A dog named Toki

As mentioned in the last post, recently our old lady “puppy” Toki Momoko passed away. While she was quite young and spry in her old age as my daughter Jina always said, time did get the best of her. In her last days, she lost the use of her back legs and I carried her around so she could be with me. She was determined to follow me everywhere despite those darn legs not cooperating.

Toki Momoko - always by my side in the garden.

Toki Momoko - always by my side in the garden.

We adopted her from the Seattle Animal Shelter in 2006. She was just about 3 months old and a super mutt, a German Shepard, Lab, Rottweiler mix. She was the runt of her litter and the only girl. I fell in love immediately. She basically became my fifth kid from the moment I brought her home. In many ways she helped me raise my kids and tolerated a lot from them as family pets do.

Toki was a great comfort in difficult times for my family and myself. Every morning was like Christmas for her as she greeted me at the top of the stairs (I managed to avoid breaking a leg as she would whip around my feet in excitement going down the stairs). Every snowfall we had in the winter, she would pace by the door begging to go out and run like a mad woman in it. She audibly grunted whenever she laid down and would be hard to move when she was comfy. She barked at everything and was very particular about her daily schedule. The girl had quite the personality.

Thea & Toki in the snow in Woodinville, WA.

Thea & Toki in the snow in Woodinville, WA.

Every day has been surreal in her absence. I am constantly apologizing for having emotional moments when I miss her. My heart is broken and full all at once even a month and a half after. During the day, while sitting here at my desk, on the couch near me Baberham looks so sad and leaves Toki’s spot open. I loved her so and I’m so thankful for everything she gave me. I feel proud for giving her the best life. She was so loved. I’ve really appreciated all the stories of other’s beloved pets and kind words that everyone has shared with me.

Toki Momoko Starr - 7/11/06 - 8/16/18

Forever guarding me wherever I went. Thank you for that and everything you gave us sweet girl.

Forever guarding me wherever I went. Thank you for that and everything you gave us sweet girl.

Local Roots @Molbak's In Woodinville This Saturday

I’ve been quiet here for a bit. If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you might have seen my posts about our elderly dog Toki being sick and then passing away on August 16th. I’ve tried to write a couple posts about it, but end up in a hot mess of tears. I’ll keep trying because she was great and was a huge part of my life as my sidekick. We received so many kind words and sympathy messages from many of you on IG. It was truly wonderful and a very kind human thing to do. A wholehearted thank you from me to you.

Local Roots - Molbak's Woodinville Washington

While it has been rough on my heart, we are chugging along with holiday preparation. We’ve got a couple new stockists that we’re excited to share about very soon. We’re also diving right into holiday shows starting this weekend, right here in our home town at Molbak’s.

We’re vending at their Local Roots event. There’s all sorts of additional fun things going on at Molbak’s at the same time. A glass pumpkin patch, a donut vendor, a crepe vendor and live music. Molbak’s is fun to walk through to get inspiration for home or garden decor anyways, but Saturday they’re turning it up a notch. Not gonna lie, I’m probably going to go home with a new plant and a belly full of donuts. I am working on my winter bod.

If you’re out and about near the Eastside of Seattle this weekend come say Hi and tell me some pet stories.

Lasers and love - Thea

We love what we do, we love who we are.

We're DOBIS PR! Just kidding, we're 6 by 6 Arts! Seems odd to do an introduction in the first week of August after 4 years of being in business. However, with the new stuff that we're getting our hands into, I thought it would be a good idea to give you guys a fresh introduction.

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He: John - from Hillsboro, OR. Homeschooled, previously worked in the memorial industry with lasers on headstones. Likes, all thing Nintendo, NIN, enjoying craft beers and Pokemon Go.

Me: Thea - I'm from Oak Harbor, WA. Navy brat/automotive shop rat in my youth. I previously worked in the finance industry, founded a roller derby league and I've been a maker since 2003. I like hoarding fabrics, organic gardening and cooking. 

Today, we're residents of Woodinville, WA.

What's up the name 6 by 6 Arts? 

6 by 6 Arts

We did consider the play on 6 x 6 in reference to lumber but we decided to go with more of a personal reference. John is the eldest of 6 kids and I'm the youngest of 6 kids AND together we have a blended family of 6 children. I have two boys and two girls and John has two girls. They are all grown. The youngest is 15 and NO we are not having any more human children. Furry babies - definitely.  We currently have two dogs; our senior puppy Toki (mutt) and our young lass President Baberham Lincoln (borador). 

That's just the basic info about us personally. I'll have more posts about out work and process coming up.

I hope everyone has an awesome weekend. In our area it's Seafair weekend, a long standing Seattle tradition. We're personally loving the cooler weather right now.

Lasers and love - Thea 

Leeloo The Laser

We named our laser Leeloo and that sweetie has been working her buns off these past few days. 

We recently replaced her tube and she’s been working like a brand new machine. Not that we’ve had any problems with her at all. But we noticed her cutting wasn’t what we were used to. To this day, I am absolutely fascinated by the incredible detail that Leeloo can produce.

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We share time-lapse videos on our Instagram if you’re interested in seeing her in action. One of these days I'll upload them to YouTube, I promise!

Hi. 

Hi. 

A maker's life can be a little quiet sometimes. John and I have each other to keep each other company as we work through out the days. Not that it is quiet by any means. Leeloo does make some noise. 

Leeloo is an Epilog Laser made in Colorado.

Leeloo is an Epilog Laser made in Colorado.

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We've been busy cutting and assembling our newest plant stands for a new stockist in Wisconsin. Tons of laser time and by hand assembling goes into each one. The picture above is of John oiling the wood before we assemble them.

Leeloo has the easy job here at headquarters. Lucky girl.

Lasers and love - Thea

Back at it!

Hello! We haven't posted much aside from Instagram posts online because we became so busy in December. We basically woke up worked 18-20 hour days and repeated that cycle up until the Saturday before Christmas. We had our busiest online sales year to date. I believe we owe a lot of thanks to The Seattle Times Gift Guide feature that happened right before prime holiday shopping. Thank you again so much for your support. We're truly a mom and pop shop and depend on local support and word of mouth recommendations. 

2017 was a 50/50 year for us. Overall, much like many fellow makers, sales were slower than 2016. We scaled things back with in person shows. We did have a couple poor preforming shows, but that happens. On the flip side we did have the most profitable show to date too. A total 50/50 split. While it could've been better, it could have been worse too.

I'm a firm believer of the mantra "Keep moving forward". (Anyone familiar with Meet The Robinsons?) So that is what we are doing. New products are on the horizon (new coasters pictured below, just became available today.) I am taking my time to craft things and not letting "the rush" get to me. I know when I take my time, I love my designs more. And I like to like what I do and make. Doing this also allows me to focus on some important relationships. Not just John and I, but long time friends who are like family. Everyday is a gift and I want to fill my days with the people who are important to me. I had some self reflection moments over the past few weeks. This year I will be the age that my dad was when I was born. I always thought that was "SO old". But being almost that age myself, I feel so young still! My dad's health started to diminish when I was a young kid, which isn't too far off from where I am now and I have close friends battling the big "C" battle. Reflecting on that, it changes my mindset a bit and I really place value on my own health and my time and relationships with others. (Again, recommending Candy Chang's Ted Talk here.) I've actually been considering starting a vlog just to document meet ups with friends, to selfishly archive our time together. When you're friends with the same people for 35-25 years, we collectively turn into 15 year olds anywhere we are and its hilarious. Nothing makes me laugh harder than those times.

Coasters - Into The Trees

Even though a lot of the world seems unsavory at the moment, I have hope that many good days are in store for this year. So Happy New Year to you and may good days be on their way. For my friends who keep up with me here, I love you and you make me smile. 

Lasers and love - Thea 

We're back! Sort of.

We're still recovering from our wedding, all the things that surrounded the wedding and also a big show immediately after that in Chicago. Hello! To all our new friends that are finding us from that Chicago show! I'll have a separate post about that show and the incredible things we saw in Chicago later on this month. 

One thing to note, is that we currently have our Etsy shop on vacation mode for the rest of the week. I am revamping some old photos and adding some new products to all of our shops. 

Now on to some wedding pictures! I'll have more detailed DIY wedding posts over on my personal blog, which is more suited for wedding things. Quite honestly, I am still in complete shock that we pulled it all off. We had a rollercoaster of a ride making that event happen. We did everything ourselves with help from friends and family. Our wedding story includes a tree falling down onto a house, thousands of lumpia and a boat filled with beer. 

John and Thea on their wedding day. Appropriately taken by the friend who introduced them. September 3, 2016

We did things our way. We even made use of that downed tree and created a display at our ceremony site. Our ceremony included jokes, NIN, Richard Dawkins and Parks and Rec references and were announced "carbon based lifeform to carbon based lifeform". Everything was very us. 

6 by 6 Arts family. (5 out of our 6 kids)

Our wedding was very much handmade. It was also an intimate wedding under 70 people. We made our own food, bought our own tents, thrifted our decor, I made my wedding bouquet and boutonnière, John's best friend married us, my mother in law was our photographer, my nieces made the most beautiful wedding cake for us and our kids gave us way to each other and were our wedding party. It was so much fun. We felt so loved and honored to celebrate with ones we hold so close. 

Our wedding favors. 

We gave out some very unique wedding programs and favors of course! 

Photo by M&K Daoang.

Thank you all who have emailed/messaged us congratulations. It has been really awesome to receive those. 

One last photo, you'd think as laser cutters we'd have a laser cut cake topper. We did on a gluten free cake for our friends and family who are gluten free. But the very first thing I bought when we became engaged was this cake topper, so we had to use it. :) 

Lasers and love - Thea

Our cake topper. 

Taking a Break and Getting Hitched!

For the next two and a half weeks our shops will be semi closed.

We will be slow to respond to emails and calls. Standing orders will still be processed as scheduled. Retail orders will be processed as they come in. But custom orders will be on hold until we resume regular hours on September 14th, 2016.

We're getting married and we will be spending time with friends and family.

I have a couple scheduled posts that will be shared this week. I did put a small halt to our "At Home with 6 by 6" posts, because I decided to repaint a room in the midst of all the other craziness going on here. Because I'm nuts. 

Lasers and love -

John and Thea 

A year (plus) restoring a mid-century modern chair.

First, let me state that we're not particularly into the mid century century modern style. I know there are many devotees to that style and feverishly collect pieces from that era. John and I just purchase stuff we like. Nothing matches and I indulge my love for a lot of color. I've also been known to paint unusual murals on the wall.

In December 2014 we were introduced to our local Buy Nothing Group. A friend told me about the great stuff they were getting through the group. I immediately loved the idea. It reminded me a bit of the military family support groups that I grew up around - trading, giving to someone who can use it. My children are big and I have so many little kid things that I needed to pass on. Or just random household items that were useful still, just not to me.  The very first thing I put my name in for in the group, I got. They were a set of chairs that needed some TLC. 

Nacho cheese chairs.

Nacho cheese yellow, unholstered and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to restore them but I was going to try. I had purchased a chair that I really liked from a thrift store and these weren't exactly the same but in similar style. I was hopefully that beautiful walnut wood was underneath that thick nacho cheese yellow paint. 

The inspiration chair!

I wasn't able to immediately jump into restoring these chairs. It wouldn't be until the summer of 2015 until I tried stripping the paint off of them.  I did use a paint stripper. The safest one I could find. It worked pretty well considering just how insanely thick the paint and primer was on those poor chairs. 

I was completely ecstatic when I saw the wood that was beneath of that! This was a "me" project but I did recruit my eldest son to help with getting all of the paint off both of the chairs. It was a lot of work.

Removing the old varnish.

I took a long break from working on these. We got busy with work and family stuff. You know how it goes. Once I picked it back up, it was a lot of sanding. Near the end of the completing one of the chairs John came in to help me out. 

PRETTY!!!!

We got it!

Since the inception of 6 by 6, I've gained a whole new appreciate for wood in general. It's natural grain, color and overall beauty. I really wanted to choose a stain that really showed off how awesome the walnut is. So I went with a natural dark walnut and gave it a good rub down of oil to seal it all up and protect it. Oooh la la! 

I posted this on our Instagram late at night because I was so excited to finish one!

I've only finished one. The other still needs to have the final sanding to smooth out the wood to be ready for stain. I chose a dark brown and black pinstripe print upholstery fabric for the cushion. The cushion type is a staple to the bottom rather than sewing a full piece.   

Complete! Now it's not only my desk chair but a photoshoot prop. 

It was a lot of work but I really love how it turned out. 

Lasers and love - Thea

This, that and things.

I haven’t posted much, mostly because I don’t have much to post about. I *know* as a business owner I need to post a bit more, but I have a hard time posting about disingenuous stuff/fluff. If you're going to read our blog, I hope to make it worth your while. 

Admittedly, I’ve been a bit slow going in other aspects, with exception of our orders. My eldest son moved away for college. He and my eldest daughter live in the same town now. That’s comforting, but the house is a little bit emptier. It works out for saving arguments for bathroom time in the morning, but being used to a large noisy group, our clan just got a little more quieter. We're adjusting to it slowly but surely. It has been awhile since we had this experience. 

I’ve personally been busy working on new designs (still) and revising our 2016 look book (still). John has been doing the stuff he normally does; tells me how a design won’t work and proceeds to find a way to make it work. He’s wonderful like that. He’s also been refining our trade show display for the Seattle Gift Show later this month, which is also a big project for us both. He makes it functional and I make it pretty. (We try at least.) It is a fun challenge though.

A small ornament version of our Forever Heart.

Well, as you can see in the photo above behind the new small ornament version of our Forever Heart, I have a brand new sketch book waiting for me to fill up! With David Bowie music filling the air around us, its hard not to be inspired to create.

One last thing, USPS rates will go up over the weekend and we will be adjusting shipping rates accordingly. Consider grabbing some stuff now while shipping is a bit cheaper.

Lasers and love -Thea 

2016 The Year of Love and Humor

Happy New Year dear friends! We took some time off at the end of 2015 spending it with family and friends. The holidays were kind to us and I hope they were to you as well. We even got to see a bit of snow. 

Old lady Toki enjoying a bit of snow 1/3/16

As we're easing on into 2016, we'll be updating our shop with new products and a few updates on some current favorites. 2016 is looking to be a big year for us. We hope to attend/vend at a few choice craft shows locally and nationally. We'll be introducing a big handful of new product lines, while continuing to offer custom services. We're coining 2016 The Year of Love and Humor - mostly because we are getting married this year. Also, as I mentioned previously, love and humor never goes out of style. We enjoy things with staying power and hope that our products have what it takes to earn that title. We're also completely ridiculous people and enjoy making ourselves laugh at what we do.

We're hoping you'll stick around and follow us along in our journey this year.

Lasers and love -Thea  

 

Thank you 2015!

We've been taking a few days for family time. Out of town visits and moving our eldest boy out as he begins his college adventure. Hopefully you all have been able to squeeze some good times out of the last few weeks of the year.

2015 has been an incredible first full year in business! (We've only been in business for 16 months!) We've learned a lot over the past 12 months. Discovered what products of ours are loved and which ones need some work. We have three big craft shows and one trade show under our belts. We're hoping that there will be many more in 2016. Lastly, we've discovered endless possibilities with our custom manufacturing services. An aspect of our business that wasn't much of a consideration in our original business plan. It has turned out to be our favorite thing to do! Constant fresh ideas coming from an array of companies and individuals.

John, our kids and I, all want to say a big thank you to everyone who generally supported us this past year. We truly win in the friends, family and business friends/customers department. Thank you so much! 

We already have many exciting things up our sleeves for 2016! It's definitely going to be a great and big year for us. I hope you'll keep following us along with our adventure.

Lasers, love and gratitude - John & Thea 

Follow us on YouTube

We're asked a lot of questions about our name, process, how does laser cutting work, what can we cut, what's our favorite beers, do we really have 6 kids, the list goes on. So we thought it would be great to create an outlet to answer those questions. Rather than cutting and pasting responses we thought it would be good to actually see us answer them. 

Follow our YouTube channel to see all of our videos.

Lasers and love - John and Thea

Time Has Been Flying By

Well, I've dozed off on blogging again. We've been blessed with busy and fun filled days as of late. Let's back up back to Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. 

6 by 6 Arts takes on Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco Summer 2015

IT. WAS. AWESOME. 

6 by 6 Arts takes on Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco Summer 2015

Thanks so much to all who came out and visited us! We had such a great time and hope to return to San Francisco for future shows. 

After we made it home we immediately fulfilled some standing wholesale orders. One of which is with a super cute little shop in North Bend, WA called Selah Gifts. Just a block away from Twede's Cafe. Also known as the "Double R Diner".

We also squeezed in a few family days since the kids are still on summer break and we managed to coordinate schedules with John's family and our six kids for a little family trip. 

Today we are preparing for a trade show this weekend as well as working on some custom items that I can't wait to share! More soon!

Lasers and love, Thea

Signs of Home

Last week was my 20 year high school reunion (fun fact: I'm older than John). While I was unable to attend the actual reunion but we did need to do some errands on the island. Even though I've been a mainlander for some time now, I still get a longing to see the sights and hear the sounds of home. 

Old drive in sign with two remaining marquee letters hanging on. 

The Shrimp Shack - on the roadside of the North Cascades Highway on Fidalgo Island never disappoints. That's a 1/2lb of fresh calamari in that basket. 

North Cascades Highway leads to my hometown.

Lots of inspiration comes from just being in that area. I've been been much of a city girl so the slightly slower pace suits me.  

Since our company's inception, we've created quite a few prototypes with elements of inspiration from my home. One of the most striking things in my hometown is the Deception Pass Bridge. Which is currently getting resurfaced, my condolences to those who need to drive off the island in the evenings. 

The best view of the bridge is from below it in a boat. I won't bother posting a picture of it since there are so many better ones online compared to the ones I have here on my hard drive. 

The bridge's design is angular and impressive. A prototype that we are continuing to develop is a shelf/stand kit using the bridge's structural design as the inspiration. 

Deception Pass Bridge - Laser Cut Shelf Kit Prototype

I've been using one of the small prototype as a candle/jewelry/phone holder.

We're fine tuning the designs but will have some kits in time for the holidays. 

I did stop by my old high school since I was there. (Don't worry I keep up with many life long friends on a regular basis. Some friends I've had since I was 5 years old.) I was a bad kid in high school and like the other bad kids, I smoked across the street from the school. I figured that would be a good place to have my picture taken for reunion's sake. Also, I quit smoking years ago. 

Lasers and love - Thea