Garden of the Gods in Black & White

My family spent the last 4 days in Colorado visiting friends. While we were there we hiked into the Garden of the Gods, where I had a heyday taking pictures. 

All of the following pictures were shot on my iPhone 6 and edited on our flight home using VSCO Cam. I channeled my inner Ansel Adams and here are the results.


Chicago in Pictures

A few weeks ago I was in Chicago attending HOW design live. While walking from my hotel to the conference location and back I took a slew of photos on my phone. I wanted to share them as a collection in some way so here is a very visual post showcasing my walk between hotels.

T-Shirt Printing Simplified

Have you ever wanted to make a t-shirt but didn't know where to start?

Maybe you know a lot about shirts and printing quality but don't have the overhead to fund the cost associated with making and housing the inventory. 

Or potentially, you have no interest in creating shirts but want to find some unique graphic t's that aren't on the sale rack at a big box retialer. 

If you fall into any of the above situations let me introduce you to Cotton Bureau.

"Cotton Bureau is a curated online community for high-quality graphic design tees, hoodies, and more. You submit the artwork, and we do the selling, printing, shipping, and customer service...so you don’t have to."

The site allows artists to sell their designs for a 2 week period. If in that period the design sells 12 shirts it will go to print, if it doesn't hit 12 no one is charged. 

On top of offering an excellent experience and amazing products the people behind Cotton Bureau are always pushing themselves. Since I have been following along, they have added sweatshirts to the mix, dropped the minimum print limit, made a fun checkout experience, added customer & designer accounts and many other improvements. 

 

For Artists

You can focus on what you are good at; creating art. The worries of up front funding, printing, shipping and customer support can be set aside to allow you to focus on good design. Shirt specific creative decisions like colors, fabrics and ink are completely up to you. 

Sell 12 shirts and get printed. Sell 25 shirts and get paid. Sell more and make more.

For Shoppers

You get to support artists, many of who are talented but not well-known (like me). You also get high quality and unique shirts that people will stop you on the street and ask about! If you don't see anything you like, just wait a day and a new batch will be added. 

FOR You

If you are at all intrigued by this head on over to cottonbureau.com and use code CBMESMITH10 for 10% off your first purchase (valid until 2/28/15).

Oh and if you get a chance follow them on twitter (@cottonbureau) because their personality really shines there!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Wood Butter

Without butter a dinner roll isn't complete. The same "butter rule" applies to wooden kitchen utensils and surfaces. All of your wooden spoons, cutting boards and bowls should be treated regularly with a food safe finish for protection and durability. 

What is wood butter?

Wood butter is simply a fun term for a food safe wood finish. The purpose is to repel water and reduce the risk of cracking by adding back natural moisture (like chap stick). Due to the fact that spoons are used for eating or cooking you cannot finish the wood with traditional furniture finishes since they tend to be toxic for human consumption. 

What is it made of? 

Two ingredients make up wood butter: beeswax and oil. The beeswax applies the water repellant function that was mentioned above and the oil moisturizes the wood. While any food safe oil can be used they are not all ideal. Olive or walnut oil can go rancid in wood so I prefer to use either mineral or coconut oil; plus the coconut oil has the bonus of smelling great! 

How often should you apply?

Application depends on the amount of use the spoon receives. The more you use and wash the spoon the more often you should apply wood butter. As a general rule, it is best to treat all of your wood kitchen tools every 6 months. Maybe you could plan a Saturday morning twice a year to get out all your cutting boards and utensils and apply a healthy coat of wood butter.

How do you apply wood butter?

Using a microfiber cloth or paper towel swipe a fair amount of butter from the tin and onto the spoon. Spread the butter over the entire utensil. The goal here is to coat the spoon in butter not polish it deep into the grain. Lightly wipe off any excess and allow the spoon to sit over night. The next day give the spoon a final rub with the cloth to clean off any residual butter residue.

What else should you do to take care of a wood spoon?

  • Hand wash in hot, soapy water as quickly after use as possible, rinse well and allow to air dry.
  • As your spoon begins to show wear (gets fuzzy or rough) sand with a fine grit sandpaper - 220 or higher.
  • Rub wood butter onto your spoon and let it sit overnight before wiping off the excess. 

Conclusion

If you are a DIY-er you can easily make some wood butter, just be prepared to get wax everywhere! For the rest of you head over to my store and just buy some (this will save you some time and frustration).

Featured in Deeply Rooted Magazine

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A few months ago Dianne Jago of Deeply Rooted Magazine (a quarterly Christian womens publication) contacted me about an article for the fall issue of the magazine. It would be an interview style article focused on how and why I create my wood spoons.  I agreed and the issue was released earlier this month. 

The physical quality of the magazine is beautiful and all the photography throughout is amazing. There are so many talented writers, artists and photographers that contribute to this magazine and I fell so honored to be a small part of this. However (and I may be a little partial) I think some of the best pictures in the magazine are the ones that Marissa Albrecht took of my spoons. Below are just a few from the shoot and be sure to pick up your own copy of the fall issue at deeplyrootedmag.com.