Opening eyes + confronting guilt.

It is so easy to feel like what I am doing is not enough, especially right now, a time when there is a lot of healing and change and action needed in the world. It is natural to feel so small and useless when the scale of the problems and suffering seem so large. Enter downward spiral of the mind: How can I help make the world a better place? What am I EVEN DOING? How is what I am doing even meaningful or useful at all? I spend a lot of my time working, but is my work serving anyone else but myself and my own enjoyment? Entering the dark side is a slippery slope these days if you’re not careful. This time, I hit a point where I seemed to convince myself that enjoying what I do for work is somehow bad (?!). Guilt is a powerful force.

The problem? A negative voice tries to make me believe that I am not a good enough person because my work isn’t directly healing people or helping anything that matters or saving the planet from ultimate destruction single-handedly. Trying to figure out where my guilt and confusion were coming from, I sat down and tried to transform my feelings into an overall negative statement – something written down so I could understand it better. This is what I came up with (warning, it’s ugly):

“Making design and paper goods is not of service to others, it is a self-serving form of pleasure to use my skills to do nothing but have fun and prove my worth to myself for the sake of my own self-acceptance and enjoyment. It is a way for my ego to thrive and nobody else benefits.”

Ouch! Do I actually feel this way? NO! What a terrible way to feel! You know how the mind just wants to make us suffer? It tells us “Hey you, yeah you, YOU are not good enough” as if it’s an automatic function of the mind. Actually, it is. Studies have shown that the ‘default state’ of the human mind, the state that is active when we are not intentionally directing our intention toward something, is powered by the parts of your brain that 1. think about the self, and 2. look for problems. It is no wonder we are so self-critical all of the time. I took an online course/lecture series on this topic called The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion (recommended to my yoga community by our amazingly supportive teacher), and it was eye-opening.

Anyway, through this process of journaling and unravelling, I realized that this super negative statement isn’t actually how I feel, but it is what sums up my FEARS in relation to my work and purpose. As in, I would hate it if that statement were actually true. It’s the same kind of fear as not being a good mom, a good person, a good anything. There is something to learn form this and I started paying attention. When I am self-critical, it is almost always fear-based. But the good news is this: the fact that I am feeling this unveils a deep truth, and that truth is “This is what I care about”. I wouldn’t feel this way if I didn’t care. Our fears reveal what we care about the most.

So, I did an exercise. I tried to transform my statement into a positive one, to realign and discover what it feels like my purpose is.  Writing is a magical thing, it causes your mind to slow down and get things out that you may not be able to discover by just thinking about it since thoughts can be so racy when untamed. Through this negative-to-positive phrase transformation, I actually learned a few things about myself.

Here is my transformed positive affirmation I came up with:

“Creating thoughtfully made goods and artwork is something that does benefit others. I can help make the world a better place even on a small scale, which matters too. While my work is fulfilling for myself, my intention is the driving force behind it – to use my creativity to spread joy and simple beauty to other people. It is a way for my true self to connect with the world and it is a practice worth engaging in”.

I know now that my Negative Voice must just have high standards and was giving no credit to small gestures of kindness, acts of sharing, inspiring small personal – human – raw – loving connections when we need them the most, making things that encourage compassion and an appreciation of the Earth. Negative Voice forgot to examine my intention. Negative Voice says “You are no hero”. Positive voice says “You are doing enough, and small victories are special too”. I love my negative voice because it teaches me things, but it isn’t actually what makes up actual ME. Whatever that is, it’s far beyond my limited human comprehension, but I think I am grazing the surface just enough to feel comfortable.

I am happy I stepped out of the dark side and got productive doing some inner work. What is the purpose of being an artist here and now? Artists can make the world a better place on a big or small scale. Artists can be introverted in other areas, but visual art is a way of communicating and connecting with the world around us. Art makes the world a more beautiful experience. Art is expressive, personal, healing, natural, influential and necessary. Art can spread ideas. Art can bring people together. I can’t single handedly save the planet, but I CAN use my creative gifts to make things that will bring some kind of good to the world even on a really personal level, such as a meaningful, loving connection between people, or a human connection to nature.

Life is a gift exchange, and this is my gift. This is what I have to offer. It it is a small but beautiful thing, and I am thankful for every opportunity I have to share it.

XO + thank you for reading.


Handmade Gift Guide 04: Valentine’s Day

Treat your Valentine to something handmade by an independent maker! We have some ideas below. We believe Valentine’s Day can help you celebrate love for not only a partner but toward friends and yourself too. However, I’m not going to lie, this gift guide is the for the real-deal sweethearts out there, inspired by my sappiest card to date “You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me”. It also includes a blush and green color love story while still maintaining a gender-neutral collection overall. Our gift guides are meant to celebrate independent makers like us and inspire others to shop handmade. Each guide has an inspired theme by one of our products and is comprised of hand picked items from makers who we adore. See the bottom of the post for links to each item.

1. The color theme for this gift guide is brought to you by our Best Thing Card. Shop the rest of our Love & Friendship collection here.

2. Copper Tricon Necklace  // Molly M Designs (San Francisco, CA

3.  Woodblock Chicory Napkins Set of 4  // June and December (Michigan)

4. Perpetual Calendar //  Tait Design Co. (Detroit, MI)

5. Canyon Series: Denali Hand Painted Porcelain Espresso Mug  // Red Raven Studios (Berkeley, CA)

6.  Mixed Macaron Boxes  // Sweet Heather Anne (Ann Arbor, MI)

7.  Hyperion Coffee Beans // Hyperion Coffee Co.  (Ypsilanti, MI)

8.  Tobacco + Bay Leaf Candle // Detroit Rose Ritual (Detroit, MI)


Tour De Plants: Sunroom Edition

“That’s a big plant, Mama!” I got a new plant yesterday, a split-leaf-philodendron (pictured in the forefront above). I wonder what my 2.5 year old son thinks as I stick yet another huge plant in my cart because: $15 at IKEA, giant lush leaves, dead of winter. My husband knows that if I say I’m going to IKEA, he can expect a new plant friend or two in the house, no question. How do you pass up the plant section there!? You don’t.

Anyway, I have always wanted a split leaf philodendron like this but could never find one. They are so interesting and tropical. I wanted to take a pretty picture of it and it turned into a full on sunroom photoshoot! What better do to with a bunch of photos of plants than a gallery post as a tour around my favorite room in the house. This room is honestly one of a few reasons we bought this house. It’s an addition on a previous owner put on the back of our ranch home, lined with windows, I couldn’t ask for more. Without further ado, Tour De Plants: Sunroom Edition!

We have a shelf with lots of crystals and nature-made treasures in this room, they are so nice to have around and look so magical when it’s sunny and the morning light pours in the east-facing side of the room.

I just love these closeup moments. This poor air plant is hanging on for dear life, though. It’s a bit more difficult to keep them alive in the winter. The room stays warm because it’s a four seasons and has vents, but it’s not as humid as the plants would probably like. I often place a warm mist humidifier in there and a space heater when it gets too dry.

Here is a broader view of the opposite corners of the room. I should have busted out my wide-angle lens, I was using a 50mm so I couldn’t capture the whole room in one shot:

A sunroom is not complete without a macrame plant hanger!

I hope you enjoyed the views! Back to work for me, now 🙂 I’m actually off to the sun room right now because it’s the perfect spot to take photos of my work with natural light on a bright overcast day.




Handmade Gift Guide 03: White and Gold

It’s a fresh new year and we are really feeling the brighteness of white + gold. The theme of this gift guide is somewhat geometric as well and very much inspired by my love for our metallic gold ink that we use on a lot of our cards and prints against bright white paper. Our gift guides are meant to celebrate independent makers like us and inspire others to shop handmade. Each guide has an inspired theme by one of our products and is comprised of hand picked items from makers who we adore. See the bottom of the post for links to each item.


1. Our very own new crystal friendship card in our new Valentine’s Day collection.

2. White & Gold Triangle Tray // The Object Enthusiast

3. The Original Gold Glitter Twine – 750 Yards // Knot & Bow

4. Geo Stand Set // YIELD

5. 14K Gold Filled Arc Stacking Ring // Goldeluxe

6. Mini Brass Wall Hanging // Sonadora In Love

7. Set of 3 Modern Ornament Collection // HRUskaa

8.  Artemis Earrings // White Owl Jewelry


One tree planted with each purchase

I am very enthused to share that we have become a reforestation partner with One Tree Planted. Giving back to the earth that provides, nourishes and inspires us is something I have wanted to invest my business in from the beginning and I am feeling very grateful to be finally putting a little more “worthwhile” in Worthwhile Paper.

What we’re doing: We will be donating to plant one tree for every sale we make, including wholesale orders. This will start at the end of the year when I do my final books, planting trees for every sale we made in 2016! I am SO excited to see how many trees we can plant.

Why we’re doing it: I love Earth. Earth gives us so many gifts, and I want it to be more of a balanced gift exchange. Did you know 4/10 trees get chopped down and are processed into pulp for making paper products? Since we are a paper goods business, it feels like a productive and conscious exchange to play any part I can in promoting the growth of more trees, and preservation of the beloved forests around the globe. There are plenty of reasons to invest in reforestation and among them the most meaningful to me are the fact that we are consuming trees at a rate larger than the rate of which trees can grow back, and the importance of trees in relation to our environment, climate, and habitats for a large amount of species of animals.  More facts can be found here.

Who is One Tree Planted: One Tree Planted is a 501c3 non-profit based in Shelburne, Vermont that gives you the ability to easily plant trees around the world.  They work with amazing NGOs worldwide that have collectively planted millions of trees.  With years of experience, these key partners work hand-in-hand with local communities to ensure that proper native tree species are planted in the most sustainable manner. Right now they have opportunities to plant trees in 6 different regions around the world.

After we donate, we get a certificate of how many trees we helped plant, updates with photos and reports on our trees and their survival rates and growth.

This is something that feels so good for me to do. I want to emphasize that it is important for my customers to know this is not a sales pitch. (I almost didn’t even want to make it public for this reason!) While I’d love to plant as many trees as I can, I don’t plan to use this as leverage or a “marketing strategy”. I see it as a little added bonus along with your purchase of some positive cards or a nature-inspired print, and more importantly, a good feeling that you are supporting someone who really truly cares in so many ways.

(I just want the world to keep looking like this):

Thank you so much for your support. I wouldn’t feel comfortable financially to do this without the amazing support we have gotten this past couple of years.  It means the world to me!

– Kristen



DIY: 5 easy mason jar gifts


The spirit of gift-giving is upon us, and one of my favorite types of gifts are those which you can make (with love) yourself! I adore the use of mason jars for small and fun gifts. When I designed our new gift sticker sets, I realized they fit perfectly on top of a wide-mouth mason jar lid! This sparked lots of inspiration for all sorts of mason jar ideas, so one day I surprised my asssistants Maxine and Brenda with a DIY marathon where the three of us spent the morning in the kitchen creating five lovely and easy mason jar gifts to share for the holidays. These gifts are perfect go-to’s for anyone in your life, and also great to make in bulk to give to everyone at a family gathering or as favors for a holiday party. In other words, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

First thing’s first: The jars. We used 12 oz  jars with a wide mouth for each of these projects, except for the jam, where I used super short and wide jars. Meijer had a great selection of jars! Pro tip: do NOT buy these individual at a craft store – you can get a pack of 12 for almost the same price at Meijer or Target!

Second thing’s second: our die cut gift stickers!


We have 5 designs to choose from on our online shop. These are obviously not required, but they do make your mason jar gifts look extra special! They are $6 for 10 stickers and make a perfect add-on to your card, print or notebook order. I’d recommend the ‘made with love’ set for the gifts in this post, but I think they’re all pretty cute – get creative! These sets are up for grabs here on our shop.

Let the making begin!

#1: Make your own soy candle


This was my first time making my own candle – it was so much fun! Candles make great gifts for anyone and you can get creative with scents and even color.

Materials needed: note: I got all of these items on Amazon, and they were pretty inexpensive given the mount of candles you can make with the packs of items and one-time purchase of a $12 pouring pot. Just search for these items on Amazon and you will easily find them and other variations!

+ mason jars

+ hemp wicks

+ stickies for the bottom of the wicks

+ soy wax flakes

+ a candle pot with a pouring lip

+ candle scent or essential oils*

+ a pencil or utensil for each candle you plan on making, to hold up the wick.



Stick the circle stickies on the bottom of the silver disc on the wick, and press it into the bottom of your jar.


+ Boil a large pot of water. When the water is boiling, place the candle-pouring pot with the soy wax in it (measure the soy wax by filling a jar or two first!), and wait for it to melt.

+ When it melts all the way, add your fragrance and stir it up.

+ Pour the wax into the jars with the wicks. It helps if you wrap the wicks around a pencil first so they stay straight. (Note! It is important that you wrap the wicks FIRST and not after you’ve poured it – one of ours accidentally came un-stuck and was floating around in the wax and we had to make a new one!) No need to wrap them too tightly – just enough to keep them straight, as shown below:


In an hour or two, your wax will go back to being a nice natural white color. Wait 24 hours before you light the candle to make sure the wax is totally set.


*PRO TIP (just kidding, more like a newbie tip, but read on) I thought 100 drops of essential oil would totally do it, but it wasn’t the case. I put 50 lemon and 50 lavender but it really didn’t turn out very scented. I was weary to buy some of the synthetic candle fragrances so I reached out and I got a tip on my instagram from Detroit Rose Ritual (they make the best candles!) – she said to search for a phthalate free fragrance oil, which is one of the least toxic kinds.


#2: Lavender Salt Scrub


Ingredients: (enough for two 12 oz jars)

+ 3 cups  of coarse sea salt (or a mixture of coarse and fine). We bought a 24oz container of this from Whole Foods and had to obliterate the packaging with a knife to get it to pour (not recommended, maybe try to find a bag of this on Amazon or in bulk somewhere).

+ 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil

+ Lavender essential oil – amount depends on your preference.

+ A handful of dried lavender (Whole Foods stocks this at this time of year. Mmm.)



+ Melt the coconut oil to it is easier to mix in.

+ Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and scoop into jars!


I love how simple this recipe is, and salt scrubs are always so wonderful to make your skin soft in the winter.


#3: Make your own hot cocoa mix


Ingredients: (enough for one 12 oz jar)

+ 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

+ 1/2 cup coconut sugar (I love coconut sugar! It’s a heal alternative to regular refined sugar).

+ 3 tbsp powdered milk

+ 1/8 teaspoon salt

*** optional *** a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cardamom, a pinch of dark chocolate chips, marshmallows, anything you think would jazz up your mix.



+ Combine all of the ingredients well in a big bowl and transfer to the jar.

+ That’s it!


Hot cocoa tips!

* Since this mix contains dry milk powder, all the recipient needs to add is hot water.

* Add equal amounts of hot water and dry mix

* Adding mini chocolate chips will make this extra decadent


The next two recipes are from the book Food Gift Love. I had the pleasure of doing the handmade lettering for this book and when it came out, I purchased one for myself! This book is full of over 100 recipes to make, wrap and share.

#4: Home made jam


Ingredients: (makes two small jars shown above)

+ 1 1/2 cups of quartered strawberries, cleaned and hulled.

+ 3/4 cup of pure cane sugar

+ 2 tbsp lemon juice



+ In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. While the mixture cooks, mash up the fruit bit by bit. Once it begins boiling again, reduce to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Skim off the foam on top, if desired.

+ Let the home made jam cool for 15-20 minutes. We noticed it was a bit watery, but then when it cooled and set it was much more jam-like.

Note * this is for jam that can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. I am not too familiar with proper canning, but this recipe can be used for that if that’s your jam. (pun intended!)



#5: Make your own pistachio & arugula pesto:


Ingredients: (makes enough for one 12oz jar)

+ 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted

+ 2 cups tightly packed arugula

+ 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic

+ 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp shredded parmesan

+ 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

+ 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

+ 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

+ 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil



+ Preheat your oven to 350 F and roast the pistachios on a baking sheet for 10 minutes

+ In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients including the roasted pistachios and blend until it looks like a good consistency to you

+Transfer into jar, and add an extra tbsp on top of it to preserve the color. Store in the fridge and use within 3 days.





Handmade Gift Guide 02: Black (and white) Friday

This collection of items for our second gift guide was inspired by a number of things. 1. It’s no secret we love timeles, graphic and simple combination of black and white over here! 2. It’s Black Friday weekend (but more importantly, small business Saturday) and puns are always good. 3. The recent turn of events have left us really appreciating anything with a sense of love, positive action or a motivating message. Our gift guides are meant to celebrate independent makers like us and inspire others to shop handmade. Each guide has an inspired theme by one of our products and is comprised of hand picked items from makers who we adore. See the bottom of the post for links to each item.



1. The theme of this gift guide was inspired by our (new!) black & white positivity card bundle.
Read more at the bottom of the post about the new card in the mix.
2. Harvest Print // The Diggingest Girl
3. ‘The Craziest Thing’ Temporary  Tattoo // Tattly // Design by Sean Tulgetske
4.  Large Herringbone Ceramic Square Planter // Elizabeth Benotti Handmade Ceramics
5. Small Day Bag – Triangle // Bookhou
6.  Be Kind Banner // Secret Holiday Co.
8. Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Bar Soap // Herbivore Botanicals

Be sure to check out these makers on social media to see if they are running any deals this weekend for small business saturday, etc.!


You may have noticed a new card design in the bundle of ours in #1 – our LOVE WINS design. Each time we print a run of this specific card design, we are going to make a donation to charity for a good  cause – where love needs to win the most. The donation from the current run went to the Human Rights Campaign. I honestly can’t wait for these to sell so we can print more and donate more! Thank you for supporting me, and allowing me to feel fortunate enough to be able to donate to organizations like this.

Freebie: thanksgiving printable notecards


In the spirit of both thankfulness and of giving, I made this design as a free printable for anyone to use for personal notes of gratitude this thanksgiving. More than ever, it’s a great time to tell your friends and loved ones why you are thankful for them and how much they mean to you. I kicked myself for not making thanksgiving-specific cards this year and may offer these as a note set with envelopes next year but for now, they are here for you to test them out!


+ download the PDF here.

+ print out on as many 8.5 x 11 sheets as you’d like (with no scaling or adjustments)

+ there are 4 cards on one sheet and it is formatted so you can cut directly down the middle both ways!

Suggestion: if you don’t have a paper cutter that cuts straight lines, simply fold the paper perfectly in half and cut along the fold line.

Also a suggestion: try out different paper stocks for fun! I used white and kraft. Typical me..

Note: if you want to take it a step further and put them in envelopes, these are perfectly A2 size and you can easily find envelopes at a craft store or paper source etc.

Happy almost thanksgiving! Do you love this freebie? Share with your friends if you’d like, or tag us in a photo of your printed cards on instagram @worthwhilepaper

I’m thankful for you!

XO – Kristen


Upcoming markets & events


It’s Holiday craft fair season! One of the coziest and craziest times of years for makers. I am excited to share that we have the honor of participating at the following local events, listed in chronological order:

+ HLDYMRKT: Friday night, Nov. 25 // Hamtramck // 6-10pm

+ Detroit Urban Craft Fair: Dec. 2-4 // Detroit // see hours and more info on their website.

+ DIYpsi: Dec. 10-11 // Ypsilanti // see hours and more info on their website.

+ Thistle & Bess Holiday Happy Hour: Two James + Worthwhile Paper. I will be there with pre-made and make-your-own hand stamped gift wrap and gift tag stickers joining our friends Andy and Maura for  a sampling of spirits from Detroit-based distillery, Two James.


Handmade Gift Guide 01: Moon Love

Happy full moon! This handmade gift guide is all about our love for La Luna. Our gift guides are meant to celebrate independent makers like us and inspire others to shop handmade. Each guide  has an inspired theme by one of our products and is comprised of hand picked items from makers who we adore. See the bottom of the post for links to each item.


1. This guide’s theme was inspired by our 2017 Lunar Calendar Poster.
2. Ceramic Moon Phases Necklace // Shayna Stevenson
3. Moon Phases Enamel Pin // OHNORachio // UK
4. Lunar Hair Pin // Moon and Arrow
5. Lunar Lemonade Scrub // Moon Body Soul
6. Ascend Ring // Hess and Co
7. Harvest Moon Red Chai Tea // Flying Bird Botanicals
8. Large Zipper Pouch, Crescent // FlowieStyle