Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It’s a day that is often considered to be just another over-consumptive holiday and an opportunity for retailers to increase sales.
The seemingly obligatory chocolate, cards, and flowers soon end up in the landfill alongside the waste of Christmas.
That being said, there’s no need to boycott the day of love. GreenUP can help you spread the love to your significant other, your BFF, and your kids while leaving the guilt behind.
Why not give your Valentine a gift that gives back? You can support local business and artisans with handmade jewellery, soap, or art. Handmade gifts are unique, one-of-a-kind treasures that feel more personal because they are carefully made by a person.
Peterborough is full of options — including The GreenUP Store (378 Aylmer St. N., Peterborough), which carries goods from over 40 local artisans and crafters.
This Valentine’s Day, when you choose to support a local maker from The GreenUP Store, you will have the chance to win a locally made gift basket with an assortment of handmade items from Whitney Lake of Lake Reflections Apiary.
Lake is a sustainable beekeeper who prides herself on responsible stewardship. She has 10 hives in Cobourg, 20 hives in Fenella south of Peterborough, and also manages the seven beehives located on Trent University’s Peterborough campus.
Beeswax food warp
Lake Reflections Apiary makes beautiful food wraps with beeswax sourced from her local beehives — the perfect Valentine’s gift for your domestic diva. These wraps are made with repurposed cotton and a blend of beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine resin, which make them a non-toxic and earth-friendly alternative to single-use plastic wrap.
Beeswax food wrap is reusable, washable, and completely biodegradable.
Beer can earrings
If your Valentine isn’t a bee lover, they might be a beer lover. Pick up a pair of upcycled beer can earrings (“beerings”) made by Kathryn Bahun of Keetarella.
Bahan hunts for delightfully designed beer cans right here in Peterborough, to design her one-of-a-kind earrings.
She turns this everyday household recyclable into wearable pun-worthy art that will look great on your sweetie throughout the year.
Felt and fibre art
If fibre art is your love’s passion, then consider a felted gift handmade by Manon Gagnon of Atelier Frankie. Gagnon is an experienced felt and fibre artist who creates a variety of woodland flora and fauna through the painstaking process of needle felting. The GreenUP Store is delighted to carry her whimsical works of art, including Blue Jays, bumblebees, mushrooms, and more.
Some of Gagnon’s larger works are mounted on branches, while the miniature varieties come complete with a pin to adorn the lapel of a jacket. So, if you are keen on gifting your Valentine the birds and the bees, you can find them here along with many other felted friends.
Handmade and eco-friendly bath and beauty products
Your au natural Valentine will love the luxury of handmade soaps, oils, and bath and beauty products.
Katie Leger of Free to Be Wellness is a small batch soapmaker, yoga instructor, and mom living and creating in Peterborough. Her soaps have been featured at the GreenUP Store for many years and they are a favourite among GreenUP staff and customers alike. Leger creates textured soaps using organic, plant-based ingredients and essential oils. Her soaps are packaged in brown, dye-free boxes, which are both compostable and recyclable. Let your sweetheart lather in love, knowing this soap is good for them, as well as the planet.
Sherrie LaMasurier of Simply Natural Canada is an eco-friendly alchemist who has developed a variety of natural soaps, deodorants, and home cleaners. For Valentine’s Day, LaMasurier has made many love-themed soaps. She uses little or no packaging and natural ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. Felted soap is particularly desirable because it produces a rich lather and holds the bar together nicely and allows the soap to dry between uses extending its life.
Debbie Alger of Birch Babe Naturals lives near beautiful Bon Echo Provincial Park where the birch trees provide her with ample inspiration. Alger has created an all-natural shaving soap that produces a lovely lather leaving skin feeling fully nourished. Her shaving soap comes in a reusable tin or in nearly package free, cardstock band. The delicious scent profile and low-carbon footprint will surely make both you and your honey swoon.
Looking to pamper your Valentine even more? Consider a natural eye pillow, lovingly made by Karen Halley of Two Birds, One Seed. Halley creates her soothing eye pillows from fabric scraps left over from other sewing projects. She is a firm believer in doing more with less. The eye pillow is rice filled, so it can be used warm by heating in the microwave for a minute or two, or chilled in the freezer for a cool at home eye treatment. This relaxation tool is the perfect gift for any Valentine that needs to unwind and take it easy.
Green kitchen products
Is your Valentine going zero-waste? Pick up a handmade reusable straw holder made by local seamstress, Jadwiga Brzozowska of Sewing Creations. Brzozowska has designed single and double straw holders, complete with Velcro or snap closures, and with unbleached cotton and hemp fabric. If you and your Valentine are looking to ditch single-use plastics, this is a great companion gift alongside stainless steel straws and is available only at the GreenUP Store.
Mini Me Napkins by Jeannine Crowe of Ecomum are made with 100 per cent organic cotton in lovely bright and fun prints. These are an excellent replacement for single-use paper napkins and can be washed along with your regular laundry. If you plan to picnic with your sweetheart (indoors perhaps) consider pairing these napkins with local cheese, fine wine, and fresh fruit. They also make great hankies to cushion a tender nose during these cold months and are a soft and reusable alternative to tissues.
The GreenUP Store also features pottery from local potters Bill Reddick, Amy Doole, Clara Doucette, and Kristina Rose. We are happy to house a fine collection of unique ceramics.
Bill Reddick is a renowned ceramic artist who finds inspiration in the classical ceramic tradition of the Song Dynasty. He has developed original techniques and a fluency of form through his contemporary expression of this ancient tradition. He is the creator of Canada’s official state dinnerware, which resides at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. All works are individually handmade by Reddick in his Peterborough studio.
Amy Doole creates functional pottery pieces in stoneware clay that are intended for everyday use and enjoyment. Her work has a rustic and whimsical aesthetic with earthy colours, matte glazes, and simple decoration. Doole creates texture in clay using items from nature, embroidered fabric, and random objects like toys or hardware. The result is a collection of work that is influenced by rural life and local landscapes that are uniquely designed and carefully crafted in Maynooth.
Kristina Rose and Clara Doucette are contemporaries at the Kawartha Potters’ Guild here in Peterborough. They have created a variety of nature-inspired pieces featuring birch trees, beet root, and conifers, each unique in form and finish. Doucette’s signature mugs make use of wax in the glazing process to create negative space, while Rose has developed a unique style of teacup that is beautifully glazed and ever so slightly elevated. Valentine’s Day coffee in bed really gets an upgrade when it’s served in a beautiful new ceramic mug!
If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, you can do so the eco-friendly way. Let your heart show love for your Valentine and for the earth. Purchase any handmade item at the GreenUP Store and enter to win a basket full of bee-themed handmade products from Lake Reflections Apiary, valued at $50.
When you choose to buy local, handmade products, you directly support members of our community. This is bound to give you and your Valentine the warm fuzzies!
For GreenUP Store hours and product lines, check out www.greenup.on.ca or visit us at 378 Aylmer St. N. in downtown Peterborough.
Note: The photos used in this story are examples of each artisan’s work; the specific items pictured may not be available at The GreenUP Store.