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:
And LaPetiteBoheme’s “whole wide world” earrings are a lovely accent to finish off any outfit with some international flair:
Nellyvansee from Montreal has this lovely globe pendant that lets you keep the whole world in your hand (or at least near your heart…)
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:
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 :
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!
As the parent of a toddler, it sometimes feels like I am living in the eye of a hurricane. My girl is one pudgy-cheeked ball of motion, noise, and sometimes utter chaos. So when bedtime arrives and she is feeling snuggly and quiet, my husband and I really soak up those moments! Of course when a kiddo feels like cuddling there is nothing better than a special squishy friend, and these adorable buddies from Stephanimals are so cool that every kid is bound to love them.
Each one is handcrafted to be “Unique Like Nature”, and they even come with a soft story book that helps kids learn about the animal and their habitat! The quiet moments are a great opportunity to talk with kids about things that are important to your family, and Stephanimals share stories of conservation and knowledge about the world’s critters.
But wait! It gets even better! Stephanimals donates $2 from every single sale to charity, (in 2011 all funds raised will go to Nature Canada) Awesome, right? They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk… and you can too!
There are lots of different fabric choices for each animal, make sure you visit the Stephanimals site to see them all. There’s also links to lots of eco-friendly groups and products, a fun page full of activity ideas, and an animal info section where curious minds can go to learn and explore!
~Remembering my special childhood bedtime buddy. Her name was Ellie… she was an elephant. Yes I know, the creative juices run deep in me, can’t you tell?
The Redfish Kids Clothing booth is one that I will readily admit was calling to me across the hall at the recent OOAK Vancouver show. As soon as I came within site of the booth with all of it’s brightly coloured and patterned dresses, I knew that I’d be taking home a couple of pieces for my girls.
Redfish Kids Clothing is described on their website as follows:
…inspired by the street fashion of cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. With strong images and expressive colors, Redfish fabrics are handpicked from around the world and purchased in limited quantities – rarely is the same fabric combination repeated. The prints we choose are reflective of many cultures and of our desire to embrace the new and current while simultaneously harnessing the old and historic in pattern, design and construction.
Now, it’s obvious that I love Canada, but I also love to travel and I can’t help but fall victim when Asian themes are present. The cultural influences at play in Redfish Kids clothing are integrated into the stylish clothes so beautifully, that it doesn’t seem odd for an 18 month old from the Alberta prairies to be wearing a kimono style dress. The fabrics are gorgeous, the colours vibrant and they even had several styles with enough colours (done tastefully, of course) to satisfy my rainbow-loving 5 year old!
The philosophy behind Redfish Kids Clothing is outlined in their tagline: “Clothing for the Courageous”. The masterminds behind Redfish, Kristy and Lorraine, want their clothes to help foster self-esteem and to encourage children to walk with confidence and courage. They even have a section of their site dedicated to stories of courage from Redfish-wearing families!
There are a wide variety of styles and ever-changing fabric combinations available on their site, including styles for boys and comfy lounge pajamas… but my favourites are the dresses. I can’t wait for my daughters to put their’s on for Christmas Eve. I only hope that I can get the little one to stand still long enough for a photo ;)
You can find the 100% sweatshop-free and locally made (in Vancouver) Redfish Kids Clothing in their online store and in upscale boutiques worldwide, as well as on Facebook and Twitter! And ladies, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be interested to know that I heard a little rumour that adult sizes might be on the way soon…!!
P.S. I watched the movie Eat, Pray, Love with my friends when we were in Vancouver last weekend… little did I know that the dress that Julia Roberts’ character pulls out of her friend’s baby hope chest was a Redfish dress! Lorraine and Kristy share the moment that they first saw the dress on screen in a lovely blog post. Well done, ladies :)
Edited to add:
Here’s a photo of my girls, in their Redfish Kids holiday dresses!
Pretty much every kid loves animals. I know my daughter squeals with delight if she even *hears* our cat, and gleefully points out any dog, bird, or squirrel that she sees on our walks. Kids also love to see their own names. It helps build their sense of identity, and is usually the first word that they learn to read and spell. So it makes perfect sense to fit the two together, and why not make it a puzzle for good measure? Enter: Zoodonyms. Wooden name puzzles featuring bright colours and animal shapes!
Keep them on a wall or shelf for display until baby is old enough for safe play, then bring on the puzzle fun!
Last but not least, as a confirmed word nerd and book lover, this one really stole my heart:
Check out the Zoodonyms online store to see the rest of the products, or to place a custom name order. If you are in the Toronto area and haven’t yet been to the One Of A Kind Show (what are you waiting for? run, don’t walk!) you can find Zoodonyms there alongside a *ton* of other talented and friendly crafters until Sunday afternoon.
Keeping our kids safe is definitely a full time job. We baby-proof, we supervise, and we continually drill safety lessons. Amidst all that, we hope that our kids get to have fun, be free, and be… well… kids! Yes, protecting our children to the best of our abilities is incredibly important, but who says it has to be boring? Not us! and definitely not the fine folks over at Tail Wags. They have found a way to make protecting our little one’s noggins an entertaining and creative experience.
Their adorable line of helmet covers encourages kids to wear their helmets by letting them express themselves during their active play. In the summer they can be used while riding bikes, skateboarding, rollerblading, or horseback riding. In the winter helmets are a great idea for those little skiers, snowboarders, or for extreme sledders. Just ask my brother Philip about our game with our G.T. Snowracers – we called it “Ambulance”, and to this day I am shocked that we never needed one to pick up any pieces!
Having a unique cover on your child’s helmet can also help you pick them out of a crowd. Trying to ski down a hill while keeping an eye on your completely fearless, snowsuit-clad torpedo among all the other little fearless, snowsuit-clad torpedoes? No problem, just look for the one whose helmet looks like a bumble bee!
Helmet covers are available in two sizes (Adult and Child), and fit all models of approved helmets. You can find them on the Tail Wags website, follow along on twitter, or be a facebook friend (and get a 10% discount!). I even hear rumours that they will be attending the upcoming One Of A Kind show in Toronto, so if you are in the area you can pick one up in person.
Here’s to keeping our loved ones safe all year through, and having some fun at the same time!
You guys, I totally laughed out loud when I saw the Monster gloves from Boysenberry Lane tonight. Really, I’m not just LOL’ing, I mean I giggled! Just look at these Purple People Eaters:
Wouldn’t those be fun to wear?! Bet my 4.5 year old would think I was the coolest Mom! I’m thinking that there’s some extra entertainment value in getting more than one pair so that you could mix and match your monsters. These come in kids’ sizes too, and I can only imagine the voices my daughter would come up with for her Purple People Eaters!
If you still like a little flair, but maybe aren’t into the monster vibe so much, these black fleece gloves with a little flower detail are lovely.
Tammy, the creative force behind Boysenberry Lane, hails from Comox, BC and obviously has a sense of humour about her fleece creations. You can get coordinated with a matching iPod Monster case, below, or even dress up your kitty with products from her sister shop at Paws ‘n’ Tails.
You can find Tammy at her shops linked above, as well as on Twitter.
My little girl is nearly seven months old, and she doesn’t have a doll to play with. Now before you think the poor child is deprived, she does in fact have toys, books, puppets, and several stuffed monkey buddies, just no actual dolls of her own. I am beginning to think that it is time to remedy this situation (preferably before she starts trying to put clothes or diapers on our long-suffering cat).
So of course I was thrilled to find Third Street Handcrafters from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Andrea and Sonia are sisters (anyone sensing a theme here?? We are all about the sister-teams!!), who make one of a kind cloth dolls that would make a great new friend for any little girl or boy. Each doll is completely unique, often using up-cycled fabrics, and comes complete with details about your new buddy’s personality.
Visit the Third Street Corner Store on Etsy to see more of these huggable little friends. You can also check out their blog for all the latest happenings on the street, a peek into the sister’s lives, and even a touch of humour (if you’ve ever had glitter stay in a carpet for more than a year-and I have- you will definitely chuckle).
~Growing old is mandatory, but growing UP is optional~
Dear friends of mine welcomed their much-anticipated second child to their family last week, so naturally, I’ve been browsing some of my favourite handmade sites to find the perfect gift. In my web travels tonight, I came across Golly Gee! Baby, and have been debating purchases ever since.
I think I’m destined to like Golly Gee! Baby, partly because the owners are a sister team from just outside of Edmonton (my sister and I write this blog, I live outside of Edmonton. Parallels, people!) Heidi & Christina were inspired by the birth of Christina’s daughter 18 months ago and began creating their line of colourful, fun but functional designs.
My friends had a little boy, and I think that he might just need one of these ties. I’m not sure when he’ll wear it, but really, every little man needs a swank tie, right? It’s designed with little hands in mind so it won’t tighten if pulled on, and connects with velcro at the back to keep him safe as well as adjust the size.
For the girls in the crowd, Golly Gee! Baby offers some very sweet bubble dresses that will last your little one through at least one or two growth spurts! Just adjust the tied shoulder straps from sundress to tunic top – I know that our oldest daughter loves wearing her too-short dresses over a pair of jeans or leggings, so these would get a lot of wear at our house. Not to mention the fact that this particular version of the dress has every colour in the rainbow and our 4-year old’s biggest goal in life is to “dress like a rainbow every day”! Wonder if Golly Gee could make this in a Size 4T?
The sisters have a shop chock full of goodies – they also design baby boots & slippers, blankets, change mats, diaper bags & wet bags, cart & chair covers etc.! You can find the full rainbow of Golly Gee! Baby products on Etsy and follow them on Facebook.
Golly Gee! Baby is also half of the team behind a great new craft expo in the Edmonton area – WeeStock held their first event just outside of Edmonton last spring and had a fantastic response. The show is expanding this Fall to more than 100 vendors, all with a family focus! If you’re in the area, save November 20th and drop by the Mayfield Trade Centre for some fantastic handmade goodies.
I think puppets are wonderful toys. They are cute, cuddly friends that encourage creativity, language skills, teamwork, and a host of other developmental benefits. Not to mention they are fun too! When I was pregnant with my little one last year, I found myself looking long and hard for gender neutral, environmentally friendly, safe and creative toys. A bit of a tall order, I know, but Cate & Levi fit the bill in every aspect.
Everything they make is made from all natural and reclaimed fabric, (eco-friendly? check!). Puppets and animals are certainly just as much fun for a girl or a boy (gender neutral? check!). Everything is baby friendly with no buttons to choke on, or pieces to pull off, and fabric construction means no lead paints or sharp plastic edges (safe? check!). And best of all, the toys allow you and your little one to come up with your own games and stories, and it can be different every time (creative? you bet!). From puppets, pillow pals and stuffed animals, to “zoo cubes”, wall art, and organic clothing, no two pieces are ever exactly alike. I know this to be true, because I think I spent 20 minutes debating the merits of different puppy puppets before choosing *just* the right one to bring home with me from a craft show last fall.
Check out Cate & Levi online to see the complete critter collection.
Today we also have the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about Josh, the owner and founding Dad behind Cate & Levi. He took a moment to answer our Feature Friday Q &A. Here’s what he had to say:
1. 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?
-my first creative pursuit was constructing a travel backgammon out of a beautull suede material
2. Where do you look for inspiration?
-always nature – if time permits, Algonquin
3. What part of creating your pieces gives you the most joy and satisfaction?
-seeing it through from concept to prototype
4. What is it about your creations that sets you apart?
-Made In Canada but available at a reasonable price worldwide
5. Why do you choose to work in this medium or format?
-reclaimed wool chose me – it was fate – we met at a “green” show
6. How long does it take to create one of your pieces?
-depends on the item
7. Do you feel that living in Canada has influenced your work?
-yes, there’s less brand noise than in the US so more ability to dream
8. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out?
-rewards come to those who persist
9. Who has provided you with inspiration or mentorship on your journey?
-wife, child and my family and friends
10. Where can we find you online? (webpage, twitter, facebook, etc)
Thanks for sharing Josh!
Have a great weekend,
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!