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!