I’m a ‘Make it Work’ kinda girl…

Hey there!  It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it?  Definitely did not forget about my travel blog post, because next on my list of cities is Venice, Italy!!!  But, traveling has actually caused the delay in my travel posts.  LOL.  I’m currently sitting in front of our bedroom window here in Montross, Virginia watching hurricane Isaias shake things up.  I LOVE the rain. Something Las Vegas does not offer much of, but there’s been a lot of rain here the last two weeks and it’s really put a kink in my tightly wound schedule.

The last few months have had us working, a lot!  And we are super grateful.  With the Lockdown most of our We Talk Chalk projects were delayed, understandably.  But now, things are picking up and all those projects we had to delay are now scheduled back to back with new projects scheduled in between. Yikes!  And all this while I’m trying to keep up with my new personal work. These are good problems to have, I know.   

The first project in the production queue is one that I’ve been planning since last year.  7 murals in the small town of Callao, Virginia.  

Callao…about 25 minutes from Montross and in desperate need of a facelift. With the revitalization, many buildings get new facades, street lights are put in, etc.  The icing on the cake of each of the recent revitalizations has been a series of murals with a vintage flair that feature something special to the town itself or the historic region…that’s where I come in. – Enter Melanie -paint covered, sun-beaten, and makeup, once on face, now dripping somewhere below chin and into cleavage.  Did I mention the humidity? 100% this last week.  


We’ve spent a lot of time in Virginia in the last 6 years and have created 27 murals…and counting. Most have been for town revitalization projects for which Montross was the first, Colonial Beach 2nd.  Montross will always be my fave and is why we now have a house and studio here. You can see a few of my past blog posts on our transformation of our little cape cod.  It’s a small town of 380 people and really is adorable. Quite the change from Vegas.  But, on to why we are here today.

Creating murals with a vintage flair for the town of Callao, VA… I design everything ahead of time based on the design brief the town & Revitalization commitee provides.  Not always an easy task because I sometimes have no idea what the brief it talking about.  For example…One mural had to contain a crab pot because it was apparently invented here in Callao.  Well, I honestly had no idea what a crab pot was.  (I’m a vegetarian, lol).  I thought it was the pot you cook the crabs in. Well, it’s actually a cage attached to a buoy that you lower to the river bottom.  Now even though I figured out what it was, I was having trouble finding good photo reference of one, and especially one specific to Callao.  Then came the buoys…don’t get me started on the buoy dilemma.  Apparently there is a buoy specific to Callao, but I’m here in town and still haven’t figured out what that looks like.  Oh, the stories I could tell. 

The schedule…7 murals in 15 days.  That’s a ridiculous timeline and I knew it, but we have to be back in Vegas for another project so I couldn’t squeeze in one more day.  I’ll be honest…I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to finish everything in that time, seriously.  That’s only 2 days per mural and I usually like to have 3.  But, I’ve always been a ‘make it work’ kind a girl’ ;). And make it work, we did.  

As it turned out, Remmie and I started our 15 day trip with a big flight delay because of the storms that hit the east coast. So we were already off schedule by a full day.  But things tend to work out don’t they?  Turns out, one building wasn’t quite ready for us.  It’s paint was peeling and flaking off in a bad way.  So we requested it be primed and painted for us to complete in September.   Aaah, that takes a little pressure off.  :)  

So, with the full time help of local artist and friend Phil McKenney and 2 days of assistance from Kelly Swain, we completed 6 murals…almost. They’re about 98% finished.  I just need to revisit each to add a little finesse.  Sometimes it isn’t until I look at the photos of a finished mural that I see what needs to be adjusted.  So If Isaias hurries out of town,  I may just have enough time today to finish that last 2%.  

Fast forward 24 hours…

You guys, I’m all done!!  Wow that’s a great feeling!  It was uber sunny when we went out to take pics so some of these are a little washed out, but hey, it’s all done so I’m a happy camper! After stressing over weather delays it’s all come together in the end.  The reality is, it always does.  In all my years of painting professionally, It always works out one way or the other (knock on wood) but that doesn’t relieve any of the stress.  Why?  Because each project is unique and no matter how much you plan, there is always something that will put a kink or two in your schedule. 

Now…I’m back to my window, enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the leaves outside and working on a timeline for our next project.  Let’s see if I can do a little kink prevention now :).