the story of our founding...

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota, I explored 40 acres of field and woods, played store with my two sisters, and sewed and crafted with my mom. The fort & field name grew out of this lifelong love of the home and garden…”fort” for home and “field” for garden.

While the roots of fort & field started when I was just a child, the business I had always dreamed of was formed in 2004.
During the holidays of that year in a small paper store, I saw a ball of traditional red & white striped bakers twine and fell in love. In the meantime while I started the exhaustive search to find the source, I measured and rolled red and white striped yarn I found in the seasonal section at the craft store into balls and it sold like hot cakes.  The manufacturer of the twine I had seen at that paper store had sadly gone out of business, but I was later able to find a supplier to bakeries of 2 pound rolls in a rainbow of colors. A few years later, many companies joined the marketplace and the twine was used in everything from crafting to party planning!



While my intention had been to start a business with home and garden products, around this time the initial seeds of the do-it-yourself party planning movement had just begun to be planted and I was thoroughly inspired. There were only a handful of the blogs and websites we are lucky enough to have now so I spent hours pouring over vintage craft books at the library, the Martha Stewart crafts website, and anything else I stumbled upon.
“Down the rabbit hole” as my early days on the internet were called, I frequently ended up on sites in England, Australia, and New Zealand. The English, I discovered, used small colorful striped paper bags to package small items purchased at gift and candy stores. It’s hard to believe now, but here in the US at the time there were very few, if any, patterned paper bags available for sale. So, I started importing the bags from England. Because there was such a void in the marketplace for such a bag (and also because of the high shipping costs to import the bags), they originally sold for $80/100 bags! Year after year, as more options became available through both small shops and large retailers, the prices went down and there are currently a plethora of options available.
Shortly after, I added colored and square paper doilies to the shop, a variation from the typical white round paper doily. In a long search one afternoon for new doily styles, I landed on a seafood restaurant supplier site. While visiting a new site, I often clicked through the other sections to see if I could spot a fantastic restaurant supply product that could translate to the party arena. On this afternoon, I saw a black and white pencil drawing of striped paper straws. I had never seen a paper straw let alone a patterned straw in my life, but they certainly seemed interesting! So, I ordered a box of solid white and a box of red & white striped. I figured what the heck, I’ll try them out!…and the rest is history! These original straws were still manufactured in the same process I believe as in the 50’s and 60’s, very lightweight and a waxy paper that was prone to unraveling. Just a few years later, striped straws had become (quite literally) a must-have staple for every party and wedding. The manufacturing process was perfected and every pattern and color of paper straw is now at arms reach!


I spent the next 13 years sourcing and bringing to the marketplace other unique and hard to find party and packaging supplies, selling directly to individuals and wholesale around the world.  Below is the stack of boxes ready to be shipped out to some of my very first customers, my version of saving the first dollar earned in this digital world we live in.  Such a wonderful and exciting time as the DIY craft and small business movement was starting to inspire so many!


I was honored to have fort & field featured in Real Simple MagazineFamily Circle MagazineSouthern Weddings MagazineEco Beautiful Weddings Magazine, and Wedding Style Guide.  fort & field has continued to offer essentials for any event.  And, in recent years expanded to include carefully curated pieces for home, garden, gifts, and fashion; the lifestyle company I envisioned at fort & field's inception so many years ago.  Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me on this journey and in all that is yet to come!

striped snack bags

Beautiful photography and use of blue and white striped paper bags to hold snacks by friend and fort & field customer, Carina...
Such a fun idea to use ribbon or fabric scraps to tie pretty ribbons on straws as well...

vintage railroad train party

This vintage railroad train party by Kelly of kellyallison photography has got to be the most inspiring train party we have seen. So many amazing details!

The calendar at the bottom of the invite acts as a train ticket, with the date of the party punched for reference...
Guests are greeted with engineer caps and neckerchiefs upon arrival, setting the stage for their train journey...
A vintage Fischer Price train delivers veggies & hummus to the table with the help of paper cup cargo cars...
Pb&j sandwiches are cut to look like train engines and passenger cars...
Mini hotdogs are served chicago-style with mustard and a pickle spear nestled inside, what else?, but a flattened striped cupcake liner. Condiments are served in striped candy cups...
Juice boxes are served in muslin sacks (DIY design created from iron-on inkjet paper). And, did you know that vintage style paper straws fit perfectly in standard juice boxes? Much cuter than the plastic version...
Popcorn, chips and pretzels served in white paper cones, much like what you'd be able to buy from old station vending carts...
Yogurt parfaits with granola and blueberries look great when served in mini jam jars. The lids are topped with a square of burlap, and a wooden spoon is secured with bakers twine. To add a bit of color and continue your theme, decorate cutlery with washi tape on the handle!...
Cupcakes served in a vintage suitcase are baked in striped candy cups, and topped with marzipan R/R crossing signs...
Clear red striped loot bags are adorned with DIY labels...
For more details, visit Hostess with the Mostess.

interactive gift wrap

What a great idea! Interactive gift wrap...

For the how-to's, visit Lines Across. And, for thin airmail stripe japanese washi tape like that shown in the last photo to hold the crayons to the package, visit the fort & field shop.

paper doily roses

Paper, Plate, and Plane shares a super quick way to make paper doily roses...
1. Take a red paper doily and cut a straight line to the center.
2. Roll the doily, making sure the wrong side faces up.
3. Twist the end.
4. Use floral tape to create a stem (or cover with ribbon).

heart straw toppers

Love these super simple heart straw toppers...
Simply punch heart shapes out of pink scrapbooking paper with a craft punch and position two hearts around a grey and white stripe paper straw, holding hearts together with a dab of glue. fort & field also has fun striped heart straw toppers that can be printed at home...

valentine lollipop wrappers

A Little Bit of This and That created lollipop wrappers that transform a simple lollipop into an amazing valentine...
Tear a kraft paper bag and wrap it around the top of the lollipop, tie with red & white striped bakers twine, and embellish with a sweet message.

japanese washi tape valentine boxes

Looking for a super simple way to package small treats for Valentines Day? A Spoonful of Sugar covered small lidded boxes and matchbox style boxes with japanese washi tape and pretty papers...
For more details on the project, visit A Spoonful of Sugar. And, for red polka dot japanese washi tape and red stripe japanese washi tape like those used, visit the fort & field shop.

cupid's arrow red velvet cupcakes

Bakerella is always whipping up something yummy and creative, and these cupid's arrow red velvet cupcakes don't disappoint..
Head on over to Bakerella for the recipe, free PDF printable arrows, and project directions. For, solid red cupcake liners similar to those used, visit the fort & field shop.