I have to be upfront here: I’m a Crocs hater. That said, I know a ton of kids who adore them, and Monkey Lisa has come up with a product which makes me less negative about plastic shoes. “Cranklz” straps for Crocs shoes. They are very cute, make the shoes look less mass-produced and fit better, so if your kid just has to have Crocs, at least they will be able to run without their shoes flying off!
If I had one of these rings, mine would say “Be Her.” But you can have anything you like stamped on yours. For example, your kids names, your anniversary date, the name of your business, or anything else that moves you. By Chris Parry.
Previously featured a couple of years ago, check out what Courtney is up to today.
I’m a metalsmith & jewelry designer. I strive to make beautiful, wearable pieces that women will reach for everyday. I love when customers describe one of my pieces as a favorite.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I’ve been making things for as far back as my memory can reach. My father is a painter (and a chemist) and painting was my first love. Painting was difficult for me to keep up with after having kids and when I discovered beading it was easier to stop and pick back up again as the babies allowed. Eventually I moved on to metal and fell in love ;)
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Yes, it’s my street name! I thought it was both unique and simple enough to be memorable to a customer while also having a personal meaning to me.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I work alone 99% of the time though my husband (a CPA) and I share a split office/studio in our home. The only time I have help with my own work is when I enlist my 8 year old daughter to help me package large orders. She recently helped by putting my logo-stickers on 95 boxes for the Academy Awards Gift Lounge.
I also get loads of help from my mom with my kids..that’s priceless during the holiday and show seasons.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell my work via my own site. I also have shops in Etsy and Supermarket. I sell through a handful of great boutiques on both the East & West coast and I’m always excited to add another one to the list.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
What inspires and motivates you?
It sounds cheesy but definitely my kids. They keep me seeing things in a fresh perspective and also force me to stay organized – I’m always grateful for that.
What do you wish I had asked you?
“What do you do when you’re not making things?”
I homeschool my kids full time. It’s the best part of having my own business, I can be home with my children every single day.
Thanks Courtney. And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.
This week, in the Back-to-School Eats series, I’m going to talk Brown Bag Lunches. From planning to execution, purchase to lunchroom-feast I’ve got tips, tricks and ideas to make healthy, mostly local lunches quick, easy and attainable for even the busiest families. But before we get started on lunch, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Back-to-School Eats: On The Go Breakfast Edition for four wholesome ways to kick off your school-kid’s day. Because breakfast is the most important meal, one that sets the tone for success and health and if your child hasn’t had a good breakfast the quality of his lunch isn’t going to be able to make up the difference.
Have a System – When my oldest started Kindergarten I was still one of those really good parents. I was expending an obnoxious amount of time trying to Do It All and I was succeeding. Most of the remnants of that time are now long gone, ancient history, but a few usable bits and pieces still remain. One of those things is a lunch planning spreadsheet I created. Or, rather, several of them. They’re divided into four categories; main dish, fruit, vegetable and treat. Those categories are color coded and each spreadsheet represents a different season, a different part of the school year. In each of the categories, on each of the spreadsheets, are several items that we usually have on hand during that time of year. Some items make an appearance in more than one season — peanut butter and jam sandwiches and apples, for instance — but many are seasonal with temporary availability — like asparagus in the springtime, peaches and pears in the late summer and early fall. Each day my girls pick one item from each category to make up the lunch of their choice. You don’t have to use my system, though it works very well if you’d like to, but have a system in place to make everything from purchase to packing easy.
Start Big – It’s contrary to everything your mother ever told you — “Start small, deary! Work your way up! — but hear me out. What I mean is not to start big overall, but to start with the big things. To have the biggest impact start with the largest portions of the meal and work your way down to the condiments, the toppings, the little treats. If sandwiches are a common component of your kids’ lunch look for good local sources of bread (or the grains to make it in your very own bread maker) and lunch meat. Worry about the condiments later, for instance.
Understand Your Law of Supply and Demand – And obey it. If you have one child who eats an apple a day, chances are you don’t need a bushel of apples every week. It’s just as easy to overdo it at the Farmer’s Market as it is to not go at all. Buy what you need, eat what you buy.
Plan Ahead – Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in a temperate climate where the growing season and the Farmer’s Market go year-round, you’re going to have to plan ahead for winter. Last year, in On Year Round Appreciation, I alluded to the importance of asking your local growers about year-round product availability now, before the market closes, but that is doubly important when you’re trying to get three meals a day out of the local food scene. Remember, some products don’t have a set season. Meats, eggs, preserves, breads, and even some produce that keeps well in a root cellar like potatoes, onions, apples, hard squashes and garlic can be had in the dead of winter without trucking it in from miles out. Start planning how you’ll access these goods before the cold sets in. You may be able to buy them farm direct, you may need to stock up. Now is the time to know which it’ll be.
Whatever the system you choose and foods you pack here’s to happy, healthy, local and — most important — stress-free back-to-school lunches!
I love fun furniture for kids. Especially whimsical pieces like these from My Little Big Chair. The Little Miss Muffet Tuffet featured below is loaded with details, down to the bug print on the lining beneath the ruffles. I’m not sure if it is the ideal place for your little miss to sit and eat her curds and whey*, but it’s a perfect perch to read, to brush her hair (vanity stool?), to put on her shoes, etc
Tuffets are not just a chick thing, incidentally. There are tuffet options for boys in My Little Big Chair’s shop. I like this drum themed tuffet. Perfect for him to sit on, or bang out a tune on. You could say this piece is easy on the ears and the tush.
* Side Note: Has anyone ever deciphered exactly what curds and whey are? Because I am still wondering. It doesn’t sound all that appetizing. Maybe that is the real reason Little Miss Muffet ran away.