Haute Note – Personalized Note Cards And Stationery

As some of you may know… on October 1st, Lorie and I bought an online card business… Haute Note!

A company that produces custom cards, personalized notes and stationery.

We have a variety of note styles, as well as designs for every reason and every season.

We feel that in this day and age, when pretty much everyone on the planet has embraced the technology for sending emails, texts, PINS and communicating through any number of Social Networks — there are still occasions when it is “special” to get a card.  A keepsake, or reminder of a moment in time.

Whether a photo Holiday card, personalized Christmas cards, birthday invitations, wedding or baby announcements, save-the-date cards, or something else completely… we can customize and personalize any of the hundreds of designs of cards.

A set of 8 Signature cards makes a lovely hostess gift, a thank you gift, something nice for Aunt Sadie or the perfect something for the hard-to-buy-for person who has everything!

Below are a few examples, chosen at random from hundreds of styles and themes.

You can find more examples at HauteNote.com  

(Click on any image below to open the images up in a Gallery Viewer)

phot_hchr_strp_holidaycheer_stripes_t5b clas_tree_weve_1 pngs_bran_mixed_1 flat_addn_pinb_addition_pinblue_5
phot_scpt_taup_script_taupethanks_t2_1 clas_nost_sugr_1 clas_cbrn_plum phot_hpch_crem
holi_fest_juni phot_scpt_save_script_savethedate_t2 drea_popy_redd flat_gree_hell_greetings_scripthello_3
drea_bran_cher clas_long_kngt_1 holi_holi_tree flat_crow_pair_crowns_royalpair_3
phot_cndy_gren_1 flat_crow_prin_crowns_princess_2 cele_gath_cups phot_anim_gren_animalcrackers_green_t1b
cele_wedd_cake clas_holi_gift_1 phot_bbra_blos_2 clas_nost_midn_1

(Click on any image above to see the cards in a Gallery Viewer)

Should you need a personal or corporate Christmas card… a card to announce a birth, or a birthday party… a wedding announcement or a BBQ invite… we have all these, and many more! Check us out at HauteNote.com

You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!


“Legend Of The Tooth Fairy” – A Children’s Adventure Story

Today is the first of December, and the beginning of the Holiday shopping season… that time of year, when parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are starting to look for gifts for the children in their lives.

Legend Of The Tooth Fairy - Bruce Kilby & Ken Johnson

Some friends of mine have written a children’s adventure story, revolving around the Tooth Fairy, Dragons and their interactions with humans, led by the young boy, Garth and his group of friends.  Written by Bruce Kilby and Ken Johnson, and illustrated by Sean Cannon, the “Legend Of The Tooth Fairy“, is 239 pages full of a fantastic and engaging children’s adventure story… for less than $20 !!!

The book is available through

Fireside Stories Publishing,

and available from Bruce,

at events in Langley, BC…

or you can purchase it

online through Amazon.


If you are in the Vancouver area, there will be a number of events in the Fraser Valley.  You can find the details on Bruce’s Fireside Stories Publishing website

The artwork on the Chapter Plates are, to me, striking reminders of the type of books I grew up reading.  Below is the Dragon illustration that kicks off Chapter Five.

Legend Of The Tooth Fairy - Chapter Plate Drawing

If you are looking for a great gift for a younger reader, Legend Of The Tooth Fairy might just fit the bill ! 

Happy shopping !!!

Remembrance Day Musings

There are a bunch of posts and articles flying around right now… talking about the different colours of Poppies, and which ones different folks support. (Red or White)

Poppy - Remembrance Day

I haven’t had an opportunity to read most of the articles, and I don’t know enough about the various discussions and debates to comment on them… and to me, any discussion about this is really quite pointless.

When I see a Red Poppy, I think of my Dad.

On September 3rd, 1939, my dad was a young man who had just celebrated his 20th birthday a few days earlier.  He had just started working for the BBC in Scotland.  Then, at 11:15 in the morning, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany.  A day later, my Dad was a soldier.

Like countless others, he signed up immediately… and through 1945, he was assigned to various units as a radio operator on the front lines… until he was wounded.  Then he would get sent to a hospital, to get patched up, and he would be re-deployed to another unit, on another front.

He fought in Italy, Crete, Sicily and Africa.

He was a young man, named Robert Gray, who lived on Hamilton Road in Rutherglen, Scotland. Funnily enough, he knew three OTHER Robert Grays who lived on the same street in the same town.  Not so funny, was the reality that my dad was the only one of the four who came home alive.  And my dad knew full well that it was only by fluke that he made it home.  There was a particular moment during a battle, when his unit was being overrun by the German Army, and amid the retreat, he let a fellow soldier go ahead of him.  That soldier was immediately killed by a grenade blast.  My Dad was evacuated, with more shrapnel wounds, but lucky to be alive.

After the War ended, he was discharged, and went home to Scotland. The first thing he did was burn his uniform, and put away his medals.

He didn’t ever glorify war or hold a grudge.  One of his eventual best friends when he came to Vancouver, was a German neighbour, who lived across the street, who had been a bomber pilot during the Blitz.

My Dad didn’t sit around telling war stories.  He didn’t like or want to talk about it. 

He only allowed us two windows to peek through, to catch a glimpse of the pain he had seen and endured during the war years:

 - During my teenage years, on Sunday nights, he would listen to Dame Vera Lynn’s record, over and over.  Often I would come in, as he was singing along to the song “We’ll Meet Again”, to find him with tears in his eyes, lost in another time.

  – During this time, he and I started watching Remembrance Day services together… until he passed away in 1999.

Since then, when Remembrance Day comes, I don’t go to the Cenotaph… I observe the Ceremony, spending time with my Dad’s memory, and thinking of the sacrifices that he and his friends made, to try to bring sanity back to the world.

The Poppy to me is a symbol of my Dad’s generation… most of them, now gone… who gave us gifts that we still enjoy.  Freedom and choice.

I do not diminish or discount the importance of having discussions and debates about the issues of Veterans’ support, peace-keeping efforts and the role of armies in the modern era.  However, I shall recuse myself from that discussion.  To me, the intent of Remembrance Day is to remember those who gave years of their lives, or in some cases, their actual lives, to fight for the intangible values of Rights and Freedoms, that we now enjoy. 

The Poppy doesn’t glorify war.  There is no glory in war.  There is only sacrifice and loss, and that is what we honour on Remembrance Day.

I shall wear my Red Poppy, and with it, cherish spending a moment of Remembrance with my Dad,

We’ll Meet Again

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where.., don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do,
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds, far away.

So will you please say hello,
To the folks that I know,
Tell them I won’t be long,
They’ll be happy to know, that as you saw me go
I was singing this song.

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where,don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.

We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where, don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.


Songwriters: Arthur Wilkinson, Ross Parker, Hugh Childs

Published by: Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

Manic Monday

It has been a crazy time at our house, as appliances and lights stopped working, and THEN we discovered Carpenter Ants had taken up residence in the front of our house.

For everyone who is asking, here is what the front of our house looked like, about an hour ago.

IMG-20130826-00120 IMG-20130826-00121
Removing the rotten/eaten supports, framing & headers.  Stripped back to wood untouched by water or cooties

 Cue the music…  Here is The Bangles… Manic Monday !!!

Family Is A “Relative” Thing

The word “Family” means different things, to different people.

My parents emigrated to Canada in 1956, from Scotland.  They didn’t know anyone here, but my Uncle John in Liverpool had traveled the world, working on ships, and his endorsement of the beautiful city on the Pacific, tipped the scales for Vancouver over Montreal.  Dad thought he could find a job in broadcast radio in Vancouver… so he and my mum packed up their lives into a couple of steamer trunks, and with two young daughters in tow, set sail for Canada, leaving all relatives behind.

A few years, a few houses and a few different jobs later, my Parents had me.

To me, when I was a little kid, the word Family meant my parents, and my sisters.

My parents made many friendships in their newly-adopted country, and growing up, we called most of these people “Aunt” or “Uncle”.  As I grew a bit older, I learned that these people weren’t actually related to us, but were Aunts and Uncles “in name only”.  I also learned that there were OTHER people I talked to on the phone on Christmas Day and sometimes heard on exchanged reel to reel tapes, who I was related to.  They were the Overseas Relatives.

As a teenager, my Mum and I went to meet the Overseas Relatives, and spent three weeks meeting Aunts, Uncles and Cousins… all over Scotland and England.  Being a typical teenager, I wore the unfortunate cloak of being self-absorbed, while lacking in both self-confidence and self-assuredness. Quiet and shy would be an understatement… so I busied myself behind the lens of a camera, taking pictures.  After that trip, I was able to match faces and personalities to the Overseas Relatives. During my teens, there were also a few trips by various Overseas Relatives to Canada.

Later, when I got married, my Family more than doubled when I was embraced by my wife’s family.  Through the following years, our Family also grew to include four lovely nieces.

Then the growth stopped…  My Parents passed away and Lorie’s long list of Aunts and Uncles started dwindling.  At the same time, the Overseas Relatives were diminishing in numbers, as my Dad’s two siblings and my Mum’s four siblings slowly succumbed to age and diseases.  Until all were gone, save my Mum’s brother John.

Gray, Knox & Buchanan Clans - Pitt Meadows - August 2013Uncle John turned 80, last April.  He and his wife, Aunt Patricia had been very kind when I went to Liverpool as a teen.  It had been Uncle John who, when I went with my Mum to see my Grandmother Sybil for the one and only visit, after 15 minutes, took me for ice cream, as it was apparent (even to my teenage self) that Sybil was more interested in the Wimbledon Tennis results, on the TV, than in talking to me, as she had placed a wager on the results.

After Uncle John’s recent birthday, John and Patricia’s son and daughter-in-law – David and Louise – started making arrangements for a family trip. So, this is how six of the Buchanan clan: Uncle John, Aunt Patricia, David, Louise, and grand kids Rebecca and Luke, came to be in Vancouver, for a visit.

From the first greeting at the airport, there was an immediate comfort, warmth and ease talking with all of them…  and lots of laughter amid the “getting to know” everyone.  I have always known that the Buchanan men have a distinct “look”… deep-set eyes and black hair that turns gray early… and I can now “see” myself in Uncle John, David and Luke, and them in me.

It had been 31 years since the last time Uncle John, Aunt Patricia and David had been been to Vancouver… and now Luke is the age David had been, and David was the age John had been on their last visit. Someone saw a photo of their last trip, and said each could pass for the generation that followed.  I am also older than the last time they visited, by 31 years… and I’m sure, no wiser.

But I know that these people stepped off the plane as Overseas Relatives, and are leaving today as Family.

Family is a Relative thing, and today, some of my Family are leaving town.

I wish them a safe journey, and look forward to seeing them again… hopefully soon !!!