New at Mint & Birch: Woven Necklaces

 

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Mint and Birch has a new necklace that will launch later on this year! I am super excited to launch these because these woven necklaces are made with hand selected, high quality yarns. They are all hand woven by me and each of them are adorned with a little brass ornament that can be customized or stamped with an initial of choice. These are perfect for the gypsy soul, boho at heart or those who like unique jewellery! These are meant to hang on a long chain to compliment your outfit, or to be layered with existing necklaces! Here’s a little back story behind why I love working with yarn.

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I had the itch to pick up some sort of new craft and hobby, and I decided to pick up crocheting! I learned how to crochet by watching YouTube videos, and eventually I went from crocheting little swatches to knitting and crocheting scarves and cozies! I even created a coaster pattern! I daydreamed about opening up a small handmade business, and toyed with the idea of selling scarves. But it never came to be, because it just took me too long to make and I didn’t want to turn it into a business but wanted to keep it as a leisurely hobby for myself.

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Fast forward three years: I run Mint & Birch and I have been open for 3 years… here is a little story about my shop. Although I am so thrilled with my business, I am a little sad to say that I no longer crochet or knit, even to make projects for myself because I just can’t seem to find the time to do so in between orders! Well, my husband was probably relieved when I stopped crocheting and knitting so much. . . why, you ask?

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My husband was probably a little relieved because my yarn buying habits were starting to become a little excessive. I don’t even want to know how much money I spent on yarn, and how much storage space it takes up in our already small and cramped storage room! Well, sorry husband, but the yarn addiction is back in full force with the launch of these babies! I am currently in the testing stages of product development. It is important for me to make sure that these are durable and will stand up to regular, everyday wear! I want to know that they are enjoyable before I launch these. I have probably made about 30-50 of these in prototypes, but I think I have finally perfected a technique that I am happy with! Nevertheless, this is a sneak peek into what is coming to Mint & Birch this Fall/Winter!

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The Details:

I am currently closed and have check out disabled on my website until September 2 at the very earliest. I am taking a much needed summer break and am also stocking up for the upcoming Etsy Market that will be held at Robson Square on September 26! I am currently waiting on more supplies and having these necklaces tested before the official launch! There may be a giveaway for one of these necklaces when we launch them, so stay tuned on here as well as on Facebook and Instagram to see how you might be able to win one of your own!

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Imperfections.

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As sit here on my yogurt-stained couch, looking at the dried pieces of cheese trapped in the shag carpet, I can’t help but wince a little bit. This post is probably a reminder for myself. I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t really like it, but it’s in my nature to want things to be done a certain way and for things to be cleaned a certain way. (Okay, I just like things to be sparkly and clean, period). Oh, that photo up there? I turned around for a couple of minutes to stir the pasta and I come back to find that my lovely children had TPed the entire family room.

But the thing is- I am a pregnant mama with two young kids. One of which just exclaimed, “Ahh… I got a booger!” The reality is that my house isn’t going to be clean all the time, sometimes my house isn’t going to smell very  nice, and it’s certainly not going to be organized all the time. I’m just going to have to learn how to live with an imperfectly clean and organized house. The photo below? The kids decided to colour their faces with a washable blue marker, and my youngest fell asleep in his highchair, mess and all.

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I realized that I needed to challenge myself to let it go and embrace the mess and imperfections that comes with being a mother, and that this applies to things outside of having a perfectly clean house. Not only am I going to have a slightly (okay, very) messy house most of the time, my body won’t be the same again. I have stretch marks that have left a silvery mark on my previously chiseled abs. My hipbones are a little wider from childbirth. One foot is larger than the other, and when I laugh really hard or sneeze, I pee a little bit. Holding myself to a standard of unattainable perfection isn’t healthy for my mental health or emotional health. Of course I make sure my house is hygienic, and that I take care of my body… but to expect things to be perfect, is not good for me or my sweet children.

Sometimes I yell and am impatient with my children. It’s hard for me to even admit that. There are days where I sit on the couch and turn the TV on for the kids. I am an imperfect parent. I don’t think any parent can be perfect, and I think it’s time to give ourselves grace, because in doing so, we give ourselves room to acknowledge where we can make improvements. No, life won’t be perfect and I won’t be a perfect parent, but I think it is important for moms to be honest with each other so that we can dialogue with together and provide each other support and encouragement.

Having a messy house, having what society deems as an “imperfect” body (that’s for another post!) and having an imperfect house without a sparkly white kitchen that’s perfectly tiled doesn’t make me any less of a mom or any less of a person. And being active on social media, my tendency is to pretend that my life is perfect, when it isn’t. It’s tiring to pretending, and it doesn’t feel very authentic.  I realized that I was afraid of embracing the mess in my life and scars on my body because of a few reasons. I was afraid that I was going to either fall into complacency. And I was worried something was terribly wrong with me, that I was somehow defective because I have stretch marks from my pregnancies, or that I can’t keep the house clean no matter how hard I try. I was afraid that if people really knew about my imperfections and saw the messes in my house, that they would think that I was a bad mother or a defected person.

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But here’s the thing: being imperfect, learning to live with and love the messes and quirks our lives is brave. Life is real and raw, and there’s something extraordinary with unveiling the mask of perfection that we seem to place over ourselves. My stretch marks formed because I nurtured two sweet babies with the warmth of my body for 9 months. They are physical reminders that my babies and I used to be sustained by one heartbeat. My hips are a little wider because my body prepared itself for two magical home births. The messes in my house are made when we share a meal or a snack together at playtime. The finger prints on my patio doors are from my two boys playing and giggling with each other from opposite sides of the sliding door. When I am impatient with my kids, it gives me an opportunity to teach them how to apologize through example.

So here’s my challenge to myself over the next week: I’m going to challenge myself to share something with others that shows these “messes and imperfections” that I have such a hard time embracing. Whether it’s on my personal Facebook profile, on social media, or on here, I challenge myself to embrace raw, real life along with its imperfections and share it with other moms who might also be feeling the same way. Anyone else want to join me? So, how ’bout another shot of that lovely redecorated family room?

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Creative Wife + Joyful Worker Relaunch Giveaway

screen-shot-2015-07-27-at-12-13-00-amI’d love to introduce my friend Codi, from Creative Wife + Joyful Worker. I mentioned one of the best things about having my own businesses is the friendships that form out of it. I have been so lucky to have met Codi. We met about a year ago when I reached out and asked if she could do a blog post for me. I was so excited when she said yes, and I sent her a couple of items to review. She has been a huge support for my business and has she has encouraged me through so much, including my name change from Woodland Owl Trinkets to Mint & Birch. Codi is a multi-talented mama.  She’s in school for graphic design, blogs, takes wonderful photographs, is opening up a business, always has brilliant projects on the go, and is a phenomenal mama. Yes, she’s good at everything, and she handles it all with so much poise and grace. If I had as many projects going on at the same time, I’m pretty sure I would be a mess! She’s a beauty inside and out, and I know you will enjoy her blog!

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Mint and Birch Turns 3 & a Little Something for YOU!

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3 years ago, I took the plunge and opened up a Facebook Page for my business, Mint and Birch. I started my business as Woodland Owl Trinkets, but changed the name to Mint and Birch last December. I started making nest necklace for Mother’s Day for family and friends, and had an overwhelming amount of support and response. I would love to share a bit about my business, and also thank you for all your support!

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IMG_7494A little back story: My husband and I married at the young age of 20. (People thought we were crazy!) When I was 22, we had our very first baby. My husband and I weren’t exactly planning to have kids that young. I was still in my 4th year and I was finishing up my thesis for my BAH in Psychology, and I was planning to apply to grad school after I graduated. But our little baby decided to grace us with his presence, so I was unable to finish my degree. I was very close to finishing my degree. I only have 2 elective classes left, and I’ve completed all the upper level requirements needed to receive my BAH. My life drastically changed when I had my first: he was a very colicky baby who had feeding issues and was also nocturnal for 3 months. I went from a carefree, ambitious university student to a SAHM who started to feel very isolated. My friends were continuing on with the lifestyle that we had previously led: hosting dinner parties, enjoying a disposable income, shopping, sleeping in, partaking in spontaneous road trips, going out to eat, graduating university and pursuing their careers. My priorities had changed because my new focus was on taking care of our new baby. And because we had a lot of feeding issues, I had to dedicate almost 100% of my time to making sure our baby was growing well. I was also too tired to leave the house.  I often chose to nap with baby instead of going out with friends. I know that this is a very packed paragraph, and there is so much more that can be said about transitioning into motherhood, and how it can be different for each person. But the fact remains: I felt like I was losing my identity as I struggled to transition into motherhood. I felt isolated and alone because I didn’t have the energy or time to continue living like I had before. For those moms out there who are transitioning into motherhood: You can do it. You’re doing it, and you are doing great!

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Left: My first attempt at packaging. Right and Below: My current packaging

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I spent at least a year struggling to transition into motherhood, and I am so thankful to have had made friends who not only hand-held me during this time, but uplifted and encouraged me. You know who you are! So, what does my business mean to me, and why is 3 years such a celebration?

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 I am so thankful for Mint and Birch because through my business, I have met some amazing mothers, fellow business owners, mompreneurs and friends. I have had heartfelt, meaningful conversations with strangers at craft fairs, received encouragement from those that I don’t even know, and have been so touched by the kindness that exists in the world. I am so thankful for all the relationships and friendships that have formed because of this small business. I know I say this often, but one of the best parts about running this business is the interaction and connections that I get to make with people. I love chatting with fellow businesses about businesses, but also the mom/life/work balance. (That’s a hot topic with mompreneurs!) Through these conversations with other momprenuers, I’ve learnt the value of being raw, honest and candid, and the importance of admitting that things aren’t always perfect, but that it’s okay. There is perfection in imperfection.

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It has also been such a remarkable experience to have been able to create so many custom pieces that hold so much meaning for the person it was made for. I have seen mothers come together to purchase a custom nest for new moms, grieving moms, new grandmothers, and friends. Doting husbands who order for their wives, and significant others order for their sweeties. I’ve even had someone propose with a nest ring when their custom diamond ring was still being made! To see the sentiment, thought, and love that goes behind each order has been one of the most rewarding things about running this business. I am so humbled and honoured to be asked to make such special pieces that carry so much meaning.

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This leads me to my next announcement. I’ve been running giveaways and sweepstakes on my social media feed, but I would like to do something special. Since I’ve started my business, I’ve been shown small glimpses of behind the meaning of some of my custom orders: instances of heartbreak, celebration, joy, grief, etc.  I have been so honoured to be asked to make pieces to signify so much. Keep reading below to see what I want to give YOU! Keep reading! I run a lot of giveaways on my Instagram and Facebook pages to drive traffic. But I wanted to do something different here. This isn’t really a “giveaway,” but comes more from my desire to touch people with a simple gesture. (This is one of the reasons I started this blog- to create a platform to connect, give and get to know you!)

So this is what I want to: I want to give a custom nest necklace away about once a month, more often if I am able to. All you have to do, is:

  •  1. Make sure you are subscribed to the blog. (I can’t contact you if you aren’t subscribed!)
  • 2. Comment below with what eggs you’d pick in your nest. If you want, you can write little bit about what it would mean to you. Make sure you’re subscribed to the blog, if I don’t have your email on the list I won’t be able to contact you! I’ll also make new posts about this every now and then so that other people who missed it may put their name down. Don’t worry, if you’ve commented once, I’ve got you down. All you need to do is comment somewhere once. I’ve got all these posts categorized so I won’t lose your comment!

Make sure you subscribe to the blog! Remember, if you’re not subscribed to the blog, I can’t keep track of your comments or contact you! You can subscribe to the blog using the form at the bottom of this post!

Every month or so, I will pick a name from the comments with posts tagged “Custom Nest for YOU,” look for their email in the subscriber list, and contact them to pick their own egg colour for their nest… and send it off to them, no strings attached. Don’t worry, if you’ve commented once, I’ve got you down. All you need to do is comment somewhere once when I post about this. I’ve got all these posts categorized so I won’t lose your comment! If I can do this more often, I will! Go ahead and fill the form below to subscribe, and then scroll down to leave a comment! 🙂 I’ll make a reminder post every now and then as well for those who may have missed this post! Thank you for all your support for Mint and Birch  over the last 3 years. I cannot wait to see what the next years bring for Mint and Birch! Come along with me in this journey!

Use the form below to subscribe to the blog- if you’re not subscribed, I can’t contact you! I can only give the person picked a nest only  if they are subscribed to the blog.

Subscribers will receive new blog posts by email!

 

 

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Hippie Mama Photo Shoot: Williams Park


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Warning! This is an image heavy post… and it’s because I couldn’t pick just a couple of photos to share since the gorgeous Michelle from Islands + Castles was the model! Keep reading to see this mini (non-professional!) photo shoot. I took all these photos, but I’m just learning to use a DSLR! We ventured out to Williams Park for this, and it was the perfect backdrop for this shoot because it was entered around Little Bean’s “Hippie Mama” tank. Here are some of the shops involved:

Model: Nest necklaces, bunting necklaces/acorn necklace: Mint & Birch
Painted Wooden Necklace: Cloral and Cloud
Garland: Fun Fiestas by Ili
Dream Catcher: VMD Jewellery
Hair accessories: Plum Polka Dot
Tank: Little Beans
Model: Michelle from Islands + Castles

All photos taken by me (Mint & Birch), if you would like to share them, please give proper credit to myself as well as all the shops involved! Thank you!

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Above: Acorn necklace, can be found on my website here at Mint and Birch.

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Left: Dreamcatcher necklace by  VMD Jewellery Right and Below: Coral and Cloud wooden necklace. Miko has some gorgeous doll necklaces as well. Go check out her shop!

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The hippie mama shirt can be found at Little Beans shop!

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Garland by Fun Fiestas by Ili. Ili also runs Chic Fete with Jacky! If you are looking for event planning, they are the girls to go to!

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Michelle is wearing a nest necklace made with genuine vintage pearls as eggs! These pearls have been upcycled from a genuine vintage pearl necklace! To see more, please check out Mint and Birch!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! Please take a look at these small handmade shops. Each of the items featured in this post have been made and designed by talented and wonderful mompreneurs.

xo
Jessica!

Please note that all photos have been taken by Mint & Birch. If you choose to share these photos, please credit properly and tag/link all shops who contributed to this photo shoot!

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Pastel Favorites

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It’s no secret of mine that I’m a sucker for all things mint and pastel. Here are some of my favourites!

Nest Necklaces: Mint & Birch
Scrunchie: Chelsea King
Mug: Pretty Print Shop
Passport Holder: Pecan Tree Creations
Tassel Garland: Fun Fiestas by Ili
Earrings: My Kookie Jar

I hope you enjoyed this pastel and minty flat-lay! Be sure to check out some of these lovely shops!
xo!

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