April 12, 2022
We've been hanging with Kait Waugh, owner of Fat Plant Farm, with whom we've collaborated for the Fat Plant Box and Fat Herb Box. Fat Plant Farm is Regina's specialty plant shop for tropicals, succulents, cacti and all the pots and accessories you need.
Planting the seeds
Seven years ago, Kait began her journey that ultimately became Fat Plant Farm. As you can imagine, Kait is passionate about all things plants. After a degree in Plant Sciences (how cool is that?) at the University of Saskatchewan, and several jobs in related fields, she branched out on her own.
Inspired by her engagement in online communities of plant enthusiasts, Kait tried her hand at casting concrete planters. That became selling conrete planters, which became selling plants. And, like a well-nurtured plant, Kait's passion for the business of plants grew and bore fruit. Fat Plant Farm has grown from a one person team to a team of nine passionate plant nerds in a brick and mortar shop (1817 McAra St.)
"What motivates me in my business is helping more people discover the joy in nurturing houseplants. It is a rewarding hobby that reconnects us with nature by welcoming a little bit of the outdoors into our homes."
Check out the Fat Plant Box and Fat Herb Box, both with different options to bring some green into or around the home. Available for home delivery or pickup at Fat Plant Farm, where Kait and team will be happy to answer your questions about plants as well as their awesome re-potting service!
March 28, 2022
Aware House Books, on 13th Avenue in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood, is owned and operated by a mother-daughter duo, Tammy and Aimee. They took over ownership of the shop in May of 2017, carrying on the over 50 year legacy of this little hidden gem in our city (Aware House first opened in 1970!)
Prior to becoming the owner, Tammy had worked as an employee at Aware House Books for several years. It was during that time her passion for the metaphysical grew within her. It also grew from her as Tammy shared that passion and interest with her daughter Aimee. For both Tammy and Aimee, Aware House Books came into their lives when they were searching for something more, something greater. It represented a safe space to grow, learn, and heal.
Over the years, they’ve both learned so much about what Aware House means to them personally and to the community as a whole. Through community involvement with several local organizations like The Circle Project, Street Culture and Sofia House, the passion for what this little shop is at its core has grown and blossomed into something more beautiful than either of them could ever imagine. Aware House is so much more than a retail store.
People are important
Simply put, the people. So many different people from all walks of life come through our doors and we are so honoured to have the chance to meet every one of them. We have met friends and soul family, built meaningful relationships, and get to learn something new everyday. Many people come to our shop to simply feel better, or to find connection, and we take great pride and joy in being one piece of that equation for so many beautiful souls.
We invite you to come explore this magical space! Breathe in the scent and be transported somewhere else. Find an interesting book, pick out some beautiful crystals, explore a new path, or find the perfect gift for a loved one.
Aware House Books is committed to bringing Regina the best spiritual and new-age products on the market. They’re passionate not only about their products, but their customers as well. That’s why we’ve partnered to bring you the Work Your Light Reading box, which includes an Angel Card Reading as well as your own deck of Angel Cards, an intention candle, crystal and pendulum.
March 04, 2022
We stopped by Cuppa ‘T, in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood, to have a chat with owner Jule Gilchrist. We love her tea so much, it’s been featured in a few QC Gifts boxes. Tea has always been Jule’s passion and over 15 years ago the opportunity came to make it a business. She was transitioning out of career in social work. “I didn’t want to be a regular tea shop, I wanted to be able to have quality loose leaf tea and funky items. My motto is Wish It, Dream It, Do It with Tea!”
In order to prepare for owning a tea business and serving customers, Jule took a tea course, which were not easy to find at the time. Interest and consumption of teas has grown steadily since then, so education and training in tea is much easier to find in 2022. People are even becoming sommeliers in tea!
Jule’s love for tea might only be eclipsed by her love to experiment with tea! A versatile ingredient in the kitchen or bar, tea can lend a subtle flavour to a wide variety of recipes. She’s made tea ice cream that was sold at the farmer’s market several years ago, tea gin and tonic freezies, as well as tea lattes and cooking recipes with tea.
Cuppa ‘T has over 100 teas on the shelf and Jule has tried every single one. (She drinks at least a thousand cups of tea a year!) They go through the process of steeping them correctly, then under steeping, over steeping, having them hot and then cold so they really get to know the tea. This understanding helps make for great recommendations and service, no matter how you enjoy your tea.
“We also do some cool custom blends for people. One of my favourites is just simply adding rose petals to a vanilla-based tea. It is soo yummy and soo simple to do.”
Two of Jule’s most popular loose teas, Creamy Earl Grey and Stress Relief, are featured in the QC Gifts Tea Box, available for local delivery, pickup or shipping.
February 15, 2022
Kyla Clincke has always looked for ways to create a second life from previously loved materials. Initially a hobby, Kyla fell in love with the artwork from the past and being able to work with the beautiful silver and copper plates to create a renewed piece. Thus ReLoved: Jewellery with a Past was born...or perhaps re-born.
The items Kyla creates at ReLoved focus on upcycling, which is the process of repurposing previously loved items like plates and silverware into creative new uses like jewellery. Most of which comes from Kyla's own foraging through garage sales and secondhand stores, while some are given to her by friends and family. The majority of what is upcycled comes from silver and copper dinner ware pieces from the late 1800's to the 1940's in England and Canada. This period includes the Art Nouveau movement, which was characterized by the creative use of elegant curving outlines of images and objects in functional items.
Kyla developed a passion for upcycling from a young age. Recycling was a family value and her family participated in 'blue box' recycling programs long before it was a standard municipal service. Reusing household items to create earrings or friendships bracelets fostered her creative side and at the same time developed the skills needed to upcycle a variety of materials and metals.
To no one's surprise, Kyla professional career has been working in waste management and recycling programs. Seeking to upgrade her upcycling, Kyla took a metalworking class at the Neil Balkwill that helped her learn how to cut, carve and shape edges in metal, skills most necessary to her craft.
Whatever the source, Kyla's passionate about incorporating the existing creative elements into her upcycled creations. What may have been a small design engraved in a silver plate may now be the focal point of a unique necklace or bracelet. Her jewellery is also often finished with enameled coatings, to add colour and preserve the piece. She sometimes incorporates shots of colour too, from anodized titanium pieces. Every single pieces she creates is completely unique and one of a kind.
Kyla enjoys doing commissioned work, even more fun when she gets to make something special out of family treasures. It's an area she wants to expand. And Kyla admits to no strength in social media and management but enjoys working with her daughter who helps greatly in this area!
ReLoved jewellery has been recently featured in QC Gifts Boxes and is also available for purchase individually.
February 05, 2022
Elita’s presence is comforting and caring - simply being near her feels like she’s hugging you with her soul. It’s impossible to interact with Elita and not come away smiling and feeling grateful! We spoke with Elita about the inspiration behind the new QC Gifts Angel Card Reading box and how a reading can put you in touch with your soul/spirit, whether you seek healing or direction.
She’s been interested in the spiritual and metaphysical realm, since immersing herself within, brought her peace at a time that was needed. After suffering debilitating anxiety and anger for two years following the birth of her daughter in 2006, Elita finally found relief through counselling, homeopathy and the therapeutic work of writing and speaking. She and two friends, who were also experiencing postpartum depression (now referred to as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder), wrote a book and have spoken publicly about their experience in The Smiling Mask: Truths about postpartum depression and parenthood.
Feeling stronger and calmer, Paterson wanted to learn more about what brought her the most peace and connection with herself through Angel Therapy, a spiritual healing practice. Thrilled to learn there was a course being offered in Regina, she went for it and dug in with passion. “It felt like a vacation for my soul!” says Paterson. After reflection, Elita realized that this wasn’t something to keep to herself. Her compassionate and generous nature drove her to bring the same calm to others she knows are looking for answers.
She quickly enrolled in the five-day Angelic Awakening (TM) Practitioner course in the summer of 2010. The course was created and offered by Bonnie Bogner of Soul Vibrations, a local master soul alignment instructor.
Through the entire process, Elita learned that she wasn't a "Momster", a limiting belief common with postpartum depression. She learned how to be more kind and loving to herself so that she could heal and strengthen her intuition - her internal guidance system. She also discovered that she could strengthen her self esteem by embracing more positive words and ways of being, healing the parts of herself that were struggling to be heard and understood.
A decade into this work, she says it’s always energizing to share messages for your highest good, a philosophy originated by Aristotle that links one’s values to their happiness in order to further discover your purpose and power to live a grateful life! She says that doing this work is enlightening and humbling each time, as we are here to learn what would love do.
Elita is super excited to partner with QC Gifts for the Angel Card Reading box, which includes a card reading session and all the necessary elements of a high quality deck of angel oracle cards, candle and crystal.
January 25, 2022
We had the opportunity to chat with Val Moker, internationally acclaimed artist, to talk about her roots, where she draws her inspiration and motivation. And of course, her wearable art featured in the QCGifts.ca Lovers Box for Valentine’s Day.
Val grew up on a farm not far from Regina and as a typical farm kid, used what was available in the yard to foster her artistic side. Charcoal from a burnt out fire for drawings and clay from the earth to create figurines - these humble beginnings and of course a farmer’s work ethic set the foundation for Val’s journey.
After drawing (no pun intended) inspiration from a memorable high school art teacher, Val went to the University of Saskatchewan for a degree in fine art. Her original pursuit was a career of fashion design through post-secondary education in Vancouver, which lacked support on the home front.
Her foray into fine art was an uphill climb. In what has been a historically male-dominated arena, Moker had to fight tooth and nail against stereotypes through perseverance and adapting masculine features to her style. By using a heavier palette featuring earthy tones and prominent browns, Val’s paintings leaned more masculine and Val’s Cowboy series is a fantastic example as the Western life portrayed is decidedly manly. Sun kissed skin tones and classic textiles of leather, faded denim and plaid are prominent while softer tones and shapes make up the backgrounds.
Despite the battle, Moker perseveres and has won many domestic and international awards for her artwork. And she wants to be sure that women don’t have to face the same kind of scrutiny she did along the way. A perusal of her catalogue reveals many examples of female subjects and Moker is an advocate and mentor for developing artists.
Val works with a mentor herself, whose relationship is invaluable. She and 11 other artists across the world are in a mentorship group with U.K. artist Edward Povey. Edward pushes Val out of her comfort zone and helps her focus her efforts on planning and composition in ways she wishes she would have known 30 years ago. He provides honest feedback through his critique that Val describes as “in such a nice way that you don’t know you’ve been slammed dunked on.” While this feedback does require humility and the time and effort to re-do her work, she knows it will push her art to the next level.
What’s next for Val? What isn’t next for Val? While we’re certain she has many more paintbrushes in the pot, these are pretty exciting. Val’s working on a series of paintings on the subject matter of mental health, citing the need to go deeper into her emotional bank than she ever has. She’s also dipping her brush into digital ink and is working towards a Non-fungible Token (NFT) painting. NFT’s are like digital one-of-a-kind pieces of art that provide the owner with a traceable record of ownership and rights. Val’s also had her eye on the United States market and is investigating opportunities to bring her art to what could be an opportunity ten times larger than here at home in Canada.
Val’s artwork featured on a kimono is one of four special items in the QC Gifts Lovers Box. The kimono is a beautiful piece of wearable art with a soft and luxurious feel that, according to Val, can be worn equally well on a night out as at the pool! It’s available in three unique designs based off of three of Val’s paintings, Jewels of the Night, Love in Central Park and Gem Cluster.
January 18, 2022
We recently sat down with Dale Lowe, Woodturning Artist, to talk about his functional art and the treasure box he's created that will be featured in a new QC Gifts box.
Dale grew up on a farm near Kindersley, in southwest Saskatchewan. While the farm didn’t keep him there, he was inspired by his mother’s love for wood burning, painting and leatherwork. He trained and worked in the field of mechanical engineering throughout his career but didn't start taking wood turning seriously until he neared retirement.
His first piece came from an annual trip with friends to northern Saskatchewan where he stumbled upon some eye-catching birch burls. Burls are the round growths on trees that result from injury or infection. These growths produce unique wood grains not found in a typical tree trunk. Dale used the burls to create the first few wood turned bowls and he’s now into the 1,800’s for finished pieces, cataloguing each and every one.
Dale's variety of work includes bowls, boxes, vessels, hollow forms, spoons, ornaments and adorable little wooden snow people. A lifelong learner, Dale has even expanded his art into casting bronze by way of the late Joe Fafard's foundry in nearby Pense. He learned that art form via classes at the University of Regina, one of only a handful of schools in Canada offering the training.
It’s a six-month process that begins with sourcing a suitable piece of wood from a freshly cut tree. He finds wood from as close as home in Regina to various spots in the province and as far as the West coast. After cutting a block of wood to the necessary size for his project, he may add a coat of wax to control the drying process, as wood fibers separate and can create cracks when they dry.
It’s early in 2022 and Dale is looking forward to creating some pieces for a themed exhibit by Saskatoon woodturner Mike Hosaluk and the potential for the South Saskatchewan Woodturners Guild to return to in-person meetings and workshops. He's also anxiously awaiting his copy of a recent volume of Masters of Contemporary Wood Art in which he has several pieces featured.
In addition to the upcoming QC Gifts box, Dale's work can be found in the Mackenzie Art Gallery gift shop, Traditions Hand Craft Gallery and the WinterGreen and Bazaart art fairs in Regina, as well as the SSC Fine Craft Boutique in Saskatoon.