’tis the season – thinking small

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It has been quite a while since I have written anything here but I really wanted to share some of my shops/spots I love or would like to check out myself this season because they seem lovely as can be!  There are far too many fabulous places to list so this is just a snippet.  Most are greater Hamilton area though others are a little further away but still very drivable!

There are plenty of coffee shops/cafes in that offer gift cards, coffee beans, tea, brewing equipment or treats you could grab along with a cup of something delicious on the go for that special host/hostess in your life from one of these wonderful places!

#HamOnt :

  • Cake and Loaf – Dundurn and the Farmer’s Market (baked goods are the market focus AND in December you can find packaged goodies at Limeridge Mall in their  holiday pop up!)
  • Relay Coffee Concession St and the Farmer’s Market
  • Durand Coffee – Corner of Charlton and Caroline
  • Emerald coffee Co. – Barton St E
  • The Cannon – Ottawa St N
  • Cafe Orange – King St E
  • Ward IV Coffee Bar – Main St E
  • Mulberry Coffee House – James St N
  • Donut Monster – Locke St S
  • The Mustard Seed Cafe – York Blvd

#HamOntDogFriendly :

  • My Dogs Cafe – Locke St S
  • Munchies Coffee Housed Barkery – Upper Gage Ave

#VeganHamOnt :

  • Democracy – Locke St S
  • The Hearty Hooligan – Ottawa St N

#Burlington :

  • Kelly’s Bake Shop (also Vegan!) – Brant St
  • The Sunshine Doughnut Company – Brock Ave

#Dundas :  Detour Cafe – King St W

#Simcoe :  Joy Cafe and Bakery – Robinson St

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Dining out is also a holiday favourite for many!  Taking those special to you, out for dinner or giving them a gift card so they can go after the seasonal rush is always welcomed.

#HamOnt :

  • Mattson & Co. – Locke St S
  • The West Town Bar & Grill – Locke St S
  • Hambrgr Hamilton – King William St + Ottawa St N
  • The Burnt Tongue – Cannon St E + Locke St S
  • Twin Elephants – Fennell Ave E
  • Patties Burger Bar – Rymal Rd E
  • The French – King William
  • Aberdeen Tavern – Aberdeen
  • Shorty’s Pizza – Cannon St E

#HamOntVegan : Boon Burger – Ottawa St N

#Burlington : Bitehaus Bistro – Guelph Line

#MountHope :  The Pigeon (Catering and Takeaway) – Homestead Drive (Near Hamilton Airport)

#Cayuga :  Twisted Lemon Restaurant – Norton St W

#Oakville :  West End Social – Lakeshore Rd W

#StoneyCreek : Rony’s – Gray Rd

You can find so many other awesome spots to eat on blogs like Hamilton Small Fries – hamiltonsmallfries.com, TasteHamOnt – tastehamont.com, Hungry in the Hammer –hungryinthehammer.blogspot.com

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Other yummy options for gift boxes/baskets and more!

#HamOnt :

  • Hello Baked Sugar Shop – Barton St E
  • Dundurn Market – Dundurn St
  • The Mustard Seed Co Op – York Blvd
  • East Hamilton Cheese Company – Ottawa St N

#Ancaster :

  • The Little Gourmet – Hatton Dr
  • Tajmahal Spices & Cheese – Wilson St E

#Dundas:

  • Beanermunky Chocolate – King St W
  • Picone Fine Food – King St W

#Waterdown :

  • Harrington Lane Farm Village Shop – Main St S
  • Beanermunky Chocolate – Main St S

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Perhaps you haven’t had a chance to make it out to one of the holiday markets this season but you really want a unique or made with love gift!  These fine places are either shops or makers you can purchase that special something from.

#HamOnt :

#Ancaster :  Black & Smith – Jerseyville Rd W

#Dundas :

  • The Made in Canada Store – King St W
  • The Handmade House – Foundry St

#Mississauga :  Whiskey Tan – whiskeytan.com

#Norfolk :  The Shop at Sweetwater – Cockshutt Rd

#PortColburne : Kayla Marie Ceramics – Clarence St

#StCatherines :  Shed Pottery – Pelham Rd

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There are great shopping options for that creative maker in your life too!

#HamOnt :

  • Needlework – James St N
  • Handknit Yarn – James St N
  • Hello Stella Fibres – hellostella.ca

#Ancaster :  Needle Emporium -Wilson St E

#Westdale :  Mixed Media Shop – King St W

#LocalPatternMakers :

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One of my favourite gifts to receive is a book.  Nothing beats flipping through actual pages of text!

#HamOnt – James Street Bookseller – James St S, J.H. Gordon Books – King St E, Epic Books – Locke St S

#Waterdown :  Pickwick Books – Dundas St E

#Westdale :  King W. Books – King St W

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Last but not least for the flower lover on your list why not check out the stunning work of House of Penney on Barton St E or order something spectacular from Thuya Boutique Online!

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I hope this was somewhat helpful and that you find the perfect gifts for those near and dear this holiday season!  I will share all of these fantastic places on Instagram and I will share other places I love that are further away over the next week!

Happy Shopping/Eating/Sipping!

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

 

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

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

November Hustle

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How did we get here?!  November already!  October was full of fall activities – pumpkin walk at the RBG and picking the perfect pumpkins to carve at this sweet little pumpkin patch were our favourites… well next to Halloween of course!  The kids loved dressing up and trekking house to house to collect treats.

This month making madness begins as I knit, crochet, sew and plan the perfect gifts for the people around me!  I’m hoping to involve Lilah and Max more in the process of spreading joy this year.  They both love to create and share as much as I do so I’m sure it will be a lot of fun for them!

Added in to the mix of my usual creating and mom life is planning a collaborative project with one of my dearest friends.  Since high school we imagined working side by side at some point so this is extra exciting.  It’s basically a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold!

I also recently submitted my section for the Live Small Town Magazine’s Winter issue so stay tuned for that!

Lots of things going on my way this month, if you follow my instagram you will see bits and pieces as I go.

I hope that November treats you well!

JESSICA

 

 

 

Days like this

The other morning I was startled awake to Max’s cries.  He was sick and a mess so I sleepily stumbled in to the bedroom to assess the situation.  After getting him cleaned up and settled we headed back to sleep only to be woken up by the alarm clock for school 20min later.  Once again I picked myself out of bed and helped Lilah get ready for school and out the door in a timely fashion.

I’m not a morning person by any means.  I’m also not a night person since having kids… I fall somewhere in between.  10am until maybe 5pm is when I meet my best self.  All other hours have varying levels of exhaustion.  Having a sick child just adds another bump in the morning routine which lucky for us isn’t that smooth as is.

As hard as these days can be I am actually kind of thankful for them.  On these days several positives happen.  One being that I am forced to slow things down.  All plans get cancelled or rearranged and I’m ok with that.  It also gives me the time to snuggle and tend to whomever is under the weather and well… one day I know they won’t be so interested in having their mommy wipe their nose or tend to their fevers.

CSA love + Matz Fruit Barn

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As some of you know I have been participating in Matchbox Garden’s CSA for a few years now.  I love the weekly drive out to Caledonia and throughout the summer the kids and I stop and wander along the river enjoying the scenery before we pick up our share.

The last two years Hanna has offered some bonus add ons such as Stasis Preserves, Lovell Spring’s Trout and Matz Fruit Barn (located in Port Dover this is a sweet little shop with a whole lot to offer).  As much as I would love to support ALL of them, I chose to add Matz Fruit Barn to our veggie share knowing the fruit would be devoured by us all!

The season started out with the usual rhubarb and strawberries and as the fruits cycled through we have had such a wide variety – from Gooseberries and raspberries to peaches and coronation grapes (a solid fave of mine) – there is always something for everyone!

Matchbox Garden experienced winter squash crop loss due to flooding in the spring so Matz will be providing it for the CSA shares!  So don’t be fooled by the name, there are loads of veggies available too!  The butternut squash from my share this week was huge and is about to become a great big batch of soup for dinner tonight and freezing for later!

One thing I really love about local farmers is how they work with one another when things like crop failure occur.  Because every year it happens on some level, after all we cannot control mother nature and she can be a finicky gal 😉 .

We are 3/4 of the way through the 2017 CSA season and I look forward to seeing what the last leg of our produce filled adventure sends our way!

If CSAs aren’t your thing I encourage you to check out Matz Fruit Barn directly, it is so important we support our local farms for a multitude of reasons and this is a gem among them!

Enjoy this lovely fall day!

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