Baby Couture Magazine Hearts Bertie

Picture this. My daughter out tonight with a head that looks like she's just woken up, stains on her shirt, mismatched pants, a face-paint apple (smudged) on the side of her cheek and boots that need a good washing. While standing there at Ross buying discounted towels for our new/old home watching Little G rummage through the discount bin, Scott said, "Kiers, she looks homeless AND parentless." I couldn't have agreed more. Which is all very ironic since her mother's furniture was recently featured in Baby Couture Magazine. Nothing about either of my kids screams couture. More like Target and "wow those are some seriously too-short pants." But not couture.

If you'd like to see some cool kid couture stuff that doesn't scream dirty, filthy kid, check out this link: http://issuu.com/bcmag/docs/bc_holiday2008-2009_sweetin-1?mode=a_p

If you go to page 33 you'll see the Bertie Box!

P.S. I did make both kids shower/bathe tonight. Ok, well, Scott did. I was in the garage cutting out a Bertie Box. :)


Save Handmade!

(image courtesy of Cool Mom Picks)

You might have heard something about a new ruling coming in February that mandates that anything made for kids up to age 12 (clothing, toys, furniture, etc) MUST be tested...at a rate of $500-$5000 per test per product. This comes in response to the recall of all those lead-paint toys from China. While I completely agree we have to protect our children from harmful chemicals, a blanket mandate across the board will likely shut down almost all of the small businesses specializing in handmade goods who have, from the start, been using the best, eco-friendly, non-toxic materials available.

As you may have guessed, this will affect my business but more importantly, it will affect every business out there making handmade goods for kids. It will likely put most of them out of business. Businesses, like mine, that were started from home in order to make up for lost income and/or to be able to stay home with their kids and work at the same time.

Please help make it known that small businesses making goods for kids should not be lumped into the same category as the large US-based and foreign kids product companies.

To find out how you can help, go to COOL MOM PICKS SAVE HANDMADE webpage by clicking on the link. And thanks to Liz and Kristen for all their support!!

Thanks so much for helping to SAVE HANDMADE!!!

Same Mod Mom, New Garage

Whose bright idea was it to combine moving with Christmas? Oh yeah...ours. I've been long absent from writing because frankly we've been so busy we can't see straight. We're moving to a new (when I say "new" I mean old and smaller but completely renovated) home in an effort to reduce our monthly expenses. We're so excited about our new house...and the new garage! Get this...the garage is actually attached to the house. I can walk right from our laundry room into the garage WITHOUT GOING OUTSIDE! I know to most people this is standard, but in LA, it's not standard at all. We've had this set up in other cities we've lived but it never meant as much as it does to me now. It's the little things, isn't it?!?!

On other notes, I'm still working on the prototype for Land of Nod. It's fun and exciting and sometimes damn frustrating but totally worth it. I'm also plugging away on orders as usual. Still covered in paint and stain.

Christmas has been so fun! We had both sets of parents in town at one point or another. Scott's parents got to experience Christmas in only two rooms of our current house. We decorated the family room and the dining room and every room in between looks like we're moving tomorrow. We sold a lot of our furniture to scale down so Chrstimas was spent with four people and dogs on the couch playing Wii games. Hope your holidays have been equally fun and crowded!!!

We're moving on January 2nd so I'll try and write some new posts either before or after. Here's wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! And thanks so much for all of your support and love in 2008!


Atomic Ranch Rules!

If you haven't checked out the fabulous quarterly magazine Atomic Ranch, you need to! And if you pick up the winter issue (at Barnes and Nobles and large book/magazine dealers) you'll see some furniture you recognize. The title of the section is called Mommy Dearest -- how can you not love that?


Happy Birthday, Mom of Mod Mom!

Happy (BELATED) Birthday, Mom! And look Mom -- only a few days late!!! Sure, I could've been one of those REALLY good daughters and posted birthday wishes on your birthday but what fun would that have been? Don't answer that.

Mom, you're truly one of a kind and I'm so thankful everyday for your love, guidance and fantastic listening ear for when I drone on about how tired and covered in sawdust I am. I love you very much! We're so excited about your visit - can't wait to see both of you on Saturday!

P.S. I promise to shower and even put on a new pair of fake toenails before your visit. I'll be a new me! Just for you. Think of it as another birthday gift.


Happy Thanksgiving Week!

(The Gottcock Clan)

I just received a very kind message from David asking where I've been and hoping everything was ok with me. (Thank you again, David.) It was just the kick in the butt I needed!!

Things have been nuts around here lately. I'm crazy busy with orders, Land of Nod stuff, and to top it off, we're trying to move into a different home down the street. Good timing with the holidays, don't ya think? The kids have either fundraisers, drs appts, events, turkey dinners, etc. at school almost daily right now so I'm trying to keep up with all of that and sadly, that meant the blog fell off the radar. Please know I'm still sufficiently covered in paint, stain, and my Lee Press On toenails are falling off one by one. Scott's so proud!!

I'll have some new photos of some custom jobs in the coming week. And I'll try to post some Turkey Day photos too. We'll be spending it at the beach with our dear friends, the Gottliebs. So it will officially be a Gottcock Thanksgiving. Only one of our kids really gets that.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Guest Blogger: My Husband, Scott Hathcock

This is a first for me, but I thought I would give “Mod Mom” a small break from blogging this week and offer my perspective as to what it’s like to live with a woman who “lives in her garage.”

1. I live with a different kind of “Painted Lady.” She actually comes in assorted shades of stains and colors. Some of these colors are even accompanied by fragrances, like my favorite “Dark Walnut.”

2. I never look at her feet, particularly the bottom of them. Her best friend would tell you that she doesn’t spend enough time on keeping her feet looking “kept.” This is because she spends most of her days in flip flops, standing in a quarter inch of old wood shavings, and running back and forth across our blacktop driveway. Recently, there has been marked improvement through her discovery of “Lee Press On” manicured toe nails. As long as she doesn’t show the bottom of her feet, this recent discovery has been a game changer in the eyes of her friends. I am certainly not surprised at her taking to “Lee Press Ons” because they speak to the very heart of who she is-- a gluer and a sander.

3. It’s no longer “my garage.” In fact, I don’t think I even own any tools anymore. She didn’t want to be greedy though so she relegated the area of the garage containing the washer and dryer. I even have a nameplate attached to the washer.

4. I listen to most of our favorite TV shows over the sound of her sanding in front of the television . I’ve even contemplated initiating the “closed caption” feature to our evenings.

5. She’s intimidating to work for. I do try to occasionally pitch in with sanding, painting and polyurethane-ing, but when the pressure of not screwing up is so great I feel inadequate. She will also tell you that I become very territorial about any contribution. After I help to finish a toy box, no matter how insignificant my contribution I start calling it “my box.” “How did they like my box?” “Did my box get there unharmed?” and so forth.

6. The most frequently asked question is, “Is it a role reversal thing that we have going on?” To which I respond, we are truly a team and we make each other better for our partnership…I just happen to shower more.

7. Finally, I am blessed that so many of you out there have helped support her over the years with your posted comments, blogs, articles and finally your business. It really means the world to her that you are present and supportive. Not only do you continue to inspire her on a daily basis with your kind words and reviews but you fill in a void of support when I get too busy to the notice and appreciate the daily gift that she is to me. Just the other day I sent her this email based on your past observations:

“Just spent the morning reading all your various “Mod Mom” mentions online. I'm sure they weren't all the latest postings; regardless, I couldn't help to think how proud I am of you. I know I don't tell you that enough. It’s a amazing how other people who don't really know you at all do find the time to tell you that you are truly an amazing woman and mother. You've obviously made a host of fans across the world but I'm still your biggest. Now get back in that garage and make more people happy!”

For which she replied…

“Thanks, babe. We just got back from Woodcraft West and McDonald's’s drive through. Now I'm off to build that table and chair set. Is your day going well?

Love you, K”

Ah, love.


Walnut Version of the Chase Toy Box

(walnut stain with oak veneer leaf branch)

I recently delivered this to a lovely family in West Hollywood. Whatcha think?


Happy Election Day!

It's finally here! And this wood workin', country music listenin', power tool totin', Ohio-born girl with Southern roots is voting for Obama! At first glance, I'm sure it doesn't make sense to put all that together in one sentence but that's me! I'm proud to love Lee Greenwood and Hank Williams Jr songs AND be a card carrying Obama supporter.

Tonight, my kids and I are making election cookies and celebrating with that fizzy grape juice that looks like champagne (you caught me....THEY are drinking that, I'll have a gin and tonic.) Anyhow, we're decided that no matter what happens, we must make cookies. Partly because I'll need some comforting if Obama doesn't get in and I'll need a massive sugar party if he does where we all jump around like maniacs!

Happy Election Day to all of you!


Interview on EtsyKids

(Julia, I had two beers tonight. Don't know what got into me. Tomorrow night -- martinis!)

I was very honored to be interviewed for the EtsyKids Blog. If you know anything about my story, some of it may be repetitious but there's one thing at the end that you probably don't know. Cuz it's the answer to the question, "what's one thing people might find surprising about you?"

Check it out here....


P.S. The photos aren't displaying but maybe that will be fixed soon.


Press Update

It's been a long time since I've posted (anything, I know) press links so I thought I'd round a few up that were published over the past few months and post them here. Thanks to all these lovely bloggers for writing about my furniture! It's kinda like Christmas when I get my google alerts telling me "mod mom furniture" was mentioned somewhere on the web. Some days, it helps me get my butt off my chair and into the garage. SO THANK YOU!!!

Bertie Toy Box
By bwestbye
($475) It’s hand-carved from eco-friendly birch plywood by designer Kiersten Hathcock; stay-at-home mom, furniture designer and founder of Mod Mom. It’s built low to the ground for easy kid access, with casters that roll where the toys ...
Cool Baby Gear - http://www.coolbabygear.com/

More Puzzling Toy Storage Pieces!
By admin
The tagline under this piece on ModernNursery says: “1 mom + 1 table saw + old garage = mod mom furniture ” That’s story behind Mod Mom Furniture’s genius kid-friendly storage units. They’re made with sustainable birch plywood, ...
Shawn & Frank Baby Blog - http://www.shawnandfrank.com/Blog

Attics and Playrooms
By Alivia's Momma(Alivia's Momma)
It has a built in bed at one end and sloping ceilings. I think any kid would like to play up there. Because of the ceilings we have to find creative ways to store things. I think these toy cubes from Mod Mom Furniture would be perfect. ...
The Extraordinary Housewife - http://extraordinaryhousewife.blogspot.com/

Tackling # 35
By Joslyn(Joslyn)
We're leaning toward this groovy toy chest (it’s made of sustainable wood from Russia with non-toxic paint by an ex-tv network marketing executive turned stay-at-home mom turned self-taught furniture designer/builder…Awesome!...
Simple Lovely - http://simplelovely.blogspot.com/

Fab Find :: The Owyn Toy Box
By E(S)
I am in LOVE with this toybox named "Owyn" made by Mod Mom Furniture. It is sweet, hip, and clever and it's made by a mom of two boys. Being the mom of one rambunctious little boy myself, I am astounded that she has the time to even ...
Fig+Sage - http://figandsage.blogspot.com/

My 10 Favorites: Cute Owls Alive and Well on Etsy
By Jackie
... Felt Bucket by Tiny Decor; Enchanted Forest Growth Chart by Tiny Decor; Olli and Lime Little Egg Print (available in lime, teal, or orange); Noah Owl Toy Box by Mod Mom Furniture; Avalisa Owl Stretched Wall Art (available in 9 colors)
Tiny Décor Blog - http://tinydecorblog.com/blog

The Noah Owl Box From Mod Mom Furniture
By moderndaydad
As I've said here on Droolicious before (here and here), I'ma huge fan of Mod Mom Furniture, and it seems she's got a new toy box to show off. The Noah Owl Box has an owl lid with owl eyes for finger holes, is hand made of eco-friendly ...
droolicious - http://babble.com/CS/blogs/droolicious/default.aspx

There are a few things in my daughters room that I NEED. In order... a bed, a dresser, a toy box, a book shelf, and a rug (my floor is hard wood). That being said, let me get back to the toy box. There are a few things a toy box needs. In order...it needs to be functional, it needs to be deep, and most importantly it needs to be STYLISH!!! Actually it doesn't...but, if it did, we shall go to the garage Kiersten Hathcock creator of Mod Mom Furniture. Each piece is inspired by mid-century style and Kiersten's own kids' wants and needs. She uses eco- friendly birch plywood, non-toxic paints, water-based stains and low-voc, water-based finishes. To date, Kiersten's toy boxes are by far the most functional, design detailed, and unique in this industry. Thank You Mod Mom, keep up the good work!


I stink at this blogging thing

Apparently, I'm no good at keeping up with a blog. And it's about to get worse. We're heading back East to see family through next Monday so posting will be light to none until then.

But rest assured, I'll have some good photos for you when I come back! Like my daughter dressed as a whoopie cushion. Only the classiest for the Hathcocks!


A Simple Request

A few days ago, we learned that my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. She's such an amazingly strong woman who I know will get through this but in the meantime, she'll be missing much work...if not all work (and salary), while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. When she's not a preschool teacher, she's running her own Mary Kay business. I'm asking everyone who's in the market for make-up and skin care products to consider purchasing them from Annis. And please feel free to pass her web store link to friends and family.


She can offer fast, efficient, and best of all FREE shipping (US only).

Your Mary Kay product purchases will be helping make up for her lost income and will help pay for medical expenses.

Thanks for considering this request! Please know you're making a difference in one very cool lady's life.


Apartment Therapy's Ohdeedoh Likes Owyn

Thank you to Apartment Therapy's site, Ohdeedoh, for writing about the Owyn Toy Box. Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite blogs. To read the post, click here.


I must admit...

...my entire garage floor is covered in saw dust now. What's wrong with me?!!? I (along with my trusty assitant) had it looking so good. Then after say, 6 toy boxes and 10 mini houses for my daughter's stuffed animal friends, it all goes to hell.

In a desperate attempt to bury my head in the sand, I decided today I'd just get the hell out of dodge even though I have three toy boxes due by Saturday. I had to drop off a Bertie Toy Box in Beverly Hills at the offices of Baby Couture, the leading fashion magazine for babies who like couture. I didn't know there was such a thing either until a couple of months ago. Maybe because my kids aren't into couture so much and their mom only shops at Target...and occasionally True Religion for those jeans I wear 365 days a year. Anyhow, it's a cool magazine, if you're into design and fashion for kids. I'm hoping it will be (as positioned to me the the editor) in the Holiday Shopping Issue coming out in November or December, I guessing.

Can I just say that my filthy mini-van did indeed look a bit out of place next to the Beverly Hills BMWs and Mercedes. But I drove it proudly!! No, I didn't see any celebrities and no, I wasn't discovered by an agent while sitting at a red light. They'd have you believe that happens all the time out here but it doesn't.
(P.S. If you're an agent and saw me at the corner of Beverly Drive and Coldwater, call me!)


Today, I haven't....

...washed my dirty hair or put on make-up and feel as grimy and sawdust covered as ever but it doesn't matter. Know why?

I got a message from Land of Nod. You know the company owned by Crate and Barrel that sends out those super cute catalogues with really nice kids gear and furniture? We are talking about the possibility of me designing something exclusively for them. We're still trying to flush it all out so hopefully I'll have more news later from the Land of Mod. Bad joke, I know.

Also, just to make my head a tiny bit bigger than it was on Friday, I woke up on Saturday morning to my toy box being featured on TBS' Movie and A Makeover. They offered playroom makeover suggestions during Legally Blonde 2. I felt like a proud mom! And Brian, the designer, referred to the Bertie Box as "from Mod Mom Furniture." Just like he said, and "this roll-top toy box from Offi." Like I was a legit company. I felt so, well, legit!

I'll feel legit until tomorrow when someone asks what I do and I tell them. Then I say the company name and they stare blankly at me and ask if Scott does all the hard work and table sawing for me. :)


A Great Mod Find: Dallas Shaw

Being that you're all mod fans, I wanted to pass along a great artist named Dallas Shaw. She just designed the modern baby block print you see above, among many other pieces, and it's available for sale on Etsy. You can specify what month you'd like (and the wording in the corner changes by month: march darling, june bug, december baby,etc). Seriously, how cute is this print?!?!

For more info on Dallas Shaw, go to www.dallasshaw.com. For an inside look at the artist and her dogs, go to www.dillydallas.blogspot.com.

On a mod mom note....still knee deep in building!


A few favorites...

I'm dog tired and literally have nothing new to say about woodworking other than I'm STILL building toy box after toy box. On most days, I feel very lucky about that. Some days when I'm being a real whiner I remember what it was like to lunch in high heels and say important things during important meetings.

For today's post, I have nothing of real importance other than to list a few of my new favorite things....

1. I love the blog Notes From The Trenches! Chris is a brilliant, very funny writer.

2. AS SEEN ON TV...PediPaws. Clips your dogs nails without clipping. Grinding is actually what it does so your dog doesn't freak out.

3. True Religion jeans. You can wear them day after day for a year and only on the 367th day, will a hole appear in the inseam. Really, I've tried it.

4. The movie Ice Castles. Wonder where Robbie Benson is now?!? (Get ready Oonagh!)

5. My Neil Diamond souvenir necklace that my good friend Laurel (who happens to be on Neil's staff) gave to me at the concert. I wear it with everything. Big silver guitar pick hanging on a chain around my neck. :)


Painted Toes = Classy Lady

I'm back! From where, you ask? A carpentry/motherhood/birthday party black hole that has left me not even one second to shower - shocking, I know - or God forbid, paint my toenails. I actually painted just two toenails on each foot the other night before heading to a party. That's actually not completely true. I painted said two toenails IN THE CAR on the way there. Those four toes were the only ones that showed through my strappy sandles. But then I did what I always do. Tell everyone I know when they said my toes looked nice, that I only painted the few that were visible.

Anyhow, I'm still crazy busy building and getting ready for Grace's "Build Your Own House For blah blah blah (see previous post)" that I'm sure to go underground again tomorrow. But rest assured this classy lady will be underground with toes painted. Well, less than half her toes painted.


Mother Daughter Bonding

Playing Barbies. Nope.
Singing songs and dancing in the living room. Nope.
Putting glitter lipstick on each other. Nope.

Cleaning up my workshop while my daughter giddily uses the shop vac to suck up every last bit of sawdust. YES!!!

She's SOOOO my daughter. We're both hopelessly messy but still crave intermittent moments of tidiness and order. She even likes to fold laundry with me but look at either of our drawers and you won't find even one folded shirt.

In my effort to wring everything out of my tidy-craving moment, I'll stop typing and go back to cleaning the kitchen. Tomorrow the feeling will be gone and Little G and I will be back to throwing saw dust and clothes on the floor.


Soldiering On to Birthday Mahem

(Taken last weekend in Solvang, CA, after a few tiny glasses of wine at wine tasting rooms)

How cool is this soldier box? It almost makes me want to make one of my own...maybe for Grace's Birthday Party which has nothing to do with soldiers. Last year, we made various junky carnival items to complete Grace's Carnival Birthday. It was such a hit, she's still asking for the popcorn stand this year. I, of course, said no way. Mainly because this year, we're using all of my scrap wood to have Grace's "Build Your Own House For A Stuffed Animal or Webkin So Long As It's Not a Big Stuffed Animal" Party. (No nails, just glue so no ER trips or mad parents.) I really should start cutting all those little house pieces now but I'll put it off and stress at the last minute. Just like every good mom does for their kids' birthday parties.


Kelly Osborne's Magazine Ready Home - Design Public

A Design Public customer (and a Mod Mom Furniture customer via Design Public) was interviewed for Design Public's blog because her house looks like something out of a magazine. It's amazing! And she says the Owyn Toy Box is her favorite Design Public piece!! Really, I didn't pay her to say that, honest! I'm thrilled and honored to know she's a Mod Mom Furniture fan. Very cool, indeed!!!

Click HERE for the link...

Check out these photos from the article...

Do you see the Owyn in the picture? On the right side?

Kelly and her gorgeous family

Thanks so much Kelly!


The Etsy Handmade For Kids Challenge Results!

What a big day in the Hathcock household! One of those days where you sorta wonder what's gonna go wrong since many things have gone right. No need to worry -- I've already cut all the wood today on my tablesaw so that possible tragedy is off the table. WHEW!

Anyhow, back to the results! Thanks for all who voted for the Owyn Toy Box as your favorite. All 2622..ok, 2621 (I voted for myself) of you made it happen -- and made it the WINNER of the Challenge!! YEAH!!


Also, the Expert Panel announced their picks for favorite in each category today. Thanks to Carrie McBride of Apartment Therapy's Ohdeedoh site, the Owyn Toy Box received the Expert Panel Award of Excellence in the Furniture category.

I'm Published!

Isn't that what people say when they have something published? Although I think it means you've actually WRITTEN something that's published. Not me, no sir. Just have a few of my designs in a new book called Designed For Kids, by a British design writer. But I'm still freaking out about it! I won't pretend to be cool because I'm not. I'll be carrying that book with me until I die. Right there in my purse so when some stranger asks what time it is, I'll ask if they've seen the book I'm in...and then give them the time. :)

The book itself is so GREAT! It's a sourcebook for new moms and dads (or old moms and dads) that includes all the stuff a design-savvy parent would want. All the major design houses are included like Offi, Argington, Lego, and, oh....did I mention....MOD MOM FURNITURE! Ok, I'll stop that now.

If you're interested in purchasing the book, Amazon and Barnes and Nobles both sell it. And it's cheaper than the MSRP. Is that a bad sign? Has my book already gotten knocked down a peg or two? It's too heavy and big to carry in my purse, anyways. :)

Here are some photos of the pages my stuff landed on...


Már megint itt van a szerelem!

Thanks to the person who runs this Hungarian blog and apparently wrote about the Noah Owl Box! He/she posted about my furniture a few months back too. I tried using the online translator but sadly, couldn't even understand the translated version. If anyone out there does, please let me know.

Fingers crossed he/she isn't saying this is the most ridiculous looking toy box ever.

Have a great weekend! I'm inches away from being done with two toy boxes. The same ones I'll have dreams about shipping tomorrow. :)


I Dream Of Shipping

I'm actually dreaming about shipping toy boxes. How sad is THAT? Really, how lame is my life that I apparently am stressed about getting toy boxes out. One dream I had of late involved me not being able to find the UPS store which meant I was driving like a mad woman in circles with three toy boxes in the back of my car. What does that mean?

Guess any idiot can interpret that I might be needing a tiny break - just one week where I don't have to build something. I should know better than to book myself solid but sometimes it happens. Like when we need to pay the crazy expensive electric bill. Or when a tv show comes a callin'. Who knows. Maybe tonight I'll dream about Ryan Gosling or I'll have that dream where I'm walking naked down the hallways of my high school. God, anything would be better than stupid dreams about UPS. (No offense to the fantastic staff at the UPS store in TOluca Lake.)


Cool Mom Picks Hearts The Noah Owl Box on My Birthday

YEAH for two things:

1. It's my birthday! Grace guessed I was 63 and I told her "close" and sometimes I feel 63 but I'm officially in my mid-30s now. The BIG 35!! WHOOHOO! Bring on the Botox!

2. Liz from Cool Mom Picks wrote a really nice write-up on the new Owl Toy Box today.


Tell Me One Good Thing That Happened....

When I pick my kids up from school, I ask them, in an annoying mother voice, "What's one good thing that happened to you at school today? And what's one bad thing?" So I'm turning the annoyingness on myself...

One GOOD thing that happened this weekend...
I got a message from the producer of Movie and A Makeover on TBS and they want to use The Bertie Box in the makeover portion of an upcoming show! WOOHOO! My box is going to be famous! That sounded so wrong in my sick little head! Thankfully, the box is an actual box.

One BAD thing that happened this weekend...
I mixed a prescription drug called Metformin (used to treat the PCOS I have) with wine and had a VIOLENT reaction. In all fairness to me, it only says to TAKE WITH FOOD on the outside of the pill bottle. Note to self and anyone else on this medication. Be very cautious when mixing the two - don't even think about going for that third glass! Unless it's a really good bottle of wine then ditch the pills and pour the vino!


Sign of a true craftsman...er woman

I looked down at my computer mouse to see it covered in a nice dark walnut stain. Some people would wash their hands after staining. But not me! I just dart in, check my email, and dart back out to finish.

You can only imagine what our cordless phones look like.


Crazy Builder Girl

I'm a crazy builder girl today and I'm going back out for more! I'll get back to posting tomorrow after I've had a nice shower and a glass of Red Zin. :)


Noah At Minor Details!

One of my absolute favorite design bloggers, Jenn from Minor Details, featured the Noah Owl Toy Box today on her site! Jenn finds the coolest child/baby gear from around the world. I really don't know where she finds it all but her site is a fantastic resource if you're trying to outfit a kid's room or playroom.

Here's the link: http://minordetails.typepad.com/md_weblog/2008/09/meet-noah.html


Etsy's Handmade For Kids Contest Finalist

Happy Labor Day!

I wanted to mention that the Owyn Toy Box was selected as a finalist in Etsy's Handmade For Kids Contest. Check it out here! Vote for your favorite items from the Handmade Kids Challenge and win one of fourteen $350 Etsy Shopping Sprees! Voting ends on September 8th so if you feel like you're in a voting mood, click the link and vote for your favorite item in several different categories. If you vote for Owyn, it (and I) thank you!


The Noah Owl Box

My poor first born son finally has a toy box named after him! The first one (Noah Building Blocks table) I stopped offering about a year ago. Guaranteed, there will be lots of therapy for Noah in is coming years!!!

Anyhow, I designed and built this owl box for my excellent web designer. She has a Bertie but I thought two Bertie boxes might be a little boring so we decided on the owl.

I'm calling it "woodland mod" because I think it's a bit of arts and crafts style mixed with modern and would fit nicely into a room with a very natural, earthy modern look. And because I have to make up dumb design names now that I'm a designer in a British design book. :)

The owl eyes act as the handle on the lid. Children can put both index fingers into the eyes (like they're poking them out which is even more fun!) and pull back towards their chest and then throw the lightweight lid somewhere on the ground for all to step on. It's a brilliant system!!

The piece is 17 x 18 x 15 1/2 so it provides ample room for storing kid stuff...or wheeling a younger brother or sister around the house with intent of running over the lid that was thrown on the floor! Oh, the fun they will have!!!

I'll get this up on my website and online store soon! In the meantime, if you have questions, just email me(Kiersten@modmomfurniture.com) about it and I'll give you all the details.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!!

Veneer cut-outs make the circles surrounding the eyes, the nose, and the branch and leaves

(Can you see it? It's hiding in the "woods" since it's a "woodland mod" owl. I know...I know..)


Mushrooms With Expressions, by Patrick Gottlieb

I had some help on this next toy box/keepsake box! Patrick Gottlieb is my son's self-proclaimed best friend and a talented artist. He's been drawing mushrooms with expressions for about a year now and we talked awhile back about turning one of his mushrooms into a toy box. At last, it's finally done! Patrick's brother's, Eamonn and Sam also joined in by helping to color the many sketches of mushrooms with expressions to give me a better idea of what the final should look like.

On Saturday, Scott and I decided on which style we would be able to turn into a box. He copied the mushroom shape on the wood as well as add some input about circle colors and placement, and I happily started cutting the wood. By the end of a few hours, the mushroom with expression was born.

Check out Patrick's fantastic sketches of mushrooms as well as photos of the plus the completed box.

Patrick with the mushroom box

Inside the mushroom

Patrick's sketches

Many thanks to Patch for sharing his artwork with me and inspiring me to keep pushing artistic boundaries. By far, this is one of the coolest boxes I've built to date.

The Best Day EVER!

I just realized that it's been a week since this slacker woodworker has written anything on the blog. I could've sworn it was only a couple of days.

That's what getting geared up for the first day of school will do to ya. (And maybe all the other stuff plus a couple glasses of wine.)

So first off, Grace and Noah started back today. It was Grace's first day of school and she was really so excited, in her little Gracie way. Aside from not following the teacher into the classroom in a perfectly straight line..err..any line, she seemed to feel confident in her new title as kindergartner. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good stories at pick-up. Noah's a big fourth grader so the whole first morning thing is old hat. I even got to kiss his forehead before sending him off into a classroom full of gangly, prepubescent almost-middleschoolers.

What did I do after dropping them off, you ask? Well, Scott and I went to breakfast where I ordered a Bloody Mary. Ok, ok, it was a virgin but it tasted/felt like a real one. After all, my day does involve power tools. :)


hair today, blond tomorrow

Build furniture? Sure, i can do that! Learn web design? Sure, I can do that? And the list goes on...or rather, in my husband's eyes, the illness persists. I think I may have some sort of sickness where it never dawns on me that maybe me doing something isn't the best idea for the best outcome. One time one of the inserts in my shoes was lost so I was wearing shoes all the while feeling the connector brackets under my feet. I figured if I cut an insert out of foam and hot glued it we'd be all set. At the insistence of my sweet husband, I threw the 10 yr. old shoes out. Now, hair color. That's a different story. Thankfully, this time around, very few strands of hair disintegrated into a blond sticky mess on my floor, but that's happened before. I dyed my hair blond --think platinum blond highlights and golden blond hair -- the other day. I'll post a photo later today but for now, my blond hair and I have to go cut some wood.

Sometimes I wonder why I have such clear conviction that no matter what I try, I'll be able to succeed. I guess I should look at it as a blessing, but the countless things I tried to sew, fix, or paint, might think otherwise.


Designed For Kids

NEVER in a million years would I have predicted this. A few of my designs are being published in a book by Phyllis Richardson, through Thames and Hudson, London. The book is called Designed For Kids.

Phyllis contacted me a long time ago and while reading her email, my jaw hit the floor. And then I calmly and cooly wrote her back saying, "oh please oh please, this can't be a joke, right? Really...my stuff? Really?" Well I didn't actually write that to her but I was thinking it.

For more information on this super cool book, click HERE.

It's a collection of items designed for kids which are modern in style. Major designers with names like Hans from around the world are included. And one semi-designer from LA who rarely showers and works in her garage.


Custom Shmustom

I rarely do custom work but sometimes I decide it's worth it to do a custom piece. Recently, a client asked for a custom piece -- Gracie Toy Box-like but with specific dimensions (4ft wide), custom walnut stain, short legs, and custom veneer applique across the top and OUTDOOR POLY. It was going to be used outdoors as a storage piece on a back patio. All was going well with it until I got to the outdoor polyurethane part. Even with a respirator, I thought I was going to pass out or puke. I've vowed never again to use outdoor poly. I'm very happy to stick with my low-voc, indoor poly on my indoor furniture.

Turns out, the stain color wasn't exactly what the client wanted so on a bad note, I'm out a lot of time and sweat. But on a good note, I'm kind of excited to create my own applique on it and see what i come up with. This is the first time this has happened (custom job not working out) in over two years but I'm really ok with it. Custom jobs are hard because they're so subjective. Most vendors are sticklers about custom work and keeping the deposit even if the job doesn't work out but in this case, I was happy to give back the deposit so she could get what she really wanted and I can have fun doing my own thing to it. I'll most likely sell it on my online store to local LA folks (or to a few people who've already seen the unfinished version.) It's a GREAT piece that can be indoor or outdoor. And it's not necessarily a kid's toy box.

I'll post a photo of it soon...well, as soon as I finish it. Because you already know it's a Bertie/Owyn/Owl week.:)


Wood Fog

A good friend of mine used to call the years I spent from age 25-30 my "baby fog" years. Because I was constantly saying I didn't remember this or that..or anything, really. She'd just say, "baby fog." I was thinking about her today and the fact that I'm now in the "wood fog." I keep, week after week, looking at my schedule and cranking out toy box after toy box. That's how I remember my weeks now. It was a two-Owyn, half-a-Bertie-week last week. This week is a Bertie/Owyn/Owl week. Now don't ask me what I had for lunch or where I left my sunglasses because I can't remember.

I WILL remember to post a photo of a new Owl Toy Box (similar to the Bertie Box) when I'm finished. Hopefully at the end of the week...or at the beginning of next week, a Bertie/Bertie week.


Shut It

Man, it's hot out there today. But life is sweet because my office is organized and my garage is walk-through-able. Which it never really is. I can actually walk all the way around the workbench/table without being stopped by a piece of plywood with jagged edges or mounds of crumpled, used masking tape.

I'm just plugging away so not much else to report other than I found this post written on Aug. 5th and LOVED two things: first, that they wrote about my furniture and second, that the title was SHUT IT. Brilliant.

Here's the link to the very nice post on Urbanbaby Blog.



I've not just disapeared and left with no warning. I'd tell you. All 3 of you who read this! I've been working on four different pieces so I'm keeping busy in the workshop. Also, I cleaned out the workshop. (Mom, catch your breath.) It's actually now a cleaned up, organized garage. For another two weeks. Then the old coffee cups, half-drunk ice teas, and Corona Lites, will be sitting on the workbench next to the foam rollers. Now where's that favorite tape measure of mine??!??


Whiskey For My Men, Beer for My Desk

9:48pm. At my desk. Answering emails. Completely smashed. (just kidding about that -- it's just one beer, y'all.) If you know the blog title reference to a certain country song (Traci), then consider yourself country kin and a Willie Nelson fan.

Tomorrow I'll be cussing because I won't be able to find my favorite tape measure or the foam rollers. I'll mistakenly think I left them in a convenient spot like my WORKSHOP.


Wood, Wednesday, and a Whale of a Headache

My head is throbbing this morning. Not sure if it's the fact I weeped for an entire hour watching the special on Randy Paush last night or that I've inhaled enough sawdust to make a whole new Patrick chair. Yes, I'll be better about using my mask today. :)

But one things for sure. It's gonna take A LOT of coffee and motivation for me to get going this morning. I'll be running out to Rockler woodworking store for more supplies while our babysitter keeps the kids happy...and thankful they too didn't have to go to Rockler...again. I've gotta say, I really do love having some help in the kid arena and it's certainly increased my production speed. I've always known it's near impossible to work from home and not have help with the kids in order to keep your sanity. And to make sure they're getting what they need out of their day. Sadly, like most work-from-home moms, it's not something I can do on a regular basis because it defeats the point of working from home because it takes away from my income. On an ad sales exec salary, sure, it works. But on a furniture builder salary, not so much. It's one of those catch 22s.

I get asked how I do it quite a bit. And by do it, I mean fit it all in with kids. I always tell them there's no way I could be doing this if my kids were younger than 3 and if I didn't occasionally have a total breakdown day and do nothing but watch Tivo'd shows and eat brownie batter from the bowl. I feel very lucky to be in the position I'm in so as hard as it is sometimes (with a pounding headache), I really feel so grateful for every moment of it.


Minor Details on Her Favorite Etsy Picks

I just found this great article today written by Jenn, from Minor Details. Jenn has been wonderfully supportive of my furniture from the start and has even been kind enough to give her opinion/notes on The Bertie Box before I set it up for sale on my shop...and other shops.

If you're in search of really cool kid stuff, check out her website and check out this article. There are some really great finds here!!

Saturday Morning

It's so very quiet with everyone still slumbering away. I LOVE this time in the morning when I get up to pretend I'll go work out and then I surf the internet for useless information. And then realize I haven't posted on the blog for a few days. So here I am!

Can I just say that Life in the Garage with a wonderful babysitter on Thursday from 11-4 was absolute HEAVEN! It's the first time since I started the business that I've hired a babysitter. Mainly, because of the money. But since orders are up tremendously and I've overbooked myself by committing to build four pieces per week, it was inevitable. And one of the best freakin' things I've ever done. I love the feeling of working and not being pulled in two directions. I had forgotten how nice it is to just concentrate on work without worrying about what's up for lunch...are they doing something educational...how much time do I have before Grace wants to swim. Seriously, work felt like a vacation. So for the next three weeks, 5 hours a day on two days of the week, I will be on vacation while building 16 new pieces of furniture.


Hodge Podge

I'm back in my seat waiting for a few things to set up with glue. And my feet hurt so I'm taking a break. Here's a list of things I've been meaning to post about but can't devote the time to posting each one individually before I have to get back to the garage.

  1. Bump Babies mentioned Mod Mom Furniture as one of their favorites. Check out this link for all the listing plus all the other favorites: http://www.bumpbabies.com/love.html

  2. UPDATE: Ok, so two days into it and I ended up hiring a babysitter to take some of the pressure of me being pulled in every direction. So she'll come for a few hours a week so I can run to the lumber yard, build furniture without being interrupted 400 times, and basically, help me better manage the fact that I stupidly schedule double the amount of items (4-5 per week) to be built with both kids on summer break and no childcare. I'm a smart one, I am.

  3. Here's a photo of a piece I finished before I left on vacation. I really had a good time building this one. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you'll recognize it as a Mick Toy Box with 3/4 inch ply.

  4. Thanks so much to Heidi Gregory for posting a very nice review/recommendation for my furniture after purchasing and receiving the Owyn and the Bertie. Go here for the link: http://community.babycenter.com/post/a568015/storing_toys_in_living_spaces

I have some cool custom jobs coming up in the next few months. I'm excited to share them with you! But for now, I have to get back out there while the kids are happily playing computer games.


We're BACK!

I clearly suck when it comes to posting photos that I said I'd post. Sorry about that. We landed in LA on Saturday night around 8:30pm and are happy to be home. We had a great time and I could go on and on about it but I have to get my head back in the game again.

I'll be building four pieces this week while my kids are home with me asking every hour if we're going to do something fun. I'll try to have some sort of fun activity planned to give them something to look forward to while I encourage them to enterain themselves (aka, ignore them) for multiple hours during the day. But if you work from home, you know how that goes. All the while you're at the "fun" activity you're thinking about the multiple sheets of plywood you have to cut on your table saw before it gets dark so you don't disturb the neighbors.

But I'm a new woman and I'm determined to work AND have fun with my kids all at the same time!

I'm sure I'll be writing later this week, while throwing back a gin and tonic, that we've all been reduced to tears and I've hired some random high school kid to do fun things with my kids while I cut wood.


Kentucky Woman

We're having a great time in Louisville as we near the end of our East Cost Tour. Meme and Papa, Scott's parents, have been wonderfully gracious and are enjoying every minute they can with their sweet grandkids. I'm enjoying the no-smog skies and nightly walks in a their very quaint subdivision with miles and miles of bluegrass. But I have to say, these mosquitos out here are as big as my head! We're coming back to LA with the tale tell signs of a midwestern summer: bug bites. I just found one on my face. That's always nice. By tomorrow, I'll really look like I'm from LA with a bite that looks like a cheek implant.

Look for photos tomorrow....of Louisville. Not my faux cheek implant.


The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

As you know from my last post, we're visiting my parents in Defiance, Ohio (the same town from the book and movie, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.) I grew up here from 5th grade through 12th and during most college breaks. I officially flew the coop in 1995 when I moved to Charlotte, NC.

Anyhow, I figured I'd share some photos I've taken of the town, the country, and the fishin':

This is where I grew up! My parents moved into a lovely new home in town about 4 years ago but I still occasionally check up on my old house out in the country. I rode my Dad's bike out to our old stomping ground yesterday to take this photo. The house sits out on the river (well, across the street from the river). Lots of good memories there. See that garage? That's where Mod Mom started tinkering with wood. And that driveway? That's where Mod Mom made out with her high school boyfriend in his car when he dropped her off at home after school...until the neighbors told my parents. Ah, the memories.

There's no way I could show the town without showing the football stadium...for the HIGH SCHOOL. If you watch Friday Night Lights on tv, you have an idea of how big high school football is in our town. My dad, a former head football coach at many schools, is coaching again part-time for Defiance High School this year. Go Bulldogs!!

We went fishing one day -- a first for Little G and Noah! Grandpa was a champ putting on all the worms and taking the fish off the hook. I tried but I just couldn't do it. A table saw is so much less intimidating than a wet fish dangling from a hook. Both G and N caught multiple fish. Dad and I caught nothing. Well, I caught a tree once.

This is the power dam out by my old house. They even named the street after it. I just think it's such a cool building. And the dam isn't bad either. :) Damn, that's a nice dam!! I'm sure there is and was a lot of pot smoking and underaged drinking that goes on down below on those rocks. But not by me, no sir!

How gorgeous is this photo?! Corn fields for miles. I remember as a kid, after the movie Children of the Corn came out, my sister and I would ride very quickly past the corn fields and breathe a heavy sigh of relief when we made it past without the evil children getting us.

I took photos of the downtown but lost them so I may just take some more before we head to Scott's parents in Louisville and pass them along. Defiance is a great little town in the middle of farm country. A very nice place to grow up...if you don't get caught by the Children of the Corn.



Last night, after surviving the tornado, I was surfing the internet trying to make myself tired after the excitement of the day. I was thrilled to find one of my favorite Etsy sellers had written a nice post about my furniture. Chad, or BaldManMod, is a talented artist and builder in his own right, and someone I've enjoyed chatting with over email a few times. Check out his very cool mid-century table design that he recently put on his Etsy store.

Many thanks to Chad for this great post! And congrats on your new baby on the way! Now you can call yourself BaldManModDad.


Somewhere Over The Rainbow

There's been family, food, laughter, football, shopping, a TORNADO, more shopping, an animated movie I didn't have to watch with the kids :). Ok, Ok, I'll back up to the TORNADO part. So around 1:30pm today, after being out on a football field watching my Dad coach and Grace and Noah sit on the ground and dig in the dirt and complain about the Ohio heat and humidity, we came back to Mom and Dad's house for lunch. And apparently, a tornado. Mom sees on the TV that a tornado watch was in affect for our town and quickly gathers supplies for our safe place (thankfully a basement complete with tv, mini-fridge, pool table, air hockey table and ping pong table.) Then the town's tornado sirens start going off. Now, when I was growing up here, we lived way out in the country so we never heard the sirens. This was a first for me and I have to say, the most surreal part of the whole thing.

Down the stairs we went into the country club of tornado bunkers. The hail starts, the heavy winds, the rain, the very loud thunder. All of it crashing down on the house for a good 20 minutes. And then it was over. Just like that. And we went back to our normal lives, the sun came out, we went to dinner and Grace lost her first tooth.

And it was like it never even happened. One thing's for sure. I'm SOOO glad my parents moved into a house with a basement. And that Mom knows how to pack for a tornado , i.e., bring downstairs , into the bathroom-less basement, a big bucket and three rolls of TP. I suggested vodka but it never made its way downstairs. That was probably for the best, wasn't it.


Weekly Update

Last week: Build 8 toy boxes/pieces of furniture till I almost puked.

This week: Glad to have flown into Defiance, Ohio with the kids on a red-eye to spend time with my parents and later in the week, Scott's parents in Louisville, KY. It's the "kids are off school so get your ass back East" trip.

I am working working from here via email/laptop. So please know I'm not slacking off too much!


The Family Room -- It's Not Just For Families

Tonight, after working in the garage all day, I carried in three pieces that need to be sealed with polyurethane. And then I kicked the family OUT of the family room so I could polyurethane while watching Tivo'd shows like Can You Duet on CMT and the late George Carlin's last comedy special not on CMT. This has become a part of my construction routine because it allows me to work late, sit on a rug and inevitably spill poly on the said rug, and watch TV with my husband.

I thought you'd get a kick out of what my family room looks like at this very moment, 10:14 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Back to George Carlin and one more coat of poly. Maybe I'll even shower tonight!! It's a big night!!


The Notebook vs. The Garage

As you can see, I'm all "Ms. Organization" this week. What the hell is wrong with me that I think it's ok to work like this? (Don't comment on that one, Mom.) At some point, I'll get really sick of the mess and clean/organize it all but only when I feel like I'm not drowning in orders that need to be done by the end of the week. There's some irony for ya! I would probably be faster and get more done if it were organized but I just can't be bothered right now.

Today, I'd planned to build two boxes, cut out parts for a chair, poly an almost finished toy box, and run to the hardware store for supplies while my kids and hubby were off at a friend's house. Ms. Organization managed to build 3/4 of one box and partially poly a toy box. The rest of the time was spent reading the paper, checking email, and sitting on the couch watching the movie, The Notebook cuz I'm a hopeless romantic when I'm not wielding power tools and jig saws. God, how I love that movie. Anyhow, back to me not making furniture.

Tomorrow, I vow to build furniture until my hands bleed (or until I can sneak back in while everyone's gone and watch only the really sexy-romantic parts of The Notebook on Tivo. Don't pretend you don't know what those good parts are cuz I know you do:)


Vacation Photos That Have Nothing to Do with Wood

I realize these really have nothing to do with the title of my blog but what the hell! We had a great time in San Diego. I really enjoyed not lifting a hammer for 4 whole days!!! As you might have guessed, 1/2 a day back and I already have dried green paint covering my hands -- and went that way to the Olive Garden tonight because when you're there, you're family.

My sweet, handsome son. How did he get to be almost 10 already? And almost taller than me. (Not really, that's a lie, but he's very tall for almost 10.)

I LOVE this pic of Little G and Scott! She's such a freeloader always hitching a ride on Daddy's shoulders.

During a round of quarters. (you know I'm kidding, right? The girl can't get enough root beer.)

I won't even pretend that I got in that freezing cold ocean too. Mom of the Year cheered from the sidelines with two cover-ups and an US Magazine.

You're scared, aren't you? Tatoos, kung fu, swimming goggles. The chick is hard core.