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September and Planning

Business Goal SettingI think everyone ends up feeling that “September = Fresh New Start” vibe. For years and years September meant the start of a new school year, a new planner, new supplies, and new things to learn and experience… and sometimes a promise to yourself that you’ll do things differently this year!

It’s natural for us to carry this through into adulthood, and is probably especially true for business owners, with Q4 around the corner, September is a great time to take advantage of that motivation and spend some time sitting down to plan what the rest of the year will look like. See where you’re at with the goals you might have set earlier in the year, and see how priorities might have changed since then.

Download my free 2019 Website and Business Planner and let me know what your goals are for the rest of this year!

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The CF Snowbirds and RAF Red Arrows

I’ve always loved watching the air show, in particular the CF Snowbirds. Back when they were in town for the Raptors parade in July, I spent ages up on the rooftop patio so I could watch them fly over. Their level of skill is just outstanding, they put on such a great show! This year was the 70th anniversary of the Canadian International Air Show, so they also flew with the RAF Red Arrows!

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

2019 CIAS CF Snowbirds & RAF Red Arrows | kbarlowdesign.com

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Introducing Tees & Tanks!

Totes, Tees and Tanks | kbarlowdesign shop www.kbarlowdesign.com/shopI’m super excited to finally get this branch of my product line launched! It’s been such a wonderful ‘creative outlet’ project over the past several months. I’ve been working on it on the side from my web and graphic design services, so it’s taken longer than I had hoped to finish up, but I’m so glad it’s finally live!

Pick your favourite style, choose one of seven message options from the drop down menu, select a colour, your size, and you’re all set! Each tee is made-to-order – grab what works for you, or request a custom message, colour, or branding!

FREE shipping and taxes included – Limited time only!

These unisex fit tees, slim fit tees, and racerback tank tops are all proudly designed and printed in Canada!

Shop Now »

Shop All Unisex Tees | kbarlowdesign shop www.kbarlowdesign.com/shop
Shop All Slim Tees | kbarlowdesign shop www.kbarlowdesign.com/shop
Shop All Tank Tops | kbarlowdesign shop www.kbarlowdesign.com/shop

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Introducing – Canvas Tote Bags!

kbarlow design tote | kbarlowdesign shop www.kbarlowdesign.com/shopTotes are (finally!) live on the site now!

I’ve had a great time working on this little side project in between client work. I love having something creative to work on that doesn’t have a deadline. Something open, and free to end up however it ends up!

It all started when I got my iPad and Apple Pencil last year. I was playing around learning lettering digitally as well as with watercolour paints. I painted the multicolour background on watercolour paper, adding to it however I wanted, and ended up with a bright and colourful background I just love! It’s even got the texture from the paper showing through!

Once I had the basic idea of what I wanted to create, I did a lot of research and searching out Canadian based suppliers that could make these totes (and soon to be tees!) a reality for me, and ordered my sample.

I’ve been using it non stop for almost a year now for everything and anything! I’ve stuffed it full of heavy groceries, used it for beachcombing, weekends away, everywhere! It’s held up perfectly, and is super easy to throw in the washing machine!

There are currently about 40 style/message combinations to choose from online. I’ll be adding more designs in the future, and am always happy to work on custom orders too, so feel free to reach out if there’s something you’d like that you don’t see on the site!

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Celebrating 10 Years in Business!

Thank You

WE’RE CELEBRATING OUR TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

A HUGE thank you to all my clients, my family, and my friends for all your support these past ten years.

As the person who wears all the hats and is responsible for every aspect of this business – I still want to say “we’re” celebrating, because it’s not just me; it’s everyone that’s let me bounce ideas off them, everyone that’s given me a second opinion on a design or a strategy, all my colleagues I’ve collaborated with over the years, other business owners I’ve celebrated wins with, and also commiserated with about just how hard it is to keep a small business running – and of course my clients, without whom none of this would be possible. Thank you so much for trusting me to be part of YOUR business.

Learn more about where everything started, and where we’re at now »

Watch me try (and mostly fail) at trying to pop the champagne bottle (via Instagram) »

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A Week Away in Big Bay

A couple of weeks ago I was so fortunate to spend time in Georgian Bay with my good friend and take in a week of pure relaxation.

I drove us up to Big Bay, ON, and couldn’t believe how awesome our little log cabin was. It was built in the late 1800s and boasts some of the original aspects (like the stairs), but has been renovated over the years for maintenance and updates. It faces the water and has no blinds – it’s perfect for being constantly connected to the outdoors… I loved it. Our host’s cottage was next door, and I can’t thank him enough for this opportunity.

Big Bay Log Cabin | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This was the view from the kitchen out to the screened in porch where we spent every evening after being outside on the beach, doing yoga, and swimming.

Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I know, right? Absolutely incredible view.

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The original stairs from the log cabin – as you walk up them you can feel how the knots in the wood were harder and didn’t wear down as quickly.

1800s stairs Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The view from the bedrooms were equally fantastic.

Big Bay viewBig Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Our evening ritual after a day of walking in the area, exploring the beach, swimming, afternoon tea, (and then the bar opened!) was to watch the sunset and have dinner out on the porch, and then colour. I brought my new iPad and Apple Pencil and it was so relaxing to sit and colour. Shelly had a physical book and pencil crayons, but also enjoyed painting some of the rocks on the beach. Total creative freedom – it was perfect and simple.

Screened in porchBig Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I couldn’t get a decent picture of the sun setting. I really wish I’d brought my proper camera and tripod! It was this insane coral colour, sort of like what the reflection in the water looked like, but the yellow dot wasn’t at all what it looked like in person.

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I took a video of the lake quietly lapping the shore just so I could experience it over and over when we got home.

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This area really does have the most crystal clear water. It was shallow (and cold!), but amazing to look at! There were tons and tons of fossils. I looked everywhere for crayfish under the rocks, but never found any. After a particularly windy/wavy day I did find a few bits around the beach that had washed up, but no luck checking under the rocks.

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

One of our little walks around the area was to Keppel Croft Gardens up the road. It was super hot, but we still enjoyed our walk around all the gardens, and visited the aviary to say hello to these guys! Of course this was close to the little store that sold homemade ice cream -which we made sure to taste a couple of times during our trip…

Keppel Croft Gardens Aviary | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Keppel Croft Gardens Aviary | kbarlowdesign.com blog

One of the coolest things we saw was this huge northern water snake! It was about 3-4 feet long (small for the average apparently!). I was watching the water and saw a stick that wasn’t acting like a stick… so I went in for a closer look and we watched the snake swim through the choppy water to shore. It wasn’t interested in being around us, so we took our pictures and gave it space. We saw two other water snakes during the week, just little tiny guys, about a foot long. (And yes, we swam every day even though we knew there were snakes.)

Big Bay Northern Water Snake | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The water would change really quickly, going from calm to quite choppy and back again during the day, so when we woke up one morning and it was fairly calm, we took the kayaks out. It’s been about 25 years since I’ve been in a kayak, but I had a great time, and didn’t fall out! Woo! The clarity of the water was even more spectacular as you paddled out to explore.

Georgian Bay Kayaking | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Georgian Bay Kayaking | kbarlowdesign.com blog

During one of our yoga sessions (always great to vacation with a yoga teacher!) we noticed this butterfly had just emerged from its chrysalis and was drying its wings before flying away. It stayed there for a couple of hours. There’s milkweed everywhere, and I loved seeing caterpillars and butterflies all over the place. That was one thing that makes the honey from the area so special – the abundance of wildflowers, and lack of commercial crops. We went to see one of our host’s neighbours, and learned about the honey he harvested, his homemade apple cider vinegar, and ate wild blueberries while he told us about everything. I came home with a lot of honey.

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Not too shabby for yoga practice!! The gazebo was perfect. Open air, coverage from the sun… we even had a bat flying around one morning! (If you look at the post on the right, just near the joint, you can see the outline of the butterfly in the above picture)

Yoga in Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Weather was perfect all week, we had one day that was a bit rainy, but it came and went during the day and we still got out and swam, and enjoyed the day.

Georgian Bay Storm | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This photo is showing only the water…. that’s how clear it is! You can see some bubbles at the very bottom, it was a couple of inches above those rocks.

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

My view from bed on the final morning, below. There was very little beach glass which surprised me with the rocky area, but I still managed to find a couple of little pieces. We had an incredible trip, and I’m so glad I’ve made an effort to travel more this summer. It’s not over yet, even with September looming, so I’d better get planning another mini getaway!

Room with a view | kbarlowdesign.com blog

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Canadian Makers 2018 Holiday Online Marketplace

Canadian Makers 2018 Holiday Online Marketplace

We’re live! Applications for the 2nd online Holiday market are now open until Sept 13th!
This online market is a collaborative space for Canadian makers to gather all in on place. It makes shopping easy for the end consumers. One click shop for their Canadian gifts this year.

Space is limited per category and the show is only open to Canadian makers.

Head on over the the website for all the details and to apply!

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Driftwood + Beach Glass Necklace

A few months ago as I was browsing Instagram, I saw one of my favourite jewellers (@kathrynrebeccajewellery) was having a giveaway and entered, without thinking anything of it – so many other people had entered, but I figured “why not!”. And. I. Won.

Fast forward, I met with Kathryn at her studio on Queen West, and we started talking about the necklace I’d chosen from her collection (Delicate Branch – 3rd image), and hoped to customize. My favourite hobby is beachcombing. I’m always game for going, rain, shine, snow… doesn’t matter! The thrill of finding a rare piece of glass keeps me coming back for more! What better way to represent my love for beachcombing than to add a piece of my beach glass to her branch (driftwood!) necklace! We chatted about options, looked over the tiniest pieces I had in my collection, and found a couple of options… and then chatted for an hour because she’s awesome and so much fun to hang out with.

Last night, I went to pick up my finished necklace. I was completely blown away. It’s perfect. It’s absolutely perfect, and I couldn’t love it any more than I already do. She designed the length so that it could sit just above the two small charms I always wear, we replaced my decade old worn out chain, and I will proudly wear both necklaces daily!

Thank you SO much, Kathryn! Not only do we share the same name (and spelling!), but we clearly both have great taste! 😉😘

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

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Treat Yourself!

Sometimes you just gotta treat yourself!

iPad Apple Pencil | kbarlowdesign.com blog
I’m super excited to have splurged on the new iPad and Apple Pencil. I’ve barely put it down since I got it, and can’t wait to keep learning!

Procreate is such an incredible app, and even though I’ve only gone through a few tutorials, I’m completely blown away with what I’ve already learned it can do!

Do you have any tips, tutorials, or brushes you can recommend to me? I’m all ears!

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