Sisters Of Nature

Friday, March 28, 2014

One of the places that I am honored to be carrying a selection of my products is Sisters of Nature. Owned and operated by Kimberly Parker, Sisters of Nature, is a mobile boutique based in Nashville. After learning more about Kimberly and her mobile boutique (and following her instagram account) I knew I wanted to share her adorable business and inspiring story. Two facts that I especially love is that, as an artisan herself (she makes beautiful handbags), she is dedicated to offering handmade goods by fellow artisans (no factory made goods here), and that a portion of all proceeds are donated

But without further ado, here is a little q+a with Kimberly.  

1. When did the dream for Sisters of Nature begin? And how long has the boutique officially been open? 

On a hot summer night in 2012 the storm clouds rolled in, lightning struck, and a beautifully renovated mint green vintage camper appeared ready to be a mobile boutique. Ok that’s not how it happened, but it would have been nice. In actuality, in 2012 I had just lost my mother to cancer, fell apart, and then decided I couldn’t do my job anymore.  I realized that creative spirits weren’t meant to be caged up and drowning in paper work everyday. I wanted to come up with a business where I could design and create my handbags, other artisans could have an outlet to share their work as well, and we could somehow be mobile like a food truck. I wasn’t sure if that was even possible, but I wanted to try. I started by selling my work to a local boutique and on Etsy while I was building the foundation of the business and renovating the camper. Then in October of 2013, I spread my wings, took a deep breath and opened the doors. 

2. Were there any particularly scary or challenging aspects of getting Sister's of Nature started? And how did you get through those times? Any advice for others? 

I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing and never want to quit,  however there are definitely challenges. There is a lot of work that goes into building a business on the front in (especially a mobile boutique). I think the scariest thing was the financial investment. I thought that building a mobile boutique would just require getting a vintage camper, painting it, and adding some shelves. Not so! It involved gutting the ENTIRE thing, carpentry work, electrical work, and countless hours of literal “blood, sweat, and tears”. I got through it, because I had a clear vision, believed in my dreams, and surrounded myself with people who did too. When you tell people you are quitting your job to sell stuff out of what they see as a crappy, falling apart camper….you get some weird looks. You have to give lots of explanations and sometimes people who aren’t “dreamers” can’t see what you’re seeing. It’s actual really discouraging when people look at you like your an idiot. I was blessed however to have the best husband ever. My husband was the most amazing cheerleader! I almost quit so many times, but he kept saying he believed in me and kept pushing me along. I had to spend a lot of time in prayer too and trusting that God would take care of us throughout the process. It’s pretty terrifying relying on one income and wondering if you’ll ever get done, and then when you do if it will be successful. 

3. What has been the most rewarding part of this process for you? 

It still never gets old to me every time someone walks in and gasps. They always say “I know you probably hear this all the time, but this is AMAZING!”. I always tell them it doesn’t get old at all because I worked really hard and it’s nice to hear. One of the most rewarding parts though is finally getting to create my handbags and working with really talented people. I spend a lot of time carefully curating a collection of works by indie designers and local makers. When I’m looking at perspective new artists there are lot of “No’s” before I find a “Yes” which means the people I choose are incredibly talented, creative, and original. It really makes me smile when I see the things they come up with. I enjoy seeing our customers appreciate the truly special nature of our non-mass produced goods.  It would definitely be a lot easier if I just went to market and picked up a bunch of stuff that you can find anywhere, but I love being a part of the handmade, artisan community. You just can’t beat the unique quality of their work. 

4. How does Sister's of Nature work? Where can locals of Nashville find you? 

I tweet, instagram, and facebook where we will be each week. I also post new updates, special discounts, and new arrivals on social media as well so customers can see what’s on the menu. And we’re working on an online shop that will be coming soon! Woohoo!

Thanks so much Kimberly for taking the time to share a little more detail about your beautiful shop and journey in getting there! For me personally it really is such an honor to know that my work, and other artisans work is apart of such a beautiful vision. And that camper is just about the sweetest thing I have ever seen! I am sure we will all be looking forward to your online shop! 

House Tour | A Portland Abode |

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Maybe it's because I know it is in fact a Portland home, but this home is just so very Portland to me. I feel like I could just move right in there and feel, well, right at home. I feel like I have been here a thousand times and I could instinctually find where the cups are. Not that to say it isn't unique because it is, but it's so very familiar. I say that in the most complimentary way. Like when you are sad and there is that one friends house you know you could just go curl up on their couch and have them make you a cup of tea and lay around with no shame? It feels like that to me. But without the sad part. Just that part were you feel completely and absolutely comfortable. If you wonder what Portland is like it's a lot like this house. It's lived in and loved, it's a little bit of everything and comfortable, it's bright in a filtered fashioned, in an unassuming way. It's warm and cosy and inviting. When I saw this home it made me smile and love where I live a little bit more because somehow in my mind, and maybe I am totally over-analyzing and projecting my taste and perspective of not only this house but the city I live in, but I think this home is such a great representation of the vibe of the city it resides in. And I also obviously saved the best photo for last. I am just swooning over that attic bedroom. Nap time. 

Photo Diary | Downtown |

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I have mentioned how pretty Portland is when it's not raining, right? Because it is. It's an amazingly beautiful place when the sun comes out and everyone comes out of their houses - the whole city feels so alive. This weekend wasn't all work, that would have been a shame because it was the nicest weekend this year by far. I was lucky enough to steal away on Sunday morning to spend some time with my dear friend, who was also able to sneak off sans children, for a stroll at the market downtown. I think in our 5 years of friendship we have spent a total of 3 outings together without our children, and it was lovely. It's so nice to be able to walk around at a steady pace, look at all of the handmade wares, sit in the sun and chat (uninterrupted and unfiltered), and just be.

Apartment Fixes | Mini Bathroom Make-Over |

Monday, March 24, 2014

This weekend was a busy one. But it was a sunshine infused one, so the good kind of busy. I don't know what it is about a little sunshine but for me there is nothing that gives me more energy. Not even coffee. I could drink a pot of coffee right before bed and still fall asleep in less than 5 minutes, or lay around and lazily watching tv marathons. But give me a little sunshine and I feel like I suddenly have enough energy for anything and everything. And that is how the weekend started. With sunshine. And a to-list.

Thursday night I laid in bed and thought about how I have been wanting to do something with my bathroom and decided I was just going to proceed with whatever I could. I have been obsessively thinking about how much I despise my floors for years, but the last few months it's hasn't just been something I have wished to do, or wanted to do, but more like I just couldn't live another day with those awful floors. And as a renter there aren't many options. I thought about laying down vinyl over the top but I couldn't find any plain black vinyl. I did find this, which I think I kind of love a lot, but for the price I wanted to know if I'd really like a black floor in my bathroom before I invested that kind of money in a "temporary" rubber floor. So in comes the contact paper. And, yes, I am slightly embarrassed that it's been forever since I have done any kind of DIY project on here, and the last one I posted about also involved (a lot of) contact paper, but, like I said I am a renter. You just have to break out the contact paper sometimes. And that I did. But first I had to paint. You know. Because it's spring and I can't start spring without painting a room in my house.

So I woke up friday and headed to the paint store. I picked out a paint in under 5 minutes (agreeable grey by sherwin williams), this is a record for me. One I am sure I will never break. And then I gutted my bathroom and started painting. I spent a total of 8.5 hours in my bathroom on Friday - also a record. Laying down the contact paper was a little scary. Mostly because I knew I'd cry if I couldn't have black bathroom floors, even if it was only for a day. But it was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, though took a lot longer than I expected. And it actually looks good. It's a $6.99 miracle. (it only took me one 24ft roll to do my whole bathroom - with some to spare in fact.)

To lay it I cut it to the length I wanted and I peeled the back off inch by inch and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed down the paper to the floor as I went along. I overlapped the strips slightly (there aren't many contact paper-your-floors tutorials out there), though I wasn't sure about this step, you honestly can't see a single seem. No bubbles either and the texture of my floors underneath, which I hated, actually makes it look much more "real." Side note: The lumpiness in the photos of my floor are actually just my floors which may be why they went for a ugly, textured and lumpy looking floor covering to begin with. Lastly I just tucked the edges under my baseboards as I cut along the edges. And while I will admit I am on "don't leave water on the floors!!" patrol, it's holding up perfectly. And now I know it would be well worth the investment to buy a more long-term flooring option in the future. Or for $6.99 I can just keep going with the contact paper. 

The print is from here. I love it and I think I got two days after I ordered it. It was fast. And scoutmob is a great company, I very happily work with them also and I have written about them here as well, you can see that here.

Happy Spring

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Spring! It's officially here which means even if it doesn't feel like spring where you are, it's right around the corner. The season will be changing soon. The flowers have started blooming here and we have had some really lovely days with more on the way. But we've also had some really cold and rainy days too. But those less-than spring days feel so much more bearable when you know it's getting towards the end of that being the norm. Yesterday as I was meandering online I found these really beautiful images of flowers - very spring, non? Though it wasn't until I investigated a little further that I realized they are not just pretty flowers, but beautiful pieces of artwork. They are created from paper by Paris artist Lyndie Dourthe and are from her botanica series. She also has other amazing and interesting works like this and this.

Chalkboard Walls

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It seems chalkboard walls are here to stay. I am okay with that of course, there is something about them that I must admit I love too. I actually have two doors painted with black chalkboard paint. The truth is, though, I never use them because I feel like they look crazy and messy when I do - my handwriting is not good enough or straight enough, so I end up wiping everything I write down off, eventually obsessively trying to get all the chalk residue off. Why can't I love it as much in my own home as much as I do in these photos? I am not giving up though, for awhile now I have thought about making a chalkboard wall in M+L's room because someone (milo) really likes to draw on the walls. I think the perfect places are really the kids room and the kitchen (one of mine is on a small pantry door in my kitchen and I do actually use that one once in awhile). But how cute is that bathroom? I am not going to be painting my bathroom in chalkboard paint anytime soon myself, but I love the photo of it. What do you think about chalkboard walls? Yea or Nay?

Images: 1| 2| 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

House Tour | Mission Flat |

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I found this house tour over at Brick & Mortar when I was looking at patio inspirations, but when I saw the inside I found I really loved the interior. While it's no secret I love modern/scandinavian designs, as many of you who have read here for awhile know, my grandparents had a big old house which ingrained in me a deep fondness for them. I love homes/apartments that keep the originality and integrity of the period but also enough updating so it also has a modern feel, and I think this is such a lovely example of doing both well. And I really wish my little kitchen were half as charming as this one. I love all the old built-ins, the vintage hardware and glass cabinet doors (and did you see that light fixture?!). And, yes, that patio is pretty sweet as well. You can read much more about their home and see more photos here

Photo Diary | Pool Closed |

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patricks Day! Sorry no green in this post. Though this weekend we got a bit more lovely spring-green weather as evidenced by this photo here, and luckily we were able to get out and enjoy it a tiny bit before we we struck down by yet another bug, and also, before the rain came back with a vengeance on Sunday night. Mr Milo seemed to get the worst of it and spent most of Saturday with his head over a bowl moaning that he was "super super super sick this time." And he was, but at least it was just a 24 hour one. So Sunday before the rains let loose Milo and I headed out for a little fresh air and a walk around the neighborhood. These photos are a little collaboration that we worked on during our walk together. Having twins for me is so much fun I sometimes neglect to take moments alone with my boys (as often as I should), outside of the several stolen moments throughout the day. When I do it's like being in this parallel universe. It's definitely quieter in more ways than just the sound level, and while they are the same, they also very different on their own. Seeing the world through my children's eyes is so important for me as a mother. In fact I think it could be important and beneficial to anyone (if you don't have one of your own I strongly suggest taking a child you know for a walk. it's like therapy but cheaper, in fact parents might pay you to do it!). You might notice the drops of rain falling on a dirty pool as you stroll through the apartments near your house, but do you stop and look at them, try to count them, and just stand there with your face up pressed to the cool metal bars of the gate? These are things I don't generally do as an adult, but with a little direction I can get lost in these moments, and they are the moments I know that I will remember for years to come. It's the little things. The quiet moments.

How was your weekend?


Friday, March 14, 2014

Can you believe it's Friday again already? I feel like this week went fast, but it could have something to do with the wonderful spring weather we have had, and if that's the reason, I won't complain. The last couple weeks I haven't only been digging in my garden and looking at fabric swatches, I have also been trying to get a bit more organized. In the behind-the-scenes sort of way. Designing and blogging are the fun parts. Creating and completing orders out are the have-to-right-now parts. Everything else I tend to put on my to-do lists over and over again - after I scratch off all those other things and deem I deserve a break. 

But my business is taking on a bit of a new direction/s, and they are ones that I have been nudging it in for awhile. But as has been my experience in having my own business and learning on the fly, things seem to "suddenly" happen. No matter how much I think on it, plan for it, or try to learn before hand (and i do all of those things extensively to decide what i think will work for me or not - even though i still don't/won't know until i try), well, it just doesn't match the experience of learning while doing. But that's probably true for me in everything. I am much more of a hands-on learner. So now that I am in the stage of "doing" and/or for-real planning, I am realizing little things like having 7000 email messages in my inbox, many of which are three years old(!), is kind of not that organized, and leaves me feeling as cluttered as my inbox. So yesterday I spent a good 5 hours (waaa!) deleting, sorting, moving and flagging emails. And if I could have a new years resolution do-over it would be to do this one simple task of organizing and deleting emails immediately. Every. Day. After my 5 hours, though feeling tired and dry-eyed, I was also feeling inspired to keep organizing - later. Here are some workspace takeouts I found if you are in the office/workspace spring cleaning mood. Next on my list is to do the same thing but with my photos. eek.

+ First I love love love this studio workspace by Smitten Studio. It could be the white walls, the oh-so-tall vaulted ceilings, the wonderful plants, the super cute puppy. But I think what really sealed the   lovin' feelings for me were the fabric swatches on the wall. Yes, I can imagine myself right there. 

+ Before and After office transformation. 

+ 31 Days of Spring Cleaning: Spring Clean Your Tech. This has, as you may have guessed, 31 ideas on cleaning up your gear, from setting up a cloud service to cleaning your camera lenses. I am definitely going to go through this list and make one of my own.

+ 25 Clever Ways to Keep Your Workspace Organized. Helpful ideas on desk Organization. I need to do this too. 

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! 
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