Listen While You Work

documentaries-on-netflixAnyone who’s ever had a business that involves the making of handcrafted goods probably knows that even on the best of days, some tasks can become mind-numbingly repetitive. Heck…no matter what line of work you’re in, I bet we’ve all been there at one time or another!

I’ve recently found this to be true myself, as I’ve been printing, cutting, folding, and working on all the other to-dos in need of attention while I get my stock in order for the launch of Petit Pippin. I fortunately have the sort of temperament that doesn’t mind this sort of busy work too much, but I’ve found a quick and easy way to cure to the potential metal fatigue and increase my productivity—listening to documentaries on netflix and getting caught up on the After the Jump weekly podcast hosted by Grace Bonney. The fact that I’m learning something new and having the analytical part of my brain stimulated while I work makes this new habit of mine something that I quite like! Here are a few of the documentaries available on Netflix that I’ve seen / listened to recently and enjoyed:

Do you have any films or podcast that you personally recommend? I’m also interested in suggestions for awesome audiobooks! I would love to have a bunch of great material lined up to get me through to the launch of Petit Pippin and the coming holiday season too! I can’t wait to see what your picks will be! xo Ez

The Next Chapter

dont-put-off-your-happy-lifeThis my friends, may be one of the hardest post I’ve ever written. Because today it’s time for me to share the beginning of a new journey with you, while also bidding a partial farewell to this space that has become a second home to me.

I am delighted to share that this Fall I will be launching a new business: Petit Pippin! Over a year ago I began daydreaming about creating a brand that would include unique art and handcrafted goods for little ones and their families, designed and crafted by me. It really felt like hardly more than just a dream back then, but bit by bit this dream began to grow into an actual possibility, and finally after months and months it is finally going to become a reality. I can’t wait to share my vision with you!

I’ve done my best over the past few months to split my focus between both Creature Comforts and Petit Pippin. I’ve been traveling with my feet on two very different roads for a while now, and it has become clear that as difficult as it may be, and as much as I wish that I could split my priorities equally without any negative effects…it is finally time for me to choose just one path to travel on. So I’ve made the heavy decision to focus the majority of my attention onto Petit Pippin, so that I can give it the opportunity to be the best that it can be. I don’t plan to leave Creature Comforts in the dust. I will still be by from time to time to share a few pretty things and moments of note, but it seems only fair to let you all know that moving forward I just won’t be around on this space as often. This decision has not come without a lot of thought and many sleepless nights, but in my heart I know that it is the right thing to do…even though it aches to say goodbye (even if it’s not a forever farewell).

When I started Creature Comforts nine years ago I could have never imagined all of the amazing experiences that this little online space would bring my way, or the incredible people who would touch my life in profound ways that will stay with me forever. You’ve given me an overwhelming sense of community in times when I could have felt isolated and alone. You’ve helped me see hopeful things about myself that I would have never seen, and motivated me to spend each day seeking beauty in even the most ordinary parts of life. This has been a nine-year journey filled creativity and encouragement, far more ups than downs, and above all it has always been an indescribable place of peace and joy for me. I will be forever thankful to each and every one of you who has touched my life through this space.

You’ve shared my triumphs and tears, cheered me on, consoled me, and now as I venture down this exciting unknown new path, I so hope to have your company. It’s bound to be an exciting adventure! Will you be a part of the next chapter in my story?

I’ll be announcing the grand opening of Petit Pippin very soon…so keep a lookout for that! The website is not actually live quite yet (I’m working feverishly to get it ready), so in the meantime if you are interested I’ve set up a newsletter that I’d like to invite you to subscribe to for future shop notifications and special promos. You can also find Petit Pippin on Pinterest and Instagram. I’ve just started those accounts and it’s pretty quiet, so please come on over to say “hello” and help me brighten those spaces up!

Thank you again for all the ways both large and small that you have made each day beautiful during the last nine years! You are the best and brightest part of this past chapter of my life, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of your day. Love, gratitude, and happy trails, Ez

Frond Memories

palm-frondYesterday we drove down the coast for a bittersweet day trip to Santa Barbara. We went to say farewell to my sister and brother-in-law who are moving back East in a few days time, and to squeeze in some precious memory-making with my grandparents. I guess it’s par for the course with this stage of life, but I find myself thinking about time a lot more than I used to. Not so much the tangible ticking of a second-hand on a clock, but the precious fleeting moments we call life. And memory. Memories that we collect to hold all these moments close.

After my grandmother’s stroke this past Christmastime, her Alzheimer’s really started to set in. It has been heartbreaking to see dementia cause her to worry and becomes paranoid about things that should not cause her fear. Her short-term memory is deteriorating quickly and because of this she repeats herself almost constantly; forgetting that she just told us something, and therefore retelling it to us over and over.

We know that we don’t have forever, but for now, we are thankful that she still has a good grip on her long-term memory. She is soothed through storytelling, and we do our best to help keep her spirits up by asking her to share her memories from the past. Memories about holding her grandchildren for the first time, of funny antics from my childhood, and further back…meeting my grandfather for the first time (on the boardwalk in New Jersey), silly recollections from her first year as a newlywed, and as a new mother so many years ago. But most of all, stories about love. Love is the common theme that weaves together the tapestry of her memories; brightening so many of the shadows cast by her disease.

Despite the aches and pains of age, and the changing landscape of her mind, she still has love. So for now, I feel truly lucky to be able to listen as an ocean’s worth of loving memories washes over her…even if that means hearing the same stories on repeat…like a tide washing the shore clean again and again. These times we spend together now, will become the memories that I may one day be reciting to my future grandchildren. Memories of love. They are treasures to me, far more precious than any other.

I hope you will have a weekend full of beauty and memory making ahead of you. xo Ez

5 Unexpected Things that Can Contain Gluten

5-hidden-sources-of-glutenSince my daughter’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease a few years ago, we’ve been on a steep learning curve; navigating our way through a life without gluten. Whether you forego gluten by personal choice or health necessity, I figured that for any of those of you who may be new to the world of eating gluten-free, that it could possibly come in handy if I shared a few unexpected places where I’ve often found gluten to be lurking. I’d love for you to help me add to this list or share your favorite gluten-free foods in the comment section. I’m always keen to learn about new tasty things to try.

5 Unexpected Things that Can Contain Gluten

  • Beer / Liquor | I’ve never been much of a beer connoisseur, so this one hasn’t been too hard to pass up on. However it is a food item that is commonly used in cooking / baking, so it’s good to be aware of just the same. There are grain-free alcohol options available, so if you’re bummed about missing out, you can go ahead and turn that frown upside-down.
  • Vanilla extract / Baking extracts | I’ve read conflicting opinions regarding whether the gluten used in the alcohol used to create vanilla / baking extracts is neutralized during the distillation process. To be on the safe side, I always purchase extracts that are labeled as gluten-free.
  • Sweeteners | Barley Malt (also seen as malt extract) is a big culprit (you’ll find it in a lot of chocolate bars). It is very easy to overlook if you’re not prepared to keep a lookout for it. Special note: maltodextrin is considered to be gluten-free (despite having the word malt in its name)
  • Soy Sauce | Growing up, we had a bottle of soy sauce on our dining room table instead of a salt shaker. So it came as quite a surprise to me to discover that our old standby is traditionally made using wheat. Thankfully there are wheat-free / gluten-free varieties available…so keep a lookout for those if you’re a fan like we are.
  • Toiletries / Detergents / Household Cleaners | Non-food items have few standards in place to ensure that they are labeled clearly when they contain gluten. I did find this very helpfully compiled list of Company Statements Regarding Gluten that you may want to look over if you or someone you know has a severe gluten sensitivity or Celiac. It didn’t even occur to me that non-edible products could be a problem until my daughter developed a mystery rash after I laundered her clothing in traditional Tide detergent. I made the switch to Method detergent shortly thereafter and have used both Method and Mrs. Myers on our clothing with no ill effects ever since (their products are better for the environment too…so that’s a bonus).

Of course, when in doubt, contacting a company for specific allergen information is always recommended. Most companies are more than happy to make sure that you are making a safe purchase for your family. I hope this little list helps. Here’s to your health!

Image from Antique Farm House™ (a really cool site coincidently)

Wandering

wandering-7311My mother has an incredible green thumb. She could plant an oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert with her eyes closed. Sadly, the same can not be said about me…but it’s not for want of trying. My latest plant project is this gorgeous purple/green gem that my daughter and I found in our local hardware store. I had no idea what it was even called, until a few helpful plant identifiers came to the rescue over on Instagram. Apparent “Lila” (that’s our plant’s name) is a Wandering Jew, and is supposedly “fairly easy to care for.”

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Lila reminds me of the sort of hanging plants that my mom filled our home with when I was small. The kind that can sprout new plants after you soak their clippings in water (we always had jars full of rooting plant stems on our windowsills when I was little), so I’m going to clip a few and see what happens. If nothing else, I can enjoy the nostalgia that I’ll feel every time I see them on my countertop.

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I hesitate to be overly-optimistic, but Lila’s lasted almost two whole weeks and still looks great! This might be a new record for me! Fingers crossed (especially for her sake) that my cursed brown thumb is turning a mottled green. Time will tell.

In the meantime, if you’ve been gifted with the ability to keep plants alive, I’d love any suggestions that you might have on helping this one thrive. She currently resides near a window with filtered/indirect sun, and I’m watering her once a week. Does that sound right?