Monday, November 30, 2009

Challenge is Complete

It was so much easier than I thought to feature 30 local artisans and businesses in 30 days. It was fun researching and visiting the local craft fairs in search of talented Manitobans. I will continue with this blog because I still have many people researched to feature and review not to mention many new ones to find. There are still a few craft fairs I am planning on visiting and I have artisans emailing me with their introductions. If you are an artisan or small business owner in Manitoba I would love to take a look at you. Email me at I know it is titled "handmade" but I am interested in looking at Manitoba's local market for all sorts of Manitoba made and grown companies. I have a few farmers to feature, restaurants, and many more local artisans. They just keep popping up and I am excited at what I am finding.

Other additions to this blog will be that I plan to review or feature specific local products instead of the artisan behind them. I also will be learning how to make hand made items and posting online tutorials so you can do it yourself too. It should be a fun place to keep checking back to.

My main goal for this blog is to show all my viewers that you do not need to shop at the major box stores. There is so much local goodness in Manitoba that you should be able to most items at small local stores or made by local Manitobans. Community support is so important in this world. We need to get out of our box and concentrate on how we can help the people that live in our neighborhood whether it is a local grocery, local farmers, our community shelters, and your even your neighbors. It is amazing how a meal made for a sick or grieving neighbor can change their spirit. You never know who needs you if do not get out and greet the people in your neighborhood.

My public statement is done today. ;) I feel a little Mr.Rogers like.

Have a good night!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Southern Manitoba's tlp photography

Tiffany Payment contacted me a little while ago to tell me about her photography. She is from Gretna, Manitoba. I love photography and will probably have many posts in the future featuring the talented people behind the cameras that Manitoba has to offer us. One thing that I really like about Tiffany, which I have seen in other talented artisans, is her passion. She was not trained to be a photographer and then got a job taking photos. She loved capturing her children in candid shots and as she got her first digital camera she began to learn more and more and loved capturing other people's moments too. Tiffany now has a large portfolio of family, maternity, newborns, babies, and much much more.

I want to feature family photos today since that is what started Tiffany on this path. With Christmas up and coming families are excitedly planning for gatherings and getting gifts together. This is one moment when I think a good photographer can make a difference. At this time of year families are booking their family photo, to send along with their Christmas cards. Most often these are at one of the box stores. I have complained about this industry before when I featured another photographer. Tiffany will bring out your inner sparkle that a photographer in a sterile mini studio cannot. You will not be instructed to have to hold an unnatural "cute" or "loving family" pose and smile in unison to get that one good shot. Tiffany looks past the stiff posed pictures to the fun in everyone. As you play with your children she will be snapping memories. She will find someplace beautiful, whether it be your own home or outside, and let you make the memories while she looks into YOUR world. Do not book your family into a little studio with different coloured backdrops. Let a photographer like Tiffany into your life and make real memories.

Tiffany has a beautiful website and a blog you can follow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vineyard Craft Sale a Success!!

I had a nice morning out at the Christmas Craft Sale. It was very busy and so many wonderful things to see. I actually only went with $10 and do not need any more Christmas gifts but I was still looking around for birthday, shower gifts, and other things for our family. I like taking it all in and then going home and thinking about what we need. If I go with $100 I will find things to buy. This craft show had some amazing artisans. A couple I reviewed here like The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe and Oldhat...both have things I NEED to buy for my children very soon. They both have early Spring birthdays so I can start putting things away after Christmas.

One artisan stood out above all in my books. She did not have a card so I am hoping that I have the name right because I wrote notes in a few places and now I have to rely on my terrible memory on which person sold which item. I believe it was Joy Eidse's beautiful quilts. I have sent her a message to be able to feature here soon and I will hopefully be able to share some photos of her amazing craft! She had this amazing quilt of the prairies where the wheat hand stitched just so that it stood out from the quilt and looked as though it could sway in the wind. The skies were had patterns stitched into it similar to Van Gogh's Starry Night. She hand died the fabrics and it looked like so much work.

I am a stickler for hand made kid things and knit wear so I was amazed at what was very happy at the booths. I am sure this sounds like a broken record but there were so many nice things. A few that I took notes on were:
Sweet Words
Dick & Jane
My Clementine
Natasha Boone Illustration
Annie's Knit Toddler Booties
Oma Mary & Etsy site
Heike Eidse Rags and Regalia
Bethany Miller's Crocheting
Jill Zurzolo Handmade Bags

Other Artists, Musicians, and Photographers:
Julia Mark & Jewels and Ghouls Etsy site
Chandra Kremski LA.KAI Design
Janelle Loewen
Ali Tataryn Jewelry
Matthew James Zylstra Sawatzky & Hope and Humanity in the Former Transkei Book
Robin Fehr
Kalyn Falk & Jase Falk - Vash Industry Leather Workers

There were many others and I apologize that I didn't get to mention everyone. I was a little under the weather today so I didn't have my 100% to give today. If I missed anyone or if you would like to be featured here feel free to email me a

I am pooped so that is all from me today. Goodnight everyone!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Remember Craft Fair at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard

There are going to be quiet a few talented people at this sale including some that I have featured this month so you DON'T want to miss it!!! Proceeds from the renting of the artisan tables will be going to a Women's co-op in Nepal and to supporting local Winnipeg artists in the WCV community.

There is more information & photos of some of the artisan's work here:

"CHRISTMAS CRAFT SALE Sat Nov 28 10am - 4pm @Winnipeg Centre Vineyard: 782 Main St... corner of Sutherland and Main (it's right beside the BIG YELLOW WAREHOUSE) You don't want to miss this sale! This fantastic event will be show casing local artists right here in our community. You'll be sure to find the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family, or just come out and shop for yourself. Spread the word!!! We have OVER 50 amazing local talent at this sale. Whether you are Christmas shopping or looking for something for your place, you don't want to miss this event. A taste of what you'll find at the sale: paintings, prints, baby items, photography, quilts/knitting, wood burning/carving, stained glass, pottery, music cd's, jewelry, baking, apparel, paper art, greeting cards, fabric art etc. While you shop, enjoy awesome busking talent and a bite to eat at the cafe. Door Prize to be won. $2 admission, kids FREE."

100% Calorie Free Cupcakes!!!!

Now that I got your attention!! I would like to introduce the most diet friendly cupcake around....The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe. Starting when I was pregnant and ever since I have had uncontrollable sweet cravings. I am guessing that is why moms are so addicted to buying their little babes so sickly sweet newborn clothes. ;) That is the premise behind The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe. Amber's designs are sweet and adorable. She is the mother of 3 little girls so she has had her share of PINK around. That is how she came upon the idea for her cupcake apparel.

While I was at the Lilypad and Friends Craft Show I took in Ambers designs and they are soooo sweet. She can personalize any item so there are BIG BROTHER or BIG SISTER t-shirts with the child's initial or name. My friend Corinna and co-owner of Lily Pad had 2 BIG BROTHER shirts ready for her 2 boys because she was expecting number 3. She just had her little girl last week and I am sure she will be buying cupcakes, butterflies, and the cutest little tweet embroidered birds from The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe. A lot of time goes into making each of these little birdies! For every single one she makes a design, chooses the fabric with great care, and then she embroiders each one. These shirts, onsies, hats, and towels are all made with love.

The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe has had such an overwhelming response to her monogrammed shirts for older kids that she has started mini-monogrammed infant shirts and onsies. They are adorable!! Again I am in awe of how a mother of 3 could have enough time to design and create so much variety. She must drink 100 cups of coffee a day to keep up with all the work she does. I am lucky if the dishes get done. ;)

Keep The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe in your mind for Christmas gift ideas this year. There are so many awesome designs and if you get it in it time she can custom make for any child. If you are looking for stockings or Santa hats Amber custom monograms them so that each child can have an individual look.

I am down to the part where I tell you where to find her. Like Michelle from Revelations, Amber seems to be a crazy computer person who can be found EVERYWHERE. Take a look at her Etsy site, Blog, or Facebook page. She often can be found at Southern Manitoba & Winnipeg craft Fairs and will be next found at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Craft & Artisan Show this Saturday. So Check her out there. This will be her last craft fair before Christmas. You can still place an order with her ( and mention you saw The Cotton Cupcake Shoppe here and she will give you FREE SHIPPING!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Nathan Dueck is probably know best as the hat guy at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I had not heard of Oldhat before this summer. My friend, her husband, and their children all got new/old hats at the festival. Old because 99% of his hats are made from recycled or second hand material. Nathan and Oldhat visited a couple festivals this summer to sell his wares and now has taken it a bit more down key do to schooling.

Nathan & Oldhat will be at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Craft Sale this weekend or you can purchase his hats at either The Haberdashery at 84 Albert St or Local Shop Awesome at 106B Osborne Village. Maybe we will be lucky to see him at 2010's Winnipeg Folk Festival too!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Revelations North Creations

Michelle Mathews is the creator of Revelations North. She is an artist, designer, creator and has been entirely self taught. She lives in a The Pas, Manitoba which is a small, isolated town of 10,000. She can walk out her door and be swallowed by nature. I believe that nature and the quiet isolation must have been her inspiration for her work. Michelle started by working with wire and through trial and error she has became a creator of beautiful, wearable art.

Michelle says of her art:
"When I make my jewelry I do it peacefully. It's a form of meditation for me. I sit quietly and go away for a while into my beads and wire. I work in sterling silver or copper wire and have found they both have their own unique personality. I'm a rock hound as well and I believe in the power of rocks and minerals, so working with gemstones is like working with old friends.

My pieces are created entirely by hand using techniques of weaving and forging. Many feet of wire are bound and wrapped together to create an intricate design. Oxidization and hand polishing enhance the depth and texture of the weaving. Since every step is completed by hand, each piece created is truly one-of-a-kind, a work of art."

Michelle may be out in the middle of the wilderness but she is not hard to find. She is available online at:

Michelle, with her Revelations North creations, can be visited next at The Pas Arts Council Christmas sale on Nov 28th.

I have chosen my favorite pieces to showcase but she has so many beautiful hand crafted, forest and lake inspired jewelry I recommend you have a peak at her art right away and choose the one of a kind piece that speaks to you!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ginger Cat Cafe Makes Latte Art

I had to feature Brandon's Ginger Cat Cafe. It is the first time that a Mom of a local business owner or artisan emailed me and requested me to check out her daughter's art. This is a whole different art than anything that I have posted here. Veronica Dyck makes latte art. Veronica came to Canada from Russia in 1994. She now owns an eclectic, art-infused coffeehouse. Unfortunately I haven't been to Brandon for a number of years so I haven't been able to experience her famous latte art. Valery, Veronica's Mom, generously and probably proudly provided me with photos of her daughter's art.

Ginger Cat Cafe uses Manitoba-roasted coffee beans for their beautiful lattes and feature many other hot & cold drinks, baked goodies & desserts, breakfast, panini sandwiches, salads & soup They feature live music weekends and are open 7 days a week so the coffee is always on!!

Ginger Cat Cafe also offers tea parties for private parties, meetings and gatherings. Next summer, as I am heading to B.C. to visit my dear friend Nadine, I will have to stop in and sample a chocolate dessert along with one of their famous lattes.

EMK Clothing

Erin May Kembel learned how to sew when she was 9 years old by taking sewing lessons in her neighborhood. This childhood hobby quickly became her passion. She begun selling her work to friends and family, and got into her first store when she was still in high school. Now Erin has her EMK Clothing line which she sells online, from her studio, artisan shows, and at stores across Canada including the Manitoba Museum Gift Shop in Winnipeg & the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon.

Erin designed her EMK line to be functional and beautiful. She loves the combination of colour, print, and texture.

I was first introduced to EMK back when Erin and a partner had Osborne Village store Stulka Clothing and Accessories. I had loved how stylish and comfortable her clothes are. I bought a couple pairs of pants off the shelf and had her custom make me another couple pairs. Her EMK line had these bright retro Mitchell Fabric basement prints mixed in casual bottoms lie black corduroy floods. Yes....I still use "floods" rather then "capris"....Old Navy ruined that term for me. ;) I have not been the only person I know that was crazy about Stulka and EMK. My friend bought her very favorite EMK wallet at Stulka many many years ago and it is tattered now and terribly worn but she will not quit using it.

Erin seems to have dropped the clothing currently and has concentrated her design efforts to bags, accessories, and baby slings.

Even without Stulka there are still so many places to purchase EMK clothes. I just saw Erin this weekend at the Signature Craft Show at the Convention Centre and took a look at some of the new items on her EMK line. She still does great stuff and I find that all of her items, no matter how different, still have that EMK feeling that I remember from Stulka. It must be the Erin in every piece. I recommend that you take a peak at her website and download her catalog to check out her complete EMK line.

Monday, November 23, 2009

ManicMittens is a Whole Lot More Than Just Mittens

ManicMittens started by a stay home mom of three children in Winnipeg. Since her start ManicMittens has grown and grown. They still make all their products in Winnipeg but they have a HUGE product line now. They make crochet hats & crowns, hair clips & pins of all sorts, tutu's, clothes, sun hats, dolls, crayon rolls, and even dog clips. Of course they do sell mittens too. ;) The prices at ManicMittens are nearly as fabulous as the products. I do not know why companies need to outsource to 3rd World Countries. This is a home grown company with adorable products and good prices. You will not get anything like this at the box stores. Their website claims that there is something for everyone; Preppy to Punk to Emo. Baby, child, teen, and adult. That is a pretty big statement but I agree with them. I am very glad to have found them because I have picked out favorite items for upcoming birthdays, showers, and Christmas. I have never seen so many cute things on one website and I have reviewed some amazing stores and artisans this month.

ManicMittens can be found all over the place before Christmas so I insist that you check them out for gift ideas. You can order from their website:

Upcoming craft fairs:

Sunday, Nov 29 (10 - 4) Creative Collective Craft Fair - Crescentwood Community Center, 1170 Corydon Ave

Sunday, Dec. 6 (10-3) Tuxedo Christmas Craft Sale. 368 Southport Blvd

Sunday, Dec 13 (11 - 5) Last Chance Craft Show - Canad Inns Club Regent Casino Hotel, 1415 Regent Ave West

Or at local retailers:

Young and Trendy - 7-178 Pth 12 N, Steinbach, Manitoba - Stocking Infant Snap Clips

Bang! Hair Salon. 1102 Corydon Ave., Winnipeg,MB (204) 475-2264 - Stocking No-Slip Clippoes, Infant Snap Clips, Baby Headbands, Adjustable Headbands, Bobby Pins and MORE!

Bambino & Sprout. Anola, Manitoba -

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Small Potatoes Baby Products

I have been admiring Small Potatoes at Baby Bin for a while now. Small Potatoes makes slings, nursing covers, little ones clothing, diaper clutches, hats, barrettes, and more. What stands out for me are the fabrics they use. Holly Clarke, the president of Small Potatoes, is a self-proclaimed "fabric junkie". She also has a background in graphic design and advertising so she is always on the lookout for unique and good quality products. These fabrics that she has chosen are bright, cheerful, and colourful prints. All Small potatoes clothes are handmade and she uses only the best textiles available.

My child is a busy little one and has a tendency to have little fits over and over in the day. When she is horrible I can fantasize a Small Potatoes dress on her. It would give me something to smile about. ;)

Another big wow factor that Small Potatoes has over many other children's product companies is that you will not see little teddy bears or safari animals. It always drives me mad how your style is supposed to be flushed down the drain as soon as you bring a child into this world. Why does the mother have to have a teddy bear baby sling or a big baby pink diaper bag because you have a baby girl? Dress for yourself. You are still a woman. Small Potatoes fabrics and product designs are modern, stylish, and make a statement. A completely different statement than the mom with the big puffy baby blue teddy bear diaper bag with bottle pockets on the outside of the bag. I am so glad that the idea behind the 80's-90's moms is gone!

Check out their products at the many stores in Manitoba, online at the numerous vendors that carry Small Potatoes, their website, their blog, or Visit them Nov 29th at the Creative Collection Craft Fair at the Cresentwood Community Centre.

Manitoba Stores:

The Baby Bin Boutique, 1444 Corydon Avenue near Waterloo, Winnipeg
A Child's Place, Grant Park Mall and St. Vital Mall, Winnipeg
Kids Around, 756 Pembina Hwy, Winnipeg

My Little Sunshine, City Centre Mall, 300 Mystery Lake Road, Thompson
Newbee's, Harvest Plaza, 585 First St., Winkler
Valley's Edge, 342 Main Street, Manitou
Young & Trendy, Clearspring Centre, Steinbach


BeBe Trends
BumbleWee Nursing Wear
Elephant Shoe
Buggy Boo Baby
Nicetots (Singapore)
The Tiny Tot Company

Holly Clarke sure knows what she is doing. I have not reviewed anyone who is so widespread with the vendors that carry their products. It is amazing and you must check them out!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boomerang 360 Soon to be Available in Osborne Village Shop

For the last 2 years I have visited the Boomerang 360 table at the Robert Steen Craft Fair. Kylie Stomp is the creator of Boomerang 360. She prints graphic designs on t-shirts, baby clothes, pins, bags, hoodies, and even underwear. The designs have a retro feel because of the simple and timeless images; such as cruiser bicycles, birds, and trees. Kylie's motto is "Anyone can make the simple complicated, creativity is making the complicated simple". When you look at her merchandise on her table that is the feeling you have. They do not need to be complicated to be interesting.

Up until now Boomerang 360 merchandise has been primarily available at various craft fairs and local shows. Kylie will be showing her wares Nov 21st, 2009 (1-5pm) at Gio's, downtown Winnipeg, Nov 29th, 2009 (11-5pm) at the "Gathered Hearts" in Niverville, and Dec 13, 2009 (5-10pm) at the "This Ain't Your Grandma's Craft Sale" at The Park Theatre, South Osborne St. In the middle of December Boomerang 360 will also be available at Sew Dandee in Osborne Village. Check out her designs at any of the venues, Sew Dandee, or online at:

Signatures Craft Show Today

My sister and I decided to head over to the Signatures Craft Show today at the Convention Centre. It was ok. Much like most Convention Centre Sale sales events. Lots of pricey items and not to many "craft" items. I am guessing this a more high end show than the quaint community club fairs. There were none of the $5 mom and pop knitting tables or the chunky hand made soaps. There were also lots of out of Manitoba vendors that probably follow the show across Canada. I kind-of expected it all after reading up on the show. I am not saying it was a total bust. There were some of the neato shops and artisans that I have been reviewing here. My sister especially loved the U.S.E.D. Seatbelt bags and will probably be ordering one soon. I grabbed a couple of cards to review later this month along with the long list I still have on the back burner. I am so proud of being from Manitoba. We have some amazingly talented people here. I always snicker to myself that only tough people can survive the prairies. All the weak people can't cut it here and move to Vancouver. ;)

Back to the show. Well....anyone who knows me knows I like to eat. I will never be a slim jim. The Convention Centre's vendor food was pretty weak. Stale muffins and "pastries" and $3 drinks. Inside there was an interesting Gelati vendor selling cotton candy, peanut butter, cookie dough, and other not very custom Gelati flavours. They seemed to be a hit with the crowd because everyone was munching on it. It was my "reward" for my little girl at the end of the show for being such a good girl. I sampled a few dip places and picked up a dill dip from Tasty Tidbets (A local Epicure type vendor) and some delicious cinnamon honey butter from Raven Creek Farm Bee Wares from Oakburn, Manitoba. I was sad to have missed out on the Saskatoon jam from local Miinan. They sold out before I got there but they still had the sample out and it was delicious. I got a card so I can order some or head over to another craft fair that they will be visiting. There were a couple knitting stands that drew me in but I have the German Oma knit for hire, from one of my first postings, so I don't need to out source anymore. ;) I seem to have only spend money on treats which is not strange for me. Most of the items I admired were around $100 and I am pretty much done Christmas shopping. Making gifts and buying local makes it easier and less stressful. No long lines and crazy crowds.

I think maybe I should have headed over to the Earl Grey Craft Fair instead. Probably more up my alley. I am getting very excited for next weekend's Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Craft & Art Fair. I think it will have some neat stuff. I will keep you all posted on it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Safe Wooden Baby Teethers, Rattles, & More

A friend from Winkler posted about a woodworker on our baby forum a few months ago and it stayed in the back of my memory. Barry Lee Loewen of Canadian Woodcrafts is a Morden, Manitoba woodworker who makes safe wood baby products, kitchen utensils, and more. His baby teething rings are smooth and shaped so that babies can hold them easily. They are made with cherry wood and finished naturally with certified organic flax seed oil and orange wax to keep baby happy and safe. They would make a wonderful gift for a new baby or expecting parents. He also makes small, easy to hold wooden rattles and babies first baby spoon. The way the world is now and the terrible products available it is nice to find creative and talented people who are bring child rearing back to nature. Wood will never have issues with recall for BPA or other toxic man made material. These baby goods are not made in a factory in China. They are carved, sanded, and treated by skilled hand by a woodworker who loves what he does.

He carves other kitchen utensils like beautiful, smooth, and natural salad spoons. He also makes hair & shawl pins. He is available for custom work.

I have said this before but I love getting to know the person behind the craft and I have cut a little blurb from his Etsy site:

"I have always loved to work with my hands and simple tools and to create pieces that are both Beautiful and Functional. I have always felt that even simple everyday tools such as a Wooden Spoon should be not only pleasing to the eye but comfortable for the hand as well. For me Wood is a wonderful medium, and I love the natural colors and patterns within each piece. I also Love to combine different woods within a piece to allow there contrasts to compliment one another. With wood the possibilities are endless and I hope to include a great many of them in my shop."

You can keep track of Barry on his blog and Etsy Site: