More About Me (Let Me Reintroduce Myself)

A photo of a small brown foldable spinning wheel with black wool roving on a wooden deck over looking a landscape
A moment outside with my Louet Victoria travel spinning wheel and some black merino roving
A photo of a tan skinned mixed race woman with long black hair wearing a blue knitted hat and wide white and gold glasses. In the background is a artist painting of a man and woman

I’ve been putting in some much needed maintenance on the website, and I thought this would be a good time to reintroduce myself. I’m Leilani, a maker currently living in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m a born and bred Valley gal, though I spent 20 years away before moving back “home”. I was raised in Hants County but now reside in Kings County.

I’ve been making and selling handmade jewelry for over 2 decades, and spinning /dyeing handspun yarn for 10 years. I also enjoy papercrafting & knitting/crocheting, as well as gardening albeit on a small scale.

I’m a mom above all else, and a wife. My husband is originally from Yarmouth, NS. We met 20 years ago, the same day I decided I would stay away from romantic relationships and enjoy being single. Fate is funny like that.

I have a huge family in the Philippines whom I’ve never met. I’m not really sure why I’ve never made the trip, especially back when I was young, single and working in the travel industry. I blame it on money, scheduling and distance, but I guess in many ways I’m overwhelmed at the prospect. I was raised in a completely different culture. As fond as I am of my Filipino roots, I’m not exactly sure how I would fit in. I didn’t get to know many of my family members until my mom passed in 2008.

A tanned skinned mixed race woman with long straight black hair and a purple shirt lays in the grass sporting black rimmed glasses and a white headset

I’m a high vibrational empath. What does that mean? For me, it means living more by what feels right rather than following the masses. It also means navigating the world as a highly sensitive individual. That can often leave me feeling emotionally and physically drained. Think of me as the energetic air filter. The global pause in 2020 afforded me the chance to get re-centered and moving in a positive direction again.

If you order any of my products typically they will ship via Canada Post within 1 business day. My packages will typically ship from 1 of 4 places: Canning, Kentville, New Minas or Windsor, Nova Scotia. It really depends on where I am on a given day. I ship with tracking when possible but please understand that it’s very costly (averaging $17 on small envelopes to most of Canada). It’s not something I can afford on my inexpensive items.

The good news is, if you reside in Nova Scotia, you’ll get your order in a matter of days, many times in just 2 days. It’s pretty quick to Maritime provinces in general, and I’d love to pick up more customers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I ship throughout Canada and the USA. Unfortunately I cannot ship internationally anymore: too many lost or returned packages.

I used to offer wholesale and consignment, and would be open to do it again. I can picture my stitch marker sets being a great addition to a LYS (local yarn store). Handspun yarn is trickier as it is so labor intensive to produce. It’s difficult to come up with a cost that satisfies both me and the store owner.

I often thought my creations would be fantastic in a maker or souvenir shop here in the Maritimes. I can always come up with some beautiful and cost effective earrings or necklaces. Engraved letters for personalization, semi-precious gemstones or themed charms could be focal points.

If any of these options appeal to you as a business owner, I’d love to hear from you. If it feels like a good partnership, I can always tailor the products to match your business.

What else should you know about me? Other than being a mom to humans, I am also a cat mama. We currently have 3 Persian cats, two of which are Exotic Shorthair. A typical evening for me would probably be my latest knitting or spinning project while listening to an interesting podcast (probably health or spiritually themed) and a cup of tea or coffee.

I’m happy to chat or support you on your creative journey…I hope you feel inspired here! If you have any questions or comments on the topics and techniques discussed please don’t hesitate.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Hello, it’s been awhile (an update)

I am well overdue for an update! I won’t lie. I kinda forgot about this blog. I realized that since the most recent post was LAST YEAR it may appear that I am not actively creating and maintaining this website. Not true at all! I am as busy as ever. I did shut my Etsy shop down for several months this spring due to how slow the mail was moving, but that seems to have improved – so I’ve been back full time fulfilling orders for a couple of months now. I received a few orders thru this site during that time, and although delivery was slow I am thankful for the few sales I did receive.

This is me, sans makeup, in my home studio. Pic in the background was painted by a friend. That sewing machine was my mom’s, now constantly used by my oldest (I hate sewing) 😁

If you just stumbled upon my site, I’m Leilani. I’m a BIPOC maker currently living in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia: mom, wife & cat mama. I’m formerly from the greater Montreal area, which is where I did the majority of my online selling until we moved back to Nova Scotia 5 years ago, where both my husband & I were born & raised. I’ve actually been selling online since the late 90’s in the early ebay days (boy, do I miss that community!) so I have a lot of experience with online selling. Creating and honing my creative skills is a passion of mine: it keeps me hopeful, grounded and positive. It’s an outlet for my expression, and to create something beautiful and positive in this chaotic, uncertain world.

leilani handmade's ecommerce site
Shop all my available products at leilanihandmade.com including personalized jewelry, artisan jewelry, handspun yarn & stitch markers. Feel free to contact me with any questions or requests

Being home pretty much full time since March gave me the opportunity to create almost uninterrupted (I do have kids, they are very self-sufficient and we are already homeschoolers (unschoolers) so education flowed smoothly with very little transition or change to our schedule). I now have several new jewelry pieces that were revamped and 35 (!!) new skeins of yarn to list (this not including what I made/revamped to keep for myself). I was able to try out and hone skills that I never had time for before. Creatively, 2020 has been a very positive year.

Making a bubble crepe yarn has been on my to-do/to learn list for a few years now! I recently took the plunge and was thrilled with the results. Made out of my own dyed merino top

I’ve also had the chance to get back to my spiritual side – all that woo woo stuff I have gravitated to since I was a child. I have had many profound experiences since I was…well, as long as I can remember. I’ve often wondered if I am an Indigo child but I choose not to label this strong connection to all that is. I’m an empath and have been quite surprised that my anxiety has not increased these past few months. I’m really drawn to gemstones again, and feel very grounded when I wear them. I am going to make a bracelet to help balance my root chakra: at the very least, the stones will be a constant reminder of what I need to consciously repair/improve. Hopefully, that will evolve into a new jewelry line I can offer to my customers, but like everything I do, if it doesn’t feel right, I simply don’t do it.

Nature and its beauty ground me, and keep me connected. I try to spend as much time outside as possible – even if I reluctantly want to leave my studio

So a few “housekeeping” items to update you on. I have had to limit my shipments to Canada and US only (again). I was excited to offer shipping to the UK, hopeing that would open the door to broader shipping internationally, but the supplier I was using was really slow, and items were coming back return to sender at my expense. I traded in lost packages (why I stopped shipping internationally in the first place) to returned undelivered packages. I’m just too small beans to have these kinds of monetary losses.

Social networking update: I’ve decided to let my Facebook page go, although I will keep it live for information purposes. I think the pinned post goes to my Etsy reviews. I’m happy to streamline my day to day behind-the-scenes work to my Instagram. I enjoy the micro-blogging format and I’ve connected with so many inspiring makers, as well as those just starting out with spinning that I can encourage, mentor and cheer on. It’s overall been a far more positive experience, since I’m not all about selling selling selling. Yes, I realize Instagram is owned by Facebook, however it’s a platform that I can use in a positive way (bonus: less complaining! πŸ˜‰). I am a maker first: I sell my goods as a connection to others; to spread some good in the world. Do we ever need it now, more than ever! So come join me on Instagram, although you must love cats, since my 3 are such a huge part of my life (and studio life!), particularly Peanut. πŸ˜€

Etsy price update: you may see a discrepancy in prices between this site and Etsy. Unfortunately, in order to be seen in searches on Etsy, I need to offer free shipping. This is something I have resisted with yarn because Canada Post is so much more pricey on bulky items, versus the small padded envelopes I use for my jewelry. So I’ve had to add a buffer for shipping into my Etsy listings. It’s still not enough, and depressingly, according to my spreadsheet I am making on average $2-$3 an hour for making yarn. Price is perception, so I have to finesse the price to an amount that I feel will sell, vs. a price that’s fair. It’s a sad and common reality with handmade goods. I’ve thought of vacuum sealing my yarns to make the package flatter as seems to be popular now, but I struggle with the presentation. When you open an order from me, it’s like unwrapping a gift, because I am so appreciative and thankful to all of you who support my work. I want you to be confident about your order and excited from the moment you receive it.

leilani handmade's etsy shop
Alternatively you can shop most of my products on Etsy – as well as read my reviews. Top shop for gifts! Wow! I’m honored πŸ™‚
Free shipping with orders of $35CAD or more – shipping charges are built in on Etsy listings

The difference between here and etsy is that, when you spend $45CAD or more here, you can choose the option for free shipping at checkout. I also have discount codes highlighted at checkout, when available. If you are interested on a bulk order either here or in my Etsy shop, I am happy to extend a discount. Simply let me know which items you are interested in, and I’ll work out a price reduction.

Thanks for stopping by for this catch up/update and checking out my work! If there is anything I could assist you in or if you are looking for something specific, please do not hesitate to ask! Come join me on Instagram if you are able. I will try to blog more even if it is short posts here and there.

Always remember to put love over fear: sending love outward to you… <3

Leilani signature

Seven Things

I was tagged by the beautiful Tasha Chawner to share seven things about me. While I am flattered that sheΒ  thought of me in all my blogging glory, I am having a hard time coming up with seven things to mention…darn it I am just not that interesting! πŸ˜‰

1. I taught myself the alphabet in Canadian Sign language

…which, for all intents & purposes is American Sign Language – ASL – (we say “zed”, they say “zee”) but as far as the signing, it’s the same. :). Yes my #1 is totally piggy backing on Tasha’s #5. πŸ˜‰ I taught myself so that I could have hand gestures when singing the alphabet song (heavily requested in my house) with my three year old during circle time. I was quite impressed at how quickly I learned, now I would love to learn more! πŸ™‚

2. I hate spiders but they love me.

Over the years, I have learned to tolerate them, as they do such a nice job keeping the other bug populace down. But they seem to want to be friends even though I would like to remain acquaintances. Here at the computer for instance, on a regular basis they like to come crawling up (or repel downwards), and I usually don’t notice until they’re traveling up my arm or neck. Flick it away and minutes later I witness it crawling back up the chair. Hello…take the hint! Recently I had one crawling up my leg while we were travelling down the interstate in Massachusetts. I had to stifle my screams lest Rick drive off the highway. Plus with the kids I have learned to suppress my disgust for them so to not encourage a phobia of their own. πŸ˜‰

3. I am afraid of the dark

Totally in the irrational, childlike sense. I don’t think I ever got over fears from childhood, and too many episodes of “Unsolved Mysteries” back in the day really did not help me out there. You remember the original – Robert Stack’s voice, the creepy music…any who…if I have to travel anywhere by myself in the dark – say, to the loo in the middle of the night – I take a deep breath, move as quickly as I can & keep my eyes shut tight as much as possible…lest I see a – dead person or ax murderer or something. Things that go bump in the night – ask my husband, I have woke him many a time to check on a noise that was just the cat vomiting. πŸ˜‰

4. I prefer to be alone.

Which may come to a surprise to you if we have only interacted in social settings. I have the traits of a person of the melancholic temperament.Β  I spend a lot of time in my head – contemplating & compartmentalizing everything…so when it comes to socializing in large groups I just don’t know how that chaos fits into my world. Many times people assume that I am depressed or upset or snobby or rude…truthfully I just spend a lot of time “out of my body” as I am so self aware. Over the years I have learned how to be an out-going creature, butΒ  it makes me feel rather drained & it takes me a long time to recover from a social event. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good party, in fact I do need those as well to help keep me balanced. I really look forward to participating despite the awkward feelings I may have during/after the fact.

5. My dreams predict when something significant will happen to someone close to me.

I could add myself to that as I dreamed I was pregnant with baby girls just days before conceiving both my daughters. I dreamed a close friend was having a boy, and everyone was convinced it was a girl. My dream was right. The last prediction dream I had was two years ago – I dreamed of the death of my mother. One week later she died suddenly at the age of 54. Needless to say this experience has left me rather rattled and I have not had a prediction dream since. I think subconsciously I have turned off that filter, at least for now. The difference between a prediction dream vs. a regular dream is that it is startlingly real. I canΒ  touch, smell, feel everything – know everyone who is in it (I tend to dream about strangers a lot…characters my head seems to make up in slumber land) and I am left feeling like I have be thrust back to earth to my body as if I were in another time or place.

6. I am left handed…sort of…

I’m sure that being left handed comes to no surprise seeing how creative I am. But I am actually somewhat ambidextrous – for lack of a better descriptive term. Although I am left hand dominant for writing & using eating utensils, I tend to use my right hand for everything else: using a can opener, scissors or pliers, throwing a baseball… Still, I recognize myself as a south paw; everything creative comes out of my left hand whether it be writing or sketches for jewelry designs.

7. I sweat a lot when I am writing…

…in a creative sense – not when I am say, writing a cheque or even listing a new item in my shops. It’s happening right now! It’s like I have a hot flash when I have to think and write at the same time…I can remember the same thing happening when I used to write essays in high school! My poor little brain cells are firing so fast they are creating a lot of heat in that noggin of mine. πŸ˜‰

There you have it, Tasha – Seven Things. And yes, it was painful to come up with! I do hope it was somewhat entertaining! πŸ™‚