Archive for the 'Administration' Category


Hello, friends! Thanks for stopping in.

We’re on a semi-permanent hiatus from posting here at  Canadian+Handmade. Hopefully, we’ll be back to writing here one day but for now we hope that you will take a wander through our archives and maybe discover a new favourite Canadian artisan.

Until next time,
Sarah and Jennifer

Here we go again…

Hello, friends!

Yes, I know. Jenn and I have been gone for a long time. A lot longer than we expected, to be honest. We’ve missed writing here, and we’ve heard from quite a few of you that you’ve missed reading. Priorities have shifted a bit again, and life is allowing a bit more time for some of the pleasures of life (instead of just the work of everyday)… and finding and sharing Canadian+Handmade treasures definitely falls into the “pleasures” category.

After a wonderful evening of late-night shopping at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto last week, I came away (again, as I always do) inspired and full of awe for our amazingly talented country. From coast to coast, people are full to the brim with wonderful ideas and inventive products. I also loved walking the aisles and seeing familiar faces selling their handmade beauties… and hugs and long chats with vendors who have become friends through C+H is a pretty awesome perk, I have to admit.

I can’t guarantee that we’ll post every day, or even every week but we have new favourites and old friends that we want to share with you and it’s time that we got back to doing just that. We hope you’ll join us!


Summer vacation!

Dear Canadian+Handmade friends… if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you likely know that my family is just days away from the moving truck arriving to start the journey from Alberta to Ontario. Jenn has some exciting news as well (I’ll let her share in her own time), but all of this means that we have made the difficult decision to take some time off from C+H for the rest of the summer.

I will be road-tripping across Alberta, Saskatechewan, Manitoba, through Northern Ontario (including a trip on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, which I’ve never done and yet heard about my entire childhood!) to our new home just outside of Guelph, Ontario. A month-long odyssey of camping and adventuring with our 2 little girls – and 2 cats and a dog! – means I won’t have much access to internet until Fall.

We’ll be back then, with regular posting and (hopefully) a new website look to go with our cute new logo that we debuted back in the spring. In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter (@canadahandmade and @mrsgryphon), or visit us on Facebook (Canadian Handmade) where I’ll post trip updates when I can, and Jenn will pop in once in a while as well.

Stay safe, enjoy the rest of the summer, and we’ll see you in September!

~Sarah + Jenn

Campsite C6 at Mt Kidd

Sarah's "Home away from home"!

Happy Birthday Canadian+Handmade!

Jenn and I are toasting all of our C+H friends, featured artists, crafters, Twitter-buddies and Facebook pals this week (that includes you! Cheers!) as we celebrate our first anniversary!

It was a little over a year ago that Jenn and I put our heads together in my family room in central Alberta and hatched a plot to help share our love of handmade, and particularly focus on the beautiful, talented Canadian artists we’ve come across online and at local shows. Thank you for coming along on that ride with us for the last 12 months and for cheering on the artisans that we’ve shared.

Our very first feature was Etsy shop TamamiKoBag, which is still one of my favourites (I have 2 of her gorgeous bags and use them all the time!). I look back and think that first post was pretty telling about what we do here at C+H – creative, beautifully made, and with a touch of something unique that makes it truly Canadian.  This year we met lots of you as you commented (and we answered), you joined in on our Canada Day giveaway, more of you shared you thoughts on our C+H Handmade Holiday Challenge as it all came together and our Community Day questions allowed us to get to know you a little better, too!

We have big dreams for our corner of the internet and we’re working towards bringing some of them to fruition in the not-too-distant future. For now, though, we want to give you a little glimpse of our gorgeous new look – a sneak peek, if you will! We’re working behind the scenes to put it all together, but we’re so thrilled with this logo that Lindsay Brewda, owner and creative force behind Grace Announcements, created for us that we just didn’t want to wait any longer to show it off…

CanadianHandmade logo -
So, stay tuned for more C+H fun this year, we hope you’ll join us for our 2nd birthday next spring, too!

Thank you for being  part of our community here,
~Sarah and Jennifer



C+H Featured at Nugglemama!

Julia of put out a call on Twitter last week for Canadian bloggers to feature on her weekly “Get to know a Canadian blogger” post… and we answered the call!

Drop by Nugglemama’s to check out her blog chock full of parenting info and stories, contests and other goodies and, if you’re so inclined, you can learn a little more about me and some of our goals for Canadian+Handmade!


Love, love, love

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our friends here at C+H. May your day be filled with kind words, thoughtful moments and people you cherish!

Summerun by ValeryDesignWrk -{“Summerun” print by Valéry Design Wrks of Edmonton}

xo xo
~Sarah and Jennifer

Handmade Holiday Challenge – How it all went down!

This post is part of a series related to the C+H Handmade Holiday Shopping Challenge. This holiday season, we attempted to purchase all of our family’s gifts from Canadian handmade sources. I had plans to make a few gifts as well, and we allowed ourselves the exception of purchasing books from a local independent retailer. You can see all the details in the original post here, update #1, update #2, and update #3!

My friends and family will tell you that I took this challenge to heart this year, and it was really a fantastic experience and for the first time in years, I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for Christmas gifts! I’d estimate that, in the end, the gifts that we exchanged within our immediate family were about 80% handmade in Canada. There were a few exceptions that we just couldn’t purchase handmade (a Strider prebike for our youngest, cross country skis for the oldest, a couple of shirts for my husband and some iPad accessories for me, some new board games and the books that we just couldn’t imagine Christmas without!), but the gifts under the tree and from Santa’s elves were overwhelmingly handmade. I’m happy to say that I didn’t even step foot in a mall this holiday shopping season :) It can definitely be done, especially when you have younger children who aren’t gunning for new iPads or the latest video game console!

On a personal note, I was so pleased that my husband got into the spirit of the Handmade Holiday Challenge as well, registering for both an Etsy AND Cargoh account of his very own and even making a beautiful crokinole board for the family. We both grew up playing crokinole over the holidays with family and grandparents, and I love that he wanted to continue that tradition with our girls. I had planned to make some gifts as well, but ran into that old problem of “not enough time even though you start planning in August”. I ended up making just 2 canvasses (like these – full disclosure: that’s my own little Etsy shop, empty right now because I spend all my spare time here!), although I had hoped to get more done. There’s always next year, right?!

I attended no less than 8 craft shows in November and December, in Alberta and BC, and spent lots of time checking out online markets looking for the perfect gifts. In the process, I discovered so many more fantastic artists, and learned that even if you don’t think it’s possible, it probably is. And someone is out there making it!

Some of the big hits Christmas morning included:

Beer bottle glasses from Artech Studios for my husband (found at OOAK Vancouver)

Artech Studios -

Yes, they hold a full beer ;)

Locally made bunk beds for the girls’ many dolls, with bedding made by Grandma in Ontario (mattress, quilt, knit blanket and pillow with pillow case! Grandma rocks.)

Doll bunk beds -

They've been moved all over the house - much loved!

Our youngest daughter and my niece (Jenn’s little girl!) each received this sweet fishing game from Cerra.

Cerra fishing set -

A big hit with our littlest... and also the cats, unfortunately!

I already blogged about Redfish Kids here, but wanted to share a quick snapshot of our girls – they LOVED their dresses (Emily kept trying to see the bow in the back, and Julia spent the day spinning!)

Redfish Kids dresses -

Emily is the little one, Julia is the oldest.

I gave a pair of these armwarmers (from Banbutsu, found at OOAK Vancouver) to one of my best girl friends, and I’m pretty sure she squealed when she opened the package. Then she wore them for the rest of the morning. A hit, I’d say!

Armwarmers by Banbutsu -

So cozy and lovely!

Grandma also likes to be cozy, so we sent her this lovely cowl from Impossibly Alice (thanks, Sheryl!)

Cowl by Impossibly Alice -

So warm and cuddly!

Our girls each gave Daddy a pair of cufflinks – one set from Billy Would Designs and one from Nostalgic Links… he was confused, until he opened the next box with 2 new cuff-link-ready shirts ;)

Nostalgic Links -

Nostalgic Links has tons of different choices - Julia thought the Lego bricks were fun, too!

My husband found me a lovely bag from Saskatoon’s Refresh Accessories and earrings from Dominic Design:

Refresh Accessories -

Love Love LOVE all the textures in this bag!!

Earrings by Dominic Design -

The earrings really DO make me look this stunning! Big *wink* ;)

There were plenty of other purchases, many from artists that we’ve featured here in the past, like Nisse.Works, Cloud+Lolly, Dombot, Prairie Peasant, Penny People, Soul Sister Soaps, Tall Buildings and Her Flying Horses! I also wanted to thank our friends and family for choosing handmade for many of their gifts as well! Spread the love!

Will we do it again next year? I’m not sure that we’ll aim for 100% handmade, but there will always be a huge percentage of locally made, lovingly crafted gifts under our tree and in our stockings. Thanks for following along on this journey with me. I hope that you had a joyful holiday filled with family, friends and lots of laughter!


Cheers to 2011!

Wishing all of our C+H friends a very Happy New Year. May your year be filled with successes that encourage you and challenges that lead you forward!

We’ve got some ideas for Canadian+Handmade in 2011, and we’re thrilled to have you coming along with us. Thanks for a great start in 2010, and we’ll see you on the flip side! Come back on  Monday, because Sarah’s first resolution of 2011 is to get her Handmade Holiday Challenge wrap-up post written this weekend, so you can peek in on all the handmade fun!


~Sarah and Jennifer

Merry, merry!

We would like to wish our readers a very, very happy celebration this weekend – we will be having turkey withour families in Alberta (Sarah) and Ontario (Jenn and the rest of our family) and probably hanging out together via Skype and long distance phone bills. Likely some texting and wifi Mario Kart tournaments, too!

Wherever you are, and whether you are celebrating Christmas or just the joy of a weekend well-spent, we wish you peace, happiness and the laughter of friends and family to surround you all year long.

We’ll be taking a few days off to enjoy our families, but we’ll be back later next week to kick off 2011 with some more handcrafted goodies… And Sarah will offer up a final report on her “Handmade Holiday Challenge” results!

Cheers and warm wishes to you all, friends!
~Sarah and Jennifer

Handmade Holiday Challenge Update – Vancouver edition!

This post is part of a series related to the C+H Handmade Holiday Shopping Challenge. This holiday season, I am attempting to purchase all of our family’s gifts from Canadian handmade sources. I have plans to make a few gifts as well, and have allowed myself the exception of purchasing books (because I can’t imagine a Christmas without new books) from a local independent retailer. You can see all the details in the original post here, update #1 and update #2!

Thursday of last week, I packed up my rain boots and my umbrella (not really) and headed to Vancouver (yes, really) for a weekend with my very good friends Shannon and Melissa. Our weekend away was planned partly around spending a good chunk of time and the rest of our Christmas budgets at the One of a Kind Vancouver show, the Shiny Fuzzy Muddy show and in Vancouver-area shops. Let me just say: Mission Accomplished.

I have been to the OOAK show in Toronto many times, so I knew what caliber of vendor to expect and the feel of the show itself… my friends are new to this, though, and I loved walking the show with them! We all have our own strategies when shopping a show like OOAK (ie. Big!). If I really love something and know it’s perfect, I like to buy it right then. I will also ask vendors if I can take a picture of their shop (and their booth number!) so that I remember what it was I loved about their product. Shannon waited, wanting to check out the whole show before committing, and then went back the next day to get the ones she couldn’t leave without! Melissa kept a running tally of what she wanted to go back for but didn’t hesitate when she found something she loved… somehow she became an “accessories girl” over the weekend, stocking up on rings and bracelets!

You’ll be seeing plenty of OOAK vendors on C+H in the coming weeks – I love that there were vendors from across Canada, and can’t wait to share some of them with you!

Vancouver is a city that I could really grow to love, I think – except for the rain. I’m not a big fan of rain and humidity (neither is my hair. I wore a hat.) I love the small shops, the neighbourhoods, and everyone that we met was so friendly. On my “buy Canadian handmade” mission, I asked shop staff often if they could point me in the direction of any Canadian-made products in their store and each time they were so pleased to hear that I was focusing on buying Canadian and eager to help. I’ve been on the hunt for a certain gift for my husband (can’t share yet, sorry!) since the summer, and I managed to find it in an unlikely little shop in Gastown. I love the thrill of victory!

Our last foray into the handmade culture of Vancouver was to make a visit to Shiny Fuzzy Muddy, which was really a jewel of a show. If you’re in Vancouver, definitely be sure to check out their next event. If we hadn’t already blown our budgets at OOAK, Granville Island and Gastown, Melissa and I would definitely be wearing some clothes from LU in Love, a collaboration between Frances Felt and LU Prints, and I’d have an Astrosatchel bag!

I also really enjoyed this trip for the simple fact that I got to meet a few of the vendors that we’ve featured here at Canadian+Handmade, and some of our C+H Twitter friends, too! Cheers to Handmade in Vancouver!

Overall, this Handmade Holiday Challenge has really been a ton of fun – we’ve had to get creative, and we’ve had to bend the rules on a few things, but I can’t wait to share some of our most favourite finds with you. I also have to say that I am so happy to know that my husband has taken the challenge to heart, too, and is busily ordering online and working away in the garage on a handmade project of his own!

Do share about your favourite handmade purchase or creation for the holidays this year, we’d love to hear what you’re buying and making for your loved ones!