Meet Alison Butler, 31, from Newfoundland, Canada. She is a beautiful mama who recently launched her shop The Petit Cadeau, which is centered around celebrating and creating traditions. She creates handmade heirloom celebration countdown calendars for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and other special occasions. She loves to create and support handmade, and is usually happiest with a cup of tea and a book.
Alison cultivated her love for creating thoughtful gifts since she was a child and made homemade gifts or cards for her family, something that she says was fostered and encouraged by her mom. She took creative extra-curricular classes, such as art, pottery and cartooning but never took art in high school, something she still regrets.
“As an adult, it’s my “escape” – I love to make things, it calms my mind and body.”
As a mother to a 2 1/2 year old who works a full-time job aside from creating, she admits that she is constantly trying to find a balance, and that nothing ever really feels normal. (I second that notion). She usually spends a few hours each night creating and blogging, after her daughter falls asleep and tries not to schedule anything on the weekend so her family can enjoy each other.
Alison credits motherhood for her inspiration to create things for children and to give more thought about the way she does things – like keeping celebrations simple and thoughtful. Most importantly, being a mom has taught her to slow down.
“Everywhere I look, I see parents trying to do everything bigger and better. It seems to stress most people out.,” she says. “Why is it really necessary? It’s not. My message is always – they won’t remember the gift (most of the time) It’s the memories and experiences that are important. I want my daughter to remember feeling special.”
It was this idea that prompted her thoughtful gifting manifesto, a beautifully and thoughtfully written post about why she buys handmade, and/or from local businesses. Never a last-minute shopper, she keeps a birthday book and starts planning and preparing well in advance, thinking about what that person would really love.
She also started Thoughtful Celebrations, a monthly e-mail newsletter that focuses on just that – planning thoughtful celebrations. Recipients are privy to recipes and tips for throwing parties and different handmade shops to support. They also get special coupons and previews to new projects she’s working on.
“I think I have a lot of internal drive to keep working at something I love, even when some days don’t involve anything creative and lot’s of the time I feel completely exhausted. I’m building something that makes me happy and joyful.”
After a Twitter chat with Oh My Handmade – the amazing handmade community that she belongs to – she wanted to do something fun to promote handmade busineeses. Since she also happened to be training for the NYC 2012 Marathon, and decided to name her series The Handmade Marathon. She selected 26 handmade business participants, one for each mile of a marathon. The marathon was subsequently cancelled, but since the series became so popular, she decided to keep it going.
“I feature one handmade business per month, and changed my interview questions to reflect the direction my blog is heading.”
Alison gets a lot of her inspiration from beautiful magazines and all of her favorite blogs. She reads Oh My Handmade daily and also loves Susannah Conway and Alisa Burke. One of her favorite shops is Herriott Grace – a father and daughter team who started selling gorgeous hand-carved wooden objects online five years ago – and Alison is a proud owner for the cloud cookie cutter!
The personal touch is Alison’s favorite thing about the handmade community and she loves being able to connect with others through Oh My Handmade and share her interests and passions with like-minded people.
“There is a real THRIVING supportive community around handmade. It’s wonderful to be a part of that.”
As an only child, Alison says that she embraces quiet and enjoys sitting in coffee shops to sip and read. She unwinds at local yoga classes and is excited about a new studio she just found and she and her husband recently took a chocolate making class. FUN! She also loves to craft in her downtime and loves learning new trades. One craft she hasn’t learned but would love to try is letterpress.
“I haven’t found anywhere locally where I could learn, but it just looks so beautiful and interesting. Knitting is also high up on my “must-learn” list,” she says. “I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years – most recently bookbinding/making, wool felting and art journaling. I’ll try almost anything once!”
Alison says that her favorite thing about running her own business is interacting with new people and collaborating on projects and posts – and she has some great ones in the works in late 2013 and early 2014! She hopes that her blog will inspire people to make small, thoughtful changes. She wants people to feel inspired to make a gift when they might feel like they don’t have the talent and she wants people to start simple family traditions that will last a lifetime.
“Inspired to think about where the money goes and instead of buying five plastic toys, invest in one beautiful toy – something that’s quality, made by hand. Most importantly, I want you to feel like my blog is for you, because it is!”
As a mom, Alison works slower on her projects than she did in the past. She’s constantly planning new ideas for the shop and has several in the works right now and she says she is learning to embrace the newer, slower pace of finishing projects or getting things completed.
“My hope for the future is to be able to incorporate creativity more into my everyday life. I want to continue to slow down, listen, be present and enjoy my family to the fullest.”
You can find more about Alison, her thoughtful gifting manifesto through The Petit Cadeau blog and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you know of an awesome mama who would be a perfect fit for this series, please leave a comment or share the link on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Meet some more amazing mamas on my Pinterest!