July 04, 2017

Handmade Marathon: Antisewcial

Editor's Note: A few weeks ago I spotted a new-to-me local business and I knew it would be the perfect way to jump back into the Handmade Marathon series!  Thanks to Megan from Ragmaw (who you might remember from this Handmade Marathon feature a few years ago) for the introduction.

Tell us about your business

Hi! I’m Carolyn, owner and solo sewist of Antisewcial’s handmade natural fashion in Newfoundland. I am a mom of two active boys and a proud RCMP spouse. My goal in life is to do more of what makes me happy and surround myself with people, places and things who bring in the light and spark my creativity.

How did you get started?
After living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia for 8 years, I fell in love with everything inspired by nature and handmade. My favourite pastime with my family was (and still is!) visiting local markets and finding unique handmade treasures that you can feel were made with love.

I actually remember the first time I purchased the cutest pair of organic pants for my 1st born. It was an emergency purchase after my little one had their very first public *accident* in their pants! Haha! First of many to come, these perfect little pants are still in #2’s closet and look brand new. The quality of these handmade pants couldn’t even come close to anything else I had owned in the past. The material is divine and you can feel the intention and love behind them.

Ethical, sustainable and handmade, you complete me!

What inspires you? Where does your creativity come from?
Over time, my life became focused less on consumption and more on simple, clean living. When my family and I moved back home to Newfoundland it was a fresh start and we make our consumer purchases conscious ones.

I dove in to create a space in my home, and my life, that would inspire me to do more of what I love, sewing and creating natural fashion. In an era surrounded by disposable fast fashion it is difficult to find great, simple, ethically-made basics, especially for children, that are not heavily branded from head to toe. I love putting a fun twist on everyday cozy clothes and creating comfortable clothing that kids want to wear. All of the clothing that I design is made from bamboo or organic cotton fabric and made for Newfoundland’s unpredictable weather.

My goal for Antisewcial is not to outfit as many people as possible or make as much money as possible (sorry darling husband!) but to continue my journey doing what I love and hopefully inspire others to support the local makers out there in our community. I sew because it makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy as well!

What's one thing you would like to improve about your business?
Something I would like to improve about Antisewcial is time! I think we are all looking for a little more time in our day to get it all done. Working at home with two small pre-school aged children, and a husband who works away, definitely has its challenges. I would like more time to sew and create and even add in some of my "Blow Me Down" Hoodies for adults, but that is not my reality right now. My time will come, I know it will! When it does, I will have more time for Antisewcial, but I bet I will be a sappy mess not having those two little ones pulling at my measuring tapes, pins and fabric scraps.

What is the best gift you have ever given or received?
One of the best gifts I have ever received was after my little boy, Tobin, was born. My co-workers got together and they each took a week to make my family meals as I recovered. Each week one person dropped off their homemade meals and even included some for the freezer. It was so thoughtful and so incredibly helpful. We really didn’t need to worry about meals for over a month. I was living very far away from family and it made us feel so loved and cared for.

What do you do when you make time for yourself (you and only you)
Making time for myself is a difficult one for me and I could use some help in that department. I recognize the need for taking time out but I seldom make it happen. Time for myself these days is usually spent sewing or doing absolutely NOTHING when my children go to bed.

You can find more Antisewcial here: 

Shop (+) Facebook (+) Instagram

June 26, 2017

Thoughtful Gifting

Hello, June 2017.
It has been over a year since I have written and shared here.

I started The Petit Cadeau blog so that I could share ideas with you that brought me JOY, and for a little while over the past year, that joy was missing.  I didn't mean to take such a long break away from here (good intentions, right?) but I knew that the past year would be a "year of transitions" - going back full time to my 9-5 job, and balancing 2 small kids & family along with a small business, so I decided to focus my limited energy on Petit Mail for a while.

Honestly, over the past year, I haven't focused much on thoughtful gifting OR my creative side.  It has sort of been a year of survival, but I finally feel like I'm finding the balance again, and I have missed writing, missed creating, missed sharing ideas here, with you.

I'm already planning posts and new #handmademarathon features for the coming months.

I feel excited, and inspired again.  I hope you'll continue on this journey of handmade, simple, unique and thoughtful with me.

In the meantime, here are a few things I'm loving right now:

(+) The Art of Simple Podcast

(+) Beeswax Candles - I'm burning these right now

(+) Books: A Year Between Friends |  The Futures

(+) Duolingo App

(+) A Simplified Wardrobe: Project 333

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!