Turning ugly earrings into swanky buttons

Remember these big wood earrings from the gigantic garage sale I went to a couple of weeks ago? Well I decided to turn them into funky buttons this week...

First was sanding the surface and removing the design...

I then painted some of the shapes different colours while leaving some spots au natural - those areas I added oil to in order to bring out the grain.

Once the paint dried I added a couple of coats of varathane. And then I turned my updated earrings into buttons. I drilled a small hole into the back then I screwed in eyelets. Easy peasy!

And here they are done! Not sure what I'll use them for - maybe a scarf, maybe a pillow cover. Who knows! But they are darn cute and funsie!

A quick how to... I love cheap and easy DIY updates!

And yup... I started painting more thrift store finds. These are nearly done. One more coat of varathane then they're good to go!

Next I'm working on Xmas projects for upcoming workshops. I have four Crafternoons in November and one in December. Next month will be busy!


Trade School Vancouver Workshop

Last Monday I went to my crafty peep Christie's Trade School Vancouver workshop, Creatively Customized Fridge Magnets. It was a super fun evening making fridge magnets with new friends. I love Trade School Vancouver! TSV classes are paid for with items and services, not money.

Here's Chistie's info/cheat sheet...

I chose this awesome paper for my fridge magnets.

And here's everyone's completed magnets... The 2 hours flew by!

Another FAB evening of crafting with new peeps... And soon I'll be giving my second TSV workshop, Make Jewelry and Accessories Out of Repurposed Materials. It'll be on Thursday, November 20th from 6pm to 8pm. Location still needs to be confirmed. I'll also post on Facebook and Twitter once the class is on the TSV website and open for registration.


A spooky & super fun Halloween Crafternoon

I had my latest and greatest... And spookiest Crafternoon this weekend. We made masks, hats, crowns and more out of cereal boxes, egg cartons, buttons, junk jewelry, etc.

Here's one of my sample projects - a crown with flowers made using a cereal box, egg carton, buttons and paint. Aren't I looking uber pretty!

We had a wonderful turn out. I think in the end we had anywhere from 40 to 50 participants of all ages, all skill levels, regular attendees and newbies. It was a FAB mix and so much fun!

Here's one of my helpers and Crafternoon devotees, Bonny...

I talked my coworker Mike into joining us... He brought his daughter and I suspect they'll be back! Crafternoons are addictive!

One of my regular participants with her crown...

Surprise, surprise... Here's one of my FAV crafters, Esteban. He finished off my sample egg carton project - a mouse mask and ears. He really got into character!

New crafters who made a super kewl robot mask.

And here's a funky egg carton mask... A 5-eyed creature along with kookie nose and mouth.

Awww so many fun crafters joined me for the afternoon!

These two agreed to be my helpers. They even rocked my sample projects... The rainbow is from last year's Halloween costume. It was perfect for the afternoon since it was raining out.

Our resident origami specialist, Jose.

Is this not the best crown! A cereal box, silver duct tape and red 'jewels'...

More completed projects...

And new crafty peeps along with a photobomb...

Awww so good to see these two! I am truly blessed to meet, craft, laugh, create with the most awesomeness of people young and old.

The day started off well too - my coworker Tom bought a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for me. Was the perfect afternoon!!

My next Crafternoon at the North Vancouver City Library is an early Xmas upcycling workshop on Saturday, November 29 from 1:30pm to 3pm. Hope to see you there!

Happy homes for crafty projects

In the past few days I've received messages and photos from people who have been the recipients of one of my crafty projects. My crafty goodness is finding happy homes - yay!

My friend Kyle gave these to a friend. Strawberry baby booties out of an upcycled thrift store find...

I also gave a pair to my coworker Stephan. Stephan and his wife Claire wrote a very lovely thank you card.

And I received a message through my Thrifty By Design Facebook page from Jennifer letting me know that she is now the owner of these $5 chairs I refinished a few years ago.

Feeling the TBD love and so thrilled to be finding happy homes for my kookie, crafty projects!


A weekend of thrifting & crafty adventuring

This weekend was great for thrifting and nifty finds. I met up with my friend Thelma who is an amazing sewer. We're planning some crafty projects together utilizing upcycled materials and repurposed 'junk' combining both our skills. And our interest in crafting 'things'.

First stop on Saturday was the 'gigantic' flea market at Highlands United Church in North Vancouver. This was one amazing sale - 5 rooms plus an outdoor area filled with stuff for sale. Furniture, home decor, clothes, kids stuff, jewelry - WOW!

First we checked out the hundreds of frames for sale.

Then checked out the outdoor area - this was gardening items, furniture, tools...

There were a few rooms like this - tons of tables filled with treasures. And people... It was busy!

It's so gigantic they had their very own announcer. He was my favourite part of the flea market!

Totally retro - this old skool slinky still had its box... This takes me back!

We had a coffee pit stop - totally necessary! Then hit the fabric sale at Our Social Fabric. We got there in the nick of time - we only had 15 minutes until they were closing!

We were there to get leather scraps for our mystery plan. Lots of colours and different sizes to buy. I also got some stitch witchery... Total score! And I didn't spend too much or collect too much from either place. Phew!

This is what I collected from the gigantic sale - tons of buttons at $0.50 per bag. These will be handy for my upcoming Crafternoons!

Cookie cutters at $0.25/each...

Wooden sewing spools... Not sure what I'll do with these but they're fun!

Hat pins... Again no idea what my plans are but they're nifty!

And big earrings... Might turn these into buttons!

Love these wooden beads!

Then on Sunday I found myself at the Vancouver Home + Design Show in BC Place. I happened on a free ticket so went with my BFF Lynn... I love Reclaimed Wood Co! Such funsie prints and very Vancouver.

Then met these cutie patooties from Vancouver Candle Co... Their candles are divine!

And of course I checked out Habitat for Humanity's Ultimate Upcycling Challenge 3: ChairLIFT. Not sure how many chairs they had in the challenge but this entry by Tamara Taggart was the best in my opinion.

So an eventful, jam-packed weekend filled with thrifting and crafting goodness! Feeling inspired and getting ready to make stuff... Yay!


Feeling uber lucky & grateful

This past week has been a blur of design, build, write and tweek with my personal website, www.denisecorcoran.com. It always ends up being more work than you anticipate! And in this case really fulfilling!

I asked my Crafternoon partners and participants to write testimonials and wow - everyone was on board. I've posted the below to my site redesign with more on the way. Yay!

Barb McLean
Cultural Services Officer, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture
Crafternoon Partner
Denise has single-handedly teased out the creative spirit in North Shore community members of all ages and artistic persuasions. Whether it's at the popular library Crafternoons, Culture Days events or upcycling workshops, Denise has a special knack for helping people find their own artist within and having tons of fun in the process!

Heidi K. Schiller
Librarian, Readers' Services and Customer Engagement, North Vancouver City Library
Crafternoon Partner
I love working with Denise because she is incredibly energetic, creative, always easy going and personable, as well as truly passionate about what she does. Her crafts are fun, accessible and catered to a diverse audience of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. She is a joy!

Christie Ann Project Manager, Creative Expressions Art Nights
Crafternoon Partner
Denise has been a guest instructor for an art based project I manage in the community. I have also attended one of her Crafternoons as a participant. I highly recommend Denise as she has been a sheer delight to work with! She has no shortage of positive energy and creative ideas to share. Her professional and ethical approach to affordable upcycled crafting is truly inspiring!

Sampson, Tahi, Deborah and David
Crafternoon Participants
We have attended several of Denise's Crafternoons at the North Vancouver City Library, and loved every crafty second. She is a great teacher, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic; but also able to give the freedom to explore and create in our own ways. She also creates a fun community atmosphere for everyone who attends, both parents and children. Her events are something all of our family look forward to. It is a testament to her skills as a workshop facilitator that she can take a room full of strangers and turn them into a buzzing hive of fun, laughter and activity. Perhaps this is where Denise's true 'craft' lies - in being able to share her gifts and create community for others.

Heather and Madeleine
Crafternoon Participants
My daughter Madeleine and I discovered an Upcycling Crafter-noon with Denise at our local library. We loved it. With her energy and enthusiasm, Denise makes everyone feel welcome and excited about creating. She always manages to create amazing work that not only is fun to make, but by upcycling materials, helps the environment as well. With materials such as cereal boxes, yarn, burlap, cloth and lots of other goodies, crafter-creators can make something amazing. My daughter loves Denise's workshops as she feels like she can make and create in a fun and safe atmosphere. Kids from all ages come away from the workshops with something they are proud of, making new friends and helping the environment along the way.

Meghan Savage
Information Services Librarian, Surrey Libraries
Crafternoon Partner
Denise coordinated a Winter Crafternoon at Guildford Library to make holiday decorations from upcycled materials. She was an absolute joy to meet! Denise's warm personality and enthusiasm inspired even the most shy participants to create something special. Denise brought a treasure trove of supplies with her, everything from felt, ribbons, googly eyes, sparkles, jewelry, egg cartons, sewing needles, and thread to paint, paintbrushes, glue, and scissors. She brought some fantastic examples of decorations that people could create and took the time to move around the room and help individuals on a personal level. Everyone left with a homemade trinket to add to their holiday decorations and the refrain of "When are you holding the next one?" I look forward to working with Denise on another crafty adventure!

Big thanks to all my partners and participants who have written testimonials for me and Thrifty By Design. Feeling the love! If you want a testimonial included on my website just email me at denise@thriftybydesign.ca.