Table Tales — Stories and Snacks

I hear you. You want sets! It took a number of custom orders for me to realize it, but I get it now! So in the past week, I’ve started adding placemat and napkin sets to the shop. And I’m especially excited about these first offerings because they promise to bring whimsical tales to your next snack or meal!

 

When you sit down for lunch, why not tell a tale of a couple of bears who went camping or a girl who took a basket to her grandma’s house and met a wolf on the way… These aren’t just placemat sets; they’re stories to share, lessons to learn, and imaginations ignited. Find your little bear cub or brave traveller a story set HERE.

 

And as always, these placemats and cloth napkins are easy to care for and made with love and care.

My business is based on my dual desires to 1) add cheer to childhood and 2) ease the frustrations of parenthood. Children love bright colors and whimsical items that are *theirs.* Parents love baby and kid goods that are thoughtful, easy to care for, and made to last. I strive to offer both in every fabric print I pull, every design I create, and every offering in my shop.

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I want to give you more of what you want! What other sets would you like to see? Visit my shop HERE and let me know what YOU want! I was thinking of combining crowns and necklaces for birthday gifts, coordinating bibs and teething toys. What would you pair with a feeding bib — a napkin or a placemat or something else? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

I hope you have a wonderful story-filled week!

 

I Make Bibs…But Not For My Second Child!

The list of things I haven’t done with/for kid #2, that I did do with/for kid #1 could fill …the infinity stretch part of my old maternity jeans. …the long expanse of the night wherein I used to sleep. …the deep cavernous hole in my life that was once filled with finding something to do because I had time to fill.

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In short, I’m a that regular mom who has dropped the ball with her second child in all of the usual ways but they sound super terrible when I list them…

  • I did not make a pregnancy book with my second because managing that pregnancy and a sensitive toddler took more time and energy than I had. With my first, the days felt like forever between the next week’s baby bump entry. You guys! Do you remember those long days before kids? Now let’s forget those days. We’re parents now those days aren’t for us anymore. 
  • I did not keep a baby book for my second because postpartum depression + baby and a toddler = management capacity. Memories-shmemories, I was just trying to get us through the day. Oh man I regret this one, but I do have tons of pictures and I kept milestone notes in the notes section of my phone. OMG I’m the worst mom ever. “Here is your beautiful baby book, Child #1. Here are a few shorthand notes I entered into my phone, Child #2.” Worst. Mom. Ever.
  • I haven’t taken my second to all of the baby sing-alongs, gymnastics classes, and play groups that I took my first to. She does get to do pre-K pick-up with me! So fun! 

So all things considered, I guess it isn’t a big deal that I never made any new feeding bibs for my second kid. I have clearly dropped the ball in major ways. And our feeding bib supply, although made for my first kid, still do the job!

But this is our real life. We are knee-deep in the good, bad, and temper tantrums. I may not always have all the details nice and tidy, but I will drop everything to do a puzzle when my youngest asks. She’s obsessed! My arms are always available for snuggles through the good and bad, and most importantly, I shower both of my girls with lots and lots of love and positive vibes all day long.

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Happy To Be Kid #2

PS. Check out the durable bibs in my pen&thimble Etsy shop for your first, second, and third kid. 🙂

Brown Astronauts and Mermaids with Natural Coils: Representation in Art

So if I’m being honest, I didn’t create kids wall art featuring children of color on purpose. I didn’t start my creative process thinking, children’s walls ought to be more multiracial. When I created these pieces, I was thinking… Here are some fun prints! Oooh this unicorn! Cute astronaut kid! Sweet mermaid!

African-American Mermaid and African American Astronaut
In our family, a little snippet of diversity occurs every time we sit down for dinner. And we encourage learning about and respecting other cultures and backgrounds beyond our shades of brown and white…

Inclusivity in baby room and kids room decor
But it wasn’t until I had kids that the purposeful inclusion of multiple races was so important to me–books, dolls, figurines. This inclusion often means buying two dollhouse families to make sure family representations can include more than one shade or ethnicity. Or more recently, I bought a car track set for my two year old and had to purchase an extra car driver, a black girl, because all of the pictures on the car track and the two car drivers that were included were white.

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(This is the only picture I could find with all of us in same frame)

 

Even as a brown mom with inclusivity in my mind, it wasn’t until I was trying to come up with listing titles and tags on Etsy that I realized that I needed to make these searchable for parents like me, looking for diversity in their kids’ rooms. And then despite being of multiple races, growing up in a multiracial family, and raising my own, I had trouble coming up with the search terms I wanted. (Huge thank you to my community of awesome Facebook mamas and friends for supplying me with a great list!)
African American Mermaid with natural hair

Now that I’m in multicultural art sales, I realize that there still isn’t a lot of art with kids that look like me or my kids’ friends. Or maybe I haven’t quite found the right search terms. But I hope to change walls one framed piece at a time. And now I have a purpose. A purpose that wasn’t on purpose is now my purpose!

PS. This new art is now listed in my Etsy shop. Already mounted in a 12 inch square frame, behind glass, and ready to be hung up with a nail or command strips! (Only $80 +shipping.)

PPS. I highly recommend The Barefoot Book of Children to start conversations about diversity–skin color, foods, customs… Have you seen it yet? We love it! Look for it at your local library or bookshop!

Truth: There is No Balance in Growing a Business and A Family

My youngest is turning 2 years old in Thursday. 2 you guys! So I’ve been feeling nostalgic and flipping through photos and realizing how wonderful and challenging it’s been to grow my handmade business and my family together at home.

My studio has moved and grown with my family. My family has grown in the studio. The days I feel like I balanced mom-life and work-life well are rare. Some days I feel like I haven’t gotten any work done. Sometimes a week goes by and I can’t remember the last time I had some good quality family time. But that’s the “work-life balance.” It’s a pile in one direction or the other with the hope it all balances out in the end.

And one thing I know… No matter where my studio is, my pajamaed kids in my sewing chair makes my heart so happy! 🙂

PS. To see the handmade bibs, placemats, and kids decor I make  alongside my little shop assistants CLICK HERE!

pen&thimble handmade business