Nine23 Blog

Meet Kathy April 23 2019, 0 Comments

Meet Kathy

Zoe Adams 

Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations

Kathy is a team member at our shop! She has been with us since October 2018, just after moving to Maryland from Ohio, where she lived for most of her life.  Kathy’s experience with furniture painting goes back 20 years, where she re-purposed vintage furniture and sold it at flea markets, art shows, and a shop she previously worked at in Ohio. Her favorite part of her job is styling the shop, and she loves using Dixie Belle’s Kudzu. She spends her free time with her triplet grand babies and shopping at thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales. One of Kathy's latest creations is pictured below!

Meet Stephanie! March 23 2019, 0 Comments

Meet Stephanie!

Zoe Adams

Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations 

Meet Stephanie, a team member at our shop! Stephanie has been working with us since October 2018. She works on furniture in the shop and also paints custom cabinets with Megan.  Stephanie has been an artist her entire life. She started creating art when she was a young girl, when her mom let her draw on the walls of her bedroom. That led to her painting to relieve stress, and eventually brought her to our store! Her favorite part of her job is taking an old piece and bringing it a new life. Stephanie's favorite Dixie Belle color is Peacock. When she’s not at our store, she spends her time with her family. Below are some of Stephanie’s beautiful transformations.


Meet Ariel February 19 2019, 0 Comments

Meet Ariel 

Zoe Adams
Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations

This is Ariel, a team member at Carlyn Smith Creations. Ariel started her very first job here almost two years ago. Although Ariel is our youngest employee, she is full of talent and creativity. Her favorite part of her job is getting to know all of the regular customers that come into our shop! Ariel has experience in painting furniture, as well as fabric, which she taught herself using video tutorials on YouTube. Her favorite Dixie Belle Paint color is Buttercream. When Ariel isn’t at work, she can be found horseback riding, or studying for her classes for her pre-nursing major. Below are some of Ariel’s fabric painting transformations!

Meet Pattie February 01 2019, 0 Comments

Meet Pattie

Zoe Adams

Social Media Marketing Manager at Carlyn Smith Creations.

Meet Pattie, a team member here at Carlyn Smith Creations. Pattie is from Perry Hall, Maryland, and has been at our store for one year.  Pattie’s favorite part of her job is painting furniture. She has been painting for many years and finds it to be a great escape!  When she paints, she enjoys finishing her pieces with waxes that Dixie Belle offers. Her favorite Dixie Belle Paint color is Vintage Duck Egg, and her favorite Dixie Belle Wax is White. One of Pattie’s hobbies is floral arranging. She brings her arranging skills to work and creates the floral arrangements and wreaths that we carry! Here is some of Pattie’s work.

Our Top Gifts for Teachers this Year December 16 2018, 0 Comments

Our Top Five Gifts for Teachers

With winter break rapidly approaching and holiday parties coming up at school, you might be wondering what to get your child's teacher this year. We have selected five categories of gifts that would be perfect to show your appreciation for your child's teacher. The best part is, they are all under $20. 


There's nothing like a good candle to help someone unwind after a long day. Help your child's teacher unwind with one! We have a variety of holiday scents, as well as scents that are great all year long. Choose from Mulberry, Christmas Thyme, Cinnamon Stix, Candy Cane, and White Christmas. 

Holiday Candles

Maryland Crab Candle

Home Decor

Everyone loves a good snow day, especially teachers! Help them hope for snow with a "Let it Snow" sign. We even have a small "#1 Teacher" sign that would go perfect on a desk. Or help your teacher finish up their holiday decorating by getting her a holiday pillow. We have plenty of options when it comes to decorations for your favorite teacher.


Give your child's teacher a gift they can wear every day! We have prayer bracelets, lava bead bracelets, holiday earrings and H2Z necklaces that are inexpensive but still super cute.

Prayer bracelets come in a variety of colors, even red and green for the holidays! Lava bead bracelets can be paired with essential oils. 

We have a variety of different holiday earrings-- ranging from snowflakes to snowmen. We even have candy canes! 

 H2Z necklaces each come with what their stone's meaning is to help your child's teacher know why they think they are so special!

Cups and Wine Glasses

Sometimes you just need a glass of wine! Choose from any of our handmade wine glasses to give this year. We have so many glasses, from teacher themed to everyday use. We even have Christmas wine glasses that she can use during the holidays! If wine isn't her thing, we have tumblers in a few different colors that are great for people on the go! They keep drinks hot or cold for several hours. 


Give your teacher a gift she can remember your child by each year when she decorates her tree. We have tons of ornaments that are sure to make her smile when she gets them out each year. Choose from red trucks, Christmas balls, holiday sayings, and so many more. 

Zoe Adams

Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations

Our Holiday Gift Guides! November 30 2018, 0 Comments

Our Holiday Gift Guides

 We know that choosing gifts for the holiday's can be overwhelming, but we're here to help! We have compiled a list of our favorite gifts in several price ranges, so no matter your budget, we have got you covered.

Under $20

Under $20 

First up, our gift guide under $20. These gifts could be perfect for a variety of instances, including secret Santa exchanges and stocking stuffers! The gifts range from socks to jewelry, making it hard to not find something that you love! Check out our video to see what our favorites are! 

Under $50 

Looking to spend a little bit more on that special someone? Not a problem, We've gathered some adorable pieces that range from $20 to $50. A lot of our larger home decor pieces fit into this section, but we also have some beautiful handmade rugs as well! Our $50 gift guide shows you all you need to know this gift-giving season!

$50 and Up

Finally, our top picks from our last category. We hand-picked some of the best gifts in the store to give this holiday season. They are unique, as all of the wreaths are handmade, and we repaint our furniture by hand. Take a look at these gifts over $50. 

These are just some of our favorites here at the store! Let us know what your favorite gifts are you've gotten from us! Happy Holidays!

Zoe Adams

Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations.

Meet Sharon! November 20 2018, 0 Comments

Meet Sharon!

Zoe Adams

Social Media Marketing Manager for Carlyn Smith Creations. 

This is Sharon, co-owner of Carlyn Smith Creations. Sharon is from Bel Air, Maryland. Sharon brings over 40 years of furniture painting experience to our store. Her favorite part of the business is hunting for old pieces and bringing them a new life. She loves the history of old pieces, and often thinks about that when she is hunting. Sharon’s favorite Dixie Belle colors are Coffee Bean, Drop Cloth, and Dried Sage. When Sharon isn’t at the store painting furniture, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. Here’s one of Sharon’s recent transformations.



Are you Carlyn? November 07 2018, 0 Comments

Are You Carlyn?

Megan Knauer 

Co-Owner of Carlyn Smith Creations

Are you Carlyn? This is a question I get asked weekly as one of the owners of Carlyn Smith Creations.  And it used to frustrate me.  Seems like a very obvious question to ask someone when you walk into a store with a person’s name on it, right?  So why would it bother me so much?  This question pulls up a ton of emotions for me because although I am not Carlyn, the store is named in memory of my sister, Carlyn Smith Iannuzzi (Carly).  However, if you are new to our store, you would have no way of knowing the history behind it.

Are you Carlyn? No I am not, but let me tell you about her.  As the youngest of us 3 girls, she was a fun loving, kind, and an overly generous person. She always looked for the good in everyone she met.  You could find her in a hoodie with her hair in a knot on top of her head.  She hated mornings but loved pickles, cheese burgers, and her friends and family.  And on October 26th 2006, her life was cut short by a drunk driver. 

Are you Carlyn? The first time I wished I was Carlyn was on October 27th, 2006.  Anyone who has suffered loss knows the indescribable pain that haunts you from that moment on. Not only do you lose that person, you lose the person you used to be, and the family you used to have.  It seems as though life is now divided into 2 parts – when they were here and now that they are gone.

After the mourning and the anger, came an energy, an energy that needed to be put into something. Something that could keep me busy and keep a piece of my sister alive.  We had grown up with a mom that loved crafts and making things so it was almost a natural transition to start a business making unique items in memory of Carly. We started making purses, key fobs, embroidered aprons, and placemats.  The name of the business wasn’t hard to decide on – Carlyn Smith Creations.

We started by making things and selling them at craft fairs all around Maryland – even spending Thanksgiving of 2007 in Ocean City at their large holiday vendor fair.   We quickly realized that the cost of making purses and adding all the options most women wanted was not realistic for our target customer.  We branched out and decided to start purchasing wholesale accessories to mix in with some of our handmade products.

In February of 2008, we signed a lease at a kiosk at the Harford Mall in Bel Air, MD – first only setting up on weekends and then later being open 7 days a week.  Some of our biggest sellers at the time were polka dot luggage, quilted duffle bags, and Baltimore Ravens purses.  We definitely started accumulating a following and then by January of the following year, we opened a second kiosk at White Marsh Mall in Perry Hall, MD. During this time, we were very active at local high school events.  We felt it was important to share our story with students in the area to reinforce the dangers of drinking and driving. We set up fundraisers and gave back to their SADD programs as well as Post Prom Parties.

In August of 2009, we were asked to become a part of The Avenue at White Marsh on a temporary lease through the holidays.  The storefront gave us a whole new experience (and a lot more room to move around) then at the kiosk.  We enjoyed meeting new people there and being involved in the festive events throughout the season.  We were the smallest store and ended up collecting the most coats for the holiday coat drive that year!

Our temporary lease was up in February of 2010 but we knew we still had more to share with our community.  We found ourselves a perfect spot at Honeygo Village in Perry Hall, MD where we stayed for 6 years. During these years, we learned more and more about the retail business and how to evolve and change with the trends.  Some of our most popular items at this time were Ginger Snaps jewelry, Lotti Dotties jewelry, Trollbeads, Kameleon, and personalized wine glasses.  In 2015, we jumped into the chalk painting craze. After trying several brands of chalk paint, we fell in love with Dixie Belle Chalk and Mineral Paint and started carrying the line in our store.  The painted furniture opened a whole new avenue for us. We loved how easy it was to transform an old piece of furniture with paint! Because we loved it and talked about it so passionately, it was easy for our customers to love it too. We began teaching classes on how to use the paint.

After 6 years of being at Honeygo Village, we noticed our store had started to slowly transform from women’s accessories to more of painted furniture and home décor.  The commercial space at no longer felt like the best fit for our store.  After a lot of searching, we found and adorable retail space set up like a house and it had a lot of character and a large front porch. Which brings us to our current location of 8846 Belair Rd in Nottingham, MD.

We have now been at our Belair Rd location for just over 2 years.  We love the cozy feel of the space with all the little rooms (even though it can sometimes be a challenge to fit in all of our treasures).

 Since 2015, we have painted hundreds of pieces of furniture.  We started painting kitchen cabinets this year and also go into homes to paint entire bedroom and dining room sets.  Weekly we have people bringing in pieces of furniture for us to custom paint and sometimes there is actually a wait list.  

Are you Carlyn? I don’t think this question will ever lose it’s sting when I hear it out loud.  It always makes me catch my breath.  Because I’m not Carlyn, but I’m here because of her.  Undoubtedly, our business has changed drastically in the past eleven years. But one thing has not – the heart of this business, the heart of our story will always be Carly.