Friday, February 27, 2009

Alert: Old Navy Recall!

Recall Bulletin!
My post about the adorable stuffed Old Navy animals is now a recall notice to all of you (the clothing and toys are still safe). A very alert reader, Tracie, let me know that when she purchased her animals a recall notice was sent to her about the buttons. Thanks so much for the heads up Tracie!

Shop: Old Navy

Shop: 12 for under $12

When Shinmin sent over a link to the Old Navy kid's toy section, I was amazed at how affordable the prices are! $6 t-shirts and $5 umbrellas? I love you Old Navy.

Thanks for the heads up Shinmin!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Lists: Growth Charts

Thanks to Designing Mom Jackie, here is a wonderful list of creative growth charts to help make your little one's mark!

1. Miss Natalie’s Heirloom Growth Chart
2. Growth Chart in Custom Colors
3. Child Growth Chart Decal
4. Monster height chart
5. Surfboard growth chart
6. WallCandy Arts Growing Tree Growth Chart
7. Picture Me Growth Chart
8. Juwel growth chart

Design Contest with Clorox

Clorox thought this might pertain to some of you creative moms out there. They've redesigned their disinfecting wipes canisters and are holding a design contest for their next round of canister designs. The winner gets a trip to NYC, a $1000 shopping spree at Macy's and a chance to shadow the Macy's creative team. Runner-ups get HP PCs. Click here for details on entering the contest and submitting your design.

*They also are offering a coupon for a free canister. Email me your address if you want one!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Kate cont'd

As promised, I am so happy to introduce Designing Mom Kate to all of you. When Kate told me that she was planning to open a stationery boutique, I was giddy. Not only do I love a fellow paper geek but I know her newest venture will be full of all the joyous spirit and whimsy that she is known for!

Name: Kate

Business: Founder of Ooma in San Francisco, currently planning to open a stationery/gift boutique in Portland, Oregon

Babies: I am the mother of a little boy named Oscar, born 3/13/08

Inspiration: My son & husband are a huge source of inspiration - both make me laugh. My girlfriends make me want to tap into my goddess power. Color/humor/design all get me jazzed. Chocolate never hurts.

Why I do what I do:

I became an entrepreneur after 12 years in marketing. When I added up what would be my ideal job, the solution was to open a women’s clothing boutique. There was absolutely nothing else I wanted to do and it was the sum total of all my career desires.

I sold Ooma last year when I was pregnant and planning a move to Portland. Now I’m super jazzed to open another store – and do it on terms that allow me to be the best mom as well (I’ve been a SAHM since Oscar was born in March).


Thank you for sharing Kate, we look forward to seeing your future posts!

Designing Moms: Meet Kate

If you live in San Francisco or have ever visited, chances are you have frequented the neighborhood of North Beach. And if you have, then I'll also lay bets that (with gelato in hand), you wandered along Grant Street so you could press your nose against the windows of two of the most charming boutique/studios ever. One of them is Shinmin's "I Dream of Cake" studio, and the other is none other than "Ooma," the beloved, retail clothing and accessories boutique founded by Kate Fulford. Just one look and you know it exudes the vibrant creativity and charm of its founder.

I'll be posting up Kate's introduction next!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our Booklist: The Caboose Who Got Loose

I'm really excited about a new list started by Designing Mom Erika about favorite books for kids! Do you have a favorite book that your little one is addicted to and/or a nostalgic one from childhood? Let us know or send your own book review over to us!

From: Erika

"The Caboose Who Got Loose," written and illustrated by Bill Peet

When we had to evacuate from our home for the 2007 Southern California wildfires, "The Caboose Who Got Loose" was the one book I grabbed from S's room. I got the book for him when he was about 2 years old, and we've read it at least once per week since. It's on the long side for a bedtime story (48 pages), but S loves it so much we read it a lot anyway, and John has it pretty much memorized by now. It's a classic story (originally published in 1971) about Katy Caboose, a caboose who dreams of a simple, quiet life not stuck at the end of a long freight train, "to live in the trees where it's peaceful and quiet." The grass is always greener, right?

Written in rhyming couplets, it's fun and easy to read aloud. It was also one of the first books S read by himself, "in his brain," as he likes to say. The charming illustrations are expressive and full of detail. If your little one is into trains, this is a wonderful addition to your bookshelf.

above: S shows his favorite page, when the huge engine goes to the roundhouse for repair. After I shot the photo he said, "so can I get back to reading this now?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Tori

A classic Tori Higa card is a black and white illustrated girl wearing a vintage fabric kerchief and I have come to know Tori to be as sweet and charming as her gorgeous creations! I was so delighted and flattered when she asked me to be a part of her book, "Today's Top Stationery Artists." Finally meeting her in person in New York when we were both at a stationery show was icing on the cake. I am so delighted to introduce our latest Designing Mom to all of you!

Name: Tori

What I do: I have had my own handmade greeting card company for the last five years, but since having a baby I have recently decided to focus solely on designing so now I license my work for an innovative online card company called and license my handmade card designs for Sanctuary Press (a division of International Sanctuary which is a non profit organization that empowers survivors of human trafficking). I also love to take on custom projects from time to time. I LOVE being able to work as a designer from a home studio and spend time with my little guy. For me, it's the perfect balance.

My family: I am not currently expecting (but hope to be within the next year or so). I have a 16-month-old son who keeps me very busy.

What inspires me: Finding time for creativity is just a way of life for me, which is why I think I feel inspired to continue to design while also fully embracing motherhood. I feel inspired to take on the challenge to be a designer as well as a mother – and part of me even feels like I don't have a choice. It's just who I am.

What a day in my life is like: One of my favorite things about being a "designing mom" is that each day is very full and very different. On the perfect day, I'll schedule a playdate at the park in the morning; then, we'll come home for lunch and I'll put him down for a nap. I am then able to get in two hours of work until he wakes up and my favorite babysitters (my parents) come over to take him for a couple of hours in the afternoon so I can get more work done. Then I get to spend the late afternoon and evening with him until dinner, bath, and bedtime by 7pm. My husband and I then have dinner together and try to enjoy a little peace and quiet until the next day when everything starts all over again. To be honest, a lot of times, I end up working at night as well – especially if I don't get babysitting during the day. But it's fun work. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Lists: Baby Crib Bedding

I thought I would kick off a category that we're all excited about called Our Lists. I invite you all to add-on to our lists at any time. I'll be introducing some fun "lists" from the other Designing Moms on a continual basis and hope we can all build a mini-library together!

So what's been on my mind when it comes to lists lately? Crib bedding.
First, I had to get over the fact that crib bedding can easily cost as much or more than the crib itself. But I was pleasantly surprised that the options are plentiful...from organic mod circles to woodland squirrels scurrying up oak trees.

1. Dwell Studio for Target Circles
2. Organic White Bedding
3. Maddy Boo Amanda Bedding
4. Super Natural Alphabets Crib Bedding
5. Amenity Woodlands Squirrel Crib Bedding
6. Gap Organic Jungle Bumper
7.Gap Organic Safari Crib Sheet
8.Willow Organic Crib Bedding
9. Dwell Studio Gio Lemon Crib Bedding

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Shinmin

I had so much fun with Shinmin the other week inhaling yam fries, talking about our bellies and scrutinizing mobiles at the baby shop, Giggle. We were first introduced by a mutual client who exclaimed, "Shinmin does wonders with cakes, you need to meet her..." And she wasn't kidding! Shinmin's work is artful and in a league of its own. I am so happy to call her a cherished friend and introduce this Designing Mom (2 Be!) to all of you.

Name: My name is Shinmin. I’m a cake artist and mother-to-be. My due date is March 15th 2009, which means that I still have about a month to go, but judging from the size of my belly and intuition, I feel it may be sooner. I’m so happy to be a part of the Designing Moms team.

What I do: My two obsessions are Food and Art. After studying graphic Design and painting at The School of Visual Arts in New York City, and subsequently taking an intense program in patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, I decided I couldn’t live without design or sweets. So I started a company where I could make art out of cake. That was the birth of my first baby, I Dream of Cake, established in 2003. Then in 2005, I opened a boutique in North Beach that was coined “The World’s First Cake Gallery” by Modern Bride.

What inspires me: I’m fortunate to live and work in San Francisco, a city bursting with bold colors and refined style. So I’m inspired by everything around me. A great print on a vintage dress, the feel of letterpressed paper, the city lights reflected in a street puddle, the smell of caramel cooking……

What’s a typical day in my life:
I spend almost everyday in my cake gallery, building cakes to crazy heights, creating edible haute couture pieces, painting a portrait onto a cake, making fine detailed sugar flowers, and of course eating cake. An eight hour day at my studio can feel like a lifetime or fly by in one minute. Time is almost always a blur when working with sugar. After work, I cook dinner at home with my husband who is more of a foodie than me, and a better cook. But I always make dessert.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Make: Dominoes

This precious set of dominoes was made by Designing Mom Jackie for her two lucky boys. I know we all have paint swatches stashed in a drawer somewhere; it's genius that she recycled them into such a striking dominoes set! Below is how Jackie set about creating these (and pics of her adorable 8 month old, Simon...just look at those eyelashes!).

DIY Dominoes
By Jackie

A couple of months ago, Gabe came home with a stack of 2 x 4 wood chips that I just knew were destined for something crafty. I decided to make a set of dominoes out of them since Graham (3.5 years old) is starting to be interested in games and numbers. Yet again, I was on a mission to use ingredients that could be recycled from the clutter filling my kitchen drawers. Here’s what I came up with:

I am always drawn to those free paint swatches at the hardware store for some reason; they seem to be calling my name. I love the color sequences, and the descriptions always crack me up: grandma's sweater for sky blue, yours truly for a bubble gum pink, pure joy for a butter yellow. The names get stranger when you get to the darker hues: witching hour, soot, abyss, nugget. We have a bunch of these left over from various past paint projects so they were the first things I grabbed.

I also wanted to use something with pictures so that the dominoes could double as a story-telling device or a matching game. I used pages from this fun little book that I bought on a remainder table a few years back called, How To, which includes vintage images of how to do everything from baking a cake to wrapping an ace bandage to doing the butterfly stroke.

Here's what you will need to make a set of your own:

1) 28 wood or cardboard pieces (you can make them any size you like)
2) sharpie
3) ruler
4) jar of mod podge (I like the matte one, but it also comes in glossy)
5) smallish paint brush

6) exacto knife or scissors
7) paint swatches, wrapping paper, newspaper, vintage book, art paper, etc.

I recommend doing the lines and dots for the dominoes first (in case they smear or are crooked). I did these by hand with a ruler and a sharpie so they look very handmade. If you are more of a perfectionist about these kinds of things, you could use rub-on decals instead. For the back of the tiles, I experimented with the colors and the images until I came up with pairings that I liked. Once those were set, I trimmed down the paint swatches and pictures, then painted on the mod podge to adhere the paper to the wood. It dries pretty quickly and the surface is surprisingly smooth. Mod podge is pretty much an instant gratification product. I love it.

With two little kids, I found this to be a project that I had to start and stop a few times over the course of the week. To keep track of the pieces that I completed, I kept a little tally sheet in the bag with all my supplies.

Graham and Simon were drawn to these as soon as I laid them on the carpet for them to explore (though I do not recommend these as teething toys!) so I guess I'm not the only one around here that has a thing for those paint swatches...

Decorate: Skona Hem

Can't read a word out of the marvelous Swedish magazine Skona Hem, but I am always plenty satisfied with the eye candy. I've had these sweet kid rooms filed away in my bookmarks because of their fun play on colorful textures and patterns.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Erika

Erika's company, Delphine, creates fabulous stationery and custom invitations and I was soooo happy to be able to meet her and her husband in person when they exhibited in San Francisco ( where I also got to pick up some of their woodland themed note pads and cards for the boutique!). Erika is so refreshingly sweet and talented, it is a real treat to have her be a part of Designing Moms!

Nutshell: I live in Rancho Santa Fe, California (just north of San Diego) in a four-generation household with my husband, John, our son, S (he’s five), my grandmother and my parents (yes, we love living together; no we don’t fight. Are we crazy? Perhaps).

What I do: I’m a graphic designer and business owner. I design a letterpress stationery and custom invitation line, Delphine. I also design logos and corporate identities, design a line of photo cards for, blog and am launching a new eco-friendly stationery line this spring.

What inspires me: My amazing, talented, wonderful, creative family inspires me daily. I’m also inspired by the natural world: the color of sand after it’s sluiced by a wave, the shape of a flower petal, the pattern of little birdie footprints in the garden. I love paper, pattern, the written word, all shades of green, the sound of the surf, traveling, Charleston, oyster roasts, Paris, crepes, cafĂ© au lait, macaroons, weddings and the smell of the press room.

A day-in-my-life:
In the morning I snuggle with my son while he watches cartoons, drink lots of coffee, blog, get S ready for preschool, drink more coffee, and pack S’s lunchbox. I swear nothing makes me feel more like a mom than packing a lunchbox. The rest of my day is spent running Delphine: designing, answering emails, juggling phone calls, preparing proofs, writing creative briefs, running to press checks, answering more emails, and drinking more coffee. Evenings the entire household eats together and we catch up on everyone’s news. Usually S holds court at dinner, regaling us with stories from the sandbox, technical details about trains, or questions about how how electricity works. I have a fabulous, crazy, busy, wonderful life!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Make: Valentine's Day Cards for Kids

Designing Mom Jackie is posting today about the most adorable eco-friendly Valentine's Day cards for her two boys. What a wonderful way to re-use items that you have in your house. Read below about how she created them and visit her blog, Avocado and Papaya, to view more!

by Jackie:

I'm starting to get back to my crafty ways these days. At least a little. Last week I started to make a set of dominos at craft night. They are still a work in progress, but it felt so good to at least dust off the modge podge and get busy. It will probably take me nine months to finish them, but I'm in no hurry.

Today I worked on little Valentine cards for Graham and Simon's lady friends. I feel sort of eco-friendly about the whole thing because I only used materials I had sitting around the house: (1) wood remnants from Gabe's last job, (2) Hearts cut out from some old note cards, (3) Vellum envelopes leftover from invitations I made during the pre-baby days, and (4) Pastry twine which I just like to have around for gift wrapping.

Ta da!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Jackie

When I saw photos of Jackie's home in the East Bay I fell instantly in love with her sense of style and talent for making her living space both beautiful and creative for her kids and husband. You can only imagine how fun craft projects must be for them as a family!

Name: Jackie

Nutshell: I live in Berkeley with my two little boys, Graham & Simon, and my husband Gabriel. I am completely outnumbered by the men in my life, but am learning how to work that to my advantage. I love bargains, cucumbers, stripes, short stories, wallpaper, ballet flats, popsicles, maps, rubber stamps, and the color green. I am a terrible cook, a pretty good cleaner, and a very good multi-tasker.

What I do: I worked in the art world for about ten years pre-babies. Now i’m at home with my kids and a free-lance writer and non-profit consultant. While I do not formally have a career in design like most of the other moms on this blog, I hope that some day my love of art, crafts, and all things design will magically morph into some kind of semi-respectable career path. Until then, I try to take advantage of any free time that I have (in between diapers, laundry, and stints on the monkey bars) to explore these interests in more depth. I plan to contribute posts to the blog about kid-friendly decor, craft projects, raising boys, and anything else i can think of.

What inspires me: I know it sounds clichĂ©, but my family and friends. My husband is a builder extraordinaire, an amazing chef, and has a knack for scoring great curbside finds. Graham and Simon continually amaze me by their natural sense of innovation, delight in the everyday things we don’t think twice about, and their genuine playfulness. My friends are chock full of endless talent, and motivate me to see the world in unexpected ways.

What’s a day in the life like for me: Do you really wanna know? Wake, feed, dress, drop-off, pick-up, clean-up, feed, bathe, sleep. In between all that i work about 20 hours a week, spend way too much time on Facebook, and try my best to eat three meals a days and take my vitamins.

Thank you Jackie! I have since coined Jackie our resident "crafty Oz" so be on the watch for her wonderful DIY projects. You can also see more pictures of her house at More Ways to Waste Time

and Sugar City Journal.

Make: Red Hot Valentines

For Valentine's Day, our studio received these cute little Valentine's packets from Mr. Boddington's Studio, couture designers of custom invitations whom we carry. Each packet was stuffed with red hots and our names were inked in red calligraphy. Such simple but sweet little gestures that you and the little ones can make for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Aya

I am so happy to begin making introductions to our Designing Moms. Glimpsing into their worlds puts a smile on my face and I cannot wait to see more. Aya was first introduced to me by a mutual (and much beloved) friend and designer. I was amazed to hear we have the same due date and we have since deduced that we were meant to know one another!

Name: Aya
Stats: I am an expecting mother of a boy. Due 4/29. Hope he'll be on time!

What inspires me: I'm a senior designer at Chronicle Books and have been directing art and creative directions for books and stationery for about 5 years now as well as, of course, designing some of them. Well designed objects not only makes our lives better but also bring a joy. I design because I wish to raise happiness in our lives and design is my tool to do so, starting with the kind of happiness that comes with fine, well designed products.

What's a day in the life for me like: One part creative director, one part designer, one part project manager make up what I am in the office. I am very fortunate to have a job which focus is in alignment with my personal interests. My desk area is filled with a bunch of inspirations that I collect and I suppose my work is reflecting that.

Designing Moms: Meet Cat

Name: Cat

Work and Play: In San Francisco

What I do: I design a stationery and custom invitation line and our boutique and studios are located in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Before that, I wrote fiction and painted...and taught at UM (
yes, those dreaded college 101 composition courses you were all forced to take in college!).

Why I started Designing Moms: I crave to support and be in the support of creative moms everywhere.

What inspires my design: I get weak in the knees when it comes to patterns and color whether it's found in the overgrown magnolia outside my window or in vintage fabrics. My designs are mostly hand-illustrated or water colored and I love "finding" my way into an illustration or pattern.

What's my day in the life like: I live a hybrid wholesale/retail life so in any given moment I can be found exploring patterns on my laptop, sketching in my books, emailing and faxing like a fiend or greeting customers and showing them cute dresses that arrived at the shop. Often times you will find me doing all of the above at the same time which I hope will prep for multi-tasking skills in motherhood!

This was most definitely a lifestyle choice and I love being involved and a part of the community. I have a great team of industrial, sassy women who do a little bit of everything that I do as well. We love sugar, so while we try and reserve Fridays for sweets, you can find us indulging any day of the week.

above: my Boston "Terror"
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