Friday, January 30, 2009

they have to be cute

See this kid? Doesn't she look so cute?

And here she is again, looking as cute as can be, learning to put her shoes on.

And here is the mess she made in all of 30 seconds. I should have been suspicious of the quiet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Lowell Aiden DeGroot.

A baby is born

I have no picture, no name, and no official weight, but Asia had a boy this morning after a short and uneventful labor. Yippey!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

getting to know you #3

It's Sunday again, already. And that means a new interesting person to introduce you to. You may have seen her towels on this blog a few times, and I might have mentioned her at some other point (or two) but that makes her no less intriguing. Yeah, ok, so we're married-whatever. Cristina's tea towel business is sort of an accidental success, but she does a lot of other creating. Her music is really impressive, and you're going to love the music video she shot a few years back. Plus, she's turning into quite the wood worker. I'll let her tell you more. Enjoy.

please tell us who you are, and a bit about your business/art.
The Heated is a band with only one person in it (though that may change in the near future) and the tea towels I print are my band merchandise. But, since The Heated is not that well known yet, I figured it was a good idea to keep the band name off the product for now.

describe your creative/creating process.
I like for things to feel hand-drawn but I also have to use a really strong, clean image in order to screen print so my weak pencil lines don’t cut it. Normally, I’ll draw an image by hand in pencil then trace over it in ink on vellum paper, then scan that image into Photoshop, up the contrast a little then print to transparency, which I use to burn a screen. Telling you how I burn the screen would take a few pages. It’s really hard and I’m still learning.

what are your favorite places to shop?
I don’t like to shop. Is that irony?

how do you describe your personal style?
If I could get away with wearing plain black shoes, jeans, and a white button up underneath a black blazer every day, I would. I could. I should.

what is your top piece of advice for someone trying to run their own business?

I’d wanted to learn how to screen print for a long time but I had to really push myself to get around to doing it. There are always excuses to not do something. It wasn’t like I set out to start a business. I learned how to do it because it looked fun and I figured it’s a handy skill for someone in a band to have. So I would say, never stop pushing yourself to learn new things. You never know what might happen. Also, surround yourself with good people.

name five things that are a constant in your daily routine.

Shower, coffee, checking the local newspaper’s website, umm… five is a lot

what is your ideal day?
Waking up early in a good mood and going on a walk, then getting some business done until the early afternoon (screen printing, emailing, online networking, what have you). After that, play some music until dinner time. Then, make dinner with my wife and have some friends over to eat. The friends are so grateful, they help do the dishes. The end.

tell us something about yourself that we might find surprising.
Sometimes, if I’m in a really bad mood, I go into the bathroom and make funny faces at myself until I feel better.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

etsy finds

I feel a bit scattered this week, and I think this list reflects that. There's no theme, but it's a bunch of fantastic things that I'm loving right now.

French Press Coffee Cozy by pinkdixie $18

French Pet Lobster Shirt by Xenotees $20

The Simple Bag by quejimenez $220

Peppermill by woodturningcreature $125

Alder ipod Case by mjdinsmore $99.99

Spout Collective- Hen and Chicks by paigerussell $105

Icicle Necklace by marieflyfly $58

ZiqZaq-green cups for 2 by Studiotto $35

Friday, January 23, 2009


After months of drooling over my friend Alexa's photos from her many outings to Brenda's (a French Creole joint in the Civic Center area), we finally went for brunch today. Everything was delicious. From the strong chicory coffee, to the softer-than-I've ever tasted-in-my-life biscuit, it hit the spot. We were completely glutinous and ordered a flight of beingets. Be very jealous.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

new inventory

It's been quite awhile since I posted any new items in my shop. And there are some new things to announce. I'm really excited to now be using organic fleece for the backs of all loveys and blankets. Minkee is very soft, and comes in great colors, but I decided against it for two reasons- 1) it's polyester, and 2) it's way over used.

I've posted a few toddler aprons, and have started selling matching sibling sets (a lovey for baby and an apron for big brother or sister.) I'm going to have an additional size blanket (medium) but haven't had a chance to finish one just yet. Lucky me has a long weekend coming up, and I'm planning to sew until my back aches.

a day for hope

original photo by Steve Jurvetson, print by risamay $10

Sunday, January 18, 2009

getting to know you #2

Hello All. Today I'm lucky to get to introduce you to Leah of cricisis, a rather talented artist who like chairs and books (I think we could be friends.)

please tell us who you are, and a bit about your business/art.
My name is Leah Ammerman, and my business is cricicis design. I produce graphic design, illustration and paper-goods out of Boston, Massachusetts. cricicis design started mainly as a simple portfolio of freelance design work I do out of my studio at home, but when I began selling the paper goods on almost two years ago, it turned into more of a business idea...with goals! I had so many scraps of paper and leftover illustrations and ideas from jobs I was working on, I began turning those leftovers into note cards and bookplates. So a lot of the items I sell on etsy are recycled, in every sense of the word.
I specialize in note cards, boxes, hand-bound notebooks and journals, and custom bookplates. Each of these items feature clean, bright illustrations, which are drawn by hand or in illustrator. In my free time I’m trying to learn how to bind books, and print with a letterpress. I appreciate the simplicity of minimalism, penpals, mail in general, handwriting, photocopiers, drawing, painstaking repetitive tasks, and good humor.

describe your creative/creating process.
My creative process starts with a nice workspace, and naturally having lots of paper laying around everywhere I look. Many of my illustrations are of actual objects you might find in my workspace, like cats and airport chairs. I’m very influenced by my immediate surroundings. Also, like I mentioned, a lot of my note card, bookplate and notebook illustrations are often leftover sketches from other jobs that I couldn’t bear to toss. I’m glad that sometimes other people also find them charming enough to want to stick them in all their books, or carry them around in their pocket in the form of a notebook.

what are your favorite places to shop (both on and off etsy)?
Business-wise, I mainly shop at the Papersource and, and non-business-wise, my favorite is the supermarket.

how do you describe your personal style?
Clean, bright, minimal, small-scale with a big attention to detail.

what is your top piece of advice for someone trying to run their own business?

I am definitely still learning, and need more advice than I can give on running a business, so I’ll give advice that I feel applies to anyone in any circumstance: pay attention to the details. Be really organized.

name five things that are a constant in your daily routine.
I check my etsy account every day. I brush my teeth every day. I ride the 66 bus almost everyday. I try to go for a walk every day. I’m stretching it- I really don’t have many constants.

what is your ideal day?
I definitely don’t have an ideal day. My schedule is pretty flexible. When I have a lot of work to do, my ideal day is to stay at my desk, uninterrupted, all day. When I don’t have a lot of work to do, my ideal day is to goof off, go for a hike, go out for a drink, or see a band play. I appreciate days where I work incessantly because then the next day I might be able to enjoy a little more freedom and goof off. The balance between the two is really what I want…not one ideal day where a little of everything happens. It feels pretty luxurious to have such a flexible schedule…I definitely appreciate this.

tell us something about yourself that we might find surprising.
cricicis is pronounced CRICK-a-sis, and comes from a drawing I made when I was about four. It’s of my backyard and the surrounding woods. At the top I tried to write “I like to listen to the crickets” but I couldn’t spell well. The above pronunciation is my best interpretation of the word cricicis, which I think is a more interesting word than cricket.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

etsy finds

Last summer, my sister and I decided to ask our dad for some information about our family tree. We've never met most of our family on that side, and his parents died before we were born so we didn't get to hear stories from them. Now that my sister and I are talking about starting our own families, we feel a bit more curious about long lost cousins, and interesting family names. While mom was visiting over the holidays, I asked her also and it was fantastic to hear about the "ketchup brothers" (Heinz and Huntz) as well as Great-great Aunt Myrtle and her famous blackberry pie. If you haven't taken the time before, I urge you to ask someone in your family about your history. And then, go to Etsy and have someone turn those names into a piece of art.
Swirl Design Family Tree by katleminvitations $45

Treehouse Design by katleminvitations $45

Mod Geneology by ModMemento $40

Modern Abstract Interpretation by jhuggins $30

Personalized Tree Block for Kids by opusemporium $42

Logan...a Classic Family Garden by sassyfras $100

Friday, January 16, 2009

paper white

I been forcing paperwhites for going on 10 years, and every time they begin to bloom, I still get excited. I've even got Alli joining me in the tradition, and was she ever pleased when her bulb finally opened last week. They grow quickly enough that kids (and impatient adults) find them rather fulfilling. If you haven't done it before, try reading here for simple directions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday was a glorious day. Actually, it's been close to 70 degrees for the last 5 or 6 days. We spent some time playing on the deck. Unfortunately, today was all about the stomach flu, so that's all I'm going to write for now.

Alli jumps rope with a silk scarf. Does it get any more girly?

Monday, January 12, 2009

da fare

I've always enjoyed making lists. And if there happens to be a clipboard involved, I am so there, eagerly checking things off. I tend to have a list going for groceries and stuff to accomplish for any given week, and then there's the long-term goals kind of list. For the past year or so, I've even been helping Cristina with her listing, keeping her music marketing and such on track. Between work, ciuccio, The Heated merchandise managing, planning for a future family, and general "life" stuff, I've been feeling a sense of urgency to get some big lists going. It's the first time that I can remember feeling like there's so much going on that something might get forgotten if I don't write it down. Am I getting old?
Anyway, I'm not really complaining. I'm looking forward to it actually. And I bought myself a fantastic calendar which arrived in the mail today.
I know I'm not the only one who likes lists. In fact, there's an entire blog dedicated to them. Take a look here.
How about you? Are you a list maker? How do you keep track of all that you want to accomplish in a day/month/your life?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

getting to know you #1

Hello. I'm really excited about this. I just adore the work of Christa Fleming, and am glad to introduce her work to you. Her style is very clean and simple which I appreciate, not to mention minuscule. And we all know how much better things are when tiny. Enjoy.

please tell us who you are, and a bit about your business/art.
I am a graphic designer and have had my own business for over 5 years. I love being able to work from home, so I can be with my kids (Henry, 4 and Leo, 2) and my husband, who is the full time parent. We spend a lot of time in our PJs and we like it that way. I started my Etsy shop as a way to work another creative outlet into my routine. It had been years since I’d painted. I love my job, but I create things for other people all day, so the Etsy shop allows me to create whatever happens to be in my brain that day.

describe your creative/creating process.
I’m a sketcher. I sketch before I design and I sketch before I paint. The sketching sometimes only takes a minute or two, but it helps get my brain moving in the right direction. And then I like to create quickly — I’m all about instant gratification and, frankly, my mind and my creative process works best when I move fast. If I’m laboring over something, it usually means it isn’t working. Not always, but often. And the tiny paintings in my Etsy shop are the perfect medium for my need for instant gratification.

what are your favorite places to shop (both on and off etsy)? (boring answer, but damn those guys have everything)
On Etsy, some of my favorite purchases have come from:
I like to buy things for my kids, in case you haven’t noticed.

how do you describe your personal style?
Less is more. I love simplicity.

what is your top piece of advice for someone trying to run their own business?
The main thing that helped me with my design business is that I built a portfolio over the years while I was working for other people. And then slowly started building a small client list on the side. That way, when I was ready to go out on my own, I had something to get me started.

name five things that are a constant in your daily routine.
My kids & hubs
Latté #1
An online forum of moms that I have been part of for over 3 years
Latté #2

what is your ideal day?
I love doing anything with my family. Even if it’s just running errands together.

tell us something about yourself that we might find surprising.

I don’t really like chocolate.

To see/buy her goods, please go to her Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

see you again, yesterday

I've got plans, big plans for 'this humble abode." I'm officially making Saturday the etsy finds day, so you now know you can count on it being here weekly. And now, for the even more exciting news. Sunday will be our "getting to know you" day. I'm interviewing loads of creative and inspiring people and will be introducing them to you each week. Please join us tomorrow for the first one.

etsy finds

It's apparent that I've spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours on Etsy. One category that I've failed to investigate much is Bath and Beauty. Wow, I was missing out. There are flavors that sound incredibly delicious and many shops that cater to those who want all-natural ingredients. I suggest looking through some of these shops as I picked scents that appeal to me, but of course, you may like something perhaps a little more floral. Or fruity?

Cherry Tomato Garden Soap by organiccouture $6

Bergamot Mandarin Solid Perfume by YouStinkSoap $4.35

Mendhi-Olive Oil Soap by savor $5.25

Spezia Soap-Cinnamon Clove by bonghinatura $5

Almond Soap Bar by dennisanderson $5

Linen Spray by ShopRedLeaf $10

Sea Glass Shea Butter Soap by copperlily $6

Pear Creamy Soap Bar by BellaBubbleShop $5

Brooklyn Lager Lather Soap by kopah $5

Coconut Milk Glycerin Soap by amandalouise $6