Life, Make, Show

Write a New Story // Etsy Resolution 2017

We are well into January and I’m still thinking about resolutions.

It’s something I kind of do all year really, always striving to do more, do better.

It’s a curse, and I know I’m not suffering alone with it either.

I feel you out there. Making plans, maybe even purchasing a few tools to get them going, and then letting life get in the way of actually setting aside the time it’s going to take to launch.

Generally speaking I’m actually quite good at accomplishing the things I set out to do, but there are still a many many areas of that need some work.

Because I think I am seen to be a bit of a “do-er” however, I get asked often how I get so much done. I get asked questions like “How did you know that would be a good idea?”, or “What made you so confident it would work?”, or “How did you know where to start?”.

I’m going to tell you something right now that would shock a lot of bank managers.

I didn’t. I don’t know. I just started.

Here’s my secret.

I have been blessed with the blind confidence that if I put my mind to something, I can make it happen. I dunno. Maybe I’ve watched Field of Dreams so many times, there’s a whispery little cornfield in my ear repeating “If you build it, they will come”  so often it’s become my mantra.


I get an idea, I tell myself I can do it, and I. Just. Do. It.

Sometimes I try it on for size by actually telling people about what I AM doing, even before I AM doing it. Then I kinda HAVE to do it, and so I DO.

Is that nuts?

That’s a bit nuts, but by golly Miss Molly that shit works.

And that’s what I mean about “your story”.

Those little things you tell yourself, or others that, good or bad, eventually become reality. Some call it “self fulfilling prophecy”, and I’m here to tell you it’s the real deal. The only problem is, more often than not we are telling ourselves the wrong things to be successful. We start writing the wrong stories.

Stories like “I’m not a morning person”, or “I’m so disorganized”, or (and this is one of the worst) “I can’t do that”.

The key to being a successful person, and reaching your goals is to flip the switch on this crap talk. I can’t make you a morning person (I’m not one either, but I sure can fake it), but I can help you become a “I am really productive between the hours of 1pm and 6pm” person.

“I’m so disorganized”? Flip that sucker on it’s bum and bing bang boom, we’ve got “I use tools like scheduled reminders and label makers for keeping my life in order.”

And “I can’t”? Well there are just SO many ways of dealing with that one.

My personal favourite is to just remove it from my vocabulary, but I know that’s not easy. I believe that everything can be tackled when broken into bite sized bits.

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time” (Creighton Abrams).

For me, that means research and lists.

When I first began thinking about opening the shop, I got super excited, followed almost instantly by totally overwhelmed. But I knew I wanted to do it so I had to chop that baby up into tiny little nuggets. Location, Funding, Staff, Product.

And then I broke those nuggets into smaller nugettes like store front on Mill Street, Line of Credit/Family Loans, Tamara/Friends, Local Makers I know, and 3 months later I opened the doors to Hello Yellow (now Cheerfully Made Goods + Markets).


Opening day at Hello Yellow, July 2013

So what do you want to do differently this year?

Write it. Say it. And start making a conscious effort to banish any negative talk from your mind.

You are so powerful.

You’ve just gotta start using that power for good and good will come.


Me, happier than a pig in sh*t on opening night.

A lot of you seem to have “grow my business” on your list, and some have already begun asking me about upcoming craft shows, specifically Etsy Made in Canada. We WILL be hosting the show again this September (get on our mailing list and stay in the know!) and if this is something you have been dreaming about applying to, I’m going to give you a great tool to DO IT.


Shopper among the crowds at Etsy Made in Canada / Ottawa

It should be noted that you do NOT have to have an Etsy shop to participate in every one of our shows, but for the Etsy: Made in Canada, you do. If you’re not especially savvy with technology, opening up an Etsy shop can feel overwhelming. Not to worry, you’ve got lots of time.

In an effort to help all of us, Etsy has come up with a series of steps and tutorials to help you launch and/or perfect your Etsy shop. It’s called Etsy Resolution and this is the 2nd year in a row they’ve run it.

All you have to do is visit, enter your email address, and beginning January 27th your inbox will start receiving little bite sized steps, tips and tricks to both launching, and killing it on Etsy.

No, I am not being paid to endorse the program.

Yes, I have done it myself and, as a result, can attest that it’s exactly what you need to get off your wee crafty tush and start selling.

So there you go.

This year’s story is going to be different because you’re going to take action one step at a time. Whether it’s growing your business, or spending more time with your family, or making new connections, or ALL of those things. You can DO it.

I’m here if you need me.

xo Em


    Etsy Made in Canada // Ottawa 2016

    This will be my third year organizing Etsy Made in Canada here in Ottawa.

    I don’t know where the past 3 years have gone, but here we are less than a week out of the biggest show of my year. Again.


    What is Etsy: Made in Canada?

    Etsy: Made in Canada is “a national grassroots initiative celebrating the crafters, collectors and artisans in local communities across Canada.” Unlike other shows I organize, every maker who participates in Etsy:MIC is an Etsy seller. This year we’re celebrating in 38 cities from coast to coast (Find the market closest to you at and I can’t even begin to express to you how proud I am to be organizing this show for the third year in a row.


    With 150 sellers participating (we had 316 applications for this show!) it’s a huge undertaking, but the experience of watching so many hardworking hand makers in my community be successful doing what they love to do is something that I can hardly put into words.

    It’s awesome.

    Here in Ottawa, our show will run for TWO DAYS instead of just one. It’s the only way we could see managing the hordes of Ottawa (and area) Etsy enthusiasts, and it gives us even more opportunity to raise funds for our 2016 charity of choice: 13 Muesli. More about them HERE.


    Etsy Made in Canada Ottawa takes place September 24th + 25th from 10am to 4pm at the Bell Sensplex (1565 Maplegrove Road, Kanata MAP IT).

    Cost of admission is $5, kids and parking are free and 50% of our door goes to our charity.

    (Last year we raised more than $25K for the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre!)


    So who’s going to be in attendance at Etsy Made in Canada?

    The Made in Canada editorial team at Etsy has made their Canada wide picks (check them out here!), but I have a few favourites that will be at our Ottawa event. You can search the whole line up by visiting here and clicking on ETSY MADE IN CANADA. Obviously :)

    I’ve chosen my faves based not only on talent, but also on the personality, attitude and overall awesomeness of the maker. Cuz that’s super important to me when I host a show. As I think I’ve made clear a few times now, this is about me having fun as much as it is about putting on a great event.

    That might sound selfish, but I think we could all stand to surround ourselves with as many awesome people as possible, and when you come to a show hosted by yours truly, you’re only going to meet the best of the best folks.

    First up,


    The first time I met Anick was at our Spring show here in Almonte. She arrived bright and early for set up, parked right in front of the load in door, and promptly locked her keys in her car.

    With all of her stuff still inside.

    That’s not what I like most about her though.

    What I like most about Anick, is how she handled that situation. There she was, in a strange little town, standing in front of her car packed with all this product she’d just slaved over, and she’d locked her keys right in that darn thing.

    But did Anick freak the freak out?

    No she did not.

    We called CAA, had ourselves a wee coffee break, helped a few other vendors load in, and before you knew it, help had arrived. Anick is my kind of people.

    Total bonus: she makes awesome stuff.

    And obviously practices what her tea towels preach. V important.

    Shop Anick Bauer on Etsy HERE



    Greg and Jennifer Swaine (AKA the nicest couple you will ever meet) are the creators behind STOUTHEART Shave Company. These guys are two of the most cheerful, friendly folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They work hard, are super open to feedback (not that they need any) and make every customer they come into contact with feel important.

    Sometimes I just walk past their booth just to perk myself up. No kiddin’.

    Also, sometimes they send me nice texts late at night when they think I might need one.

    They are thoughtful, good people who make a fantastic product and, one day, when they’re millionaires living the dream, I just know they’re not going to forget about any of us.

    Shop STOUTHEART on Etsy HERE


    JBFord Studio

    Reasons I like Jeremy Ford:

    ONE He makes sweet little pottery homes for otherwise neglected things like air plants and cooking utensils.

    TWO He sometimes does things like host a spontaneous neighbourhood cocktail party on an abandoned couch in front of my aunt’s house.

    Hanging air plant holder, black and white hanging planter potteryUtensil holder / vase pottery black and white / white clay with black design

    Shop JBFord Studio on Etsy



    Jennifer Bennett of LaLuciole has participated in several of our shows now, and I need to take a minute to give a little shoutout to this woman.

    First of all, her stuff is amazing. Let’s just get that out of the way.

    Secondly, SHE is amazing.

    Jennifer comes to every event I’ve hosted her at, with THE most breakable product ever.

    But does she ask for a wall? Or whine about electricity? Or fuss about the fact that her booth neighbour is a hand talker and might just knock down her entire display?

    No she doesn’t. She just shows up, and sets up and is as cheerful and easy going as all flipping get out.

    She is what I like to call a show organizers dream. (I know, so creative.)

    I wish all makers could be a little more like Jennifer Bennett.

    Four Blown Glass Stemless Tumblers. Free Ship to Canada. 3" by 2" in greens. Hand made for wine, spirits, scotch, port, juice.

    Shop LaLuciolle on Etsy HERE.



    Sarah Jaynes is a high school art teacher who is talented beyond belief (you have to follow her on Instagram and watch her do a time-lapse video of one of her drawings at some point before you die) and is also quite possibly one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met.

    She’s so thoughtful in fact that just a few days ago she put a casserole on my doorstep so that my family won’t starve this week.

    And once? Once she hacked a package of Starburst candies so that it would ONLY have pink ones just because I posted this dorky quote about not letting anyone treat you like a yellow Starburst. (What?! Like you’ve never been in a mood.)

    That’s not why she’s in the show though.

    This is why she’s in the show:


    Shop Mississippi North on Etsy


    Last but not least, BLONDIE APPAREL.

    Oh Blondie, Blondie, Blondie.

    Blondie Apparel is owned by Brodie O’Connor and Michelle VandenTillaart. (We’ll just call her Michelle V.)

    Brodie owns a little shop across the street from my own called doree’s habit, full of everything I’d ever want in my closet. We’ve been friends for several years now, and she’s one of the reasons I love running a business in Almonte.

    In a nutshell, Brodie is the girl who starts the dance floor.

    In the good way.

    I got to know Michelle a bit better in April of this year when the 3 of us and our husbands took a spontaneous trip to Halifax. (Because Porter). She’s kind of like a tiny comedian who repeats the same joke over and over, but instead of it getting annoying, it gets funnier.

    That’s a very unique skill.

    I’m not sure there’s another person in my cache of friends who can get away with that brand of lazy humour.

    I own literally (but not literally because, who am I, Melania Trump?) seven of every item these girls have ever made. Because they get me and my body and all the things I want to highlight (upper body) and not highlight (buuuuummmm). Every piece makes me feel casual, comfortable, and somehow, like I have my fashion act together.

    Ps. I own both of these pieces.

    East End Sweater in Salt & Pepper

    And this one in a few colours.

    Shop Blondie Apparel on Etsy HERE


    So what’s that? Six?

    A mere SIX of 150 truly awesome Ottawa area handmakers who will be participating in the 3rd annual Etsy Made in Canada (#etsy613 yo!) this weekend at the Bell Sensplex.

    For more info, to ask questions and to map the event, hit up our Facebook Event page HERE and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and search #etsy613 to see what our makers are up to this week!

    Hope to see you this weekend Ottawa!

    xo Emily


      Living Room Makeover // My Arhaus Inspiration

      We’ve been in the green house for about a year and a half now, and I’ve slowly been making this space my own. The kitchen is my real whale, but that’s going to have to be our last project I think.

      I want to get it right and that means a significant amount of saving. It’s basically torture for this instant gratification girl.

      Our living room may not get as much use as a kitchen will, but for now it’s the main space we gather when visitors come knocking.

      After my office makeover got a little publicity, I was contacted by Arhaus (a great home decor website) with a challenge to show them what I might do with our living room given a little inspiration.

      This room has a ton of potential. We’ve got 3 windows, a fireplace, hardwood floor and french doors (that lead to the sunroom) to work with. Here’s the realtor’s before shot.

      You know, for giggles.

      D81_0744-LR5 D81_0752-LR5 D81_0756-LR5

      Pretty great right?

      So I’ve gone a little cray on the colour and pattern in the other rooms you’ve seen, and I think that’s what Arhaus was hoping I might do with the living room as well, but this space needs to be a little more chill. Suuuuuper cozy and the kind of room you can be comfortable enough to put your feet up in.

      We’re doing Christmas in this room people. And I don’t know about you, but that means we’re gonna need a couch I can LIE on and not feel like I’m wearing a darned back brace I’m sitting so flippin’ straight.

      No no no. We need a great couch, a chunky coffee table, and some moody lighting.

      I’m talking durable textiles, a chunky rug, and a space that can host as many bums as possible.

      About a month after we moved in, I bought a mint’s worth of this beautiful Dwell Studio fabric and hung it ragged and un-hemmed in the windows until my mom offered to sew it into curtains for me.

      (Note: This works every time.)


      That’s kind of how I like to start every room I makeover.

      I find one thing that I love, usually a textile or something with colour or pattern, and then I use it for the inspiration for the entire room. Sometimes it’s a piece of pottery, or something one of the kids coloured at school. Sometimes it’s a throw or a pillow (or a throw pillow). In this case, it’s this fabric.

      So we’ve got our pop of colour.

      Perusing the Arhaus website for furniture and decor to pull the place together, I came across pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

      This uphostered sofa is made in the US (aka won’t fall apart if you move it like pretty much everything I ever purchased before the age of 30) and offers the perfect balance of comfort and practicality.

      I’m not going to tire of this style anytime soon.


      Baldwin 89″ Upholstered Sofa in Trinidad Flax via Arhaus

      It has NO SKIRT (v. important if you want something that doesn’t look like you inherited it from your nana) and, (my favourite part) ATTACHED cushions.


      I can NOT tell you how unhinged I can become if the mother lovin’ couch cushions are in disarray.

      Let it be noted that I am aware it’s probably insane to let something like couch cushions drive you to drink…but we all have our things.

      You know you have your thing.

      I really want to create a conversational space, so I’m looking for two smaller, perhaps a bit more contemporary chairs to sidle up to the couch. I feel like you can go a little less practical with smaller pieces of furniture because they’re easier to break up and place in other spaces if you decide to change the room up, and generally speaking, they’re not as great of a financial investment.

      Unless of course, you want two, which, I mean, oooooobviously.

      Enter the Brekan Chair.

      Be still my heart and tell me this menswear inspired tweed doesn’t just make you want to plunk down and swing your legs over the arm.

      Brekan Chair in Tribeca Pewter Brekenside

      Seating? Check.

      Now I needed a sturdy coffee table that people could put their feet up on, but, you know, wouldn’t.

      Of course they wouldn’t, but they’d be so comfortable in the room, they’d think about it, and then realize that’s pretty disrespectful and, like, not do it. You get it. I know you get it.

      I love the Palmer Coffee Table in natural oak.


      Palmer Rectangle 2 Drawer Coffee Table in Natural Oak via Arhaus

      It’s nice and solid with clean, modern lines, and I really like that it has 2 drawers where I can tuck some extra napkins and tea lights to have handy when I need them. Which is always because tealights last approximately 7 minutes. Which is probably why they come in bags of 17 million.

      I envision this table on a chunky knit ivory rug.

      The kind of rug that will make me absolutely lose my sh*t if someone spills red wine on it. Or anything.

      Why I do this to myself, I’m not sure. But the heart wants what it wants Selena Gomez.

      It wants what it wants. Specifically something like this:

      Chunky Braided Wool Rug

      Only 50 percent of the rooms in this place have ceiling lights, so I find the living room pretty dark.
      I like a dim living room, especially one with a fireplace, so I think all this place needs is a few corner lamps.
      Someday I might like to add some pot lights on a dimmer, but for now, something like the Clarence Floorlamp would do me juuuust fine.

      Clarence Floor Lamp in Antiqued Brass via Arhaus

      This really is a beautiful website.

      I know, I know, it’s not Canadian. Our dollar is the pits and ordering from the US can be a nightmare, but Arhaus DOES ship to Canada, so there’s no headache there.

      For a dash of flare (and because I’m not an animal), I’ll add some throw cushions like these:

      Moroccan kilim pillows for your boho chic living room, from Baba Souk:

      Via Babasouk

      And some accessories like, oh maybe, this stupid cute planter


      Via Etsy

      …and some big ole woven baskets for all the magazines I can’t bare to toss.


      Toss a big plant or two in the corner and we’re golden.

      Image result for house plant

      Looking forward to pulling the room together in time for fall.

      AKA the most wonderful time of the year. Stay tuned for the final reveal!

      Happy Fall Y’all!
      xo Em

        Life, Show

        An Open Letter from the Organizers

        I’ve been organizing Cheerfully Made Markets (formerly the Handmade Harvest Craft Show) for 6 years. I’ve actually lost count of the number of shows under my belt, but it’s somewhere around the 20 mark. At this point I consider myself a professional. I hope the makers who participate in my events would too.

        In 2013 I began working closely with Etsy Canada to organize the Etsy Made in Canada show, and it brought the whole thing to a new level. My audience grew, I befriended dozens of new Ottawa makers and I became someone people think of when it comes to handmade goods and craft shows in the area.

        As fun as it is to watch my little craft show baby grow these wings, it also comes with a lot of responsibility.

        It has become increasingly difficult to put on a show without a great deal stress. I’ve developed sleep issues and anxiety attacks, I’ve gained weight and have developed some seriously awful nail biting habits.

        It’s gotten to a point where I’ve had to seek counselling to deal with the juggling of it all.

        This probably sounds incredibly dramatic, but it’s something that I’m really struggling with and have decided to “get it out there” in order to move forward. I’ve become great friends with some fellow show organizers through my Etsy partnership. One of those girls is Melissa Lowry, the top-notch organizer behind Makeology. Melissa and I have become sounding boards for one another and have co-written a blog post that, if you are a maker who participates in crafts shows, you might find enlightening. Or enraging.

        I hope it’s the former.

        You can read it on the Makeology blog here.




          Taking Better Pictures // I Get By with a Little Help from my Friends

          I’m trying to take better pictures.

          I’ve got this great little shop full of awesome stuff. I spend tireless hours merchandising and making everything look beautiful, and then I take crappy, dark images of everything and post them to social media.

          It would be impossible to capture the actual feel of the shop in 1 dimension, but I can’t help but think I could be doing a slightly better job.

          Because I know that you can’t be good at everything (Oh, I try…oh lawwwwwd how i try), I believe that asking for help is always a super great idea.

          So today, in a fit of frustration at simply NOT being able to achieve what I want to with my photos, I contacted my friend Justine McNeely and asked if she could come see me in the shop, have a closer look at my Instagram feed, and give me a diagnosis/recommendation for improvement.

          Best thing I did all day. All week even. (And I did some good stuff this week).

          The first thing we agreed upon is a lack of cohesiveness in my social media feeds.

          Personally, I think my followers like that I’m not striving for any sort of perfection. And that it’s pretty obvious that I’m capturing moments as they occur without worrying too much about composition and lighting…but there are some editing features I could certainly be taking advantage of.

          Justine’s diagnosis? Pick a lane and set a few rules for myself.


          When possible shoot products on one of 3 backgrounds in the shop so that viewers are taken TO the shop when they see the pics. Rather than having items on a boring old white background.

          I believe Justine’s words were “Walmart shoots on a white background.”

          Not that there’s anything wrong with a white background (obviously) but it doesn’t really speak to what makes Cheerfully Made special. If that makes sense.FullSizeRender

          Group products together by layering on top of one another and don’t be afraid to have them cropped within the picture.

          Shoot in the square so things don’t get too disrupted when uploading to social media.

          IMG_6789Brighten everything up a bit to make everything a little more “cheery”. Adjust shadows and saturation, but not too much. Keep it real. Just not ugly real. Leave that for the kid pics :)

          FullSizeRender (1)

          Already things look better.

          Not perfect, but better. I’m not trying to pretend I’m a photographer, but it’s always fun to tweak a skill and get the perspective of someone who knows her stuff.

          Those three pics were taken just on my iPhone, but I did have Justine take a few product and shop shots because I think it’s the balance I’m missing. Toss more professional shots in the mix and I’ll give off a more polished look online.


          IMG_8594  Look at this adorable place.IMG_8597



          Stay tuned for a post about that wicked sign. Made by this guy.


          Don’t follow me online yet?

          Check me out on Instagram and Facebook to see how things are going to evolve around here.

          I mean theoretically. Good to have goals.

          xo Em