Raw Crafts giveaway - stay tuned!

I love surprises! Especially surprises from my lovely publisher, RotoVision Books! Out of the blue, they sent me a couple of additional copies of 'Raw Crafts'. Yay! And that means that 'someone' gets a free copy... One is for the NSG Summit I'll be presenting at (I'll post about this later) and the other copy will be part of a giveaway via my TBD social media channels. Why not! Sharing IS caring and why not continue the free book love!

Stay tuned for details! You could be the one to get a free copy of 'Raw Crafts' and I'll be sure to sign it.


My artist interview with Papergirl YVR

Yay! My interview with Papergirl YVR is up! They posted it on Friday... It's a short and super sweet feature about me, TBD and what drives me as an artist. Papergirl YVR did a great job with the write up and photos. Thanks Julie!

Find it on the Papergirl YVR blog.

Before the blog post was the opening exhibition of VIBE 8 at the Anvil Centre. The exhibition shows all of the donated art that will be part of the 6th annual Papergirl YVR ride. Lots of awesome art to be seen like work by my crafty peep Jenn Ashton...

And Cynthia Frenette...

Loved this piece...

And definitely grooved on this group - CHUMS (Century House Ukelele Musicians and Singers). They sang old hits while strumming on their ukuleles and totally rocked out.

Big thanks to Papergirl YVR for the FAB interview and for a fun event. Find all the artist interviews on their blog at www.papergirlyvr.com/blog.

What's next for Papergirl YVR? Soon it'll be time for them to ride out and gift art! They'll be part of the Pier to Landing event in New Westminster on Sunday, June 19th from 11am to 2pm. Watch for them and maybe you'll be gifted with some kick butt art.


Upcycled burlap herb planter for Homestead Junction

Last weekend I fixed up my burlap hanging herb garden... A couple of more handles and a bit of sprucing up of the herbs. I wanted to make sure it looked A-OK for when I dropped it off at Homestead Junction.

Look at all that healthy greenery... Thyme, rosemary, chives and a couple of trailing tomato plants.

This is one of my FAV DIYs... So easy and looks super awesome! I made a second planter. A bit smaller and I didn't plant anything in it... Just thought I'd give some planter love to HJ.

Here's Cassy with the donated planters... The people at HJ really do rock!

If you haven't checked it out, you can read Rick's DIY on my blog or read my DIY on the Homestead Junction blog. Sharing DIYs with kewl peeps is da bomb!


Kewl peeps doing kewl things: Adea from Billy Would Designs

Welcome to a new feature I'm adding to my blog, Kewl peeps doing kewl things. In my crafting and upcycling travels, I've met some pretty darn awesome makers. Whether it's making nifty stuff out of 'junk' or being part of making community happen, these are a few of the peeps that have inspired me. And I hope they'll inspire you!

First up is Adea Chung, the brains and brawn behind Billy Would Designs.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to pop in and tour Adea's studio. What a treat! She's found an awesome spot in an industrial area of North Vancouver close to Capilano Mall and the auto mall. She shares the space with All Season Home Maintenance and her brother Ian who heads up Frankenstrap Leather.

I've followed Adea for awhile through craft markets and local artisan supporter, Favourite Gifts in Lonsdale Quay. Her work is gorgeous, very distinctive and is a perfect example of upcycling at its finest. She turns reclaimed hardwood into wearable art. Everything from old floorboards to broken skateboard decks.

Adea has a space that fills you with envy. There's space to create, photograph, package and even host craft nights in her comfy abode. Plus they have a huge skateboard ramp. Cause why not!

It's funny to have finally met her in person after following her for years and even being cyber, crafty peeps the last while. It's like we'd been friends for years. Love it when that happens!

Holy smokers... Wooden beads that inspire awesome jewelry or maybe even macrame.

She's a one person crafter, maker, upcycler powerhouse...

And her she is... My new crafty BFF. We're going to partner up for a Crafternoon. I'm doing something a bit different with my upcoming Crafternoons at the North Vancouver City Library - I'm going to invite guest hosts. Local makers and upcyclers who are kicking craft butt and want to help build community. Plus share the joys of crafting with 'crap'. It's a great fit for NVCL and my Neighbourhood Small Grant. Yay!

Find Adea and Billy Would Designs at www.billywould.com. Stay tuned for details on our co-hosted Crafternoon. It's gonna be a super fun afternoon of repurposing 'junk'.


Papergirl YVR art and artist interview

Have you heard of Papergirl YVR? It's a project that aims to bring art and the public together in an exciting and innovative way: by taking art out of the galleries and into the streets. Papergirl YVR is part of a larger global arts movement started by Aisha Ronniger, an art student in Berlin, in 2006. Since 2006, Papergirl has spread worldwide, including projects in Mexico City, San Francisco, Toronto, Wollongong, Manchester and Vancouver.

With their 6th year of this volunteer-driven, pedal-powered project coming up, Papergirl YVR sent out a request for artists to be interviewed. I applied and was asked to be one of their featured artists. Kewl!

Before my interview, I prepped some art to be part of the giveaway. Sharing is caring! That's why I adore Papergirl YVR and how they give art away while promoting a sense of community.

For the art it had to be something small and roll-able... I went with upcycling wallpaper samples into mini cutie patootie paintings. I selected a few samples I thought would work as a base plus could pass for mock frames.

I cut the wallpaper then glued Kraft paper to it to use as my canvas.

Next was adding white craft paint that I could layer other materials onto.

I sketched out my designs. This one was going to be a painting with 'you are BERRY sweet' on it.

First was adding the basic design and figuring out colours and the layout.

Then I added the text and used pencil and watercolour pencils to add some details...

Looking pretty colourful and cute!

Final step was adding the script and a layer of Mod Podge to seal the deal.

Hopefully whoever receives my art likes it! Wallpaper is a lovely medium since the paper is so heavy and yet still roll-able. Perfect!

'ORANGE you great'...

And 'you are my SUNSHINE'...

I hope to make the VIBE 8 opening for the exhibition at the Anvil Centre on Thursday, May 26th from 7pm to 9pm. Drop by to help celebrate the opening of the show plus view this year's artwork, meet and talk with participating Papergirl artists and enjoy live music!

Stay tuned for my interview. It'll be posted on the Papergirl YVR blog on Friday, May 27th. Big thanks to Papergirl YVR for the feature and for just being super duper awesome!


Find me on Fieldtripp

Have you heard of Fieldtripp? Fieldtripp is a Vancouver-based company founded in December 2015. They are a trusted community for people to list, discover and book unique experiences in their city. You can take a workshop or become a host and share your expertise!

There's lots of workshops to choose from - you can explore all of the listings, browse by category. Or why not subscribe to their newsletter!

I became a host. Why not! I'm offering a range of workshops under the Crafting with 'Crap' title... Fun! Find me at www.fieldtripp.com/events/65.

Be sure to browse the listing of offerings and maybe consider giving your own workshop at www.fieldtripp.com.


Guest blog: Practical Pants Patching Project

This awesome DIY, Practical Pants Patching Project, is a guest blog post by Rick Havlak - the super nifty dude behind Homestead Junction. Enjoy! And check out the Homestead Junction blog for my DIY, Upcycled Burlap Hanging Herb Planter.

I think just about everyone must have a pair of jeans like this. It's rumpled, faded and worn, but oh-so comfortable. Perhaps, like me, you wear it out in public day after day, week after week, increasingly feeling, with slight sheepishness, that you probably shouldn't wear these jeans to work anymore. Finally, r-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p-p-p-p!

It's happened: your favourite jeans have a tear in a spot that's just too awkward for you to ignore. Me, I keep my hip pockets stuffed with pens (viewer's right, causing smallish holes) and an oversized bundle of keys (viewer's left, causing a hole large enough for my pocket to protrude and for my business associates to get a hint of thigh). If you're like those people in Apple commercials, I guess your pants are so tight that they wear in the shape of your iPhone. I guess the point is that the holes in our pants tell a story about each of us!

A month or so ago I picked up this free book of fabric samples up at the Strathcona Business Improvement Association's Resource Exchange. There's a whole bunch of them there - enough for everyone who reads this article to go get their own! It contains about a hundred 10x10cm fabric squares, and I was going to use them for quilting until 6 different people independently told me "you can't use upholstery fabric for quilting!!" Ok, sheesh.

The upside is this upholstery fabric is going to be just fine for patching jeans.

The upholstery fabric is nice and stiff, which makes it easy to pin without it rumpling. For small patches, I like to pin in parallel with where I'm going to be sewing. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but keeps the pins less crowded. I go in a single direction, so the tip of one pin lines up with the ball end of the next. This way it's possible to sew all the way around the edge and pull the pins out as you go. You're looking at the inside of the seat of these jeans, where the corners of the pockets started to rip out.

Here I am stitching around the first thigh patch. I start by making a single pass all the way around the perimeter.

Once the perimeter is securely sewed down, a bunch of random zig-zags across the patch effectively weld the patch to the jeans' denim. Otherwise the patch wouldn't last long! The gaps you see in the zigging and zagging on both patches is where there's a thick fold at the corner of the pocket. (Yeah, I know it's not pretty; so what?)

It's pretty rough from the outside too, huh? Well, it beats looking at my underpants.

I'm not going to quit my day job, but it's a *lot* better than before, right? Or maybe I should; I've probably increased the retail value of these jeans by 10x or more. Usually that distressed look costs extra.

One of these photos doesn't depict a glamour icon. Can you guess which one?

In any case, I've just bought another year for my favourite jeans! That means one less pair of jeans in the landfill, and one less new pair to be manufactured. Total cost to me, excluding thread? $0. Now that's thrifty!


Kewl peeps doing kewl things: Jamie from THRIVE STUDIO

Last week I dropped by THRIVE STUDIO at 2414 Main Street to meet with Jamie Smith. Jamie started THRIVE STUDIO as a space for bringing women together to connect with one another. She's a practicing artist helping create community through creativity. Through THRIVE, you can go to an artist talk, workshop or rent out the space for your event.

THRIVE is a small studio space with tons of windows and light.

Jamie is a practicing artist who does a lot of photo transfer work.

Turns out we all have a wall of inspiration and/or kewlness filled with quotes, images, etc. This is Jamie's...

For more information about THRIVE, visit www.thriveartstudio.com. Maybe sign up for a workshop or check out her THRIVE TALKS series.


Adventuring with Roly

I'm back from another trek to Cuba to see Roly. This time my stay was sandwiched between my birthday and our 1 year wedding anniversary. The perfect time to see my man. And hopefully soon he'll be here!

We met in Varadero for a night to see friends and reconnect then trekked to Havana. We made a quick stop at Bacunayagua Bridge on our way. It was a teeny tiny bit windy. The plan for the trip was to start in Varadero then spend a few days in Havana to see family and friends then a few days of adventuring before I flew home from Varadero. It was gonna be one jam-packed week away!

Once in Havana, we stopped to see a few friends. This is the lady, one of his second Moms, that Roly bakes cakes for.

Roly with his sister and one of her sons.

My sister-in-law and sons... Was lovely to see Daniel, our ring bearer.

And his Mom, my beautiful mom-in-law.

We also went to new sights in Havana... One being Havana Forest, a rainforest in the city where you may happen upon people practicing Santería, meaning the worship of Saints. You'll see people in costumes and even making offerings and sacrifices as part of their practice.

We ran into a friend of Roly's dressed as Oshun, a saint. We even found a few offerings in the forest. Definitely an interesting spot to visit.

And then we saw the famous elephant as we drove out.

Afterwards we hit Fuster Street. Wow... A few blocks decorated with art, sculptures, etc. This is the work of José Rodriguez Fuster. His inspiration? Gaudi in Barcelona and Brancusi in Romania. José Fuster had traveled through Europe and when he settled in Havana he took it upon himself to remake his neighbourhood.

This is the entrance to his place...

Here's a view from inside his place...

We explored the various houses, streets and then took this happy 1 year wedding anniversary shot within this heart. Perfect!

We also got to spend time with my father-in-law, stepmom-in-law and brothers-in-law. Love my new family!

And of course we had to retake the photo to include the beloved family dog, Keylor.

We've decided to rework our wedding bands - I was thinking I should go a bit girly and Roly wanted something more substantial. Luckily a neighbour of my father-in-law's is a jeweler.

This is the design I went with. Unfortunately I have to wait til I see Roly again before I get the new ring. The rings will be made from our original ones with some bling added. I can't wait to see it!

We just happened upon this 'monster' home while driving around Havana. There's also more and more kewl street art throughout Havana. So much to see!

Havana is getting popular! Last time I visited the Pope was there then Obama and The Rolling Stones were there and now The Fast and Furious was filming there during my visit. They shut down a few streets around El Capitolio for filming while we were in Havana.

It was busy. Lots of people out to see the filming.

Before we left Havana, we saw Sady. I met Sady the same time I met Roly on June 4, 2013. That was the big day when life changed for Roly and I. Who knew that meeting would lead to so much love, adventure and awesomeness. Be open to the unexpected - those are the moments that bring the best for us.

And then we were off... Next stop was Cienfuegos. We looked and looked and looked for the perfect spot for a drink. This was it. Beautiful view for a piña colada. Then we crashed a party downstairs. This was a bit of fun before our romantic dinner date on the town.

We spent one night in Cienfuegos with Roberto and his wife. We lucked out on casa particulars during our adventure. This place was perfect - great location, lovely rooms, great hosts and an amazing breakfast!

We'll be back! Love Cienfuegos!

Next stop was Remedios. What a stunning small town! We got to the center of town, had a couple of mojito's then found a casa particular for the night.

After we got settled into our casa particular we then drove to Cayo Santa Maria. It's about an hour drive from Remedios and definitely worth it! We went to the public beach. We had to hike a bit from the parking lot but this is what we saw after hiking for 10 minutes. Wow.

We chilled out on the beach, dipped our toes in the water and watched the kitesurfers.

We had dinner in the main square - our second cheapest meal of the trip and one of the most delicious. Here we are with our hosts... Again great location, lovely hosts, amazing breakfast... I'm gonna miss having the super yummy coffee in the morning! Oh and mango juice!

One more shot of downtown Remedios before leaving...

Small town traffic jam brought to you from Remedios, Cuba.

And then one more beach date... Here we are on our last night together back in Varadero enjoying some beach time.

Gotta love this cutie patootie!

And that's a wrap... One pretty stunning sunset with one pretty stunning guy... No complaints.

Last selfie of the trip... No more playing in the sand, dipping in the water or chilling on the beach for a bit. It's been an awesome adventure!

So now I'm back! Loved my time with Roly adventuring... 1 year married. Here's to many more years together filled with love, joy, happiness, possibility and adventure! And keep the unexpected happening. That's the stuff.

Here's to more adventures! And as always yay for love! xo