Shop Update: Virtual Markets 2020

November 03, 2020


This socially distant year calls for a socially distant approach to shopping handmade markets for the holiday season. So, we will be participating in two virtual markets this month in the hopes to help you find the perfect gift or holiday card for your loved ones (for those you'll see in person, and from a social distance). 


The first virtual market is the Etsy SK Market (you can find it here) that will be taking place this weekend, Friday, November 6-7.


 



The other virtual market that we will be taking part in is The Wren's Virtual Handmade Market starting Saturday, November 21 and ending Sunday, November 22.


We've shopped some virtual markets this year already, and absolutely love how quick and easy it is to shop and find what you're looking for, but we will very much miss being able to see you in person and visit with all the shoppers that come to the table. 


Stay safe and have fun perusing!


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What We Love: Fall 2020

October 19, 2020

I picked up these Birkenstock boot/shoes when the weather started getting colder and my sneakers were just not keeping my feet warm while I was outside anymore, and I absolutely love them! While I know that they will not do the work of my mukluks, they have done a wonderful job keeping my feet warmer  while I'm outside with the children at work.



I heard this song from James Hunter while driving to get groceries one night, and I just loved the vibe of the whole thing, especially those saxophones at the beginning.



These delicious earrings (they're called marmalade hoops!) from Amilley and Hyde are absolutely gorgeous, along with all of the other unique and colourful earrings that can be found in Amanada's shop.


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Shop Update: World Alzheimer's Month 2020

October 05, 2020


 

I am so excited to be able to share that with you support, we were able to donate $20 to the Alzheimer's Society of Saskatchewan this year. It's an odd year this year with not being able to do in-person handmade markets, so I was a bit worried about how much we would be able to collect for donations, but you came through and made lots of purchases in September, making it so we could add to our total. So far, including this year, we have donated $180 to the Alzheimer's Societies of Canada and Saskatchewan. Thank you!!


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World Alzheimer's Month 2020

September 13, 2020

 


Since 2014, we have been donating 15% of profits from the month of September to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, and last year the Alzheimer's Society of Saskatchewan. This year will be no different. You can read about why we donate here.

To date, you have helped us donate over $160 to support to those who are suffering from the disease and their families, and to promote research. That is absolutely amazing! 

This year we will not be able to attend any local markets, and so it would mean so much to us if you would take the time to visit our shop this month to make a purchase. Let's see if this year can push us past $200!!

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Behind the Art: Because You've Helped Me Grow

August 28, 2020


I originally designed this card as a Mother's Day card for my own mom (a lot of new designs come out of necessity in my own life) because I had purchased her a small plant and I thought it would be a fun little sentiment to go with it. It's turned out to be a card that's perfect in any situation, regardless of who is in your life!

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Child Development: Providing A Script

August 25, 2020


Earlier this year, I wrote a post talking about the importance of teachable moments: what they are, and why they become increasingly necessary as your child gets older. In the post, I mentioned the idea of giving your child the words that they need to help them through a difficult situation, and I want to dig a little deeper into that.

Giving your child words does not mean that you are telling them what to think or feel, it means that you are providing them with a script (like in a play) that they need to help them express their emotions, and what they need. When a child does not have a certain skill, sometimes you need to teach them by breaking down the steps and providing them with opportunities to learn to do the skill on their own. This is called scaffolding, and it is a really useful way to help young children to be able to develop all kinds of skills (physical, social emotional, etc.). 

All children are capable of learning skills that we may believe are too difficult for them (even toddlers can learn to put on their shoes), sometimes they just need the steps to be broken down for them. It may take a while, or they may catch on quickly...it all depends on the skill, how it is being approached, and what your child does with the information.

Imagine your child has just been hit by another child at the park, and your child hits the other child back. You might tell your child to "use your words", but that phrase means nothing to a child that has not been taught what words to use. 

By getting close to your child (down to their level is even better), and giving them a script to use such as "Please don't hit me" or "Stop hitting me", you are giving them the words that they will need so that eventually you will be able to tell them "use your words" and they will know exactly what to say in response. Most likely, this will need to be done in every situation until your child has enough responses in their arsenal that they will be able to respond to any child in any situation. 

Think of how a building is put together. Is the top of the building put on first, or is the foundation laid, and then the other parts of the building are slowly added on top. Eventually, you won't even have to tell your child to "use your words" because they will know exactly what to do when a situation arises.


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Shop Small: Recently Purchased Items From Canadian Makers That I'm Loving

August 21, 2020


I recently made some purchases from an online market called The Royal Bison, including this amazing lounge set from Colour Me Weird, and it is the comfiest thing I have ever worn. On top of that, Rhandi also sent along a matching mask and a cute scrunchy (which has become one of my favourites).



I also bought this adorable art print from This Might Work, a collaboration between artists Mariah Barnaby-Norris and Erin Nagy. I love the energy in this print, and couldn't pick just one dog that is my favourite (thought I'm pulled towards the top middle pup...I'm sure you can figure out why).



Indie Polish was not part of The Royal Bison online market, but I found them after trying to purchase vegan (and harsh chemical-free) nail polish that ships to Canada. Bonus! Indie Polish is in Canada. I ordered a mystery box so I had no idea what I was getting (this neon green polish is one of them), but I am so happy with the colours that I got, and I'm excited to be able to wear nail polish again after having stopped because of the ingredients.

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Open Ended Toys: Wood

August 17, 2020
Nothing opens the imagination up to all kinds of possibilities quite like open-ended toys. Open-ended toys provide endless opportunities for learning such as science and math, social interactions (social-emotional), and creativity, and include items like blocks of all shapes and sizes, animals and trees, and cameras. They are toys that don't have a single purpose like many battery operated toys, or even things like puzzles and colouring books, and require imagination while using them (let's be honest, your mind's eye has to tell you what your wooden camera just took a photo of). 

As the amount of items I found for this post continued to increase, I realised that I would need two blog posts to share the amazing open-ended items I found from my fellow makers. Here are some wooden open-ended toys that would be perfect for exercising the imagination! You can find the felt and fabric ones here.












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My Curly Hair Journey: The Beginning

July 31, 2020
I grew up in dry climate where my hair always appeared straight, but scraggly, and I struggled with keeping my hair smooth while making it appear not as thin as it actually is (I was also a swimmer, so there's history of damage, too). There may have been little hints here and there that should have told me that I have curly hair (like how it would hold pin curls for days after taking them out, or my hair would puff-up with the humidity of summer), but my hair didn't have any visible curl to it other than the ends, so I never thought much of it.


It wasn't until I took my first vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida (where I brought my straightener along with me) that I started to realise there was something more to my hair. The first day that I was there, I did my hair and then never bothered to do it again. It just did whatever it wanted to, so I didn't see the point, but when I got home it went back to the same old flat hair with a bit of curl at the ends (or more when it was really short).


My trip to Hawaii for my 30th birthday made me a little more suspicious, but, again, I was in a humid climate (with access to salt water) and as soon as I got on the plane it fell flat and "back to normal". Last year I went to a stylist that specializes in cuts for curly hair, thinking that might help, and she was able to get the top layers of my hair to create a wave, but I could never replicate it at home, except for a day (but by the end of the day it had all settled back to normal).

Then, I had a breakthrough moment. About two months ago, when my old shampoo ran out, I decided to try to find some shampoo and conditioner for curly/wavy hair, and that's when I went down the rabbit hole of blogs and websites that told me about the Curly Girl Method. After a little bit of research, I purchased a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and a cream. The results surprised me, and I thought to myself "perhaps I really do have curly hair". So I dove in deeper, and, after a clarifying wash with a deep moisturizing treatment, I started my journey.


It has been rough, but I have made it through the first month. Curly hair is a lot more work than I expected. Trying to figure out the products and concoctions that my hair needs has taken a lot of research, and figuring out what combination work best can be frustrating. Even my husband noticed that my hair days take a lot longer than they used to (legit it was just wash and go). But I am so happy with the results so far, and get really excited when I see a super tight spiral curl, having thought that my hair was only wavy. I know that this is only the beginning (and I really need a trim), so I am eager to see how my hair evolves!


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Behind the Art: In The Garden

July 30, 2020

In The Garden art print

The inspiration for this art print came from growing up with a garden every summer. I remember, as I got older, that my sister and I would each get a plot in the garden (which was half of our backyard) to grow our own vegetable and fruits. I loved being able to care for my little plot of land.

Fast forward to a couple of years after my son was born, and I was convincing my husband to rip up some of the freshly-laid sod to start a small garden in our backyard. The plot has since grown a bit larger in size, and every year we have enjoyed the benefits of growing some of our own vegetables and fruits. We particularly love making spaghetti sauce, that we freeze for the winter, with our garden-fresh roma tomatoes, and digging in the hills for some potatoes to eat at supper that night.

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Open Ended Toys: Felt and Fabric

July 28, 2020
Nothing opens the imagination up to all kinds of possibilities quite like open-ended toys. Open-ended toys provide endless opportunities for learning such as science and math, social interactions (social-emotional), and creativity, and include items like puppets, dolls, and items for dress-up...toys that don't have a single purpose like many battery operated toys, or even things like puzzles and colouring books. 

As the amount of items I found for this post continued to increase, I realised that I would need two blog posts to share the amazing open-ended items I found from my fellow makers. Here are some felt and fabric open-ended toys that would be perfect for exercising the imagination! You can find the wooden open-ended toys here.











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What We Love: Summer 2020

July 25, 2020


In the past year, I have realised that I have have wavy hair, and since the quarantine, I have realised that I have curly hair (more on that later). I have used a cotton t-shirt as a hair towel for the past year and it has done the job, but these t-shirt towels from Breezy Tee look fabulous, and they are so much bigger! Brie Moore (the designer behind the shop) also creates silk-lined beanies, scarves and scrunchies for all us curl-loving people.



Like always, CBC radio gives me exactly what I need (I love that they play all kinds of musics across all genres, not just Top 40). This song from H.E.R. is the one that caught my attention most recently. I did not hear the name of it, or the title of the artist both times I had heard it (luckily they have a playlog) as I turned the car on in the middle of the song. The smooth voice, the slow soothing sounds of the music, and the spoken word section got me, specifically the lines "You are desensitized to pulling triggers on innocent lives/Because that's how we got here in the first place". It's powerful!



I have been wanting to get back into wearing nail polish this summer, but have been struggling to find beautiful colours that don't have all the chemicals, and last a long time while painting nicely onto the nail. Enter Law Beauty Essentials: Owned by entrepreneur Tanisha Lawrence, Law Beauty Essentials is a Black-owned cosmetics line that has the most amazingly brilliant shades of nail polish that are vegan-friendly and 13-free (go here to find out what that means). The next shop update is next week, so you know I'll be jumping on all those juicy summer colours!!


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The Summer List 2020

June 30, 2020


I started The Summer List back in 2012. The lists were much smaller when I started because my son was smaller and I didn't want to overwhelm him with too many activities. As he grew older, the lists grew longer...but this year is a bit different.

To say I'm not disappointed in the fact that we cannot do as many things as we have in past summers would be a lie, but I also know that a lot of them won't be doable as they are either not happening (The Jazz Festival, Folkfest and the Fringe Festival), they are not open yet (closed due to COVID-19) or I am not comfortable doing them until I have an idea of how the opening will go.

So we are having to think outside of the box this year. These are the ideas that we have come up with so far, and looking at previous lists in preparation for this post has given me some more ideas to add. Like everything else this year, we will adjust what we are doing as we learn more information. Roll with the summer, and find new ways to have fun!

What's on your list this summer?


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Behind the Art: Light Bulb

June 29, 2020


Like all of my other wooden bezel brooches, this little light bulb came about after finding some beautiful wooden bezels at a shop called Art Base. Sometimes what happens is I come up with an idea that I believe to be absolutely amazing that everyone else will love, and it ends up being something that takes forever to sell and I cart them around to handmade markets for seven years. 

That said, I know that they are meant for the people that purchase them and that they will be loved in their new homes. At a market where I was selling my wares last winter, someone asked about a rabbit cameo brooch that I had drawn thinking it had already been sold. I had it with me, but I hadn't put it out on the table. They were so excited that I still had the brooch and purchased it that day!

This brooch is still looking for it's forever home, and that's okay. I drew this light bulb because I thought it was a cute idea. Just a simple little light bulb poking up from the bottom of the bezel. We don't know what it's lighting up, or where it's actually screwed in. I like leaving those kind of things open to interpretation.


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The Shop: Pride Month and Beyond

June 28, 2020


Earlier this year, I did a thing. I created looks for the Simply the Best t-shirts and tank tops using the main characters from Schitt's Creek as my inspiration (if you follow along on Instagram you may have already seen them). It was a lot of fun coming up with the outfits for each character and putting them together along with hair and make-up (kudos to those who do this work on a regular basis as it is not easy work for one person).

Last year I announced that any purchases from the Schitt's Creek Inspired Items section of the shop would be donated to OUTSaskatoon, and I have continued to do that this year as well. Then I made another announcement at the beginning of June that I would be donating all of the profits from the purchase of any Schitt's Creek items in the shop to OUTSaskatoon. It is something that I continued this June, but failed to mention at the beginning of Pride Month.

So while I have been donating all of the profits from the sale of Schitt'e Creek items for the month of June, I want to let you know that I will continue into the month of July so that you can have an opportunity to help OUTSaskatoon to the max!


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Talking about Racism with Children: Four Good Books to Start the Discussion

June 24, 2020

Don't Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller

Just over a year ago, my partner at work and I realised that we needed to do some teaching about our differences, especially skin colour, and talk about how we don't treat people differently based on the fact that they look different from ourselves. 

I went crazy in the book store trying to find books that were age appropriate (for 4-5 year-olds) that mentioned differences and made them into a positive thing. We wanted the books to spark a conversation so we could talk about the colours of our skin and teach the children that it is not okay to exclude people simply because of their skin colour.

The books that I found were We're Different, We're The Same and Happy in Our Skin. In the year and a half that I first purchased them, I have revisited them many times as we've had to circle back to this discussion time and again (it will never go away). 

Since then, I have been able to find more books at the library, including Don't Touch My Hair (a fantastic book about respecting people's bodies) and She Persisted (while not about race specifically, there are African American women mentioned in the book that started a discussion about slavery and race with my son).

**Please do not think that children do not see colour, because colour is exactly what they see. Their minds have the need to categorize things at this age, and unless we teach them that the categories they have created are incorrrect, they will stay that way. 

These four books have created a discussion both with my preschoolers and with my son at home. I highly recommend them if you are looking for books to start the discussion with your own little ones. However, this is an incredibly small list, and could use some improvement. 

Social Justice Books is an incredible resource that provides more than 60 carefully curated lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults and educators. I learned about them from Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D on the Sesame Street/CNN racism town hall.


We're Different, We're The Same by Bobbi Kates and Joe Mathieu

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger

Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia


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Behind the Art: It's Your Day Dad

May 30, 2020

While designing cards for Father's Day, I tried to be sensitive to the fact that some people may not have a connection to the person that they would call "Dad", so, in the past, I made cards that were a little more general that could be used for an uncle, grandfather, or a person in your life that has the role of "dad" but you don't necessarily call them "Dad".

A couple of years ago I decided to make a card that was specifically for dads, and uses the word right on the card. I guess I wanted to include the people that also have someone in their life that they call "Dad" (biological or not). Choices for all!!


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What Will The Future Look Like Post-Quarantine

May 29, 2020


I keep wondering what the effects of this time of quarantine and social distancing is going to have on us and subsequent generations. In 20 years what will be be doing that we will look at it and say "This is because of Covid-19". There will most certainly be a lot of trauma from all of this (the cause of trauma doesn't have to be something severe like an attack or car crash...it's a lasting emotional response that will come from living through this time in history).

I think about the Depression Era and how it caused some people to began hoarding (not in the way we define it now) because they needed to keep everything out of necessity "just in case". You never knew when you'd be able to get something again, or if you'd ever have the money to purchase it again. My GG had so many items that a lot of people would deem unnecessary that he kept with the intention of using again, or because he thought there might be another use for them later (he still had butcher paper from when he purchased meat). In my family, we often use the term "pack rat".

This is a mindset that was most definitely passed on (my Grammie grew up during The Depression so she does this, too) and continues to this day. My mom keeps things "just in case" and I keep things "just in case" because you never know when you might need a piece of information from People's 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, or when that little piece of string wrapped around a package that you ordered from a little shop eight years ago might come in handy.

These are the kinds of things that I am curious about. I wonder what memories and stories people, especially children, will tell that are connected to this time. How long will people continue to wear masks? Will there be people that have developed a fear of using public washrooms? Will the barriers between you and the cashiers stay there? Will children develop severe mysophobia, and will the numbers for anxiety skyrocket? 

Only time will answer these questions, but my hope is that solutions and support will be provided. We know so much more about mental health now than was known in the 1930s. What ripple effects  from this time are you curious about?


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Read It: Becoming

May 27, 2020


If you look through the Read It label on the blog, you will see that I am a fan of autobiographies, and Becoming from Michelle Obama is another addition to the list. First off, I like how the title and author of the book can be a play on words depending on how you read it, and, secondly, I like how she gives us a taste of her entire life story in her voice (no one else's). It's not just about her time as First Lady of the United States, but also includes her childhood and early adult years, as well as her time with Barack before they began their journey to The White House.

What I appreciated most about the book was her candid approach to talking about what African American people go through daily, and her view of it from the perch of First Lady. She provided a lot of lessons for me, and did a lot of heavy work that she didn't need to do. I recognise that and thank her for it. She took situations and issues that I read about daily on Twitter (again where I am grateful for the people that do a lot of heavy work that they shouldn't have to do), and added another layer. 

One thing that stood out most for me was where she talked about her hospital job at the University of Chicago, and the work she did to connect the people inside the hospital to the people living just outside the hospital. I felt incredibly connected to what she was talking about in that section of the book as I work in a hospital in an area of the city that is considered undesirable. The work that she put in to her job to bring the two very different communities together is what I would love to see where I work, and it is what happens when there are people at the table that have those life experiences and understand that it's possible to bring it all together.

The other thing that stood out for me was her kindness. It was an overarching theme in the book. She may not have intended it to be there, but it was. She honestly seems like she has the kindest and caring heart. I had the privilege to see her in person (not up close) when she came to the city as part of a tour she was doing across Canada. It's not very often that someone of her calibre comes to my city so I jumped on that opportunity. It was an experience unlike any other, and, again, she just radiated kindness. That is really an inspiration for me. She is a level that I aspire to reach.


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Mother's Day 2020: Ideas for Spending the Day at Home

May 07, 2020
I'm not going to lie, 100 percent of the things on this list are things that I would love to do on Mother's Day this year (or any day, really), but I wanted to give you some ideas of what to do while we are (for the most part) stuck inside this year. I live where there aren't many people and it is fairly easy to keep social distance, some people are not able to do that, so, with the idea that the weather could be bad, or you live in an area that makes it difficult to go outside, I wanted to come up with some really fun things to do at home with your mom, grandma, aunt...(if you're able to be with her this year).



First up is an ice cream parlour in your house. You could set up a sundae bar (Ha! On Sunday), or you could have some fun with it and make a little sign and some decorations. You choose. If you're not able to get the ingredients that you need to be able to have an ice cream shop in your house, you can always play pretend and use playdough.



This is an incredibly fancy fort and way better than anything that I could come up with myself, but The Kitchn has a fantastic list of ideas to help you build the perfect indoor fort. Personally, I would set up the fort in the area where the television is with the intention of using it for a special place to watch a movie.



This one is a classic, but I feel it's necessary to add to the list. It is a simple idea that children can do on their own, or with a bit of help if they need it (depending on age), and a lovely gesture for mom...it's one less thing she has to do in the day. It doesn't have to be fancy. If all you're able to do is give mom a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice, the love is there and she will feel it!


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Behind the Art: Get Up and Grow

April 29, 2020

Get Up and Grow affirmation art print

Nearly six years ago this affirmation just popped into my head (like a flower, I guess), and I knew that I had to write it up. It was around the time that all of those wooden boards and posters of affirmations and popular positive quotations written in different typographical fonts were really popular at weddings and for baby rooms, etc. So I jumped on the wagon with a couple of affirmations that popped into my head along with some quotations and put them in the shop.


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