A Year in Review: 2012

This year was a strange one. Right around this time in 2012, I was still in California after my brother’s wedding. I was dreading going back to work in a place where I didn’t feel safe. I no longer trusted myself to do my job and I’d convinced myself that no one else thought I could do it either. I was contemplating quitting and didn’t know what else I could do besides marketing, which I had begun to realize that I hated. I had started to take stock of the things that I love and was trying to find a way to reorient around those things.

Those who read this blog on a regular basis probably don’t have to think very hard to come up with what those things are, but for the uninitiated:

1) My husband. He’s the reason I realized that I never wanted another job where I’d have to work more than 40 hours per week.

2) My puggle. He’s the reason I realized that I never wanted to pay someone else to do things that I love to do myself.

3) Baking. Some people exercise or pray or play video games to stay sane. I bake.

4) Vintage. Partly a love of history, partly a love of mystery and puzzles, partly a love of beautiful things. Finding and rescuing objects that are worthy of being rescued has been a passion of mine for a long time.

5) Writing. For a while growing up, I thought I might be a writer. I gave up on that idea years ago when I got my first serious job, but no matter what I’ve done since, I have always found myself writing about it.

I did end up quitting the job. I decided to start a business baking treats for dogs. This lets me stay home with my puggle, bake lots and still have time and energy for my husband when he gets home from work. I really only just got everything up and running at full speed in August, took a break for a lot of December and January to recharge, revamp and rethink. See, when I started, I thought I’d sell at the local farmer’s market and that repeat internet business would carry me through the winter, but none of that worked out as planned. I didn’t get accepted to the market so I had to cobble together a series of other different events and the product has proved to be more of an impulse item than something people would worry about running out of so I’ve had to rethink my business plan.

Then in September, I got a cold and toward the tail-end of it, I was bored senseless, still low on energy and had a few extraneous vintage pieces laying around so I thought I’d snap a few pictures, put them on Etsy and see what happened. And a lot of those pieces sold. So I went to a few nearby thrift stores and found a few other pieces. And those pieces sold. In fact, I’ve made a tidy profit already and the start-up costs were a lot lower than the dog treat business. It’s also a lot easier, a lot more fun and it fits better in our schedule than the dog treat business because it largely leaves our weekends free.

I’ve picked up a few other assorted pass-times along the way. This blog, for one, and another that may just die a natural death. I’ve been volunteering at church in our emergency response ministry program, helping people with sudden financial, health and food security emergencies. And I’ve been helping a group called Braddock Dogs try to gain financing for a dog park near our house. Along with our Dungeons & Dragons schedule, keeping up with friends and staying active at church, it’s been a busy year. So busy, in fact, that I sometimes forgot that this new life of mine was supposed to be helping my confidence, not eroding it.

So here I am, having arrived at a position of hope for the new year. Not idle, not fretting, not really having any idea what comes next (and also sick again). But for now, that’s okay.

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0 thoughts on “A Year in Review: 2012

  1. Dear Alison, Congratulations on making a profit with something you love. From what I've read you care for your wooden pieces beautifully. I have two mid century chairs that were oil finished and then left outside. the wood is now grey. I want to rehab the wood(teak) I believe, and then stain and wax. How do I go about rehabbing the wood? I was going to start with sandpaper. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, Elaine

  2. Thanks for your comment, Elaine. This is a great idea for a series of posts and luckily, I have already tackled something similar. That said, I wish I hadn't. The chair was just in really bad shape and won't ever be the same, no matter what I do to it. Of course, if you're determined to try, here are the basic steps:

    1. Fix structural issues. If the wood is that dry, some of the joints are almost certainly weak.
    2. Strip any old finish using chemical stripper.
    3. Stain the piece with wood stain, probably using 2-3 coats. I like water-based stains, which will bring out the grain.
    4. Finish with Watco Danish Oil. This will provide better protection than just wax alone.

    That's just how I'd do it. I don't think wax provides enough protection to the wood on its own unless you're willing to apply, buff and polish for days on end and then do it again every year. I'll work up a series that details each step though using a piece I already fixed a while back. Best of luck!

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