NighBluey: I am not an artist or a designer of anything but I am told that I am artistic. Still not sure what that means. Maybe I am an artisan. I would like to be called that – it would be flattering.
When “I grow up”, I will own a flower shop. Arranging twigs, branches and stems all day – that would be my dream come true.
I live with an infinitely patient man, two dogs and three cats in a little community on an Ontario lake (which freezes in the winter and becomes home to thousands of ice huts and our annual by-the-shore rink). I am a “country yuppie” you might say. For years, I lived in big cities but I am already busy shedding my big city attachments. In the summer, I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, including in my garden looking low to the ground and high into the trees, as well as sailing and taking bike trips. My partner, Kevin, and I are also trying to get rid of all the “things” we accumulated over the years, boats, old cars and powertools we will never use.
Just a few weeks ago you could not wait to send those kids off to school and on their way. New shoes, a special lunch, a brand new schoolbag. But now that the newness has worn off and school days have settled into a routine, it’s easy to get in a rut. The lunches have lapsed into lackluster leftovers, the new shoes are scuffed. We need a pick me up! That’s why October is the perfect time to break out some Lunch Box Love Notes like the adorable ones made by Cards Between Friends.
I like that these notes are simple and graphic and can be personalized with your own handwritten message. Tuck them into a lunchbox or backpack. They are sure to brighten any test day and make your kids feel super special and cared for.
These cards strike the perfect balance between sweet and cool. They are not overly precious, which is a plus when you have little boys who like monsters. Cards can be customized to your favorite of the themes offered by Cards Between Friends. Can you think of a more simple and inexpensive ($3.50 for a dozen!) way to put a smile on your child’s face on a daily basis?
The Sewn Natural shop is owned by a mother-daughter team specializing in sustainable eco-design, and vintage-inspired styling for children. This shop is chock-full of brilliant color and sweet vintage style. Toys. Blankets. Clothing. Accessories. It’s a one-stop source for stocking up on amazing gear for your baby or child.
For instance, this colorful matryoshka doll crib bumper. It’s simply luxe. It’s created from a lovely retro (and out-of-print) Anna Maria Horner fabric, and has a matching quilt also for sale.
I was so delighted to see this cute messenger bag, recycled from men’s khakis and featuring vintage fabric and lace, and a beautifully embroidered high-wheeler bicycle. Just wonderful. What child wouldn’t love this sweet little bag as he goes about his day, hunting for treasures?
These adorable little summer gnome dolls are part of a whole gnome series sold in the shop. The dolls are safe for infants, but would be a much-loved gift for an older child. They’re made from beautiful vintage fabrics and are all hand-sewn and embroidered.
This beautiful little dress is one of many finely-constructed, made to order, children’s garments. They range in sizes from 12 months to 5T, depending on the style.
A child’s hanging mobile in colors sophisticated enough for an adult’s creative office space or bedroom? I think we may have found it here. This modern mobile is hand-sewn and needle-felted, and hung from a piece of found driftwood. It’s so beautiful in its simplicity.
This lovely little momma bunny doll is made entirely from organic materials. She has family members, a baby, Willow, and two other children, Spruce and Sierra, each are sold separately. I particularly love that she, and all of her kiddies, have little hearts on their chests. A nice touch.
Drop by the shop and see these, and other darling items for your little darlings.
Most weekday mornings, seconds after my clock-radio switches itself on, I begin an internal debate about whether or not to get out of bed. The angel on my shoulder gently reminds me that I have venti-sized responsibilities; lunches that need to be made, bills that need to be paid and the emails waiting on my office computer that aren’t likely to answer themselves. At the same time, the devil on my shoulder presents an almost-convincing argument for staying in bed (and can usually keep me tucked snugly under the duvet for at least another 15 minutes.) I would like to say that it’s virtue that eventually rouses me, but I have to confess – it’s coffee. Just knowing that there is a fresh pot of fair-trade, organic coffee waiting for me in the kitchen gives me the little nudge I need to get into the shower and start my day. You can call a it a habit or an addiction, but I prefer to think of it as a life-long love affair with the stuff.
South African textile & graphic artist Wendren celebrates her own love of coffee in this entry on her blog. After reading her post, it came as no surprise to me to see the influence that coffee has had on the handmade goods available in her shop, The Wren. The bag pictured below, is just one of a number of beautiful accessories that Wendren creates from used coffee sacks.
Graduating from college is a big event in one’s life. At the time it’s happening you realize it’s important, but it’s not till 10-15 years down the line do you fully appreciate what was being left behind, and what opportunities and life experiences you have ahead of you. And just like no two college experiences are exactly the same, neither are the grads, and the gifts you give them to celebrate the special event should showcase who they are now, and what they want to be when they grow up.
Many grads take the ‘summer off’ and travel. Whether its backpacking through Europe, driving cross-country, or volunteering in Africa, your grad will love this travel journal to record all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences they’re about to have.
Less sentimental, and more practical is this passport cover. It’s an easy and organized way to help them keep track of perhaps the single most important thing accompanying them on their trip.
Maybe your grad isn’t taking any time off and is going straight into the real world–suit, office, commuting and all. If that’s the case, an inspirational coffee mug to get their day started right is something they’ll use daily. This one can be customized with any text you want, the grad’s name, inspirational quote, or even an inside joke.
Get your grad in the habit of sending handwritten notes. A personal, monogrammed note card set like this simple, sophisticated one can be used for any occasion, including thanking a potential employer for an interview.
Of course, jewelry is a big hit with most grads. Make it special by personalizing it with her name, graduation date, or birthstone. This necklace can house all three in a charm-like design.
Whatever your grad does or doesn’t do after college, be sure to praise them for how far they’ve come. It’s an accomplishment worth savoring before continuing the ride.