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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


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.



Life, Make

Before + After // My DIY Office Makeover

Photo Credit: Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics

My latest home makeover project was a true labour of love.

First things first. The BEFORE pic.

Courtesy of our real estate agent. (Keep in mind the major wide angle on this baby. Look at the size of that doorway. It’s just a standard sized walk through and this pic makes it look like we need to get ourselves a set of french doors.)


OMG so boring. So so boring.

Another built in. For the love.

Here’s what I’ve done with it over the past 12 months living here.


Just ever so slightly embarrassing. Between the laundry basket full of ill-fitting clothes I need to donate, to the stack of invoices on my desk, to the baby thermometer…the chaos is real folks.

It’s all too real.

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Life, Make

Recipe // Shamrock Shakes with a twist

We love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day around here. Always have.

My dad’s name is Patrick.

His mother’s maiden name was McCarthy.

He believes this is his holiday, and so since I was a kid we celebrated St. Patty’s like it’s his birthday.

All that really meant was green milk with supper, and Shamrock Shake’s at McD’s, but with my kids I’ve kept the tradition of eating green going.

Personally, I’ve really been eating a lot cleaner lately (no really), so McDonalds was kinda out of the question. Fortunately one thing I love even more than a well-themed holiday, is tricking my family. Especially into eating something healthy.

I took to the kitchen and shook up the Shamrock Shake recipe into something entirely (almost) good for you.

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