Craft-tastic weekend ahead!

If you live in the central Vancouver Island area, you won’t want to miss the 22nd Annual Self-guided Christmas Tour, organized by the Cedar and Yellow Point Artisans’ Association. This year the tour features 27 different venues scattered throughout the beautiful Cedar and Yellow Point communities, including woodwork, textiles, paintings, jewellery, culinary products, ceramics, willow furniture … the list goes on! This is a fantastic opportunity to see the work of a wide variety of local artists and artisans in a stunning setting. The tour runs from today, November 18th – Sunday, November 21st from 10am-5pm.

PS Some of my work will be available at The Stilted House Gallery, number 18 on the tour. The owners, Toby and Lisa, graciously offered other artisans the opportunity to show their work at the Gallery.

The Beban Park Christmas Craft Bazaar takes place in Nanaimo this weekend:
City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture Christmas Craft Bazaar, Beban Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Rd., Nov. 19-21: Friday noon-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $2 admission

The annual Kris Kringle Market is also taking place this weekend, at the new Parksville venue.

The Waldorf School in Duncan is holding its annual Christmas fair this weekend, too! Sunrise Waldorf School Christmas Fair

For information about many other events, check this link from the Time Colonist: Craft Fairs

Have a fantastic weekend!

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Holiday shopping event

Hi folks! November is here already and it may seem like it is too early to be thinking about Christmas, but in the world of handmade these last few weeks are hectic! I am working on custom orders for Christmas and new projects for a shopping event I am participating in this weekend. The event is going to be taking place on Saturday 6th November at 2547 Stampede Trail, Nanaimo from 16.00 to 22.00 (4-10pm). It is going to be a great afternoon/evening to check out some wonderful gift ideas for the special people in your life, in a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Please let me know if you are interested in attending, so I can give the organizer an idea of numbers to expect. Many thanks!
I will have stock on hand, including suggestions for stocking stuffers, teachers’ gifts, tableware, advent calendars and bunting. I will also be taking a limited number of custom orders and will have gift certificates available. Hope to see you there!

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2nd Annual Girls’ Night Out

The 2nd Annual Girls’ Night Out is a special event celebrating all kinds of local business women, from designers, photographers and craftspeople to those marketing culinary concoctions, children’s toys, clothing, chemical-free cleaning products and accessories. The event is taking place tonight, Tuesday 26th October, at the Wellington Hall, 3922 Corunna Ave, Nanaimo from 6-8pm. Admission is free, but a representative from Shaw will be at the door collecting non-perishable donations for the food bank. If you can bring something, that would be amazing! Inside there will be a wide variety of vendors, including Pip ‘n’ Milly Creations, Discovery Toys, Hudson & Saige, Shanna Morgan Photography, Arbonne and Epicure, plus many others. There will also be some snacks, a variety of prize draws, a great atmosphere and lots of opportunities to find gifts for the special people in your life. Come out and enjoy a stress-free shopping experience away from the mall. Hope to see you there!

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Curved bottom sling bag

This is the new bag style I have been working on. I have made gussetted sling bags in the past, but was keen to work out a more streamlined version. This style is great for showcasing a favourite fabric and is very roomy and comfortable to carry. This particular bag uses fabrics from a Patty Young fabric line and from “Party in Pink” for Henry Glass & Co and features a cross-body strap, magnetic clip closure, key clip, row of pockets and a zippered pocket.

Sling bag with curved base, no gusset. Designed and made by Fiona Ballard, Pip 'n' Milly Creations using Patty Young fabric. Black exterior with pink and grey flowers. Light grey floral lining with vivid pink accent fabric for pockets and key clip. Zippered pocket.

Jen S's new sling bag

Sling bag in black Patty Young fabric with pink and grey flowers. Vivid pink polka dot accent fabric.

Sling bag

Curved bottom sling bag. Designed and made by Fiona Ballard, Pip 'n' Milly Creations. Patty Young fabric.

Exterior of Jen's sling bag

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Flounder costume tips post

Last year I made a Flounder costume for a baby and a few people have asked how I did it. I’ve put together a quick guide on what I did, over at The Winking Frog. It is not intended to be a tutorial, but it might have some handy dandy ideas for finishing off your costume plans for this year.

Flounder costume for baby, from The Little Mermaid. Yellow hood with felt stripes and fins, arm bands with fins

Flounder costume for baby

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Hat fest

You may or may not know that I am rather fond of hats and will wear one at the slightest opportunity. Thanks to the wonderful Nicole Mallalieu in Melbourne, Australia, I am now able to make one of a kind hats for adults and children. These are some of the hats I have been making recently. You can see that changing the fabric or brim size can totally change the look and feel of the hat. I will add some more photos tomorrow.

I also have Nikki’s Fedora pattern and hope to be able to offer those as a product in the future.

Cream panne velvet ruched hat with upturned brim, handmade hat, one of a kind, Pip 'n' Milly Creations, Vancouver Island, BC

Cream ruched hat with upturned brim

One of a kind, handmade hat, purple damask, bucket hat, sophisticated bucket hat, Pip 'n' Milly Creations, handmade hat in purple damask with downturned brim

Purple damask hat

Handmade hat by Pip 'n' Milly Creations, made in raspberry pink corduroy with black and pink cotton lining

Pink corduroy hat

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Nanaimo Christmas Shopping Events

I have been consistently busy with orders, behind the scenes tweaking of the website and planning what to make for the upcoming shopping events being held in Nanaimo this fall. Pip ‘n’ Milly Creations is participating in two events, which I expect will keep me well occupied for the next several weeks. The first event is being held at the Wellington Hall on Tuesday, 26th October, from 6-8pm. The second event is also in Nanaimo and will be on Saturday, 6th November from 4-10pm. Both events will feature a range of products and will be wonderful opportunities for Christmas gift shopping. As far as I know, I will be the only one offering handmade goods. I will have inventory on hand, including one of a kind handbags, bags, aprons, hats, crayon rolls, felt crowns, Grab & Go Lunch Mats, reversible coffee cozies, zippered ‘essentials’ pouches and baby bibs. I will also have gift certificates available and will be taking custom orders. If you would like further information about either of these exciting shopping nights, please email me:

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Ready, set, go live!

Thanks for coming to visit the Pip ‘n’ Milly blog. I know it has been pretty quiet around here, but behind the scenes it has been all go! I have been slowly building the business, increasing my skills, products and exposure, taking it all one step at a time. Expanding the business beyond our local area has meant having to think more about things like packaging, labels, shipping options and setting up an online store. Business is rarely straightforward and there are so many factors to consider that sometimes my head is spinning with all the questions, concerns, opportunities and projects! I also have a family to think about, school lunches to make, playdates to plan, a house to keep in order – the same things that many, many small business owners have to juggle. Getting the website spruced up has been a priority and a lot of learning and work has gone into it, but we know there is still more to do! We are working on getting the online shop up and running, as well as adding more photographs to show examples of my work. Please be patient! I will be continuing to take custom orders and anticipate that this will still form the majority of my work. If you would like to see some past creations, please check out my Flickr photostream and/or the Facebook group, as well as looking through the blog archive.

In addition to the work that has gone on to get the website ready for re-launch, we have been planning some future tutorials and patterns, which is an exciting addition to the Pip ‘n’ Milly line. I will be participating in a couple of Christmas shopping events in Nanaimo this fall, so have been working on custom orders and planning what I need to make for inventory. From the feedback the organizers have received, the events will be well-attended, so it should be fun!

Here are a couple of the items I have made recently:

handmade hat, designed by Nicole Mallalieu, handmade by Pip 'n' Milly, Nanaimo, BC, one of a kind

Custom made hat

custom made, advent calendars, handmade, Pip 'n' Milly, Nanaimo, BC, Christmas, holiday gift

Custom made advent calendars

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Latest work

This first photo is of the display unit, showcasing some of my recent work. There are a number of in-stock pieces, along with some custom orders awaiting collection or shipping, and some zippered pouches for a store which carries my work. It has been a busy summer!

handmade, one of a kind, unique gifts, handmade well-made uniquely you, Pip 'n' Milly, hats, bags, children's items, housewares, Nanaimo, BC

Display, August 2010

We are working on making a greenscreen so we can improve the product photography. I am usually in a rush to get back to the machine and really need to make more of an effort to photograph my work properly.

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Function and fun in one

I was recently contacted by a lady overseas who wanted a bag made for her sister in eastern Canada, as a birthday gift. After much discussion I set to work making a bag which has, I think, fit the bill in terms of being incredibly practical and functional, but it also has a quirky, fun interior which will bring a smile to the face of anyone who sees it. Unless of course they hate the Wizard of Oz….

Wizard of Oz lining, messenger bag, handmade, Nanaimo, BC, Pip 'n' Milly

Fun and functional custom messenger bag

Wizard of Oz lining, messenger bag, handmade, Nanaimo, BC, Pip 'n' Milly, floral linen, cotton lining, adjustable strap

Messenger bag, August 2010

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