If you’ve been drooling over the chunky knit blankets all over Instagram and Pinterest, you’re not alone. I’ve been wanting to splurge on one for myself for a while, and when I saw this beauty by Leo & Bea at my friend Piya’s shop, The Handpicked Home, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. These blankets are gorgeous! And with Mother’s Day coming up it’s the perfect time to splurge on one for yourself or drop some hints to the hubby.
But before I gush about these beautiful blankets too much, I should also mention that the lady behind the business, Dani, is one inspiring lady. Not only has she drawn creative inspiration from her late Mother who was an art teacher, she’s also created a beautiful business out of a challenging experience. Instead of letting things get her down, she is full of energy and optimism which shines through (and why I gave this post the title I did). I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with Dani, and even more so as she has kindly offered up one of her beautiful blankets to giveaway to a blog reader.
When you scroll down to enter, I hope you’ll also take the time to read a little more about Dani and Leo & Bea (how she chose the name will tug at your heartstrings). My blanket from Leo & Bea is something special that I’d like to keep clean and free of stains (we all need something that is just our own, free from the evidence of crumbs and handprints kids leave everywhere) but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying lots of snuggles and cozying up with my loved ones in it, because life’s about the moments and memories more than anything else.
Here’s a little about Danielle and why you’ll fall even more in love with Leo & Bea
Danielle (or Dani as she likes to be called) lost both of her parents to Cancer, losing her Mom when she was 15 and her Dad when she was 25. Her Mom was an art teacher, and is the person who Dani draws inspiration from, helping her explore her new creative career. Originally from Nova Scotia, Dani moved to BC 15 years ago and taught herself to arm knit after being laid off from her career as an Optometric Technician, a position she’d help for 9 years. Instead of being discouraged, she took it as an opportunity to explore her creative side and created Leo & Bea, naming her business after her maternal grandparents, Leo and Beatrice. While she never knew her Nana, she has fond memories of her Grandfather who outlived his wife and only child, and who ‘lived and loved with all his heart’.
In addition to knitting and macrame, Dani also paints. It’s during the time that she’s creating that she feels close to her Mom, which is part of why she’s so passionate about what she does. Her strong spirit and optimism shine through and I find her mantra a good reminder for when life gets challenging, something she’s drawn upon after each of her parents’ passing: Even when we fall down, it’s forward. Dust yourself off and keep moving forward. When you see Dani’s work, it’s no surprise it’s as beautiful as it is, given the person who created it. Sometimes you meet people who breath fresh air into things, and Dani is one of them, her positive energy is contagious. A big thank you to Dani for giving me the chance to get to know her and work together. This post has meant more to me than the photos show- it’s given me a fresh perspective I really needed, and reminded me to take a step back to reflect on what I have to be grateful for.
If you’d like to see some of Dani’s other beautiful work- including her arm knit blankets- visit Leo & Bea on Etsy and follow them on Instagram for workshop info, sales, contests, and more.
Want to wrap yourself up in one of these beautiful knits?
Enter below for your chance to win one of Leo & Bea’s arm knit blankets!
I am always inspired by how many hard working and talented women there are and love hearing their success stories of turning their passion into a flourishing business. This past Summer my Mum came back from a weekend away to the Okanagan loaded up with products from a company that she couldn’t stop talking about. Everything from the products themselves to the lady behind the business had her beyond impressed. Like me, she’s quite dedicated to going natural/ chemical free, and as an someone who has kept her asthma in check, is proof of the difference these choices can make.
Knowing that I’m always on the look out for quality options to try out, and wanting to support the founder as she prepared to enter an exciting time growing her business, my Mum shared some of the products with me and suggested I look into the brand for our family. I was not only impressed by the products that I tried, I was inspired by the story of how the lady behind this brand has taken her passion and turned it into a successful business. Of course, having some technological knowhow does help you to extend the reach of your online business to more potential customers; Shopify SEO strategies can help those out looking to get their sites featured higher in Google’s search results. I reached out to Kiley and asked if I could share her story on the blog, because of both my personal passion for supporting natural brands, and as an inspiring success story for others who want to pursue something they are passionate about. Her story is proof that it may take time and patience, but passion and dedication can take you to amazing places…
Research has found that our indoor air quality can be upward of 1,000 times more toxic than outdoor air. This is largely due to all the chemicals we bring into our homes from the cleaning products, laundry products, personal care products etc that we use. Many of these chemicals we use directly on our skin which ultimately finds its way into our blood stream. These chemical compounds also have a direct link to hypersensitivity in children, asthma, allergies, and some terminal illnesses.
“What harsh chemicals are we bringing into our homes and what are we putting on our bodies?”
After asking herself this question nine years ago, Kiley Routley started her own business, working out of her kitchen, when countless hours of research turned up some frightening information. Fascinated by aromatherapy, herbarium, the art of soap making, and making a variety of other earth friendly products, Kiley quickly became hooked by the alchemy of the process. At that point, Kiley’s own desire to create products that were as natural as possible began. Taking online courses and working directly with a herbalist (wildcrafting indigenous plants) and a aromatherapist proved to be rewarding as she pursued local farmers markets while raising her three children.
Kiley has since moved from her kitchen to a family run commercial store front and factory in Coldstream, BC. Setting up the facility was no easy task and involved contacting an industrial door company to get the front of her store looking fantastic so that it would catch the eyes of passers by. However the hard worked has paid off and footfall has been impressive ever since. Now with more than 9 years of research and knowledge, Kiley has assembled a great team that includes Herbalists, Aromatherapists, and Naturopathic Doctors, to help develop products that are safe, well researched, and effective. The products that Kiley’s company, Back to Earth, offers meet the highest standards possible in natural health and guarantee that they contain 95%+ natural and organic ingredients and 100% therapeutic grade essential oils.
Kiley has built up her business which now offers a wide variety of products that include bamboo- fiber cleaning cloths, personal care and baby products, household cleaners, water conservation products, bulk herbs, herbal remedies, teas and has just introduced cereal into it’s product lineup. Her products can now be found across Canada and in high end health spas. Consistent with it’s mission- “To improve health and take into consideration the delicate balance of our bodies and our environment”– and in an effort to be eco- friendly, all products are available in bulk in the company store in Coldstream to encourage the use of refillable containers. The company also offers workshops to teach those interested how to get ‘Back to Earth’.
Says Kiley, “Our goals are to provide honest, open, willing, accountable, responsibility that supports positive and empowered change locally, regionally, and nationally. We want to research, develop and provide quality and organic toxin-free herbal and medicinal personal care products, cleaning products, wildcrafted bulk herbs, herbal remedies, spices, tea, and cereal and to give back the knowledge and expertise through awareness, education, workshops and mentorship”.
Products to check out
Pea Herbal Baby Balm:
Made from local plants from the
Okanagan Valley that are infused into organic olive oil for 8-10 weeks before being added to local bees wax. This product works over night on diaper rash, as a
natural afterbite, belly butter, or moisturizer.
Dreams Herbal Decongestant:
Made from local plants from the
Okanagan Valley infused into organic liquid coconut oil with 100%
therapeutic grade essential oils. Used to aid in the
relief congestion and in place of commercial chemical vapor rubs.
Apply to the bottoms of the feet, chest, neck, under the nose and on the
ears. This product is made with little ones in mind and is safe for children.
Visit the Back to Earth website to learn more and view their product range.
You can also find them on social media:
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