Watercoolers, Meetings & Going Away Parties

Starting in Aug, 2008, I worked out of my home for 3 years and 3 weeks. When I opened this little retail shop in MoDiv (a new incubator space in downtown Grand Rapids, housing 12 businesses in one “mini mall”), I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how it would work, being so close to other small businesses.

After only 9 weeks there’s one aspect of the space that I definitely didn’t anticpate. A strong sense of family is starting to form with my neighboring vendors. Being so close to each other, it’s easy to know what’s going on with my neighbors, and we’ve already created a sense of support. I haven’t felt such camaraderie since working at the publishing company and I honestly forgot how nice it was.

Since we’ve opened up shop, we’ve already shared many “water cooler” moments (often at the Kitchen Sinc brownie cooler), venting and getting to know each other’s silly nuances. We’re often helping each other watch stores and grab lunches. Just yesterday we had a little “going away” party for one of Vue Design’s interns. I have only known this (awesome) Calvin student for 7 weeks, and I was almost in tears having to say goodbye.

I’m quite amazed and thankful knowing that even as a (very) small business owner, I still have such awesome people around to greet me in the mornings. I’m sure it’s an experience unique to a place like MoDiv.

Saving the earth at 10 years old

This has been a reflective week for me as one of my very best friends from elementary school had her 30th birthday. I went through one of my old boxes of journals to find something fun to send her, hopefully bringing back a fun memory. I did so and while reading through the thoughts of my 10-year-old self, I found an interesting little entry that has stuck with me all week. It goes like this (un-edited):

“… For my shirt design I would put
“Save the Earth!”
I would put that because, I believe
in saving animals, people, and the world.
Its a terible thing to waist.”

-Feb. 25th 1993

I remember being one of those hippie kids, drawing peace signs and hearts everywhere, but I guess I’ve forgotten how much motivation and confidence I had at such young age to make meaningful changes. We tend lose a little of that “activist” personality as we age, gain responsibilities, lose time and get overcome with our consumerism culture.

I look forward to the energy and motivation of our daughter once she comes home. I think having a young spirit around will help me re-gain that sense of individual capability & activism.

For now, I’ll relish a little more in my deepest thoughts 18 years ago.

2012 Calendars

Check out our 2012 Calendars, sporting a new wood easel, and ribbon bow all dressed up for gift giving! The above months are from our most popular calendar, the Pink Affirmation Calendar. The Vintage Birds design is also very popular, and new to the group this year is the Swirls Calendar.

Each calendar has a little story behind it. A few years ago I heard of this phenomenon called Operation Beautiful where women would post anonymous notes in public places (usually bathroom mirrors) for other women to find. This reminded me of cutting out magazine letters as a teenager to say “You are so HOT” and pasting them on my mirror. I fondly remember the confidence those little words gave me every day. Hence, the Pink Calendar was born, with a goal to give women (and men!) a little daily boost.

The Vintage Bird Calendar has a little more heritage. My mother, grandmother and I were going through an old trunk of my great-grandparents and stumbled upon this old book that just said “Farmer’s Manual” on the front. The book (circa 1901) had all sorts of “managing your farm” information. Everything from doing taxes to how much feed a pig needs, from how to write out a lease to how to do calligraphy when signing checks! In the calligraphy section, there where examples of amazingly beautiful calligraphy techniques in the from of animals. I used 13 of the birds found in this book to create this lovely calendar.

The story behind the Swirls Calendar is a simple one. My mother (Mary Hetts) is a doodler. The kind where every corner of every page of her high school notebooks, calendars and shopping lists has some kind of fun little design, person waving from a mountaintop or elf flipping you off. She actually bought a couple journals just for doodling during watching TV or talking on the phone. The dotted, swirly design in this calendar came from one of those journals, accented with a pastel color palette.

Each calendar is $24 and available in our store, our online store or through a wholesale account. The easels got an upgrade from last year too. With a natural, unfinished wood, you can re-use them for pictures or notebooks, and even paint them to your liking. Enjoy!