Nova Scotia

Cape Breton businesses busting boredom with DIY kits

Businesses in Cape Breton are helping customers get creative with DIY take-home kits to make everything from mermaid-themed terrariums to bubble tea.

Kits to make everything from mermaid-themed terrariums to bubble tea take off amid COVID-19 pandemic

Katie Hodder, the owner of Family HeirBlooms flower business, is creating take-home kits during the pandemic. (Katie Hodder)

When Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie Hodder was sure she'd have to close her Cape Breton flower business at least temporarily.

But Hodder, who owns Family HeirBlooms, with locations in New Waterford and Membertou, says her phone has been ringing off the hook with customers looking for her do-it-yourself kits.

"We didn't know what to expect, all of our floral friends in the states were shutting down, some permanently," said Hodder.

Hodder was getting ready to launch a studio space for creative classes in the Membertou location when the pandemic hit. 

Although she laid off her staff due to safety concerns, Hodder realized she could package kits she was planning on using for her classes and sell them to customers.

Customers can choose activities like assembling a mermaid-themed terrarium or painting a Harry Potter-themed ceramic pot. Hodder also posts tutorials for people to follow along if they want instruction.

"It's really safe, it's a lot of fun," said Hodder. 

A terrarium-making kit from Family Heirblooms. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

Family HeirBlooms isn't the only business in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality helping customers get creative while they're at home. 

People looking for things to do can get kits to make pizzas, bubble tea and decorate cookies, all either delivered or through takeout.

Malcolm MacLeod, co-owner of Sweet Side of the Moon Bakery and Cafe and the Bitten Moon Pub in Glace Bay, initially shut down the two locations so he and staff could regroup. 

After two weeks, they opened their doors again to takeout customers. 

Sweet Side is known for its creative doughnuts, in flavours like cotton candy and s'mores, but now it's helping customers get a little creative themselves with DIY doughnut kits. The kits have been selling out.

Lindsay O’Neill’s children decorated doughnuts from Sweet Side of the Moon and posted the results on the restaurant’s Facebook page. (Lindsay O’Neill)

"It's a community mentality for sure, people want to help each other out  — especially during times like this," said MacLeod. 

"Also, I'm sure there are lots of idle hands at the moment and people home with children … and they're looking for activities to keep them busy."

Fired Creations, a pottery-making café in Sydney, was also overwhelmed with orders for take-home kits. Owner Alisha Barron said she's happy to see the trend picking up steam.

"People just went into survival mode, but they did it in a way that was positive for the community," said Barron. "It's just fantastic."

She said the kits have provided her business with much-needed support during this time. Now she's making plans to open her shop in a limited capacity and offer more take-home pottery.



Brittany Wentzell

Current Affairs Reporter/Editor

Brittany Wentzell is based in Sydney, N.S., as a reporter for Information Morning Cape Breton. She has covered a wide range of issues including education, forestry and municipal government. Story ideas? Send them to