Oh Canada!

Today’s the day! Happy 144th Birthday, Canada! We hope your day includes bbq, parades, maple leaf temporary tattoos on faces, unabashed flag-waving, fireworks and some sponataneous singing of the Canadian national anthem. Maybe also a chance to see Will & Kate if you’re in the Ottawa area, or to take in a ball game, climb a mountain, or head to one of the best fresh water beaches in the world (my vote goes to Wasaga Beach… no, maybe Sauble. No, wait, Grand Bend!!)

However you choose to spend today, we hope that you’ll celebrate Canada with more than just a red t-shirt and a Sleeman beer – take a few minutes to support a Canadian artist! They’ll be out at plenty of events across the country, sharing their work and talents.

And, just to get into the Canada Day spirit, some YouTube link love!

So bad it’s (sort of) good! Canadian, please!

(I know. Ridiculous. But also hilarious!)

Cheers, Canada! Here’s to another great year!
~Sarah and Jennifer

Community Day #4: For Everything There Is A Season

We know you’re out there, working, playing, being inspired and challenged every day by the world around you, and we would love to get to know you a little better!

Please join us here in the comments or on your social media avenue of choice (Facebook, Twitter) for our 4th Community Day session!

It’s summer!  The snowy cold of winter is a distant, chilly memory, the crunch of fall leaves underfoot is still far off in the future… So we can’t help but wonder:

“How do the changing seasons affect what you create?  Do you find yourself using different supplies? A different selection of colours or patterns?  Does your creative process itself change with the weather patterns?”

We’d love to hear what you have to say!


Wilk watches definitely work for me!

I am in love.

Handcrafted watch by Wilks Watchworks on Cargoh.com - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

Stunning - sterling silver, yellow gold and a lovely resin enameled pattern.

I get an extra little thrill when I find a beautiful, handcrafted item that I have absolutely no idea how to make myself. Some things I can imagine the process, or have even tried myself over the years, but watchmaking is not one of them. The watch above, created by Wilk Watchworks, is so pretty – and handmade by Scott Wilk in Ontario.

Trained in Metalsmithing and Gemmology, Scott brings his talents together in making the lovely cases and dials for his watches. The resin enamel patterns on the dials add some flair and colour to the otherwise understated cases.

Handmade watch by Wilks Watchworks on Cargoh.com - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

Love the dial pattern!

Handmade watch by Wilks Watchworks on Cargoh.com - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

Solid, but the pattern is so light. Love the contrast!

And, oh oh oh! Look at this one! These are certainly unique pieces to save up for, but well worth it for the pride of ownership, I’d say.

Handcrafted watch by Wilk Watchworks on Etsy.com - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

Ladies watch with diamond bezel. Gorge.OUS.

You can see more of Scott Wilk’s work in his Cargoh shop, Etsy shop, on his own website and follow along on Twitter as well!




Cargoh, renewed

Last week, Vancouver-based Cargoh.com blasted out of their beta status and launched a lovely new version of their site – clean, bright, fun and packed full of highly talented, creative artists sharing their hard work. We’ve been a fan of Cargoh since they launched last spring, and I’m thrilled to see more and more artists joining in. As a curated marketplace, Cargoh is focused on ensuring that there is a certain standard of design and quality in each shop, and I know every time I log on that I’m going to see something I haven’t seen before… like today’s C+H featured artist, Wilk Watchworks!

If you haven’t visited yet, go take a look – and be sure to share your favourites with the fab social tools that are built right in to make it easy to Facebook, Tweet or Pin your wishlist, or just give a shout-out to a new designer :)


Something Sweet about Summer Time

For both of us here at C+H, time is of the essence.  As in, we just plain don’t have enough of it!   A few extra hours in the day would be worth their weight in gold (metaphorically of course).  I know we are not alone, as so many of you are struggling with the same challenges.  There is just so much that we want to do, especially now that it is finally, officially, SUMMER!  So, in honour of this fresh new season, and the jam-packed 24 hours that we are each get to share every day, may I present these fabulous clocks from Sunshine in the Summer.

Natural, peaceful, and easy on the eyes!

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I love the earthy, sun-soaked feel of driftwood.  It brings a little touch of summer any time of the year, and that really matters when we are suffering through those frigid days of February!

It would be pretty hard to be stressed out when looking at *this* clock, no matter what time it shows!

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Sunshine in the Summer Time is the creation of British Columbia’s Brandy Nohr.  Despite a fear of the water, her career (and her heart) have always kept her near the ocean.  Her love of all things nautical shows through in her work, and especially for those of us who are a bit land-locked, it is a breath of fresh salt air!

While I was admiring Brandy’s clocks, I also couldn’t help but notice these lovely little votive holders.  Perfect to nestle among your seaside treasures in the summer, or tuck among some holly and evergreens at Christmas-time!

Maybe you can’t have a bonfire on the beach, but maybe this can bring a little of that magic to your home!

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No matter how busy and hectic your days may be, here’s hoping that you can find a peaceful moment or two to refresh your mind.  Maybe we can’t get any extra hours in our days, but we can celebrate the moments that we do have, and embrace a new season as well!

Sun-soaked and loving it,

A “Touch” of Canadiana

We’ve still got moose on the brain here at our house – my girls are drawing pictures of the moose we saw while we were camping, they’re playing Mama and Baby Moose and so, forgive me, but I’m going to indulge the moose obsession a little more today!

The work of Anneke van Bommel (Touch the Dutch, on Etsy) is beautifully simple, with a sense of humour and nostalgia, especially in the Canadiana series, that spoke to me.

Anneke has been an Etsy Featured seller recently and shared a bit about the inspiration and themes behind her Canadiana series:

These works explore an “idea” of Canada, and allude to the souvenir. The desire to take a “piece” of a place home with us and to somehow authenticate a journey is a shared one. This common need allows us, to relate to one another across vast distances and to share our stories.

Moose Antler necklace by Touch the Dutch on Etsy featured on canadianhandmade.ca

The organic shape of the antlers is truly beautiful!

Stump brooch by Touch the Dutch on Etsy featured on canadianhandmade.ca

A wee little brooch - love the "rings" swirled in the cut!

The icons featured range from lumberjacks, narwhals, the east coast lobster, wolves and, of course, the ultimate in Canadian symbols: the beaver! I’ll leave you to click through and discover just what, exactly, the “Secret Order of the Beaver Legionnaires Trophy Brooch” might be (other than the best product name EVER!) and show off my favourite of the flat-tailed creatures:

Beaver brooch by Touch the Dutch on Etsy - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

Ah, the beaver. A perfectly adorable little nod to Canadian cliché!

I almost feel like I need to do a separate post for each category in her shop, but for now I’ll share a few of my favourites from the rest of her line and encourage you to visit her shop for yourself!

Pierced mint julep spoon by Touch the Dutch on Etsy - featured on CanadianHandmade.ca

Thrifted spoons are repurposed into functional works of art! Such unexpected beauty!

porcelain stump ring by Touch the Dutch on Etsy - featured on canadianhandmade.ca

A little one-of-a-kind piece of art on your finger!

You can find Touch the Dutch on Etsy and in various galleries and shops. You can also follow along with her creative pursuits on her blog. Enjoy!



Moose sightings

My family and I spent last week in the foothills of the Rockies, and woke up Tuesday morning to see a Mama moose and her twin 1-week old babies playing and snacking near our campsite. We watched them for close to an hour before a park ranger drove by and they wandered off down the road.

Baby moose - www.canadianhandmade.ca

The babies!

Our girls have been talking about moose ever since, so we went looking yesterday for Etsy’s version of moose, and found Toronto’s Sparrow Avenue. Barbara di Lella works her magic drawing, painting and silk screening her artwork onto linens fashioned in to pillows, bags, wallets, aprons and more.

Vintage Moose Pillow by Sparrow Avenue on www.CanadianHandmade.ca

Perfect for a cabin, or any place where the outdoors can be brought inside!

I also love this little tea towel – “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff”. As a family with 2 cats and a dog, I’m fairly qualified to say this is an accurate statement!

Vintage Style Dog Tea Towel by Sparrow Avenue on www.canadianhandmade.ca

Ah, sweet puppy

Barbara also has an interesting blog where she features more of her work and the projects she’s tackling! I really love seeing the process from idea to finished product, and the challenges along the way.

You can find her work on Etsy at Sparrow Avenue and on the blog.


P.S. One more moose:

Moose Pouch by Sparrow Avenue on www.canadianhandmade.ca

A sweet little moose pouch!


A Travelling Round-Up

With my passport dusted off, and tickets in hand, I am off discovering foreign lands with my dear husband.  So naturally we have had travel on the brain for quite a few weeks, and I have stumbled upon some very cool handmade items that are perfect for any global adventurer!  So I thought I would share a few of them with you, while I am away soaking up some European sun…

I really love this travel journal from Prairie Peasant:

A perfect home for all your precious memories!

And LaPetiteBoheme’s “whole wide world” earrings are a lovely accent to finish off any outfit with some international flair:

I bet someone with some crafty skills could turn these into some fabulous cuff-links too! (father's day anyone?)

Nellyvansee from Montreal has this lovely globe pendant that lets you keep the whole world in your hand (or at least near your heart…)

it's a small world after all...

You can even bring lots of international appeal to your very own home sweet home.  A little touch like this fabulous aviator map pillow from Atelier688 could be just what you are looking for:

This one shows the Peking region... so neat!

And just in case you need something to help pass some time while you wait for a plane, train, or automobile… Check out this cute little travel tic-tac-toe game from MyHappyHobbies :

The fabric "board" is a pouch to hold the pieces, and you don't have to hunt for a paper and pen!

Whether you are having a “stay-cation” this summer, or crossing the globe on an epic adventure, we are all neigbours on this crazy spinning planet of ours… and now you can embrace your inner global citizen while supporting the Canadian handmade community.  I call that a definite win-win!



Summertime Vacationing

This week is going to be quiet here at C+H because Jennifer and I are both enjoying some summer vacation time!

Jenn is off gallivanting around Europe (Paris, Rome and the Amalfi Coast, Barcelona!) with her husband, while my family and I will be significantly less glamorous as we hang out by the campfire in the Rockies. This is Jenn’s first trip overseas and I am so happy that she is taking the opportunity to explore. A well-deserved adventure for them, and I can’t wait to hear all about it when she gets back (oh my, I do miss Paris!!).

We are taking our oldest out of school and heading to the campground for what may be our last mountain camping adventure for a few years. We’ve decided to take a leap and tackle an opportunity that came up earlier this spring which means moving our family back to southern Ontario from central Alberta. Not a small undertaking (2 vehicles, 5th wheel, 2 kids, 2 cats and a dog… not to mention far too much IKEA furniture!!), but we’re working hard behind the scenes to pull it off and hoping it all comes together!

So, we’re taking a little break this week and will be back next week with plenty more fantastic Canadian creativity.

Hope summer has arrived, wherever you are!

Update: So far, we’ve had 24 hours of rain in the Rocky Mountain foothills, but we did get to watch a Mama Moose and her 1 week old twin babies roam around our campsite for an hour this morning :)

I believe handmade IS worth it! Do you?

One of my favourite places to go online when it comes to handmade is Oh My! Handmade Goodness and when I stopped by yesterday, I was so thrilled to see this post from editor Jessika Hepburn.

The current trend toward deeply discounted deals à la Groupon or Living Social hit the handmade marketplace earlier this year when Heartsy arrived on the scene. When I first looked at Heartsy, I was surprised to see just how far makers were willing to discount their work to potentially attract new clients. 65% off for a handmade business is a huge cut! I wondered how many of those buyers would return to purchase at full price, and what additional costs the maker would have to incur to be able to fill those orders.

At the time, I remember being part of a conversation with Jessika (@ohmyhandmade) and others on Twitter about the true value of handmade. Does discounting handmade work devalue the work, does it sacrifice too much for the maker? Does offering beautifully crafted, well-designed, unique works of art at a discounted price (even below cost on occasion) hinder or help a small business in the long run? Shouldn’t we be willing to pay MORE for handmade, rather than less? How does a maker ensure that they are really charging what their work is worth, and what price will the buyer market support? All important questions, and all requiring more thought and discussion… and the conversation is still continuing. Now, though, there’s a place where we can really demonstrate how much we truly value handmade skill and creativity.

Enter: Worthsy! Brain child of Jessika (Oh My! Handmade Goodness) and Zoe (A Quick Study), Worthsy is a bit of an experiment in finding the highest bidder, not the lowest.

I love this concept – once a week on Wednesdays, a new handmade item will be put up for auction. Bidding will start at wholesale price (because makers should be profiting at the wholesale level as well!) and remain open until the next week. The artist will receive the full sale price, and the auction winner receives a handmade treasure that they love so much they wanted to bid higher and pay more! That sounds like a win all around to me!

Another thing I love? When you click the “More” button to bid, you are treated to an itemized list of costs to produce the item. It is amazing to see it all laid out, and to know what goes into the production of each piece will be so enlightening and valuable!

What do you think? Should we be willing to pay more for the pleasure of owning something handmade, something that we know has been lovingly crafted by someone passionate about their unique take on the world? As Jessika says in her post to launch Worthsy:

Let’s find out how much people will actually pay for handmade while building a culture of paying more to get more. More kindness, creativity, originality, prosperity, joy-just more. Not more for the sake of having more stuff or paying inflated prices, but more in the items we do choose to buy. More connection to each other in our buying and selling & more sustainability for the economy we are creating together. Plus show off how talented the handmade community is in the process, make friends and start conversations about the value of handmade.;)

It’s worth it to me. Now, who’s going to be the next bidder?

P.S. If you want to submit your own item to be auctioned off on Worthsy, you can do that, too!