Can you believe its been a year of MONDAYS WITH MARK? That’s 52 weeks of projects and then some! I am so proud of my accomplishments this last year. Producing a craft each week is no easy feat. This week, I sat down with my close friend Rick to reminisce about all things MONDAYS WITH MARK.
Rick: I’ve enjoyed seeing a new project every Monday. I’m so impressed with your commitment. What are you most proud of as you look back at this year?
Mark: I’m most proud of two things, never missing a Monday and inspiring others. At times it was challenging. Mondays come fast and there were weeks when I literally had nothing on Friday morning, but I was determined to always make it work. Some of my best ideas came at the very last minute. The likes, shares and kind words of support from my followers inspired me to carry on every week.
Rick: I noticed that many people were inspired to do their own versions of your projects. Seeing that must make you happy?
Mark: Absolutely! It is the biggest compliment when someone takes one of my ideas and is inspired enough to create their own works of art. Some projects really took off, like my Dollar Store Butterfly Wreath. I had no idea so many people would recreate it in so many fun and beautiful ways.
(top left, Mark LaFerney; top middle, Bonnie Campbell Bryant; top right, Lynn Losak; middle left, @vargas_susana; middle right, Laura E. Napolitano; bottom left, Katie Losak; bottom middle, Vickie Williams; bottom right, Cary O’Dell)
Rick: So, lets talk holidays. I know that you love decorating for the holidays and this year you went nuts. Your holiday windows got a lot of attention in Chicago. Congratulations on your success with such a complex undertaking. The media loved you.
Mark: Yes, the holiday windows were the highlight of my year. I had so much fun creating and sharing them. The Window Wonderland video produced by my friend Enero from Pillbox79 received over 18 thousand views! Then, the local news stations picked it up! Crazy. This creation was me at my finest. Taking a thought and turning it into reality is so rewarding.
Rick: After such a wonderful accomplishment, life threw you a couple of curve balls. I know it was difficult for you to do the work every week. I admire your drive and strength.
Mark: Thank you. I appreciate that. We may need another glass of wine for this. Things definitely got a little sketchy for me after the holidays. As you know, in 2012 I had a extremely rare cancer, which I thought had returned this year. Emotionally, I was extremely down and anxious for months. It was really hard for me to go about my day to day and carry on with MONDAYS WITH MARK. In fact, this is one of the reasons the video work stopped after the holidays. I didn’t feel like being on camera. The testing process was long and at times painful. Thankfully, at this time all seems to be clear and I am hopeful for the future.
Rick: You had a vision for your year and you never let go of it no matter what. You should be so proud of that.
Mark: One hundred percent. I’m one determined individual.
Rick: Your Halloween blobs were so fun and made me laugh. What was your favorite project this year?
Mark: Thanks. I loved those too. Halloween is my favorite holiday and creating the Blobs and Booze video with my friend James was a lot of fun. Hmm, favorite project? That’s a tough one. So, the holiday windows were my favorite because I felt so passionate about them. I love a challenge. The Pallet Mural and tomato cage projects are also at the top of the list. In fact, I entered my Tomato Cage Marbleized Side Table in a competition on Better Homes and Gardens website and now I’m a finalist. I loved my Tomato Cage Foot Stool, but theres a funny story about that.
Rick: Oh, really?
Mark: Yah, so remember when I said, “… I don’t recommend standing or sitting on your finished foot stool. However, I do recommend putting your feet up!”? Well, someone sat on mine and crushed it. I still stand by this project, as I do all of my projects this past year.
Rick: That’s a bummer. I love the tomato cage projects. I would have never thought about making furniture out of tomato cages. They’re beautiful.
Mark: Thank you. I’m going to find a way to reuse the top portion of that project because I love the rag rug covering.
Rick: Let’s be honest. What was your least favorite project?
Mark: So, I try not to be overly critical of my projects. I am realistic enough to know that not every week would be my favorite or anyone else’s favorite for that matter, but I always did my best with what I had to work with that week. My friend hated my Eggscuse Me Sign. He still teases me about it to this day. My Sunshine Banner was simple, but I think it’s a perfect for someone who is looking to create a banner for any occasion. Not everyone would think or know that Dollar Tree has a teachers section that is filled with seasonal items perfect for banner making.
Rick: Since you mentioned the Dollar Tree, I noticed that you had a lot of projects using Dollar Tree items this year. Tell me about that.
Mark: I love an easy, affordable and approachable project and Dollar Tree falls right in line with that. I want to create projects that everyone feels they can do. Some of my best projects are the result of walking into Dollar Tree with no ideas and walking out with a basketful of items that turn into a craft.
Rick: For the most part, I know that you are funding MONDAYS WITH MARK out of pocket. That must be challenging.
Mark: It definitely can be. My Candy Wrapper Cart completely exceeded my budget. Thats why I love the Dollar Tree. I’m not going to let anything stop me from doing what I love to do, including my finances. I do this week to week because I love to create and because I love inspiring other people. I hope that one day I am able to turn my passion into a full-time career.
Rick: You’ve worked really hard and accomplished a lot in one year. Keep following your heart, pursuing your passion and doing what you love and good things will come to you.
Mark: Thank you. I truly hope so.
Rick: So, what about year two?
Mark: Well, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. I definitely know that I am going to take a break the month of July from posting new projects every week. I will still be on my social media accounts sharing old projects, things I’m working on and beautiful everyday moments. I’m working on a few proposals to be able to give more attention to MONDAYS WITH MARK and make it more economically feasible. I need to take the time to reflect and think about what my goals are for the next year.
Rick: You deserve a break. You’ve had an amazing year. Well, Mark, speaking for all Gators out there, I wish you well and look forward to whats next for you. Cheers.