Black Friday is upon us and amidst the rush to get those manufactured goods on the cheap, let's not forget to put our money where our fuzzy mitts are! We've gathered up a list of great Black Friday deals from makers right here in the North. Take a peek and see if you can find the perfect little something something for someone on your shopping list...or hey, treat yo'self! 

Black Friday Deals

Old Soul Soap Company: Save 25% off all weekend with coupon code SHOPSMALL at checkout.

Heirloom Island: Free gift with every purchase from her online shop. 

My Belle Bijoux: 15% off all weekend in her shop.

Alchemy North: 25% off Friday and Saturday with the coupon code ILOVEAN

Sam's Chewables: Buy one get one 50% off November 24 + 25! Message for more details.

Queen Alchemy Jewelery: 25% off all weekend. No coupon code needed.

TRACYLOUWHO: 25% off everything in the shop with the coupon code TREATYOURSELF

Simone's Rose: 15% off Etsy purchases with coupon code MERCICHERI15. Bonus! On purchase you'll get an additional coupon code to use in Decemeber/January!

Granny Bird: The fantastic Laura-Leigh of Granny Bird is offering 25% off all in-stock custom framed prints. Message her on FB to purchase! 

Zen Fitness: Offering a great deal for a one year membership at a great rate! 

Sasperry Designs: 20-30% off a variety of items in the shop. No coupon code needed! 

Be sure to stay tuned online because many of your favourite shops will be hosting great Black Friday deals.

Happy handmade hunting! 

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Last week I popped into Duplicators/CanSign for a tour with owners Tracy & Joe Lauzon to see what a day in the life of a print shop owner would be like and I have to say, it’s a lot more hands on than I expected! It’s loud, bustling and a huge variety of projects are on the go at once. At any given time you'll see printers churning out colourful, glossy print jobs to mesmerizing laser cuts in the CanSign shop. They have so much interesting machinery that I was running around like a kid in a candy store!

 Can’t a girl just have a personal laser cutter and electric guillotine in her studio, is that so much to ask? 

Can’t a girl just have a personal laser cutter and electric guillotine in her studio, is that so much to ask? 

We’ve partnered up to make some really great gifts for the swag bags and more taking advantage of their unique capabilities and we can’t wait for the ‘Merry & Bright’ handmade holiday market to show everything off! 

Tracy & Joe don’t run your typical print shop so we wanted to get to pick their brains a little bit more. Check out our interview below and be sure to head over with your next creative project! 

What is the story behind Dup/CanSign, how did you get to be where you are today? 
We opened in 1996 and it was owned and operated by the Nicholls family.  Alfred Nicholls sold the business to his eldest daughter Tracy Lauzon in 2014, who has been managing the business since May 2000. We grew the business one customer at a time, focusing on each job whether big or small.

What kind of services/products do you deliver at Dup/CanSign?
Printing, Scanning, Signs, Engraving, Graphic Design, Laser Cutting, Large Format Printing, Large Format Laminating, Gift Customizing, T-shirts, Awards, Trophies, Stamps, Photo Restoration, Name Tags & Plate, Forms, Laser Etching on Stone, Glass & Steel.

What are some of the lesser known but really awesome services/products you have? 
Stamp production, custom engraving, art reproduction, photo editing and restoration, Gallery wrapping, laser cutting. 

What was one of your favourite past projects?
Was able to scan and reproduce an original copy of the first Toronto Star newspaper from 1892. We have reproduced an original family cookbook that had handwritten items since the late 1790’s. We have assisted authors in laying out their books and designed the cover.

 This project is a reproduction of an old Sudbury Star and it's A+! So cool to take a peek into history! 

This project is a reproduction of an old Sudbury Star and it's A+! So cool to take a peek into history! 

Why did you choose to sponsor an Emerging Maker Award? 
Creating and helping people create is a big part of our business, we are always amazed at all the beautiful things our customers create.

What are you working on now and what do you dream of happening in the future?
Always looking at different services to offer our community, and help educate people, in our region, that what you see online you can get at home in less time and some often better quality.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
Be upfront, honest and stick to your word.

Aside from making everyone else’s projects come to life, do you make anything as well?
Tracy loves making custom signs, gift and she experiments with Photography. Joe loves to create in his woodshop. 

What is your favourite step in the process of creating a piece?
The designing phase, I love to start a piece and watch it take on a life of its own because part of the original plan didn’t work out.

 Sneak peek at this gorgeous stamp created for us by Duplicators. We're busy stamping all the things! 

Sneak peek at this gorgeous stamp created for us by Duplicators. We're busy stamping all the things! 

Have other people supported or inspired you?
Many of our customers inspire us with their projects.

If you could go back in time and give your 16 year old self some advice what would it be?
Believe in yourself, you can do anything. 

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
We love to surprise our clients by going above and beyond their expectations, we love interacting and watching them leave happy.  We love that 2 days are never the same in the shop, anything can come through the door.

What is your favourite part of ‘making’?
Seeing the end product, and getting the satisfaction of a job well done.

 It's great to get to know who's behind the production of your project and to see just how hands on the process is!

It's great to get to know who's behind the production of your project and to see just how hands on the process is!

What was the last gift you made for someone?
Gifted my father with a custom Grumpy Old Man T-shirt for his 70th birthday, and we branded my brother-in-law’s outdoor bar with custom signs, glassware & stone coasters.

Tell me something about your job (other than money) that inspires you to keep working there.
My staff, my family & my customers.

What do you want for Christmas? 
We would love to have the time to enjoy some great food & wine with our friends and family. 

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Major thanks to Tracy, Joe and the entire team at Duplicators for the support and gorgeously produced work for the upcoming market! 

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We found came across Kate's lovely woodworking on Instagram. Not only does she create lovely handmade work but she also runs workshops (check out her Facebook). We had the chance to meet up with her and find out a bit more about her process. 

Tell us a bit about what you do. 
I started wood working with my husband when he decided to build our dining room table. I helped out here and there and that's when I got the bug. A co-worker showed me a sign and said; "you could totally make this..." to which I replied "yes I could!". I started with small signs and custom orders and and grew from there. 
My husband helps with shopping for the right wood, sanding and the odd cutting. He's who I turn to when I don't know what I'm doing with a power tool. He's my live-in google when it comes to all things sawdust. I don't know where I'd be without him. 

 

What is your favourite part of 'making'?
My favourite part of making signs is using a nail gun! LOL I absolutely love when a customer gives me the opportunity to "do whatever". I also love seeing people's faces when they receive their order. 

 

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
Support from local makers and friends is what keeps me motivated. Who doesn't love seeing the number of likes increasing on their social media? I never lose interest because I'm always learning new techniques and always coming up with ways to grow. 

What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
The best advice I've ever been given was; "just go for it". I had every doubt in my mind when I started this journey. I made signs to sell for seven months before I decided to turn it into an official business. 

What is your favourite step in the process of creating a piece?
My favourite step in creating a piece is attaching the frame. It's the final step and the most satisfying. 

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Have other people supported or inspired you?
I've already said it but I'll shout it from the roof top that my husband is my greatest support. Without him behind me I would have given up very early on. I remember preparing for my very first craft show and wanting to quit so many times. He's the one that kept me going. My inspiration comes from my happy customers. The high I get from that is hard to describe. 

Share with us a quote or motto that you find meaning with. 
"It's about progress not perfection"

 

You can find Kate's work on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram, and at the upcoming 'Merry & Bright' Handmade Holiday Market. 

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Here at Makers North we are lovers of all things handmade, and especially things that are make here in Canada. It's no surprise then to hear (again!) how much we adore Uppercase Magazine. Uppercase if the creative concoction from Janine Vangool and is based in Calgary, Alberta. Completely ad-free, each magazine delves deep into a new theme and showcases makers, designers, and artists from around the world. We asked Janine a few questions about the magazine to share with you. 

What inspired you to create UPPERCASE Magazine? 
I started my career as a graphic designer and I used to freelance for arts and culture clients. Some of them were in publishing and I designed an occasional magazine for one of these clients. When that magazine folded, I started to explore the idea of publishing my own magazine. In 2008, there weren't any magazines about creativity from a broad perspective and the design magazines that I loved (such as Martha Stewart's Blueprint magazine) were ceasing publication. There wasn't a magazine out there for me anymore, so I made my own!

What is the mission of Uppercase Magazine?
The tagline is "for the creative and curious" and that sums up the eclectic nature of the magazine. Its content is inspired by design, illustration, vintage and craft. Over the years, as my readership has grown, my mission is to feature readers and their work as much as possible. There are always open calls for submissions and many of my subscribers have become contributors.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced with producing a magazine?
The biggest challenge is simply making sure that I don't burn out from all the work required to create the magazine. I'm publisher, editor and designer as well as running marketing, subscription renewals and logistics. My husband Glen handles the day-to-day customer service and filling orders.

How do you keep yourself motivated?
Having an eager and enthusiastic readership is my main motivation. Not only is it amazing that UPPERCASE is still going strong after 35 issues and counting, but having literally thousands of people waiting for the next issue is a vote of confidence—and enough pressure!—to keep everything going right on schedule, issue after issue. 

What is your favourite aspect of the magazine's production?
I often say that designing an issue is the icing on the cake—after all the hard work of gathering content, editing, deciding and mulling things over, the fun part is getting it all together in the page design. That's typically only a couple of weeks out of every calendar quarter, so although I started out as a graphic designer, it is now only a small part of what I do. It's also a good day when a freshly printed issue arrives and turned out great! Ahh, the smell of fresh ink!

How long (on average) does it take you to put together an issue of the magazine?
An issue might be in planning stages for a year—at least from a themes and ideation side of things. But typically content is due some months prior to the issue's release to give me time for editing and design. The month prior to its release is for print production and mailing preparation.

How do you come up with the themes for each issue?
I've always got my eyes open! If there's a topic or area of exploration that inspires me or perhaps I see particular trends emerging, I'll jot that down as a potential theme and work towards finding more content to enhance it.

What are your long-term goals for the magazine?
That's a great question and one that I'm really concentrating on right now. The past few years have been about getting out of treading water and, at last, into a place where the magazine's readership is healthy and sustainable. I look forward to publishing many more issues—milestone issue #40 is coming up next year—and working on nurturing the longevity of the magazine. Publishing book projects such as the UPPERCASE Encyclopedia of Inspiration have been something that I love doing, so I plan on continuing with that series. As long as I can continue to do what I love, which is making and publishing books and magazines, that is my ultimate goal.

What has been the biggest surprise you have had with regards to starting and producing the magazine?
When I naively began UPPERCASE magazine, I had no idea how much work it would be! Particularly in the early issues. But over the years, with experience and processes in place, it has gotten easier each and every issue. My biggest surprise is that I'm still doing this nine years later and am still just as enthusiastic as when I began!

 

 

Check out all of the awesomeness that is Uppercase here, or even better - subscribe here