Any successful cooking experience requires a well-planned-out list of ingredients, and this grocery shopping list download from Cassie Howard at Mrs January is a great way to ensure you have everything you need before you set to work. It's easy to keep track of what you need at the store when you always have one of these neat lists on hand.
Cassie Howard: I love helping people get and stay organized, and I thought it would be fun to offer these printable organizing forms to anyone who needs help in this area of their life.
CH: I do! I enjoy putting together new recipes and seeing how my family and friends react to them. My favourite thing to cook is pasta. Yum!
CH: The printable downloads offered in the Mrs January shop were created with one thing in mind: simplicity. Instead of over-complicating things, like I've seen done with many forms, the ones in our shop are simple, easy on the eyes and, of course, help you to get organized.
No chef should have to keep his or her knives in a worn-out old block or worse, a drawer. Display your knives in a safe and stylish way with the help of this shabby-chic knife block from Cheryl Brisson at Green Fox Studio.
Cheryl Brisson: I opened a folk art shop two years ago, and sales were slow. As I browsed Etsy, I kept seeing beautiful upcycled pieces and thought, "I can do that!" My addiction to paint combined with my love of treasure-hunting led to Green Fox Studio!
CB: When I'm not painting, I'm cooking. Right now I have slow-roasted spicy pork ribs in the oven! I love the freedom cooking brings, and I love to experiment with international dishes inspired by travels with my husband.
CB: I work hard to keep up with what's trending — colours, styles and what people are looking for in terms of home decor. I think this helps keep me ahead of the curve, and my pieces just keep selling!
Keeping your hands clean and fresh while you work in the kitchen is important, and that's easy to achieve thanks to this coffee kitchen soap from Vanessa Novello at Soulful Soap. Coffee grounds and brewed coffee are combined in this clever handmade bar to effortlessly exfoliate and deodorize.
Vanessa Novello: I am a hippie at heart and love to re-create everyday products that I use to try to make them more cost effective and environmentally friendly. Having dry, sensitive skin and learning about the arm's length ingredients list on my current soap was my motivating factor to re-create a less harsh, safer product for my skin. Christmas one year, I experimented in soap-making and gave it all away as gifts. Everyone that received soap insisted on getting more. I saw the potential in making and selling handmade soap to not only spread awareness that there is a more nourishing, safer alternative to store-bought soap but also to enjoy the benefits of softer skin.
VN: I love cooking! There's nothing more rewarding than sitting down to a home-cooked meal, using my own herbs and vegetables from my garden. I enjoy cooking anything and everything as long as it tastes good!
VN: Each bar of soap is like a piece of art. No two bars have the same colour pattern. I also use tea, coffee, beer and essential oils in my soaps to add even more beneficial nutrients for skin in addition to organic shea butter, coconut oil and sustainable palm oil.
It's easy to get caught up in your cooking endeavours and wind up creating more of a mess than you intended. But that's not a problem when you're covered by this stylish eggplant cooking apron from Camille Turcotte at Set Carré. And your little helpers can stay neat and tidy too thanks to her huge array of aprons for children and toddlers.
Camille Turcotte: When I was a little girl, I loved crafting. I learned embroidery, cross-stitch, origami and did a lot of cardboard crafts. Back in 2008, I was living in a small community located in the mountains north of Montreal. The community was hard hit by the softwood lumber crisis, and I found myself unemployed for several months. I really wanted to start crafting again, and that was the perfect opportunity. So I started quilting and sewing with my mom's old sewing machine and a '70s Reader's Digest book as my teacher. I immediately fell in love! Or maybe I became crazy would be more appropriate. I couldn't stop buying more and more fabric! I soon invested in a very good sewing machine and opened my own shop on Etsy, selling bibs, pillows and patchwork goodies. I made my first sale in less than four hours! I was so excited! Since then, I've found my niche in colourful baby bibs and laminated kids' aprons. I sell them everywhere in the world. I also create simple and functional adult cooking aprons, using beautiful prints.
CT: Let's say I prefer to create with fabric than food. Truth be told, I'm not the best cook. My boyfriend does most of the cooking at home, and he is really good at it. I'm very lucky! That being said, since I'm pregnant — due in September — I have a major sweet tooth. But my boyfriend never eats dessert, so he never cooks dessert. So I have recently begun cooking delicious raspberry muffins and rhubarb compote!
CT: That is a good question. There is so much talent on Etsy, and setting my pieces apart from all the beautiful items out there took me several years. Now I know what my customers like about my products: Simplicity, functionality and fabulous prints are the three secret ingredients of Set Carré's design!
When you spend a lot of time working in the kitchen, you might find you go through a good deal of paper towels, and that's neither environmentally friendly nor budget-friendly. Save yourself some money in the long run and help out the earth in the process with these UnPaper towels from Debbie M. and Anna K. at Lilydeb Designs. They're stylish, reusable and convenient.
Debbie M.: I've been creating for as long as I can remember. It's kind of an obsession. I was 12 or 13 when I learned to sew. I opened the shop Lilydeb Designs almost a year ago after getting tons of compliments from family and friends on the items I'd made. They were instrumental in encouraging me to sell my goods. I'm so glad Anna has come on board. We bounce ideas off each other and share the workload.
Anna K.: I've always wanted to create useful items. I just never knew where or how to start! When Debbie and I decided to start working together a few months ago, her enthusiasm and her ideas got me really motivated and excited to start designing our products together.
DM: To be honest, I'd rather bake cookies or cinnamon buns than make dinner, but one cannot live on sweets alone! My favourite thing to cook is cheese tortellini with rosé sauce.
AK: I love to cook! What I like most is experimenting — trying new recipes and then adding my own twist to them! My favourite thing to cook is constantly changing. Right now I am obsessed with making apple pancakes for breakfast — in fun shapes for my son — and hamburgers with cheese in the middle. So much better than cheese on top!
DM: Our UnPaper towels are not only sewn with high-quality quilting cottons — and organic whenever possible — but they are sewn clean-finished, then turned and topstitched as opposed to just serged along the edges, which makes them last longer. We take the time to sew an "X" from corner to corner to avoid twisting and frumpiness in the wash. Another perk: Ours are pre-shrunk, which keeps them looking newer longer. There are three snaps down the sides as opposed to two, [which] helps avoid sagging while on the roll. We also make coordinating kitchen wetbags to hang on your stove handle, which make for a convenient place to stash your used UnPaper towels until laundry day.
AK: We have taken the time to design our UnPaper towels in a way that makes them durable yet pretty. It's extra work to make the clean-finish edges and the "X" in the middle, but that way our UnPaper towels last through multiple cleanups and washes!
Generic cooking tools bought at the store aren't the best for livening up your kitchen or inspiring your creativity. Breathe new colour and life into your cooking space with the wide variety of dipped wooden tools, such as servers, spatulas and spoons, made by Jessica Helwick at Storiebrooke. These dipped wooden kitchen cooking spoons, for example, can be dressed up in over 100 colours, so you can customize your tool kit perfectly for your space.
Jessica Helwick: I really enjoy the dipped look that's trending right now, so I started dipping any suitable utensil I could find in my kitchen. I've been making my washi tape chopsticks for a while and figured I could just exchange the tape for paint and have an awesome dinner set.
JH: I absolutely love cooking. It's so difficult for me to go out to eat, because I look at everything and want to take up the challenge of making better versions at home. I tend to pick ethnic dishes or ones with a lot of spice. Mediterranean and Creole are my favourites.
JH: My colour palette. I have over 100 different colours, so you can come up with the most beautiful palettes. With so many options, you'll always be able to find something that complements your kitchen.
An old, scratched-up cutting board is neither an attractive nor a practical way to get your meal prep done. Instead, you can proudly chop away on this gorgeous walnut, maple and cherry checkerboard butcher block from Gill Benzion at Ebeniste.
Gill Benzion: I'm not sure it could be pinned to a single event, but I suppose it started with the LEGO I played with as a child. The thought of exploring possibilities and making them come to life with my own two hands fascinated me as a child and still occupies most of my waking moments. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.
GB: I love cooking, and even if running the shop means I have little time to do it, I find nothing more satisfying than cooking a big pot of stew that starts first thing in the morning and finally culminates in a giant feast with friends in the evening.
GB: I like to think my pieces tell a story. You're not looking at a cutting board or a ring; you're looking at an extension of my ideals and experiences. My work is the result of a lifetime of thought and process. I hope a little bit of that comes through in every piece.
As you well know, having completed the cooking doesn't mean your work is done. After the cooking comes the cleaning, and washing the dishes is made a little easier thanks to this drying mat created by Liette Perron at Couds Donc. Just roll out one of her vibrant mats, and let your dishes air-dry in style rather than drying them one by one yourself.
Liette Perron: I have always created. I remember when I was about 10 years old, I snuck some fabric out of my mom's fabric stash, and a friend and I attempted to make something on her mom's sewing machine. We had a pattern and everything. I don't remember what we were trying to make, but I remember the fabric. It was black with polka dots. There began my fabric obsession. Many years later, after gifting quilts, bags and placemats, etc. to family and friends, I decided to take the big leap and start my own little shop on Etsy. I am always amazed and grateful by the wonderful comments I've had from happy customers. I believe that people who buy handmade are the most supportive and encouraging people around!
LP: I devour cookbooks. I have a collection of recipes that is rivalled only by my fabric collection. I love watching cooking shows and have shouted at the TV not while watching hockey but while watching Masterchef. Recently I visited my mother, who has always been a cooking inspiration. She has been rather sick, and the tables were turned, where I got to cook for her. I made things that she had never tasted, and even though she didn't eat very much at all, she seemed to savour everything I made for her and enjoyed the meals.
LP: That is a tough question. I love what I do and would be sewing and collecting fabric with or without Etsy. However, Etsy is my inspiration. I love seeing what other sellers of all sorts are creating and how they present their shops. Every shop is someone's little baby that they put out there. I don't compare.
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