Category Archives: Christmas

Petite Boutique 

Petite Boutique 2017, pleasant home, oak park, visit oak parkSorry for the radio silence around here. I’ve been typing and cutting and pasting new cards for Petite Boutique this weekend. If you’re in the area, stop by Pleasant Home in Oak Park tonight and tomorrow to shop handmade. It’s a really great show and I always love seeing friendly faces. Galaxie Safari, christmas card, vintage postage stamp, vintage typewriter, holiday greetings, greeting card

This is one of the new Christmas cards, inspired by the (wonderfully terrible!) Hallmark Christmas movies I’ve already started watching. I’ll share some more next week! Until then, have a great weekend!

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Petite Boutique 2016

craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Ahhh…we survived our first craft show!

Petite Boutique was last weekend and I think for the first show, we did pretty well! People were generally really nice about my cards and I loved talking to everyone about old postage stamps and typewriters! I felt “in my element” for the first time in quite awhile. I loved telling people about the first USPS Christmas stamp and listening to customer’s stories about learning to type on a typewriter. (I, too, learned to type on a typewriter.)craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016All of the artists showing at Petite Boutique were spread throughout the home. Shoppers went from room to room looking at each little “shop.” We lucked out and got the sunroom, which ended up being really beautiful, both on Friday night and sunny Saturday. The windows look out on Mills Park and some great fall leaf and people watching. artist statement, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had such a good time planning my merchandising. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I think it’s a good start for future shows. I made a simple banner out of airmail envelopes and twine and added my name with some chipboard stickers that I found at Michaels. I pinned the banner on my (very wrinkly) tablecloth. The banner held up well, though sometimes it got disturbed by shoppers. Ideally, it would be hanging high behind me so shoppers could see it, even if my booth was busy.

I displayed my “artist statement” on one of my typewriters. (I didn’t actually type it on the typewriter because I thought the type might be too small.) Only a few people read it, but it was nice to have out there so people could learn a little bit about how my cards are made. holiday card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I displayed all of my holiday cards (boxes and singles) in old wooden boxes from my dad’s basement. I liked that they gave some height to the display. greeting card display, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Single non-holiday cards were all in another wooden box in the center of the table. I don’t really have enough card categories to require dividers. But if I keep doing craft shows, I’ll probably invest in a tabletop spinner or try to think of a better way to display these. Customers didn’t seem to mind sifting through them, but for a busier show, I think better visibility would make it easier.  stickers and stationery sets, craft show table 2, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I had two options each of letter sets and sticker sets. And I offered the Japanese New Year cards like the ones I sent out for 2016. I made a sample so people could see that they could add a creative touch to the cards, or just write a new year message. The letter sets did not sell at all, but the stickers and postcards were pretty popular. framed quotes with postage stamps, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016I also had a small display of framed and unframed quotes adorned with postage stamps. These sold really well, so I’m looking forward to adding some more to my shop soon. one whale, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016And last but not least, I had a wooden whale holding white and silver gel pens for sale. I sold a few cards with dark envelopes, so it was a good way to give people an easy option for addressing those envelopes. shoppers at Kimberly AH, craft show table, Petite Boutique, Pleasant Home Oak Park, 2016Naoto was an amazing help! He learned the details about my cards (he loved telling people about the unique encyclopedia page envelope liners!) so he could talk to people while I was finishing up with another customer or chatting with friends. I know lots of people do craft shows alone, but it was perfect to have moral support and help for my first show. (I secretly think Naoto enjoyed it as much as I did, too!)

Thanks to everyone who shared their craft show advice in the comments, in letters, and in person (Sean!) And I have to send out a heartfelt thanks to friends near and far who came to say hi and to support the show. You all made my day and I loved being surprised when I saw your faces in the crowd. And a huge thanks to our shoppers who all seemed genuinely excited about buying handmade and to Pleasant Home for organizing the event. THANK YOU!!

 

 

P.S. I’ve begun listing my greeting cards in my Etsy shop and will continue to add more over the weekend. (All of my greeting cards are listed, but I’d like to add boxed options and mix & match savings.) Stay tuned.

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I’m Doing a Craft Show!

Petite Boutique Holiday Market, Pleasant Home, Oak ParkIt’s exciting! (And slightly terrifying…)

For the past few months, I’ve been making greeting cards using my Royal Safari typewriter and featuring vintage cancelled postage stamps from my collection. I recently got my act together to open a little shop and I applied for a local juried craft show at Pleasant Home. And, I got in! So over the next month, I’ll be busy typing at my typewriter and sifting through my stamp collection and cutting envelope liners out of Karen’s grandparents’ encyclopedia collection. (Thanks, Karen!) I am very excited and nervous. What if no one buys anything? What if I forget how to count money? What if I run out of products? (None of these scenarios are likely. I’m very good at math. But seriously…how do you even know how much to make?) Thankfully Naoto has agreed to be my customer service associate so he can help me manage small talk and sales.

I’ll share more as I get into a good production groove around here. If you’ve ever done a craft show -big or small- I’d love to hear your advice!

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Book Club Christmas Tea 2015

book club christmas tea 2015One last thing about the holidays…

Last month, Peggy hosted our third annual Book Club Christmas Tea. As usual, it was a festive event with everyone contributing something tasty. I made this Japanese egg salad, which was delicious. (I take no credit…it’s just a good recipe!) I am not a fan of curry usually, but I really did love this egg salad.Book Club Christmas Tea 2015 3In addition to the egg salad, we had ham salad, cucumber sandwiches, and chicken salad served in little bread boats, lemon cranberry scones and English toffee scones served with lemon curd, cream and cranberry butter, grape salad, toffee pudding, plum cake, and Christmas cookies. (I think that’s everything!)Book Club Christmas Tea 2015 4, cranberry pepper shrub with proseccoI also made this shrub to serve with prosecco. I’d never made a shrub before, so I was a little bit worried, but it turned out really tasty. (Though next time I will crush the peppercorns a bit more because it was lacking the peppery bite.)Book Club Christmas Tea, placecards, Yellow Owl Workshop Placecard stampAnd, because I think every party needs a little paper element, I made these simple place cards out of some red cardstock, my Yellow Owl Workshop stamp embossed in white, and some Jolee’s holly stickersBook Club Christmas Tea 2015 2Peggy’s tables were delightfully decorated, as always. img_7308img_7304We read The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin. It was a perfect read for December when everyone is busy. (Last year, we attempted an Austen novel and hardly anyone finished.) Most of us finished it in one relaxing afternoon while sitting by our trees. And though it was only eighty pages and maybe more of a tale for children, we found so much to talk about, even comparing it to The Dead. I recommend it if you’re looking for a sweet tale to read this December.

So much work goes into planning this thing–especially by Peggy since she decorates, sets the tables, and cleans up after we all leave!–but it is so worth it. We are already talking about things to add for next Christmas!

(And with that, I think I may be done talking about the holidays…for now!)

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All I Want For Christmas 2015

Field Notes box, Field Notes Traveling Salesman, Field Notes Cold Horizon, CArry On Cocktail KitNaoto spoiled me rotten this Christmas. The big gift was a trip to San Francisco to see our friends who moved there last year. He gave me a little Carry-On Cocktail Kit for the flight. It made me laugh and I can’t wait to crack it open once we are on our way.

He went to the Field Notes HQ during their open house and snagged the long-retired Traveling Salesman and Cold Horizon 3-packs for my stocking and gave me a box to hold my ever growing Field Notes collection. craftgasm postcards, Kaweco Sport mint, envelope pins,In other paper-y gifts, he gave me two sets of postcards from Craftgasm, two envelope pins from Paper Pastries, and from Jet Pens, a bottle of J. Herbin anniversary ink, a pencil sharpener, a white Decorese pen, a mint Kaweco Sport, and (unpictured) some Tomoe River paper, a new Frixion stamp, and a converter so I can actually use that fancy ink in my new Kaweco.

Yay for gifts that can be used up…except for the Field Notes, which will go into the “collection”.

Did you get anything fun for Christmas?

P.S. I didn’t get my usual zines in my stocking this year because I didn’t submit my wishlist early enough…so I ordered some as a New Years gift to myself! I’ll report on those soon!

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Elvis In My Mailbox!

Elvis stocking, made by Marissa Flaco, Elvis Christmas fabricToday would have been Elvis’s 81st birthday so I’m sharing a couple of Elvis treats I’ve received in the mail lately. Marissa sent this incredible Elvis stocking. She expertly sewed it herself and I’m in love with the striped accent and the starry lining. It came as a total surprise and when I opened the envelope and saw Elvis, I fell over laughing with joy. Elvis stocking, made by Marissa Flaco, Elvis Christmas fabricThe Elvis fabric is the perfect marriage of Elvis and envelopes, my two favorite things! I know the stocking whispers Christmas, but I’m going to leave it out just a liiiiiiiittle longer, maybe through Valentine’s Day…maybe all year next to some other Elvis cards that live on my desk. (Confession: The tree is still up anyway.)Elvis mail from Nic, Elvis postage stamp, Elvis postcardsAnd Nic, fellow Elvis-lover from California, sent along this Elvis care package that included an Elvis notecard, two postcards from Elvis’s Palm Springs home, and Elvis STAMPS! (The old 29-cent ones!) I am so excited to finally have some real, uncancelled Elvis stamps in my collection! And I had no idea Elvis even had a Palm Springs home, so it’s exciting to know that I have another Elvis destination to visit.

Thank you, Marissa and Nic for making my day! There’s no Return to Sender when it comes to Elvis mail! (Sorry for the bad joke.)

Tonight we are hosting a little birthday party for Naoto…which is slowly morphing into an Elvis-themed party. I’m trying to sneak some Elvis into the Peter, Paul & Mary playlist. (They are Naoto’s favorite!) Happy weekend!

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Donabe for Christmas

naoto with his new donabe pot Our Christmas Day centered around the contents of that box. I gave Naoto a donabe, Japanese hot pot, for Christmas, sending him over the moon with excitement. Donabe are used for table top cooking of Japanese meals, particularly shabu-shabu. We’ve been talking about buying our own donabe and making shabu-shabu at home forever. We casually looked at them while we were in Japan, but it just isn’t practical to carry around a big, breakable pot when you are traveling by train and subway. So, I did what any American would do…I bought one on Amazon. This one, as a matter of fact. It is made in Japan, Naoto’s favorite color and available on Prime. (I was shopping somewhat last-minute. Also, not an affiliate link.) japanese donabe vegetablesWe made our annual visit to Mitsuwa on Christmas afternoon to pick up the table top burner and ingredients for shabu-shabu. We bought (clockwise, pictured above) cabbage, scallion, tofu, shirataki (yam noodle), enoki mushroom, and carrots. The carrots were supposed to be cut like flowers, but Naoto is still working on his skills. (But I do find that those little carrot pinwheels very charming!) And we bought a pound of the very thinly sliced beef. cooking shabu shabu, japanese donabe, japanese hot potNaoto cooking Shabu Shabu, donabe On Christmas night, we made a cocktail, lit some candles, and fired up the little stove. Naoto seasoned the water with some seaweed.  cooking shabu shabu meat 2When the water was bubbling, he took out the seaweed and we were ready to cook! It only took a couple of swishes and the beef was cooked to perfection. cooking shabu shabu meat 3And the best part…the ponzu dipping sauce! The citrusy sauce is the perfect complement to the beef! I want to put it on evvvvverything!

We borrowed Japanese Hot Pots and Donabe from the library so we can learn how to expand our donabe cooking beyond shabu-shabu. And tomorrow night, we are hosting a mini shabu-shabu party for Naoto’s birthday. I’m excited to try a few recipes at the dining room table this winter!

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The First Post of 2016

Christmas Tree 2015Happy New Year! It always seems like December flies by without a chance to catch my breath. The first week always feels full of possibility and then I’m always rushing to finish projects and parties by the end. But in the end, the work is worth it, the parties are fun and full of laughter, and I know I have all of January to recover.

I am so looking forward to this month.

January is the introvert’s delight.

The parties are over. The shopping is over. The weather in Chicago makes going out difficult. I’m looking forward to hibernation and working on a couple of projects around the house and on my desk. I’m also looking forward to popping in here more often. I got out of the blogging habit at the end of last year…for many reasons that may deserve their own post someday. But I think I’m ready to come back…slowwwwly. Sitting here at my desk, I have a running list of things I want to share, including bits about the holidays, some great mail that’s been showing up in my mailbox, and well…more about Japan. Oh, and perhaps some resolutions?

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to what 2016 may bring.

It’s time to take down the Christmas tree…

(Have you taken yours down yet?)

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The LWA Holiday Letter Social

vintage Christmas StampsTomorrow, I’ll be joining Kathy and Donovan for the LWA Holiday Virtual Letter Social. We’ll be writing out our holiday cards and chatting about postal and non-postal topics (the subject of cocktails usually comes up!) So get out your Christmas cards and a cup of tea and join in!

Have you gotten any cards yet? My Aunt Karen was the first this year, closely followed by Ryan, whose card came from the North Pole again!

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Pretty Seed Packets

Hudson Valley Seed Library, Amy Ross, Molly RauschMy pen pal Danielle sent me these fantastic seed packets for Christmas. They are from the Hudson Valley Seed Library as part of their special Art Packs series. Various artists’ works are used on the seed packet, making them perfect for gifts! (Danielle, you know me so well!) She sent Isis Candy Shop tomatoes, packet art done by Amy Ross.Hudson Valley Seed Library, Molly Rausch, Japanese stamp The other one, Tender Green Komatsuna, features a painting by Molly Rausch, famous for her postage stamp paintings. If you look closely, you can see that the base of the painting is a vintage Japanese postage stamp, and Molly, with her imagination and a teeny, tiny paintbrush, added the surroundings. You can see the entire painting here…isn’t it fantastic?

This gift blends all of my favorite things: mail, postage stamps and gardening! And, especially when windchills are hitting the -30°F mark, I’m really dreaming of gardening today.

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