Friday, February 7, 2014

The Absentee Blogger Returns!

Hey folks!

Well I've been seriously negligent on my blog posts and I apologize for that.  2013 was a doozy of a year.  Our business has been growing by leaps and bounds, major thanks in part to our awesome customers and friends.

Alongside our business upswing, life keeps happening.  (Funny how that works.)  When I started the Maisondestencils blog, I lived in sleepy Astoria, Oregon with my husband and our older son.  I treasured the rain, our amazing friends and neighbors, being a Goonie for life, and the historical significance of our town.  I loved our Craftsman home, which was featured in quite a few blog posts.  It turns 100 years old in 2014. we were going to throw it a birthday party. 

In April of 2013, our older son was diagnosed with Autism.  I was due to have our second son within weeks and we were faced with a very difficult dilemma of living near no family and suddenly needing a lot of support for his future.  You may or may not be aware that children diagnosed with Autism (or ASD) now have better support than ever and are eligible for amazing services, but these services vary wildly from state to state.  Oregon, we came to find out, did not offer us the best chance for our son's future.  So we left everything behind and moved back to California, where my Mom and Dad and Laura, (my sister and Maisondestencils founder) live.

The age 2-3 year is pretty pivotal for kids on the Autism spectrum.  Graham, my older son, is now 2.5 and we're knee deep in services for him (We do about 25 hours of therapy a week).  He's doing extremely well (He just asked me for pizza at 6 AM!)  and while we don't have a crystal ball, the future looks bright.   This is a major reason why I haven't been putting out many blog posts.  They would probably read, "I answered email and took Graham to speech therapy.  Answered email and went to occupational therapy."  lol!

We'd been in our new house in Southern California for a few months when my husband said to me, "I don't think I want to move anymore.  I think we're done."  And I agreed.  We've both moved a lot in our lives and while I had dreamed that we'd always live in Astoria, moving to So Cal had a note of finality to it.  So I made a custom stencil I had always wanted to make for my family, but for some reason, always put off.  I wanted something that would highlight every place we've lived, every stop on our journey. 


I really love the way it came out.  I bought a piece of plywood at Home Depot which my husband ripped down to size.  The denim blue color is actually a few old paint colors I mixed together.  Total cost, $6! 


I also want to point out that I attempted to pick up (Bless you people who actually stage your pictures) and still missed a sippy cup!  That's Graham in the picture.  He's watching Cars right now.  :)  

Laura came over (we only live 10 minutes away now, nice perk!) and she loved the sign.  She told me I needed to list the concept as a custom on the website, so I decided to do just that.  You can check it out here

Things are finally calming down now as we unpack our last boxes, so I hope to be back in the blogosphere more.  We also have plans to launch our Youtube channel with a little more oomph in 2014, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Hope you've all been doing well.  I do keep on Facebook, so I see a lot of familiar faces there.  We truly feel blessed to have the nicest customers and it's our privilege to work with you guys.  I also want to mention that we love designing customs (obviously!) so if you ever have an idea you need help executing, email us at info@maisondestencils.com.

Take Care!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Website Wednesday: Our Latest Adventure

Hey Readers,

Wow!  We have had a whirlwind month here at Maison.  Wholesale business is jamming and our retail customers are more excited about stenciling than ever.  We are so lucky to have such enthusiastic clients. 

Just in case you're not on the mailing list and not on our Facebook feed, we thought we'd broadcast our latest news here on the blog as well.

We are proud to present our newest line of stencils, Les Enfants Stencils.  Les Enfants is our own special line of childrens' stencils.  This product is perfect for decorating nurseries or themed rooms.  We also have tons of customization options, with more on the way.  

Because I have two little kids, I am always thinking of ways I can use stencils in their rooms.  Graham, my older boy, has a woodland themed room, so he's got all kinds of deer, foxes, and the like.   Teddy, my new little one, well poor guy, his nursery isn't even done (he's only 5 months old!).  But since his name sake is both one of our most awesome presidents and the teddy bear, my plan is do an accent wall that has one of my favorite quotes by Mr. Roosevelt himself and have various bears around the room.

We're offering 20% off your first purchase at Les Enfants, now through September 8th with promo code welcome (all lowercase).  We're always looking for great ideas for kids' stencils too.  So if you've got a great concept you want made for a custom or just an idea for us to put in the store, email us at info@lesenfantsstencils.com.

We've done all kinds of awesome themed subways based on popular choices for kids' rooms.  Check them out!




 These two are from our Western category.  



The Knights of the Round Table subway is from Fantasies, the Baseball nicknames is from Sports.  Love that one!  Some of our stencils would be great for a man cave as well!

Hope you all are doing well and beating the heat.  Bring on Halloween, I am ready for fall!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Website Wednesday: Stencils to Fit any Budget!

Howdy all.

Do you ever wonder where your stencils come from?  And the circumstances surrounding their creation?  I'm sure that's all you ever think about, right? 

 You've probably imagined this amazing Maisondestencils factory run by well mannered elves on leave from creating Christmas toys.  Sadly, this is not the case.  We, (by we I mean our powerhouse staff of four) create all the stencils in-house with love and lots of coffee. 

So check this:  my oldest fell asleep in his room in the house and I have my new baby in a bouncer out in the garage (I know, mother of the year right?).  I am checking on my older boy via webcam (God bless technology) when the new baby falls asleep in the garage!   So little Theo and I are packing orders out here (I seem to be doing most of the work...) and I decided I'd take a break to tell you about another cool feature you can use at the new website.


Sometimes, you do not have a million dollars to spend on stencils.  We totally get it.  Maybe things are tight and you know that you have $25 you want to spend on a stencil, but you're really not sure what all you can get for that.  The good news is you can do exactly that on the new site.  Check it out.

Let's say you want to buy a new stencil in our Holiday category.

If you check out the bottom left, you will see a slider bar under the word Catalog.





That slider bar controls the price of the products displayed.  So you can slide it to the left to limit your results.  I slid mine to the left and set it to $24.83.  113 results, that's a whole lot of stencils you can still buy for under $25!!

That's all for now, stay tuned for more fun Feature Fridays and Website Wednesday additions.
 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Website Wednesday: Top Sellers

Howdy there stencil folk!

We're in our 2nd week of use with the new website and so far the feedback has been awesome.  We're still not done implementing changes, but I thought I would take some time a couple days per month and highlight some of the great features our new site has. 

Our entire goal with this site is to make it easier for you, the end user, to search our catalog.  We have A LOT of stencil designs (over 1000), and it is super interesting to see what draws people to our site.  As you may have surmised, "french stencil" is one of our top keywords, but every so often I see something wild and different that gets me on a whole new design track.  

An interesting thing to note is that in addition to specific keyword searches, one question we get all the time is, "What are your best sellers?"  This is a great question that our retailers and resellers often ask.  It's smart too because you guys all have great taste, so why not look at what other people are buying.  If you are in a retail environment, you want to select stencils that your customer base will like, and that can be a difficult task when looking at our catalog of 1000+ items.  (FYI, all our designs sell, anything that's not selling over time we cull from the catalog.)

So our new website has a link where you can see just that. 

Down on the bottom panel, there is a link that says "Top Sellers."  Here's a screenshot to illustrate.


 When you click that top sellers link, you are taken to a page that lists our best selling stencils, one after the other.  This list recalculates on the fly, so if we say, had a run on Union Jacks a week from now, the Union Jack stencil would move forward until it's near the front of this list.

This list is also only capturing data from the start of the new site, so it hasn't quite balanced what our perennial best sellers are.  In case you are wondering, Bee Crown Laurel 12x12 and Old World Style 1 Numbers are our two best selling stencils.  (Don't tell anyone I told you!).

I should be back next week with an awesome Feature Friday.  Until then, Au Revoir! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

12x12 Stencil Giveaway! Click for details! Exciting News! Exclamation Points Abound!

Wow!  We are excited round these here parts.

Let me tell you why!

We are launching a brand new website!  Woohoo!



Here is a sneak peek.  We want to thank the marvelous folks at Goodsie for being our training wheels for a year.  They handled some tremendous growth from us with ease.  But we have some amazing wholesale retailers and we knew we needed a better solution to handle ordering for the wholesale side of our business.

So we are very excited to announce that our new website will have user accounts!

What does that mean for you? 

  • You can save multiple addresses (We have lots of customers who have homes in both Canada and the US). 
  • You can look at your order history
  • Wholesale orders can be processed through our website 
  • You can save products for later
  • You can enter names and dates for custom stencils right on the website (I love this one!)
There are a ton more features, that's just a small snippet of the things we love about the new maisondestencils.  We hope you will too.  Our new site will be up by the end of the week.  So keep your eyes peeled for a fresh new look.

ONTO THE FREEBIES!

To celebrate this launch, we're giving away a free 12x12 stencil to 4 lucky readers. 

Check out this link to enter. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Feature Friday: Steptoe and Daughter Mirrors

I am early this week!  Don't ask me how, but I am sitting here and writing a blog post for you all.  I've been meaning to show you folks this feature for a while by the wonderful folks at Steptoe and Daughter.  Bonus, this one's from the land down under!

Stenciling on mirrors!






How great does that look?  The black pops so well against mirror background. 

And it's as simple as it seems, spray paint on a mirror tile.  Even I could pull this one off.

She mixed and match elements from two stencils, Bird with Crown (this looks like our 6x6 size) and Family and Friends 12x18.

She also did another great project with a few more steps.  Check it out.



So what she did here is take a pane of glass and spray paint it with vinegar and water. 

She then painted the entire pane with aluminum colored paint. 

FYI, paint will not adhere to vinegar. 

She then wiped the surface to remove the vinegar for aging. 

She also dabbed with turpentine (this is definitely a garage or outside project) for more aging. 

Finally, she painted our stencil with flat black spray paint.

Too cool!

Check out Steptoe and Daughter on Facebook for more amazing work.  You'll spy our stencils in other projects as well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Feature Friday: Tuckerized Chalk Paint Chairs

I can't seem to get my Feature Fridays in on time.  Probably a combination of new baby, moving,(California here we come, right back where we started from) and some very exciting behind the scenes stuff here at Maison we'll be debuting soon.

Before I begin:  We're running a sale for Memorial Day weekend.  Save 20% with promo code mem2013.  Now through Monday!  Onto the feature!

I'm taking a much needed break from the chaos to show you this transformation.  It is amazing.  I want to stop everything I'm doing and try it out right now.  I have a lot of willpower, but I am crumbling. 

I present to you:  Chalk Paint Chairs, courtesy of Dana and Brooks Tucker. 


No, they didn't just refinish the arms and legs with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  They painted the chair fabric itself. 

Their method was informed by this blogpost over at Hyphen Interiors.  The short of it is:  They misted the chairs with straight water thoroughly.  Then they took a 50% mix of Annie Sloan Paris Grey and Water and painted the fabric.






They repeated this process a total of 3 times to get a finished coat that looks like this.





Then they painted a nice feedsack stripe on both the back and seat. 





It actually looks great just like this, but they put our lovely Jonas Schroder stencil on the seatback as well.  The result is marvelous.





The also rehabbed another chair, same way, using our Family and Friends simple stencil.  This one we ran as a freebie about six months ago.  We'll be adding it for purchase soon!



These came out so, SO great!  If you want to check out the Tucker's more in depth post, please click here.  Here's a link to their main website, they do amazing faux painting work.