Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D


Tuesday, April 26

Vlog 4.26.11

Friday, April 22

3 Years of Domestic Dork (a lifetime of dorkiness)


Holy crap!

I’ve been blogging for three years! This humble blog of mine started off as Shumate Shenanigans, an online journal to keep far away family updated on our lives. It has become so much more (. I love this blog. And I love all of you for reading it, and making it that much more fun to write.

These last eight months or so have been, honestly, disappointing to me as far as blogging goes. While I adore working for my boss at Madchen Studios, and I am so grateful for the opportunities and skills I’ve gained from my part-time job, I’ve missed having the time and energy I once had to devote to Domestic Dork.

This year will be huge for me and mine. Friday, May 13th we find out whether ManDork is going to medical school next year…or whether we have to anxiously wait and work to get through another application cycle. This summer, either way, we’ll be moving to Calgary. There’s just so much in store for us.

One change, coming in about a month, is my resignation from Madchen Studios (since, as I mentioned, we’re leaving town). I have many mixed feelings about my departure, but in regards to blogging, I’m excited, super excited. I can’t tell you all how much I’ve missed posting regularly, and posting fun tutorials, humorous anecdotes, and general bloggy goodness for your enjoyment (and mine). I felt it was only fitting, on my three-year blogiversary to announce that not only will I soon be returning to my former blogging habits, but I am going to once more make myself available for hire as a freelance digital illustrator.

Some of you may remember, Coffee Designs, my first foray into providing paid services to other bloggers. This summer I will officially open Hollyday Studios to provide similar services (as well as printable items, including freebies)!


My interests are many, but ultimately, my passion is creative creation. Writing, and visual arts have been my loves for over a decade. I want to thank you all so much for the part you’ve played in making Domestic Dork what is is today. It has come so far since 2008. I hope you’ll be with me in the years to come. Domestic Dork is going to be bigger, better, and more beautiful (hint: redesign coming soon) in 2011.

Thank you.


PS: The picture above is one of many from my recent session with Rachel, who is now an accredited photographer for children and infant and maternity photography with the Professional Photographers of Canada. Thanks and congrats to Rachel!

Tuesday, April 5

Being Original


I love Mommy Necklaces. Some might say I have a problem. But whatever…they’re cute, durable, colorful, and Lucy can play with them all she wants. So yay! And when you can get them 50% on Baby Half Off or Mamabargains, double yay!
So when I heard word on Facebook that someone had stolen the designs and was selling them as their own I had to check it out. The company in question will remain nameless (I’m not about to provide free traffic to their Facebook group…their website is currently down for maintenance, so they say). But even their business name was a rip-off of Mommy Necklaces. You can’t just change one word around and expect the public to believe it was completely original…at least, not when there are so many other things you’ve appeared to copy.
It seems obvious to me that they were able to source beads and breakaway clasps from the exact same supplier Mommy Necklaces use so that they could copy, more or less, the color schemes and designs of MN. They then undercut MN prices. It’s the usual modus operandi of knock-off producers. In this case they even used some of the same, exact product names (and many product names that varied by a single word). Heck, even their product photography (see screen cap below) seemed to be cribbing MN  photo style.
Then their Facebook Wall was flooded by angry MN fans, some of which got far too heated in my opinion. And the founder, owner, and designer for MN posted her thoughts on the whole thing. And I was touched by this woman’s passion for what she does. {Seriously, read her note and tell me you don’t have respect for a lady that works that hard.}
Today I was curious to see if the knock-off company had slunk off quietly (as I’ve seen such people do before). Their website is down for the moment. But their Facebook group is still active. Every single negative wall post has been deleted (even the ones that were respectful). And the following was posted:
{click to view larger}
Hmmm…I’ve got some problems with this (aside from the fact that I just don’t buy it because their products are so clearly similar).
1. Their supposed “inspiration pictures?” Yeah…all I had to do was google the product name (such as “meadow) and they almost all came up on the first page of results (see below). In the case of "mountain" the image was the very first result. The two images I didn’t see on the first page results of a Google image search I ran through TinEye (a photographic plagiarism checker) and got hits indicating these images have been kicking around on the internet for some time now. {click to view larger}
sunset meadow mist mountain tundra vineyard
2. Inspired by Canadian geographic regions? Lady…there are no tropical oceans in Canada. Just sayin’.
3. This whole “Mommy Necklaces aren’t original” line is disingenuous. Yes, there are many other people selling nursing necklaces. I checked them out myself, before I got my first Mommy Necklace. But the designs don’t look anything like Mommy Necklaces. The purpose may be the same, but the style is not. And it is that unique style that led me to go with MN, and nobody else. In my opinion, MN style is the best. I’ll be wearing my Mommy Necklaces long after the need for a nursing necklace has passed.
4. As for wanting to provide a better option for Canadian moms...well, guess what, I live in Canada. And while there are many products I’ve had to pay exorbitant shipping/duty/etc. fees to acquire, Mommy Necklaces are not one of them. The only time I paid beaucoup bucks for shipping a Mommy Necklace was when I got it rushed. Today I did a dummy check-out on the MN website and, yup, still cheap shipping, even to Canada. It’s $4.00, whether I’m buying one necklace, three necklaces, or ten necklaces! Of course, this individual does claim she’s unfamiliar with MN, so maybe that’s why she’s totally unfamiliar with their shipping prices? I might buy that…if I, for a single minute, believed she was unfamiliar with MN and just happened to create nearly-identical necklaces by coincidence.

It's clear to me this is not a case of coincidence. And it seems to me that it would be far better to quietly bow out rather than utilize further dishonesty to combat the well-earned criticism. Can I prove she didn't come up with the same styles and ideas in a vacuum? No, of course not. But the onus is on her to prove otherwise as that scenario would be so very extraordinary. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" as Carl Sagan said. Slapping some random pictures off the 'net onto your page and calling them your inspiration hardly lends any legitimacy to one's claims. Frankly, I'm a little insulted that someone thinks I'm gullible enough to believe it.

So what’s my point? My point is that I think what this lady has done sucks and please do not buy knock-off Mommy Necklaces. When you buy a knock-off Mommy Necklace you’re allowing someone to rip-off a hard-working mom, just like you. You’re saying, with your money, that it’s OK to copy other people (a lesson we’d never teach our children). This isn’t some massive company using practically slave labor in another country to produce their goods. This isn’t some huge business that doesn’t have a very sincere love for their products and their clients. The Mommy Necklace ladies are very involved in their fan community. Their customer service is UNBELIEVABLY GOOD, and I say this from experience. This isn’t even a matter of a crafter making themselves a knock-off simply because they can’t afford the real thing, or want more control over the design (though, just FYI, MN does beautiful custom orders). This is someone making knock-offs intending to make a profit from someone else’s hard work.
And that is not, as the Mommy Necklaces tagline states, “jewelry, justified.”

According to Mommy Necklaces, the IP address of the person from the Knock-off-which-must-not-be-named is an IP address they have logged in their site stats for quite some time now. In other words...this woman has been caught in her lie re: not being familiar with Mommy Necklaces.

PS: This post is in no way sponsored, approved, or encouraged by Mommy Necklaces. I wrote it of my own volition because I just needed to get the rant out of my system (and I think my husband was tired of hearing me bitch about it).
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