February 19, 2015

Things I'm Gifting Vol. 3

In the Fall, I participated in a snail mail gift exchange - my package was for Marisa at Omiyage
(if you missed my DIY inspiration interview with Marisa, be sure to check it out).

I've been experimenting with these handmade paper + ribbon gift toppers, which I'm loving and you can expect to see more of in the future. 

Snail Mail gift exchange The Petit Cadeau

Snail Mail Gift Exchange The Petit Cadeau

This gift had a lot of focus on packaging, because there is nothing better than a snail mail surprise filled with beautiful parcels. I embellished kraft paper bags, and hand-stamped a small fabric bag with creatiate's deer stamp to hold my gifts. 

Snail Mail Gift Exchange The Petit Cadeau

Snail Mail Gift Exchange The Petit Cadeau

Thoughtful Gifting

(Above photo credit: Marisa at Omiyage).  Marisa's gifts included a hand-stamped & embossed Moleskin notebook, chocolate from Newfoundland Chocolate company and an iceberg fabric/mixed media art card from local artist Judy Cooper textile images.

February 12, 2015

(from the archive) Just for Kids! - Valentine's Day Play Mail

I originally published this post in 2013, but I love it so much I wanted to give it some new exposure - plus, it's perfect for Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day. I've been practising my sewing!  My little loves to go on adventures to the mailbox, so I decided that some felt play mail would be the perfect little Valentine.  It's a sweet handmade gift that lasts well beyond Valentine's Day.   I've seen several play mail sewing tutorials around the internet, but I kind of took bits and pieces and made up my own.  

Want to make your own?  I promise, it's not hard.  I use a sewing machine for some basic project about once every 3 years (although I'm really starting to like it more now!) So,  if I can do it, you can too! 

(+) Wool felt in colours of your choice
(+) Cotton fabric in colour or pattern of your choice
(+) Embroidery thread and needle
(+) Pinking Shears
(+) Velcro

To make a play letter/postcard

(+) Cut two (2) contrasting pieces of wool felt into rectangles (to make the front and back).

(+) Cut a small heart from another piece of felt - I cut this one free-hand by folding the felt in half and cutting a half-heart shape (this makes your heart symmetrical).

(+) Using embroidery thread, hand-stitch the heart to 1 piece of wool felt.

(+) If you like, embroider a word on the felt as well (I used a simple back stitch).

(+) Sew the front and back pieces of felt together.

(+) Voila!  A play letter/postcard.  

You could even stop after this step if you wanted to.  A few play postcards would be cute (and they are easier to make than the envelopes - instructions coming up next!)

To make an envelope

Part 1
(+) Cut a piece of wool felt (I used white) into a large rectangle.

(+) Fold the bottom of the wool felt two thirds (2/3) of the way up - this will eventually form the "pouch" part of the envelope. The remaining one third (1/3) part will form the envelope "flap".  Cut in at a slight angle to give an envelope look to the top 1/3 piece of the rectangle (as shown).

(+) Use your wool felt piece as a template to cut a piece of cotton fabric in the same shape (I used pinking shears to cut the cotton fabric to prevent fraying).

(+) Sew the wool and cotton fabric pieces together.

Part 2
(+) Sew small squares of velcro to the front and back of the fabric envelope, as shown.  This will hold down the envelope "flap" and allow for a small postage stamp.

(+) Fold the bottom of the rectangle up to form the "pouch" of the envelope.  Sew the sides again to hold everything together.

(+) Cut two small squares of felt to act as a postage stamp.  Sew together around the perimeter.  Add a small piece of velcro and sew to attach.

Love one another.  Happy Valentine's Day from The Petit Cadeau Blog.

February 08, 2015

Connecting in 2015

This quote has been speaking to me lately. via Trouve vol. 2
I mentioned in my previous post that I've been thinking about some changes here, and some of those things are starting to come together.

Every year, I pick a word to inspire my work + life.
This year, the word came to me very effortlessly.

The Petit Cadeau Blog


Here are some ways that I've started to make connection happen (and how it's happening to me!)

1. I want to bring The Petit Cadeau blog back to it's "roots" of thoughtful gifting and #slowgifting.  I'm starting a private discussion group called Thoughtful Gifting - stay tuned for more details on this! In the meantime, you can find a new #slowgifting category in the right sidebar to browse previous posts.

2. I've been connecting & chatting with some other handmade sellers about product collaborations for the shop during the upcoming year - some items will be coming soon, stay tuned!

3. As you all know, I love my Petit Mail product line - I've decided that Petit Mail needed more of it's own presence online, so you can now find Petit Mail with it's own Web site (+) Facebook (+) Twitter (+) Instagram.  Petit Mail story cards are now also available via Etsy Wholesale.

Petit Mail also has a Spring magazine featuring coming up - I'll share with you as soon as I can!

 photo Petit-Mail-Product-Cards_zpszyzs28xx.jpg

4. I was invited to participate in the Etsy Canada Leadership Summit in Toronto, to plan and prepare for #EtsyMadeInCanada (a pop-up Etsy market, which I will be organizing in St. John's, NL on September 26, 2015).  I'm very excited about this and will be sharing news as we go!

Etsy Atlantic Canada

Here I am with Suzanne from PEI (Village Pottery), Jessika (oh my! handmade) and Fatema (Silver Lily Jewelry) from Nova Scotia.

5. I'm planning to gift for CONNECTION in 2015 - which for me, in part, involves beautifully wrapped gifts. I'll be sharing these images on the blog throughout the year.

I'm excited about these changes and I hope you will be too.
What to connect or collaborate with me in 2015?  I would love to hear from you, get in touch!


December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I will be taking a little break over the holidays and into early 2015.

I've been thinking a lot about The Petit Cadeau blog, my shop, Petit Mail and new product ideas. There will be some changes in the new year but I'm still working through them in my mind.

A big product focus on Petit Mail.  Less blog posts, written with more meaning. 
More photos.
Some changes to the Petit Cadeau social media accounts - I'm thinking about turning the Facebook page into a Thoughtful Gifting discussion group with more personal responses and focus. What do you think?

Wherever you are, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and gift your PRESENCE. This has not come easily to me over the past few months and I'm working on getting my mind focused where it needs to be, and spending time with my growing family.


December 04, 2014

An Interview with "In Your Face"

Editor's Note: When I tell people about April Miller of In Your Face Cookies & Ice Cream, I tell them she's my "blogging friend". We met one day for coffee and had a grand chat about our gifting philosophies (which are quite similar). You may have noticed that I've been gifting pints of April's handmade ice cream lately, complete with festive candles, for several birthday occasions. Let's meet April as she talks about gifting and a little bit about her business!

How have your customers been gifting your ice cream?
Customers have been gifting the ice cream for special occasions. I've had customers give Birthday Cake ice cream with the number for the age on top in sprinkles to kids. This is an awesome option for kids - parents are likely relieved not to have yet another toy in their home and this gift feels more personal. Some customers have ordered ice cream cakes or pies for loved ones, or pints in their spouses's favourite flavours. I've gifted the ice cream myself as well; I made my husband an ice cream cake for his birthday and one for my dad for Father's Day - it's always a popular gift! 

What's your gifting philosophy?
I've refined my gift giving philosophy and style over the last few years - I like gifts to be thoughtful, personal, and not burden the person. I really feel passionately that a gift should reflect the recipient, not the giver

I love giving the perfect gift for the person; I have a list for each person I gift to and whenever I hear them say something they really want or need, I put it on the list. It makes shopping a more pleasant experience since I'm looking for what they want, instead of being stressed about what I'm going to get them - it makes the experience about them, not me. Using lists for gift giving also makes me a better listener - I listen closely for gift ideas, which has the bonus of strengthening relationships since I 'm working on listening most of the time! 

I'm a professional organizer in my full-time gig so I am really passionate about not burdening people with 'stuff' - for that reason, I'm anti-gag gifts and mindless gifting (I also don't believe that because someone gives something to you that you should keep it forever out of guilt)!  Just this past year, a friend explained her philosophy of gifting - she loves to gift experiences instead of stuff. That's something I'd like to move towards. I recently read about a woman who didn't have kids so she took each of her nieces and nephews on a trip to a place of their choosing when they turned 13. The catch was that instead of giving them gifts for every occasion, she put money aside for the trip. I wish I had set that precedent with my nieces and nephews when they were little! 

Do you have any gifting tips for others?
My biggest gifting lesson I've learned over the past few years is that most people want the gift of your time - especially children.  But on a more practical note...Avoid shopping when the occasion is on top of you - that equals stress and thoughtless gifting. Start keeping a list (I like using an app because it's easily edited and shared) and start listening. Try giving gift certificates for experiences. Also, avoid gifting based on judgements - 'I think my daughter should cook more so I'll give her a slow cooker', for example. Give to the person, not to who you want them to be!

What's the best gift you've ever given or received!
This is a tough one - I feel like I should say my wedding ring or something ha ha! But it would have to be from "The Car Topper Surprise" Christmas as it's known in my family.

This one Christmas, after we had opened our gifts, our dad told us there was one more gift for everyone in the dining room. He'd moved our car topper (those things families store luggage in) in from the garage and the gifts were inside it. My dad passed out one gift at a time and we all watched each person open theirs. It was so surprising and suspenseful! My gift was a tv (my mom had said I couldn't have a tv in my room!), but it wasn't about the gift really. It was that Dad had gone out of his way to get something for each of us that we really wanted (my mom typically did the shopping) and the presentation was the best! I'll never forget the expression on my dad's face and how happy we all were. It's one of my favourite Christmas memories. 

Tell us a little bit about your business. How did you get started? What's does the "ice cream business" mean for you?

I started making ice cream on a fluke. I was roaming Costco and bought an ice cream machine on impulse. I became pretty obsessed with making ice cream but also with learning about all the artisan ice cream shops and market stalls that seem to have popped up all over the US and Canada. I love the idea of taking really simple ingredients and turning them into something people love!

I'm all about real ingredients - no preservatives or weird chemically stuff here! Just cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and whatever add-ins are needed for flavour. I've also been really inspired by paleta food truck culture for my freezies. Paletas are essentially popsicles made with fresh fruit and other quality ingredients. My most kid-frendly flavour is strawberry but I've made everything from Rhubarb Lemonade to Vietnamese Coffee. I eat more freezies more often than I should admit! I also make Vegan ice cream and have done flavours like Mexican Chocolate (my biggest Vegan seller), Fudge Chunk, Curried Peanut Butter, and German Chocolate Cake. 

How do you celebrate special occasions?

Usually just spending time with loved ones and good food! I've gotten more into doing things like lighthouse picnics for birthdays or anniversaries - more experiences than stuff. I don't think something has to be really expensive to be special. My husband and I take turns planning Valentine's Day and one year we did a $20 gift challenge and it was awesome! This past year, my friends went to Basho for dinner for my birthday and my husband made loot bags for everyone (kid-type ones, not adult) - I loved that.

Where can local customers find you?

Customers can find me at the St. John's Farmer's Market, Some Good Market at Cannonwood Hall, or contact me directly to purchase. This Fall I'll also be at Tombolo in Paradise and St. John's, as well as the NL Sports Centre Craft and Gift Fair.

You can find In Your Face Cookies and Ice Cream on Facebook and Twitter

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. 

 photo Wear-Read-Play-2014-1_zpsb8f7b068.jpg

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: https://www.facebook.com/busyhandsartsandcrafts.

You can find more Maeby's Mobiles here:

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