September 25, 2014

DIY Cards: Embossing

I've been making a lot of embossed cards lately.  It's my easy go-to for handmade cards.

Sometimes I use a stamp, but this was my experiment embossing my own handwriting using Ranger "emboss it" pens
I used three different embossing powders (silver, white and bronze)

I like the fact that no two are exactly the same.




I was going to write a how-to post, but besotted blog has two excellent embossing tutorials to get you started:

(+) how to emboss with rubber stamps. supplies part 1
(+) embossing tutorial

September 18, 2014

Handmade Marathon: Megan Jackman of Ragmaw

Editor's Note: I met Megan of Ragmaw earlier this year and instantly fell in love with her product line. I've been wanting to introduce more local creatives here on the Petit Cadeau for quite some time, so this is the beginning of more local features. This interview has some slightly different questions from my usual #handmademarathon, because I also interviewed Megan for a feature on Oh My Handmade over the Summer. 




Tell us a little bit about yourself and your Ragmaw products.

My name is Megan Natasha Jackman; I am the owner and textile artist behind Ragmaw. I was born and raised in central Newfoundland. I love traveling, drawing, meeting new people and, of course, textile design!

Ragmaw is textile studio that emphasizes natural materials and local production in St. John’s, Newfoundland. We create functional pieces of art, mainly handbags, using techniques such as screen printing, block printing, and traditional leatherwork.  We aim to create rich designs and compelling patterns that reflect coastal landscapes and a free-spirited lifestyle.  





Where does the name Ragmaw come from?

Ragmaw is a Newfoundland word (sometimes said ‘rag-moll’) that referred to children whose clothing were torn, tattered, and often left un-mended. My grandmother remembers the word from her childhood. I liked the word because it is unique and felt a little bit tongue-in-cheek when I decided to use it. Sure, its meaning isn’t dainty but when I was making bags in university, I was using scraps of anything I could find (essentially rags).  And, when my grandmother was raising her children, she would make their clothing herself based on photos from catalogues, to keep them looking sharp! The word is connected to my early bag-making days and it is also a nod to creative resourcefulness.



What/who inspires you?

My business will get bogged down if I create all of my products with only ‘me’ in mind. So, I draw my inspiration from local landscapes, people and cultural cues… with a little bit of myself mixed in there now and again. This keeps my product line relevant and allows a meaningful exchange between myself, as an artist, and the buyer. 

The ‘who’ of my inspiration is my grandmother, always on the other end of the phone line with the words to keep me going. I also have this poem called ‘Don’t Quit’ posted above my sewing machine. It’s on a lovely card that my grandfather gave me once, I read bits of it when I am in a rut and it really helps. And, lastly, I’m really inspired by the women I’ve met locally who have plugged through the struggles of starting up a business to become successful.

If you went on an adventure today, where would it take you?
Oh gosh, where wouldn’t it take me! That’s a tough question but if money were no issue, I would definitely take off to the Northwest Territories for a few weeks, I’ve never been there.


We worked on a custom bag together and I loved that we collaborated to create a unique product that was a combination of both of our tastes and was still easily recognized as a Ragmaw product! What was that process like for you?

It was fun and very rewarding! Ragmaw not about me, it’s about beautiful people accessing art and style that shows off their beauty and uniqueness.

When we were chatting, I was jotting down everything you said you wanted in your bag: geometric prints, neutral color palette. But, also, I was getting a feel for your personality: fun, fresh, and stylish (I got that from your outfit!).  

When I create a custom bag, I need to remove my personal taste but still keep my design eye in the process so that the person can look at the end results and see themselves. It is the best feeling to meet the people who wear my bags… it’s really awesome to see someone on the street wearing a Ragmaw!



What would you suggest to customers thinking about purchasing a Ragmaw product?
I would say they should check out my Facebook page, my website and follow me on Twitter where they can see my new work and get to know me, as an artist, through my videos and blog.  Purchasing a Ragmaw piece is about owning a bag that shows off your beauty and free-spirit. I love wearing my red daisy bag that I made over ten years ago… even now I feel like it’s a tangible piece of my personality that speaks for itself.

It’s really special to know the person who has made your favorite handbag – where and who they are. It’s a connectedness that is harder and harder to find nowadays. I think our best style purchases are made when we choose an item that represents our own unique style and  reminds us of our best self, these purchases are forever-loves.  I want people to purchase their Ragmaw handbag in this way.

You can find more Ragmaw Here:
Shop (+) Facebook (+) Twitter (+) Instagram (+) Blog

September 13, 2014

Petit Mail Celebrates 6 Months!

It's hard to believe that Petit Mail turns 6 months this month. I'm celebrating with a special 6 month birthday giveaway!


Win Petit Mail - Snail Mail Subscription for Children



Don't forget to pop over to the shop & order a gift subscription for that special child in your life.  

There's something for everyone, including 3, 6, & 12 month options + individual sample months available to Canada, US, and international subscribers. 

Petit Mail is a perfect gift for preschoolers & early readers.

Follow the prompts below for up to 23 chances to enter.  Giveaway ends on Monday, September 22, 2014 at midnight EST. Open to International readers. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway




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September 11, 2014

3 simple tips to take the stress out of gifting


Does gifting ever feel stressful to you?
Always stressful?

I hope not, but we all have our moments.
I will readily admit that thoughtful gifting does not always come easily to me.

Here are my 3 simple tips to take the stress out of gifting

1. Plan ahead (WAY ahead).
It's September.  Truthfully, I have most of my holiday shopping completed.
I don't say this to make you feel bad......I say this to share strategy.
Why?
I find that I'm relaxed and calm in the summer.  I think about gifts, I prepare, I pre-order. I visit local markets and talk to local creatives.  Sometimes I ask them to make custom products for me.

I make lists, I know who I'm shopping for.
Things seem to come together seamlessly in the Summer.  The closer I get to the holidays, the more stressed I feel about gifting.  Planning (way) ahead really simplifies the process for me.
So grab a notebook and get planning for your Fall and holiday gifts.

2. Use Your Ears.
No seriously, pay attention.  Listen.
People are telling you what they want.

I always say I'm the easiest person to shop for, ever. It's mostly because my husband listens to me and makes notes when I'm raving about/gushing over something in....March. He's the best. I've usually long-forgotten about whatever it is, but he has it written down somewhere.

Like everyone, I talk about things that I like or want, you just have to listen and make note.
If you are gifting children - ask a parent what they need.
If you are gifting someone that you don't actually know that well, should you really be giving them a gift? (I know, I know, but...really?)

A friend recently celebrated her birthday.  She told me "I keep telling everyone that I REALLY want passes to my favourite yoga studio for my birthday, but no one is listening".  Seriously, if people are telling you what they want, listen to them!
No one ever said gifting had to be some kind of magical unicorn.  (Click to Tweet)





3. Keep it Simple.
Do you ever over-think gifts? *raises hand* sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.
We are all human beings, and most of the time, we just want some thoughtful gesture, and to be together. Am I right? This is all part of my #slowgifting philosophy.

Make time for one another.
Buy local.
Buy handmade.
Support small business.
Gift food.
Gift experiences.
Gift books.
Gift time together.


Happy Gifting,

Alison

Do you have a way to take the stress out of gifting?  Be sure to share with us in the comments.



September 04, 2014

Simple DIY cards & projects with Omiyage

Editor's Note: Something a little new and different for you today!  I know a lot of readers like simple DIY projects for gifting (like cards & gift wrap) so I decided to interview one of my favourite bloggers for JUST THAT.  So pleased today to introduce you to Marisa of Omiyage. Hope you will be inspired by her creative DIY projects, perfect for thoughtful gifting.


Tell us a little bit about Omiyage - your blog and shop

Omiyage (pronounced OH-ME-AW-GAY) is Japanese for souvenir. But, in Japan, omiyage is so much more than just a souvenir, its a way of life, a way to share a taste of the culture you have visited with loved ones. In Japan, no matter how close or far you stray from home, you bring a little something back to share with family, friends and coworkers. When my husband and I relocated to Canada (or back to Canada, in my case) from Japan, we really missed many things about our Japanese life. I particularly missed the craft culture and stationery shops of Japan. Omiyage, the shop, was started to share some of my favourite things from Japan with Canadians and since then we've been able to expand our offerings to all sorts of global goodies... though Japanese washi tape is definitely what Omiyage is best known for.

Omiyage, the blog, is my creative outlet. Though one of my goals is to highlight different ways to use supplies sold in the shop, sometimes it's a bit of a selfish endeavour. Like last year's Send Pretty Mail Project or this year'sKirigami Project. I like to use the blog as a personal challenge to stay creative all year long and I love to share how and what I'm creating in hopes of inspiring others to make things too.


I love all of your creative DIY posts for cards and gift wrap, what inspires your creations?

Thanks! I have a lot of fun with DIY posts. It really depends... I try to offer at least one DIY post per week so I feel like one idea can inspire the next. I'm a firm believer that creativity is a muscle... the more you use it, the more ideas you'll have. Sometimes I start with a material I want to use, other times a specific goal - like when I'm creating for a holiday. And sometimes I'll spot something on the internet which inspires me to try something new.


Do you have any advice for someone who wants to create their own cards or snail mail? What's the best tip for getting started, even if someone says "I'm not creative enough to do that"?

Start simple and stretch your creative muscles from there. If you're unsure of where to start, find a piece of pretty mail you love (Pinterest is a great place for inspiration) and make your own version. I tend to use washi tape for most of my pretty mail - I love it because it's so forgiving, if you place a piece of tape in the wrong spot, simply peel it off and try again. And, if you hate what you've made, it's totally okay to tear it up and start again. I do it all the time!

We share a love of snail mail. What makes you passionate about sending notes and gifts by mail?

Our mailboxes are so boring most of the time - nothing but flyers and bills. Nothing makes me happier than going to check the mail and finding a beautiful letter or a box of surprises. Good mail makes for a great day! I love sharing that feeling with others. I also love to imagine that when we send a piece of mail art, it makes people happy all along its travels.


How do you celebrate special occasions? What's your favourite occasion to celebrate?

Pretty simply, actually. I think most of our special occasions revolve around food! It doesn't have to be gourmet, but homemade is best. Food is love, right? It's hard to choose a favourite occasion... I'm not too fond of birthdays but I love the magic of Christmas. The baking and the wrapping and all the goodness of the holiday season!

How do you spend Saturday mornings?

A bit of sleep-in followed by a slow homemade breakfast with my husband. If the weather is nice, we'll wander into town for visit to the bakery or the check out the local farmer's market. If it's not, nothing makes me happier than to curl up with a good book. Slow, simple & sweet - just how I like it! 

All images: Omiyage Blog

Tutorials from Omiyage:
Washi Tape Script Cards
Pretty Glitter Wrapping Ideas
Washi Tape Rosette Wrapping
Washi Tape Feathers

September 02, 2014

Petit Mail Update vol. 2

Here's a little peek into the world of Oliver + Olivia.
Perfect for preschoolers and early readers, Oliver and Olivia have an adventure each month - sent to your child in colourful envelopes. 

You can find 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions in the shop, along with individual sample months. 
For local readers, I will be selling at Some Good Market on Saturday, October 11.  Hope you'll come out and say hi!


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August 21, 2014

#booksforgifting {vol. 5}

a new summer series: my reading inspiration and suggested #booksforgifting



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Perfect for Gifting To: readers, book lovers, anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed in life, anyone wanting to slow the pace.  

Editor's Note: I have not been paid to promote these books.  All books featured in #booksforgifting are books that I personally own, love and gift.

xo
Alison