May 24, 2016

The One Thing I Really Want For My Birthday This Year

it's getting to be that time of year when I start thinking about my birthday..

not from an age perspective, I could care less about being another year older, and besides, you're only as old (or young) as you feel.

if you've been following along recently, you'll know that I'm working toward taking things slowly.
focusing on what really matters

here, I talk mostly about the things we gift to others
today I spent some time thinking about what I would like for my birthday this year.

the answer, dear friends, is TIME.

your thoughtful gifts, tied up in bows or string..they are lovely.  I appreciate them so much
but it's not what I really want

As I spend 34 years walking along this little journey called life, the thing that is most important to me is spending time with the people that I care about.  and I don't get nearly enough of that.

here's the thing.  if I make you a part of my life, in whatever capacity that may be, you are important to me (this might be a page from my introvert's guide to life).  and here's what I really want from you

call me up, or send me an e-mail to check my schedule
plan an hour, a half day, a day, an evening

let's go for a walk
a hike
let's go to lunch
to dinner
to brunch
let's have a coffee
let's get tickets to a special event
let's go for a drive and sit by the ocean and catch up
if you are far away, let's schedule a phone call or a video chat at a good time for both of us (this can be more complicated than it first sounds)
go to the park and eat ice cream
let's talk to each other
let's catch up
let's be

a while ago, I discovered Christina Crook's TEDx Talk Letting Go of Technology (well worth your time to watch) and during her talk she says the most fantastic thing

"present people, people who look you right in the eye, are a rare and wonderful breed"

your presence is the best present
this is what I really want this year

April 20, 2016

How To Simplify Gifting with a "Signature Gift"

It's no secret that I've been on a bit of a journey to simplify things in my life.  Gifting can sometimes feel....stressful...if you let it.  

Lately the idea of having a "signature gift" has been really appealing to me.  Growing up, a cousin always sent a holiday package with a few surprises, but always her hand-rolled beeswax candles.  Those were her signature gift, and every year I looked forward to that delightful beeswax smell wrapped up in a brown paper package. 

Simplify Gifting with a Signature Gift

What is a signature gift?
To me, a signature gift is a gift that you give to everyone for the same occasion. It simplifies the process of thinking about gifts, while still being thoughtful. 

There are many possibilities for signature gifts, but here are some that I find inspirational for a variety of gifting occasions.

(+) Simple DIY flower bouquets - collect small, unique or vintage vases, then put together simple bouquets of in-season flowers when you need a gift.  

Simplify with a Signature Gift

(+) DIY surprise envelope books (for gift cards or small objects)

(+) A book that you love and know others will love as well.  I frequently purchase books in multiples and gift them to friends.  My caveat is that I only gift books to fellow readers.

(+) For kids, a snail mail subscription like Petit Mail

Petit Mail Subscription for Kids - give a subscription gift

(+) Jewelry from the same shop or artist/maker

(+) A Homemade Breakfast Basket

(+) A loaf of homemade bread wrapped in parchment and twine

Simplify Gifting with a Signature Gift

(+) Handmade mittens - if you don't knit, shop local and support a maker in your community.

(+) Handmade clementine wreaths (find the tutorial here)

Simplify Gifting with a Signature Gift

(+) Mason jars of homemade Granola - I use this simple + easy 5 ingredient recipe for my granola, and it's delicious. 

(+) The gift of your time or experiences ( I wrote about gifting your unique skills here - don't underestimate how many people might appreciate this!)

(+) Basket of fresh, in-season berries

Special Occasions 

(+) Gift certificates or money wrapped in a handmade LOVE gift bag

(+) Heirloom tooth fairy pouches

I would love to keep growing this list! Do you have a signature gift idea that you love to give? Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and let's keep the conversation going. 

April 05, 2016

Heirloom Baby Gift Idea

Hello Baby Greeting Card

Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings...and babies! 
A couple of years ago, I started making these simple handmade "hello baby" greeting cards for baby showers and I wanted to share my inspiration for a unique heirloom baby gift

I have been thinking about baby shower gifts lately.  New parents need lot's of useful and practical things, but my recent journey to simplify + declutter in my own life has me thinking about gifts and objects that I give to others in a whole new way.  

Gifting Inspiration

Package together a handmade heirloom tooth fairy pouch with a handmade greeting card + a gift card for the baby registry.  Recipients enjoy a beautiful, useful gift that can be used by their children for years to come and can pick out items for baby that are really needed.  Your gift will be sure to stand out from the crowd. 

Heirloom Baby Gift

January 14, 2016

Gift Baskets: The "Sunday Morning" Basket

Every now and then, I like to play around with a themed gift.  I had been thinking about a breakfast-themed gift basket for a while, so I decided to call this one the "Sunday Morning" gift basket, complete with a handmade pennant flag. 

Gift Basket Ideas

Handmade Gift Basket

Homemade Pancake mix

Homemade Granola

This gift basket had most everything one might need for a relaxing breakfast, including:

(+) homemade pancake mix (a family recipe)
(+) home granola - I use this recipe
(+) Canadian maple syrup
(+) "silence" soy candle by Saje Natural Wellness
(+) locally made Trinity Coffee Co. coffee beans

Mason jar toppers hand stamped and heat embossed in white.
Pennant flag heat embossed in my handwriting.

December 22, 2015

Christmas Eve Box

We have a lot of special family traditions in our home - like our Christmas Eve Box.  

Our box is actually a basket (for now) and I made these Christmas Eve pennant flags with red card stock, then heat embossed my handwriting in white (because I love a little heat embossing!)

Christmas Eve Box

Christmas Eve Box

Our Christmas Eve box items are not elaborate - a new pair of Christmas pyjamas and a new book to read at bedtime on Christmas Eve.  I bought this particular book, a Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree several years ago when we were in New York and have been saving it.  Next year's book will probably be The Polar Express.  

When the kids are older, we will probably add some special handmade mugs and hot chocolate. 

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

November 19, 2015

Mitten Exchange - Thoughtful Holiday Gifting

Editor's Note: This is one of my favourite holiday-themed posts, and I wanted to share it again. A mitten exchange is a wonderful way to celebrate the season with a group of friends or family.  If you don't knit, support handmade and purchase a pair from a local craft fair, maker or shop. 

Holiday Gift Exchange

Start a New Gifting Tradition

Planning a mitten exchange as a new gifting tradition. A mitten exchange works perfectly for friend groups, co-worker groups, large families, and anyone else who loves the idea of receiving a beautiful new pair of handmade mittens.

Holiday Gift Exchange
Mitten Exchange 

Celebrating with a Mitten Exchange
The exchange can be set-up in several ways:

(+) Assign each participant a person to shop for in advance.  This option works well if you have different sizing needs (such as children and adults) or need to suit a wide variety of styles.


(+) Purchase (handmade preferred!) or knit your own mittens, and wrap your mittens without knowing who the recipient will be. Bring wrapped mittens to the exchange and assign a number to each gift.  Each person draws a number and matches it to his or her gift. 


(+) choose your own way!  The possibilities are endless.

Plan a date, time, and location for your exchange.  Encourage creative gift wrap. You can package your mittens with a beautiful handmade tag, like this one, embossed in silver.

Thrummed Mittens

Handmade Mitten Tags

Want more Mitten Exchange Inspiration?
See how 5 friends each wrapped a pair of mittens for the exchange.  Gorgeous gift wrap inspiration for any gift!

Featured Handmade Mittens

Love the mittens that you see here? Be sure to visit each of the individual hand makers featured here this week:  (+) Handmade red & pink mittens made with 100% pure Icelandic wool from pureIceland (+) one of a kind upcycled sweater mittens from MadeAgainMittens (+) Upcycled felted sweater mittens from Wormewoole (+) Sheep's grey hand knit thrummed mittens from Manda's Mittens.

November 16, 2015

The 5 Best Reasons to give Kids Gift Subscriptions

 photo presence-present_zpsfbvfkmm6.jpg 

I've been thinking lately about gift subscriptions, and why they make the best gifts for kids.

Our kids. They want our attention. They want us to spend time with them. They want to know we are there, close by, engaged with them.

As a full-time working outside the home mom, I felt like my time for presence was SO limited. That's part of the reason why I created Petit Mail - a story card to read together, a link and ideas for easy activities we can do together. Sometimes it's hard to come up with activities on the spot - it's a little easier with a helping hand. Plus, snail mail is the MOST FUN. Don't you agree?

Here's a list of my Top 5 Reasons to give Gift Subscriptions for Kids

Reason 1
Gift subscriptions keep giving well past the holiday.  It is the age-old "gift that keeps on giving" when something new and fun arrives in the mailbox each month. 

Reason 2
Kids LOVE to get mail. Mail with their name on it. Bright, colourful mail.  It can be a really joyful experience, especially the first time a subscription arrives.

Reason 3
During gift-giving times, especially during the holidays, there are SO. MANY. TOYS. Yes, the toys are exciting for a short period of time, but often lose their appeal quickly. Subscriptions do no add to the pile.  They offer something deeper.  See reason 4. 

Reason 4
Subscriptions spark learning and imagination in a fun way. They encourage creative play and quality time spent together as a family. They are the perfect non-toy gift

Reason 5
Subscriptions offer you the ability to give the best gift of all - your presence.  Your presence while you read together each month and your presence in the parent-child activities your subscription provides. 

 photo IMG_5223_zps5ncp6qes.jpg

I created Petit Mail Monthly Subscription for Kids - Story Card Subscription for preschoolers and early readers for all of the above reasons.

Give your child the perfect non-toy gift. Each month, your child will receive a fun letter via snail mail. Petit Mail provides something to look forward to receiving and encourages quality time together as a family. Some months include little extras, like stickers and other goodies.

How Does Petit Mail work?

Order: Choose from Canadian, USA, or International subscriptions and from 3, 6 or 12 month options. 

Receive: Check the mailbox together regularly, talk & connect, explore your surroundings

Read & Play Together: Read your story card & use the monthly adventure as inspiration for family time activities.  
Oliver's putting on a puppet show? You can too! 

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail.

 photo IMG_5224_zpstmuwviqy.jpg

Need a gift subscription for the holidays? 

The Petit Mail Story Card Holiday Gift Set includes:

(+) A pre-packaged, double-sided Petit Mail story card - "Oliver Bakes Cookies" and envelope, ready for gifting or mailing.
(+) A gift subscription card and pre-ordered gift subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months (you choose your start month - December or January)
(+) Gift Set Mailing costs included with your order for Canada and US addresses