A sentimental post for empty-nesters…

As empty-nesters, this time of year always makes us feel a bit sentimental. Thinking of all those first days of school, bringing our oldest to college, dropping our youngest off to college. Coming back home, just the two of us… It’s bittersweet.

365 Bible Verses in this handy mini journal; satin bookmark included and gold corner pieces. A beautiful keepsake for your grown child.

While we’re so proud of our children and the people they’ve become – and looking forward to so much in the future (our middle child, Carter, just got engaged to his fiance Robin!) – there’s so much we miss about raising our children in a home we built around them.

Small Squares with Mighty Words™ is a simple box containing 50 brightly-colored cards with bible verses on each one. The wooden stands are hand-stained and packaged in the box with the cards. Made in the USA.

These days especially, kids seem to grow up so quickly. Maybe it’s the technology available to them and us, maybe that’s how all parents feel once their kids have flown the nest…?

A fun & funky “Celfie Vase” (in Caramel) for pens and pencils or even makeup brushes! Available in two sizes and three colors.

It seems the nagging of toddlers quickly transitioned into the sweet notes shared with our elementary and middle schoolers and then on to the long, heartfelt letters as the kids grew. Our communication styles have certainly changed.

A place to track ideas, notes, to-do lists, inspiration, and the random things that fill up any day. The Day Dreamer, 196 pages full, is the perfect companion for those women who also use an online calendar to schedule their lives.

How fun it is now to think of our kids not just as our children, but also our friends! And how wonderful to be able to have a full conversation just about any time of day via quick text messages with our adult children?!?

One thing Jill has really enjoyed and been able to sympathize with is Gretchen Rubin‘s Happiness Project podcast (also a book) – especially as she’s been preparing for her oldest to begin college.

Help them organize their thoughts with this stylish Great Things Notepad from Rifle Paper. Made in the USA.

We hope our slightly weepy, sentimental posts may help those of your experiencing these same feelings know you are not alone. We’re in this empty-nester phase together and are truly enjoying our new normal!

*As you may have noticed, we’ve peppered the post with thoughtful little items your college-age or grown children may appreciate as a start of school or even a just-because gift. After all, they’re your babies no matter if they’re 12 or 22… Contact our team today and we’ll be happy to help you select the perfect little thoughtful something for your child, as well as gift wrap and shipping, if necessary.

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Have a very stylish Earth Day!

Living a “green” lifestyle doesn’t have to be obvious and in-your-face… You can enjoy a more Earth-friendly lifestyle in a very stylish way – take it from us! Here are a couple quick tips and products we think are very stylish, and that also happen to be Earth friendly:

Correspond in Green

We’re not talking green ink, but rather use eco-friendly paper products, such as this collection we’re currently offering in the steve mckenzie’s showroom that’s made in Nepal from sustainable materials. It’s a beautiful and stylish as it is “green!”

Stay True to Textiles

A selection of some of the fabric napkins available at the steve mckenzie’s showroom.

We’ve shared this tip before, and we’ll surely share it again, as it’s one of our favorite tips, but use fabric napkins in place of paper!! This creates less waste and offers a more stylish place setting (no matter if it’s the dining room table, or cuddled next to a loved one on the sofa).

Neutral cloth napkin selection at steve mckenzie’s.

Make your use of cloth napkins even more eco-friendly by opting not to wash after every use – typically adults, and even older children, won’t soil their napkin after every use. Save on the water and energy used to clean the cloths by washing only when necessary. After each meal, ask family members to simply leave their cloth napkins in their seat, that way, when setting the table for the next meal, they’ll use “their” same napkin again.

Colorful cloth napkins at steve mckenzie’s.

When your cloth napkins have become soiled, toss them in the wash with your other laundry, so you don’t devote an entire load (and the resources) to only cleansing cloth napkins. Use eco-friendly detergent, wash in cold water, and when the weather’s nice, line dry. Nothing’s better than linens dried in the sun on a warm day!

Are you inspired to become more “green” on this Earth Day?! We sure hope so! We hope you all enjoy a lovely Earth Day, today and everyday!!

The 4 Latest… What’s happening at steve mckenzie’s?!?

If you follow steve mckenzie’s on Instagram or Facebook, you know we’ve been busy! It’s been wonderful and this fabulous fall weather we’ve been experiencing – albeit a bit warm – only adds to the fresh feeling the change of seasons brings.

We wanted to take a moment to give you a quick rundown of the four latest happenings at steve mckenzie’s…

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First up – the press! We couldn’t be more thrilled for the fantastic mentions, features and product shout-outs we’ve recently received. Thank you to those who’ve taken a moment to recognize steve  mckenzie’s and/or read about us in the news!!

  • It was such a delight to open the Sunday AJC and see a fantastic feature about steve mckenzie’s nestled in the pages of the Homefinder/Lifestyle section by our friend Linda Jerkins. We hope this fun feature gives you a better glimpse into what steve mckenzie’s is all about!

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A new greeting card line. That’s right – we’re offering an all-new greeting card line based off Steve’s original artworks. There’s something for everyone here! They’re whimsical, celebratory and even masculine; which can be a difficult style to capture in a greeting card. We hope you love them and love to gift them!

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steve mckenzie’s new art print line. You no longer have to purchase an original work to bring a piece of fine art by Steve McKenzie into your home! Our art print line is now available for purchase at a price point that makes living with fantastic art accessible for anyone.

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Lastly – Halloween Happies! Come in to the steve mckenzie’s showroom today and be inspired for the spookiest holiday of all… We have so many fanciful items that will put you in the Halloween spirit!

There you have it. The latest happenings at steve mckenzie’s! And get prepared, as the holiday season approaches, there will be more going on. So be sure you’re keeping up with our Facebook and Instagram sites and checking back with the blog. We don’t want you to miss a thing!

Blissful Baby Gifts… Classic, Timeless Treasures for Babies.

Want to gift the newest little one in your life with something that will stand the test of time and grow with them? Look no further than the selection of beautiful baby gifts at steve mckenzie’s!

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While these items may not be typical to a traditional baby registry, they are gifts the parents, and in a few years, the young person will truly love and appreciate. These are absolute treasures, and classic baby gifts never go out of style.

Pewter Baby Cups

Pewter "Georgia" Baby Cuo
Pewter “Georgia” Baby Cup
Pewter "Easton" Baby Cup
Pewter “Easton” Baby Cup

Made by Salisbury in the USA, these stunning pewter baby cups are exceptionally styled and feature fine quality handcrafted details. A monogrammed baby cup is a forever gift, and with our quick turnaround time and complimentary gift wrapping, a lovely gift to give and receive.

Alpaca Baby Goods

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Made by Alicia Adamas Alpaca, these beautifully crafted baby items are supremely soft and will become instant favorites of the new parents… Baby will sleep soundly swaddled in a sweet alpaca baby blanket, or look ever so cozy in an alpaca onesie or cute pair of booties. And again, you’ll be pleased with the quick turnaround time of these items through steve mckenzie’s.

Handcrafted Baby Cards

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A special delivery calls for an equally special card, and our selection of artfully designed greeting cards will add an ideal finishing touch to any baby gift. Your card from steve mckenzie’s will make it into the baby book for sure!

If you’re shopping in celebration of a new baby, please stop by – or call – steve mckenzie’s today and we’ll help you select the perfect gift, which will become a lifelong treasure!

Alexander Girard – an Iconic Inspiration

The late Alexander Girard has been an inspiration to Steve since first seeing his iconic mid-century designs. When you think of mid-century design, chances are you envision a Girard design, whether you know it or not.

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As a multi-platform designer, Girard is especially meaningful to Steve, as he continues to expand his own design platforms, from painting to textile and interior design… With style icons such as Alexander Girard, who knows what could come next for our own Steve McKenzie?!?

Alexander Girard (1907-1993)
Alexander Girard (1907-1993)

Here’s a bit more about Alexander Girard:

Alexander Girard was widely known for his textile design which introduced vibrant colors and playful patterns to mid century modern design.  Girard was born in New York City to an American mother and an Italian father, but raised in Florence, Italy. Girard studied architecture in Europe. He returned to the United States in 1932, and started a career as a designer. His career took off after designing “For Modern Living” exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1949. Three years later, he was offered a position as the head of the textile division at Herman Miller, Inc.

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At Herman Miller, Girard successfully introduced a new concept in textile design with his vibrant color palette and playful patterns inspired by traditional folk art he cherished. In early 1950s, fabrics were merely functional, but they tended to be dull and plain.

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His textile designs complemented the furniture designs of his fellow mid century modern designers, Charles Eames and George Nelson. Girard’s work at Herman Miller continued until 1975, designing hundreds of fabrics as a result. He also developed a seating collection for the company between 1967 and 1968. Originals from this collection are rare and highly desirable among many collectors today.

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Apart from Herman Miller, Girard designed three restaurants in 1960’s: the La Fonda del Sol restaurant, in New York City; the L’Etoile Restaurant, also in New York City; and the Compound Restaurant, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also contributed in a design project of Braniff Airlines in mid 1960’s, totally redesigning everything from the condiment packets to the planes themselves.

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During 1960’s, Girard and his wife Susan moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he founded the Girard Foundation to manage more than 100,000 pieces of his folk art collection. This enormous collection was donated to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe in 1978 and recognized as the world’s largest folk art collection today.

An iconic Knoll table by Alexander Girard
An iconic Knoll table by Alexander Girard
In addition to his work with Herman Miller, Girard also worked on the Saint Louis Arch with Eero Saarinen, designed furniture for Knoll, designed the Irwin Miller, Cummins Engine offices in Columbus, IN (Jill’s family’s hometown), and worked with Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley to design the Irwin Miller Home, one of the greatest pieces of iconic modernist aesthetic.
Irwin Miller, Cummins Engine offices
Irwin Miller, Cummins Engine offices
Recently, Alexander Girard designs are back on the current design scene, thanks to a new Girard inspired collection now available through Paperless Post. They’ve taken some of Girard’s most memorable designs and transformed them into digital stationary – something we think the designer would’ve gotten a real kick out of!
An assortment of Girard inspired designs for Paperless Post
An assortment of Girard inspired designs for Paperless Post
We’re thinking this fabulous new collection may be just the encouragement Steve needs to explore the stationary he has always wanted to create :-))
How about you – are you an Alexander Girard fan??

Who you NEED to Meet: Kristen Ley of Thimblepress

Here in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, we’re currently in the midst of a fantastic art show, featuring Mississippi artist, Kristen Ley of Thimblepress! If you aren’t already following Kristen’s work and dynamic personality on social media, you should be. She’s a gal to keep an eye on for sure, and we feel so lucky to be able to showcase her art in store throughout the month of June. During the rest of the year, we typically have a wonderful selection of Kristen’s handmade, letterpress note cards, which are not only beautiful, but too cute and cheeky!

kristen ley
Kristen Ley

Kristen is such a creative, and fun-loving individual, we thought you’d enjoy getting to know her a little better. She graciously agreed to participate in this “Who you NEED to meet” feature, and we’re so excited to share a bit more about Kristen and her work with Thumblepress with you here…

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sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started Thimblepress and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

K: I majored in graphic design in college and had a marketing and branding firm for 5 years with a friend of mine in Charleston, SC. I moved back to Jackson, MS in our fourth year of business and opened an office. We both ended up getting offered full time jobs that we could not turn down and at the time in the market, having an 8-5 job started to look shiny and nice. I worked at the high school I graduated from, Jackson Academy, for 2 years doing marketing, branding, and advertising work for the school. In those two years I purchased my first letterpress and began to learn and obsess over the craft after getting off work everyday. My first Thimblepress office was half of a garage I shared with my roommate at the time and my bedroom. Printing where there was no central air or heat was interesting during  the extreme seasons; from printing in barely nothing during the summer to ski gear in the winter. I learned a lot in that garage, about myself and what I wanted Thimblepress to be. My job was super supportive of my Thimblepress pursuits. I traveled for craft shows all over (i.e. Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, South Carolina, Nashville, Jackson). I really started to fall in love with printing, and the idea of making things I love; things I poured my soul into for a living. Even with a full time job, I was able to attend my first wholesale show in Chicago, and then the National Stationery Show in May of 2013. After the stationery show in NYC it was very clear where God wanted me to be. I prayed a lot about starting another business full time. I questioned it and wondered if that is where God wanted me to be. I had my mom and aunt as my little prayer team trying to see what God wanted me to do. I began asking him to slam doors shut and blow them open. Boy has he blown doors open. In June of 2013 I was able to confidently leave my full time job and go at it with Thimblepress full time. God honestly gave me that courage to take that huge leap of faith. Without Him, none of this would be possible.

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sm’s: What inspires you/your designs?

K: I am constantly inspired by the colors, seasons, and places around me. Right now, I am really inspired by color and lots of it. I have always had a love of bright colors, but ever since I have been making the confetti Push-pop’s and staring at buckets of color, I have found myself painting with lots of beautiful colors all intertwining. I am also inspired by travel and getting out of my comfort zone. When you make yourself a little uncomfortable you tend to grow as a person, and ultimately as a creative individual.

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sm’s: What your vision is, not only for Thimblepress, but also the individual pieces you craft?

K: I want to create work that makes people happy. I want to create work that inspires others to chase their dream. It still makes me so happy and honestly gives me chills anytime anyone buys even the smallest thing I make. Everything I create is hand-painted, hand-drawn or hand-made. There is so much soul and love that goes into every piece we make, so when someone wants to send a card to someone that they love so dearly and do it with one of my cards… that moment is special for me. My vision is a day to day vision. I try not to get so wrapped up in the future. Yes, there are things we plan for, things we create and have in waiting to get produced, but I am letting God steer this ship. Ultimately Thimblepress is about happiness, memories, family and color.

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sm’s: What do you see as mainstays in your collection?

K: I think our State Flower collection is something that will stand the test of time. It is classic, unique and something I really poured my soul into.

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sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique designs that still work together under the Thimblepress brand?

K: I love to make things. I have always loved lots of different things. I have lots of different friends all with different personalities, walks of life, looks, and ages. A lot of people see our work and note that there is a lot of range in terms of the looks in Thimblepress, and to me that is just a reflection of me as a person. I am a very eclectic person and feel like I have different periods of creation when I’m inspired by different colors, mediums, styles, etc. I am sure I could be a little more cohesive and make things go together a bit more, but that is just not me. I am a million puzzle pieces that don’t fit together, and that is okay with me. In essence, its kind of like confetti, which we all know I love.

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– What’s on the horizon for Thimblepress?

K: Hopefully to stay in business. ha! Seriously though, I have the best team ever. I am thrilled to see how our team will grow in the next year and if we have to expand and get more space.

We are hoping to create more home goods and accessories. We started searching for manufacturers in the USA to help manufacturer some of our ideas about a year ago, so we are continuing that journey. I am excited to show what we have done!

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sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge?

K: I love to travel and experience new cultures, people and food. The great thing about what I do is that it allows me to travel a good bit, and if my pup Willow get’s to make the journey, well that just sweetens the deal. When I am at home and have pulled all nighters, I love to paint, watch netflix or just nap in the sun. I’m pretty simple. 🙂

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We just love Kristen and all of her Thimblepress designs, and we think you’ll be just as excited about her original artwork as well! Be sure to come into the steve mckenzie’s showroom and check out her beautiful and vibrant artwork that’s on display now.

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And thank you so much to Kristen for sharing a bit about herself and her journey to creating fabulous handmade goodies with Thimblepress!

Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Gift Ever! And some ideas for you…

Twenty one years ago, Valentine’s Day gifts took a backseat for Steve and Jill when they welcomed their son, Carter, into the world on February 14th, 1993. The day before the big day, Carter decided to flip around into breech position, and in turn, a surprise c-section was performed the next day – Valentine’s Day. What a special gift the McKenzie family will remember each Valentine’s Day – and what a great way to easily remember Carter’s birthday! As you can imagine, each Valentine’s Day after that was one spent celebrating Carter!

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Baby Carter McKenzie, born on Valentine’s Day 1993!

If you don’t have your own little (or in our case, now big) bundle of joy to celebrate on Valentine’s Day, you may be looking for the perfect something for your special someone… If that’s the case steve mckenzie’s is your destination for memorable, and meaningful Valentine’s Day gifts! Forget the flowers and chocolates this year, and  give your loved one(s) something they’ll really treasure.

valentine red bird ink cardThis letterpress card by our friends at Red Bird Ink simply states your feelings, but in the most lovely way. If your loved one is a stationary snob like us, they’ll love the luxe cards we have to offer!

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Also by our friends at Red Bird Ink, letterpress ampersand coasters. Celebrate your love over a glass of bubbly, set on these adorable coasters; perfect for the most romantic day of the year!

grandmother's buttons jewelry

Really knock her socks off this year with a gift from our collection of Grandmother’s Buttons jewelry. These rich, red tones are ideal for Valentine’s Day, and the thought and care that goes into crafting each piece will be reflected in your gift.

DSC_0062Come visit us today and check out our assortment of beautiful items, handpicked to help you celebrate with your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. And, don’t forget, your purchases this month can mean even more when you mention this post and have 10% of your purchase go toward steve mckenzie’s donation to the American Heart Association for Heart Health Month.

Happy Valentine’s Day – and happy birthday Carter!