On January 17th, Betty White would have turned 100 years old. Joan Didion passed away right before Christmas at age 87. Sidney Poitier, on January 6th, just a few weeks shy of what would have been his 95th birthday.
Life and death connects us all. The recent loss of several near-centenarians and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the elderly has made us reflect on these individuals. After all, such members of society have a lot to teach us.
While some people may complain of aging, living into one's eighties, nineties and beyond is a gift bestowed on the living. Seen in a positive light, aging is one way of growing. Growth is what we're all here for; we aren't meant to stay the same.
A person who is 100 today was alive during WWII, the civil rights movement, the birth of rock 'n roll and many subsequent music genres. They lived through the majority of the headline-making events of the 20th century and all of the 21st century up to now. They grew up before televisions were in people's homes. Not to mention the changes they would've experienced in their own circle and within themselves - their minds and bodies.
When we reflect on what all these people have been through, it becomes easier to see the wisdom many have accumulated. Especially so for those who are introspective and have used time wisely to learn the lessons life is trying to teach each of us.
Who are the elders in your life? (Relatives? Neighbours, colleagues, volunteers?) What wisdom might they share with you? It may be worth giving one of these people a call. Or write them a card or letter. Ask them about the things you never got to witness or experience first hand, rather than make assumptions. They may surprise you.
Here are the trailers to a documentary and docu-series currently on Netflix that honour the experiences and wisdom of a few senior citizens:
It delights us when we hear our customers talk about using stationery to connect with others. We hope you benefit from the wisdom of our many elderly citizens in your life. We wish you many enlightening conversations.
In the US, January 13th is National Sticker Day. While we're Canadian, there's certainly nothing holding us back from having our own fun with these sticky little bits of paper.
Stickers were used as early as 300 BC to price produce in the marketplace. In the 1800s stickers were mainly used as postage stamps and for taxes. Since then, we've incorporated stickers into many areas of life, and they're both functional and decorative.
Today, if you ask someone what they think of when you say the word 'sticker' they might very well think of childhood. Sticker books, scratch 'n sniff stickers and receiving a sticker from a teacher on your homework or quiz are common associations. Sometimes kids trade stickers or add them to gifts, cards and valentines.
This link to childhood and achievement may be part of why adults derive a sense of play and happiness using stickers. They can add whimsy and humour to journals, photo albums, laptops, phones and guitar cases.
Stickers have practical uses, too. They can be used to seal packages and envelopes. To distinguish one's drinking glass from another. To promote a cause. To mark a specific event or as a tracking device for a new habit in your agenda or calendar. Even to label items at your yard sale.
New developments in adhesives have created stickers that are tacky, but don't leave a residue. We see this in post-it notes and washi tape. It's also a feature of wall stickers, which are a fun way to decorate for holidays and celebrations.
Keep the kid inside you alive by using stickers in creative ways! After all, fun and pleasure is worth cultivating. When asked what they want most in life, people often say they want to be happy.
So, it's a new year. A fresh start. Even though we actually get a new start each day, the beginning of a calendar year seems to incent many of us to try and better ourselves. And frankly, any excuse that motivates millions of people to take a good look at themselves and aim higher can't be all that bad now, can it?
When you resolve to make a change, there're many ways to go about it. A great place to start is where you're at. Look at what's been going on; what results you've experienced. Many organizations and people complete a 'year in review', where they look back over the past twelve months and make note of highs and lows, trends, habits, what's been working and what hasn't.
What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to live? What do you value? Is your lifestyle, your everyday behaviour reflective of your values? If not, why? What would it take to live your dream life? What things would need to be in place? Now what can you do to have those things?
Pick out a notebook that feels good to you. Something in a colour or pattern that lifts you, with paper that is a joy to write on. Now write some of this stuff down. Make yourself a hot cup of tea or coffee. Take a few minutes for yourself to get clear. It's amazing how something as simple as releasing your thoughts down on paper can really ease any burden you feel and give you greater clarity.
Consider people, places and things that you believe will keep you on track and have a tendency to inspire you. Maybe you want to read or watch an interview or documentary you've seen that gives you a boost. Perhaps part of your plan to stay motivated with your new habit includes reading or watching or seeing a person who lifts you once a month (or whatever frequency suits your schedule).
I recall Goldie Hawn in an interview saying that even at a young age, she knew what mattered more to her than fame or money was being happy. She used her level of happiness as a compass to make decisions about what projects to work on and what activities to do.
This year, whatever new habits you create or old ones you break, we hope you grow in a way that brings you closer to your truest, best self. There's a joy, a quiet contentment that comes when we live in a way that's honest with ourself. Just like only you know what food tastes good to you, only you know when things feel right. Develop that trust in yourself.
We wish you a year of prosperity and high quality everything: focused time, genuine and kind relationships, good health, creative pursuits and an abundance of laughter!
Do you have any favourite New Year's Eve memories? Any dreams of how you'd like to spend New Year's Eve in the future? This time-centred holiday is sometimes used to mark other milestones such as marriage proposals, weddings, and others spend the late hours in labour, giving birth to the New Year babies born on January 1st.
Some people really get into this night of the year, a reason to celebrate with friends, get outside and express their joy. Fireworks, sparklers, glitter, champagne and singing the traditional Auld Lang Syne can make us connect to times past, like in the film Meet Me In St. Louis.
Others opt for more low-key celebrations, such as skating, watching movies or marathon series sessions: The Crown, Queen's Gambit, Blown Away, etc. Many pull out classic board games such as like Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Scrabble and play card games.
I know someone who uses E. Frances notecards to write out happy moments throughout the year and collects them in a jar. On New Year's Eve, she makes herself comfortable and opens the container to read all the notes, which fill her with joy all over again.
The days leading up to the new year are a great time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the next one. It's a time to take stock of all we have to be grateful for, get honest with ourselves and dare to dream.
People come into the shop wanting calendars, agendas and fresh notebooks that delight them, so they can ride the wave of positive momentum. The process of writing down our thoughts, our wishes and sketching out our plans is the first step in taking those ideas in our heads and making them real in the world.
This New Year's Eve, we wish you an evening rich in reflection, gratitude, joy and hope. To all of life's journeys yet to come!
Wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2022!
Where would you spend your ideal Christmas and what would you do? I'd host a Christmas dinner party and set a beautiful table. Maybe that's because gathering around the table eating together and sharing stories is my favourite part of the holiday season.
However, the lead-up to the holidays can feel like a mad dash toward a finish line. Decorating, drop offs, grocery stops, last minute gifts and errands, and completing projects so you can feel good about resting afterward. It's easy to get lost in the doing and lose sight of just being.
When you find yourself sitting down to a festive meal or in the midst of an activity that you particularly enjoy, pause for a minute. Take it in. Life can sometimes feel like its pace is accelerating. Breathe. Notice your surroundings. Feel the moment and appreciate all the happy things around and within you. Savour the holidays to get the most out of them.
This can often be a reflective time of year. And stressful. And funny. A season for tearjerkers. A cocktail of emotions. Whether you celebrate or not, we do wish you generous doses of peace, joy, and a few good belly laughs. Soak in all the flavours and feelings.
The time between Christmas and New Year's Eve can be a luxurious gift if you're not working. It's a great time to snuggle up with a good book, play cards and board games, watch movies, and go for outdoor walks. Some people like to use this period to do a little tidying around the house, get rid of a few things, and tie up loose ends before making plans for the upcoming year.
We hope you spend the holidays doing something that delights and rejuvenates you. Craft-making, binging on Netflix or podcasts, writing, skating, singing... it's all good. Free, unstructured time is great for our physical, mental, and emotional health.
We at Figg Street Co. wish you a Merry Christmas, peace on earth and all good things in the days ahead!
What Christmas memories from childhood transport you back in an instant? For me, it's waking up at the crack of dawn to see what's under the Christmas tree. Also, having Christmas dinner at my Italian grandmother's home.
Wrapping those gifts that go under the tree can be a sure way to put you in the holiday spirit. After wrapping presents, don't you look forward to seeing your friends and family unwrap them? When setting out to prepare the gifts, find a private room or corner (unless you've got the place to yourself), put on some festive music and gather all your supplies and tools: paper, tape, scissors and ribbons.
There are many different styles and techniques people use when wrapping. Consider the gift you're giving. If it's large, you may want to stick to wrapping it in a way that's easy for you. One tip: if you're running short on paper, try rotating the paper 45 degrees so it's sitting at a diagonal to the edge of the box or item you're wrapping. Then bring in each triangle toward the centre of the top face and viola! Suddenly, it works!
If you have glass items, such as preserves or pickled things, cover the lid with a piece of fabric or paper and use a ribbon to tie a bow around the rim, along with a tag.
Are you mindful of the environment and want to add a natural element to your wrapping? Head outdoors and gather a few embellishments from nature: pinecones and greenery look fantastic when tied into a bow with ribbon or twine. A dehydrated slice of orange, flowers or berries can also be worked in.
Ribbons made from natural fibres, such as cotton and linen have a lovely texture and reduce our use of plastic. Also, ribbons are multi-purpose items that can be re-used again and again in a multitude of ways.
Rather than plastic tape, try washi tape, which is biodegradable. (It's made from plant material and the adhesive is made of rubber.) Of course, ribbon can be used in other parts of holiday decorating. They make perfect finishing touches on wreaths of all kinds, on stockings, candles and to secure napkins for table settings.
When you find a ribbon you love, use it to create a bow atop a simple bauble. Or use it to hang bells, mistletoe and ornaments. Ribbon or string can make the spine for bunting, across a mantle or staircase railing. Hang things on it: Santa's laundry, stockings, ornaments, greenery, or paper cut-outs.
It's amazing how paper and ribbon can create such an abundance of ideas and results! We hope you enjoy putting the final touches on your holiday preparations and look forward to checking in with you next week!
What's your favourite part of the holiday season? Mine is gathering around the table eating together and sharing stories.
Now, when it comes to sharing stories, chances are, you've heard one or two about some unfortunate gift recipients. I know of someone who received a silk scarf with a hand-painted bison on it. The woman who both wears silk chiffon and has a passion for bison is a niche customer indeed!
One of the members of our team here at Figg Street Co. recently asked me what aspects of preparing for Christmas have the most meaning for me, and what I find the most fun. I love going out to a Christmas tree farm and cutting down a real Christmas tree. We did this as a family growing up and continue the tradition today (not every year, mind you). There's something special about a real tree, not to mention the smell is so divine....
A simple walk outside at this time of year can feel magical. Walking downtown along the shopfronts and cafés can make us feel part of our community. There are the decorations, music and creativity on display in so many forms.
Talking a walk through one of the parks, along the canal, river or lake, or in the woods makes us take in the time of year it is. As the leaves fall and the flowers fade, evergreen plants and trees really sing. It's their time to receive our attention and shine.
Natural elements are so inspiring, creatives often use them in making holiday items. Pine boughs, acorns, walnuts and woodland creatures appear on cards, gift wrap, as ornaments or printed onto fabric. You'll find appetizers, cookies and cakes shaped into their likeness: penguins made of black olives, carrot and cream cheese, shortbread cut out like reindeer, and bûche de noël, sometimes even with a meringue mushroom or two.
We hope you are enjoying some outdoor and indoor activities that put you in the holiday spirit. Bringing a little bit of nature inside is a great way to decorate. It gives life to the overall look and feel of your home.
Wishing you a cozy week!
Would you say you're a kid at heart? Do you have young children? Or perhaps grandchildren or other little ones in your life? One of the fun things leading up to the holidays in childhood is making paper crafts. Of course, people of all ages can have fun with this!
Pull out some paper, glue and scissors, find some clear tabletop space and you're ready to go! Are there particular paper decorations that appeal to you? Maybe you've seen some beautiful decorative papers, but you don't know what to do with them. Consider using them to make holiday ornaments that you can enjoy all season long and bring back year after year!
There's something romantic about this time of year. Perhaps it's the earlier, darker evenings. The sound and scent of fallen leaves crushing underfoot on our walk. Looking up to the sky at night and seeing stars. Candlelight.
Yes, an autumn evening grows round and full when we turn on some jazz and light a few candles. It feels timeless. Our connection to lighting a flame goes way back, it runs deep. Perhaps this is why it's so grounding, calming, and mesmerizing to watch a candle flicker.
Tealights and tapers create a lovely atmosphere at the table. Equally enjoyable are several surrounding your bathtub. Who wouldn't love a candlelit soak on a dark November night? It's a relaxing and restorative ritual.
This can swell into an entire home spa event when you treat yourself to cleansing balm, exfoliant, a clay mask, essential oils and a luxurious body lotion. Play some soothing music, warm your towel and have a sumptuous experience that will surely lull you to sleep afterward.
Do you have a partner? Are you familiar with the 5 Love Languages? If so, consider running a bath surrounded by candles for your loved one. Several love languages can be satisfied with such a gesture: acts of service, quality time (if you stick around), physical touch (offer them a scalp massage), or gifts (present them with scented bath products). You might even be able to please the words of affirmation person by sharing your reason for preparing the bath and writing them a little note.... and placing it on their towel to discover afterward.
Some creatives incorporate candles into their routine. They may light one before they start writing or brainstorming ideas. Doing many things by candlelight can be centering. Even taking a few minutes to observe a flickering flame and take in a few deep breaths.
The sound of a manual typewriter in use is one of its appeals for many aficionados. Up until the 1980s, when personal computers made their way into offices and homes, typewriters were the prevalent tool of formal communication for around a hundred years.
Since typewriters have been around so long, they commonly pop up in films and become associated with cultural icons, such as Snoopy of Peanuts fame. Several celebrities are famous for their continued use of these machines (Woody Allen), and even their collections (Tom Hanks). Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam uses vintage typewriters to record lyrics. The sound of a typewriter has inspired musicians, composers, and tv productions. A few include Yann Tiersen, Dolly Parton (the beginning of '9 to 5'), and the title sequence to Murder, She Wrote.
Speaking of mysteries, did you know typewritten documents can be used as evidence in court? Forensic examiners can trace back to particular models, sometimes even to specific inks and ribbons. Each typewriter has its own equivalent of a fingerprint.
So why might you want to use a typewriter today, given the advances in technology? Some say the exposure of the manual typewriter's mechanisms are appealing. There's more of a direct connection. It's tactile. And private. Others love the clacking sound of the keys. The resulting hardcopy product is treasured more than an email or text message. It also encourages you to be on top of your spelling and grammar. And perhaps one of the most popular reasons we've heard is that it enables focus; there's no online distractions (incidentally, this is also why many people prefer handwriting to typing).
Kristen Ghodsee, an American ethnographer, wrote a wonderful blog post on savageminds.org about why she loves typewriters, and a few of her reasons included:
- Typewriters never crash, never need software updates, do not become obsolete every four years, and require no backing up.
- Typewriters have unlimited battery life, and never overheat.
- You can work in full sunlight, and not have to worry about the glare on your screen.
- Your eyes never hurt from staring too long at your typewriter.
- When you write on a typewriter, your friends, family, and colleagues can all hear that you're working.
- You can misspelll words and use bad grammar without your word processing program constantly judging you.
People have mixed opinions at the start of November. Some are taking a breath after Halloween, others are giddy and hear the faint sound of sleigh bells ushering them into the holiday season.