Monthly Archives: December 2013

It’s A Good Thing

Martha Stewart mailed out her holiday cards yesterday. It’s true (she also weight trained at some point in the day, such the ambitious woman). And as I read this in the beautiful December issue of Living, instead of feeling anxious, agitated and downright pissed off, I grinned and took a deep breath. Not because I had already sent mine out weeks ago. Oh, no. I smiled because I made the decision not to send holiday cards out this year. Repeat, THIS YEAR.

Earlier on today I shared this bit of news with my best friend Kari while we toasted nuts, fed Bea and caught up on our lives. Knowing me as well she does, her mouth hit the floor. “You’re not?!” she cried. Another good friend, Ellen, felt it was against what I stand for (and not great for business) to forgo mailing out a holiday greeting. And I get it. I am all about mailing words and images of peace, love and cute babies. But here’s the deal, one thing had to go this year and it happens to be the annual card. I think everyone needs a break every so often, and this was my year. And when I made this decision, I felt relief and joy because I knew this gave me more time to play with the kids, listen to holiday tunes, bake, write in my journal and gaze at the tree while the fire burns. No guilt involved.

However, one thing I have learned from owning a paper goods store over the past few months is a trend I was afraid to confirm. The general public is not purchasing the simple holiday card. Although I have sold sets here and there, they are usually purchased for teachers, bosses or people who you might not be as close to. These days everyone is all about designing their holiday picture card online. And why not when you look at the fabulous selections and deals?

You have minted, tinyprints, Shutterfly, Pinhole Press, polka dot Design, and pear tree greetings to just name a few. Thousands of designs, all with great deals of course.

Photo Christmas Cards  -- Photo Paper Ombre Greeting

Graphic Glee - Flat Holiday Greeting Cards - Robyn Miller - White : Front

Image of Thin Modern

Vintage Christmas - Christmas Cards - Sarah Hawkins Designs - Scarlet - Red : Front

The one thing I do miss with these pictures is the personal touch. The written name, the quick update, the personal wishes from one family to another. Of course I love seeing the changes with children over the years which can only be seen in the pictures. But something has been lost in today’s holiday card. And I’m not sure if we’ll be going back.

Joyeux Noel Set

One thing I have decided, instead of sending out our annual family photo, I will be using a few of the holiday cards from Brown Ink Paper Goods, adding a picture from instagram and mailing out a handwritten letter to a small group of friends and family who I haven’t connected with in awhile. And I can do all of this in a few hours, sitting beside the tree with Johnny Mathis in the background. However you reach out to your loved ones, Martha would feel it’s a good thing.

Pop & Beer


In the midst of filling orders for Brown Ink Paper Goods last night, I had a bit of a distraction with the NBC Live performance of The Sound of Music. I am a crazy huge fan of the movie (sing Edelweiss to Bea each night, also made Oliver learn the song Doe a Deer…although he seems to enjoy the Dos a Beer, A Mexican Beer version a bit more) so I was hesitant to even check it out. Soooo, no comment on the production but it did remind me of our annual “Few of Our Favorite Things” post coming soon. There is still plenty of time for holiday gift giving ideas.

In the meantime for you locals, head out this weekend to these two POP-UP Shops for a selection of Brown Ink Paper Goods as well as so many other lovely, fine goods!! 

holidaypopup Check it out on Facebook, Yoga Garden is located in NE Minneapolis


Mille, right in the heart of South Minneapolis

Crossing off the Holiday Gift List has never been so easy!

This Is Not a Box

A couple of years ago one of the boys received the book “This is Not a Box”, a simple story about the power of imagination and its ability to turn an ordinary cardboard box into just about anything. For better or worse, I tend to be a more pragmatic in my approach to most things in life and less imaginative and fanciful; more real-world, less “Where the Wild Things Are”. This may help explain why in the summer of 1984 my friends and I took a large, ordinary cardboard box, laid it out on the Paguyo’s front lawn, and break danced (debatable) while listening to “Hard Times” by RUN-D.M.C. But now that I have children I’ve glimpsed myself moving just a little toward the realm of make-believe, the most recent example coming as a direct result of handwriting.

The original: Run DMC in their famous leather tracksuits pictured in Paris

My son Emmett is horsengoggle-crazy about soccer. He eats, drinks and brushes his teeth with it. Two weeks ago when I picked him up at his best pal’s house, another zealot, the friend was sitting contentedly, writing a story at the kitchen table while Emmett watched (American) football with the pal’s older brother. The story goes that the pal is planning to publish the story(ies) and use the proceeds to purchase soccer cards, which are similar to my old baseball cards, although now the kids don’t keep them in those long, rectangular cheese boxes and the players don’t have cool names like Bake McBride or Richie Zisk.

Now, Em’s a smart little guy but he doesn’t write stories very often and he doesn’t have any soccer cards. Aha. Practical Nick thought that this could be a great opportunity to get Emmett writing and I could use the soccer cards as the carrot. However, since Em does most of his homework and spelling at the kitchen island, which is also where our family spends most of its considerable energy, I decided he needed a desk in his room; his own scholastic sanctuary apart from life’s din.

A week later the desk arrived in a very large box and thus far Emmett has remarkably produced two stories – maybe publishable, maybe not – which is impressive given the Thanksgiving weekend was a full and rich one for us. But Imaginative Nick also had a brief appearance thanks  to that very large box. The empty box was in the garage ready to be recycled and thanks to the “This Is Not a Box” book, I imagined I could put the box into Em’s bedroom, which is getting so crowded it reminds me of the stateroom scene from the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera”, and make a fort out of it. Go figure.

After I got the box upstairs into his room, I cut a couple holes in it and then just kind of let them run with it. Thankfully, the boys do have the imagination chromosome and before I knew it they were hard at work drawing on the box turning it into a theater, drawing and coloring stick puppets, and were so happy doing so they didn’t object when Beatrice, my 1-year-old,  wandered – and stayed – backstage for a long time. So far we’ve been treated to two plays – both completely unpublishable – and my hunch is there are more to come.


The box has been a small and unexpected gift which came about because of handwriting, the boys’ imaginative use of it clearly came from their mother, and I’m thankful for all of it, especially so this time of year.