Thursday, December 9, 2010

In My Backyard

As I scramble to come up with ideas for family and friends for Christmas, all my best intentions for making gifts with my two hands are proving unrealistic. As Christmas approaches, (can you believe it is two weeks away?), I have realized that I need help. I'm a strong believer in handmade and it has been an easy decision to accept that if I'm not going to make it, I'm happy to invest in someone who can.

So buy handmade. Great. Love it. But I think I can do better. Over the last few months since moving back to Canada, I have had the opportunity to start exploring the crafting/creating scene here in Ottawa and I am loving what I am finding. There are so many talented people that are putting their heart and soul into their creations. As a friend pointed out to me the other day, we are not Toronto, or Montreal, or Vancouver where the movement is much more visible. But Ottawa has what's going on - you just need to dig a little deeper to find it.

And although I am specifically speaking about Ottawa, I believe there are fantastic things happening just about wherever you are in this big beautiful world. It's now very easy to shop locally on Etsy and support your local artisans in whatever town you live in. Once you are on their homepage scroll down until you you see "Ways to Shop" on the left hand column. Select "Shop Local." I promise you, you will be amazed but what you find.

So back to my local, Ottawa. I am really excited that I have been able to connect with some local artisans and I want to share them and their creations with you. So here are a few of my local favourites for your enjoyment...

For upcycled children's clothing, Wave Kaia is superfun. All Laura's creations are made almost exclusively from repurposed material and upcycled clothing. She sells the funkiest hats, leggings and trousers but I really adore the versatility of her dress shirt dresses for girls. These are great because when they becomes too short for a dress you can pair them with leggings. High on cute, comfort, and style. Check out Wave Kaia for all the kiddos on your list. Laura also blogs here.

Haley of HaleyByHand is a wonderful sewer who currently is featuring a gorgeous line of owl softies. And when I say soft I mean oooozing softness. Her choices in fabrics and attention to detail in every piece she makes ensures that anyone who is gifted with one of these beauties will have a friend for life. Haley makes stunning things, check out her handmade goodness here and her blog here. You can also find Haley at the Shang Winter Craft Sale this Sunday Dec. 12th from 10-3 (Shanghai Restaurant on Somerset).

I spent a lot of time browsing through Urbanite Jewelry's Etsy Shop yesterday trying to select a couple of photos to show you that reflected the quality and workmanship as well as the style and gorgeousness of Krista's pieces. After much mulling I choose the following three but you really must check her stuff out yourself - it's awesome. Krista is also very active in the crafting community and is co-founder of the Craft Co-Op which is an amazing source of info for all those interested in the subject. Coming next for Krista is Wed By Hand. But first...her killer jewelry:

And if you have ever read my blog before you know of my love for Annie Bananie. Friend, felter, kindred spirit, teacher, day care provider, kundalini instructor. She rocks the free world. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on what she sells - lovely, soul nourishing felting kits that are appropriate for those aged 5 to timeless. She offers several different kits but the ones I particularly love are her ball kits - great for beginners or experienced felters looking to create simple beauty. All of her kits are complete with everything you need and detailed, clear instructions with photos. Annie's Etsy shop is coming soon so follow her blog to keep current of her projects and amazing workshops - joining community through creative expression.

I hope this post has inspired you to shop local handmade this Christmas and throughout the year. Keep watching these women, they are constantly churning out new products and designing amazing awesome things! They are passionate about what they do and everything they create is from love. Now who can resist that??


  1. Wow, Karie! Great, wonderful, fantastic. Thanks! You rock! and I love you!

  2. I know what you mean about the owls being soft, I've never felt cotton that soft before. I will end up buying one of those at some point. Great post Karie, and thank you so much for supporting my cause!