Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Crafty Lifestyle: Chalkboards

You may have noticed that many artists, crafters and designers love the delightfully low-tech chalkboard. Practical, photogenic and fun, these tools manage to somehow be modern and completely retro, simultaneously.

To-do lists, inspiration, sketches, notes, bucket lists – it’s all right in front of you!

The first time we used chalkboard paint was in 2005 in the back room at Lush – the soap shop has a minimalist, organic aesthetic to begin with, and all the signage looks like white chalk on black boards. We bought a small can at a local shop and painted the cabinets in the staff room, so we could share messages, staff notes and rota requests. It was perfect.

Kathleen Shannon's office wall

There are many ways of going about this project – you can apply a few coats of magnetic paint under the chalkboard paint, to increase the functionality of the wall. This also dramatically expands your options for decorating, especially when you add magnetic clips to the mix. However, it is vital to follow directions and finish the wall treatment as directed.

JD McCoy has found her chalkboard wall to be useful for product photography.

In our home, we hired a local artist to paint a mural in our kitchen, for menu planning and grocery list-making. Oklahoma City painter Jennifer Barron worked with us to create sketches from our descriptions of what we wanted – a Mexican look, with handpainted tiles and punched tin. And a peacock, and a basket of blueberries, and some beets. Pretty specific, but it works for our family. She even painted our specific favorite flowers on the tiles.

The first year of this mural’s presence in our kitchen, it remained unused, for fear of creating a dusty mess. But a couple weeks ago Erin Cooper told us about chalk pens – clouds parting, angels singing, hallelujah! These things are genius, especially for homes where you’re not particularly interested in hearing that screeching squeak of traditional chalk writing, or cleaning up piles of chalk dust from the floor.

We tried chalk pens on the pantry door, where we make weekly menus and brainstorm meal plans. Perfect! Now there’s no excuse for being out of dinner ideas.

It looks like the text will stay bright for as long as we want it to, and will wipe off cleanly with water. They’ll also be great for our main board, which is painted on a wall with a bit of texture.

The example photos found in this post are all from homes and studios in Oklahoma City.

When you discover the variety of colors of chalkboard paint available, it might become irresistible and you, too, will dream of painting a door or wall in your home.

Have you used chalkboard paint in your home or studio? Please comment and let us know how it works for you.

Farewell, Stitchalong!

The Okie Stitchalong pieces are ready to return to their creators. The pieces were all displayed at the Oklahoma State Fair and the Downtown OKC library.

There is talk of adding a new category to the state fair’s creative arts entries this year… keep your eyes peeled for another opportunity to stitch on a theme!

This is taxing: Third in a series

First things first: we are not tax accountants, we are experienced crafters and event planners. What works for us will probably work for you but you MUST discuss your unique situation with the state tax commission.

Now you’ve got your permit and you are ready to file your sales tax report. Here’s what the tax commission expects you to know:

When and how do I report and pay sales tax?
For most sales tax permit holders, the sales tax from sales made within the state from the first through the last day of the month must be remitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission on or before the twentieth day of the month following the month in which the sale was made.

Oklahoma sales tax law authorizes semi-annual filing when the tax remitted by the vendor does not exceed $50 per month. Semi-annual sales tax reports are due by July 20th (for the period covering January through June) and January 20th (for the period covering July through December).

Sales tax permit holders whose returns average $2500 or more per month (measured by the previous fiscal year) must participate in the Tax Commission electronic data interchange program.

It’s really important to keep track of your sales. When you file, you will want to know your total sales for the month. You will also want to know where you made the sale, if it was a service fee or other legal exemption.
You can file your taxes in person at the tax commission but I highly recommend using the QuickTax filing site. Either way, you will want to have some information handy when filing. Here is what you’ll need:

Tax Permit number
PIN number
Bank account & routing number
Total Sales for the month
Total exemptions (schedule N)

VERY IMPORTANT: Keep your payment confirmation number in a safe place. You will need it to prove you paid if there is ever a dispute.

Consider taking a free workshop with the tax commission:

As always, for specific questions and the most accurate information, please contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

– JD McCoy

This is taxing – second in a series

First things first: we are not tax accountants, we are experienced crafters and event planners. What works for us will probably work for you but you MUST discuss your unique situation with the state tax commission.

If you don’t already have a sales tax permit, you need to decide if you should have one.
How do you know?

If you are selling something tangible, within Oklahoma, that’s not a service, on a regular basis; you should apply for your permit.

If you only sell occasionally, you don’t need a permit. You will still collect, file and pay sales tax when you do sell.

Assuming that you do need a permit, the first thing you want to do is fill out one of these.

You can mail it in or take it in, in person.

The author displaying a custom t-shirt blanket

I’ve been told that it’s much faster if you actually take it in yourself. You should receive your tax permit in the mail soon. Be sure to keep it in a safe place and make a few copies. You will want to have the copies when you go shopping for crafting supplies or anything you will resell. Most stores will want a copy of your permit and it saves time if you’ve already got one to give them.

What’s that FIEN and do I need one of those too?
A FIEN is a Federal Employer ID Number. Answer the questions here to decide if you need one. FYI, if you want your business name on your bank account (and customers to be able to write checks to your company name) you will need an FEIN to open that business account.

Next in this series: tips on how to file and pay your sales tax.

Great links here and here for starting a business
Consider taking a free workshop with the tax commission
or with the Small Business Development Commission.

As always, for specific questions and the most accurate information, please contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

– JD McCoy

Wrangling your Sales Tax in Oklahoma – first in a series

First things first: we are not tax accountants, we are experienced crafters and event planners. What works for us will probably work for you but you MUST discuss your unique situation with the state tax commission.

Ok, so you did it. You put yourself out there, signed up to do a craft fair and suddenly realized you probably need to know more about paying Oklahoma sales tax. Let me try to help you with that.

The author at her prize-winning booth at an Oklahoma art event

When you do a craft show in Oklahoma, the promoter (in our case, Deluxe) should provide you with a form from the tax commission on the day of the show. This form should be filled out and returned at the end of the event whether you have a permit or not.

If you have a permit, completing the form is easy: Fill out the top half (just a little business info) and return it.

If you do not have a permit, it’s still pretty easy.
You will fill out the bottom half and calculate your tax payment. The form will have a different tax rate preprinted on it depending on the location of the show. Not a big deal, just know that it’s not the same everywhere.

Give the form and your payment to the show promoter.

“What happens if I ignore the form? I mean no one came and asked me for it, or, I pay my taxes online.” If you do not return your form, eventually, you should get a letter from the tax commission requesting payment, even if you already filed online. This is because the show promoter is required to submit a complete list of artists for each event. The tax commission won’t know what you filed and what you didn’t. Follow the instructions on the letter in order to be compliant.

That’s it. That’s all there is to sales tax at shows. Later this week, we’ll post tips on how to decide if you need a sales tax permit and how to apply for one.

For specific questions and the most accurate information, please contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

– JD McCoy

Guest Post: ProjectOKC needs YOU!

ProjectOKC is a group of 400 online and offline friends committed to loving and serving Oklahoma City. We partner with non-profits, churches, schools, civic organizations, and businesses to bring good to the community.

We kicked off this grand experiment with four people on July 23, 2008 at Sauced in the Paseo over oversized slices of pizza. Seriously, four of us sat down, picked a place we’d want to volunteer the next week and planned it out. We ended up watching movies with a nursing home off of 23rd and MLK. We thought they’d choose Driving Miss Daisy, they chose Alien vs Predator. That was a fun evening!

People jumped in quickly, friends invited friends, family invited family, and after a bit there were too many of us to fit in the little room at Sauced. The solution was taking it all online and that’s when blew up. We became the social network for good in OKC, planning hundreds of volunteer opportunities for people to jump in on.

The group is great but we have more and more volunteer opportunities for people popping up all the time. What does this mean? WE NEED YOU! Your time is valuable, I get that, but it is so important to give back, to build the community, to show love to people to our city in a unique way.

How can you help right now? Simple, head over to, sign up, and RSVP for the various projects we have happening over the next few weeks.

Want to feed the homeless?

Join in on an old fashioned letter writing campaign to our politicians?

Help set up an art show for young/emerging artists?

Future events include walking dogs for The Humane Society, watching movies with senior citizens, creating art with kids who attend Edgemere Elementary. PLUS, if you have ideas it’s VERY EASY to suggest them and get involvement from people all around our city.

I love volunteering with ProjectOKC and I hope you’ll volunteer with us too!

Rex Barrett •

Congratulations to our first winner!

Our winner for the February giveaway is Liz Jordan Ross. Liz gets a signed copy of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, and gift cards to Lollipops Sugar Shoppe and The Wedge Pizzeria.

We’ll have another prize to share with you next month, so keep checking our blog. Thanks for playing!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you are a hopeless romantic, you’ll love our giveaway – today is the last day to enter! We’re giving away a signed copy of The Pioneer Woman’s new book “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” along with a $25 gift card to The Wedge Pizzeria and a $25 gift card to Lollipops Sugar Shoppe.

Comment here for a chance to win!

Got plans Saturday afternoon? Now you do!

This Saturday at IAO, join creative types for social art making, community crafting or just be inspired. Whatever you call it, this “Make It!” Day is a great opportunity to work around other creative types and cure your cabin fever.
The event is free, just RSVP on Facebook and bring your own supplies.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Win a super-signed copy of “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels”

Deluxe loves you! We want to give you a special treat on Valentine’s Day.

This is no ordinary romance novel. It’s a true story, it’s a hardcover and it’s written by Oklahoma’s own beloved Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.

Yes, thousands of women and a few dedicated men wait in line for hours and hours to have Ree’s books signed. First the cookbook and now her true-life account of how she met Marlboro Man.

Deluxe knows you might not have all day to wait in line at your local bookstore. You might have your own ranch to tend. So we did it for you. But it gets better.

You know how Ree sometimes brings the family along, and they wait patiently while she engages and charms readers all the livelong day? We asked them to sign the book, as well.

Because you, dear Deluxe fan, are not an ordinary person, and an ordinary romance novel just won’t do.

Our lucky winner will also receive a $25 gift card to The Wedge Pizzeria for what will probably be the best pizza of your life.

In true delicious, high-calorie Pioneer Woman style, the prize pack is topped off with sweet treats from Lollipops Sugar Shoppe, in the form of a $25 gift certificate.

Lollipops is an Oklahoma City company specializing in show-stopping treats for special occasions and every day celebrations. Like them on Facebook here! They might even deliver your treats for free! How’s that for decadent?

How can you win this lovely collection?

Just Like us on Facebook, then leave a comment on our page, sharing your best idea for how we can invite Ree to Deluxe 2011. Don’t you think she’d love it? We think it’s a great event for the whole family.

We’ll select one comment at random and that person will win this super-signed copy of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and two gift cards. Drawing will be held on Monday, February 14.