We took a Summer Vacation!

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell everyone that we haven’t gone away just been on a summer vacation! I am sure all of you know how crazy busy the fall and winter seasons are so come summer it was time to unwind and disconnect a little bit. At the same time we moved so life was a little crazy.
We will get back into blogging on a more consistent basis soon. Keep following us on facebook for more up to date information!

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‘Hats For Life Designs’ An inspiration through creation.

Have you ever just been strolling down the street and seen someone wearing one of the cutest crochet hats you have ever seen? Well those are exactly the type of things that Sarah from Hats for Life Designs makes. She also might be one of the nicest people you could possibly ever meet. Her story starts a little sad when her mom had a hard time finding comfortable and stylish headwear during her chemo treatments and so they discussed combining her mom’s sewing abilities with her art/design background to create headwear for her and others in treatment. Several years later Sarah was now making mood boosting hats for one of her colleague’s relatives undergoing chemo treatment and shortly thereafter was making them for many people with a cancer connection. When the sewing machine broke, Sarah picked up the crochet hook again and combined portions from several patterns to create her first slouchy hat.

Life is really what inspires Sarah. She may have told us it’s nature but I think it’s Life. Her sunset blanket was inspired by the sunsets in Hawaii which includes colours that might not always go together like bright yellow and orange turning into the pinks and soft plum tones. Her bookpuches were created to fill a necessity of her own and they are absolutely genius products! Not sure what to get your mother for mothers day? Well check out Hats for Life because their Tiffany-esque bookpouch is an absolutely perfect mothers day gift.

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Sarah’s advice? Simple.

“You have to love what you do. It makes the difference; the passion fuels you. In business, an idea sounds great on paper but would you feel the same way at 2am? How about five years from now? Tony Bennett claims he’s never worked a day in his life. How is that possible? He LOVES what he does, and when you love it, it never feels like work”

Great advice! Check out the new Boho line from Hats for Life Designs, I mean a slouchy type beach bag is exactly the accessory every girl needs this summer! You can find Hats for Life on May 9th at the MAC Spring Craft Fair at Immaculatta High School on Main street.

boho bag

You can contact her through facebook as well!

Little Voice

At the last T.H.A.T. Craft Fair on March 21st I had the immense pleasure of spending some time talking to Amanda Bernardo, who is the mastermind being the children’s book Little Voice. You can tell from the way she speaks that she is extremely passionate about the book.

“I’ve always been a passionate writer. Finally one day, I found the courage to listen to my own little voice to share my writing with other people”

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It is this kind of passion that makes me want to support amazing local talent like Amanda. At the fair at any given point during the day you could find a little one (or sometimes even an adult) sporting the creative stickers featuring the main character from the Little Voice book.

“Knowing that my words can impact another person’s life is a pretty surreal thought. It constantly drives me to write things that can draw emotion out of my readers or inspire them to chase their own dream!”

That comment right there clearly demonstrates the love and passion Amanda has for her work. She told me that she turned down an American publisher because she wanted more creative control and wanted to stay true to her dreams. I can only commend Amanda for her bravery in deciding to self-publish her children’s book and her determination to make her dreams come true. She truly is an inspiring woman.

Her least favourite thing to do is when she has to turn down people who invite her to talk at events because she does still hold a day job (damn day jobs getting in the way of our entrepreneurial spirits).

When asked to give advice to someone just starting out? Here is what she says:

“Don’t get discouraged! Anything worth having always requires you to take the hard road ahead… But it will be worth it!”

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I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you would like to purchase a “Little Voice” book you can find them online at www.littlevoicethebook.com or visit Chapters in South Keys and/or Kaleidoscope Books in the Glebe. Also make sure to give them a like on facebook, follow them on twitter (LittleVoiceBook) and Instagram (LittleVoiceBook) as well!

little voice

Glorious Life

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 11.27.40 AMIn today’s world we are becoming more and more aware of what is in our food. It is almost like one of those “ah ha” moments when you figure out why you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately because of a sensitivity that you could have always had. This is what happened to the lovely owner of Glorious Life, Andrea.

A few years ago she went completely gluten free, for health reasons, and eventually wanted to go beyond what she puts in her body but what she put ON her body as well. So, she developed her own line of natural, organic, vegan, & gluten free soap and body products.

I started scrutinizing ingredient labels and realized that there was so much more than gluten to be concerned about in those products. Armed with the knowledge of the toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in many of the products I had been using, I went in search of healthier and gluten free alternatives.

After searching she found that it was very hard to find gluten free alternatives to soaps and body products so she decided to make “greener, healthier, gluten free, and trustworthy products!” When we asked Andrea if she could tell us what her favourite and least favourite thing to make was, she sort of surprised us with her answer…

I really do not have a least favourite item to make. I enjoy making all of my products, from the HIS Beard Oil & HIS Shave Soap, to the Plain & Simple Organic Body Bar Soap, to the Cedarwood Lemon Shampoo bar. I enjoy creating all of them. I can honestly say that I love what I do.

You can tell that all of her products come from a deep love of a healthier living. Andrea’s journey to discovering that she needed to go gluten free was not an easy one (it rarely is when it comes to food…sigh) but with her amazingly optimistic nature and obvious talents she has made it to where she is today.

Her words of wisdom to us are:

Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before…and love what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. A great way to get things rolling is to get involved in local craft shows that promote local talent.

If you would like to purchase one of Andrea’s products you can find her next at the Living Locally Fair on January 17th in Russell, ON. If you aren’t able to make it out, don’t worry, she regularly updates her events page on her website: http://www.gloriouslifehandcrafted.com/p/events.html

You can also keep in touch with her by following her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gloriouslifehandcrafted or seeing her online store on Etsy: www.gloriouslifecrafted.etsy.com. Maybe you will even see her local guilty pleasure, BEZ Gluten Free and try some of their Gluten free baking!

The Unplugged Crocheter

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The Unplugged crocheter Amy, found herself watching tv one night with her significant other and discovered they were both playing on their phones instead of communicating, so she decided to make a change and boy aren’t we glad she did!

“So I started to crochet instead of playing on my phone while sitting with friends or watching TV and my relationships with my friends, family and partner became so much stronger. I fully encourage you all to unplug and pick up something different!”

While we all spend a lot more time indoors this winter why don’t we try and pick up a new hobby or try a new craft. Youtube videos are a great place to start and of course, there is always Pinterest to provide you with a never ending amount of ideas.

With the big snowfall yesterday I am sure everyone is scrambling to pull out their winter gear, so why not spoil yourself and pick up a new infinity scarf or cowl from The Unplugged Crocheter.

“I love the cold and bundling up in fun new scarves and warm clothes”

Amy’s favourite item to make is the large chunky scarves and they are made with gorgeous yarn. Amy is your typical crocheter in that she has to touch and feel all the balls of yarn before she purchases them, so each scarf is soft and luxurious to the touch. Her least favourite item to make is probably mittens. When asked what her locally made weakness it she couldn’t decide between Totally Squared (how are their squares so good!) and Scruff Collars (her collars are just beyond cute and practical! Not something you can find easily). Her advice for someone just started out is one we can all take to heart:

“Don’t expect yourself to be perfect at everything right off the bat. Everything takes practice but once you get the hang of it, you can make anything!”

Want to see the Unplugged Crocheter in person? You can find her this Saturday at the Wakefield Christmas Market, which is an Old fashioned, European-style Christmas market in the village of Wakefield, Quebec. The event runs from 3pm-7pm at 831 Ch Riverside, in Wakefield, Quebec.

You can also visit her Facebook Page or e-mail her at unpluggedcrocheter@gmail.com.

Tealee

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When we first found out about Tealee through instagram (gotta love that social media!), it was love at first sight. Owner Lisa creates amazing loose leaf tea blends and you can just see her passion in everything she does. In her own words

“My passion for tea has been growing since I had my first sip of tea about 4 years ago now. I couldn’t get enough of loose-leaf tea so I began an online loose-leaf tea store but in order to feed my thirst for more tea knowledge, I started taking tea sommelier courses at Algonquin College to achieve my Tea Sommelier Certification through the Tea Association of Canada. While taking these courses, I found my favourite aspect of tea; tea blending. From there I searched for various ingredients that would pair well with all different types of tea. Pineapple Island was my very first blend, and now I have a total of 9 original Tealee blends with a few more in the works”

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Her two main inspirations are her own palate and her tea loving friends and customers. How cool is it that almost half of her blends have been a result of combining both her knowledge and experience with the feedback from her customers and friends. Interesting in making your own tea? Well keep your eyes pealed because T.H.A.T. Team got some secret information (okay… maybe it’s not so secret) but Tealee is going to be launching tea blending workshops soon! Cannot wait to attend one of these!

When asked to give one piece of advice to someone just starting out, or even just thinking about starting their own local business this is the advice she gave and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves:

“Follow your passion! As simple as it may sound, last year, one of the hardest and best decisions I have made is to put aside the path of finding a “secure” job in human resources with the government and get a part-time job instead so that I would have the time and flexibility needed to launch and grow my tea business. Following my passion for tea has been one of the best decisions I have made simply because I truly enjoy every minute I spend working on my business and hopefully one day, will be able to purse my passion full-time”

Tealee is a new business that is going to start expanding at the seems! They are hoping to offer a new line of handmade tea cups, tea pots, tea infused body products, baked goods, etc. So start following them on facebook now, follow them on instagram or twitter account name: _Tealee!

Want to go see Tealee in person? You can find her list of locations/upcoming shows here. Or better yet head on out THIS Saturday to MAC Fair (details below) and see her along with almost 100 other artisans!

Mac Craft Fair at Immaculata High School
140 Main Street, Ottawa, ON from 10am-3pm.
Come on out to support a great cause and get your shop on!
Bring the kids! There will be Chrsitmas movies, a letters to Santa station, button-making, and we have a professional facepainter/henna artist for the kids and the kids-at-heart. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stopping by, taking a break from making toys!
There will be a pancake breakfast as well as pizza if you want to stay for lunch.
Admission is just $1.00,
which goes toward our Christmas Hamper Program for hungry families,
AND your admission earns you a FREE ticket to our
Raffle with almost 100 great prizes!

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Until next time folks, keep it local!

Handmade by Sue!

 

Handmade by Sue

You can find Handmade by Sue this weekend!! Come visit her at Yelp! Totally Bazaar Nov 29th from 11am – 3pm at Algonquin College!

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Come out and shop local at Yelp’s Totally Bazaar! Join us anytime between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 29 at the Algonquin College Student Commons, to shop handpicked gifts primed for giving!That’s right, Yelp is organizing our FIRST EVER handpicked holiday market that will cross everyone off your holiday shopping list. Local artisans are bringing you the best in handmade products including chic clothing, perfect pet products, all natural skincare, hand crafted cards and signs, accessories, unique jewelry, baked goods, and more! Whether your budget is $5 or $500, you are sure to find something ultra local, extra special and yes, über yelpy!

And hey, Yelp retail therapy would not be complete without some complimentary treats, so don’t miss out on delicious snacks, a hot chocolate bar, massive cookie buffet, ornament making station, visits from Santa’s little helpers, Elf Yourself photo booth, and much more.

This event is *entirely* open to the public and is *FREE* to attend. We are accepting donations on behalf of Bruce House, a local organization that provides housing and social services to individuals living with AIDS/HIV. For each dollar you donate, you will receive a ticket for one of our amazing prizes, all graciously donated by our participating vendors and sponsors.

 

Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets: The 5 W’s

Everyone knows the 5 W’s, or at least it was ingrained in my brain forever in elementary school. Who, What, Where, When and Why. I think the biggest question you might have for us is Why. Let’s start at the beginning though.
Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets (or affectionately otherwise known as T.H.A.T.) came to be out of a love of all things local and most importantly all things handmade. There is so much amazing talent in this capital city of ours that one might not realize until they enter the craft fair scene.
1. Who – Who do we want to promote? We want to promote the amazing artisans that live in the Ottawa area that make handmade products and that want to promote themselves.

2. What – Anything handmade. It can be any kind of product, if you’ve made it, we want to know about it!

3. Where – If you live in the Ottawa area (there are no defined lines of where you have to live but in general close to the Ottawa area).

4. When – T.H.A.T. Team will be trying to make blog posts at minimum once a week (I mean, that is a fair goal to start with right?).

5. Why – The best part is why. Because of a sincere love for our city and the amazing people that make even more amazing products that live in it. Because I bet you there are several people out there who have no idea that they can get an amazing jar of locally made salsa, or a great kick me in the butt and get my day started cup of coffee, or a delectable treat that you can eat, even though you have those pesky food allergies! And what about those locally make skin care/beauty products that make you look, feel and smell beautiful, and those amazing handmade decorations or furniture or baby clothes! Okay I think you get the point of why already. Simply there are so many amazing local artisans that deserve some attention.

If you want to get your name out there, just simply follow this link and fill out the survey and then e-mail us pictures of your work and you will be notified when your business will feature on our blog.
Until next time folks keep supporting local!
T.H.A.T. Team signing off on our first T.H.A.T. Blog post!

We will leave you with this:
support local