Norah Utley: The New Sheriff In Town

I set out to promo an old friend Norah Utley’s baby bib e-store (Sheriff Peanut) and wound up reflecting a whole bunch. Is this a symptom of getting older or what?! Because I met her in Chicago during the height of my zine days, I started thinking about friendly folks I’d met in those eight years, mostly fellow zinesters, artists, bands, writers and DIY-types. Living among them completely changed me forever and shaped my whole outlook on life.  Most of what I believe, my favorite music, my approach to work and my mommy ethics can be directly traced back to my time in Chicago. The city is part of my family.

Norah is one of my favorite Chicago people. I met her at an urban craft fair probably five years ago now. I thought her quirky, hand-crafted bibs were a great alternative to big box shower gifts. They not only come in custom patterns and designs, but they are affordable and most importantly, functional (they’re covered in clear vinyl for easy cleaning). The egg and bacon bib is a fan fave!

Garage Rock Music Mogul

In addition to her crafty tendencies, Norah has tried her hand as label lady, DJ and musician (Airbrush, Headache City). I’ll never forget the Reader article touting her label Shit Sandwich Records (M.O.T.O., Tyrades, Busy Signals). I was waiting for the el in the subway and reading this story – totally engrossed and unfazed by anything going on around me. Her story of indie entrepreneurism gave me hope that if you love something and go for it, it can happen.

My little zine Love, Chicago was so excited to feature a fun Q&A that took place during Norah’s Six Flags misadventure with friend and writer Jen Hazen. Not long after, Norah agreed to spin my zine’s release party at Delilah’s (best Chicago bar, hands down). I had so much fun catching up with her over Chicago star-shaped cookies and beer. And Norah? She’s incredibly humble, effortlessly kind and a laugh a minute.

So Where is She Now?

When I googled “Sheriff Peanut” the other day, I saw the e-store has expanded into onesies, kids and adult tees, burp cloths, little stuffed animals, mirrors, magnets and keychains (SCORE!). She does shows all over the country peddling her wares, including  CONSTRUCTOR CRAFT FAIR, a show she has organized for three years now in Berwyn, Ill.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I sent her a facebook shout out and learned she and husband Paul are proud parents of little Ramona! The Sheriff now has a new favorite client for inspiration! How perfect.

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