Summer Blanket Bucket List
Curl Up cotton throw blanket    by Swell Made Co. Siblings curling up and making memories.

Curl Up cotton throw blanket by Swell Made Co. Siblings curling up and making memories.

This summer we checked a goal off our business bucket list. After years of dreaming, planning and designing; we finally saw our cotton throw blankets come to life. They’re bold, yet soft. To say they’re just swell is an understatement. We love them and hope you do too. For now, we have two styles, but are already dreaming up new designs for the fall and winter months. They’re year-round companions. To celebrate, we’re having a giveaway on Instagram* (July 18 through 26) and we have created a Summer Blanket Bucket List. A list of the simplest ways to enjoy summer with a blanket by your side.


Summer Blanket Bucket List

1 . Enjoy a Summer Concert or Festival

Spread a blanket on the grass and listen to live music under the sun or stars. Summer is outdoor concert and festival season. Soak that stuff UP. Bandshells in communities small and large across the globe come alive with local music all summer long. A lot of these concerts are free or have a small ticket fee. If you have a bigger budget, festivals like Osheaga, Elora Music Festival and Lollapalooza invite you for weekends of lounging and listening, where your only choices of the day are what artist to see and what to eat.

2. A Day at the Beach

No summer is complete without a day at the beach. Local lakes and rivers are lovely spots to cool off, and if you’re lucky enough to live by (or visit) an ocean; even better. Some of Canada’s best beaches include Sauble Beach on Lake Huron, Brackley Beach in PEI, Parlee Beach in NB and Lawrencetown Beach in NS. What are your favourites? Simple fun in the sun never gets old. Bring snacks, a book, lots of sunscreen and a blanket to spread out for the day.

3. Life’s a Picnic

Well, not always; but it can be. Pack a simple picnic and park yourself or your group under a tree with a blanket. Local parks and beaches are a great place to enjoy the little things like local summer fruit, cheese and breads. And wine. In Ontario, the best places to taste local and have a picnic are Prince Edward County and Niagara. Everything tastes better outside (or al fresco if you want to get fancy). Bring a book or a game. Do nothing at all. Let the softness, slow pace and tastes of summer take over.

4. Campfire Nights

Sitting around a campfire is so comforting and simple. On cool summer nights, curl up with a blanket and enjoy the glow with friends and family. And wine, again. Dive right into s’mores as soon as the sparks fly. At a cottage, a campground or at home, it’s a swell way to spend an evening and keeps the bugs away. Maybe you’ll tell a ghost story or two ;) If not, you’ll connect with others over conversation and that’s pure gold.

5. Take a Road Trip

Whether it’s for the day or a week, summer is the time to hit the road to explore places near and far. Be prepared for spontaneous adventures (or any of the above) and bring a blanket for comfort. You might need an extra layer at night, something cozy for the ride or place to spread out on your travels. Keep a blanket nearby, just in case. You’ll be glad you did.

Rainbow cotton throw blanket    by Swell Made Co. Keep one close for summer adventures.

Rainbow cotton throw blanket by Swell Made Co. Keep one close for summer adventures.

Rainbow cotton throw blanket    by Swell Made Co. Spread out on the dock or the beach for a day in the sun.

Rainbow cotton throw blanket by Swell Made Co. Spread out on the dock or the beach for a day in the sun.

Curl Up cotton throw blanket    by Swell Made Co. Perfect for cottage visits and summer travels.

Curl Up cotton throw blanket by Swell Made Co. Perfect for cottage visits and summer travels.

Instagram contest to win a cotton throw blanket from Swell Made Co. starts on July 18 at 9 am EST. A winner will be chosen at random on July 26 at 5 pm EST. All you have to do is follow Swell Made Co. on Instagram, leave a comment telling us how you would use a blanket for your summer bucket list and tag a friend. Good luck and happy SUMMAH.

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie
How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

I don’t do hair. At all. Thankfully, I have friends that care and showed me how easy it is to elevate a loose ponytail in the simplest way. Add a knotted hair tie! So simple. Any handkerchief, bandana or swatch of fabric will do; but why not create your own with a bit of splattered paint? Here’s a little DIY for just that. The best part? Once you’ve got this easy technique down, you can splatter paint anything. Easter eggs (with Easter next week!), gift wrap, baskets, porcelain pieces. Anything. I’ve gone with neutrals, but you can choose any colour you like.


What you’ll need:

  • Pieces of fabric (or whatever you want to splatter paint). Recycled fabrics are ideal. You probably have lots of old fabrics kicking around.

  • Fabric paint or acrylic paint in the colour(s) of your choice.

  • Paint brushes. Choose a size based on the surface area you’re splatter painting.

What you’ll need for splatter painting. Not a whole lot. It’s simple!

What you’ll need for splatter painting. Not a whole lot. It’s simple!

How to Splatter Paint a knotted hair tie / anything

  1. Prepare your work space because things are about to get messy. Cover your workspace in layers of recyclable kraft paper. If you can go outside, I would highly recommend it. It’s easier to keep the splatters under control.

  2. Clean your pieces before painting. Fabrics should be pre-washed/dried. Other pieces should be wiped down/dried.

  3. Dilute your paint with water or an acrylic thinner. I just used water. A general ratio is about 4:1 (4 parts paint, 1 part water), but you’ll have to test out the consistency in your work area first. Too thick won’t splatter. Too thin will be drippy and transparent.

  4. Test an area of your work surface to get the consistency right and to practice your splatter technique. In my experience it’s all in the flick. Flick of your wrist if you’re working with a big brush and area. Another technique is to wear rubber gloves and flick the bristles of your brush with your thumb. This works well for smaller objects where you need to be more precise. Otherwise, go big and have fun flicking and throwing the paint. Pollack style.

  5. Go for it! Once you’re comfortable with your materials and technique, just go for it.

  6. Let dry. If your piece has multiple surfaces, let one side dry before working on the other(s).

  7. Set fabric paint with heat. Using an iron with no steam (dry heat), apply heat to your fabric. You can even give it a 20-40 minute tumble in the dryer to set it.

Go crazy with the paint! Dilute it slightly first, though.

Go crazy with the paint! Dilute it slightly first, though.

That’s it! A fun and easy DIY that you can use in so many ways. I’d love to see what you decide to splatter, and as I splatter all the things; I’ll share them with you too. Thanks for reading this simple DIY. Peace! That’s me below. Showing off my new hair style. Thanks to my pals Bethanie, Holly and Jessica for dreaming up this DIY and helping me with my hair and photography. We were inspired by a stay at The Loft at County Collective in Prince Edward County, Ontario this past March. Wink! If you need a place to getaway, it’s an incredibly sweet spot with impeccable style.

See? Anything can be splatter painted.    You can also try an Easter egg DIY with Sharpies   .

See? Anything can be splatter painted. You can also try an Easter egg DIY with Sharpies.

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie

How To | Splatter Paint Knotted Hair Tie


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April is Card & Letter Writing Month
Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

Tell someone they’re swell in April - Card & Letter Writing Month. Card by Swell Made Co.

April is Card & Letter Writing Month (and also my birth month — how fitting for a stationery lover). It’s April 8th, I know; but it’s never too late to send a card or letter. Did you know? The U.S. Postal Service officially designated April National Card & Letter Writing Month in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.”

In a world of non-stop of texts and emails, nothing says you care like taking the time to write a handwritten card or letter. You can read more about why I love writing and how it's not a lost art in this past post. Today, however; here are 5 simple things you can say in a card right now. Like, RIGHT NOW. No excuses. I've even given you a few prompts. Grab a pen and card or paper and get writing this month (or any month for that matter) to celebrate. There's always something to say that will help you connect with those you care about. Happy Card & Letter Writing Month!


5 simple Things to Say in a Card

Thank You

At this very moment, I'm sure you can think of numerous people you'd like to thank. Think of the people who support you in your day to day life. From the neighbour who collected your mail while you were away, to your barista, to a friend that gave you a thoughtful gift. When expressing gratitude be just as generous and write a handwritten note. A thank you note should recapture the moment where you were on the receiving end (the smile, maybe the hug, the warmth). Mention what you're thanking the recipient for, but keep it short and simple. Over exaggerating comes across as insincere and don't say "you shouldn't have". It's similar to taking a compliment. Just say thank you.

Congratulations or Words of Encouragement

There's always something to celebrate! Moments big and small should be congratulated with a handwritten note. New jobs, babies and homes all deserve a “HOORAY!”. Maybe your friend or family member reached a goal. If someone did something awesome, tell them. If someone needs some encouragement to get to that goal, tell them. Never underestimate the power of your words of encouragement or congratulations. It literally means the world to someone and those notes often become keepsakes to remember life’s milestones.

I Love You (or, I Like You)

When surveyed, 50% of adults in the United States said they preferred to hear "I love you" with a handwritten note. Can you blame them? I’m a hopeless romantic and apparently a lot of us are. Expressing affection can be as simple as dropping a note in your child's lunch, telling your partner or a friend how much they mean to you for no reason at all. You don't need to an occasion to tell someone you love them. The simplicity of your genuine words goes a long way. Especially if they’re spontaneous.

I'm Thinking of You

Similar to expressing affection, you don't need a reason or occasion to tell someone you're thinking of them. Texting or emailing someone is quick and passive. Take some time to slow down and let someone know you're thinking of them by recalling a sweet memory you shared together. Share a book, song, quote, recipe or even a Netflix series. Share a funny story or a great idea. Pay someone a compliment. Maybe you forgot to tell them something during a conversation. Surprise with a note when you remember. These are all simple ways to connect with someone you care about. Nothing is too silly or insignificant.

I'm Sorry

Saying sorry is never easy. Sending a handwritten note is the best way to let someone know you're sorry when something bad happens. This entire post could be dedicated to ways to express sympathy with nuance; but the most common are a death, a disaster (divorce, illness, etc.) and an apology after someone has been hurt. No matter the circumstance, the goal of the note should be to recognize and validate the source of pain, let the recipient know they are not alone, strengthen your connection and give utmost respect. If you have experienced a similar circumstance as your recipient, let it guide you in choosing the right words. If you don't have a shared experience, it's okay. Try your best and be incredibly thoughtful with your words.

Finally. Don't stress! Keep it simple, keep it casual and write in your natural voice. Take note (pun intended) of how you feel once you've taken a few minutes to handwrite a thank you, a compliment, a memory or a silly story. It all matters and I can guarantee it will produce a smile and all the feels on the other end. Happy writing, swell friends.


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