A Brief History of Native Art & European Settlement

A Brief History of Native Art & European Settlement

A lot has been said and written recently about Canada’s First Nations people and the suffering they’ve endured in residential schools, but there’s a lot about our indigenous folks that doesn’t always get the focus it deserves. Even though the recent tragic story of Moses Amik Beaver, an indigenous artist who was found dead in a Thunder Bay jail highlights the problems in the community, the art these people produce speaks to their joys and aspirations.

First of all, it’s important to understand our contact with them and their place in European-based history in North America. There are records of indigenous art from the early Europeans who came to Canada and North America like fur traders and early explorers that dates back over 500 years.

Here’s another example. In the Arctic, people lived and sustained a lifestyle for 5000 years before they were discovered by the Europeans. They had few possessions and spent most of their time hacking out a meager existence, but they took the time to express themselves artistically by carving antlers, stone and walrus ivory into art.

Closer to home, the Southern Great Lakes Region has pockets of native art that was influenced by early trading with European explorers. Because the weather was more hospitable further south, the tribes who lived there weren’t as nomadic as their Arctic cousins. Being able to live in permanent shelters meant the artisans in any tribe had more time to share their craft and hone their visions.

For these First Nations people in Canada, art and commerce began to mesh together by the 19th century when birch bark canoes, feathered headbands, dreamcatchers and beaded necklaces were sold to tourists and other people from outside the tribes.

Presently, the Canadian government supports native art through the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) department.

Knitca One. What A Jewel Too!

Knitca One. What A Jewel Too!

Knitca Knitting Kits, Made for Beginners but Fun for Experts Too.

Have you ever wanted to create at least some of your own clothing? Can you imagine the personal satisfaction of people asking you about an attractive Beanie you’re wearing, and being able to say that you made it with your own two hands even though you have no knitting experience? .

These Knitca knitting kits are created for toddlers, teenagers and even adults and they even include video demonstrations for absolute beginners that will have you making attractive pieces of clothing in no time and showing them off to your friends and family.

Everything that you need comes in an attractive carrying case with handles and we also stock a variety of different projects that you can work on including headbands, scarves and a hip Sock Monkey Hat to show off your playful side.

Our alliance with Knitca is all about making sure we offer a wide selection of arts and crafts to our valued clients. We also want to be sure that you get the kinds of products and opportunities to help foster the creative side of the younger generation. Like many of the other products we offer, our dedication to a fulfilling and enriching experience is highlighted with these complete DIY knitting kits.

Candles for the Holiday Season

Candles for the Holiday Season

Giving Candles for the Holiday Season is always a sure bet. Who doesn’t like the flicker and warmth of a candle, especially one with the fragrance of the holidays like maple syrup, hot apple pie, cinnamon, pine and more. Here are a few examples of candles made right here in Canada.

Whitewater Premium Candle Co. – Everything is Eco-friendly

It’s always a special moment as an online gift shop when you find a supplier that has gone into business because they had a vision for a product and felt they were the only ones that could really make it happen. That’s just how the Whitewater Premium Candle Co. was founded back in 2007. The founders were looking for an all-natural candle for their retail boutique. It needed to be made in Canada and elegant as well as fragrant and after searching unsuccessfully for a company that could bring all these attributes together, they decided to go it on their own.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Signature fragrances are the calling card you get with each and every one of the items we carry. They come complete with replica enamelware containers so the product is both functional and beautiful at the same time, to say nothing of the creativity of items like the Hot Apple Pie Scented Candle that’s reminiscent of ground cinnamon and clove as well as baked apple and a touch of nutmeg.

It doesn’t matter which one you fancy; every fragrant product created by this Canadian success story is long-lasting fragrant and clean burning. Each has all the natural ingredients you’d expect from the pure soybean wax to the all-natural fibre wick that make each candle an experience onto itself.

Remember these are the eco-friendly option because each and every one of the candles we offer here at What A Jewel is made with nothing but biodegradable renewable resources so they represent a viable alternative to their petroleum-based counterparts.

We strive to bring our valued customers the most innovative and creative gifts. These Whitewater Candles are a perfect addition to the lineup.

Country Home Candles

High end candles with luxurious fragrances that remind you of their namesake. That’s just what you get when sorting through what we offer by way of crafts online from this Canadian supplier with an interesting backstory.

There are those of us who love to travel out to the country from time to time to let those city cobwebs clear out. Then there are people like Karen Northgraves who knew from the time spent on her Grandmother’s farm that nothing short of a life with wide open fields under a broad expanse of stars would do. Fast forward to several years later and the birth of Country Home Candle, a brand we are proud to carry since they all reflect Karen’s dedication to simple homespun values and the things that really matter in life. The Cottage Kitchen Candle comes with a single-wicked 8oz glass container with a Muskoka chair Rustico wood lid—all of which are a testament to the product’s hand poured soy wax blend inside.

Learning a little bit more about where these wonderful handmade gifts come from will only increase your enjoyment of them. Country Home Candle has a factory and distribution centre that’s located on five rustic acres in the heart of Norfolk County where the family has strong roots. We’ll bet that each and every one of the candles that still comes from there is redolent with Karen’s childhood memories of crickets chirping, fragrant flowers and the rich smells from her Grandmother’s country kitchen.


It’s Basic Spirit for the Free Spirit in You

It’s Basic Spirit for the Free Spirit in You

Basic Spirit – The Perfect Gift for the Holidays

If you’ve been to the east coast of Canada, you’ll understand why so many beautiful things come from there. Some people say everything that you need to know about a place is in the name and that’s why we’re proud to say that the fine line of handcrafted pewter gifts that we sell from Nova Scotia come from the town called Pugwash.

Where else would you expect to find a charming Seaglass Turtle Charm Bracelet and a series of other magnificent gifts, all from a cozy corner of our country and all crafted from lead free pewter? These are the folks that pride themselves on the kind of customer designs that are each and every one a unique expression that will last a lifetime. How much more can you tell a loved one what they meant to you than by selecting something from this inventory of gifts that will never be replicated again?  If you’re still a Free Spirit at heart, you’ll want to give Basic Spirit a chance.  Along with an excellent inventory of handmade items that are sure to dazzle and become keepsakes and family heirlooms, Basic Spirit has a great social conscience that makes us proud to do business with them. They have a long list of community-oriented organizations they help to support because these are the people that understand everyone is interconnected.

Why not browse through the inventory of interesting gift ideas we carry right here from our friends at Basic Spirit? With Christmas fast approaching, you might want to consider something stylish and elegant  that friends and loved ones will cherish and get a lot of use from.

Remember, you can follow us on our facebook and twitter channels to stay abreast of all the latest products we offer from excellent suppliers like Basic Spirit.

Barefoot Venus Products Pamper and Soothe

Barefoot Venus Products Pamper and Soothe

Barefoot Venus Products Pamper and Soothe

Barefoot Venus Bath and Body

Ever notice how cool names and hip products always go together? Barefoot Venus products fall into that category together with some great graphics and label design as well as quality. Giving a gift of some of their products this holiday season we are sure will be a hit. You can choose from our pre-packaged gift sets or choose your own items and we will gladly make a gift bag for you.

This is one of our favoured suppliers that we’ve had an outstanding business relationship with for several years now with good reason. Given the hectic pace of today’s modern world and work life, we wanted to be sure to supply something to our valued clients that would help them relax at the end of a busy day and pamper themselves. We got that and so much more from this excellent Canadian supplier that specializes in luxurious bath and body products.

Wonderful inventory of excellent choices.

You won’t need to look at the wonderful inventory of excellent choices for long to see what we mean. With names like Coconut Kiss Body Cream and a special Hunny Mango, you’re sure to pick up on the fact this is the very gift that can treat and pamper you the way you deserve.  When you buy something from this great collection, you’ll be doing your part to help our Canadian family since Barefoot Venus is a homegrown supplier.

Why not take the time to look over all the soothing products we have in our inventory from this supplier that understands what you need to feel good at the end of another long day?


Bigger is Not Always Better

Bigger is Not Always Better

No doubt you have seen all these big new online stores in Canada plastering the internet, TV and radio with adverts. They all offer “Free Shipping”, ” Big Deal “, SALE – 70% off etc.

No company no matter how big can offer free shipping on anything they sell without a substantial minimum order amount, especially in Canada. They will eventually go out of business.

They also can’t give huge discounts on quality products, only cheap imports.

“Get big quick” companies often are unable to offer great service. Most of these companies do not keep any stock, they send the orders out to a supplier who is supposed to fulfill the order. It is virtually impossible to control this process as the company gets more and more orders the service will deteriorate.

It is not always the case that bigger is better. Many smaller companies use the same technology as the big ones. They keep what they sell in stock and therefore can control their shipping and service.

Buy niche. If you want an umbrella, buy from an online umbrella store, if you want fudge, buy from an online fudge store and if you want gifts, buy from an online gift shop. These stores specialize in what they do and sell; you will get exactly what you want with great service.

Remember a big deal is not always a deal. Buy cheap imported products and they may last, or not. Buy quality, locally made if possible and the product will last for many years, now that’s a deal.

Case in point: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/insight/shopca-files-for-bankruptcy-looks-for-buyer-200543508.html