Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Use What Your Mama and Daddy (and Great Aunt, and Co-worker, and Sister-in-law) Gave You

Now that the holiday festivities are over (and they are for me being the mother of a baby that I am, I won't likely get up to much of anything for New Year's Eve - a rousing game of cribbage if I'm lucky) I find myself with a boatload of Christmas cards that I can't bear to part with. And there's even a few still trickling in after the Christmas postal boom. 
I have a wire card wreath (a much-loved wedding gift that has a permanent home on our dining room wall that houses cards year-round depending on whose birthday was recent or which holiday is near), but I can't leave Christmas cards in there until our next family birthday in March. And as much as I can't abide tossing the holiday notes neither can I stand storing years and years of season's greetings in a shoe box. And so I craft. It's the perfect solution: I turn these seasonal mementos into new cards or, as in this year's incarnation, ornaments. 

These super easy orbs require only old cards, scissors or straight edge paper cutter, a hole punch, and some metal page fasteners (as we used to use in duo-tangs back in my grade school days).

 Simply cut cards into same length strips, punch a hole in both ends of each strip, mix and match for the best color combos (I used about a dozen trips per orb), attach a fastener through each end of each group of strips, fan the card strips out to form a ball and voila! 

These look as good on the tree as they do on the mantle or in a glass bowl on the table.


Next year I'd like to tackle this wreath from goodhousekeeping.com

And these gift tags from marthastewart.com and modkidboutique.blogspot.com respectively.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time for Life

I don't get it. Where does time go? I wake up at 6am with my little guy and I wonder how I can possibly fill the 16 hours until my 10pm bedtime, especially when I can't do any one thing for more than 10 minutes without complaints from the peanut gallery (and boy, is my peanut cute). I've got his two nap times in which to accomplish my adult duties, though making up lost sleep tends to take priority these days. And yet I have mama friends who actually knit, sew, cook, read, exercise regularly, and have more than one child! They must multi task and do it all at once! It's not like I'm idle, but running a household and being a good friend, neighbor, and daughter pretty much keeps me occupied. I have all these tasks (household budget, printing photos for albums, stocking the freezer, writing letters, et cetra) that I'm saving for a slow day (or month) that never seems to come.
Then it hit me: I will never have more time than I do now - a daunting thought but also a liberating one. Suddenly, it felt like I'd better stop wasting time complaining or rationalizing (or writing) about it and just "git 'er done". So here I am writing Christmas cards at 5:30am rather than lying awake in bed listening to a crying baby and I'm thinking, sweet, I just scored 30 minutes! Maybe today's the day I do it all. Ask me tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Like a Kid in a Stationery Store

I love cards. I love buying, making, sending, upcycling, and, of course, receiving them. During the last winter of my undergrad degree, I baited myself into finishing essays and studying for exams by allowing myself to make one Christmas card after each portion of school work was complete. (Hey, those long, cold Montreal winters bring out the nerd in a lot of people.) I had an entire corner of my bedroom set up with organized paper scraps, glue stick, and paper cutter. The month before, I had been lucky enough to stumble upon a freelance invitation maven who was holding a paper sale in her apartment and I snagged what has proven to be a decade's worth of beautiful scraps.

A couple years later I was visiting friends on Hornby Island and found a 1960's fairytale book at the recycling depot, (aka: the free store), that had unbelievably quaint floral accents adorning each page and I've since used snippets of these pages in frames on my walls and to decorate my wedding invitations.

A sampling of my upcycled and recycled one-of-a-kind wedding invitations.

One recent November I found myself staying with friends in Manhattan and after two weeks in the Big Apple my husband had purchased more clothing than I had but I felt no remorse because I had found wooden Christmas postcards by Night Owl Paper Goods and vintage inspired, small scale Christmas notes by Yellow Bird Greetings at a stationary shop in Greenwich Village. These were the perfect souvenirs as far as I was concerned: pretty, useful, and something I could not get back home. It wasn't until I got back home to Vancouver that I noticed the fine print on the back of the paper cards that read: "Printed in Vancouver". I'm sure the cards were appreciated nonetheless.

Night Owl Paper Goods' wooden postcards 
(perhaps they should change their company name)

I also worked for a few years as a buyer for a chain of natural lifestyle stores. My favorite part of the job quickly became stationery perusing and purchasing. The perfect way to ensure I got the Christmas cards I wanted! Not only did I bring in Night Owl's wooden cards but I discovered near perfect lines like Eggpress. How do you ever choose just one of their cards?

Impressive Eggpress

Coming soon: the best ways to use old Christmas cards!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

All I Want for Christmas...

...is a good garlic press. This one by Zyliss to be precise.

An Epicurean wood fibre 18x13" natural color cutting board.

Two Silpat baking mats.

A subscription to Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food" magazine.

Natural, handmade soap.

Snazzy Smartwool socks (seriously, I like getting socks for Christmas).

Oh, and my baby boy's two front teeth to hurry up and stop making him a teething menace!