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leap of faith, the ups and downs of creative life, Lunenburg

I am ending our month of Loving It Up on OMHG with my very own swan dive-thank you Tracey Selingo for having a piece of my safety net incase I go down in a blazing hot mess. I’ve got your book printed out and will keep it close while I jump. Also thanks to Laura Simms, your Roadmap to Action helped me get clear on where I am driving to not just the road I am on.

Until moving to Halifax I always felt like I had a community where I was valued. We’ve been here four years in January and I still haven’t found that sense of place. I’ve met some lovely friends here like Chara and Andrea who keep me from hopping on a plane but I’ve been feeling a need to leave/leap. I just didn’t know where. One place had been calling to me since we moved here so I asked Chris to take me to Lunenburg as a birthday present. It sounded lovely and I knew there was a thriving artistic community, a nearby Waldorf school, and heritage carpentry to interest Chris. Homeschooling Ila since our public school issues also had me looking for a place she could shine and the company of other like minded parents.

My birthday was the most beautiful day and we stopped in The Lunenburg Makery to check out their space in person. We had a great visit and I left my name and contact info just incase. It felt so good to spend my birthday talking and engaging with creative people-doing what makes me so happy online in person again. I came home to percolate on the idea of moving and covet houses.

When I threw my mother a New Year’s birthday party I sent out over 50 invites to everyone I had met in Halifax as a last ditch attempt at connecting here. Sadly only two of our invited guests and Chris’s parents came. Midnight found my mother and I talking late into the night drinking champagne alone.  I decided that night it was time to move somewhere again that when I throw a party the house is full of friends. Imagine how thrilled I was when after all our talk about moving I got an email from Leslie, owner of The Lunenburg Makery and Luvly in Lunenburg and partner at Novita Consulting, an amazing and inspiring woman! We had a lovely visit at my house and she arranged for the girls and I to visit Lunenburg last week and stay at the fabulous Lincoln apartment above Jenny Jib.

Leslie planned meetings, gatherings and get-togethers with so many incredible people during our visit. Poor Chris stayed home to start getting our house ready to put on the market. My week in Lunenburg would decide whether we leapt into a new town here or started looking at going back west. My mother came to Lunenburg with me to help out with the girls and share her mamasita intuition (I try not to leap without it!).

The Lunenburg Makery

Going to Lunenburg felt like coming home. There were visits and dinners with lots of laughter, friends to hold little hands, long talks about life, the universe, and everything. By the end of the week I couldn’t walk down the main street without seeing people and stopping to chat. Wednesday I had a lovely lunch with Micheline of Betty & Bing, who made this beautiful pie with font-y goodness outside and blueberry-y goodness inside.

Betty & Bing, blueberry pie, Lunenburg

That night I met with the Castaways knitting group at The Makery (I even stayed out until after 11pm!) an eclectic group of fibre lovers organized by Micheline. Thursday we spent the morning at the local market, hosted our #omhg chat from The Makery and I was part of the launch of their Craft, Paper, Scissors event where I met a great bunch of creative and interesting women. I wanted to steal all of them for one-on-one visiting!

On Friday Leslie and her inspirational and wonderful partner Brian, arranged a Makers Meal potluck and packed the room full of intelligent and creative people. Saturday I had coffee with Elisabeth a homeschooling, minister turned published cookbook author who welcomed my crazed kiddos to her home and sent me home with a copy of her book (yum!). I met artists, writers, musicians, editors, website developers, creative biz owners and so many more interesting people with diverse ideas and talents. There were discussions about building sustainable creative communities, the power of creativity, and the warmest feeling of acceptance and welcome. I had a busier social life and more hugs in one week there then a whole year in Halifax!

Coming back to the city left all of us feeling homesick for a place we haven’t even lived counting the hours until we can find our way back.  I couldn’t choose just one picture of our visit so have fun adventuring through town with us in the gallery below-click through for full sized pictures.

The icing on the cake is that Lunenburg is the most beautiful town any creative soul could wish to be part of. There is a sense of history and respect for handmade heritage everywhere without ever feeling like an anachronism or a quaint cliche tourist town. It is a vibrant and alive community full of people committed to building a wonderful place to live and preserving the culture of their town. Like all communities it has its quirks and downsides, our online world does too (we’ll be leaping into that together for our Entrepreneur Ethics theme coming up tomorrow!) but it is a place I can see loving for years to come and one I hope will love us right back. Our house in Halifax is in mid-renovation and feels like we are tearing down our stuck feelings and making space for new beginnings.  I’m leaping into love with Lunenburg with all of my heart-I’m going to work out the landing on the way, thankfully I have you along for the ride!

Sweet Indulgence Lunenburgabove: words of wisdom at Sweet Indulgence-failure always tastes better with cheesecake!

Have you ever taken a giant leap of faith on a community or a dream? What worked/didn’t work-would you do it again?

thank you Lunenburg, Carte Fini papers

The biggest thanks of all time to Leslie & Brian for welcoming us to Lunenburg with open arms and gratitude to the wonderful new friends we made during our stay. Thank you bouquet of flowers made with beautiful papers from Carte Fini crepe paper!

Jessika Hepburn

about the author

Jessika Hepburn has written 522 posts on Oh My! Handmade Goodness. A cheerful activist and community matchmaker I delight in using my connection superpowers to bring makers and entrepreneurs together in ways that lift us all up. I believe in cooperation over competition, relentless good cheer as an act of rebellion, and the power of using our hands to craft a brilliant future. OMHG is part social enterprise, part grand experiment, and all goodness-so pull up a chair or pitch in a hand to join in creating our supportive community!
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  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/nicolenorth-rodriguez/ Nicole North Rodriguez

    Oh, Jess, I’m so happy for you! What a wonderful move this will be for you!

    Moving to Florida was a big leap for me, since I moved here alone, site unseen outside of an afternoon of apartment/job hunting. I’m glad to have had the experience, but it’s taken a long time to find a handful of good friends & as much as I adore them, I don’t really connect with any of them on a creative/entrepreneurial level. Thank God I have my online posse for that!!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Thank you dear friends! Lesley & Sarah I know you are close enough to come visit me so once we are moved know that I would love to welcome you to my home anytime! Real time visits with you would be beyond lovely.

      Nicole-some places seem to be harder then others to make a space for ourselves. Yes, thank goodness our online crew I know I wouldn’t be 1/2 so joyous without you in my life. Don’t think Florida is a get out of jail free pass I full expect you to come visit me when it isn’t freezing here and then I will feel fine descending on you next February:)

      RJ-Your Lunenburg is waiting for you, I know it! Just might need to do some leaping and searching to find your way there-good luck!

  • http://www.smidgebox.etsy.com lesley {smidgebox}

    oh, jessika, this is so amazing. i am beyond thrilled for you, you have found your spot!! this is so exciting, i cannot wait to watch your adventure unfold. thanks for sharing!!

  • http://rjchamrs.etsy.com RJ

    Congrats on finding your new community! I can totally commiserate on how you felt prior to finding it… I hope I find my Lunenburg!

  • Sarah (mrsgryphon)

    This post just oozes excitement and joy – I remember Lunenberg fondly, but I think I need to go back as an adult :)

    We leapt with both feet last year, leaving a great community and solid jobs to come back “home”. It’s been 6 months, and I’m starting to feel like we’re finding our feet but it’s been tough, I won’t lie. Take it slow and don’t try to do everything all at once (like we did! Oops! Lesson learned!)

    Cheers to you and hoping that it all clicks into place for you!

  • Mlise

    What an amazing story!
    Congratualtions and good luck to all of you,
    mlise

  • http://bettyandbing.com/blog Micheline

    I’m missing you already. It was so much fun running into you all over town. Your photos are beautiful. It’s always nice to see a place that you see every day through someone else’s eyes. And after reading this it seems so official. I guess the countdown is on!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      I’m missing you too Micheline! I also heard all good things about the babysitting skills of your eldest:) The countdown is definitely on-honestly I don’t know how I will get through the transition. Hard to be HERE when you want to be THERE-I think many road trips are in our future! And pie-my turn:)

  • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/traceyselingo/ Tracey Selingo

    Ahh. this is amazing Jessika! It’s so important to find that place where you feel completely at home. And once you put it out there into the universe like this, then it all starts to materialize.

    I do need to warn you though, that if you move to Lunenburg I will not sit idly by and wait for an invitation to visit. I will book my plane tickets and hotel and one day just knock on your door. It is crazy beautiful in the pictures. I bet it’s just nuts in real life.

    Sending you big leap vibes.

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Tracey-you don’t need to wait you are already invited! I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it would be to just see your face at my door (cue Carol King) but you must let me help plan your visit and organize chances for you to share your own creative brilliance with Lunenburg. Unless of course you just want to rest and talk and adventure and eat cupcakes, this can also be arranged.

      Thank you for the leap vibes-can’t wait to chatleaping & launching & loving with you at #omhg today!

  • http://CreativeMamma.com Joy

    Oh! Such a beautiful place… I am super jealous! What a most exciting journey, Jess! Big hugs to you and I’m inviting myself for a visit… I need some of that “B”-eautiful pie!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Joy-of course you have to come with the boys! I see summer days with kids on the beach & us chatting away in our future-will see what I can do about a front porch and iced tea. I think I better start looking for a bigger house friends since you are all coming for visits! Mi casa su casa:)

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/chicagofinethreads NIcole

    I think I want to move to Lunenburg. Good luck Jessika – sounds fabulous!

  • http://www.jennyjib.com Jenny

    Jessika,
    I cannot wait to see you back in Lunenburg! Meeting you and your two girls was fabulous, and your enthusiasm and excitement for our beautiful Lunenburg is just so appreciated! You will be a fabulous addition to our town & I am so very pleased to have met you!

  • http://www.hatjunkie.blogspot.co, Anna

    Jessika, If I didn’t already live in Lunenburg your blog post would make me move here. Lunenburg really is the most wonderful place and I find, so welcoming. I promise to come to your party when you throw one. Looking forward to chatting with you soon, Anna

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Hi Jenny! Staying in your apartment was the most wonderful experience-truly the best way to visit Lunenburg and get a taste of life there! You are lucky I didn’t just move right in and refuse to leave:) I will definitely be spreading the word about your space & shop and can’t wait for many more nights of chatting with you!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      @Anna-it was great to chat with you just briefly at lunch last Friday! Next time I am excited to talk about your creative business & connect our little monsters:) Parties will happen!
      @Sandy thank you for visiting and sharing your own leap-so glad to hear that your landing was the right one! You are right it has been decided we are coming as soon as we can!
      @Marisa I thought of you when I included that link-you are my house hunting muse! You have no choice but to visit me often and I’ll work hard on convincing you to leap to our coast:)
      @Mel thanks! Tutorials are coming up with Carte Fini papers in April!
      @Allisa-thank you sweet friend!

  • http://newfie-girl.blogspot.com Sandy B

    25 years ago, we lept from Halifax to Lunenburg Co (Mahone Bay, then LaHave and now Bridgewater). I absolutely adore the South Shore and would not want to live anywhere else. Lunenburg and Mahone Bay are the 2 places I visit on the odd weekend for indulgence; and I know there is a thriving home-schooling community here as well as so many artists!

    So there, it’s settled! You must come live with us!

  • http://omiyage.ca Marisa

    Gorgeous pictures, gorgeous town! Glad you’ve found a place & people to make your heart sing. And, goodness, that covetable house & its little studio are leaving me little choice but to pack up and move on in with you! ;)

    (And when did your little one get so big?! Clearly a case of time flying.)

  • http://melstampz.blogspot.com/ Mel McCarthy

    What wonderful photos. Lunenburg looks incredible & that bouquet of crepe paper flowers, Ou la LA! :-)

  • http://www.allisajacobs.com allisa jacobs

    Oh, Jessika – I am bursting with happiness for you! What an amazing place and it seems like you’ve found true connections. I look forward to seeing more of your incredible journey. xo

  • Tasha

    Oh! Lunenburg is so beautiful! If you’re making a leap, that’s an amazing place to do it. We stayed only a few days and we were totally enchanted…city folk from Toronto :)

  • Steve

    Thanks for your insight, Jessika. My spouse and I are considering a move to Lunenburg (from Calgary) and this blog post of yours is just what I was looking for. A very convincing read to present to my spouse to help calm her nerves over a cross country move. We’re going to Lunenburg the last week of March to look at property and commercial spaces to set up a small business.
    Good luck with your move and new town!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Hi Steve! How wonderful that my post struck a chord with you-I hope your experience of Lunenburg is as warm + welcoming as mine! If you want to connect while you are on this coast I am always happy to make new friends! Am also now terribly curious what type of business you are looking to start! Best wishes for everything:)

  • Sarah

    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and photos.

    My family are also planning a move to Lunenburg, hopefully a couple of years from now (we’re in the UK, so need to wait for the big wheels of immigration to turn before we can move)! We visited in 2009 and again last Spring… what a wonderful place, and we felt so, so at home.

    Perhaps one day we will meet in person!

  • Steve

    Hi Jessika, we’re not sure what type of biz we want to open. We’re approaching it ‘organically’, basically we’ll go for a visit and see what direction we take. The range goes from an old fashioned Barber Shop, to Natural Cosmetics/Soaps to perhaps a simple sandwich shop!

    I’m a music producer (for video games) and work from my laptop so I can be anywhere. Shawna is a hair stylist / film makeup artist and aesthetician. We may even just keep on freelancing as the Film Industry in NS is very strong right now!

    I’m following you on twitter now, I’m @banffdriving and we’d love to meet up in person!

  • http://www.shibangdesigns.com Robyn

    Ah Lunenburg, what a beautiful and colourful place. Thanks for sharing such nice photos!

  • Sarah/Benny

    oh gosh.
    my friend, you’ve found it.

  • http://www.pikeletworkshop.com Jen Moffat-Hallam

    Our move back to Toronto has been everything we’d hoped for and more. After returning to Oz a few years back (stupid global financial crisis!) we had yearned to be back in Canada. The grass is still greener up here (literally) and we love it so. There’s so much more diversity and craft/handmade are so much more universally embraced. It’s still such a niche thing in my hometown of Perth. Still, I’m not a small fish in a big pond, instead of the big fish I was fast becoming back home. Challenges ahead, but we are loving all of them so far. Just wish it hadn’t cost us so much darn money to move over here. Lovely post, good luck with your exciting times ahead!

  • http://thesteelfork.com/wordpress Kate

    This is a wonderful story. What an incredible inspiration you are… to go looking for what fulfills you. Absolutely fantastic! Love it.