Halloween Card-Making at Paper Source


I took advantage of a terrific Halloween card-making workshop at my neighborhood Paper Source store recently.  I had a great time (and met some other local stationery-holics too).  I learned a few new DIY techniques including foil embossing, which is totally addictive.  Like the new cards and envelopes I made?  Check to see if there’s a Paper Source store near you that offers workshops!


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Lands End Personalized Satchel

IMG_8408I was pleasantly surprised to win a $50 gift certificate to Lands End at a twitter party recently.  I was tempted to use it to buy R. two new school uniform shirts, but decided to treat myself instead to this Women’s Printed Coated Canvas Satchel.  It is a great everyday handbag.  I particularly like the zip-close top, the faux leather handles and the wipeable PVC-free fabric.  Keep this one in mind as a holiday gift!  It’s on sale for $54.99 (regularly $68) at Lands End.


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70 Years of Memories

Picture 4My dad (shown above as a little boy) turns 70 years old this week. Last weekend, we celebrated with some family & friends, and my sister and I presented with him with a special gift. I got this idea from a blog called Nothing But Bonfires and everyone enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it here—it is a really special gift idea for a milestone birthday or anniversary.

The gift is called ”70 Years of Memories.” With the email below, we asked our friends and family to submit their favorite handwritten memories or stories about our dad:

Dear Family & Friends:

If you’re receiving this email, you probably know that our amazing dad is turning 70 next month. To help celebrate his birthday, we’re putting together a little surprise for him….we are creating “70 Years of Memories” by filling 70 envelopes with memories his friends & family have of him.  And this is where you come in!

If you have a spare moment in the next few days, we would be so grateful if you’d jot down a favorite memory you have of our dad and put it in the mail to us. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — you can just jot it down on an index card or a small piece of paper. You can mention anything you like, whether funny or serious — although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send more than one memory (in fact, we welcome it — we’ve got 70 envelopes to fill!) but make sure you write them on different pieces of paper (and sign your name to each) so we can split them up.

Thank you so much for participating — we know everyone is busy with their own lives, and we do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this. It will be so worth it when he reads all the memories people have of him. Please remember to keep it a surprise, too!

Erika & Joanna (address below)

And then we waited.  A few days later, the responses started pouring in.  It was so much fun to read them.  The stories came from everyone from his childhood friends to his colleagues to his grandchildren and great-nephews.  The stories were sometimes funny, sometimes surprising, and sometimes very moving.  It painted such a rich and varied history of our dad.

To put together the actual gift, I put one memory per “airmail” envelope (Mead #10 Airmail Envelopes, $5.21 at Amazon.com) and numbered them with stickers (Number Stickers, $10 at Amazon.com).  I kept a master list of whose memories were in which envelope.


 I tied them with a bow, and voila….here was the finished gift.


Since we kept this gift a surprise for both my mom and dad, they have been enjoying reading each one and savoring the memories.  Here is the birthday boy:


Happy Birthday Dad!!!

p.s. Thanks again to Nothing But Bonfires for this wonderful idea.  

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Early Bird Special: Night Owl Paper Goods Holiday Cards

This is my twelfth year sending out holiday photo cards, and I want to send out a card that really stands out.  After seeing the “same old, same old” cards year after year, I really appreciate cards that are remarkable for their designs, materials, or special flourishes.

One of the top contenders for our card this year is Night Owl Paper Good’s Personalized Real Wood Holiday Cards which are printed on wood (yes, real wood).  These cards stand out for many reasons:

  • they’re printed on sustainably harvested birch wood (all designs are also available on budget-friendly FSC certified paper, too).
  • they’re easy to personalize online with your own greeting, photo(s) or logo, and then professional designers do the rest.
  • a dozen backer choices are available and included in the price, including a 2015 calendar, additional photos and/or text, festive patterns, and more.
  • all of the cards are handmade here in the USA.  The envelopes contain 30-100% recycled post-consumer waste.
  • you can order now but upload your photos later.

These will cost a little more than your standard cards, obviously, but I have the solution–take advantage of their early bird sale (see end of post for coupon code).  Or, you could also get the very same designs printed on paper (a “faux wood” background, if you will) rather than wood, which will also save you money.  And while you’re checking out all the various options on the site, I’d recommend you browse through the Personalized Letterpress Holiday Cards and Personalized Ornament Cards, too.

These personally are two of my favorite designs from the 2015 collection:

Rustic Bloom (starting at $2.22 each on wood, or $1.21 on paper):

rustic-bloomKrafty Sash (starting at $2.22 each on wood, or $1.21 on paper):


Enjoy 20% off all Personalized Holiday Cards at Night Owl Paper Goods (plus free domestic shipping on all orders $49+) all month long!  Use code SHINE2014 now through 10/31.

Posted in affiliates, coupon codes, eco-friendly, stationery, winter holidays | 1 Comment

Fall for All with Modern Family

This time of year there are a ton of family-friendly Halloween events taking place in NYC. One that I’ve bookmarked for my kids is this Sunday’s “Fall for All” in Union Square Park. It’s an afternoon/evening of family fun (from 12pm-8pm) including an interactive corn maze, face-painting, and a pumpkin patch (guaranteed to be less crowded than the popular pumpkin patches outside of the city). And somehow the festival will incorporate the hit TV show Modern Family which is one of my 11yo’s favorite shows (and mine, too). If you’re in NYC, maybe you will see us there! For more information visit Union Square Park’s website.


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Personalized Halloween Notecards


I’d had my eye on these Personalized Pumpkin Notecards ($20 for a set of 10) by Etsy shop Fiona Designs for quite some time, and finally ordered them as a little birthday treat for myself. They turned out great! They will be perfect for birthday thank-you notes and my other autumn letter-writing. Fiona Designs has tons of fun options for personalized notecards year-round; browse them all at Fiona Designs.

Posted in Etsy, favorite gifts, Halloween, personalized gifts, stationery | Leave a comment

Hooray for Hanukkah Pajamas

This is the time of year when you see kids’ Christmas pajamas in just about every store and catalog.  But it is much tougher to find Hanukkah pajamas for kids.  So I’m happy to have found two such options this year:

Hanukkah PJs by Sara’s Prints ($36, sizes 2-14) at CWD Kids:



Meow-zel Tov! Two-Piece Gymmies® ($14.99, sizes 3-12) at Gymboree:


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Posted in clothing, sibling gifts, winter holidays | Leave a comment