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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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