Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Binth Studio

As promised, today we're taking a look at the studio space of Linnea, Peter, and Suzanna of Binth. Linnea is also giving a little glimpse into what a day-in-their-life looks like. I was amazed to hear that Peter created many of the piece in the studio and we're not just talking about a shelf or two, but the conference table, chairs and yes, the kitchen cabinetry! Such a beautiful space to inspire their beautiful products.

Tell us a little bit about your studio...

Our design studio is located off the Fulton Market area in Chicago, Illinois. Peter Dunham is the designer behind the look of the space. Peter has worked with private clients as well as corporate design companies such as Herman Miller, as an interior and graphic consultant. Peter is also an incredible woodworker and has designed and built many of the furniture pieces and architectural elements in our space. His use of reclaimed woods, unusual material mixes and attention to craft make our studio a unique and inspiring place to work in. Our design studio and much of Peter’s work on it, will be featured in the Fall Issue of CS Interior Magazine.

What's a Day-in-Your-Life Like?

We often have 3 or 4 different projects going on at once here. Right now Peter is working with a client as an interior consultant and furniture designer for a new home they purchased. A lot of his time is spent in the shop – below our studio Peter has a full woodworking shop that he has run for the past 10 years – designing furniture pieces and architectural elements. His time at Binth is spent on art direction and creative concepting and when we go to print, Peter is the production supervisor – his eye for detail and craftsmanship is key to the final look and feel of all our products.

Suzanna works full time as a creative director for an advertising agency in Chicago, so her time at the studio is limited to evenings and weekends. She likes to come in the afterhours to work on concepting new product and marketing strategy. Right now she and I are working on a wedding suite for a couple in England – it’s been a fun project as they are huge playing card fans and want to use imagery from our Joker Playing Card Deck as inspiration for their invitations.

I tend to run the day-to-day operations at Binth – making sure orders are getting put together, keeping track of email correspondence and helping out wherever I can in the office. When I am not involved with administration work I focus on creating illustrations for upcoming lines or for whatever project we are working on. Right now, aside from the wedding commission, I am working on illustrations for our next book and a calendar for Binth. When I have time, usually in the later afternoon, I’ve been working on sculpting the figurines for our spring release. This has been a much bigger project than we thought but I’m having a blast working on it as my background is in sculpture and it is fun to get back into it.


Chairs around conference table: Eames DCW

Lounge chair in Suzanna’s office: Eames Lounge

Painting in conference area: “Moonlight” by Anna Kunz

Conference table, shelving, office desks, kitchen cabinetry & architectural elements: Peter Dunham

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Booklist: But Who Will Bell the Cats

Children's author Cynthia von Buhler has just come out with a new book, But Who Will Bell the Cats. What I found most intriguing was how she chronicled her amazing DIY sets in the making of the book and the upstairs/downstairs world within the castle. It was truly a family affair with her mom sewing the props and her dad helping out with construction! To see how Cynthia built the incredible sets for her book, click here.

"In addition to having written this story, I was also the painter, sculptor, interior decorator, mason, gardener, and plumber of the sets. The rooms were built by hand from wood. The stone walls were formed from plaster. The floors are handmade from inlaid wood, mother-of-pearl, and plaster. The characters were painted in oils on gessoed paper, then cut out and placed in the sets. I photographed the scenes with a Nikon D300. This working blog gives you a glimpse into the process of how I created the sets and characters. I made this blog for my editor and designer so they could view my progress, but now I have opened it up for all to see. Enjoy!" - Cynthia von Buhler

Cynthia at work on the exterior of the castle where the characters live.

Cutout window panels for the bedroom. Her mother sewed curtains and a bedspread
out of vintage fabric.
A wing chair in the library.

Do I see a miniature shrimp cocktail sitting on that plate?

Vintage wine labels served as posters in the wall of the mouse's room.

Cynthia created the mini ping-pong paddles while her mother sewed the net.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Giveaway: Binth

I'm sooo excited because it's a happy Monday for everyone... Today's giveaway is a special offer to all Designing Mom readers from the talented designers at Binth! We just *heart* Binth (remember Kira's post about their adorable posters in her nursery?). They're here today to share their latest products and later this week I will be posting up a little look inside their gorgeous studio.

And the special offer you ask? Just go to their site and order any of their stationery in the next two weeks and you will recieve FREE imprinting/personalization (see an example below). Just submit your oder and then send them info via: Their cards are so great for parties, baby showers, announcements, even personalized stationery from your little one, don't miss out on this opportunity!

Tell us a little about Binth:

Binth is a design studio based in Chicago, IL. The principals are: Peter Dunham, Linnea Gits and Suzanna Bierwirth. We have created award winning work for large corporations and design companies. We came together as a group in 2005 to establish the company based on our mutual respect and enjoyment of each other’s work.

Tell us about the popular baby line at Binth:

This is the fastest growing division of our company and one we all thoroughly enjoy designing for. Our children’s division began with our designing what was to become the Binth Baby Book and has gone on to include our posters (Binth Alphabet & Numbers) , our Binth Matching Game as well as a full line of children’s cards and art prints. We are creating an ABC book for the spring of 2010 as well as reprinting (for the 4th time – yeah!), our Binth Baby Book, and due to popular request, we will be releasing the 4th Edition of this book with a new color cover as well as the classic green bunny. Our goal with all our products, but especially our children’s products, is to create original design with quality, integrity and an eye for longevity – both our Binth Baby Book and our posters have already been called “classics” by Cookie Magazine, Blueprint Magazine and many of the parenting design blogs – a great compliment!

Any new exciting products you're coming out with?

For the spring of 2010 we are introducing a small line of limited edition white & black porcelain figurines. We have a series of birds, poodles, rabbits and chickens – attached are two clay models (these are not the final figurines, but working models for the cast) to give an idea of what the figurines will look like.

We also introduced our Ready-To-Hang, single letter prints in June of this year and have had a great response from our customers as well as press. Look for them to be featured in the October issue of Parenting Magazine.

Thanks for sharing Linnea! We'll be back this week with a tour of their studio...

Make: Journals

by Designing Mom Jackie


4" x 6" index cards

2 or 3 pieces of 8.5" x 11" graph paper (or any other scrap paper)


pencil or butter knife

optional: computer printer or rubber stamps

1) If you want text on the cover of the journal you have a few options. You can hand write it, use rubber stamps, cut out letters/words from magazines/newspapers, or simply print the words/images directly onto the index cards directly. I used clementine font for mine and after a few tries, got the formatting perfect.

2) Fold each piece of graph paper into quarters and cut along the fold lines.

3) Place the pages together and fold.

3) Use a pencil or butter knife to create a consistent crease with all the pages.

4) Fold your index card in half and smooth down the left hand side with your pencil/knife.

5) Bind the book together with a standard stapler. I suggest three staples - one on each end and a third in the middle. Make sure the the smooth side of the staples are on the outside of the book so they don't catch on anything.

* For another variation on this project, readers can check out these postcard journals from Design Sponge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Binth Giveaway

Stay tuned Monday for a special offer/giveaway from the talented trio at Binth!

Friday Fotos: Jumi's Cupcake

Jumi got her first taste of cupcake at her birthday but only politely picked at it before pushing it away. What a little lady she already is.

Happy first birthday Jumi!

Friday Fotos: Welcome to the World...

Christine is my go-to-gal whenever I am running low on stock with candles at the boutique. Just two weeks after delivering I thought for sure I'd be talking to her stand-in, but nope, Christine was processing my order within hours (a mom after my own heart!). She just had her baby girl, Natalie Bettina, and as you can see she's a beauty. Congrats Christine!

Have a happy Friday and weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's in My Bag: Erika's Day Bag

by Designing Mom Erika

I gave up on carrying a small purse years ago (even before I had S) because I always carry a sketch book and pencils and reading material with me wherever I go. I don't like to sit and do nothing, and neither does my son, hence the toys that are in my bag at all times.

Here are the contents of my Delphine tote bag:

2. Pencil case from Paper Chase
3. Ticket stub from Objectified
4. Bright yellow cardigan from Old Navy
5. Granola bar
6. Kiehl's bag with mom essentials inside (wipes, mints, hand sanitizer, rubber band for my hair, lipstick, a mirror)
7. Favorite green mechanical pencil
8. A limited edition Delphine letterpressed business card holder
9. Gum
10. Match Box cars
11. A Monster truck
12. My business card
13. Favorite pink pen. I use it for editing
14. "Fruit" snacks for S
15. Orla Kiely wallet
16. iPhone

Make: Photo Keychain

by Designing Mom Liberty

My daughter is starting kindergarten this coming week - We've had a great time doing her school supply shopping - buying new boxes of 64 crayons, folders with kitty cats on them, and a new backpack. I'm a self-diagnosed addict to and all the various ways that one can use their services, but this one has been great for marking our bags and keeping things safe.

We use the keychains available at as zipper pulls for the kids' backpacks, complete with a photo of the child, their first name, and mommy's cell phone number. In the back of my mind, I also consider it as another way to be assured that if anything ever happened, there's another way to identify and connect my kids and me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In the News...

We just love and some of the Designing Moms are featured there this week.

Above: Remember this post on nursery decor by Guissell on our site? What a wonderful idea it was to preserve that itsy bitsy white wrap from the hospital.

Above: Reader Kristie shared her own adorable version.

And also featured are Jackie's amazing flashcards... Her projects are always sooo creative!

Make: Felt Cookie

I absolutely love today's Make by Rebecca of Bug Bites Playfood. Sewing confounds me, but thanks to Rebecca's thorough tutorial I just might have a chance... Thanks so much for sharing with us Rebecca!

Everyone loves cookies! Especially Little Chefs, so here is my chance to share the love & give you the opportunity to make your own cookies! These are super easy, fun & infinite variations are out there for color & design combinations. Have fun!


Cream Felt
Pink Felt
Cream Thread

Pink Thread
Poly Fill or Wool Stuffing

1. Cut out 2 Cream felt (2 1/2") circles; Cut out 1 (2") Pink Felt circle, scalloping the edges however you like.
2. Pull out an arm's length of pink thread. Double up the thread so it is 2 strands thick. Tie a knot in the end & thread it on the needle. Starting on the underside of the cookie, bring the needle up through the 2 layers & back down. Continue along the edge of the pink felt in this whip stitch. Continue until you reach the beginning point & tie off the thread underneath the cream felt so the knot is not visible.

3. Pull out another arm's length of cream thread (Brown thread shown here for visibility). Double up the thread so it is 2 strands thick & tie a knot in the end & thread it on the needle. Insert the needle between the 2 layers & bring it up through the top layer (frosting layer) only - this is so the knot is hidden between the 2 layers.

This seam will be finished with a Blanket Stitch, which looks nice & neat, but you may finish with the same Whip Stitch as used with the frosting along this edge if you prefer.

Confused about a Blanket Stitch? See this tutorial from Primrose Design

Continue the Blanket stitch until you are about 1-2 inches from the starting point. Stop here.

4. Now take your Poly Fill stuffing & fill the cookie.

5. After the cookie is filled, continue your Blanket Stitch & close up the hole. Tie a knot at the starting stitch & take the needle through the middle of the cookie, bringing it out anywhere & cut the thread so it tucks back inside.

You are finished! Looks great, you did it & are on your way to being a Master Felt Pastry Chef. There are endless variations of frosting & cookie color & design combinations to play with. Try different shapes, colors & toppings for each cookie. Think felt, beads, french knots, etc...

I'd love to see what you come up with! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Creative Life: Tori Higa Stationery

This is for those of you who've emailed recently inquiring about some of the inspiration behind designs of the "stationery" Designing Moms. Capturing sentiments within 4x6 windows calls for a certain balance between all out whimsy and restraint. And Tori's beautiful work always seems to possess the right combination of the two.

by Designing Mom Tori

On my handmade baby and motherhood line:
I was inspired to design this collection because I wanted to celebrate motherhood (specifically for new moms and moms-to-be). I know that I always want to send a pregnancy card or a new mom card to friends because it is such a fun and unique time in life. I also wanted to design traditional motifs for a new baby that have a vintage yet fashionable twist. All of my handmade cards are inspired by the vintage fabric that I collect. Sometimes I see a pattern and just know that it needs to turn into a greeting card accent.

Inspiration for baby announcements on
For the last several years I have been designing greeting cards that are handmade with vintage fabric embellishments. So I was inspired to try to bring some of those elements into my photocards for I drew inspiration from textile designs, cross stitch, and sewing. I also liked the theme that all children are gifts and sent from above. I tried to portray those sentiments as well. And lastly, I tried to design things that I personally would want to send to friends and family when we announce our next little bundle of joy.

Shop: Knit Log Pillows

I saw these fantastic birch and cottonwood log pillows that are knit
via the Urban Outfitters blog. Just perfect for your little woodland creatures...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Decorate: Liz Eeuwes

Liz Eeuwes is a designer based in Scotland with the coolest "topographical" rugs! What a posh little hybrid rug for the living room...I can only imagine the lucky Lego helicopters and Matchbox cars that get to whiz over them.

A Creative Life: Bug Bites Playfood

I've always thought the best stocked play kitchens were filled with felt made foods. Not just because they are irrestible to look at, but because they are also eco friendly. Rebecca of Bug Bites Playfood is so creative with the little foods that she makes, just check out those little chocolates (click here to see the full collection). And be sure to check back later this week when she show us how to "Make" a felt cookie of our own!

Tell us about yourself:
My name is Rebecca Haacke, I am from the small but beautiful mountain town of
Wallsburg, Utah. I am blissfully married to my husband whom is also my best friend
& we have two amazing young children. I am an artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (3D)
degree from BYU-Hawaii. I love pottery, sculpting & watercolor painting & wish there
was more time in the day to do it all.

How did your business start?

I started Bug Bites Play Food 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter.
It was during the middle of the lead-toy recalls, & I was tired of throwing out my
son's toys in fear of lead contamination. I can't stand idle hands, so I thought I
would make him (& her) some toys that I knew were safe, fun & educational.

I love the idea that children can learn healthy eating habits through play, so I would sit in
the evenings "cooking up" new foods & thought it would be great to offer these to
other children - hopefully to rid toy-boxes around the world of mass-produced,
junk plastic toys, so I opened up my etsy shop & started selling.
Related Posts with Thumbnails