Connecting with nature this season...

Connecting with nature this season...

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....

Baking Christmas Cookies

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.

Katie Leamon Eco Christmas Cards
  

 

   
Reverie

 

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!

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

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!

Stamps
For the Table
There're a variety of paper items for the table: a tablecloth, napkins, napkin holders, seating cards and even flowers. Use solid colours or printed papers, or solid colours with stamps, drawings and decorative writing. Embellish any of your choices with a few elements from the garden: a sprig of rosemary, a pinecone, cedar branches or holly berries and leaves.
For the Tree
There're a number of hanging paper ornaments that can be dangled from a branch or look equally charming in a window. 2-D cutouts of any holiday icon work here: Santa, elves, a nutcracker, reindeer, stars, etc. 3-D shapes are also possible with paper. There're many origami techniques you can use. Check out the Reverie section for how-to videos on making honeycomb ornaments.
Paper wreath
For the Wall
Figg Street Co. Holiday Wrapping Paper
  
Reverie One
Reverie Two
Reverie Three
We hope that you enjoy the process of making whatever delights you. Stay tuned for more holiday inspiration to come!
What's that flickering?

What's that flickering?

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.

Candlelit bath

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.

Twilight candles

Twilight Taper Candles

Twilight green candles

Reverie jazz

Reverie
The time leading up to the holidays and the end of the year can be a hectic one for many of us. Treat yourself well and consider something simple to restore yourself - such as watching a candle glow.
Clack, clack, clack... ding!

Clack, clack, clack... ding!

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.

Typewriter Museum

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.
Typewriter Featured Products
Reverie California Typewriter
French Dispatch
Whether you use typewriters or not, we wish you plenty of distraction-free time to focus on whatever delights you. At this time of year, perhaps it's some soothing music, a warm bath and candlelight? More on that next week...
Do you hear the faint sound of sleigh bells?

Do you hear the faint sound of sleigh bells?

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.

White boots with festive foliage
By starting on some holiday crafts, decorating, list-making, baking or shopping - whatever delights you - you may shift your focus onto more joyful aspects of the season.
Figg Street Co. at Christmas
What marks the start of the season for you?  For me, it's in the air - in a way, ethereal. There's a change of energy that I feel. Perhaps it's the energy of Christmas readiness - a combination of people bustling about, the colours of Christmas - in shops, outdoor decor, lights, the Salvation Army bells ringing, and the anticipation of celebrating an annual tradition.

Given that the weather and temperature is still comfortable in the autumn - cool but not yet freezing, no sign of snow yet - it's a great time for outdoor activities. Stringing up lights, decorating your front urns or containers, and cutting greenery from your garden are a few options.

You can make swags, garlands, or wreaths from all manner of clippings: holly, ivy, sprays of rosehips, grapevines, evergreens, birch or branches with berries or foliage are all fantastic. Make little bundles or top them off with a beautiful Studio Carta ribbon.
Featured Festive Products
Diamine Inkvent Calendar Rossi Letterpress Florentine Paper
Reverie Wreath Making
We hope you delight in this season of preparation and anticipation. Here at Figg Street Co., our elves are working away decorating the shop with an abundance of new items coming in for the holidays. Pop in to see for yourselves!
Trick-or-Treat!

Trick-or-Treat!

This time of year, when you're out for an evening walk, it's not unusual to see a few cobwebs on your neighbours' verandas. Or in their yew hedges. You might see a black cat, or hear haunted house sounds. You're bound to see many pumpkins on front steps and along walkways.

Pumpkin
Do you have a pre-Halloween tradition? Maybe you read an eerie classic each year: Frankenstein, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, or The Woman in White. Maybe you prefer something more spooky or modern, like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book or The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Or maybe this time of year represents a return to the mysteries: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ruth Rendell, and Sherlock Holmes.

 

Perhaps you enjoy watching some of these stories depicted on screen. There're also the Halloween tv specials and movies: The Addams Family, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, Sabrina, Hocus Pocus, Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett or the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to name a few.

 

Of course, when it comes to dressing up, you're only limited by your imagination.  For the evening, you can be whomever or whatever you like. Did you try any of the paper crafts mentioned in Tuesday's Tonic a couple of weeks ago? If you made a paper crown, wand or hat, you might want to further add to your look with a wig, makeup and costume. Costumes based on historical dramas have been very popular the past few years. For impressive period piece looks, check out The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty and/or Dressmaking, written for beginners.

Featured Halloween Products
Diamine Pumpkin Diamine Sparkling Shimmers
Midori Chat Cat Midori Paintable Stamp
Reverie Lisa Eldridge

Once you've got your costume sorted, you can set the mood with dim lighting and some baroque music. Et voilà!

Wishing you many treats this Halloween!

This song gives us the feels...

This song gives us the feels...

Although autumn technically starts on September 22nd, autumn colours don't make an appearance here in southern Ontario until mid-to-late October. When the trees show us that we're in the season of fruition, it's quite natural to look back and become nostalgic.

Autumn leaves
Perfume and scent can transport us to another time and place in an instant, or suddenly make a loved one appear in our mind. Fran Lebowitz said that no one is loved like musicians. Music has an almost magical way of connecting us, transporting us, even healing us. It's a great equalizer, like both tragedy and comedy. A fundamental part of the human experience.

 

Feeling wistful? Play some old classics. Sing and dance to Billy Jean, Billy Joel, the Beach Boys, Bowie, Smells Like Teen Spirit or Le Freak - whatever resonates with you. It's a great way to reconnect with your partner and add some lightness and play to your day. You can even pull out the photo albums and re-create those hilarious old looks!

 

You can create nostalgia for the future by making a time capsule.  Bury it in the garden or place it inside one of your walls if you're renovating. Someday it'll be an exciting surprise - a piece of treasure for someone.
Nostalgic products
Pi'lo Handkerchief ClaireMagnolia Photo Album
Velvet Album Ferris Wheel pins

 

Reverie Stairway to Heaven
Are you enjoying the thought of playing music, dressing up, and getting creative? We hope so. Next week we'll have some costume inspiration for you when it's all about Halloween!
What can you create from paper?

What can you create from paper?

Does the autumn make you feel crafty? Maybe it's the idea of knitwear, Thanksgiving, Halloween and even the lead up to the Christmas holidays that makes us get creative and want to pull out some paper and scissors.

If you prefer to create your own designs, you can use a quality blank sheet and stamps. Either use coloured ink or colour in images with pencils, markers or watercolours. Customized papers like these make great wrapping paper or you can use them to make your own gift bags. Just add tissue and a pretty ribbon and you're set!

As a gift for yourself, use paper to cover a book or storage box. Or, insert a little whimsy into your day by lining a drawer, shelf or inside cupboard with a beautiful decorative paper to spark some joy. Use it to line or cover a tin or jar and make yourself a pen, brush, or cutlery holder - or apply the same technique to revitalize an old vase.

Since papers are lightweight, inexpensive and versatile, you can switch them up for different seasons and holidays, easily giving your space a fresh, new and festive look.

For Thanksgiving and Halloween, consider making paper leaves or other cutouts to hang. For example, bats and crows can be dangled from string in doorways, windows or from branches. Or cutout some cats, a full moon, pumpkins, etc. and tape them to your window to appear in the evening against the interior glow of light inside.

You can also use paper and a good pair of scissors to fashion yourself a Halloween costume, such as a calendar (we did this one year - affix pages to a cardboard box with head and arm-holes, and dangle a pencil from a string). Or create paper accessories, such as a mask, crown, fan, or wand-topper.

 
Is crafting fall decorations bringing back childhood memories for you? Many of us reminisce in the autumn. Join us again next week, when we get nostalgic together.
Take out your library card!

Take out your library card!

Well, October is upon us, and we're off to the library! This month is Canadian Library Month; a time to consider the impact our libraries have on our communities.

In addition to books, libraries lend audio-visual materials, including hard-to-find documentaries, movies and tv series you won't find on Youtube or Netflix.

 

Libraries are also a wonderful resource to discover what activities and services exist in your local area.  This is especially helpful if you're new in town. Meeting rooms hold various gatherings, including book clubs, author talks, and events for special interest groups.

 

Our libraries also provide activities outdoors such as storytime, tours and holiday craft-making. In addition, there are services online, including ordering mystery or themed grab bags. To see what's happening this month at the Thorold public library, check out their latest newsletter here.
Featured Products
  
Reverie Book Art

Did you enjoy Brian Dettmer's book art? Does paper-based art inspire you? If so, you'll want to check us out next week, when we'll have fun with paper crafts! 

Until then, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Are you waiting for an apology?

Are you waiting for an apology?

September 30th this year, us Canadians have a brand new statutory holiday - the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This, together with Yom Kippur (also known as The Day of Atonement) this month made us reflect upon the topic of forgiveness.

Leaf on water

The Injured Party

It's no picnic in the park to be wronged by another. Worse yet is the amplification of any pain we felt at the time by replaying a narrative about it in our head. This evokes any number of negative emotions and can put us in quite a state.

Many conflate forgiveness with condoning an act. However, forgiveness is about accepting that something unpleasant has happened, not that it was okay. Rather, it's about recognizing that you'll be okay, whatever happens. It's a release from the intense energy that can sometimes be put into resisting reality. 

Forgiveness benefits you more than anyone else. You release yourself from the torment of hoping that the past was different.

It's in the past. So we let it go and free ourselves by not tainting our present and future.

Autumn forest
Consider writing a letter to the person with whom you are angry - but don't send it. Some people find burning such a letter afterward makes them feel a sense of release, and helps them to let go and move forward.

 

The Injuring Party

 

Who amongst us hasn't made a mistake? A serious error of judgment we deeply regret? Sometimes recognizing our own imperfections and desire to be forgiven can help us to forgive others.

 

When we've failed to do our best, it's easy to move quickly into negative self-talk. Although common, it's not effective. It's worth noting we're not our wrongdoings. We behaved inappropriately and behaviours can be changed. Every single one of us is much, much more than our worst mistake.

 

Once we forgive ourselves, we may wish to apologize.  Whether through a heartfelt note or in person, consider the apology from the other person's point of view. Take responsibility. Acknowledge your part in the wrongdoing. Express regret and make it right - offer to replace, or repair whatever was broken or ask what you can do. Don't use the word "but" after saying you're sorry and avoid saying "I'm sorry you...", which shows a lack of sincerity and responsibility.

 

Close to Home

🧡 Every Child Matters. Artist Jacqueline Shaver creates handmade orange poppy pins which are meant "to help remember and honour the lives of precious First Nations Children. Children that were forcibly removed from their families, homes and communities and sent to 'school'... To help support individuals affected by this tragedy, all profits from the poppies will be donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society."  

🧡 The Niagara Regional Native Center (NRNC) provides human services, social, cultural, recreational and educational programs to all Native people in St Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Thorold, Beamsville and Grimsby.

🧡 The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre has produced a series of video projects to help educate and entertain those searching for knowledge and understanding. FENFC-TV's Indigenous Perspectives docuseries highlights Indigenous history in Niagara.

🧡 The Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. offers a friendly connecting place and supports Native/Indigenous women and their families through access to culturally relevant services and programs.

🧡 The Niagara Region Metis Council is a community council within the Metis Nation of Ontario. Their mission is to unite the Métis people and to promote the historical values, culture, language, and traditions of the Métis Nation.

Reverie

Forgiveness and apologies can be tricky, but it's something we're all meant to learn. We hope we've inspired you to reflect on the relationships in your life and wish you much friendship, harmony and peace.

Flower, paper, scissors?

Flower, paper, scissors?

Nature's a rich source of inspiration. It's ever-changing, growing, morphing, etc. There's always something showing us a new perspective, if we only stop for a moment and observe. Tomorrow - Wednesday, September 22nd - is the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall. As the hours of daylight grow fewer, several plants form seed pods and fade.

Fall Mums
Whereas bulbs are the stars of the early and mid-spring gardens, the kitchen garden sings in the fall.  It's the peak of harvest season and there's an abundance of vegetable and fruit crops, many with beautiful (and sometimes tasty) foliage. Herbs are also a wonderful choice to collect and dry or press.

Those of you who garden may already have a journal you keep with notes on your seed sowing and plantings.  A herbarium or scrapbook is another way to enjoy your garden - even after the season has finished. By pressing flowers and foliage between sheets of paper, you can preserve their beauty and make helpful or whimsical notes to accompany them in a pretty blank page notebook. You can also place your treasures behind glass and frame them.

Washi tape is a great tape to affix pressed flowers to a sheet of paper. Consider the placement of your bloom before you press it - do you want a page devoted to each species, or do you prefer assembling petals and foliage into a grouping or a botanical art piece? Decorative paper makes a wonderful backdrop and coloured or metallic ink can add some personality.
Featured Products
Katie Leamon Heirloom Collection Katie Leamon Heirloom Collection
Katie Leamon Heirloom Collection Cavallini 2022 Herbarium Planner

Nature Journaling

Creating a record of this season's plant material, or a garden-themed wall hanging is a wonderful way to restore your energy and connect with nature. Appreciating the abundance at this time of year as a great thing to do in September.

Next week, we'll discuss our brand new national holiday and forgiveness. Until then, we hope you find some time to enjoy this season's flora and fauna!

Washi creating?

Washi creating?

We know washi's doing... she's taping photos and momentos into her scrapbook!

Washi tape is a wonderful plant-based tape that comes in a wide variety of colours and printed designs. Since it doesn't leave a residue, you can remove it without damaging the material to which it's adhered. Anyone who's spent time trying to remove gummy adhesive from glass will appreciate this feature!

Washi tape gifts
Have any of you started bullet journaling after reading our August 31st newsletter? If so, you might like to try using washi tape to personalize your notebook. It can be folded over the paper edges to create custom page dividers or flags. Cover up mistakes or logos you don't want to see with a pretty tape instead. You can also use pieces to create a legend, and use a different colour or design to represent a unique category. Washi tape is great for creating a tracker (e.g. mood tracker with a different washi tape for each mood).

In the kitchen, washi is sometimes used on glasses to identify one person's glass from another. They're also useful on jars and containers since you can write on them, turning them into versatile labels.

Creatives love washi for scrapbooking and creating collages. Your options are only limited by your imagination!

Featured Products

Soda Washi Tape

SODA Transparent Masking Tape

A fun new collection of transparent masking tape for decorating virtually anything you wish to decorate.  Decorate your planner, journal, letters, gift wrapping, surfaces, frames, bottles, and all of your favourite things. Made in Japan.

Pinterest Washi Tape Inspiration

Another place washi comes in handy is when adhering plant materials into your own herbarium. Join us next week when we'll talk about using inspiration from the outdoors in a creative way.