New home!

Okay, it has been a while. But this time I have a great excuse!

Near the end of April, we planned to visit Amherst Island to see the Topsy Farms sheep shearing (my husband had never been) and see friends, so we decided (with a little encouragement, direct and indirect, from some friends and family) to casually check out a few houses that were for sale on the island. Next thing we know, it’s a week later, we’ve talked to a real estate agent in Toronto about finishing up our home (my husband had just ripped a bedroom down to the studs in order to renovate it as he had just finished another bedroom) and listing it on the spring market, and we’ve put a bid in on a home on the island! Then I packed up 90% of our 3 bedroom home in the next 2.5 weeks, put it into a storage locker and took the kids and left town for 4 weeks while our home was fixed up, finished, and sold. Those 4 weeks started out with some stress but we soon fell into holiday mode and really, really enjoyed ourselves. It was May/June and we spent time in some lovely places like Guelph/Elora, Prince Edward County, and Amherst Island, thanks to the generosity of family and friends. We moved back into our Toronto home for just over a month and then moved to our new home on Amherst Island in mid-July! And we’ve been unpacking and settling in ever since, with a few shows in there as well… I did actually pull out of several shows and pulled my application out of a few shows, too, because the move meant I lost a lot of production time, and once we were here, I just wanted to take some time to appreciate it!

Shows I went to included Artfest Kingston, where as a bit of a summer-weather-wool-accessories-experiment I shared a booth with my friend and amazing artisan Josée Huard, who started out making recycled wool sweater mittens as gifts one holiday, and built this gift into a great handmade business where she also makes sup cozy cashmere recycled sweater scarves & hot water bottle cosies, as well as amazing recycled wool sweater quilts.

A few snapshots from there:

Bye, bye Kingston! @northernsmittens & I hope to see you again next year! Thanks again for all of your enthusiasm! #artfestkingston #ygk

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

 

That was a few weeks before the big move. After moving, my next show was in Owen Sound, where I enjoyed my first Summerfolk!

Before the dance floor in the beer tent got crazy with @goodforgrapes post-artisan hours at @summerfolk #summerfolk41

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

Replenishing stock this morning at @summerfolk !

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

 

And a few weeks after that it was Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, where I had some lovely times with friends enjoyed a few TIFF films after the 3 day show!

 

Last week was the Etsy: Made in Canada – Kingston & region sale at Grant Hall at my old alma mater, Queen’s University, which was such a treat (hosted by Fat Goose Craft Collective)!

All set up! Come to Grant Hall before 4pm! #Etsymadeincanada

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

 

As for island life, so far, so great! We’ve had some lovely times swimming, on a couple of sheep drives, enjoying the sunset, bike rides, fires by the water, and more! (You can get a taste from my Instagram feed.)

And there has been lots of work, too!

 

For now, that’s the update. Next post I will let you know what’s coming up in October-December!

#WeBeTEST Instagram Challenge: feedback and thanks!

Just a quick note to let you know that I curated a final thoughts post on the Toronto Etsy Street Team blog for the #WeBeTEST Instagram challenge, where we had nearly 100 participants and over 2000 Instagram posts! Read more on the TEST blog:

#WeBeTEST Instagram Challenge: feedback and thanks!

#WeBeTEST update, class, SALE & more!

I blogged last year about the benefits of challenges, but I didn’t really have those in mind when I came up with the #WeBeTEST instagram intro challenge. However, as challenges tend to be, I think this one is great for the participants… starting on that first day! The stories that Toronto Etsy Street Team makers have shared, and photos (I particularly loved the workspace, tools, and supplies ones!) and Sunday’s posts about teammates (since it was Valentine’s Day the prompt was: show your love for a teammate – most of us couldn’t just pick one!) have just been so great:

Day 14: TEST (Toronto Etsy Street Team) Favorite. Why have one favorite when I can have four? We all know how much I love my women. #WeBeTEST @fitzydesign because it's been exciting watching her grow! She's really honed in her leatherwork skills, and I'm always excited to witness people's success! @clayshapes has my favorite little dishes, and I love what she does with leaves. It's also thrilling to see her life change from being a world-travelling journalist into a successful artisan. @carolyndraws is one of the cheeriest people I talk to at shows, and even though she's a self-described "hockey mom" and her work is sweet and a bit hokey, she has an unexpected badass streak, and I love that. @shibangdesigns makes the cut not only because she makes beautiful work, but because of our ties to Nova Scotia. I didn't even know she had relocated to Toronto until #WeBeTEST began (the last I heard she was in Vancouver). When she left Halifax, she unloaded a TON of scrap fabric and art supplies on me, and it was exciting for me and generous of her.

A post shared by Gillian Hyde : Pip Robins (@piprobins) on

Today’s prompt was maker video, which I believe most of the members have never done, so it was particularly challenging. Today I saw people cutting, spraying, felting, binding, folding, assembling, glueing, wrapping, sewing, painting, polishing, rolling, pinching, shaping, trimming, knitting, crocheting, printing, packaging, a stop-motion, a day in the life, studios, process… These are just so fun! Here are a couple:

And my absolute favourite is this one, which is now on Lisa Young Design’s About page!

Jenny Lee Shee did a video but couldn’t get it onto Instagram so she skipped that step and put it straight onto her Etsy About page! These last two are extra exciting for me since one of the goals was for people to have some material for their About page video, and for 2 teammates, that goal has been met!

Another great point to make is that I know that a few people have joined the team because of this challenge – how great is that? And a few people have created an instagram account and started posting regularly because of this challenge! Check out @bubynoa and her amazing and super soft handmade stuffies – this post (below) from Day 2 name/brand:

Okay, so #WeBeTEST. Check it out if you are on instagram, but if not, I have made a Pinterest board which has just about everything, with the exception of a few on day 1 (I didn’t think to make an automated board until the end of the day) and the videos, which it appears Pinterest doesn’t do, or IFTTT doesn’t do, so you’ll just have to use the instagram link and check them out there. Sorry about that.

In other news, I have another needle felting 101 class scheduled just before Easter (Thursday, March 24, 7-9pm at The Purple Purl) when we will be making this adorable bunny:

Call The Purple Purl to reserve: 416 463 1162

In other Instagram news, I did the #MondayMashup #MeetTheVendor account takeover yesterday at @ArtsMarket, which was pretty fun! I captured all of those posts on a Pinterest board as well, if you’re interested. The most popular post of the day was one of Fineghan, a commissioned gift for Fineghan’s family:

The 2016 #100nfornaments challenge is over 1/4 finished already! So far, this one is the most popular of the bunch (and the quickest sold item I’ve ever listed on Etsy!):

And, finally, since I’m having a sale at the Arts Market (10% off everything for the month of February) where I have just filled my booth with hats and more, I decided I would extend that online as well! So there is a coupon code for my Etsy shop for 10% off for the rest of February. Use 10FEB2016 for your discount on all items, of which there are quite a few right now, including what you see below:

 

 

Day 1 of the #WeBeTEST challenge

I just want to say how proud I am of my teammates. As Etsy sellers, we are used to taking plenty of photographs… of our products. But not selfies. So day one was a real challenge for many of us. However, by 5pm we had a great showing, with most participants actually taking a selfie, and not using something they had taken previously (I was very tempted, let me tell you!). So, thank you for your courage today, TEST members. And thank you for embracing my idea so well. You rock my world.

Follow along on Instagram’s #WeBeTEST hashtag!

Onward!

By the way, here’s a snapshot of what had been posted by 5pm:

weBeTEST1.jpg

Needle felting class, Arts Market sale & Instagram

First of all, a quick note to let you know that I believe there are a couple of spots left in this Thursday’s Needle Felting 101 class at The Purple Purl where we will be making a wee love bear. We did the class this past week and had oodles of fun:

beginner needle felting class

Also, you should check out the Arts Market in Leslieville at 1114 Queen St. E. as some of the artisans, myself included, are having a Cabin Fever February sale with 10% off all of our products! I have a great assortment of wind- and water-resistant hats as well as tea and coffee cosies, and a few ornaments, too!

artsmarketstorefront

Onto the TWO Instagram challenges!

I enjoyed the #100nfornaments challenge so much last year that when I felt completely burnt out in the new year, I knew I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get going, so I’m doing it all over again! I’ve added a few new things this year, including monsters:

Day 13 of #100nfornaments is a coral monster! Seriously loving making the monsters.

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

Day 12 of #100nfornaments is a spikey blue monster. I knew I made that cotton candy colour for a reason!

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

And wire wrapped feet for my birds so I now have free-standing ornaments as well as hanging ones:

I made the standing hen a hanging friend! #100nfornaments

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

I love pairing them up! #100nfornaments

A post shared by Lynn W, Amherst Is. ON Canada (@lynnslids) on

It’s early on (in the first 2 weeks) and I know that I will likely hit a wall around day 50 but it has given me the motivation to get back to work after a tiring and long December.

The next challenge is a group thing that I cooked up a few nights ago. I was wanting to do a collaborative challenge and thought that the Toronto Etsy Street Team members would be good collaborators. So I figured a meet the makers/behind the scenes/introduction challenge would be good. I proposed it on Friday night and got an extremely enthusiastic response. I’ve got a good number of participants joining in, and it starts tomorrow! If you are on Instagram, check us out at the hashtag #WeBeTEST (people who know me well will know that I did not come up with that name – I have a BA(honours) in linguistics and have been accused of being a “semantic warrior” on occasion, but it’s short, fun, cheeky and catchy) and get to know the makers of the Toronto Etsy Street Team.

The #WeBeTEST challenge is for the entire month of February and includes the following prompts:

#WeBeTEST 29 day Instagram Intro Challenge prompts
From my blog post over at torontoetsystreetteam.blogspot.ca

I look forward to seeing all of the creative posts from our team members! And I hope you’ll check us out!

(Note: I am not a team leader or captain, I just come up with some good ideas so they let me post to the blog every once in a while. If you have questions for the Toronto Etsy Street Team, please direct them to the team here.)

Fellow Artisan: Studio Luma

I made the online acquaintance of Annie from Studio Luma via an online artisan group and started following her Instagram feed, interested at the time in her year abroad, but later totally won over by her gorgeous products. Studio Luma makes glass and silk jewellery, and will be joining me and many others at the Honsberger Estates for the Christmas HandMade Market in just over a week down in Jordan, ON (November 13-15), where you can grab some wood fired oven pizza, sip some wine or microbrew, and do your holiday shopping in lovely Niagara. I can’t wait to see her lovely work (and self!) in person.

(please click on images below to see larger versions)

amber-earrings-and-baubles Leather-BHB-on-lichen Silkwrap-silver-tube-bracelets

Studio Luma

Products: handcrafted jewellery from glass, silver, and silk

Price Range: $9-$180

How did this all begin?
While on maternity leave with my 2nd child (2011), I decided to take a 2-day lampworking class because while noodling around on the internet I stumbled upon lampworking. Up until that moment, I figured glass beads came from factories (most likely in China) and I had NO IDEA how they were made and that a regular person could make one. So I convinced my husband that I should leave him at home with the 2 kids (one of them being a nursing 6-month old!) and headed from Peterborough to Toronto to see what this all was about (don’t worry, I returned to Peterborough each day so the nursing baby and I were both fine! 😉 ). By the time that I was making my third bead, I realized that I could do this – like, for a business! So, I built a lampworking studio in my backyard, took some silversmithing classes at the Art School of Peterborough, and have been happily growing my little creative empire ever…

What inspired/s your work? 
In my previous career, before becoming a Creative Entrepreneur, I was a French Immersion teacher for the public school board. I had the Dream Career coveted by so many: a full-time permanent teaching gig with good (and consistent!) pay, an amazing benefits package, a powerful teacher’s pension – all of the things that we are supposed to have when we “grow up” and get a “real job”. But I was completely and utterly miserable and developing anxiety and stress issues (I strongly believe that many people who have “grow up” and have a “real job” suffer as I did…). So I resigned from that life and job and embarked to make Studio Luma a full-time gig. Whenever I am getting worried or stressed about an upcoming show or not getting something done for my business, I remind myself “You COULD be writing report cards!!” and I feel loads better!

What inspires new products? 
Most new products come from having free creative play time in the studio… I have a background in professional photography and while studying, we did a lot of different kinds of art classes, so I really love experimenting. I realize that when I let myself start to play with materials (whether it is at the torch trying out something new with the glass or playing around with my bits of unused silk) new products come out on their own.

What is the most challenging part of your work?
I am a roaring extrovert and all of my previous careers (I was also an environmental educator for MANY years before I became a classroom teacher) had me working with other people. Now I sit by myself in my studio, get lost in another world as I listen to audiobooks to keep me company, and sometimes don’t talk to other people all day… I’m always looking for ways to connect with other Creative Entrepreneurs and get out and have face to face contact with them!

Do you have a creative routine?
Sorta… I’m an “up with the birds” kinda gal and am often up and working (whether that is office work or studio work) before 6am (the house is quiet, the kids are sleeping, it is a good time!). Over the years, I have learned that if I don’t get started on my day immediately, I’m not as efficient as I could be. It would be really easy to let Studio Luma consume every minute of my day, but I am working very hard to carve out actual “business house” where I work (even if those hours are at 5am…!).

What’s the most fun part of your work?
Making the colourful glass beads! No – taking them out of the kiln and then playing with them! No – dyeing the silks! No – going to a show and meeting people who LOVE my jewellery! Hmm… I actually find most of my work fun (well… maybe not preparing my taxes to file…)

What do you do when you’re not working on Studio Luma?
Family life obviously fills up most of the time not spent on Studio Luma… My kids are now at the ages where we can do fun things as a family – for example, we are REALLY excited this year to have a family cross country ski membership for all of us at our local cross country ski club and the kids are signed up for lessons (which means an hour of FREE ski time for me and Señor Luma!!).

You can find Studio Luma on the web at studioluma.ca and on Instagram @studioluma.

Hollows1

(All photos used with permission)

Big news! Lynn’s Lids at the Arts Market (Leslieville)

artsmkt-logo

Big, big news! I’m very excited to announce that as of November 4, 2015, Lynn’s Lids will be at the Leslieville location of the Arts Market (1114 Queen St. E. Toronto)!

I’ve been thinking about this for about a year and a half, and talked to them last year about it, but finally made the leap this summer to get on the waiting list. I found out last week that they have a space for me. Of course, it comes at my busiest month of the year, when I have 2 multi-day out of town shows, but no matter, I will make it work!

Why the Arts Market? I love that neighbourhood (it’s a 20 or 25 minute walk from my home) and have wanted a place where people can go and try on my hats and touch and feel my products when I’m not at shows. The Arts Market is a great spot with many talented local artisans and vintage vendors as well, and a bit of a one stop gift shop with everything from original stationery to vintage books to clothes, pottery, funny buttons/magnets (my boys love reading all of them when we go in), vintage furniture, art, photography, jewellery, and very soon, handmade felted wool hats, coffee & tea cosies, dryer balls, catnip balls, and ornaments as well.

So, if you are walking around Leslieville (open 12-6 on Wed, Thu & Fri and 11-6 on Sat & Sun) after November 4, drop by the Arts Market! I’ll have my woolly wares in the corner just west of the front window!