Friday, April 22, 2011

Organic Crib Mattress

As a nursery designer, it is not only my job to create beautiful nurseries for my clients, but I also feel that it is my duty to share the latest and greatest nursery products with them. When I had babies, I didn't think twice about the fact that the crib mattresses they slept on were made completely of synthetic materials, including  plastic- that now is linked to some long-term health issues such as asthma and more. With the growing awareness of such dangers, as well as our increased awareness of our carbon footprint on the environment, I'm excited to share with you this great company that provides a crib mattress that is both safe for our babies and friendly to our environment!


Natural, organic and green-Naturalmat is the only global natural mattress maker and has been making fiber mattresses for babies and children since 2001. Naturalmat’s handmade mattresses are  lovingly handcrafted in Devon from organic and sustainable sources of raw materials, all of which are biodegradable and comply with fair trade policies.  Even Naturalmat packaging is eco friendly, made from potato starch and a mixture of recyclable and renewable paper sources from the Forestry Stewardship Council.  

Naturalmat has three styles of organic mattresses to choose from:

COCO MAT-The most breathable and organic crib mattress
Coco Mat is the most breathable of all Naturalmat mattresses which makes it ideal for small babies.  The gentle spring of the coir is surrounded by organic lambswool with Naturalmat’s anti-dust mite protection.  This helps with insulation and provides a soft tufting to the top of the mattress. 

What Makes It Great?
-Only Naturalmat uses coir from the only certified organic coconut plantation
-Coir ensures unbeatable airflow, superior spring and excellent support, promoting healthy natural sleep
-Organic lambswool washed in water from the river Dart
-Essential oils of lavender, lemon and eucalyptus make Naturalmat’s organic lambswool anti-dust mite
-No polyethylene or synthetics for optimum breathability
-Excellent ventilation and insulation
-Naturally springy and supportive
-Mattress covers are 100 percent pure unbleached cotton, and are removable and machine washable
Recommended Retail:   $399.00
Size: 28” x 52”

LATEX MAT-The most allergy safe mattress offering medium support
Made from Latex that is completely natural and tapped straight from the rubber tree.  The latex forms a springy core and is sandwiched between layers of organic coir for extra support, which is then wrapped in Naturalmat’s anti-dust mite organic lambswool.  Latex Mat is Naturalmat’s most hypoallergenic mattress, to keep dusts mites and allergens at bay.  Latex Mat is offered in both a crib mattress and twin mattress sizing.

What Makes It Great?
-Made from natural latex
-Hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial
-Essential oils of lavender, lemon and Eucalyptus make Naturalmat lambswool anti-dust mite
-Anti-microbial-perfect for asthma and eczema sufferers
-Organic lambswool washed in water from the river Dart
-Extremely breathable
-Excellent ventilation and insulation
-Long lasting superior orthopaedic support promoting good spinal development
-Mattress covers are 100 percent pure unbleached cotton, and are removable and machine washable
Recommended Retail:   $525.00
Size: 28” x 52”
Latex Mat is also offered in a twin mattress size.
Recommended Retail: $999.00

MOHAIR MAT-The most luxurious firm and supportive organic mattress
Mohair Mat is Naturalmat’s most luxurious, firm and supportive baby mattress made with soft mohair from the Angora goat.  It has superior spring due to the layer of long horsetail fibers, which sits between two layers of organic coir.  As the longest natural fiber known, horse tail hair gives the most superior and supple springs.  The coir is wrapped in lustrous soft mohair which acts as a superior thermal insulator.

What Makes it Great?
-Made with luxurious soft mohair from the Angora goat
-Mohair is naturally flame resistant, durable and resilient
-Naturally anti-dust mite
-Extremely breathable
-Excellent ventilation and thermal insulation
-Firm, springy and supportive
-Mattress covers are 100 percent pure unbleached cotton and are removable and machine washable
Recommended Retail:   $625.00
Size: 28” x 52”

For those of you who already have a crib mattress, or feel the full organic mattress is out of your price range, the Top Mat should be the perfect way to protect your sleeping baby from direct contact with the synthetic mattress you have!

TOP MAT-A brilliant economical organic make over for baby’s current mattress and portable organic mattress solution

Naturalmat’s new organic Top Mat mattress is an economical way of turning baby’s crib mattress into an organic one.  This lightweight quilted mattress can be packed away and used on vacation or when visiting family.
Two layers of organic lambswool are contained within this overlay to your child’s crib.  The natural and breathable materials contained within the top mat regulate your baby’s temperature and help them to sleep soundly. 

What Makes it Great?
- Contains two layers of organic lambswool
-Breathable overlay for better ventilation
-Lambswool treated with essential oils including lavender, lemon and eucalyptus, which offer protection against bed bugs and dust mites
-Machine Washable
-Complies with all standards
-Completely chemical free
Recommended retail: $129
Make the Top Mat even more portable by ordering the travel mat cotton drawstring bag, recommended retail: $14.99

Selecting your baby's mattress is a matter of personal choice. I recall worrying about SIDS and other things when selecting my youngest son's mattress. (I was too young and naive to worry about such, six years earlier with my first born!) I know there is an overabundance of concerns and choices. By sharing this information with you, I'm not saying that this is the only and best choice in mattresses. It is my goal to share options with you and trust that you, as the parent will make the choice that is best for you and your family. I had my youngest child sleeping on a mesh "mattress" that allowed complete air flow around him. In hindsight, it must have been very uncomfortable at times and might not have been the choice others would have made. But given my worrisome nature as a mom, it was the choice that made me most comfortable at the time. Shop around, check out your options and be comfortable with the choice you make. You won't go wrong!

For more information about Naturalmat, visit: Kastel International.
Want to view a video about Naturalmat? Click here: Naturalmat

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Assistant Designer

With the new year and some great recent press, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience an increase in design jobs.  As you’ve read my blog over the years, you know how much I love being a nursery designer. and product designer. I count my blessings each day as I have the opportunity to create beautiful spaces and whimsical products for sweet little babies and imaginative children.  Who wouldn’t smile having such fun at “work” each day?!
Another thing you might have observed about me over the years, is that I am a “do it all yourself” kind of gal. I don’t delegate well and I have always handled every aspect of my job all by myself.  As a perfectionist, I’ve found it easier to just do it all, rather than train someone new to handle any aspect. I’d rather do it myself and know it’s done correctly, than to risk my reputation on another person making mistakes within my company. So I’ve been the customer service representative, accountant, web master, photographer, purchasing agent, creative director, designer, shipping agent and basically have operated and managed my interior design companies (yes, I have two of them!) and my product line….all by myself! I’ve hired an accountant or two, have had occasional “helpers”, but usually just ended up going back to doing it all myself within a short period of time.
It’s not that I haven’t had plenty of decent resumes sent my way (I receive unsolicited resumes and offers to be a free intern on a weekly basis).  But I just haven’t felt that any of these designers have been someone who had the same vision as I, someone who compliments my style… and I definitely haven’t found someone local who was as detail oriented or more so- than myself. I would also want my assistant to enhance the services I provide…to bring something new to the table and make my company even better. I just hadn’t found the correct match. That is, until now!
Yes, I now have an Assistant Designer.  Not only is she an extremely talented designer, but she is every bit as meticulous and organized as I! I actually find myself wondering if we were separated at birth.
I’ve asked my new assistant to share some details about her education and experience below, hoping to give you a little background on my new right hand woman, Lisa O’Brien. Lisa will be attending some client consultations with me and handling the elevation sketches, floor plans, and more as she steps into her new role within my design companies.  I’ll remain the lead designer on all projects…I don’t want you to think that I’m planning on becoming invisible on any jobs. Lisa will be there to add some additional creative insights and to handle many behind the scene details that will also afford us the opportunity to take on more clients. I have often turned potential clients away when things were too busy. I won’t take on a new client if I don’t feel I can dedicate 100% to the job. With an assistant, I’ll be able to take on all of the wonderful new projects that come our way!

So without further ado, meet Lisa O’Brien.

“Personally, I have loved interior designing since I was a kid sharing a room with my younger sister.  I always had a flair for organizing and putting things together that would make the space look new, warm, welcoming and inviting.  I still have this motivation today in my own home; sometimes to the point where I have been accused of obsessing that every detail is covered and perfect.  After experiencing the building and designing of our new family home; I knew this was my passion and calling and soon after moving in I began my journey to obtaining a degree in this field and making my dreams a reality.”

Educational Background:
Graduated from The Art Institute of York, Pennsylvania, June 2009 with an Associate Degree in Specialized Technology in Interior Design.
Perfect Attendance Awards in 2009 for exceptional attendance through education at The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania.  (See, told  you she was a perfectionist!)
Professional Member of the NKBA (Susquehanna Chapter)
Internships at Mary K. Interiors and Interior Dimensions after graduation. 
My Home: Moving into a new home with my fiance and our families; I contributed to the design aspects of the construction process.  My involvement ranged from selecting appliances, floors, paint colors and cabinetry to overseeing the construction process. Since moving in, I have completed some additional home projects. I completely renovated our family room, added walls to include a water feature, designed a custom, elevated fireplace and a made to order back lit entertainment unit all to create the modern contemporary style that we love.
1st Professional Job out of school was a Bed & Breakfast 30’ addition in Bloserville, PA.  This space would be added to an existing home for use as personal space from the B&B.  It included a great room area, a master bedroom, master bath and home office.
I’ve also completed a professional office space in Camp Hill, PA, a sustainable home in Pittsburgh, PA and several residential spaces ranging from kitchens to master bedrooms throughout PA. 

Some of Lisa's Projects: 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Perfect Gift for the Person Who Has Everything

With Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the wedding season fast approaching, we're all finding ourselves searching the net for the perfect gift for many different occasions. So to save you all some time, I'm going to share with you one of my best kept secrets and what I truly believe to be the very best gift for anyone on your gift-giving list! (At least all the grown-ups!)

Crystal Imagery is a glass sand-carving company that has been providing high quality sand-carved glasses to such esteemed clients as The House of Representatives, The Senate, The CIA, ATT, Wells Fargo and many branches of the military - for over a decade. They have recently created a complete line of glassware and barware products that will thrill gift-recipients with the most discriminating taste! Not only are their products beautiful, but they will endure hundreds of rounds in the dishwasher. Unlike the hand painted wine glasses, screen printed whiskey glasses and lightly etched beer mugs you might find elsewhere, Crystal Imagery's products are hand-made by highly skilled artisans who deeply carve your monogram, logo or one of their stock designs - right into the glass. The beautiful designs will never wash off or fade.
In the images, the "white" area is actually where the background is carved away from the glass. The lettering and scrolling are untouched glass that is then left raised above the carved background, providing a 3D design that will never wash off or fade away.

Check out the site at Crystal Imagery and be sure to click on the various links to see the entire collection. They have humorous gifts for women such as the Diva Set, Goddess Set, Not Tonight...Collection, Mommy's Sippy Cup Set and more. These designs, deeply carved into wine glass sets are a really fun way to keep tabs on your own wine glass at a party and much classier than those cheap wine glass dangles!

Searching for the perfect gift for a man in your life? Crystal Imagery has a Name Your Poison Set, Skull and Crossbones Set, Pick Up Lines Set, and more which can be carved onto whiskey glasses, wine glasses, beer mugs, coffee mugs and just about anything glass or ceramic of your choosing.
Do you want to give the wedding gift that will be the favorite and most talked about? Then check out the Monogrammed Glass page or consider giving a Bridal Party Wine Glass Set for use on the actual wedding day.

I know that many of my readers are designers. Why not give a set of monogrammed glasses to your best clients as a gift? Or better yet, encourage clients to stock their home bar with these unique and beautiful products.

I'll let you in on another little secret. This wonderful company is owned by my husband's family. Since marrying him, I give Crystal Imagery glasses for just about every occasion now. With their vast selection, it's easy to find something for any gift recipient. And I can personally vouch for their attention to detail and fantastic customer service!
Now I've just saved you hours of running from department store to department store. Not to mention the additional time you would have spent scouring the internet for that perfect gift! What on earth are you going to do now with all that spare time on your hands?! Maybe you should buy yourself a set of glasses and kick up your feet to enjoy your favorite wine or bourbon, eh?
So tell me, which set is your favorite? Do you have suggestions for additional designs?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cowgirl Boot Fetish?

Hubby thinks I've got a problem...he thinks I'm developing a boot fetish. I recently added a new pair of boots to my fleet and he gave me "that look". You all know the look I'm talking about...puzzled, slightly concerned and definitely amused at the fact that you've bought yet another of whatever it is you happen to enjoy collecting.
Now what my dear new hubby of only 17 months doesn't understand is that buying a new pair of boots isn't something I just do on a whim. He is also a bit naive (as many men are) about what makes us women tick. Don't worry...I intend to train him well over the course of the next few years and enlighten him to the fact that shoes and clothing aren't something we women take lightly. We express ourselves- our personalities, our goals, and our style by carefully selecting each item we place on our bodies each day. And my style just happens to be heavily defined by my western boots. I pair them with a nice pair of jeans, pretty shirt and a smart jacket each day and step out feeling good about the image I'm presenting. Classic, yet approachable -and just a tiny bit eccentric.
While I'm aware that western boots have made a style comeback in the past couple of years, "cowgirl" boots are not a new interest for me. In fact, I've been raised wearing my boots.
My family was in the horse business all my life and I spent the majority of my days and nights wearing manure covered boots.  They were normal to me and even into adulthood, I just feel better wearing them. They define my style and personality very well. And if you get a good pair, they're arguably as comfy as a pair of sneakers!  (The image below was a new pair I received for my 13th birthday. Pardon my dorky brother in the background!)

 Two pair of boots in the top image are actually over 20 years old- and yes, I've worn them through a barn or two in my life. In college, my roommate teased me about my western boots...until one day shortly after graduation I arrived at her home to find a pair of boots in her closet. So I'll take credit for converting her, too.(You know who you are, Linda!)  And I've even dressed my boys in boots over the years. While they are now "big boys" of 17 and 12 years, when they were toddlers, they often wore boots. I've kept their "baby boots" and even have them nicely displayed in my log home. Where other moms keep their baby's shoes, I've kept my babies' boots!
 And what I hope my dear new hubby will realize after he reads this post, is that purchasing a new pair of boots is not something I do without deliberation. They've been a very important part of my life and my style since I was a toddler. And most importantly, he should also feel very honored. Because what would I buy for the man I love most in this world to show him that he's my one and only soul mate? A pair of his very own BOOTS, of course!

 What is the one item that you feel helps define your style? Take a look in your you see a pattern or a theme? Share your story!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mod Owl Buddies

Here are two sets of several new canvas art designs I'm created this year. Check back over the next few days for a sneak peek at more!
Available in three sizes, these Mod Owl Buddies will work well in a boy's nursery or gender neutral nursery. Custom color matching is always available...just send us a swatch!