Music Monday!posted by karen! on 12 Mar 2014 02:19 pm

Yes, I know. Today is Wednesday. Not Monday. But the alliteration is nice (honestly, I was SUPPOSED to post this on Monday, but, you know, time got away from me.).

People often ask us who we’re listening to in the shop, so we started a monthly music Monday (see?! Alliteration!) feature.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness came out in 1995. I was thirteen. For my birthday, my mom had gotten me a portable CD player. Can you believe it?! A portable CD player?! I officially became the coolest. Well. Let’s not get carried away. Not even a portable CD player could over come the 50 extra pounds, braces, and the worst possible bangs ever. I mean ever.family_photo

Anywho. I loved my portable CD player. Or as my thirteen year old self would say, I luv-ed it. I was on a constant hunt for new CDs. My aforementioned 13 year old appearance would explain my lack of any true friendships so swapping discs was out. That left two options:

• Steal them from my brother (Yes, you did just see a photo of my family. Yes, I know it’s strange that my brother isn’t in the photo. Who’s to say why he’s not there!?)

• Columbia House (Remember this, you guys?! You’d get your first 10-ish CDs for practically nothing and then you had to spend a million dollars for the final six. But it was a club, which made me feel special and important, so obvs, I joined.)

This led to the sharpest music genre division ever to be found in a music collection (hyperbole!).

Would Ace of Base be the chosen one OR The Beatles? Queens Greatest Hits Or Alanis Morissette? I’m not ashamed to admit, sometimes (a lot of times) Ace of Base won. The Sign is a damn good song. I’ll stand by that.

Anywho (for the second time), this is how I came to be in possession of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I stole it from my brother. I justified my thievery because everyone knew my brother took terrible care of everything he owned. And I, I, took exceptionally good care of my possessions. I watched VH1, and I would do everything in my power to Save the Music.

By the time I got around to stealing the album from him, the second disc was missing (See?! Like I said, terrible care), which is why it was only yesterday I discovered the song Thirty-three (song 3 on the 2nd disc).

All of this is to say that I freaking love this song. Like I super love it. Like I luv it.

And you should, too.


Shop Notesposted by arin! on 11 Mar 2014 07:19 pm

There are a great many hopes that one has when beginning and maintaining a business.  For us (and for anyone, I suppose), the first hope might be that the little Glimmer of an idea is planted in a spot where it simply has a CHANCE of surviving.  And, of course, there are things that can be done in order to make those chances BETTER, but, then again, it really has so much to do with a good dose of luck (And I mean that.  “The Many Ways in Which One Must Have Faith” is a course title that should head at least one syllabus in every great business school that instructs in the magic of entrepreneurship).  So then the seed is planted.  And, like a miracle, it grows.  In the best of times, in the worst of times.  Because you love it.  Because it is your life.  Because it IS you.  Because you can’t think of one other job that is more suited.  And so you tend to it.


Now.  In the best case scenario, you find helpers who ALSO love your little idea.  And they’re the ones who are there to help you weed through the tangles and paint the walls and answer the phones and  pretend that they’re Certified Employees on Saturdays when You, The Owner, Just Need a Break (when, really, they only minutes ago received their “On the Job Training”).  They do this, most of the time, for no pay, because this tiny business, this good idea, isn’t very lucrative, but They Have Faith, too.   Because they are your friends (and, probably, you met them in this very space, because you never leave).


Years go by.  And the glimmer grows.  And here’s what happens next.  STRANGERS walk in the door and they GET IT.  They GET IT!  There is no greater joy for The Planter of the Idea than to see that someone else UNDERSTANDS!  And do you know what?  The person who GETS IT takes a business card.  And then THEY PASS IT ON!  They chat!  They get excited!  Because this is a space in the world unlike any other space and, the second they walked in the door and realized that this thing was unique, they became a PART of it.  Cool, right?



So this next part.  This is the part where things get a little trickier.  Because now, due to all of that kindness, the Glimmer has grown up.  It isn’t a tiny seed that asks to be taken care of.  It doesn’t feel fragile, anymore, either.  It is tree-sized.  It seems to hold its own.  And so, for those approaching this Bigger Thing, it might not seem that the tiny gestures that are extended toward it make as grand (or as necessary) of an impact as they did on the tiny Glimmer.  (It feels much more crucial to water something Just-Sprouted than it does to water your big, backyard Oak Tree, right?).

Except it does.  It matters more.  Because it is really easy to take the backyard tree for granted.  You walk by it on your way to your car, and you appreciate it for the shade, and you really only MISS it when it is gone.


Oh, I hope I didn’t just scare you!  Our little shop isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.  But it was a long winter.  And it was so icy-cold.  And, sometimes, we went days without seeing a soul.  And now it is Spring (we hope!), and we’ve missed you.  And we want to tell you how important you are, not just to the energy and livelihood of OUR small business, but to EVERY small business that you hold dear.  Do you know, that when you walk into a business, big or small, new or established, and you BUY something, you’ve helped to pay for another thing on the endless list of (sometimes very expensive) expenditures that place has to pounce on every month?  Do you know that when you PARTICIPATE (by attending events, by signing up for classes, by engaging in conversation or asking questions), you’ve made sense of turning the sign from “Closed” to “Open” that day?  Do you know that when you DO those things, you are contributing to a real sense of purpose  and are lending BREATH to that business, and that, by doing so, you become an active participant.  A vote-caster, hand raised high, shouting, “Yes! This Place Somehow Makes the World a Nicer Place to Live!!!”

Do you know what a big deal that is to the person behind the counter?

(scattered throughout are some photos from our “Little Ephemera” class held last Saturday.  These are the types of events we love most, and I couldn’t think of better visuals for the topic of excitement or energy!)

Found!posted by arin! on 07 Mar 2014 08:33 pm

We’ll be dedicating our Friday Posts to a little series that we refer to as “Found!”, a space to share great tidbits that have been hunted down or things that have found their way to us (the possibilities are endless!).

I planned to write a snippet about a super online wallpaper source that sends FREE SAMPLES, which is practically like signing up to have Christmas arrive on your doorstep in the middle of never-ending winter.  But instead, I’ve got something even better.


Tonight, I was sitting quietly, when my sweet friend messaged and asked if I had found a “Doorstep Treat.”  I hadn’t.  Yet.  I rushed right over and found a tissue paper-ed gift bag full of magazines and THIN MINT COOKIES and the most thoughtful card.  It seems that I had expressed my disdain for the cold and had mentioned the feelings of general heaviness I’ve experienced over the last few days and SHE HEARD ME!  And that, of course, was the real gift.

Found: A Reminder to Pay Attention.

(Oh, and no worries.  I’ll tell you all about the wallpaper very, very soon!)

Homeworkposted by arin! on 05 Mar 2014 09:12 pm

There was a joke my dad and my husband liked to pass back and forth.  It had something to do with how it would take Arin longer to paint and re-upholster 6 dining room chairs than it would for the two of them to complete our entire basement re-model.  Carpet got laid in mid-January, Chairs were completed last week.  Oopsy-Daisy.

When we moved into our home a year ago, we laid claim to a big oak table that Josh’s GREAT-Grandparents had gathered around way, way, way back.  Then the grandparents owned it, then the parents owned it, and now we own it.  It arrived with six matching chairs and a clear plastic tablecloth which had kept this piece of furniture in impeccable shape over the years (nonetheless, it  had to go because, in this house,  tabletops don’t need to look perfect as much as they need to look loved.).  And then, the chairs.  They were beautiful, and kind of falling-apart, and very much OAK.  So: old oak floors, oak table, oak chairs, oak trim…. hmmmm…

When we first started dating, I lived in an apartment that we refer to as “The Gypsy Camp.”  The walls were painted Robin’s Egg  and Sunshine and Apple No. Three and Pumpkin Number Five.   Those were the first walls I was given free reign over and I created a kaleidoscope.  And I loved those walls.  And I loved that palette.  And I loved that I learned so much about living with color.  That apartment spoke to me and TOLD me it needed great saturated brushstrokes covering its plaster walls.  It was small and kind of dark and it was just ME that had to live with the result.

But then, there was a move into this house.  Built in 1927, and so full of light, it had been occupied by the previous owners for over 60 years and, upon the very first walk-through, I could FEEL someone else’s story, still here.  And out of respect for that story, it just didn’t feel right to cover it up with bright orange paint.  Not right away.

so, when choosing colors, I reigned it in.  Light, light, light whispers and hints of color.  A nice canvas for some punches and statements here and there.  And, at the center of it all, all that oak.  So the chairs were the first to take a hit of Canary Yellow.  Some life.  A new story.


Six mismatched chairs, purchased for $2.00 each, out of some person’s run-down storefront in Western Iowa with a “Flea Market” sign stuck on the front. We chose the best out of the pile.  I cursed my brand new paint gun, which was much too much for such a small job (the overspray created a Canary Yellow “situation” on a large-ish patch of driveway-cement).  I cursed the oil-based paint on hot July afternoons.  I painted a little before the baby woke up, painted a little before the baby needed to go back down for a nap.  I painted a second coat.  I dug out staples on layer after layer of disintegrating fabric.  I wondered who had sat in each of these chairs before, how many cups of coffee consumed, turkeys eaten, birthday candles blown out…  I let the chairs sit in the garage for months, wondering what the best pattern might be to cover the cushions…

One cold night last week, we cobbled together the upholstery.  We felt like we did good for our first time.   The old oak chairs were carried up to the extra bedroom and our bright yellow chairs were parked around the dining room table.  We stood in the doorway and said things looked happier.  The second time Josh ever sat in the yellow chair parked in his spot, it broke into five pieces and he sat amongst the bits, shaking his head.  I laughed and helped him up and apologized for laughing.  I will probably
Continue Reading »

Luluposted by karen! on 04 Mar 2014 07:07 pm

This is Lulu.

Lulu is our big, green workbench. Where all of the ephemera production takes place. To prove that we’re not just sitting behind our computers facebooking all day, we’ve started a ‘What’s new with Lulu’ series to showcase our latest and greatest works.

So. What’s new with Lulu, you ask. Personalized Stationery. Look at this, just look at this.

Woo-wee! 2-ply cotton card stock with transparent gold ink and an assortment of envelope colors (Yes! It’s true. You CAN do that.). And Liners! And, AND faux painted edges! Genius hack! Want the look of painted edges, but don’t want to shell out the cash? Buy an ink pad & stamp the edges. DIY, baby!

Don’t mind if I do.

Next Page »