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

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.

It's FREE and easy to sign up!

1. Open a draft shop to start the Challenge - Use Promo code 'EtsyChallenge' at 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: 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.

April 09, 2015

Handmade Marathon: Violet's Buds

Editor's Note:  I recently participated in a snail mail "swap" with Melanie of Violet's Buds.  I sent her a Petit Mail card for her daughter, and she sent me this beautiful purple hair clip for NJ. We LOVE getting surprises in the mail! Let's meet Melanie and learn a little more about her business.

Purple Handmade Hair Clip

(+) Tell us about your business

My shop Violet's Buds is full of handmade accessories for all ages. The majority of the fabrics used in my pieces are either remnants, or are upcycled from clothing & linens. Beads, pendants, & buttons in Violet's Buds accessories come from old & sometimes broken costume jewelry, old clothing, or scouted out at flea markets. I re-purpose the materials into one of a kind pieces. This allows me to reduce waste, and give new life to otherwise forgotten items.

In addition, I write a blog that includes crafts, tutorials, recipes, and features other handmade and indie shops weekly.

(+) How did you get started?

When my daughter was 6 months old I decided to try making her some cute hair accessories. It quickly became an addiction, and I began making clips and headbands for my nieces and friends. After encouragement from friends and family, I opened Violet's Buds in March of 2011. I started by selling headbands and clips for young girls, and have expanded to include hair accessories for all ages, fabric jewelry, photo props, newborn crowns, and holiday ornaments. I also make custom maternity sashes and wedding accessories upon request. I just started a new line of hoop art decor that uses the same fabrics and flowers as the hair accessories.


(+) 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 Melanie, and I am a happily married stay at home mom with an energetic preschooler. My husband Scott is crafty as well and owns the shop GipsonWands. We like to spend the weekends having family time, and each do our own crafty projects when our daughter has "quiet playtime."
In addition to making hair accessories and hoop art, I enjoy photography, reading, and blogging. I am passionate about animal rescue and have been a foster family for dogs in the past.

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

I greatly enjoy the creative process and the therapeutic outlet that crafting gives me. I've always been drawn to art, photography and crafts. I am inspired by the fabrics I receive, my daughter and her style, nature, and by brainstorming with other crafters. Recently I've attended monthly craft dates with Cody from Lu & Ed, and Kelly from Kiser Krafts. Being around other talented people is very motivating and really gets my creativity flowing. 

Handmade Hair Clip

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

Balancing work and personal life is a constant challenge for me. One of my main goals is to become better organized, both in business and my personal life, and stick to a schedule to prevent burnout. I believe if I can become more organized that it will improve my business.

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

One of my favorite gifts that I've received was from my dad. For my wedding he gave me a portrait that he had painted of me when I was a child.

The best gift that I have given recently was this set of handmade Harry Potter peg people from Landon's Toy Box. My husband is a big Harry Potter fan and the peg people were a big hit.
Handmade Hair Clip

(+) How do you celebrate special occasions?

For the most part, our celebrations are fairly low key. We do try to have a fun party with friends & family for my daughter's birthday. Its easy to get inspired by Pinterest birthday party ideas!

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

It's not often that I make time for only myself! I do enjoy having a cup of coffee and reading a good book, sometimes while soaking in a hot bath.

You can find more Violet's Buds here: 

Shop (+) Blog (+) Facebook (+) Twitter (+) Pinterest

p.s. this is a beautiful photo that Melanie took of her daughter learning + exploring with her Petit Mail story card "Oliver Explores Art".  Thanks Melanie!

Educational Story Card

April 02, 2015

Creative Easter Basket Fillers

For the past few years, I've been sharing some creative inspiration for filling your child's Easter basket.  The contents grow with NJ, who is now 4.  

This year I'm keeping things simple with some stickers, a few treats, and a little DIY play set for dramatic play! 

Easter Treat Toppers

Doctor Dramatic Play

(+) Free Printable BUNNY TAILS bag topper from Frog Prince Paperie.  I filled the clear treat bags with colourful mini marshmallows.

(+) A DIY play prescription pad from the blog testy yet trying, and Plush Pals Clinic fabric bandaids for pretend play.  

You can find more inspiration for Easter basket fillers on my Hop! Hop! Hop! Pinterest board. 

Happy Easter!