The Tale of the Shamrock


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Today’s featured vendor is a very special lady, a talent extraordinaire, and a wonderful person, both inside and out. Anyone would be pleased to call her “friend.” Her work never ceases to amaze me and is always inspiring.  I am so pleased to feature, Ms. Demetra Turner. Enjoy her story!

Living the Dream,


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Even though you express yourself through your art, our readers would love to know more about you.

  1. Tell us where you are from, if you are married, any children, grandchildren.

I was born in Salem, Virginia. I now reside in Waynesboro. I am divorced and I have two wonderful grown boys that live in Dallas, Texas.
I also have a special little 6 year old in my life. His name is Sean, and I’m his “Mimi” and he is my heart!


  1. What is your special dream business and how did you get started in it? What’s your “story?” When did you first know that you had a special gift?

 From the age of 3 I was interested in art. I used to draw family members on my chalkboard that my family raved about, so I quickly became “the artist in the family.” My mom was very good at sketching, although she never took it seriously, but whenever we had to wait at the bus station or in a doctor’s office she would give me a pad and pencil and we would sketch together, to keep me occupied.
At the age of five or six, I loved watching “The Jon Gnagy Show,” on our black and white TV. I watched it every time it came on. I was enthralled with the drawings he did, so that year my parents surprised me with my very own Jon Gnagy drawing set! I also loved “I Dream of Jeanie,” so I drew her a lot!

When I was in high school, my classmates would get me to draw their pets or their boyfriends or girlfriends and sometimes ask me to illustrate a story from class. I charged $5.00 each for those drawings. My first sales!

When I got married and started a family my art went on the back burner until 1989 when a friend and I were asked to hand paint some sweatshirts and canvas bags for The Belle Grae Inn’s gift shop. We divided them up and started painting, but my friend couldn’t finish hers and went to bed, so I stayed up all night long and finished all of them! I was tired, but I was driven! We delivered them on time the next day and got a nice check in return! I think that was my first realization that people might actually pay money for my art! It was a good feeling!

 2.Tell us about the variety of products you work with and what is your favorite.

 After the family drawings and high school portraits, I continued painting canvas bags and shirts, and I sold them all. But then, I discovered gourds! I bought some at a yard sale. They were moldy but I thought I would clean them up and set them around the house for decoration. After they sat on my porch for six months, I decided to paint on one and I hated it. I didn’t like the way the paint felt on it at all so I left them alone again for another six months. Eventually, I tried again and this time it was magic!

I painted everything from farm scenes to Santas and I decided to take them to my friend’s workplace. The ladies in the office went crazy over them and I sold $165 worth that day alone!

I painted gourds exclusively for a few years and then added slate into the mix. I especially liked the irregular nature of slate. It was like I could see what needed to be painted on it, from it’s shape alone.

For five years, in the mid 90’s, I hosted a Christmas Open House at my home in Middlebrook. We lived in the old Shamrock Farm home, up on a hill. I sent out 95 invitations the first year and by the 5th year the list had grown to over 500 people! People came from far and wide to enjoy the ambiance, eat the delicious food that my friend, Sheila Ishee, catered and buy my artwork!

  1. This is not a full time job for you. Do you think some day it will be? Why or why not? What is the biggest obstacle/hurdle you have to pursuing this special dream of yours?

I continued painting and did several local shows for a time and then went through some personal valleys and didn’t paint much at all for about eight years. Fast forward to several years ago, I decided to get serious about my work. I had started making jewelry and was now doing mixed media incorporating fabric and paper into my paintings. I was doing some shows again. Lynne Breeden contacted me after seeing my art on Etsy and asked me to be a vendor at The MaDee Project benefit! I said “YES!”

I eventually came on board with LTD 7.

 My mission on this earthly journey is to take this gift I’ve been given and use it to the best of my ability. My desire is that I will, one day, be able to do this full time. In my mind it already is full time, because I’m constantly thinking and creating. It never stops.

  1. Where does your inspiration come from?

I get inspiration from everything…everywhere! I can get lost for days on Pinterest!

  1. Is there a spiritual reference in your artwork?

 Many people don’t know this; I get asked frequently about the shamrock that I always put beside my name on my paintings. When all of this started with the gourds I was looking for a recognizable symbol that I could use, that would have a special meaning and would be easy to paint. I knew that the shamrock had been used in times past to explain the Trinity.  I wanted to give God the glory for blessing me, so every piece of art bears a tiny shamrock. It’s my way of recognizing His hand in all of this.

Tell us a story about the one item that a customer may have purchased or ordered that touched you in a way no other has.

There have been so many special moments with my products over the years! People come up to me all the time and tell me that they still hang my ornaments out each year or tell me a story where something I painted or created meant so much to them.

Just recently Anne Whitehouse, the manager at LTD 7.2, told me about a lady that came into the Rowe store and was looking a long time at one of my small mixed media paintings that had a quote on it. She told Anne that she had just come from burying her sister and with tears in her eyes said that quote reminded her of her sister so she bought the painting.  It’s moments like that that I’m most grateful for, knowing that the Lord is using this gift He’s given me to touch others lives. 

 8. How do you get your artwork out to various outlets? Do you have an agent, do you recommend another artist getting one and why?

 I think having an agent is certainly helpful for things like licensing but it’s not something that happens overnight and it’s not a “get rich quick” process, for sure! I think the exposure I get from having my work in LTD 7 and now, both locations of Absolutely Outer Banks in Nagshead, and Duck, North Carolina  makes me happy.


My story of getting an agent goes like this: Mainline Art and Design, saw my art on Etsy, and they wanted to be my agent! Does this happen for real? I couldn’t believe it! I always thought this was something I had to pursue! I thought it was a hoax at first.

After I came down off my cloud and four long years later, I finally got a call from an international art licensing agency about a painting I had done of three witches around a cauldron. (I make canvas prints of it and have cards available at LTD 7). They wanted to mass produce that image and I was over the moon with excitement!

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They needed it to be a certain size and for some odd reason I could not send it to them in the size they needed! My agent tried, also unsuccessfully, and I even enlisted the help of a fellow vendor and her expertise-all to no avail.  I was beside myself. To make a very long story short, it didn’t work out and I was devastated. I had waited four long years for this and then nothing!

After I recovered from licking my wounds, I gave it all to the Lord. I realized that I had put way too much emphasis on that milestone and if it was going to happen, it would, when it was time. And wouldn’t you  know…the very next week my Frosty Friends snowman painting was licensed and was put on small and large garden flags and sold nationwide through Toland Home and Garden!

I learned a big lesson in that whole fiasco, and that was to keep my focus on what I’m supposed to be doing-creating-and the Lord will take care of the rest!

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I’ve since had another painting licensed by Manual Woodworkers and that image, Colorful Costa, was put on bedding, rugs and shower curtains.

 9. What is your favorite store for supplies?

 I’m always gathering supplies from Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, Etsy and even yard sales.

  1. What advice would you like to share with dreamers like you? What piece of wisdom or lesson learned would you say pushed you the furthest in your dream?

People tell me all the time that I’m so talented and they they don’t have any talent at all. I disagree! I believe the Lord gives all of us gifts. Your gift may not be artistic, but whatever it is,  it’s still a gift that’s just for you. If you have a passion in your heart for something, just do it! Even if it’s small or seems insignificant, just take that first step and don’t ever ever give up! Taking that step may just open up a world of possibility!







Let’s see it “Once Again”

Continuing with our Featured Vendor Series this week, I’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Snell, Owner of “Once Again” and our very own LTD 7 distributor for Paint Couture products.  Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 3.27.12 PM ~ Aug-14
What I love most about Carolyn and her story is her hard working spirit, her faith and her great love of family. Take a look at how circumstances-being in the right place at the right time- played a role in her digging deeper into her passion. (Pictured below is Carolyn volunteering her time on a mission trip this year)

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Moreover, just like Mic of Mugshots Squared, last week’s featured artist, the funny thing about a passion and a dream, and the common thread, is that sometimes (most times) our passions and dreams follow us pretty much all of our lives. Conditions might not be ideal for a full time pursuit of our dream, but Carolyn is another wonderful example of the power of our passions and how the light inside us never dims, but instead compels us to be true to our heart’s passion and “live the dream.”

Let’s find out more. Below is Carolyn, in her own words. Enjoy her story!

Living the Dream,

 1. Even though you express yourself through your work, our readers would love to know more about you. Tell us where you are from, if you are married, any children, grandchildren.

I am from the Lyndhurst area. I am married and have two wonderful boys and two grandbabies, Jackson and Madelyn. My youngest son will be married next year and then I will have two more grandchildren, Chloe and Ayden.


  1. What is your special dream business and how did you get started in it? What’s your “story?”

Ever since I took a class in high school, I have enjoyed “refurbishing” furniture in one way or another. I was introduced to painting furniture when I took a class entitled “Paint Your Own Piece.” Then, about two years ago, I met Lynne when my son and his girlfriend took a class with her, using Paint Couture.


  1. This is not a full time job for you. Do you think some day it will be? Why or why not?

I hope that someday my business will be at a level where it would be my only job. I have just taken a BIG leap of faith and will be switching to part-time in my 30 year career as a licensed optician to care for my mother more and allow me more time to chase my dream make it a full time reality. 

  1. You are the distributor for Paint Couture. What makes this paint special to you? Won’t just any furniture paint do? Why or why not?

 I love Paint Couture because of the diverse finishes that can be achieved. It is a very beautiful paint that, once dry, is extremely durable. I like the fact that it is a “system of products” designed to work together to achieve the finish you desire. You can go “primitive,” “elegant,” or “shabby chic.” I also like the fact that you don’t have to strip off the previous finish. All you have to do is clean it well and then you can begin!


  1. What would you most like to get your hands on for renovation/painting?

I think right now I would love to transform an entire kitchen-cabinets and walls!

  1. What is the biggest obstacle/hurdle you have to pursuing this special dream of yours full time?

Money and Time!


  1. Where does your inspiration come from?

Paint Couture has a Distributor Page and I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from there. I also get ideas and inspiration from my favorite magazine, Southern Living.


  1. What advice would you like to share with dreamers like you? What one piece of wisdom or lesson that you learned would you say pushed you the furthest in this dream?

 I would say: Never Give Up! I am still not there yet, but I am closer than when I started. There has been so much to learn, but in two years, I feel I have come a long way.

What has pushed me the furthest is my belief that God gave me the dream and He opened the door for me when I met Lynne at LTD 7. My faith assures me that God will be alongside me to guide and direst my path. With Him, all things are possible!




Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Today I’d like to continue my thoughts on small businesses, more specifically, the fear of failure. We have all had them: epic failures. Shoot, in my family, the word “fail,” is used quite often. I absolutely hate to fail at anything, and yet, I frequently do fall short. It’s a fact of life, this failure thing, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence on the way to living our dreams.

The magnificent city of Rome and its buildings old and new were not built in a day. And neither were the successful, go-down-in-history type family endeavors which color our day-to-day lives. If a project or passion you’re working on is currently not working out, consider these stories before pulling the plug. These historical figures hit rock bottom, leaving them nowhere to go but up. Your low point may be bringing you one step closer to success.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success.

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Take a look at these five failures, in detail, as taken from Business Families Foundation.

  1. 1. R.H. Macy

The iconic department store in New York City, Macy’s, was founded by R.H. Macy at the age of 36. But prior to his success, Macy had launched and failed four different retail stores in Massachusetts.

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  1. Walt Disney The amusement parks, movies and merchandise that define the childhood of millions of people around the world were started by two brothers Walt and Roy Disney. Walt Disney, the creative force behind the company, was originally fired from his newspaper job because he lacked imagination and good ideas. He failed a series of companies, including his first animation company which went bankrupt in 1921, forcing the artist to eat dog food to survive. After more false starts, the brothers finally founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon studio in 1923.

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  1. Henry Ford

In 1899, an engineer working the nightshift at the Edison Illuminating Company quit his comfortable job to join many others who believed they could create an automobile with a gas-powered engine. Henry Ford had produced two working prototypes and was seeking capital to produce his invention at a larger scale. However, after obtaining $150,000 in investment, the production of the vehicle was still too complicated. In 1901, the company went bankrupt. Still believing in his ability, the same investors backed Henry Ford a second time, bringing in a supervisor to ensure that the invention would make it to production. But the interference did not suit the inventor and he soon left the company. If the odds were not already against him, now they definitely were. Henry Ford lost his investors’ money twice, and, some believed, permanently damaged his reputation in the industry. But Henry Ford was undeterred. To his friends and family, he explained that the investors were not willing to give him enough time to work through the kinks.

Four years after quitting his job, Henry Ford finally found the right investor, willing to give him full control over the production process. The Ford Motor Company was established in 1903 and the inventor was the first to introduce the automobile to the mass-market with the Model T. Today, Ford is a publicly listed company controlled through shares by the Ford family.

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  1. The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, are best known for flying the first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air airplane in 1903. What is less known are the years of failures and hardships which led to their success. Though raised in an intellectually encouraging environment, neither brother received a high school diploma. At the age of 18, Wilbur Wright was hit in the face with a hockey stick, causing him to lose his front teeth. In the following four years, he was thought to have suffered from depression and a heart disorder. He stayed at home in the late 1880s, caring for his mother who was dying from tuberculosis.

In 1886, tragedy hit again. The Wright’s inspiration for manned flights, German engineer, Otto Lilienthal, died in his own creation in 1886. The brothers themselves worked for three years with kites before discovering the setup which would allow for controlled, manned flight.

The Wright brothers remained committed to each other and to their craft, never marrying. In the end, Orville Wright died of a heart attack at age 77. Wilbur Wright died much earlier, from typhoid, at age 45.

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  1. Jay-Z & Beyoncé

Arguably one of the most financially successful rappers today, is Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter. In his early 20s, Carter was turned down by all the record labels in his business. He was told he was too old, not “hard” enough (he did not rap about drugs or crime). But instead of abandoning his dream, he released his own album on his own label at the age of 26. When Jay-Z was offered a weak deal from a clothing brand who was benefiting from his endorsements, he rejected it and started his own clothing line to compete with the brand. Today, Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, are worth an estimated $900 million. The couple welcomed their first baby in 2012.

How motivated are you?

Time after time, I talk to people dreaming of entering into a small business. Money and time management aside, the fear of failure is the biggest stumbling block I see when I look at the various situations of new entrepreneurs. It is ever present and while we will never erase the fear of failure, the act of failure should not be a deterrent to realizing one’s dream.

Never ever, ever give up on your dreams. Dreams are what make you—you!

Living the Dream,




We talk a lot about dreams on this blog. This weekend we honor a man most notably remembered for his dream: Mr. Martin Luther King.


I sign my posts, “Living the Dream,” and I opened the doors to a special shop with the same initials: LTD 7, my dream store. I didn’t always know this would be where and how my dream would come true. If you would have asked me ten years ago what my dream was, it would have had the same theme, but it probably wouldn’t have been specifically what it has turned into today. Dreams have a funny way of changing right before our eyes.

Used to be, I hit a whole bunch of walls on the way to my dream. Doors closed sometimes and I didn’t see the window that was opening, often for a very long time. I run by the seat of my pants and I am known to be quite sentimental and always up for a cause. There were many times in my life that my “dream” just wasn’t practical or even plausible. But that never kept me from having the dream and holding hope close.

I am here today to tell you that dreams do come true.


I was dismayed to read a headline just the other day. The article was titled: An Earthquake in Retail.” Well, that caught my eye…both of them, in fact. No one wants to think of an “earthquake” and then “retail” in the same sentence—especially me.

The article listed well-known stores that are coming to the end of their reign as top retail markets. Likely you have shopped in them, many times. While most of the stores that are being shuttered are in Canada, the trickledown theory cannot be far behind. Stores like Sears and JC Penny and Macys are ones we all think of as institutions in the retail world and they have taught me a lot.

These were iconic stores with founders who once had a dream. The original owners are perhaps deceased or have gone on to other things, but when you have a dream, it really never leaves you. So I paused for a moment to wish the successors well as they move on to other dreams.


What is it that gets you out of bed of a morning? What is your passion? What do you, personally, hope to have happen, if all your dreams came true? And I am not talking about having the bathroom to yourself, or time for one cup of coffee before running out the door in the morning. I am talking about the dream you have in your heart…you know the one—the one that really never leaves you.

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Is your dream in a faraway place? Is it something you put down on paper? Is it warm there? What are you doing when you see yourself in your dream setting? How do you look? What are you wearing? What color is the sky? What jewelry do you have on? Is someone nearby?

If you can see it, you can believe it.


Thanks to Martin Luther King for having a dream. Thanks to all of you for allowing me to live mine.

Dream until your dreams come true.

Living the Dream,