June 15, 2015

Slow Gifting: Sanctuary

A few weeks ago, I found myself alone.

What's so special about being alone? 
I am an only child, and I also consider myself to be an introvert, although many people don't quite "get it", because I love to chat and interact.  However, my clearest introvert trait is that I am really only able to fully recharge in quiet, in solitude. 

Alone. for 24 hours. 


It was so tempting to tackle the back-log of things to do.
Endless lists, miles long.
Blogging work, business work, creative work, house work, mama work.
All the things.

Instead.  I forced myself to create some sanctuary. 

I made myself a cup of tea and finished it before it got cold.
I lazed on the couch and watched a movie on Netflix.  It was this one, if you're interested.
I read.
I slept.
I made freshly squeezed orange juice.
I browsed Pinterest for fun. I've been creating Boards that inspire me, like Wanderlust and for those with children, my favourite board right now is my Family Time board.  Inspiring creative moments with my family.
I stared at the leftovers in the fridge and then I ignored them and made myself exactly what I felt like eating. A huge bowl of pasta, with sautéed red onions, smothered in pesto and topped with grated parmesan.

The little gifts we give ourselves are so important, but often the most neglected.
Your sanctuary might not look exactly like mine, but you have your own idea of sanctuary.

Think about it.
Create it for yourself.
A gift we can give ourselves.

I'm preparing to wind down for the Summer and take a little blogging break. 
I'll be working on lot's of Petit Cadeau products and plans & preparations for the Etsy: Made In Canada market here in St. John's on September 26 (mark your calendars!).


Enjoy your Summer and I look forward to connecting and sharing wonderful new content in the Fall.

June 01, 2015

How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift

Summer is here, and so is wedding season.

Wedding gifts can be an incredibly tricky item in the thoughtfulness category.
It is challenging to buy a personalized gift for a couple unless you know them extremely well
i.e. sibling. best friend in the universe. etc.

Even then.
Perhaps the couple has been living together for a while and already have all of the house gadgets and linens that they need.
Perhaps they are trying to minimize the clutter in their lives.
Perhaps they have an eclectic, artsy, country, traditional ..... (the list goes on) style that you just can't seem to match.

Here's my thought on this whole matter.

How to Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift. 


How to Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift


Give money or gift certificates, but make it personal and BEAUTIFUL.

Here's what I've been gifting.  I started making heirloom linen gift bags, hand-embroidered with the word "love" in my handwriting. They are perfectly sized at 6" x 8" to act as a stunning envelope for a handmade greeting card + a couple of other goodies, if you choose.

Imagine your card in a handmade fabric gift envelope, the shining star among all the other cards in the wedding card "fishbowl".  It will be sure to stand out as a thoughtful gift.


How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift

The "love" wedding gift bags are reusable and can be passed along from generation to generation.  I encourage couples to use them to store all of the special cards from their wedding day, or, to use the bag year after year to gift small moments to each other on their wedding anniversary.

Add a Handmade Greeting Card


How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift


I chose the word "connection" as my word of the year for 2015. As such, I've teamed up with Kaitlyn from Canadian stationery shop isavirtue to offer the "love" gift bags in a limited edition set with a handmade greeting card. 

Write your message to the happy couple on a gold-embossed greeting card "first comes love, then comes marriage", then tuck it inside your fabric gift bag.

Slow Gifting

As part of my slow gifting philosophy, simple is better.  By adding the extra little touches to make your gift beautiful, it becomes memorable.  It becomes something to keep and treasure. 

It says "I care about you deeply" while still allowing the couple to make their own choices. 








May 21, 2015

Preschool Birthday: Puppy Party

A Puppy Party. 
Perfect for 4 year old girls. 

We opted for a small at-home party this year with just a few friends. It was so lovely and let me pay extra attention to the party details without feeling stressed. 


Puppy Party Favor

The puppy adoption party went something like this:

(+) Choose a puppy

(+) Name Your Puppy and fill out a Certificate of Adoption

(+) Give Your Puppy a Check-Up (we put all of our Doc McStuffins toys to good use)

(+) Decorate a Puppy House/Carrier. I had originally planned to use gable boxes, but instead we used these square gift boxes, cut an opening and I sealed the edges with washi tape. The girls then had a wide variety of stickers (including letters that spelled their name) to decorate their puppy houses. 

(+) Make A Collar for your puppy.

Puppy Party Favor

Puppy Party Favor

Inspiration and free printables for this party from several sources, including:

(+) Pretend Play vet patient chart from A Longing Fulfilled Blog.  I printed these in colour and had them laminated so that they can be used over and over again.
(+) Pink dog "Certificate of Adoption" (not shown) from Chickabug blog.
(+) DIY puppy collars made using craft foam sheets and stick-on jewels (found via AmericanGirlFan)
(+) Other Puppy Party inspiration via: Catch My Party

May 16, 2015

Etsy: Made In Canada St. John's


Etsy St. John's Market


What is Etsy: Made in Canada?

Etsy: Made in Canada is a national grassroots initiative celebrating the crafters, collectors, and artisans in local communities across Canada. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 From coast to coast, Canadian cities and towns will be participating in this one-day event, marking out sophomore year celebrating this national marketplace movement. Learn more about Made in Canada here http://etsy.me/1GYawKn.

I am so excited to be the team lead for the first ever Etsy: Made In Canada St. John's Market. 
Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 26th and stay tuned for more details. 

(+) Like Etsy St. John's on Facebook 
(+) Etsy: Made in Canada St. John's Market Event Page
(+) Find inspiration for beautiful, locally made products on the "Newfoundland Makers" Pinterest Board. 
(+) Find inspiration for beautiful, locally made products on the "Newfoundland Makers" curated Etsy board



The Etsy St. John's Team is part of a wonderful, collaborative group of makers from Atlantic Canada called Maritime Makers. Stay tuned as we feature makers from the Etsy St. John's team in the coming months. 

In the meantime, be sure to check out:

Maritime Makers Web site (+) Maritime Makers on Facebook (+) Maritime Makers on Etsy



Interested in Selling at Etsy: Made In Canada?

Vendor Applications are now open for the St. John's Market until June 21, 2015.

and join the Etsy St. John's Team



Been Thinking About Selling On Etsy?

Etsy is offering a new online program called Etsy: 30 Day Challenge - the goal is to help those new to the platform open a quality Etsy shop in 30 days - just in time to apply to sell at Etsy: Made in Canada.

etsy.com/madeincanada/etsychallenge

It's FREE and easy to sign up!

1. Open a draft shop to start the Challenge - Use Promo code 'EtsyChallenge' at etsy.com/promotions and get your first 20 listings free (Listings are normally 20 cents). If you already have an Etsy shop but are looking to improve or grow your online business, you are still welcome to join the program.

2. Join the facebook group (link: www.facebook.com/groups/494217720731698/) between May 19 and June 15 to receive daily inspiration and tips from successful Etsy sellers and stay on track with the 4-week lesson plan. You can post questions here too, and get them answered directly by mentors.

3. Tell your community that you're taking the ‪#‎EtsyChallenge‬ and inspire others to join!

May 07, 2015

Handmade Marathon: Jessica Vellenga

Editor's Note: I had the absolute pleasure of sitting next to Jessica for a day at the Etsy Captain's summit in Toronto in February and love the vintage style of her handmade products. Let's meet Jessica and learn more about her inspiring creative life in the Yukon. 

(+) Tell us about your business 

I am an artist, craftivist and cultural worker based to our Whitehorse, Yukon. I love to make a lot of different accessories and fashion, with a focus on sustainability using vintage and antique textiles. I have designed a line of vintage inspired lingerie, each piece is one of a kind and handmade with luxurious materials such as silk, mohair, cashmere, angora as well as a collection of vintage and antique lace and textiles. I want people to feel confident, comfortable and beautiful in the items I create. I sell at local craft fairs, vintage pop ups and on Etsy.

 photo richelieu bra jvellenga_zpsqinprrvn.jpg


(+) How did you get started? 

I'm a compulsive creator, always working on new projects, I started selling my jewelry and accessories locally and the next step was to start an Etsy shop as a way promote my work beyond our Northern town to a larger global market that appreciates handmade. The lingerie series was a longtime goal I was able to accomplish when I was offered to premiere the line at Boundless Fashion from Canada's North for Northern Scene, presented by the National Arts Centre.

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


I live a sun filled apartment with a view of the mountains with my partner Doug, our two cats, lots of plants and vintage cameras in Whitehorse, YT. Most weekends I can be found in my studio, a small historic cabin on the banks of the Yukon river, surrounded by vintage and antique textiles, and numerous sewing machines. If I'm not in my studio, I"m working at creating community based art projects, yarn bombing, hiking, hosting vintage pop up shops, walking and harvesting in the forest and working at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery.

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


I'm inspired by and spend a lot of time researching global historic textiles and current textile practices. I consider working with the gifted and found textiles as a collaboration with the original creators, a way of continuing the creative process and keeping the work alive by transforming it into a work of art or accessories.



 photo antique lace penant jvellenga_zpsjyapwm9d.jpg

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

Its always a balance working full time and maintaining an art practice and fashion and accessory design, my small business could use more economic stability and better marketing and promotion.

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



Tough question, I always try to give thoughtful gifts and have kindly received many in return, though my most honored gift I've received would be my great grandmothers wedding band.

 photo textile pendant jvellenga_zpsceuxofec.jpg


(+) How do you celebrate special occasions? 

Just the two of us or with a small gathering of friends and family.

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


Creating at my studio or afternoons for a walks or yoga.




 photo 542922_10152411327230331_875318825_n_zpsb86bj43u.jpg
You can find more Jessica Vellenga here:

Facebook (+) Instagram (+) Twitter (+) Etsy shop (+) website






April 30, 2015

Things I'm Gifting vol. 5

This year I've wanted to share more inspiration with you for beautifully wrapped packages.

I've been starting, for the most part, with gifts wrapped in white paper.  
Then I experiment & play around.
Every result is different, but special. 

Pretty Gift Wrap

Pretty Gift Wrap

Handmade Gift Wrap




April 16, 2015

Do You Really Need More Than This?

This quote.
It has been sitting with me for a while.

Slow Gifting

Even though the original purpose of this text has nothing to do with gift-giving, it really speaks to it, don't you think?  I keep returning to this book.

I have started an ongoing process of decluttering our home, inspired by Tania at Manusmade and have just been thinking about all the material objects that we have, keep and gift.

What purpose do they serve?
How can we gift thoughtfully, but also in a more mindful and practical way so as not to clutter the lives of others?

Then. This article from The Art of Simple came my way about minimizing kids toys.  I shared it on my Facebook page and got a great response from many of you. A family travelling the world and living out of backpacks (with just a few toys).  So powerful.
How much do we really need to spark imagination, creativity and joy in gift-giving?

I have written about these #slowgifting topics before, like MORE, 3 Simple Tips to take the Stress out of Gifting, and other posts in this category, but I, like everyone, need regular reminders and inspiration.

I'm planning to give more experience gifts this year. I'm sending pretty packages by mail.  I'm giving books that can be read and donated, or passed along afterwards.
Or for children, homemade gifts that can spark imagination and be played with for a shorter period of time, then easily disposed of, or passed along, if necessary.

Does this quote speak to you as well?
I'd love to hear from you.


Book Source: Sabbath by Wayne Muller.