Hand-carved Nativity

Thanks to think.make.share for featuring my nativity set this Christmas! 

Every year my dad would lug the huge cardboard box downstairs, and that meant it was time to decorate for Christmas. Each fragile ornament had been unceremoniously wadded into newspaper at the end of the previous holiday and flung into the box. We’d rediscover the sparkly tree-topper, the weird Santa toilet seat cover, the reindeer with the broken nose.

But by far the most fun newspaper clump to discover was the one with the many pieces of the nativity set inside. My sister and I would unwrap each ceramic figure and fight about which cow belonged where, wrestling each other over who got to lay baby Jesus in the hay. Once the dust had settled, and we had it arranged to our liking, we’d stand back and admire our work, only to have our mom change everything once we left the room.

I am not a habitual person—every day my showers, bedtimes, best work hours and last coffee seem to happen a little differently—but I love the repetition of traditions. They are threads that run through the years, pull on my heart and connect me to earlier versions of myself. I want those threads for Walt (my kid). And I want the nativity story to be alive and vibrant for him. So I set out to make my own nativity set.

Just after deciding this, in a stroke of perfect timing, I got word that my co-workers Matt Kesler and Steve Burkes were going to be leading a woodworking workshop. Matt helped me cut each piece on the bandsaw to get a rough shape, and then taught me to use hand tools to model them into figures. For a first try at wood carving, each piece has its imperfections (do not look too closely at the camel), but I love it the way you love anything you make by hand. And I hope that Walt will remember it when he grows up and starts creating his own traditions with his family.


Last weekend was another great Hallmarket (handmade fair by makers who work at Hallmark), and my first time as a participant instead of shopper! If you live in KC, you should make it a point to be there every September. Great place to find handmade treasures & Christmas presents. Wish I had captured all the great booths of all my coworkers - so much to be inspired by!

ReMake + Hallmark

The list of things to enjoy at Brit + Co's Re:Make Festival is long, but here's a few of my favorites:

* hearing Oh Joy!'s Joy Cho discuss her creative process: how she holds onto her vision while collaborating with bigger companies like Target. Rachel Shechtman discussing Story, her revolutionary store concept in NYC that her team curates and changes like a gallery, creating fresh experiences for their shoppers and great opportunities for new makers and never-been-made products.

* interacting with the 5000+ attendees who came ready to create DIY projects at the festival. Brit shared a stat that 77% of people feel they've lost their creativity. That number was surprising to me, especially the fact that so many people had identified themselves as creative at some point. Hallmark's booth had three stations: Watercolor lettering, Collage, and Stitching: All of them were packed ALL DAY. I loved to see so many people owning it... diving in & defining themselves as makers…creators…no matter what they did for work. 

* Learning more about San Francisco phenomenons such as Burning Man & Philz Coffee. Wasn't sure about all the hype about Philz, but wow, they made a believer out of me!  

* Hallmark began with a man and a shoebox full of cards to sell…we are the little startup spirit fast forward 100 years. It was fun to change some perceptions and remind people that Hallmark is made of makers!

Watercoloring en masse. 

Watercoloring en masse. 

photo credit @thinkmakeshare

photo credit @thinkmakeshare


StudioINK for Hallmark

Pretty excited about the new line of tiny artist collections StudioINK is putting out. You can find mine (and other artists whose work I love- like Sam Lewis, Rachel Ignotofsky, Kate Sutton and Chad Geran) in stores, or share them online for the bargain price of $0.00. ;) 


DC has always been on Jason & I's want-to-go list, and it immediately bumped to the have-to go when I found out TypeCon was going to be there this year. I loved reconnecting with what I (should have) learned in American History class. Jason, who has his bachelor's in history, was even more fired up. Side note: since getting back, we've been watching John Adams on HBO and pretending we remember everything from the tours we just went on- it really is a great show.

I thought the "redacted" branding for TypeCon was really fun & loved the first night's presentation by Dana Tanamachi. My favorite morning was meeting people from across the country in my watercolor lettering workshop. Thanks to my friend Lila for all her help and to everyone who participated!


from the Martin Luther King Memorial - so beautiful.