Opening a package to discover a handmade holiday gift can make for a sweet memory of the season and for years to come. The work of the maker translates into an appreciation for the time given to the project. It also shares the thought in choosing it for the recipient.

Conveying these sentiments this holiday may be especially poignant. A handmade gift can form a connect often not found in something mass produced.


Making your own gifs to give can be an intimidating prospect so we reached out to our artist friend Ricki Oltean-Lepp, owner of The Local Maker in Kingsville, for some advice. For those of you who have visited us on Pelee Island in the past, Ricki and her partner Matt, were the owners of Connerlee’s Bakery on Pelee Island from 2004 – 2017. Her artwork and especially her hand-painted mugs are still a staple keepsake for visitors.

With a Fine Arts degree from The University of Waterloo, Oltean-Lepp knows a thing or two about creating beautiful art. However, her advice on creating has nothing to do with technique.

“First and foremost, you need to lose the fear,” she shares. “Let go of your expectations and let the joy of being creative find you. Then you can go about gathering your supplies, watching a Youtube video, or taking an online class. Better still, call up that crafty friend. Once you’ve got things in place let yourself play.”

Locally Made

If you’re a little doubtful that your skills won’t give you the end product you want, that’s okay. You can add homemade holiday touches by supporting local artisans at shops such as The Local Maker, owned by Oltean-Lepp, which can be found in many communities across the country.

The Local Maker in Kingsville supports over 25 local artists. There are so many creative, talented people that live right in our own community. The Local Maker provides a space for that creativity to bloom.

While in the shop, beautiful handmade pieces as well as inspiration for your own projects. Some utilize their love of upcycling. For others it’s a specific material or medium. Pulling your other interests into what you create keeps you engaged and will ensure you will enjoy the end product.

Adding Handmade to our Winery Gift Baskets

“We are happy to add in special handmade items to further personalize our wine baskets,” says Michael Lauzon, our Retail Manager in Kingsville.

Our Retail team could easily be hired as lead team members in Santa’s workshop. The experience they have in creating special wine baskets totals over 35 years!

Whether you’re doing it yourself or supporting a local artist, we encourage you to add a little local, handmade to your holiday season. Not only will it be more memorable for you, the recipient of your gift will cherish your offering for years to come.


For custom gift baskets, contact our Kingsville Retail Boutique at 519-733-6551.

Pssttt… Don’t forget while you’re here to sign up for our Birthday Club and receive a $20 Gift Voucher for your Birthday!