Slide Show Photos by Sarah Jamal Photography
Today I started a mad-money jar. This is a jar where I’m collecting loose change and small bills, and I will use this mad-money to cash in for some choice gift options when I next hit the Handmade Market, and after my first foray this weekend past, I’m gonna hit that market hard.
Leaving behind city life to pursue a new rural adventure comes with a certain set of expectations. I know, I know, it’s important to live in the moment, and not have a pre-set idea of how things should be, but I can’t help it. My idyllic country picture included lazy afternoons sipping wine in a vineyard while my little ones danced in the sun to live folk music and we stuffed our faces with great food. After a leisurely meal, topped off by another glass of vino and a cup of homemade ice cream to share, we would enjoy the offerings of local artisans and maybe take home a special handmade treat or two.
All of this actually happened on Saturday. What a brilliant Mother’s Day treat!
Sadly, two of our three kids were away and couldn’t experience the magic with us so we had only our busy toddler in tow. I wasn’t sure how we’d manage at the crowded event, hosted by the gorgeous 13th Street Winery, but we had a great time.
The 13th Street Winery was a gorgeous venue. The buildings have an urban rural feel – such a lovely blend of rustic and modern. The wine shop shares space with a beautiful gallery and sculpture garden, with a large porch where you can sit and sip. There’s a gorgeous boardroom, and the whole space is available for intimate events and meetings.
First we enjoyed lunch from the El Gastronamo Vagabundo truck. I’m a Toronto brat who was spoiled by food trucks in the city, and El Gastronamo was a happy discovery for me. They make a kick-a$$ taco, and our little guy couldn’t shove them into his face fast enough. We each enjoyed a generous glass of what the 13th Street Winery was pouring, and discovered another local winery that we love. Each type of wine we tried was delicious. We followed up with a cup of Strawberry Swirl ice cream from Hometown Ice Cream. It was divine, with notes of balsamic and pepper, and there were many other tempting, all-natural flavours on offer. We’re thinking of stalking them around the region this summer. Hometown is launching their website soon, but meanwhile you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
After our bellies were filled, we began to wander, hoping to grab a coffee and a treat to take home from the 13th Street Bakery. Sadly, the crowd was too thick, and we were too eager to look at the other vendors to brave the huge lines. I was happy to learn that the Bakery is open Tuesday through Saturday, with even more hours as of June. There’s also a marketplace that is a permanent installation. We’ll be back to check that out, for sure.
Wisely, we opted to leave our large stroller at home, and opted for the more compact stroller that we’ve now used for all three kids. Noah mostly thought that this was a hellish prison. We are lucky that there are three of us to wrangle kids, so we were able to trade off shopping, and photos, and meeting vendors. Your toddler will likely want to wander, but it’s wise to have a parent at the ready so that little hands don’t damage any of the beautiful goods.
There were so many beautiful things that it’s hard to narrow it down to a few selections. There’s something lovely for every taste and price range, and we were able to pick up some lovely Mother’s Day gifts for our own moms and treats for our girls who had to miss out. Here’s my short list of the vendors I most loved:
Indelible Impressions – This lovely woman should quit her day job to focus full time on her passion, which is a good thing for all of us, because she’s really very talented. Her beautiful vintage-inspired hand made cards and unique gift tags were totally charming, I snatched up her last three Mother’s Day Cards. Also, she creates incredibly beautiful event stationary – invitations, menu cards, place cards, etc. If we ever have a milestone event, she is absolutely my first choice for invitations.
JC Fresh – This St. Catharines artist makes soaps and beauty products that look good enough to eat, and because they are made with all-natural ingredients, I suppose you could eat them. We stocked up here, and her gorgeous scents ranged from clean and crisp to sweet and fruity. She had amazing market prices, but her Etsy shop is also very reasonable.
Krazy Lady Kreations – This fibre artist creates exquisite one-of-a-kind rugs, mats, and tapestries that are colourful and versatile. Her pieces are beautiful acquisitions for anyone looking for an original piece of art.
Doug Klassen Sustainable Furniture – When I get the chance to add furniture to my home, I really want to invest in one of these beautiful rustic pieces. Artist Doug Klassen is committed to sustainability and each of his creations is made from re-purposed wood sources like kegs and barrels. I particularly loved his unique and modern take on the Muskoka chair, pictured here, made with re-purposed port barrels.
Michele Rose Artist – My son loves farm animals, and he tugged us over to the booth of Michele Rose calling “baa baa” in delight. Her whimsical, charming and beautifully simple farm paintings are a perfect addition to his room. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Christy’s Gourmet Gifts – Everything at this both looked delicious, and we are a family of chocolate lovers. The baby got hooked on the samples they offered, and thus forced us to buy some dark chocolate brittle. We’re trying to ration it out slowly, but our bag is almost empty and I’m personally gonna need more. Christy’s Gourmet has lots on offer, and you can find the whole selection on their website.
The next Handmade Market returns to the 13th Street Winery for September 12th and 13th. You can find all the details, including the vendor lists and links to vendor websites on the Handmade Market site. Add it your calendars now, and start saving your pennies! Support your local artists and treat yourself or someone special to some uniquely beautiful gifts.