Creative Musings

Meet the Maker – Krista Kay Designs

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m 24 years old and married to a very supportive husband. I was born in Saskatchewan and will always be a prairie girl at heart. I’ve been making in one form or another since I was a child, from macaroni art to friendship bracelets to scrapbooking and card making and finally fibre arts. I went to school for advertising and marketing as well as event planning and now work full time in the incentive travel industry. My favourite colour is blue which shows up often in my work. I’ve very accident prone and I’m terrified of thunderstorms.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

A lot of my inspiration for new products comes from fashion magazines and Pinterest. I often think what I would wear or like in my home and start from there. Pinterest has been a great tool for finding beautiful colour combinations.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Some of my favourite items in my store are the blankets I make because so much time and hard work goes into them. I love working on bigger projects like blankets because there is much more of a sense of satisfaction when it’s complete.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

When I’m trying out a new pattern design or new stitches I will often keep the tests for myself. This past year I’ve decided to start doing a few bigger projects like sweaters and other garments to expand on my skill and continue to learn new techniques. One of my yarn suppliers sells knitting kits with the yarn and pattern included for larger projects like these so I’ll be keeping those for myself.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love spending time in nature. Whether that is just sitting outside on a nice day, going for a walk/hike, camping or swimming, spending time in nature inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing. I also love to read, specifically chick lit or murder mystery. James Patterson is one of my favourite authors, I can never seem to put his books down.

My husband and I really enjoy watching movies, which has been great since it’s perfect knitting time for me!

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

I think the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner is constantly evolving with the times and seasons. Fashion and home style changes so you have to be open to coming up with new styles and designs. You have to be willing to try and fail in order to have that creative breakthrough. There is a lot of trial and error and that can be scary sometimes.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

I first learned to knit from my grandma one summer when she was visiting from Saskatchewan. I didn’t finish the dishcloth while she was visiting and had it half finished until I met my now husband. His nana re-taught me the basics and really sparked my interest in the craft. Most of my knitting and crochet skills are self-taught or have been learned by watching Youtube videos. Many hours of trial and error have gone into creating the products I make and only the best are put out for sale.

Books or Movies?

This is a tough one… I definitely prefer books over movies because there is so much more detail included in the story line but at the same time it gives the reader creative freedom to imagine the characters and the details as they wish. I love movies too but movies based on books that I’ve read often don’t hold up in comparison.

Find all of Krista’s cozy creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can check her out online!

Etsy: www.kristakaydesigns.etsy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristakaydesigns
Instagram: @kristakaydesigns

Meet the Maker – Sparrow Avenue

If you’re looking for fun home decor pieces, Sparrow Avenue is a great place to look.. We had a quick chat with creator Barbara Di Lella to find out what her story is all about.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?
When my children were young, very young, I was illustrating children’s books. I would work while
they napped. But as they grew older and needed more attention, I left my artwork.
A few years later I decided that if I started my days while everyone was still asleep, then I could
accomplish some of the work I was trying to do.
Now, of course, they are grown up and the days are pretty much my own.

How long does the average item take for you to create?
This is not an easy question to answer but here goes:
The beginning of an item always starts with a drawing. (I won’t even mention the years it took to get
to where I am now with that aspect of my work.) A drawing can take anywhere from a few hours to a
few days until the finished drawing meets with my approval. There are lots of drawings that never
make it to being printed, that’s for sure.
Once I have an image that I’m happy with, I will burn it onto a screen that I have coated with photo
emulsion the previous evening. The screen is left in the dark room to “cure” overnight. The next
morning I will expose the image onto the screen using my homemade light table. This step takes a
few minutes after which the exposed emulsion is washed away (another 15 – 20 minutes depending
on the complexity of the image). The screen is then left in the sun for a day to “rest” and “cure”
some more.
Now I am ready to print!
Each print takes just a few seconds, but there is the set-up time to consider as well as the washing
of the screen.
I will spend a day printing so that I have a lot of items to sew the next day.
There is also the heat setting of each piece so that the print doesn’t fade or wash away.
And there is the ironing and packaging.
So you see: this is certainly not an easy question.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?
Right now one of my favourite designs is the one I did for Canada’s 150th anniversary. My Beaver
image has been quite popular ever since I drew him a few years ago and now,
combined with the other vintage-like elements of the design and printed on a vintage-style linen tea
towel, he seems to attract a lot of attention.

What is the story behind your business name?
There are actually two stories behind the name, Sparrow Avenue.
Not far from where I grew up was (and still is) a street called Sparrow Avenue. It has to be one of
the ugliest streets in the area! But I always liked the name.
The other story occurred around the time I was learning how to screen print. At the time I was
drawing a lot of birds as subject to be printed. Most of those birds were sparrows as there are so
many of them where I live.

What is your best selling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?
The items I make are really just a vehicle for my drawings.
With that in mind, I would have to say that my Beaver is my bestseller.
He is quite compelling and, I guess, cute. He certainly conveys an attitude that speaks to most
people. I have even had customers who have on-going battles with beavers at their cottages, yet
they still buy him!

We’re excited to have Barbara and her items at our Made in Canada Market, but if you can’t wait until September to get your hands on her creations, visit her online!
Etsy: www.sparrowavenue.etsy.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sparrow_avenue

Meet the Maker – Grey Jay Wearables

What’s better than having a friend that you can rely on? How about having one that you can bounce your ideas off of and even run a business with? Meet Katrina and Kristine of Grey Jay Wearables!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

Like the gray jay bird, we are a little wild but super friendly. If it’s the right food, we might even eat out of your hand:) We are into health, the environment, advocating for change, canoes, bikes, friends, flashy shoes, and crafting items that we believe people could benefit from in their daily lives. An interesting fact about us, (perhaps only to some) is that we often travel with a cooler. We are obsessed with obtaining copious amounts of takeout from restaurants that we just don’t have access to at home. When this is a priority, you plan ahead and go prepared. These birds love them some amazing fabric and spicy takeout!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

We have multiple facets to our work. We have reusables…these reflect our granola side. Why throw away plastic bags every five seconds when you can use fun, washable snack bags? We are always looking for ways to keep things natural and sustainable. All our kids were cloth diaper babies. We also have a wild (yet friendly) side…choosing bold, bright and fun fabrics for our skirts, hair ties and snack bags. What’s life without colour?

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

We are both really dedicated and involved with our kids. Family time is a priority. Leaving them for shows is tough but hanging out as friends, chatting with other artists, getting tons of takeout and meeting new customers makes it worthwhile. Our working days present and interesting challenge but they are the best. The kids hopefully play well while we drink way too much coffee, create and solve the world’s problems. Our goal is balance. Good parents are happy parents so we try our best to fit in the stuff that makes us happy and artistically satisfied. Plus, there’s always the hope that just maybe…we are pulling off some good role model action.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Learning how to use our new tools. The screen printing gear took some getting used to. Finding the right pressure to produce great prints was tricky. Every time we change fabrics, we have to learn again. We also taught ourselves to use a serger…one of our most amazing tools. Intimidating at first, it has become our sewing go-to for all our garments and reusables.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I’m in love with the wrap skirts! They are comfy, versatile, flattering AND, shut the front door…they have pockets. Shazam! The fabrics to choose from are amazing, we go nuts trying to choose one over the other. We want to make a skirt out of all of them. I took mine on a beach vacation and it was the bomb. Light, small, packable and I could wear it as a wrap over swimmers or stand out in a crowd at dinner. The miniature version for children is just as awesome. Kids can wear it for years. It’s unique, fun and made with care and good times. They are all one of a kind and in our humble opinion, they totally rock.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

Our screen printing gear! Every time we do a print we marvel at the results. Pushing the ink through the screen onto the fabric is super satisfying. When we remove the screen after we run the squeegee across it, hand clapping usually ensues. We built our screen printing table by padding a beat up old work table and covering it with crisp fabric. Screen, ink, squeegee, designs…fabulous results.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Absolutely. We use and wear everything we make. We love it that much. You have to love what you create right? So often it’s hard to sell it, we want it all for ourselves:) The hair ties, skirts, cuff links and brooches are regular fashion items in both of our homes. The hankies, snack bags and food wraps literally get used everyday, often more than once. They fill our kids lunches and our own as well for long shifts that require lots of snacks. Every bag/purse has a hanky – they feel better and they just straight up make sense.

Find Kristine and Katrina’s whimsical creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23, 2017 or check them out online.

Etsy: www.greyjaywearables.etsy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/greyjaywearables

Instagram: @greyjaywearables

Meet the Maker – Wildgrove Apothecary

Did you know that soap starts out as oil and water? The science behind soap making is fascinating and one that I love dearly (I used to be a soap maker..) I love how simple Elizabeth’s creations are – tapping into the goodness that mother nature has to offer! Read on to find out how Elizabeth started out!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am fairly simple. I love being outdoors, dogs, and knitting.

Where did your business idea come from?

Like many people, my business developed from personal need. My skin is extremely sensitive to all the chemicals in modern skin care products. Even some well known ‘natural’ products would cause it to break out or became red and irritated. So I created my first products–the Lavender and Frankincense moisturizer and cleanser–out of pure desperation. When I saw the changes to my skin after using them for a few weeks, I started making it for family and friends. And, my business grew from there.

How does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a nature-loving, simple, organic type of person and my products reflect that fully. They are 100% natural, organic and made with simple and pure ingredients.

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What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

My biggest learning curve since starting my business has been social media. Being visible on social media does not come naturally for me, so learning what and where to post has been a deep learning experience.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

My inspiration comes from two places; family and friends, and the plants themselves. When a friend or family member approaches me with some kind of health or skin issue, I start playing around in the kitchen trying to come up with an effective remedy or recipe. My friends call it “Kitchen Witching”, because it usually involves a lot of herbs, a mortar and pestle and great smelling essential oils. For example, I formulated my Hot Flush products after a friend approached me because she wanted relief from the discomfort of hot flashes. My Healing Skin Balm was devised for a friend suffering from eczema. My Honey, Lavender and Frankincense Cleanser and Moisturizer duo were designed for me, who has hyper sensitive, aging, yet prone-to-breakout skin. The second way I receive inspiration is from the plants themselves. As I discover more and more about their amazing healing gifts, I devise products designed to showcase these medicinal uses. For example, I’m working on a soap made from nettles, which is amazing for inflamed, irritated skin so it would be great for people with rashes, eczema, or psoriasis.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It depends on the product. Soap can take a few hours to make, but then takes 4-6 weeks to cure. My lotions and balms can me made in an hour or two.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

My faves change depending on my needs. Right now I’m having trouble sleeping, so I am in love with my Dream Cream. It’s a body butter that has been formulated using essential oils renowned for their relaxing and sedating qualities. Using it just before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What is the story behind your business name?

That is a good question. I wanted something that represented what I did and what I valued, so it had to be a name that made reference to the woods or forest as so many of my materials come from trees and plants. The apothecary part came from what I was doing with these plants–taking them from nature and formulating them into products that nourish and heal.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love getting out of the city and heading to the cottage. A walk in the forest or swim in the lake, always rejuvenates me. At home, when I can’t get away for any extended period, I love walking my dogs in the wooded ravine by my house.

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Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Just keep going, one step at a time. It will definitely seem daunting and feel overwhelming at times, but just keep moving forward one task at a time. Oh….and make sure you use tags…

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My Healing Skin Balm is my best selling item. It’s popular because it works. It’s rich and creamy, smells great and helps ease the discomfort of eczema or psoriasis. I love to put it on my feet at night. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel fantastic!

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

No, I am a full time high school teacher. I balance my day by taking advantage of my evenings and weekends, as well as any time off. Summer vacation, Christmas and March Break are all times I work crazily on my business. During the school year, it’s weekends and evenings.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

For me, the most challenging aspects of being a creative business owner has been social media. I am fairly shy and introverted by nature, so being visible on social media has been a struggle. I am learning though.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

Both. I take lot of classes on herbalism and plant medicine making, as well as aromatherapy, but my products themselves are often trial and error. Even though I might have the right formulation of plant and herbs, I sometimes have to experiment with the best way to get it onto the skin, whether it should be a lotion, salve, cleanser, balm, etc.

Find all of Elizabeth’s concoctions at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd, or follow her online channels!

Website: www.wildgroveapothecary.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildgroveapothecary

Instagram: @wildgrove_apothecary

Meet the Maker – Nancy Newman Textiles

If you’ve ever seen a Nancy Newman Textiles bag, you know they’re made of quality material and creativity.  Here’s your chance to find out how Nancy ticks and what fuels her passion.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

Textiles have been my life’s work, starting with a children’s clothing business in the 1990’s. With a store on the Danforth in Toronto, and wholesale clients across Canada, I designed and manufactured play clothes for boys and girls. I returned to school, Sheridan College in Oakville, and graduated from the Textile Studio in the School of Craft and Design, where I learned about textile design, screen printing, dye chemistry and so much more. What a fabulous experience that was! After that I set up my weaving studio in my home in Leaskdale, north of Uxbridge, where I wove silk scarves, shawls and kimonos. Now I am printing my own textiles and using those to create a line of purses and bags.

The environmental impact of my work is always a consideration, so I use only natural fibres, organic where possible, and the dyes and inks I print with are all eco-friendly.

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a jeans and sneakers kind of person, a bit of an aging hippie, so the purses I made all have a relaxed, bohemian vibe. The designs are simple and practical, with adjustable straps and lots of pockets, and the prints I create are simple, bold and graphic. Nothing fussy or frilly in my work. I only use natural fibres, and everything I create can be worn with jeans.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

If you factor in the time experimenting, designing a screen print, carving a printing block, or the times that a design sometimes just doesn’t work, it makes the whole process a great deal longer than it appears. Each design is different depending on the complexity, so while some can be done in less than an hour, some take closer to 7 hours.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Right now, the origami market bag made from vintage Kantha quilts is both my favourite and my best seller. Each vintage quilt is made in the Rajasthan province of northern India, and the women take worn saris or textiles, put 6 or 7 layers together, then with a small running stitch, the Kantha stitch, sew them all into an amazing and colourful quilt. When I make the bags, I leave the edges raw, so you can see the layers of fabrics and feel a little of the history and character of each quilt. the bags themselves are very useful and can carry your groceries, your gym gear, or sin the case of one customer, a small dog!

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

When my husband and I moved to the Uxbridge area, we chose this old farmhouse because it had a large, light filled room with a vaulted ceiling on the back. I knew that this room had to be my studio. With four windows and a french door to the patio, it has the most amazing light in the afternoon. The walls are a soft yellow, and I have red and white Ikea shelves to hold my extensive stash!

My favourite tools are my sewing machines. I have three industrial ones – a straight stitch, a serger, and a leather machine with a walking foot. These are one function machines with some serious power. If your home sewing machine is a lawn mower, these are Ferraris. I couldn’t do what I do without them.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

Besides the Etsy shop, I sell my purses through craft sales. In the winter months, when nothing much is happening, it’s difficult to feel enthused about making a lot of stock. While I hope that it will all sell later on in the year, it’s hard to believe that when things are slow. Self doubt creeps in and you start to question your talent and why you are doing this. I mean, isn’t there enough stuff already?

But the spring comes, and shows start and your work sells. You talk to people that love your purses, that buy them as gifts (which I think is a real compliment), and eventually the confidence starts to come back. Until the next slow period….

City Living or Country Dwelling?

Definitely country dwelling. I live in an old brick farm house that was built around 1870. None of the walls or door frames are straight and most of the floors tilt down in one direction or another. I love the wonkiness of this home and I don’t think you could find that in the city. When I get stuck with ideas, or when my back is tired from sewing for hours, I can go outside, take a walk along a gravel road and breathe in the fresh air. There is a gentleness about country living and a friendliness that I never experience while living in Toronto for 25 years. I have made so many friends, and have such an active social life, that I feel that I have finally come home to where I belong. The Uxbridge area is home to some amazing artists, whom I count as my friends. I’ve lived in cities, and loved the activity, but now I really enjoy the peace.

We’re excited to have Nancy at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd. Come see her at the market or follow along with her social channels.

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/NancyNewmanTextiles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancynewmantextiles

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancynewmantextiles

Meet the Maker – MP Design Company

There are a lot of wood creations floating around these days, but not so many have the look that Maureen Peets of MP Design Company creates. Read on to find out how Maureen finds her ideas..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am a designer/maker who works in wood and reclaimed wood. I create home decor items including coat racks and wooden signs, jewelry and I also make a line of Christmas tree ornaments and decor. I specialize in creating unique finishes using wood dyes, paint and leaf. I am always on the hunt for items to up-cycle give a new life.

I also do work in social media and event photography which compliments my design company. I love the variety this brings me everyday.

Where did your business idea come from?

I started my business after graduating from Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design in the Furniture Program. I had my business for several years and then got a real job. After leaving my job 4 years ago, I decided to make some Christmas ornaments and it has just grown from there.

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I love wood, colour and I love to paint. I am a big problem solver with lots of ideas so the design process gives me that creative outlet. I enjoy restoring old things and giving them a new life to solve a problem or it makes something useful that did not exist before.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

My girls are both in university now and in fact my younger daughter helps me at shows when she is in town. I did work when I was on maternity leave for my first daughter and enjoyed it.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

My learning curve has really been to believe in myself so that I can do this. When I first started working on wood in my twenties, I had more time and much more confidence. What you don’t know doesn’t stop you! I have been learning to listen to my inner voice and learn from people around me. I think it was a shift for me that people don’t buy things they buy people so tell your story.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get my inspiration from the wood itself as I like to feature the natural beauty of wood even when I dye it and paint it. I also am inspired by the people around me who make beautiful things.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

My designs take me several hours to make as woodworking involves a lot of steps. I tend to make things in batches where possible and when I have made a prototype.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

My favourite item is the Twinkle Star Choker Necklace in Antique White. I wear it when I go out and it has been a popular seller.

What is the story behind your business name?

MP Design Company was the name I came up with after graduating Sheridan College. When I started designing again, I thought it was the right choice for me. It has my initials and it allows me the flexibility to make what I want to make.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I usually start with a drawing and then move to selecting the wood. I then play with size, colours other design elements such as hardware. The next step is to cut, drill and sand the number of pieces needed to make a few of the item at once. It is a bit of a production line with dry runs, gluing and then sanding. This allows me to do the messy steps all at once before moving on to the dyeing, painting and finishing stage. This whole process takes a day for small items to several days for larger or more complicated pieces.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have two work-spaces one is in my garage where I store my wood and use cutting tools. I also have a small studio in my house where I have all of my dyes, paints and supplies. This is where the assembly and finishing happens.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I don’t receive many custom orders although I get a lot of interest in them. It is an area of my business that I would like to increase.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Yes, I love making things for myself and my family including lamps, coat racks and jewelry. I love upcycling old solid wood furniture like chairs and dressers as well.

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?

My favourite designer is Philippe Starck because he has such a unique take on function and form. He is an innovator and his designs are immediately identifiable.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love going to flea markets, furniture and antique stores. I also enjoy playing golf, planning events, social media and photography.

Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Do something that you are passionate about and enjoy doing. Don’t be afraid to listen to your customers feedback and continue to learn.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My best-selling item is Rudy a Christmas tree ornament that was my first design 4 years ago. It is my take on Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer and I think it has broad appeal.

Are you managing wholesale accounts and attending markets alongside your direct sales? If so, how do you balance your work day?

I am not yet managing wholesale accounts but that is on my list. I participate in shows and markets throughout the year. I struggle with balancing my work day and tend to work long days before a show.

Do you have other hobbies?

I don’t have as much time for hobbies as I used to but I love to golf and I love to entertain.

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

I do this part time as I have another business where I do social media and photography in the events, meetings and incentive travel industries. I typically have alternate days for each business and then switch focus depending on need. The two activities compliment each other.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

The most challenging aspect is making enough money to pay the bills. I have had to supplement my income with photography and event work but this also helps me with business development and networking in new circles.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self-taught practices of trial and error?

I have a diploma from Sheridan College in Furniture Design and I have taken courses at OCAD in design drawing, instrument making and woodworking. In addition to that I have years of self taught practices and there has been a lot of trial and error!

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

I want my products to be sold in 5 stores. I would also like to be doing more custom work for clients who want reclaimed and up-cycled pieces. I would also like to launch my own website to showcase my work both large and small.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee is my main beverage and in some ways my life line. I am addicted to it and love it hot or cold. Love to self brew my coffee and love to try new coffee places. Tea is not important to me at all. I can take it or leave but mostly leave it.

You can find Maureen at our upcoming Made in Canada Market or you can follow her on her social media channels..

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/MPDesignCompany

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MPDesignCompany

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mpdesigncompany

Meet the Maker – YFL.Art

I am thrilled to introduce you to Yolanda Fernandes of YFL.ART – One of my fave artists, creating beautiful, freeing paintings and SUPER CUTE character pins & paintings. Read on to find out more about her and her process.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I create original art, illustrations, enamel pins, buttons & more! I love mixing traditional forms of art such as watercolors with modern digital elements. Most of my work is nature-themed, since that is where I find most inspiration. However, since I am also a mom of three, I have branched out and have a kid’s line of illustrations & flair.

An interesting fact is that I have a fine art background and have another shop for all my fine art paintings. I have had the opportunity to showcase my work in galleries around Toronto and exhibit my work at local fine art shows.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I try to have a balance but it doesn’t always go as planned, and I’m comfortable with the unexpected nature of parenthood. I go with the flow as much as I can. I have very productive days and incredibly nonconstructive days. I often involve my kids in the process as often as possible. They help me pack my orders for customers by choosing with washi tapes to decorate the packaging. They sit with me as I draw all their favorite characters, letting me know what to include and leave out, with raw honestly only a child would have.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Patience. When I market my products and I wasn’t seeing immediate results I used to get disappointed. But I learned it just needed some time. Understanding what my customers are looking for and learning how to market my products to attract new customers is still a work in progress.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get my inspiration from my love of nature which clearly translates to my watercolor pieces of my galaxies and milky way scenes. My kids are my next biggest inspiration, as they have allowed my life to be full of colour and of course, superheroes. ;D

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It really depends on the piece and medium. Most of my pieces can take from a few hours to an entire day depending on how long it takes to get my exact vision on paper.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

It is very hard to pick a favourite. But I am a big Wonder Woman fan! So my illustration of her and my enamel pin have become one of my favourites, as well as a popular item in my shop.

What is the story behind your business name?

A simple story. I wanted to simplify my long name. To the point, and memorable. My shop name is an acronym off my name Yolanda Fernandes Ly

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I first do a few sketches of my thoughts and ideas. Followed by thumbnails with various colour schemes. This can take a few hours to several days as I work out my ideas. Once I have my envisioned design and mock up, I create my final edition. I then digitize my design and do some final editing in Photoshop to make it print ready. This process can take anywhere from a few days to an entire week!

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Often! Almost all my designs come from my desire to create what I love. So essentially, I am always making things for myself that I then get to share with everyone.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading and working out.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I have a home studio. I converted more than half my basement level into a studio. I have designated work sections. A drawing table for my watercolours, illustrations and such. Another section for my large canvas paintings. A packing station with everything needed to get orders out to customers. And lastly a button and accessory making station.

A vacation relaxing on the beach, or exploring the local culture?

A VACATION on the beach!!!!! I’m always on the go, so if I can have a moment to relax, I’m staying still.

You can find Yolanda at our upcoming Made in Canada Market on September 23 or you can follow her artwork on her social channels.

Etsy: yflart.etsy.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YFL.ART

Instagram: @yfl.art

Meet the Maker – ThreadXLove

We’re thrilled to have Stephanie from ThreadXLove as a Vendor for our upcoming #MadeinCanada Market! Read on to discover more about Stephanie and her cheeky threads 😉

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m a special education teacher and new mom to a beautiful baby girl. Crafting has always been a hobby, but Thread X Love was built from my love for creating custom pieces for the people I love!

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I started Thread x Love as a part time Etsy shop before kids. I’m a full time special education teacher, but I would stitch in the evenings to relax and unwind. In September we welcomed our beautiful baby girl and my time to stitch has definitely changed! When she was tiny she loved to nap splayed across my lap and I would actually stitch with her there. These days she is a baby on the move so my crafting supplies are always safely tucked away and my stitching time has definitely become shorter! I’m still an evening stitcher, and still use it to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It’s easy for people who have cross-stitched before to understand the amount of work that goes into each piece. A more simple piece will usually take me about 4-6 hours to complete. More complex and detailed pieces will often take me 15-20 hours to finish. I break that apart over several days, but I often get “sucked in” to a piece and loose track of time! My eyes and back will often be the reason I have to take a break.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I love all of my pieces!! My favourite pieces to make are customized ones – the family and wedding portraits are such a fun challenge. I have loved capturing pets and children and wedding details. The idea of something I made hanging on people’s walls and bringing them joy is the ultimate reward for my hard work.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My family cottage is what I call my “happy place”. It is a long three hour drive north of our home in Newmarket, but the minute I get out of the car I feel completely at peace. Luckily my husband loves it as much as I do, and now we are having so much fun watching our daughter enjoy the cottage life as well. Stitching at the cottage with a huge cup of coffee (or glass of wine!) is pretty much my idea of the perfect day.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

My mom taught me to cross stitch as a kid. During rainy summer days at the cottage she would my brother and I sewing, cross stitching, rug hooking, quilting, and all kinds of other crafts: I loved those days so much!

When I was recovering from back surgery about ten years ago I decided to pick cross stitching back up again to pass the time stuck in bed. I fell back in love again and haven’t put the needle back down since! After making pieces for friends and loved ones, everyone encouraged me to start selling them on Etsy.

You can find Stephanie in person at the Made in Canada Market or check her out online!

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/ThreadxLove

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThreadxLove

Instagram: @thread_x_love

VENDOR CALL – Handcrafted Christmas

Our first Market as York Makers is set for December 2, 2017!

In partnership with Etsy York Region, we are aiming for a great group of handcrafted artists to make the market a winter wonderland!

We have plans for DIY workshops, loads of gift giving ideas and even a visit with Santa! Located in the heart of Newmarket, the Handcrafted Christmas is sure to be a one-stop shop for all of your holiday requirements.

Apply to be a vendor today!

  • York Makers ~ Handcrafted Christmas Market

    SET UP:
    Set-up time is between 8am to 9:30am. Show doors open at for VIPs at 10am promptly. General public admission opens at 11am.

    TAKE DOWN:
    Shop Owners agree not to pack up prior to 4:00 pm. Failure to do so will result in rejection from future York Maker's Markets. This is non-negotiable.We are also having a mini Vendors only market right after the public market (about 45 minutes-an hour) so that you can shop each other's products - this is not mandatory - but based on feedback from last year's vendors.

    DEADLINES
    Applications are open until August 31, 2017.
    Successful applicants will be notified by email no later than September 6, 2017.
    Payment is due upon acceptance. Payment can be made by Email Money Transfer or via PayPal (PayPal payments will incur an additional 2% admin fee). Details to Follow upon Acceptance.

    We will assume forfeiture of your spot, should payment not be received by the deadline. We reserve the right to fill any spots that are not paid in full by September 30th, 2017. You will receive an email confirmation once your payment has been received. There will be no holding of spots after this date without full payment, as we are expecting a higher than usual number of applications and promotion of our vendors starts as soon as they're accepted.

    MARKETING & PROMOTION:
    We have a comprehensive plan for marketing and promotion that includes printed materials, paid social media and more!
    We expect all vendors to distribute information to their family and friends, and post on social media to assist in making this event great! Failure to do so may result in your table being revoked and payment being refunded.

    SWAG BAG:
    Vendors are required to include a small item of value in our Swag Bag! A minimum of 100 swag bags will be distributed to VIP Attendees and throughout the event. Vendors participating in the swag bag will receive extra promotion on social media. Information on Swag bags will be sent out to accepted vendors.

    SOCIAL MEDIA:
    F: www.facebook.com/etsyyorkregion
    I: www.instagram.com/etsyyorkregion
    P: www.pinterest.com/etsyyorkregion

    VOLUNTEERS:
    We are looking for 8-10 volunteers that can help during the market. If you, or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer, please email us at creative@yorkmakers.ca, with the subject line: Market Volunteer. Areas of help include marketing and promotion, decorations, set-up, photography, and event staff.

    NUMBER OF SHOPS:
    A minimum of 50 market spaces will be available. The final number of spaces available will be determined during the jurying process.

    CANCELLATIONS
    Please let us know if you need to cancel, by emailing creative@yorkmakers.ca. Every effort to replace your space will be made, however, should your space not be able to be filled, you will forfeit 50% of your payment. Following September 30th, 2017, no refunds will be granted and we reserve the right to fill your spot.

 

Made In Canada 2017 Announced!

It’s an exciting day here at York Maker’s Headquarters! Our team is thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Etsy York Region to host their 2nd Annual Made in Canada Market!

We are returning to the beautiful Aurora Cultural Centre – but this year, we have more space & much more for you to see and do at the market!

This year we are featuring a DIY Maker Space where some of our makers will be hosting hands-on workshops so you can learn a new hobby! We have more space this year which means even more handcrafted goodies for you to discover!

Follow along on our Facebook Page or Instagram Channel to get updates and vendor sneek peeks and make sure you RSVP your attendance and share our FB Event page!!

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