Monday, February 17, 2014

Not A Box

Sometimes I find the wrapping a present comes in is just as good (if not better) than the gift itself.   Case in point - a friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Indonesia and brought back a gift bag full of goodies: delicious blueberry gum, an "I Love Bali" t-shirt, chocolates, a postcard and a keychain...these were all great, but the best part was the bag it came in.  The bag was made of handmade paper with a pretty blue and green print - I reeeaallly appreciate that kind of thing.    

When I order something online, I always look forward to what kind of packaging the purchase will come in.  Last summer I ordered a bunch of things from Amazon and they shipped it all together in a big cardboard box.  I couldn't let it go to waste so I made another imaginary play station for my kids.  Here they are in their cardboard box Pirate Ship next to their Cardboard Castle (read about that here).
This whole thing took less than 30 minutes to make.  I used a cardboard shipping tube and an old t-shirt for the mast (attached to the box with wire bag ties) and I cut out a wheel that can really turn (with the help of some nuts and screws).  The kids wanted costumes too so I used some winter scarves as bandanas. Then I used a clean pair of black socks and tucked one in my daughters bandana to make an eye patch and the other for my son to have a hook hand.  

Nick Jr. is running these really cool commercials that reminded me of when I made my kids their ship.  The commercials follow the imagination of two children who travel the rough seas in a cardboard ship and explore outer space in a cardboard rocket.  The creativity that went into these clips is amazing!.

If you also have children who'd rather play in a box than with the toy that came in it, then they will appreciate the book, Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.  Pick up a copy at the library or from the book store; it is such a cute book with simple illustrations that allow the children to tell the story.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rainbow in the Sky - Hot Air Balloon Set

Rainbow in the Sky - Set of three wall hanging hot air balloons made of paper mache. Each has a wire hook on back to hang flush on the wall. Small toys or figurines fit in the baskets.

Green and Yellow (large) 21"x12"
Red and Orange (medium) 17"x11"
Blue and Purple (small) 13"x9"


All of my Hot Air Balloons are sturdily made using paper mache and other paper products. I do not strive for or intend to create perfectly looking manufactured art. The bumps and imperfections in my paper mache are intentional to achieve a time-worn, vintage, handmade charm. 

The Hot Air Balllons are intended to be decorative items and not made for play for children under 7 years old.

Available for purchase here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Parcel Shop

I am so happy I finally made the trip to Montclair, NJ to visit an enchanting little shop called Parcel.  The drive was a quick hour away from NYC and well worth it!  On the way over, I told my husband that the visit would only be a few minutes and then we can get something to eat and catch a movie at the mall.  Well, as soon as I walked in I stopped at the prettiest collection of vintage flowers I had seen in a long time; then I examined some mini handmade pipe cleaner birds and then I looked through the sets of paper ephemera, the mesh masks, the figurines, the paper tassels, the paper-mache frog head and on and on and on -  eventually those few minutes turned into an hour and I had long forgotten about my poor husband waiting patiently for me in the car.  During my short-turned-long visit to Parcel, I was glad to meet the lovely owner, Nancy and her sweet daughter.   Nancy is a great gal who is living her dream by running her amazing shop.   I came home with a few treasures but I am so upset I didn't come home with any pictures.  Here are a few pictures I came across on the Parcel Post (their blog).

Parcel reminds me very much of Castle in the Air in Berkeley California.  They are both a feast for the eyes for those of us who love all things pretty, glittery, vintage and inspirational.  Specialty stationary, notecards and vintage embellishments are their forte.  Since visiting Castle in the Air in 2008 I have been soooo wishing there was a store like that on the East Coast...come to find out, Parcel was right here all along!  And to tell the truth, with their reasonable prices, friendly staff and one-of-a-kind themed Parcel packages, Parcel is now my new favorite store!

If you can't make it to Parcel in person, their online shop at offers a pretty good representation of what is in the store.