Onward to 2020!

Hi guys, and thank you for sticking with us through our creative adventures! As we roll into 2020, I once again notice how rarely I update this blog and thus all the stuff you guys never get to hear about. So, here goes:

Building Update!

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Back room, our big project! Tearing out the old rotted flat roof.

The great adventure that we moved into two years ago and purchased last year is crawling towards being a better and better building.

The first good update? It’s not raining inside anymore! Yes, we got our roof repairs done and took away Nathaniel’s serenity waterfall. It will still need a more complete roof replacement in the future, but this is a huge positive step.

There is still lots to do. Apparently the constant moisture was the only thing holding together some of the floor boards back there, so now that they aren’t constantly getting wet the wood started to crumble. So, one more thing to replace before we can really open the storefront.

But it is all fixed enough that we can occasionally open to guests… and we’ve done a lot of fixing to the front as well. We hope to soon exhibit local artists in our big front display window rooms!

Major Projects

IMG_20191208_111310-02We have had some ambitious moments this year, some bursts of wild creativity. Some have been successful, some have not. Fixing the building has delayed getting our rental inventory really built, but we have found a greater interest which helps.

Of course, one of our coolest projects this year was the Amethyst God Hammer.  Because sometimes you just want to make something absolutely awesome,

And speaking of “cool,” we had one silly little thing to combat the intense Virginia Renaissance Faire heat take off more than expected this year –fan holsters! Seriously, I could not keep these in stock for a chunk of this summer.

The building took up a lot of our time and interfered with a chunk of our productivity this year, so hopefully 2020 will mean a lot of new awesome coming out of the studio!

Shows We Did

We did a lot of our old standbys this year – Madicon, Virginia Renaissance Faire, Dragon Con – but we always try to add in a handful of new. We’re experimenting with where our new “local” is, and as a result how far south we are willing to go. We started off our 2019 season in Atlanta and ended it in Orlando! Ah, nice weather in December is delightful…

We’ve been sticking to more renaissance fairs and less comic conventions in the last year, a trend that will probably continue. We generally do well with our unique blend at small renaissance festivals. The comic convention market has been interesting over the last year or two, so we’ll be keeping an eye to see what happens.

We are expanding into more horror and haunter events. We were not able to do the haunted house again this year, but we’d still love to try again in the future. But we’re going to start off our 2020 at Hauntcon, to promote our custom services to the haunter and Halloween community! That should definitely be fun!

So, here’s to 2020 everyone – may this year be better than the last, and may we make all of the awesome things!

 

Progress! Update on our Studio Renovations

I promised updates, and what do you know – things are starting to look up on our building renovations! Mind you, it looks worse before it looks better, but we actually have work happening on our roof!

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Removing the tin tile on the last section of ceiling of the main room, revealing old construction techniques and awesome huge beams.
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A bit more tear out – bad wood removed and ready for repair.
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Back room, our big project! Tearing out the old rotted flat roof.

Yeah, it looks ugly now. But not too much longer and we’ll no longer have rain inside!

Next step… fixing water damaged floors, and then we can start building out our work stations!

Update – The Great and Terrible Studio Building

As promised, I’m following up on our 2018 in review with some more detailed posts, so here’s a “where we are” update. Our big news last year was finding a new building to move our business into. Well, it’s a year later and we’re not nearly as far along as we hoped, but progress has been made and we’re learning a lot.

First, we found some of the history of the building! We got into a storage loft that had been painted shut since the 70s to find various seasonal displays stored away. Not in the best of shape, but still a cool find and let us piece together more of the history. Our tax records put our building as dating from 1930, but we have a suspicion it was built on the bones of a previous building on the same corner. The business in 1930 was Globman’s department store, a local chain started in Martinsville, VA (about 30 minutes away) by a Russian Jewish immigrant family. By the 70s they had outgrown the Boulevard, Eden location and moved to the then new Eden Mall. By 1973 our building was a Western Auto. We found some of their holiday displays, too.

As of this fall, we officially own the building. So that’s exciting! After going back and forth for a while with our landlord to try and find ways to fund fixing our roof, we worked out buying it from him instead. So yeah, it’s ours! Wonders and problems and all.

Here’s a look at the inside – our progress, our problems, and why we still love our new old building.

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“Cynthia’s” side of the studio, where we’ve both been doing much of our work as we renovate the rest.
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Leatherworking station. More permanent furniture is still to come, but I’m loving the room.
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Sewing station.
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Front wall mostly built, to divide our showroom from our work areas. Look at that lovely tin tile ceiling!
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View into Nathaniel’s side of the back… with our room problems showing in the back of the room.
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The beginning of storage and work bays being built on the back side of the dividing wall.
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Display case salvaged from another local building we’ve been clearing out. There are 2 more of these we still have to restore. Love the rolling base Nathaniel built!
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View from the inside of our front window, out onto The Boulevard.