little by little

Now that I have some child-free dedicated work time each week, I'm slowly but surely updating the shop, revising some listings that were previously offered as DIY files only (I design, you print) and reactivating some more labor-intensive designs I wasn't able to manage while a full-time stay-at-home mom over the past year, like my popular destination wedding airplane boarding pass/ticket suite.

There are still only 8 designs in the wedding invites category and "babies & birthdays" needs a lot of work, but the shop is getting there. I believe I had around 100 active listings before baby #2 was born so I have some work to do. I'm hoping that all listings will be reactivated and/or updated by about the end of March.

I've also transferred over all paper-related products from my other shop MakeryFresh. So now RBG Color Design will offer more stationery, original screenprints, and digital art prints (MakeryFresh will continue to focus on felt phone cases for Android - both ready-to-send and custom listings - and a few Mother's Cookies inspired products). I'm working on a couple of iPhone case designs using my original screenprints as part of the design. Stay tuned for those new products and more design updates in the next month or so!


Valentine's Day round-up (and a bonus muffin makeover!)

As far as holiday shenanigans go, this year I've been more productive than last (what with baby #2 being less than two weeks old this time last year) but less productive than 2012, when the highlight of Valentine's Day festivities included heart-shaped scones I'd made the night before (I do love me some scones). I had ingredients to make blackberry chocolate chip scones but by the time both kids were in bed last night, having handled after-school time, dinner, and bedtime solo, that recipe seemed far too fussy. Instead, I threw the ingredients into Ina Garten's delicious but incredibly unhealthy strawberry muffin recipe (halved the recipe, subbing blackberries for the strawberries, obviously, and adding in about 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, making them even less healthy) and baked them up in a heart-shaped pan.

This is the same pan I used for the heart-shaped crayons the 5 year old will distribute to his classmates this afternoon.

I'm pretty sure I got all the melted crayon residue out... Anyway, for the crayons we remelted a 4+ year supply of broken crayons - the 5 year old did all the color mixing in a 24 slot mini muffin pan first then I transferred each "pod" to the heart-shaped pan and popped them in a 250 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

They popped right out of the pan when completely cool. And they turned out really well, I'd say better than my first attempt at this kind of thing way back when the Makery was still "fresh on Mondays".

And that's about it, folks. Oh, wait, I am wearing the festive socks my mother-in-law gave me when she came up for the baby's birthday bash a couple of weeks ago. That's enough, right?

PS - want to make a slightly healthier version of Ina Garten's muffins? If you don't want to use two whole sticks of butter (TWO STICKS!), give this makeover a try (changes to the original recipe are in bold; follow cooking instructions here):

Instead of 3 cups AP flour, use 1 cup whole wheat flour + 2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted + 1 mixed fruit/veggie pouch (I used one of these)
2 cups diced fresh strawberries 
(this recipe makes a great base muffin recipe so any fruit will do - I used diced kiwi + blueberries for this makeover, because every once in awhile I forget that nobody in my house will eat kiwis but I buy them anyway)
3/4 cup sugar

The slightly healthier muffins turned out pretty well, all things considered, although my first thought was, "mmm, these would be good with a little butter!" Kind of defeats the purpose but if you can resist that addition, they were still light and moist and plenty sweet. Using a generous amount of baking powder, cinnamon, and adding the sugar at the end is indeed genius. But two sticks of butter is insane, Ina, just insane!


mama's back!

Baby no. 2, born last February, transitions to part-time daycare this month so after a year of unsuccessfully trying to sneak in a little work during naps and after kids' bedtimes I'll now have three days of dedicated work time. With an older kid in elementary school they won't exactly be full days but I'll have at least 4 hours to work each day Tuesday through Thursday. Hopefully I'll be able to check in during the budding toddler's nap on Mondays and Fridays as well, when I'll be otherwise hanging out with her. My long-term plan is to keep her at three days for now, up her to four days when she gets to preschool in a couple of years, and then work 4 to 5 hours each weekday during school hours when both kids are in public school. That's the 5(ish) years plan. Phew! How moms truly "work at home" with any number of kids toddling around is beyond me. I was able to get this business up and running during the few months my first kid was taking 2 to 3 hour naps each afternoon, right after he transitioned from two naps to one (as he approached 2 those naps got shorter and shorter and then disappeared altogether but that's another story for another blog!), but other than that, I get so little done when I have at least one of them in tow! Hats off to mamas who can swing it. I ain't one of 'em. So off to part-time daycare baby no. 2 goes! And fortunately for us, the daycare provider who watched my son a few days a week when he was around this age had a part-time spot open for her!

Anyway, enough about working mom stuff. To celebrate her first year and my little bit of dedicated work time moving forward, I've added two new designs to the shop - her snowflake themed birth announcement sent last winter right after she was born:

...and the rock star themed 1st birthday party invitations I sent out last month:

Both designs are available in the shop, along with favor tags and thank you notes to go along with the rock star theme.

Check it out! For more details on the party itself and the few other crafty projects I tackled, check out my other blog.

Speaking of birthdays, I also added another new design last week - "landmark year" birthday party invites I created for my big brother's 40th last fall. These would be great for those decade birthdays - 30th, 40th, 50th, etc. The year, associated "landmark" facts, and details are, of course, fully customizable. Stay tuned for more updates here and new designs in the coming weeks. It was awesome to devote an entire year to my baby girl but it also feels great to get back to work. More soon!

Jem meets Vice City?

For baby no. 2's 1st birthday this past weekend, I designed invites, favor tags, and thank you notes for a rock star themed party somewhat visually inspired by Jem and the Holograms (since I was thinking rock star theme with a specifically 80s women in rock vibe).

Two different people commented that the graphic design had a bit of a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City feel to it...not exactly the vibe I was going for but I can see the connection in hindsight.

At any rate, the paper goods are in my shop, along with baby no. 2's birth announcement, all to sort of celebrate her first year and my return to a little dedicated work time each week, having been home with her full-time up to this point and trying, unsuccessfully, to get a little work done during naps and after kids' bedtimes. Neither of my kids was/is great nappers and at the end of a 14 hour day I kinda just want to watch a couple of episodes of Girls and hit the sack, you know?

Other than the paper goods mentioned above, I didn't get too crazy with the party plans. I created a simple paper banner showing the baby each month, usually photographed alongside a Guitar Hero guitar for comparison purposes as we did with her big brother five years before her (hence the rock star theme).

I used the VIP favor tags for the goody bags (pink paper gift bags with zebra striped tissue paper), which included star-shaped sunglasses, music note bead necklaces, rock candy, smiley face stickers (more of a 70s vibe there but I don't think the kids noticed the party theme discrepancy), and a pink zebra pattern balloon. The parents were really excited about the rock candy, let me tell you, especially on top of the bubblegum flavored cupcakes provided by James and the Giant Cupcake (best. cupcakes. ever.).

Decorations were simple - black and white streamers that I already had on hand from previous events and a set of musical note whirls, I think they're called, that I hung around the room.

There was a "baby mosh pit" - essentially a miniature ball pit using a bag of 100 soft plastic balls and a plastic sled I bought for about $2 at Target (why our Target sells snow stuff is a little beyond me...to take to Tahoe, where they also aren't getting a whole lot of snow this year??). The ball pit was a hit, especially with the older kids who enjoyed throwing the balls at each other.

With that, the 1st birthday is in the bag! Baby no. 2 transitions to part-time daycare this month so hopefully, maybe, you'll start seeing a few more posts here in the near future. Stay tuned!