Categories Archive

Imagine – New Year, New Outlook

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? I usually don’t make any except maybe a couple of silly ones, like always buy the correct sized clothes – I sometimes grab things just because they are on sale 🙂 I make a lot of lists so I feel like I cover most things in my lists. I have a house list, a garden list, a books I want to read list, movies I want to see list, places to visit list and of course a work list. One of the things we are trying to figure out at work is if we want to manufacture and sell our designs on our own as well as license. It seems like these days you have to try a little bit of everything. If you have any thoughts to share we are all ears. I’ve read a lot about picking a word for the year, to live by. I’ve decided that my word will be Imagine! Isn’t that an awesome word?! It holds so many possibilities and it can mean so many things big and small. What about you, have you picked a word? We didn’t go out of town over the break, just stayed local, but looking at my camera roll, it feels like we did. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Here are some pictures – from a crazy, huge, amazing rainbow (we finally got some rain here in California), to hiking in the mountains, to days at the beach. It was a great break. I can only IMAGINE what 2015 will...

World Cup Cheat Sheet

Let’s start off with this super funny commercial that Landon Donovan made. First it is totally awesome that he can have fun with it and laugh at himself and second he should have been on the team. You can’t tell me he was not better than at least one of the 23 Klinsmann took to Brazil and just out of respect you let him play his last World Cup. Make sure to watch all the way to the end. If you are like most of the world you’re probably watching at least a few of the games in the World Cup. If you’re not and want to but don’t understand the game here are some pointers so you can better understand the game. If you want to watch while you are working (wink, wink) check out ESPN’s live streaming, much better quality this time around. I’ve grown up playing soccer my whole life and still play and coach and my 3 kids also play. It’s a fun game and even if you don’t understand it there are a lot of cute guys to watch run around! 🙂 Here are a few basics: 1. There are 32 teams in 8 groups to start. The 4 teams play each other and the top two teams in points move on to the next phase which is single elimination. 2. There are 10 field players and a goalie on the field. Each half is 45 minutes and they get a 15 minute break at half time. There are 3 substitutions of players allowed in each game. If you get a red card your...

A New Year, A New Calendar

It’s 2014, wow that flew by fast. I think as we get older the years go by quicker. My kids seem like they were babies just last week. I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions, not because I don’t have any goals, but I think you should always try to be a better person and have goals to achieve. One thing I would like to see is for people to be nicer to each other. Have you read some of the comments people leave on websites? It makes me really sad to know that there are that many people who feel the need to spout hate for no reason at all. Can we eliminate the comments sections? Why should we comment on every article we read anyway? I digress! To start the New Year off organized, everyone needs a new calendar. Whether you use a white board calendar (that’s my choice), a hanging paper calendar or something else, here are a few fun ones. Click on the image to link to the various purchase pages. Enjoy!...

Super Sassy or Super Offensive?

What’s New Wednesday I’m working on a new set of greeting cards that I think are pretty funny and snarky with little plays on words. The designs are not totally fleshed out but I thought I would show you a sneak peek. What do you think so far, sassy or offensive? Over the top or just right? Several will be like the tank top card, just a funny play on words. We would love your...

How we got into Licensing our Artwork

We often get asked how we got into licensing our artwork. About 8 or 9 years ago a new company came to us and asked if we would design some stationery for their site that they would proof online and print digitally, a new concept. We were corporate graphic designers so we were used to designing and printing digitally and working pretty fast. We had always designed fun holiday gifts for clients and family/friends and had even thought about opening our own stationery store. We went as far as testing and printing some designs and getting prices for everything. We still have some of the stuff in storage (need to have a garage sale!). The timing was perfect and we gave it a try. We never imagined we could make a living doing it, we were doing it more for fun. That online stationery company was TinyPrints and the rest is history. From TinyPrints we expanded to other sites like InvitationBox.com and KodakGallery. With Kodak, we were their most successful designer outselling Martha Stewart! From there it was only natural that we expand our designs to other products. We found an awesome agent, Jewel Branding and began marketing to manufacturers. We had a booth at Surtex, the licensing show in New York, and go each year. It is a lot of work and design time but our product line is growing each year. It is exciting to see our stuff at stores and online. It is a long process before you are profitable and it takes many years to build up repeat customers but the sky’s the limit for...

How does your Garden Grow?

As you may recall from this previous post, I’ve had some issues with our vegetable garden and was trying out a new spot. The larger raised beds are under a tree and get dappled sunlight most of the day. So our vegetables weren’t thriving as well as I would have liked. So this year we cleared out an area on the super sunny side yard to plant. This side of our house gets sun all day, which is the reason the previous owners put in a Sunroom! It must have been a weight loss method because when it is 90 degrees outside and 100 degrees inside we are all dripping sweat! I digress. Anywho, after putting in new soil, fertilizer and planting, we have a thriving garden, almost too thriving. Lesson learned, when it says plant 18 inches apart they’re pretty serious. We have lettuce, chard, basil, tomatoes and eggplant growing quite nicely. Next plantings though will be more spread out and less lettuce, how many salads can one family eat?!  ...

Happy 4th of July

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I thought we should try to remember what our country is founded on. There has been a lot of fighting lately about guns, abortion, religion, gay marriage, etc. but even though we may all have different opinions, they are just opinions. The United States of America was founded based on this line from the Declaration of Independence and it would serve us well to remember this above all else – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” So get your BBQ fired up, your fireworks ready and gather with friends and family and have an awesome 4th of July Celebration! In case you need a little history refresher (like I did) here is a great School House Rock video, I totally loved these as a kid, to get you started and for a more meatier explanation of the Declaration of Independence, click here.  ...

Empty Nest Syndrome

My son is off to college this summer and that leaves me with just two left in “the nest”. My daughters still have quite a while before flying away – about 6 years, but I’ve often thought of what car I would drive and what kind of house I would own when the nest is empty. Growing up I always wanted a Chinook for a car. If you are unfamiliar with this car it is basically a small pick up with a camper shell attached. I thought it would be awesome to drive around with your house attached. Then as a tween I really wanted to live in an apartment, I thought that would be so fun. Don’t tell my parents who celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year, but I kind of wanted them to separate or divorce so I could live in an apartment. (I know I’m weird) As a college graduate I finally achieved that dream! 🙂 (The apartment not the divorce) Now of course I live in a standard ranch house and drive a standard SUV! (To drive my standard family of 5 around) But I dream of one day having a small cottage with white slip-covered furniture (and no one to spill stuff on it), a cute little garden, and a small cute car like a convertible bug or a Mini Cooper (no carpooling allowed). I guess you can tell from my Pinterest boards I like turquoise? Funny since I have none in my house now! Don’t get me wrong I love my kids dearly and will totally miss almost everything about having them...

Funny Ass Shit

Warning if you are easily offended stop reading now. I rarely re-post stuff from other people or stuff I find on the internet but I had to give it a go this time. You may have already read the rant by the sorority sister but if you haven’t you should check it out. As soon as I read it, I reaffirmed why I never joined a sorority! I know she was fired and all, but this chick can write some funny shit! And it wasn’t just a sentence or two it was a pretty long email. Plus the comments that people are making are pretty damn funny on their own. I know she used foul language and was a total bitch and unfortunately she emailed it so it has gone viral, but you have to admit it would have been fun to write that kind of letter at least once and I’m sure you already are thinking of who would get it. Plus the way she ends it is awesome! I even learned several new swear words. I know we should all be a lot nicer to each other and wish for World Peace but maybe this can start our weekend off with a little laughter. Laughter is the best medicine – at least it’s better than a punch in the face. 😉 Check out the story here make sure to read the  comments after her letter! “If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this email is going to be a rough fucking ride. For those...

Exploring your Neighborhood

We love going to the beach whenever we have a free day. Our kids all have wetsuits and boogie boards and can spend the whole day in the surf. Since we had President’s Day off we did a spur of the moment overnight with cousins at the beach. We spent the day going on rides at the Boardwalk. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a great place to visit. Most of the time we park up the hill to save on the parking fees ($10). It can be a bit expensive between rides, parking and food, but in the summer there are great discounts, $1 rides and hot dogs plus bands, circus performers and movies that are free depending on the day. Check their website for deals and calendar info. You can also eat cheaper and better across the street so don’t hesitate to try something there or on the wharf. We stayed at a really nice hotel that just opened up, Hotel Paradox. It’s kind of got a hipster vibe, lots of natural wood and cool nature photography. The kids spent all their free time in the pool and hot tub and we enjoyed Happy Hour appetizers. The next day we decided to go the The Mystery Spot. I think the last time I visited was 30 years ago. There used to be a similar attraction at Frontier Village in San Jose. It’s a lot of fun and I thought pretty reasonably priced. $5 admission per person and $5 for parking. It’s about a 45 minute tour and you can also go on hiking trails to explore the redwoods....

Happy Thanksgiving

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. -W. T. Purkiser Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. For those crazy enough to brave Black Friday shopping, Good...

New Simon+Kabuki Partyware Designs

We are always busy with new product designs at Simon+Kabuki. We get asked to design a lot of partyware, and since we always love to throw a good bash, designing the paper plates and cups is a lot of fun. Whenever we throw our own parties we start with designing the invitations and then use that design as our overall theme. The designs above have not been chosen yet, the selection process takes a long time, especially with big stores like Target. Once they are chosen and printed and we actually see our stuff on the shelves, we turn into giddy kids again! What do you think of the designs? Would you throw a cowboy/girl themed...

Did you Rock the Vote?

Did you Rock the Vote yesterday? Whether you are a democrat or a republican I hope you got out there and voted. It’s the only way to make our voices heard. I loved this portion of Obama’s speech, “America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.” I also loved what Romney said in his speech, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work… And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.” Remember politics is like a good marriage. For a marriage to work and be harmonious sometimes you must agree to disagree. Marriage as defined by Wikipedia: Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship. I like that definition– we must now work...

Help- Sad iMac today

We’ve been super busy around here! Designing lots of Christmas cards, dishes, cell phone cases, fabric, etc. I took Friday off to take a quick trip to Lake Tahoe. I love Tahoe, the lake and mountains are beautiful, especially in the summer. I had tons of work to catch up on today but my iMac is having none of that. Why does it always happen on your busiest day?! I’ve been trying to get it to start up since 9am this morning. I have the grey screen with the Apple logo or the grey screen with the spinner or the grey screen with the circle with a line through it or just the grey screen and nothing else. I really just want a happy face mac. I think I’ve tried everything, such a pain and a real time waster! If anyone has some special trick that might work let me...

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say, Don't Say Anything At All

Seems pretty simple right? Weren’t we all taught that as a kid? What happened to manners? Now a days the general population can comment on anything and everything. We can comment on our friends Facebook pages, we can comment on blogs, we can even comment on news articles. Why? Unless the person is an expert on the subject why do we allow comments on everything? When I read the comments, at least half of them are mean, racist or whiny so I am not sure what purpose this is serving. I know a bunch of people will spout freedom of speech but when did we get so mean and spiteful as a nation? I’m pretty sure our Founding Fathers weren’t thinking we should diss every person we disagree with when they came up with Freedom of Speech. Plus aren’t we trying to teach our children not to bully – but we as adults bully people with our anonymous comments left on websites! If you don’t have anything nice to say then at least print your name and phone number so everyone knows who you are! Here are some real examples of comments pulled from the internet (these are the tamer ones): -Obama hitched his team to the wrong wagon as new witnesses come forward conforming Zims story, Now that racist pig in office has to do damage control. First thing he should do is denounce the panthers putting a bounty on Zims head and separate himself  from this whole mess, but he can’t without losing the black vote. I truly hope this is what it takes to get him...

girl brains and boy brains, my interpretation

I got back late last night from a speaking engagement in Sioux Falls, SD. I got to hang out with a bunch of kickass women and talk about what we need to do to get a fair shake in our careers and minimize the mommy guilt all at the same time. The explanation for inequality is really very simple, our biology dictates how we operate and since historically there were more men in the workforce, it’s naturally designed to accommodate their biology. Following me? I’m not saying that boys are dumb. Okay, I say that all the time but only because I live with a bunch of them and I know this to be true. Even the smart ones are ignorant on occasion. But if you look at my scientific illustration of the brain, you can see that it’s not all their fault. Take a look at this awesome video about men and women’s brains, A Tale of Two Brains. So my theory is that we need to maximize the biology that works for us and learn to do a few things more like guys do. I don’t mean scratching your crotch and pee standing up. I mean take credit when you do a good job and don’t sacrifice your principles to make a group happy. That kind of thing. Enough philosophy for today, time to fire up my cordless drill and fix some stuff around the...

crock pot cooking and america idol recap

Yesterday both of my daughters had a soccer game after school. I knew I would be busy and not have time to make dinner when I got home at 5pm so I hit the crock pot. I love my “crack” pot, it is so easy to throw a bunch of stuff in and set it for 5-6 hours and out pops a really yummy, hearty meal. So cool. I searched my cupboards for some inspiration and found a bag of dried beans. Normally you need to soak beans overnight and cook them the next day. Obviously I didn’t do that, that would take planning! Instead I hit the internet for a quick solution, what an amazing invention, can you imagine researching this in the Encyclopedia Britannica? Wash your dried beans in cold water and then boil for 10-15 minutes in enough water to cover by a couple of inches then let them sit for a couple of hours. You must do this step because as I also learned on the internet, kidney beans contain toxins. So unless you want a stomach ache and a cleanse don’t forget that step. Next up put all of the ingredients into the crock pot and set for 5-6 hours. You can be creative and pretty much add whatever you want but I’ve also included a basic recipe. When I got home I whipped up some quick corn muffins and we sat down to dinner. I served mine with cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Most everything tastes better with cheese. Now onto the important part of our evening, American Idol. My daughters...

politics as usual

Since it is political debate season, year, month, whatever, I thought I would try to focus on something positive (stop laughing) about politics. No not the lies that are coming out of their mouths nor the attacks on each other, you would think they are all in middle school or high school, so cliquey! And are we not trying to teach our children to not bully? Hello presidential candidates and their PR firms lets cut the crap and lead by example. Enough with the he said, she said, you all need a time out. I digress… The real reason for this post was to take a look at some of the political posters over the last couple hundred years. It might be the one bright spot in the race for presidency. There are some pretty cool ones and it is fun to look at ones that were done so long ago. There are some good designers out there. I also like that lately people have come up with their own versions (as long as they are nice and tasteful. One great example of that is the Obama Hope poster. Here are some additional places that you can view more posters: Presidential Campaign Posters: Two Hundred Years The Library of...

a sign from god

We spent Thanksgiving at my in-laws in Manteca. On Friday, as we were heading home we passed a church sign on the main street that I had to stop and take pictures of. It appears that God is a stand up comedienne! Or at least some of his followers are. If I was religious I’d go to this church! In case you are wondering, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” On the Wikipedia site, Santa Claus is described as: “Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots”. I’m pretty sure Santa did not die for our sins but if you believe in him you get some really great presents! I showed my family the funny signs and my brother emailed me his favorite. He took this picture at a rental store for floor strippers. No caption necessary. What about you, any funny signs you want to...

happy thanksgiving

Top Ten Things to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving: 10. Martha Stewart will not critique your turkey or the $1 store napkin rings. 9. You get to be with your family–all day! 8. There will be plenty of wine flowing, see #9. 7. You finally get to use your gravy boat. 6. You can always sit at the kids table. 5. You get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, again. 4. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving makes you feel pretty good about yourself. 3. You can now shop at midnight instead of sleeping overnight at Walmart. 2. It is the only day that marshmallows are served with dinner. 1. Not only is it acceptable to over indulge it is expected. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!...

milfy monday – everything's coming up roses

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare This weekend my husband and I had a rare hour to kill until my son’s soccer game started. We decided to visit the San Jose Rose Garden. Sometimes you forget that your city has rare gems just waiting to be visited. When we plan our vacations we are always on the lookout for hot spots in other towns but often forget what we have in our own hometown. The San Jose Rose Garden is 5.5 acres with nearly 4,000 roses. It was selected as America’s Best Rose Garden, who knew! It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of San Jose. There are many weddings and graduations held in the garden each year. What a beautiful backdrop – fountains, grass and thousands of roses, can’t be beat! We spent our time wandering through the rows and smelling the various roses. Some have no smell and some have wonderful smells. The upkeep of the garden is done by volunteers and I want to thank them for giving their time for every one to enjoy. I encourage you to grab a blanket and picnic lunch and enjoy the garden on a beautiful sunny day, you will not regret it! It was nice to take a break from our busy lives in such a quiet and aromatic spot. We will definitely be back! What treasures do you have in your hometown?...

what's new wednesday

We are really excited to have been featured in Quilt Magazine this month. It is their October/November issue out right now. We are the designer spotlight. We were called several months ago by the writer Cynthia Van Hazinga. It was a great experience and really easy, much to our relief. She asked us great questions and really did her research on our company. It was fun to see how the process works and then see the final piece. There were a couple of funny things in the article that anyone who knows us well would have scratched their head at – I do play soccer but not water polo, those are Erin’s kids that do that. And I don’t love to iron that is just the method I use for sewing – iron-on patches and fusible hemming is the extent of my sewing and ironing skills! My mom is a great seamstress but unfortunately it did not rub off on any of her children. This is a scan of the actual article in the magazine, hopefully we look young and crafty! You can click on the image to see it in full size, easier to read that way! We love working with Quilting Treasures on new fabric collections and the article highlights our next fabric line, Nesting, which will be out soon. Juicy Blossoms our current line is being sold at quilt stores and online. You can find the Zebra wall mural here: Muralsyourway.com Be on the lookout for a Juicy Blossoms fabric giveaway coming up soon. We will post the details here and on our facebook page.  ...

Please don't eat these sweet treats

My hubby and I were shopping in Honolulu a few months ago and came across the cutest little store front. He was going to run into the video game store (yes, really) so I poked my head into this place and said, “I’m going to check out this candy shop” because it was too cute to pass up. As I stood in front of the glass cases, it took me several minutes before I realized I wasn’t looking at things I could eat — it was jewelry! Turns out I was inside of Q-Pot, the brain child of Japanese designer Tadaaki Wakamatsu. Q-Pot is known as the “mysterious pot” because “no one knows what will jump out of it”. And once you go inside, you’ll truly understand this concept. Q-Pot designs are incredibly cute, sweet and very much about fantasy. Wakamatsu takes ordinary food items like chocolate bars and hamburgers and turns them into dreamy, wearable works of art.   The burger and ice cream accessories come in layers, so you can add items to your stack as you wish. Don’t like tomatoes? Then just opt for lettuce and cheese instead!     Q-Pot even makes baby clothes and bags…   I ended up buying a pair of earrings that look like frosting shells. They’re a pretty pinky-coral, super girly and prefect for me since I’m a baking queen who works wonders with buttercream!...

things to love: type and time

I am about to geek out on my type obsession and my thing for clocks, you have been warned. I have posted before about how I have a clock in every room of my house. I am always looking for more ideas on how to incorporate type into my surroundings. I am also on a mission to schedule more free time and make this the most stress free summer of the decade (I know the decade just started, but still). I love clocks and these little gems from Soho Clockworks just make me smile. The birdhouse is my...

what would you bring to a deserted island?

Sometimes when my son is blaring his music to the point of my head exploding, and my daughters are fighting over who touched who first, and my crazy dogs are barking in high pitched tones at the hundredth squirrel to enter our yard, I just imagine myself swinging on a hammock with my toe dipping into clear blue water on my own deserted island (a la Blue Lagoon). Often I try to think of all of the music, books, movies or favorite items I would want with me. Here is the list I had fun coming up with. Mostly they bring me back to my childhood, no worries and lots of fun times! I am sure that as soon as this post goes live I will think of 10 more things to add! What are your favs?   Movies Say Anything – One of my all time favorites. I love John Cusack and I love John Cusack as Loyd Dobler. Trifecta of Awesomeness – Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles (they perfectly tell the story of teen angst) The Jerk – love Steve Martin Valley Girl – Nicholas Cage at his best, awesome sound track Ferris Bueller’s Day off – every kids wishes he was this cool Thelma and Louise – awesome girls kicking ass with a little Brad Pitt thrown in for good measure (and they did not die in the end they made it across)   Books Scary, don’t read at night! It – Stephen King is my favorite, read all of his books, loved this one a smidge more than all of the other greats...