Archive for the Handmade Holiday Tag

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Feeling a little bit extra lucky today? You aren’t alone!  Today we all get to be just a little bit Irish, so practice your brogue, put on something green, dance a jig, and (if you are so inclined) enjoy a cold, green beverage of choice.  In honour of this fun-filled day, we have gathered a few handmade gems for the Irish at heart… Enjoy!


These four hearts together form a lovely clover pendant. Beautiful any day of the year…

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Why should us humans have all the fun? Let your beloved pooch get in on the St. Paddy's Day action with this cute collar!

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And for those who really go green from head to toe, you’ll probably need something like these:


Warm, comfy, and festive to boot! (get it? boot... 'cause they're socks... *giggle*)

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This would be perfect for those looking for an elegant and understated way to mark the day...

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May the luck of the Irish be with you today and always!


Traditional Easter Beauty

It may feel that April Showers and May Flowers are still light years away, but the truth is that Easter (and all it’s Spring-y goodness) will be here in just a few short weeks.  So I can’t hold out any longer, I just have to tell you about So Jeo and her stunning Pysanky.  I discovered her gorgeous traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs last summer, and wanted to share them with you at just the right time.  Folks, that time is now…  Feast your eyes on the fabulous colours and intricate patterns, all designed and created by hand using traditional techniques.

The rich colours are so gorgeous, I have such a weakness for purple!

The images are built up by using alternating layers of carefully applied hot beeswax and dipping the egg in various shades of dyes.  Then the wax is melted away, leaving only the lovely designs to be admired and treasured for generations.

The skill and artistry involved is just incredible!

So Jeo even works with teeny tiny delicate finch eggs to create lovely Pysanky jewelry pieces as well.  Once they are sealed and covered with a clear polymer finish, they are durable and strong enough to wear without fear of damaging them.

These would be conversation starters at any springtime or Easter gathering, that's for sure!

So Jeo is a self-taught Pysanky artist, who imagines the egg as her canvas, and is inspired by the natural elements around her Nova Scotia home.  She even welcomes commissions, so if you have a vision for something you would like to see, she will do her best to make it a reality.  You can see what she has to offer on her Etsy shop, or visit her website for a stunning gallery and to learn more about the traditional art of Pysanky.   You can also join her on Facebook or Twitter.

How Egg-ceptional!  (ouch… sorry!)


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!


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!


Handmade Holiday Helper Gift Pack – CONTEST FUN!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the fun that is a Canadian+Handmade contest, with fabulously Canadian+Handmade prizes! In conjunction with our Handmade Holiday challenge, we thought it would be in the holiday spirit to help someone gift a little more handmade this season… so we chatted with our featured artists, and these are the deliciously lovely gifts that some of them have offered to us, to offer to you! Each of these artists has been featured on C+H in the past 7 months, so you can click through to read more about them and see some more of their work. In fact, we’d really like it if you did. We just want to spread the love and on their feature posts you can find links to their shops and Facebook pages, blogs etc.!

Scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how to enter (but don’t scroll too quickly – make sure you get a good look at all the gifts below!)

So, without further ado, these are the goodies you will find in the Handmade Holiday Helper Gift Pack, coming to you in time for you to sneak them into a stocking on Christmas Eve or wrap for under the tree!

This prize pack is worth over $325, so get commenting and join us over on Facebook and Twitter, too :) One lucky winner will receive this package, and it could be you!

A) Nyne, creator behind Brilliance Found jewellery, has included a feather wrap ring and a skeleton key ring. Both are adjustable and made of raw brass for a really lovely colour. To see more of her work, visit her original feature post here.

Feather wrap ring by Brilliance Found -

This feather wrap ring is made of raw brass, and is adjustable.

Skeleton Key Ring by BrillianceFound -

This little brass skeleton key ring is also adjustable, and would be the perfect "you've got the key to my heart" stocking stuffer!

B) Penny People personalized prints and artwork has donated a gift certificate for one of Lindsay’s 9×13″ alphabet prints! Anyone with kids will appreciate adding a bit of customized artwork to their child’s room or playroom, or make it a family name and add a little colour to the kitchen or the family office space! Aside: if you haven’t ordered your holiday cards yet, Penny People has some great designs available!! To see more of her work, visit the original post here.

alphabet print by Penny People -

Such a bright addition to any room!

C) Laura from Prairie Peasant has sent us some gorgeously patriotic Oh Canada! envelopes. Perfect for sending little love notes across the ocean… or an invitation to tea for your friend next door. Love these! Check out our original post about Laura’s travel journals and other stationery goodies here.

Oh Canada map envelopes by Prairie Peasant -

Made from vintage or discarded atlases, each one is a little piece of Canadiana.

D) The artwork of Shira Sela grabbed me and spoke to me earlier this fall, and I’m so happy that she volunteered to include one of her pieces in this gift pack! The 8.5×11″  “My Favourite Spot” print is such a lovely image, and I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect home for it. It is backed with foam core and ready to frame! You can see the original post about her work here (warning, I got a little sappy! ha ha!)

My Favourite Spot by Shira Sela -

We should all be so lucky as to have a peaceful favourite spot!

E) The lovely Thursday of My Girl Thursday has sent us a fabulously vibrant scarf, from one of her new product lines. She use lots of reclaimed fabrics, and this piece has some vintage flair! Since we featured My Girl Thursday, her product line has expanded to include adorable belt buckles, scarves, screen printed totes and most recently, a Book of Secrets download that she is selling for charity. Fun stuff! You can check out our original post here.

The Blue Scarf by My Girl Thursday -

These colours will brighten up even the gloomiest winter day!

F) Kathy from Navy Blue Notes must be a pretty fun lady, because her cards and notes are full of humour. Jenn laughed out loud when she first found their shop! They’ve sent us a package of their new Book Club Notes – perfect for the book lover on your list, or keep them yourself for your next book club get together! The original post (with giggle-inducing cards!) is here.

Book Club Notes by Navy Blue Notes -

New Year's Resolution: Get my book club notes organized!

G) Take a yeti, add a little hermit and you get Yermits. We love them, and we think you will too. Seriously cute, this little spaceman wants a home with you! He’ll just hang out, eat some pizza. Maybe write a blog post on his laptop. He won’t get into trouble (much!). Thanks to Jenny at for sending this dude our way. You can see the original post here.

Yellow Moon man by -

Fly me to the moon!

H) I’m a little partial to this particular prize item from Bstudio, because I happen to have one of Brenda’s ruffle rings and I get compliments on it every time I wear it! Her embroidered pieces are really lovely, too! You can see more examples of her work on the original post here.

Organza ring by Bstudio -

A little splash of romance on your finger

I) Amanda from Little Knits on the Prairie caught Jenn’s eye with her little baby booties and lovely knits, but she’s recently launched Prairie Sparrow – a new shop, with cozy knitted cowls and felted bowls and more goodies! You can see her original post here, but do check out The Prairie Sparrow as well!

Cowl in Bark by The Prairie Sparrow -

Super cozy for Canadian winters!

J) We kind of love the idea of all those holiday cards that get sent out having a little bit of spring included – this set of Season’s Greetings cards from Botanical Paperworks all have a plantable Christmas Tree shape that will blossom into wildflowers next summer. Awesome. See the original post here for more details.

Seasons Greetings by Botanical Paperworks -

Send a little spring with your cards this year!

K) Creations by Uli has been a supporter of C+H almost since day 1, and we’re happy to have one Uli’s chainmaille creations to include in this package. The Celtic Star below is anodized titanium in various colours, and measures about an inch across. You can see more of her work here.

Celtic Star by Creations by Uli -

Everyone needs a little chainmaille in their wardrobe :)

For these last few, we don’t have photos to share unfortunately, but please click through to their websites or original posts to see the type of work they do!

L) We featured Cloud + Lolly just a little while ago, and I’ve been stocking up on their pretty and modern scrabble tile pendants for babysitter gifts and, yes, even one for myself! The lucky prize pack winner will get a tile pendant of their very own, along with Cloud + Lolly’s 2011 calendar with hanger. You can find out more (much more!) about Cloud + Lolly on their original post here.

M) Shirley from Ear Curls Etc. has included a set of curls to add some sparkle to your holiday outfits! Her booth is always busy, busy, busy at the OOAK show in Toronto and she has a ton of selection! Check out the original post here.

N) And last, but certainly not least, is Magz-Bagz. This shop was one of our first features when we started C+H in the spring, and we’re thrilled that Megan has included a tote bag from her line of modern, funky accessories. Her bagz are laminated, making them easy to clean and perfect for moms on the go, or for anyone who likes a stylish bag with a little bit of flair! The original post is here.

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You have to agree we have some pretty talented and unique people in Canada, don’t we?!

Now for the details…

How to enter the Handmade Holiday Helper Gift Pack contest:

1. You MUST comment on this post (including a valid email address) and answer the following question: What is the best handmade gift you’ve ever made yourself and gifted OR what is the best handmade gift you’ve ever received? Feel free to answer both if you’re feeling chatty, but your answer will only count as one entry. If you don’t answer, you can’t win :)

2. For a BONUS entry, head over to our Facebook page and “like” Canadian+Handmade. Make sure you comment here to let us know, and if you already “like” us on Facebook, that counts too, but you need to comment here so we know!

3. For another BONUS entry, follow us on Twitter. You must comment to let us know, and if you already do follow us, you still need to comment to let us know for that extra entry to count!

See, totally easy, right?

If you’d like to help us spread the word about our Handmade Holiday challenge and this contest to bring a little more handmade Canadian goodness into the holidays, we’d love it if you’d tweet about it or spread the love via Facebook. Let us know by including @canadahandmade in your tweets or by linking to our Canadian+Handmade page in your Facebook status. We’ll offer an awesomely awkward high five and a shout out :)

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Contest Details and nittygritty:

Comments will remain open on this post until 6:00 pm (MT) Friday, December 10th. Winner will be announced the morning of December 11th and the recipient will have until noon on Monday, December 13th  to respond with their mailing address. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a  new winner will be selected and the original winner will forfeit the prize.

The prize pack will be shipped by courier to arrive by December 23rd. Canadian+Handmade is not responsible, however, for courier shipping or postal delays resulting in the package not arriving prior to December 23rd.

The winner will be selected using a random number generator (, based on the number of qualifying comments received on this post.

Gift sponsors are ineligible to win the contest (sorry, guys!).

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Thank you so much for your support of Canadian handmade, and Canadian+Handmade! Get to commenting, folks :)

~Sarah and Jennifer

Handmade Holiday Challenge: Update #2 (23 days to go!)

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 is here.

We waited until December 1st to decorate this year, and suddenly as I pulled out our “countdown” Santa from his tissue paper bundle yesterday, I realized there were only 24 days left until Christmas. 23, as of today! Eep. So, time for a little update on the Handmade Holiday Shopping extravaganza that’s been going on over here. Part of our goal for this year was to give less, but give better – better quality, more thoughtful, lovely things. I think we’re meeting that goal and I can’t wait for Christmas morning!

A few of our favourite finds so far, for the little people in our lives:

Heart Pony O's by OnceUponAButton -

Cute little ponytail bobbles by OnceUponAButton

Cotton Candy Kittens by Cranberry Licorice -

Puzzle from an original print by Monika Brint (CranberryLicorice)

Housecoat by Pixie Dust Kids -

Gorgeous, snuggly housecoats by Pixie Dust Kids

And for some of the adults on our list this year:

Mini Chai Tea Kit by Purpose Design -

Great teacher gift, don't you think? Mini Chai Tea Kit by Purpose Design

Custom Glass Magnet Tile set by Dombots -

Custom magnet tile set by Dombots

African Red soap by Olive -

Mmm, deliciously yummy smelling! African Red soap by Olive Bath & Body

I can’t give away all my gift-giving secrets before the 25th, so you’ll just have to wait to hear about the “big” stuff :) Let it be said, though, that I’m having so much fun with this challenge and I think I’ll start even earlier next year so that I might have more time to source some of the ideas that are giving me trouble! I also haven’t had as much time to work on the handmade gifts that I’d like to make myself, but I’ve finally got a work space back and will be putting together some projects over the next couple of weeks.

We’re also making a concerted effort to bring the focus of the holidays back to family time – to that end, we’ll be doing a “12 Days of Christmas” advent at our house, with a different family activity every day for the last 12 days before Christmas. I’d love to hear the ways that you bring family and tradition into your holiday season – do you always watch The Grinch when it’s on TV? Do you make a special trip out to look at the lights? Do you drink hot chocolate with marshmallows on Christmas Eve? Do you have a special Hannukah or Kwanzaa tradition that you’d like to share? Do tell!

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with one last update before the jolly old elf makes his appearance – until then, happy handmade shopping!


Handmade Holiday Shopping Challenge – Update, 6 weeks to go!

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!

So, first of all, let me tell you that going to the mailbox these days is lots of fun! A couple of times a week there is a package waiting there for me from an Etsy or Cargoh seller, and after I get the kids settled with a snack I can sneak into my room and rip it open to see exactly what that little piece of art or crafty goodness looks like!

I’ll admit that I didn’t really have a “list” in mind when I started this challenge, and I’m finding myself having to get more creative than I expected – no more relying on DVDs, Wii games or trips to the big box store for stocking stuffers, right? Trying to satisfy my hard-to-buy-for husband is proving tough, too, but I’ve found some fun goodies that I wouldn’t have expected you could find handmade (on the off chance that he’ll read this, I don’t want to spoil the surprise!).

The kids are easy because I know they’ll love anything they get, but I want to purchase intelligently. Our goal is to have fewer but better gifts under the tree this year, so buying yet another doll – even a gorgeous handmade one – or yet another costume tutu isn’t in the cards. I’m looking forward to some great craft shows in the Edmonton area in the next few weeks (Weestock and Make It! Edmonton) as well as a much-anticipated weekend in Vancouver with my girlfriends, which happens to coincide with the OOAK Vancouver show.

Eventually, I’ll post a full list of shops and vendors, but for now here are a few of my favourite purchases so far (good thing my girls can’t read yet!):

Travelling family house by Fee Vertelaine -

Sweet little travelling family house by Fee Vertelaine

Felt Princess Crown by Her Flying Horses -

Felt Princess Crown by Her Flying Horses

Oh Canada Map Envelopes by Prairie Peasant -

Oh Canada Map Envelopes by Prairie Peasant

Please share in the comments if you’re shopping handmade this holidays, link to a favourite purchase or seller if you’d like to, and let us know how it’s going!