November 13, 2014

One to Wear (+) One to Read (+) One to Play vol. 2

You might remember last year I shared a similar inspiration list for thoughtful gifting.
One to Wear (+) One to Read (+) One to Play. This year's inspiration is perfect for preschoolers and young children. 

In a world full of "stuff", I love this simple philosophy for slow gifting. 

These are the gifts that we are giving our 3 and a half year old daughter NJ for Christmas, with a focus on handmade and supporting small business. 

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Wear: Purple thrummed mittens by Manda's Mittens
Read: Petit Mail - snail mail subscription
Play: custom handmade doll by humble toys

November 06, 2014

Handmade Marathon: Maeby's Mobiles

Editor's Note:
I found Maegan at a local artisan's market and loved her gorgeous hanging paper art. I purchased one made from vintage storybooks as a gift for a baby shower. I'm beyond pleased to be featuring a local maker in the Handmade Marathon series for the second time in 2014, so grab a cup of tea and settle in to learn more about Maeby's Mobiles. 

(+) Tell us about your business

Maeby's Mobiles focuses on home decor through hanging paper mobiles and garland.  These unique handmade creations combine whimsical paper patterns, reloved materials, and carefully cut silhouettes to add colour and movement to any space!  Packaged perfectly to send in the mail, include inside a greeting card, or gift alone, Maeby's Mobiles are great for all occasions. Although the focus is on mobiles and home decor, Maeby's Mobiles occasionally sells other trinkets like wooden keychains!

 (+) How did you get started?

I worked in a local shop, and my boss had a hanging decoration. He said he didn't know where it came from, but wished he had more... I thought "I could make that!", and went home and tried. I drew up multiple silhouettes until I was happy and traced it over and over onto cardstock in pencil. Then I carefully cut out the shapes with cuticle scissors. 

Once I made one, I just wanted to keep making them... I used to get calluses on my fingers from cutting everything out. I also used to use my Nan's old sewing machine, until it literally started smoking and I had to buy a new one!

I started out selling them in the shop but now I've branched out independently, and that's how Maeby's Mobiles got started!

(+) 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'm a 25 year old substitute teacher, who also works in an office part time. I live with my boyfriend (Andrew) and cat (Parton). I love walking around downtown, looking at shop windows, trying out new DIY projects, or curling up and watching something on Netflix. If you ask my friends about me, most of them would say that I tend to juggle multiple things at once but I always manage to get everything done! Some of my favourite things are Harry Potter, cats, tea, Pretty Little Liars, thrift shopping, and salsa (the food not the dance! I have two left feet).

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

I'm mostly inspired by things that surround me everyday; Newfoundland, books, nature, animals, maps, and clouds, but also geometric shapes, unusual colour combinations, shadows, and the way light falls just so. My sister also inspires me, because we've always said "I can make that" instead of just buying something. I think everyone has creativity that comes from within; the difficult part is finding a way to express it and externalize it!

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

There are always new things to learn and improve on when you are trying to run your own business! I'd love to learn how to take better product pictures. Right now, I play around with my camera and take some okay pictures, but I don't actually know anything about lighting, aperture, or exposure. I find people enjoy seeing different ways you can decorate and use my mobiles and garland in your home, so I'm trying to include more pictures that show that! After I improve my photography, I hope to open an etsy store to branch out and share my products with more people! Also, while completing this interview I realized I don't have a logo so maybe that's something else I can work on next.

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

This is a tough question! One of the best gifts I've ever received was a vintage typewriter, and I think the best gift I've ever given was an avocado green Easy-Bake Oven from 1971 (and it still worked!). I've been known to give some handmade gifts as well, like I personalized an ironing board cover for one of my friends recently!

(+) How do you celebrate special occasions?

Celebrating special occasions in my family is usually pretty low key. We like to be around family and friends and we like to eat good food! We eat until we're too full, it doesn't really matter if it's a home cooked meal or in a restaurant, and then we sit around together and talk. Everyone is always so busy and usually have so many things to do that it's nice to relax and spend time together. One thing that is kinda special is that when Andrew and I celebrate something it almost ALWAYS includes nachos!

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

I'm a pretty low key person. I enjoy going for walks, drinking tea, and watching shows on Netflix. I browse Pinterest and blogs for fashion, home decor, and diy inspiration. I like being lazy! Sometimes I'll try creating something new or I shop my own closet and try to come up with new outfits. I also really enjoy going to thrift stores or secondhand shops when I have "me" time because they are usually quiet but it still gets me out of the house. I find it therapeutic browsing through, looking for hidden treasures and one of a kind objects and letting my mind wander.

(+) where can local shoppers find Maeby's mobiles?

Maeby's Mobiles are currently sold directly through me! Local shoppers can check out my Facebook page and message me there or send me an email to purchase mobiles or create a custom order. When you visit my page you can also LIKE it so you will know if I will be appearing at any local craft fairs or markets. I have a table at my first ever Some Good Market this Fall, so I am excited to meet new people and share my creations with whoever drops by. Mobiles are also available at Busy Hands Arts and Crafts Store in Carbonear. You can also check them out and like their page here:

You can find more Maeby's Mobiles here:

(+) Facebook (+) Twitter (+) Instagram 

October 30, 2014

Petit Mail Update vol. 3

It has been a busy few months for Petit Mail and I'm back to share a look at the stories for November and December 2014.

Olivia's Acts of Kindness and Oliver Bakes Cookies

Subscriptions for Children

Gift Subscription for Children
Planning to order a Petit Mail subscription as a holiday gift?
Get a head-start on your shopping and simply let me know "January start" when you check out in the shop. Don't forget you can download & print a free gift card to accompany your gift.

As you know, I love when readers/subscriptions share photos of their Petit Mail subscriptions.  Cody was the winner of the Petit Mail 6 month anniversary giveaway - thanks for sharing Cody & keep those photos coming subscribers! 

In other exciting news for local shoppers, Petit Mail individual cards are now available at Urchin (197 Water Street. St. John's, NL).

Individual Petit Mail cards are full-colour, double-sided stories featuring the adventures of Oliver and Olivia and include a bright, fun envelope. 

Give Petit Mail as a gift for reading/play (stocking stuffer, birthday gift) OR add a stamp to the envelope and send happy mail to someone special. 

Perfect for preschoolers, early readers and pretend play (post office or play mail). You can also find them in the online shop

Snail Mail for Children
Subscriptions for Children

Happy Gifting!


October 23, 2014

Snail Mail Care Packages

Sometimes you want to show you care, but you aren't sure how.
Sometimes you want to give a little something to someone who lives far away.
Sometimes a little effort + a beautiful presentation can really brighten someone's day.

So I put together some snail mail care packages with little notes and a gift card.

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I used beautiful envelopes and paper, most of which were sent to me by Joy via Marisa when I told some of my online friends about this project.

"this is a text msg" envelopes from isavirtue - I just love her creative cleverness, don't you?

Feel inspired?
Take the time to send someone beautiful snail mail. I promise it will make their day.



October 19, 2014

Introducing...Maker Mail

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.

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

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!

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!

Handmade dolls

 (+) 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.

handmade dolls

(+) 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. 

handmade dolls(+) 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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