The cobbler’s child has no shoes

Shoes, rocks, and websites

The expression “the cobbler’s child has no shoes” has been haunting me as Tony and I struggled to redesign our website. While our website had been designed to grow with the business, it was showing its age, and the content was embarrassingly out of date.

The majority of our time is spent on projects for customers, and it was very difficult to carve out enough time to focus on an internal project. We’d take the time to get started, make a little progress, and then have to stop to work on something else. Each time we’d talk about the website, it felt like we were starting all over again. It was like rolling a heavy rock up a hill and having it roll back down because you stopped before you reached the top.

What changed? It’s going to sound counterintuitive, but taking a summer road trip was a big part of the solution. The week of July 4th, we drove to WI to visit family. With the holiday in the middle of the week, work was pretty quiet as everyone took time off to celebrate. Tony worked hard to get the structure of the website completed before our trip. While the uncles and cousins played games, I worked on content for a section of the site each evening. We’d visit and have adventures during the day, and I’d only work at night. The site was 90% done by the end of our working vacation.

With the crest of the hill in sight, we were determined to finish. We had saved the portfolio and a new case study section for last. It’s with great relief I can now say, the new and improved www.k-artanddesign.com is launched!

Not only have I learned more WordPress through the process, I have a new understanding for the importance of setting aside enough time to make real progress on a project…and a change of scenery is good for the brain too!


Summer Fun

Kaleidoscope Art Camp at Lenn Park

I hope you’re having a fun summer so far! Mine kicked off with Kaleidoscope Art Camp at Lenn Park, a program I coordinate for Culpeper County Parks & Recreation Department. It’s become a summer tradition for my whole family. Tony and I have taught at camp, and Cole and Joy have been campers and volunteers.

I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve had campers age out of the program and return as volunteers, and we’ve had a volunteer leave for college and return as a teacher for the past 2 years. This year we had our first junior volunteer, Beckett, who aged out of the morning program and came back to help in the morning and then attend as a camper in the afternoon. Beckett did a great job, and it makes my job easier to have volunteers who are past campers because they really understand what the program is all about. I’m so grateful to everyone who pitches in to make Kaleidoscope such a fun week for the campers, volunteers, and teachers.

We are offering 3 Art Jam programs this summer. Our Summer Sketchbooks has already begun, and we’ve made sketchbooks together and experimented with bleeding tissue paper and liquid watercolor. Next month, we’ll have a Zentangle workshop for kids and one for adults. This is a great opportunity to come and make something fun and beautiful. In August, Making Marks returns on a new day, and there are just a few spots left.

What is storytelling?

Join us for Culpeper Tells!
Saturday, March 10

I first heard about storytelling 5 years ago when K Art got involved with helping the library with their inaugural festival. I wasn’t sure what it was all about, but the Culpeper County Library is such a valuable part of the community, that Tony and I didn’t hesitate to help.

I quickly learned that I knew more about storytelling than I had realized. It’s something my older relatives had passed on to me while they taught me to play cards. It’s as much a family tradition as our cherished recipes, and it’s a bridge between generations. My relatives shared family stories, some true, or in the case of my Uncle Red, mostly doubtful. Lots of the stories were funny, definitely memorable, and some were family lore that you had to be old enough to hear, and maybe even older to completely understand.

I’ve been a chairperson for Culpeper Tells for 3 years now, and one of the biggest challenges is marketing the festival to people who haven’t been to a storytelling performance before. Professional storytellers like the ones we have been so fortunate to bring to town are true artists of the craft and talented entertainers. They tell stories so vivid you are right in that story with them. Many of our tellers are also gifted musicians, weaving original songs into their performances. It’s difficult to describe all that a storytelling festival can be in a marketing blurb.

On the flip side, the feedback from newcomers to the festival has been overwhelmingly positive. Each year we gain new storytelling fans, if we can just get them in the door!

And so, I invite you to give Culpeper Tells a try. We have 2 sessions this Saturday at Culpeper Baptist Church. The afternoon starts at 1:00 and the evening performance is at 7:30. The afternoon includes 2 storytelling performances by Charlotte Blake Alston and Josh Goforth, an interactive workshop by Ed Stivender that is geared towards beginners, and a story slam for those brave enough to throw their name in the hat. The evening performance features our 3 professional storytellers doing what they do best.

Advance tickets are $25-$45. $30-$55 at the door. Kids 12 and younger are free. All proceeds benefit Culpeper County Library.

Happy Birthday to Us!

16 years of creativity and community

Happy New Year! I am a sucker for that fresh start optimism that comes around every January. Sixteen years ago that new year feeling was part of the launch of K Art and Design, and since I’m fortunate to be celebrating another anniversary, I’m renewed by that positive outlook.

If there’s one thing that’s been constant throughout this entrepreneurial journey, it’s change. When I think back to when I began, I had this hope that eventually business would be predictable and therefore easier. What I’ve learned is that while work is impossible to predict, I can adapt. Resiliency is key!

I see many similarities between parenthood and being a small business owner. Both can just about consume all of your time in the early years, and they require a lot of quick thinking, creativity, learning on the job, and sleep deprivation. As soon as you think you have a schedule or see a pattern, everything changes again. Every stage has its celebrations, successes, and challenges.

It’s never easy, but I feel strongly that parenthood and entrepreneurhood (is that a word?) are incredibly rewarding experiences because it really is up to you to nurture these pursuits and help them to grow into something more than you had dared to dream.

Thank you sincerely for being a part of this journey with Tony and I. We look forward to continuing to grow together in 2018. If you need our help with a project or just some advice, we’re always just a phone call or email away.

25 Snowflakes of Christmas

During a winter with far more snow days than we’ve had in a while, I entertained the kids by making paper snowflakes. Tony began to cut pop culture icons into his intricate designs, and a new tradition was born–the 25 Snowflakes of Christmas.

This is the fourth year of snowflakes, and the collection has grown in complexity and variety–thanks to special requests. There have been daily posts on FacebookTwitter, and K Art’s new dedicated Instagram account.

Last year Tony added a time lapse video, and he’s filmed a new one for you this year. It’s funny how many people have told us that they thought we had some fancy die cutting equipment for making the snowflakes. Nope! Just an Exacto knife with a fresh blade!

As a gift to you, we’ve collected the 2016 edition into a free poster. Click here to download.

Thank you sincerely for your business and continued support. We look forward to tackling more projects together in 2018.

From our families to yours, we wish you a very merry holiday and health and happiness in the new year!

~Kelly, Tony, Cole & Joy

Thank you from our family to yours!


Sincere thanks from our family to yours! Thank you for your support of our small family business. This year K Art & Design is celebrating 15 years of creativity and commerce, and we couldn’t have reached this milestone without you.

This Thanksgiving, we hope you share the table with those dearest to you. Enjoy the well-earned break!

~Kelly, Tony, Cole & Joy