July and August are our favourite months of the summer season. Yet, there is that certain something about August, specifically. Perhaps it’s the reminder that the warm, lazy weeks of summer are numbered before the autumn breeze starts to make its appearance, with the turning leaves, inspiring us all to run out and buy new pencils, notebooks, and start new projects. Until then, we remind ourselves to cherish these fast-moving days and make special memories with the people we love.

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We recently returned from a week-long getaway with the kids to Kincardine, Ontario. We spent our days visiting a few other small towns and the beaches along the shore of Lake Huron. And of course, we loved the countless hours of playing on the waves, some outdoor yoga, and evenings spent by the firepit.

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Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become one of our favourite summer activities. Although we are still working to keep a steady balance on the waves, we prefer calm waters for now. Thanks to Pawel’s parents, who stayed with us for the first couple of days and generously offered to watch the kids, we didn’t miss our chance to get on the boards to enjoy the spectacular sunset, as well as the sunrise the following morning.

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Now that we are back (and missing the beach immensely), we have been stirred by views of the charming lighthouses and beautiful seashells to create nautical-themed jewellery pieces.

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Here are the first few designs:

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We will add these pieces to our website within the next few weeks. So, stay tuned for updates! We will publish our blog once a week, on Tuesdays. To ensure that you do not miss any updates, please take a moment to subscribe to our blog. Also, ‘like’ us onย Facebook and follow us onย Instagram for additional updates. In the meantime, we hope you also will have a chance to get outside and enjoy these precious days, regardless of the weather.

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We have been receiving requests for unisex accessories. We listened and created belt buckles! Ta-da!

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Rosewood Burl belt buckle

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Some of our buckles, such as theย Black Vein Cocobolo and the Rosewood Burl buckles, above, are made without inlay, to showcase the beauty of the wood itself.

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Other buckles, such as this Pommele Bubinga ‘River’ buckle, are inlaid with blue crushed shell.

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And we also have funky designs!

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All the buckles are approximately 3″ X 2″. On the back of the piece is a metal hook that easily attaches to your favourite snap belt.

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Here’s how it works!

Check out all the pieces in our online shop, and let us know what you think! Remember: we love custom orders. If there is a specific design that you would love to have on a belt buckle, send us a note: info@dharmawanderlust.com

As I mentioned in my previous post, Pawel and I had the pleasure to being a vendor at the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show last weekend. This was our first show since our official launch a year ago. Heading into the show, we kept our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open to the different possibilities. Generally, we consider ourselves to be open-minded and open-hearted people who love to explore new ideas and can never find enough time in the day for everything about which we’re passionate.

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It also follows that we embarked on a new journey of exploration not even after but during the course of the show. Every evening, while driving home, we discussed the day’s events and shared our ideas. And it just so happened that we each immediately agreed on every single point that the other person raised. How about that for a married couple! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, to explain how we arrived at the current entrepreneurial point in the life of Dharma Wanderlust, allow me to backtrack. In 2008, Pawel first started playing with woodworking. He transformed our one-car garage into a workshop, purchased a few machines, and went to work! Pawel started with wood turning, and later started to play with a scroll saw, making puzzles. Our children love to play with the puzzles he made for them!

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He may have just been experimenting, but everyone to whom he showed his work was thoroughly impressed with Pawel’s precision and craftsmanship. I encouraged him to continue working on this new hobby. And of course, he made a few beautiful items for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Among my favourites are a gorgeous pen he turned for me, as well as this beautiful vase with three Purpleheart flowers inside:

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This piece travelled with us to the yoga show and many clients asked whether it was available for sale!

And because I’m absolutely obsessed with faeries, this is another gift Pawel made for me:

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To continue my story… About two years ago, Pawel wanted to take his passion for woodworking a step further and created an online shop called Creations from G. This shop allowed him to showcase his creativity. He was already making yoga-inspired jewellery at the time, but he also turned impeccable wine bottle stoppers, and they were highly popular!

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Somewhere along the line, we decided to create Dharma Wanderlust and felt that our clients would be interested in seeing only yoga- and nature-inspired jewellery, as opposed to an entire range of items. So, we put aside our other interests and moved toward jewellery.

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Allow me to be frank and vulnerable here. I have always been a girl of many interests. Even in high school, I spent my free time taking voice and dance lessons, practising yoga and meditation, sketched and painted, designed and sewed clothes (including prom dresses for a few friends), knit, and wrote (I started to do freelance writing when I was still in high school). When it came time to choosing a university major, I was torn between which passion to pursue: fashion design or journalism. I was accepted to both schools, which didn’t make the decision any easier for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did end up majoring in journalism, but all the while, I continued to knit, dance whenever I could, and spent more and more time focusing on fitness and yoga. Throughout that time, I received a lot of criticism from people who told me that it’s time to choose just one serious occupation, as opposed to ‘dabbling’ in this and that. Those comments affected me more than I realized, became a source of uncertainty and took away from my self-confidence.

So, naturally, when Pawel and I chose to start Dharma Wanderlust, I felt we would not be taken seriously if we were to offer a variety of products.

How wrong I was!!!

Since launching Dharma Wanderlust, we have enjoyed great success and our jewellery is now featured on the retail shelves of local yoga studios. We are proud of our work. In the background, I have continued my personal exploration and have learned to accept my myriad interests. I now know that it’s perfectly okay to continue to pursue various interests at the same time. I wouldn’t want to hold myself and my partner back by restricting our self-expression.

Phew!

At the show last weekend, we came to the realization that our main focus has always been on HANDCRAFTED work, as opposed to jewellery. We are not a jewellery company. We are an artisan business. That is the future of Dharma Wanderlust: handcrafted, unique items made with love.

Photo: We are always growing! We don't believe in staying in one place for too long, settling for what has been tried and tested. We believe in choosing adventure over stagnation. We love to travel, and even when we don't have a chance to pack our bags and go someplace new, we make our own adventure in other ways. Our personalities are multifaceted. We enjoy a variety of books, activities, and our friends would say that we have more hobbies than we can manage. And we're okay with that. Most of those activities involve crafting, working with our hands, and always creating, creating, creating. That is who we are.</p> <p>We put all our love and passion into creating beautiful items for you to enjoy. We have been listening to your suggestions and have combined them with our own interests. The result will be Dharma Wanderlust travelling in a few new directions. We will continue with our yoga line, of course, but will also introduce new items for a wide audience, based on our other interests. </p> <p>So, watch this space!</p> <p>Katia and Pawel<br /> Dharma Wanderlust

As a couple and business partners, we are always growing! We don’t believe in staying in one place for too long, settling for what has been tried and tested. We believe in choosing adventure over stagnation. We love to travel, and even when we don’t have a chance to pack our bags and go someplace new, we make our own adventure in other ways. Our personalities are multifaceted. We enjoy a variety of books, activities, and our friends would say that we have more hobbies than we can manage. And we’re okay with that. Most of those activities involve crafting, working with our hands, and always creating, creating, creating. That is who we are.

We put all our love and passion into creating beautiful items for you to enjoy. We have been listening to your suggestions and have combined them with our own interests. The result will be Dharma Wanderlust travelling in a few new directions. We will continue with our yoga line, of course, but will also introduce new items for a wide audience, based on our other interests and our true passion.

We are currently working to re-design our website and will add MANY additional categories to the existing jewellery line. We are excited about these changes and are looking forward to sharing them with you as soon as they are ready.

Watch this space for updates!

Pawel and I had a booth at the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show last weekend and had a great experience. I will write more about that in an upcoming post.

We had the pleasure of meeting many interesting clients, as well as our booth neighbours, and it was a pleasure to chat with them about their products. Since we love to support local artists, designers, and enterpreneurs, in general, I must tell you about one of our booth neighbours. Kristi is the ingenius designer and chief fashionpreneur of Encircled, an eco-friendly, Canadian-designed and -made line of travel-inspired versatile clothing pieces that can be worn many different ways.

I was immediately impressed by her collection and am thrilled to now be the owner of a gorgeous Chrysalis Cardi in Raspberry.

There are so many fabulous ideas for how to wear this piece — as a one-shoulder dress, a Grecian dress, an infinity scarf (three possibilities), a cape, or a cardigan in a few variations. I love good-quality pieces that can be transformed from one look to a completely different one in just under a minute.

I have been enjoying experimenting with the many possibilities, and here is one of them:

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I put on the cardi on my way to teach a class, and of course, I had to get Pawel to take a picture before heading out the door. The feel of the fabric is fantastic! I love the luxurious softness! I’m also looking forward to wearing the dress in the summer months on the patio.

Drape it differently, flip, twist, and I ended up with a couple of snaps at the front, which allowed me to close the cardigan in the front:

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Keep an eye out for Encircled! I have a feeling you will be seeing and hearing more about it in the near future.

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This time, here’s an original recipe that I invented intuitively in the kitchen. Toronto had another big snowfall just a couple of days ago, so although the spring season is almost on our doorsteps, winter feels that its visit is not over just yet. So, I continue to cook body-and-soul-warming soups and this one was perfect for the weather.

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Red Lentil and Quinoa Soup by Dharma Wanderlust

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa (cooked according to package instructions)

1 tsp ghee

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp fennel seed

1/2 tsp coriander, ground

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 bell peppers (I used yellow and red peppers)

1 cup of red lentils, rinsed well

3 cups of vegetable stock or water

2 tsp salt

1/2 lime, juiced

chopped cilantro and tahini (optional), for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat the ghee in a soup pot, then reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute.

2. Add the cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and chili powder and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute.

3. Add the chopped peppers to the pot and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the lentils, stock or water and the salt, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.

5. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup well. Then, stir in the lime juice.

6. To serve, spoon 2-3 tbsp quinoa into a bowl and pour the soup over top. Stir in a tbsp of tahini into the soup and garnish with cilantro (optional).

Enjoy!

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We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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Katia (Dharma Wanderlust)

We invited you to send in your questions to us about anything related to our work. So, allow us to answer…

Question: “I saw that you are now making malas. They are stunning! When can I buy one?”

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We have been planning for a while now to start making malas, and we are thrilled to introduce them soon. We are currently working on full-length malas, as well as stacks. Each item will feature one of our unique pendants.

We will officially introduce the malas at the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show, to be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 28th to the 30th. We are very excited about joining the show this year and look forward to meeting you there!

Question: “Where do you get the great ideas for the shapes of the wood pendants?”

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Our yoga-and-meditation-inspired pieces are in the shape of a lotus blossom. We love the image of the lotus and its symbolism of purity and clear focus. Other collections were inspired by nature: water, landscapes, sand, canyons, and of course, the bees! Many of our designs are created from the natural shapes and grooves within the pieces of wood we choose to use. We enjoy working with natural ‘imperfections’ of the wood, inlaying the grooves with turquoise or crushed shell. Some pieces of wood we use already look intriguing, so we do not do much to change the original shape of the piece. For example:

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The above piece, Surrender to Dance, was simply sanded and polished. And it happens to be available on our site right now!

All these factors contribute to the unique nature of our work. We enjoy one-of-a-kind pieces, and even the ones we reproduce will always be unique in some way, as there are always going to be colour variations in the wood and inlay we use.

Question: “What is it like to be working together as a married couple?”

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Great question! ๐Ÿ™‚ To avoid stepping on each other’s toes, we allow each other plenty of space to work separately and then meet to exchange ideas. Because our schedules do not always match, with Pawel working out of the house during the day and with me teaching yoga classes in the evenings, we email each other throughout the day to stay in the loop. While some couples spend their Saturday nights out at dinner-and-movie dates, we wait until the kids are in bed and then sit in the living room, stringing malas! Pawel and I have very different personalities, but we complement each other perfectly, which allows us to work well together.

Question: “What do you eat for breakfast?”

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Chocolate, of course! No, just kidding, though, we have experimented with chocolate making in the past. Hence the photo above. We love to make things with our hands, in case you were wondering. ๐Ÿ™‚ Back to the question… Pawel is a cereal-and-milk guy who loves organic cereal by Nature’s Path. I usually have quinoa or steel-cut oats with dried fruit, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds, as well as coconut oil, lots of cinnamon, and hemp seeds or cacao nibs. As a Vata girl, I need my wholesome, heavier breakfast. In the summer, I enjoy smoothies for breakfast. We love our lattes and I alternate coffee with Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and honey.

That’s it for now. Thank you to everyone who sent in their questions! We hope you have enjoyed getting to know us better.

Love,

Katia (Dharma Wanderlust)

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So, you’ve looked at, and maybe even have worn our jewellery and think it’s awesome. Right? What you may not know is how unique each piece truly is, and how much love we put into designing and crafting each and every item. Curious? Allow us to take you on a tour of our home studio and explain the process we use to craft the jewellery!Image

The first detail you may observe is that Pawel is shockingly handsome we do, in fact, work out of the car garage that is attached to our house! Yes, that is what constitutes our studio space. Voila! Nothing fancy, but it serves our needs. Thankfully, we have a great space heater, which helps to keep us warm in the middle of the chilly Ontario winter.

Our design process is often what we refer to as ‘organic’ — a ubiquitous term that, nevertheless, effectively describes the unstructured creative process we use. This is particularly true of Katia, who loves natural, easily flowing forms. When we receive each delivery of the gorgeous, carefully sourced (read: sustainably grown) wood, we love to hold it in our hands and notice its natural properties. Based on the appearance of the wood, we decide what to do next and how the finished piece will look. At other times, we decide on a design in advance and either hand-draw it onto the wood or sketch it on the computer and print out the final design, to be transferred onto the wood. This latter process is favoured by Pawel, who is a natural engineer and careful planner. We then hand-cut the piece individually (which means each piece of Dharma Wanderlust jewellery is unique in many ways). The majority of the wooden jewellery and other wooden items on the market are laser-cut. Hand-cutting takes additional time and effort. When we inlay the piece or glue several pieces of wood together to create a design, the inlay/gluing process comes next.

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Next, we sand the piece using ever-finer grits of sandpaper.Image

Finally, we polish the piece several times, and apply natural wax for lasting shine.

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And the result is one that we hope you will continue to love!

So, as we hope you can see, we truly love what we do and infuse all our designs with love. Our intention is for you to enjoy wearing each unique piece we create for many, many years to come.

In our next blog post, we’ll tell you more about ourselves. So, if you have questions for us, feel free to send them our way! Simply leave a comment here, or connect with us via Facebook.com/dharmawanderlust

Following the holidays, our older son has started school and once again, I face the fun-but-somewhat-daunting challenge of coming up with exciting snacks to pack in his lunch bag. Like their parents, both our children have a sweet tooth. I always look for new, healthy recipes for treats. And so, I turned once again to Gwyneth Paltrow’s book It’s All Good. I shared another recipe from the book in the past, for gluten-free sweet potato spice muffins.

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This time, I decided to try the Bummer Bars recipe from the book. And we were very impressed. This is a quick and simple recipe to which I will return over and over again.

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As with most other recipes, I encourage you to play and substitute the original ingredients to find your own favourite variation of the bars. That is exactly what I did. Here is the original recipe from the book, with my substitutions listed in brackets:

 

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Bummer Bars

Ingredients:

 

1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes (I used rolled oats)

1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

A pinch of fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup good-quality maple syrup

2 tbsp brown rice syrup (I omitted this altogether)

1/2 cup chopped prunes or apricots (I used both prunes and apricots and also added raisins)

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used walnuts, but next time will omit the nuts in order to be able to pack the bars for my son to take to school, as per the school board’s policy)

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a brownie pan with parchment paper. Note: I used a 8 X 11 inch pan. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and pour the mixture into the pan. Pack the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Bake for 1/2 hour, or until the bars have firmed up and are golden brown. Let cool before removing from the pan.

You can lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into rectangles and serve right away, or store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

XO Katia (Dharma Wanderlust)