Friday, January 29, 2016

Treasurypalooza: January!

Each month, the members of the Nutmeg Collective have the option to create a curated collection of items found within our Etsy-based shops in an effort to get to know each others' items and to help show off our beautiful work to others. So much thought and consideration goes into putting these collections together, that we decided to show off some of the top groupings from the past month.
All items shown feature Nutmeg Collective members!
Another collection that is 100% members!
The top two rows feature NC members!


Click the photos to go directly to the treasury on Etsy, where there are clickable links to each item.
Which grouping is your favorite?

Kristen Skelton of Milo and Molly is a self-taught sewist, Kristen who 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.  Stop by and see her collection of bold modern accessories and home goods.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Local Love: EcoWorks

Have you heard of creative reuse? Learn about it from EcoWorks creative reuse center in New Haven, CT.

"I'm one of the founders of a group called EcoWorks, a creative reuse center for the arts. We incorporated in late 2012 and really got off the ground in 2014. Two of the founders had been dabbling in creative reuse for many years and decided it was time to organize a reuse center that would provide materials, teach folks how to use the materials and showcase products and wares from CT artists that upcycle or repurpose. We are currently run completely with all volunteers.

We sell art supplies; scrap from industry, business surplus and donations from individuals, often downsizing their home craft room or perhaps retiring from teaching the arts. We also sell upcycled goods made by local artists and provide workshops. Our customers are very diverse; some visit us just for the yarn, fabric or tiles; others don't know yet what they're looking for until they find it. Our reBoutique store consigns with local artists. If someone is interested in consigning with us, we ask basic questions about their work, website or photographs and the reBoutique committee makes determinations based on a number of issues including: do the items fit in with our other inventory, if we have space for it, if we think it will sell with our customers, etc.

We work by committee! This is a blessing to us, because we all like working with each other, but to the business-as-usual folks, we likely appear to move slow. But we have processes we try to follow including hearing from everyone. It's also definitely a challenge that we're all volunteers. We hope 2016 will be the year we can hire someone to work with us.

The hardest part is that everything needs to happen now, you never have time to do it now and really its about forgiving yourself (and your partners) that you can only do your best. Our best has worked out so far."

262 State Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Open Thursday 1-7pm
Saturday 10-4pm

Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter!


We love local businesses! 

Are you an independently-run Connecticut brick and mortar?
Get a feature by clicking here.

Know a shop that deserves a feature? Contact us at

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DIY Welcome Pineapple Stencil

Last year, in early Spring I was inspired to stencil a pineapple on our front step. Why you may ask? Well, there's a house around the corner from us where the owner stenciled (or stamped) the word "Welcome" in a few different languages on her steps leading up to her front door. Charming, innovative, creative don't even begin to describe how cool this looks. Not wanting to lift the idea, plus we live in a registered antique home (circa 1664), I opted for the early American Pineapple graphic that was a symbol colonists used to welcome visitors, to stencil on our brownstone step.

I couldn't find a pineapple stencil to purchase online, but did find a crude silhouette image (free clipart, public domain) that I downloaded and cleaned up by hand. I re-scanned and finished sharpening the image in Photoshop. I printed the pineapple out on card stock, ran it through my laminator, and with a sharp Xacto knife cut the black image out. Laminating the pineapple made the used stencil durable should I need it again, and it stood up to being pressed against a rough stone step.

I used an outdoor acrylic paint purchased at a big box store that can be applied to a variety of surfaces and with a small brush carefully dabbed or “stenciled” the image to the front step facing our street. If you want a go at this project for your home’s front step, simply download the Pineapple art to create your own stencil. This is a great and fairly easy way to update a very old tradition used to welcome visitors to one’s abode.

Pineapple Stencil

Suzanne Urban of Smirking Goddess and Suzanne Urban on Etsy. Illustrator, graphic designer and gag writer, she combines her talents to produce unique products featuring her home-brewed sense of humor. Fervently committed to her witty muse, Suzanne creates from her cozy studio housed in an eclectically furnished antique home where she resides with husband, Malti-Poo and Calico cat.
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Connecticut Gift Shop Connection Group

The Nutmeg Collective is all about making connections.  Connections between our makers and curators, makers/curators to shows and venues, and now a specific place for our makers/curators to connect with local brick and mortar shops.

The Connecticut Gift Shop Connection's** purpose is to connect members of The Nutmeg Collective with gift shops and other goods shops in Connecticut who are looking for products to sell. Brick and Mortar shops can apply within Facebook if you own a gift shop/goods shop in Connecticut. Visit the Page here:  Connecticut Gift Shop Connection Facebook Group

All of our members look forward to connecting with local shops and being able to supply a selection of handmade goods for your shelves!

**This is a closed group and we ask that no vendors apply, please. Thank you.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Webinars and other Learning Opportunities

Webinars, Online Courses, Videos and Podcasts are plentiful for entrepreneurs to take part in. However, choosing one can be overwhelming. Our members weighed in on the opportunities that they would recommend.

Ann Marie owner of Sprinkles of Color

Skillshare - "It is $10 a month for unlimited courses, or there is a free level with a small selection of courses. It has a wide range of courses from business, painting, DIY, really anything creative." You can grab a free month using when you sign up using Ann Marie's link: Skillshare Free Month


Kelly owner of our secret treehouse and Cyn owner of River Dog Prints

Creative Live - "They have a ton of great live and rebroadcast classes." - Kelly


Brittany owner of Glitter & Bold and Jessica owner of Start Talking Vintage

The Merriweather Council Etsy Training Course - a self guided tour.

Michele owner of MSD Design

Smart Creative Style - "It's basically a branding workshop, but a very fun and visual one.
Think: Pinterest boards galore."


Suzanne owner of Smirking Goddess

Renae Christine - Youtube videos for handmade businesses. 

Launch Grow Joy - Podcasts and blogs for growing your business.

Matt owner of Mystic Knotwork

Etsy-preneurship - tips and tools for Etsy shops.


Randi owner of Rayne Home Decor

Marie Forleo's B-School - "I did it this past March (8 week course)
and it's been an amazing experience and still continues to be!"

Written by Alonda Baird-Juhasz, owner of Designer Dwellings, who believes in adding color to life. An avid DIYer, sparkle-loving, all things fabulous addict, her shop features bright and fun home decor accessories and gifts. When not in the shop you can find her interior decorating or visual styling events and photo shoots.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nutmeg Collective Call for Applicants

The Nutmeg Collective is a CT-based community of makers, artists, and vintage curators, and we are currently accepting membership applications! Our members work together to provide support to the super-small handmade business owner. What do we look for?

:: All handmade items, no licensed images
:: Exceptional product quality
:: A strong online presence
:: An overall clean, modern aesthetic
:: Cohesion in your product line

To apply or to learn more, click "JOIN" above and you will be sent to our application. We will be reviewing them in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Making Nocino

Last July, my friend Kate of Snowflake Kitchen, put a call out to us locals about her abundance of green walnuts from the tree on her property. She had plans to make Nocino and thought we may want to give it a try. Yes, please! I was in her neighborhood when she wasn’t home, so I felt like a bit of thief as I foraged a bag of the green nuts, but homemade booze is worth the possible embarrassment of her neighbors calling the police.

A photo posted by Kate (@snowflakekitchen) on

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, minus the cloves, and shook my jars once a day for about three months. It looks like witches’ brew at first, very green and possible toxic, but then changes to a rich brown, deep green.

I strained the liquid from the jars and it has the consistency of a light syrup and smells nutty and warm. I sampled a small glass and it’s definitely potent. I like Mr. Lebovitz’s idea of a topping for ice cream… that will definitely be in my future.

There is something about creating an enjoyable drink or food from items you gather from your yard, a friend’s yard, local farmers, or the woods (if you’re daring and safe) that feels inevitable and right. I’ll have a part two of the walnut saga as I attempt to make black walnut bitters from the same nuts that have completely ripened. My goal is to make something like this. It’s good to have goals…

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 |

Monday, January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Day 2016

Our family listens to his speech every year.  This year, I found a different and interesting way to do this and wanted to share it.  Experience the speech here:

Friday, January 15, 2016

It's Love Local Market Weekend!
artwork by member Woodward Paper Co.

The new year means a new year of markets!  We are kicking off the year in fashion with our monthly collaborative market at Get Baked in Windsor- our 13th!  Owner and NC member Emily Woodward is fantastic enough to open her space to our members and friends.  Stop by this weekend from 10-3 each day and say hello to our fantastic members:

Hockman Photography
The BURNT Shop
RiverDog Prints
Treefort Naturals
Nutmeg Naturals
Solstice Handcrafted
Milo and Molly
Heart Stone Gallery
Persimmon Pearl
Evelyn Pelati
Cottage Wicks
Sprinkles of Color
BBA Bracelets
Whole Harmony
Purring Pottery
Ken Frets Comics

For more information, check out the event on Facebook.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Work Life Balance: Hiring Help for Shows and Events

Hiring help can be tough to tackle when you don't have any experience having someone else work for you. Denise from The Burnt Shop shares her advice and experience for the process with shows and events for our series on work/life balance.

"In August of 2015, I found that I had committed the huge error of double booking myself on a key holiday weekend in October. I knew I couldn't cancel one event for the other. I set my sights on finding and training a suitable person to run one smaller booth locally. I took on the more prestigious full weekend event which was an hour away. I asked a girl who I knew I could trust who also has an incredible eye for detail and great work ethic. She comes from the restaurant industry.

Here are the key tips...find someone who has done CATERING. Find someone who needs money! Find someone who loves your work. Catering is so similar to running a booth. They both require precise planning, timing, packing, set up, execution, customer service, diligent care of the product and careful but speedy breakdown.

I had her accompany me to three events: the first was just set up, the second was the whole thing start to finish, the third was just breakdown. This way the training hours were relatively short and easy to schedule. For training, I paid her in product and gave her MORE than she thought was fair. Some pieces were seconds and she thought that was awesome. I packaged first quality things so she could give them as gifts. 

For the actual event, I helped pack her car the night before and paid her well in cash plus product of her choice. After all, she's hauling my entire show and managing my whole deal for me...that's worth a lot more than minimum wage. You want your person to feel that they are getting the better end of the deal. Chances are that the only times you'll need them is in desperation, so you want them to drop what they're doing for you; pay them well- it's so worth it in the end. 

By seeing each phase of your set up and explaining everything along the way, they will learn it faster and remember the key points. I have laminated checklists for small and large setups. She had her own card reader with my spare tablet. She had her own apron and cash bank and I gave her extra money to cover her travel to and from, as well as lunch. She had lots of photos on her phone of my set up. Make sure you pay for the entire time she's in service to you... not just the hours of the market. I ended up with only a small profit that day for her event but she took multiple custom orders. I got excellent feedback from the organizers and she blasted it on her Facebook and Instagram pages. My own event was hugely profitable.

I did not disappoint any organizers and I learned what it takes to run concurrent booths. I repeated this whole process with another older woman with the same excellent results. I now have two backup people I can count on when times get busy or I screw up my calendar again.
An added bonus is that I now have enough display pieces to have a small set up at all times in my home for drop in customers. I hope my tips help. Please contact me if you need more guidance. I ran a very successful department at Whole Foods Market where we had unprecedented growth year after year. I use many of the same techniques I employed there in my business now.

Happy New Year everyone!

Denise O'Reilly, owner of The BURNT Shop in Glastonbury, Ct. is creating usable art in the form of hand etched glass culinary bottles and woodburned housewares. She believes wholeheartedly that everything we use on a daily basis should be just as beautiful as it is functional. She sources the highest quality glass and wood pieces and adds her unique freehand designs using centuries old techniques. These pieces are transformed into heirloom quality works of art which she hopes will be passed down in families to future generations. She has a passion for all things green, reusing and repurposing 100% of incoming packaging. She encourages customers to bring her their existing pieces for her added touch...thus reducing that urge to purchase more "stuff" but rather making your own treasured items that much more special.
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nutmeg Collective Instagram: Cottage Wicks

We have some great photos in our #nutmegcollective Instagram feed
On a regular basis, we'll feature some of our favorite photos here!

A photo posted by CottageWicks 🌙✨ (@cottagewicks) on

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Recommendations for the Entrepreneur

In the market for some good business reads?
We asked our members what books impacted their business and here are their recommendations:

Cyn from River Dog Prints:

Steal Like an Artist
by Austin Kleon


Jessica from Treefort Naturals:

Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead: 
The Ten Most Innovative Lessons from a Long, Strange Trip
by Barry Barnes

155 Words You Need to Know: Practical Wisdom For Creative Entrepreneurs
by Lela Barker


Kristen from Milo and Molly:

by Sophia Amoruso

The Handmade Marketplace
by Kari Chapin

Grow Your Handmade Business
by Kari Chapin

Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg

Matthew from Mystic Knotwork:

Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort
by Steven Van Yoder


Market Yourself 
by Tara Swiger

Monday, January 11, 2016

More Let It Snow!

Winter is here and what is winter in Connecticut without snow?  Here are more Nutmeg Collective members' goods to Let it Snow!

Doug Hockman Photography 11x14 Mat

Cottage Wicks Soy Candle

RiverDog Prints Greeting Card

Jenny Fields Fiber - Snowcrash

Sleigh Ride Tea and GingerBread Tea
Winter Warmer Tea can be found at Whole Harmony Apothecary 1572 Saybrook Rd Haddam CT 06438

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Food: Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Winter is finally here!  As the cold sets it, we find ourselves looking for warm fare for our bellies.  Overnight oatmeal is perfect- it's warm and ready to eat when you wake up to a cold house.

I love oatmeal with all my heart.  Instant Quaker plain packs with honey and milk has been a staple in my life since I was little, and both my kids love the combination.  I know that the packets are not the best choice as far as oatmeal goes, though, and as I've been trying to weed the pre-packaged food from my cabinets, I've taken to making what I call Midnight Oatmeal, since you cook it in the slow cooker and it needs to be turned on roughly around midnight, depending on what time you get up in the morning.  Midnight Oatmeal is steel cut oats (or Irish oats), which are slightly better for you than rolled oats, and vastly better for you than flavored oatmeal packets.  They normally take awhile to cook on the stove, so it's not a meal to prepare if you're hungry right when you wake up, which is where the slow cooker comes in.  You set the oats to cook late at night, and they're ready for you in the morning, and it makes the kitchen smell amazing.

In your slow cooker, spray your bowl really, really, really well with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray) and combine the following:

1 1/2 cups of steel cut oats (I like Bob's Red Mill organic)
2 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups milk (I use 1 cup 2% milk and then 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch or two of salt
1 tablespoon butter, cut in pieces

Cook on low for 7 hours, then stir well.  If you cook it longer, crunchy bits will form around the edges, which are delicious but make for a tough cleanup.  The oatmeal is creamy and delicious as is, though I love to top mine with a little bit of maple syrup, and you can also top with nuts, fruit, seeds, or coconut to suit your taste.  Another alternative- chop an apple into small pieces and throw it in with the mixture to make it applesaucy, or make a batch of easy slow cooker applesauce and serve together.

This hearty meal is guaranteed to fill you up and warm you up on these super-cold mornings, and this size batch gives me enough to eat all week.  Do you love oatmeal?  Have you tried it in the slow cooker, or are you a packet person?

Kristen Skelton of Milo and Molly is a self-taught sewist, Kristen who 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.  Stop by and see her collection of bold modern accessories and home goods.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday Words

As we move into a new year and everyone is making new goals and resolutions, this is an important statement to remember.  You are strong.  You can do it.  You can make things happen.