can easily say that this year has been by far the biggest roller coaster for our little family. We still have so many things up in the air, not everything has landed softly yet for us, but I am trying not to be impatient.
 
I am painting like crazy this week and next, I want to get through all my back stock. I am moving out of my storage unit and only now buying week to week. I made my 2017 business plan and the number one thing is to buy less for the business! Only buy what I know I can get finished and in a shop within a week or two. Back stock is nice to have, to feel secure that I know I have pieces to paint, but I also think of it as wasted money when it is sitting in storage and not in a shop for sale. This is how I used to operate years ago and I want to revisit it. It was healthier financially for my business to run that way.
 
In January I am starting a part time job working at a shop that my friends are opening (details soon!). I went to see their space on Saturday and they surprised me with my own MCC area in the front of the shop, right when you walk in! I am excited to approach the space differently than one I have curated before. I will have my usual painted pieces but I want to make it different too from what I am selling at my own shop, Clementine Home. Only furniture, no home d├ęcor. I might have some more found pieces, and I might dabble in selling some mid century pieces. It is a high end consignment shop, and they have some amazing dealers and furniture lines coming in. Tacoma has needed a high end consignment shop for years. It will be so fun for me to have my space, come to work and not be the owner! The owners are my dear friends. They have such a positive approach to life and business, I just love being around them. I am looking forward to putting my dealer and employee hat on, it will be a good change for me. I will fill you in with more in the next few weeks.
 
Clementine Home is doing great! Amanda and I have some amazing plans for the shop for next year , including expanding our hours a bit. The shop is growing we are enjoying the process. I am looking for another picker so if  you know what one is, and if you are one, contact me! I am very picky with age, quality, and price but if you think it is something you are interested in, let me know. I can email you more specifications on the service.
 
I have some back stock already done for Clementine and the new shop I will be working at, so I am going to take two weeks at the end of the month to work on own house. Saint is off a lot then too, so I am going to have him help me paint walls, and declutter the basement. I need to ask for help, I look at the tasks and I know they are too big for me to do myself but I am not good at not doing things on my own. Maybe that is something to look forward to in 2017, delegating more!
 
We are still up in the air with Cooper's school situation. We are now on the waiting list for a brand new school in the district that just opened. It is only six blocks from my new part time job, funny how life works out like that. So, I hope he gets in. It would be nice to have him so close to me. Camden just applied to a charter school for high school next year. AH! I can't believe she will be in high school.
 
So things are changing, not changing fast enough for me, but I need to enjoy the process more. Enjoy the holiday season. Be with my family, get my home in order, and look forward to the new year.
 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

whiskey or tea, a new job for me

My son's autism is getting worse. l should clarify it might not be worse but as a family we are moving in circles around it constantly. It is in the air with an exclamation point. When you live with a family member or two with autism, it is a roller coaster. You never know moment by moment, if it is going to be an ok day or a really hard day. Are we are going uphill or down. It is hard to prepare yourself for what the day is going to be like. There are so many factors in play from hormones, to the stress of a over crowded middle school, to diet, to it might just be a bad month for him.

Yesterday was Monday. Every time we even talked about school to my son this weekend, he was inconsolable in tears. Curled up into a ball. It is heartbreaking. On Monday I put my most positive pants on, I climbed into bed with him and told him he needed to get up in 5 minutes. If you have a spectrum child you are always counting down daily transitions so there are no surprises. Surprises cause meltdowns. This morning I drew him a bath thinking this would relax him. It didn't - it was one of those bad days. When it was time to get dressed he melted into noodle legs and tears. I had to carry my son to the car while he was inconsolable. I waiting in the car with him at school for 10 minutes before he could walk in.

Tuesday morning I had a tough shop experience. It was a lesson in what is most important to me and my family. My heart was at the school with my 11 year old, not in my business that morning. Really my heart is so much more at home right now than painting furniture. A negative experience puts my opinion of the importance of my business into perspective vs. my son.

We have gone round and round about what to do about  Cooper's schooling. Currently, we on the waiting list for a charter school to start in January. We have been such squeaky wheels, I would be surprised if he doesn't get it. We exhausted every option. We really wanted to send him to a private school but every school in the area has a $9000 a year tuition and we are barely making it now, so that was just not an option. This breaks my heart. It makes me feel bad for him and guilty as a mom I can't provide that for him. I just have to keep the faith we are on the right path and it will work out.

I am starting a wonderful part time job in January, for really good friends starting their own shop, along with my own shop and my design business. This is necessary for our family right now but it is also going to be a big transition. I am excited and taking it day by day.

If this year has taught me anything it is to look at what is important in life and shut out the noise. It is a lesson in faith and to try to find joyfulness in the day to day. Even when that day to day is a roller coaster.