Archive for the Nova Scotia Tag

We’re just Playin’

Sometimes you don’t know that you were looking for something until you find it.  Such was the case for me when I stumbled upon Polymer Playin’.   These pieces of wearable art made out of polymer clay left me wondering how I have ever gone this long without one!

The colour, the pattern, the bold chunky-ness… I love it all!

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Oh My. How have I gotten this far in my life without owning this? How?

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A love of colour combined with the versatility of clay combine to produce these great works.  The somewhat mysterious artist behind Polymer Playin’ resides on the east coast, (Nova Scotia to be exact).

The swirl has drawn me in... I cannot look away

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There’s even some that are suitable for those whose tastes run a bit more to the rocker side of the spectrum.  Like this fantastic “flaming” guitar:

*throws the goat*

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See what else Polymer Playin’ has to offer by visiting the Etsy shop.  You might just find something you never knew you couldn’t live without…


Dreaming of Paris… and Nova Scotia!

I am always amazed by the way an artist can convey a certain feeling so clearly, just through the use of colour and shape.  The way that they can capture movement, emotion, and even bring to mind particular sounds and smells is truly amazing.  One such talented artist is Shelagh Duffett, better known as Alice in Paris.  The moment that I saw her bold and energetic prints, I was immediately drawn in and transported into the seaside world that she creates.

Can't you just feel the salty summer breeze?

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Many of Shelagh’s prints celebrate her Nova Scotia home, and there is often a friendly feline or two making an appearance as well.  They strike a perfect balance, managing to be both youthful and vibrant without being childish.

So peaceful and calm...

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This just sums up a carefree childhood, doesn't it?

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I love the strong colours, and the composition of her work.  Each one can send you into a new set of daydreams, losing yourself into a whole different world full of possibilities and adventure.  Even a few flowers in a vase have an element of lighthearted fun:

I don't know what I love more: the whimsical spirals on the vase, or the "kapow!" red background...

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To get a taste of what Alice in Paris is all about, you won’t want to miss her great Blog.  Then grab a cup of tea (yes, this is a requirement!) and cruise through the Etsy shop to check out all the wonderful prints.  Once you’ve done all that, come on over and  join the conversation on Twitter!

Daydream believer…Oui oui!

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!)


Pip pip hurray!

It’s still winter, despite the balmy +4 temperatures in Edmonton right now, and I don’t think a person could ever have too many scarves. Or, cowls for that matter!

Pip Robins is a shop chock full of stylish cowls made with fabulous thrifted and salvaged fabrics. Gillian Hyde, the creative energy behind the Nova Scotia-based business, spends time every week seeking out fabrics that will eventually be transformed into her lovely cowls of all shapes and sizes.

Silk cowl by Pip Robins -

100% silk, reversible cowl. Sumptuous.

Silk embroidered cowl by Pip Robins -

Gorgeous for a night out!

It is obvious that Gillian takes pride in her self-taught seamstress status, and each cowl is made 100% by her from beginning to end, including the modeling. I love her mysterious one-eye peeking look! Because the fabric that she uses is often limited, you can be assured that each piece is either one of a kind or a limited edition.

Sage green cowl by Pip Robins -

So posh!

Pip Robins has a wide range of colours, fabrics and sizes to choose from (and options for the man in your life, too!). You can visit the Etsy shop, her website, Facebook and Twitter, too! And here’s a challenge for you… see if you can find the listing in her shop that actually shows her whole (very lovely) face – there is one, I promise!

Stay warm, wear a cowl!

P.S. Rumour has it (okay, it was in an article in the Halifax Commoner that featured her work) that Gillian used her earnings from last year’s holiday sales to buy herself a motorcycle! Fun!

Event Alert: Crafting from the Pacific to the Atlantic

As the holidays inch closer and closer, our crafters and artisans are busier than ever!  There are craft shows and sales all over the country, giving you a chance to purchase local, handmade, unique gifts that will be treasured by those you love.  Here is a sampling of some of the fantastic events from coast to coast this weekend:

Victoria, BC: Head to the Crystal Gardens for the Out of Hand Artisan Christmas Fair.  Starting today from noon until 9:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Admission is $8.00, seniors and students are $7.00, kids under 16 are free.  Fashionistas won’t want to miss the friday evening “fashion in action – a girls night out” from 6 – 9:00 pm, featuring DJ’s, cocktails, and models, along with all the fabulous handmade goodies.  Need directions? click here for a map to the Crystal Gardens.

Edmonton, AB: Truly local flair is on tap at the 9th Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair.  Taking place at  8426 Gateway Boulevard on Saturday and Sunday.   Open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.  Admission is only $2.00.  You can even RSVP on Facebook to let them know you are on your way!

Halifax, NS: Billed as Halifax’s favorite craft market for over 25 years, you won’t want to miss the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market. With over 130 booths featuring vendors from across the country, it is sure to be a crafter’s delight.    The show starts today from noon to 9:30 pm, then opens at 9:30 am on Saturday, and 10:00 am on Sunday.  General admission is $6.00, seniors, Dalplex members, and Dalhousie students (with proper ID) are $5.00.  Once again, you can RSVP for this event on Facebook.

Toronto, On: Put on some comfy shoes and be prepared to spend the whole day, because you won’t want to miss a thing at the One Of A Kind Christmas Show and Sale.  Open now until December 5th at the  Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, it is a yearly highlight for Southern Ontario lovers of arts and crafts.  I will be stopping by next week, and I can’t wait!   Doors are open from 10:00 am daily, and close at 9:00 pm (6:00 pm on Sundays).  Parking and Directions can be found here (you will need to pay for parking, or take the TTC).  Save $2.00 by purchasing your tickets online, costs at the door are $12.00 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and students.

Edmonton, AB: Vive la Revolution!  It’s Edmonton’s turn to experience the Handmade Revolution that is Make It! After opening on Thursday evening, things get rolling again today from noon to 9:00 pm, then 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.  This craft party is being held at the Alberta Aviation Museum (need a map? no problem!), and costs only $5.00.  Print this flyer and you can save $2.00 off admission.  On site parking is free.  Keep your eyes peeled for Sarah, I have a feeling she’ll be lurking around there somewhere!

Vancouver, BC: Experience the Portobello West Fashion and Art Market, held on the last Sunday of every month, this is your last chance before the holidays!  The market is open on Sunday from noon until 6:00 pm, and admission is $2.00.  You can also become a market member for $15.00 and get admission for the whole year!   The market takes place at the Rocky Mountaineer Station, and you can get directions online here.

Moncton, NB: Over 400 vendors are expected to take part in the Turner’s Christmas at the Coliseum Craft Show & Sale this weekend.  The show is held at the Moncton Coliseum Complex (naturally), and admission is $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors, students, or members of our armed forces.   Things get rolling from 2:00 to 10:00 pm today, then 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday.  A map link is provided here.

Winnipeg, MB: Thanks to a kind reader for letting us know about a joint event with Handmade Holiday and “This Aint Your Grandma’s Craft Sale“.  It’s taking place tonight from 5:00 to 10:00 pm, and tomorrow from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Winnipeg craft fans can head over to the West End Cultural Centre to check out over 40 local crafters.  Suggested donations for admission will go to charity.

You can also find shows in Oshawa, and Tillsonburg ON, Bear River NS,  Muskoka cottage country, and maybe one just a few steps from home.

If you stop by and visit any of these shows, be sure to let them know C+H sent you!  (and then drop us a line and tell us how much fun you had!).

Wishing I could be in 10 places at once…

Event Alert:

Needles are flying, kilns are firing, lathes are spinning, and kitchens are heating up all over the country.  We are definitely in prime time for holiday craft shows, and we here at C + H couldn’t be happier!  For your shopping pleasure, here are some of the great crafty events taking place this weekend:

Vancouver, BC: Vancouverites can join the Handmade Revolution this weekend as the Make It! show comes to town.  Visitors will recognize several of our wonderful C+ H vendors as you browse the aisles at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Dr).  Doors will open at 4:00 pm today, and 11:00 am on Saturday and Sunday.  Admission is $5.00.  Print off the flyer found here and save $2.00!
p.s. I’ve heard that “Make It is like a mullet;  Craft show in the front, party in the back”… sounds like my kind of place!

Vancouver, BC: Once you lucky folks are done at the Make It! show, head on over to the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center for the Circle Craft Christmas Market.  Doors open at 10:00 am daily for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Admission is $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors and students.

Mississauga, ON: The International Centre in Mississauga will host the 2010 Seasons Christmas Show, beginning today and running until Sunday.  Adult tickets are $10.00 each if you buy online, or $12.00 at the door, $10.00 for seniors & youth.   Or, take advantage of 2 for 1 admission after 5:00 pm today (at the door only).  A map and directions are available here.   Hours of operation are 10:00 – 8:00 on Friday, 10:00 – 6:00 on Saturday, and 10:00 – 5:00 on Sunday.   You can also drop off a package of diapers in support of Peel Children’s Aid, to help out some “tiny humans” in need of extra support right now.

Winnipeg, MB: The Signatures Craft Show and Sale has taken over the Winnipeg Convention Centre (3rd floor, Hall A).  The show opened yesterday, and runs from 11:00 – 9:00 today, 10:00 – 6:00 on Saturday, and 10:00 – 5:00 on Sunday.  Admission is free, and directions can be found here.    Don’t miss the Children’s Christmas Craft Centre, where the little ones can create their very own handmade holiday item to take home.

Calgary, AB: This is the second (and final) weekend of the Spruce Meadows Christmas Market.  All the same fun, running from 12:00 – 9:00 today, and 10:00 – 5:00 on Saturday and Sunday.  Adult admission is $8.00.

Halifax, NS: The Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council presents their annual Christmas Craft Market at the Cunard Event Centre.  The Cunard Event Centre is at Pier 23 on the waterfront, what a lovely setting for a fantastic show.  Opening at 10:00 am daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and parking is free.   A weekend pass is available for $9.00.  Daily passes are $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors and students, or $20 for a family of four.  Print this coupon for a $1.oo discount.

Guelph, ON: The University Centre (aka: the UC) at the University of Guelph will be a busy handmade marketplace this weekend, as Fair November comes to town.   Admission is free, and booths will open at 10:00 am today and Saturday, and 11:00 am on Sunday.  Click the link above for parking instructions and campus shuttle bus details.

Edmonton, AB: If there are little ones on your list, you may want to check out WeeStock, a show designed to bring baby-centered boutiques and family owned businesses together with discerning parents and kids!  This event runs on Saturday only from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Mayfield Trade Centre.  Adult admission is $7.00 and wee ones are free (of course!).  You may also bring clothing to donate in support of Basically Babies.

Vancouver Island, BC: Check out the Yellow Point and Cedar Country Christmas Tour from the 18th to the 21st.  Almost thirty local artisans put together this lovely holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss.  Each stop on the tour is open from 10:00 to 5:00 daily.

You can also find events in Nanaimo, Coburg ON (sunday only), Chilliwack BC, Ottawa ON (sunday only), and many, many more.


p.s. If you will be attending or participating in a show coming up, let us know!  We’d love to help spread the word.  Just send the details to


Event Alert: Early Edition!

This weekend will be jam-packed with craft shows and sales across the country.  So, in order to give everyone a leg up on planning your shopping excursions, we are bringing you this week’s event alert just a little bit early.  All set? Hold on to your hats, ’cause here we go!

Halifax, NS: It’s Christmas at the Forum. From November 5th to 7th at the Halifax Forum, opening at 10:00 am daily. Over 450 exhibitors make this “The big one” on the East Coast, you don’t want to miss it!

Lethbridge, AB: The Fall Into Christmas show comes to the North Pavilion of Exhibition Park.  Running Friday through Sunday, doors open at 10:00 am daily.  Admission is $5.00, kids 12 and under are free.

Kamloops, BC: The 2010 Craft A Fair is happening on Sunday Only, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm at the Interior Savings Center (300 Lorne St, Kamloops).

Barrie, ON: The 16th Annual Xmas Craft Show comes to the Barrie Molson Center, November 5-7 th.  Opening at noon on Friday, 9:00 am Saturday, and 10:00 am on Sunday.  Admission is $6.00, or $5.00 for Seniors, kids 12 and under are free.

Almonte,ON (near Ottawa): The Handmade Harvest takes over the Almonte Town Hall on Saturday, November 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission and parking are free.

Kitchener, On: Enjoy a lovely walk, with great crafters and artisans mixed in for extra fun!  Experience the Frederick Street Art Walk this Saturday.  Click the link above for participating homes and many more details.

Calgary, AB: Make It! The Handmade Revolution is coming to Calgary this weekend. At the Chinese Culture Center, Nov 5 – 7th, you can experience the fun of a combination craft show and party! Make It! is not your average craft show, with a DJ spinning on site as well as some seriously awesome indie artists and designers. Later this fall, Make It! will be in Edmonton and in Vancouver as well.

If you are able, head on out to one of these fantastic events this weekend!  You may even recognize some of the vendors from right here at Canadian + Handmade!

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.


Cookie Monster’s Delight

Confession: I love baked goods and desserts.  I can easily be lured anywhere with the promise of cake, and my eyes light up at the prospect of gooey brownies with ice cream on top.  You don’t even want to get me started about the time my poor husband thought we didn’t need cookies because we had bought some the week before…  puhlease….  In fact, there is a package of cookies by my side even as I write this post.  Sadly though, they are of the mass-produced machine-made variety, and not anything nearly as delicious as these sweet treats from Vanilla Bean Desserts.

Jane and Evelyn are a mother-daughter team from Halifax, who share a lifelong love of baking.  With one week lead time, orders for cookies and brownies are able to be shipped wherever you like.  However, some of the more perishable items are not able to be shipped (like the delicious looking cakes… sigh), so those of you in Halifax definitely win out!

These Chocolate Truffle cookies made my mouth water just looking at them!

Perfect for a kids halloween party. Think of them as edible decorations!

The thoughtful beauty of flowers, with the delicious indulgence of cookies. What better way to brighten someone's day?

Now that I’ve wet your appetite (ha!), head on over to the Vanilla Bean Etsy Shop, visit them on Facebook or see the whole range of products on their website.  Be warned: there is a distinct possibility that you may start to drool.  Just remember to lean away from the keyboard.  :-)


Finding new friends on Third Street

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.

Like many little boys, this guy wants to hunt for frogs, and avoid the bathtub!

This sweet girl is ready for all kinds of fun, and her pigtails are adorable!

Ready for bedtime in her purple monkey jammies. A perfect friend to share stories, snuggles, and lullabies

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~