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A Week Away in Big Bay

A couple of weeks ago I was so fortunate to spend time in Georgian Bay with my good friend and take in a week of pure relaxation.

I drove us up to Big Bay, ON, and couldn’t believe how awesome our little log cabin was. It was built in the late 1800s and boasts some of the original aspects (like the stairs), but has been renovated over the years for maintenance and updates. It faces the water and has no blinds – it’s perfect for being constantly connected to the outdoors… I loved it. Our host’s cottage was next door, and I can’t thank him enough for this opportunity.

Big Bay Log Cabin | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This was the view from the kitchen out to the screened in porch where we spent every evening after being outside on the beach, doing yoga, and swimming.

Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I know, right? Absolutely incredible view.

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The original stairs from the log cabin – as you walk up them you can feel how the knots in the wood were harder and didn’t wear down as quickly.

1800s stairs Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The view from the bedrooms were equally fantastic.

Big Bay viewBig Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Our evening ritual after a day of walking in the area, exploring the beach, swimming, afternoon tea, (and then the bar opened!) was to watch the sunset and have dinner out on the porch, and then colour. I brought my new iPad and Apple Pencil and it was so relaxing to sit and colour. Shelly had a physical book and pencil crayons, but also enjoyed painting some of the rocks on the beach. Total creative freedom – it was perfect and simple.

Screened in porchBig Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I couldn’t get a decent picture of the sun setting. I really wish I’d brought my proper camera and tripod! It was this insane coral colour, sort of like what the reflection in the water looked like, but the yellow dot wasn’t at all what it looked like in person.

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

I took a video of the lake quietly lapping the shore just so I could experience it over and over when we got home.

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Screened in Porch | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This area really does have the most crystal clear water. It was shallow (and cold!), but amazing to look at! There were tons and tons of fossils. I looked everywhere for crayfish under the rocks, but never found any. After a particularly windy/wavy day I did find a few bits around the beach that had washed up, but no luck checking under the rocks.

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

One of our little walks around the area was to Keppel Croft Gardens up the road. It was super hot, but we still enjoyed our walk around all the gardens, and visited the aviary to say hello to these guys! Of course this was close to the little store that sold homemade ice cream -which we made sure to taste a couple of times during our trip…

Keppel Croft Gardens Aviary | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Keppel Croft Gardens Aviary | kbarlowdesign.com blog

One of the coolest things we saw was this huge northern water snake! It was about 3-4 feet long (small for the average apparently!). I was watching the water and saw a stick that wasn’t acting like a stick… so I went in for a closer look and we watched the snake swim through the choppy water to shore. It wasn’t interested in being around us, so we took our pictures and gave it space. We saw two other water snakes during the week, just little tiny guys, about a foot long. (And yes, we swam every day even though we knew there were snakes.)

Big Bay Northern Water Snake | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The water would change really quickly, going from calm to quite choppy and back again during the day, so when we woke up one morning and it was fairly calm, we took the kayaks out. It’s been about 25 years since I’ve been in a kayak, but I had a great time, and didn’t fall out! Woo! The clarity of the water was even more spectacular as you paddled out to explore.

Georgian Bay Kayaking | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Georgian Bay Kayaking | kbarlowdesign.com blog

During one of our yoga sessions (always great to vacation with a yoga teacher!) we noticed this butterfly had just emerged from its chrysalis and was drying its wings before flying away. It stayed there for a couple of hours. There’s milkweed everywhere, and I loved seeing caterpillars and butterflies all over the place. That was one thing that makes the honey from the area so special – the abundance of wildflowers, and lack of commercial crops. We went to see one of our host’s neighbours, and learned about the honey he harvested, his homemade apple cider vinegar, and ate wild blueberries while he told us about everything. I came home with a lot of honey.

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Not too shabby for yoga practice!! The gazebo was perfect. Open air, coverage from the sun… we even had a bat flying around one morning! (If you look at the post on the right, just near the joint, you can see the outline of the butterfly in the above picture)

Yoga in Big Bay | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Weather was perfect all week, we had one day that was a bit rainy, but it came and went during the day and we still got out and swam, and enjoyed the day.

Georgian Bay Storm | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Big Bay Sunset | kbarlowdesign.com blog

This photo is showing only the water…. that’s how clear it is! You can see some bubbles at the very bottom, it was a couple of inches above those rocks.

Big Bay - Georgian Bay water | kbarlowdesign.com blog

My view from bed on the final morning, below. There was very little beach glass which surprised me with the rocky area, but I still managed to find a couple of little pieces. We had an incredible trip, and I’m so glad I’ve made an effort to travel more this summer. It’s not over yet, even with September looming, so I’d better get planning another mini getaway!

Room with a view | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Canadian Makers 2018 Holiday Online Marketplace

Canadian Makers 2018 Holiday Online Marketplace

We’re live! Applications for the 2nd online Holiday market are now open until Sept 13th!
This online market is a collaborative space for Canadian makers to gather all in on place. It makes shopping easy for the end consumers. One click shop for their Canadian gifts this year.

Space is limited per category and the show is only open to Canadian makers.

Head on over the the website for all the details and to apply!

Driftwood + Beach Glass Necklace

A few months ago as I was browsing Instagram, I saw one of my favourite jewellers (@kathrynrebeccajewellery) was having a giveaway and entered, without thinking anything of it – so many other people had entered, but I figured “why not!”. And. I. Won.

Fast forward, I met with Kathryn at her studio on Queen West, and we started talking about the necklace I’d chosen from her collection (Delicate Branch – 3rd image), and hoped to customize. My favourite hobby is beachcombing. I’m always game for going, rain, shine, snow… doesn’t matter! The thrill of finding a rare piece of glass keeps me coming back for more! What better way to represent my love for beachcombing than to add a piece of my beach glass to her branch (driftwood!) necklace! We chatted about options, looked over the tiniest pieces I had in my collection, and found a couple of options… and then chatted for an hour because she’s awesome and so much fun to hang out with.

Last night, I went to pick up my finished necklace. I was completely blown away. It’s perfect. It’s absolutely perfect, and I couldn’t love it any more than I already do. She designed the length so that it could sit just above the two small charms I always wear, we replaced my decade old worn out chain, and I will proudly wear both necklaces daily!

Thank you SO much, Kathryn! Not only do we share the same name (and spelling!), but we clearly both have great taste! 😉😘

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Kathryn Rebecca necklace | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Treat Yourself!

Sometimes you just gotta treat yourself!

iPad Apple Pencil | kbarlowdesign.com blog
I’m super excited to have splurged on the new iPad and Apple Pencil. I’ve barely put it down since I got it, and can’t wait to keep learning!

Procreate is such an incredible app, and even though I’ve only gone through a few tutorials, I’m completely blown away with what I’ve already learned it can do!

Do you have any tips, tutorials, or brushes you can recommend to me? I’m all ears!

Point Pelee Mini Vacation

Point Pelee National Park Marsh | kbarlowdesign.com blog
I’ve been wanting to visit Point Pelee for a while now, so when the timing worked out to take a couple of days to visit this area, I jumped on it! Unfortunately we booked right in the middle of a heat wave, so it meant less exploring than we’d hoped, but we still managed to see a lot (and sweat a lot!)

Our first day we drove in to Point Pelee National Park straight from the GTA, no breaks! We were excited to get out to the park and see the beaches and the scenery. We headed for the point, and decided to hike from the visitor’s centre instead of taking the shuttle. It was only 2.5km, but we didn’t take into consideration the heat (and flies!). Optimistic, we started off on the beach, but with the sun beating down on us, and the heat wave making the temperatures feel like 44C, it was too much, so we switched to a forest footpath. We saw some patches of prickly pear cactus which was really neat – but the stable flies and deer flies were driving us insane, so we went to the road.

Prickly Pear Cactus | kbarlowdesign.com blog

We made it to the point, and checked out the beach area around it. They have extremely dangerous rip currents around the point, so no swimming or even wading is allowed in case you fall. We were just completely done from the sun and heat so we took the shuttle back. It was bliss.

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

We started back towards our AirBnb cottage, but stopped at this lookout on the way out of the park. You could hear “SHLURP” every so often as the bass sucked bugs off the top of the water from between the lily pads.

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

We got settled in at the cottage, had a bite to eat (and discovered a family of raccoons were living in the attic), and walked down the road to check out the nearby beach. Unfortunately recent storms had washed a lot of it away, so we hopped back in the car to see what else we could find, and found Seacliff Beach – a big park with a huge sand beach.

road   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Seacliff Beach   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

The next day we decided to hike Hillman Marsh Conservatory. The hike would be about 5km, but it was two degrees cooler than yesterday (felt like 42C), so we foolishly went for it… Thankfully there was some shade from trees here or there, but it was still way too long of a hike for the heat.

Hillman Marsh   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Partway through there was a lookout tower we climbed. I’ve never seen marsh grasses as tall as these, had to be at least 10 feet high! The photos make it look like we’re not a full story up in the air! We looked out over the marsh, and realized we were only halfway into the hike… (the white dot about the centre of the image was where we started)

Hillman Marsh   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Onwards through the marsh, we hiked and saw the biggest lilypads I’ve every seen in my life – they had to be 2 feet across! The flowers were beautiful and the size of a football! We also got to see a bunch of bobolinks, and other marsh birds.

Hillman Marsh   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Hillman Marsh   | kbarlowdesign.com blog

When we got back to the cottage, we realized we really overdid it in the sun, so we took a couple of hours to rest in the air conditioning… but not before seeing the temperature! Oops!

Temperature | kbarlowdesign.com blog

After cooling down, we headed out to Wheatley Provincial Park. It was beautiful, and we had a nice walk along the beach, but it was still too hot, so we didn’t spend as much time there as we would have had it been cooler. I definitely have a better idea of how to plan a future trip to the area though, so it was still worth it!

On our last day, we decided to go back to Pelee National Park so we could do the marsh walk (1km), and thankfully it was much, much cooler (30C), because the whole marsh walk is in direct sun. There were swallows everywhere! It was so neat to see them flying around and catching bugs, and flying in/out of their nests – which were everywhere!

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Point Pelee National Park  | kbarlowdesign.com blog

We headed out and on our way home, taking Talbot Trail instead of the 401, and stopping at any beaches we found along the way, or had promise via Google Satellite.

Burns Beach | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Since Rondeau Provincial Park was on the way, we figured we might as well add another checkmark to our parks checklist! The beach sand was so soft. On the way out we spotted something… can you see it?

Rondeau Provincial Park | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Rondeau Provincial Park | kbarlowdesign.com blog

A garter snake! It was sunning itself, and quite small – I haven’t seen a beige one before!

Rondeau Provincial Park | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Three down, plenty more to go – loving exploring our beautiful province!
Parks Guides | kbarlowdesign.com blog

Client Feature: SaraBees

Client Feature: SaraBees | kbarlowdesign.com

Sara loves to capture every day people doing every day things. She’s a big believer in capturing the day-to-day things that make up the majority of our lives. While weddings and special events are a blast and come with excitement and energy, she also wants to make sure that the other aspects of our lives – like walks in the park, hobbies, or hanging out at home are part of your story that’s told through photography as well. That’s why her favourite line: “No dress rehearsal, this is our life.” by The Tragically Hip speaks to her so much.

Sara was so great to work with, we connected right away agreeing about seeing the joy in everyday life. She had the perfect mix of knowing what she wanted while also being completely open to whatever I came up with. It was so much fun to go through her Pinterest board, and get inspired by the things that inspired her. These little clues – like Pinterest boards, my Scales for Tone document and Business Elements document – they help me to get down to the true look and feel that clients are going for. While sometimes it may seem obvious, when you’re trying to set a look for yourself it can be completely overwhelming and difficult to pick just one direction. That’s where I come in. We go through all your ideas and through my “clue collecting”, I help you figure out what it is you’re really trying to say about your company specifically to your target market

I loved getting to know Sara and working with her both on her logo and then implementing her new branding on her website. It’s truly one of my favourite parts of this job – getting to meet such incredibly talented, sweet, friendly people!

Learn more about my work with Sara »

Client Feature: Christine Felstead

Client Feature: Christine Felstead | kbarlowdesign.com

Christine and I started working together in 2011, a relationship that immediately felt like a collaboration. We’ve worked together closely over the past seven years building her brand, her new website, her social media presence, and bouncing ideas off each other for new ways to show off her many talents as a yoga teacher, a mentor, a product maker (her book and DVDs are crazy popular for a reason) and more!

I love that I can send an idea her way even if I’m not sure about it and ask what she thinks, if it’s pushing it too much, or not enough, and how we can make improvements to the suggestions either one of us brings to the table.

Business aside, Christine is also incredibly kind, caring, and puts her whole heart out for people. She truly loves to help others, and that is so wonderfully obvious and genuine. I’ve been so fortunate to have met her and be able to both watch and be part of her business growing and changing as she does, while maintaining her consistent desire to inspire others to keep moving their bodies, no matter what.

Learn more about my work with Christine »

Client Feature: Pen Jar Productions

Client Feature: PenJar Productions | kbarlowdesign.com

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Alison Garwood-Jones for years on her blog, which showcases her writing and illustrative talents. I was so thrilled when she launched her Shopify store, Pen Jar Productions to let others bring home a piece of that talent! From pillows to tech accessories, her unique illustrative style injects colour and whimsy to any room!

Alison is hands down one of my favourite people to work with. She’s bright, friendly, funny, and always excited to learn something new.

Check out her shop here »