Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Finds: Is It Spring Yet?

If you're like me (or pretty much all the people who live here in New England) you are probably at the point where you're ready to see the snow melt and for spring to start springing.  I am ready to see my grass and for the trees to start popping.  Since we are stuck with these frigid temperatures and giant snowbanks for at least a while longer, I thought we'd take a look through the Collective's roster of awesome goods and pick out a few things to get us even more ready for spring:

Wildflower soap!  I know from experience that Treefort Naturals soap smells amazing, so I am loving the fact that this is crafted with dried wildflowers, plus it looks super pretty, too.

Keep spring in season all year round with this bright field of flowers print from Doug Hockman Photography.

Spring means Easter's coming!  Laura's Paper Creations has plenty of cards to get you through the season.
Cottage Wicks

A rose garden for your home.  Cottage Wicks's soy candles burn cleanly and make your house smell amazing.
and Morgan

Who's ready for iced coffee??

Even though it will hopefully be getting warmer soon, you'll still need to keep your little's head covered for awhile.  May I suggest one of these fun and bright ones from tiny mack?

To see even more, check out our other member shops.  Think spring!

Written by Kristen of Milo and Molly.  Kristen runs her business while staying at home with her two small children. Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Local Love: The Haven Collective

Vintanromodern has been open since October of 2014, but my core business, Vintanthromodern Vintage and The Vintanthromobile have been chugging along since 2011. I was inspired to start a "creative collective" by one-off handmade markets and social events created with gal pals/designers/ makers including Sarah Bratchell (Bella Rev Jewelry), Meg Kazukynas (23rd/1st), Jemma Nussbaum (Jemmanimals) & Kate Stephen (Kate Stephen Jewelry) and Maya Szatai (Milk & Sugar Prints). Working with like minded creative small business owners is so inspiring!

Vintanthromodern is part modern craft studio, part creative event space, part vintage shop, and part rotating pop-up shop! We carry a tightly curated selection of vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories, along with small batch handmade goods, housewares and craft supplies. I handpick everything in the shop myself -- and I'm proud to say the most common compliment I hear from customers is that I have a great eye!

Working full time as a high school art teacher has made running a brick and mortar shop challenging! The hardest part is juggling the myriad of tasks that a successful business requires: staying on top of social media, keeping store displays fresh and exciting, bookkeeping, acquiring inventory, scheduling classes and pop-ups, and a million other tiny details! I'm passionate about being a shop owner (and a bit neurotic, too) so somehow it all gets done :)

I would say that it's important to surround yourself with creative, hardworking and supportive people who understand your passion. Having a strong network of makers, designers, trendsetters and small business owners has been invaluable to me. Vintanthromodern wouldn't exist without the contributions of these people - it takes a village!

February has been packed with events! Every Sunday we have crafting classes as part of our Sunday Brunch Craft Series. Our craft studio is small so each class only has 6-8 spots and they fill up pretty quickly. Come nibble on brunch snacks and sip mimosas while crafting in our light filled, and cozy modern craft space.

We also have a dedicated rotating pop-up space with new vendors arriving every two weeks:

February's vendors:
Northeast Nutmeg – handmade candles
Poor & Pretty – apothecary products
Cinder + Salt – screen printed tees, ties and more
Whisk +Brush – delicious eats and handmade kitchen accessories

Events Coming Up:

March 1: Sunday Brunch Craft Series- Modern Dreamcatchers
March 7: Anna Sincavage- Vintage Reborn
March 12: Cinder + Salt's Debut Party
March 15: Hot Blood Pop-up
March 29: Crafting for Kitties

938 State Street
in New Haven's East Rock neighborhood.

Currently open:
 Thursday and Friday from 3-8pm
Saturday and Sunday from 12-6pm
We are always willing to make appointments for private events, crafting and fashion emergencies. Give us a call at 860-944-6254 or email us if you need to visit the shop outside our winter hours.

Find The Haven Collective on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chore Jars Tutorial.

Chores in our house are exactly that: chores. I have two boys and they need a little guidance when it comes to earning their keep around the house. Plus, I am not the best housekeeper in the world- I would rather be doing most anything than cleaning the house.  Having some helping hands with everyday chores is good for our family in many ways- the tasks get accomplished and the kids contribute to the household.

This system of having chore jars divided into individual rooms helps organize the tasks that need to be done. You just need scrap pieces of paper with chores written on them that can be taken out daily or as often as you like. Then they can be switched out when the chore is no longer needed, or chores can be added as your children can handle more responsibility.

To make your own chore jars, simply download this free PDF file- you can print on any kind of paper or cardstock, though cardstock will be more durable. I printed on kraft cardstock for my tags. You can either cut the tags into squares or into circles. (I use a circle punch that is 2 1/2 inches in diameter to punch the tags out.) Make a small hole at the top of the tag.  Use either twine or ribbon, insert through the small hole and tie around the jars. I leave the jars open at the top and just screw on the outer ring for easy access to the chores.

Enjoy your clean-as-can-be home!

Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Little Fingers Gifts

Heather Ranz is a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom with three kids ages 9, 7 and 5. Come peek inside her shop, Little Fingers Gifts.

“I have always been a well-rounded creative person, earning art awards throughout school. I graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts specifically in Ceramics. I love all arts and am truly happy doing many things, drawing, painting, sculpting, welding, and now sewing. I never thought sewing would be a medium that would make me so happy, but I find that in the reviews and comments of satisfied customers, I found a home.

I have taught myself everything - my mother or grandmother weren't sewers (and wonder where it came from?) and I love new challenges. I use my own designs and patterns I have found here and there. I am learning all the time and enjoy the feedback that parents are so thrilled to share in making my products better.

My shop has been open for just a few years now. I have given and sold my gifts for almost 10 years, though. I started sewing when my husband and I got pregnant with our first child and I lived in the middle of nowhere western NY where there weren't many choices for baby items. So, I made my own. Other parents saw them and asked for some....and then they asked me if I could make them this and that....and I said I would try! And, I did! I still do! I love making things for parents, because they need them. My gifts are fun and flirty, but they are also functional. As a mother of three, functionality is important!

I do lots of custom work - it's where I thrive. I love picking the fabrics, the coordinates and putting together gifts for people in all budgets. I truly believe that 'Every baby deserves a handmade gift.' I am just a regular person and I am the only one employed at Little Fingers Gifts, so I do all the purchasing, planning, designs, public relations and customer service. I want my customers to feel comfortable with me so that I can provide them with exactly what they want. A nursery is a very special place. So, I talk with my customers relentlessly until we get it right and then I create and ship off their goodies to enjoy. When I see a little one enjoying a teether or using a bib or sleeping with a blanket or wearing a romper, it just makes it all worthwhile."

See more of Heather's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Would you like to be a featured in the Shop Spotlight?
Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Content-rich Blogs and Vlogs for the Small Business Creative


Due to the boom in entrepreneurial businesses, many "consultants" have hung their shingle up on the internet advertising  their consulting services to the small business creative. As an artist, graphic designer, and gag writer seeking to build my two Etsy businesses, I find there are a lot of consultants to wade through before finding the true gems out there. Some seem to be re-hashing a lot of information already offered in Etsy forums, some sound like infomercials - all hype, no content, and some might be quite good, but his or her fee is too daunting for someone on a limited budget to take the plunge. Here within is a list of blogs (and one vlog) that I highly recommend to the overwhelmed entrepreneur:

Author/Interviewer: Monica Lee

Licensed illustrator and talented designer Monica Lee’s vlog covers the essentials for creative small business women. Her spirited humor, and “we’re in this together” attitude, plus recounts of her own experiences in the design/licensing field, make her vlog interviews a must-see. Monica can ask the guest interviewee difficult questions, and her subjects are many of the industries brightest: Mary Englebreit, Drew Brophy- famed surf artist, and Penolope Dullaghan - who started up Illustration Friday, are just a few. Also on her list of guests are creative directors, art directors, licensing agents, fabric designers, copyright lawyers, magazine/ezine/book publishers, and more. Most importantly, she never shies away from pinpointing how her creative artist guests funded their business so they could move forward to sustaining a successful enterprise. Monica also offers up a newsletter with upbeat advice, and sells consulting packages to the fledgling entrepreneur and those seeking help to grow – what better person to turn to considering her extensive reach and experience? I’ve visited other vlogs and this one covers it all for me. Monica is the real deal.

Author: Carolyn Edlund

Also an artist, Carolyn Edlund ran her own successful production ceramic studio. So successful, she participated in over 200 retail fairs and trade shows and sold her line of art products to over 1000 museum shops, galleries, stores and catalogs. Carolyn’s experience also extends to working as an outside rep for major art publishing companies, selling art prints, posters, greeting cards, gift and paper lines. So successful in this role, she achieved “Rep of the Year” status by opening a record number of retail accounts.

Carolyn’s focus on the nitty-gritty of running an art business (i.e. - how to sell wholesale, how to hire a rep, how to build a mailing list) has been invaluable to me. She easily spells out the inner business workings without leaving the reader, especially this creative, right-brained reader, in a confused daze. She's also the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, a nonprofit organization that presents business workshops for artists. She partners with her faculty staff of nationally known experts to create a positive and a transformative workshop experience for the participants. Her blog includes more goods as well and is a welcome weekly email in my box.

Author: Kimberly Layton

Author and homeschool mom, Kimberly Layton, and husband Tim, sell felt, felt related patterns and canvas bag totes in their popular Etsy shop. Although their blog isn’t associated with Etsy, it is all about Etsy and creating products for Etsy. As successful entrepreneurs, Kimberly and Tim recommend all the tools they personally use to run their Etsy shop. Such recommendations come in handy in this era of internet services-overload. They have tried and tested, so you don’t have to. In addition to recommended tools (i.e. - best blogging platforms, best email marketing apps and more),  Kim regularly posts a list of 100 projects to create usually centered around a holiday or popular theme. So, for those experimenting in the craft studio, or looking to build their Etsy business this blog is an excellent resource to turn to.

Joan Beiriger's Blog on Art Licensing

Artist Joan Beiriger is another accomplished artist whose work has been licensed on a variety of product throughout the years. Joan's blog offers the creative entrepreneur a one-stop area to find generous lists of licensing agents, information on the famed Surtex show, royalty rates, trend resources and more. Despite her all-encompassing blog, Joan found time to email me once when I had a pressing licensing question. Her sound advice was greatly appreciated and put me at ease. Joan is that sage, blogger-spokeswoman to turn to when approaching the licensing field.  She has done it all and leaves no stone unturned in her blog-posts.

Andreea Ayers' Launch Grow Joy

Designer Andreea Ayers knows her stuff, as the saying goes. I took her How to Get into Holiday Gift Guides workshop and, yes, it worked. I got into a national magazine this year! What I like about Andreea is all her information is based on her own trial and error when it comes to PR. She used to pay a PR firm an exorbitant fee to promote her t-shirts to the media. After a few bites here and there, she let go of the PR firm and busied herself trying to find how to be her own PR firm, finding out what works and what doesn't. Her efforts paid off when she received a order for 10,000 of her tees the first year she embarked on promoting her product all by herself. And now she's here to tell you how she accomplished this phenomenal goal. Andreea has a lot to share, every sentence she speaks is full of information.

So there you have it, one vlog and four blogs I recommend to the creative soul seeking to build their online and off-line business. Do you have some recommendations? Feel free to share some of your favorite online resources in the comments below!

Written by Suzanne Urban owner of Smirking Goddess and Suzanne Urban Etsy shops. Suzanne is an illustrator, gag writer, and graphic designer. She resides in an antique home in Windsor, CT with her husband- whose Etsy shop RetroUrban debuted this Spring– and her maltipoo, Pieper, and house rabbit, Puma.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love Local Market at Get Baked

The cure for Cabin Fever! The Love Local Market is back at Get Baked in Windsor, CT, with thirty vendors on both Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:00 am.  Nutmeg Collective makers and artists are listed below.

Patti Wunder of Easton Place Design Studio created a video from some of the photographs Emily Woodward and NC members took at the January market.  It's a great round-up of some of the talent in The Nutmeg Collective.  Check out the video and come to the market this weekend!



Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Day in Guilford

Welcome to the first in our new series, A Day In ________, where one of our Nutmeg Collective members takes us on a tour of their hometown and gives us the scoop on the must-see local spots.

Cory Hunter of Kingfisher Lane calls Guilford home- a town she used to only spend summers in, looking for sea glass on the beaches.  She now incorporates sea glass into one-of-a-kind jewelry, which she offers in her Etsy shop.  Cory's taking us through town which is full of history and food!

The Henry Whitfield house, located at 248 Old Whitfield Street, is the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England, having been built in 1639.  Now a museum with a visitor center, educational center, and gift shop, Cory says the grounds are lovely and are perfect for a picnic.  See more on Facebook or on the CT Culture & Tourism website.

The Guilford Lobster Pound is located on Guilford Harbor with views of Faulkner Island, Grass Island, and protected salt marsh, and offers the freshest lobsters in town.  Take them home, or stay and enjoy a lobster roll or some clam chowder on the deck.  They are also the site for Grass Island cruises, a one-hour scenic shore and river cruise.  Cruises depart from Pound's dock from mid-May to mid-October.  Located at 505A Whitfield Street.

Shoreline Segways is a unique way to tour the town.  Starting at 260 River Street, the Segway tour will take you through the historic district, past the Agricultural  Fair Grounds, down to the Marina on Long Island Sound.  Beginners are welcome- each tour comes with a practice session.  For riders 16 years of age and older (under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).

The Guilford Art Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support arts in the community.  There are programs, classes, and exhibitions throughout the year, and they run the Guilford Crafts Expo in the summer, and event bringing fine arts and crafts to the Guilford Green.  You can even have a birthday party there!  Located at 411 Church Street.

Bishop's Orchards, located at 1355 Boston Post Road, has been serving up fresh produce since 1871.  This farmer's market is open year-round with a first-rate cheese section, fresh meats, pies, wine (and wine-tastings!), their own apple cider, grab-and-go sandwiches and cookies, on top of all those seasonal fresh fruits and veggies.  A must-stop spot.

Once the snow has melted, make sure to take a trip to Guilford and check out all these amazing places- right here in our own state!

Written by Kristen of Milo and Molly.  Kristen runs her business while staying at home with her two small children. Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DIY: Homemade Body Butter

Body butter is an oil-based thick lotion containing no water-based liquid.  It is thick and can be slightly oily, so a very small amount is all that is needed - it will melt right into your skin. For this recipe, you will need the following supplies:
  • glass bowl microwave or double boiler 
  • refrigerator 
  • spoon and spatula 
  • electric handheld mixer - works better than a stand mixer 
  • jar to store your finished butter
 and the following ingredients:
  • 8 oz or 1 cup organic unrefined cocoa butter - it will smell like chocolate!!!!  (I actually measure with an ice cream scoop - so I do 2 scoops for 8 oz and 1 scoop for 4 oz) 
  • 4 oz or 1/2 cup organic coconut oil - I prefer unrefined but you can do either 
  • 4 oz or 1/2 cup light oil - I use fractionated coconut oil, but you can use sweet almond or apricot oil, or for really dry skin, avocado oil is wonderful 
  • essential oil - 1 drop per oz of oils
1. Melt down the cocoa butter and coconut oil using the double boiler method (preferred) or, if not possible, in 45 second bursts in the microwave. Add in the liquid oil and stir.

2. Place the bowl in the refrigerator uncovered. Check in 30 minutes, If the oil has started to solidify against sides of bowl, scrape down with a spatula and beat with the mixer until stiff peaks form. I usually rotate in and out of fridge, whipping 2 - 3 times.

3. Once soft white peaks have formed, place the body butter in a storage container. I use 4-ounce mason jars or metal tins. If you find that this is too oily, you can play around with the recipe.

 Click here to learn more about the benefits of organic, unrefined cocoa butter. 

Erin Egan of Pure Naked Soap is a mom to three girls and social worker by day, but at night she is a creator of body nourishing foods and skincare products. Diagnosed with multiple allergies, Erin makes most of her foods and all of her soaps and skincare products from scratch. Using whole ingredients that meet the needs of her body, she found that many other people were interested in the simpler and truly natural soaps. Check out her selection of body friendly products!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Designer Dwellings

Alonda Baird-Juhasz combines home accessories with bold new colors and designs in her shop, Designer Dwellings.

"I'm a political science graduate turned color maven. I spent a few years in the corporate world and I decided that it was time to head onto law school. I researched the local colleges and decided that instead I would quit my job and launch a design business. Make sense? Nope! However, it was the right decision.

For years I had offered interior and event theme coordinating services as a creative outlet and it was something I truly wanted to pursue. July of 2013 was the best month ever - I waived goodbye to the corporate world, walked down the aisle with the best husband ever, traveled cross county on our honeymoon road trip adventure and officially launched Designer Dwellings LLC. A few months later I opened my Etsy shop as an extension of my interior decorating business.


In my shop, I combine home accessories with bold new colors and modern designs. I love adding fun and unexpected pops of color to a space.

It all started at my coffee table with a few bamboo utensils and trivets that I painted in a few fun colors. After a bit, I took over the dining room and now I run out of an actual home office. I always wanted a corner office with a view, I just never expected that it would be on the second floor of my home. Every week, I look for new color palettes and items to expand the Designer Dwellings brand."

See more of Alonda's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on her blogFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Would you like to be a featured in the Shop Spotlight?
Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!