Fellow Artisan: CGMonsters (EtsyMIC)

Chantal Morin and I met last year at a Christmas sale and then had the great fortune to be next to each other in the Etsy section of the Spring One of a Kind Show. It’s cosy in the Etsy section, so we got to know each other, helped each other out and shared many laughs over the 6 days (5 days plus setup). Chantal had her super fun happy monsters set up across from me at Cabbagetown a few weeks ago and will be at Etsy: Made in Canada at MaRS this Saturday at table #16.

(Click on images to view larger on Etsy)


Products: Happy monster plush toys

Price Range: $15 – $75

How did this all begin:
I learned how to sew while working on my industrial design thesis project at OCAD.
It was really a trial by error project. I had never used a sewing machine before, but when it was done, I was hooked.
CGMonsters started when I created little monsters one Christmas for friends and family, and was told that I should sell them.
So I tried out a little show, and loved it.

I get my inspiration from all the textures, colours and patterns around me.
I love patterned fabric, and while walking around the city, i’m always looking at peoples clothing for fabric inspiration.
When I see or find a piece of patterned fabric I love, I instantly want to make a monster out of it.
I love reusing any patterned fabric I can find, everything from clothing, to tea towels, to bed sheets, to little fabric scraps. Anything and Everything!!

All my monsters are based on animals; bunnies, cats, badgers, and foxes.
I find that each monsters personality comes from the patterned fabric chosen, as well as the eye colours, and hand sewn smiles or teeth.

I am always on the look out for new and different patterned fabrics, as well as new monster ideas.

I have also just recently introduced a line of Veggie/Fruit baby mobiles.

Find Chantal and her happy monsters on EtsyFacebook, and Instagram.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: CartoCreative (EtsyMIC)

I can’t remember when I noticed CartoCreative on Etsy, but I’ve been ogling their lovely cartographic art for some time now. Check them out this Saturday at Etsy: Made in Canada! I know I will.

(Click images to go to CartoCreative’s website)


Products: Geographic Art Prints

Price Range: $20 – $150

How did this all begin?
Stephen and I (Mel) met at a high school for the arts. In university, I studied business and urban planning, while Stephen went for cartography and art. We were always looking at ways to combine our interests and make a company. After graduation, we did some travelling throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa and when we returned, we thought it would be a cool idea to draw some of the places we had been as keepsakes. Friends of ours kept suggesting we sell the art, but we couldn’t part with it, until someone suggested we make prints, and from that, CartoCreative was born.

It’s amazing being able to work together, explore new places and come up with new ideas. The most challenging part is finding time to do everything we want to do. All of our work is made by hand, so it is pretty time-consuming, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade what we have for anything.

Find Mel and Steve’s work online at cartocreative.comEtsyFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Veelightful (EtsyMIC)

Vanessa Smith will be at Etsy: Made in Canada at the MaRS Atrium this Saturday! She is teaching a workshop, but if you wanted to learn to make bath bombs, sorry, it’s already full. Come on out and get bath treats for yourself or spoil someone else this Saturday 10am – 4pm!


Products: all-natural bath bombs (and foot fizzies), cuticle balms, and lip balms

Price Range: $1 – 20 (individual foot fizzies at the low end, gift baskets at the higher end)

How did this all begin?
My family has always been very crafty. I’ve tried many different things, but it took a little while for me to find *my* craft. One year for Christmas, I wanted to be able to make handmade goods, as much of my family does. I did some research on handmade bath and beauty and decided it was something I wanted to experiment with. My family and coworkers adored the gifts and wanted more. I started getting more experimental with molds, scents, and recipes, and it all snowballed from there!

I love that I’ve been able to combine my crafty side, my feminine side, and my geeky side! Experimenting with new recipes and scents gives me such a thrill. It’s like baking, but with less guilt about testing my own wares! I take pride in providing all-natural products that people can feel good about using and gifting. But I also believe that those things don’t have to come with boring, run-of-the-mill shapes and names. I get a lot of joy out of popping a perfect Death Star out of the molds, and I hope you get at least half as much joy out of using them.

Find Veelightful on Etsy, Tumblr, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Simone’s Rose

I met clothing designer Michelle Maynard online as she was organizing the Etsy Craft Party in the spring, where we met face to face. It was a great party. Michelle will be selling her womenswear this Saturday at the Etsy: Made in Canada sale at MaRS from 10am-5pm.

(Click on images to go to Etsy listing and view larger image)

Simone’s Rose

Products: Eco conscious womenswear

Price Range: $25-$500

How did this all begin?
Simone’s Rose came about from working several years in the fashion industry and seeing how much waste and disregard there was for the environment. I decided I wanted to start a clothing label that uses environmentally friendly fabrics and sustainable business practices.

The collections for the brand are inspired by a different theme each season. Researching ideas and inspiration is always the most fun part of being a designer but it is also the thing that designer’s have the least time for. Every piece that is designed goes through a process of pattern work, sample making, fit testing and tweaking, more sample making and pattern work and finally the end product is ready for the customer.

I try to design each piece with classic shapes and influences and finish it off with beautiful detailing and construction. Clothing should be more of an investment rather than ‘throw away consumption’ and I’m proud to be a small part of that movement!

Find Simone’s Rose on Etsy, the website & shop, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @SimonesRose.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Minouette (EtsyMIC & OOAK)

I met Ele Wiloughby last fall at the Danforth East Arts Fair. She is an east ender like myself, one of the fantastic captains of the Toronto Etsy Street Team, and the main organizer for the upcoming Etsy: Made in Canada at the MaRS Discovery District. Ele will be at MaRS next Saturday, 10am – 4pm with her art and textiles.

(Click on images to go to Etsy listing and view larger image)

things from secret minouette places

Products: linocut fine art and textiles

Price Range: $15 – $200

How did this all begin?
I’ve been printmaking since I was a small child. I’ve always loved art on the one hand and science on the other. I started selling on line in 2007.

I view my shop as a Cabinet of Curiosity, filled with all sorts of specimen of flora and fauna, with the odd imaginary creature thrown in, much like in historical wunderkammer. I find the intersection of art and science, or science and magic to be inspiring. I am also making my own idiosyncratic history of science – in linocut form – focusing particular attention on some of the underappreciated heroines of science. I am work science in to the media I use and have started making prints which are thermochromic and change colour with temperature, or which employ electrically conductive ink and electronics.

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?

I like the advice I got from Lisa from Girl Can Create which was to give it three years to really evaluate how the show works for you. It takes time to grow an OOAK audience. From my own experience I would also advise to make as much as you can, and yet do not crowd yourself into too small a place. The days are long and you don’t want to be squished!

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?

My favorite part so far has been putting faces to shop names and meeting my fellow artisans! There’s a great OOAK vendor community.

You can find things from secret minoutte places on Etsyblogspot, Twitter @minouette, Facebook, and Pinterest.

(All images used with permission.)

Etsy: Made in Canada & upcoming needle felting classes

Production is going well for the flagship Etsy: Made in Canada pop-up market at MaRS (Saturday, September 27 10am-4pm), even though a custom order for a birthday present came up and threw a spanner in the works for a bit with this:

However, there should be lots of hats to choose from, as well as some ornaments, tree toppers, dryer balls, tea cosies, and catnip balls.

For a roundup of all of the fellow artisan profiles I have for EtsyMICToronto, check out the EtsyMIC category.

And today the Toronto Etsy Street Team & 416 Hustler just released the workshop list for next Saturday’s event! Check it out (click for larger image or visit the TEST blog post):

FREE DIY workshops at Etsy: Made in Canada, September 27th at MaRS, 101 College St at University Ave, from 10 am to 4 pm

I also wanted to give a heads up about upcoming needle felting classes at the Purple Purl. The schedule isn’t up yet (because we just sorted it out and Jennifer will post it for newsletter time at the end of the month), but I am doing a beginner class making these pumpkins/jack o’lanterns on Tuesday, October 7 (7pm-9pm):

People have asked for an advanced class, so we will be making gnomes with wire armature you can move and position (your choice between male or female). For this class you will need to have taken the beginner class and/or be proficient in making and manipulating simple forms such as spheres and cylinders (legs, stems, arms) and should know how to properly needle and how to control the firmness of your fibre. The advanced class will be on Tuesday, November 18 (7pm-9pm). Call The Purple Purl 416-463-1162 to reserve your spot to either or both classes.

Fellow Artisan: carolyndraws (EtsyMIC)

Carolyn Verkuyl will be at Etsy: Made in Canada in booth #102 at the MaRS Atrium in 9 days!

Products: Letterpress stationery, handmade Super Magnets, calendars, art prints and other fun paper goods featuring my illustrations and quirky life observations

Price Range: $5 – $40

How did this all begin?
I am trained as an art director (advertising) and for years used my illustrations to create engaging campaigns for a variety of clients. But I always drew in my spare time too. Making for friends turned into a full time job when I got an antique letterpress and began using my illustrations to brighten cards and other paper goods.

I am a hockey mom, a realist and an illustrator. Put those three together and I find I have all the inspiration I need in the every day. I love coming up with new ideas for cards and magnets and putting marker to paper. Those scribbles in turn become paintings, illustrations and plates for my press. I find there’s no shortage of people out there who love a uniquely Canadian and caffeine-deprived point of view on this life and I enjoy making them smile (and meeting the like-minded online and in person at shows). When I’m not hurdling piles of laundry or hockey equipment, I draw. And draw. I test my ideas on family and friends and the “not bad” ones join the fray in a booth or online soon enough. I print all of my stationery myself, one colour at a time, on my antique letterpress using my own fonts and illustrations and my magnets are all made by hand in Toronto Canada.

www.carolyndraws.comInstagram & Twitter * etsy.com/shop/carolyndraws

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
My best advice would be to pack as much enthusiasm as you do product. Go in organized and prepared to learn a lot about your customers, your product and other Makers. Take notes on everything. Also, you cannot have enough lighting or snacks. And comfortable shoes.

I did this blog post about my first time at the OOAK.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
I love the moments just before the Show opens every morning, when the floor is quiet, my booth is set up, my tea is hot and the promise of the day ahead is great. It’s my favourite time. But so is the end of the night, when I can finally get off my feet, tell my husband about all of the people I met and get ready to do it all again the next day 🙂

(All images used with permission.)