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Wholly Canadian Blog

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Past

 Christmas is so filled with consumerism. . .

I keep thinking of ways to keep a simple, yet community-oriented, joy-filled ways of celebrating!

Many parents feel overwhelmed with trying to make thought-full & care-full decisions regarding Christmas gifts.  My encouragement to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases with three questions:

  1. Who made it and were they paid a fair-wage?
  2. Where was it made?  (Go beyond the country. . .begin to question the standard of working conditions of where it was made)
  3. Are we consuming or gift-giving from the heart? (i.e. is this just another thing in our already full house?)

In 2013 was my first year with a baby, and like many parents, I can testify to the pleasure of shopping for babies! But I wanted baby's first Christmas not only be a blessing to him, but to the community around him. At that time, he had no toy box and only a few crib toys.  I knew that in the coming months he would be ready for play.

I'm a vintage-loving mama, and early fall last year I purchased the Golden Book's "Baby Christmas." Spending many hours in the rocker with my baby gave me a great deal of time to think. . .and I began to think about the lovely toys that the baby in this book got for Christmas. My initial thought was to see if I could mimic the gifts in this book. As I let this thought ruminate within me, I had another idea stir inside me. . .Why not re-make this book with my baby? But not just re-make it--but doing so in a paradigm of goodwill. I remember being so excited about it that night, I could hardly sleep.

I had no idea at the time how much effort and time it would require. . .but I sure had a joyous time doing it. The joy was fitting his gifts in the a paradigm of goodwill.

All the gifts he received for the "Baby's Christmas" book project,  fit into three categories:

  1. Locally-made/ North American-made gifts
  2. Second-hand/used gifts
  3. Gifts he already owned (Yup, I re-gave him gifts that already sat in his nursery. . .) {grin}

Let me take you on a visual-read of some of the pages of this book. . .hopefully encouraging you to think about upcoming purchases in a paradigm of goodwill.

 

 

 

The Christmas-tree page was the most fun to replicate. . .the tree is so full of such amazing details!


. . .vintage lights, glass candy canes, my sister's home-made baked gingerbread cookies, I located vintage glass German glass churches, my sister and I strung the popcorn {and lost a needle--ouch!}, vintage nativity set from my mother-in-law, second-hand star that I painted gold, wool felted snowmen from babazoobee in Ontario, and tree from our local Ron Paul Garden Centre.

 

 

 

 

I purchased a used, vintage music-box from Switzerland. . one that plays the same lullabye as in the book. This is one of the most treasured gifts. . .so simple and so sweet.

We crank out the tune every night for baby. It's his cue that's it's bedtime. As soon as he hears the music, he turns on his side and sucks his fingers. It melts my heart every night.  Many times I tear up soaking in the sacredness of the moment. As I watch him, all tucked in, my mama's-heart wrenches a bit because this day in baby's life is over. . . for as the familiar poem says, "babies don't keep."

This is the one gift that mama will keep for herself. . .I imagine myself one day as an old granny still cranking out the lullabye on the music box, wistfully wishing these memories back. Mary, the mother of the Christ-child, was said to "ponder these things in her heart." Maybe she had a tune in her heart as well. . .

 

 

 

"A little drum to beat upon. . ." 

Found this second-hand as well.

 

 

 

"A kiddie car that steers. . ."

Made in Ontario, Canada by Thorpe Toys

 

 

 

A ball to roll along the floor. . .

I wanted an identical ball, so I chose British Columbia Splat and Co to make an identical ball for baby with a jingle bell in the centre!

 

 

 

"A picture book. . . "

With some extensive searching I found the identical "Baby's Mother's Goose" Golden Book. . .it turns out that it is one of my baby's favourite books now. He loves the nursery rhymes. As it is a 1968 used edition, I have to keep the book out of his reach, as he really wants to love on the book! The illustrated pictures of the children in the book are so precious!



"A rocking horse. . ."

Granny had previously purchased him a used rocking-horse. . .so we gave it to him again!



I found a used vintage bouncy seat we used as a prop for the picture. . .it was a great deal of fun re-creating this picture at Granny's house with the garland, nativity set, and stocking.




"A shovel and a pail. . ."

A used vintage shovel & pail that was made in the USA.

 

 

 

"A little boat for baby dear to sail. . ." 

Hailing from Alberta, I purchased this boat from Jacob's Wooden Toys. We had to do many baths to take this pic, as we were on a real beet-eating streak, and the water was always pink. Finally, I cut out the beets!

 

 

 

"A milk truck. . ."

Undoubtedly one of his favourite toys! I found a used milk truck, and oh, what fun! We just have to make sure he does not chew on the milk bottles (they were already pre-chewed by a previous baby!) because vintage paint is generally not safe for babies.

 ---------------------------------------

Now's a good time to talk about his outfit. Traditionally baby wore diaper shirts and diaper pants. I had one made by one of my favourite baby clothing shops: Mabel Retro from British Columbia. I'm thinking about getting some red Christmas pajamas from there for this Christmas. So cute!

----------------------------------------

"And a train. . ." 

He already had this train sitting in his nursery. Prior to his birth, I found this used vintage train stamped as "H L Wooden Toy Company." Wonder if they are still around?    I think "Lil' Engine" was the second word he understood, as when he was just a wee baby, everytime we would enter his nursery, I would always roll it back and forth on his shelf and say "Lil' Engine." This, too, is one of his favourite toys. We are currently reading about "The Little Engine that could" and just took a ride on a steam engine in Assiniboine Park!

 

 

 

"Where will baby keep the toys. . .?"

 

 

 

"And that's where Baby puts the toys at the end of every day. . ." 

I didn't have a budget for a toybox. So we re-created one with one of our already-owned vintage wooden creates, painted it red, and put some castor wheels on it. I figued it would be easier to clean if it wheeled around. And true encough, now at 18 months, he's starting to clean up his toys when we make a game of it {I'm trying to make this his job!} 

The little red toy box was Papa's project, and he did a fantastic job. . .albeit we had to borrow our neighbour's drill when we couldn't find ours on Christmas Eve. . .oh, the pressure on Christmas Eve!

This is how he learned to walk. . .by pushing his toy cart around the house. It's proved to be a multi-functional toy. When we arrive home, the first thing he does is look for for his toy cart, and takes it for a spin!

 

 

 

We even re-created this picture at Granny's house. . .I had a wool red duster coaster made for me by a local seamstress with a vintage pattern.

 

 

Christmas 2013. Oh, what fun, we had. . .Again, just a sample of some of the pages from The Golden Book: "Baby's Christmas."

What amazes me is how much joy local & re-used gifts can offer.  While many people are not in the same baby-stage, I provide these examples to serve as a catalyst to get your creative juices going. . .How can a spirit of goodwill inform your purchases this year?

You see this paradigm isn't just for babies.  When you think about the conventional gifts that most babies receive, they're "cheap" imports that still cost a pretty penny. To purchase gifts in a paradigm of goodwill requires curiousity--no matter what stage of you life you are in!

Start thinking about local, fair-trade, used, etc. . . (Click here for a post on Why.)


 


Again, my challenge to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases with three questions:

  1. Who made it and were they paid a fair-wage?
  2. Where was it made?  (Go beyond the country. . .begin to question the standard of working conditions of where it was made)
  3. Are we consuming or gift-giving from the heart? (i.e. is this just another thing in our already full house?)

It always breaks my heart thinking about the countless children involved in child-labour to produce toys, candy, and food for North American children (and adults). . .

This post is itended to be an encouragment for artisans, parents, and the average Canadian . . .We hope you are inspired to give Christmas gifts in a true spirit of "peace and goodwill to all." Gifts are meant to bless more than just than the receiver. . .how will you make your gifts a blessing to community?



Wholly Canadian wants to challenge all Canadians this coming Christmas in their shopping!

What are ways that you celebrate Christmas?

 

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 3 Comments

Friday, June 19, 2015

Baby Bag Packed: Wholly Canadian Excitement

We're getting excited to meet Baby #2. . . any day now!

Recently we've shared how we:

As many a mama knows, there's a lot of prep work that goes into preparing for baby. One of those is preparing the "hospital" bag.



Here are some Wholly Canadian treasures packed in this mama's bag.

 

1. "Gift" from baby to toddler

. . . a quiet activity for a little guy who loves cars, made by Market Eighty Nine in Manitoba. I let our little guy already play with it a few times, so that when baby officially "gives" it to him, he has reference for it and already loves it {smile}.

 

2. "Gift" from toddler to baby

. . . our well-loved Ringley rattle ball. I've been telling our little guy how he will shake this for the baby so the baby won't cry. {here's hoping}  We wrote about Ringley here; they are also listed on our online Canada's BEST Baby Registry.

Image result for ringley ball

 

3. Used/Pre-loved Clothing. . .Re-using is a key tenet of Wholly Canadian

  • take-home outfit that my husband wore--for boy or girl
  • vintage Eaton's shawl blanket
  • vintage baby girl bonnet & cardigan I purchased at a thrift store
  • and a boy bonnet/cap that my late-mother used for my brother when he was a baby

 It's great incorporating something from each of our families . . .

 

 

4. Pre-loved case

I just picked up this week at the Old Revial Company in Winnipeg; it's a Samsonite case vintage 1962 and made in Canada!


 

I am using this as my essential oil's case for my diffuser and oils.

 

5. Made-in-Canada Snacks:

Image result for bushman bar canada

Image result for gorp bar


Image result for solberry bar

 

Each one of these nutrition bars has a fantastic and enjoyable Canadian story . . . check out their websites!

 

6. Homemade Snacks

  • homemade chicken broth

Image result for broth jar gem


Image result for camino bittersweet chocolate

 

  • wild MB blueberry & hemp muffins

. . . blueberries I froze from Jardins St-Leon last summer, and hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds


Hemp Hearts - 56g

 

 

  • homemade strawberry water kefir (probiotic bubbly drink). . . learn how to make it here, or get a kefir culture here

 


7. Mama's Beauty Bag

. . . okay I know I won't look like the Duchess of Cambridge after birth, but I have a few items Canadian-made beauty items packed for some pictures of posterity {grin}


  • Pure Anada lip gloss for pictures {smile}--read more about why we love them here

Image result for pure anada lip gloss


Image result for river city herbals lip balm

 

  • Stylish Mode headband to keep my hair back: read more about why we love them here

Wide Navy Polka Dot Headband


  • Pure Hazelwood necklace for anti-inflammatory relief: read more about why we love them here

A05-Freshwater-pearls-flower

We'll keep you posted with our news. . .

What do you think it will be? A boy or a girl?


 

 


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 6:00 AM 1 Comments

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Soon-to-arrive Wholly Canadian Baby

 In just a few days we're expecting baby #2 . . . and it has been such a joy to do a "baby journey" in a #madeincanada community.

I thought I would briefly write about some of the baby delights in our nursery {grin}  Just recently we launched an online on our webpage with Canada's BEST Baby Registry. Have you seen it yet?  It's a compilation of incredible baby items. This is what Canadian parents have been waiting for!


But back to our nursery. ..As always, we have tried to incoroporate three of our major tenets:

  1. Shop Canadian-made . . .actively loving your fellow Canadian citizen/ "neighbour"
  2. Shop fair-trade . . .supporting your international "neighbour"
  3. Shop vintage/re-purposed/pre-loved. . . purposing to care for Creation and live sustainably.
         

See why a nursery filled with a true love for our neighbours mattersAs most Canadian parents, we have done this on a tight budget. We have purchased wisely & minimally. A small house requires intentionality.



So here's 1) what is new in our nursery, here's what is on a 2) "dream list," and here's what our nursery 3) currently holds.



New (Old) Finds: What's New in our Nursery

Our nursery will house two little "bears" soon . . . and so making space in a small space takes some forethought. We're trying to take advantage of vertical space, because, well there is so little horizontal space!

I purchasd some authentic antique hooks from Old Revival House in Winnipeg--to hang up towels, diaper covers, etc.  These four hooks make such a difference for us!

 

I also found a used/pre-loved handcrafted vertical organizer that I am using to store shoes. . .

 

And finally a little welcome for our soon-to-arrive bundle . . . some prairie daisies from mama's garden in a vintage bootie vase I found at a thrift store. This perennial daisy plant is originally from the homestead where my father grew up . . . so it makes for a rich rooted welcome. {smile}




 

Here's what is on our "dream list". . .

 

Layette & Clothing:

 

Accessories

For Mama:

Toys:

Bunny-Rabbit organic baby blanket Natural and Eco Friendly Teething and Nursing Necklace - Maple Yang Rainbow wooden stacker, wooden toy by Atelier Cheval de bois
Papoumpapoum bunny rabbit blanket Painted Turtle teething necklace  Atelier Cheval de bois rainbow wood stacker


As we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl (the old fashioned way), it gives way to some extra anticipation. . .

If we have a girl:

 

If we have a boy:

 

 Organic Cotton Bloomer with Ruffle Bum shown in Avnee Gray and Avnee Green ballet flats / frosted pink leather  Baby Blue Seersucker Shortall Set | Boys Spring Outfit | 2 Piece Set
.OM Home bloomers Ulla & Viggo ballet flats  Mabel Retro shortall set


 Our Current Nursery

Baby "Equipment"

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Carseat

Clek

C
Carseat Accessories

Playful Peanut

  • carseat canopy--see here
C

 

Babywearing

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Wraps & Carriers:  

Peapod Creations

C

 

Bedding & Sleep Sacks

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Mattress & Duvet

Shepherd's Dream

C
Sleep Sacks

Gurumama

C

 

Clothing & Footwear

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Layette & Accessories

 

Kushies

  • change table, bassinett sheet, & playpen sheets
C

Itty Bitty Baby

  • sleep sacks & sleepers
C
Clothing & Accessories 
 

Mabel Retro

  • diaper shirt set, pajamas--see here
C

Footwear

 

Padraig

  • wool slippers--see here
C

ulla & viggo

  • moccasins
C

Soft Sole Baby Shoes

  • leather shoes
C

Outer-wear:

   
  • Sun Protection

No Zone

  • one-piece sun suit
C
  • Jackets & Snowsuits

Canada Goose

  • snow suit (we purchased thesed used)
C

 

Diapering & Bathing

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Bathtub

Spa Baby

  • bath tub
C
Diapers

AMP

C

Mother-ease

C

Diapering

Accessories

   

Playful Peanut

  • wet bags--see here
C

 

Feeding & Nursing

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

High Chairs/ Boosters

Monte

  • high chair
C
Bibs

Mally Bibs

  • baby & toddler leather bib--see pic here
C
Nursing Accessories 

Mayukori Nursing Pillow

  • buckwheat filled pillow
C

Peapod Creations

  • Infinity nursing scarf
C

 

Health & Skincare

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Lotions, Balms, SPF & Soaps

Dimpleskins

  • See what we've used here
C

Mama Pacha

  • See what we've used here
C

Rocky Mountain

  • See what we've used here
C

Anointment

  • Push ointment
C
   
Homeopathic Medicine & Accessories

Kid's 0-9

  • teething, fever, cold homeopathic remedies
C

Suro Elderberry Syrup

  • See what we've used here
C

St Francis Herb Farm

  • See what we've used here
C

Pure Hazelwood

  • See what we've used here
C

 

 

Laundry

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Dryer Balls

Splat & Co

  • see here for why
C
Detergent    

Nature Clean

  • see why we like them
C

 

Maternity & Nursing Wear

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Clothing

Carry Maternity (their in-house brand)

  • dress
C
Outer-wear

Make My Belly Fit

  • zipper extension
C
Second-hand wear Lots of used maternity wear
U

 

Nursery Furniture

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Furniture

Dutailier

  • see why we chose this rocker
C
Buying used in this category is also an excellent choice. . .We did a lot of that.

 

Nursery Organization

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Baskets Ten Thousand Villages F

 

Toys

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Teething toys Ringley C
Puppets & Dolls Ten Thousand Villages F
Wooden Doll House

Jacob's Wooden Toys

C
Wooden Toys    

Thorpe Toys

C

Purchasing used toys is a great way to save $, as well as purchase items that are no longer made; we purchased many unique used wooden toys for our little one.

See this post for Christmas baby gift ideas

U

 

 

Wool & Sheepskin Products

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Egli Sheep farm C
Wonderful World of Sheepskin C
Check out our blog post on baby wool items: "I love Ewe, Baby"  

 

 

What memories do you have of your nursery?

I have found this simple paradigm of love (local, used, and fair-trade) makes such an impact! And brings such joy to your nursery. During the endless hours of sitting in the nursery comforting and feeding a little one, allowing one's eyes to survey the impact of choices . . . one discovers a unique delight that comes only from thinking about others.

Preparing for baby is one of the most precious seasons of life. . .thus, being rooted in a shopping paradigm of goodwill for one's "neighbour" would seem to be a natural outflow of the love & joy of the season.  As Canadian mamas and papas prepare for their little one, they can be actively sharing love for their "neighbour" with some simple intentionality.


 

Stay tuned for our baby news. . .


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 6:32 AM 1 Comments

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Best Canadian Baby Registry List . . . True Love

There are only a few times in life where a person has to engage in a major shopping spree to prepare for another stage of life. . .and one of those is having a baby!

Go straight to Baby Registry Categories . . .



So often Canadian parents are relying on imported goods to set up their nursery, not because they necessarily desire that, but just because these goods are so accessible. 


Photo credit: www.catephotography.com


Questions Canadian parents have:

  • Where do I find Canadian-made products?
  • I'm on a tight budget, won't it cost more?
  • I don't know have extra time to do research, can you help me out?

 


Wholly Canadian wants to help Canadian parents out by preparing a list that incorporates three of our major tenets:

  1. Shop Canadian-made . . .actively loving your fellow Canadian citizen/ "neighbour"
  2. Shop fair-trade . . .supporting your international "neighbour"
  3. Shop vintage/re-purposed/pre-loved. . . purposing to care for Creation and live sustainably.

 


This simple paradigm of love makes such an impact! And brings such joy to your nursery. During the endless hours of sitting in the nursery comforting and feeding your little one, let your eyes survey the impact of your choices. . .and discover a unique delight that comes from thinking about others.
Preparing for baby is one of the most precious seasons of life. . .thus, being rooted in a shopping paradigm of goodwill for one's "neighbour" would seem to be a natural outflow of the love & joy of the season.  As Canadian mamas and papas prepare for their little one, they can be actively sharing love for their "neighbour" (whether it be a fellow Canadian citizen, an international worker, or else caring for creation by buying used) with some simple intentionality.


Categories:"Best Canadian Baby Registry"

Click on any category

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 


Nursery Furniture

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Furniture

(rockers, cribs, bassinets, dressers, etc)

Dutailier C
Monte C
Natart Juvenile C
Buying used in this category is also an excellent choice. . .

 

 

Canadian-made: (Dutailier rocker that we love, Shepherd's Dream bedding & mattress that creates an ideal place to count sheep, and home-made curtains); and Second-hand items (crib, mobile, little chair, corner shelf, re-purposed TV Tray made into a laundry hamper, artwork)



Canadian-made: (Kushies change-table cover); and Second-hand items (re-purposed dresser, bookcase, wall shelf)


Second-hand chandelier


Toys

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Teething toys Ringley C
Painted Turtle C
   
Puppets & Dolls Ten Thousand Villages F
  Papoum C
Wooden Doll House Jacob's Wooden Toys C
Wooden Toys L'Atelier Cheval de Bois C
Thorpe Toys C
   

Purchasing used toys is a great way to save $, as well as purchase items that are no longer made; we purchased many unique used wooden toys for our little one.

See this post for Christmas baby gift ideas

U

 

   
Enjoying used toys, and riding his Canadian-made Thorpe Toys kiddie car


Clothing & Footwear

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Layette & Accessories

 

Kushies C
Itty Bitty Baby C
OM Home C
glo F
Glup C
Clothing & Accessories  Small Potatoes C
Mabel Retro C
   

Footwear

 

Padraig C
ulla & viggo C
Soft Sole Baby Shoes C
Mini Toes C
Kamik (toddler boots) C

Outer-wear:

   
  • Sun Protection
No Zone C
  • Mittens
mimiTENS C
  • Jackets & Snowsuits
Canada Goose C

Buying used in this category makes so much sense; we've frequented consignment, thrift stores, garage sales, etc to keep up with our growing little one!

U

 

Vintage sweater I found in the thrift store, and vintage shoes my baby wore North American home-made outfit
Sporting vintage second-hand clothing 
Canadian-made Mable Retro PJs
North American home-made outfit


Bedding & Sleep Sacks

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Linens & Blankets Kushies C
Dream Designs C
OM Home C
Sweet Kyla C
   
Mattress & Duvet Shepherd's Dream C
Sleep Sacks Gurumama C
Kangapouch C

 

Diapering & Bathing

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Bathtub Spa Baby C
Diapers AMP C
Mother-ease C
Bummis C
Kushies C
Monkey Doodlez C
Apple Cheeks C
Boobles Bottoms C
Funky Fluff C
Ella Bella Bum C
Peepooie C
Maple Bean C
Jack Be Thimble C
   

Diapering

Accessories

Elari Diaper Wallets C
Playful Peanut C
Colibri C
Buying used in this category is a great way to save money.  U

 

Diaper Stash with pre-owned & Canadian-made diapers


See why we cloth diaper in this post


Baby "Equipment"

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Carseat Clek C
Carseat Accessories Playful Peanut C
Saucers/Playpens/Strollers/Swings, etc Has anyone discovered these items made in Canada? U

 

 Used saucer that came in handy when mama gardened


Feeding & Nursing

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

High Chairs/ Boosters Monte C
Bibs Mally Bibs C
Nursing Accessories  Mayukori Nursing Pillow C
Kushies C
Nneka Nursing Pillow C
Sweet Sparrow Design C

 

baby eating rice for the first time


In his used high chair; sporting his Canadian-made Mally Bib


Baby Health & Skincare

C= Canadian-made, F=fairtrade, U=used

Lotions, Balms, SPF & Soaps Dimpleskins C
Mama Pacha Tags used and repurposed  Canadian-made  fair-trade  baby 
Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 3 Comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tell us your favourite local company

The Craft Sale Season is upon us. Which ones will you be visiting this season? The craft sale season connects beautifully with Wholly Canadian's Christmas Challenge. 


This year, I've decided to buy three gifts for baby and keep it simple. . .

 

1. Local/Canadian-made gift

2. Fair-trade gift

3. Second-hand/ Re-purposed gift

 

The great thing is that this paradigm fits every age.

Three gifts. Simple.

 

Want to join me in this? We're calling it the Wholly Canadian Christmas Challenge.

 

See us on twitter and join our hashtag: #WhollyCanadianChristmasChallenge

 


Last year I did a blend of used and local gifts via a remake of  The Golden's Book: "Baby's Christmas. You can read more aobut it here.

 

 

While many people are not in the same baby-stage, I posted this as a catalyst to get  creative juices going. . .

 

How can a spirit of goodwill inform your purchases this year? You see this paradigm isn't just for babies. See Why

 

 

To purchase gifts in a paradigm of goodwill requires curiousity--no matter what stage of life you are in.

 Again, my challenge to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases.


What do you suggest Wholly Canadian gives baby and husband for Christmas 2014?

Go ahead and do some publicity for your favourite local or fair-trade business by answering this question.  Make their day!

 

Wholly Canadian followers love learning about new products.  To make ethical shopping easier, we just launched our "Best Shopping" directory! 

Do you know a local business that would benefit from this?


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 58 Comments

Monday, September 15, 2014

Christmas Present

Last week I posted about "Christmas Past." I posted about the joy that local & re-used gifts can offer via a remake of The Golden Book's: "Baby Christmas."

While many people are not in the same baby-stage, I posted this as a catalyst to get  creative juices going. . .

How can a spirit of goodwill inform your purchases this year? You see this paradigm isn't just for babies. See Why

To purchase gifts in a paradigm of goodwill requires curiousity--no matter what stage of you life you are in!

 Again, my challenge to Canadians is to get curious about the stories behind their purchases. It's heart-wrenching thinking about the countless children involved in child-labour to produce toys, candy, and food for North American children (and adults).

This Christmas ask three questions:

 

  1. Who made it, and were they paid a fair-wage?
  2. Where was it made?  (Go beyond the country. . .begin to question the standard of working conditions of where it was made)
  3. Are we consuming or gift-giving from the heart? (i.e. is this just another thing in our already full house?)

 

Moving from Christmas Past to. . .Christmas Present

This year, I've decided to buy three gifts for baby and keep it simple. . .

1. Local/Canadian-made gift

2. Fair-trade gift

3. Second-hand/ Re-purposed gift

 

The great thing is that this paradigm fits every age!

Three gifts. Simple.

Want to join me in this? We're calling it the Wholly Canadian Christmas Challenge.

See us on twitter and join our hashtag: #WhollyCanadianChristmasChallenge


Also, give us suggestions as to what Wholly Canadian's baby should get for Christmas 2014.

Our followers love learning about new products!  To make ethical shopping easier, we just launched our "Best Shopping" directory! 

Do you know a local business that would benefit from this?

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 4 Comments

Friday, September 05, 2014

Preserve & Serve--Local Style

This year I've had the most joyous time putting away preserves! Care to know why?

I'm employing the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation/ culturing. No canner. No heat. No sweat!

I just simply place my veggies in a jar with whey & salt. I let them cutlure for a period of time, and then place them in a fridge or cold room. Simply put, this is traditional food. . .this is the way my great grandmother would have preserved her food prior to modern conveniences.

Traditional Foods are becoming a part of my rhythm. Are you interested in learning more about Traditonal Foods?

made in canada cucumbers

These jars of pickles tell a story. . .through two aspects of Wholly Canadian's shopping paradigm of goodwill:

Local:

Firstly, local. My garden: heirloom cucs, onions, cabbage leaf to hold the cucs down, and oak-leaf to keep the cucs naturally crisp.  Garden marketJardins St-Leon Gardens--I purchased some cucs, dill, and garlic at this local garden market. 

(Side note: anyone know if one can obtain mustard seed grown in Canada?) 

cucumbers made in canada

Used: 

Secondly, used. All my canning jars are from MCC thrift shops. All my jars are made in Canada.  Canada no longer makes glass jars, so these vintage jars are are a real keeper. Instead of using the rust-prone snap lids, I use the original glass tops along with the rubber rings. While the first objective of preserving food is to nourish my family during the long winter months, I also am so amazed how much I enjoy the beauty of preserves. During these last 24 hours I have marveled over and over again at God's gracious bounty towards us when I look at the simple beauty on my kitchen counter.

 


Lacto-fermented veggies are not only a simple way of preserving food, but is also nutrient-dense compared to canning.  Did you know that canning destroys the nutrients in food, whereas culturing food increases enzymes? You are eating live food! But not just live, but also rich in probiotics--the kind of stuff that makes your gut healthy! And a healthy gut belongs to a healthy person!

  • Interested in adding some traditional food skills in your diet?
  • Care to unearth some practices your great-grandmother would have used in her kitchen? 
  •        Want to deliciously eat your way to healthy?

Right now Wholly Canadian is offering two traditional-food courses

1) bubbly drinks and creams for the whole family; and 
2) sourdough: goodness gracious grains!

Space is limited, so make sure to register soon!

made in canada cucumbers

 

Back to Jardin St-Leon Gardens. . .

The customer service their is top notch. Each person (and I've been there countless times), is so friendly, and they look like you are doing them a favour if you have a question! I always drive away amazed because we live in a day and age when pleasant customer-service is the exception. I recently took my father there,  and he was of course  pleasantly rewarded with many friendly youthful smiles and chit chat. He really hit it off with a young male personnel when discussing apple pastries. {It made me giggle}.

I just bought a case of peaches from Jardin St-Leon Gardens that I want to put into the freezer--but only after blanching the peaches. My mother-in-law is going to come over and show her tried-and-true method of blanching peaches. A few years back, I put peaches in the freezer without blanching and without a syrup. I thought this treatment was for those who wanted extra work. Ha! Mush in the freezer. . 

Well, I was deciding how many peaches to purchase while talking with a few Jardin St-Leon employees, and a young gal really impressed me with her customer service by offering me a variety of options for pick-up, ordering organic, etc. As she rung me through, she chatted with my baby in the cart, and then offered to help me to my car with my purchases. I asked her what her name was, and she said, Jen. So Jen, here's to you!

Update: Here's a pic of the peaches. . .blanched and in a light honey syrup ready for the freezer!

What's the name of your favourite garden market?

Posted by Proof Reader at 7:00 AM 13 Comments

Friday, August 29, 2014

Front Porch Song: Feed the Birds

My front window has a story . .. Come on and grab a chair, neighbour, and listen in!

A few months ago my Aunt Sara (whom I was named after in my middle name), and former school teacher, encouraged me to set up some bird feeders for my baby to watch. I loved the idea. . .and the challenge. My mind immediately began spinning. . .how can I make this project full of shalom? I knew this would be a worthy project, because it is year-round and not just a summer venture.

Remember Wholly Canadian’s shopping paradigm of goodwill? Well, I incorporated it, and excited to share how. . .


Buying Local - Canadian:

I was so pleased to find many of the items on my wish-list made in Canada. And immensely enjoyed the journey of locating them.

  • Braecrest Design birdhouse. . . I got a Braecrest birdfeeder to match my house’s green shingles.
    • These artisans, from Winnipeg, came to deliver it to me personally at no extra charge. What incredible, friendly service. And they have no idea I am blogging about them. I love that. . .when people deliver good service without knowledge that they will receive public praise.

  • Three-arm garden hanger--sold by Lee Valley Tools
    • Made in Canada, I like that this hanger has multiple hook options. Also, very elegant.
    • I have to say I have simply enjoyed the customer service at Lee Valley Tools. Such friendly people with all kinds of tidbits to share.  It actually feels like a neighbourhood. The one man I met (who wasn’t helping me directly) just started chatting, telling me about this pony of his in the Maritimes, that escaped his pen, and ate from his bird feeder. He looked like “Heidi’s” grandpa with his long grey beard. I found out that he's into wood crafting.  {It made me smile} Another woman told me about her challenge with squirrels, and soon there were a few employees all gathered giving me tips. (I had not idea at the time what a challenge squirrels would be--but more on that later). It was like a conversation over coffee.
  • Victorian Scroll Wall Bracket--to hang my hummingbird feeder

    • I purchased this at Lee Valley Tools. I appreciate their emphasis on retailing so many made-in-Canada products.This bracket is made of strong cast aluminum--tough but still light.  And I love its traditional flair.

Buying used/ upcycling:

  • Vintage Canning Jar Feeder:
    • This upcycled bird feeder I found on Etsy. It’s main component is a canning jar. It amused me, because I am known for all my vintage canning jars. It's a great example of re-purposing.
    • This one happens to be the most popular feeder at this time. . .

 

Buying Fair-Trade:

  • Coconut bird feeder:
    • I bought this tear drop bird-feeder from Ten Thousand Villages. Crafted from a coconut shell--it not only is upcycled but pays fair wages to the artisan--love this double whammy of goodwill!


Curiosity and goodwill go hand-in-hand. People always say, everything is made in _____. Here's just one project that paints a different picture. 

Get curious--get curious about the journey behind your projects. Quick purchases are inherently connected with consumerism. And consumerism is about "me" not about "we." Give a fair trade to those around you--whether local or international. Get curious! Delight in purchases of goodwill!

Also check out Ten Thousand Village's plant & garden tools. We love our terracotta plant watering sticks.


-----------------------------------------------------------

Now about the squirrels (as promised). . .we live in a nutty neighbourhood with many of these squirrelly critters, due to the old oak trees that surround us.   First I thought, being new to bird feeding, surely they won’t crawl up this tiny pole. . .yup, they did. And managed to clear the entire buffet. They tipped over every bird feeder except the squirrel-proof coconut feeder.  My baby was supposed to learn about birds, not squirrels! But that’s not all, they left a huge mess on the ground by tipping the feeders. . .and then the seeds started sprouting in my flowerbed, and making tons of work! For a day or two, we watched their antics, and I tried to make this educational. We are currently reading about Peter Rabbit and his friends, and so I pointed out “Squirrel Nutkin” and taught my baby the sign for squirrel. But these antics only amuse to a certain point, and then, you’re fed up (no pun intended).

So, I went back to Lee Valley and bought the squirrel baffle (made in the USA).  The squirrels were baffled--temporarily. They had a new scheme. They climbed up the post of our front porch and made a giant leap above the baffle, grabbing any feeder they could.  What a mess! The seeds flew--and the plants grew. (I was more shocked than amused at this point)

So, after several days of watching this new escapade, we moved the hanger further away from the porch. I didn’t want it too far so it was out of sight, and didn’t want it too near the neighbouring tree as another means to the feeder, and of course not near the porch post. It was a delicate balance.

It worked. And now I was highly amused. The squirrels stood on my front porch post and tried to psych themselves up. . .they would twitch their tails, do a little dance, do the hokey pokey and turn themselves around, all the while imagining the delicacies awaiting them. . .But they couldn’t bring themselves to jump!  Have you ever been in that same position? “Any moment now, any moment now, I will jump . . .” You tell yourself to move, and nothing happens! Ah yes, did I already say, I was amused?  I had outsmarted them--and it felt good. Temporarily.

Then one morning I saw a squirrel (I have no idea if this is the same squirrel. . .I’m no expert on identifying squirrels), on one of my feeders--making a huge mess. I charged out yelling--and this squirrel leaped for his life. I was in disbelief.  I watched out my window to see how this occurred. How had they out-squirreled me again? What I observed, minutes later, did amuse me. Their tenacity and agility is second to none. I saw a squirrel gather speed, run straight under the baffle (I thought he --or was it a she--would get a concussion), and then at the last second reach out one of his arms around the baffle (a really, really long reach), and with just a single claw, extend his arm far enough around to hang on the weave of my coconut bird feeder by what appeared to be a mere thread. And then in a second he was next to his favourite feeder--the wooden house--tipping it upside down.  I was in disbelief--baffled actually. The squirrel baffle was baffling me.  This trick was no accident--it was mindful intentionality exemplified.

But I was not done. I would not to be outsmarted. I had come too far. It was time for me to be intentional. My baby was going to watch birds! I moved the bird feeders around, so that the squirrels could not latch on to the weave of the coconut feeder.I put the coconut feeder on the highest hook. And it has worked--so far.  But I’m sure they’re devising a new scheme. But in the meantime, my baby and I are watching birds. I often face his highchair towards the window so he can watch . . . and then I sign bird for him, and a feeling of deep contentment washes over me. The joy of this project has been hard-earned. . .so much that I can nearly break into song: “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. . .” (Mary Poppins)

The view from inside. . .


But this mama thinks this view is so much better!




Do you feed the birds?

Do you a have story?  A song?

How have you incorporated any of Wholly Canadian’s paradigm of goodwill into a project? Leave a comment and share!




Posted by Wholly Canadian at 4:53 AM 1 Comments

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why We Cloth Diaper

He's responsible for this! Yup, this little baby, who we affectionately call "stinker" some of the time, is responsible for the contents of this  laundry line!  But at least there's a story of goodwill here. The diapers on this line include two aspects of Wholly Canadian’s Shopping Paradigm of Goodwill: 1)Buying Local, and 2) Buying used/re-purposing

 


1. Local/Canadian:

2. Second-hand/Re-purposing:

  • I've purchased used organic prefold diapers
  • Wool inserts (I purchased a vintage wool blanket on kijiji for $5, and had it re-purposed into inserts)

But that's not where the goodwill stops. Shopping locally and buying used is great. But there's more good news on this laundry line! Wholly Canadian is all about whole-life local living. . .


Why we cloth diaper. . .

People choose to cloth diaper for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of mine:

  • Healthy baby’s bottom: our baby has never had diaper rash. We've chosen natural fibre diapers for our babies (cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool).  Would you want plastic tight wrapped around your bottom? That's essentially what disposables are. It's quite unnatural, really. No wonder rashes, and other ailments develop.  Baby's bottoms needs to breathe! If there is any area that needs breathable fabric--it's their bottom! It always amazes me when parents who cloth diaper choose synthetic fabrics (fleece, mircofibre, etc).  Synthetic fibres (made of petrochemicals) are akin to wrapping plastic around the bottom. So here's to natural fibre!
  • Sustainability: As a farmer’s daughter I have a heightened appreciation of land.  I understand land is a fixed resource. One cannot reproduce more land.  Water, on the other hand, is a perpetual gift (where I live). Even though I pay for it--it's a renewable resource. Thus, it’s a simple choice.  One professor of mine once shared that there is no “away.” When you “throw away” --there is no “away.”  When we travel, we use non-bleached disposables--and each time I dispose of the soiled diaper, I am reminded of the preciousnesses of land and that there is no “away.”
  • Cost: yup, we’ve saved a ton of $. I rarely need to go down that baby aisle.  I’ve got my own baby aisle blowing in the wind. {Giggle}
  • Simplicity: I blogged earlier about the tension between convenience and simplicity. Cloth diapering is the way of the simple life. It is not convenient. It is simple.

Why I hang dry the diapers in summer:

  • It keeps the diapers white:  The sun is a natural whitener for those stains.
  • It keeps the diapers fresh: We've never had yeast in our diapers.  The sun is a natural disinfectant, and boy do the diapers ever need a freshening after a long Manitoba winter!
  • It keeps the diapers in optimal condition. Dryers make the diapers soft, but they also destroy them--slowly and gradually.  What do you think all that lint is in your dryer? Yup, that's the fabric being gradually worn down. Dryers weaken the fabric's fibres, and if there's any item in our household that needs to retain all its strength and fibres for optimal absorbency, well, it's the diapers!  That's why, in winter, we also hang-dry most of them inside.
  • It keeps me in tune with nature: We wash and hang the diapers in summer based on weather. "Today is a sunny day--so, let’s make the most of it!" "It’s going to rain the next few days--let’s see how far we can make these diapers stretch!" {wink}  We work with nature. There is an understanding of cyclical pattern nature gives of work and rest. I can keep abreast the weather by simply looking at my smartphone. Our ancestors did it with merely their intuition and intelligence.  This is a lost skill indeed. . .
    • Just recently I saw dark clouds gather, and heard some distant rumblings. As I had nearly-dry diapers on the line, I looked at the weather on my smartphone to ascertain my next actions. It stated sunny skies all day.  Well, I thought, the storm must just be passing by.  The skies got darker, and the thunder rolled. My intuition (or just common sense at that point) told me it was going to rain and get the diapers off the line. Maybe, I thought, I looked at the wrong city. So I checked the weather report again.  Sunny skies it said--for Winnipeg. I made a split-second decision to believe the technological report.  A minute later the nearly-dry diapers on the line received a heavy 5-min soaking--I considered it a free second rinse.  The freshly rinsed diapers then proceeded to to dry in the sun. . .again. {smile}
  • Sustainability: The sun is a gracious gift, and renewable. Unlike running water (which is also renewable), I don't pay for the sun! But I do pay to run my dryer.  But more than cost-efficient, it's a way of living sustainably and living in tandem with the bounty around us.
  • Simplicity: As I mentioned with the reasons I cloth diaper, the reason I hang out diapers in summer, is that it is the way of the simple life. It is not covenient. It is simple. Do you know the difference? I find myself yearning for simplicity more and more . . .
  • Smiles: My neighbour told me this May (after a really long winter), I know spring has arrived because I see diapers on your line. Yup, we air out all our dirty I mean, clean laundry for our neighbours. . .and I get many a smile.  My dad told me recently that’s how it used to be. You would see a laundry line of diapers and know that family had a baby--and smile. Just the thought of babies make people smile. Sure, go ahead and smile at the thought. . .
  • The Joy of Living in the Footsteps of Those Before Us: What a joy it is to hang diapers. Hanging laundry is one of my favourite chores. It always reminds me of my late mother who hung her laundry out in summer. . .and in a way is a keeping of tradition with my mother, my grandmother, my great-mother, etc. My mother never got to see me as a mama. . .I sure wish she could see this laundry line of diapers now {Tears}.


And here’s a rather organic opportunity to thank my husband who is a vital member of "Team Diaper." He washes them once every 4-5 days, daily brings down the soiled diaper pail to the basement, and then sets us up with a fresh diaper pail (water, vinegar, borax, and a couple drops of essential oil) every day.  Did I already mention, daily? And never complains. And when he’s home, we take turns changing diapers (or we employ "paper, rock, scissors"). The reason I mention this is because he is not as passionate about the reasons behind this as I am.  A few months ago I asked him, so if you don’t feel so strongly about it, why do it? He said something that caught me off guard: “I do it for you.” {Heart melting}



If you have a baby, do you cloth diaper?
Why?


Posted by Wholly Canadian at 4:12 AM 2 Comments

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How? A Proposal of Wholly Canadian Living

A Shopping Paradigm of Goodwill

As much as possible, I buy locally/Canadian. Undoubtedly people ask me, what if the product I need is not available locally?

In such cases, I integrate three other "neighbourly" criteria into my purchases as much as possible:

1.  Buying locally—buying Canadian.

 

When not possible...

2.  Buying fair-trade:

  • buying products that give a fair wage to the farmer or artisan. . .instead of the mentality of "buying what cheapest for me and who cares about the story and people who made it")

When not possible...

3.  Buying second-hand/upcycling:

  • rather than buying new, re-use by buying-second hand from online classifieds, thrift stores, or garage sales. Re-purposing/upcylicng is also a key component to sustainable living.

When not possible...

4.  Buying terroir: 

  • a French term that infers that a product reflects its origin or its sense of place. This term can be borrowed for sustainable living in terms of consumption of goods. Examples of purchasing terroir would be cinnamon from Sri Lanka,  bamboo from China, or maple syrup from Canada. An example of the inverse of purchasing terroir would be purchasing a sheepskin processed in China that originated in New Zealand, and is now sold in Canada.

Whilst these four criteria may not always be possible, I am surprised more often when they do not, than when they do. Recently I sought to purchase a rain jacket, and I typed in the words "rain jacket" and "made in Canada," and was not disappointed.

So join me in a journey of living wholly Canadian... A journey of community, localism, and goodwill.

 
 
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 12:00 AM 1 Comments