In Front of the Camera

MarkNeither Mark nor I like to be in front of the camera. Both of us are very comfortable behind the scenes but owning a business requires us to do things that are outside of our comfort zones. Today was one of those days. We had a photographer come to the house to take some photos for us. Thank you Dana from DanaNDesign – check out her shop on etsy:

We had a lovely fall day for the pictures. Dana did a great job making both of us feel comfortable and got some amazing pictures.

Another item completed off our check-list! Stay tuned for more updates.



Meet the Artist – Mark Kellogg

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Mark was born in a quiet little town in Vermont where he spent his childhood out of doors hunting, fishing and trapping. As a young man he served his country in the National Guard and moved to Virginia where he raised his family.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Mark has bagged his share of deer, turkey and other wild-game however his quest for an elk has eluded him. He became an outdoor photographer and captured many animals on film. He was successful in elk hunting with the camera!!!

In 2010 Mark’s ability to walk became impaired and by 2013 he was wheelchair bound fulltime. In an effort to fill his days he turned to wood working as a hobby. He started with hand-turned pens – wood, acrylic and even deer horn. He then moved onto wood bowls and other utensils. Some of his bowls look like works of art! Bowls however can be very fickle and there is a lot of down time while waiting for the wood to dry. During these periods he would turn a duck, deer or turkey call to pass the time. Hunting calls became his passion and he has been creating his own designs and using his own photos to enhance the calls.

MK Unique Designs was born out of his mission to “feed the hungry children”. He’s not sure what led him to this but knows God is working miracles through this company. MK Unique Designs donates 10% of all sales (or more) to the local area food bank through his church Grottoes United Methodist Church. He also assists the youth of the church with fundraisers and donations.

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It’s Been A While

I have been really busy the last couple of weeks getting the website up and running. Then changing and rechanging and then changing again to get the look and feel we wanted. Not there yet! Almost….but not quite. I have met some amazing people (well not met but chatted) through WordPress Online Help. Sometimes when I’m asking my question in my non-technical lingo I wonder what they must be thinking.

I’ve been learning a little bit. I know not to play too much in the CSS. I don’t know what a CSS is or what it does but I know to be careful. ( I think that’s the code section but I could be wrong). Back to lingo….yesterday I was on the chat with Gracie and I wanted the white spot above the picture to be smaller. Go figure you have to write code for that! I thought you could just click with your mouse and pull the picture up.

Well in all my modifications I lost my blog page and when I found it (thanks to Jackie) it’s all dark unless you click on the blog itself. I’m leaving that drama for another day.

I have a couple of blog ideas in the works and am going to be doing a “Meet the Artist” once I get some good pictures to go along with it. There however are not enough hours in the day for all I need/want to get done.

Today I did take a little me time and went to a local spinning group where I met 5 ladies who love wool and spinning as much as I do! It was so relaxing to just get away and listen to the stories of these remarkable ladies. I can’t wait until next month when I escape the business and run away for a couple of hours. Maybe they’ll let me introduce them to you!

Hunting calls at MK Unique Designs

My favorite - it looks like jewelry!
My favorite – it looks like jewelry!

Mark has been very busy in the woodshop working on hunting calls. Please check them out on both eBay and Etsy. He is looking for hunters willing to photograph themselves using the calls and pictures of the kill shots to be posted on our website. Please contact us via e-mail or comments on this page.

Duck call - two reed
Duck call – two reed
Box Turkey Call
Box Turkey Call

The Day MK Unique Designs Closed…..(for the day)

Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books?

It’s hard to open a business. There are a lot of things to work out. What products? How to make the products? Where to market the products? Etsy? Ebay? Amazon? Brick and Mortar? Internet? Web page? and once you figure all that out….branding? themes? concepts? packaging? space? buildings? Then production. We are well on our way in those departments. My wood shop puts in about 8-10 hours a day building and creating unique one of a kind bowls, vases, boxes, hunting calls and many other wood items and the wool shop averages 3-4 hours a day.

In a new business even a small break affects the amount of goods being produced so we take very little time off right now. In the heat of the day we work on the computer in doors since neither shop is very cool during the day. We have a goal to have enough products by next fall to start going to craft shows to try to get some local business coming our way also.

As we pour every spare second into the business and we jump hurdle after hurdle. Read books and articles and realize what we could be doing better or different and then go back and change, update and rearrange. Frustration builds. We keep finding things we didn’t know or didn’t think about that cause us to slow to a crawl. Well this week we hit a full on STOP! In all our careful planning and preparation no book or article or wise words of wisdom prepared us for what was coming!


Little black and white, furry, low to the ground, stinky balls of “your not going to work today” blocked the entrance to the wood shop! Where is that written in any “Start Your Business” books? We had been smelling skunks in the neighborhood and one was in the yard one morning when I was leaving to go to work. Not so unusual. Then one in the driveway. Also not that unusual. The wood shop started to smell of skunk…..okay still not worrisome until…………..a  little skunk poked its tiny head out from under the ramp up to the shop. FULL STOP! ENGINES IN REVERSE! RUN!

Time to regroup and rethink this business plan……

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For all the animal lovers in my life the skunks were humanely trapped and relocated to a place where they will be able to run free.