Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Figg Street Co.

I'm happy to announce that my vintage Canadian stamp packs are now stocked at the very sweet Figg Street Co. in the Niagara region!  This shop is a true letter writer's dream!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Artist Story > Whimsy + Wild

It’s September – my month of refresh.  Just as I need a bit of a reset so does my stationery  collection.  That’s where Whimsy + Wild’s sweet cards come in.  They’re pretty and  cheery and bound to make your penpals smile.  With cooler nights and earlier sunsets I’m finding more and more time to add letter writing to my evening routine.  You too?

Julie of Whimsy + Wild shares some of her background >

Where do you live?

I live in Belding, Michigan which is a small city about 40 minutes NE of Grand Rapids (where I’m originally from)! There isn’t a lot here, but I’m grateful for a good coffee shop around the corner and the slowness of a smaller town.

How did you start Whimsy + Wild?

I always thought about starting up a shop of my own because I’ve been very interested in art throughout my life and working for myself felt right. My husband and I temporarily moved to Arizona for his schooling, and while there I started learning hand lettering + became infatuated with stationery and paper. I originally thought about getting into wedding stationery but quickly decided I loved creating products more—I personally love the freedom of creating exactly what I want to make. When we arrived home I started planning for my online shop, and the following spring I finally opened it up!

What are you reading?

I recently started The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I’ve always wanted to be a bit more of an early riser because I love slow mornings, and I started taking small steps earlier this year to make that a reality.
What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a pretty big homebody, so in my spare time you’ll often find me at home hanging out with my husband and our two dogs, probably watching something on Netflix. And on Sundays, my family always gets together to hang out. I really enjoy simple pleasures like that, spending time with the people I love. I also love grabbing coffee and chatting with close friends. And I’ve been trying to get out more and enjoy nature, even just on walks, because I don’t do it as much as I’d like to!
Where did you last travel?

I recently went on a small camping trip with family just an hour north of my home, but it was so nice to get away for a short time and relax. I’ve been itching to have a little getaway with my husband somewhere further north in Michigan because I just love this state so much, and I think it’d be nice for the two of us to slow down and get into nature.

What are your influences/inspiration?

I’m deeply inspired by nature—particularly sunlight, water and flora. I’m often noticing the way the sunlight is dancing through my windows or shining through leaves. I’ve also noticed more recently how inspired I am by the water and being near it—how it moves and how the light hits it. These give me a really good feeling, and the resulting happiness is very inspiring for me. And of course, I love flora of all types, and I’ve been trying to incorporate more of that into my work this year. I’ve always been an admirer of the little things in life, and I find myself very inspired by them in my everyday life.

My work in particular is also inspired by simple designs and minimal colors. I love trying to convey something using such limited means—it can be challenging at times, but also fun to see what I can create with them.

What's your favourite podcast?

I’m not a huge podcast listener… I’ve tried to be, but I’m so bad at it! I would be listening while trying to work and realize minutes later that I had not actually heard what they said. However, I do still try to listen when I’m doing work that doesn’t require a lot of thought, so I can focus on the podcast. The new Proof to Product podcast from Katie Hunt of Tradeshow Bootcamp is amazing — she interviews business owners and it’s so inspiring to hear about their processes, inspirations, struggles and achievements!
Find Whimsy + Wild > website instagram twitter facebook

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Good Things

1. Reading Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.
2. Early morning at Sugar Beach.
3. Baking + biking.
4. Breezes to break up the ultra humid days.
5. The Big Bang program on the jazz station.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Artist Story > In Haus Press

Okay.  It’s hot, hot summer over here and instead of taking a correspondence break I make it simple and easy.  I tuck a few (gorgeous and minimal!) cards, trusty vintage postage, my go-to alphabet rubber stamps and black ink pad into a tote bag and head outside.  (Little trick: Use a pencil eraser to make polka dots on envelopes.)  My courtyard is shady, breezy and surrounded by birds a-chirping and a very cute herb garden.  This is where I slow it down and write a few letters summer-style.  (Cold watermelon wedges optional!)

In Haus Press handprints some of the prettiest, simply designed black and white cards around.  “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.” Henry Ford

Treasa shares a bit of her story >

Where do you live?

San Francisco, California.

How did you start In Haus Press?

Before In Haus Press, I was a pastry chef with a graphic design background. I realised that I preferred designing correspondence rather than recipes, so I decided to pursue what made me happy, and focus on stationery design. In 2010, my husband surprised me with a tabletop printing press, and I remember writing the business plan for In Haus Press that very night. I had no idea where to begin, but I knew I wanted to turn what I loved into a successful business. I spent every free moment learning everything there was to know about letterpress printing. Teaching yourself a craft is a beautiful thing. It's a lot of work, and you have to love the process. You have to want to be great at what you do, and be patient with yourself. For me there is no substitution for having learned something on your own. It was hard finding simple, stylish cards that I liked, so I began designing my own.  A handwritten note is such a traditional and intimate way to communicate, and I love knowing that something I've designed will be used to convey someone's thoughts and wishes.  That’s why a handwritten note - no matter the design - will always be in style.

What are you reading?

I'm currently in the middle of Hum If You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais. So good!

Where did you last travel?

My husband and I visited Japan recently, and it was beautiful.

What are your influences/inspiration?

I hadn't realized this until a friend pointed it out, but most of my work is influenced by the language I use with friends and family. I design my stationery around the little phrases and sayings that we use day to day. I'm also heavily influenced by European culture and minimalist interiors.

What's your favourite podcast?

Lately I've listening more to music than podcasts these days, but I do enjoy Design Matters with Debbie Millman.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I recently had a little girl in May, so she's who I love spending every moment with these days, but the other answer to that is collaborating on projects with my husband. We have a lot of side projects that we work on together - coffee roasting, a tee shirt brand, to name a few -  so when I'm not designing/printing work for In Haus Press, that's where you'll find me.

Find In Haus Press > website instagram twitter facebook

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good Things

1. This sweet book.
2. Trying new (healthy-ish) recipes. (Including this one.)
3. Peaches so ripe they must be eaten over the sink.
4. Lazy Sunday picnicking.
5. Traffic-less country roads winding through orchards and vineyards.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Good Things

1. Really, always stopping to smell the (pink + red) roses.
2. Delivery from dad: arugula, lettuce, garlic scapes.
3. Making a different salad every day.
4. This podcast about simplifying.  (And knocking down the garage to build a garden!)
5. Reading cookbooks cover to cover. (A New Way to Bake + Love Real Food.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What I'm Reading

"To live is to make leavings.  Hair, dust, trash, children, love letters, old shoes, bones."

Four Seasons in Rome
Anthony Doerr

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What I'm Reading

"Even today, Kira sends me cards (yes, real cards, in the mail) that say, "I love you.  That's all."

Kale & Caramel
Lily Diamond

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sally Armstrong's Stamp Collection

Stamp collecting was once a for-real hobby.  Gardening and bird-watching and painting are still kicking but it seems that there are fewer and fewer stamp collecting hobbyists out there. 

“Stamp collecting expands the scope of your world and helps you to discover faraway places and peoples.” Harris Explorer World-Wide Postage Stamp Album

While out on a meandering walk yesterday I dropped by my local Little Free Library and found this incredible stamp collection.  It belonged to Sally Armstrong.  Her name written in ballpoint pen on the cover.  A 1970s gem left in an attic for many years.  And the most delightful surprise for me.  I think I’ll be pouring over it for days and days.

P.S. I think Sally had a thing for Australia, New Zealand and the UK as those pages are filled to the brim!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Good Things

1. The plant portraits in Indoor Green.
2. Urban picnics + patio pizza.
3. Affogato on a 30 degree summery day in May.
4. The story behind Lonely Planet (My go-to travel guides!) on How I Built This.
5. Fallen petals on my walk to the fruit market.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Good Things

1. French stamps.
2. Yoga. Every day. (This one was tops!)
3. Animals Facing Left.
4. An Indian buffet.
5. Sunshine after days of rain.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What I'm Reading

“Mailboxes are portals to the rest of the world, where, with just a few stamps, we have access to almost anywhere on the globe.  This was a marvel before the Internet, and if you think about it, it’s still astonishing that we could send a postcard halfway around the world in just a few days.  If we wanted to reach back in reply, all we’d need is an envelope, something to say, and a few more stamps.  We have access to the whole world, right where we call home.”

At Home in the World
Tsh Oxenreider

Monday, May 1, 2017

Good Things

1. Classic (and gorgeous!) postage due stamps.
2. Hot-like-summer ice cream date.
3. Sunset bike ride on the rail path.
4. Baking inspo in the form of a whole lot of buttercream roses.
5. Quiet trail walks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Artist Story > White River Co.

Sending (pretty) mail is a quick way to bring delight to someone you love. Bonus: It gives you a small bit of screen-free/slow-down time for yourself! White River Co.’s beautiful stationery is a sure bet to do some day-brightening. (Lily of the valley or zodiac card anyone?) 

P.S. I thought it was high time that I broke out my tiny watercolour set. Why not paint a little “HI” or “OK” on some envelopes? 

Sophie of White River Co. let me in on her background >

Where do you live? 

The small town of Haliburton in Ontario. North of Toronto in the heart of cottage country.

How did you start White River Co.? 

I guess I always knew in the back of my mind I wanted to have my own business and work for myself so I finally just went for it. I spent a couple of months researching, learning how to print, building a website and experimenting with designs. Thankfully I had previously worked at a print company so I knew what was expected and had a bit of knowledge. With the help of my very supportive family encouraging me to put myself out there, I finally launched White River Co. at the end of October 2016. I've already grown so much in these few months and my style has become much more clear and focused. I'm teaching myself new things every day and figuring out where I want to go with the company. 

What are you reading? 

I'm awful at making time to read actual books. However right now I'm listening to Lauren Graham's book Talking as Fast as I Can. I constantly have audiobooks playing when I'm working and in the car.

What's your favourite podcast?

Lately I've been loving Cathy Heller's Don't Keep Your Day Job. It's great for people who want to learn some tips on turning your passion into profit and listen to fellow creators.

Where did you last travel? 

Most likely it was to Calgary to visit my siblings although it’s been a while. I'll be doing a road trip of Western Canada and the States in the summer for some much needed inspiration.

What are your influences/inspiration? 

I’m lucky to be surrounded by beautiful lakes and nature, which obviously has a huge influence on my work. But I definitely feel most inspired when I go to galleries and art shows. I love seeing what others create and talking to fellow artists. Seeing so many different styles not only gives me inspiration but it reminds me of my own talent and I usually want to just go home and create.

What is your creative process? 

I get ideas anytime, anywhere. I keep a note on my phone so when I see something that triggers an idea I just jot it down for later. I tend to do most of my painting or drawing in the evening, which is when I do my best work. Often the idea on the list doesn't quite work out how I imagined but results in a couple of other nice designs. In the morning I photograph and work in Adobe to edit and finish cards. My process is constantly tweaking and shaping fragments into complete designs.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I'm most likely working on acrylic paintings, cuddling/playing with my dog Escher, and watching far too much Netflix.

Find White River Co. > website instagram twitter facebook

Monday, April 24, 2017

Good Things

1. Chasing cherry blossoms in the city. (Also: blossoms on stamps!)
2. Rhubarb pie at the Drake.
3. This podcast on a quiet morning run.
4. My Italian Bulldozer read in tiny pockets of free time.
5. Pasta with rapini/garlic/olives.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Papery

Hello west coast stamp lovers!  I have a new stockist in Victoria, BC.  Stop by The Papery if you want some vintage postage to spruce up your letters!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What I'm Reading

"Each day's walk to the mailbox brings a new batch of seed catalogs, and my imagination runs wild with all the possibilities for the coming year. Graph paper, gardening books, catalogs, and colored pencils litter my dining room table, and every waking hour is devoted to plotting out the season to come."

Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden
Erin Benzakein

Monday, April 17, 2017

Good Things

1. Stamps that celebrate botanical gardens.
2. Everything spring related: iced tea, running outside, bright yellow forsythia.
3. The #meaningfulcorrespondence project.
4. Reading Skin Cleanse.
5. Plain croissants + really good jam.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Good Things

1. Palm tree stamps.
2. Eight letters written for the #write_on challenge!
3. Baked my all-time favourite muffins from the Butter Baked Goods cookbook.
4. Picnic + Scrabble at the beach.
5. Reading One Part Plant.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Artist Story > Cabin Journal

I don’t know about you but I sure want a hot pink watermelon postcard landing in my mailbox! Emily of Cabin Journal has totally put her sweet spin on everyday objects. Whether it be pinecones, cookies or even manicured hands, her postcards immediately bring on cheer.        

Here's a little background on Cabin Journal >

Where do you live?

Downtown Toronto, wedged between (what was) the Fashion District and China Town.

How did you start Cabin Journal?

Cabin has been evolving since it’s inception in 2014. What began as a prospective small-press, independently published magazine focusing on young makers in Canada has transformed instead into a fledgling stationery (and soon textile home goods) company with a nostalgic feel and twin passions for nature and pattern. Both projects still share a love of paper goods and the unique and personal tactile experience they lend the user. The magazine contents are still simmering in the background, waiting for Cabin to - eventually - circle around to it’s publication origins. One day.

What are you reading?
Witches of America by Alex Mar. This impulse buy from the book store (I really liked the dust jacket design, though was mildly interested in the topic as well) has so far been inspiring and entertaining.

What's your favourite podcast?

I’ll admit I’m terrible with podcasts. I usually listen to audio books when I’m working. It’s like story time, something I never really grew out of I suppose! I tend to listen to the same books over and over. There is something comforting in them, like old friends. I know all chapters intimately, as well as the nuances of the reader; I find having them playing in the background chattering away doesn’t distract - I can stop listening or can pick it up again and know exactly what’s happening. Currently playing in the background, The Hobbit, for the 600th time, I’m sure. 

Where did you last travel?

I’ve just got home from Naples, Florida (goodbye flowers!) - it made a nice break from Toronto’s signature grey tones.

What are your influences/inspiration?

Broadly, I’d list my top inspiration sources as nature (chiefly flowers, plants, birds, fruit), vintage textiles (floral motifs, feedsack patterns, Scandinavian designs) and old books (on nature, world textiles, and illustrated children’s stories). Objects and memories from childhood also play a large influence - nostalgic memories many share like mixed-cookie tins and corner store dime candies. Escaping the city environs lights up the brightest inspirations though. Getting out into the country or down to the Maritimes every summer completely refreshes me and leaves me bubbling with a veritable stew of new ideas.

What is your creative process?

It varies depending on what I am working on. Sometimes I need a trip out of the city or a good foraging session at an antique-fair for inspiration to get started in on a project. Sometimes a colour or a fragment of some pattern will inform the direction of the designs to come. Whatever inspiration sparks the idea, sketching out plans and then colour blocking them in with markers follows. Everything on paper is pretty loose - I prefer tightening up designs digitally. The finals are all digital too, drawn or painted in Photoshop or Illustrator and colour separated (if printing screen or risograph).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love exploring markets in my spare time; I’m lucky China Town and Kensington are so close by, there are so many fruit vendors and small shops near to look through. There’s always something new and interesting to discover. I can spend hours happily trawling a shoreline for rocks/shells/glass pieces/shards of old crockery; habits from childhood that never faded, the thrill of the hunt. I delight in antique markets and fairs, the more the better. There is no better place to see so many different things displayed all at once, so much eye candy and inspiration at every turn, it’s divine!

Find Cabin Journal > website instagram facebook