Behind the Scenes: Flock and Gather Spring Market 2014

April 30, 2014
Being a part of Flock & Gather was such an amazing experience. I went into it feeling as nervous as I did before walking down the aisle to marry my now husband, and came out of it with new knowledge from other people in the business and new knowledge about my business.

It was so much fun to see people looking at my items and hearing their reactions. A lot of it was that my stuff was very cute and simple, but I also heard some new things like "delicate" and I really liked that. I learned what cards and prints were popular, and sold a couple of new items that I will be listing in the shop soon -- the brooches. What made it so nice to hear and see these things is because I only run an online shop, and although I get wonderful feedback from my customers I don't actually get to hear their comments or see them touch the cards and look closely at my work. Even the people that didn't purchase anything gave me wonderful feedback -- it was in part because of the lovely people that were walking through the market. I didn't have a single negative encounter.

I will definitely be checking out other handmade markets, and would love to go back and be a part of Flock & Gather again.

1. My table.
2. Boolah Baguette's table.
3. Kalika Bowlby Pottery's table.
4. A customer wearing a brooch that they bought from me.
5. My view all weekend -- how could I not purchase one of those puppets :)
6. The beautiful flowers that the Flock & Gather Craft Collective made to decorate the hall.
7. The view from the stage.
8. The view from behind my table -- Clair Ashley's jewellery and wallets from Majesty Industries.


My Finds: Flock & Gather Spring Market 2014

April 28, 2014
Even though I was participating in this year's Flock & Gather Springtime Market I still had time to shop. As always there were so many amazing vendors and handmade items to choose from. I had the most wonderful time as a vendor myself -- behind the scenes details are to come -- and having the opportunity to get to know these wonderful people a little bit more.

1. Puppet from Juniper Moon
2. Squirrel from Boolah Baguette
3. "Rooftops in Fall Tallinn Estonia" from Amy Victoria Wakefield Photography
5. Top from Dear Pony


Listen, Look, Love: April

April 25, 2014

In our younger years my husband got me hooked on rave music. I've always loved the beats that come with that style of music, and I've recently been listening to it again. "My Feelings for You" from Avicii and Sebastian Drums has been a favourite lately.


Someone I follow on Pinterest pinned this photograph in the last little while -- Senator Hotel, Atlantic City, 1948, by photographer Nina Leen. I was immediately drawn to it. I love that it was in the late 1940's and the women were showing so much skin. Fashion hasn't changed much, and now we know that our grandparents were a little more risque than they'd like for us to think.


I really love the idea of these little gardens from That Artist Woman. This week I made one with the children at work -- as our current theme is gardens -- although ours isn't quite as pretty. I do hope to add some more flowers to it as we enter gardening season.


Earth Day 2014: It's the Little Things

April 23, 2014

On Earth Day this year we took the children at work on a walk around the university campus. They had a lot of fun exploring sculptures that have been sitting in a field for many years -- probably close to decades now -- and walking around seeing the birds and other animals that inhabit the campus area -- we also stopped by the geology building to check out the dinosaur bones, aquariums and snakes. One of the children shouted excitedly "Omigod! Look! It's green grass!" during our walk, and another proclaimed that it was the best time he's ever had while we were all sitting around the lunch table. It's the little things that make them appreciate this great planet of ours.


Easter Eggs Made With Natural Dye

April 18, 2014
I did some canning the other day. Not your regular type of canning, but vegetables, fruits and such that I steeped in boiling water in order to make natural dyes to use with the children at work -- what's in the jars is just the juices to make for easier transport to work. 

Each year we try to do something fun and unique with the eggs rather than the traditional dipping in the dye made from the little pucks -- last year we drizzled the dye over the eggs. -- and this year we decided to try out the natural dyes. I love how the eggs turned out, and the children had a lot of fun smelling each jar and picking which fruit or vegetable they wanted their eggs to sit in -- we also had tea and grape juice available.

The egg on the left was dyed with orange peels, carrots, dried mustard and celery seed. The egg in the middle was dyed with blueberries, and the egg on the right was dyed with beets. I believe that my juices are a little more concentrated than that of the recipe I used because the colours are much darker than in the original blog post. For each one I made 3 cups and added 4T of vinegar, and the more vinegar the better the hue. Here are the recipes that I used:

Happy dying and Happy Easter :)


Behind the Shop: Fabriano Paper

April 16, 2014
I want to introduce you to the paper that I use in my shop. It comes from a small town in Italy called Fabriano, and was created by the Fabriano Mill where high-quality paper has been made since the 13th Century -- Michelangelo even used their paper.

When I told a friend of mine that works on restoring documents, maps, and books about my shop and the paper that I use, she told me that it was great paper and that the mill was the first to use the watermark, and to discover using gelatine to coat the paper so that the ink wouldn't bleed as much -- think how easy it is to write on a piece of paper towel as it has no gelatine coating.

I have been struggling with conveying the quality of the paper that I use because you are not able to touch it until you get one of my cards in your hands. It is hard to grasp the beauty of something that you can only use one sense to understand -- my husband does not understand why I have to pick-up or touch everything when we go shopping, but this is why. That same friend told me to share a photo of my paper where I held it up against the window so that the light could shine through, or not shine through as is the case with the paper I use for my cards. The lack of light shining through shows you the thickness and quality of the paper.

What drew me to my paper in the first place was the look and feel of it. The surface of the paper is not perfectly smooth. In fact, it looks like it has little craters and bumps all along the surface giving it that handmade feel. Another thing that I really like about the paper is the deckle edge from the paper making process. It's beautiful!

All of the things that I enjoy about the paper are the things that are most difficult to convey. That's why word of mouth, item reviews, and receiving a card yourself are so important.


Now He is 3: The Birthday Party

April 07, 2014

Like the past 2 years -- 1st birthday and 2nd birthday -- I tried to have special little touches on the table where the food sat, and made available the things that I knew he enjoyed eating -- he even helped me plan some of the food choices this year. 

He is not a fan of cake, so I picked up some Timbits -- or donut holes for all the non-Canadians -- which he absolutely loved. Each year I place photos on the table that show how much he has changed throughout the years. It is amazing to me that now there are three years represented on the table, and it is so much fun to look at how much he has changed in such a short amount of time. 

We couldn't keep in away from the gifts during the party, and he tore several bits of paper in anticipation. He also blew out the candles before we finished singing "Happy Birthday" -- my how he has changed!


Shop Announcement: Flock & Gather Craft Collective

April 04, 2014
I am pleased as punch to announce that I am going to be participating in my very first Flock & Gather event at the end of April. 

When I applied to take part in the craft collective back in January, I did it on a whim thinking that even if I didn't get chosen I would never have the opportunity to be chosen if I didn't apply. I was so nervous, and I nearly pooped my pants when I received the email telling me that they wanted me to be part of Flock & Gather. I am so excited to be a part of such an amazing thing in this community. I have loved going to Flock & Gather ever since I heard about it, and it feels so amazing, exciting, nervous, etc. to be a part of a group of people that has welcomed me so warmly and that I respect immensely.

I can't wait to share my adventures with you from behind the scenes, but, in the meantime, let me share this craft show inventory list that I found on the blog of a seasoned veteran of handmade markets -- Julie Ann Art. It has been so helpful for me during this preparation process.

Have a great weekend!


Now He is 3

April 02, 2014
It's hard to believe that three years ago yesterday I pushed out this little miracle that we have seen grow for the past few years. I know everyone says that the years fly by with children, but I have noticed a significant increase in the speed of time since he came into our lives.

He is so much fun to be around, and he brings the most fantastic little light into any situation that he is in. It is hard not to laugh at the things that he does, and very difficult to stay angry with him. He makes you feel better if you are sad or upset, and loves telling little stories about his day or things that he really enjoys -- it's all about dinosaurs and construction right now.

I see relationships with other children growing, and I enjoy the fact that he has developed a deep love of painting -- he could paint for hours if we would let him. Anytime he hears music he must dance, sing along, or grab instruments to add a little more to the song. He loves playing catch with anyone that will toss a ball around with him, and his dad is so proud that he's got a really great spiral when throwing a football.

I know I say this every year, but I really do enjoy watching him grow -- both physically and as a person -- and I can't wait to see what changes this year will bring.

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