I utilize a design element in a person’s home as the inspiration for a valance table topper etc. I had made several items for customers by using their wallpaper,fabric patterns on furniture to make valances. But what I didn’t see coming was one day when this lovely lady came into my shop. She rolled out this piece of wallpaper border (see bottom of photo) and said do you think you could make a valance for our bathroom to coordinate with this paper.Whoa I drew out the background and tub okay but the moose was tough. I asked my friend and fellow artist (same person) Diann. She being a amazing friend made me a moose with antlers,skinny kneecaps and all. I really think one of my favorite things about my shop is how she and I work on small projects together.I do quick sewing projects for her at times and she gives me much appreciated art lessons on shadows and color shading. Who knew that a building wasn’t actually one color …………………………………
So Monday morning comes and I start on my very first order after taking the necessary photos and getting approval form Vora .I begin to make her back yard for her daughter(S) Did I mention that she has 3 grown girls and she wanted me to do 3 of the same backyard. The house and trees are indentical BUT the gardens are all different because anyone who gardens knows that each day brings a change . I also did her front door as well. She was the very first person to refer to me as an artist so I told her she will get the deal of the century.Buy one get one free,buy one get one free and BUY ONE GET ONE FREE .For the next couple of months I worked on these SIX appliques the funny thing was people would say are you STILL working on that same picture I would say just a bit grumply I have to do three of each. Well they were finished and I moved on to other custom pieces.
Like one day I was asked -could you applique a moose in the bathtub???………………
My Mother and I flew to Chicago to visit my sister her daughter and her children from California My Mom had a wonderful weekend spending time with her great grandchildren. We were preparing to fly home Monday morning. Sunday evening as she was going upstairs she accidently fell and bruised her hip. My sister and I assured her she was okay her knees were fine ,but sadly in the middle of the night she called out to us she needed help as she was in great discomfort. She was taken to the hospital and it was determined that surgery would be necessary to repair her fractured hip.Suddenly my shop seemed so unimportant and all I wanted to do was stay and be with her and my sister.My mother insisted that I return home on Monday without her.I respected my mom’s wishes but it saddened me greatly to leave and frankly one of the hardest things I have done .I am always there for my Mom.
I had four days to basically prepare for my Grand Opening on Saturday. My omph and drive was gone. A great friend of mine said can I help you my initial response was no thank you but then I said yes you could.Kate spent the next four days - ALL day helping put my little shop into working condition.
It is truly a gift that I will never forget and probably ever be able to repay but I keep trying. My grand opening was successful, friends and family came. Our daughters even flew from washington dc to surprise me. I was so excited but also saddened that my Mom wasn’t were but her surgery was finished andwas now recuperating .
A former customer of mine spoke to me that opening day and made a request for a custom piece which indeed gave me a reason to show up Monday morning and so I did…………………………….
In August of 2006 I discovered my shop site at 940 Park Avenue Meadville,Pa.
Ed Fine had purchased this amazing site orginallyconstructed as the Park Theater,then a bank and finally he purchased 2005.He totally refurbished,repurposed and renovated it to its original state of1956 and then named and reopened in 2005 @thebank. Ed had this wonderful idea to allow individuals to rent square footage thus how my shop evolved. I came in August and immediately was drawn to the space under the steps. I quickly asked him is THAT space available? He said you want your shop under the steps ? I said yes exactly. He said but you will hit your head!
When our daughters were small girls in our laundry room there was a place under the steps that we carpeted and wallpapered it was their playroom as well as many friends. WELL I finally had my own playroom. Did you ever try to decorate under steps??!- pieces of furniture have to be narrow in graduated sizes cheap and unique. I laid out the plans on graph paper and presented them to Ed.
Over the next couple of weeks I set up the space I used old windows and doors hinged together to create walls Started bringing in ALL my suppliies and working on signs to tell people what it is I do. Sent out invitations and refered to it as “MY small cozy corner of commerce” It does look like much but it was a huge task.Name needed to be registered,papers drawn up with the lawyer,tax id forms submitted sales license required.Sign for the window and hundreds of small swatchs of fabric set up in stand. ALOT but I had every day mapped out for my opening day sept.23
I had one week to go before I opened so I agreed to accompany my Mother to Chicago to visit her great grandchildren.Something unexpected happened…………………..
As I start the beginning of my sixth year I am reminded of so many people who have supported me over the last five years.First and for most my husband and our daughters they have Always been my biggest cheerleaders and yes my greatest critics which I so appreciate. My friends who rallied around me and said You should really try this it is something you always wanted to do go for it. Ed Fine for providing the BEST shop locate anywhere.And Kathy Coches for working to continue to tell people about this amazing place called @the bank. My 5 years have taken me down several paths and met some very interesting people along the way. over a period of time I will begin to share with you wonderful stories of people who have touched my life.so sit back and travel this road with me Nancy’s Under The Steps
Welcome to my blog this is my very first attempt at doing this so please bear with me. I have a very small shop in the town of Meadville, Pa. I have had my shop for almost four years The interesting thing about my shop is the name and also the location. Nancy’s Under The Steps.
The response I usually get is both surprised and wonder. I think it reminds people of a secret hiding place they had as a child. It is my place of construction, imagination and creation. Stop back often and thank you visiting my blog.