April 09, 2011

Soapbox Saturday: Paper Coterie (AND Sharing Saturday)

Have you ever encountered a company with incredible customer service?  A company that you love because you feel there products are so you?  A company with ideas you only wish you would have thought of?  Well I have and I can't wait to tell you about them.  I got the chance to try some products and help give feedback for a new company called Paper Coterie.  They didn't ask me to blog about them, but I couldn't help myself.  I was so impressed.  I LOVE THIS COMPANY.  They have amazing customer service and a great desire to make your experience with them flawless. 

"Paper Coterie is a circle of friends who are passionate about documenting the beauty of life well lived."  They have personalized photo books, cards, calendars, and a whole lot more.
When I first visited their site I was amazed by the ideas.  Their books aren't your average photo books that you might find in a lot of online stores.  Their books are based on beautiful ideas.  There's an ABC book, a book to help you document your child at a certain age, a book that's based on grandmothers.  The layouts and designs are gorgeous.

I decided to make one for Rex that's called "I Wish."  After my book was ordered it came quickly, well wrapped and packaged, and printed really nicely.  Let me show you parts of it.  It's a book documenting my hopes and dreams for my son.

All you have to do is drag in your pictures.

You can edit the text, but I only changed a few things because I really loved what they had already written.

At the end of the book there's a pretty vellum page with their name on it.  I love small little details like that.

You can see my book in full in the idea gallery HERE.
They do a lot more than photobooks.  There are cards, calendars, recipe books, growth charts, and posters.  I'm trying this one next.  It's a polaroid heart poster.  Fun gift idea, huh?

I also love this one.

Some of you readers were given the opportunity to try out a product as well.  If you didn't get to you can still can still take advantage of the fact that everything is 50% off right now and through this month before their big official launch.  (Price is marked as such.)  Need a Mother's Day gift?  There you go.

Check it all out HERE at Paper Coterie.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Now before you go I wanted to squeeze in a quick Sharing Saturday question.  What are your best ideas for teacher appreciation gifts?  Have you given anything that was a hit?  Do you have something great cooked up for a teacher this year?  I'd love to hear your ideas.  Thanks for stopping by!


Tiffany said...

Just dropping in, Rex's book is over there, He's a star! Sweeeeet.

Lauren said...

I love that book! I am going to check it out now! Maybe I'll make one for my daughter's birthday.

As for the teacher gift...I was a student teacher and before & after care supervisor. In MY opinion I loved getting food (since I'm a pig!) and my other favorite gifts I got were:
a deck of cards in a nice travel box that says ante up
a travel mug for my coffee
picture frame
a nice set of magnets

I also always enjoyed getting a card or picture made from the child.

I hope that helps a little.

Mama Up! said...

Wow, those are def nicer than the usual, and it sounds easy to use, too. I made a custom story for the Babby a while back, but designing the whole thing was a big pain in the rear ;-)

Lindsay @ Diary of a Crafty Lady said...

I am a school secretary, and make teacher appreciation gifts for about 40 teachers each year:) This year, I made school supplies clocks. They were a huge hit! Last year we had the students make art to put in bottle cap magnets, push pins and bookmarks. Those were very sweet and personalized. You can check out my tutorials here: http://craftyladylindsay.blogspot.com/p/teacher-appreciation-craftys.html
Good luck!

Sumo @ Sumo's Sweet Stuff said...

When I was teaching, I had parents bring me in lunch from my favorite restaurants every day for one week. It was awesome! Also, gift cards - even in small amounts - are always a hit. Some I loved were Jamba Juice, Barnes & Noble, Kneaders, etc. I also loved getting plants or flowers. Candles and lotion are nice, but as a former teacher, I'll just say that teachers get those A LOT.

Saunders Family said...

I teach and my fav student gifts are definitely gift cards! A lot of parents think school supplies, which are nice, but I'm a human and do exist outside of my job. :) I also have had students give me homemade crafted jewelry (scrapbook paper charm necklaces, beaded bracelets) which I love and do wear!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

What a treasure that book is! My advice is something consumable for a teacher gift. Think about how many gifts they get and how can they possibly use, store, display them all. As mentioned lunch was always a huge hit, and small gift cards. Not a candle, or mug. I think one of my best received gifts was a napoleon from La Madeline with flowers and chocolate covered popcorn I made or a pretty hanging basket. When I did that I always made up a cute tag that went with it with a picture of my child that said thanks for helping me grow. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Callie B. said...

I only taught a "gift giving grade" one year before moving to high school, where the gifts are few and far between. Among the ceramic angels and ornaments the best gift I got was from a sweet boy who was giving me a gift because he wanted to and picked it out himself - a big ol' Hershey bar, no nuts. He was so happy giving it to me and I was happy to receive it, eat it and not have to worry about what to do with it in the future, like you do with the bazillion (much appreciated!) snow globes.

Mandi@TidbitsfromtheTremaynes said...

I love the book! I will definitely check that place out. I love to order a book for each kid's little birfday.

So, I had an entire folder with teacher's gifts ideas. . . and then I kept asking people ideas. Every teacher (or former teacher) I talked to said they got so much "stuff", but the ones that were the most appreciated, were gift cards. They could by things for their students, or whatever. Every single person said that.

So, we're gift card givers in this house now.

Chels said...

Cute! You should do the heart one for gma, with all the kids pictures for mothers day.

Sara @Osmosis said...

For gifts we have done, fun post-it notes & note pads (our school doesn't have a big budget for these things and teachers go through them quickly!) We've also done hanging baskets of flowers which will hopefully last all summer long. Otherwise, I really try to think of things that they can "use up" and won't take up too much space.

Bel said...

Those are awesome!!! It's like having a family magazine. I think I'm gonna get one :)

Belly B

Leslie@leserleeslovesandhobbies said...

I'm the room parent for my daughter's class, and also the teacher appreciation coordinator for the PFA, so I've been thinking about teacher appreciation for a long time. The PFA did short little surveys to find out favorite plant, snack, color, and music, and those were helpful. I give the teachers a gift when it is their birthday, usually just a snack in a cute little dollar store container. As for my daughter's teacher, I know she would love a gift card, or books for the classroom library. So I'm going to e-mail all the parents and see if they would be willing to pitch in some money so we can get her one great gift card.

And, as a person with a degree in Elementary Ed., (I never taught) I would have loved gift cards, or food, or books for the class, or notes from the students. I still have pictures that were given to me by many former students that I used in scrapbook pages of said classes.

mama walker said...

we made beaded watches and had little tags that said "thank you for taking the time" they were HUGE hit.

Sandy Rice said...

I send them strawberries dipped in Choc....always a BIG hit :)

Carrieann said...

Wow, I always just view and never comment, but this post came at the perfect time! I have actually been searching for a great photo book website to make a book for my husband for our 10th anniversary. He was in the room, so I clicked on some of my favorite blogs to hide my search and found your post! Too funny!! (their "I love" book is perfect!)

I am also a teacher, and do love gift cards:) I also have a over flowing bulletin board in my office of all of the student made cards that I have received over the years. One of my favorite gifts has been big books (do a search for "teacher big books") to read with the kiddos. I even have one with a note and the students hand prints in it - I think of him every time I read it!

Marcy said...

As a first grade teacher, I LOVE getting the following for teacher appreciation gifts:
-giftcards, especially to Target, Walmart, Barnes, local grocery store, massages, Starbucks, Caribou, or your local teacher store (we spend WAAAY to much out-of-pocket on classroom expenses so those are always a bonus!)
-flowers, fresh or potted
-I have also received tickets to local sporting events (which is super fun!)
-an item for the classroom based on our classroom theme (my classroom's theme is the 104 Busy bees and it's fun to get bee decorating items to use in our classroom)

I DO NOT appreciate getting food, especially homemade things! Usually if I get food, it goes in the trash or workroom to share because I don't eat "junk".

Hope this helps!!

Megan Seegmiller said...

Here's an idea for some Teacher Name Blocks. The girl that made these lives in Kansas, so the prices and stores may not be the same. http://craftsandcrap.blogspot.com/2010/12/teacher-name-blocks.html

Another idea is to take some pens and buy some artificial flowers and tape the flowers onto the pen with some Forest Green duct tape. It would also be fun to color-coordinate the colors of the flowers to the color of the ink of the pen.

Joyful Mud Puddles said...

I love the book. I'll have to go check it out for my boys.

I've been reading over all the other comments and as a former teacher I can say that gift cards are the way to go. Although it may seem impersonal, it does allow the teacher to get something they really need or want. Gift cards for restaurants, and book stores are great. You could also personalize a bit if you know more about theracher's likes and hobbies (ie coffee or crafts).

Jennie said...

Last year, my son(who is currently, and also was then, in preschool) and I painted some simple terra cotta pots, and I wrote "Thanks for helping me grow!" on the outside, and bought a small flower to put in them, and gave those to his teachers, and they were HUGE hits! I liked that they were different, yet memorable, not to mention inexpensve, and easily personalized. Plus, who doesn't like to receive a flower?... and everytime they look at it, they'll remember him. We will definitely be doing that with subsequent years/grades.

My mom was a teacher, so I will always do baked goods at Christmas. She was always busy and we would always be wanting baked treats, so it was always SO nice when her students would give her homemade treats.

Alison said...

This year the class parents as a group just collected the money we might have spent on gifts and bought a story book for the classroom that the kids all signed and gave the teacher the rest of the money to go toward a winter break vacation with her kids. With each kid's family contributing it added up to a significant gift. For me it was nice not to have to think of something.

Heidi said...

This year, I am in charge of making a small gift from the PTSO for all of the teachers in my daughter's elementary school. I am going to give each of them a framed "Wordle" with their name, the grade they teach, the school name, all of the kids' first names, the current school year, and other words that identify their style or the theme they use in their classroom. I think this is a fun gift that is meaningful for the teachers.

Juli said...

Can I just tell you that I LOVE your blog?!! I love all the things you post about!
I'm normally a silent reader and don't comment, but I wanted to share something I made for my sons teacher. It's just a box filled with goodies that teachers would love. Magnets, paper clips, sanitizer, and best of all, CHOCOLATE!! I decorated the outside with her name, and had my son write a personal note for the inside. She loved it! Here's the link in case you want to check it out! -Juli

Beth- the mama bee said...

We had each child bring in a flower for the teachers. Each ended up with a good size bunch. I also like to make a sweet treat, homemade jam, cinnamon swirl bread, candied pecans, etc.

**Maria ** said...

The Paper Coterie site is REALLLLLLY slow to connect. I am hoping it will start to work soon so that I can make a book for my daughter.


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