Yahoo! Spring Convocation and my CCB Citation

Last week was my convocation ceremony at Capilano University. What a day! I truly love my job - I work with awesome peeps, I get to bike/walk to work, I have a dream boss and I get to take free classes. Those free classes in community development meant I got to participate in convocation and receive my Community Capacity Building Citation. Score!

These are a few of my super lovely classmates. We had a small class last semester which meant we had a chance to get to know each other better.

Here we are figuring out that whole group selfie thang.

And me and my very proud Pops. Both of my parents came for the ceremony and they had a blast!

Susanna, Angelica and I waiting for the ceremony to begin.

And our instructor Surya with the whole class.

We're now waiting for all of the graduates to arrive. This is Rene. He's a keeper!

Surya and I...

It was a beautiful ceremony!

Here I am receiving my citation from our president Paul Dangerfield.

Photo credit: Capilano University

And that's a wrap! Love this awesome shot by my coworker Tae.

Photo credit: Capilano University

Next up? I'll be taking more classes in the fall. There's a few Continuing Ed classes I want to take like Spanish and then I want to work towards the Community Leadership and Social Change Diploma. Can't wait!


2017 Neighbourhood Small Grants Summit

Last week was the 2017 Neighbourhood Small Grants Summit. If you've received a grant or been part of the advisory committee - this is the event for you! It's informative, inspiring and gives you the chance to connect with other NSG groupies and the team behind the program.

I love the summits! I get to connect with my community building peeps and be inspired by other project leaders.

We had a guest speaker over lunch. This guy is kind of a big deal when it comes to community building. John McKnight is the guy behind Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD). He's based in the USA and was traveling for another conference close by so he popped in to give a short presentation. He's super lovely!

There were tons of wonderful attendees at the summit. They had 8 speakers including project leaders and partner organizers that discussed their relationship with the NSG program. The presentations were inspiring and showed such a range of what can be done with a small grant!

I saw old friends and met new ones! It was a room filled with people wanting to make a difference.

Thanks NSG and Vancouver Foundation for an amazing day! You guys help make awesomeness happen!


Mom's Day Crafternoon at NVCL

A couple of weekends ago, I hosted a Mother's Day Crafternoon at the North Vancouver City Library. It was the quietest workshop we've had in ages. We had 30+ participants compared to our usual 50+. With so many fun, free events happening in North Vancouver it wasn't a big surprise!

I had 25+ tin cans and 40+ plastic bottles to upcycle... Ya gotta prepare for the big attendance just in case it happens! We made planters and other kewl projects out of 'junk'. I also had cardboard for gift tags, etc.

Here's a new participant who brought her Mom and grandparents along. She also won one of my samples and was the winner of Jose's latest origami masterpiece.

Here they are together... Jose is always making the workshop participants happy.

This is his latest creation... It's stunning!

We had a bunch of new crafty peeps pop in to make upcycling magic happen. These guys made planters with one side being the happy face and the other side being the grumpy, growly face.

It was a small group but a rocking group... We crafted, we sparkled and we made awesomeness for Mom. Here's to our next Crafternoon at NVCL - dates TBD. Stay tuned!


Upcycling awesomeness with tin cans and pop bottles

For last weekend's Mom's Day Crafternoon at the North Vancouver City Library, I collected tons of pop bottles and tin cans. I wanted to upcycle them into planters for Mom. A fun DIY with lasting power. So I had to track down pop bottles and tons of tin cans.

My parents collected a bunch of 2 litre plastic pop bottles for me. I wasn't sure I had enough so I decided to go through the recycling at work and collect big tin cans. I gathered 20+ tin cans from the recycling with my coworker's help and I was good to go!

My favourite find was a big can for tuna. There were loads of bigger tins... I was set!

I took them home and cleaned them. Here's my wall of tin cans.

And I bought a few plants from Dykhof Nurseries for my sample projects - 2 succulents and 2 basil plants. Perfect!

First was painting my tuna tin can...

A few coats of white then gold then a stencil was the plan.

Here's my refashioned tin can. I was ready to get planting!

I decided to add a plant marker for Mom. A cardboard round from Urban Source with scrap paper, adhesive letters and a felt heart. Easy peasy and so darn cute!

Here's sample 1 done!

I love succulents! I hope to make more of these tin can planters. They look awesome!

Next I repurposed a plastic pop bottle into a Charlie Brown planter.

I thought the planter was perfect for one of my basil plants. I added rocks in the bottom but you could easily use an X-Acto to create slits in the bottom for drainage if need be.

I painted the bottle then drew on it with a Sharpie and sealed it with Mod Podge. I then added ribbon and a button for embellishment.

Next was another tin can sample DIY. I went with a bright blue acrylic paint and added hints of glitter paint. I also wanted to incorporate tile samples from Urban Source.

These are sparkly and lovely!

I glued the tile samples along the top of the tin can then planted my other succulent. It's kind of funky this kookie planter.

Upcycling tin cans and pop bottles into planters is so darn easy and they look groovy! I suspect I'll be making more of these this summer.


Get to know the gal behind Thrifty By Design

Well I finally got around to redesigning my personal website, www.denisecorcoran.com. I started last year then put it aside. One thing I've learned over the years with being creative - if you're not feeling it then wait till you are. A couple of weeks ago - I was feeling it.

I put together the pages I wanted to include, refined the message and started to gather photos and content.

I'm like so many people these days... You're not one thing, one job, one career path. We are now so layered in what we do and what we love to do that breaking it down into one idea really doesn't work. I'm a digital communicator, an author, a workshop facilitator, a community builder and more. And darn proud of all of it!

So this new site of mine is to help me know what my mission is and what fills me... And then see if outside of my kick butt full-time gig there are opportunities for sharing my skills, for learning new ones and for connecting with more peeps.

Find my personal website at www.denisecorcoran.com. And if you've worked with me, crafted with me or partnered with me - send me 3 words that describe me and 1-2 lines about working with me. I'll add your to my website on my Hire Me page. Feel free to email me your submissions or if you want to work with me at deniseccorcoran [at] gmail.com.


Another NSG grant, another year of upcycling and community building awesomeness

Yahoo!! I am officially a 2017 Neighbourhood Small Grant recipient... So darn kewl! It's year 5 of crafting with 'crap' and building community with support from Vancouver Foundation's Neighbourhood Small Grant program and partnering with North Vancouver City Library. I love my VFNSG peeps and am so thrilled I'll be upcycling with my NVCL participants for another year.

The grant will cover the cost of supplies for 4 Crafternoons. And with an average of 50+ participants - it all helps! This way everyone can join in the fun. And this year, I'm hoping to pay honorariums for 2 guest hosts.

Know anyone super FAB that loves turning junk into funk? Who can work with me to support participants of all skill levels and ages? Send them my way!

Last year Adea from Billy Would Designs was my first ever guest host... She rocked it!!

So whose next? How are we going to up our crafting with 'crap' game? I have no doubt they'll be tons of crafty and community awesomeness happening. Stay tuned!


An addictive DIY refashioning Mason jars

After my latest Mason jar refashioning DIY, I was ready to do more! So what's a crafty girl to do - she sources more Mason jars from either her recycling bin or from her local thrift store. These ones came from my local Salvation Army thrift store and were about $1 each. Next time I'll save my Mason jars instead of recycling them to lower my cost on this project.

Next I used the lids from my recent trek to Urban Source on Main Street. Plus I had a few more plastic animals left over. I was set!

Lastly I just needed a few sponge brushes, super glue, acrylic paint and Mod Podge. I was ready to craft!

I glued the lid pieces together then glued the plastic animal to the top. Allowed the glue to dry then coated the lids with 3-4 coats of acrylic paint.

Once the paint was dry, I added a couple of coats of Mod Podge.

This was my super crafty weekend... 5 Mason jar DIYs, a pair of baby booties and a bunch of gift tags.

Scrap paper and a gift tag pattern can make crafty magic happen in a jiffy!

Love this DIY - it's easy, it's cheap and it's fabulous!

Next I'll be preparing for upcoming Crafternoons... Looking forward to crafting with 'crap' with my peeps.