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.



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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:



At the Life Balance Expo

Walking around the large conference room at the Guelph Curling Club, I could feel the positive energy emanating from the over thirty holistic practitioners and vendors, who had set up booths featuring an array of products and services.

Some of the highlights…

• Life Coach Pamela Van Nest asked me to spin the Life Wheel and then proceeded to share her insights. In late October, Pamela will be facilitating a one-day retreat at the Golden Pathways B & B in Otonabee, Ontario.

• Naturopathic doctor Aleksandra Gasinski chatted about the services offered at her Guelph office on Westmount Road.

Arlene Wisser’s enthusiasm was contagious as she discussed ISAGENIX products, solutions for weight, energy, performance and healthy aging.

• Financial coach Lorraine Graham provided a listening ear as I chatted about my retirement journey.

Lee Pryke persuaded me to participate in the VOXX life experiment. Impressed, I purchased a pair of VOXX socks…socks that promote better balance, stability, and range of motion.

Afterward, I went downstairs and listened to Liberated Living, a TED Style talk, delivered by Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Intuitive Counselor, Susan Stephens. During the interactive presentation, we learned all about stomach acid levels, essential vitamins and minerals, and the Sexy Blood Services offered at her office in Hamilton.

Susan ended the session with a tongue analysis of the group assembled. Our tongue colors ranged from white to soft pink to red. The ideal tongue is like that of a baby’s: soft pink with no line down the middle or tooth marks.

Only one woman (not me!) came close to that ideal.



At Kitras Art Glass

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kitras Art Glass, Canada’s largest hot glass studio, was a short thirty-minute drive away in Fergus. Intrigued, I decided to take a break from my writing and treat myself to an artist date at their 2nd Annual Garden Party.

While visiting, I browsed through the many Kitras collections, among them Tree of Enchantment, Blossom, Van Glow, Calico, Art Nouveau, and Canada 150. I was impressed by the variety of decorative and functional art: ornaments, oil lamps, diffusers, bird feeders, vases, medallions, and so much more. These unique, hand-crafted glass creations are perfect for all-occasion gifting.

BTW…Kitras will ship purchases across Canada and the United States.