Pre-Announcing 35 More Dog Breed Button Magnets


In the beginning

As I write this, my husband is in the studio punching out circles for my buttons. It used to be that with each whack of the button press, the cats would further furrow their brows or creep to safety below the bed. Now they’re used  to the daily punch and bang of the press. On any given day, we’re churning out brightly colored packs of cat magnets, sweet english bulldog magnets, or schnauzer pinbacks. Over at GoodAfternoonan I sell hundreds of cat and dog buttons each year.

It’s hard to imagine that buttons weren’t even a consideration 2 years into my business. For the first few years, I only sold custom portraits. People loved getting them as gifts, but I began to realize that they were a bit too expensive for everyone. I knew I could delight so many more pet owners if I offered something more affordable.  

And so, I borrowed a button maker from a friend

A friend had a one inch button maker stuffed in a box in the back of his closet. One Saturday, I took the long train ride from South Brooklyn out to Williamsburg and borrowed that beast of a button-maker. Although I’ve added other button models to the studio along the way, this first one is still the trusty machine that I use to make my button 3 packs.  

I made buttons and more buttons

For years I made only 1 inch buttons – precious little cat and dog portraits on a tiny candy-colored button.


And I sold them to hundreds of people


GoodAfternoonan Fabric – Why I’m Designing it

When I was three, my parents packed my brother and I into our small red VW bug and took us to an apple orchard in Western Illinois. I distinctly remember my mom’s outfit. She wore a flouncy shirt tucked into high-waisted, dark denim jeans. The shirt had a small tight floral pattern on a navy background. Despite having been so young, I still retained snapshot images in my mind of the trip: sticky rotten apples below the trees, my mom’s wispy brown hair tucked behind her ear and under the bandana kerchief she kept wrapped around her head, AND that shirt, its pattern.

When I was 16, I had a favorite shirt, adopted from the racks of vintage baseball tees and 70s velour sweatshirts at the Thrift Town down the street from my high school. That shirt, long sleeved and polyester, had a navy paisley pattern and though not quite floral, it was reminiscent of the shirt my mom wore on that fall outing.  


You may not consider fabric patterns to be tokens of nostalgia.

Memories, those deeply imbued memories, are often conjured by the senses. Smells! The smell of the chocolate chip cookies that Nanny baked every time we visited. The salty air of the ocean after a rainy morning. Taste. There’s nothing quite like bratwursts on a charcoal grill to evoke childhood birthday cookouts. Or give me irish stew and I’ll step back into my childhood kitchen on a winter evening. Even now, I can see the darkness of the backyard through that kitchen’s dutch door window. Or sounds! How Patsy Cline, in my mind’s ear, is so inextricably, and unexplainably, intertwined with thoughts of christmas tinsel and eggnog.  


But the biggest waves of nostalgia come over me when I think about fabric.  

Which may sounds strange, so let me rephrase. The biggest waves of nostalgia come over me when I think about the wood-paneled den of my childhood home. That den – my favorite room. The coziest of cozy places. It was tiny and wood paneled and dark. And what I remember most are the patterned fabrics: the tweed wall to wall carpeting, the tweed upholstered rocker in the corner, and the tweed couch. Yes, tweed, small narrow striped tweed, thick, prickly checkered tweed. Even today, if I see someone in a tweed jacket, my head feels warm. It simply conjures cozy and comforting memories of coloring books and crayons on the floor of that den.


Not just fabric but wallpaper also holds a strong place in my memory.

My childhood bedroom was wallpapered in a floral and butterfly repeat pattern, intricate and winding. I’d stay up on dusky summer evenings tracing the vines to each familiar butterfly. Now that I’m designing my own patterns and fabrics, I’m thinking back to those early impressions. Nostalgia is what I want most to invoke with the items I create. Memory makes every custom pet portrait so special. Each portrait recalls time with a beloved pet.


I want you to connect with the items I make.  

This is why I’m so excited to finally be working on patterns. Patterns on fabric or paper exist in the background of your everyday, woven into your environment. With my new patterns, you’ll be able to create a nest with a cozy pug-patterned pillow on the couch. Or carry change to your favorite coffee shop in a fat cat zipper pouch.


Square pillows and pouches coming this October!

I started with the basics, a repeat floral with a furry creature, earlier this year. I created five patterns, but I decided to keep only a few of them. The pug fabric works really well on zipper pouches and provides a pleasant sage colored accessory for the couch when made into a larger throw pillow. The fat sitting cat pattern was a hit as a zipper pouch at craft fairs this summer.  I’ll keep adding to these. I’ve been playing with the idea of coming out with a set of square pillows, or zipper pouches, or baby bibs, or maybe just yardage. For now, though, I’ll start with pillows and pouches.

I decided that I’ll release my first line of square throw pillows and pouches will come out officially this October! So now I’m getting to work finding the right pillow size and creating some more new patterns.

I can’t wait to show you. In the meantime stay tuned for sneak peeks of designs in process.


Free Coloring Pages for Rainy Summer Days

cat in bikini

Grab your markers and some free coloring pages! It’s a rainy summer day. Stay in the screen porch, snuggle with the cats and make a masterpiece with your colored pencils.

It’s summer, the time to pack your beach bag and head to the pool.

It’s July in St. Louis. Out in the garden on these hot mornings I’m reminded of the slow, humid summer days of my childhood, spent mainly at the pool. Each morning, before it’d get unbearable, we’d pack the tote with essentials: sunscreen, towels, a few snacks, my caboodle full of friendship bracelet-making supplies, and – being toe-headed – Ultraswim shampoo. Then we’d head out for a long hot day – 10am to 5pm – poolside. We mastered backflips. We strapped on goggles and discovered sunken treasures, an earring or a few quarters. We exhausted ourselves with hours of canon balls, ring fetching in the deep end, and treading water.   

cat in bikini

But what about those rainy days?


3 Tips For Introducing a New Cat to the Resident Cat

the house cats

When we first brought Yanni cat home, Odessa, our 11 year old resident housecat growled and hissed and spit. Six months after introducing the two, we would still sometimes find her percolating like a little coffee pot in the corner of the living room, staring daggers.

During those early months, I stressed over Odessa’s grumbles, wondering if I’d upset her beyond repair. And even after Odessa began to tolerate Yanni, I still stressed. I hemmed and hawed. I tapped my feet anxiously. I bit my nails. Those months went something like this. Odessa would bristle. I’d paced and watch her every move anxiously. Odessa would grumble. Yanni would tiptoe in to cuddle Odessa and she would growl. Yanni would snuggle with me instead. And repeat.

Bringing home a new cat is hard work. It’s scary for the resident cat. It’s unfamiliar for the new cat and it’s stressful on you. As a fur-baby parent you only want the best for both cats. Sometimes small tweaks in your behavior can help the transition. We set the stage by first taking the recommended slow steps towards introduction, such as isolation and room swapping. Read more on those steps here. Once we were safely into full-time cohabitation, we still had to help Odessa accept Yanni. Here’s what worked for us:


Fly Your Feline Freak Flag High


Perhaps, like me, you work from home with a dubious tuxedoed assistant. Or, you repress conflicting emotions as your cute tabbycat bats another stack of quilting squares to the floor. I understand. As I’m writing this, a slinky mini-leopard swats the buckle on my sandal. Upstairs a bell jingles, signaling the movements of the dense one as he sneaks into my sock drawer once again. Sweet, timid eyes peek out from under the bed across the hall. Yes, I share my lap, my computer desk, my art studio and my constant stream of commentary with three – until very recently four – monster cats.

I find wisdom, or at least entertainment, in each kernel of my monsters’ mischevious behavior. Unlike your coworkers, I want to hear how Suzie reaches her latest perching place on top of the bedroom door! I’m here to tell you, “fly your feline freak flag high.” When you do, it’s cool with me.

I’ve got cats: the dense one, the tiny one, the classic cats. Let me introduce you.



Why I Quit my Job at Etsy and Moved to Missouri

1 inch buttons on Etsy

Late last September, I swept the floors of my empty 700 sq. ft Brooklyn apartment, packed my toothbrush into a backpack, and headed out for my last day at the Etsy headquarters. I had called NYC home for over 12 years and Etsy my day job for four. That afternoon, after a barrage of goodbyes, I flew to St. Louis to start a new life.

My husband and I had decided to invest fully in our small business, GoodAfternoonan, and with our newfound physical and mental space, we embraced taking it full-time. We reorganized – shuffling fabric, shipping supplies, and equipment into the spare bedroom of our new 108 year old house. We began daily routines – brainstorming over morning coffee on the back porch, creating new designs during afternoon hours.

Now after nearly 9 months, I finally sense the impact of our move. We’ve started a transformation for GoodAfternoonan, one that will only continue as we settle further into the new reality of waking up to printing our daily shipping labels and spending afternoons crafting our newsletter. Each day brings us closer to the vision of GoodAfternoonan that propelled me to quit my job and move across country:

Adding Better Items

In Brooklyn, our studio space was simply a dining table in our one room living space. We hid button supplies behind bookshelves and stacks of my drawings in drawers, desperate to contain the clutter of a creative business. Those limits, though, are no more and with extra studio space came new equipment…and new drawings! I’ve designed pomeranians and bloodhounds. I’ve also drawn so many more cats: persians, siamese, british shorthairs.

Etsy cat buttons

Designing for the Future

I had always wanted to turn my sketches into repeat patterns for fabric. How much better are cats when paired with flowers or pugs surrounded by hearts? Finally with the extra time, I’ve made it happen. So far, I have three fabric designs: my fat sitting cat, my pug fabric, and my siamese cat fabric. We’ll release a new fabric goods line with these three designs and a few more in the Etsy shop in the near future. So far these designs have graced pillows and zipper pouches, and I can’t wait to release a full line of products for you! I’ve also had time to design my first line of greeting cards with many more to come. 

Etsy Pug Fabric Design

Working to Raise Awareness

A most exciting change is a new focus for our business. We’ve had time to consider how we can make our shop, our products and our relationship with you more meaningful. As we grow GoodAfternoonan, we’ll be looking to raise awareness for shelters and other organizations that support the humane treatment of animals. We’re committed to incorporating that into our day to day!

Do you have a dog you’d like me to draw? How about a rescue story to share? Hearing from our fans inspires us along the way. Let me know a tidbit about your pet in the comments!

Fur Baby Quilt


Last week, Kim published these adorable photographs of her baby boy sitting on my January quilt, so I thought it was high time for me to show off her creation in its new home. Introducing the fur babies on top of Kim’s quilt. It’s definitely getting a lot of love and it fits right into with the color of our bed. I love it, and Yanni and Oddy do too.

kimquilt1 kimquilt2 kimquilt4

Follow along with our #quiltAmonth as we each make 12 quilts in 2015.
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