It's back! The 2023 edition is here. I have curated a list of 5 small businesses to shop from this year. All of these small shops handcraft their products. From one of a kind cards, body care and more, please check out the following businesses.
5 Local Businesses to Shop from this Holiday Season
Munday Body Care
Mun is the founder of Munday Body Care. With a background in architecture and a diverse life journey spanning multiple South-East Asian countries, Australia, and Canada, Mun's life experiences have led her to a profound appreciation for the remarkable healing potential of botanicals, rooted in the age-old self-care traditions of South-East Asian cultures.
Mun's personal encounters with the therapeutic wonders of plants ignited a passion to explore the incredible benefits of bio-adaptive botanicals such as moringa, turmeric, gotu kola, and thanaka. Stepping away from her architecture profession, she initially found a creative outlet in crafting artisanal soaps.
Fast forward to 2019, Mun and her husband decided to transform her passion into a full-fledged venture, giving birth to Munday Body Care. Munday stands as a testament to hand-crafted self-care products that embody the essence of nutritionally rich, plant-centric formulations. At the heart of Munday's creations are adaptogens, nature's answer to the everyday skin challenges posed by environmental stressors like fluctuating temperatures, pollution, and dry conditions. Mun elevates her products with the artistry of aromatherapy, crafting unique blends of essential oils. At Munday Body Care, it's not just self-care; it's a holistic journey of nourishing your body, mind, and soul with the power of nature.
Stephanie is the creator behind Connelly Crafts, a small-batch handmade greeting card and paper goods company. She began making cards when she moved to Canada from Scotland and couldn't find the cards she wanted when she needed them. What started as a need soon blossomed into a love of all things papercraft.
In addition to greeting cards for all occasions, she creates card-making kits to help beginners find a love for papercrafts too. She also has a regular supply of gift tags, gift card holders and money wallets available.
Stephanie prides herself in keeping each piece as handmade as possible with the aid of stamps and dies and a hand-cranked die machine.
Tia Toria's Creations
Victoria is the creator behind Tia Toria’s Creations. In 2016, she became an aunt (Tia) for the first time and started creating things from her littles. As an educator by day, Victoria knows how important play is to support littles in their learning and from there the resin products were introduced.
Resin alphabet and number sets are at the core of Tia Toria’s Creations, however overtime sensory loose parts and kits were added to the collection. You can find a variety of resin sensory items for the littles in your life to assist them learn and explore.
Here's how it all started...Tia Toria's Creations began with alphabet and number rein sets for the littles in my life - to provide them with fun and engaging learning tools that were disguised as play toys. The resin collection has grown to include sensory loose parts and sensory kit items, as well as letter keychains and kid safe Christmas ornaments as well. These items range from $10 - $50.
Cards by Niesey
Denise is the creator for “Cards By Niesey.” She started making cards for her family and friends and after years of bringing smiles to those she loved, decided to turn her passion into a small business.
With a little help from beautiful paper and stamps, she designs and colours each card by hand. The best part of making her cards by hand is that each card is completely unique, which makes them a little extra special.
Clay Tulips by C
Casual, earthy jewellery made of eco-friendly recycled silver. Cheryl is the designer behind Clay Tulips by C. Her jewellery making began as a hobby when her youngest child started school full-time and turned into a small business in 2015.
Her love of the outdoors is seen in the silver jewellery she creates. Designs are inspired by nature and she imprints pieces of nature into her pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets. She also loves using unique stamps and interesting buttons in her designs.
Since every piece is individually hand-sculpted, they are truly unique.
Thank you to each of these businesses for sharing their wonderful products. When you are thinking of shopping this festive season, think of supporting local.
September is Arthritis Awareness Month! It's a disease that affects 1 in 5 people in Canada. That's more people than diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke combined. Arthritis can look like anyone - a child, a teenager, your mom, your friends and myself. This month my blog is focusing on amber, arthritis and a new collection.
How Can Amber Help With Arthritis?
There are so many islands in Greece, it's hard to choose which ones to visit. Santorini and Mykonos are definitely two of the more popular ones. But be prepared in the summer they are quite busy.
Greece begins it's tourism season on Greek Orthodox Easter weekend until October 31st of each year. In 2020, my family and I had booked a trip to Crete along with a small island called Naxos but it had to be cancelled. You know why!!
It took us 3 years to take this trip but in July we flew to Crete to spend 8 days there. It is the largest of the Greek islands and one trip cannot cover even a fraction of it. It takes almost 4 half hours just to drive from the east side of the island to the west. Renting a car is a must if you plan to explore and try to get the smallest one you can. The roads are narrow especially in the small villages. One thing we learned when driving is when someone wants to pass you, be courteous and move to the right edge of the road so they can.
We decided to stay in eastern Crete near a small village called Plaka. I did very little research when planning this trip but I must say the eastern side was a great choice.
Eastern Crete is much less developed than the western side. It is more rugged with small villages interspersed throughout the mountains. The western side of Crete is more touristy and I think it's because they have the best sandy beaches there. They also have the Samariá Gorge which is a major tourist attraction. We spent most of our time along the eastern coast with a couple trips into the capital city of Heraklion.
Top Things to do in Eastern Crete
1. Sailing the Aegean Sea to Dia Island
We travelled to Crete the first week of July. Europe has been super hot this summer. Every day the temperatures were around 37 degrees celsius with no rain or clouds in sight. Before we left, I did book a boat tour through Viator on a sail boat. We picked up the tour at the port in Heraklion and had 6 other guests on the boat. We sailed out to Dia Island where we could swim, snorkel, paddle board and enjoy the scenery. It is a popular spot for sail boat tours. My husband and son swam into shore and explored the island where they found some old treasures beside a Greek church. I love the blue and white colours that they use on these tiny churches.
2. Exploring Hidden Beaches in Eastern Crete
As I mentioned before, small cars are a must in Crete if you plan to go off the main roads to explore hidden treasures. In the mornings we would do an activity, but in the afternoon we visited various beaches. We try to stay away from the popular beaches (they usually have the better sand) but they are so busy. We did more than three beaches but I want to tell you about these particular ones.
I had wanted to visit the Samariá Gorge but discovered it was way too far from where we were staying. So instead we had a recommendation to go to see Richtis Gorge which was much closer. You can either park at the top of the gorge and walk down to the beach or drive down this crazy narrow road to the beach and hike up. We did the crazy road so we only had to walk up hill at the beginning. It was super hot that day so we walked as for as the waterfall and then turned around. The beach is pretty rocky there and water shoes are highly encouraged. I jumped in with my running shoes instead. The water was so warm and we swam to a small cove to hang out. The beach is nothing spectacular to look at but after hiking the water felt good.
Kolokithia Beach is near Elounda. You drive across this narrow causeway where there is water on both sides. We parked up at the top of a hill and had to hike down to the beach. There are two areas. One was super busy as there was a tourist boat nearby so we headed to the left to a smaller beach instead. This beach was rocky in parts but you can swim along the coast and hang out on the big rocks if you like. There was even ruins from a Christian Basilica right beside us.
On the last day before we had to head home, we decided to make it a total beach day. We drove out to the southern coast. We were planning on heading to another beach, when I spotted a beach far down inside this little cove called Agia Fotia Beach. Again, another crazy trip down a narrow windy road. It was worth as it was so quiet but the beach was hot. It was covered in small pebbles which really attract the heat so shoes were a must. I highly recommend bringing a tent for shade also.
3. Shopping in Small Villages
There are so many villages on the eastern side of Crete. Not too far from where we were staying is the small village of Plaka. It was only 5km away but took 20 minutes to get there. Going around mountains takes time! Here they have a beautiful waterfront, handmade shops and some great restaurants. One night we had dinner at Giovanni Giorgios along the water and they cut up cooked fish right in front of us. I also found this pottery tulip at the Provolos Art Shop.
Up in the foothills of the mountains is a tiny village called Krista. Here you can find narrow streets adorned with flowers and if you keep walking up the main road you will find some wonderful shops including a Ceramic and Glass shop by G. Perakis.
4. Foods of Crete
I must say the food here is delicious! If you like fish, tomatoes, chicken, baklava and roasted potatoes, you will love the food here. It's all cooked in their olive oil with simple spices. Some of our favourites from the trip are in the photos.
5. Crete is Filled With so Much History
You could spend your whole trip visiting historical landmarks in Crete. The Palace of Knossos is located just outside of the capital of Heraklion (make sure to visit the city at night). The most popular pedestrian street is called the 25th of August Street. If you start from the waterfront area make sure to keep walking. The best part of it is the middle of the street.
Back to the palace now! The Minoans built the first palace but since then it has gone through many reconstructions. Some of the palace is the original but a lot has been redone over time. We got our tickets online before we went as it saved a lot of time. We did it through Viator again.
A very popular tourist attraction is the Cave of Zeus up in the Lasithi Plateau. After you arrive, you have to walk up a one kilometre uneven path to the cave. The walk is straight uphill so I recommend good shoes as I twisted my ankle on the way down. The locals offer donkey rides up and down the path. The cave is really deep and has stalagmites everywhere.
Lastly, we did not have time to visit Spinalonga Island near Elounda. Spinalonga is known across the world as the host of the leper community from 1903 to 1957. But if you have the time, it is definitely recommended. I have bought a book called The Island by Victoria Hislop which was recommended to me.
To finish off, I found this sign in Kritsa in a store window that is now closed.
To see more day to day content, please give us a FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM!
Until next time, enjoy the Beauty of Nature!
Who loves to pack when you are going away? Not me! I have a list that I go by. I add and subtract depending on the type of travel it is. One of the last items I always pack is my jewellery. What jewellery I decide to pack depends on the type of place I am going. But no matter where I am going I always to try to do the following.
5 Tips for Jewellery Safety When Travelling
People love to visit craft shows because they want to find unique items that have been handcrafted by someone who is passionate about what they create. They can come home after the show and share what cool handmade product(s) they purchased to their friends, family, and co-workers. If you are thinking of attending a show this year (market season kicks off in the spring), here are some reasons why you should.
5 Reasons to Attend an In Person Market
Mother's Day is May 14th this year. Perhaps you celebrate with your mom(s) or your children will be celebrating with you. It can also be a day you reflect back on memories of your mother.
I have been a mom for over 21 years now. I am blessed with two sons. My oldest who turns 22 this year brings so much energy to our family and a smile to my face each time he walks through door. My 15 year son is very witty with a dry sense of humour and keeps me on my toes. He's my logical child who tells me straight up how he feels.
I am fortunate that my mom is still living. She will be turning 90 this November. The last number of years have been more difficult as she now has dementia and was diagnosed last year with Mild Cognitive Impairment. She stayed with me this past March and it was so nice to spend time with her. At the same time, it was also emotionally draining. If you have aging parents or grandparents you understand how it feels.
To celebrate our moms, mother in laws, step moms, grandmas, and mother figures, I have designed new floral necklaces and created a Mother's Day Gift Guide.
A Mother's Day Silver Jewellery Gift Guide
My family and I decided last fall it was time for a vacation outside of Canada. It had been exactly three years since the last time I had flown. We booked a trip to the San Diego area looking for sunshine and beaches.
We packed for a beach vacation but Mother Nature had something else in mind. It was much colder than normal and some days were super windy (plus some rain). We had one nice day for the beach which was the first day we arrived. Now what? We looked at the weather fore cast for the next 5 days and here's what we did.
6 Family Friendly Activities in Southern California
In a recent story in my Instagram @clay_tulips_by_c, I asked what would you like to learn more about? Types of silver, caring for silver or cleaning silver. Well, most of the votes went to cleaning!! I am sure this would not be the case if I asked about cleaning our houses!
I am going to share with you 4 easy ways to clean your silver jewellery to get that sparkle back again. Fine silver and sterling silver which by its very nature will tarnish overtime. Plus add in lotions, creams and other products and your jewellery will need a clean.
4 Easy Ways to Clean Your Silver Jewellery
Do you want to know how to create an eco-friendly jewelry business? Perhaps you are looking for ways to reduce your impact on the environment for your business? Are you looking to purchase eco-friendly jewelry? Here are some of my favourite ways to create a more eco-friendly jewelry and studio environment.
5 Ways to Make a More Eco-Friendly Jewelry Business
This holiday season I have curated a list of 5 small businesses to shop from this year. All of these local shops create handcrafted products from lovely home decor to soy wax candles and more.
5 Ontario Small Businesses to Shop From This Season