Friday, December 16, 2011

Craft Show

I'll be at the Tranzac Club on Saturday and Sunday from 12-6 for the Artisan's Gift Fair!

Come on out and finish your holiday shopping with handmade items!

Bathurst and Bloor - 292 Brunswick Ave.
Saturday December 17 and Sunday December 18 - 12-6pm, free admission

And today's Friday Dance Break is U2, cause it's a beautiful day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Show Today!

I'll be at the Tranzac Club from 12-7 today for the Artisan's Gift Fair.

292 Brunswick Ave, near Bathurst and Bloor.

There will be two rooms chock-a-block full of vendors. Come on out and grab some fabulous handmade holiday gifts.
Hope to see you there!

And a late Friday Dance Break!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Dance Break!

An awesome a Cappella version of Video Killed the Radio Star by Pentatonix, from the epic show The Sing Off (yay for A Cappella!)

Also, enjoy the first weekend of December all! Where's the snow at?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Show announcement - January 2012

My first show of 2012 is now official!

On Saturday January 7 and Sunday January 8 I will be at the 3rd Annual Women's Show in Barrie, Ontario.

Free entry!

A show that is dedicated to everything for women. From health & wellness, to beauty, cosmetics, and food, this is a show that you DON’T want to miss. Whether you are an exhibitor looking to showcase your product, or a woman looking for a great day out with her girlfriends; this is the show for you!

4346 County Road 90 (4 kms west of Hwy 400 on Dunlop)
Saturday – 10-5pm

Sunday – 10-4pm

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter Holiday Shows

All of my shows for the winter/holiday season have been finalized  -  get ready to get your shop on!

Starting next Saturday, November 26 with the Hippo Craft Show
    10-3pm at St. Matthews United Church - 729 St. Clair Ave West (near Bathurst and Rushton [west of Wychwood]) Come out for holiday shopping, a great homemade lunch menu, bake sale, raffle and activities for the kids! Benefiting Hippo Co-op Nursery School
My December shows start on the 4th with another great day at the Wychwood Art Barns!
    Sunday December 4th Wychwood Art Barns, 601 Christie Ave. 12-5pm
    Saturday December 10, Saturday December 17 and Sunday December 18 I will be at the Artisan's Gift Fair at the Tranzac Club downtown at Bathurst and Bloor
I hope to see you at one of them - craft shows are always great opportunities to buy unique, handmade gifts for the holiday season. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011


It's Caturday! Here - have a photo of my cat Georgia helping me out with a photo shoot of some soaps.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Dance Break - in honour of Remembrance Day.

Our Friday dance break is a bit more mellow today in honour of Remembrance Day.

Take a moment today and give thanks, and remember, our currently serving and fallen soldiers.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Made by Hand Show!

Tomorrow is the Made by Hand Craft Show!

Mississauga International Centre - Hall 1
6900 Airport Road
Free parking

Free entry to the show with a flyer - click here to download one.

I'll be there with some of my classic holiday soaps, as well as some new ones - and some great holiday gift ideas!

Hope to see you there :)

Friday Dance Break!

Groove on baby!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Christmas is around the corner!

I am busy working on all my new holiday gifts and soaps (photos and more info coming soon), but in the meantime - I have 5 new show dates for November and December!

Find all my shows listed here.

And don't forget - November 5th is the Made By Hand Show! 150 unique vendors - the perfect place to get all your holiday gifts early this year!

There is free entry if you bring a flyer - otherwise entry is $1 and the proceeds to towards Crafting for a Cure.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Dance Break + the Wychwood Art Barns

Good heavens have I been neglecting my blog of late!

Well here is an update: Christmas shows are in the works, some great holiday and Christmas products will be on the way soon and I have a show tomorrow.

Saturday October 15th 9am-5pm I'll be back at the Wychwood Art Barns at 501 Christie Street (near St. Clair and Bathurst).

Hope to see you there! :)

Our Friday dance Break is Gustav Holst with Suite I from his piece St. Paul's Suite. This was a piece written while Holst was working at a girl's academy, and he wrote this as an ode to the school.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Art of Fashion Trunk Show- Nuit Blanche

This coming Saturday will be Nuit Blanche night in Toronto, and on the very same night I will be a part of the Art of Fashion's Choreology 2011 Trunk Show at the Pantages Theatre!

A fabulous night to help budding designer's start their career, there is a fashion show and a trunk show with fabulous one-of-a-kind items from Toronto's best independent designers.

Come on out to Nuit Blanche and see our city as an art canvas, and then stop in at the trunk show and grab some unique items.

1pm-1am, Saturday October 1st, The Pantages Theatre, 200 Victoria Street (at Yonge and Dundas Square).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Danforth East Arts Fair This Weekend!

My last show of September will be tomorrow and Sunday in East Lynn Park as a part of the Danforth East Arts Show!

Come on out to Danforth and Woodbine for a great show, with a select group of fabulous artisans.
10am-5pm, Saturday September 17 and Sunday September 18.

Read the article about the show on here.

Directions here.

Friday Dance Break:

Jamming with Shakira!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Craft Show this weekend + New Products!

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I'll be at the Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts Show.

Friday from 1-6, Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm.

There will be over 100 vendors there, a street festival, and the Riverdale Farm!
Come out to this fabulous corner of the city for a great weekend.

The craft show is in the west side of the park, near Sumach and Carlton Streets.
The major cross streets in the area are Parliament and Gerrard.

Keep in mind that part of Parliament Street will be closed for the street festival, so come early!

Directions here.

As well, this weekend I'll be unveiling 6 new products!

  • Due to popular demand I have created a fabulously scrubby Peppermint Foot Scrub, which I hope everyone will enjoy.
  • I have a new lip-balm flavour- Wildberry - and it's vegan!
  • A new soap scent: Sweetgrass!
  • Two new lotions! Lavender Rose, a light, gentle lotion scent.
  • And Coconut & Lime Verbena, the smell of the Caribbean in a lotion!
  • And last but not least..... A new bath salt - a sore muscle soak. Specially formulated to help relax sore muscles; after exercise, after a long day, or to ease a tired b.
I hope to see you out at the show!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Dance Break!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

It's Rockapella ... live!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Dance Break!

Oops! Here I am forgetting my Friday dance breaks -- for not 1, but 2 weeks!
Sincerest apologies!

So, here are two Saturday dance breaks for your listening enjoyment.

Ok Go + the Muppets.
'Nuff said.
(nevermind, how bout a cat video?)
Also, they're very nice laid-back guys :)

Farewell to the Fairground by the White Lies from their 2009 album To Lose my Life
What can I say? This isn't really a 'dance' tune, but it's a great song and a fabulous album.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: The Search by Nora Roberts

The SearchThe Search by Nora Roberts

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the first Nora Roberts' book I've ever read. I picked it up because it's a Romantic/Suspense (which I love), it involves dogs (which I love) and it had an overwhelmingly good review on both Goodreads and All About Romance.

If this is considered a good Nora Roberts book, then I don't think I'll be picking up anymore.

The basic story is of Fiona, a woman who escaped from a serial killer 10 years earlier, even though that killer managed to kill her fiance, and who has now moved to the islands in upstate Washington to create a new life for herself training dogs. Simon is a surly wood-worker who has recently moved to the islands himself. The issue? A copy-cat serial killer has recently started killing and Fiona may be on his list of victims.

Neither of our main characters are particularly likable. Both Fiona and Simon are prickly and obtuse characters. As much as I liked some of their banter, overall I didn't like either of them, and thus didn't really care too much about their lives or their romance.

And what about the romance? There isn't much. Simon seems puzzled by his attraction to Fiona, whom he considers to be not as "beautiful" as his usual taste. Fiona is, understandably, emotionally withdrawn and hides herself in her work with dogs and with her search-and-rescue team. Yet, when Simon drops in she tells him all about her past and her fears without any qualms.

Their relationship seems more grounded in the great sex they seem to have rather than any kind of emotional connection. Obviously Ms. Roberts is going for realism in a relationship in this novel, and that is all well and good, except it's not the reason I like reading romance novels.

Some of the emotional exposition Fiona is always rambling on about also drove me nuts. Firstly; no one says things like that. And very few people even think things like that through all the way. And secondly; there are too many of them and they slow down the dialogue.

A good novel should show you the characters' feelings and emotions, not tell you point-blank about them. And then continue to hit you over the head with them some more.

The mystery? Not bad. The overall plot device has been used before and isn't a bad one, yet here I just found it to be heavy-handed and caused the book to become more dense than it was. I ended up skipping the pages that were from the serial killer's point of view because by the end of the book there were too many of them and they really didn't add anything to the story.

The exposition of our main characters about this serial killer read like a poorly-written episode of Criminal Minds - and added nothing to either the book or their characterizations.

Some of the secondary characters were entertaining and well written, and the dogs are great, but a good pet/sidekick does not a good book make.

Frankly it took me almost a month to read this book, and I kept putting it down to read things in between. A good suspense novel shouldn't allow you to do that. By the time I neared the end I decided to finish it simply to have finished it, and not because I particularly wanted to.

Why only 2 stars instead of 1? Because despite all my complaints it is a well-written book. But not good enough for me to recommend.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Dance Break!

Happy weekend all!

King of Anything by Sara Bareilles off of her second album Kaleidoscope Heart

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Dance Break!

I hope everyone had a nice short work week! I know I didn't get nearly as much done as I needed too.

Tomorrow I'm heading out to tool around the countryside and stop at organic farms and pick up some delicious groceries.

I guess I'll head back to work next week :)

My next show isn't until August 20th at the Wychwood Art Barns, so I have some time to relax.

Have a lovely weekend!

Kate Bush with Cloudbursting from her 1985 album Hounds of Love.
Donald Sutherland is in this music video too!
It's a play on the story of Wilhelm Reich, the German psychoanalyst who discovered orgone, and is buried at his home of Orgonon in the U.S. You can hear her say "I still dream of Orgonon" at the beginning of the song.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Dance Break + the Big on Bloor Fest!

Tomorrow is the Big on Bloor Street Festival!

From 1pm-9pm Bloor Street in between Dufferin and Lansdowne will be pedestrian only and full of events, tents, vendors, food and music!
Come on out for a great afternoon in Toronto (don't forget to bring water with you).

I'll be in between Brock and Pauline Streets (closer to Dufferin), on the south side of Bloor.

Hope to see you there! :)

Friday Dance Break is dancing to the Asteroid Galaxy Tour from their 2009 album Fruit.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling, #10)Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book - other than WOW! I started it and finished it in one day (at 2am) because I couldn't put it down. And then could barely stop for dinner. 4.5 stars out of 5.

If you are a fan of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series already then you will love this book. If you have not read any of the psy-changeling books before I'm not sure I would recommend you starting with this one. Not because Singh doesn't ground and explain her world well (she does), but mainly because the characters in this novel are ones we have seen and followed over the course of many books so far, and finally getting to see their side of the story is what makes this novel so wonderful. Truly, I would recommend starting with Slave to Sensation, the first book in this series.
Kiss of Snow is book #10 in the Psy-Changeling Series, but they don't need to be read in order, Singh builds her world well and it is easy enough to follow as a new reader.

The shadow war between the Psy Council and the changelings is heating up, with more intrigue, action and altercations in this book. Hawke, the SnowDancer pack leader and alpha is busy trying to keep his wolves safe. However, he is constantly tormented by his attraction for Sienna Lauren, a Psy defector who has been living with SnowDancer for years now. Problematically in this relationship is both Hawke and Sienna's inability to truly trust their emotions and take action on their feelings.

Sienna has this problem because she still holds to part of the Silence protocol because of her Cardinal abilities and also partially because emotions are still new to her. The few mentions of the love Sienna has for the sensual sensory pleasures of food are a very poignant reminder of just how limiting Silence is, and how far Sienna has come since defecting.

Hawke has a few issues with this developing relationship. First and foremost is the fact that he is the pack leader and his pack will always come first. But equally troublesome is his inability to see Sienna as a woman, instead he sees her as the young girl she was when she first came to the pack. Also an issue is Hawke's past and we do learn more about it in Kiss of Snow.

This is a great read. Not only are we dealing with two characters that readers have come to love over previous novels, but they are both equally compelling and complex characters in their own right. Their relationship feels real and true to the characters. Their journey towards each other feels real, tangible and authentic.

The side stories of Walker Lauren and the healer Lara, as well as the continuing relationships of Indigo and Drew, Judd and Brenna, Mercy and Riley and, of course, Lucas and Sascha are an added bonus and a snapshot into the fabulous world that Signh has created with these novels. The slices we see of Sienna interacting with her brother Toby and the other children in the den are sweet and touching. They underscore the true horror of Silence and also how far all of the Lauren's have come.

Kiss of Snow will grab you from the start and not let go, the emotional arc of our two protagonists, the stories that surround them, the intrigue, action and politics, all are stellar and combine to create a wonderful novel. Singh has created a unique and magical world, one that exists not so far off from ours, but with a vibrancy and distinctness that is rare among urban fantasy and romance novels. She is an extraordinary writer, and now I will have to simply wait and see what other fabulous things she has in store for her readers in the future!

(Book 4 of the Guildhunter series, Archangel's Blade , is slated to be released in September, so I don't need to wait too long!)

View all my reviews

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Dance Break + A Summer Solstice Holistic Wellness Expo

Craft show tomorrow!
It's been so amazingly busy lately that I completely forgot to post this earlier!
I will be at the Summer Solstice Holistic Wellness Expo tomorrow in Burlington.

There will be 50 great vendors there, from skin-care to crystal healing, from jewelry to chiropractic. It should be a great group of people for a great show!

10am-4pm at the Burlington Holiday Inn and Conference Center - right at Guelph Line and the QEW- 3063 South Service Road.

Live demonstrations of belly dancing, yoga and martial arts. Door prizes to the first 100 attendees and entry is FREE if you bring a non-perishable food item for Halton Food Share program.

I hope to see you there!


In honor of the first day of summer (even though it's slightly colder than normal) our Friday Dance Break is Gordon Lightfoot singing the Summer Side of Life!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Dance Break!

Because this video is awesome! :)

Happy weekend everyone, and I hope to see you all tomorrow at Barns Art Market - 601 Christie Street, from 9am- 5pm -- and there's a famer's market -- so come on out and peruse some fabulous artists and vendors, and buy some fresh produce from your local Ontario farmers!
Hope to see you there.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Beaches Arts and Crafts Show!

I'm all packed up and ready to go tomorrow for the 26th annual Beaches Arts and Crafts Show!

There will be over 130 vendors there, and it will be an amazing two day show!

Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12 from 10am-6pm in Kew Gardens Park in the Beaches (near Lakeshore Blvd. and Queen Street).

I even have a new product that I will be debuting tomorrow! Rose & Camellia Divine Hydrating Face Cream. Made with organic Hemp seed oil and organic camellia oil, with rose water, neroli water and aloe this cream is chock full of phenomenal goodness for your face.
And your skin will thank you!

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dance Break! And a craft show!

Well, I clearly forgot when Friday was Friday, as I forgot the Friday dance break!
(Can we call it a Sunday Dance Break instead?)

I will be in Aurora, tomorrow, Sunday June 5th for a fabulous street show.
It's the annual Aurora Chamber Street Festival!
11am- 5pm, on Yonge Street in between Edward and Wellington Streets.

500 vendors, musical performances, food, an organ grinder, a YTV play area and more!
Free admission and free parking in the area.
The weather looks to be lovely tomorrow as well - so come on out!

(My booth will be close to the south end of Yonge Street, in between Dunning Avenue and Edward Street on the east side.)

So, in honour of my show in Aurora tomorrow here is Little Big Town with Boondocks, off their second album The Road to Here.
(the video isn't amazing, but the song is!)

Also, I apologize about the lack of new product photos- they're on their way, I promise!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Craft Show Saturday May 28

Tomorrow I will be in Pickering for the annual Art on the Esplanade Artfest.

This is a fabulous outdoor event at Esplanade Park in Pickering (right near the Pickering Town Center- at Brock Road and the 401).

11am - 5pm, rain or shine!

There is an outdoor food court, art exhibits, hands-on art projects for the kids, live musical performances, art activities and 100 arts and crafts vendors! Find out more here.
Jewelery, paintings, wood carvings, fashion, more paintings and artists and me!

I also have 3 new items I am debuting at tomorrow's craft show (photos forthcoming).
A brand new bubblegum and rubber duck soap toy for the kids, a whipped Shea and Coffee body butter and, by popular demand, an exfoliating soap with loofah in it!

Friday Dance Break is being hopelessly romantic...

...with John Mayer (featuring Taylor Swift) from the 2009 album Battle Studies.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Dance Break + the end of the world?

So, apparently the world is going to end tomorrow.
While, I head out to buy supplies for the coming zombiepocalypse I give you three dance break videos!

We can dance if we want to.....

And these two guys are both phenomenally talented and, just, well, really talented.
Also, you can buy this song in iTunes. How awesome is that?

Enjoy the long weekend and the end of the world!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Pizza!

So, last week I decided to make pizza for dinner. And not just any kind of pizza. The Real™ Homemade kind. The true Italian kind.
It was going to be an adventure.

I had already bought my 00 flour in preparation. 00 flour refers to how finely milled the flour is. In Italy there are three types of flour 1, 0 and 00, referring to how finely ground it is.
For a good pizza dough you want the finest you can find, this will make the dough easier to work with. (There are different types of Italian 00 flour, specialty pizza flour and regular 00 flour - either will work for a pizza dough).
If you don't have any Italian stores nearby a combination of general purpose flour and high-quality bread flour will work.

Under the recommendation of my awesome friend, who is also an amazing cook, I was going to use Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe, from How to Cook Anything - it's very simple and only has 5 ingredients in it.

Of, course, as I was about to start making the dough I realized I had no idea what kind of yeast to use - the recipe calls for instant yeast, but the two I had in the cupboard has extra words on them! What to do!
So, I called my aforementioned awesome friend and left a frantic message, which went something like this: "Oh my gawd! You HAVE to be home! I have a yeast-related baking questions and I don't know who else to call! CALLLLLL me!"

Luckily, she returned my call in record time and explained the difference between the various yeasts and which one I needed to use.
Turns out I did have instant yeast, only it was called "quick-rise," which is how the confusion arose.
Apparently you can also tell the difference between yeasts by looking at the size of the yeast granules. The smaller granules are instant yeast, and the larger granules are regular yeast (the kind you need to add sugar to and allow to feed and rise).

Well, I tossed all the ingredients in the food processor- and voila! Dough! And it worked! Woo!
Step one complete.
Pizza dough, awaiting rising.

After waiting about an hour for the dough to rise it was time to roll it out. Now, I am the kind of person that loves to bake, but tends to have problems with doughs and rolling pins. Not so with this! It was s'wonderful, s'marvellous dough!
Whether this ease of rolling was due to the type of flour I used, the perfection of the recipe, or a combination of both I don't know - but suffice it to say - this was the easiest dough I've ever worked with.

A mostly round rolled out pizza dough.

The dough recipe I made was enough for 3 good sized pizzas (either large quarters, or 6 slices).
We made three different ones and had an entire pizza leftover!
Pizza one was a classic margarita with tomato sauce, slices of mozzarella, Parmesan, fresh basil, and more mozzarella.
The basil and mozzarella pizza.
Pizza two was an organic, free-range spicy pepperoni pizza, and pizza three was made with artichoke hearts, olives and capers.
They were all delicious.

Verdict: Not as hard to make as you would think, but definitely messy. Also, fun. A great dinner!
The mess my kitchen counter was in while making this!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden Update...

Well, it's almost time (not really, but almost) to plant the rest of my planned veggies in the garden, but in the meantime my garlic and yellow onions have started to sprout!

Over the Victoria Day weekend I'll be planting tomatoes, beans, peas, zucchini, cucumbers and lots of herbs!

It'll be fab-u-lous!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Dance Break- Take me Home tonight!

It's 1986. You've got a synth, a saxophone and Ronnie Spector...

I give you- Eddie Money with Take Me Home Tonight

Long Live the 80's ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Craft Show

Aside from my two great shows this coming weekend, I will also be in Stratford on Saturday May 14 for the Linc Family Festival.

This is a great show at the Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Road, in Stratford, ON- 10am- 3pm.

There will be pony rides, mini-golf, face-painting, great vendors and information booths and more.
I hope to see you there for a great day of family fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Upcoming Shows, Making Whipped Butters and Failed Batches

I have two great shows coming up in the next few days, so I'm scrambling to make some more product (I didn't expect to sell out of stuff this past weekend!).

Friday May 6th I will be at the Central Eglinton Community Center in Toronto for the Spring Bazaar
10am- 2pm
 160 Eglinton Ave. East (at Yonge Street and Eglinton).
Free Admission- with lots of great vendors selling arts & crafts, baby quilts, bookmarks, charms, gifts, greeting cards, jewelry, knitted items, keychains, tote bags, artwork, pottery and more!

Saturday May 7th I will be in Oshawa for a show benefiting the Durham Humane Society
Crafts, vendors, a yard sale, BBQ and a tarot card reader! It should be a fun day.
Storie Park Club House
10 Mill Street
8am- 2pm

Don't forget to buy Mom a mother's day gift and come on out!

I just finished whipping up some whipped shea butter - it doesn't matter what time of year it is, this is a product that always sells well. Why? Because it's fabulous for skin! Just a pure whipped shea with added coconut oil and some lime essential oil.
There is nothing bad in this product, and it's fabulous for skin and smells amazing to boot - and, yes, it does look like whipped cream!

And what about failed batches?

Well, I made a large batch of my Grapefruit and Mint lotion yesterday, as it's been selling really well, and what happened today when I went to bottle it? 
Lotion on the top and water on the bottom.
It hadn't emulsified!
It was either a temperature issue or I neglected to mix it well enough.
The lesson: it doesn't matter how many times you do something, or how well you think you are at it- there are always mistakes and there can always be user error.
Live and learn!

And my apologies to those over the weekend who may want a Grapefruit and Mint Lotion - I'll be making more next week.

I hope to see you over the weekend at a show or two!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegetable Garden!

So, last week I started my vegetable garden, and this will make it the second year I've planted one.

You may think it's a wee bit early to plant things, and you would be right - depending on what you're planting! Some veggies (carrots, beets, kale, onions, garlic and a few others) should be planted 2-3 weeks before the final frost date for your area (you can find out what it is here), even though most plants should be started indoors at this time and then transplanted outside in mid-May.

I have onions, shallots, garlic, carrots and beets already planted- so here's hoping they flourish and grow!
In mid-May I'll be planting my tomatoes, peas, beans, zucchini and cucumbers, as well as a planter full of herbs!

I don't use any pesticides or herbicides in my garden, but when I do have issues with bugs or grubs I mix up some "fire water" for the garden!
All you need is: Water, natural liquid dish soap (no phosphates), garlic, and chilies. Blend it all together and spray on the plants. The garlic and the chili works to keep most pests and bothersome bugs away.

Also, planting basil, lavender, marigolds and garlic in your garden will also help with pest control.

And don't forget to help our lovely pollinating bees by planting local flowering plants. I'll be planting Thyme and letting it flower to help the bees out!

The parsley I planted last year was growing already!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Upcoming Craft Shows!

I will be at two different shows this coming weekend.

Saturday April 30th, I will be in Guelph at the Old Quebec Street Mall for the Guelph Creative Arts Association "Made For You" Art and Craft Show!
From 10am- 4:30 I'll be in the indoor mall with lots of other fabulous local artisans, as well as face painting for the kids, raffles, contests and more!

On Sunday May 1st I'll be at the B.A.Y.T. Synagogue in Toronto for the Sisterhood Gift Show!
613 Clark Avenue West, from 10am- 5pm.
This will be a great show, and the perfect opportunity to pick up something for Mother's Day!

I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Afternoon Cat Break!

Ms. Boss Cat is NOT pleased that you are taking a picture of her...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I’m voting Green- and not voting strategically

Although I don’t think people are surprised that I’m voting Green, I do get the feeling that people think a vote for the Green’s is unwarranted, unhelpful, and frankly, rather useless.

I wanted to explain my reasons, as well as explain why I’m not voting strategically- even though, if my end goal is to ensure that the Conservative’s don’t end up with more seats, I should.

On Strategic Voting
I don’t like strategic voting. I think it undermines democracy and defeats the purpose of our democratic system and our multi-party commons. Unfortunately we have a voting system that encourages "efficient" voting, and one that has become a (mostly) two-party system.

I don’t think that the answer to a First-Past-the-Post electoral system is vote strategically and thus vote against the party you like least, versus the party you like the most. A democracy should have many parties, and many different representatives in parliament to represent the diverse views of the people of Canada. Simply voting against the party you dislike the most is not a good way to exercise our democratic rights, and not a good way to tell the government and the parties that you are unhappy with them and seek change.

I should be voting strategically though.

In the 2008 election I was still in school and voted in the Kitchener- Waterloo district. I voted for the NDP.
What happened? The liberal incumbent was defeated, by less than 100 votes for the conservative candidate.
Had I, and a few others, voted strategically would that race have turned out differently? Probably.

Last election in my home riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, and the riding I am voting in this year, Liberal incumbent Joe Volpe managed to keep his seat by 2260 votes. Should I be voting strategically this year for Joe? Probably.

Will I? No.

Why? Because we need electoral reform, and voting for the status quo does not a change make. Because I choose to exercise my democratic rights and vote for the party and candidate that best reflects my views, ideals, and vision of Canada and the future. And because strategic voting cheapens democracy by making a joke out of the electoral process.

Our First-Past-the-Post system is outdated, doesn’t reflect the actual views of the populace, and would radically change the face of Canadian politics if it were to be changed. This is one of the reasons I’m voting Green this year. They are the only party to stand up and agitate for electoral reform.
(They are, of course, the one party that would reap huge benefits from a change in our electoral policies. Of course I know this. And just as naturally, the Liberals and the Conservatives (and the BQ) will never want a proportional electoral system put in place because they would then lose seats overall).

So, why am I voting Green?
Obviously, and this is a very important issue to me, for the environment.

We need a solid, action-oriented plan for the future of Canada’s environment. The fact is, right now, we don’t have a plan at all.
Canada was even awarded a Fossil Award at the Copenhagen talks. This was an award given to whichever “country has done the most to delay and otherwise disrupt negotiations for an agreement on a global reduction in carbon emissions.” Great job there Conservatives.
Instead of action the current government has been ignoring the environment, which works really well when you love oil and Alberta.

Do I think we should all immediately leave our cars and walk to the nearest farm and start to grow our own food and can our own winter goods? No.
Well, not exactly.

I think we need to rely less on cars, and that means investing in public transportation and better infrastructure for our cities. I think we need to focus on agricultural issues and start promoting locally grown and sourced foods. I think Canada needs to be food self-sufficient before we start exporting our food. I think that our food prices are going to start going up (oil prices are increasing, and the climate hasn't been helping), and that we need to make sure that all Canadians have the money to afford healthy, local produce. We also need to make sure our farmland isn't paved over with subdivisions, or that limestone mines are not being planned for 2300 acres of it.

We need to improve Canada's image on the world stage, and one of the best ways to do that is to start doing something, seriously, about climate change and global warming. Business as usual will not cut it.

We need a federally mandated childcare program for Canada, so that all children can start their education on even footing, and so that parents that need to work to make ends meet have a place for their children.
We need a federally mandated school lunch program so that all kids can eat well and that those children who don't even get sent to school with a lunch can eat.
We need more emphasis on small, local sustainable economies - small-scale economies is one way to prevent the global issues surrounding recessions, food prices, oil prices and the free-market effect us.

We need to take another look at NAFTA and make sure if reflects the best needs of Canada (and not the best needs of the United States).

We need electoral reform in Canada. Our first-past-the-post system does not properly illustrate what Canadians want to see out of our elected representatives. In a country as large, diverse and wonderful as ours we need to make sure that every province, territory and township can be represented properly.

In the last federal election the Bloq Quebecois managed a whopping 49 seats in parliament, with 1,379,991 votes. The Green Party, on the other hand had 937,613 people who cast their vote for them, and yet didn't manage one seat in parliament. There is clearly something wrong with our current system. Equally odious is the fact that the NDP had over 2.5 million votes for them and only 37 seats in parliament.
You tell me if that sounds right to you.

We need more and better transparency in government. The Conservative Party - not so good on that front. Canada has no "open-data policy," which we clearly need when our elected representatives don't bother with notifying parliament of anything.
The CPC is still running on the platform of accountability, small government and (gasp!) transparency. And this is the party that won't allow journalists to ask certain questions, a Prime Minister that simply won't answer questions if he doesn't like them, and a party that requires the people who attend rally's and events be pre-vetted by the party. This is a party that likes to stifle it's MP's, their opinions, and generally run things like a one-man Steven Harper Party.

This is a party which has clearly stated that they won't open the "abortion debate" in Canada (which is great), but also a party that has no compunctions about ending funding to international aid organizations that offer abortion as one facet of family planning in developing countries (this is what happened at the G8 in Toronto).
I'm not sure which reality the CPC is currently living in, but it can't be this one.

Do corporate tax cuts really help unemployment - not always and not so much. So why is this such a huge issue for the CPC? I don't know. Because it makes a good sound bite, or because most people will simply hear the statement and not look into it?

Why is the CPC so keen on making the word "coalition" such a dirty word? Perhaps because if elected to another minority government the Conservatives will have to court the other parties through his Throne Speech, and if that doesn't work then the Liberals, with the help of the other parties can defeat the Conservatives and form a government themselves.
Is this legal? Yes!
Is this how our parliament is supposed to work? Yes!
Does Mr. Harper not like this fact? Obviously.

Those are the reasons I'm voting Green this year. They are the party that has addressed the issues I think are important for the future of Canada, and that are important to me.
I can only hope that if enough people vote for the party they truly believe in that the other "main" parties will stand up and notice us, and perhaps not ignore these issues.

Why else should you vote for the party you feel best represents you, and not simply strategically? Because each party will receive approximately $2 per vote that they receive to spend on the next federal election. Your vote means that your party will be better equipped for the next election. (Although a Harper majority has pledged to end this).

Why else? Because you should vote for the party that you believe in. The party that you feel will truly make a difference and the one that represents you best.

But don't just listen to me - read the party platforms and make an informed decision when you cast your vote on May 2nd.

The Green Party Platform
The Pirate Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada Platform
The New Democratic Party Platform
The Conservative Party of Canada Platform

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Creative Hearts Collective: Tomorrow!

Don't forget I'll be at the Gladstone Hotel tomorrow from 11am- 5pm, for the Creative Hearts Collective Spring Show!

Money raised at the door is going towards a scholarship project from the lovely people at the Corsage Project.

The Gladstone Hotel is on Queen Street near Dufferin - 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

Come on down and look for some great gifts for Mom for Mother's Day!

I hope to see you all there!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Dance Break + News about this weekend's shows

So, our Friday dance break today is courtesy of the Gin Blossoms! Yes, that awesome mid 90's rock band.

And some changing show news:

Due to a communication snafu with the City of Kitchener I will be unable to attend tomorrow's show at Kitchener City Hall.
The Bloomin' Earth show is still going on, and looks to be fabulous- and everyone should head out there and support the local artisans and all the hard work that has gone into planning this event.
The Bloomin' Earth's Website can be found here.
Saturday April 16th, from 9am- 3pm, 200 King Street, Kitchener, Ontario.

However, I am still a go go go for this Sunday's show at the Gladstone Hotel- the Creative Hearts Collective!
There is a donation request at the door, and all the proceeds go toward the Corsage project.
It should be an amazing Sunday!

Sunday April 17th 11-5pm, in the Ballroom
1214 Queen Street West, Toronto

And, now- Follow You Down from the Congratulations I'm Sorry Album, 1996- The Gin Blossoms!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Product Profile: Sugar Scrubs!

Sugar scrubs are fabulous. They allow you to get rid of all the dead skin cells and other gunk that can build up on your skin over time. They will help your skin revitalize, grow new cells, soften and add a healthy glow. A scrub utilizes an exfoliant of some kind (sugar, salt, pumice, jojoba beads, apricot kernel or almond shells, loofa...) to scrape off old skin, and to soften, smooth and regenerate your skin.
Try not to purchase or use scrubs with plastic beads as the exfoliant. Plastic does not degrade on its way down your drain and will end up in the world's river and ocean systems, where it will bio-magnify, meaning it will continue its way back up the food chain, and back to you.

Why use a scrub?
Your skin sheds millions of skin cells on a daily basis, and if these are not routinely cleansed off they can buildup and create a barrier to other forms of moisturization and lead to wrinkly and older looking skin. Skin with this type of barrier tends to be "thirstier," as well, even though the benefits of moisturizing don't help it as much.
Exfoliation will also help with ingrown hairs, it helps to stimulate circulation and gets rid of dirt and build-up without the use of soap.

Scrubs can be used on the face and the body, but there is generally a difference between the two. Mainly, facial scrubs will be less abrasive and utilize different oils and exfoliants. This is not to say that you can't use a regular body scrub on your face, only be careful when you rub, and don't overdo it.

Why sugar?
Sugar is usually the exfoliant of choice for many people as it is less abrasive and doesn't sting, like a salt scrub would. It also has some fantastic chemical properties going for it as well. Not only will sugar act as an exfoliant in a manual sense, but because it contains natural glycolic acids it also exfoliates on a chemical level, by dissolving dead skin and clarifying your skin.

Here is a really basic sugar scrub recipe that you can make at home:

Lemon Sugar Scrub
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive oil
1 tblsp Lemon Zest

Mix well, and use!

What is an emulsified sugar scrub? And what makes them better?
An emulsified scrub is one that will become creamy and 'lotion-like' in the shower when water is applied to it. Emulsified scrubs use water soluble ingredients in it (butters, oils and an emulsifier) to create the creamy lotion-like texture.

The sugar scrubs I make are emulsified sugar scrubs, which means they have a few extra ingredients in them which adds to the texture of the scrub in the shower, as well as the moisturization properties of it. These scrubs will wash off without a greasy feel and utilize butter and oils to create a moisturizing feast for your skin.

My scrubs:
I use cocoa and mango butters, as well as castor, cherry kernel, jojoba, rice bran and soya bean oils in my sugar scrubs for their amazing skin properties.

Why do I use those specific ingredients? Well, cocoa butter has a long shelf life, has both phytoesterols and polyphenols, as well as palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids in it. Also, it happens to be my favorite butter! It smells amazing and is always the butter in my favorite lotions, I find it amazingly moisturizing and smooth on my skin.

Mango butter also has palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids in it, but has more polyphenols than the cocoa butter. Mango butter also has ingredients in it that act as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. It also a drier feel to it than other butters, which works well in a scrub by not making it too greasy.

Castor oil is a great oil, although a bit on the heavier side. I use it here because it tends to penetrate skin easily and acts as a fabulous humectant (a substance that will preserve the moisture content of skin). I like using Jojoba oil in many things because it is generally considered to be non-allergenic, and has anti-oxidant properties. Jojoba will penetrate the skin and not block pores, and contains octacosanol, a fatty acid that can soothe dry skin. Cherry kernel oil has natural antioxidants, vitamins A and E and is a light moisturizing oil.

Rice bran oil contains Ferulic acid, an anti-oxidant that is more effective than vitamin E, and also has anti-inflammation properties. Rice bran oil also contains Vitamin B, Vitamin E and squalene (a natural moisturizer). Soyabean oil is a lighter carrier oil and has oodles of linoleic acid in it, as well as Vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the highest concentration of phytoesterols in any of the carrier oils I use. Phytoesterols help soothe damaged skin, inflamed skin or red skin, and can also act as anti-inflammatories.

All in all, these are all oils that have fabulous skin properties, and combining them together in an emulsifying sugar scrub means that once those dead skin cells are gone these fabulous oils can start moisturizing your skin!

I now have 5 scents of sugar scrubs available: Luscious Lime, Decadent Neroli, Radiant Yuzu, Midnight Pomegranate and Morning Orange!

All of them smell fabulous and will cleanse and soften your skin.
Both the orange and the pomegranate scents are new for this season, and will be available on my store soon.

Sources: Organic Body Care by Stephanie Tourles, Point of Interest, Tipnut and Wikipedia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dance Break! Party, Karamu, Fiesta Forever!

All Night Long.
Quite possibly the only good Lionel Richie song in existence!
Complete with African dance break in the middle! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's All About Mom Artfire Collection

The fabulous and snazzy Marquis Creations, maker of gorgeous jewelery, made of wire and glass pendants has curated a wonderfully eclectic collection of gifts to buy for mom for Mother's Day (which is coming around the corner at full speed!).

Glass pendants, book plates, earrings, change purses, necklaces.... and my very own Lavender Sachet!

Handmade Soap

Check it out for some great Mother's Day gift ideas!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy April! New products and new ideas.

I cannot believe it is April already! Where do the days go?

Here at Madstone Headquarters I've been working on tons of great products for my upcoming shows - and the first one is April 16th, in Kitchener at the city hall- called Bloomin' Earth. The very next day, on April 17th, I'll be at the Gladstone Hotel for the Creative Hearts Collective from 11- 5 p.m.
I'll be at lots of other shows throughout the summer, click here for a list.

I'd love to see you at either one!

I have new scents, some new products and new packaging to unveil for the spring, and I can't wait!
All of the new items will be available on my store very shortly, but if you are interested in anything new just email me!

New packing for bath salts! A gorgeous glass jar, and it comes
complete with a scoop too!

Three new soap scents: Green Tea and Ginger, Lime, and Rosemary and Grapefruit!

New lotion bottles! And yes, they are square!
This one is sans-label :)
I also have two new lip-balm flavors, Coconut and Coffee, both of which taste fabulous!
There will be a new sugar scrub scent too!

All in all this looks like it will be a great spring! Stop by a show and see the new items!