Friday, January 30, 2015

vintage valentines - a lifetime in a box

Years ago, I went to an estate sale in the Ottawa Valley. We used to rent a cottage there when the kids were little. I arrived a bit late in the day to find the auctioneer practically giving away unwanted lots of personal items from a very elderly lady who had died.

I remember gasping when I spotted two big boxes full of cards, letters and these antique boxes. I don't remember what I paid for them, but it was very little, probably about five dollars.

Inside the two boxes was a lifetime of correspondence. Birthday cards, anniversary cards, sympathy cards, Christmas cards, letters etc. There were a lot.

I spent an afternoon sifting through these personal items. Reading messages of love, celebration and sometimes sadness. It was so sad to me that no one wanted to keep any of these items. Terrible to think where these could have ended up!

Finally, I resorted to sorting through the vast piles to keep only the cards, stationery etc that appealed to me for their illustrations, fonts or sometimes script-like handwriting.

I was able to edit it down to these 6 boxes which I have held onto for many years. The boxes on their own were great to find. I wonder what The Northway Store was?

So that's all, just a little story about collecting :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

the handwritten note ... a lost art?

Custom stationery from Paper Parade Co.

Today is National Handwriting Day. Yes there is such a thing ;)

Do you still write by hand? If you have children, have they learned the art of cursive handwriting?

I can credit my late mom with teaching my children how to write in cursive. She grew up in an era where good penmanship was valued and had the patience to sit with her grandchildren at a young age to teach them. Thank goodness she did, because I certainly didn't. Not every teacher will spend the time on this at school today and I think it's unfortunate. The kids actually like to write in cursive. It's much more efficient than printing and I think they like the artistic touch they are able to add to their writing. 

It turns out that handwriting even has benefits for your brain. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal it can help you learn better and can help keep your mind sharp as you get older. Interesting. I see that with my own kids as they like to write out study notes by hand to help them learn, something I also did in school.

I insist that they send handwritten notes to family and friends to thank them for gifts. Yes, they roll their eyes at me and tell me I'm old fashioned and that nobody does that anymore. My answer is if someone can take the time to think about what you would like, purchase it, wrap and deliver it, surely you can find the time to write a note to say thank you. 
*Disclosure: We are still working on Christmas thank you notes, but better late than never, right?

Resorting to email and greeting card apps to say thank you etc is fine once in a while. I'm the first one to use them! But as a recipient don't you think it's nice to get real mail? To know that someone has taken the time to think of you?

I love that there has been a renewed interest in calligraphy and penmanship. You are seeing it in art, home decor and event decorating. Hand lettering on chalk boards, invitations and all sorts of other things is on trend. I recently bought a calligraphy set for my teen daughter as she loves to incorporate hand lettering in her art. I hope this trend stays for awhile.

To celebrate National Handwriting Day we are offering 
20% off at PAPER PARADE CO. 
Use Promo Code: HANDWRITE15

We offer custom stationery for all your handwritten stationery needs. So send me a note, and I'll help get you some personalized stationery.

Happy National Handwriting Day!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Colour Inspiration - Blue, Gold and Winter White

This is the first post in a series on colour and colour inspiration! Colour has such a big impact on our lives. It has the power to change our moods; motivate, soothe, energize and inspire. I plan on using this series to showcase some palettes and colour combinations that are inspiring me right now. Sometimes they will reflect colour palettes that are on trend now but often it's just me playing with colour. 

You've probably seen similar posts like this on my blog before but now it has a proper scheduled time slot. I'm aiming to a colour inspiration post every week or two. I hope you enjoy it :)

I love these cold Winter days when the sun shines and the skies are blue. The combination of blue sky and golden sun with the occasional cloud inspired this palette.

This is a letterpress card my daughter made for me. A good reminder...

We found this glass at a Toronto beach a few weeks ago. 
My daughter was getting some shots for her portfolio when we found this lake glass. So pretty and an unexpected find on a cold, icy beach. 

 layers of beautiful paper some Italian, some Japanese, mixing modern and traditional patterns...

Vintage blue stamps from my stacks of stamps... I'm addicted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fresh starts & Quinoa Salad - Changes I am making for a healthier and happier 2015...

Quinoa Salad with Feta and Mint

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 has been kind to you so far.

I've been on a bit of a hiatus but I'm back with lots of fresh ideas for where I want to take this blog and my life this year. 

It seems the trend for resolutions nowadays is to pick a word that best describes what you want to achieve? I'm jumping on that bandwagon with a word that has been on my mind a lot lately. 

- - - F E A R L E S S - - -

I'm not sure why, but in 2014 I kind of lost my mojo. Did I just write that? (cringe) but it's true. Something was holding me back from achieving my goals...

A lot of bloggers have been talking about the pressure to produce content that is perfect, and how it can be overwhelming and sometimes a stumbling block to creativity. We are bombarded by images of perfect houses, perfect food, and perfect looking people wherever we look in our online world. That's a lot of perfect. 

It hit home recently, when at a holiday party, I complimented the host on her lovely and generous table of food. As someone who loves to cook and bake, I genuinely appreciate the work that is put into preparing food for friends and family. Her table looked wonderful. She thanked me and then said (something like) that it wasn't as styled as what I would do. Inside I cringed. I think I then restated that her table was lovely, because it really was. I felt so uncomfortable at the idea that a friend was comparing her hospitality to what she might see on my blog or at a party I hosted. I know she was giving me a sincere compliment. She is a beautiful and generous friend. But I don't want to be perceived as that kind of person...or that kind of blog.  

Which leads me to why I think I've lost my mojo this year. Good ole' fear.

My blog:

I realized that while I write a lot about the decor and design I love, I haven't really shared many photos of my own home since we renovated. Why? My excuse was because I wasn't done decorating. It wasn't perfect. Cringe. I have a feeling you don't really care about perfection but like to see the process, just like I do. Right? 

My styling work:

Fear of putting myself out there. I want to work more as a prop stylist. I'm proud of what I've done so far. So soon you will be able to view my portfolio online. I'm in the process of designing a new website where you will find my portfolio and the new home of my blog. Stay tuned! 

PS. By the way, I love collaborating and contributing to online as well as, print publications/blogs so please approach me if you have an idea! I will probably be approaching you too ;)

My shop:

I'm still on Etsy , which I love. But I will branching out to include some different products that I love, including more of my personal art. You may see a different side of Paper Parade Co. this year as I try new things.


I've been so busy taking care of my family and our busy lives that I've neglected me. I'm trying to get back on track with that. Eating healthier. Going outside for a good walk a couple of times per day (the advantage of working from home). 
Small changes that have big impact.

One of the things I'm doing to make that easier is preparing lunches and snacks early in the week that are easy for me to grab. This week I made a big batch of quinoa salad. It's delicious and healthy. A better option than making a quick peanut butter sandwich most days. You can find the recipe for the quinoa salad at the end of this very long post.

So, as I read this post, I'm wondering, is it really being fearless?  Maybe a little bit. Asking for what I want. Putting myself out there. Taking risks. I used to be (sort of) fearless - although you won't see me jumping out of any airplanes, killing centipedes or singing in front of a crowd. All valid and healthy fears :)

But in 2015, I might just be contacting that Editor who wanted to scout my house for her magazine; sending my portfolio to photographers and magazines I would love to work with; and asking for what I want. Because no one is going to come banging down your door unless they know you want them to knock.

PS. There is nothing like shouting out what you want on your blog for the world to hear. Hopefully someones listening...



Quinoa Salad with Mint & Feta ---> the Recipe:

Quinoa ( one package of whole grain quinoa, cooked and cooled)

Chop approximately 1 cup of each of the following; cucumber, grape tomatoes, red or orange pepper, spring onion, fresh mint and parsley. Mix together with the quinoa.

Dressing: I use a simple lemon and olive oil mixture for this salad. The juice of one good size lemon and a good glug of olive oil. Season with a little bit of salt and lots of pepper. Sometimes I add a little oregano. Just mix these together and mix into the quinoa salad. 

I add the feta cheese to the salad separately. That way the salad is versatile and I can add whatever I feel like. Some yummy add- ons are feta cheese, goat cheese, or nuts.