A Countryside Treasures’ Gift Guide to Supporting Local

Tucked away, just a short drive north of Kingston, is a little shop chock full of local gems just waiting to be discovered. The name says it all – Countryside Treasures – and couldn’t be more fitting for this trove of antique collectibles and small-batch wares. Operating in the rural community of Glenburnie, Ontario, this home-based boutique is a testament to an appreciation for handmade artistry with owner, Julie, passionately sourcing out artisan goods across Canada. What began as a love for beeswax candles (and a venture into making her own scented creations) is now a full-fledged business that offers a wide variety of local, handmade treasures for any occasion. This is amazing for someone, like me, who excitedly slips market days and maker events into her schedule whenever she can – there’s no need to wait! Open rain or shine, all year round, Countryside Treasures is a wonderful one-stop shop for those artisanal finds!

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When Julie reached out to see if I’d be interested in doing a few product reviews on Just Your Average Gal, I immediately agreed and decided to make this post into a Gift Guide for those who love to support local. I, myself, LOVE the thrill of finding (and commissioning!) those truly personal, handmade creations for myself and loved ones. And I love using my blog as a platform to showcase local makers and businesses! There’s just something about knowing the story behind a product that makes it feel particularly special. Below, are pictures I snapped of some of the cute displays on the shop floor and a variety products I was lucky enough to take home and test out for myself!

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Countryside Treasures

Beeswax Wax Melts…for the one who loves to keep their home smelling delicious!

Jar of 9-10 ‘mini’ melts…$10.00
100% handmade, with love, in Glenburnie, Ontario

What I particularly love about these melts is the fact that they’re a much safer and cleaner alternative to others on the market. It wasn’t until I stopped by the shop and did some research of my own that I learned how beneficial beeswax candles are in neutralizing pollutants in the air. Burning these candles actually produces negative ions that help eliminate dust, odors and mold hanging around in your home! I suffer from all kinds of environmental allergies (no matter the time of year) so I’m thrilled that something I use every day can help lessen my symptoms! Made with a blend of pure Ontario beeswax, organic coconut oil and high-grade fine fragrance, these Inner Flicker melts are all-natural, non-toxic and air-purifying. This means, no nasty chemicals! Compatible with any warmer you’ve got on-hand, they offer more than 70 hours of burning time and are hand-poured and cut onsite – a true labour of love!

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With over 25 fragrances to choose from, there’s something for everyone!

I’m a “baked goods” kinda gal when it comes to fragrance so the Momberry melts immediately caught my attention! Almost Sisters was an easy second choice! THESE SCENTS ARE AMAZING! Momberry is like a delicious slice of berry cheesecake with notes of blueberry, vanilla bean, brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s truly decadent! Don’t be surprised if you suddenly start craving something sweet! And Almost Sisters smells like everything I love about Autumn – crisp leaves on a cool wind, Thanksgiving dessert and the colours of Fall (if colours could have a fragrance!). This one has sun-ripened cranberry and notes of orange and spiced berry, making it the ultimate cool weather melt! I imagine myself popping a few into my warmer and cuddling up on the couch with a tea and my favourite read. Each jar is refillable, so be sure to keep these babies on-hand when you visit the shop for a top-up. Love this!

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How cute are these little hearts?! It’s these personal touches – those tiny details that bring a smile to my face – that make supporting local a no-brainer!

Bee Cling  Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap…for the one who loves leftovers but hates single-use plastics! 

7×7 reusable wrap…$8.00
Handmade with locally-sourced beeswax from a reputable and ethical bee farm in Glenburnie, Ontario

Full disclosure, I was most excited to get my hands on these reusable cling wraps! What an ingenious idea! I’d heard of this product awhile back and, since then, was determined to incorporate them into the kitchen. And, truth be told, I always wondered how in the world these actually worked! So when Julie mentioned they would be included in my goody bag, I was really excited! I’m always trying to find ways to reduce my single-use consumption and this food wrap is an easy and affordable way to make sure I’m on the right track!

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In addition to their decorative element (I love these pretty patterns!), these all-natural wraps offer an eco-friendly alternative to food storage and protection. Every wrap is handmade with 100% cotton fabric, pure Ontario beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil and contains naturally-occurring antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which help keep foods fresh and crisp. If you’re wondering how these guys manage to “cling” to your leftovers, all you need to do is run your wrap under cold water and mold (wrap) it over the top of your dish, simply using the heat from your hands! I found it surprisingly easy and was extremely impressed with how strongly the wrap held (I even tipped my bowl upside down!).  The only thing to keep in mind is that they’re not intended for wrapping meat or fish due to the potential cross-contamination of bacteria. As shown above, I’ve used mine to wrap some grapefruit! They’re perfect for fruits and veggies!

But my absolute favourite thing about these wraps is their longevity. You really get the best bang for your buck! Each 7×7 wrap will last approximately 6-12 months, depending on how often you use it. This, in and of itself, makes them a great investment in my books. Countryside Treasures will also re-wax your wraps as often as you need for a small fee ($4-$5 depending on the strength of wrap you’ve purchased) so this pretty much guarantees that the only reason you’d need to buy another one is because they’re just so darn cute! All you need to do is rinse (with soap and cool water!), dry and repeat!

The Home, Made Happy

Reusable Sandwich Baggie…for the one who loves to snack on-the-go!

Sandwich baggie…$12.00
Manufactured and packaged in Halifax, Nova Scotia

With my beeswax cling wrap keeping our perishables fresh, next on the list is a handy reusable sandwich baggie to tote my snacks and sandwiches around in! Yet another way to eliminate single-use plastics at home! I’m loving this! I chose this pattern, particularly, because it reminded me of a Coach purse , but there is a wonderful variety of prints to choose from besides the one shown below. Each baggie has a cotton exterior with a durable food-safe, waterproof lining. This means ultimate protection for your sandwich or snacks and easy day-to-day cleanup. With no velcro or zippers to contend with (yay for no unnecessary accessories!), you don’t have to worry about dirt and leftover food  accumulating in those hard-to-reach places. This simple design means no hassle or headache over missing buttons or broken tabs! I like how snugly my snacks fit – I don’t have to worry about anything spilling out and staining my lunch bag! – and how versatile this product is. There are very few limits to what you can store in it or where you can take it! To care for your baggie, wipe out crumbs or spills each day as they occur. If the exterior gets dirty, simply wash with cold water and gentle detergent with the dishes or in the laundry! Easy peasy!

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Stainless Steel Straws (with Cleaning Tool) & Pouch…for the one who likes to drink responsibly!

Stainless steel straws with cleaning tool…$9.00
Manufactured and packaged in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Again, this is right up my alley! Whenever Steve and I opt to treat ourselves to fast food, I always make sure to forgo the plastic straw with my drink. Normally, I won’t use a lid either! Suffice to say, I was thrilled to receive not one but TWO stainless steel straws from The Home, Made Happy! You’ve got the choice of a straight or bent option with each pack, so pick your preference and gift the other! Or, keep both like I plan to!

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Featured above: The Home, Made Happy’s Straw Pouch, 2 food-grade 18/8 Stainless Steel Straws and nifty Cleaning Tool! **fork and spoon are my own**

The first thing I noticed about this product (and all of the goodies I received from this company), is the minimalist recyclable packaging. I really appreciate this! Too often (especially when I order something online), I have to toss loads of plastic packaging into the garbage! Yuck! And I love that you get a nifty cleaning tool too! This tool is long, thin and flexible enough to clean both straws thoroughly after each use and the bristles have just the right amount of toughness to scrub away any hard-to-reach residue! You can also pop your straw into the dishwasher too! We don’t have a dishwasher at home, so I’m happy to have this little tool on-hand! Wash each straw with warm, soapy water before first use and you’re ready to enjoy each and every beverage from here on out!

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Spoon and fork are my own but you can buy the 2-pack of reusable straws and pouch as a gift set! Perfect!

Reusable straw pouch…$15.00
Manufactured and packaged in Halifax, Nova Scotia

These straws pair perfectly with The Home, Made Happy’s straw pouch! How cute! Made from 100% cotton, with a waterproof polyurethane laminate (PUL) lining, this pouch is the perfect companion to your straw or cutlery when you’re on the go! Normally, I fling my spoon or fork into the bottom of my bag when I’m hurriedly preparing my lunch in the morning, so this pouch is handy to keep the cutlery together and uncontaminated! I love the east coast feel of this one with it’s funky lobster design! Clean up is easy with a simple swipe to the interior with a damp dish cloth and a spot clean to the exterior. Super low-maintenance! Soiled straws and utensils have their home so that nothing else in your bag gets dirty. Perfect if you’re packing a picnic lunch, hiking it out or heading out on your annual family camping trip! This pouch can literally be taken anywhere!

Reusable Cloth Shopping Bag…for the one who loves to shop in style!

Cloth shopping bag…$20.00
Manufactured and packaged in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Firstly, I love the pattern of this reusable cloth bag! The Home, Made Happy does a wonderful job in choosing those beautiful (and durable) fabrics for their products. With summer just around the corner, I opted for a floral pattern. Those who know me, are not at all surprised by this! I love flowers of any kind, real or otherwise! There are a few features, in particular, that I really appreciate about this bag and the first is its thick straps. There’s nothing more laborious than carrying a heavy load of groceries and holding onto a thin strap that’s digging into your hand or shoulder! Ouch! And I love the fact that I can also have the strap rest on my shoulder! Sometimes, I find that there’s not enough room to carry a bag this way and my trip from the car to the apartment becomes instantly more strenuous! Lastly, this bag is super compact! With a snap enclosure, you can wrap your bag tight into itself and not have to worry about it coming undone (or trying to cram your bag back into a tiny pouch!). This means, it can go where you go! Perfect for a quick nip out to the grocery store, these bags can hold about two plastic grocery bags worth of produce. To care for your bag, simply wash in cold water and tumble or hang to dry!

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Farm Fresh Photography & Oink Oink Handmade Products

Oink Oink Lip Balm & Soap…for the one who loves to love the skin they’re in!

Sweet pea lip balm…$3.50
Manufactured and packaged in Sterling, Ontario

Firstly, this lip balm smells divine! I’m a balm gal through and through (I keep a tube on me at all times!) and this Sweet Pea version is a great addition to my collection. Handmade with beeswax, lard, shea butter, coconut oil and pure honey, these cute little lip balms help soothe the lips, act as a great moisturizer and provide just the right amount of shine – a huge bonus when I want to dress my lips up but don’t want to dry them out with lipstick! If you’re in the market for some new lip care products, be sure to check out their wide selection – everything from peppermint to berries and cream! Great variety and all 100% natural! It’s always a wonderful thing when you can pronounce each ingredient! 🙂

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Wildflower soap bar…$6.00
Manufactured and packaged in Sterling, Ontario

Similar to the lip balm mentioned above, this Wildflower soap has a wonderfully subtle floral fragrance. Since I’m sensitive to certain scents (especially sprays!), I’m happy when I come across a product that doesn’t throw me into a sneezing fit! Made with lard, coconut oil, lye, tea, essential oil and dried wildflowers, this bar has a really soothing feel to it when you lather it up – it’s very soft and creamy! During the workday, I’m constantly wearing gloves and using harsh hand sanitizer that dries my hands out. Oink Oink Handmade Products takes care to use ingredients that not only clean your skin but moisturize and prevent dryness. Perfect on it’s own or included in something like a ‘spa day’ care package or gift set, these soaps add a cute little personal touch (I love the addition of real dried wildflowers!) for those who love to support local and care for the skin they’re in!

Little Bee & Me Boutique

Natural Exfoliating Facial Scrubber Pads & Soap Saver…for the one who loves to get their suds on!

Facial scrubber pads…$6.00/3-pack
Manufactured and packaged in Perth Road, Ontario 

I’m always for a pop of colour with my products, and these cute little homemade facial scrubber pads from Little Bee & Me Boutique fit the bill! (this 3-pack also comes in white, beige and grey for the neutral-tone lovers out there!) They couldn’t have come at a better time, too, because some of my own are pretty much on their last legs! Again, I’m a fan of the minimalist packaging that my products are coming in. Less packaging means less waste and more opportunity for each product to speak for itself! These scrubber pads are a great way to get that extra lather with your face wash for an added touch of indulgence. Way better than just applying with your hands! The fabric feels wonderfully soft on my skin – these pads don’t feel rough on the face but still make you feel like you’re getting a deeper cleanse without any harsh scrubbing. Using one first thing in the morning is a great way to wake yourself up (if you’re anything like me, you need the extra pick-me-up!) and invigorate the skin!

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Soap saver…$6.00
Manufactured and packaged in Perth Road, Ontario

This is a nifty little toiletry! To use, simply add a soap bar to the bag, gently tighten the drawstrings and run under warm water to get that sudsy goodness going! Just like their facial scrubber pads, this soap saver helps keep a consistent lather going while gently stimulating circulation and exfoliating the skin. I love how soft my soap feels! I don’t have to worry about my soap becoming mushy either and this is a huge bonus! Not only does it increase my bar’s lifespan, it eliminates messy soap buildup in the shower. Awesome! Machine washable, these soap savers are a much more sanitary alternative to the traditional loofa. After each use, hang to dry until ready to use again!

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Countryside Treasures is located at 1340 Unity Road – a hidden gem that is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike! For additional details on the products above, I’ve linked each one to their website. Simply click the links for more information or to browse other handcrafted wares on offer! A huge thank you to those makers who were kind enough to gift me their treasures for review – I love being introduced to new favourites and had the best time testing these products for this post!

I hope this Gift Guide inspired you all to explore your own maker community! Leave a comment below about why you love to support local! Have you stopped by Countryside Treasures in your travels? I’d love to know what you discovered!

Happy shopping everyone!

K

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