November 2011

Shop: Evelda’s Neverland

by Cat on November 30, 2011

I’ve been chasing Zilla around Golden Gate Park a lot lately and the chill of the air has brought visions of warm, wooly knits to mind. These creations by Evelda’s Neverland fit the bill for a chilly mom don’t they?

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Anorak Magazine

by Cat on November 29, 2011

I’m continuing on my love fest with all things print. Yesterday we had the lovely Janine of Uppercase Magazine. Today I wanted to share UK Magazine, Anorak. It’s tag is, “the happy mag for little ones…” The magazines are exquisitely illustrated for children by some of the hottest designers and illustrators around. Their latest is Ploc, illustrated front to back by the whimsical works of Alain Gree. You can purchase issues in the US, just click here for locations.

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I’ve always been a fan of Uppercase Magazine. It’s a self-professed magazine for the “creative and curious” and fills every design junkie’s nook and cranny fantasies on those subjects. We’re so lucky to have publisher and editor Janine Vangool be our featured designing mom today. Her life now as mom and publisher are intricately woven…read on to see how her day to day plays out!
What is your background? Have you always been creative?
I’ve always loved books, letters, paper, pens and stationery… I can trace the infatuation with these things back to my preschool days and my most vivid childhood memories are of making things with paper, creating little books and sewing stuffed animals from scratch. My career as a graphic designer and now as publisher/designer/editor of UPPERCASE, allows me to indulge in these creative pursuits but in a very grown-up way!
What is a typical day in your life?
When I became a new mom last year, my days were anything but typical. I still had to produce the quarterly magazine while caring for my little baby! For a few months (before he could crawl) we had a nice little arrangement where he would stay put while I got some work done in between feedings and changings. But the more mobile he became, the less work I could get done at home, so after about a year, I started coming into my studio more often. Now for our typical day Finley and I spend the morning together while my husband Glen spends time writing his second novel. After lunch together, Glen takes over and I walk downtown to the UPPERCASE studio to work until 6.
What inspired you to start Uppercase Magazine? How do you think of themes for your magazine?
I used to design books and a magazine for other clients. I learned a lot from those dozen years of working for others — what to do and perhaps more importantly, what not to do! After so many years of working for others, I was getting bored and stagnating creatively. The challenge was gone since most jobs were just making things look nice, but lacked any real heavy thinking. In producing my own content, I am using all parts of my creative abilities and pushing myself in new directions and learning new skills. I love being an entrepreneur and publisher—UPPERCASE magazine and books is the ideal job for me.
The themes for each issue emerge somewhat organically. I receive lots of portfolio links and suggestions, and I read a lot of blogs, look at flickr and etsy and social media… this gets put into my creative pool where things swim around together for a while. From there I can see trends, themes or common threads that develop into full issues.
How does your son inspire you creatively?
My little guy is a very loving, smart and easy-going toddler. Glen and I are very lucky! He has been part of our creative endeavours since the day he was born and has come along with us for all sorts of craft fairs, conferences and book launches. We’re both inspired to keep at our own creative pursuits, partly because this is how we support our family, but more importantly so that Finley will appreciate creating, making and doing and he grows up. As he gets older, I look forward to more fun with crafts, colouring, and the joy of childhood learning.
How do you make time for yourself? How do you recharge your creative batteries?
The walk to and from my studio is about 20 minutes each way and is precious time without emails, phone calls and other demands. It is a vital part of my day when I can ponder and plan as well as decompress a bit…
I’m looking forward to attending some conferences over the next few months. As a content-maker, the perpetual hunt for ideas can get exhausting. At the DesignThinkers and ALT conferences, I look forward to sitting back and just listening to other creatives without necessarily having to actually make anything with the content other than to recharge my own creative thinking.

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Thanksgiving Story: My Mom, Jenny Seto

by Cat on November 23, 2011

I’ll be taking a little holiday break for the rest of the week and will be back again Monday with more posts. But before I sign off, I wanted to leave you photos of what I’ll be cherishing over Thanksgiving. If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that it was inspired by my mother and her untimely passing when I was pregnant in my second trimester and my sister in her third…

Needless to say, every Thanksgiving is bittersweet. I have Zilla and my family to be thankful for but there is always the annual reckoning of my mother passing in hospice the day after Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with dear ol’ dad and he mentioned a photograph of my mother up on the wall of the ICU unit of the hospital she had worked at. He said it with such nonchalance I almost didn’t catch it. I requested him to take pictures (above and below) and mail them to me. When they arrived I carried them in my bag for three days straight so that I could take them out and and hold them in my hands.

My beautiful mother was a working mom. She was a cardiac nurse and dedicated herself to over thirty eight years on the floor of the ICU wing of St John Macomb Hospital. She was so dedicated she received a little gold pin, or to put it more precisely a “perfect record of distinction” for never missing a shift. Talk about a perfectionist. I grew up knowing she had another world in which she dedicated herself to but was not privy to the details nor the gravity. I only knew that she spent every other Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving with us…and always requested if we could shift our Graduation dates or birthday parties so that she could make her shifts. We always joked, “all this for a gold pin?!

In truth I never really knew how important her role was at St John. We rarely visited and she rarely divulged any tangible details about work. But the photographs that recently arrived in the mail from my father were more than evident. She is one of two nurses whose picture graces the ICU ward’s entrance. It struck me right then just how amazing a nurse she must have been. It was a swift reminder that she wasn’t just my “mom,” but that she was a great woman who had dedicated herself to her hospital, the doctors, staff and tending to and saving tens of thousands of patients over the years. She will now continue to greet countless patients and families in crisis, hopefully offering them a capable, friendly, assuring face as they pass down the hallways. Perhaps she will inspire the other nurses (new and current) to strive to her standards of work and ethics. Surely I know the hospital treasured her as I do. My mom is my Florence Nightingale, as strong, graceful, and everlasting a woman as I could hope for. I am so, so, so proud of my mom. I hope all of you give your moms a big hug this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
xoxo, Cat.

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Biz How To: Funding

by Cat on November 22, 2011

by Designing Mom Ryan of Tin Parade

Hi Mama’s.  I am lucky to have an amazing women as a friend , Nada Jones, who has been a great help to me in starting and growing my and Kristen’s  business of children’s party goods. I told you about her last year when I was event planning for her Live the Dream Expo (for women entrepreneurs), and I will give you a heads up on that event when it happens early February next year. But I wanted to share with you her idea for my business partner (fellow designing mom), Kristen Gara and I do raise much needed funds for phase two of our party goods business.

For phase two we want to start selling wholesale to stores across the country (not just on our website) and we need to make a huge product order of our brand new designs to do that.  Nada Jones suggested we try a Kickstarter Campaign.  If you aren’t familiar (she had to explain it to me too), it is an online platform for creative people to raise money for creative projects only.  So you submit your project and hope to be accepted.  We were accepted because we are a design duo creating unique, freshly designed party goods.

The idea is that people can give money to your project and walk away with awesome stuff that they totally want. So they are never JUST giving money to a cause (although helping someone with their dream will also feel great).  And, they don’t get a share in your company or revenue’s or anything like that, so don’t be nervous. What they get is up to you as the campaign manager. We are giving away party goods and to certain backers we are also going to send them the actual new designs/products as soon as we have them in our hands, so even before they are in stores.  The tough side is that if you don’t reach your funding goal (ours is $8,000) you will not receive ANY funds!

I have heard some people sort of shop on Kickstarter because you really can find some innovative products.  It might be a good option for you if you are having trouble coming up with the funding for your new venture or don’t want to use all of your personal money. Check out our campaign and if you are so inclined and want some great party stuff, go ahead and send some love in the form of a pledge. We will greatly appreciate it as you can imagine. Wish us luck!

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