Friday, March 28, 2008

Japanese Patterns
I stumbled across these Japanese pattern books at Oh Joy today and fell in love. I'm an admitted pattern junkie, so these were just the kick I needed to start my morning. Uppercase has a great selection of titles to choose from, and you can bet the bank I'm ordering the Kids & Toys book below.

Have a great weekend and see you at the Rose & Radish blow out sale! I'll be the one fighting for the damaged print and chipped cupcake containers.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rose Garden
View from my studio door. I sat on the top of our stairs staring at the original stained glass window this afternoon while stuck on an invitation project. I'd been wading through a maze of flourishes lately and the simplicity of the glass helped reel me back in. There is a bit of damage from past earthquakes, but everything (including the leading) is original to our house. From the outside you'd never know we had this hidden gem.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wild Fermentation
Last weekend we went to a benefit for City Slickers Farms in West Oakland. We fell in love with Novella Carpenter and her guerilla farming/livestock raising story, along with many other great presenters. Two good friends, Walker and Tamar, gave a Fermentation Workshop on making your own sauerkraut, which they are both experts at in different veins. Tamar is the classically-trained kraut maker, while Walker makes kraut with more abandon like he's cooking in the wild west.

Here's a sampling of their work. On the far left is a delicious kimchi, followed by a sweet beet kraut with zucchinis, and then the "experiment gone wrong" kraut with cranberries that turned a bit alcoholic and pungent. The experimental kraut won over 1 fan in a room of 20 kraut converts, and he was rewarded with the jar to take home. Our fridge is currently filled with a smattering of kraut and kimchi now, and Ben's kombucha is back in action after he was inspired to start it up again. Most know I have mixed feelings on the kombucha front, but I'm willing to try out some new pomegranate concoctions in the works now.

This book deserves a lot of credit for kicking off the recent craze. It's on my wish list now, and I'll be starting up some yogurt projects of my own soon.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big News
I've been sitting on this news for a while, but now that things are official I'm very excited to share my big, bottled up news. In a few short weeks I'll be starting a new job as a book designer in the Children's department at Chronicle Books, here in San Francisco.

It will be a big change for me from my current bohemian freelancer world, but I've always been good at the balance beam so I plan to keep up with Miss Natalie work and some choice side projects. One of the hardest adjustments will be not working with my studio mate, Hawkeye, every day.

Here he is evaluating the kerning on an invitation I've been a bit stuck on. He has such a sharp eye, but that might be b/c he only has one.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Braille Note Card Sets
Braille note cards, wrapped up nicely in a set of 5. Thanks to our blogger friends for the lovely posts last week on our braille notebooks. All of our braille products are made of 100% reclaimed paper. Note cards are available individually on our shop, or contact me about creating a set for yourself.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Hunting through my neighborhood
On a walk with Hawkeye through my neighborhood, we spied this rare bird hiding in the grass. I wanted to toss a haute couture model in front before I snapped the picture.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finding our Way
Upon arriving back in Oakland, Ben surprised me with a braille map of our home. I love it! Our house is that small box in the center, which is incredibly hard to see in this photo. Very apt as today is all about braille--I'll be working on a braille order for my favorite online eco-shop, Branch. I've been thinking about getting a braille printer lately, and this piece may have pushed me over the edge.

Back on the shop: Growth Charts! Get them while their hot and in stock. Also, expect some more braille blank notebooks as soon as tomorrow.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Southern Skies
I'm in Dallas now and have given my camera a brief vacation, so it's just words today. The weather has been incredibly warm, and the wind is kicking up today for a rainstorm that will no doubt hit right when we step outside. I've been working on the growth charts, in between catch-up sessions of Project Runway with my sister and brother-in-law. The kids are gone this week, so we're spending a lot of time re-organizing and cleaning up. By "we" I mean my brother-in-law and myself, with my sister directing us from the couch as she's recovering from some major surgery. They are about to put their house on the market, so it's been fun and challenging to come up with staging ideas and ways to hide the kid's toys.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Growing up Deco
Growing up, my parents had a beautiful deco bedroom set that now resides in my sister's guest room. I spent many hours running around this set, banging it up and putting Rainbow Brite stickers on the vanity mirror when no one was looking. A novice gumshoe could narrow down the list of suspects for that crime quite easily. My sister knew better, plus her sticker choice would have been NKOTB at the time.

My mother kept her winter coats and fancy frocks hanging in the left door of this armoire. Whenever we played hide-and-seek, I could always be found nestled in this space, with my face pressed up against my mom's fox fur. When I open the door now, it seems so small I can't imagine how I fit, until my 4-yr old niece jumps inside and shows me her secret spot.

Tomorrow I head to Dallas to visit family and this furniture for the next five days. See you next week!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Orchard of Cotton Ball Trees

It has been a topsy-turvy week, and it's only Wednesday. Here's a moment of calm to carry us all through to Friday-- an orchard of cotton ball puff trees. We spotted these on our way out of Rumsey and had to stop to get a better look. Walking through the orchard felt like I was in a scene from my favorite movie, "Dreams" by Akira Kurosawa.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Capay Inspiration Board

Collecting and sourcing materials and colors for K+B's event this summer. Oranges from the orchard helped us draw out a floor plan. This farm is an amazing well of ideas. More photos to come in the months ahead.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Mystery House in Oakland
There is a wonderful wooden house on Claremont Ave in Oakland that is full of mysteries. All the window shades are drawn and a small sign notes a phone number to call for appointments. It's marked only by a hand-wrought metal script that reads, "Clausen".

Each of the windows has a beautiful sculptural guard, a doodle crafted from metal and patience. Poking around the ground flowers and shrubs, you find more whimsical moments of small wooden carvings hidden about.

A back studio space is completely gated off, and at the door to the gate you find this man. I have no idea what goes on behind these gates, but I prefer to imagine something wild and other-worldly. Sure, I could call the number and find out, but that would kill off a bit of the magic, don't you think?

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Capay Valley
In addition to doing a craft show this Saturday in Sacramento (3-11pm @ Bows & Arrows), we're going to be spending the weekend on a beautiful farm in the Capay Valley. Last time we were there was for New Year's eve. The weather was sunny and crisp as we walked along Cache Creek, which serves as the back boundary line of the farm.

Ringing in the New Year, we had a shockingly bright salad lined with watermelon beets and all local produce. Oranges from the orchard just outside the farmhouse door. Homemade beer from our favorite brewmaster. And a first for me--homemade eggnog from the cows two farms over. Potent stuff. Michael Pollan would have been proud.

Looking forward to meandering down the creek this weekend and combing the grounds. I am designing a wedding on the farm in June, so it'll be more of a working vacation, but I don't really consider it work as I love these kinds of projects.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thanks PoppyTalk!
The lovely Jan at PoppyTalk posted about Miss Natalie's Growth Chart today. We're very excited to be featured on her site, as PoppyTalk is one of my favorite blogs to read while sipping my morning tea. PoppyTalk is a huge supporter of Etsy shops and also has a monthly online fair at PoppyTalk Handmade. Miss Natalie has been a seller before (December market), and is looking forward to future markets at the site. Thanks, again, PoppyTalk!

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Miss Natalie's Growth Chart
After much work, Miss Natalie's Growth Charts are now available online at our Etsy shop! The growth chart comes in a wooden keepsake box measuring 7.25" x 7.25" x 2.75".

The chart contains a 4' long burlap ribbon, mounted on wooden dowels and hung with a red ribbon. With one simple nail, you can hang your chart 1' (or more) above the floor to start your measurements.

Twenty tags are included (ten in red, ten in manila) with space to mark your child's name, age, and date of measurement. Also included are twenty large safety pins in a muslin bag to secure your child's tag on the burlap ribbon. A dollop of glue at the pin head ensures a steadfast bond.

Miss Natalie's Growth Charts are now available online at our Etsy shop.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Botanical Gardens, or Human Anatomy in Plant Form
We took a whirlwind trip to the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens last week. Found this beautiful quince tree, which I hope to plant whenever I have a house of my own. The color and shape of the blooms were magnificent and reminded me of a well-wrapped present.

The succulent room was fantastical. Very Seussical. This sickle plant made me think of a stack of tongues, one on top of another. Gross and disturbing, but interesting at the same time. What if there were other plants that looked like stacks of arms, or ears, or toes?

This succulent might look like a bunch of pinky toes with heart-shaped ends. The hearts are a bit translucent, which provides a great contrast. Now I want to go back and see if I can find more body-part succulents; maybe I'll do a whole series.

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