Last week I mentioned that I would fill you in on my whirlwind trip to Memphis. I feel like ever since that trip my brain has been going a mile a minute…. I am so inspired and ready to take life by the
balls horns antlers. I was so lucky to travel as part of the Ace Hardware blogger panel to Tennessee to visit Amy Howard’s home, and also learn directly from her about her product line. Just launched this month, Ace is carrying several of her products, and each of us bloggers will be sharing a project this month featuring it. This post I am writing is not at all sponsored or required on my part as an Ace blogger, but when I boarded that airplane to head back home Wednesday evening, I was grinning from ear to ear, and eager to share my Amy Howard experience with you.
Life has been a little stressful around these parts lately and I was worrying about even taking the time to make this trip. But I was committed to going, so Tuesday morning I kissed the kids and Chris goodbye and headed out the door, trying to not think about the work stress I was leaving behind. I was connecting in Atlanta, where I had been told Tasha (A Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body) and I would meet and board a plane to Memphis together. I had never met Tasha in person, and let me tell you, I love this girl! She’s hilarious, warm, and outgoing, and just one of those people who bleeds contagious positive energy- a joy to be around.
We arrived in Memphis and met up with the rest of the Ace blogger panel and took a bus ride over to Amy’s house. (PS- I was sooooo excited to meet my panel members in person so be sure to check them out! And I was able to reconnect with my good blogging friend, and thrift score Thursday co-host, Brynne!) I had not done my research and honestly didn’t know much about Amy or her style before arriving. All I knew was that she had a paint line and products that looked pretty cool to this furniture-painting girl. When we walked into her house, I was in immediate awe of her style. I could see her beautiful products at work in her own home, and I admired her mix of styles.
Amy was warm and inviting, and she had a pianist and a blues singer for our entrtainment while we mingled and chatted with the other bloggers, the Ace PR team, some of Amy’s staff, and the Ace designers and Ace expert, Lou Manfredini (who is pretty hysterical!).
Her living room is one of my favorite spaces- the modern chair, the chesterfield, and the art she created herself!
Her guest room used a bold chartreuse color upholstery on the walls… with piping! And those stools… I wanted to fit them into my carry-on.
Heading up the stairs, I had to snap a picture of this amazing light fixture. I mean… wow! And check out the artwork in the foyer. Amy’s home is filled with original art pieces, most of it from local artists. Brynne and I both fell in love with this magical woodsy painting.The bedrooms upstairs were stunning- I had wondered how they would top the guest room downstairs, but they did!
Amy created this space for her granddaughters, and I felt pretty certain in that moment that I would have loved to have been her granddaughter…. what a fun, energetic, and fancy grandmother she must be!
At the end of the evening we were bussed back to our hotel where Ace had graciously provided us each with our own rooms. I was so grateful for that as I had a bit of a headache (and no, I did not have any wine!) and just wanted to crash in bed.
Wednesday morning we headed out early to Amy’s studio. When we first walked in, we were greeted with coffee and gorgeous vignettes, showing off what her products can do.
In this vignette, the chair was painted with her lacquer paint (and I believe the lamp was as well), the dresser was painted with her one step paint, and the mirror was hand made and finished using her products.
Once we were settled in, it was time to go straight to work in the studio.
Photo from Ace hardware’s instagram
Over the course of the next several hours, Amy spoke and taught us several techniques using her products. She shared so many stories from her travels and hunts and from her life, and it became clear to me that she was an extremely intelligent and passionate woman. I admired that she and her husband were in this business together and loved listening to the stories she told about their flea market experiences. Listening to Amy speak was a highlight of the entire trip for me. To teach us each product, she would pull us all in close and demonstrate, and then we would go back to our tables to try it out.
The product that I was most enamored with is the Cracked Patina… I can’t wait to put this one to work later this month! When I was trying it out, Amy was walking around the room and I could feel her looking at my board. I had that moment of panic, like when I was back in school and the teacher was reading over my shoulder and I was sure they were going to tear apart my writing. Amy looked at my board and told me she had watched me doing it and that I had “an eye for composition.” I felt like a million dollars!
I borrowed this image from Brynne to show you the cracked patina since I forgot to take a picture of my own. Doesn’t it look authentically aged?
At the end of the day when we were packing up and getting ready to head back to our homes, Amy gathered us all around and told us her story of how she got to be where she is…. how she came to discover what her calling in life was and how she began carrying it out. I was fascinated, and by the end of her story, I was in tears with her.
She sent us each home with a signed copy of her book, A Maker’s Guide, which is a book written for creative entrepreneurs, and it contains questions and challenges to help you dig deep and discover your own purpose. She also gave us each a beautiful journal and pencils from Karen Adams Designs, which I thought was a sweet touch.
I started reading her book this weekend, writing my answers and completing the challenges along with it. My brain has been on overdrive since returning, energized and fresh with ideas! I have so many thoughts and I can’t wait to implement them in my own life and at work at Sweet Clover. I can’t wait to work to redirect my sails and make my life exactly what I want it to be. At a time when I was feeling stressed and a bit down, this getaway made a huge impact on me. I knew I would learn about the products, but what I didn’t see coming was the inspiration I would gather from Amy, and the amazing feeling I would have being a part of Ace’s team.
I am so grateful to Ace and Amy Howard for this experience and I am excited to see what the future holds for me and my passions. Right now Ace has a sweepstakes going on so that you and a friend can win a trip to Memphis to take Amy’s workshop, as well as a $500 Ace gift card so that you can stock up on her products! You can click here to enter. (As I mentioned, this is not sponsored- I just feel so inspired and wanted to share!).
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