Monday, August 31, 2015

Collaborating to Start an Etsy Shop: Mother-Daughter Team

When we first started our Etsy shop, which came shortly after my daughter, Glynnis, decided to make more bracelets to sell rather than give them as gifts for her friends, I was doing all the computer work and photographs while Glynnis made all the jewelry.  As we sat together talking and working, I'd watch Glynnis design something and got inspired to make something, too.  I've never been a creative type other than fun art stuff with my children when they were little.

I found that I loved working with my hands and making something pretty for someone else to enjoy. As we gained more experience and learned more about design and colors, we started to venture into different mediums such as silver and gold.  It is a wonderful experience to be able to connect with Glynnis on this level.  We bounce ideas, pictures, etc. off each other as part of our design process.  It is important to both of us to get feedback.  My prospective is from an older different generation whereas she is young and sees trends on her friends that inspire her.

Now that Glynnis is in high school and has more responsibility (homework, sports), I'm doing much more than I thought capable of.  AND I really enjoy it.  I especially love when someone tells me how much they like something I created.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Glynnis will share ideas with me as her time permits.  I usually construct her designs.

As I said before, I am really the sole contributor to our Etsy shop.  I am a gardener during spring, summer, and fall, so the bulk of the work on Etsy gets done in the winter.

Click the photos above to visit DiGiJewels

Diane of DiGi Jewels: It's my daughter, Glynnis, whose beaded stretch bracelets inspired our shop. We worked together to get the shop up and running, but she was the one to design and create. Now that she is a freshman in high school, I have taken over most of the running of our shop. She will design something and I'll construct it. I've been creating pieces now for over a year. I love the time we spend together. 
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Grain-Free Granola

I've been living a grain free life for nearly two years now.  If you're not familiar with my grain free decision, you can read all about it here.  I'm very happy with my dietary decision, but there are days I really miss certain foods.  One of those foods is cereal.  I was a big fan of cereal before giving up grains.  I thought I would never know the yumminess of a bowl of crunchy cereal with cold milk again.  I looked through several Paleo granolas and then concocted my own recipe. The other members of my family eat grains, but they all love this grain-free granola. The recipe is super easy. Even though it's technically "baking", you don't have to be as precise with measuring as you would with traditional baking recipes.

What you'll need:
  • 3 cups total of your favorite nuts. (I used pecans, cashews and almonds)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 3 T raw honey
  • 2 T organic maple syrup
  • 1 T Madagascar vanilla
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced dried fruit (I like apricots and figs)

  1. Preheat oven to 330℉
  2. Chop the 3 cups nuts with either a knife or food processor until pieces are sized to your liking
  3. In a large glass bowl combine the nuts, all seeds, pipettes and coconut
  4. In a small bowl stir together the honey, vanilla and oil until well combined
  5. Poor honey mixture over the nuts and seeds mixture until all things are evenly coated
  6. You can add the diced dried fruit now if you like, but I personally prefer to add it after baking.
  7. Spread evenly the granola mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  8. Bake for 12 minutes, then mix the granola, turning etc. and spreading out evenly. Again, bake for 12 minutes or until your granola is golden brown. Keep an eye on the granola for the last few minutes of baking. It can burn quite suddenly.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking it apart and storing in an air-tight container. Store in the pantry for a few days (which is how long it lasts in my house) or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

We like to save Talenti Gelato containers. They're perfect for storing the granola. And speaking of gelato, this granola is delicious as a topping. I hope you try this recipe. It's delicious, full of healthy nuts and seeds, is free of processed sugars and grains. Give it a try! If you do, please let me know what you think.

Patti Wunder of Easton Place Design Studio is the designer for this sweet studio. After her kids head to school, Patti creates logos, packaging, sell sheets, web elements and anything else her clients need for their businesses! Along with designing, Patti makes time for a pot of Irish Breakfast tea (one sugar & splash of cold milk), dark chocolate and music!
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Open House at the Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio

Our members RiverDog Prints, Queenvanna Creations, and Milo and Molly have recently opened a small working studio space - Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio - and plan to hold classes and workshops there in the future.  Tonight they are holding their first open house event, which will feature handmade goods from all three shops, as well as refreshments, and a preview of classes they will be offering.  You are encouraged to grab a friend and come on by and say Hello!

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

Visit Hello! Artisan Shop & Studio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Can't make it?  Stay updated by signing up for the newsletter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Workshops at Hartford Prints!

Hartford Prints! is a letterpress studio and stationery store that is all about family. We are three sisters and a press, making pretty paper in our home city of Hartford. Addy, Callie, and Rory joined forces in 2012 to create unique letterpress stationery that is modern and fun. From stunning wedding invitations to offbeat greeting cards, our printing prowess, killer style, and graphic genius work together to make effortlessly beautiful designs.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


At The Nutmeg Collective, we love Instagram and connecting with local Connecticut makers through their posts.  We use our feed not only to highlight our our members and their products; we also like to show off the beautiful quality work that is produced in the state.

If you are a maker, we invite you to use the hashtag #ctmade on your photos.  This gives us a way to find you and your work and helps us share.  If you aren't a maker, but know one, feel free to throw the hashtag in your comments.  We love to connect with new makers.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Gift Guide

It's that time again- back to school! (Side-note: Is it me or are summers just going by faster and faster every year?) Whether you're stocking to fulfill those ever-growing back to school supplies lists for your kiddos, purchasing some "happy new school year" gifts for your teacher friends, gifting a student as they start off the academic year or simply just in the mood to treat yourself to some new supplies, The Nutmeg Collective offers a wide array of unique items! Big box stores can be overwhelming and impersonal, please take a look through a sampling of the goods your local Connecticut shops have to offer as back to school season rolls through!

Spruce up a backpack with these dino pins from Our Secret Treehouse! Their shop features items made from whimsical hand drawn cartoons- browse through their collection to fun find stickers, notebooks, prints and more!

You can never have too many notebooks! Don't let thoughts, ideas and important reminders get lost through the day to day shuffle... write them down in an eco-friendly jotter notebook from RiverDog Prints.
Keep your page with an oversized paperclip bookmark from Milo and Molly. With many different fabric prints available, adults and kids alike would benefit from never losing their space in their book again. (And let's face it, this kitty face is just too cute to pass up!)

Your little on-the-go-artist will appreciate this crayon tote from Little Fingers Gifts. Originally created with a budding school bus artist in mind, this tote is handy to store paper and crayons in without them getting lost in the bottom of a backpack... or as Little Fingers Gifts hoped: to stop a full box of crayons from falling and rolling around on the bus floor!!!!! Other fabric styles are also available in the shop.

Little Fingers Gifts

Dress them in style! Cinder & Salt offers girls tees screen-printed with the environment in mind. Did I mention they are adorable?!?


Let them have fun! The Toy Box by Vinny creates handcrafted wooden toys like this tic-tac-toe game. Shop to see more styles!

Jessica Labowski of Start Talking Vintage: Jessica is a recent college graduate and full-time preschool teacher who has developed a passion for all things vintage and the rich history they carry. She enjoys treasure hunting for historic beauties at estate sales, crafting, sewing and DIY projects (especially those that upcycle vintage items and give then new, modern appeal!) Stop by to take a look at her curated vintage treasures and handmade, vintage-inspired goods.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nutmeg Pets: Janis Hoplin and Sterling Archer

Meet Janis Hoplin, an almost two-year-old lop-eared rabbit,
and Sterling Archer, a one-year-old lionhead rabbit.

They make their home with Emily of Get Baked in Windsor.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baskets: What Do You Use Them For?
gift set collaboration with Hockman Photography
gift set collaboration with Nutmeg Naturals

Everyone loves a basket, right?  But a common question I get is, "What can I put in it?"

These baskets can be used in any room of the house for organization and storage - towels in the bathroom, magazines in the den, snacks in the kitchen, keys by the door, etc.  They are great for toys, blocks, and books in a child's room.  They make gift giving a little easier - add a few treats and tie a ribbon around it for eco-friendly gifting.  Consider using baskets as party favors, holiday centerpieces, wedding gifts, and home decor.  With many color options and custom sizes available, it will be easy to find a place for a basket in your home.

Click on the photos above to take you to the individual baskets, or go to my shop homepage, Rhymes With Smile to see more options.

Katherine Lile is the chief basketeer and queen bee of Rhymes With Smile. She learned coiled rope basketry and quilting from her mother, and hopes to pass on some awesome crafty skills to her own two children. For now, baskets and quilts take up most of the magical Kid Naptime Hours. When not at the sewing machine, you can find her growing tomatoes, enjoying the outdoors with her family and dog, or trying to drink an entire cup of coffee while it's hot.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Jenny Fields Fiber

Meet fiber artist, Jenny Fields of Jenny Fields Fiber out of Berlin, Connecticut.

I'm a full time mommy and fiber artist, specializing in processing and dyeing wool sourced from family farms. Handspinners, felters, and doll makers from around the world enjoy using my fibers to realize their creative visions.

My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a little girl. In my adult life, my passion for fiber art inspired my engineer husband to build me a spinning wheel. After intensive handspinning study with a master spinner, I expanded my repertoire to include processing and dyeing.

My love of wool and color have been driving forces in my life for many years, and being able to supply luxury fibers to other artists is deeply satisfying. I currently sell the majority of my fiber on Etsy, but I'm exploring other options.

See more of Jenny's work in her Etsy shop
or connect with her on her website and Instagram.


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Active Nutmeg Collective members fill out this form!

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Become an Expert Thrifter

Love vintage?  Love bargains?  Want to learn how to become an expert thifter?  Here are some of my major thrifting tips:

1. Go often. I usually try to hit all 4 of my favorite local stores at least twice a week. I have even been known to go to the same store 5 days in a row! Inventory is always changing as purchases are made and new pieces are added as donations come in. Things also get moved around frequently, which means that something you overlooked yesterday because it was hidden behind a giant frame might be your "holy grail" piece today.

2. Get to know your local stores and the people who work there. I have been going to the same few stores in my town for several years now. I have gotten to know the staff at the stores, who will sometimes sneak me coupons, give me deals, let me know about upcoming sales and even hold items for me! Being friendly, kind and courteous as you shop goes noticed by them, too!

3. Experiment by going on different times and different days of the week. See what it is like on a Tuesday an hour before closing or a Saturday the minute the store opens. While every store is different, I have had great luck going mid-afternoon on weekdays as stores are usually quiet and the employees have time to stock the shelves with all of the donations that have come in from the weekend cleaners and tag-sale leftovers. I have also found great pieces the-day-after a big sale because new stock was placed out to fill the bare shelves. Some stores also have certain inventory come in on certain days. My local Goodwill gets Target's returned/out of season goods every Tuesday- so I try to go on Wednesdays to score! I purchased my office desk, new in the box, at Goodwill for $50 (selling for $129.99 at at the time). All the pieces were there and it was undamaged- it was simply at goodwill because the box was open and Target could not sell it that way.

4. Join their membership or email list. I am a member of Goodwill and Savers membership clubs, which alert me of sales and give me special discounts! Small local thrift stores, while they normally will not have a membership club, usually will have an email newsletter list to join or a Facebook page to like to stay up to date with new inventory and sales.

5. Spend time there. I always budget for being in the store for about 45 minutes to an hour. I will never go if I know I only have a limited amount of time there. When I go, I am very thorough in my search. I move things around to see what's hiding behind them, as well as look around the whole store. Even if you are looking for one particular thing, its best to search the whole store, not just the marked section. People always pick things up and put them down in random places. People who cannot make up their minds will carry one thing around the store only to dump it at the registers. I've found out that people also like to hide things and come back to them later.

6. Have your phone handy with access to eBay or other shopper search engines. The amazing purse you found for $40.00 may be a great steal because it is going for $300 on eBay, or may be a total rip-off because it just sold for $3.00 on eBay. If you are unsure if the piece you want is valuable or worth the price it is listed for, a quick check on your phone can help to make that decision for you.
 Yup, that's a Longchamp bag for $1.99

7. Beware of store mark-ups on brand-name items. While it still can happen once in a blue moon, usually gone are the days where you can find a brand new Coach purse marked with a $0.99 tag in the thrift stores. Even if the bag is tattered and torn, usually you can expect to see a mark-up on the item because of the brand name. My local Goodwill usually lists all Coach purses at $35.00. That may be a great price for one in good condition, but it's way too much for the one that is dirty, scratched, missing hardware and has a broken zipper. (Again, looking up on your phone will help you here!)

Happy hunting!

Click on the photos above to be taken to the item in my shop!

Jessica Labowski of Start Talking Vintage: Jessica is a 22-year old recent college graduate who has developed a passion for all things vintage and the rich history they carry. She enjoys treasure hunting for historic beauties at estate sales, crafting, sewing and DIY projects (especially those that upcycle vintage items and give then new, modern appeal!)  Stop by to take a look at her curated vintage treasures and handmade, vintage-inspired goods.