October 19, 2014

Introducing...Maker Mail

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I'm oh, so delighted to be participating in the OMHG Community co-op #makermail 2014 GIFTING EDITION with my product Petit Mail.

What is Maker Mail, you ask?
I'm so glad you did. 

MakerMail is a collaborative project entirely created by the OMHG community of makers. Each item is handmade with love & shipped from the Maker to you, a series of sweet little goodies arriving to brighten your day & connect you with our community! We want your MakerMail to feel like a gift from a dear friend, so each package comes with a personal handwritten note.

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There are two lovely options to choose from for the 2014 Gifting Edition:
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The Important Details

Signups begin October 15, close November 10 and this round’s goodies will go out on November 19 just in time for the holiday giving season. Products will be chosen at random for a sweet surprise at your door!

for all the gifting details, and to sign up!

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October 16, 2014

The Part Time Blogger {Life in Pictures + Links}

Hi Friends!

What's happening in the world of Alison + The Petit Cadeau?
Here's a little photo glimpse into my world + a few links I thought you might enjoy.

Play Mail

Newly launched in the Petit Cadeau shop. Petit Mail Play Mail - perfect for pretend play & post office play for preschoolers and early readers. Sold in sets of 5 - find them in the shop

(+) Finger Painting on large pieces of paper makes PERFECT gift wrap (+) Stamping packaging for the upcoming Maker Mail - more on this soon! (+) Putting the finishing touches on my handmade gift bags (+) Stamping envelopes for Petit Mail (+) Having fun at a card making class at The Paperie.

A few links you might enjoy:

(+) Rena Tom writes about "The Gift"
"The beauty about a gift is that it enables you to see the world in a different way, to seek out more beauty, and to want to grant that to someone else" Read the full article.
(+) Grab a last minute creative idea for Halloween from my BOO Pinterest board.

(+) From the blog archive: Host a Holiday Mitten Exchange.

October 09, 2014

Handmade Marathon: Humble Toys

Editor's Note: I found Anwen on Etsy when I was looking for the perfect handmade doll for my daughter NJ.  I fell in love with Anwen's dolls, and subsequently had a custom doll made just for us (shown below with the purple bunny ears).  I've been wanting to feature more Canadian makers, and am so happy to share Anwen's story/business with you today.  Enjoy!

 (+) Tell us about your business

My business is a bit ad-hoc.I I have two etsy shops but my main focus right now is my humbletoys shop where I sell the dolls that I make. You can find pictures of all the goods I make (kids and adults) on my facebook page . I love to sew and crochet and dream. Right now I am making lots of dolls, hats, scarves, fingerless gloves and other crocheted goodness - coming soon for Fall. 

For kids I strive to make dolls and creatures and things that I would have longed for as a child -- and er ... still do?!  I get a lot of joy from creating little beings that I know will be loved and played with and help to create a strong imagination and ignite creative play. I think play is a really important part of childhood - AND adulthood -
and making is a form of play for me.

(+) How did you get started?

I taught myself to crochet when I was about 13 - from a book. I pretty much have not stopped since then! I also got pretty interested in Waldorf philosophy and dolls around that time (and a bit earlier) and made a few waldorf dolls in high school and after. When I became pregnant with my first daughter I thought: Awesome! now I can have dolls and make dolls again! (thinking that this sort of behaviour needs justification - which I have since learned it certainly doesn't! We can have and make dolls without needing the excuse of kids being around! 

I started selling my crochet goods at the Guelph Farmer's Market after my husband insisted I do SOMETHING with the bags and bags full of handmade hats in the closet. I was always making something. This was the beginnings of my business as it is now. I have really only gotten *serious* about it the past few years - on and off. The style of dolls I have been making the past year and a half are a new era for me, in my business. 

(+) The gal/guy behind the business - Tell us about yourself, how do you spend your mornings, a little glimpse into your life, your family etc.

My name is Anwen. I live in a little village in southern Ontario, in a messy red-brick home full of messy love. 
I have 4 darling children- all girls, whom I adore. We spend our mornings eating pancakes or oatmeal, probably tiffing a little, cleaning, then being regular lay-abouts, it seems. Me with my trail of yarn and thread-bits trailing about the house - the rest of the family lolling about in play or chores. Sometimes we spend our mornings a little more diligently by waking and hauling my goods and the whole family off to the Farmer's and Artisans Western fairground market, in London, Ontario. A much better use of our time, to be sure. Our family's dose of adventure for the week!

(+) What inspires you? Where does your creativity come from?

That's a toughie. I find so much inspirational. The dawn, the birds, my girls, my friends, my friends' girls...WIND, wind in the trees, to be sure. Water, rain, mud, spiders, stars, quiet-quiet, strange dreams... Love, in general.  I like to do my making from the heart - creating something that I hope can bring a wee bit of joy and creativity into someone else's life. To inspire a small moment of play, reverie, forgetfulness, nostalgia. I don't much consider my creativity my own. I know it's kind of cliche, but a big part of being creative, for me, is getting my fearful self out of the way, so that something good can come to be. That is why, I think, I often set out to make FOR someone. It's not for me, it's for that special someone. Keeping this in mind makes making a real joy for me.

(+) What's one thing you would like to improve about your business?

Basically everything. I really struggle with the business side of business, so I'd like to improve my keeping blogs updates, facebook/interaction with clients, etsy announcements and connections etc. If I could just MAKE STUFF - and have the rest take care of itself that would be great - although the interaction is a big part of what fuels me - hearing sweet stories of people loving what they have received is a huge joy for me. Right now, with little kids, I find it hard some days to make myself do the nitty-gritty that I need to do. 

(+) What is the best gift you have ever given or received?

Definitely the best gifts ever are my children. And my husband is pretty awesome, too.

(+) How do you celebrate special occasions?

Usually I make a big list of yummy foods to make and decorations and make a big plan and all - then throw everything together ad-hoc at the end and make a big mess. We definitely have a family tradition of not making a big enough deal of special occasions!

(+) What do you do when you make time for yourself (you and only you)

Me, and only me? (what's that?) -- but really - If I do find myself with some time and I can stop myself from trying to catch up on something I think I need to do and/or creative business work (my "work" is really my "studious play", so I often DO spend my "me" time making things) ... I love to bubble a hot pot of tea (OOLONG) and sit
somewhere quiet - early mornings on the porch? - and do some writing, reading or drawing. I also LOVE spending time in the woods, so if I had a whole day or week I would definitely be there. Sipping tea, walking and playing guitar in front of the fire. *sigh*

You can find out more about Anwen here:

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October 06, 2014

The Petit Cadeau at Some Good Market - THIS WEEKEND

Local readers mark you calendars!

I'll be selling at Some Good Market this Saturday (October 11) from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

If you've never been to Some Good Market, it's a pop-up market that you will find at Canonwood Hall (St. Thomas' Church) - that's the blue church hall on the corner of Military Road and Kings Bridge Road -  a fabulous spot to support local, handmade business, and even get a jump start on your holiday shopping!

There is a small cash donation for entrance, supporting the Community Food Sharing Association.

I will be selling individual Petit Mail, including:
(+) Olivia Gets The Mail
(+) Oliver Explores Art
(+) Olivia The Superhero
(+) Oliver Loves To Read

as well as 3, 6 and 12 month Petit Mail subscriptions.

I've also been busy preparing my handmade gift bags and signature heirloom countdown calendars for the market.  Here's a look at some of the items I will have available on Saturday!  If you can't make it to the market, be sure to visit my Etsy shop - everything is also available online.

Handmade Gift Bags

Countdown Calendar

October 02, 2014


I've been thinking a lot about the word MORE.
On the surface, MORE is a very materialistic word. 
but it all depends on your view, of course.

what do you REALLY want MORE of?

I want more quiet time. more thoughtful gifting. more celebrations. more family time together. more laughter. more creativity. 

In reality, MORE perfectly reflects my slow gifting philosophy.

More handmade.
More local shopping.
More time without screens.
More cards made with love.
More experiencing.
More beautifully wrapped gifts.

When did gifting get so material, anyway?
gift from your heart - not from your wallet.

and how can you incorporate slow gifting into your life?
plan ahead.
visit local markets, shops and craft shows.
think about investing in one beautifully made item instead of five cheaper plastic ones.
teach your children about gratitude and manage their expectations about gifts
gift for the connection, for spending time with someone, for brightening someone's day.
What's your MORE? (Click to Tweet)

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:
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