My Finds: A Flock & Gather Winter Wonders 2016 Simple Gift Guide

December 18, 2016

KR Jewelry  - Beautiful jewelry for your best girl friend

Mortise & Tenon Shop  - Do you know someone that appreciates beautifully crafted 
wood products that are incredibly useful? These cutting boards 
and coasters are perfect

Junipermoon Puppets  - Always an excellent place to find something for the littles in your life
 that are into imaginative play...and some adults too :)

Carole Epp Ceramics  - Perfect little necklaces for the growing girl in your life, or 
your friend that loves cats

Something From Nothing Mittens  - Made from rescued sweaters, these are perfect 
for anyone on your list

Mimi & Lala  - An excellent shop to find a gift for the littles in your life

Clair Ashley  - Simply beautiful cuffs that have a secret message inside, perfect
 for your mom, sister, or your best friend

Lone Tree Handcraft  - We all know that our friends cut vegetables on gross plastic
cutting boards. These ones are super solid, one of a kind, and easy to care for

Willow & Wheat  - A great gifts for those new little people in your life

Uncle Mike's All Natural Products  - Perfect for your husband, dad, uncle...

Three Leaf Apparel  - Perfect for the person that likes to be cozy and warm

CMB Printworks  - A wonderful gift to grab for a friend that's looking to dress 
up their Christmas Trees

Last Shoes  - Perfect for people that appreciate handcrafted shoes and other leather goods

Femmebroidery  - Looking to empower your girl friends with some of the best 
sayings that can hang from their walls? This is the best spot to find them

Birch Artisan Studios  - Perfect finds for your wife, mom, sister...

Small Shapes  - Perfect for anyone that would like a sip of tea, or a chug of hot chocolate

The Rosy Deer  - We all know someone that would love and appreciate the softest fabrics
 and yarns you could ever find -- one of a kind, too

Callista Prints  - Perfect Christmas cards to make your and your family giggle, and art 
prints to make them all smile

Salgado Fenwick  - An excellent gift for your friend, or funny uncle, that
 likes sweaters, and so much more

Hinterland Honey  - Sweet and pure. A perfectly quick and easy gift to grab for anyone 
that likes something sweet in their tea, or on their toast

North Birch Grove  - Perfect for people that love the prairies...and Ontario

Joyweave - Perfect for a friend that's looking to dress up her walls


Read It: Wenjack

November 05, 2016

On October 23, CBC streamed "The Secret Path" a project from Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire about a young boy named Chanie Wenjack. Chanie was 12 years old when he escaped from a residential school in Ontario and began his journey back to his family more than 600 kilometers away. A friend and I watched the above song from "The Secret Path" -- which you can now find here -- at work the following Monday.

That Tuesday, I had taken the day off of work to be with my son, and we decided to make a stop at the library to pick out some more books in the children's section. While we were returning our previous books in the main part of the library, I noticed the cover of a book that I knew immediately that I must read. It was entitled Wenjack and was written by Joseph Boyden. I had been introduced to the work of Boyden previously this year when my mom and I attended a ballet about the residential schools. I quickly grabbed the book off of the shelf and took it to the front desk to check it out of the library. The librarian told me she had just put the book out not even two minutes ago. It felt like kismet.

Wenjack is a simple, small book, but doesn't let that get in the way of it's raw power. There is even something about the size of the book that has meaning in it. From the first chapter I knew that it was going to be difficult to get through the book. That's always the way it is with difficult and uncomfortable subject matter. It was subtle, but punched you in the chest, and I wept when I finished reading it.

I liked being able to read about the residential schools not just from the perspective of a child, but an Indigenous child, as well as the animals of the forest. The writing was sprinkled with Ojibwe words and phrases, memories of Chanie's life with his family, and memories from the residential school. You felt the connection with his family and his culture dwindling, and could notice the affects the residential school had on him mentally and physically.

The residential schools are an incredibly dark spot in Canadian history. I hope that books like Wenjack and authors like Joseph Boyden will continue to write and be written so that we can open our hearts and begin the path towards healing.


Halloween 2016

October 31, 2016

This year, my son decided that he wanted to dress-up as the Golden Toad from Super Mario World 3D for Halloween. Last year he dressed-up as Pluto in the costume that my Mom had made him for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in Disney World last year. This year it was my turn to wear the costume that my mom had made for me for the Halloween Party, only this time I was able to have my wings -- I didn't want to risk putting them in a carry-on.


Life Lately: September 2016

October 14, 2016

Life has taken some fun turns lately. Our son recently started Kindergarten. He is loving it, and I am loving the independence he is developing -- more and more every day. Today I was able to drop him off at school, and I was so happy to see how he has taken to the routine of putting everything in his locker and entering the classroom. We received proofs for his school photos last week and I just about lost it because he looks so adorkable in the photos.

We have been visiting libraries and bookstores a lot more lately as the weather starts to cool down, and it's not as fun to be outdoors. We read a Curious George book to me while we were at the bookstore about a month ago. I loved how he used the illustrations to tell him what to say next, and how he followed the classic direction that Curious George stories always end up going.

The pup went to visit the Cookie Lady -- the vet -- a few weeks ago. He always gets so excited when he visits her. I was happy to find out that he is exactly where he needs to be weight-wise -- thanks to a young boy no longer feeding him table scraps. He is now 11 years-old.

We had the privilege of being able to visit with friends at their family cabin. I loved watching Little Boy play with their children, and have real outdoor experiences. He was guided well by some little experts at making use of time without television. They made fishing rods that they played with all morning, and then took to the lake with them when we went later that afternoon. Unfortunately, it was too cold to go into the water.

That same weekend, some friends and I went to the Comic & Entertainment Expo where we had the joy of meeting the lovely Carrie Fisher. She was so warm, and delightful, and fantastic! The way she engaged with fans and other people at the expo was amazing to watch. I can't wait to see who they invite next year!


Etsy Made in Canada Market 2016

September 30, 2016

Last weekend I had the joy of being part of the Etsy Made in Canada Market. It is a fantastic concept of markets popping up all across the country to showcase different makers that have shops on Etsy. The market that I was part of was put on the Etsy Saskatchewan Team, and they did a wonderful job as hosts. I wish that I had had more of an opportunity to shop around, but above are some of the people that I was next to, and some of the items that caught my eye. We have extraordinary talent in Saskatchewan, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be with them!

Broken Dish Necklaces: Earth Sisters
Watercolour Cards: The Gift of the GAB
Blown Glass Sun Catchers: Glassy-Eyed Beads
Crochet Pinkie Pie and Flutter Shy: Marjielous Creations
Hand-stamped Jewellery: Clair Ashley 
Crotchet Wrap: Hot off the Needles
Silk Hair Accessories: Appledainty


World Alzheimer's Month 2016

September 29, 2016

The Forget-Me-Not flower is a powerful symbol for people with Alzheimer's and their families. It is often used to symbolise the loss of memory, but is also a reminder to remember the people that we have lost to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. As you may know, the disease has touched my family as my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was a teenager, and so it was very special to me when I spotted these Forget-Me-Nots while we were on vacation in Banff. It felt as if she was with me in that moment.

It was two years ago that we began this journey to provide support to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada by pledging to donate 15% of our profits for the month of September. This month was a record year, and, with your help since 2014, we have been able to donate over $40 to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada. 

Thank you for the love and support that you have given so far. I look forward to adding to the number next year!


Update: Help Support Local Animal Shelter

August 21, 2016

Two years ago, in August of 2014, we started a campaign to help our local SPCA by donating $1 from every purchase of the "Feel Better, Ivan" art print in the shop -- read about it here.

Today we are please to announce that, over the course of those two years, you have helped us to collect $25.00 that we have passed along to the local SPCA. With that money, they will be able to provide a safe place for animals until they find their forever homes. Thank you!

Yesterday my son and I stopped at the SPCA to pass along the money that you helped raise -- along with a novelty cheque -- where we met a chinchilla, named Buttons, that has indescribably soft fur. We're looking forward to our next visit!

 The inspiration behind the campaign came from our dog, Ivan, whom we adopted from our SPCA just over 10 years ago. You can read more about his story here.


Banff Adventures 2016: Johnston Canyon

August 01, 2016

Johnston Canyon was spectacular, and a perfect short hike to take our 5-year-old on. We trekked to the lower and the upper falls, and back, for a total of about 5 kilometers. It wasn't until we reached the last stretch before the car that our son asked us to pick him up and carry him because his feet were getting sore. Considering how far he walked, and the elevation we gained, we didn't mind.

It made us laugh that it was raining at the bottom of the hike, and by the time we reached the upper falls the sun was out and we had dried off -- only to hike back down to the bottom where it was still raining. 

There were so many amazing views and things to see in such a small amount of space. Nature is such a wonder. My only disappointment was in was the fact that people couldn't be bothered to hang onto their trash until the could find a bin, throwing it just to the side of the path instead. Johnston Canyon deserves more than that.

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