Finders keepers…

I have got a feeling that today’s blog post will be a bit longer than usual. I feel as though it has been some time since my last one.  I suppose I could just check the date of the previous entry, but I am lazy to open up a new tab and check, so I suppose you will meander with me! Ok, you go ahead and peek now! I bet it has been a little while…

This week was punctuated by several random moments for which I am grateful. On Monday I stumbled upon a wonderful fabric store that unfortunately has since closed its doors for good. It was the first and last time I shopped there, so I needed to quickly decide and pick before it was all gone. This shop’s total liquidation of inventory meant that I was able to buy very fancy fabric from Spain, France and the like – for only a fraction of the price. We’re talking $157 per yard, for much, MUCH less. I stocked up on upholstery grade cotton-linens in gorgeous shades like terracotta, vivid bold prints and luminescent blacks and silvers. I bought some other bits and bobs there and I’m already excited to turn them into…something!

While shopping, I shared some truly beautiful moments with my daughter.  Her energy and spirit brought me back to my childhood with my own mother (herself a knitter, seamstress and crafter from a long line of creative, empowered women). The excitement over creating something from raw materials with your own two hands begs the question: do you crave opportunities to collaborate with others or do you prefer to do it all alone?

At present, there should also be a parcel on its way to my house where I will be anxiously awaiting some new Japanese kokka fabrics. I have added a picture of a current WIP utilising some adorable kokka fabric I bought a while back – absolutely perfect for a little boy’s room! I am making one for my own boy and of course, I will have this pillow available for purchase in the N&N shop as well.

Japanese kokka fabric pillow/ organic lambs’ wool stuffing

I am also in the midst of working on the Fall 2011 collection of Niko & Nonnie. I will be giving you a sneaky peek at a new item I hope babies and toddlers everywhere will adore! I must divulge that I might have to make an extra one for my husband who said it might very well be his new favourite item. This autumn collection will slowly be trickling into the shop during the month of August; I will also be offering a shop sale on selected items in both the website boutique and Etsy shop.  All of the items I have listed in my Etsy shop ship *FREE* to any destination – worldwide!

If you have visited the websites lately, you most likely will have seen the Circus Jingle Ball, the first in a collection of soft wooly and jingly items for babies and toddlers.

*New* CIRCUS JINGLE BALL needle felted toy

What I love most about this item is that it is very generously sized and firmly felted – it is a great toy for little dreamers who are working on their gross motor skills. Catching and throwing a ball is an integral part of childhood, and in this way, every toss and throw can be accompanied by a reassuring jingle!

Now for a related item and a mini-preview for autumn…

*New* CUTE-AS-A-BUTTON MUSHROOM RATTLE 

Jingle bell rattle – just perfect for little hands!

As I close this blog post, I wanted to share several photographs of some other new items that will be up in the shop quite soon. I spent an amazing afternoon with my children today and we took 200 or so photographs – that is one heck of a lot to sort through! My daughter graciously modeled many of the new bracelets while my son became absolutely filthy playing in the dirt.  After we finished the shoot, I plunked them in a well-deserved bath and plugged in my camera.  Here are some highlights:

Simple joys. Here’s hoping and wishing that all of you are having an unforgettable summer.

Natural, healthy toys for baby & toddler

ps: I’ve had a very positive response to the new website and contest giveaway. If you still haven’t entered our contest, you have til the end of August to do so. For details, please visit: http://www.nikoandnonnie.com

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Catching a smile…

I am more than slightly in love with needle felting. While I’m at it, let’s add fabric, beads, red balloons, cheese, tea, Valencia oranges, purple, scarves, and trying to find the “golden key” in Caramilk bars.  Perhaps I should have listed all those things in my profile! I could go on forever. The world is a mighty splendid place, full of temptations too many and varied to count.

Speaking of catching a smile, have you entered Niko & Nonnie’s latest contest giveaway? This adorable needle felted BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE is the prize! For contest details, please visit N&N online at http://www.nikoandnonnie.com/contest.html and click on the pic to win! The cupcake is available in the shop as well and is a customisable item, so if you’d prefer pink icing, or magenta sprinkles only, it can be done! 🙂

BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE – enter to win!

The past few days have been filled hopping around the city to source new materials for the shop. I visited one of my favourite places to buy wool and purchased several different types to test out for various purposes. Love, life and laughter…how about loftiness, lanolin and lamb-i-ness..?

This afternoon the children and I picked up more beads, cardstock and a few other bits and bobs. For my part, I exhibited self-control and managed a not-outrageous bill, and I felt particularly proud! We returned home and sat on the back porch crafting until it was nearly dusk. There are many projects to finish and so it seems as though it was time well-spent.

Results of some new wool (available online now!):

*New* Deluxe Cookie Sampler

Linzer torte with lemon cream filling
Chocolate-marble rainbow chip

Wouldn’t this make a fabulous addition to a play kitchen or an afternoon tea party? Perhaps a gift for a special little dreamer?

Set of (4) needle felted 100% pure wool cookies:

(1) Chocolate-marble rainbow chip
(1) Lemon-iced shortbread heart
(1) Linzer torte filled with lemon cream
(1) Lavender-iced shortbread star

Last, but not least…I’ve added just a smattering of my products…

Etes-vous francophone? Magasinez-vous depuis l’Europe? N’hésitez pas à nous découvrir en France! Vous trouverez votre bonheur…  


http://nikoetnonnie.alittlemarket.com


xoxo

Do you speak…?

A rainy Saturday night here in Vancouver following a cold, wet day. Summer has all but disappeared this past week and I think our garden is worse for the wear. We’ve been burrowing in the house eating homemade popcorn and watching the original Winnie the Pooh on VHS. Yes, you read that correctly! We are planning on seeing the new film in a few days and if the number of times my children have watched the trailer alone is any indication – we are excited! I’m eager to see an onscreen departure from CGI in favour of the “old” style of animation. Most of all, I am looking forward to being swept away to an imaginary world I visited so often in my youth.

I have been occupied this week by a variety of goings on. In the past few days I have carried out many changes to the website, namely updates, drop down menus with galleries for each item in the Shop section… HTML, CSS – and me. I’m learning quite a bit as I go along and if I honestly had more time to devote to quiet study, I think it could get very interesting. I was not the greatest fan of computer programming when I had to learn it years ago, and now I think I honestly wouldn’t mind it. While I still prefer woodland sprites to computer-based ones, I must admit that it’s all part of a necessary and fruitful process in growing this business.

The other bit of very important news (for all my francophones out there!) is that I am currently working on a French version of the website.  I am actually, by profession, a writer and a translator, so this type of work is right up my street.  I know that I often divulge very little in terms of the biographical aspect of Niko & Nonnie, but I suppose that you already have a somewhat clear picture of the brand. Where are we headed precisely? I sincerely hope in a very exciting direction!

En tout cas, on vous tient au courant!


I’ve also saved the very best bit for last! Niko & Nonnie is offering a contest giveaway! I didn’t require much to enter the last contest, so I thought I’d have a bit of fun with it and actually ask my readers to answer a question in order to enter.

Needle felted BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE

One lucky winner will win a needle felted BIRTHDAY CUPCAKE – *new* from Niko & Nonnie. For all the details on how to enter, please visit N&N on the web at http://www.nikoandnonnie.com
The drawing will be held on August 31st and the winner will be announced on the website (and via other social media avenues, too!) Good luck to all our participants!

I bid you all – Good Night!

Growing older, one day at a time…

I cut off my son’s hair the other night.

All those gorgeous ringlets and cherubic blond curls: gone. I could hardly stand it. My eyes welled up with so many tears, it was as if my hand was controlled by another me, a stronger and more evolved me, someone who had already come to terms with the notion of growing up.

As all of you will concur, once you start cutting hair, there is no turning back. My son straddled the line between cooperative and squirmy while my daughter and husband cheered, “Summer haircut for little man!” We laughed and made the obvious references to Samson and Delilah and I sniffled my way through, pausing every so often to save a lock or two for posterity. When I had finally finished his haircut (and realised that I needed to stop obsessing about the layering and the shaping, etc.), we were left with a 33-month-old “cool kid” with wavy, strawberry-blond hair. He marched over to the mirror in the bathroom and did his “Knock, Knock, who’s there?” joke he always repeats about himself and pulled at his hair, all the while smiling and giggling.

Our children teach us in inexplicable ways. Their spirited sensibilities reach out to us and grab us – head, heart and soul. Time marches too slowly when you are young, and too quickly when you are … a parent.

In all things Niko & Nonnie, did you happen to catch our featured items on the Etsy showcase? Here is a brief sampling of how it turned out:

Dinos Roar pillow

Before I sign off for the evening, in the spirit of summer merrymaking, I thought it might be fun to try a blog hop. Niko & Nonnie just joined this particular one and is #52 on the list…

http://www.nikoandnonnie.com

**And we’re on in 5…4…3…**

I am delighted to report that as of early this morning, Niko & Nonnie’s website is now live!

http://www.nikoandnonnie.com

We are quite content with the look and feel of the website and have been working hard to develop a site that is easy to navigate. We hope it will continue to reflect the ongoing development of the shop in the days and years to come!  A few new items have been added in the SHOP section of the new website as well, so go and have a look when you’ve got a moment! Items can be purchased directly through the N&N website (which should come as good news to wholesalers and independent retailers!) or on the Etsy site as before.

Don’t forget – tomorrow, July 8th, is the day for N&N’s Etsy showcase! I will be adding more items to my Etsy shop later this afternoon, in anticipation of Friday’s event. Which 10 items have I favourited for the event? Tune in all day tomorrow to find out! The items will be on a rotation, so please be sure to click on the “See More” tab at the top of the Etsy screen just in case.

http://www.etsy.com/category/children?ref=fp_ln_children

As always, a grateful thank-you 🙂
N&N

Behind the scenes…

Photographing items for the shop brings me a great deal of joy: an old hobby renewed with purpose, the chance to focus and reflect on lighting, aesthetics, styling… oh, if only that were how things unfolded in real time!
For the most part, the still images you see in the shop listings or posted up on social media, well, let’s just say that they are not always snapped in the most tranquil of environments. There are numerous challenges involved, from my children (literally) ricocheting off the walls in energetic bursts, to dreary gray days devoid of good natural light (cheers, Vancouver!) to a certain tuxedo cat whose mischief, we maintain, is unparalleled. We also own a pair of celestial parrotlets and between their teenaged avian antics and the cat, it’s a regular 3-ringed circus around here!  
Creating a vignette:

Despite the many interruptions, I managed to get a handful of lovely images that were perfect for the shop. Here are some recent additions:
*New* Needle felted SUMMER FAIRY
*New* RAINBOW BARREL BEAD wraparound bracelet

*New* A sampler from Niko & Nonnie’s LAMINATE ACRYLIC collection

More items will be added to the shop this week-end and in the coming days, in anticipation of our Etsy showcase on July 8th.  Plus, 20% off all items in the shop (including custom orders). Use coupon code: HAPPY4th (see blog entry below for more details!)
I hope you are all enjoying a break away from the chaos and stress – no matter how infectious!
Stella & Orion, our adorable feathered wonders

SALE! July 4th – Happy Independence Day, USA!

Niko & Nonnie is pleased to announce that the 20% off sale has been continued! Thank heavens, N&N is a generous dual citizen 😉

Celebrate July 4th by receiving 20% off all items in the shop – including custom orders! Use coupon code: HAPPY4TH at checkout.  I have listed a couple of new items this week and will be adding more this week-end. See something in the shop you’d love to own, offer as a gift or have a great idea for a custom order? Send me a convo on Etsy or email at NikoNonnieBoutique@gmail.com

Enjoy!