Archive for the handpainted Tag

Tea for Two*

In keeping with the world wide obsession with all things Royal this week, I have decided to celebrate something wholeheartedly English… Tea!  I love tea, as my collection of teapots can attest, so I thought I would share a few tea related items with you today.  Each would make a great gift for any upcoming wedding (even if your invite to Friday’s main event *did* get lost in the mail.. just like mine!).   No vow-swapping events in your near future?  You may wind up wanting one for yourself!

What’s mine is yours? hmmm… maybe not when it comes to your favorite beverage!

<image source>  This set from Vancouver’s Petrulia finds a nice balance between “couple-y” and “personal space”… love it!  Also, everything in the shop is recycled/reclaimed and then given a new (and beautiful) lease on life with handpainted designs.

oooh... this would be a perfect addition to my collection!

<image source>  This hand-thrown set from Chalk and Mud has such a beautiful blue colour.  It would be a lovely accent to almost any kitchen.

You could say this one is just about Purr-fect... (*groan*)

<image source> This unique wavy piece is courtesy of  Caroline Bousquet from Montreal.  I think the shape is appealing, and the mischievous cat makes me chuckle.   Caroline also has some great hand painted glass  items in her shop, including this super-cute turtle that stole my heart.

No matter if you are a tea fanatic, a coffee aficionado, or a hot chocolate chugger, everyone can appreciate a little bit of style and fun when you are sipping your drink of choice!


*My mother swears that the number of teapots you receive at your wedding symbolizes how many children you will have.   Has anyone else heard of this before?  Or is she just wishful thinking? (We got *five* at our wedding, and I treasure them… but not sure that I need a kiddo for each!)


Cookoo for Cocopunkz

Oh my. If you love shoes, have I got the indulgence of a lifetime for you. Forget the Manolos or Jimmy Choo’s… how about custom, hand-painted, made-to-order super-swank stilettos?!

Welcome to the world of Vancouver’s Cocopunkz. Just feast your eyes on these:

Cocopunkz -

These are called "Infatuation". Why, yes, yes I am infatuated!

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Or these:

Mystery Shoes -

"Mystery Shoes - Rain City"

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Ada Fu and Miranda Pang love shoes and love to paint, and the combination of their creative talents is pretty spectacular. They have a selection available on their website (specific sizes and paint treatments) but the part that intrigues me the most is the custom option – send them your shoes, give them a theme to run with and voilà, you have a one-of-a-kind shoe to knock ’em dead with.

Seriously gorgeous, these yellow tapered heels are called “Ink Flared”. I’m seeing a night out on the town, little black dress, and these. Who needs jewellery when you’re wearing shoes this freakin’ fabulous?!

Ink Flared from on


You can see more of the girls’ past work at, and on their Etsy shop. You can also follow along on the blog, Facebook and Twitter for more fun with Ada and Miranda!



Tie One On!

It’s the quintessential fathers’ day gift, and a Christmas time staple.  The tie.  Almost every man has a selection to choose from, but lets be honest, most of the time they are just like every other tie out there.  Bo-ring.  So why not shake it up a little and get your husband, father, son, or even your boss, wrapped up in some handmade style.  Nadine De Lange is an Ottawa artist who creates these fabulous marble effect hand painted silk ties.


Purple Waves by Nadine de Lange -

From her "brights" collection, this one definitely makes a statement!

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Have an upcoming wedding that needs a splash of unique style?  Nadine can hook the entire bridal party up with some one of a kind dapper duds.  Take these cumberbund and bowtie combos, for example:


Gray Rain by Nadine de Lange -

Subtle enough not to offend Great Aunt Betty, but fun enough for a modern groom and his merry men.

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Nadine’s work is done in batches, with a very cool “floating paint” technique that gives her pieces great dimension.  You can see the whole process, step by step, right here on her website.


Smooth Grey by Nadine de Lange -

Suspenders never looked this good!

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Plumb by Nadine de Lange -

This reminds me of cells through a microscope. Perfect for the fun brainiac in your life!

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Custom work is available, and Nadine prides herself on 100% customer satisfaction.  Visit her website to see the whole range of colours and styles, from demure to dramatic!

Have a great day everyone,

Turn Over a New Leaf!

I will admit that I was a bit of a bookish child growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly climbed my share of trees and rode my bike for days on end, but I have always found a good book to be something totally magical.  It’s not at all surprising then, that for a good chunk of my life I entertained dreams of being a writer.  I outlined plots, sketched characters for my great Canadian novel, and lurked around corners to hone my skills as an investigative reporter. Now I’m all grown up, and even though I may not be a Canadian Lois Lane, a really nice notebook can still make me swoon!

Why would you settle for a plain old boring notebook, when you can have something as fresh and pretty as these?

Original watercolour artwork decorates the cover, and the pages are all reclaimed and recyled paper

New Leaf Handmade Goods is the partnership between sisters Maria and Cecilia.  Based out of Swift Current Saskatchewan, they have blended their love of paper and fabric with artistic talent and thrift-store sleuthing to create these beautiful books.  The paper inside is all reclaimed, recycled or repurposed, so they are lovely to look at and easy on planet earth!

Perfect for a budding songstress, ready to be filled with poetic lyrics!

Mixed in among the blank pages in each notebook, you can find reclaimed treasures like sheet music, tracing paper, and map pages that give each book some serious personality.  Maria and Cecilia even include a few notes about the origins of “your” paper, so you can truly get a feel for where the pages came from.  Then it’s up to you to fill each page with whatever your heart desires.

Let your dreams soar...

There are even some childhood favorites that will bring back happy memories.  I just read this one to my little girl a few days ago!

Some of the original story pages are mixed in with the blank sheets. So much fun!

Want to see what else the sisters have to offer?  Head on over to the Etsy shop where you will find plenty more notebooks to choose from, as well as a whole bunch of great pillow covers like this:

oooooh I love this one so much!

Then, when you are done browsing, stop by their Facebook page or Twitter stream and say Hello,  or visit the blog for musings, DIY and even a newsletter.  Also, make sure you wish the girls a Happy Birthday because New Leaf  turns one year old in just a couple of weeks!  Congratulations Ladies, and keep up the great work!


A Little Bit of Paint & a Whole Lot of Christmas Cheer

This past weekend my husband and I bundled up the little one, threw some rope and bungee cords in the back of the SUV, and headed off to find the perfect Christmas tree.   We carefully selected a beautiful lush balsam fir, and even managed to get it home and set up without losing any branches (or our minds!).  Soon the house smelled amazing, the lights were twinkling, and our lovely handcrafted angel (-my must have purchase from last year’s One of A Kind show) was sitting gracefully on the top branch.  All that I needed was a big mug of hot chocolate in one of these great festive mugs from Canadian Creationz:

Complete with carrot nose and rosy cheeks... cute!

There is even a matching teapot!

I think this would be a perfect addition to my teapot collection. I don't have a Holiday one... yet!

This one would be an excellent choice for the “less than festive” folks among us:

In my opinion: The BEST Christmas movie. Bar none.

Or maybe you have a different festive beverage in mind…

Wouldn't these make a great hostess gift?!

Canadian Creationz (aka: Beth) also has beautiful items for other seasons throughout the year, like these glasses in her “woodland trees” motif:

Picture these filled with milk, it would be like a walk through a snow covered forest!

To see all that Beth has to offer, just visit her Etsy shop.  There’s salt and pepper shakers, ornaments, oil bottles, light switch covers, and even a painted phone!


When you’re strange… people remember your name…

This time of year we revel in the weird, the different, and yes, the strange.  So why not embrace the unique aspects of your personality, right down to your toes?  Strange Shoes offers a fun way to do just that!  Taking plain canvas sneakers and turning them into mobile works of art is no small feet  (ok, feat, but the pun was worth it, I think).  How much fun would it be to walk around town in some one of a kind footwear?

Could these puzzle shoes be the final piece to complete an outfit?

Ghost shoes for the halloween lover, or the Pacman fan!

These nautical themed ship shoes bring the coast with you anywhere you go.

Strange Shoes is a husband and wife team based in Saskatoon.  They are always happy to do custom orders if you have a particular theme or design in mind.   You can follow their new twitter stream, or check out the Etsy shop to see more!

Cheers to all things weird and wonderful,

p.s. thanks to The Doors’ “People are Strange” for the post title… it’s stuck in my head, now is it in yours???  :-)

A Gallery at Home

What you have hanging on your walls can say a lot about who you are as a person.  It is a visual representation of your style and what is important to you.  So why do so many of us have mass-produced pieces of art that don’t truly reflect our passions?

My husband and I recently finished some work in our basement, and along with the fresh new look, we are craving some new artwork that highlights who we are, and surrounds us with unique beauty.  This led me to find Shanna Creations from Winnipeg Manitoba.  Billed as “earthy art for modern homes”, Shanna’s work is dramatic yet soothing and I find myself drawn each and every piece.  I love the large scale, and the way the images often stretch across several canvasses.  It’s like having your very own art gallery!

The freewheeling birds bring such life to this peaceful scene!

This one is my husband's favorite, the green is so dramatic!

The texture on this piece gives it a little bit of extra appeal.

Shanna is a self-taught artist who has been creating since she was a little girl.  You can learn more about her on her website, on Etsy, or check out her blog to hear what she has to say about her work.

Wishing you a day filled with beauty,

Feature Friday #2: Kristina from Bouncing off the Walls

A little while ago we posted about Bouncing off the Walls.  We loved them so much (and plenty of our readers did too!) that we decided to get to know the creator, Kristina, a little bit better.  Here’s what she shared with us:

What started the creative fire burning for you? Do you remember a particular moment, a favourite childhood activity, something you saw and wanted to recreate or improve upon?
I can’t pinpoint anything specific that started the fire burning, it’s just something that’s always been there! I think I’ve always looked at the world a little differently than the average person and for as long as I can remember I’ve been into art and been good at it. When I was a kid my mom kept a craft box for us. It was full of all kinds of stuff! Your usual craft stuff like paper and glue but also things we would find around the home or in nature; buttons, leaves, pinecones….the list goes on! We spent hours with that craft box creating whatever our heart desired!

Where do you look for inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. Fabrics, patterns, the shape of something. Sometimes I don’t even know where it comes from. I’ll be lying in bed and an idea will literally just pop into my head!

What part of creating your pieces gives you the most joy and satisfaction?
I get the most joy when a customer lets me have the creative control!  I think my best pieces are the ones where they just told me the colours or a couple little details and just let me work my magic! The painting is definitely my favorite part of this whole thing!

What is it about your creations that sets you apart?
My attention to not only detail but quality as well. Everything is double and triple checked to make sure there aren’t any paint drips or smears, no wood showing through; everything is top notch. I even paint the backs of everything! I spend a lot of time on every letter and I do many coats of paint to make sure that the quality is worth the money that my customers are spending. They don’t leave my hands until they’re perfect!

Why do you choose to work in this medium or format?
I’ve always had a preference for paint. It’s very forgiving and you can be very free with it! Plus, I love color!

How long does it take to create one of your pieces?
It all depends on the detail of the design. On average each letter that is painted with an artwork design takes me about 20 minutes to half an hour per letter. Some are longer if there are a lot of different letters or a detailed design.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out? Who has provided you with inspiration or mentorship on your journey?
Try not to get discouraged and work hard! It isn’t easy and it takes awhile to build confidence in yourself and your business along with getting your name out there and getting known. Have confidence in your abilities, your product, your pricing and your business and it will come. If you’re starting to feel discouraged then it’s time to sit back and analyze everything and maybe change some things up. I’ve had a few mentors and inspirational people along the way but the ones that stand out the most are simply the ones that just plain old believed in me! The ones who got it! That understand where I’m going!

Where can we find you online? (webpage, twitter, facebook, etc)

Thanks for sharing Kristina!
Stay tuned for more Feature Friday segments in the weeks to come,
Have a great weekend!


A scroll saw, some paint and a whole lot of talent!

Children love things that are made just for them – when you can include their favourite colours or some of their favourite things, they just light up! If you have a little one, Bouncing off the Walls would be a great place to start looking for that perfect custom gift.

Kristina, the Cochrane, Alberta artist behind these fabulous hand-cut and hand-painted pieces of art, started out painting wall murals back in 2004. She painted her first set of wall letters in 2006, and has since purchased a scroll saw and cuts all her own products! With the ability to start from a blank piece of wood, she creates some truly stunning custom pieces.

Bouncing off the Walls specializes in wall letters, and it’s easy to see why. The detail on these handpainted letters is incredible!

BoysRetro letters - Bouncing off the Walls

Such a classic look for a little boy's room

Chocolate Candy Wall Letters - Bouncing off the Walls

The detail on each letter is fabulous!

Kristina claims that her Hair Bow Holders are one-of-a-kind, and I have to agree. They are the perfect addition to any little girl’s room to keep their barrettes and clips organized and tidy! If you don’t have a daughter of your own, you might not get why this is such a good idea… so just trust me, as Mom to 2 little girls, I can vouch for this one!

Flower Hair Bow Holder - Bouncing off the Walls

Loving the bright, sunny feel and tons of space for barrettes & bows!

My other favourite from her site? This adorable giraffe made from 4 separate painted canvasses, linked together to create a personalized growth chart. How ingenious, and certainly more creative than using a doorframe to measure your little one!

Giraffe Growth Chart - Bouncing off the Walls

Since all of Kristina’s products are custom made-to-order, her turn around times are 6-8 weeks so we recommend that you plan ahead for that birthday or Christmas gift.

You can also find Bouncing off the Walls on Facebook, Twitter and at her blog! Drop by and say hello!