Summer update and Boosh!

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Well in to August I feel like the summer is just flying by.  Most of our days have been spent with a quiet park wander, collecting acorns, sticks and stones and visiting with my grandmother.  I am also in the midst of writing my Live Small Town Fall piece and starting to think of back to school and fall projects!

A lot of heavy feelings have surrounded me lately so I have been putting extra energy in to the ups of everything.  Making goodies for people here and there, slowing down to enjoy nature in all its beauty, snuggling my kiddos a little longer – and Wally dog too!  Even in the thick of it there is something to smile about.

I also had a FANTASTIC experience with Boosh recently – they make and sell natural lipstick here in Ontario, Canada!  If you haven’t heard of the brand look them up on Instagram or Facebook!  I purchased the lip plumping balm and it seemed to take a long while to get to me but I couldn’t even remember when I ordered it so I sent an email just to ask.  Sarah replied so quickly and pleasantly eager to help.  Canada post was just slow (typical 😉 ) and it arrived the next day!

I love this product SO much!  It has the nicest cool sensation and keeps my lips so soft.  I am a pretty plain person and wear minimal make up but this will be something I use often.  I also have my eye on Nova – a light colour I think will be perfect for just a little something when the mood strikes.

If you like lip colour check out the bold and subtle choices available and support a wonderful small business.

I will leave it at that, on a high note and with a reminder to be a kind human.  It really makes all the difference.

JESSICA

 

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Whiskey Tan + Wally’s new collar

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Several months ago I contacted Whiskey Tan about their beautiful handmade collars!  The trouble was Wally is a restless spirit who really hates being tinkered with in anyway so buckling up a nice traditional collar wasn’t a great option.  Chantel, the wonderful human behind Whiskey Tan, told me to leave it with her and she would see what she could come up with.

Before I knew it I received a message that adding a quick release was completely do-able and she would be happy to make Wally a custom collar!  I was so excited!  All the details such as width, length, colour etc were sorted out and Wally’s collar was quickly in the works.

This past weekend I received the collar and was blown away with the exceptional craftsmanship.  Everything about it is just perfect!  The whole process was so easy and I am happy to have been able to support such a great local (greater HamOnt/TO area) business.  Another bonus is a portion of every sale goes to various animal shelters!

If you are on the market for a well made dog collar I suggest you check out the Whiskey Tan website to see what options are available!  And not to worry, if you aren’t local your collar can be shipped right to you so you don’t miss out.

 

Thanks for reading and happy shopping!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

HR Ceramics – a look at another lovely Canadian artist

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Just before Christmas I happened upon HR Ceramics (Quebec) on Instagram – yes I find most things on this platform; it is my favourite.  I noticed that Hanna had made this sweet country inspired mug that I wanted to buy for my country loving sister in law.

I reached out through a direct message and Hanna quickly responded she would be happy to create this for me!  Since I was late making such a request I knew it wouldn’t be ready for Christmas – these things take a lot of time – but it was the perfect gift and I didn’t mind waiting at all.

I was updated throughout the entire process and as soon as it was complete Hanna sent me photos and even shipped it directly to my sister in law – who loved the surprise so much.

After admiring Hanna’s work on her HR Ceramics Instagram account for a while I finally purchased something to have in my own home.  Two sweet little dessert plates that have started my hand made tableware set.

The plates shipped out quickly and arrived packed perfectly protected with a hand written note.  I love the little things like that, it warms my heart and is a solid reminder of why I set out to purchase items made with love and intention in the first place.

My entire HR Ceramics experience has been wonderful and I enjoy following Hanna’s inspiring pottery journey on Instagram.

As a bonus if you are local to Hamilton Ontario you don’t have to travel far or online to purchase an HR Ceramics treasure.  You can find some of Hanna’s gorgeous work at Thuya Floral Arts on King St E .  How is that for close?!

I hope this peeks your interest and you go take a look at all of the wonderfully made pieces!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

 

Starting a new chapter – Why saying goodbye to our truck is so hard

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I may have just spent a solid 10min sitting in the drivers seat of our truck in the driveway with tear-filled eyes and a heavy heart.  It might be strange to you but for me it is letting go of almost a decade of adventures.

Our truck was just my other half, Pauls, for a couple of years.  He bought it when it was 4yrs old; 2yrs before he met me.  11yrs ago to this date it officially became his – funny how things work out.  Initially he looked at others that were larger with a smaller cab but ultimately decided on this – now old – gal.  The truck that is 😉 .

Together living our rather laid back dating lives we went everywhere in it.  My vehicles were always less than ideal so the truck was the “good” vehicle.  Seasons came and went and eventually it would be driving my pregnant self to OB appointments when I was pregnant with Lilah and midwife appointments when I was pregnant with Max.  We brought both of our babies home from the hospital in the truck.  It took them up north for vacation for the first time among so many other firsts for the kids and it took my beloved pups places too.  In fact the truck also brought Wally home to us.

The past 2yrs I have driven it as my daily driver which has meant taking the kids everywhere in it on PA days, holidays, summer vacation and everything in between.

I have been over the moon happy in that truck, I have also cried parked behind the wheel when times have been tough.  So much happened during the time we have had it.  Perhaps that is what this sense of loss really is – recognizing times past.

Now the truck is full of a lifetime of marks left by us and our travels.  Cracks and rust, tears and leaks – it’s aged much like we do.  As much as I would love to hold on to it until it falls apart in the driveway that isn’t very practical.

Last week we brought home our new to us vehicle and it’s time to officially part ways with the truck.  It’s time to take pictures of all it’s quirks with my mind and smile.  It’s time to let go and move on.

Here’s to the memories.  Here’s to the next chapter of our lives!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

 

Terre Ferme Pottery

IMG_2250Yesterday I received a BEAUTIFUL package from Kentia of Terre Ferme Pottery in Alberta.  I was anticipating something lovely but it is spectacular!  I had to share my entire experience with you!

I stumbled upon Terre Ferme in December I think it was on Instagram.  I truly have no idea how I did but there it was – this gorgeous account filled with so much functional art work!  After reading her bio I knew this was someone I most definitely wanted to follow!

Kentia has a delightful online presence.  She takes the time to connect with and interact with her followers.  It’s not easy to keep up with the oodles of comments, questions or DMs but she somehow does!

Her pieces are so unique – textured, full of delightful images, rich in colour and story.  I have followed all of the shop updates watching as the wonderful works are snagged quickly but hadn’t had the opportunity to get that perfect for me piece.

As luck and timing would have it about a month ago Kentia opened up a very limited pre-order for her Canadiana mug (Look for the story on the Terre Ferme IG!) that I happened to catch!  This mug captures the outdoorsy Canadian vibe perfectly and  I was drawn to it the moment I saw it.  I knew this was a piece I was meant to own and I was so happy to secure one.

The time flew by as this custom beauty was constructed and before I knew it, it was en route to me!  I was thrilled to bits to learn I would soon get to see this mug I have admired – in person!  It would be mine to enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon tea!

Yesterday when I picked up the package from the post office I noted the sweet Terre Ferme sticker on the side and the suitable Fragile label so the postal workers would know it is of delicate matter.

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I opened the box  as soon as I got home and in it sat another box tucked in brown paper to keep it from sliding.  The inner box had a sweet ribbon around it and there was the loveliest thank you note.  Inside nestled in packing peanuts was the mug hugged tightly with strong bubble wrap and a final layer of adorable dragon fly tissue, taped with lily pad washi to cradle this precious cargo.  A balance of beauty and practicality this package was.

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I unwrapped all of the layers and there it was – this stunning work of art.  All mine to love and use.  I am so thankful.

I have a strong passion for owning purposeful things built and made with care by fellow makers.  Pottery is just that – so useful and those who create it do so with love.  Kentia of Terre Ferme Pottery builds her pieces with intention and kindness and it shows.

If you love art that you can use as much as I do pop on over to the Terre Ferme Instagram and take a look at all of her creations!  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Happy Wednesday!

Summer update: creatures + herbs

 

Recycled Easter Eggs!

It has been a while since I last posted so I thought I would hop on by and share the Easter Egg craft the kids and I did in preparation for our egg hunt!

I was out the other day and noticed the traditional plastic empty eggs in a store  – the kind we always used in the past to fill with goodies – and I started to think of how they wound up in the garbage more often than not.  So I started to brainstorm a way we could avoid using these eggs from now on.  After a look through my miscellaneous craft supplies I saw a pair of weathered egg flats and thought they would be perfect!

After some thought as to how I would use them I separated the compartments, trimmed off any excess material and what I had left was several halves for the kids to paint!

Both Lilah and Max were excited for this part!  They love painting and usually end up with 1/2 of it on themselves 😉 .  We had a conversation about why reusing these eggs is a good alternative to plastic which they understood and even wowed me with some of their own facts!  Lilah piped up that the plastic eggs would take hundreds of years to break down if they did at all.  It is amazing how aware children are of the environment and the issues at hand.

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My next task was to figure out a way to easily join the halves after they had been filled.  I experimented with holes on either side to pull strings through which proved to be a challenge and not very practical.  So I opted to tie a string around the ends of the eggs to keep the halves together!

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Now we have a bakers dozen of recycled eggs to use in our egg hunt!  They might be a little lumpier looking but they will do the trick just fine!

There are so many ways to lessen waste this Easter!  Little cloth bags can be used to place treats in, festive shapes like bunnies or eggs can be cut out of felt and sewn to create little treat pockets and old baskets can be thrifted to collect or package Easter treasures instead of buying a new ones!  These are all good ways to avoid extra plastic (and other waste) winding up in the landfills and can be reused annually.

I hope you enjoyed our project and that Easter is lovely for you all!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

Back to the basics

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We are already in to 2018 and so far I have been rather productive!  I am not a traditional resolution maker – in the past I have just disappointed myself after failing 3wks in to a new year and who needs that?!  So I set a mental goal list instead.  One that is loose and flexible so it is almost always obtainable.

This year my goals involve making wearable items.  I intend to knit a pair of socks and knit or sew one wearable item a month.  These things can be started in the previous months, can be larger items like pants or smaller like a hat (which I need) but the idea is I will wind up with a solid collection of handmade items to choose from at the end of the year!

January has been full of handmade.  I completed my Sew House Seven toaster sweater with a gorgeous knit I bought at Needlework, and I knitted a pair of socks and a scarf out of gorgeous Canadian hand dyed yarn from Hello Stella.  Here’s hoping I can keep up the pace!

Aside from making I also intend to me more mindful of items I purchase.  Do I need it?  How was it manufactured?  Is the carbon footprint created in it’s process really worth it?  These are the questions I am asking myself.

As a single income family it is a challenge as things made in a more ethical and environmentally sensitive fashion also come with a larger but well justified price tag.  That is where making comes in handy and shopping second hand.  Thinking of each and every item as a carefully selected piece vs just another “thing”.

We are a wildly stuff driven society and I have become accutely aware of this issue as a consumer.  When the kids were babies I was completely caught up in the “oh I need that” realm of baby world but ultimately we used maybe an eighth of what we had.  And we were broke with a bunch of useless stuff.

Having school age children can make things a little harder.  They see what their friends have and it makes you feel like they should have them too.  I am guilty of this.  So when I am out and about I might grab that package of miniature whatever’s the kids might like but I am learning to put it back more often than not.  It isn’t always easy but I remind myself that it isn’t this “stuff” they will remember anyhow.  It is the moments.  The card games.  The late night movies.  Those are the things I really remember from my own childhood and I know it’s what my children will reflect on when they too are grown.

Writing is something I also intend to make more time for.  I have a sweet project in the works with a dear friend and have already submitted my Spring 2018 article for Live Small Town Magazine!  I look forward to seeing where my written works lead me in the year ahead.

Lets not forget about nature!  Getting outdoors amongst the trees, chirping birds, beautiful landscape and enjoying the peaceful solitude.  I intend to turn to nature more this year for inspiration, it has a lot to offer and is so good for the soul.

Making things, mindful consumption, more writing and getting back to nature is a great way to summarize my 2018 vision and so far I’m off to a great start!

I hope January is treating you well!

JESSICA

 

 

Hello Stella

IMG_0964I’m not really sure how exactly I happened upon Hello Stella on Instagram but I’m so glad I did!  Lindsay is a Hamilton yarn dyer who uses Canadian wool base yarns. The colour ways she offers are brilliant and unique which is likely what drew me in!  A maker with a kind heart and solid passion for what she does.

My first purchase was a skein of ziggy with the intention of making socks!… They took a back seat to Christmas gift making but the yarn is beautifully soft and the colour way – just gorgeous.  It’s so fun watching it unfold as the socks are being worked up!

The 12 Days of Christmas yarn box was one the biggest hand dyed yarn lot I have ever bought.  And it was entirely worth it.  The box was packed with 12 adorable muslin bags each holding a skein with a hand stamped number tag.  I had every intention of opening them up one by one but with a warm sunny December 1st I decided to open them up and snap their pictures!

Some of you likely followed along on instagram where I posted daily but for those who didn’t the following lovelies were in this glorious box of 12 mini skeins – that is a LOT of yarn!  Harvest, tidal, OZ, Lazarus, persimmon, china girl, fox in the snow, purl grey, balsam, London fog, ziggy and bohemian were all a part of this festive collection!

It was a major splurge but if I am going to splurge on something, I would much rather support a fantastic small biz like Hello Stella.  I look forward to the post Christmas making calm when I can start to use the yarn for a special something just for me!  I really hope to get my hands on some worsted and big stella in the near future for some other projects I have in mind too!

If you knit or crochet and love supporting local talent check out Hello Stella!  You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Making!

JESSICA

Think small and local this season!

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*Pre- read FYI* I just wanted to let you know that I am not sponsored or affiliated with these outstanding places in any way!  I do this because I love sharing places and things I find!

It’s that time of year already!  Parties, coffee dates and gift lists galore.  It is at times much easier to walk in to –>insert what ever boxed store here<– and grab this and that just to get it over with.  But what if you took a longer look at your Christmas list and at the people on it and thought about something just right for them!

Sometimes the conventional route is the way to go to do just that but perhaps there is someone on your list that would love a special book from Epic Books on Locke St S or J.H. Gordon Books on Kind St E.

Canine companion on your list?  My Dogs Cafe on Locke has treats for your pouch and Whiskey Tan online offers some gorgeous collars!

Perhaps you can find an extra special  toy for a child on your list at Barefoot Babies on Ottawa St N or Citizen Kid on Locke.  Some of my kids favourite things have been the quirky ones I have found in small shops!

The maker on your list just might love a little something from Needlework, Mixed Media or Handknit Yarn on James St N or perhaps a gorgeous skein of hand dyed yarn from Hello Stella.

If you’re crafty why not try and make something special for your loved one?  I know as a maker I hardly ever receive hand made things though they are my favourite!  I think people just figure I could make it myself so they choose another route.  Not true!  Makers love other handmade things ❤

Confections – my favourite.  Cake and Loaf on Dundurn is my usual go to for sweets and savoury eats of all kinds.  You can also find other wonderful gifts for the coffee lovers in your life there with a great selection of Detour Coffees and other goodness like honey.  Check out Cake and Loaf at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market for some different things too!

Chocolate on James has a wide variety of fun sweets for people of all ages.  Chocolate suckers are always a hit with the kids I know!

Harrington Lane Farms Village Shop and Harrington Lane Village in Waterdown can package up some delicious eats for you if you contact them ahead of time!  Who doesn’t love the gift of food?  They also have gift certificates!  You can also find the perfect cut of meat here or in a place like Honest Meat Co on Ottawa St N for your holiday entertaining eats.

If you’re looking for some wonderful local roasted coffee or brewing equipment check out Relay Coffee on Concession!  And while you’re at it get a hand poured beverage to warm you up!  My favourite is the maple latte 😉 …They also have a space in the Hamilton Farmer’s Market!

Mela Bath has some fantastic bath products for adults and kids alike.  Lilah and Max get so excited for the “ice cream scoop” bath bombs and whipped body butter!  They are my favourites too.  If you catch her before her Christmas deadline she does deliveries in the greater Hamilton area!

The gardener in your life would love a seed set from Matchbox gardens in Caledonia!  Hanna grows certified organic vegetables, herbs and flowers on her beautiful farm using sustainable farming practices!  These are seeds you can feel good about buying!

If you’re looking to get together for some good eats and a cuppa something great places like Cannon Coffee Co., Mulberry Coffee House on James St N, Finch on Locke, Cafe Oranje on King St E and Vintage Coffee on King St E, Durand Coffee on the corner of Charlton and Caroline, Work Progress Kitchen on James St N and Ward IV Coffee Bar on Main St E (I haven’t been yet but they look SO fun).  Another I haven’t been to but have heard GREAT things about is the vegan cafe Hearty Hooligan on Ottawa St N!  I could go on for days I think about coffee shops.  I love a solid latte 😉 .

Do you have someone who prefers tea to coffee on your list?  Monarch Tea Co – seriously love the packaging and the tea is heavenly – can be found in shops around the city such as the Mustard Seed Co op as well as online!  Pair that with a sweet handmade mug and you have the perfect gift!

This city is full of fantastic places to eat!  So if you are looking at dining out with friends and family maybe think outside the boxed brands and check out places like The French on King William, Mesa on James St N, Mattson and Co on Locke St S, Aberdeen Tavern on Aberdeen!

In the mood for a burger try Hambrgr on King William also on Ottawa St N or Delirious Burger on King St W now on Locke too!

Sometimes some good old fashioned comfort food is in order during the holiday hustle!  You can most definitely find that at Gorilla Cheese on Ottawa St N.  The Burnt Tongue on Locke as well as Cannon offers warm soupy goodness among other things.  Take home a bowl of awesome after a day of shopping!

There really are SO many other great places for food in the city.  Hamilton Farmer’s Market has oodles of great places to get some eats like Pokeh which you can also find uptown on Concession!  Many of these places offer gift cards too!

I could yammer on all day about the wonderful places I have been or hope to check out soon in search of great gifts like Thuya Floral Arts who’s Instagram is nothing short of beautiful but than no one would read it 😉 .

Giving gifts that are a little different and supporting local ventures when possible is something I strive to do regularly.  Christmas really is the perfect time to get out there and see what the city has to offer! James St N, King St E, Westdale, Ottawa St N, Locke St – are all wonderful places to wander in search of the perfect something!

I hope this helps you in your quest to find the gift that will wow or warm the heart of a family member or friend on your list this year!

Happy Shopping, dining and entertaining this holiday season!

JESSICA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December Happenings!

bowsI have been really busy “making” Christmas but I have a few things coming up that I thought I would share!

Holiday shopping guide for gifts!  A post similar to last year with some suggestions to help you find the perfect gift for friends and family in the greater Hamilton area.  I’m hoping to post that by the end of this week!

Hello Stella 12 Days of Christmas Blog Post sooooon!  If you love yarn + gorgeous Canadian hand dyed yarn Hello Stella’s work is beautiful!  Lindsay is an artisan gem in the city and I can’t wait to share her work with you!

December 4th is the press release for the Live Small Town Magazine’s winter edition!  It will be available online that day with hard copies to follow!

“Favourite Things” Holiday giveaway on Instagram!  The date is yet to be determined but I am going to host a giveaway featuring places I love for their warm customer service and quality products to celebrate this festive season!

I also intend to share some of the baking stories and crafting projects I do with Lilah and Max throughout December but there is always a chance time will pass me by far to quickly 😉 .

That’s all for now!

JESSICA