Nature-infused scents from Brooklyn Candle Studio

Brooklyn-Candle-Studio

What better way to complete your spring cleaning than burning a scented candle? This past weekend I did some major organizing in my clothes closet setting aside lots of things to donate, and then cleaned the house from top-to-bottom. After working hard to spruce up the place, I like to relax by burning a candle, making a fruit smoothie, and reading a book (currently reading Wild). This week I’m trying the travel tin candles from Brooklyn Candle Studio. When I first saw them online, I was drawn in by the simple packaging, and then when I read more about them I found out that they offer a variety of scents and use essential oils in their formulas. The ones that I decided to try are Honeysuckle, Fern + Moss, Rose Botanica, and Montana Forest. At the moment my favorites are Honeysuckle and Rose Botanica, probably because it’s spring and floral scents inspire hope for warmer weather. The company offers a few different packaging options depending on your personal preference, including mason jars, amber glass jars, and the tins that are pictured here. If you’re planning ahead and want to get a nice Mother’s Day gift or something special for someone with a spring birthday, these “pick 4″ gift sets could be just the thing!


How Do You Feel About Minimalism?

minimalism

In the past year, I’ve noticed a trend towards minimalism, where people are downsizing their lives– getting rid of clutter, choosing quality over quantity, buying fewer things. A popular twenty-something YouTuber in the style industry announced last week that she was able to lighten her closet this season to only 30 pieces of clothing. The rising blog Un-Fancy is centered around the idea of the “Capsule Wardrobe,” where you keep your closet to under 40 pieces, and rotate some of the items each season to keep it fresh. I’ve also seen posts about the idea of the Capsule Makeup Bag, where just have what you need and use the most (here’s my version of the capsule bag from last year). A new company called Cuyana that people are crazy for has the slogan “Fewer, better things.”Β  This concept doesn’t just apply to our closets. Jess Lively, the life guru, started the 100 Things Challenge, where she removed 100 unwanted things of all kinds from her home that were taking up space and donated, sold, or recycled them.

It’s really refreshing to see influencers telling us all that we don’t need to buy so much stuff to be happy and successful, instead of the opposite that our culture has been telling us for awhile. That if you purchase goods that are well-made and ethically crafted, or just choose to buy less overall, your mind will be calmer and your life will be less complicated. I’m not sure exactly where this shift started, but I think that maybe we were all just so overwhelmed by the junk accumulating in our attics and we realized that it’s not sustainable to keep accumulating at such a fast pace, for our wallets, our spaces, or our minds.

I’ve been enthralled with the idea of simplifying since college, which is funny because I used to be one of those girls who shopped too much. I later learned that I don’t have to own every pretty object I see to appreciate it. I’m always trying to bring more calm to my life in different small ways…house plants, walks outside, finding quiet moments throughout my day, organizing and decluttering, etc. This must sound a bit funny coming from someone who is about to open a retail shop where people buy things. But my hope is that Waxwing Mercantile will a place where you can find something that will brighten a small moment of your day, and where customers can acquire something lasting that they enjoy so much it becomes a staple in their homes or that it is given as a meaningful gift that someone will cherish for years to come.

My latest minimalist actions have been cleaning out my closets and cabinets throughout my home this winter to only include things I use. Currently, for budget and practicality reasons, I don’t have an unrealistic rule that I have be head-over-heels for everything I own if it’s functional. But I hope over time as I put down roots here in Maine, I can slowly move to having things in our home of lasting quality and bring enjoyment to our household. It really does make a difference to be surrounded by things that inspire joy.

Are you simplifying your possessions, your calendar, your pace of life, or other aspects of your life? What have you found to be therapeutic, and what stresses you out?

 


March updates on Waxwing Mercantile

Hi, friends. Happy Sunday! It’s 20 degrees here where I live, but the sunlight is filling my living room which puts me in a good mood. Since we’ve entered the last week of March, I think it’s time for another Waxwing update.

This month I started corresponding with some makers whose products I might like to sell in the shop. I’ve been learning a bit about buying wholesale and all of the intricacies of that process. Thanks to a fantastic local biz lady who let me interview her last fall, I had a bit of the knowledge I needed to get started. Now it is just a process of narrowing down to the top vendors and placing orders for goods to arrive late summer so that I can stock them and photograph inventory in time for the opening of the shop. I also attended a trade show this month, which was focused on New-England-made goods.

On the blogging front, it’s been a little tricky to maintain momentum. Partially because during the cold months, everyone here in Maine is hibernating and there feels like a lack of inspiration. Also, since I write about artisan goods, I purchase the goods that I feature. Right now I’m trying to spend less money in my household to build the savings I need to purchase inventory and equipment related to setting up the Waxwing office. As much as I’d love to buy new things every week to blog about, that isn’t particularly sustainable for my wallet. So some weeks you might see just one post from me, and instead of sticking to the Tuesday/Thursday schedule, it’s going to be a bit more organic and I’ll write when I have something to say.

My next step for the shop is to commission a designer to create a logo. To be honest, part of me wants to just launch the business making a simple logo myself because sometimes when you’re just starting up you have to make the most of your resources. On the other hand, it would make me feel like the shop is more legitimate and I would be more proud of it if a pro has designed the brand. If I do it, I’m planning to contact a designer and get going on it in April. What do you guys think?

Posts coming up soon…a small-batch candle company (y’all tell me all the time how much you love candles), a nature book review, and a post about my first-ever trade show experience.

Hope you all are having a terrific start to your spring now that it is officially here!


Floral Stationery by Smudge Ink for your Springtime Snail Mail

Smudge-Ink-floral-cards

Smudge Ink’s story is exactly the kind that will warm your heart. A small start-up founded by two college friends with a passion for design and charming stationery. The little company was founded in 1993, and it has grown to offer cards, gift wrapping, notebooks, wedding invitations, and other pretty paper goods. Smudge began as a letterpress studio and now does offset printing as well. They are now headquartered in Boston, and some of their products are printed right here in Maine! One thing I love about this company is that they print everything on recycled paper, and they also regularly partner with nonprofits to give back to the community.

I’ve been keeping these luscious clover note cards in my desk for anytime I want to send a cheerful spring greeting to friends and family. The pink and green bring a pop of color to an otherwise chilly March, where there is still a couple feet of snow on the ground where I live. The note cards are small, so they are the perfect size for a thank you note or a simple ‘hello.’ They also come in a sturdy box for easy storage. Pair them with these new fern stamps for some botanical-themed snail mail.

Some other offerings from Smudge that I think are particularly fetching are the Busy Bee Mother’s Day card, the Dandelion gift wrap, and the Fern gift and favor bags. So many things to choose from. They also make a cedar waxwing holiday card (!), which I think is going to have to be my greeting for the 2015 holiday season.


Sunday morning and what I’ve been up to lately

spring-is-coming

Good morning everyone! Weekend mornings are the greatest, are they not? Summer and fall weekends I usually make serious plans for a day trip, get-together, or outdoor adventure, but often times during the colder months, we stay put at home. I make French toast and tea, and my husband Matt and I kind of do our own thing. I tend to work on blog posts for the week, spend time building my dream home on Pinterest, snuggle with the kitty, read a book (currently reading Letterpress Now and Wild), sometimes catch up on my guilty pleasure Netflix shows, tidy up the house, and just soak in the sunshine while on a slight caffeine high. Today is gray and cold, so there’s no sunshine, but the rest sounds about right.

So, spring starts in less than a week! Thank goodness. I’ve been burning floral candles all around the house and using Mrs. Meyer’s Honeysuckle-scented all purpose cleanerΒ  and Radish countertop spray to make the place smell like a garden. This month I have also been spring cleaning and de-cluttering.

Last night it was cold and rainy, and in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie (used turkey instead of lamb), which is Matt’s new favorite meal, and Millionaire’s Shortbread for dessert.

On the Waxwing front, I have been corresponding with potential vendors for the shop…makers who create nature-inspired goods that I think you will like! Yesterday I attended New England Made, a trade show featuring goods that are made in the northeast, and later in March I will attend the Boston Gift Show (blog post coming later this month about my first trade show experience).

Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend! XO


Craft Fairs Across America

There’s no event more exhilarating than a really great craft fair, one where the designs are fresh, the vibe is happy, and the goods are one-of-a-kind. So, in part for my own education about where I can be introduced to makers whose creations I could sell in the shop, I pulled together a list of some of the best-looking artisan fairs across America, and then it occurred to me, why not share it? Here are some of the most enticing ones I found. If you are aware of any others that are top-notch, please tell us in the comments! These aren’t industry trade shows– they are all public events. Most of them are juried in that vendors need to apply and be vetted by a committee, so the quality of the goods is top notch.

Indie Craft Parade

“A celebration of handmade art,” in Greenville, South Carolina. See video above! The next one will be September 18-20, 2015. Someday I’d really love to attend this one. Indie Craft Parade also organizes an annual small business conference called The Makers Summit. This year’s just happened last weekend, so maybe something to add to the list for next year!

PICNIC Portland

Picnic happens twice a year (summer + holiday) in the seaside city of Portland, Maine. Vendors of all kinds such as jewelry makers, letterpress printers, textile artists, and loads more, attend this event. The next Picnic will be August 1, 2015. This is the only event on the list that I have actually attended, and I can confirm that it is most definitely a lot of fun. The winter one is perfect for finding holiday gifts, but the summer one is my favorite because it is held outdoors in the true spirit of a “picnic.”

Renegade Craft Fair

What’s neat about Renegade is that it takes place in multiple cities. It originated in Chicago in 2003, and since then has sprung up in London, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Portland (OR), and Los Angeles. These fairs are extraordinarily popular, and thus I’ve heard that they can be exceptionally busy, but it I think it would be worth braving the crowds.

Urban Craft Uprising

2015 will be Urban Craft Uprising’s eleventh year in Seattle, Washington, and it is running strong. The next event will be June 27 and 28th.

The Little Craft Show

This event in both Springdale (spring) and Fayetteville (winter), Arkansas sounds adorable! Save the date for the next one on May 30.