Archive for the handmade Tag

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?
~Sarah

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

Barefoot and loving it!

Everyone has different aspects of their personality, even if they don’t often get to see the light of day.  Right now I am usually wearing my “busy working mother” hat, with the occasional “goofy friend” or “cheesy romantic wife” thrown in for good measure.  But lately I am missing a few other sides of myself.  I am currently working on re-introducing myself to the “adventuring traveler”, and maybe someday I’ll have the time to get reacquainted with the “wistful daydreamer” who used to hang out for hours in the branches of a favorite tree.

It is she, the wistful daydreamer who would feel perfectly carefree and at ease in the beautiful bohemian inspired clothing from the Barefoot Modiste.

 

It has a hippie feel without being shapeless, and the fabrics are lovely

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Milli is a self-taught seamstress who calls Edmonton home.  She started sewing at the tender age of eight, and hasn’t looked back since.  You can sometimes see the influence of her African roots in her work, and there is a freewheeling gypsy vibe that brings to mind music, laughter, and stories around a campfire.

 

I love the colours, and the fitted top/flowy bottom combination in this skirt!

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This shift dress has such a simple shape, but the African print gives it such energy and personality!

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Milli has a mild obsession with fabrics, and is always on the lookout for fabulous finds that make their way into her pieces.  Many of the materials she uses are reclaimed from thrift store or garage sale finds, so you can be sure that anything she makes is truly one of a kind.

 

I really like the textures in this skirt, and the mod feel of the shapes on the front!

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You can see more of the Barefoot Modiste’s free-spirited creations in her Etsy shop, or stop in and say “Hi!” on her Facebook page.

~Here’s to embracing all the different sides of our many-faceted selves!
Jennifer

 

Proudly Canadian Pewter

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the ArtWorks Show in Kitchener.  It was packed with talented, creative people – many of whom you will be reading about here over the next several weeks/months!  I love to see the interaction between the artisans and the shoppers, and the excitement of finding just the right gift or treasure.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to the folks at The Little Pewter Company because their booth was so busy (that’s a great thing!), but after seeing their display, I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Each item is handcrafted in a small Nova Scotia town, and is made with only lead-free alloys.

Ever wonder exactly how much is in a smidgen? a dash? a pinch? Now you can get Grandma's recipes just right!

A cute and handy way to keep keys, leashes, etc. organized by the front door.

"Dance with your heart" this ballerina ring holder is graceful and lovely

I love these little fish magnets. Adorable!

You can see the whole selection of products on their website, including dream boxes, baby spoon keepsakes, and much more.  There is also a section on how to care for pewter tableware (it’s surprisingly easy!), so you can enjoy your purchase for a lifetime.

Cheers!
~Jennifer

Sisters with a Sweet Tooth

Ever since I stopped Trick or Treating and started handing out treats instead, I have always made sure that we have extra candy.  That way we have plenty of leftovers for me to nibble on, sometimes right up until Christmas time!   The other day I stumbled across the Bruce County Nut and Fudge Co.  Let me tell you, if you gave out their treats on Halloween night, you would have the most popular house on the block!  That said, I am pretty sure that you will NOT want to share these delectable goodies.

A delicious apple, dipped in caramel, then chocolate, then drizzled with more chocolate. Divine.

My personal fave: Caramel apple, with toasted pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate drizzle.... (*drool*)

Fudge!!!

There are a seemingly endless array of fudge flavours to choose from.   Everything from the classic Maple to Cookie Dough or Cappuccino.  You can even go “nuts” and pick from all kinds of roasted and glazed nut selections, perfect for a holiday snack plate.

Roasted almonds with caramelized sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla

Yvonne, Melissa, and Tanya come by their sweet tooth honestly.  They grew up watching their parents running a candy company, and have since created Bruce County Nut and Fudge Co. to bring fantastic sweet treats to a whole new generation.    Their storefront is in Sauble Beach Ontario, but you can shop online by clicking over to their website.  You can even join the apple of the month club!

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

We’re Batty for Batty’s Bath!

Sometimes it is the little things that really do make a difference.  Spoiling yourself just a bit every day, or that one extra touch of decorating that really makes you feel festive.  Sometimes, it is even possible to do both at the same time.  A fun and festive soap can act as decor, while still making you feel a little bit pampered.  That’s where Batty’s Bath comes in.  This London, Ontario company has whimsical halloween themed soaps that are all natural and will leave your skin feeling great.   There are plenty of vegan products available, and everything is earth and body friendly.  Even their name fits with this fun season!

Give your guests a little fright with these creepy skull soaps

Pumpkin Cheesecake flavoured lip balm... Yummy!

They smell like maple + pumpkin...but they look like brains!

I know the spider in this soap isn't actually real... but I'm still not sure I could make myself pick it up! Shudder.

Jamie is the creative force behind Batty’s Bath.  She absolutely loves Halloween, but you will also find plenty of non-ghoulish bath and body care products to use once all the trick or treaters have gone home.  Want to know more? Check out the Batty’s Bath home page ,the blog, or fill your virtual shopping cart at her Etsy shop.  You can even be a friend or follower by joining the Facebook page and Twitter stream.

Here’s to spooky suds!
~Jennifer

Warm Baby Toes

There is something extra special about little baby feet.  I find them so delectable that it is a shame to cover them up.  But, as the temperature drops, I find myself having to put socks and shoes on my little munchkin.  While this does make me a little bit sad, I am so glad that there are talented crafty types who make adorable footwear to keep those precious little toes warm and cozy.  Right now I am madly in love with these sweet booties from Little Knits on the Prairie.  Inspired by the colours (and weather) of Manitoba, these great booties would look fantastic on any baby from coast to coast!

Eeeee! Seriously. Tiny plump little baby feet. In these perfect booties... Cute overload!

Baby needs a matching cardigan and hat to complete the outfit? No problem!

Even the coldest winter days will be no match for these snuggly ankle booties!

There are other products available in the shop as well, like cute headbands and legwarmers.  Custom orders are welcome too, just ask!

Little Knits on the prairie has recently joined facebook, so be sure to head over and make her feel welcome.   She also has a blog, and of course, the Etsy shop.  Rumour has it that there may even be lovely soft knitted clothes for “grown up” ladies sometime in the near future, so stay tuned!

~Jennifer

Update: Amanda now has another shop on Etsy, The Prairie Sparrow, featuring cozy knit cowls, felted bowls and more!

Little Felted Friends

A few weeks ago, I wrote about finding DaWanda online, and one of the shops that really caught my eye was KaysK9s from Prince Edward Island.

Kay creates incredible sculptures of animals, using a technique called needle felting.   Her creations are lifelike and adorable, and she even does custom work!  You can send her photos of your precious Fido (or in my case Sunshine the semi-wonder cat**), and have a gorgeous replica made to treasure forever.

This precious pooch seems to be enjoying bath time!

Not only does she make these fantastic pet sculptures, she also does incredible wildlife pieces.  Check out this amazing bengal tiger!

I am blown away by the lifelike detail on this tiger. Wow!

This adorable panda looks sweet enough to snuggle.

There is also a selection of smaller items, like key chains and purse clips, so that your favorite animal can stay with you anywhere.

This meerkat makes me chuckle. Cute!

Aside from her DaWanda shop, Kay also has an Etsy shop, her own website, twitter, and a facebook page, so you can always find a way to see the latest and greatest creations!

~Jennifer (and her furry companion Bijou)

** Sunshine was the family cat when Sarah and I were growing up… a very special kitty to be sure!  Bijou is the feline queen of my current home, and is also very special.

Cases and Covers to Covet!

No matter where you are, I bet you can take a look around and see at least one techno-gadget… Either a cell phone, blackberry, iPod, iPhone, or any number of other gizmos are probably lurking nearby.  Sometimes we even have multiples of the same items.  My husband and I had identical cellphones for a year or so, which was a pain, and I was always having to check and make sure to grab the right one while rushing out the door.  We no longer have that problem, but I still have an affinity for things that help distinguish, decorate, and even protect those handy little gadgets that keep us in touch and entertained.   So I was definitely excited when I found NORMandLOU from Thunder Bay, Ontario.  They put together fun and functional hand cut felt covers and cases for the hand held devices that we use every day.

Colourful and cute, an ipod touch could live happily in one of these!

Smart retro styles for a blackberry curve

I couldn't resist the Canadian theme... Patriotism for your iphone!

Head to the NORMandLOU shop on Etsy for the full range of products.  You can also follow on Twitter or Facebook to get all the latest scoop. Custom orders are welcomed, just let them know what you would like!

Yours in techno-geekery,
~Jennifer

It’s a man’s world…

I often find that choosing gifts for the men in our lives can be somewhat challenging.  Once you’ve exhausted the favorite sports team logos and cliche’d golf gadgets, it can get pretty tough!  What if you are looking for something a little more classy or unique?  Something a bit luxurious, even?

Then be sure to check out Green Leaf Wood Studio. They have a selection of hand turned pens, pepper mills, and gorgeous bowls, but my favorite are the shaving sets.  What better way to pamper that special man in your life than an old-school shaving brush, paired with an elegant and sleek handcrafted razor?

Fits Gillette Mach 3 razors, for a modern shave with retro charm!

I love the feel of a good, solid, smooth-writing pen. A little bit of luxury.

This peppermill wasn't originally intended to be purple, but I think "plan B" looks pretty wonderful!

The man behind Green Leaf Wood is Steven, he hails from Ajax, Ontario.  He chooses reclaimed and responsibly harvested wood, and uses safe finishes on all his pieces.  You can learn more about Steven, his work, and wood turning, on his blog.   Or, if you prefer, follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

~Jennifer

Event Alert: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Artistic and crafty folks in Winnipeg be warned, you don’t want to miss Saturday’s event at Aqua Books.  Known as Winnipeg’s “Cultural City Hall”, it is so much more than a bookstore.  If you head down to 274 Garry Street on Saturday, you will find Crafty Minions: The Handmade and Vintage Sale.

Curious as to what you will find at Crafty Minions?  The Aqua Books site says it best:   “Banish all thoughts of rows and rows of crocheted slippers or washcloths or ponybead keychains…think, instead, vintage-inspired handmade dresses, leather and ribbon wrist corsets, funky jewelery made of vintage silverware, tiny ceramic apartment buildings and octopus tentacles, retro aprons hand-embroidered with sassy 80s pop lyrics…”

Sounds fun, right?  Admission is free, and more info can be found here.  Doors open at 11:00 am and the show runs until 5:00 pm.

~Wishing I was prairie-bound this weekend,
Jennifer

*As always, if you have an upcoming show or event that our readers should know about, let me know and we will help you spread the word!