(Mostly) Local Artists of all Kinds – Norfolk County is THE Place to Be!

I grew up in Port Dover and am now raising my 4 daughters (with my wonderful hubby whose family goes back generations) in this lovely little community. It’s gotten bigger over the years to be sure, but what hasn’t changed is the support we have for our neighbours, friends and local businesses in general and especially in time of need. Now more than ever with so much choice it is important to shop local as much and as often as you can.

I would include myself in the category of “small business Owner”. I am a full time Salesperson and a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Coastline Realty here in Port Dover. Though I have a great company behind me for training, advice and support, I am 100% self employed. Like any other business owner I have overhead, expenses, put in countless hours and LOVE what I do. My girls go to school here, they take dance, play baseball and you’ve probably seen us (or heard us – I apologize) at the local grocery stores and downtown shops. So when you’re considering real estate services, before you think “big city”, let’s sit and talk (or Facebook) about why this local real estate Expert (me) is a hometown option worth exploring.

PrintOk, so enough about me. The reason for my post is to support these local Artisans who represent what is such a draw for people visiting, moving here, or  choosing to stay here as grown-ups. I encourage new (and old) Norfolk County residents to not just reside here but to get involved in the community. Whether it be joining one of the local Facebook pages, attending a craft show, buying from a local artist, taking an art class, seeing a play at the Lighthouse Theatre or volunteering, where we “hang our hat” is a big part of who we are. Our little piece of heaven is that much sweeter because of the arts community – our handmade, local, custom, unique, creative, individual, amazing Nor-folk!

This list is by no means everyone and everything you might find here but I appreciate the folks who commented on my requests in our little Facebook community pages. Please click on their names and show a little Facebook love to their pages – and remember to tell them where you found them!

Home furnishing and Antiques/Collectibles

Re:vived Home (Sarah Morrison)

Kindred Spirit (Julia Mansley)

ReLoved Painted Pieces (Aleisha Ferrera)

*Grit and Vise (Hagersville)

ReBorn Designs


Home Décor

Crafts by Martine

Bristlevine Designs

*Sawdust and Sparkle (Tillsonburg)

The Rustic Feather

Iron Oak Designs

Silk Flower Designs by Jackie



Record Time (Timothy Bryan)

*Sew Darn Cute – Sock Creations (Selkirk)

*Deb’s Threads – custom embroidery (Cayuga)

I Sit ‘N Crochet

Baskets by M – Simply Baskets and More

*3 Beez in a Car – custom crochet items (Canfield)



Vic Gibbons

Cindy Benko Studio and Gallery

Donna Saville (water colour paintings, framing)

Michelle Snively-Jefferies Art

Silver Lake Studio

Heather Verplanke Art

Hidden Creek Studios

Angela Hardy Fine Art

Nature Creations

Catherwood and the Kiln



Cameron Studio (Marlene McNiven Morton)

Art With Heart (Nikki Schram)

Dover Paint and Paper (Chalk Paint classes)

Michelle Snively-Jefferies Art

The Crepe House Cocktails and Canvas

Deakin’s Den (and personalized paint pieces) Waterford

The Queen Bee Studio – Tracey-Mae Chambers

Angela Hardy Fine Art



*Chunky Country Home and Garden (Judi Cox Brown) Tillsonburg

Al Seville (birdhouses)

*Muskoka BBQ Fire Pits (Made in Bracebridge)



Rang’s Custom Tube Amps -custom design and construction

Mike Farr’s Drum Lessons, Repairs, Tuning, and Custom Drum Wraps

Port Dover Uke Heads



Lake Erie Charms (Nicki O’Brien)


LunaLeaf StudioLunaLeaf Studio (Jewellery and art for home and garden)

Sue Koopman – vintage silverware rings and bracelets

Meghan’s Jewelry in Candles


Health, Skin Care and Wellness

Simply Bee Natural

*Bloom Skincare Co (Brantford)

Solstice Botanicals



Budz Bonez



Stained Glass

Glass Dreams Jane Meyers (or glassdreams1@gmail.com)


Specialty Services

JUGZ Motorcycle – custom builds, parts and service



The Chewelery Box

Jessica MacLean – all things sewn and crafted (personalization available)



Lighthouse Theatre

Image Puppet Production

Norfolk County Roller Derby – Seriously how cool is this?!


Special Mention

Norfolk Arts Market

Artists of Norfolk County

Culture Rodeo Tourist Guide

Harley Snively Memorial Art Fund

Port Dover Farmers Market at Silver Lake Lions Club – Saturdays from 8am-1pm

Simcoe Farmers Market at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds – Thursdays from 9 am – 4 pm


culture norfolk

And new to our area is the Norfolk Cultural Map. Here’s the awesome thing about that – you can and SHOULD (for a very modest fee) get yourself on the map! Choose a category, fill out the form and you can be a part of where people will be going to look for local artists such as yourself. Click HERE to visit their website and sign up!

What is Cultural Mapping?

Cultural mapping is recognized as an essential planning and economic development tool in municipalities across Canada and around the world. Cultural mapping is defined as:

A systematic approach to identifying, recording, classifying, and analyzing a community’s cultural resources.

How is this useful?

Cultural Mapping informs municipal planning:

Identifying and mapping cultural assets strengthens the base of information that can be used to inform future planning and decision-making in any municipality.  Cultural planning of course benefits from cultural mapping, but so does land use planning, economic development, and tourism.

Cultural Mapping raises awareness of cultural assets:

Consolidated databases of cultural assets support marketing and promotion to both residents and tourists.

Cultural Mapping supports cultural development:

The subjective nature of what “counts” as culture can lead to disconnection and distinction within the cultural community.  A cultural map is a stronger base of information that strengthens and creates networking and partnership opportunities, and encourages people to view their community using a cultural lens.  More collaboration contributes to a higher quality of life and overall community well-being, and stimulates new economic opportunities in multiple sectors.

For additional information on Cultural Mapping in Canada, see:

Creative City Toolkit

Municipal Cultural Planning Toolkit

Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport


The objectives of the Norfolk County Cultural Map are:

  • Promote arts, culture, and heritage creators, industries, events, programs, and services.
  • Increase or enhance economic opportunities, including tourism, for Norfolk County’s creative sector.
  • Create pride and stimulate interest in Norfolk County’s culture and heritage.


I hope you enjoyed this article and would love to hear your feedback! You can visit me on my Facebook page (and maybe stick around for a real estate tip or two) by clicking HERE.


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March Break Fun in Norfolk County

It’s almost upon us – today is the last (potentially) kid free day until March Break if you have managed to get holidays, re-arrange your schedules or are a stay at home parent. As the mom of 4, though only 3 are in school, the very thought of planning activities the kids can talk to their friends about when they go back is a little frightening. We don’t do any major traveling since it’s so much more expensive so we like to “day trip” locally with a big night out being a movie and dinner out. Perhaps a day or 2 at a March Break Camp.


Guess what? There are many things you can do with the kids without having to go very far (or spend much)! I’ve put together a snapshot of some of those things you might not know about – and some you likely look forward to…


The great outdoors moves indoors for two days at the “Norfolk Wildlife Festival & Adventure Show” in Simcoe, in the heart of Ontario’s South Coast.

Spring Break 2016! Want a great way to kick it off? Come on out to the 14th Annual Norfolk Wildlife Festival & Adventure Show taking place March 12th & 13th. Located at the Aud, on the Norfolk County Fairgrounds. For more information, click HERE to check out details online.

I’ve taken the kids to this one and will take them again this year. It’s a fun day and a lot of bang for your buck. They may also learn something in spite of themselves.


The Lighthouse Theatre will be host to Lucas Wilson, otherwise known as the Illusionist, and his amazing Assistant Kelly. Lucas will bring along his favourite illusions and some new illusions for this Special March Break Magic! Lucas will also be making a major announcement at the show, you won’t want to miss this historic announcement. The magic continues after the show with a brand new interactive magic workshop with Lucas and Kelly. Learn how to perform your very own magic at home in this LIMITED VIP ONLY workshop. Approximate run time: 60 minutes.



The “Nearly World Famous” DuffleBag Theatre will be returning this March Break with CINDERELLA, their newest interactive play.  Don’t miss this high-energy, comedic adaptation of the timeless fairytale!  Audience members (that means grown-ups, too) will have the opportunity to join DuffleBag actors on stage and bring this hilarious show to life! CINDERELLA wouldn’t be complete without the magical Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming and, of course, Cinderella’s boisterous and determined animal companions.
Tickets to this laugh out loud, family friendly production are on sale now! Recommended for ages 2 and older.

Tickets are $10 each or just $32 for a family of four!*


Lighthouse Festival Theatre is thrilled to feature Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day a fun filled interactive production  presented by To Be Determined Theatre Co. This fast paced comedy follows Alexander through his terrible day complete with singing, dancing and tons of audience interaction.  This production is perfect for families and audiences of all ages!

Tickets: $10 each or $32 for a family of four*.

*Family friendly pricing not available online, call the friendly Box Office at 519-583-2221.


I’ve been fortunate enough to watch some of the amazing (and VERY interactive) Lucas Wilson Magic Shows (because that’s what he is – pure MAGIC) as well as many different Dufflebag productions and I can’t say enough about them. You MUST take your kids to at least one! Click HERE for the details page on the Lighthouse Theatre website for information or to buy tickets for any of these shows.


The Norfolk County Libraries have some great programs through March Break (too many to mention so click HERE for more info). Best part? FREE!



Who doesn’t love a fun Family movie?!

Though there aren’t matinees through the week (you would need to travel out of town for that) you can watch this New movie in Simcoe for far less than you will pay in larger theatres. And as a mom of 4, less is more! You can check out the Strand website HERE for movie details, pricing and showtimes.





Swimming, FREE Skating and a variety of Norfolk County programs including camps, Babysitting course and more can be found HERE. There is absolutely something for everyone on this list!

row of 10 cartoon kids holding hands

But sometimes Mom and Dad are not able to be off this week so, what do you do then?! Read below for some local March Break Camps you may not have thought of…

Budding Artists? Check out a local kids Art Camp at Art with Heart HERE.

art march

I have my girls signed up for one of the days because I know they will LOVE it! I have painted with Nikki for her Adult Wine and Paint nights which you should check out for yourself after March Break is over… Not an all week camp but enough to give them a break (and you) from being “bored”.


If your kids like to learn about all things maritime, or just want to have a good time in Port Dover, check out the March Break Camp at the Harbour Museum HERE.

Camp museum.jpg

Kids, ages 6-11, are invited to register for a week of arts, crafts and games. Themes include: “Wonderful Winter”, “Pirates!”, “St. Patrick’s Day”, and “Port Dover During the Wars”. Registration fee: $112 per child, or $26 per child, per day. Extended hours are available for an additional fee. Pre-registration is required.

The Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum has a full day camp for kids.

wham camp

Experience a fun-filled WHAM March Break with special access to hands-on learning through history, science, art, music and much more! Camp runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm (extended care available if needed).
Cost: $27/child, per day. (Ages 5-11)
Extended care 8:30 – 4:30 at an additional $5 per child, per day.Click HERE to find out more.

Camp follows a balanced school day structure with two nutrition breaks. Youth should come prepared with appropriate outdoor clothing and indoor shoes.

Ancient Civilizations March Break Camp at the The Norfolk Arts Centre

Norfolk Arts camp

Make art like an Egyptian at the Ancient Civilizations March Break Program at the Norfolk Arts Centre! Each day we will examine a different ancient culture. From Egyptian hieroglyphs to Mayan temples we will learn about the art and architecture of past societies as models for own ancient civilizations-inspired creations. Participants will look at the features of Lynnwood National Historic Site to consider how ancient civilizations have influenced art and architecture throughout the ages.
Monday: China
Tuesday: Americas

Wednesday: Greece & Rome

Thursday: Egypt

Friday: India
This program is for children in grades SK – 6.

Click HERE for more information.

Older kids too cool for camp? Click HERE to check out out this 1 day Survival Camp!


Arctic Survival for youth ages 10 to 15 years

Think you have what it takes to make it in the wilderness? Challenge yourself to a day of survival at Backus Heritage Conservation Area.  Campers will scavenge to find materials to build a shelter, start a fire without using a single match and cook outdoors! Learn how to search the forest for resources and meet a local trapper. Pre-registration is required.

If there’s something you love doing locally that I’ve missed please let me know!

Happy March Break 2016!














Real Estate is Weird

When did it become a bad thing to have a job you love, work hard at that job, and earn your paycheck? How would you feel if people you didn’t even know judged you based on your potential for income? Or felt that you made too much for doing exactly what you were hired to do? Being a Realtor® is so weird.

I’ve been in this business just over 7 years now and most days I absolutely love it. It’s challenging, frustrating, exciting, rewarding and sometimes downright awesome. But I must say that there is one thing that seems backwards to every other job I’ve ever had in my life… In “normal life” (let’s call it), your wage is based on your performance, your salesmanship, your effort and your customer service. You either negotiate a wage or have a wage assigned based on your experience and/or the company standard. You do your job, you get paid. You do a great job perhaps you get promoted and you get a better wage or bonuses. Everyone is pretty excited to see someone succeed and do well financially. And those that don’t work as hard or don’t do a very good job either stay stuck where they are or get fired.


Real estate should not be any different. We outline our services, provide references, negotiate a wage with the potential client and if we are hired we get to work. Whether that is with a Buyer or Seller client there is an expectation of the level of service, duties performed and upon the completion of the job we were hired to do we get paid. If those things don’t happen, we are in the position to be fired like anyone else. So, then, if we meet or exceed the expectations of our clients, perform the duties we were hired to do, and do so as outlined in our contract, why shouldn’t we then be able to proudly collect the paycheck we earned?

I hear sometimes about how “easy” it is to be a Realtor® or how we don’t have to “do much” and make a “ton” of money. I don’t know about other Realtors® but let me tell you that the “easy” ones are few and far between. They help us keep our sanity in a crazy business and give us a boost every now and again that we need to work like mad on the next 10 hard ones. We often work for weeks, months, maybe years with the same client putting in endless hours (and sometimes expenses) that make that paycheck at the end harder earned than any job I have ever had. (Except being a mom – that one’s pretty hard.)

Assuming you get paid. Because sometimes circumstances change. And those hours invested do not end up in a paycheck. Those are tough.

And here’s a little thing to mention without being too specific… It may sometimes be months between paychecks and in that time we still have many financial obligations to maintain our license, our insurance, work on growing our business, keep up to date on our education and professional memberships, pay office and Board fees… Let’s not forget that we are keeping our houses running; kids, mortgages, etc. just like everyone else. maya 1


Please don’t read this as a complaint. It’s meant to show pride in my work and confidence in my ability to explain (though I shouldn’t have to) why I am worth my wage. I can provide you with a long list of people I have worked with that would agree… Or better yet, let’s sit down and talk about it.




Top 10 Things a Buyer should know


10. Get pre-approved. Don’t just enter the numbers into a calculator on a bank website to see if you can “afford” the mortgage amount you want after finding your dream home on the internet, but speak in person to a person. Make sure they get down to business – credit check, income information, other debt to be considered. And get it in writing, most will give you a 90 day “guarantee”. Understand what costs/expenses are involved with buying your home especially if it’s your first time. Land transfer tax, down payment, deposit, lawyer fees, title insurance. You can’t buy something with nothing. If you aren’t sure who to start with, I can make some suggestions.
9. Decide who is buying the house as in who has financial say because they are going to be on title and or the mortgage. If you are married, great, hopefully you agree and that person has already done the banking with you. If you are buying with a friend/boyfriend/parent/other, make sure everyone has been considered in the bank approval because it does matter.
8. Choose a location. Not necessarily a street but a town (maybe 2) or at the very least an area. And put together an honest list of “Must Have’s” and “Would be Nice to Have’s”, it’s important that everyone is on the same page BEFORE you start looking at homes.
7. Pick one Realtor®. Just one. Don’t call each listing agent for each property you like, it gets very confusing. We don’t like to interfere with anyone’s client so please, call your Realtor® to find out answers, book showings, etc. It’s not “bugging” us, it’s our job. And we want to do it!
6. Be honest with your Realtor® about what you’re qualified for as well as what you’re comfortable with paying budget wise. These are very often different numbers and we do understand the difference. We are here to keep you on track as well as find you the right home. We can’t do our job properly without the right (and full) information.
5. Keep an open mind. We may send you (or show you) different properties than you have considered for yourself but trust us, we know what we’re doing. We take your lists of “must have’s” and “would like to have’s” seriously but we also know our local market and what is realistic in your price range. Sometimes we surprise you with what you didn’t know you wanted.
4. Be prepared to make a decision, AKA an Offer. We are out looking because you want to buy. If you find something you really like that’s in your price range, to keep waiting for “what else might come up” might mean missing the one that would have been right for you. There’s no guarantee that a better one is coming along and in a market like we had last year, you’re not the only one looking.
3. Stay calm. Negotiating can be stressful and emotional and not always fun. Feelings can get hurt (on both the Buyer and Seller side) but it doesn’t mean that there can’t be a successful ending for everyone. Rely on your Realtor® to be the voice of reason, that’s why you have us by your side.
2. Don’t buy anything large. Nothing. No car loans, store credit cards, new couches, nothing. These purchases may sway the ability to qualify for your mortgage with the bank. Wait until after closing to consider any major purchases.
1. Enjoy your new beginning. Thank you for trusting me to walk with you through this very big deal, it really is what I love most!

You can sell your house yourself, but should you…?

I have both friends and clients that have decided to try and sell their homes on their own with varying degrees of success. I’ve seen homes privately for sale that do sell, and also many that ultimately end up in the hands of a REALTOR®. I’m not here to tell you what to do because it is YOU that is the only one to make that choice. It’s your home, your asset, your investment… so choose wisely.

FSBO sign

Interesting story that happened recently… I had a Buyer client looking for a home. She had sold her current house and was well qualified to purchase and move before the end of this year, the sooner the better. That’s a pretty good prospect for a Seller. We had been looking without much success and she had seen a house that was “listed” through a company who provides (for an upfront fee) photos, MLS® access, a company website and yard signs – the rest is up to the homeowner.

She asked if I could show her the house so I called the owners, left a message and heard nothing back. We continued to book showings for houses listed with REALTORS® and ended up competing (and winning!) for the one she will now be making her new home.

cb web photo

Listing your home with me is more than just about the money that you would be “saving” if you do it on your own. We can talk about all of the things I do as a part of my representation. For starters I would never miss a booking for a showing or an opportunity to promote your home for sale. There are so many reasons why we should talk… This one cost that potential home seller time and money in hand.

Parent Expo and Mom to Mom Sale at Lakewood

So what does a Parent Expo/Mom to Mom Sale have to do with Real Estate? That’s where the “working Mom” part comes in. I am lucky enough to be able to volunteer at my girls’ school because my Real Estate career affords (some) flexibility with scheduling and one of the things I help with is organizing the sale this coming weekend. There are still a few spaces available so if you are interested in a table, please email me or call 519-718-2628.

mom to momSome things you may not realize that Parent Council events support: learning materials for classrooms, playground equipment, outdoor play items, school trips (for kids who might not otherwise be able to go), extra swimming lessons, family support, lower bussing costs for field trips, snack program, and on and on!

The Snack Program deserves a special mention. The funding received for the program, which provides healthy snacks to each student (if they want it) 3 days a week, as well as an “emergency cupboard” for hungry students, needs heavy supplementation. We provide approximately 75% of the funds needed to run the program each year.

So, if you are looking for something to do, need a table or want to come shop, please come see us Saturday and support our kids! Below is a list of Vendors (along with Parent tables to sell quality pre-owned clothing and toys, books, etc.) that will be there for you to browse and buy from!

Thirty One
South Hill Designs
Foxy Leggings

And important to mention that the Girl Guides will be there selling cookies for their fundraising efforts! It will make a good dessert to have after the Pizza and drinks available to buy for lunch.

Port Dover Steelheads
Art with Heart

The Port Dover Fire Department will be on hand for a Car Seat Clinic. Want to be sure your little one is safe? Have one of the guys check it out…!

Today’s Family (daycare, before and after school care)
Pregnancy Centre
Salvation Army                                                          
Early Years Centre

As we receive the final confirmations I will update our list. Please feel free to share throughout our community, we appreciate the help!












What To Do on March Break in Norfolk County

March Break is the “we’re almost there” point in the School Year, at least it is in our family. We don’t go on big trips because frankly March Break travel is a bit out of our league price wise! We look for day trips and local events that are easy on the wallet, especially with 4 kids. And with them being a variety of ages it’s great that there are so many options right here in Norfolk County! Read on for a list of “Things to See and Do” that I’ve put together for you.

Happy March Break!

Norfolk Wildlife Festival and Adventure Show

Where the great outdoors moves indoors for two days!
Kick off Spring Break with two days of family fun and entertainment.

Adults and children of all ages can participate in the many fun and educational hands-on activities, demonstrations and browse through a variety of exhibits.

There is something for everyone with hands-on, interactive activities. Don’t forget to complete your “Passport to Fun” with chances to win one of many prizes. Enter to win great door prizes. (Click the picture below for the website)

WLF-imageSaturday 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.  Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Date : 14/03/2015 – 15/03/2015
  • Time : 12:00 am
  • Address :
    The Aud- Fairgrounds
    172 South Drive
    N3Y 1G6

Snow White Interactive Production with Dufflebag Theatre

Spend March Break at Lighthouse Festival Theatre and enjoy an interactive production of Snow White! You could be invited on stage to act out this classic story!

2 shows on Wednesday March 18 at 11 am and 2 pm

$10 each OR Family price (up to 4) for just $29.00

Snow-White2-e1425307898824For more information or to order your tickets today, please email the box office at boxoffice@lighthousetheatre.com or call us at 519-583-2221 and toll free at 1-888-779-7703

  • Date : 18/03/2015
  • Time : 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
  • Address :
    Lighthouse Festival Theatre
    247 Main St.
    Port Dover

Norfolk County will be offering a variety of programs (fees vary, please visit their website for more information about costs and ages:

  • March Break Blast (Day Camp) (ages JK-Grade 6)
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (ages 10-14)
  • Home Alone (ages 9-12)
  • Basic Babysitting (must be 12 by Dec. 31/15)
  • See below for Skate and Swim schedules

Swim schedule

If you have any questions, please contact the Arena or the Facilities Allocation Booking Clerk at

519-426-5999, ext 2226.

March Break swim

Fees: Child/Senior $2.50, Children under 2 FREE, Adult $4.50, Family $9.00, Aquafit/Mobility/Therapy $6.00

Please take a look at the inNorfolk Spring/Summer Guide for details regarding Swimming Standards (listed on p 68 it goes into supervision, wristbands, etc..) The Guide can be found on the Norfolk County home page at www.norfolkcounty.ca.

To double check before you go, call 519-426-8866 ext 2233.

The Simcoe Reformer had a great article about local March Break events for kids of all ages, click the photo below to read it!

March-Break-FunThe Norfolk Arts Centre will be having A fun filled PanArt Games week for your kids to get creative!


The Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum is planning an adventure filled March Break Camp, visit their website!

wham HOME LAYOUT.sig

Norfolk County’s own Lucas Wilson will be performing at the Lighthouse Theatre this March Break, one day only!


Norfolk County Libraries are holding FREE events at the various Branches throughout the County, check their website for more details!