Tag Archives: Inspirational

Head First Jump

I can feel it. Spring is here. I suddenly want to tackle the clutter only I can see and jump head first into the multiple projects on my mind. Change in one’s life can do that, you know. Shake things up! And I’m all about trusting my intuition and embracing the unknown in the seasons ahead.

In the near future, the Brown clan will revel in a stay-cation. Little do my peeps realize, I have big BIG plans for our 11 days in town…

  • Writing out our Family Tree will hopefully answer all our children’s questions such as ‘who was my great-great-grandfather?’ and ‘Am I more Scottish then English?’
  • Surprising the kids with these gorgeous watercolor pens and postcards
  • Create, divide and conquer this printable To-Do-List from All for the Boys (such fun, don’t you wish you were here vs. Mexico?)
  • Nudge my three little ones to slow down, pick up a pencil and write a new pen-pal (see video below!!) Perhaps an International pen-pal is in the making!

As for me, I’ll be checking out Alexandra Franzen’s One Letter Today free workbook all about the art of letter writing, trying this DIY face-mask, and diving into the pile of books on my side table.

Easter Egg Magic with glitters and tattoos!

But before break begins, this past weekend Beatrice and I got our crafty on with the Bunny Die-Cut Shape Easter cards from Paper Source (so simple with stamps and stickers!). And we joined a friend to create these DIY glitter eggs from Rip&Tan with tattoos as embellishments. I’ll be peeling off super glue from my fingers over the next few weeks but completely worth it!

Image-1And just a reminder, the Brown Ink Paper Goods store is closing its door this Friday! Bittersweet, but as I mentioned, I’m embracing my intuition which is clearly screaming there is more for me. So I will jump, head first.

Behind-the-Scenes with Brown Ink Paper Goods

A few months ago I was asked to be a guest blogger for the Better Homes and Gardens Style Spotters blog, a little behind-the-scenes of what goes into creating my personal line. Of course, I jumped at the chance to share my world with its followers.

Making-of MOJeanandWendy

Collaborating on card design with Jean Glenn from Pomegranate Press is truly my most favorite aspect of selling the Brown Ink Paper Goods line (aside from others enjoying the cards as well!). Through the lens of the talented Louisa Podlich, our making-of this years Father’s Day card was beautifully caught in Jean’s home.



Between finalizing the card details such as color, typeset and layout in her dining room, to creating the final piece of work on her Chandler and Price Platen Press in the basement, we work together like a well-oiled machine…vintage, of course!



To have the chance to work so closely with a talented and professional letterpress printer such as Jean is simply a dream. I believe our commitment to the authentic beauty and nature of letterpress, creating hand-touched products using an antique letterpress printer and vintage print blocks, can be seen in each card in the the Brown Ink Paper Goods line. Thank you for the support, friends! And be sure to check out the full blog post here on Better Homes and Gardens!

Blossoms in Every Direction

As I prep for the National Stationery Show next weekend (follow me on Instagram to shadow my trip!) a few topics have been blossoming. Here’s a little highlight of my favorites these days…



Already a huge fan of the gorgeous illustrations from Rifle Paper Co., this interview with Anna Bond, aka The Queen of Cards, found on the USPS Life in Letters blog is not to be missed.


Fountain Greetings, the company that does the writing for you, now sells beautiful gifts with each card they write. Although it might be a bit of a cheat, at least someone is writing a card!


As I have mentioned in past posts, written recipe cards and cookbooks hold a special place in my heart. This beautifully written article in the NY Times exemplifies the importance we may find with each card, doodle or smudge, connecting us with a moment in time.


Now that National Handwriting month and the Write_On campaign has come to an end, don’t stop writing. Local letter girl, Gina Sekelsky, has found a way to inspire us to keep up the writing with this Love Your Letters Challenge!

National Parks

A little sneak peak of this week’s photo shoot for a collaboration with Lizzie Garrett Mettler from Tomboy Style which has recently become the unique The Reed boutique, blog and travel guide site. See more later in the month! Congrats Lizzie!

Lastly, for those of you still in need for a few ideas for Mom’s Day…


…you can find lots of them at All for the Boys such as these crown printables, making all Moms feel like a Queens for the day! For you local folks, if you are still looking for Mother’s Day gifts…



…come visit me and other local makers at this Saturday’s Makers Market at my favorite local boutique, Mille. And be sure to drop those letters in the mailbox today! No mom should be without a Mother’s Day card this Sunday. Enjoy the new blossoms!


Boogie Nights

It snowed last night in my hometown and the world has become a quieter place. Perfect timing I’d say. After all the energy we put into the holidays, a bit of slowing down is much needed, at least in our house. I’m not suggesting we don’t give end-of-the-year celebrations their due, but perhaps we’ll end 2014 with a reflective, thoughtful spirit.


If you’re gathering folks on the 31st, these DIY written hearts from Oh So Beautiful Paper may inspire a few New Year’s intentions or at least ignite conversation among guests.


I love a good house cleanse and these smudge sticks will do the trick. Write a note to your guests, welcoming 2015 as they may clear out any negative energy from the past year. Thanks for the idea, Of-a-Kind ladies.


These inspirational New Year’s Eve Confetti Fortune Pockets from Design Sponge are gorgeous and a completely playful DIY idea, a perfect party favor to kick off the new year.


If you’re looking to pick up party decor for New Year’s, head to Red Stamp for all your paper needs (And fabulous digital invites since it’s a bit late for paper. Shhh, I didn’t they say that!).

Although I love a good party, I welcome a clean slate even more – (Wow, you’d think I was a bit of a bore, although my husband will remind me I’ve gone out dancing twice into the wee hours just in the past week! I know, every so often I’m crazy like that.).

The new year brings a clean calendar, it provides one a moment to breathe, take note, and forces a certain reflection of how we are walking through life. Now having two kids in grade school, bringing family into a conversation about resolutions is appealing. The always inspiring Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom created an idea on how to involve your children during this time of reflection.


Her family keeps a journal which they open around the New Year, where they include their daydreams and goals, providing a simple format to see where they have grown over the past year. I may give it a try myself…at the moment our children are floating somewhere between the sledding hills, Christmas gifts and multiple holiday-break-movie-nights. Although they may not fully understand the idea of “becoming better people” through New Year’s resolutions, as Gabrielle suggests, perhaps the process of handwriting their intentions will reinforce the idea they actually have a bit of a say over their own direction in life.

Here’s to a beautiful 2015 – A year of more writing, reflection, and knowledge of oneself. As for me, I plan to include a few more boogie nights to keep me young! Cheers.

It’s a Mixed Up Muddled Up Shook Up World

Last week flipping channels before going to bed, I came across a show on public television about Magnus Nilsson, a 31 year-old Swedish chef resembling a Scandinavian Paul Bunyan, whose restaurant 400 miles north of Stockholm, Faviken, is considered to be among the best in the world. The restaurant is crazy remote geographically and the food can at times be equally out there; imagine Mr. Bunyan sawing through a large bone, table side, scooping the marrow into a bowl of diced, raw cow’s heart, and covering it all with flower petals. Why the hell not.

And then last night I read an article about Daniel Ek, the creator of Spotify, a streaming music service. He’s also a 31 year-old Swede thus making 1983 notable beyond the historic class of NFL quarterbacks, (Elway, Marino, Kelly), the year ‘M*A*S*H’ went off the air, and the peak year of McRib sales. I’ve never used Spotify and I’m sure it makes the world a better place, but after reading the article I paused for a moment and turned a little wistful. You see, Spotify, like so many other inventions and services these days, makes your life easier by removing the effort, thought, and emotional sweat from actually doing something, in this case by selecting music. Based on some complex algorithms it chooses the songs it thinks you’d like or you can listen to a collection of songs curated by someone – usually famous – else.  Easy-peasy. While this may be a time-saver, it made me miss the time thirty years ago when the utmost expression of one’s love/like/interest/crush for someone else was…the…mixtape.

Making a mix was serious business. You didn’t just whip off a mix for a friend because you thought they had cool hair or awesome Girbauds. Nope, mixes sat in that special realm of your heart reserved and dedicated (usually) for a person you were “going with”. In the early 80’s a boy and a girl didn’t “date”, rather, they were “going” with each other. This created some confusion such as when, in 1983, I asked a girl “WIll you go with me?” during a movie in Mr. Guelle’s health class. Her response, predictably, was, “Where?”. True story.


For starters, it was a challenge to actually construct the damn mix. You needed a tape-to-tape player, (hard to find), you needed to nail down the whole pause thing involving how long to space between songs, and more often than not the recording levels were variable from one tape to another which threw a fork in volume levels. And then assuming you could master the mechanics of physically assembling the mix, you were faced with the even more anguishing task of picking the songs and putting a sensible sequencing to the whole shebang; fast/slow, gooshy/dancey, long/short…it was razor’s edge kind of stuff. Maybe ‘ol Ek is onto something.

So making a mix tape was a tough slog but the reward outstripped the hardship. The final act of giving the mix to that special someone was immeasurably fulfilling, especially since the receiver knew full well the toll it’d exacted on the giver. It meant something. The topper to the whole thing was examining the giver’s writing – you didn’t even have to open the case! – and see what musical treasures were in store. Maybe the writing had hearts instead of the dot on the “i”, or maybe it was another signature mark, but you knew the writing, unmistakably so, and you knew you were a very happy and lucky person.


Well I’m not the world’s most romantic guy, but a couple of weeks ago I made a mix for Wendy the night before we drove to Lake Superior for a 2 night getaway. I did it all on iTunes, populated it with an uncomfortable number of Stephen Bishop songs, and never lifted a pen or pencil during its assembly. As a result, something was not necessarily lost, but something was missing and that was the personal imprint I would’ve given the mix – there was no actual gift to give after all, it was all in the cloud but that’s for another day – if I’d had to write the songs and artists inside the tape case.

Instead, while driving north on the Interstate, we were left with admiring the fall colors, talking about our kids but not so much, and wondering what cheesy 80’s song was coming next after the pause. Not bad at all, only different.