Last fall I started venturing into the craft fair world with my small shop of handmade goods, THE SWEETEST DIGS CO. The first craft fair I participated in was organized by my now-pal Emily Arbour, and damn, it was spectacular. Amazing vendors, tons of folks out shopping and having fun, and just a great vibe.
Well, Emily is back at it this spring and is putting on ‘Handmade Harvest‘ this upcoming weekend! There will be 140 makers from across Ontario (and I have even heard some from other provinces). If you are anywhere near Ottawa, it will definitely be worth checking out. Plus, you can come say hey to me and my hubby, Dan! You better believe I have a booth. Wouldn’t miss this one.
I have been working with Emily behind the scenes, and we have put together a giveaway for a lucky local reader! Up for grabs?
– 4 free passes to Handmade Harvest
– a $25 gift certificate to the show’s main sponsor, Hello Yellow (Emily’s shop in Almonte!)
– a Blondie Apparel Poncho, worth $50 (winner selects colour). Designed by Brodie O’Connor & Michelle Vandentillaart. These ponchos are ridiculously soft and cozy. I’m slightly obsessed with the grey one.
Winner needs to either be able to attend Handmade Harvest to pick up their prize, or be located in Ontario, Canada for shipping. Enter below:
I don’t really know what I want to say. Yesterday, the city I grew up in, the city I moved back to with my husband and chose to raise our daughter in, the city that I love, was attacked. It sounds really dramatic, but there isn’t really any other way to say it. A gunman shot a soldier standing on guard at the War Memorial, and then stormed into Parliament where a gunfight ensued. The gunman was shot dead. Others were injured. There were reports of additional shooters, but today (the next day) the reports are now saying that he was acting alone.
It was one of those days that you just won’t forget. As soon as it happened, my first thought was the safety of my daughter. I was texting with my daycare provider to make sure they were at her house, and staying put. Then there was a period of about 25 minutes where I couldn’t get a hold of my husband Dan. He works for the Federal Government in downtown Ottawa – just down the road from Parliament. I felt like I was going to throw up. Once I got a text back from him, and knew he was safe, albeit on lockdown, I felt like I was able to breathe again. Reports of multiple gunmen roaming around downtown Ottawa for the next few hours did not do anything to calm my nerves. It wasn’t until I had my daughter Maya tucked away in her crib and my husband walk through the door (finally being let out of his building 9 hours later) that the tears I had been choking back all day just let loose.
What I really can’t stop thinking about is the soldier yesterday who was shot dead – Nathan Cirillo. This lovely looking young guy who was just doing something honourable. Something that Dan might have done in the past (Dan is also a Reservist). Makes me feel absolutely sick to my stomach and filled with sadness. I hope his family and friends know that Canadians across the country are thinking of him and them today, and that we will not forget his bravery.
I was also reminded yesterday of heroes. People who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. Whether it’s the Ottawa Police, RCMP, Military, security guards, and civilians who step up to help in a moment of panic and fear, I am in awe and so thankful for these people. I know that my instinct yesterday was just to get my loved ones far away – not to do anything brave.
I want to say that I woke up today and felt like I was in the same peaceful city and country that I was the day before. I didn’t. I’m certainly not saying that I plan on changing the way I live my life (that is the intention behind these kinds of events, after all), but there is a certain pit-in-my-stomach anxiety that wasn’t there two days ago. I’m sure it will pass over time, but I feel sad about it. Do I fear anything? Yes, but it’s not another shooter. It’s that we, as a society, become angry, fearful, aggressive, and further stigmatize people from certain religions or parts of the world.
Let’s give each other some extra hugs today, okay?
(photograph provided by a friend – Hugh Pouliot – who I am so glad is safe today)
This is more of a local post, but for any of you from the Ottawa,. Kingston, Toronto or Montreal and areas, listen up. Etsy.com is hitting the road and embarking on its first ever road trip!
You know I love all things Etsy – an online marketplace full of amazing handmade and vintage goods – so an Etsy roadtrip just sounds like one amazing time. There are going to be local sellers, live music, and food trucks at each stop.
They are making their stops between August 1-9. You can check out all the deets – like which local sellers will be there, who will be in concert, and which food trucks you can sample – here.
Oh, and don’t forget that I still have my summer sale up on my Etsy shop. Buy 2 prints, and get a 3rd free. Just let me know in the “message to seller” which third print you’d fancy! I’m putting up new prints weekly, so keep checking back for new stuff.
Here is one my latest..
Do you guys have a favourite road trip memory or vacation photo? Share it on Instragram or Twitter and hashtag #etsyroadtrip for a chance to be highlighted on Etsy.com. Going to any other craft fairs or festivals this summer?
About a month ago, Dan and I went for a little weekend away to Perth – a small town about an hour west of Ottawa (our first overnight date since Maya was born!). We stayed at the Best Western, which is actually really lovely, went to the Spa (a brand new one housed in the hotel), had an amazing dinner (restaurant was called the Stone Cellar), went to the flea market (open 7 days/week!), and strolled along the pretty main streets.
It was lovely. I couldn’t resist posting about one of my absolute favourite little shops that we stumbled across, called art & class. It is used largely as a spot for art workshops for kids and adults alike, but it also has a curated collection of the sweetest handmade goodies, produced by local artisans.
My Dad has made pencil + crayon holders like this. I totally have this on my “to make” list for one of Maya’s birthdays…
I was crazy for these big industrial pendants hanging from the loft ceiling.
See all the ribbon on a dowel that is hung kind of like a towel rod (under the shelf)? Clever storage idea there for a craft room.
So many sweet knit goodies…
A lot of these products are also on etsy, but unfortunately I didn’t get any of the shop links. If you see something you are interested in, I’m sure you could email art & class for more info.
I was seriously tempted by a lot of this stuff. I would love to go back and do a workshop or two.
If you are local, have any of you guys been to Perth lately? Isn’t is such a sweet little village? Have any favourite little shops, either in Perth or elsewhere? I love coming across small little boutiques like this.
This upcoming weekend in my Ottawa hood, one of my absolute favourite jewellery stores – Magpie Jewellery – is hosting the final weekend of their bridal month. I actually had my own engagement ring designed and by the lovely folks at Magpie. It was a great experience from start to finish, and ever since I have bought the occasional bauble (or hinted at Dan to!), to add to my collection.
For their grand finale weekend, they asked to use some of the vintage items from my Pieces of Love business, and of course I was only too thrilled to be a part of the event. We setup a little vignette, and dotted a few other pieces around the store.
The bridal month events are coming to an end with Megan Thorne. Magpieis the only store in Canada that carries her pieces and they are thrilled to host her first show in Canada! Megan will be at Magpie in Westboro on Saturday from 11-5 and at the Glebe store on Sunday from 11-5.
Magpie (the Westboro location) is really a gorgeous store – lots of white, glass, beautiful light fixtures and high ceilings – all setting off the beautiful jewellery pretty perfectly.
Victoireand White Elephant are showcasing some vintage wedding gowns at the event. I browsed through them last night and there are some seriously fun dresses at great prices. One of these short dresses would be perfect for the reception/dancing part of the wedding (if you wanted to wear a long, more formal dress for the actual wedding). The lace and detail work is pretty spectacular on these retro frocks.
You can find out more about this weekend’s events here on Magpie’s blog, and check out all the gorgeous baubles from Magpie on their main site here.
*FYI – I was not compensated in any way to promote Magpie Jewellery. I just love the store and was super excited to be a part of their finale wedding weekend!*
What are you guys doing this weekend? Any big plans? Getting out the garden or doing some garage organizing now that the weather is warming up? We’ve got a couple of house projects on the “to do” list — including getting started on a little someone’s nursery!!
Mine started off on exactly the right foot – a little dinner out, and a stop at the Ottawa Antiques Show with two of my favourite gal pals.
The Ottawa Antiques Show happens a couple times a year and brings together over 50 vendors from around Ontario. There is a great selection of goodies – from glassware, to jewellery, to clothing, to furniture, and much more!
Here were a few of my fave finds from this weekend’s show.
Boxes of vintage postcards could have had me glued to that one spot for hours. I love going through these and they can make such great little pieces of artwork. Framed with a crisp white matte in an IKEA Ribba and you’ve got yourself some sweet new art for your pad!
The old valentines ones really had me. The graphics were so sweet and they would be great in a nursery. Plus, on the back of one of them said “To___, From ____” in two of the baby names that D and I love. I was pretty much tearing up right then and there. Can you say hormonal? Haha.
My girl Courtney (who you’ll remember from this apartment tour), browsing through the postcards!
This booth has tons of old metal goods, including some vintage keys. Having some of these in a little jar or hanging in a shadow box can look super fab.
These broaches were GORGE. The vendor sold special clasps for a few dollars that would allow you to turn them into necklaces. Regretting not buying one or two of these now…
I have seen this vendor before, and always drool over the jadite. I would love to start a collection of this stuff one day. Come on big, dream kitchen to actually let me store beauties like these!
Here is my pal Andrea getting into the funky old dresses. I actually really loved this cream ruffled one. With a great pair of bright shoes and some accessories, how fab would it be?
There were a few booths with some sweet mid-century pieces. This metal desk/side table would add some industrial chic to any space.
Oh and here was another art idea. I see these brass plates (I’m not sure if that’s what they’re called?) all the time – some have horses, dogs, crests, moose, and all sorts of other things pictured in the middle. You could gather up a collection of your favourites and mount them in a shadow box for a nice piece of artwork. It would be a great way to inject a bit of brassy gold into the palette of a room, which is super trendy right now!
This vendor from Brighton refinishes old boxes. He sources some really great rare boxes, so you’re bound to find one that has a branding stamp that appeals to you!
I really wanted to bring this guy home, but just don’t have anywhere to put it. Boo. (Moo?)
Lots of great country style furniture at the show. I love these shabby, rustic pieces – though most were out of my price range. How fab would that long minty bench look in a big entryway?
Here we are at the end of the show. I think we were actually the very last to leave. Tired, a bit sore, but oh so happy with our purchases. (And yes – my bump is getting bigger! I owe you guys a bump update soon… but this little gal is definitely growing – I can’t hide it like a certain Middleton Princess apparently can!)
As for what I brought home? I was very restrained (much to hubby’s delight). I got these two blue crown jars for $10, so added them to my ever-growing collection for the business.
And I couldn’t resist bringing home a few of the valentine’s postcards (the top one is for D next year – hence why it’s turned over – and I’m thinking I’ll use the bottom one in the nursery).
Have you local folks ever hit up the Ottawa Antiques Show? Brought home any goodies? Any antiquing or thrifting recently for the rest of you? I can’t wait until garage sale and flea market season is upon us. C’mon spring/summer!
I was recently asked by a fabulous not-for-profit organization I used to work for (PPO) to do the decor for a big 30th anniversary gala they were hosting. My answer was a very quick yes, and I happily got to work on crafting a few things for the big ‘do. There was a very limited budget to be spent on the decor, so I had to get clever about getting big impact on small bucks.
The venue was a room in City Hall that had soaring ceilings and huge windows. This meant that there wasn’t much we could do in terms of lighting or draping, so I wanted to get creative about the the table decor. There were going to be cocktail tables, long tables with silent auction prizes, and buffet tables. Fresh flowers was going to blow the budget and I wanted something with a pop of colour, so I ended up with tissue pouf centerpieces. Sounds weird, but stay with me for a sec and I’ll explain.
First I started out with the base. I grabbed a bunch of terra cotta pots and painted them turquoise, some wooden dowels, floral foam, and white gravel rocks (all items purchased from my local dollar store).
I cut the foam into pieces and stuck them into the base of the pots. This would be what the dowel would stick into, and covered up by the white rocks.
To put together the tissue poufs, I used this tutorial. It has super clear instructions, and the whole process was a lot easier than I imagined (tissue paper and wire are the only things you need). Once I had the poufs ready, I just wound the wire around the top of the dowel, and voila! Some cheerful and ultra-cute table toppers.
Since I was doing all of my decor shopping at the Dollar store, when I came across these little glass spice shakers, I couldn’t resist. They were 3 for a $1 and I knew would make cute little vases. By taking off the shaker top and cutting up a $1 fake flower bouquet (another dollar store special!), we ended up with some sweet little buds to dot around the room.
A paper bunting with patterned paper was another easy little craft project. Just like this one I made for valentine’s day.
We also threw in a photobooth for good measure. Who doesn’t like to goof around with their pals in front of the camera? Some hanging fabric and colourful balloons are all you need for this crowd pleaser.
The whole evening went off without a hitch. The mood was fun, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, there was some fierce silent auction competition, and money was raised for a great cause.
What about you guys? Helped out with any party decor lately? Any good budget-friendly or DIY tips to share?
Spring and early summer always seem to be the best times to go thrift shop/flea market/garage sale hunting. Everyone clearing out their closets/garages or moving house means lots of potential treasure to rummage through. I actually had a garage sale of my own a few weekends ago, in the small town where my parents live. It was one of those community garage sale days, and holy smokes there were a lot of people out. I got rid of most of our stuff and made a cool 100 beans.
Here are my own latest finds.
First up was this cross thing. I don’t know what the original purpose is, but I immediately saw it as a jewellery holder (**update: a reader pointed out it was a fingertip towel holder for a bathroom! smart!). I liked the bottom marble base (it’s real!), and knew that the top part just needed some spray paint love. And for the $1.99 price tag, I was sold.
A few coats of high gloss white later, she was ready for her new role as bracelet and necklace holder.
I already have a jewellery board for all of my bigger, longer necklaces (see that DIY project here), but my bracelet area was starting to overflow. This was the perfect solution!
Next up was this super darling gravy boat. I actually found it while out treasure hunting with Tanya! It happens to be from one of her favourite sellers at the Bentley’s flea market here in Ottawa. I love the retro florals and fun colours (lime green and turquoise – who is surprised?!). My memory is a little foggy, but I think I paid $8 for it.
It is by Johnson Bros and made in England.
And my third find (from the same vendor as the gravy boat, but on a different day – this time with my pal Courtney), is this punchy 70’s floral tray. I love the orange and fuchsia- such a great combo. It set me back six bones.
I’ll definitely be using this bad boy this summer to bring drinks to the backyard.
That’s it so far. Hopefully I’ll have more treasures to report on soon with all of these yard sales going on.
What about you folks? Any good thrifting finds lately? I always think it’s so much more rewarding to find that gem among the junk than getting something brand new at a store. Anyone else with me?
Have you guys heard of BoConcept before? If not, it’s a fabulous store. It’s a huge retail furniture chain out of Denmark. Their pieces tend to be urban, modern and clean lined, but still have a lived-in, home-y feel. There was a BoConcept store on my way to my school when we were living in London, and on more than a few afternoons I would pop in and drool over the beautiful pieces. Totally out of our budget, but amaazing eye candy.
Anyway, Karim Rashid, probably one of the most famous designers to have come out of Ottawa (our beloved home town) has been designing for BoConcept and just released the “Ottawa” collection. Karim graduated from one of Ottawa’s Universities and has gone on to have over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards, and works in over 25 countries. Because I’m totally mushy about the town we love, I couldn’t help but post about the collection. And it’s actually super stunning.
All of the pieces have a ton of colour options. I’m really digging the clean lines and cool shapes of the collection.
Fun stuff, right? I’m thinking that I may need to go grab a few of the cute little cups. I’ll let you know if we splurge! Head on over to meet Karim Rashid and hear more about the Ottawa collection (including videos) here.
On another note, it was my handy hubby’s birthday late last week. It was low key (he had to work 11 hours on the big day), but I tried to decorate a little and squeeze in a nice dinner. I couldn’t help but post a few of these tulip pics. Aren’t tulips just the sweetest flowers?
The same day we ventured out flea market-ing to this Ottawa-area flea market, we also stopped by a new little shop that I had stumbled upon on facebook. It’s called the Tin Barn Market. You can find it just outside of Ottawa, in the cute little village of Almonte.
When we visited, the Tin Barn Market was housed in a darling little barn that was completely decked out in vintage and crafty finds. From old school furniture to vintage linens to homemade jams, you would be hard pressed not to find something that makes your heart pitter patter. See what I mean…?!
This cute little shop is all about re-using, re-purposing, and keeping treasures out of the landfill. Their business motto is:
nearly everything has another use: re-use, repurpose, recycle
style is good, clutter is bad
have fun, be creative, and do uncommon things
do good and nice things for people
leave a small footprint on our planet
Don’t they have some sweet finds?! The Tin Barn Market has recently moved out of the barn and into a pop-up shop for the holiday season. Collaborators Errin and Vicki have curated the shop in a winter cabin theme. They are open Wednesday to Sunday at 65 Mill Street. Get all the info on their facebook page and then pay them a little visit if you’re in the area.