Hi it’s Heather here. I’m the owner of the Sweet Brier Boutique and love to explore our little seaside community of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, with a different kind of lens. On this day, my mom Zena and daughter Sarah were along for the ride. So off we went with an iPhone, our puppies and some Sweet Brier clothing just waiting to be seen!
On our way to the beach we stopped off at the local Tim Horton’s. As we entered the parking lot we were greeted with a parade of vintage cars in every shape, size and color you can imagine. The Cumberland Car Club was out for a weekend drive. They say timing is everything:) Sporting one of our new Emily and Fin vintage style dresses (oh how I love these classic and comfortable dresses with their lined skirts and tiny polka dots we just brought in from England!), I dashed over to the proud owner of a gorgeous blue 1969 Dodge Coronet. ‘Do you mind if I have a picture taken with your car?,’ I asked. ‘Sure he says, take it for a spin if you want!’
With Sarah taking pics I bounced around the parking lot saying hello to the car owners who were visiting from parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. One of them kindly pointed out that I still had the tag on my dress. ‘I know,’ I said. ‘I’m advertising for the Sweet Brier Boutique just down the street!’ ‘What a great idea!’ she laughed.
One of the highlights of our day was stopping by this car. Clearly the owners have a sense of humour!
I mentioned looking at things with a different kind of lens. We didn’t plan to look at vintage cars this windy Sunday morning. Yes we could have zipped through the drive-through at the coffee shop and headed to our planned destination at the beach. Instead, we stopped to marvel at the beauty of these old classics and meet their owners. Oh the stories they can tell. And you’ll hear them … if you just listen.
I’ll be back next time with more photos and stories from the historic Ottawa House in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.
Cheers! – Heather
A few days ago Ashley and I enjoyed a visit at the Sweet Brier Boutique in Parrsboro with Hans Durstling. We’ve been seeking out people with a passion for their craft and offering to showcase their work. Nothing could have prepared us for the charm, wit and incredible talent of Hans or the ‘Unapproachable Jeweller’ as he likes to call himself. (He is actually very approachable, don’t let him kid you.)
Hans was first intrigued with the treasures of the earth as a 12 year old living in Truro Nova Scotia when neighbours brought him to Parrsboro where he discovered agate and amethyst near the cliffs along the powerful Bay of Fundy. Since then, Hans’ journey has included opal cutting for the president of the American Opal Society in Los Angeles and teaching and demonstrating at the world’s premiere gem exposition in Tucson Arizona. He is also a former CBC radio journalist. What impressed us most about Hans was his desire to be part of a community and to give back to that community by teaching and sharing his craft. This is what Parrsboro is all about … building a community of artists and artisans.
Back to the jewellery:) Ashley and I were anxious to see the beautiful agate pieces from a secret location in Parrsboro that Hans had, with great care and imagination, transformed into works of art and reminders of the sea.
There is more to the story but for now suffice it to say we are now thrilled to offer a limited collection of Hans’ Bay of Fundy Agate Pendants here at the Sweet Brier Boutique as well as some stunning copper bracelets. Thanks for the visit Hans! See you soon. We hope:)
Storytelling is such a Nova Scotia ‘thing’ so maybe that’s why it seems to come naturally to us at the Sweet Brier Boutique. We love to talk about our products, the people who make them, and their journey to our beautiful historic building at 177 Main. Take Joy’s rope mats for example (http://shop.sweetbrierboutique.com/products/authentic-hand-made). Joy started weaving her magic with rope she collected from local fisherman in Parrsboro and Advocate Harbour. When a friend saw one of her mats, they asked her to design some for the Age of Sail Museum. We loved them so much we wanted to offer them to our customers!
Or how about the lovely lotions and creams that come to us from some pretty amazing ladies in Conception Bay, Newfoundland? Indigena has figured out the magic of using local berries, leaves and other natural ingredients to create awesome skin care products for the most sensitive skin types. No testing on animals. Check. No chemicals. Check. Fun and creative? Check and check. For a gorgeous gift pack to sample five of their products … http://shop.sweetbrierboutique.com/products/gorgeous-indigena-all-natural-skincare-gift-pack
We love to support local artisans in rural communities and that could be rural anywhere. Heather just returned from a visit to the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. Driving around on the left hand side of the road in a right hand drive mini with a stick shift, she managed to avoid all the sheep and discover Alison Moore in the little town of Dounby.
Alison Moore designs the most gorgeous silver and gold jewelry inspired by the history and natural beauty of the Islands. By the sea, on a windswept island off the north Scottish coast lies a big old house… Intrigue about what is inside this and other old buildings led Alison to design solid silver key jewellery. Each key design is named after a house on the remote Orkney Islands, which Alison imagines could unlock secret rooms and passageways leading to magical wonderlands. We are thrilled to be the first in Canada to offer this amazing line of jewelry! To reserve your key pendant email Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org
So many stories to share. Until next time! Thanks for listening!
Heather & Ashley
Alright everyone, get ready to enjoy the Sweet Brier Boutique from the comfort of your own home! That’s right, our online boutique is up, running and ready for YOU! Have a look, we are so excited to share this new venture with you! #sweetbrieronline #fashion #online #shopping#accessories #Parrsboro #Canada #NovaScotia
It’s been close to two years since Heather purchased the Sweet Brier and re-opened its welcoming doors. The day of the grand opening on Old Fashioned Saturday Night, hundreds of people dropped by to visit and say hello and in the span of just a few hours there were 90 sales.
We have continued to be surrounded by the care and support of the people in the Town of Parrsboro. Friends have helped repair the garden fence and bring the garden back to life. They help us with interior repairs. They check in to make sure the staff are ok. Mystery treats are left for the team. They pick up and deliver products for us on their way to work out of town. They offer feedback on new products. They model for us. They offer to help us with our website. They take amazing photographs in minus 20 degree temperatures. They help decorate floats for the Christmas parade. They drop by or call with words of encouragement. They bring their visiting friends in to say hello. They are our cheerleaders and our fairy godmothers.
Very soon we will be launching our new online shopping site. We are very excited to be using this online presence to brag about some of the talents of our local artists and artisans and pay it forward to a community that has helped us so much.
We’ll be selling Authentic Fisher Rope Mats made by Joy Henderson, gorgeous wedding accessories by Mandy MacAleese and Miss Beans, fossil glass jewelry by The Jeremiah Tree Glass in Amherst, maple syrup products from Dickinson Brothers, paintings, prints and cards by the amazingly talented Joy Laking, photographs by none other than Len Wagg, vintage style sweaters and bonnets from Sugar Baby in Five Islands, and a new fashion line of exquisite dresses that will be announced shortly. And there will be more.
What a special place it is where neighbours and friends hold you up in good times and bad. It truly does ‘take a town.’
Heartfelt thanks from Heather, Ashley and Colleen – the gals at the Sweet Brier Boutique