Blades of Glory

Noah: "Mom, ya know, if you taught other kids to skate like you taught me and Grace you could make a lot of money."

Me: "Yep, I know. But then I wouldn't get to build kids' furniture....and I'd have to wear those little skating outfits."

Noah: "Ok...stick with the furniture."

(Photos were from our snow trip with my family before the holidays. I used to skate a bit on ponds growing up in Ohio so I taught the kids how to skate....er, fall gracefully.)


Decor8 likes Mod Mom Furniture

Check out the post on 12/19 as well as the rest of the really great finds. Decor8 is a fantastic blog written by Holly Becker, "a writer and interior design consultant who created decor8 to catalog beautiful finds and to inspire others."

Getting Back to Normal

So I gave myself a couple of weeks out of the garage and technically, still have a few days but last night I found myself out there plotting a custom storage piece for my kids. Funny how you can get so burned out of it after doing it week after week but I know it must be real love, cuz I was a little jumpy to get back to cutting and sanding and all that jazz.

I'm looking forward to creating some new pieces in 2008 and am happy to report I'm booked in the building/already sold department until mid-february! This year should be interesting because I'm now at the point where I definitely need help building in order to keep from making folks wait three months for their pieces. I'll be looking into some extra hands to keep production running smoothly. Another clue that made me think I might need help: my kids asked me a couple of weeks ago if I could just take one day off of building. That made me think a little about the workload. Packing in a full-time job with virtually no kid-free hours is a challenge!

On a family update report, we're still in the dark about my husband's TIAs and he's supposed to be getting a couple more tests run but I think he's frustrated, as we all are, that there are no clear cut answers. So for now, he's taking aspirin everyday and I'm calmly telling him that if he strokes out on me, I'll kill him!


Merry Christmas!

We captured Gracie putting together a creation from her Build-It-Yourself Workshop kit that Grandma and Grandpa gave to her. In true Hathcock style, she's building in her best Christmas dress and smearing glue on the floor and her dress. Like mother like daughter!

Hope you're having a wonderful day!


Editor's Pick of 2007 -- Cool Mom Picks

I was cringing when I opened my e-mail inbox today just knowing there would be more bad news about something I made or shipped. But there wasn't!!!!

Good news only...

Check out the post from Kristen and Liz at Cool Mom Picks. They included the mid-century "Gracie" toy box in their Editors Picks of 2007. Both purchased the mid-century toy box from me back in the summer and thankfully, both made it to Brooklyn and Atlanta unscathed.

If you haven't seen their blog, check it out. They are two very funny ladies with great taste and serious writing chops.


Making Spirits Bright

I've been absent from blogging for a few days because my parents are in town from Ohio for Christmas. And I'm doing my best to not "work" but it is hard. I'm not doing any building until next week; however, since I have my mentor in town, he'll be showing me some router tricks later today. WHOOHOOO!! I am breathing a little easier about the shipping disasters because we're making progress on the whole claim or refund process. But that's not to say I'm a little more gun shy about shipping now. How do you all feel about metal toy boxes? Those don't break!!!

I hope you're all enjoying the holidays with family and friends. We're having a good time decorating, baking and mixing pomegranate martinis. A karaoke party will soon be taking place filled with swingin' Christmas songs crooned by my talented husband and his "karaoke wife", Oonagh. Let's just say I can build better than I sing! (NOTE: You did not read that we're having a swingers christmas party. Just a karaoke party with some christmas tunes....and a hot tub....and some drinks. Uh oh....JUST KIDDING!!!!)



Shipping Disasters

I'm still on "vacation" but I have access to a computer so I thought I'd write in about some recent shipping disasters.

Here's the part where I question why I'm shipping my pieces...during the holidays....and via UPS.

So I shipped out two toy boxes (mid-century style) before we left on vacation and was so happy to have everything caught up and a few weeks off from building. I unfortunately received two emails that said virtually the same thing...received the toy box but it's broken. WHOOHOO!!! I've shipped this particular toy box roughly twenty times and no issues until now.

So now the poor recipients and I are working through the UPS PACK AND SHIP PROMISE claim details.

Did I mention I had two glasses of wine at dinner?? Yep, that's how i'm feeling right about now regarding the whole shipping thing. I'm questioning it and noting which pieces hold up better when being thrown haphazardly from truck to truck.

Just when you think the whole "i own my own business" thing is running smoothly, something like this happens. I think I'll just go lie down and think back to the days of designing marketing materials and babysitting other people's kids.

Sometimes it seems A WHOLE LOT easier to just work for the man.



YEAH!!!! A snow vacation with family!!! It's finally here so I won't be posting for a few days. I'll be back on the 20th so look for more Life in My Garage action but for now, I'm off to pack my snow boots.

Happy Holidays!


Tangled and True Post About Mod Mom

I'm running out of time before our vacation with my parents and my sister and her family but I had to post a link to a really amazingly kind post by Kelli from Tangled and True. She's a very cool person with a gorgeous and very helpful blog.

Check it out when you have a minute...



My Proudest Building Accomplishment of 2007

So I was thinking about what I've built over the past year and what I'm really most proud of and I immediately thought of the play house my hubby and I built for our daughter's preschool. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the owners (and even vacation with them on occasion) which made building the playhouse even more special. SHAMELESS PLUG: If you live in LA in the Valley and are in need of a preschool, you have to check out The Little School! You won't find a better preschool!!

Anyhow, I designed the playhouse after looking at plans for several different houses online. I scaled it to fit the space and then learned (also online) how to build a roof. We built it in sections and then put it together onsite. Scott suggested taking the siding we used for the sides and cutting it into squares to make the shingles for the roof. Brilliant!

So far so good -- the house is still standing and from what I can tell, the roof doesn't leak.

I have to say I feel relatively confident that I could build us a little house if we're ever running from the law and and having to live in the woods somewhere in Oregon. That's a damn good feeling!


Check out one of my favorite blogs -- Lineanongrata!

One of my favorite bloggers, Julia at Lineanongrata is giving away a gift a day. She's an amazingly talented artist living in the south of France.

I'm proud to say I own one of her pieces. Leave a comment on her post and you might end up being the proud owner of a Julia gift.


My To Do List

I'm just now sitting down to my frozen meatloaf + mound-like form of mashed potatoes during my "lunch minute" so I thought I'd post today. As I'm sure you're all experiencing right now, I'm feeling a TINY bit overwhelmed by all the holiday + family + work stuff. So I thought this post might help me remember what I need to do today...

Does it look like yours???

1. Get kids ready for school. Dress Grace in unmatching clothes and a skirt that keeps riding up around her mid-section. De-geek Noah by mashing his hair that keeps sticking up on his head with hair gel.

2. Drop both at school and drive like a maniac to Toys R Us before everything is picked over and I'm forced to buy the "almost what they wanted but not quite" gifts.

3. Rush home. Write this post while eating something that says it's meatloaf but I'm not sure. In fact, it says "Eating Right" on the box but maybe it should say "Eating Shite"

4. Put together toy box that I've cut and stained already. Add hardware. Finish a second toy box with a last coat of poly and adjust lid support. Finish a third toy box by adding casters to the bottom and one more coat of poly.

5. Pick up Big N (that's what Noah calls himself since Grace is Little G.)

6. Keep working on number 4.

7. Do bills

8. I think I'm just going to stop this list now.

9. Wait...have a gin and tonic. If only we hadn't run out of gin....and tonic.

10. Ok, now the list is done and I don't feel much like doing any of them except #9.

I'm sure I'll have more get up and go tomorrow....right??? Right????


Thanks for coming out to the Little Monster Market!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out to the Little Monster Market on Pico yesterday! It was a great success even considering we had to change venues at the last minute BACK to Cool Baby's parking lot/side walk. We lucked out because it was a gorgeous day -- no rain as had been forcasted!

I enjoyed meeting everyone at the show! My next trade show/craft show is the Baby Celebration LA at the convention center in April. It's ENORMOUS!!! So if you're in LA and shopping for baby/kids things, be sure to come shop thousands of vendors at Baby Celebration. I'll be there in a tiny booth with very large furniture!!!

Check out the website Baby Celebration LA for all the details and a look at the vendors.


The Father of Mod Mom

I love this picture of my husband and my Dad. It captures his warm, fun-loving, goofy-joke telling side. Today's post is dedicated to honoring my carpentry mentor who happens to also be my father.

He's always been, as has my mom, a hero of mine. He chose a profession that pays very little and comes chock full of headaches -- he was a health/PE teacher and a football coach turned athletic director up until a few years ago. And he put everything he was into doing the best job he possibly could. There are many former students/athletes that still keep in contact with him because he made a positive impact on their lives.

When he wasn't teaching and coaching (and sometimes roofing in the summers to make extra money), he was building furniture for our house. I remember he took old bleacher boards made of oak that were tossed out and put them through planer and built a coffee table out of them. He even used gym floor varnish to coat it so that baby was solid and very well protected!! We could stand on it, it was so well made, and very scratch resistant. He built a beautiful bed and a writing desk for my mom's late-night paper grading sessions (she was a teacher too). Not only is he handy with wood, but he completely turned our upstairs attic into a master suite complete with bathroom and adjoining guest room.

I did a lot of tinkering in his garage workshop as a kid but never really fully appreciated his talent, creativity and attention to detail until I started building myself. He inspired me at a young age that I could do anything I wanted. He, along with my mom, also made it very clear to me that if I wanted to be an athelete or do something that is considered "a boy thing" I could do it, do it well, and still be feminine. I didn't have to give up my feminity just because I was using a table saw.

I am very honored and proud to be Barry Parsons' daughter and am extremely grateful for all his guidance both growing up and now. I turn to him quite a bit with woodworking and general life/business questions. I can say thank you a million times but it's not sufficient enough in my eyes. He is my mentor and best of all, my dad. So no matter how many times i tick him off, he's stuck with me. And I'm VERY GRATEFUL to be stuck with him.


Family Update

Some of you who read the blog know us from school, are family or good friends. So you know a little about some of the recent medical drama that has plagued my sweet husband.

I won't go on too much about it and I'm mentioning it because it has affected my production schedule a bit (so if you're waiting for furniture from me, this is why I'm a tad behind.) My husband has experienced TIAs (transient ischemic attacks or mini-strokes) recently. He suffered one two years ago and spent four days in Cedar Sinai hospital. He recently experienced another whichi is the "medical drama" I mentioned above. The episodes last just a short time but affect his vision, speech, memory and cause numbness in various body parts. He's been undergoing tests ordered by his neurologist to get to the bottom of why he's having these attacks at age 36. So far, everything is inconclusive. And scary since we don't know why or how this is all happening. Hopefully we'll know soon.

He's armed with an aspirin a day and a wife who tends to his every need. Ok, that last part was made up. But the aspirin is true! To my customers, thanks for your patience. And to my husband. I love you and TAKE YOUR DAMN ASPIRIN...please.


The Daily Candy Post about The Little Monster Market

The Daily Candy Kids' Edition ran a post about The Little Monster Market today! Check it out below...
See the text below......
Little Monster MarketWhat: Crafty goods for kids by Mod Mom Furniture, Mahar Drygoods, Eeny Meanie, and others.Why: Handmade? Hallelujah!When: Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.Where: 6136 W. Pico Blvd., b/t S. Alfred & S. Orlando Aves., W. Los Angeles (818-795-5202).

Lights in the SkyWhat: Kids Interactive Theater Ensemble kite troupe performs.Why: Theater for kids by kids.When: Sat., 3 p.m.Where: Noho Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., at Lankershim, N. Hollywood (818-340-5333). Tickets online at theatermania.com.
Festival of LightsWhat: Holiday music, games, crafts, bouncy houses, and snacks for all.Why: It’s a gelty pleasure.When: Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.Where: Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center, 1110 Bates Ave., at Effie St., Silver Lake.

ANOTHER Monster Market is coming!

Apparently, I'm an idiot. Holding two Monster Markets back to back sounds like a good idea back in September. But when it's smack in the middle of December, it's not so whooohooo!

The markets themselves are great but the prep and advertising and organization of them are a lot of work! Anyhow, I've been gone from the blogging world for two days due to Monster Market mayhem and building madness. Enough of me whining now.

The Cool Baby Cool Market is being held on Pico down in Beverly Hills Adjacent. ( I do love that you can throw adjacent to the back of a well-known name and voila! -- you're almost that place but slightly to the left and slightly not as posh.) :)

The address for the market is 6136 West Pico, LA 90035. It should be a lot of fun with a ton of LAs best independent handmade designers. There will be music and food and much more! And fun for the kids, too! Since we all know keeping them happy while you shop is the most work of all.


Ok, back to the garage I go.....


The Little Monster Market is Tomorrow!

Another late night but it's all good. I'm getting ready for the Little Monster Market in Studio City tomorrow. If you live in LA, be sure to stop by and shop the cutest handmade goods in the Los Angeles area! For all the details, go to http://www.littlemonstermarket.com/ .

In other news, the Still Thankful, Still Giving Charity event was a lot of fun! Grace was my date, as you might know from a previous post. She was so excited and a tad bit overwhelmed by all the cameras and tv crews filming but handled it like a pr pro. In fact, a photographer came up and asked if he could get our picture. He politely asked her to smile at the camera AND SHE DID! That's huge because she's a little one the shy side. Anyhow, back to the celebrities. We saw Meredith Brooks perform some songs for the kids. I brushed past Lauren Holly -- gorgeous. And saw Molly Sims come in -- stunning. There were lots of other stars too but I was too busy trying to keep Grace from disappearing in the crowd so that's about as much as I can report. Oh, and the toy box looked great and was named the "treasure box." Kids picked (or grabbed in handfuls) toys from the box and then sat and ate mac and cheese on it. You'd be proud....I did not give into my urge to move the kids and mac and cheese from the toy box. I took some deep breaths and then stuffed the little buggers IN the toy box. Just kidding about that.


Typical Day

I was recently asked to contribute to an article that will be published on the Etsy Storque about what it's like to be a Work At Home Mom. One of the questions was "What is a typical day like for you? List work and home stuff." I thought I'd post my answer to that very question. It'll be like me interviewing me. That sounds really narcissistic doesn't it??? You know me....all narcissistic and such. The funny thing is that each time I just typed the word narcissistic, I misspelled it. Then that must mean I am absolutely NOT narcisitik.

1. What is a typical day like for you? (List work and home stuff.)

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my kids are in school from 9:00-3:00pm. So this is MWF....

7:00am --Awake and getting the kids up and ready and drive them to school while thinking I desperately need a coffee….and a driver

9:30 am --Back from the morning school commute (it’s LA so it’s long) – I’ll either head to the hardware store/lumber yard or I’ll fire up the table saw and cut for awhile if I’m at the beginning of a project,

11:00am --Grab a handful of something to eat and eat while checking email do the paperwork/email part of the job – invoices, shipping notices, respond to inquiries and wholesale requests, creating marketing materials if needed

12:00pm --Only 2.5 more hours with out the kids so I rush back out to the garage to finish building, staining, or whatever needs done.

1:00pm -- Look at the laundry piled up next to the table saw. NOT put it in the washer cuz that would be too much work.

2:30pm -- Get ready to pick up my son. I normally wear what I’ve been working in all day so I’m covered in sawdust and paint and am a general embarrassment.

3:00pm -- Both kids are home and asking for a myriad of things….snacks, tv, art projects. I tell them I have another hour’s work to do in the garage. Noah watches tv, Grace comes with me and asks me hundreds of questions and wants to play wood shop. I end up getting nothing done…or maybe a hinge put on a toy box.

4:00pm -- Frantically clean up the house that’s a wreck and stare blankly into the empty fridge. Plan to eat out or maybe, if I’m lucky, I can pour some red sauce over pasta, add a bag of salad and some green beans that are microwaved and call it a meal.

5:00pm -- Eat dinner and get Noah started on homework. Hubby helps me clean up the kitchen or he does it himself so I can go back to the garage. He’s a keeper!

7:00pm --Play with the kids a bit, explain for the fifth time that the word “damn” can only be used in reference to a beaver’s dam, get them bathed, etc…

9:00pm --Kids go to bed, I do one of the following: a.) go back to the garage, b.) bring furniture in and watch tv with my hubby while I polyurethane or paint.

10:30pm -- Back to the computer to field more emails, order, etc. Pay bills and do personal financial stuff (that sounds seedy, doesn’t it?)

11:30 or 12:00pm --Off to bed. If I’m lucky (and if my husband is lucky), I’ve actually put on pajamas as opposed to just falling into bed in the same clothes I wore while sanding. J


It’s all out the window. I’m trying to keep a 5-year-old engaged and happy so I normally take her to the lumber yard and run errands. And squeeze in some building time when she’s busy playing or watching tv or writing on furniture with permanent marker.


Swag And Cradle and Design Deals Daily

It's 11:30pm and believe it or not, I'm taking a break from putting polyurethane on a table and chair set. This week is a wee bit on the exhausting side as I'm trying to get 3 pieces built by Saturday. I normally average about 1 piece per week. Late nights and early mornings, coffee, and lots of playing "wood shop" with Grace are making up my week.

With that said, you know how hard it is (even when you love something) to keep going when you're mentally and physically tired? Well, I was having a tough time juggling Gracie today (off school) and getting myself into the garage. I checked my email earlier today and found two lovely notes. One from Allison at Swag and Cradle and one from Kara at Design Deals Daily. Both Allison and Kara wrote such appreciative, uplifting messages and told me they would be or have written posts about my furniture on their respective websites.

I can't tell you what a difference those messages made today. I built two chairs, finished a table, and painted and sealed all three pieces. Many thanks go to both of these women who happen to have AMAZING taste in furniture. :)

Check out both of their websites by clicking the links above. They're both fantastic!


Still Thankful for My Jeans

So guess who's wearing her new jeans in the garage today? Yep, you guessed right. The one who pledged to look better and not wear my new jeans while I work. So here I sit covered in sawdust on both my jeans and black shirt. In need of a shower. And you know what I 'm going to do??? Pick up my son and daughter from school....in my jeans....and saw dust covered black shirt. And hide behind my baseball cap.

Maybe I don't care as much about looking good....er, clean...as I thought. What I do really care about is a new piece I created for the Still Thankful Still Giving Celebrity Charity Event on Thursday night. I've even been invited to the event so Little G (grace's hip hop name) and I will get to party with the stars. It should be a blast until Grace starts hiding behind my legs and punching my rear end while I'm trying to have a conversation about wood working with some A-List star.

Check out the piece below....it's a little mix of several things I've designed recently. A little country and a little bit rock n' roll, as the saying goes...



While I was away on Thanksgiving holiday, one of the stores here in LA, Cool Baby, that carries my furniture line was damaged severely by a crane that fell onto the store while mounting a billboard.

My heart goes out to the owners, Ayn and her family, and I can't imagine what they must be feeling right now. Certainly, no love for cranes or billboards. They've handled it with such grace and have gone over and above to help us with our upcoming event. Hopefully, the space will be repaired and up and running in the next few months.

We were scheduled to hold the the West Side version of The Little Monster Market at Cool Baby on December 8th but are now looking for a new space, with the help of Ayn. Hopefully one that is close by the Cool Baby location. Stay tuned for a new location....


HGTV's 24 Hour Design -- We were on it!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! We're vacationing with friends in Arizona but I had to write in about a design show that Scott and I were on called 24 Hour Design. It aired last night on HGTV at 9:30 and ironically enough, we COULDN't WATCH IT. Apparently, our hotel doesn't have HGTV. But we've gotten reports from our family members.
The report read...
Scott was hilarious. Kiersten was sweet. Good show. No mention of your handywork/woodworking skills. Scott had all the funny lines.
So I'm guessing they cut all my sarcastic funnies and most of my personality/woodworker side but that's the way editing works, right? I'm still (jokingly) cussing at my husband since he was "the funny one" and I'm the inept sweet housewife. I think it'll air again in December so if you want to watch us have our bedroom redone and see me devoid of a personality and kids and a dog....watch it! You'll see a Body Snatchers version of the Mod Mom. The one who has no clue how to do anything with her hands.
Do I sound bitter???? Ok, maybe just a tiny bit bitter. BUT we had a blast and were very grateful for our bedroom redo. HGTV rocks!!!! Really, I do mean that.


Sorry, no REAL posts today

I'm covered up in toy box construction so I won't be posting much today. I'm trying desperately to get a lot done before the Thanksgiving holiday.

I'll try and post again tomorrow!

Back to the garage....


Mod Mom Furniture in Sparrow

Donning my new jeans (see previous post), I met with the owner of a new green baby boutique called Sparrow this afternoon. Terrie is an amazing mom/hairdresser to the stars/shop owner who is opening her gorgeous store on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Everything in the store is organic and, for the most part, made by local artisans and designers. I'm THRILLED to be selling my line in her store! I'll be placing several pieces in her store in the coming month -- the platform bed, the Owyn Toy Box, and the Eamonn Table and Chair set.

If you live in LA, stop by on Sunday, November 25th. Her store is located at 3266 Cahuenga Boulevard West, Los Angeles, CA 90068. If you don't live in LA, check them out online at the link above.


Middle-aged and fashion-challenged

WARNING: This has nothing to do with furniture building. I had this realization as I was dragging Grace around a local mall today looking for something nice to wear out with my husband tonight. Here it goes....I am in my mid-thirties and can't seem to put together an outfit to save my life. When did THAT happen?

I used to be able to shop with confidence. Now, I shop with dread. And a really confused, idiotic look on my face. How do you hide the muffin top without looking pregnant in your low rise jeans? To add insult to injury, I really thought I looked cute today as I marched out of the house in my year-old Old Navy severely faded (not on purpose) jeans and a layered shirt thing. But when I passed a mirrored wall in the mall, I realized those looks I was getting from the sales clerks made sense. Remember that scene from Pretty Woman where she goes into the Beverly Hills store and gets shunned by the sales ladies? Similar situation today. Only difference is I'm not a hooker. Anyhow, I looked so much better in my head than I did in that mirror. And with less muffin-top.

I did end up leaving the mall with a nice sack from Nordstrom. The jeans, I know are good since I paid an arm and a leg for them. The rest, I'm not so sure. What I do know is that I feel more comfortable at a lumber yard than in Macy's. But I'm going to strive for more balance (my husband will be so happy.)

My first step towards regaining my inner fashionista is to NOT wear the True Religion jeans while I'm sanding or staining. I'll keep you posted on my progress....


Custom Mid-Century Toy Box

Grace and I are off to deliver this custom mid-century toy box today to a lovely woman in LA. When Grace isn't in school, she's my assistant. One day she answered my cell phone while I was still loading something into the car and apparently talked to the prospective customer for about five minutes. When I came in to find her on the phone and asked if there was someone on the other end, she said yes. "It's Grandma." So I pick it up thinking it's my mom and the very kind woman from New Orleans said, "No, not Grandma, but someone interested in buying one of your toy boxes."
Obviously, I "hired" my daughter on the spot. She answers calls, does some light sanding, and says inappropriate things at deliveries. Now that I think about it, she needs a raise!!


Still Thankful, Still Giving Event

Check out this cool charity event being hosted by Lauren Holly and Meridith Brooks that celebrates adoption and raises funds to help the orphans at Casa Hogar Sion, an orphanage in Tijuana. Proceeds will also help fund the Jr. Sirens an opportunity to take a field trip to get hands on experience at volunteering at the orphanage, while seeing the positive impact they can make in the world.
I am donating a toy box for the event! The children in attendance will get to pick a prize out of the "treasure box" (my toy box) and it will later be auctioned off in the silent auction. Check out http://www.sirenssociety.org/stsg_event.html for all the details and ticket information.
I'm thrilled to have been asked to be a part of this great event!!


Playing Wood Shop

Grace is not in school today so she's hanging with me in the garage. I, as every good mom can attest, am trying to get her involved in something....chalk drawing....playing in the dirt....anything, really, so that she won't ask me 4 million questions JUST when I've measured and remeasured something only to be interrupted by a question. And remeasure again. Mom of the Year, right?

Anyhow, my attempts to get her involved in anything other than the workshop stuff failed so we played, like we do a lot, "wood shop" while I stained some furniture legs. She comes in asking for wood. I act like I'm selling her wood scraps and ask her questions like, "so what brings you here today, ma'am?" She always says she's building toy boxes and a bed for her babies. And when I ask if she does this for a living she says her company name, Mod Mom Furniture. (I always smile when she says that.) This time, I pressed further. "So Grace, who taught you how to do all that cool woodworking stuff?" I was waiting in anticipation and pride for her to say, "My mom taught me." You know what she said.

"Grandpa." "Grandpa taught me to build toy boxes."

(The photo is of Grandpa pushing the kids on the swings at Pismo Beach)

The Coffee Table/Building Blocks Table That's Sweeping Hollywood

Maybe not sweeping Hollywood, but it IS now sitting in really great, modern apartment in West LA inhabited by a very cool couple.
Here is the custom building blocks table/coffee table I mentioned a few posts back.
A few facts about it...

  • I built the table custom to work with the colors in their living room and the height and width of their sofa. I also didn't adhere the lego boards to the table in case they didn't want to use it as a lego table at some point.

  • Instead of building the cube chair for "playing," I, at the request of the owners, built a custom "drawer" with hand openings on both ends for housing magazines and what not. They can also pull the drawer out and place it somewhere else in the room, if they want.

  • One side of the brown doors opens to reveal hidden storage.
  • The containers are for lego storage on top. When not a building table, they could use the containers for anything, really. Candy. Plants. Remotes. An ashtray. Just kidding about, sort of. Do you remember when they use to produce built-in ash trays for chairs and sometimes side tables? Ahh, the good old days.

Drawer action...

Without the lego top.


The Little Monster Markets

I'm taking a tiny break from my garage to, well.. sit down for a minute. So it's the perfect opportunity to tell you all about the coolest craft market selling unique handmade kids' stuff. Two of them, actually.

My friend, Denise Love, founded the Little Monster Market (http://littlemonstermarket.com/) a little over a year ago. I met her through being a vendor at the first market and decided to partner with her on all things Monster Market. But back to Denise....she's an uber talented designer -- seriously one of the most talented people I've ever met -- who is now designing and making a really cool line of kids clothing called Eeny Meanie (http://www.eenymeanie.com/.) When she's not designing kids' clothes, she's doing all of the web design and marketing materials for the upcoming Monster Markets. Which leads me to.....

If you live in the LA area, check out http://www.littlemonstermarket.com/ for details on the

December 1st show in Studio City and the December 8th show in LA (down by the Beverly Center). Our unofficial tagline is "The Little Monster Market makes shopping with your kids fun....without wine or Paxil....really." We've arranged for activities/performances for the kids as well as yummy goodies to keep their tummies full while you shop. Nothing worse than shopping with your kids when they're (a.) not having fun and (b.) hungry. We've tried to solve both of those issues. Cuz we're both moms.

The one-day markets are featuring independent artists and designers, like myself, who make and sell handmade goods for kids. Even if you don't live in LA, check out the website anyways. There are links to all the vendors' webpages so you can shop from the comfort of your chair.

There's my hard sell. If you live here and make it to one of the shows, please stop by my booth and say hi. I'll be the one with the furniture...you can't miss me. :)

Some of Eeny Meanie's adorable clothing...


Exciting News!

Here are a few new photos (also on the Etsy site) of the Toddler/Twin Platform bed. I was in desperate need of new photos AND I received a call from a design writer in London wanting to include some of my furniture in a new book being published in England. HOW COOL IS THAT!?! I'm really excited and will share more details as the develop.

Toddler Bed.....

...to twin bed!


The New Mod Coffee Table

A new client of mine is doing the unexpected with the Noah Building Table.
He's using it as a coffee table! I just think it's the coolest thing!! He jokingly said he was going to wait to tell me he didn't have kids until about half-way through our conversation but he fessed up early on and I loved it! The dimensions will change a tad to better fit the couch but all in all it's the same. A fun, mod coffee table with built-in entertainment. And the seat will become a container that stores magazines and Mod Mom Furniture brochures :). Who knew?????

The Show Must Not Go On

It was a no-go on the big High School Musical dance number on Sunday. A good friend, and "cast member" was admitted into the hospital and we just couldn't do it without him. Sorry to disappoint those wanting to see a High School Musical-dancing carpenter.


Happy Almost Halloween

Slutty carpenter? Hot Nurse? French Maid? So many choices are offered for Halloween get-ups and all of them half-naked. Since last year (see above), I got to dress up real perty as Sammy Davis, Jr., this year I 'm going more salt-of-the-earth as Gabriella from High School Musical. Although I'm not going as far as to accidentally post photos of me sans clothing on the internet, my plan is to be quite convincing with brown-haired wig and sassy red dress. Scott (as Dean Martin above) is going as Troy, my High School Musical song and dance partner donning a fantastic blond/brown wig and basketball attire. AND THERE's GOING TO BE DANCING, too. We've recruited some friends to join us (they'll be two other cast members). We've been practicing our moves but I can't say anymore than that for fear we'll ruin the surprise.

What I can say is that my son is slightly embarrassed by the whole thing and my daughter couldn't be happier that we're going to be Troy and Gabriella.

Maybe we should march on down to Disney and show them what we've got! Although I think they'll mistake us for the 20 Year High School Musical Reunion cast. Now there's an idea!!!!!

I'll post photos (or even the video) after the party on Sunday.

Happy Halloween!


The Fires

I just came back in from the garage -- building an Owyn Toy Box -- and I'm hacking and coughing more than usual after sanding without a mask. (I know, I know. I'll use one soon.) As I walked into my house I looked up to see a very strange somewhat blue but mostly smokey looking sky. We're not in immediate danger of the many fires still burning out here (Thank God) but I'm reminded of how close we are to all those communities lost to the fire.

I can't even imagine what all the evacuees and those who have already lost homes must be going through right now. My husband Blackberried (is this a word?) me from his business trip to offer a list of things we should take if we're ever evacuated -- computer hardrive, photos, kids clothes, that sort of thing. Sure makes having the stomach flu and worrying about getting toy boxes finished on time seem really silly and insignificant.


The Stomach Flu Is Not Good For Business

My thumb hurts from flipping channels on the remote the ENTIRE day while I laid in bed breathing through stomach cramps. What glorious day! It got me thinking how when I was working full-time outside of the home, I could take sick days and somehow not feel such an overwhelming sense of needing to be working. I laid in bed while my hubby delivered Sprite and saltines and took care of the kids and I kept counting in my head the number of toy boxes or tables and chairs I need to build: 8. Pretty much all day, I was thinking 8. That, and how I haven't showered in two days (see previous post). And that I was a little appalled at myself for getting scared while watching back to back Children of The Corn movies on AMC's Spooky Movie Week. I'm so glad we don't live near a corn field.

Tomorrow I'll be back full-force -- with my sense of humor revived -- building toy boxes and taking care of puking kids. Cuz you KNOW that comes next, right??


The old me...that showered.

Sometimes I sit and think about my old jobs -- specifically the one in Chicago where I worked downtown, ate lunch at places that served wine at lunch, and shopped Bloomingdales on Michigan Avenue.
While I wouldn't trade being home with the kids and working from home for anything in the world, sometimes I miss the old me. The old me that showered more than three times a week. And GOT HER NAILS DONE. Seriously, I used to do that. And get my hair professionally cut and styled by Bette Midler's old hairdresser. It really feels like a whole other lifetime. I was even a full-time working mom at the time but i still managed to take care of me somehow. Maybe it was the drugs!! :)
As I sit here, my toe nail paint job is mostly chipped, my hair is in a ponytail, and I haven't shaved my legs in days. And I can't tell you the last time I actually had my eyebrows done. I forget they're part of the regimen anymore.
When people ask me what it's like to work from home building furniture I say it's awesome. And when they ask what has to "give" since I'm working from home, I normally say regular sex, showers, dentist appointments and styling the back of my hair. There you have it....the cold hard truth.
I'm off to not shower and completely ignore the stain that's now embedded in the cuticles of my fingernails. I think that might be a good thing, though. I don't have to bring stain sample to appointments...just my fingernails!!


YOU the builder...yes you can! (well I can but you can tell me what you want)

I'm taking notes...from you....so please let me know if you're on the hunt for a mod kid furniture piece that isn't being sold that you'd like to see built or something you think a modern kid would love. I'm always open to suggestions from the people in the know...the parents.

Here's what I have in my head and/or sketched poorly on paper....

  • I'm currently working on designing an art desk contraption of some sort (doesn't that make you just want to rush out and buy it. It's all in the name, isn't it?)

  • And several new types of storage options.

  • Mod Barbie House -- that doesn't look like anything on the market and is tall enough to fit actual Barbies (and Kens).

Thoughts? Suggestions? If it something I think I can make, I'll work out an arrangement with you, i.e., discounts, naming the thing after your child, credit on the store front, etc....

Whatcha think?????


Ahhhhh....the smell of technology?!?

My Star Wars-loving, Playstation-playing son, who just turned nine (pictured above in a really poor excuse for a pirate's costume for pirate day at school. A seamstress, I am NOT) has to go with me sometimes to the lumber yard. Both kids do, actually. I try not to, if I can help it. Not for their sake, but for my sanity. :) And because most of the time I can't fit the wood in my minivan unless one child is not in the car. "Which one of you wants to run beside the car today?? That's a fun game we play. Just kidding about that. Really, I'm totally kidding.
One day this summer, both kids were with me. I bribed them with an ice cream and had even thrown in the promise of a couple of those cheap foam paint brushes for extra measure. That is, if they could resist the urge to push, pull, tug, nudge, or hit, each other the entire time we were at the yard.
Anyhow, we were walking over to the plywood section and I said to them, "Ahhhhh...the smell of cut wood. I love it. Don'tcha love it guys?" Grace, my lumber yard lover, chimed in immediately with, "ohhhhh yaaaaah that's niiiiiiice." Noah just looked at me and then said, "No, Mom. You love the smell of wood.... I love the smell of technology."
Which kid do you think will get the family business? And which one will be supporting his mom and dad and the family business with his high-powered, lucrative, high-tech job? YEAH for techies!!!

Cool Article Written By Apartment Therapy Nursery Editor

I'm thrilled to have been included in this great article by Julia Cho (Apartment Therapy). She wrote it for Etsy's online spotlight journal called The Storque. It's full of great handmade mod kid finds...


Do-it-yourself Wood Working Tips

Woodworking tips I've learned over the past couple of years....
  1. When you're cutting across or against the grain of the wood (a cross-cut), use tape on your cut line. Like masking tape. It'll help keep splintering on the edges to a minimum.
  2. Apply stain BEFORE cutting. It will help prevent the discolorations or saturation of color on splintered edges (if you have any). I also apply a wood conditioner before staining to make sure the stain goes on evenly.
  3. When drilling holes, put the piece of wood you're drilling through on top of a throw-away piece of wood. Clamp the two together so they are secure and drill. You won't have blow-out splintering on the backside like you get when you just drill through the top piece of wood by itself.
  4. Don't stand on the table saw legs to help you get leverage to finish getting a huge piece of ply through the saw when it gets stuck right at the very end. My Dad is mortified that I resorted to this once or twice. But I had a deadline, people, and the wood had to be cut! (I won't do it again, though.)

Now get out there and create some knock-offs! Just kidding about that.


The Mom in Mod Mom -- Birthday Edition

Both of our kids birthdays fall within a week of each other. Noah's is September 29th and Grace's is on Oct. 3. Four years and four days apart. (Guess we had a FANTASTIC January several years ago!) Anyhow, this was the first year we couldn't convince them (now 9 and 5) to have their birthday party together. So last weekend was a sleepover for 10 kids ranging in age from 5 to 12. This past weekend was Grace's party -- a carnival party in our front yard -- complete with bouncy (no carnies, though) and many things made by Mod Mom and Mod Dad.

So Mod Mom furniture had to take a back seat (or as much of a back seat as I can make it take) for us to crank out our best carnival gear. Check out the photos. Do you think there's a market for handmade from old wood that got wet, shot-ily put together, carnival gear?

Oh, the ring toss. A artistic masterpiece, don't ya think?

Grace insisted the popcorn be sold for $8 or be free.
I thought $8 was really cheap given that it WAS microwaved. And this is LA.
Most opted for the "or free"

Who doesn't like a good game of bean bag toss??

The "AMAZING" Jesse was a friend's bunny. Turns out Jesse
was Jessica just last week. Right up until the vet visit. Either
way, Jesse was AMAZING!


New Links!

I'm excited to announce that Mod Mom Furniture is now being sold at the following stores:

Cool Baby is a really cool store with art and dance/yoga for kids. It's on the edge of Beverly Hills on Pico near the Beverly Center.

An incredible online modern baby gear and clothing store. I'm selling mostly storage pieces on this site. You can shop by brand too so look for Mod Mom Furniture


My Job According to Grace

Kiersten: "So Grace, ya know how you were talking about what moms and dads do at work the other day....what is it that Dad does for work? Do you remember?"

Grace (age 5) : "He has meetings about TV."

Kiersten: "Yep, he does. He works for a TV channel. What do I do for work?"

Grace: "You talk on the phone and clean the kitchen."

Kiersten: "Anything else I do for work?"

Grace: Pause....Pause...."And sometimes you make stuff for other kids."

There you have it folks. I better get back to talking on the phone WHILE cleaning the kitchen or my "pay" will get docked. :)


The Almost-Cut-Off-My-Finger Story

So I mentioned earlier that I almost cut off my finger. I'm keeping a tally of mishaps in the workshop in hopes to not do them again, if I can help it.

I was building a bookshelf for my kids and was using the biscuit joiner (for anyone not knowing what this is, it's a power tool used to hollow out wood.) I STUPIDLY decided to brace the wood myself, holding the 3/4 inch ply with one hand and the joiner with the other, I drove the joiner (and it's really sharp spinning blade) into the wood but instead, the blade skipped across the wood. It then cut my wood-holding finger (ring finger) at the tip when I tried to get that hand out of the way.

Next up, I look down at all the blood and then start yelling for my husband who, thankfully, was home at the time. All the while he's helping me he's giving me that mixed emotion part mad/part worried look that says, "why the hell don't you do something like paint or knit." We bandaged it up knowing I really probably needed stitches. I then took some Tylenol and made a gin and tonic.

The story ends well because I (a.) had a gin and tonic, and( b.) the finger healed just fine with a nice scar little scar. Although two days later, I finally dragged the kids to urgent care with me and received a slap on the hand for not coming in earlier and a tetanus shot.

Naturally, after the tetanus shot, I went and poured a gin and tonic. That shot hurt for TWO DAYS!!! Damn Tetanus.


My Garage Life

My husband took this of me tonight in the garage. This is standard attire although I've been known to use the table saw while donning a skirt. (No heels, though.) I just go out when I have a minute between kid things and work away until I'm pulled away - no matter what I'm wearing. Cuz frankly, changing clothes would waste time. Guess how many pants have glue stains on them???

My one constant when I work is listening to country radio. I love all kinds of music but when I'm building/designing, it's almost like a drug. I have to it on in the background. I think I'm a better builder with a little Dixie Chicks or Johnny Cash playing just loud enough to not disturb the neighbors. My almost 5-yr-old daughter even knows all the words to just about every country song out there because she's always "helping" me when I'm working. I won't even go into how or why she also knows most of the words to Amy Winehouse's Rehab.

I'm finishing up a few new pieces -- a table, a chair with a back and stool/backless chair you see me working on to the left. They will hopefully be going in a store in Beverly Hills and (and on my site). I'll let you know if/when they land in the store.

Anyhow, for the two of you out there who are reading this blog, here are some new photos of new stuff coming out. These are by no means professional shots but you get the idea. Below is a kids' table made from birch and baltic birch ply with lazy suzan on top. Two chair choices: stool with leaves or mod chair with back.