The Knack Shop… and Online Things

Shop1 Shop2 Shop3 Shop4 Shop5 Shop6 Shop7 Shop8 Shop9 Shop10 Shop11 Shop12 Shop13 Shop14With all of my time off over Christmas, I had plenty of time to think about Knack. Things that I should do, could do, would do, want to do, and AM going to do. Phew! That’s a lot of “do’s”!

I am one of those people that absolutely relishes a new year. I love a fresh start and the opportunities a new year brings. I love making goals. {not to be confused with resolutions however} Some of my goals are ones that are definitely within reach…but then there are always, always “pie in the sky” goals as well. These lofty “pie in the sky” goals are the dreamer in me, and always the ones that challenge and excite me to no end.

One of the things that I knew I should do….{but was scared to}…..was delete my etsy shop. I have been on etsy since 2007/2008 and it was a fantastic tool for me. Etsy allowed me to get my furniture out to a huge audience, and is the very reason that my furniture resides in homes all across the country and world. Now do you understand why I was so scared? {Eep!} You may wonder what I hit my head on, or what in the world I am thinking…..but you see….I have a fully powered online shop within my own website as well. So, trying to keep up with both made for extra steps and extra work for me….and this year it is about simplifying and working even smarter not harder.

When I moved to Lois Ave about a year and a half ago, I closed my antique booth that I had run for the past 6 years. I did that because I now have the most beautiful shop and showroom space… and wanted to focus solely on this location. It was a very difficult decision, because the antique booth had been such a security blanket for me for years…and kept the bills paid for the first studio that I had. Etsy was the same thing for me…security and comfort. However, I tend to like risk…and so first the antique booth went and now my “etsy crutch” is going away too. I have paid for a beautiful website and online shop…and I need to utilize that money and time to the best of its ability!

As I was thinking about this post yesterday, sitting here at my desk in the shop, I grabbed my camera….and these photos emerged.

This is Knack.

All of these fun things are available in the online shop ….{that you may or may not have known about…but now you most certainly are aware exists!} I ship out most orders the day they are placed so that you can have your goodies in just a few days. The furniture takes a bit longer due to the carriers schedule, but normally pieces arrive within 2-3 weeks.

Take a gander…..pillows are 50% off right now….and to celebrate this new year decision, I am creating a 20% off coupon for the entire online shop. Just enter coupon code “woohoo” at checkout. Here are some easy links directly to products in the photos above: Wooden Whales|| Metal Numbers|| Spitfire Dishtowels|| Glass|| Bottle Openers|| Deer Hook|| Wire Basket|| Ladders|| Scissors|| Pointed Finger|| Totes


Barb Bair

Dots and Stars…Be a Lucia

This story, is one of my very favorites…..of all time. It’s all about the Wemmicks, little wooden people made by a wonderful carpenter named Eli. They live in a little village where all they do all day is walk around with their little boxes of golden stars and gray dots and place them on each other. If you are beautiful, talented, well dressed, and can sing pretty you get lots of stars, but if your wood is chipped, your paint is peeling, you have no talents and say silly things…. you get dots …
There is one little wooden guy named Punchinello who only gets dots, and he is so sad because he tries so hard to get stars but he only ends up just making things worse. He doesn’t even want to go out anymore because he is so covered in dots it’s embarassing ….. and the only people he is comfortable with are the other wemmicks that have lots of dots. Then he meets Lucia, and she doesn’t have any stars or dots because they won’t stick to her……he has to know how she does this………and he eventually finds out it is because she does not care what the other Wemmicks say….only what Eli, her maker, says…..and because of this, the stars and dots do not stick to her.

I love everything about this story, and find it so pertinent in our culture today. I think we could translate our Facebook “likes”, Instagram “hearts”, Twitter “retweets”, and blog “followers” into the Wemmicks dots and stars. We need to remind ourselves, and our precious children growing up in this Wemmick society, that IT DOES NOT MATTER! None of it…..period.

If you have not heard of this book, or haven’t read it…….go out now and buy it…….“you are special” by max lucado ……and read it over and over…..

 Choose to not let the dots stick or the stars matter…..

The Faces of Knack

Knack1I have been meaning to introduce you to all of these sweet girls for a while now…..and finally got all of them together for picture time this past weekend! But first…a little history of why……..

In January 2013, since my new location was set up perfectly for both a working studio and a retail shop, I decided to set up shop and pursue “regular hours”. I am at the shop working on furniture every day of the week….so I figured “why not be open while I am there working anyway?”. My studio and retail shop are located in the Village of West Greenville…. which also houses our arts district. I have friends with shops and studios located right next door, up on the corner, + down the block. West Greenville is a fantastic community of artists, creative business owners, and entrepreneurs. Our community is an up and coming shopping, event venue, music + eating destination, that over the past 6 months has gotten TONS of press and exposure….not to mention a new name and brand. Like most arts districts, some shops and studios are open by appointment only, some are open only for gallery events, and then some do have regular posted hours. Those of us who are geared more toward retail decided that we wanted to come together, in order to grow our area, increase foot traffic, and keep regular hours . So, with that said….I decided to not only have set hours during the week, but to also keep Saturday hours at the shop as well. I have always treasured the weekends with my family, and knew that the decision to keep Saturday hours would require a step of faith on my part…and a step of growth as well. In order to have the shop open on Saturdays…I would need to hire help.

I began to think about who I would like to work at the shop….and what this next step for Knack looked like. It was a scary step to fill out those W-4 forms, come up with an employee handbook, + give someone keys to open up and run the shop…….but it was also very exciting and has been very rewarding. I can’t even begin to tell you how the pieces of this puzzle fell into place so beautifully…again. It is absolutely the work of my Creator, and I am so thankful for the beautiful and sweet girls that I have the privilege to work alongside.

So, without further ado… are the special gals I am privileged to partner with every week. Angie, and Jeanne run the shop on Saturdays, and Kirsten and Sarah are the Knack “Funterns” this semester. {we don’t like the word intern around here!}

Knackangie Knackkirsten knacksarahknackjeanneKnackgirlsStop in the shop, introduce yourself, and get to know these fantastic gals who make up the Knack team!



Save the date + come paint with me!

PaintingClass1 PaintingClass2I am really excited to announce that I am partnering with Indie Craft Parade and teaching my very first hands on painting class! I have had lots of requests and questions about classes….so I am thrilled to finally be able to answer with a “YES….as a matter of fact we have one coming up!”

This class is open to locals and out of towners….so, save the date for October 19th and make plans to come play and paint with me in my studio! We WILL be painting a piece of furniture, and you will go home with your new piece + all of your new tools and supplies! All details and sign up info are available on the ICP website here.

Hope to see you !




Prize Winning Horses, Foxes + Bunnies

animalheads1 animalheads2 animalheads3My friend Mollie Greene just dropped off another collection of her amazing paper mache’ animal heads! These are one of my very favorite things….in the entire world!

There is a prize winning horse {complete with ribbon}, a couple foxes, and three little bunnies. Each head is perfectly crafted with newsprint, splashes of gold paint…and gold whiskers to boot!

These lovelies range in price from $60 -125 and are available to ship. I will not be listing these on my website. So, please email me if you are interested in purchasing one and I will be happy to assist you in your purchase!

Mini. perfect. sculptures…….indeed.



Gifted Hands

gifted1I just finished reading this book…Gifted Hands….and I highly recommend it. Ben Carson’s story is so wonderful to read, and inspired me so much. This world renowned surgeon took himself from the worst in his class, to the best in his class by sheer will power, determination, and hard work. His work ethic and life outlook are amazing, and reading his story was like a shot in the arm for me.

….you will find much inspiration and commonality here….and you might just find yourself looking at things a bit differently when you are done.


Barb Blair

This is Happening

tih5tih4tih1 tih2 tih3Several months ago, I sent out the word about an Instagram book that Chronicle Books was going to put together……A call for entries…..which seems like forever ago now.

…..Well, when I got back from the Bahamas…I had a package waiting for me. I knew it was books because of who it was from….but was so surprised to open the package and see that it was the “This is Happening” book! I knew that one of my photographs was being considered for the book, but did not know it had been chosen….

I started flipping through the book, and was so excited to see my barn picture on pg. 100. {second picture from the top, above} This little book is so sweet ! It has no words…only photos…and they are all so subtle , random, and beautiful. A perfect book for gift giving, and for sitting on your coffee table for all to enjoy. Every time I open it I find new pictures, and find myself smiling at the beauty and diversity captured in this book.

This is Happening comes out just in time for the holidays and is a great price point! You can pre order it right here on Amazon!



A little sunshine + good times + stop motion

You guys! I have been waiting {very impatiently I might add!} for over two months to be able to share this video with you all! We filmed this promo video for the book on May 4th, the day after the big launch party, and it was a very full and long day. I am so appreciative of the vision that Carlton and Julia Riffle had for the direction of the video, and truly enjoyed every minute of working together to make this video a fun and happy representation of what I am privileged to be able do every day! I smile every time I watch it, knowing what all went into the planning of it…and what was going on both behind the scenes, and in the scenes!

I hope you find yourself snapping your fingers, doing a jig, and definitely smiling by the end of it….

Good times…..



Water is wet….. and wood does not like wet things.

waterringscollageI have gotten a few questions about water marks on both painted and unpainted wood, and so I thought I would try to tackle this question the best way I know how.

I took pictures of water rings that I have around my house {above}. The unfinished table has a few rings, and the TV console in the den has a few too. I may or may not be responsible for the ones on the wood table….but my son totally owns the ones on the TV console.

I have a personal conviction about such things as water rings…….. {see how I got all poetical and rhythmical?}……I am not bothered by them really, and take the approach of “I’ll get around to waxing that table”….or “I’ll fix those rings on the console when I finish putting on the new back…….one day.” These are signs of life and living…and they happen.

BUT, I know that this can be bothersome and really should be taken care of in order to keep your beautiful furniture looking fresh and clean! So, here goes.

1. Use a coaster for goodness sake! I sell all kinds of coasters in the shop for this very reason, and I have them all over our house {ones that we apparently forget to use…but nonetheless….we’ve got some great ones!} Seriously though, try to remember to put down a coaster on both painted and non painted surfaces.

2. There are two types of water rings on non painted surfaces. Light and dark. The light stains have only penetrated the surface finish, but the dark stains have reached to the innermost parts of the wood and are a little trickier to get out! If you have light or white water rings on top of a NON painted wood surface , the best thing to try first is mineral spirits. Put a little bit on a clean soft rag and rub it into the spot. Let it sit overnight, and repeat if it seems to have helped. If the stain is still visible after using mineral spirits, then use  a paste mixture of baking soda and non gel toothpaste. Let it sit on the stain for a few hours and wipe away with an oil soap. {Murphy’s oil soap} Once the ring is gone, and the wood is dry….apply danish oil or wax to seal the surface again.

3. If you have a dark stain on non painted wood you will want to start by lightly sanding the area with a fine grit sandpaper. {150 grit} If you can remove the stain without major, heavy sanding and disturbance to the surface, do so, and then apply a furniture stain or varnish to even out the finish. {If you are talking about a fine antique here, you will want to be very careful as this can really destroy the value of a piece when executed poorly.} If your stain is so dark that it does not remove when sanded lightly…. then you will need to get a little more involved and bleach the spot. Use a brush and apply the bleach directly to the stain. When the stain has lightened,{it usually takes a few hours} use a clean rag and water to stop the chemical action of the bleach. When you have washed the area with water, apply vinegar to neutralize the wood, and let the wood dry completely. Depending on the type of wood finish you have, apply stain or wax to seal the wood and match the finish of the existing wood surface.

4. If you have a water ring on a painted surface….it is not difficult to fix….but it IS a process to fix. It is very different from non painted surfaces. I have found that you have to sand through the paint to try to remove the water mark and it will require that you seal and then re paint the surface you are working on. Make sure that your surface is nice and smooth before re painting. You will want to sand and seal the water mark with polyurethane or a stain blocking primer. When moisture is trapped in the surface of the paint or in the wood it has to be sealed before being repainted or it will seep back through the next coat of paint.

I hope this helps in answering your questions! If you have any other questions for me , please leave them in the comments section!

Thanks guys!