October 01, 2015

5 Ways to Gift Experiences

Gift Experiences

This year, I've been thinking and reading a lot about minimalism. There's no perfect way to do this, but I've slowly been taking steps to clear clutter from our home (no easy task with two small kids) and simplify things.  Which, for me, naturally leads to thinking about gifting.

Most of us have a lot of "stuff, so how can we gift meaningfully without adding to all of that clutter.

Here are 5 ways to gift experiences - a perfect way to honour my philosophy of slow gifting.

Gift Your Skills

You might be surprised at how much others might appreciate a gift of your unique skills.  This might be something related to your career work, or something related to a hobby. 

If someone always compliments you on your photos, offer to take some family photos and choose the best ones to print.  Tania from ManusMade gifted her mother with some time to help her declutter a room in her house.  Maker Jessica Vellenga has been offering the gift of mending and repairing fabric items like heirloom table cloths and clothing.

Gift Online Classes

An online class might just be the perfect gift for a lifelong learner or creative in your life.  If you dig a little, you can find some really interesting options.

Know someone who loves to bake?  Alison's Cookie Party might be a great gift option. 

For the artist or aspiring artist, blogger and artist Alisa Burke offers a variety of well-priced online classes for gifting (p.s.  I really want to visit the Oregon Coast because of Alisa's blog)

Thrive offers online art classes specifically for kids.
Jean of the Artful Parent wrote about taking online art classes with kids. 

For an aspiring photographer or creative, I highly recommend Susannah Conway's Photo Meditations class (Journal Your Life is also on my wish list).

Subscriptions for Kids

Gift Subscriptions

In my opinion, there is nothing much better than something that comes in the mail once a month. There are so many different subscription options out there (because it makes a great gift)

Think creatively about subscriptions, like Janelle Hardy's painted Letters from Vancouver Island or Paris Letters (have you read the book?)

For paper lovers, Q&A Letterbox might be a lovely option.

For young kids, Petit Mail story card subscriptions are a great option. 

Gift From Your Kitchen

This could mean homemade cookies, but I also have some other ideas.  

For busy parents, put together several freezer meals, package and label. Your gift can go straight into the freezer and they will be forever appreciative (I speak from experience).  

Bake and deliver muffins or homemade bread to your recipient a few times a year. Give your recipient a card to let them know what flavours they can expect and when (this helps you stay on track with your gift - don't forget to put the dates in your calendar!)

Gift a homemade theme, like breakfast - include pancake mix, granola (I like this recipe) and Canadian maple syrup. 

Gift By Snail Mail

Gift by Snail Mail

If you have a friend who loves to send mail, why not help them out.  Shop local markets for a variety of handmade cards (birthday, holiday, generic) and package them up beautifully with some stamps for mailing.  Or, if you are creative, make your own card sets and do the same.

Put together a beautiful package to send by mail.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  Sit down and write a personalized letter.  Wrap up and add some small gifts - gift cards might be a great option for someone who lives far away.  If you need some inspiration, my Make it Pretty Pinterest board is a great place to start.

Looking for more Inspiration?

I've shared some thoughts on non-toy gifts for kids in this post and on my Pinterest board

Note: This is not a sponsored post.  I haven't received any compensation for linking to other sites - most are bloggers/makers who I know, have followed for years, or classes or gifts that I have purchased and given. 

September 24, 2015

The Birthday Box: Creating Family Traditions

When I was growing up, we had special family traditions for holidays. 

Special heart cookies that were only made once a year, on Valentine's Day.
Special Easter bunny handwriting on the notes that led to a chocolate bunny.
Opening our Christmas stockings before breakfast, and presents afterwards.

Those traditions became something really special - something to look forward to.

They happened every year, and as a result, I still remember and cherish them as an adult.

Last year, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a Birthday Box for our kids. It's filled with a variety of celebration items to be used for birthdays year after year, including a birthday crown, birthday book, birthday badge pin and vintage birthday candle holders.

Birthday Box

Birthday Box

Birthday Traditions

(+) Heirloom Celebration Countdown Bags - The Petit Cadeau
(+) Knit Birthday Crown - Cable and Lace
(+) Handmade Birthday Badge by Alison
(+) Vintage Birthday Candle Holders - purchased from Brown Street Vintage (I love searching Etsy Vintage for unique, one of a kind items)

I will likely make a second birthday badge to add to the box when our little man turns one.
The birthday box itself is plain wood and I'm still working on decorating it.  Stay tuned for those images in a future post.

Honor moments in the same way every year.  That's the perfect gift

September 10, 2015

Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

Gifts for Kids - How Much Do They Really Need?

A few months ago, I was absolutely blown away by this article on The Art of Simple (I've shared it before, here)

I've been reading a lot lately about decluttering and the overall concept of minimalism and this article was the jumping off point.

Their family of five is travelling the world, with backpacks.
Their children have very limited toys (only what they can carry) like lego, crayons and card games.
I keep coming back to read about it.
They are exploring and learning about their world in other ways.  It's kind of magical.

Other parents always say things to me, like:
"oh, we have so much stuff"
"I can never keep the house tidy or organized"
"They have rooms filled with stuff that they never use"

This all comes back to my ideas around Slow Gifting and keeping it simple.
Why add to the clutter?

Creative Non-Toy Gifts For Kids

Why not come up with something insanely creative, something that inspires imagination, and (maybe) doesn't add to the clutter (or at least minimizes it).

I'm inspired, and I'm sharing ideas for non-toy gifts for kids on this Pinterest Board.

These ideas are mostly DIY projects, like imaginative play kits, gifts that can be used for pretend play, gifts that can be used with existing toys (like Lego trays and the DIY train board below), and subscriptions, like Petit Mail.

A few of my favourites on the board right now

a DIY train board via Young House Love

experience gifts via Peanut Blossom

Felt Superhero Masks via SlowMama

Subscriptions for Kids - Petit Mail

(of course, we can't forget about my personal favourite via Petit Mail)

I'll keep adding to the Pinterest Board, so be sure to follow along for all of the inspiration. 

Happy Gifting,


September 03, 2015

Handmade Marathon: Sewn With Love by Mom

Editor's Note: We are back with more handmade marathon posts for Fall. Meet Anne of Sewn With Love By Mom - I love featuring handmade children's products made in Canada and Anne's Newfoundland connection. Enjoy!

(+) Tell us about your business

When I was pregnant with my son Benjamin I spent way too much time looking at baby nursery items. I noticed that there were so many blue or pink baby items and nothing stylish or gender neutral that fit my modern mid-century décor. I created this business so I could sew things I loved for Benjamin and modern blankets and items for him and people I love. I’ve also discovered shibori dying recently and love creating one of a kind indigo dyed pieces.

(+) How did you get started?

I grew up sewing on industrial sewing machines in my mom’s basement and have been sewing for as long as I can remember.

With the birth of my son Benjamin I found myself being drawn to creating time for things I love to do. As a kid I wanted to be a fashion designer and I think this business fulfills my childhood dream.

(+) 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.

Saturday morning is my favourite part of my week. We live in Toronto and Benjamin is a human alarm clock and gets us up morning. My husband Andrew likes to make us a hearty breakfast with bacon, eggs that Benjamin loves to gobble down. We also go to visit Black Cat Expresso, the amazing little coffee shop in my hood that is run by a friendly Newfoundlander. We also like to take a little walk or I run with Benjamin in the running stroller and he loves to point out things he likes like a cat or a nice tree.

I also love how diverse Toronto is. Andrew is from Newfoundland/Scotland and my family is from Laos and Benjamin is going to be able to grow up in such a diverse place. In my day job I’m a professional fundraiser working for an Ontario based charity.

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

Finding more time to focus on it. With full time work, raising a family, chores, running, volunteering I feel like it’s hard to make it a priority. I think I need more hours in the day!

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

My family traditionally gives gifts of time. Helping each other fix things, spending time with each other etc. My in-laws and husband are so great at getting wonderful gifts and presents and sending each other care packages. I love seeing care packages arrive from St. John’s in the mail. I also don’t ever get mail! ;)

(+) How do you celebrate special occasions?

With a big party!! We like to celebrate with family and all our friends. Our wedding was a 500 person party and I feel like all our parties are big events. Life should be celebrated.

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

Running. I used to run marathons and now I’m just happy if can run a Km or two. I also keep a gratitude journal where I write one sentence a day and it helps keep me in perspective. I also would love to start meditating again.

You Can Find More Sewn With Love By Mom here:

August 12, 2015

Etsy: Made In Canada St. John's

It's Coming....

Etsy: Made In Canada 
St. John's Market
Saturday, September 26
Anna Templeton Centre, St. John's 
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

 photo Etsy-made-in-canada_zpsnas1n5b2.jpg

Etsy: Made In Canada 

Back in February, I jumped on board to be the team leader for Etsy St. John's and have been working hard to plan and organize Etsy: Made in Canada for St. John's.

I look forward to seeing you at the market on Saturday, September 26.

I will be selling my full product line of heirloom gift bags, Petit Mail story cards, PLUS new items not yet listed in my shop, including a variety of handmade gift tags, one of a kind gift toppers, plus a few other special items for thoughtful gifting.

(+) Like Etsy St. John's on Facebook 
(+) Etsy: Made in Canada St. John's Market Event Page

Birthday Countdown Calendar

Subscription for Kids

Tooth Fairy Pillow

handmade gift bag

Can't visit me in-person?

Don't worry, I don't want to leave you out - on Friday, September 25 I will be having a FREE SHIPPING sale on everything in the shop. Be sure to join The Petit Cadeau newsletter to receive the reminder + discount code.

If you live in another city in Canada, Etsy: Made In Canada is taking place in 33 cities throughout the country. You can find information about all of the pop-up markets across the country here (keep checking back for updates).

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.