Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Simple Affair

This past February a dinner event was held in an uber-hip, Brooklyn loft put on by Kinfolk, a community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. Their hope is to encourage a natural approach to spending time with family and friends, a collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining.

What intrigued me most was the simplicity of the evening. No surprise that I loved the small touches like the handwritten welcome board, food cards and letterpress menus. It might be a little “too precious” for Nick but I think these elements bring a handcrafted, authentic feel to the moment. There is an understated and subtle energy behind these details which I appreciate.

Nicole from La Buena Vida was present to document the event.

To experience the simplicity of the evening have a look.

This only makes me want to entertain more…And why not? Some of the best memories I have are at friends’ homes for a meal or on our back porch enjoying good food, drink and conversation. The added touches of name cards, a handwritten menu, or whatever it may be, leave guests with a feeling of gratitude. It’s so easy to do.


Mum’s the Word

Mother’s Day is just over a week away. And there are plenty of resources out there to make a mother, grandmother, sister, or anyone who represents a mother figure in your life, smile. Always good to start with a greeting.

Emmett noticed this card from Man vs. George as he was looking over my shoulder and thought his Nonni (whose partner is from Oz) would love this kangaroo image. Always nice to find a unique greeting for the individual.



 A library and book themed card is particularly perfect for Grandma Sally who is a lover of the library. This uses an authentic removable library card – it’s even tucked into a book card pocket.


Since dahlias are my favorite flower, (aside from gardenias, or course), I’m hoping my boys might point their dad in this direction.


Although this one symbolizes my life even more these days, sad but true!!

For all of you Twin Citians, there are a few events with Mother’s Day themes going on…

Lunalux’s monthly Stationery Saturday theme has Moms in mind by providing card options with orange flowers, red apples, and teal medallions printed with letterpress on cotton monarch flats.  Tomorrow (Saturday May 5) between 11-6 you can personalize stationery the old fashioned way and present a gift to your mother which you actually had a part in making. You could even call it homemade. Or get your husband down to Lunalux and have him do it. (See Nick in action below. An extra workout for the day.)


If you’d rather be creating a journal check out the gift making studio at eeCee bb. If you check back to a previous post of mine, making journals is quite the collaboration.

 eeCee bb 

Mother’s DAY
Gift Making Studios for parent and child
on offer now for your favorite sweet mama.
Make a unique artful present with
eeCee bb Collaborative Design
…with your child for YOUR mom,
or your child for his or her mom.
(that last bit is your cue dads…)

Since this is all top secret 
phone or email eeCee bb for more information
and to arrange a time for your special studio.
See you soon for lots of goodness and fun for MOM…

Of course, leave it to Martha to push the Make-Your-Own journal for Mother’s Day.

For those of you with less time on your hands…

The Just Between Us journal from Paper Source was created from a mother-and-daughter team who had been journaling together since Sophie was 9 years-old. Especially with life as busy as it can be, I believe journaling together is ideal for keeping a relationship as honest and sacred as possible.

 Last year for Mother’s Day I gave my mom this journal from Paper Source.

Although this was a gift to her, in many ways it’s a gift for myself and my kids. The interview-styled book asks questions like, “Who are the people you admire the most? What do you remember about the birth of your children? What music did you grow up listening to?”.  All those questions you wish you had asked your mom over the years, and even if you did, this journal documents the wonderful details of her life and can be shared for years to come.

That’s what it’s all about. Giving life to the parts of our lives which we value the most and honoring those with us today or with us in spirit.

Home for Dinner

About a month ago we took a family vacation to Mexico and spent a few days doing not much more than swim in the pool, play in the ocean, read, eat tons of chips and salsa (chips and salsa, alongside Rice Krispie bars, are my culinary kryptonite), and go to bed early. Repeat that sequence four times and you a have a good measure of the trip. It was a week of general relaxation full of many pleasures; mostly expected but a couple less so.

“Getting away from it all” seems to be all the rage these days and hopefully the act of doing just that won’t show up on Portlandia next season in an unfavorable light, but I must say, putting down your computer and phone, even temporarily, is a luxury everyone deserves now and then.

My work requires that I be reachable pretty much all the time. It’s been that way for years so my family and I are accustomed to me never being too far from my phone and Blackberry, (yes, that’d be phone and Blackberry as in two separate devices as in the only person on the planet with that kind of setup). Thankfully, it was a relatively quiet week in my work world so I could spend more time tossing my boys around the pool and eating the wackadoo hot habanero salsa.

That my work wasn’t a distraction was a small, unexpected surprise. That my wife, Wendy, chose to keep her phone off the entire trip was a slightly larger, unexpected surprise. But the note she left one afternoon outside our room was the biggest surprise of all.  Let me explain. In the afternoon of the third day of the trip, I’d been at the gym and when I returned to our room, I found this and it kind of took my breath away (in a good way).

I read the note and thought to myself, oh that’s right, Wendy has her phone turned off for the week so she can’t text me to say they’re at the beach and please come meet us there. So instead of knowing their whereabouts on a real-time basis I had to take a golf cart past the dang beach where they were, read the note outside our room, and then walk five minutes to meet them. It was maybe a fifteen minute “waste” of time and it was delicious.

That note immediately reminded me of the days, not that long ago, when I’d call a friend on our wall-mounted home phone and we’d make a plan to meet at Kenwood Park at 4pm to play tennis. And that’s what we did. We wrote a note to our parents saying where we were and when we’d be home, got on our bikes, met at 4pm, and played tennis. Texting is obviously convenient but more often than not – for me at least – it’s become a way for me to be “polite” and let people know I’m running late even when I don’t have an excuse. It’s an enabler and I say phooey on that.

(Circa 1981, 11 yr old Nicholas)

(Mid 20’s, the parent’s house stop-by)

I’ve always been a note guy, Wendy and I leave each other notes all the time, and when future technology makes communication even easier than it is today, I’ll still be writing notes, even for the littlest reasons, because each one is worthy.

P.S.  A thousand thank-you’s to my mom who has saved a sturdy sampling of my work over the years.

Vintage 1984. (I’m at Paul’s playing basketball. No golf because Greg & Jason went golfing early, Jim is real sick, Jeff has a tennis match (I think he – wasn’t home) & Terry is still sleeping. Will call if need a ride (will call anyway). Love, Nick (The note-writer) )