Cara Carmina

Norma Andreu; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When it comes to truly unique one-of-a-kind goods, Cara Carmina’s got it covered. The creative and quirky artist behind the Cara Carmina collection, Norma Andreu is the epitome of why I love the handmade-with-love movement. Sure, you can get quirky cards and home goods at big-box retailers, but Norma is the reason not to.

Cara Carmina is all about spreading the love and showing gratitude in truly unique ways. When I attended the latest One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto, I was clearly just one person in a hoard of thousands. Yet when I stopped by Cara Carmina’s little booth and started rifling through kitty cards, Norma popped up from behind the display and thanked me for my smiles. How crazy cool and adorable is that? To have someone actually thank you for being happy by looking at their labours of love is something I’ve never experienced before. Just as memorable as her bubbly personality, though, are Norma’s works.

I’m absolutely in love with her paper cut diorama cards featuring cats with fish-filled thought bubbles and illustrated kitty postcards. but this is just a small fraction of the world that is Cara Carmina. In her Etsy store, Norma also offers Frida Kahlo-inspired dolls, printed clothing, illustrations, collages, pillows, calendars, prints, and wall decals.

Here I’ve included just a small sampling of it all; head on over to Norma’s Etsy shop to see all of Cara Carmina’s offerings and learn more about Norma—and be sure to spread some Et Cetera love while you’re there!

Purchasing information: Check out Cara Carmina’s Etsy shop or visit www.caracarmina.com.

Monika McEwen Art Dolls

Monika McEwen; Nova Scotia, Canada

Meet “Hootie,” a little owl that will soon be taking up residence in my little niece/nephew-to-be’s room. I know my name for him isn’t all too inspired, but this little “Woods-Thicket Owl” is the creation of the much more imaginative mind of Monika McEwen. Based in Nova Scotia, Monika creates patchwork creatures, each with their own flare. There truly are no duplicates of these guys (I rifled through a bag of unique owls before finding just the perfect little guy).

An idea that stemmed from a way to keep the grandkids busy, each creature or doll Monika creates comes with his or her very own story. The Woods-Thicket Owl is just the beginning of the long list of inspired characters Monika offers, which also include tattered lasses, sea maidens and witches, Gollywoggles, and lots of animals. You can check out each of their stories on her Facebook page.

This is the story of the Woods-Thicket Owl:

“Say hello to a very mysterious creature known to all Forest Beings as a Woods-Thicket Owl. Generally featured in legends and mythology of various cultures, these intriguing birds are predominantly seen as good and wise. Know to inhabit most forests and woodlands, the Woods-Thicket Owl is only ever seen at night. With its keen sight in darkness, its quietest strength and mystical walls, this forest being is at its most powerful at nightfall.

So if you ever find yourself at dusk in the woods, know that the feeling of being watched is actually the Woods-Thicket Owl quietly keeping a careful eye. Rest assured that while this magical bird watches over all forest beings, if needed, the Woods-Thicket Owl will also protect you, comfort you and help to guide your way.”

Purchase information: See the Monika McEwen Art Dolls Facebook page for further details.