Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Foodie Finds at Urban Craft

One of the things that gets me super duper about Ottawa is all of the fantastic small-batch food producers that we have in town. From ice cream to jams to bread name it...someone is probably making it in small, artisanal batches in Ottawa. So when we went about setting up Urban Craft, we knew we wanted a strong food component included in the show. Luckily for us we had some incredible food makers apply!

Urban Baking Co. injects a bit of French whimsy into the Urban Craft scene with her incredible macarons. Having bought a pack of her macarons at last month's Urban Craft, I can attest that her macarons are darn good.

Koko Chocolates will be on hand with their amazingly gorgeous and innovative truffles, barks and more. You guys seriously have to try their chocolately goodness--I seriously love every flavor I've ever had from Koko and I'm sure you will too! The owner, Jen, is really fantastic as well. A sweet lady creating sweet chocolates? Almost sounds too good to be true--but it's true!

As we mentioned in our October sneak peek, the lovely Claire of Strawberry Blond Cafe will be bringing the vegan baked goods this month. If you are looking for a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth this Saturday, see if you can get your hands on one of her 'cheesecake' pops! They are pretty delish!

Last but not least Rochef Chocolatier will be joining us with his incredible single origin chocolates, truffles and other gourmet goodies. Having had a chance to try Roch's chocolate last month, I can attest that you are going to enjoy the flavors and purity of his chocolate. The man obviously knows what he is doing, and my tummy thanks him for that!

So needless to say--it's great to come to Urban Craft hungry! Not only will we have all these fantastic vendors at the show to tame your sweet tooth, but the cafe at The GCTC, Viva Loca will also have some savory delights and coffee for you to much on as well. I personally plan to do a tour-de-food at the show and pick up goodies from each vendor! Yum! Is it Saturday yet!?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Urban Craft October: A Sneak Peek

Guys! The next edition of Urban Craft is this Saturday! I am getting so completely excited that I can hardly contain myself! We wanted to get the week started off RIGHT by giving you all a sneak peek at the incredible new vendors that we'll have at the next show! Are you ready!?

It's no secret that I am completely in love with Purple Urchin's stuff. Sarah and Rebecca make the most incredible soap, body butters, scrubs, name it, they've got it! Personally, I'm addicted to their soaps and go back for multiples every time we're at a show together! Last week I opened up a package of their Clove Conundrum scent, which is my new favorite smell for fall! Perfectly spicy and sweet--you will definitely want to pick some of this stuff up this Saturday at Urban Craft!

Rochef Chocolatier is definitely building a huge following in Ottawa. Roch's bars and truffles are really pure and lovely and incredibly flavorful. Our amazing partner Amy of Splendid Events swears by his chocolate and picks a bar up every time she's at Farm Boy. Her and her husband are both especially jazzed to be able to meet Roch, the talented chocolatier this weekend at Urban Craft. I personally can't wait to buy some chocolate from the man himself!

Sarah from Sarah's Card Company is a seriously great lady! Sarah and I have gotten to know each other through a variety of ways, and it turns out that she also makes these really fantastic photographic cards. They're so gorgeous that I'm considering picking some up and framing them & hanging them on the walls of our apartment. Gorgeous!

Fish on Fridays creates political finger puppets. Need I say more? Gabe's work is incredibly playful, fun and clever and we totally love the fact that you can pick up a puppet of Jack Layton or Steven Harper and show them your love (or discontent). Political puppet show, anyone?

Strawberry Blond Cafe will be bringing the vegan baked goods this month! We're so excited to welcome owner Claire and her delicious treats to Urban Craft this month. Her lovely goodies are vegan, dairy-free, egg-free AND gluten free. We're impressed and excited for you to try her stuff!

At Art in Strathcona Park last year, Robin was wandering the show and checking out all the talented vendors when he stumbled upon Cre8tive Cat's gorgeous cards. Simple and modern, these cards have a really lovely handmade touch. We're so excited to see Cat's work in person again and so excited for you to see her stuff, too!

Last but not least, our friend Annie of My Green Toy Box makes these incredibly adorable felted animals and toys that you just want to squeeze because they are so adorable. At Idle Hands this spring, our charity program organizer Lauren picked up the cutest elephant. It was so adorable that I considered steeling it from her for a second! No thievery needs to be involved, though, because I (and you!) can pick up some of Annie's lovely creations this Saturday at Urban Craft!

So tell us...who are you looking forward to seeing the most!?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Photos from Our First Show!

Guys! I can hardly believe I'm saying this, but we're under two weeks until the next edition of Urban Craft! This week I'll be sharing some sneak peeks of the fabulous new vendors that we have planned for you. To whet your whistle and get you excited for our October 1st show, I thought I'd share some photos that the amazing Andrée-Lise Photography snapped for us earlier this month!

Yep. It was pretty awesome, to say the least! Just looking over these pics is getting me so excited for the next show on October 1st! Can we also take a moment to pause and talk about how wonderful it's been to work with Andrée-Lise Photography? Andrée and I connected serendipitously and when she signed on to help us out, I was absolutely thrilled. Her work is really lovely and she's a completely joy to work with on so many levels. Good at what she does + passionate about creativity + so incredibly kind and sweet! Personally, I love reading her blog every time she posts because the images are so gorgeous. We couldn't have asked for anyone better to help us document the first edition of Urban Craft.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The GCTC Holiday Craft Sale!

Exciting news for you on this chilly Monday morning! We've teamed up with our wonderful partners at The GCTC to produce their first ever Holiday Craft Show in November! Taking place on November 19th, the show will showcase a wide variety of modern, indie crafters at The Irving Greenburg Theater--home of the GCTC. The GCTC will be opening the doors to its Studio Theater for this show, giving us an opportunity to expand the show and get new and varied vendors involved in all the crafty happiness in Hintonburg!

The cost to participate in the show will be $45 + $5 if you need to rent a table. Please note that while we're producing the show, this is not an Urban Craft event and jurying and acceptance for this show are separate from Urban Craft shows.

Have you got some lovely goods that you'd like to showcase to holiday shoppers this season? Click on over here to read more information and then click here to apply, stat!

Applications are open until October 19!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Unexpected Launch of Our Charity Project!

kindness kits & the urban craft charity project. photo by Andree-Lise Photo

Whew! Hello, guys and gals! I'm coming atcha today from a brand new computer (thank goodness), armed and ready to get this show rolling again! We are still reeling from the fabulous success that was our first show and already gearing up for the next show on October 1st (which is just a little over 2 weeks away--can you believe it?)! I'm really excited to share today's post with you, because it warms my heart like little else can.

The weekend before our first show in September, Robin and I went to brunch at The Manx with our good friends Lauren and Justine. All four of us are small, creative business owners so the conversation inevitably ends up turning towards business whenever we get together. As we were chatting about business-y things, we got to chatting about Urban Craft and how things were coming along. I off-handedly mentioned to the girls that I had seen the neatest thing called 'Blessing Bags' on Pinterest just a few days before. These bags where kits assembled with important hygiene and food items that you could assemble and hand out to homeless people you encountered on the street. I immediately fell in love with the idea and told the girls that I hoped we could assemble and sell these at a future edition of Urban Craft. They loved the idea, and then the conversation moved onto the next topic.

blessing bags! photo & idea from Joy's Hope

Two days later I received an email from Lauren. "Krista," she asked me "How serious are you about putting together those bags? I've already got someone who's willing to donate 78 bars of deodorant!" In the 48-some hours since Lauren and I had had the conversation about the blessing bags, she had literally gone out and started launching the project. Her passion and enthusiasm was so evident that I was just blown away. She offered to take the project on, assemble the bags and man the table at Urban Craft if we had space for her.

Needless to say, our answer was a resounding YES!

lauren and her lovely table (she'll probably hurt me for posting this photo! photo by Andree-Lise Photo

On Saturday Lauren showed up with 24 adorable, color-coordinated paper bags filled with useful items, which we decided to call 'Kindness Kits'. Lauren set up her table and filled it with all of these kits, priced at $5 each to recover the costs of the supplies only. She had arranged to be donated to The Ottawa Mission after the show so they would go directly to those most in need. As people began to stream into the show, the kits began to go very quickly. By 11am, Lauren had sold all 24 of the kits she had assembled.

By 11:15am, she had to start taking orders for the bags.

By the end of the day, Lauren had not only sold all of the 24 pre-assembled bags, but had raised enough money to assemble FIFTY more. "People would not only give me $5, but just hand me a $20!" Lauren told me. The kindness and generosity of our show's attendees was so exhilarating and still touches me to this day. Last week, Lauren dropped off the 75 'Kindness Kits' to The Ottawa Mission. We truly hope they help the people who receive them.

At that initial brunch meeting, I told Lauren and Justine that I had hoped we could run a charity table to benefit a different charity "every other month or something." I had hoped that we could help out charities that addressed issues in urban areas, since we're called "Urban Craft". Thanks to Lauren, we will not only be helping out a different charity "every other month or something" but a new one every single month. We already have charities lined up between now and December and we're so completely thrilled and excited!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Urban Craft's First Edition: A Smashing Success!

{our snazzy signs on the street - image courtesy of foodiePrints}

Ladies and gents! I'm writing to you this morning a very happy camper as my computer has been brought back from the edge of the cliff! You see, about a week before the first edition of Urban Craft, my already sickly computer started to do some really funny things. This included flickering screens, multiple iterations of the blue screen of death, shutting down on its own and other strange behaviors. About two days into this strange behavior, I sat down and had a chat with my computer. "Computer!" I pleaded, "If you will hold on until Saturday--if you can just hang on until the first edition of Urban Craft is over, I will love you forever." The computer beeped a couple of times--which may have been a sign that it was closer to death, but I chose to believe that it was it's way of saying "Okay, Krista." Sure enough--my computer held up its end of the bargain and lasted through Saturday--and then promptly decided to cough, sputter and kick the bucket earlier this week.

Which made blogging very difficult.

As it turns out, I am surrounded by a bunch of awesome computer-savvy dudes. Robin, our friend Anne-Marie's husband and Robin's friend JJ combined their powers to help my computer come back to life--at least temporarily. So I'm now coming to you from a ZOMBIE COMPUTER--back from the dead!

All of this to say that this is my first chance to tell you about how incredibly amazingly stupendous the first edition of Urban Craft went! The beginning of the day was a complete whirlwind of activity as our vendors showed up and set up their tables and readied their wares for the show to begin. I can't tell you how completely satisfying it is to see so many talented people come together for one event. Each and every vendor brought their A-game and all of their tables looked SO very snazzy!

{gorgeous sewn goods from manus made - image courtesy of foodiePrints}

And then it began--the crowds began to show up and we were ready to begin what would end up being a spectacular show. I cannot tell you how blown away by the public support we received for this show. Over six hundred people showed up to the first Urban Craft show. We were completely blown away by how many people came down to our show. The outpouring of public support that we received was just awe-inspiring and I can't say THANK YOU enough to all of the people who came to check out our show!

{drool-worthy cupcakes & brownies from auntie loo's - image courtesy of foodiePrints}

So many friends and familiar faces stopped by, which just completely made my day. At one point, someone remarked: "Standing next to you is like standing next to the bride in a receiving line. Everyone keeps coming by to congratulate you!" And it was indeed true--so many friends stopped by to check out the show and to say hello, which truly made my day.

{colorful macarons from urban baking co. - image courtesy of foodiePrints}

We were so thrilled with how the show went and are already so excited for October's show, which is shaping up to be so fabulous. We've got a whole new slew of local talent lined up for you! In the coming days we'll be sharing some more details from the big day including pictures from our fabulous photographer, Andree Lise Photography, the winner of our Victoire contest and the unexpected launch of our charity program!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Urban Craft Sneak Peek: Accessorize, Accessorize!

We've got a lovely little peek for you today from two really different ladies who share something in common: they're here to help you accessorize your life!

By now you've probably gotten the memo that fascinators are all the rage. Luckily for Ottawa, our pretty little heads are about to get prettier thanks to Kate of Flights of Fancy. Kate creates some truly fabulous head gear including feathers, rhinestones, brooches, netting, and just about everything else you can imagine! Adding one of Kate's 'flights' to your wardrobe is a sure-fire way to add a little splash to your every day. I personally plan on picking some up for upcoming weddings that I'm attending and for the holidays! Flights of Fancy will even cook up custom flights, so be sure to talk to Kate and ask her if she can create something lovely for you if you're looking for something special!

Completely switching gears for a moment--we're also thrilled to have Prairie Girl Creations on board to help you accessorize your life. Jennifer creates really lovely makeup bags and purses made with bright, modern fabrics. And if you're needing a new iPhone case -or- a lovely sleeve for your new iPad, Prairie Girl has got you covered. Jennifer's creations are truly feminine yet modern and perfect for the modern gal who loves to accessorize her technological accessories!

An Urban Craft Sneak Peek: Toys for Tots

I'm at that phase in my life where a lot of my friends are either A. getting married or B. havin' babies! Off the top of my head, I can count at least five of my friends near and far who have brought new little lives into the world in the past year or so, and I have to admit, I love having the little ones around.

So suffice to say I was super duper thrilled when so many fantastic kid-friendly vendors signed on to become a part of Urban Craft. That means that this honorary aunt will be showing up to every hospital visit and 1st birthday party with some seriously awesome gifts. Observe:

I almost squealed aloud when Nicole of Liv Well Toys sent these little guys over. These gorgeous, modern stuffed animals are not only really unique but also eco-friendly. They're made with upcycled fabrics which is oh-so-wonderful the environment.

Wendy of Liebchen Designs creates some really fantastic items which have become super popular around Ottawa. In addition to creating these durable, modern vinyl bags, she also creates chalkboard canvases that you can hang on your walls. She also creates bibs and lunch bags which young girls and boys are immediately drawn to!

My Stow And Tow is a really neat company that creates totes for tots and tweens. They're constructed out of really colorful and lively fabrics and are perfect for helping your little one tote around all their toys, snacks and goodies!

Urban Craft is a family-friendly event and we invite you to bring down your little ones as you shop this Saturday! We'd love to see you & your whole family!