handmade holidays | gifts for girlfriends

a list of sweet little gift ideas for all the girlfriends in your life:

beautiful little (gentle) hairties from gillion million

 a beautiful notebook from serena olivieri to keep all her ideas

a beautiful watercolour print from belafonte to grace her bedroom walls

 a lovely tote bag from whimsy bags that is waaay prettier than all her others.

for the kitchen loving gal in your life - an avril loreti tea towel

a dainty necklace by son of a sailor


patience made | baby shower invitations

last week my friend asked me if i would create some baby shower invites for her co-worker. the catch was - she didn't yet know the sex of the baby. so gender neutral became the challenge. i had remembered this girl once telling me that she considers herself a bit of a bohemian. that plus the fact that i had to avoide using any pink or blue led me to this rough and earthy (but still very classy) invites...


art vs art | robert mullenix vs. jill saur

today i want to welcome kurt from ugallery to the isavirtue blog. i just love discovering new and safe places to buy art online. they offer prints as well so it's definitely something you should consider when shopping for holiday gifts! and if you're wondering who my favourite is below? well, jill saur's trees bring me back to days at the cottage, and writing secret birch bark messages to my crush...

hey isavirtue readers. my name is kurt yalcin and i’m the community manager at ugallery.com, a curated online art gallery. i’ve been practicing my lowercase writing ever since meeting kaitlyn and i think i’m ready (it definitely requires a lot of patience). speaking of patience, kaitlyn has been so kind to the ugallery team and it’s a pleasure contributing to isavirtue.

the art i picked for this week’s art vs art comes from ugallery. in honor of autumn, i chose two artists that find inspiration from the forest. robert mullenix creates his scenes from photographs as an ironic comment on painting nature from a distance. his fascination with a tree’s beauty comes from his childhood on the tree-less plains of central illinois. jill saur, on the other hand, paints the trees standing in her backyard. perhaps it is the different vantage points of these two artists that creates the variance. regardless, both artists have a natural ability to capture the true essence of the tree.

which forest would you rather hike in?

robert mullenix


musings | divorce (the conversation)

this week on the conversation with amanda de cadenet on lifetime, amanda and lady gaga spoke about divorce. you may be interested to know that lady gaga does not believe in divorce. during the interview, she states that once she finds her mate - that's it for the rest of her life!

there is almost no divorce in my extended family. and after thirty years together, i'm certain my parents still love and respect each other. i never had to grow up listening to fights ("discussions" yes, fights, no). i never had to shuttle my pj's and homework from one home to another. i've always felt secure in my nuclear family (plus two extra boys). whether because of my lack of first hand experience, or in spite of it, i am not opposed to divorce.

i can hear my husband putting his hands over his ears and going "la la la la la..." let's just say that jon and lady gaga share the same beliefs about the big "D" word. but i'm really not against it. although my parents are still together and faithful - i've seen them face some seriously difficult challenges. and sometimes a couple is unable to withstand said challenges while still maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with each other. and i'm also open minded to the fact that life changes people. we encounter new things and sometimes become very different people. i'm open to change, and i do hope that my husband and i experience new things and grow as human beings. but i can honestly say that i love who he is now and should his personality change so dramatically...or if we cannot retain our partnership through tragedy or sickness or...god forbid he decided he would prefer a relationship with someone else - then i definitely want the option.

i've always felt that way about divorce. but all that being said - i should also mention that the longer i am married, the more i really don't want it to come to that. i so enjoy the time that jon and i spend together. and oftentimes i look at him and think about how happy i am that he is a part of my life. and to be honest - i can't even fathom it being any other way!


custom orders | colour & ink choices

below is a list of paper colours, ink choices and embossing choices for the isavirtue stationery shoppe.

click image for a larger view

paper colours (envelopes, not writing paper)

***for other standard isavirtue colours such as dark pink, teal, kraft, light grey or charcoal, please email me as supplies are not guaranteed to be in stock. patience[at]isavirtue[dot]net
**any colours not mentioned or pictured above are likely special edition, but feel free to ask!

(for envelopes, writing paper, journals, flat cards etc)

(for envelopes, journals and flat cards)

snail mail | dinosaurs

when my good friend freyja went to ontario for her summer vacation, she still managed to remind me that she was thinking about me.she sent me this dinosaur exhibition card as a post card from the royal ontario museum. and then she gave me this card with a beautiful drawing on the front - done by her! isn't it great? i've always wanted to do little sketches like that but i just don't have the talent for it.


patience made | christmas roll out

when i messaged my friend heather in the middle of august and asked for her opinion on christmas carol lyrics for my stationery, she thought i was crazy. she was totally helpful but she thought i was off my rocker for starting so early. but as you can see by today's date, it took awhile to design, order and use my new holiday stamps! i used lines from some of my favourites christmas carols. 

if you are the type of person who sends holiday greetings in the mail (i love you!!), but also, i would love to be your holiday stationer of choice :). please feel free to message or email me with custom orders but note that i don't make folded cards - just writing paper and flat cards (examples below). i'm going to put together a colour list soon but envelopes can be made in light pink, pink, dark pink, red, light purple, purple, dark purple, aqua, dark teal, lime green, white and black. embossing colours include gold, silver, white, black, light pink, pink, glitter red and clear. bulk orders of over 20 of the same products get 10% off. more items will be added soon!


art | serena cole

i love these portraits of women by artist serena cole. there is something eccentric and obscure about each and every one of them - lion like makes, extravagant headpieces, long faces, and eyes that are overtly large or questionable far apart. but it seems to me that it is these details that make the women both beautiful and mysterious. 


musings | age men vs. women (the conversation)

september sixteenth proved to be another excellent episode of the conversation with amanda de cadenet. there was a lot of discussion on pregnancy and children - but since i'm not there yet, i'm going to focus on a different topic today: age.

in the segment with alicia keys, the two women discuss age consciousness. they point out it's okay for men to get older, but for the women in our society there is a sense of disposal. as in, once we get older we become less useful than before. while i agree with this on some level, i think a lot of strong older women would disagree. however, age is something i have been thinking about lately in regards to my husband and i.

you see, he's getting better looking every day. and that's a problem. i know, i sound ungrateful right? for many marriages, a lack of a attraction to one's partner is a distinct issue. most women would be thrilled to wake up and find that their husband has become even more handsome. i swear, sometimes i look and jon and think "damn, that man is growing into himself. he is literally so goodlooking i could cry!"

and i might just cry because unfortunately the same miracle is not happening for me. this isn't some "woe is me i'm hideous" post. it's just true facts. jon has always looked about forty years old (*much* older women hitting on him has been a problem in the past) and each year, as he gets closer to the age he actually looks it begins to suit him better. for me though, it's clear that my youthful days have come and gone. yesterday i got honked at while walking down the street and i almost had a heart attack because that hasn't happened in about five years (i probably stepped off the curb into the road for a minute and it was a warning honk). but for serious - i'm not ugly but i'm definitely not getting better looking. in fact, i feel like i'm falling apart. i think part of it has to do with not being able to dye my hair or wear very much make-up while i've been sick.

but alas...i remind myself that with age comes experience, and wisdom, and more love.


snail mail | collage messages

these two pieces are overdue. the first is from a gal named riley that i met online. i send her this pink & circle themed letter here. i love the envelope she sent me - tons of great postage and the typewriter effect for the address is so lovely! and i think she has even highlighted a suggested place to visit.

the second piece of mail is from a very old friend whom i lived with during my early university years. she is such an amazing person and we rarely keep in touch so it was really great to get a letter from her. she's went all out with the collage - it almost makes me want to "come and discover" where ever she is!


lowercase gallery | andrew valko

i was recently introduced to the work of andrew valko by a local gallery owner. the work is graphic, insightful and a perfect rendering of our time. the over-arching theme is voyeurism. in some works, a man watches a women who stares at us as we watch her. in others, women capure images of themselves (or is it us, the viewer?) using cell phones, web cams, polaroids and video cameras. i've pieced together some of my favourites in the lowercase gallery, and i would love to hear your feedback.
*please note that while i have chosen some of the tamer images, there is some graphic content.


project life | art, new jobs and roses

these are my most recent project life pages. i took a screen printing mini workshop and needless to say - the graphic rose print we created came in handy when putting the slots together!

 left page

 right page

 i had the opportunity to sell a beautiful ted harrison artwork - you can see it in the upper right hand corner. i also started working at two new places (one temporary) - a paper shop and a gallery. as you can see from my note - i love working downtown again!

see all the pretty paper at the papery??


art vs. art | meghan hildebrand vs. paul jorgensen

i've loved meghan hildebrand's art for ahile now. i even featured her in the lowercase gallery! i've really enjoyed watching her style evolve over the years. the images below represent her older style - but i couldn't help but notice how similar it is to the work of paul jorgensen. both artists have a tendency to stack buildings one upon the other in a very hap hazard manner. and both have an excellent sense of colour.

both sets of work are whimsical, but while jorgensen's images suggest a carefree feeling of bright summer days, hildebrand's work maintains a sense of menace and confusion. jorgensen's cities make more sense when comparing them directly to reality, but i must admit i'm more partial to meghan's total lack of regard for perspective, scale and organization. chaos wins!

which do you prefer and why?

meghan hildebrand


paul jorgensen