At Fair November

Earlier today, I reached the 25K milestone on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) journey. To reward myself, I decided to spend some time this afternoon at the 45th Annual Fair November Craft Show.

More than eighty-five of Canada’s most talented artisans and designers display traditional and modern crafts, among them pottery, glass, jewelry, metalwork, knits, natural soaps and lotions, woodworking, and delicious gourmet treats.

This year, I was delighted to discover necknots, Koka-Bora Creations (unique writing instruments and custom cases), and Mariclaro Reclaimed (bags and accessories from repurposed automotive and aviation materials).

Fair November runs until Sunday at the University of Guelph. There is no admission fee, and parking is free on the weekends. Find out more here.

Replenishing My Inner Well

In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate my inner writer, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.

That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.

At Fair November

On Friday, I reached the 30K milestone on my NaNoWriMo journey. To reward myself, I visited the 44th Annual Fair November Craft Show at the University of Guelph on Saturday.

Each year, over eighty artisans share the best of traditional and modern Canadian handmade crafts in their temporary home—two floors of the University Centre—over a four-day period in the middle of November. A special treat for Guelphites and all friends of Guelphites: There is no admission fee. And parking is free on the weekend. Find out more here.

Every craft imaginable can be found, among them jewelry, metalwork, pottery, beeswax candles, Alpaca knits, gnomes, pottery, kiln fired glass, leather, and gourmet food products. This year, I was delighted to discover Celtic Stonework, Souper Heroes, Moore Design BirdFeeders, and the Grey Matter Collection.

At the Two of a Kind Craft Vendor Show

For the second year in row, the Multiple Sclerosis Society has held five different craft vendor shows throughout communities in Ontario. I was happy to discover that the Belgian Nursery in Breslau, a short twenty-minute drive west of Guelph, was hosting one of these shows today.

When I visited in early afternoon, I struggled to find a parking spot in the overcrowded lot. One of the artisans informed me that the opening crowd at 10:00 a.m. had been simply overwhelming.

Once inside the large meeting room, I was impressed by the quality and diversity of the products featured by over eighty vendors. In addition to the “usual” holiday fare—tree decorations, knitted and crocheted items, bath products, jewelry, cards, paintings—several unique items caught my attention. I was intrigued by the beaded flatware, wine purses, and ornamental rock wildlife.

Anyone living near London, Ontario, can visit the final craft vendor show on Saturday, November 17. Find out more here.

At A Gathering of Quilts in Aberfoyle

Yesterday, I attended the Royal City Quilters’ show at the Puslinch Community Centre in Aberfoyle, a short ten-minute drive away.

First established in March 1991, the Guild promotes an appreciation of quilting, provides education opportunities related to quilt making, encourages the exchange of ideas, and works to preserve the tradition of quilting. Their first show was held in 2000 and subsequent shows every three years afterward. Find out more here.

I circled the room several times, stopping to read the story cards on each quilt and snap pictures.

Here are my favorites…

At Quilts on the Grand 2018

Yesterday, I headed up to Fergus, a short thirty-minute drive away, to spend the afternoon admiring masterpieces created by the members of the Grand Quilt Guild.

Formed in 1996, the Guild’s main objective is to preserve, promote and expand the heritage of quilting within our community. You can find out more about the Guild here.

Impressed by the variety of styles, I circled the room several times, stopping to snap pictures and read the story cards on each quilt.

Here are my favorites:

At the Creative Spark Winter Market in Guelph

Yesterday, I treated myself to an artist date at the Creative Spark Winter Market. In its fifth year of operation, this annual event showcases the handcrafted goods of thirty-five local artists and artisans.

I was impressed by the wide variety of crafts featured, among them glass art, eco-friendly hair and body products, pottery, woodworking, paintings, and purses.

At Fair November

On Thursday, I reached 30K words on my NaNoWriMo manuscript, No More Secrets. To reward myself, I visited the 43rd Annual Fair November Craft Show at the University of Guelph.

Seventy-five artisans share traditional and modern crafts, among them kiln fired glass, porcelain and stoneware pottery, recycled vintage silver, wood inlayed products, upcycled ecohandbags, wheel-thrown pottery, beeswax candles, yoga accessories, and gourmet food products.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover whiskey infused maple syrup, hand-tooled purses, and a vintage merman print that once belonged to the Lobster Queen of Canada.

At the DIY Festival in Kitchener

Yesterday, I attended the DIY Festival at Kitchener Public Library. Already in its third year of operation, this annual event showcases the passions and businesses of local creatives.

Here’s what captured my interest…

In operation for 42 years, Kitchener Kicks offers martial arts–Kung Fu, Karate, Kickboxing, Aikido–to fit everyone’s lifestyle. I’m considering taking advantage of their “Two Weeks Free” program.

Musicians Elsa Jayne and Jesse Maranger of Evergreen Arts believe the future of music is DIY. It is now easier than ever to create beautiful records at home.

Cabin + Cove offers modern knitting workshops, monthly socials, cozy knitwear, and instant downloading patterns. They are also the home of the CozyRiot Project, a group of knitters and crocheters who make items for those in need.

In operation since 2008, Tri-City Roller Derby is Waterloo Region’s premier not-for-profit contact roller derby organization. While visiting the booth, I met with the coach and one of the young athletes. Their goal: “We teach girls aged 9 to 17 to roller skate and play the sport of roller derby in a safe and nurturing environment.”

I could feel Alayne Kleser’s passion and commitment as she chatted about her hens and her business, Kitchener Urban Hens. She hopes to foster a feeling of community among current and future barnyard hen owners.

At the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre booth, I chatted with an enthusiastic Sarah Spry, who demonstrated the following compact drone. Priced at $1500, it can fold and easily fit into a backpack. You can learn all about the do’s and don’ts of drones in their four-hour course ($49 + HST).

At the Waterloo County Quilters’ Guild Exhibit

This past Friday, I attended the Waterloo County Quilters’ Guild Exhibit at the RIM Park in Waterloo, a short thirty-five minute drive away. Comprised of more than 200 members, the Waterloo Guild is one of the largest in the country. Each years, hundreds of their quilts are donated to Grand River Hospital, Vera’s Place, Ronald McDonald House Alzheimer’s Society, New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, and other non-profit organizations.

While the guild has been active for more than three decades, the style of quilting has evolved beyond traditional techniques and fabrics. I was impressed by the variety of styles and circled the room several times, stopping to read the story cards on each quilt and snap pictures.

Here are my favorites from this year’s exhibit: