Bay Businesses and Artists Creatively Helping Customers Buy Local

Small businesses, artists and artisans are struggling this year, with events and shows being cancelled, and stores having reduced hours and traffic capacity.

One example is the cancelled Red Roof Artists’ show and sale, scheduled for November 28 and 29 at the Community Enterprise Centre. The artists and the venue were unanimous that cancelling was the responsible decision in light of Covid concerns, but missing holiday season sales is a disappointment.

While there’s never been a more important time to shop locally to support businesses and artists, with a responsibility to stay home as much as possible, many of us are shopping more online. When a local business or artist has a website with sales options, we can shop online and still shop local.

When a business or artist we want to support doesn’t have a website, Keith Ayling, Bay Chamber of Commerce president, says we can often still buy from them. Keith says we should call the business or see if they have a Facebook or Instagram account where we can contact them for shopping options. “Many businesses have turned to creative solutions to serve their customers, including curbside pick-up, contact-free meeting and even delivery,” says Keith. “The first and most important step is to reach out to the business and ask.”

The same goes for artists and artisans. The Red Roof Artists, for example, have been sharing their contact information as a scanning code (and as a document, for those without the scanning technology, see link below), so people can still find them. It doesn’t replace the traffic offered by a show, but it helps motivated buyers to connect.

And for that, say the local artists, they are truly grateful.

Red Roof Artists Contact Details

Bay Kids Asked to Make Cards to Add to Bay Seniors Christmas Gift Bags

The Bay Seniors Association is inviting local children and teens to assemble and personalize Christmas cards for local seniors.  The cards will be included with the Christmas gift bags the association is putting together for around 75 local seniors.

Volunteer-created card kits, with a card, envelope and several decorative components, can be picked up from the Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) at 5229 St. Margaret’s Bay Road, currently offering front-door pickup and drop-off Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to noon. Kids are encouraged to assemble and personalize the cards as they wish, adding a holiday greeting. Completed cards should be dropped off at the CEC by December 15.

Rebecca Weickert, president of Bay Seniors, says this is the second time the association has offered this program. “We did it near the start of Covid, and it was a lovely way for families to reach out to seniors. We’ve had many comments from seniors who received one, saying how much it meant to them to get a cheerful card with a caring message from a local child or teen. And the kids had fun opening the kits and using them as a starting point for their own creativity.”

The Christmas in the Bay organizers are also promoting the program, and Weickert says Bay Seniors is delighted to have that help to ensure more families participate. “We will definitely send out all the cards we receive. This is an especially important Christmas for us all to stay in touch and let our neighbours know we’re thinking of them,” she adds.

Michelle MacLean, the Bay Seniors board member who is coordinating the Christmas gift bags, says the association is grateful to the community members who have been donating items to fill the 75 Bay Seniors volunteer-made fabric tote bags being used for the gifts. “We’ve had a wonderful response, with people dropping off puzzle books, socks, pens, eyeglass cleaner, facial tissues, and lots of other goodies. But, says MacLean, “We have room for more,” especially what she calls “the basics,” like boxes (not purse packs) of facial tissue, small bottles of hand sanitizer and puzzle books and pencils.

MacLean says gift bag items can be dropped off at the CEC until December 7.

Christmas in the Bay How To Series: Transform Costume Jewellery into Ornaments

Instructions from Bay Seniors and co-op student Mellisa Larson
This is an activity that requires adult supervision for children under age 10 to 12 because it requires using pins or a hot glue gun.

What you’ll need:
A styrofoam ball, available from craft stores. Good ornament sizes range from about 2 inches to 4 inches in diameter. Smaller than that, and they’re hard to work with; larger than that, and they take too many beads and may be too large for most trees.
Plastic, metal, glass or faux pearl beads from necklaces or bracelets.
Ribbon to make a loop to hang the ornament. Extra ribbon if you want to use it to section the ornament (see photos).
Sequin pins or glass-headed pins or hot glue gun. Craft glue doesn’t work well with some bead types, and if you want to use the ornament over many years, pins work best.
Craft sequins. These fill in spots, add sparkle, and help create a nice pattern.
A plate or tray to hold beads so they don’t roll away.

How to make the ornament:
1. First, and most important, make sure whoever owns the jewellery gave you permission to use it for an ornament!

2. Strings of beads, either colourful or shiny, make great ornaments. Faux pearls are very pretty, too, but are often individually tied, which is the traditional stringing method with cultured and natural pearls, too. So it can take a long time to pull those necklaces apart.

3. Round beads work best, though irregular shapes can be fun, too. They’re just harder to place uniformly on the foam ball.

4. See how many beads you have and design your pattern based on that. For example, if you have crystals from a bracelet, you may want to space those out around the ornament, or have one even ring of crystals around the top, bottom or centre of the ornament. The good thing about using pins rather than hot glue is that you can move things around!

5. Decide whether you want to go around the foam ball once with the ribbon, or several times. If once, cut enough of one piece of ribbon to go around the ball from bottom to top, allowing an extra 4 inches to fold over to make a loop (see photo). Pin ribbon in place at bottom centre of ornament and then at top, folding over the hanging loop first.

6. If you want to add more ribbon, put another length of ribbon just around the ball (see photo). Depending on the size of the foam ball and the width of the ribbon, you may want one, two or three lengths of ribbon. You will only need one length to be long enough to form the loop.
 7. Start to fill in the empty spots between the ribbon. You can have an orderly pattern, a free-form abstract pattern, or something in-between. It’s your choice!
 8. Place your beads from the jewellery first. If using pins, push the pin through the hole in the bead until the head of the pin is stopped by the size of the bead opening.

9. Place your sequins next to fill in any other spots.

10. You have an ornament! Handle costume-jewellery ornaments carefully, preferably storing them in their own container (a yogurt or sour cream container works well) when they are not on display.

Fun tip: Consider asking a friend or family member for old costume jewellery they no longer wear, including the story or a photo of when they did wear the jewellery. Ensure they know the jewellery will be used in a craft activity! Make an ornament out of the costume jewellery, and give the ornament to them as a gift, with the story and/or photo included in a card you’ve made and decorated yourself.

Video tutorial: