Friday, August 17, 2012

Ottawa Springtime vacation memories, part 3

Recently I spent several days in Ottawa. I was there to see the Canadian Tulip Festival, as well as for the Victoria Day long weekend.
This blog is the last in the series about my recent trip to Ottawa.

The first part of the series can be found here

The second part of the series can be found here

My daughter, my son, and I watched a brief Victoria Day fireworks display at Commissioner's Park by Dow's Lake (one of the main sites of the Tulip Festival).

Here are some photos of the fireworks. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Featured Artisan of the Week - IceHouseCrafts - Its' Better Handmade Guild

The featured artisan of It's Better Handmade Guild is Dee Begg of icehousecrafts whose passions are painting, converting trash to treasure and gardening.
She is a self taught painter, wife and mother of 3 boys, and has been selling crafts fulltime for the last 20 years.
Some of her favourite things to paint on are old vintage pieces that she finds treasure hunting at local flea markets, yard sales and antique stores. She also enjoys painting wood signs...her favorite ones are the ones that bring a smile to your face when you read them.
 I love to laugh and enjoy a good line at anytime so these are some of my favourites.
Some People Are Like Slinkies Sign

Wine A Little Youll Feel Better Sign

I Didnt Say It Was Your Fault I Said I Was Going To Blame You Sign

Bring a smile to your face... visit Dee's shop, you'tll be sure to find the ideal sign for any occasion to say it all.

Dee can be found here:

Thanks for visiting and reading. Leave a comment below on your favourite item from Dee's shop.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Featured Artisan - CatyAnn'sCreations - of It's Better handmade Guild

Cathy of Caty Ann's Creations on ArtFire is the featured artisan this week of the It's Better Handmade guild.
She lives in NW Ohio, USA and has been creating jewelry for about 6 years for herself and family members. All of the items in her shop are designed and handcrafted by her, and each item is unique and crafted with handpicked quality components. She loves to design with semi-precious gemstones and crystals and uses premium beading wire for all projects.
Her interests are designing jewelry, scrapbooking, cross-stitching, crocheting and sewing.
Check out my favourite picks below from her shop.
Jewelry Frame - Off White Wooden 10-1/2 x 9 inches. A very creative display that is great for showing off your creations while using minimal space. Great idea!
Jewelry Frame - Off White Wooden 10-1/2 x 9 inches JF001
Ohio State Charm Purse Jewelry.  Add some bling to your outfits by having these on your purse, bags, briefcases, etc.. Also great worn on jeans!
Ohio State Charm Purse Jewelry PJ009-4
Cathy is a proud breast cancer survivor and we can all show our support by purchasing and using these pretty Pink Hearts of Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Charm
Pink Hearts of Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Charm PC006 4-5
Find all Cathy's jewelry creations here:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ottawa Springtime vacation memories, part 2

Continuing on with my blogs from my Ottawa (Canada) trip in May, here's installment #2 of 3. You can read Part 1 here.

This segment features the Notre Dame cathedral and a boat cruise on the Ottawa River which shows:
- some of the locks on the Rideau Canal leading to the Ottawa River.
- the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
- the Parliament buildings.

pic # 1. Notre Dame cathedral
Ottawa's oldest standing and largest Church.
This is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa and the Mother Church of all of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
The steeples are topped with standard French-Canadian tin and bells.

pic # 2. The locks on the Ottawa River
The Ottawa Locks, view from the Plaza Bridge (looking West - locks # 1-8 are in the picture).
These locks are the reason for the founding of Ottawa and represent an amazing engineering achievement in the middle of the Canadian wilderness of the early 19th century.
The locks connect the channel of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa to the Ottawa River, almost 24.4m (80 feet) below.
The Rideau Canal is operated today by Parks Canada as a recreational waterway. The locks on the system open for navigation in mid-May and close in mid-October.

pic # 3. The beautiful stone lockstation building can be seen, and farther down on the left side is the former Commissariat, now the Bytown Museum.

In 1925 the Rideau Canal was designated a National Historic Site of Canada (plaqued in 1926 and again in 1962).
In 2000 the Rideau Waterway was designated a Canadian Heritage River in recognition of its outstanding historical and recreational values.
In 2007 it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognizing it as a work of human creative genius.
Check the following links for more information:

pic # 4. The boat that we took for the cruise approaching the dock (you can see the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the distance).

pic # 5. The Canadian Museum of Civilization

The Canadian Museum of Civilization lets visitors discover the wealth of Canada’s culture as they travel across history through life-size reconstructions.
The history of this land and other lands is vividly brought to life in the many exhibitions.

The Museum of Civilization is the most popular and most visited museum in Canada.
With roots stretching back to 1856, it is one of North America’s oldest museums.
To compliment its permanent life-sized exhibits, the museum is also home to the Canadian children’s museum, the Canadian Postal Museum and an IMAX theater.

Containing more exhibition space than any other museum or art gallery in Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization boasts 25 000 m2 (269 000 ft2) of exhibition space.
In total, the complex houses more than a dozen exhibition spaces, 3 750 000 artifacts, two theatres, four boutiques, three restaurants, and over 500 employees.

Located just five minutes from downtown Ottawa, the Museum of Civilization boasts artifacts and life sized exhibits that will help you discover 20,000 years of Canadian human history.

With more than one million visitors each year, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is a destination of choice in the National Capital Region, and is an architectural jewel designed by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal.

Cardinal's use of circular ritual space in his architectural style means that there is no preferred point of view for the building itself; instead there are many viewing points, determined by tangents on arcs of circles.
One perspective after another reveals itself as the viewer moves around and through the building, offering plenty of scope to photographers.

Did You Know?
- The Museum of Civilization is Canada’s largest and most popular museum!
- The Canadian Museum of Civilization has the world's largest collection of totem poles.
- The architectural design of the Museum represents the Canadian Shield, glaciers and their streams, and the Great Plains.
- The Tyndall limestone covering the Museum is embedded with fossils predating the first dinosaurs by some 250 million years.

Learn more about the Museum by going to the following links:

pic # 6. Canada's Parliament buildings, as viewed from the Ottawa River.

pic # 7. returning to dock at the end of the cruise, with the Chateau Laurier in the distance.

I hope you enjoyed sharing my trip and thanks for visiting my blog. Please leave your comments below to let me know if you've been to Ottawa, or what you liked most about this article.

Find me here:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Featured Artisan - WyvernDesigns - of It's Better Handmade Guild

This week's featured artisan is WyvernDesigns, a  self-taught graphics and jewelry designer with a special affinity for polymer clay from New England. She says that she started crafting at a young age when her mother and sister would be sewing. She  pestered them enough so they would give her scraps of fabric, lace and the like to play with.
This is what she says: "I have always loved to draw and paint but it wasn't until high school art class that I really decided that making things with my own hands was the path for me".

These are just a sampling of what you can find in her shop.

Polymer Clay Sea Horse Pendant Necklace Grab Your Purse And Lets Go  Made Polymer Clay Pendant Blue Daisy  Polymer Clay Switch Light Switch Cover Hurray for Winter Snowman Earrings
And how about this handmade polymer clay tag? Think unique gifts.

Love these starfish ornaments.
Purple Starfish Christmas or Yule Ornaments Set of 3

Head on over to Wyverndesigns to see more of her one-of-a-kind items.

You can locate her at the following places:………
Thanks for reading.Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me your favourite items.

Oh, I love her companion and photo model Odin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Featured Artisan of It's Better Handmade - Hippiescreations on ArtFire

This week's post is about an artist (Writer, Crochet, Painter, Wood Burner,Photography and much more) who is also an amazing individual. Petra Monaco of Hippiescreations.
She's been doing crafts since she was a youngster, learned to crochet as a teenager, and hasn't stopped creating. Her shop is filled with accessories, toys, blankets, jewelry, hats. Learn more about Petra here.

Here is a sampling of some of the cutest and cuddliest little critters I ever saw.
Crochet Animal AlpacaHilda the cute little monsterCrochet Yellow Monster looking for a home

and how about these crocheted animal hats? Will put a smile on anyone's face.
Fox Crochet Earflap Animal HatDeer with Antler Crochet Earflap HatDuck Animal Crochet Earflap Hat

An amazing individual because she has achieved many of her dreams:
- To open/operate a store in which to sell art and where art is created
- To write about her upbringing. She is a published author and her autobiographical novel is available on

Find Hippiescreations online at:……

Thanks for stopping by.
Leave a comment below after browsing Petra's shop to let me know which item is your favourite.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Featured Artisan - Lisianblu - It's Better Handmade

This week's featured artisan of the It's Better Handmade guild is Kris of lisianblu. She creates unique hand painted collectable ornaments and stained glass lovelies. Each hand painted ornament is a unique creation and will never be reproduced.
Her shop is filled with bottles, butterflies, bears, ornaments, windcatchers, appliques, and much more.
Better hurry to check them all out here as she says that her ornaments will only be available through July 24th, 2012. Don't miss out.

These ornaments are not only for Valentine's Day - show your love as well at Christmas for all to see.
Red Hot Hearts and Art Nouveau Hand Painted Valentine Ornament
Red Hot Hearts and Art Nouveau Hand Painted Valentine Ornament

All About The Heart Handpainted Heart Ornament
All About The Heart Handpainted Heart Ornament

And while you store away your declaration of love for the colder months, enjoy these windchimes now. Aren't they beautiful?
Butterfly Windchimes Stained Glass Aqua and Turquoise
Butterfly Windchimes Stained Glass Aqua and Turquoise SG033

Aside from her love of creating, she owns a rather finicky 12 yr old cat who doesn't paint, doesn't help her pack, heck he doesn't even chase mice, but she loves him anyway. Here he is:
 I can fall in love with him too.

Find Kris and her beautiful items here:

Thanks for reading and thanks for checking out her items.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Featured Artisan - GlassSulptureOrg - Its Better Handmade

This week's featured artisan of the Its Better Handmade guild is multi-talented Joy Alyssa Day of Spherical Magic, a professional artist, working in glass blowing, fusing, molding, casting, etching, painting, carving, and engraving.

Her shops are filled with gorgeous Wow items - from Pet Memorials to Jewelry, Ornaments, Christmas Cards and much, much more. Check them out here.

Having lived in Venice, Italy and visited the glass factories there, I can appreciate the skills and techniques she demonstrates in her beautiful creations. One of my many favourites is this Yellow Sun Cast Art Glass Bowl
Yellow Sun Cast Art Glass Bowl - Eco, Made in USA

I also love her glass pumpkins. How beautiful is this?
Blown Glass Pumpkin - Clear

Check out some of the beautiful pieces she created for some very famous people and places . Aren't they awesome? See them in her Gallery.

I can continue to rave about each of her creations, but I encourage you to see them all yourself at:

and link up with Joy Alyssa at:


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ottawa Springtime vacation memories

Recently I spent several days in Ottawa. I was there to see the Canadian Tulip Festival, to take a river boat cruise, and as well as for the Victoria Day long weekend.
This blog, about my trip to Ottawa, is divided into 3 parts with each part being uploaded over the next little while.

The first part highlights the Canadian Tulip Festival. The Canadian Tulip Festival has grown to become the largest Tulip Festival in the world.
It was established to preserve the heritage of Canada's role in liberating the Dutch during World War II.
The first Canadian Tulip Festival was held in 1953. 2012 was the 60th commemorative edition of this botanical spectacle.
The festival has expanded to an event of 18 days, showcasing over 1 million tulips throughout Canada's Capital Region.
The most spectacular display of tulips is found in Commissioner's Park, at Dow's Lake,
where close to 300, 000 tulips in 60 different varieties bloom each year in 30 flower beds.

For more detailed information about the festival, see here:

And here is a small selection of tulip photos from the festival. I hope you enjoy them!

For anyone who has never checked out the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa, it's a lovely chance to spend a Spring day in the midst of nature's beauty.

Tell me what you think about this blog post, share your own experiences if you have been to one of the past Tulip Festivals, or even your thoughts about tulips in general.

I'd love to read your comments.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Featured Artisan - Howling Caterpillars - June Week 5

This week's week's featured artisan of the It's Better Handmade guild is Brenda of HowlingCaterpillars.
I am intrigued by the name and would love to know the origin but it seems very apt for this unique artisan who has a hilarious sense of humour. Check out her Blog You will be howling with laughter too!

Brenda makes all shapes and sizes of DreamWebs. She calls them DreamWebs because as she says: "I hesitate to call them true Dreamcatchers, because I am not a Native American. My interest in this Native American Craft started with my Aunt who's an honorary Navajo, teaching me the basics of wrapping the hoops and tying the webs and I've gone on from there. My products are quite non-traditional and every one is special and has it's own name. Each DreamWeb comes with it's name and the Legend of the DreamCatcher."

Eeek!!! Watch Out for the Thunder Lizards! 5 Inch DreamWeb
I love learning about other cultures and I have many books and artifacts on Native American culture but her interpretation of their Craft through her DreamWebs is fascinating and creative.

I love her Anasazi Challenge Piece (below) and the legend that goes along with it. Read the colourful legend in her ArtFire Shop.
Calling Down Achiyalabopa a Native American Style Assemblage Diorama

She has many other one-of-a-kind handmade items in her shop, including T-shirts, Good Karma Points, etc. Head on over to browse, you will be delighted.

Howling Caterpillares can also be found here:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Featured Artisan - Heartandsowdesigns - June Week 4

This week's featured It's Better Handmade guild artisan is Gail of Heartandsowdesigns.

Gail says: "My inspiration is sharing from my heart to yours as in the name Heart & Sow. I want to sow seeds of love into others lives as an inspiration to them. I take my business very seriously and want each and every customer satisfied with my product".

Gail is a very crafty lady specializing in creating aprons, blankets, hair accessories, scarves and scripture cloths.  She has been sewing for over 30 years (Wow!) and enjoys seeing her finished creations worn by others. Read her Bio to learn more about her.

This is a perfect example of how her creations can be enjoyed.
Denim Chef Apron  Kiss the Cook

and how about this patriotic item?
Patriotic Chef Apron

Gail also says that "Although I do have items in my shop, most of my items are custom orders. My customers pick the style of the item they like and share an idea or print in mind and I create a one of a kind look just for them.
Custom orders is the backbone of Heart & Sow Designs".

Contact Gail to have your one-of-a-kind custom piece made just for you.