Interesting! What started as a ruse became a permanent fixture! I've done my fair share of dabbling with paints, and KNOW first-hand just how expensive the hobby can be. Artistic things do NOT come cheaply.
While the capitalization in the first line makes sense as an attention-grabber, it is misplace, I think. It would be better if 'as a joke' was capitalized. Or, now that I think about it and consider, perhaps only 'stole' needs to be capitalized; STOLE is such a commanding word, I think it would lend a fair bit of strength to an already-powerful piece. Did this actually happen, out of curiosity?
I actually really like this. Its in a sort of plain speech that could have easily been more elaborate but in not making it more ornate its actually more grounded and accessible. I also like the directions this goes in, from the joke to the not-joking. It gives a strong sentiment. Lavender scent seems a little generic, as though this line could use a more personal reference to drive home that final punch. Just a thought though.