Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shop: Mini Social & Baby and Kids Company

It's shop time again and I've got some great deals and sales to announce!

A good friend of mine, Jihwon, sent over a link to join the "Mini Social" which sends out email invitations for up to 60% off of their weekly featured designers (the adorable Speesees brand will be their next featured designer on sale). Click here for the link. Thanks for sharing with us Jihwon!

And next is a blowout warehouse sale for those of you in the Bay Area. One of Jenn's clients, Baby and Kids Company is having a huge sale this week. If you have had your eye on pricier brands like Stokke and Serena & Lilly but held back because of the price tag, here's your chance!

"Largest Baby & Kids Company Warehouse Sale - Everything must go!! 50-75% off.

Children’s clothing, infant to 5T ( Including Spring 2009)- Shoes, furniture (beds, cribs, dressers, bookcases). Toys, books, décor, accessories, linens, comforters. Brands including- C&C, Puma, Tea, Kingsley & Fleurville. Newport Cottage, Stokke, Dutallier. Serena & Lilly and much much more..."

April 2nd through April 5th from 9-3pm.
Warehouse: 3427 Regatta Blvd Building G
Richmond, CA 94804

Make: Applique Onesies

by Designing Mom Liberty

What I've shown here is a group of onesies that I made for a moms group I belong to... The butterfly and helicopter were made with iron-on patches, but the car ones were really not much work and the payoff is great. As is my shtick, I love using scraps and stray buttons for the wheels... If you look at both cars, you can see the shape is not precise, but it's the wheels that make it super cute. I only make the ones with buttons for tiny babies that can't grab at them. Once they are at the grab-and-stick-in mouth phase, little felt circles work as well.

Step 1: Stick

I stick the appliqué one of two ways.

1- using iron-on fusible webbing - which you can get at any fabric store... (brief version is that you iron one side
. Onto your fabric, draw the design, cut it out, peel off the paper backing and iron into place on your shirt)
2- I use Beacon's craft glue. My sister in law turned me onto this and I firmly believe every house in America needs a bottle! Beacon's is so great because it glues everything and is (drumroll, please) washable!
When you use Beacon's, use small drops every few inches--be careful not to drip, it doesn't clean up well.

Step 2: Secure

Regardless of which sticking device you use...use a quick zig-zag stitch around the perimeter of the shape.

Step 3: Spice it up

If it's a car, add the wheels by sewing on buttons (be very secure with these, add a little drop of Beacon's) or stitching an "x" through the center of a felt circle. Or, like the onesie on the top left, use some Beacon's and a straight stitch to add some ric-rac around the edge of a square. This project is so easy that it feels silly writing a tutorial about it, but it's become a standby around here... And great for a quick shower gift with some handmade flair.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Jenn

When I saw that Jenn's nickname is Crazy Glue, I could not agree more! Jenn possesses a genuine exuberance, warmth and wit that is downright infectious. Not only is she an amazing individual, she is also amazingly talented and I always look forward to catching up with her at the studio. Please help me welcome Designing Mom Jenn!

Name: Jenn White Topliff
Nickname: Crazy Glue (because I "bond instantly")
Company Name: 13 Creative

I started designing when I was a fetus. I'm pretty sure! My childhood was colorful and when my dad would travel on business trips I would call him on our rotary dial phone, across continents and oceans, to ask what color tie he was wearing that day. I honestly grew up loving color and pattern and texture and when I was 13 I knew what I wanted to be... a designer.

I have paved my path with all sorts of creative exploration... Once 2D, 3D and 4D "foundation studies" were complete at the Art Institute of Chicago, I focused my studies on bookbinding and paper-making. I was supposedly in the Graphic Design Department, but I think the world of paper started knocking on my door. After 2 years of getting my hands dirty, I transferred to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where I honed my design skill further, really tapping in to a more commercial aspect of design; graphic and packaging design. Here I learned how to create a logo, and appease the "mass market" and satisfy the corporate design world.

However, satisfying "them" didn't satisfy me... and in 2001 my graphic design firm 13 Creative was born. Tired of spending all of my passionate, creative talents on people who didn't want them, I decided to create beautiful design solutions for a group of clients that wanted actual creative solutions... it was so rewarding.

13 Creative is a full-service design firm that specializes in producing high-quality, custom invitations, logos, business cards, collateral and packaging that pushes the envelopes (literally!), engages the viewer and elicits conversation.

I have a 1-year old baby girl named Grace. Grace is probably the biggest, and best project of my life! She started out a little ahead of schedule (kinda like how her mom works!) and was born 2 1/2 months early, weighing in at only 2lbs 15oz. A year later she's a sumo-wrestler, weighing in at 23lbs and showing no signs of preemie-ness!

My whole life I thought I wanted to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) as the mother's club like to refer to them! On my 4th date with my husband, I even told him as much - making sure there were no mixed signals if and when the time came! However, when Grace was born, and I came home from the hospital without her, there was nothing else to do but work. I had to throw myself back into the game, and quickly, to occupy my mind. And I'm SO grateful. Who knew that being a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) was even better! Being creative is something I thrive on. It's not work, not by a longshot. Without my creative outlets I don't think I'd be able to be as good a mom, or wife, or human being. Putting pen to paper, putting brush to canvas, or corner-punching 200 wedding invitations (!) makes me feel sane. While my office is in the back of my house, my projects tend to creep into our other living spaces. This really isn't that much of a problem, although at my husband's insistence, I'm not allowed to leave x-acto knives in the dining room-turned-playroom anymore!

I hope to have more kids, and more creative outlets as well... life is for the living and this is definitely how I want to spend my days.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shop: 50% off at Amenity

Aya sent over an awesome 50% discount code for Amenity on anything in their organic nursery collection! If you aren't familiar with Amenity, they happen to make the coolest baby blankets (especially if you're into the woodland motif) and nursery bedding. It's also a big plus that all of their products are natural and organic. Click here for the code and happy shopping!

Raising Awareness: Earth Hour

Preserving our planet Earth for our little ones is more vital than ever, and Guissell wanted to remind everyone about participating in this weekend's Earth Hour:

Join me this Saturday and turn off your lights from 8:30-9:30pm local time. One voice may be hard to listen to but many voices are hard to ignore. Visit the WWF website to sign up for Earth Hour and while you are there also send a letter to President Barack Obama and government officials to join in and help us make a difference.

To watch the video click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Balance: By Simple

Stacy wrote me recently about her adorable handmade products and I asked her to write a little bit about how she started her business and how she manages to "balance" her work and play life. I love her products, in particular her wooden blocks (Year of the Ox!) and the 9 month cube which has a window for an ultrasound pic and another for posting memos. Such perfect little gifts to give.

by Stacy of By Simple

Before I had my family, I initially started creating and designing products for fun. My sister and I would sell our products at local art fairs and then we started selling them to retail stores. After my first baby was born, our focus changed and we decided to develop unique, handmade baby products and gifts. (the stuff you couldn't find at the stores). When I couldn't find something I liked for the nursery, I created it. I designed my vintage-styled piggy bank as an alternative to the traditional ceramic ones.

It's tough balancing a home-based business and family life. I've been lucky to have been able to be a stay-at-home mom for over five years. I would design and work before my kids got up in the morning and went to school, I would work during naps, and I have stayed up until the wee hours to complete an order or to meet a deadline.

Being your own boss gives you great flexibility in a daily schedule - you can set your own hours, go to school with your kids and pick them up in the afternoons. I find my greatest reward is seeing my products in print or hearing feedback from repeat customers about a product they bought or gave as a gift. Other Moms have even come up to me and said, "I didn't know you designed that."

I've always encouraged my two boys to be creative. When they were toddlers, they were always welcome to paint or draw side by side, next to me when I was working. My youngest son is quite an artist - he creates his own monsters and has a vivid imagination. We also have a lot of their artwork around our home and on display for our family to enjoy!

Shop: Spring Trunk Show

Lisa who writes a great blog named Picnic, sent this over. Mocktails and crafts...I love the sound of that!

I've decided to host a little Spring Trunk Show at mi casa on Saturday, March 28th from 10am to 1pm! If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in attending, drop me an email and I'll send you the invite with location, etc. I will be selling my own assortment of crafts and will be joined by Abe Jones, Kukunest, Giddy Giddy and Live & Luca. I'd love for you to come! We'll have snacks, pomegranate mocktails, and plenty of sweet deals too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Lori

Lori is a fellow stationery designer whom I always love catching up with whenever we do our shows in NY. She always has just the right touch or embellishment to her amazing cards and her warmth and whimsy are truly evident in her work. I am so happy to introduce her to all of you and can't wait to see all of the fun things she's been doing with her two adorable boys!

About me: I’m the mother of 2 amazing little boys: Finley (Fin), age 4, and Rowan (Roe), who just turned 18 months. of course I think they’re the most amazing and brilliant boys on the face of the earth.

What I do: I'm a graphic designer turned stationery designer. After designing my wedding invitations in the summer of 2001 I decided that paper was where I needed to be! I started Marzipan inc. shortly after and worked nights and weekends for several years. I finally quit my day job with a design firm to run my business full-time in January 2004.

At Marzipan inc. our main focus is clever, hand-embellished greeting cards....think glitter, beads, rhinestones used judiciously for a subtle finish.

Last fall I launched a new photo correspondence division named Fin+Roe, after my boys. There I offer clean, modern photo cards full of color and pattern for all occasions.

What inspires me: In this day of technology i get a lot of my inspiration from the internet. The number of blogs i follow are a little out of control. Since I live in a small town in Wisconsin I don’t have a lot of great retail outlets to be inspired by, so I rely heavily on my computer. I’m super inspired by color, line, pattern, & photography.

A day in my life: My days are a mix between being a mommy, a designer, a business woman, an accountant, and everything in between. No two days are ever the same. Running a business while raising 2 boys is definitely a challenge, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I’m so excited to be a part of such a fantastic group of women and look forward to many posts to come!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Lists: Baby Cribs

I have exciting news to share with all of you! Designing Mom Shinmin delivered a baby girl on Sunday--a big congrats to her, hubby and baby! In ode to the joyous new arrival, I thought I'd post up her very stylish and thorough list of baby cribs.
*And FYI: the Amy Coe crib at the very bottom of Shinmin's list is on sale. Armed with my Babies R Us coupons, I just bought one for the nursery.

By Designing Mom Shinmin

Since we have not purchased a crib yet, I've been scouring the market for the perfect one. My husband and I want to take our time to find the perfect crib. So for now when the baby arrives, we plan on letting the creature sleep in the bugaboo bassinet (my husband and I call our baby "the creature" because he doesn't know the sex).

While searching for the perfect crib, I have 3 basic requirements.
1. It has to look great.
2. I want a convertible crib so that we can use it as a toddler bed for the years to come.
3. It has to be well built and safe.

Here are my top finds.

High End: These are some great covetables, love-to-have, but hard-to-buy.

This one is from the Ola! collection, made by Casa Kids. I love the rounded corners and the Brazilian Lyptus hardwood. $850.
This one is called Nurseryworks Studio Crib, designed by TRUCK Product Architecture. This is my dream crib. I love when function is combined with design. And when you add clever space-saving hideaway features to the product, I become dizzy with delight. This crib has been perfectly thought out and immaculately designed. Here are some of the clever features of this crib. It comes with a big drawer under the crib. I love how the changing table tucks away neatly and perfectly. And when the baby grows into a kid, the changing table panel will work as a desk. Yours for $2,100.

This ducduc Parker convertible crib displays a bright and bold Unikko fabric pattern (by Marimekko) on the side panels. You can customize your crib and choose from ducduc's wide selection of fabric patterns. $1,445.

I love this one too, also from ducduc. It looks like a grown up bassinet to me. (that is with the logic that bassinets grow up to become cribs) $1,795.

Budget: Here are some great alternatives that won't break the bank.

This is Silver Lake Crib, made by DwellStudio for Target.
For $239, you have a smart looking convertible crib, with big drawer space underneath.

The Soho Crib, also by DwellStudio for Target, comes in walnut with pink or blue drawer accents. Though I'm not a fan of pink-for-girls or boy-for-boys designs, this crib is pretty sharp. Get it at Target for $229.

This is the crib that I'm considering for myself, the Mercer Convertible Crib by Da Vinci. It's clean, it's sleek, and the white and walnut colours work well with our room. And I'm digging the bonus drawer. I've seen this sold online for $400 - $450.

This is the Sweet Pea Modern Crib, sold at JCPenny. I've seen a much more expensive version of a similar design for over $1000. So this is a great knock off, provided that the quality doesn't suffer. But for the sale price of $279, you really can't complain. The side bookshelf is a great addition too.

This is the crib that I originally had on my registry, the Westport Lifetime Convertible Crib by Amy Coe. But it's been out of stock for over a month, so I'm looking elsewhere. This is goes for $350.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Designing Moms: Meet Cathy

Okay, close your eyes and forget the fog, the clouds, the last legs of winter and imagine radiant colors, an ocean breeze and sand between your toes. Cathy's world (our latest Designing Mom) is just that: a seamless blend of her beautiful art and physical surroundings. What daily inspiration to be surrounded by the essence of her Hawaiian studio/home and family!

Name: Cathy

Family: I am a mother of a soon-to-be six year old boy named Zane.

What I do: Since my son started school last year, I've completed many more paintings--though they have become much more minimal as you can see on my website: www.truecathyliu.com. In those years of slow production I did paint many small, personalized paintings and cards for friends and family.

Where I live: Just before our son was born, my husband and I built a house in Hawaii that we usually stay at 3-4 times a year for several weeks. Our close proximity to flowing lava (less than 10 miles away) continues to invigorate my work.

What I am inspired by: I started painting "aloha" lava rocks for friends in Hawaii and have found I love to paint local rocks for friends and family here as well. I'm inspired by all living things, especially the essential life force of plants and people. The vitality of Hawaii's flora and fauna and the vibrancy of San Francisco's people continually influence my work. After my son was born, I was only able to produce one painting a year for almost 4 years.

A day in my life: A typical day for me involves getting Zane off to his carpool and coming home to paint for a few hours before I go to pick Zane up from school. Twice a week I bless myself with a yoga class.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Decorate: Bird Mobile

On the hunt for a stylish, eco-friendly mobile? This lovely Helen Ige bird mobile is laser cut from walnut plywood and hangs in Designing Mom Kate's nursery.

Decorate: Single Most Favorite Thing in My Kid's Room

I have a question for all of you: What is your favorite "thing" in your kid's room? I love that Tori's favorite "thing" has so much nostalgia attached to it.

Tori: I have so many things in my son's room that I just love but if I had to pick one favorite item, it would have to be an oil painting of a scene from Noah's Arc that hung in my room for all of my childhood. I can remember just loving the painting as a child and even learning how to draw animals and flowers based on the artist's rendering. I was thrilled when my mom brought out the vintage painting from her garage to add as the perfect touch to her grandson's nursery. We chose to hang it on the side of a built in bookcase which works really well. I know the colors are a bit loud--but that's part of the seventies charm.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Going Postal: Mailboxes for Kids

by Designing Mom Jackie

The thing about being a 3.5 year old is that you want to do everything yourself. This bodes well for many things (eating, dressing, bathing) but not so well when things like fire, water, power tools, and red paint are involved.
One of the let-me-do-it-my-self-or-you-will-be-sorry things that Graham is into these days is putting our bills, letters, and invitations in the big blue mailbox on the corner by our house. He barely reaches the thing, but loves the thrill of slipped the envelope in the big box and then – despite my best wishes – slamming the door shut.

Since I’m always looking for new educational toys for G, I decided to pair his love for the mailbox with his love of imaginary play (and spare myself the whole door slamming business). Here a few great mailbox options that I found, plus an amazing DIY project that I hope to find the time to tackle one of these days.

Felt Mailbox Set
Mailbox Fill and Spill by Melissa & Doug #3054
Creative Teaching Mailbox

Stamp & Sort Mailbox

Schylling Classic Mailbox Sorter

DIY mailbox
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