Thursday, February 26, 2009

the sale has begun!

My Etsy 2-Year Anniversary sale has begun!  20% off everything in my shop, through Saturday the 28th!

cozy/cuffs are in

This giant box can only mean one thing - cozy/cuffs have arrived from Ponoko.  A few of them have already been pre-ordered, but there are 10 more up for grabs.  Find them here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

new gocco prints!

I've added my new gocco prints to my shop!  These limted edition prints are available in three different colors schemes.  Each is printed in two colors on 8.5" by 5" cardstock and all are available for $10 right here!

PS - Don't forget that the big sale starts Friday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This Friday marks my 2 year Etsy anniversary, and in honor of that occasion, I'm having a 2 day sale!  Friday and Saturday only, EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop will be 20% off!

No special codes or adjusted invoices, just stop by my shop on Friday or Saturday where EVERYTHING will be on sale.  Just my little gift to you for supporting me these last 2 years.


what I'm reading: made to stick

I'm teaching at Towson again this semester, which means back to the really long commute (at least its not every day).  I've decided to make really good use of my driving time by tackling some books that have been on my list - as audiobooks, of course.

First up, Made to Stick.  By studying everything from urban legends to advertising, authors Chip and Dan Heath (they're brothers) figured out that there are common factors in ideas that endure over time.  They've boiled these ideas down, allowing anyone to apply these principles to make their ideas more memorable.

Sticky ideas, according the the authors, are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories.  (Remembered as SUCCES.)  That in and of itself stuck with me, because I'm now able to recite this checklist without referring to the book.

This book is such a fabulous tool!  As I was listening, my brain was churning, thinking of ways to apply these principles to my business, my teaching, and my bike advocacy.  

One of my favorites quotes from the book was from Mother Teresa, "If I look at the mass, I will never act.  If I look at one, I will."  This might be my new mantra.  Every time I feel frustrated by a seemingly daunting task in front of me, I will remember this quote, and try to think of one little person or thing to move forward with.  That way, I can continue moving forward.

The authors used this quote as part of the chapter on Emotional, and yes, I'm totally using it out of context, but hey, it stuck with me.  What can you do?

Regardless, I highly recommend this book.  There is so much information, that I know I didn't absorb it all the first time around.  This is definitely worth repeated listenings.  I might even put it on while I sleep, just to give something else the chance to stick.

the place to be

In case you didn't know, Droog is opening their store in SoHo this Thursday. (thanks to Twitter and daniellexo for the heads up!)  Sadly, I won't make it this weekend, but this just adds one more thing to my city to-do list, so I feel a trip is imminent.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

wall panels

new bracelets

New bracelets available here!


I spent a really nice Sunday afternoon playing with my Gocco printer.  I thought it would be really fun to make some Gocco prints based on my designs.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback on my new work, but I understand that not everyone has $200 to spend on a lamp, especially now.  So I want to give people the option to own something I created, at a much more affordable price.  

You should see these new prints in my shop in a few days.  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a little sale!

I was going through my inventory this morning, and came across a few items from older collections.  These pieces are all for sale and available here in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm thinking about making the cozy/cuff in other colors - which is a huge step for me.  I really think of myself as the black and white girl.  So I'm posing the question to all of you - what colors would you like to see the cozy/cuff in?

Monday, February 16, 2009

the wonder that is the internet

I knew, through her wonderful comments on my blog, that Laura Crawford is a metalsmith and bicyclist from Long Beach, CA.  But my apologies to Laura, because I never spent much time browsing her blog.  Until today!

Laura's blog has led me into bike design nerd heaven.  Any post that starts, "The more time I spend on my bike, the more I'm realizing how easy it is to wind up looking like a bum." is sure to catch my attention.  Laura writes a guest column for The Epicurean Cyclist, and she found these fantastic wool arm warmers:

What a fantastic product shot!

The Epicurean Cyclist is a blog by bicycling photographer, Russ Roca - who has this fantastic idea for a bicycling media campaign.  I would love to steal it for my bike club.

Also through Epicurean Cyclist, I came across two companies selling fantastic bike gear -Velo Orange and Rivendell Bicycle Works - which has this saddle bag I am now coveting.

Ok, make that three companies - how great are these panniers by Queen Bee Creations?

Thanks, Laura!


Sometimes when I spend all day working on production, it can seem a little hard to find things to blog about.  Though I guess today I could mention how I sat down to work and my oxygen tank was COMPLETELY empty.  Which meant a trip to the welding supply shop before I could do anything.  

There you go, I did have something to blog about.  But the picture is probably similar to something I've shown before.  Lots of leaves on my bench.

And speaking of leaves, Janick of neawear was nice enough to post about my work on her blog, Creativadoration.  Thanks!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

desktop camping

I love camping AND paper models - so there's nothing I'd like more than to have this paper camping set on my desk.  

And speaking of Design*Sponge, thanks so much to Grace for posting about my new work this week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 things

Corey, Jan, and Lulu have all tagged me on Facebook to play the 25 things game, but I have a confession.  I don't like Facebook that much.  So I decided to list them here instead:

1.  I hate groundhogs.  I'm terrified of them.  When I was little, my mother told me they were vicious and could chew my leg off.  She denies it - but it obviously stuck with me.

2.  I live exactly one mile from the house I grew up in.

3.  Growing up, I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, an artist, a marine biologist, a business owner, the first woman President, and an architect.  I would still happily have any of those jobs, except marine biologist.

4.  I would go to school forever if I could go for free (and if I thought Joe wouldn't kill me for becoming a perma-student).

5.  I don't feel like I'm old enough to have kids yet, even though several of our friends already have children, and my parents were younger than I am now when they had me. I'm not sure I'll ever feel old enough.

6.  Sometimes I think I like the idea of coffee better than coffee itself.

7.  My house is always a mess, which makes me sad.  I'll probably never have one of those beautiful houses decorated with art by fabulous people.  This also poses a problem when you're trying to photograph your new home collection.

8.  I love my house, but I constantly browse real estate listings.  Its sort of a sport in my family.

9.  I married someone who is the complete opposite of me.  About the only thing we have in common is that we both like the Eagles.  (The football team, not the band.)

10.  If I had my way, I would have a home at the beach in Delaware, an apartment in Manhattan, a house in Marin County, CA, and my house in Jonestown.

11.  I come up with a new business idea about once a week.  If I had any money, I would be a serial entrepreneur.  

12.  I have zero graphic design training, but I always end up doing the design stuff for every non-art group I've ever been affiliated with.

13.  I can hold a grudge for a very long time.

14.  I don't like movies that much because I have a hard time when I don't know the ending.  I get very stressed.  I recently learned in Made to Stick that this is because knowledge gaps cause us pain.  I must have an extremely low threshold when it comes to knowledge gaps.

15.  I'm really good at math but really bad with money.

16.  I'm 27 and I'm already starting to worry about turning 30.  I don't think I've accomplished enough yet.

17.  I'm a big chicken.  I'm scared of heights and airplanes and elevators and groundhogs.  (Did I mention the groundhogs?)  But I think riding my bike makes me braver.

18.  I would rather be outside.  Except when its snowing.  Or when I'm at a craft show (No more outdoor shows for me, thank you).

19.  I don't want to limit myself to designing one type of object.  I'm pretty happy now that I've figured that out.

20.  Yesterday I was thinking I want to run the half-marathon again.  I must be a glutton for punishment.

21.  In the past five years, running has caused me a knee surgery and a stress fracture.  But no activity makes me happier.  (Riding my bike is a close second, possibly followed by making paper models.)

22.  I already have a mental list of the things I need to buy for when I have kids.  Like a new record player and an Xtracycle.  

23.  I am cold all the time.

24.  I can listen to the same album over and over again.  I'm doing it right now.

25.  I feel pressure to say something profound for this last one, but I've got nothin'.

I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to play along.


My latest Ponoko creation in black wool felt - a coffee cup cozy that doubles as a bracelet!  Available here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

happy weekend

A funny little video to kick off your weekend.  Funnier if you've ever lived in PA.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

a little secret

Pssst - the new home pieces are starting to make their way into the shop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

if only I lived next door to a J.Crew model

I was a little stuck on how to photograph the ottomans when Annie and Juliet suggested I use a model.  (Hooray for Twitter!)  Since I didn't have anyone around to model for me, I thought I'd enlist Grizzly:

Unfortunately, Grizzly isn't very cooperative when it comes to photo shoots, so I had to go to plan B:



Its so sad that Domino has gone the way of House & Garden - but I'm glad I kept all my old magazines.  They make great props!

PS - I'm working hard to get all the photography done on the new home collection so I can make everything available for sale online.  You should see them in my shop soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

what I’m reading: the art of innovation

For a long time, I always thought that if there was one company that I would absolutely love to work for, it would be Pixar. (Lately I’ve been obsessed with watching the behind the scenes footage on all my Pixar DVDs.) But after reading The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley, I’ve changed my mind. The company I’d most love to work for is IDEO.

Truth is, my goal is actually to run my own company, but fortunately for me, The Art of Innovation gives you insights how you can incorporate the IDEO methodology into your own business.

It’s also wonderfully insightful for anyone who designs objects that are used by people. One of the best chapters was the one on direct observation, which really resonated last week at the gift fair as I watched people interact with my products. Sometimes as designers, we become so familiar with our own products that we forget to consider how newcomers will respond to them. Utilizing IDEO’s observation strategies, its easier to consider the needs of our potential customers.

The chapter on hot teams made me dream of the day when I can afford to hire fabulous employees and surround myself with good people. Which reminds me of one of the concepts in Good to Great – first who, then what – meaning that the people you have in a company are more important than the products you’re making. (Actually, a lot of the ideas in The Art of Innovation paralleled the concepts in Good to Great – which only solidifies IDEO’s ability to understand what it takes to create a great company.)

And after reading the chapter on creating a workplace that facilitates innovation, I can’t wait to go home and reorganize my workspace. Plus, I’ve now got grand plans to steal space in my parents barn to set up a big space to play and test out new ideas.

The book is easy to read and full of inspiring ideas and useful action items. I’d highly recommend it.

a shameless plug

My brother Tim has joined the blogosphere, and I promised him a little mention here.  I love how he moves between computer art, animation, and film production - with lots of other things thrown in.  Check out his blog for all his inspiration and process shots.

(Perhaps in exchange for the shout out, he'll let me have one his "Roots" prints to hang in my kitchen.  Hint, hint.)

the groundhog lies

The groundhog was obviously lying, because rumor has it that its going to be nice this weekend.  Its been forever since I've been for a nice, long bike ride - and I'm looking forward to it so much I thought I'd do a little round-up of some great bike stuff I've spotted around the internet lately.

Normally, I'm such a chicken - but bike riding makes me brave - and lately I've been feeling the urge to go careening down a mountain on my bike.  Which is totally fueled by this folding bike the Bergmonch.  A folding bike thats also a backpack that makes it easy to hike uphill and bike down.  Ridden by a monk!  Watch the video for yourself and tell me you don't want one:

Bergmönch from Thomas Kaiser on Vimeo.
via TreeHugger

I love that people have been using design as a way to make bicycling more accessible.  And I love that multiple people emailed me about this light lane - a rear bike light that creates an instant bike lane behind you. 
Sadly, its only a prototype, but I'm betting a production model would sell like crazy.

Until that time, I might have to satisfy myself with the Knog Skink - such a simple, elegant solution to bike lighting.  No crazy, ugly plastic clips here.  I love it when good design meets bike accessories.

via Bike Hugger and available for purchase here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

gift fair wrap-up

I took yesterday off to decompress and relax after a long gift fair week (not to mention a stressful few weeks getting ready for the show).  

Now that I'm back, it seems like I've got even more work to do than before.  I didn't write the number of orders that I was hoping to (the show was painfully slow) but I feel like I really learned a lot in the process.  In fact, I was amazed at how much I didn't know when it came to the difference between selling jewelry and selling the new home collection.

So here are some of the things I've learned or am considering for next time, in no particular order:

Give people visual cues about the way a product is used - Buyers really didn't seem to understand what some of my items were, or how they were meant to be used.  What I think is so obviously a basket or a wall panel was not so clear to others.  I need to do a better job of staging the objects so that people immediately recognize how they can be used.

Use the booth space to create an experience/tell a story - Even though my booth was visually clean, it didn't really communicate anything special about my brand or my products.  In addition to better staging my objects, I need to create an environment for them.  There are two directions I could go with the booth - one being a home/domestic environment and the other being a focus on design.  I certainly think one commands a higher price point than the other.

I need to do a better job of communicating the ideas behind my brand - there are certain values that are important to me as a designer, such as producing goods locally in small batches.  These things make the prices higher, but can also command a higher price when communicated to the right audience.  I need to figure out a way to communicate these ideas without cheesy "made in the USA" stickers.

Make a catalog - everyone wants a catalog they can pick up and carry around with them.  The fact that I haven't done one yet is bad.  On the flip side, members of the press seemed totally ok with me sending them a digital press kit once I was home.

Ship my work - this is absolutely the last show that I drive and deliver my own work to.  It was a nightmare!

Speaking of which, I guess I should finally go unload the car...