"It's time to hire", said my Mom. Until that moment, it had been just the two of us making paper and creating handmade stationery like cards and journals. Occasionally, my Grandmother Allie would join us and make pulp to keep the papermaking going. But she had the habit of forgetting to put the lid on the pulping machine which would cause pulp to splurt to the ceiling causing quite a mess and many good laughs!
We put the word out that we were hiring and soon Kathy joined our papermaking enterprise. Kathy brought her artistic sensibility and no-nonsense approach to making paper. But there was a problem. Between me, Kathy, my Mom and often my Grandma, we could no longer fit into the 200 sq ft basement that was our papermaking headquarters. Bumping into each other, stumbling over hoses and crashing into drying equipment, work was cumbersome, difficult and dangerous.
So it became apparent very quickly that it was time to find a location to rent and move Botanical PaperWorks out of the basement.
We found a home on the second floor at Portage and Smith. Above us, my brother-in-law was running his import-export business. Below us on the main floor was CD Plus, a music store back in the days when music was actually sold from a storefront. The landlord was kind enough to rent us a large, sunny area at a very reasonable price. Almost free in fact. Except for that issue of the exposed wiring.
Long before we moved in, this space had been home to a hairdressing school. It must have been a low-budget move for them, because in their wake they left sinks, sit-down hairdrying units, mountains of hair clippings and metal-wrapped electrical wires which only by accident (think about what that means) did we discover that the hacked off ends were LIVE!
Getting that place ready for our move-in required hours and hours of sweat equity in the traditional sense. My parents, my husband and I scrubbed and purged and painted the floors, walls and ceilings of that place until it was half-way livable. We set up a welcoming blue tablecloth draped table in the entrance way, hoping to make the place a little more homey.
And we set up our desks (1/3 sections of a ping-pong table), our chairs (old yellow cast-off lawn chairs from my parent's previous house) and our computer (by then we had upgraded from a Mac Color Classic to an iMac G3 in Bondi Blue).
Kathy worked with us at Portage and Smith, and soon Deb joined us too. We were a happy bunch, until the day we took a contract to make wildrice paper for a local wildrice producer. And then we found ourselves in a BIG mess that we didn't know how to get out of.
Hello! Today, I want to share a personal story with you. It's the story of searching for a way to remember my grandpa in a meaningful and special way, and how that search eventually lead my company to launching a line of memorial products to help others remember and celebrate their loved ones. Please read on for the full story; I'm happy to share it with you.
My grandfather was an special man. Quiet and private, he spent his daytime hours building things in the basement emerging only for a sandwich and coffee at lunch. Before retirement, he had worked as an Engineer first with the railroad and then with waste and water for the City. He brought the same energy and enthusiasm for engineering home with him after he retired.
When he passed away four years ago, I wanted a way to celebrate my grandfather and a way to remember him long after the funeral was over. And I wanted that for me and my family but also for the special friends and extended family that would be gathering for the memorial services.
Because I had my company, Botanical PaperWorks, it was natural to turn to the designers here for help with a memorial seed card, something that could be handed out at the funeral and then planted to grow flowers in memory of my grandfather. Together, we designed a memorial seed card with a die-cut shape and a verse that was significant to my grandfather. My family and I were thrilled with the results.
At the funeral, the memorial seed cards were slipped into the program and handed out together. After the service was over, we gathered to share coffee and fancy sandwiches (a family favorite!). I could see the seed cards tucked into people's pockets and handbags. And it made me happy to think about them bringing the cards home and planting them. All around the city, there would be flowers blooming in memory of my grandfather.
It's because these memorial cards meant so much to me and my family that we are launching a new line of memorial products. Each product in the collection has been carefully and thoughtfully designed to help you remember your loved one in a special and unique way. It is my hope and prayer that as you go through the difficult days of loss that the flowers that are planted will brighten your days and give you hope for tomorrow.
We had a blast yesterday at the WagJag Community Party. We ate cupcakes, we drank lattes and we danced to the beat of Moses Mayes. The kids got tattooed (temporarily, of course), drank slushies and skipped rope in the middle of the dance floor. The swag bag at the end was full of great Winnipeg coupons and what Winnipegger doesn't love coupons? Here are some photos to share.
Me and Toni at the beginning of the party:
Me at the end of the party, having had one too many cupcakes (I said I wouldn't share this photo but it's too wacky not to!)