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I’m creative and crafty….but….

Will I ever attempt a reupholstering job like this again….???? Probably. ( : I mean I gave birth again after the first crazy experience didn’t I? Ah, the things we forget. If you’ve ever thought of recovering a chair take a look see at Ryan in action.

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 Tin Parade News 1 Comment

Homemade ribbon

Ever thought of MAKING ribbon?   Me neither.    I came across this DARLING ribbon on etsy made from stripes of ticking stripe fabric…they cut it with pinking shears and then did a zig zag stitch down it..I can DO that !

Homemade ribbon on etsy. Another Tin Parade find!

Homemade ribbon on etsy.Tin Parade LOVES!

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Thursday, April 8th, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

Hello Universe….you rang?

Here it is…the unveiling of the chair I’d been searching for….you like?  Say yes please.  So many hours went into finding the perf chair..yes I meant to write perf…isn’t it perf?

Okay so this is random….Remember how I bought this chair off an interior designer…??  Say yes.  Okay so he wasn’t so much, a full time interior designer yet..but he’d done a lot for friends and things but you know ,didn’t even have his own website and all that jazz….anyhow, I loved his style..his home…all of it… and told him he HAD to submit photos online..well he did…cut to a couple of weeks ago I go to Architectural Digest Magazine online and up pops his face….AND his fabulous chairs…then cut to…me literally running into him at F and S fabric on Pico (los angeles) with the stroller in full mom garb WITH I might add the swatch of fabric in my hand for his chair….bizarro….Hello Universe. You rang?   He told me that after I left he thought about what I said and DID take photos…submit online….and then get his website up.

Here is Shawn Meaux”s website if you are interested in more of his fabulous chair…he’s also available for interior design consultation.

I love the whole idea of inspiring someone to do something they are good at and love….what do you love?  What do you want to do? Do you let your mind wander to what you want to do..but then push it out of your mind?  Stifling yourself won’t make the thoughts go away…they will come back later but have resentment attached to them.  Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods wasn’t built in a day…but it was built one day at a time.  Do it.   Just do it now.

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

Here’s our latest Designing Moms post…”Balance: Working at Home”

Take a sneak at our work “meeting” this past week……..

Hi Mama’s.

Kristen and I at Tin Parade often get asked by other mom’s, how we do it. We have met so many mothers who love the idea of starting a business and they aren’t sure how that fits into their every day life. Well first, it doesn’t fit into EVERY day life. There have been WEEKS actually that we find it hard to even return an email. For us, we decided at the beginning, and together, that the kids (the short people as I call them) come first. And second, its ever changing really. As their ages and schedules change, we change the time and way that we work. Right now, Kristen has one in elementary school, one in preschool and one at home. I have one in preschool and one at home. So…during preschool hours we many times have a “playdate” for the little ones…they don’t understand we are “working”…they are having a great time playing with each other’s toys and we use the opportunity to get some things done together. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect…and some days it works better than other days…of course we need quiet time to work as well…we find 45 minutes to an hour and a half here and there throughout the week…during a nap…a few shared babysitting hours…in the evening…on the weekend when our husbands are home…and outside of that..we split tasks and responsibilities so that each of us can work at home in other found moments on our own. Some of our best “meetings” have been during our morning runs.

Above: Here is Kristen’s old school (vintage?) Day-Runner…next toRyan’sBlackberry… Yes Kristen, the Day-Runner grew up! Notice the kids’ breakfast?

Some business’s do require more focused time and you’ll have to weigh how much help you need…you may need a few hours of babysitting and you may need a full time nanny. Even then, how wonderful to get to be home with them. You may remember I have another business (Savoir Flair Weddings) and I do have a part time nanny for the time I put to that business as I need to be able to make quiet phone calls and such. It all depends on the kind of work you are doing…I guess what I’m saying is that it’s doable…it always is…you just have to FIND the way that it will work for you. And it IS worth it. It is rewarding to do something for yourself and it’s important. If you just start chipping away at your idea stolen moment by moment…it WILL take form and you’ll find your way…I really believe that….The hardest thing is to START. There’s never a better moment than the present. Go for it.

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Thursday, February 25th, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

Kristen hates the word VLOG!

My TP other half thinks Video and Blog just don’t make the perfect…Bennifer…or Brangelina…for her ….shhhhh…(whisper) vlog… for Kristen it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard….sorry KG….I decided to post our first…..plug your ears!….VLOG!   Okay KG you can unplug now…So I decided to attempt reupholstering a chair (no not THE chair, if you’ve read my other posts)….not like just covering dining room chair seats either….been there done that….easy…this….not so easy… it is so tempting to give up and call a reupholsterer….but…I push forward….I am not a quitter!…gonna take you all on my journey.   Yes, I’m going to VLOG about it. Sorry!!!! ( :

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

One Good Year: Our latest Designing Moms post….

Story: One Good Year

From my Wed. January 27th post on Designing Moms

I’m a bit late on posting my holiday card. I know you have seen many and are well on your way into the new year, so thank you for allowing me one last New Year hurrah.

Our card sums up best as titled; One Good Year. A year filled with so many contradictory emotions…Happiness (new baby)…Fear (my husbands kidneys were failing from a genetic disease)….Frustration (trying to sort through the process of testing donors)….Amazement (at all the family and friends who offered a kidney as well as their love and support)….Gratitude (for his darling cousin Alison who came to Los Angeles and underwent surgery for us…we are forever grateful)…Relief (that this daunting time of our lives was over)…and finally…Joy (life actually did become normal again; we are healthy; we are all together; we are a family).

recipe card cleaned up new copy

The photo on our card was shot by Laura Grier at Beautiful Day Photography in Los Angeles. We shot it in our 50’s kitchen. I don’t want to explain it away. I think you can get the meaning behind the photo. The “recipe” was the back of the card. Happy New Year! Here’s to wishing all of us a healthy, happy and blessed new year.

Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods

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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

Another creative outlet for the girls at Tin Parade

We are SO excited to announce that Kristen and I have been invited to be new contributing writers for the fabulous blog Designingmoms/ Below is the first post, which is the introduction of Tin Parade to their readers.  SO exciting. (all photos shot by the amazing Laura Kleinhenz at Docuvitae in Los Angeles)

My Mondays have been revived ever since this blog started…and mainly because the Designing Moms that I get to introduce are so incredibly talented and inspiring I find myself oooing and ahhhing over their stories and photos the rest of the week. Today I am so happy to introduce new Designing Mom “Decorate” Contributors, Ryan and Kristen of Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods. Ryan’s event planning company Savoir Flair Weddings creates one of a kind, dream weddings so it’s no surprise that she and Kristen would expand into expert party planning for little ones! You’ll see below that they have a wonderful sense of detail…something we will all look forward to as they lend their decorating expertise here! Click here to visit Tin Parade and please help me give a big welcome to Ryan and Kristen!

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am constantly moving. Even when I’m at “rest” my mind just seems to never stop working. I sometimes would love to flip a switch and turn my mind off…but then….there’s an idea…some creative idea that needs my attention…it’s actually quite exhausting to be a creative person…because if you don’t create..and express yourself…you’ll be stifled and boxed in. That’s my fear. I can’t stand the thought of not expressing myself.

I have been a wedding and event designer for over 8 years in Los Angeles. I love it. I’m lucky to do it. Last year my good friend and now business partner, Kristen Gara and I launched our Labor of Love, Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods. We design many of the items…as many as we can..and have them handcrafted by artisans. We also piece together darling goods that we find like a needle in a haystack by scouring the internet and the Gifts Shows. Kristen has a fabulously creative background as well. She was an Art Director in the advertising field for years. Our skills together are making for a dream design duo and we are loving this time in our lives. Kristen doesn’t consider herself so much the writer…so that’s my job…which is why you’ll mostly hear from me…but I’ll occasionally pull her ideas to blog here because she’s got fabulous taste and we’ll all benefit from a little Kristen Gara.

How did you and your husband meet?

It’s a typical Hollywood story I guess. We were both actors all through our twenties. We met while doing a play at a local theater and of course had to somehow drag ourselves through the kissing scene. We decided it needed a bit of rehearsal. You know, just to be sure it was believable. The rest is Hollywood history.

How did Tin Parade start?

Kristen and I were on our morning run…talking a mile a minute as usual, when I told her that my husband said it was really too bad I spent so much energy designing events that were one day… and then poof they were gone…and wouldn’t it be amazing if I could somehow box up the events to sell across the country…that was it! By the end of that 5 mile run we had decided that not only did I need to absolutely do that..but that we needed to do it together…we had to marry our talents…and we needed to speak to our mutual love of all things vintage…there began Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods.

What inspires you?

I am inspired at the most random moments…nearly like a crazy person…bad design inspires me to make the world a prettier place actually…so sometimes I’ll be driving through the city trying not to look at gaudy billboards and bright pink houses and ideas will hit me…I think my mind responds to a need out there to beautify things. But I’m also so inspired by history. I have a love of history and I am constantly intrigued by the idea of myself in another era. Thus the art deco and speak easy weddings I’ve designed. I’m inspired by nature…rustling leaves with a cool breeze makes me want to create like crazy…something about the fall gets me going. I want to sit at home and make things all day in a cable knit sweater…because that’s the way you are supposed to do crafts in the fall…I think my creative enthusiasm is a bit contagious…I’ll start projects in the office with my interns and call it arts and crafts time. Fun for all.

What projects, activities do you love doing with your children? Are they creative like their mom?

I love cooking with my son. He’s really into tasting different flavors and spices and loves the smells. We have a good time in the kitchen and we both LOVE to eat. He’s definitely creative. We let him have the front porch for Halloween. He makes everything. I’m not into the store-bought Halloween decorations so much…and yes, it’s a bit messy when a 4 year old takes over your front porch..but I guess I figure it’s for a short amount of time and I love the art in him. I love how proud he is of the witch he drew and how he wants me to help him hang it really high so it’s even scarier when people come to our door. We have let him decorate the Thanksgiving table as well…that’s a little harder for me to give up control on…but he took it very seriously and made sure there was a cornucopia..fitting..oh and fake flowers…he must know I love those…kidding…but fake flowers there were…Of course I designed his room but…there is a nook…an artful nook just for his artwork…and the occasional transformers poster…but it’s all kept in the nook (space behind his door)…everyone’s happy…again, I love fostering the art in him. It’s an artful home that’s for sure. My baby girl is at the moment just a fabulous bundle of pudgy love but I am watching her…waiting for her first artistic expression…I have a feeling it’ll be there.

What are the greatest rewards and challenges of being both a mom and also a business owner?

Rewards. Yes. Challenges. Yes Yes. It’s tough. But oh so wonderful. Being your own boss means you can take a vacation when you want to..most of the time…or a day off…some of the time…but being a business owner and working from home is, for me the best thing about owning my own business…I am home when my baby takes her first steps. I am home when my son is sick. I can put a load of laundry in while on a conference call. I can fill a crock pot with a baby on my hip while giving direction to my intern. Pretty crazy at times, but so much better than the 9-5 life. I’ve always felt that If I didn’t’ have Savoir Flair Weddings (my wedding business) or Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods..that I’d have a different business…something…anything to be able to have the family life I want to have. I think almost anyone can do it…it’s daunting to start but so worth every step and every effort to get to the point of quitting your job and being your own boss. Of course loving what you do is important too. It’s so cliché, but…find what you love to do and then find a way to make a living at it…yes…so so true…and I don’t think you have to have a business degree …creative personalities are many times the opposite type of personality of a typical, old school business owner…we do thing s our own way…but there is a way. I love the idea of inspiring other women to create their own career.

Tell us a little bit about a typical-day-in-your-life.

On a good day I wake up and run with Kristen Gara (my Tin Parade business partner)…sadly…with our two babies being born this year our runs have been too few…I get coffee…I answer all questions about Star Wars and what I think Chewbacca’s middle name is, after…and only after….my cup of coffee. Then, the day begins.

I have to get my son ready for school…his Dad takes him and I pick up. I have to get the baby changed and fed…sometimes I’ll admit she MIGHT go to pick up at the preschool in her pajama’s….maybe…sometimes…rarely…once a week.

Then, I get the office unlocked, lights on etc so the interns can get started upon their arrival. I then go inside with the baby till our amazing babysitter arrives. Get through a few simple emails on my blackberry. And then the phone rings. It’s Kristen Gara with her morning call. Every morning. “What are we doing today? Playdate? Work? Can you pick up at preschool for us both? Can I borrow your dress? Etc.” (Kristen and I say we Co-Parent…. definitely taking a village over here) Then, I go out to the office…10 second commute…and try to blog… try to get through the bazillion emails..then execute the latest event or party design by….needle in a haystack…scouring the internet for some random idea in my head that day.

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Monday, January 11th, 2010 Tin Parade News No Comments

Return to Sender: Chevy Chase doesn’t live here.

Okay.   So.   I’ve decided that I am living in a Chevy Chase movie.  A good one too.  One that you would have a VHS copy of and then later a DVD.   I think when I was a kid watching those movies I thought ….first of all…that THEY were …you know…old.  I realize now that they WERE…you know…older…than….ahem…THEY used to be.  But THEY clearly aren’t as young as I am at their age….okay I digress….anyhow…yes…I have found myself living a Chevy Chase life… all started when….

swirly swirly swirly screen with the sound “didly didly didly didly didly didly”

I was at my girlfriends house when I heard her husband say “I’m gonna get that gopher! That gopher is back…its out there…and I”m gonna get it!”  As he’s muttering that…I’m sitting on her couch with a glass of wine telling her that I realize now that we have a house and two kids…we are….we have …arrived… to that point in our life that I think of as …my parents life…circa 1977…that life.  You know…the one that from the outside looks boring…dry…mundane…orange meets brown plaid couch kind of life…that one.

And just as I’m telling her this I see her husband walking across the plate glass window with a shovel over his shoulder going to …get the gopher….And it occured to me…I’ve woken up in a Chevy Chase movie and I can’t get out.   Not that I want to…I like my life…love it actually…but I didn’t realize when I was at the mall in 1985 with my Madonna perm laughing at European Vacation that I was actually….laughing at myself…at the future me.  You’re all in essence…laughing at me…that’s what I’ve decided…and that’s okay with me.  I am entering this time of my life somewhat gracefully…with my hipster short boot heel dug deep in the dirt…that kind of gracefully.  I’m just trying to figure out which role I am…there’s of course the obvious one…the mom…her son kept changing each movie and she didn’t even realize it…remember?  No, that’s not me…I’m too much of a control freak to let that happen….there was the german bimbo at the bier tent in munich….well…maybe 10 years ago but no…grandma on the roof of the car?  I guess I’m a little of all of them…my own little version of Ryan Larson has kids…Ryan does the mom thing…yeah…it’s casual.

Why am I telling you this…this realization of my current state of ..dare i say it…MOMhood?  Because I want…NEED you to relate…to me…I am in the need of being relate-able.  MOM doesn’t need to be a dirty word…a…you’ve actually up and moved out of your former self and into MOMhood kind of word…it doesn’t….I’m here to tell you that…why do you think I can still pull off the hipster short boots with the heel.  I am in love with being a mother…a mother to my darling darling children…but I just can’t be the roll of MOM….just…MOM…you know what I mean.

It’s casual.

Tin Parade Vintage Party Goods

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Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 Tin Parade News 1 Comment

If you’ve followed my Quest for the Holy Chair…..

You’ll be happy….relieved..overjoyed I’m sure…to know that I have FINALLY found the perfect chair!   Don’t relax too long….I’m sure I’ll become completely obsessed with choosing the right fabric.   It’s a Spoonback chair….I’ve had fun learning about different classic styles.  I bought this chair from an interior designer…he’d already had it stripped and refinished and now I have to have it reupolsterd… Kristen (my Tin Parade better half) and I seemed to  hone in on the same fabric choices….We do have similar styles…makes us good business partners and great friends…still…we couldn’t totally decide…I’m thinking the blue/tan fabric with the diamond shapes and maybe putting a tan or blue on the back of the chair…or I could go totally crazy and do stripes on the back….whoa!  But seriously….  Any thoughts on these?

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Monday, December 21st, 2009 Tin Parade News No Comments



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