Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Birda Knits

Meet Roberta Sheffer from Stonington, Connecticut, and her vintage traditional Scandinavian patterns in BIRDA KNITS.

"I am a retired researcher (although currently working part-time), a wife, a mother, and recently a grandmother to boy/girl twins. My daughter and her family live in So. Carolina, so I keep myself busy by knitting in my spare time.

With my new grandchildren, two great-nieces and two great-nephews as well as one on the way, it looks like I'll be busy knitting for some time!

I opened my shop in October of 2011. I had been knitting vintage-inspired Scandinavian mittens for some time, and I had given them to just about everyone I knew.

Someone suggested I open a shop on Etsy and, with my daughter's help with the branding, I started 'Birdaknits.'  I receive much enjoyment from my shop, and I have been fortunate to meet people from all over the world. I hope to do a bit more with the 'Babybirda' section of the shop in the future."

See more of Roberta's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on Facebook.


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

Monday, June 29, 2015

One Thing: Pinterest for Business Part Two

In Part One of One Thing: Pinterest for Business, your personal account was converted to a business account.

Today, one thing to do is examine your boards and how they relate to what you create, make or sell. Changing some of your board titles will allow you to Pin your products to the boards, mixing in with related pins from others. For example, I have a board named "For the Dogs" (pictured above.) I will add a pin of one of my dog drawings or cards to the board, as well as all the other dog-inspired goodness I find. The people who follow this board obviously love dogs and may love one of my paper goods that feature dogs.

If you are a landscape photographer, you may have a board that features beaches. You can pin your work to this board among other beach-related pins.  If you make children's clothing or accessories, you may have a board that features Traveling with Family. If you are a soapmaker, a board of beautiful kitchen or bath counter tops and sinks would mix well with your products.

The boards you create or the titles of boards that you modify should have keywords to make them searchable.  Remember that the pins of your products should have meaningful descriptions and link to your work.

Having a board that is exclusively your products is fine. You will have fans of your work subscribed to that board. Spreading your products to other related boards will help pinners imagine your products among the things they love and possibly turn pinners into fans and customers.

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.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | woof@riverdogprints.com

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bidding Farewell.

The Nutmeg Collective is comprised of an ever-evolving group of crafters.  Members join us to make connections and find resources, and along the way great friendships are built.  Occasionally, though, the time comes that a member leaves the group for bigger and better things.  Today we'd like to highlight a few of our outgoing members and encourage you to check out their shops.


We are bummed to be losing the great Lee Berman of The Octopress.  Lee has been a source of humor for the group, and also led our members in a fun screen-printing workshop.  He will be missed as he makes the move to New York.  Check out his shadow boxes and cards.


We are so thrilled for the newly-minted Doctor Jenn Honeycutt of Petite Maus.  She recently earned her Ph.D. from the University Connecticut, and we are losing her to the universities of Boston.  We wish her the best at her new job, and hope you will check out her gorgeous jewelry.


Kevin Peloquin of Rad Dad Tees is one busy guy, and with a new job at a local college, he's decided to close up Rad Dad when his stock is gone.  So hurry and get one of his humorous tees for the best dad you know, quick!


Christiane Burkhard of Lismi Knits is on her way to Germany with her family, and her shop will reopen on July 2.  Once it does, you should definitely take a look at her gorgeous hand-dyed yarns and patterns.

While these members are on to new ventures, we still have a ton of great active shops for you to check out.  Find them here!  And if you would like to join the Collective, our application can be found here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Day In Winsted and Winchester

Melissa Post & Tom Porter select some must-see spots in the Winsted / Winchester area.

The American Mural Project
The American Mural Project is a 501(c)(3) organization with an unusual approach to arts education. It is involved in the creation of the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world – a mural 120 feet long, five stories high, and up to ten feet deep. A tribute to working Americans, this mural is the center of the organization’s educational program.

Whiting Mills
Opened in 2004, Whiting Mills building is now home to a variety of artists, craftspeople, retail shops, small manufacturing companies, and a center for artistic, community, and social events. Our semi-annual Open Studio events enjoy a reputation for being a destination for the public to enjoy meeting resident and guest artists at the Whiting Mills. It is to be the future home of the nationally acclaimed American Mural Project.

Winchester Land Trust
The Land Trust is a private, nonprofit, service organization, directed and managed by its members, whose purpose is to promote, for the benefit of the general public, the preservation of open space and natural resources, principally in, but not limited to, the Town of Winchester.

Gilson Theater
Right on Main Street, the Gilson is a warm winter refuge where you can take in feature films while eating and drinking from an extensive menu and a full bar.

Post Porter Photoworks is a joint collaboration between husband and wife team Melissa Post and Tom Porter. The two met while working in a commercial photo lab, where their mutual passion for photography brought them together. They soon settled in the northwest corner of CT where the garden of their funky old home is a major source of inspiration. When not out puttering in the garden they can also be found paddling on their local ponds looking for photos of lily pads and snapping turtles!Website | Twitter | Facebook | melandtom@charter.net

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nutmeg Pets: Aggie

Patti says, "Aggie is an 8 year old, first generation, Goldendoodle. Her primary responsibilities in the Easton Place Studio are: General studio assistant, notifying me of any squirrels in the yard & exercise reminder (but mostly she holds down the rug and dreams of outrunning the mail truck)."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Owl & Bee

Meet Alissa of Owl & Bee, maker of stylish, lovingly handmade goods for mamas and babies in New Milford.

"I am a full time mom to my beautiful two year old daughter, Stella, a part time freelance graphic designer, and a full time crafter. I'm a little bit obsessed with making toys lately, and love being able to give Stella handmade play things (she's my official toy tester). If spring ever arrives, I'm also a lover of all things outdoors and can't wait to get back out in the fresh air.

Owl & Bee grew as an idea while I was pregnant with Stella. My first products in the shop were for infants (changing mats, headbands, teethers, etc...) and have grown in age level along with her. I now make play food, stuffed toys, story stones and crayon rolls, among other things. Having always been a creative/artsy person, Owl & Bee has also served as my creative outlet while I am a stay at home mom.


It's much easier to make something on my sewing machine then get out all the paints and create a painting. Once I started playing with fabric, I was hooked. Generally, I'll stumble upon a new idea as I think of something Stella might like to play with, do a few sketches, then jump into prototyping. Once I've got a product that works, I make as many as I can and then list them in the shop."

See more of Alissa's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on Facebook.


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

Monday, June 22, 2015

One Thing: Pinterest for Business Part One

Pinterest can be a great tool for your business. How to use it for your business may be a bit unclear, but we'll explore how to navigate Pinterest step by step (or One Thing by One Thing) with your business in mind.

The first step is to convert your personal account to a Business account, if you haven't already. Conversion is the way to keep your followers, pins and boards in tact from your personal account.  To access the business area of Pinterest, click on the right end of the Search bar for the drop down menu. Businesses link will be at the bottom.

On the page, you'll need to find the link that reads Convert now.  You'll be asked to pick a business category and enter some other information. That's it for the conversion from personal to business Pinterest account!

Once you have your business account, you can setup analytics by verifying your business website.

In upcoming posts, we'll cover how to use Pinterest for your business, as well as the different kinds of Pins (Promoted Pins, Rich Pins and Buyable Pins.)  If you want us to explore something specific, let us know in the comments. Happy Pinning!

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.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | woof@riverdogprints.com

Friday, June 19, 2015

Garden Cocktails: Sweet Sage Blossom

I have four square foot gardens, one being a perennial herb garden. I grow chives, rosemary, lavender and sage. So far, these plants have all been hardy and hard to kill, which works well with my skills as a gardener (my green thumb is probably slightly brown). This is the fourth year for the sage plant and it recently blossomed beautifully. What could I make with the blossoms? My friend, Kate of Snowflake Kitchen, had the answer: simple syrup. (She's made many syrups that can be used for cocktails and more, so be sure to check out her blog.)

A Google search later, I found a post on a blog called Violently Domestic. Hunter’s post was perfect with its casual recipe, mixing the sage syrup with lemon juice and seltzer. After making the syrup, I had to create a cocktail to enjoy this golden, herby sweetness. The recipe below is what I had on hand. I find experimenting with what is in the fridge, bar and pantry, to be an excellent way to create a cocktail. Enjoy!

Sweet Sage Blossom

1/2 ounce sage blossom simple syrup (see note below)
1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 ounces cranberry juice

In a low ball glass filled with ice, add the ingredients, stir and enjoy!

Note: For the sage simple syrup, I had two handfuls of sage blossoms. I made a simple syrup of 2 1/2 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of sugar. I cooked these together until the sugar dissolved and added the sage blossoms to steep, keeping them in a strainer that could fit in the pot. I steeped for 3 hours, then put the syrup in a mason jar for storage.

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.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | woof@riverdogprints.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Best Connecticut Ice Cream Shops

Ice cream season is upon us, and we asked our members to give us their favorite local spots for the best ice cream in the state.  Here's our top 8 spots you need to hit this summer.

1. J. Foster's (Avon and Simsbury): Thick and creamy, J. Foster's ice cream is not to be missed.  "We begin with the finest dairy products available: pure bourbon and tahitian vanillas, imported cocoas, fresh roasted nuts and premium in season fruits to create ice cream that is unequaled in quality and taste.  Unlike most others, we minimize the amount of air whipped into our ice cream. As a result our ice cream is denser, creamier, richer in taste, and full of flavor."  http://www.jfostericecream.com/index.html

2. Tulmeadow Farm (Simsbury):  Set in West Simsbury, you can visit the cows that produce the milk across the street from the farm store.  "In August of 1994, we began making ice cream at the farm.  Our goal was to make really great ice cream, so that our customers would want to come back again and again.  We make over 50 different flavors of very rich 16% butterfat gourmet ice cream.  Our top selling flavor is Red Raspberry with Chocolate Chips." http://www.tulmeadowfarmstore.com/our-ice-cream/

3. The UCONN Dairy Bar (Storrs): Located on the beautiful campus of the University of Connecticut, the Dairy Bar is a staple for students and visitors alike.  Visit the cows and other animals in the bars out back.  "The UConn Dairy Bar opened in 1953 to sell dairy products that were made by the Creamery. The Creamery was established in the early 1900s and operated all the way up until 1991. Today, the Dairy Bar makes ice cream according to its original recipe and sells this ice cream through the Dairy Bar retail establishment, along with a variety of cheeses.  The Dairy Bar still manufactures ice cream according to its original recipe from the early 1900’s.  Today, over 200,000 customers visit the Dairy Bar every year to enjoy 24 different flavors of freshly prepared ice cream treats."  http://dining.uconn.edu/uconn-dairy-bar/

4. Salem Valley Farms (Salem): Tie dye is in fashion at Salem Valley Farms!  "We produce everything on premises, with about 80 flavor selections at our peak in summer.  Spring and Fall seasons may have less, but there is always plenty to choose from, including premium ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, low fat ice cream, low fat frozen yogurt and even dairy-free/vegan choices.  All our ice cream is handmade on premises just two tubs at a time. This is how we’ve done it since 1988, and will continue to do so. We use the best ingredients we can find for the flavors we offer, and all candies, nuts, and such are added by hand AFTER the ice cream comes out of the machine. What this means to you is lots of large chunks, not ground up tiny bits."   http://www.salemvalleyfarmsicecream.com/index.htm

5. Ferris Acres Creamery (Newtown): "Come and relax in the heart of our picturesque farm. While you leisurely eat your ice cream, you can watch the cows grazing nearby.  We serve premium ice cream made fresh daily in our shop. Many of the flavors are our own family recipes."  http://www.ferrisacrescreamery.com/

6. Michael's Dairy (New London): "Michael's Dairy has been in operation for over sixty years and has been located adjacent to Mitchell College since the founding of the institution in 1938. The Buscetto family acquired the dairy and the property from the Mitchell family in 1943 and renamed the Mitchell Dairy to the present name. Michael's Dairy was the last milk processing dairy in New London and continued that tradition into the 1970s. In May 2006, Mitchell College acquired Michael's Dairy which has been managed by the Department of Hospitality & Tourism and operated by Mitchell College students."  http://michaelsdairynl.com/index.php

7. Grass Roots Creamery (Granby): Located right in the center of Granby, this spot is known for its friendly servers and eclectic, ever-revolving selection of flavors.  The ice cream is supposed to be one of the creamiest around, with completely all-natural ingredients- no artificial flavors or colors allowed (and that goes for the toppings, too).  https://www.facebook.com/GrassRootsCreamery

8. Walnut Beach Creamery (Milford): "Your local ice cream shop, the Walnut Beach Creamery, operates in what used to be the old Walnut Beach Post Office in Milford, CT.  Having opened in 2007, we are happy to share in our 8th season of ice cream with you! Our mission is to make every batch of ice cream by hand with a single batch freezer, using the best and freshest ingredients we can find. We are always changing flavors and finding fun twists.  Located only one block from the beach, we’re also a community here in Milford." http://www.walnutbeachcreamery.com/

Did we miss any?  Tell us who your favorite Connecticut ice cream maker is!

All photos are credited to the individual shops' webpage or Facebook.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nutmeg Pets: Lothario, Mezza, Anthea, Amira and Faggia

Say hello to Lothario, Mezza, Anthea, Amira and Faggia. 
They are Bergamasco Sheepdogs who work with Jeanine of Solstice Handcrated.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shop Spotlight: New Antiquity

Meet Matt Rink and Sarah Bader of New Antiquity out of Redding, Connecticut.

"Matt Rink and Sarah Bader are full-time artists and builders living in Redding, CT. They both attended Alfred University in Alfred, NY, each receiving a BFA in sculpture, metal casting, and photography combined. Matt attended Clemson University in Clemson, SC, for his MFA in sculpture.

Matt and Sarah started building furniture for their own apartment, along with a series of pieces for their wedding. It swiftly grew from an exciting collaboration into a full time job for the two of them after opening their shop on Etsy.

They use primarily reclaimed wood from local barns and turn-of-the-century buildings, as well as sustainably harvested new lumber to create one-of-a-kind pieces. They strive to create furniture which appears to be a family heirloom that will one day become one.

Their work is built and designed with clever details and fine craftsmanship that is both practical and whimsical. In addition to specializing in furniture, they are experienced in custom built-ins and renovation work. Their shop boasts a full array of woodworking and metal fabrication equipment allowing an unlimited range of aesthetic possibility. The couple offers custom design services and on site work for projects in Fairfield County, lower New York State and NYC.

See more of Matt and Sarah's work in their Etsy shop
or connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.


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

Monday, June 15, 2015

10 Signs Someone is a Maker

The Nutmeg Collective is a group of makers, and we've found some very common traits among ourselves.  Here's our Top 10 ways you can tell that someone you know is a maker:

1. They have paint, glue, or glitter on their hands or in their hair more often than not.

2. The dining room table is used for anything and everything but eating.

3. They're wearing a unique piece of jewelry, clothing or bag that they made. If they didn't make it they can tell you which one of their talented friends did.

4. Their shirt is often covered in threads.

5. They collect free and available things they don't necessarily need and keep them "just in case". They may be useful one day!

6. They know how to wait for sales at the craft store, then stack coupons, so they can get the best deals possible.

7. In a craft store, they're usually talking to themselves.

8. They have no immediate use for it a particular supply, but they buy it anyway because they know it will one day be that "perfect thing" for a future project!

9. You can find scissors, assorted pens/markers, and tape in their bag or car.

10. There really is no available storage space in their house. 

What would you add to the list?  Tell us in the comments! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide.

Father's Day is coming, and the classic themes for dads (and men in general) tend to revolve around two main things: sports and drinking.  It was always hard for me to buy my dad a gift for Father's Day (and now my husband) because neither one wants anything to do with fly fishing or golf or Budweiser.  So, to get off of those tried-and-true options, I took a stroll through The Nutmeg Collective's shops and found a bunch of fresh, modern choices for you:


New Antiquity's use of mixed woods in this display panel makes it rustic and modern at the same time.
It could be used for hanging or as a display piece of a table.

Lilypad Prints

Train lover?  This print from Lilypad Prints may be just the thing!

Hickster Tees

 Hickster Tees has come up with the ultimate shirt for Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Sherlock fans!

Melley Nelson Design

A custom portrait is a wonderful option for a family man.


Does your guy love working in the garage?  This is the candle for him- it has that motor oil smell.

Cinder + Salt

Cinder + Salt has a whole line of skinny tie options for the modern guy (plus tees and hoodies, too!).


Every rad dad needs a tee proclaiming his status.  (The struggle is real.  Those things hurt.)

The Copper Fox

New dad?  This keychain from The Copper Fox will allow him to remember the day wherever he goes.


Hartford Prints!

Don't forget to grab a card!  Hartford Prints! has a great selection.

Hockman Photography

 Love to travel?  How about a cityscape from Hockman Photography?

Treefort Naturals

Help him treat his skin well with this all-natural shave bar from Treefort Naturals.

Great, original, unique gifts for Dad aren't so hard to find!
 For even more options, check out the rest of The Nutmeg Collective shops here.

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.