Tag Archives: ephemera

Under the tree: Something to read

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I need to up my godmother game. It’s harder to make special time for my niece now that I have two small people of my own to drag to kid activities and who demand my attention. But as Caroline grows and grows before my eyes (she’s a first grader now!), I’m realizing just how fleeting childhood is. Plus, isn’t the best part of being an aunt free rein to focus on the fun stuff?

What to do together?… As if reading my mind, my friends at Ephemera just announced they are hosting a lovely book signing and pajama party at their shop the morning of Saturday, Dec. 10 for kids aged 2-7.


Our friend Katie Leporte produced and wrote an incredible children’s book, Pearl and the Whale. The morning features a book reading with Katie, craft and breakfast treats.


Adults don’t need to purchase a ticket to tag along – but it’s limited to 15 kids. Event info here.

I vividly remember attending book events as a little girl, and treasure those autographed editions. I still want to write a book when I grow up.

I can’t wait to bring Caroline and make a special memory together! I’ll be wearing my flannel cupcake pajamas to the Ephemera book signing, for sure. And I’m so excited to see the whole book in print.


Katie “illustrated” the book using  a needle-felting technique and photography. My jaw dropped when she teased behind-the-scenes photos (shot by our mutual friend, Bethany Kohoutek).

I’m also going to pick up an extra first-edition copy for Eileen’s “Something to Read” Christmas present this year.

Read more about Katie’s process on her blog. If you’re not local, you can also snag copies of the book through the site!

Other ideas for winter aunt/niece outings in Des Moines: 

  • Fancy breakfast at Strudl Haus
  • Board game in the “tropics” of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
  • Ice Skating at Brenton Plaza
  • Visit Salisbury House decorated for the holidays
  • Tea at Gong Fu

I suppose those would all be good date ideas, too!

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Filed under Books, Family Fun, I love Des Moines

Pretty, pretty

I was so excited to see that Ephemera, the stationery/cute stuff galore store my friends Arin & Karen own, got the spotlight this week on the 100 Layer Cake blog. Swoon:


Hop over to the site to see the styled shoot, and hop into the store for a last minute Valentine!

Like this one by Emily McDowell Illustration, which is hil-ar-ious because it’s so true.


Ephemera is also now renting their lovely back room for $50/hour. It fits a party of up to 15, so if you’re looking for a sweet spot to host a shower/crafternoon, book it! It’s so hard to find a good place in Des Moines where you can bring in your own food and treats and not have to wrangle with caterers and it’s already so pretty.

Speaking of lovely places, Marissa’s nursery went up on Apartment Therapy this week! Her little boy should be here any minute.


I’m sure she’ll share the news on Pitter Patter Clunk when he finally arrives!

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Filed under Getting crafty, I love Des Moines, What I'm into

Little things

Monday mornings rarely go smoothly unless I make time on Sunday night to organize and set out everything I’ll need to launch my week. Instead, this weekend we threw routine to the wind and Superbowled at our friends’ house.

Subsequently, I had to bolt my green monster and dash out the door with wet hair Monday morning in order to make a meeting on time. Lucky for me, the appointment was with an empathetic person who has a toddler and 5-week-old, and took place at Mars Cafe, the best coffee shop ever. And THIS happened:


A potentially manic Monday morphed into a manatee Monday with some custom mocha art by Daniel Bosman, an all-star barista who has a knack for turning my frown upside down. Day made. It’s the little things.


Special thanks to my friend Alexander who asked Daniel to learn manatee latte art for me!

This weekend, I also paused to appreciate the ‘little things’ by taking a sewing class at Stitch. It was so great to sit at a workspace that wasn’t my cluttered dining room table, and they had fresh coffee and bagels for us.


We made little elephant pincushions from this pattern. I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge. I told our instructor, Veronica, up front that I was pretty sure my finished elephant would only balance on three legs and I was totally OK with that.


Not exactly a soothing sewing experience, but my elephant ended up actually looking like an elephant, and it had all four of its legs. I’ll call that a success.


Ephemera was having a little Valentine-making party down the street, so I popped in there and beasted a cupcake/made a card before heading home.

Other little highlights of the past week:

Starting a short story collection for book club. We’re reading Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro, who just won the Nobel prize in literature. I’ve never read her work, and I’m enjoying it doubly because I’m looking forward to the discussion with a bunch of awesome ladies.

Making a special batch of chocolate chip cookies for a friend. I used coconut oil and “enjoy life” chocolates because she’s currently dairy-free and they actually turned out delicious. I was reminded that it doesn’t take very long to whip up a batch. There may be some in the oven this second. OK, I may be eating raw dough this second.

Sending a bunch of home-designed Emmett Valentines via snail mail. They’re starting to hit mailboxes and make other little ones smile! I was pretty bummed that we didn’t get Christmas cards out this year, so I may have gone a little crazy. Seeing this photo from a friend made me so happy. Who doesn’t love fun mail? (It’s not too late! XO-LP has a cute set of color-your-own, itty-bitty Valentines like you used to give in school.)



Filed under Books, Getting crafty, I love Des Moines, What I'm into

New in Des Moines: Stitch

Let’s talk about happy places. Those almost sacred spots where, as soon as you cross the threshold, whatever weight you felt in your shoulders slides off, you breathe a little deeper and a smile creeps across your face. I found a new one today, Des Moines. And if you’re the kind of person who covets pretty fabric and a charming notion, you’re going to love it, too.


I was beyond tickled to take a late lunch field trip to the East Village to celebrate Stitch on its opening day. The new fabric/textiles shop is the creation of my friend, Tami Stroh (right) – she’s the generous soul who recovered our nursery glider! – and her business partner, Jessica.


I met Tami through Ephemera, my original Des Moines Happy Place, and have enjoyed connecting with her for coffee one-on-one. She has a daughter a few years younger than me who loves books and manatees, so clearly she knows how to raise ’em.


Anyhow, I immediately wanted to take all of the amazing bolts of fabric down and wrap them around myself like lovely togas and lip sync “My Favorite Things.”

Stitch will be a fantastic addition to the East Village, with Hill Vintage & Knits down the street, too. It’s a little bit like having our own Purl Soho, and that is not a comparison I would make lightly. I actually bought some Knit Collage brand yarn when I was in New York last summer, and it turns out Stitch is having a trunk show of their products at the next First Friday!


The shop also features workspace for sewers, with machines that you can rent to use for $6/hour.


Of course, I purchased a few fat quarter bundles.


And on my way back to the car, I just had to poke my head in at Ephemera, where they just got in amazing candles that smell like fall, but in a way more posh scent than your run-of-the-mill pumpkin spice. Like fall would smell if it actually looked like a spread in Martha Steward Living.

53bac834165e11e38d2722000a1f8fa0_7Have you heard about their 150 envelopes campaign?

1236429_10151802433648756_1961522902_n-1Hooray for all of the happy places in Des Moines’ East Village!


Filed under Getting crafty, I love Des Moines

Meet Sah-rah of “Craft-a-Day” at Ephemera

In the (sometimes awkward) quest of making friends as an adult, I’ve found that crafting together is quick way to break the ice. Silences aren’t strange when you’re bent over, gluing/glittering/cutting something and a certain comfortable camaraderie is woven between two people who are being creative in each others company. I first met “Craft-a-Day” author Sarah Goldschaldt that way, through the lovely Cara Corey because the two were J-school friends together at Drake.
Sarah has a pared-down, fun aesthetic inspired, it seems, by being half-Danish and taking lots of trips to visit her twin sister in Iceland. She once did a crafter challenge for us when I was working at Juice, and now she has her own book! Ta-da:
Sarah still owns a home in Des Moines and had landed back here for awhile in between some pretty amazing projects she always seems to be a part of. Now she’s back in NYC. The women is a design genius and has worked for Martha Stewart Living, Oprah, Glamour,< insert-pretty-much-any-glossy-you’ve-drooled-over-here>. She’s also a super-fun person to craft with — as I recall, she was here in the winter when I was learning to crochet and we’d watch TED talks together and make stuff.
So you should totally go to Ephemera next week and meet her and make friends by getting your craft on!
Thursday, November 8th, 5-8  p.m. at Ephemera, 505 East Locus St.
Bonus: See what Goodsmiths.com is all about as well as meet Amy Palanjian, author of Sew Pretty! Crochet and a dear friend of mine.

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Filed under Books, I love Des Moines

Weekend peek: Galena bride

This weekend, we went to Galena to witness the wedding of my wonderful friend Arin. We arrived into the picturesque historic river town as a light rain fell, and I got to sit out on the Victorian B&B porch with the bride while she got ready.

Arin looking radiant on her wedding day.

Arin is co-owner of Ephemera and, as such, is around brides and invitations and pretty things every day. So in this inspiration-board and wedding blog world, it might surprise (and delight) some to know that she put her faith in her fiance when he offered to surprise her with wedding plans. She knew the date, but not the details! Josh certainly delivered, and friends and family pitched in with their talents. (When out friend James sang at during the ceremony, it brought even the reverend to tears!) I won’t share too much, because it was Arin’s day and she might want to write about it, but I loved to see how happy she was at each little moment. (UPDATE! Arin and her ring on APW. I know she’ll absolutely need to write about the whole experience and I cannot WAIT to read it!)

A quick hug with the bride after the ceremony.

It was a tiny little wedding at a sweet little chapel a few miles out into the country off the main street, and then dinner at a Greek restaurant in the heart of things. Simple. Special. Lots of happy crying and even some flaming fried cheese!

Doesn't Joe look dapper? I'd enjoy a supper club dinner reception with him any time!

Have you ever been to Galena? It’s the most darling town just east of Dubuque. We went there a few times as a family growing up, but I think Joe and I will have to return for a romantic weekend full of walks up the winding roads, historical haunted tours and canoeing on the river.

P.S. We camped in north-eastern Iowa on our way to James and Katie’s wedding last fall and I blogged about a few of the stops here.

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