Hope after tragedy: mother & daughter launch gift shop

When tragedy struck their family, Nadyne Kasta and her mother Camyle Beaudry went on a journey which led them to an old school house in North Milton, P.E.I.

'The Girl From Away' gift shop in North Milton offers more than one-of-a kind pieces

When tragedy struck their family, Nadyne Kasta and her mother Camyle Beaudry went on a journey which led them to an old schoolhouse in North Milton, P.E.I.

[I] just had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to be here.- Nadyne Kasta

It was there they came to a decision that changed the course of their lives. Kasta had been living in Montreal, Beaudry in Kingston Ontario.

Last August, tragedy struck when Kasta's step-father and Beaudry's husband, Jon KimballPineau, or Kim as he was known, died suddenly after complications due to cancer treatment.

"When something like that happens it's so devastating and hard to wrap your brain around and your heart around. My mom and I just were lost for a little while," said Kasta.

Kim Pineau grew up in Charlottetown, so Kasta and Beaudry decided to take a trip to P.E.I to visit his family, and learn more about the place they had only been a few times.

During that trip last fall, they visited an old schoolhouse in North Milton, which was at the time the studio of potter Jessica Hutchinson.

"As soon as I got here I just, first of all fell in love with the space, and then just had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to be here," said Kasta.

"It's got a lot of character and you can sort of feel the history of the place which is what I was drawn to originally."

'Light at the end of my tunnel'

Back in Montreal, Kasta had her own hairdressing business. Beaudry was concerned about what her daughter would do with the old schoolhouse.

'The girl from away' gift shop North Milton PEI Nadyne Kasta ( daughter ) and Camyle Beaudry ( mother ) renting the old schoolhouse in North Milton.

"[I said,] 'There's no water here, what are you going to do?' She said, 'I don't know mom, but I think I need to be here.' This little thought gave me a light at the end of my tunnel," said Beaudry.

So the mother and daughter packed up their lives in Ontario and Quebec, sold the family home, and moved to P.E.I. at the beginning of May.

"To change your life to move, take on such a big project having seen the space once, was pretty crazy," said Kasta.

"Sometimes things in your life seem to just align. It's as if the universe aligns itself to make it possible for you, and this is what happened to us."

Kasta and Beaudry are renting the old school house in North Milton this summer, and have turned it into a gift shop. The shop is called The Girl from Away, a name that applies to both mother and daughter.

"I was known as the girl from away as I wrote the letters to the in-laws for about 25 years and it was the ongoing joke," said Beaudry.

They will be selling crafts created by Kasta such as prints, calendars, T-shirts, notebooks, stationery, pencils and cards, all in designs she calls minimalist and colourful. They will also be selling items some of Kasta's friends have designed, such as tote bags.

Kasta has been blogging about her journey from Montreal to P.E.I., and the decision to open the gift shop. She said she has received a lot of support from people around the world.

"Grief is this weird, heavy, crazy thing that is not talked about a lot, but that is universal. And I think that what a lot of people responded to was not just that part, but the hopeful part of the story," said Kasta.

The Girl From Away gift shop opens May 16.