The Celtic Design

Celtic iPhone Stand , Photo Credit Hannah Simons

Celtic iPhone Stand, Photo Credit Hannah Simons

At the beginning of 2013 I launched a new Celtic design for all of my products. Celtic designs are particularly complicated when designing with wood and negative space. Maintaining the illusion of the celtic knot makes changing the size of the design difficult, and I have a wide variety of sizes that I need, but I tried it anyway. With this Celtic design I wanted to create something that looked organic. For inspiration I turned to my local medieval-style historic home: Glencairn.

Glencairn was built in the 1920's and 30's by Raymond Pitcairn. He primarily designed the building to be a private home for himself, his wife Mildred Glenn Pitcairn, and their nine children, but he also wanted the building to showcase his extensive medieval art collection. Fourteen years after his death, and one year after Mrs. Pitcairn's death, their children decided to donate the building to the Academy of the New Church. The building was then transformed into a museum dedicated to the history of religion.

Glencairn Museum , Photo credit Hannah Simons

Glencairn Museum, Photo credit Hannah Simons

Glencairn Museum is now open to the public and available for tours Monday-Saturday (but call ahead because the tours can fill up!). The local high school and college, that together make up the Academy of the New Church, use the building extensively in their art and history courses. When I was a senior at Bryn Athyn College I began working at the museum as a tour guide, and as a host for the Coffee in the Castle Saturday program.

First floor elevator door at  Glencairn Museum . 

First floor elevator door at Glencairn Museum

One of the neat things about working in a building like this is that no matter how many times I'm there, or how much time I spend looking at everything, there are always more details that I haven't noticed yet. The specific detail that inspired my Celtic design is actually a painting on the first floor door to the elevator.

In 2008 Glencairn Museum, the Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Cairnwood Estate were all put on the register of National Historic Landmarks. If you are ever in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend taking a tour of the Bryn Athyn Historic District. All three of the buildings are spectacular and unique. Why not make a day of it?

-Hannah

Bryn Athyn Cathedral , Photo Credit Hannah Simons

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Photo Credit Hannah Simons

New Wooden Pens!

Flower Pen

Flower Pen

I love office supplies. I do. I love them. I can easily spend hours walking through Staples, and I do, on more of a regular basis than I'd like to admit. I also love things that are handmade, and hopefully that doesn't surprise you. Most wooden pens that I've ever seen have been in the $30-$60 range, and while they are often beautiful, they aren't really my style. So, naturally, I started working on my own version, that takes a very different approach.

Complete Pen Collection

Complete Pen Collection

The ink insert is the only component of my pen that I do not make. My pens come with a Fisher Space Pen insert installed. Space pens have pressurized ink that does not rely on gravity to function. That means that my pens can be used sideways, upside down, and in zero gravity, and still function nicely. Some people might be suspicious of anything that doesn't have a ballpoint, or gel, or some such nonsense, but I assure you, these pens are great.

 Q: How long do the pens last?

A: It depends on how much you write with it, silly! They last a good long while. I have never had one run out. That doesn't mean they'll never run out, but they are like most pens.

Q: Can the ink be replaced if it runs out?
A: Yes...sort of. If you want to replace the ink yourself you'll need some pliers, the specific kind of insert that I use, and the willingness to end up covered in ink. If you don't want to run the risk, or put up with the hassle of finding the right insert, I can replace the ink for you. All you have to do for that deal is return the physical pen to me, and give me your mailing address. I'll send it back to you in tip top shape as soon as I can.

Mustache Combs - A Father's Day Hit!

Grandpa's Whiskers Beard Comb

Grandpa's Whiskers Beard Comb

Sometime around the end of May I decided to make a few little combs that said "Grandpa's Whiskers" on them specifically for Father's Day. I thought it would make a cute little gift, and is just the sort of unusual thing that people like to find on Etsy. I was totally and completely blown away by the response that I got!

 

On one particular Friday morning I was woken up at 6am by repeated notifications of messages on Etsy. By mid day I had received more than 25 emails from people asking if they could have "Pop's Whiskers" or "G-Paw's Whiskers" or "Daddy's Whiskers" or "Pappy's Whiskers" or... etc. etc. I spent most of the day communicating with people and creating a list of special names that people wanted. Generally I don't take custom orders, but for whatever reason I decided to go along for the ride while I could. I found out part way through the day that Etsy had sent out a shopping email blast that featured my whisker comb as a trend for June. At the beginning of June my comb was also selected to be the cover photo of the "Gifts for Grandpa's" browsing section on Etsy.

 

The next two or three weeks were a blur of making combs, oiling combs, wrapping combs, shipping combs, emailing about combs, and dreaming about combs.

Medley of Whisker Combs

Medley of Whisker Combs

It was a wild and crazy ride. I'm also proud to say that I managed to get all of the correct name variations to the correct customers! (Or at least no one told me that I got any mixed up)  Fewsh.