I love these fortune cookie Valentine cards – she’ll put in a custom message for you too.
By imeon design.
Shopping blog featuring products made by people not factories.
I love these fortune cookie Valentine cards – she’ll put in a custom message for you too.
By imeon design.
Unlike our neighbours to the south, with their somewhat-brazen flag waving, we Canadians are notoriously humble about our patriotism. Sure we show our red maple leaves with pride, but it is always with an underlying sense of moderation and polite restraint. However, the one day of the year that we allow ourselves to really let loose is July 1st, when we take a collective day-off to observe our Nation‘s birthday. In honour of Canada’s 143rd, I’m inviting you to embrace your inner Canadian and take a peek at some terrific handmade finds from the unabashedly polite people at the top of the continent.
Rhonda, of My Handbound Books is a bookbinder and book artist hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who is constantly working on new ways to practice her craft and often includes an eco-friendly element. Some of Rhonda’s journals are made entirely from recycled/reclaimed/repurposed materials; to create the one pictured above, she didn’t have to go any further than her stash of leather scraps and salvaged trims and closures. To match the virtue of the cover, it is filled with unlined cream paper with 30% recycled content. Check out Rhonda’s blog http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com/ to see more of her eco-friendly projects, including her awesomely kitschy “as seen on tv” product box journals.
Released in 1983, Bryan Adams’ album “Cuts Like a Knife” was the third studio album by the Canadian singer/songwriter, and can easily be credited for giving Adams his first real mainstream popularity in both Canada and the US. Montreal’s Odd Bob has taken this iconic piece of Canadian music history and preserved it as a funky piece of functional art for the home. The signed and numbered piece has been carefully reshaped and three non-slip feet have been added. It even comes complete with its original cover! (Music lovers and collectors need not worry – Groovebowls are made only from records that Odd Bob has deemed “unplayable”, due to pits and scratches.)
Mariclaro Canada is a small design collective based in Toronto with a mandate to design and create sustainable products. The bag pictured above, made from seatbelts, upholstery and bike inner tubes, is a perfect example of their work. Created from 99% recycled materials (the thread makes up the remaining 1%), it is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind piece. Toronto locals (and visitors to “The Big Smoke”) can find the brick-and-mortar Mariclaro shop at 457 Roncesvalles Ave, just south of Dundas West.
Lucky me – one of my favourite Canadian designers just so happens to live right here in my home province! Winnipegger Kelly Ruth absolutely loves Manitoba summers and you can tell by the way the vibrant, earthy colours of her hand-dyed garments (pictured above) reflect the natural beauty of our ever-changing prairie landscape. By using special, fiber-reactive dyes on super-soft and sustainable bamboo-blend knit fabrics, Kelly creates one-of-a-kind pieces that no only look gorgeous when you buy them, but will not fade over time.
The upcycled Canada atlas envelopes at the beginning of this article are made by Prairie Peasant, a member of the Etsy Trans Canada Team. Visit the team blog to find out how you can win one of two fabulously Canadian prizes in their “Handmade in Canada Party”. Hurry – the contest only runs until Canada Day!
Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day, is a celebration marking the anniversary of the enactment of the British North American Act of 1867, which united two British colonies with a province of the British Empire into a single country. Similar to the way Americans celebrate their Independence Day, we Canucks will spend the day with family and friends; eating, drinking, gathering, parading and setting-off fireworks…with the utmost of polite moderation, of course.
I imagine the supermarket sales of white eggs soars this time of year. Soar may be a strong word, but I can’t imagine the increase is insignificant in any way. I’ve known even those with their own backyard chicken flocks to lament the need for supporting the corporate, commercial egg giants around Easter. I’ve overheard regular local shoppers, small farm subscribers even, who routinely add a dozen supermarket eggs to their shopping ritual just before the spring holiday, in fact.
Why? Because you can’t dye brown eggs.
Our Grandmothers would be rolling over that last statement. Absolutely rolling with laughter.
Of course you can dye brown eggs. Not only can you, you can do so with all natural dyes. And the result is stunning. Simply stunning. But somewhere, at some time, in the past fifty years or so that fact has been lost on America’s masses. Somewhere, at some time, in the past fifty years or so we’ve been conditioned to believe only the brightest, whitest, factory washed eggs are suitable for the spring-time ritual of dying eggs. And because of it, we’ve been missing out.
So gather your local farm fresh eggs, brown shells and all, boil them up, stack them in a bowl in the center of the table and summons the children — and children at heart. You’re about to make the most beautiful Easter eggs you’ve ever seen.
All you need is a couple of small stock pots, a little water, a splash of vinegar and whatever dying materials you can muster up. Beets make a striking red dye, while blueberries and their juice make the most vibrant blue I’ve ever seen and turmeric — such as the organic ground you can buy on Etsy, pictured above — makes an amazing deep, golden rod yellow.
Tip: Remember, keep it simple. From just the three primary colors your dying options are endless. No need to make countless dyes. Get creative and layer colors instead.
But you needn’t stop there. Onion skins, wine, coffee and tea grounds, and so much more can make excellent dyes. Use your imagination and what you have on hand.
Once you’ve chosen the items you’ll use to make dye. Add each to a small stock pot all its own, one at a time. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Maintain at a boil until dye reaches your desired depth and vibrancy. Strain into a coffee cup and add a splash of vinegar to help the dye adhere to the egg shell.
The dye will be, literally, boiling hot so if children are helping it’s best to let it cool slightly before using. Otherwise, you’re ready to begin.
Tip: Be patient. Natural dyes take a little longer than store-bought kits. The longer you leave the egg in the dye bath, the more intense the final color will be.
Print above is from The Big Harumph
As I write this, the New Year is just days away… Every year for as many years as I can remember I have had more resolutions than I could count: Eat less candy, workout more, save more money, be more tidy, and on and on the list goes. How about you? What kind of resolutions do you set each year?
This year I won’t set a single resolution. It’s not that I don’t think resolutions are valuable, I know they are! For me they’ve never lasted long, but I’m still glad that I kept each one for a week or two or three.
Image above is from The Wheatfield
This year I’m allowing myself to dream new dreams. Always a pragmatist, I’ll let you know that this is because I feel the time is right for me to try different things and to redefine what I value and what I would like my future to look like. So this means shifting my work focus, and spending more time doing things I love: decorating our family home, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends. It sounds simple, but something in me knows that this will fuel my creativity and my perspective.
Life’s disappointments often ask us to become jaded and to be fearful of trying new things. We so easily tell ourselves that we cannot accomplish the wonderful things we would like to do. This will be a year where my own voice grows stronger and as I work and rest and play I will remind myself that with diligence and persistence that I can accomplish new things.
Image above is from Valentina Design
I have heard experts suggest every year as we set resolutions that we be careful not to set too many, that we write them down and revisit them weekly. I am certain this is good advice, but this year – I’m choosing to dream and to believe that I will find growth both personally and artistically and that my life will continue to spring forth more beautifully than each year before it.
I want to hear your dreams and resolutions for the year ahead of us. It’s the perfect time of year for us to sweep away old disappointments and to look ahead with expectation!
Vintage fork with hand-hammered message (above) by Wooden Hive.
My business contacts in the US are always surprised when I tell them that my office will be closed at the beginning of October in observance of Thanksgiving. “There’s a *Canadian* Thanksgiving?” they inevitably ask. Why, yes. Yes, there is.
Fall wreath with upcycled tin-can flowers (above) by Custom Created.
Thanksgiving north of the border differs a little from the holiday celebrated by our American friends, but along with the name, there are some traditions that we both share. The similarities include football, family and a propensity towards incredibly cute home and table decorations, as seen throughout this article. You won’t find any pilgrims up here, though; our holiday is an autumn festival to mark the end of the crop season and give thanks for the bountiful harvest.
Handpainted, upcycled record bowl (above) by Eye Pop Art.
While our native peoples have been giving thanks to the land for countless generations before our arrival, the anglo history of Canadian Thanksgiving is a little sketchy in places. The first accounts date back to 1578; when a European explorer held a ceremony to give thanks for surviving a long ocean journey (sound familiar?). In 1872, Thanksgiving was observed in Canada as a civic holiday; however, the date and theme was changed from year to year. Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the second Monday of October, since the passing of an act of Parliament in 1959.
Rustic cutting board/serving platter (above) made from sustainable black walnut by Grey Works Design .
As far as the food is concerned, the Canadian Thanksgiving feast is made up of many of the same foods as the American. Turkey is the traditional main course, although I have seen a few hams hit the table in my time. The roasted bird is, of course, accompanied by sage-spiked stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Usual side dishes are mashed potatoes, veggies, squash dishes, breads and salads.
Pumpkin made from vintage 1970s fabric (above) by Whoopsie Daisies
Visitors from the US sitting down at a Thanksgiving feast in Canada will probably notice one glaring omission – in 38 years of giving thanks, I have never had to “pass along” a casserole of cloyingly sweet, marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. It’s not that we have anything against sweets; we’re just leaving room for pumpkin pie!
Pinecone and wire turkey place card holders (above) by Carrieveau Craft.
I shouldn’t diss the sweet potato casserole, though. I’m sure that Americans need all the energy they can get for Black Friday; an event that, to a casual observer, almost seems to trump Thanksgiving itself in the US. We do not have an equivalent to Black Friday up here, unless you count December 26th (aka Boxing Day), and usually spend the long weekend raking leaves and napping. Oh, the glory of tryptophan!
Cotton/wool acorns with real acorn “hats” (above) by Rose Cottage Boutique 2.
So, there. That’s Canadian Thanksgiving in a nutshell. I would love to hear from readers on both sides of the border – what are you thankful for?