THE WORK WE DO: Maia McDonald Smith

COMMENTS: 7

 

design  THE WORK WE DO: Maia McDonald Smith

The Work We Do” is an interview series that asks creatives with daydream-worthy jobs how they got where they are—and what it’s like to live a day in their shoes. This week, I’m thrilled to feature graphic designer and art director Maia McDonald Smith.

I first became familar with Maia through Pinterest. (And, with 1.8 million followers to her feed, I’m guessing some of you know her that way, too.) It was only much later, after realizing how often I was repinning her picks, that I found my way over to her blog: Conundrum (at the time, “Design Conundrum”). With her warm voice and uniquely crafted career, she seemed like just the person to ask about her path.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Maia McDonald Smith

You’re a freelance graphic designer and an art director, too—how did you get started in those fields?

My first job out of school was with shopbop.com. I worked there for over four years. After that, I moved to the Bay Area to work for Williams-Sonoma. Both of those jobs taught me a lot, especially about working with big teams and how larger corporate companies function. Ultimately, though, I wanted something smaller and more creative, which is why I decided to go freelance. Since being independent I’ve been lucky enough to work with clients like Cuyana, Apartment 34, Darby Smart, and of course Rue Magazine. I’ve been Art Director at Rue Magazine for over two years now and I love it.

That’s an impressive resume. Did you go to design school?

I did study design in school, and I loved it. School projects can be so fantastical and you usually don’t have a client to keep in mind, so you can really do whatever you want. It’s a bit of a reality check when you start doing real work, but my experience in school was well worth it.

Did you always know you’d be a designer? What did you dream about doing as a little kid?

Doing something creative was always at the top of my list, but I changed my mind a lot. When I was in elementary school, I thought I was going to be an Olympic swimmer. In high school, I kept on going back and forth between being an artist, a designer, or something in politics. In the end, I think I went in the right direction.

I’d love to know what a typical day in your life looks like—or are there no typical days?

I don’t really have a typical day. I spend a lot of time at my computer designing for upcoming issues of Rue, answering emails, or posting to social media and my blog.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Maia McDonald Smith

You’re a new mother—congratulations! She’s adorable. How are you navigating the balance of work and family?

I’m still kind of figuring that out. Working from home has been really helpful, and my husband is a stay-at-home dad. So we just tag team it, and when something works we just hope it still works next week. Things are always changing, and I’m learning to try to just go with the flow.

What do you find is the hardest part of what you do? Do you ever miss your non-freelance days?

Since I work for myself, it’s always the not-so-fun stuff that’s most challenging: getting payment from clients, dealing with insurance, remembering to save money for taxes. Those are the things I miss about working for a bigger company. But overall, the freedom of working for myself is totally worth having to deal with those things.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to become a designer or an art director?

I think going to school for design is really beneficial. There are people who succeed who aren’t trained, but you can gain so much from your peers and teachers in a school setting. Also, paying attention to design in your day-to-day life and thinking about what you like or what you would improve is a good way to hone your skills.

Love that. What makes you happiest about the work you do?

I love the moment when I get a brand new project or client and my mind is swimming with ideas. It’s always the beginning of a project that inspires the most creative energy—the challenge, then, is being able to sustain some of that energy until it’s finished.

What inspires you creatively? What keeps you driven?

My family, food and cooking, social media (like Pinterest and Instagram), traveling, and being in nature always help to inspire me.

What’s next? What are you working on now that you’re most excited about?

I can’t give too many details yet, but I have some cool projects coming up for both Rue and other freelance clients. I’m just getting back to a full-time schedule after a difficult pregnancy and then being on maternity leave. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Maia McDonald Smith

Thank you so much, Maia! It’s always interesting to me to hear whether those who choose to leave corporate jobs (albeit creative ones) are happier working for themselves. I’d be curious to hear from readers who have experience on both sides. Visit Maia’s website, Conundrum, for more, and find archived issues of Rue Magazine

Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series. Read more about the inspiration behind it. Know someone who’d be great for “The Work We Do,” or have a request for a profession you’d love to know more about? Email amuirbruhn@gmail.com.

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THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

COMMENTS: 10

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

The Work We Do” is an interview series that asks creatives with daydream-worthy jobs how they got where they are—and what it’s like to live a day in their shoes. 

Today’s interview is with Eva Jorgensen of the letterpress stationary company, Sycamore Street Press. Eva was one of the first people I met “in real life” that I had initially made contact with through blogging (here’s hers). She and her husband, Kirk, were in Brooklyn for the 2010 Renegade Craft Fair and were expecting their first child. We’ve kept in touch ever since (she designed Skyler’s birth announcement) and it’s been incredibly inspiring watching them grow their business (and their family) since that summer. 

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

Give us a little background about your history as an illustrator. When did you start Sycamore Street Press?

My mom is an artist, and I grew up admiring her creations and painting alongside her. After trying out several other more “practical” majors in college, I applied to the art program because I couldn’t not do art. I ended up getting a BFA and MFA in printmaking. I loved the way it walked the line between fine art and graphic arts, and I loved the communal aspect of the printshop. I spent a lot of time in the letterpress studio during grad school and when I finished in 2007, the modern letterpress renaissance was really taking off. I noticed that, and started to wonder about starting my own letterpress stationery company. I brought it up with my dad, who’s an entrepreneur, and he encouraged me and gave me the confidence to go for it.

At first, I thought it would be a little side business, but within six months, it had become a more-than-full-time occupation. I would draw, draw, draw, and then print for days on end—sometimes for as long as twelve hours a day cranking the press back and forth. (My right arm and shoulder got really strong—I loved it.) Six months after that, my husband Kirk and I made the decision that he would join me full-time. It had always been a dream of ours to work together, and we realized that Sycamore Street Press was our way to make that happen.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press
design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

Can you elaborate on the term “hand drawn life,” that you reference on your website? It’s such a beautiful conceptI’d love to know more about how you embody what it means.

To me, a “hand drawn life” is one that is lived intentionally. It’s edited down to the most important things. It’s full of simple beauty and joys. It’s the kind of life Kirk and I try to lead and create for our kids.

What skills did you have to learn—if any—in order to launch your business?

So many. I had the artistic skills, luckily, having gone through all those years of art school and really honing my drawing style and creative process there. I had passion. I also knew how to work hard, thanks to my parents. But I had absolutely no business skills or knowledge, unless you count the lemonade stands and Girl Scout cookie experiences from my childhood. I had a lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn. But I feel I’ve come a long way, too. Things like branding, trade shows, wholesale, profit and loss, bookkeeping, trademarks, copyrights. The list could go on and on. Looking back, a minor in business or accounting would have been really helpful. And if I’d there would have been a class about how to start a successful stationery business, I could have skipped over a lot of my early mistakes. Speaking of which, I’ll be launching an online course called “Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong” on August 4th, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I wish had been available when I began my company.

Did you always know you wanted to be an illustrator?

I had lots of different ideas—from children’s book illustrator to travel magazine editor to art professor—but it always involved doing something creative.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

Take us through a typical day in your work life.

Every day, week, season, and year are different. Over the years, though, I’ve been able to spend a bigger and bigger percentage of my time on the creative end of things. At first, I did everything: shipping, packaging, printing, sales, customer service. Now I’ve handed over all those tasks to other team members, and I focus on the creative—the design, social media and PR, and the big picture stuff. Of course, I still have to spend some time doing administrative tasks, but I’m trying to cut them out and prioritize as much as possible. Time is the most precious commodity.

To give you a rough idea, here’s an outline of a “typical” day at work:

9:30 AM – Get to work. Check in with the team.

9:45 AM – 12:30 PM: Emails, social media, and administrative tasks. My mornings seem to slip away so quickly while working on a bunch of smaller tasks. Sometimes I’ll let all those things slide, though, so that I can get right to work on whatever my big current project is.

12:30 PM – 1 PM: Lunch. I’ve been trying (not always successfully) to take lunch away from my desk.

1 PM – 5 PM: This is my most productive time of day. I try to focus on bigger creative projects: illustrations for new products, a blog post, creating course content, etc. Often, I’ll have one project going myself, while I also go back and forth with Allison, my design assistant, on something we are working on together.

7:30 PM – 10 PM: Once the kids are in bed, I’m back at my desk. Often I’ll pick up where I left off on a bigger project. Other times, I’ll dig into emails, social media, scheduling, or other ongoing tasks.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press
design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

What are some of the more challenging aspects of your job and how do you navigate them?

If you’ve never owned your own business, you might be surprised at how much work it takes. New entrepreneurs say this over and over again: “I knew it would be a lot of work, but I didn’t realize it would be this much.” Your work becomes your hobby. And that’s okay, because you love it. (At least I do, and you should to, if you’re starting a business!)

If you have kids, you often have to work nights when they are in bed in order to get everything done. If you don’t have kids, it’s easy to end up spending every waking minute working. I know I used to. I always wish I had more time, and that’s something I’ll always struggle with. But being a mother and an entrepreneur has really taught me how to prioritize, and I’m grateful for that.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to do what you do?

Figure out what your aesthetic is, how it’s different from what’s already out there, and then really hone in on that. Having a distinctive style and remaining focused on that will really help you get noticed. Also, know that it’s going to be a lot more work than you ever imagined, and be prepared to let a lot of other things in your life go.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

Lastly, what do you love most about what you do?

I love the life that it’s created. Kirk and I get to work together. I take Fridays off to be with my kids (Kirk does the same on Wednesdays). I’m able to surround myself with creative people. It’s not a perfect life, but still, it’s a beautiful life.

I’ll always remember the night Kirk and I decided to take this path. It was Thanksgiving, and we were in Milwaukee for a craft fair, and we were walking through the dark city streets while talking about the future. Kirk was in school for Slavic Linguistics and had been planning on becoming a professor. But we’d really been enjoying working together at Sycamore Street Press, which had been growing, and we realized this might be our chance. I’m so glad we made the leap.

design  THE WORK WE DO: Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press

Thanks so much, Eva!  It resonates with me that it takes a second love—a truly competing interest (like family)—to force you to learn how to prioritize. Sometimes it would be simpler if it didn’t, wouldn’t it?  Thank you for showing us how you work toward a balance. And for the inspiration to take a risk! 

Visit Sycamore Street Press. Photos by Jessica Peterson.

Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series! Read more about the inspiration behind it. Know someone who’d be great for “The Work We Do,” or have a request for a profession you’d love to know more about? Email amuirbruhn@gmail.com.

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THE WORK WE DO: The Wonder Jam

COMMENTS: 20

design  THE WORK WE DO: The Wonder Jam

It was just over a year ago when I first heard about The Wonder Jam: Allie Lehman announced on her blog that she and her husband, Adam Lehman, were starting a new business together to help entrepreneurs “be the brand of their dreams.” I was just starting to think about how to make writing Hither & Thither viable (financially) and needed some advice. I was particularly excited to find a team that might be able to consult on design as well as all of the stuff I’d until then ignored, but wanted to learn about (SEO? Alt Tags? What?). And before I knew it, we were redesigning the site!

It’s been such a pleasure working with them; I told Adam the other day that he could easily be the volunteer coach on a kids’ basketball team—their enthusiasm is wonderful. But what’s really amazing is, just over a year later, getting to follow all of their success. So I wanted to ask them about how they took that leap to create the thing of their dreams. 

To start, we’d love a little background about your history at The Wonder Jam. How did the idea for this business come about?

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Julia Child: The ultimate entrepreneur?

COMMENTS: 23

design  Julia Child: The ultimate entrepreneur?

Do you know what you’d like to be doing, career-wise, in five or ten years? (Or now, perhaps?)

Some certainly do. I have a feeling that, for my part, the future hold many roles. There was a time when I thought I would be an academic: I finished two master’s degrees, and the coursework for a PhD, but realized more years put toward a thesis wasn’t a good investment if you don’t want the end-goal. Then we moved to New York and I dabbled in magazines a bit before starting at the bottom at a mid-size book publisher. I took an internship, and worked as an editorial assistant for a few years, eventually working my way up to Editor before leaving to stay home with Hudson. Since then, blogging has become a part-time job, and so I get to put on quite a few creative hats: freelance writer, photographer, publisher, advertiser… somedays it feels like one big internship. It’s challenging and dynamic, humbling but full of possibility—it can be very rewarding. And it has opened a lot of doors—though it’s hard to know which ones to step through right now. I am so lucky to get to stay home with Hudson and Skyler these years (my primary role is caretaker). But I imagine that one day—sniff, sniff—they’ll go off to school and I’ll be happy to build on this media experience.

But while I’m very happy blogging at the moment, I do imagine that the role will evolve. So I’m especially fascinated whenever I hear about men and women who create a job for themselves—often after devoting a number of years to parenting, and sometimes simply to fuel a creative need.

Julia Child, of course, is first to come to mind when thinking of inspiring self-starters. She took her first cooking lesson at the age of 32! There’s a great article on Inc. with her “Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success,” my favorite being the author’s distilled: “Don’t wait till everything is perfectly organized to start a new project. You have to learn along the way.” 

Later today, I’ll be introducing another new blog series that you’ll find appearing regularly on Hither & Thither. “The Work We Do” will feature creatives who work in fields many people aspire to, and which will ask each person how (and why, and when) they started doing what they do. I love getting a look behind the scenes. I hope you will, too!

Where do you stand on this? Are you in your dream job? What was your trajectory? Be sure and check back later today and join the conversation!

[Photo of Julia Child taping The French Chef via Biography.com, courtesy of Paul Child.]

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Paperman

See America

COMMENTS: 15

uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America

Have you heard of the Creative Action Network? They “run crowdsourced campaigns around causes, inviting artists to build collections of original, visual, meaningful content.” I learned about it by way of Hannah (who shared their Covering the Classics campaign) and Shayna (who designed that beautiful Muir Woods poster above).

In this case, over 185 artists created over 600 poster designs highlighting natural landmarks and treasured sites in a campaign to support the National Parks Conservation Association and revive the legacy of the New Deal (and New-Deal-era posters). Anyone can submit artwork to a campaign and 40% of profits from work sold is given to the artists. What a great idea!

These are some of my favorites (you can browse by state).

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Our Birth Announcements

COMMENTS: 15

family design  Our Birth Announcements

Last month we got to send out these lovely letterpress birth announcements, welcoming Skyler, to our friends and family. My friend Eva, at Sycamore Street Press, offered to design them for us as a baby gift.

I can’t believe how different our little girl looks every day—this photo was taken when she was almost two-weeks-old. (Though she sort of looks like a wise old soul, doesn’t she?)

family design  Our Birth Announcements

I first met Eva (in person) at my first visit to a Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. (I think she was pregnant at the time with her lovely daughter, Ingrid, and we were all melting in the summer heat.) She and her husband, Kirk, founded the paper company with the mission of a “hand-drawn life” and have fashioned many beautiful things up in the mountains of Utah.

This year they announced two new collections—complete wedding suites and animal return address stamps—and there’s a new baby collection on the horizon. Actually, I was excited to learn that they are releasing a line of gift wrap and baby cards inspired by Skyler’s birth announcement! Be sure to have a look.

Good news: Sycamore Street Press is giving Hither & Thither readers 25% off everything in their shop with the code Hither2014, through May 7th! And contact them if you’re interested in custom work.

P.S. Our first week home with Skyler.

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Happy six years, Hither & Thither!

COMMENTS: 42

travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!

It’s been a fantastic year. I can’t believe this past Sunday marked six years of blogging on Hither & Thither. It continues to inspire me—owing so much to the feedback and comraderie I get from readers, but also thanks to the joy of having an outlet to practice skills like writing and photography and to the joy of documenting and sharing personal milestones. I would have never expected this to become the rewarding work that it has, when Aron and I first started building the space together on that cold January day. (He wrote the first post! With no photos!)

I really enjoyed looking back over highlights last year, at five years, and hoped you might again, too. (Warning: it’s a long one!) …

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Hither & Thither has a brand new look!

COMMENTS: 20

design  Hither & Thither has a brand new look!

Hither & Thither has had a few small updates over the years (nearly six years now to be precise), but I’m so excited to finally reveal a completely fresh, redesigned site! Hooray! This was long overdue.

A big thank you to Allie Lehman and Adam Lehman of The Wonder Jam for all of the hard work they put into the design and, behind the scenes, for their counsel; I was thrilled to collaborate with such a friendly and talented duo. And thank you to Matt Hartgering for the awesome site development.

design  Hither & Thither has a brand new look!

I just love how much more intuitive it feels to me (and I hope to you, too). Categories along the top—Family, Travel, Design, Style, Home, Food & Drink, New York, and California—can all be searched visually. (And, soon, so too will be the Travelogues that are linked in the right sidebar.)

Here are a few more of my favorite new features:

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Wayfare Magazine

‘Tis the season: holiday cards!

COMMENTS: 13

design  Tis the season: holiday cards!  design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

Hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about holiday cards. Seriously, where did the last ten months go?!

Ever since I heard Minted CEO Mariam Naficy talk about starting and growing the online stationery’s business at Alt SF (she was completely inspiring), I’ve been curious about the brand. Minted sent me a box of samples from their new holiday collection and I was really impressed! Now I find myself favoriting far too many designs on their website for our holiday cards this year. (There’s something like 700 holiday card designs—all beautiful—so for a non-committer like myself it’s going to be a tough choice.)

I’ve started going through Lightroom to tag photos that include all three of us as well as my favorite ones of just Hudson. (Because then you can then test a sample photo in various designs and I’m thinking that will help me narrow things down.)

It’s funny: I used to be self-conscious about sending photo cards (sounds counter-intuitive for a blogger, right?)… but I realized how much I love seeing others’ pictures and reading their updates. They’re the best! And now that we have a cute boy who looks different every month, I really look forward to sending them out! Frankly, I also love it when people send those family update letters, but I figure everyone’s heard enough about our goings-on for that.

design  Tis the season: holiday cards!  design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

Looking through the site, I was really impressed with how well Minted tries to cover all family make-ups and practices. Classic or modern, foil printed or letterpress, religious or generically holiday… you can search by New Year’s cards, pet cards, newlyweds, new baby and so on. And many cards can even have the number of photos, the colors, and even the phrases customized.  For example, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year can just as easily be swapped for “Merry everything and Happy always” (like this one). There are postcards, flat cards, folded cards, extra-thick cards, or these cute mini books—which would be awesome for families with multiple children… or a couple sharing wedding photos with far-flung family.

design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

I haven’t picked out our cards yet (and always like saving them for mailing out), but perhaps the most wonderful bit of all? I get to import all of my addresses and they’ll pre-address the envelopes for free. Hand-writing them or even trying to figure out how to put the darn labels in the printer and get them centered and right-side-up usually takes me about a million years so this was what really sold me. Who knows? It may mean I’ll actually have the energy to write some personal notes!

Do you send holiday cards? Do you try to get them out right away? Or do you wait to see who sent one to you? (Confess! I know some of you do!)
Good news: Minted is offering $25 off + free shipping through 11/11 with the code JOY25FS.

This post is sponsored by Minted. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Hither & Thither.

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An 80-foot slide. In their house.

COMMENTS: 11

new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.
new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.

I can’t get over this: the David Hotson Architecture group designed an 80-foot slide inside a New York City penthouse, called Skyhouse, to take residents from the attic (where a hole is cut into a vertical glass partition) to the ground floor, four levels down.

The whole place is incredible—the views alone are enough to make your jaw drop, nevermind that there’s also a 50-foot climbing wall on a central beam that extends up from the living room and a stainless steel slide! The building itself dates to 1896, a beaux-art skyscraper with a dramatically pitched roof, but you’d never know it from the interior.

new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.
new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.

Can you imagine?! The designer notes that guests have the option of using yellow cashmere blankets to speed-up the ride down. I guess if it’s too much, you always have to the the option to get off on the third floor. Eek!

P.S. My favorite NY real estate storyModern architecture in Manhattan, and an underground house in the Swiss Alps.

[All photos via David Hotson, seen first on Handmade Charlotte]

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A new bike for Aron

COMMENTS: 10

family design  A new bike for Aron

I have been so happy with the Linus Dutchi I bought last Fall. It’s just such a pleasure to ride, with long front and rear fenders and an internal gear box, and I love it’s classic look.

So when it came time for Aron to get a bike for himself (we’ve been coasting along on a loaner from his family up until now), he chose a cream Linus Roadster for himself. You really can’t live in Davis without a bicycle; you’d be missing out on one of the great joys of this town. So you may as well get yourself something you love.

family design  A new bike for Aron

family design  A new bike for Aron

I made him let me take a few glamour shots on his new bike yesterday afternoon, on our ride through the arboretum. Isn’t the UC Davis Redwood grove gorgeous, by the way? It’s my favorite little stretch of the bike loop that runs around the campus arboretum.

Linus Bikes—and their awesome bike accessory shop (NB: Linus gave us a generous discount on our new bike, but we would have chosen the brand regardless and I would recommend them without hesitation.)

P.S. Hudson’s helmet and front-seated child seat.

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Holiday highlights

Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens

COMMENTS: 7

travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens
travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens

While walking in the 2e arrondissement on our recent trip to Paris, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of this vertical garden.

This past April, on the rue des Petits-Carreaux, Patrick Blanc installed “L’Oasis d’Aboukir.” I did a little digging around and found this collection of press about the French botanist’s projects, as well as a hardcover book, The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens

Amazing, isn’t it?

Here are some other things catching my eye of late:

Abbey’s cheat sheet to Paris with a 4-year-old. (Confession: with major caveats, on the whole, we found Paris to be pretty toddler-unfriendly. More on that another time.) We actually met up with Abbey while there!
Loving the cacti images in this roundup. I think this is more-or-less the aesthetic vision I have for our home. (Maybe we should go shopping at this store, which looks similarly lovely.)
This Skincom Solartenttravel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens looks perfect for protecting baby-fresh skin at the beach. Thanks for the tip, Bridget!
Lovely branding work for a bed & breakfast in Cape Cod. Makes me want to go. (Or rather, go back!)
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I’d love something from this collection.
Love finding brilliant picnic bag design. (Now we just need the bicycle bar cart!)
While I’m still most looking forward to seeing new releases Before Midnight and This is the End right now, I love it when Sofia Coppola comes out with a new film–if only because we get to see more interviews and pretty photos. (And yes, I appreciate the irony of saying that about a film/filmmaker trying to comment on celebrity obsessed culture.)
This video of Kids Trying New Foods is pretty awesome.
And finally, I got the date of Manhattanhenge wrong again, if you happened to catch my briefly posted post yesterday. Whoops. (I think I do nearly every year). But you can see why I think you need to check it out.

Happy Father’s Day to you and yours! And congratulations to all of the graduates! Have a great weekend!

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Exploration (and some Friday links)

COMMENTS: 14

design  Exploration (and some Friday links)

Elisabeth Thurston Fraser and Miya Hirabayashi are about to release the inaugural print edition of Equals, “Exploration,” with essays and photographs devoted to cartography, uncharted territory, nostalgia, and souvenirs. For almost a year, they’ve been publishing contributed work on their site, the Equals Record (you can read my essay, “Being Camera Ready,” there), and have decided to create a new publishing platform that can really showcase content from up-and-coming writers, photographers, and illustrators. It looks beautiful and I wish them much luck!

I’ll be sharing ideas for Mother’s Day gifts next week and this would make a nice addition to the list. (You can buy the book at a reduced rate or purchase a limited edition gift package here.)

Here are some other things of note lately…
New toys
Conversion
What a wonderful wor...
Still House
Patrick Blanc Vertic...

Go play with your food

COMMENTS: 6

food drink design  Go play with your food
food drink design  Go play with your food

While I tend to use Instagram in completely predictable ways (look at this cute kid!), some people are using the forum to showcase far more creative endeavors. Malaysian artist and architect Hong Yi (aka Red) developed and photographed a new art piece to share each day of the month of March, using only food. When I first saw bits of the series on Handmade Charlotte, I think I may have gasped. She was interviewed about the project on DesignBoom and I found it fascinating to think about how this endeavor pushed her knife skills: “my ‘creativity with food’ series has helped me push the limits of my creativity, and has taught me to work within the confines of a very small area—my previous works range from 1 x 2 to 3 x 4 meters. I’ve learned to slice, dice, stir, boil…who would have thought I’d need that to do art!” It would be a fun challenge, wouldn’t it? To develop a project like this for a set period of time and see where your talent leads you?

I’m particularly fond of the squid and ink composition that evokes Moby Dick—made with just one material.

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Life’s Measuring Stick

COMMENTS: 15

family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

I knew as soon as we moved into our house that I wanted to track Hudson’s growth on a wall or door-frame. But I’m not 100% positive that this will be the home we live in all of the years he’s under our roof. I looked at a lot of options for wall-mounted growth charts, thought of making my own, and landed on Baum-Kuchen’s Life’s Journey Measuring Stick. We’ve tacked it up on the inside of his closet door, so that it hangs vertically, but you could even lay it out on the floor to measure each month or year and then fold it back up to safely store.

Yesterday, when I told Hudson “You’re 21 months old today!” he knew just what to do. I couldn’t believe it! He ran over to the door-frame, backed up against it, and waited for me to place a book on his head. He tried to steal my Sharpie (frightening thought), which made me think I must have let my hand slip. But no, in fact he grew roughly another inch last month!

family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

Slow down, kiddo!

[top photos via Baum-Kuchen; bottom from my iPhone]

 

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Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)

COMMENTS: 6

design  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)

A while back, Aron posted a few of Bryant Austin’s incredible photos of whales along with the New York Times story about his exhibition, where Austin displayed some life-sized images of the magnificent mammals. (One 30 feet wide!) I wish we could have seen the photographs in person, but Austin has just had them published in a book, Beautiful Whaledesign  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links) . I came home to find it on our table last week and just continue to be amazed by the beauty and scale of these creatures, with their features so closely captured underwater.

Also…

I love this relationship saga so much! (And I know what it’s like when you’re seduced by that particular younger, sexier model.)

Are you watching Nashville? I’m hooked. My girlfriend and I text each other excitedly when there’s a new episode, but never more than after seeing this sweet scene.

Pure Green Magazine, a gorgeous new quarterly that you may have seen in print at shops like Anthropologie, just released an iPad edition and their fifth volume is on one of my favorite topics, Wanderlust.

I had no idea about the Daffodil Project, despite having admired them all so much last spring. Lovely idea, New York.

This Op-Ed about the tax code and working parents led to a lively debate—and no matter where you stand, I think it’s an interesting one.

We loved this hotel‘s restaurant, The Blue Duck Tavern, when we were last in D.C.—now I want to stay there.

Brilliant idea for a picnic bag!

Remember my haircut photo? I should pick one out for Hudson, too! I cut his hair for now, but I’m really a one-note song.

Did you check out BRIKA yet? (Just a reminder: They’re giving $15 to new members and offering free shipping on orders over $50 through the weekend.)

Finally, Luvocracy did a little interview with me last week in honor of upcoming Earth day, if you’d like to check it out!

design  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)

[Photos of whales: Bryant Austin; photo of installation Austin's studio, Studio Cosmos. Incredible, right?]

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