Did I mention that Etsy is wonderful?
It is! I turned to Etsy recently to find a new notebook. I’m a bit picky about notebooks: I like blank pages, recycled paper, room to write and stretch out in, a small enough size to fit in a bag, and preferably a soft cover or binding (versus a rigid hardcover-type binding). I’ve used various notebooks over the years, my standby of late being the recycled leather Paperthinks notebooks, but for various reasons it was time for a change. My search brought me to a wonderful Etsy shop that had A Doll’s Picnic written all over it: Little Mo and Friends! Illustration, whimsy, playfullness, imagination, nature, kindness, earth-friendliness… it was all there! Helena Tay, the shop owner and artist, obviously loves drawing as much as I do, but what is even more amazing is that she doesn’t let anything get in the way of her creative spirit. She has even published her own hand-drawn coloring book (she says it took a whole year to ink!)! I truly felt I’d discovered a kindred creative spirit. I love that her stationery line features recycled materials and “clean green printing processes.” This makes it seem especially appropriate to share this sunny burst of creative inspiration for Earth Day. 🙂
There were so many fun goodies to ponder that it was tough to decide, but in the end, I ordered a notebook, a copy of Helena’s Botania coloring book, and a set of pretty stationery. But I was also delighted and intrigued by the listing for a Little Mo Surprise Mystery Bag. Surprise art goodies in the mail? How could I resist? I added one to my order as a special inspiration present for myself, and waited eagerly for it to arrive. At long last Saturday’s mail brought me a package all the way from Western Australia! Yay! Here’s a peek at what I found inside:
I was so touched and pleased by how beautifully everything was arranged, how carefully it was gift-wrapped and packaged, and how lovingly the surprises were personalized for me (Helena had even asked if there were any favorite colors, animals or other symbols to help make the surprise package special). The value of the contents of the surprise mystery bag were far over the retail cost of the package, and the whole order just showed so much spirit and heart. Thank you so much, Helena!!
Since this is A Doll’s Picnic, though, and since there are two eager artsy girls here begging to take over this post, I’m going to go brew a cup of tea and hand over the keyboard to Umeko Patience and Mei-mei (all right, all right, quit pushing you two, I’m finishing, here you go!)…
P: Hi! I’m Patience!
M: And I’m Mei-mei!
P: We’re here today to share some wonderful art goodies that Ali bought for us from an Etsy shop called Little Mo and Friends!
M: (There’s a link to the shop near the top of this page, and here’s a link to her adorable website as well).
P: Anyway, Ali bought us these great art and stationery goodies so that we can share playful inspiration and the spirit of creativity with all our friends and the whole world!
M: Patience, are you sure Ali bought these for us? Didn’t I hear her say when the package got here, “My surprise is here!” ?
P: Details, Mei-mei, technicalities. Everyone knows that whatever makes its way into the house belongs to us dolls. We have the majority, you know, 30-something to 2.
M: Well, if you say so. What should we share first?
P: Let’s show them the stationery. That’s how Little Mo and Friend’s Etsy shop began, after all, says so on her “About” page.
M: You see here the stationery set that was included in Ali’s–
P: You mean our–
M: *ahem*–Surprise Mystery Bag. There are four sheets of violet-blue stationery and four sheets of lilac stationery, and two each of the matching envelopes.
P: All of these adorable pieces feature a hand-drawn illustration created by Helena Tay which is printed on recycled paper using earth-friendly processes!
M: So you can not only be happy about sending a smile to a friend’s mailbox but feel good about helping the Earth too!
P: Let’s show them the cute envelopes, Mei-mei.
M: The front of the envelope features the same illustration as the stationery…
P: …And the back includes a special spot for writing the addresses!
M: Patience, do you think the Post Office will be confused by the different format?
P: I think as long as we write clearly, they will be able to figure it out. The stationery set comes with four adorable stickers, too!
P: You can use these stickers on the envelopes, in your journal, or use them as temporary tattoos!
M: I don’t know if we should recommend them as tattoos, Patience. We haven’t tried them out that way.
P: There’s always a first time!
M: Nooo… I think we should at least wait until we can ask Ali what she thinks. Should we show them the brooch now, Patience?
M: This stunningly adorable brooch is created by inserting an illustration of Twig, the Little Mo and Friends bluebird, under a glass cabochon and setting it in antique-bronze-finished metal pin.
P: And it looks stunningly adorable on my spring dress!
M: Just make sure you put it back in its little box before Ali sees you, Patience. You know she hasn’t even tried it on herself yet!
P: Yes, well, she bought it for us dolls, remember?
M: Um…. Anyway, I think the glass cabochon makes the illustration really pop! What a great idea for a piece of original artwork! Worn on a blouse, sweater or bag, this is sure to make someone smile.
P: Well, they’re smiling now, right?
M: Maybe we should move on to the coloring book, Patience, before Ali sees you.
M: Ali loves coloring…
P: We all do… dolls have to do something while their people are away, you know.
M: Yes, well, anyway, she’s never before had a coloring book like this! Can you believe how much time this must have taken to draw Patience? Even you couldn’t possibly have that much patience!
P: That’s what makes it so inspiring! It shows how much Helena loves to draw!
M: Which one is your favorite page?
P: This one! I love the little girl lying on a lily pad, watching the swan! That’s me, I think.
M: But, Patience, Helena doesn’t even know you.
P: Well, it certainly could be me. I look a lot like Little Mo, you know.
M: So do I.
P: You’re missing the point.
M: Um… Is that everything?
P: We haven’t showed them the special post card or conversation cards, remember?
M: These two adorable “conversation cards” were included in Ali’s–
P: You mean our–
M: —Ali’s surprise package. They feature a hand-drawn illustration printed on a single sheet of cardstock, and include a little envelope, so you can write a cheerful message and send them to your friends!
P: Or you can hang them on your door, glue them in your journal, slip them on your dashboard, give one to the mail lady…
M: I think they get the idea, Patience. Why don’t you show them the postcard.
P: This wonderful postcard shares an illustration of Little Mo climbing up to her fanciful tree house!
M: You can also find this same illustration on one of the Little Mo and Friends notebooks sold in the Etsy shop. Is there anything else we should share?
P: I think that’s enough for now. We don’t have a picture of Ali’s new notebook (yes, I know that was meant for Ali, Mei-mei), and it’s getting late. I’m ready for some tea!
M: Until later, then, Happy Earth Day from A Doll’s Picnic!