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.


Urban Source, random purchases and upcycling inspiration

Nothing inspires crafty, upcycling awesomeness more than a visit to Urban Source on Main Street. Whether you get a goody bag, paper, stamps or all of the above - you'll never leave without something and something super kewl.

After my collaging event with The Jealous Curator and Collage Collage last weekend, I popped into Urban Source to see what treasures I could find. I spent $3 on paper, Mason jar lids, cardboard circles, tile samples and plastic animals. Seemed like a good mix of craftiness potential...

The plastic animals were the treasures I decided to start with. The animals and the Mason jar lids were calling me.

The tiles would have to wait for another day. There's definitely something kewl I could do with them too!

My plan was to glue the animals to the Mason jar lids then paint them a fun colour. I've seen this DIY everywhere over the years and this weekend was my chance to try it! I used Mason jars from the dollar store - the lids from Urban Source would be used later.

First step was gluing the plastic animals to the lids.

I added super glue then placed the plastic animal in the centre of the lid... Next was waiting for the glue to dry.

Once the glue dried, I added a few coats of craft paint to the lid and plastic animal. I also mixed in some glitter paint.

You'll need 3-4 coats to create a solid finish.

One lid I painted a teal and the other pink... And of course a bit of glitter. Once you have a solid paint finish then seal with Mod Podge.

And then you're done! Super cute reusable packaging for candies, cookies, toys, etc.

Next I made a pair of upcycled wool sweater baby booties for a coworker who was going on mat leave. I thought the baby booties 'wrapped' in a Mason jar would be a super cute gift for her.

I of course went with a felt appliqué owl in bright colours.

Here they are! A light grey base with pink, blue and orange stitching.

Here's the final giftie - big time upcycling project success! Love the jar... It's the perfect packaging for the booties.

Stay tuned... This is another addictive DIY so I made more of these. I may have to go back to Urban Source for more plastic animals!


Easter in the Village celebration with NorthVanRC

Last Saturday was the Easter in the Village celebration with North Vancouver Recreation and Culture in Lynn Valley Village. Wow! What a turnout! We had 400+ kids show up to craft, decorate eggs, meet the Easter Bunny and more. Turns out we had over 600 participants. It was crazy busy!

You can imagine my 2 hours manning the Thrifty By Design craft table was a bit intense. So I only managed a few pics... This cutie patootie was one of many visitors who upcycled egg cartons into chicks, bunnies, baskets and flowers. What a blast!

The main attraction was the Easter Bunny... Here's a secret - this is my husband Roly who got decked out as EB for an hour. He was a big hit!

I even managed to grab a photo with him.

I love my NVRC peeps... Hard to believe I get paid to craft with so many kewl kids. This summer I have a few events with NVRC. Find them at www.thriftybydesign.ca. Hope to see you there!


Collage Collage and The Jealous Curator awesomeness

Have you heard of The Jealous Curator (aka Danielle Krysa)? Danielle has her own super popular blog, has written numerous books, is a teacher, a public speaker and is a kick butt creative dynamo. So when one of your local crafty powerhouses hosts a coffee and collaging event with The Jealous Curator for $20 - what's a girl to do?! Well I signed up right away!

And it's the perfect event for buying Danielle's latest book, Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk, and getting it signed. Gotta support your peeps!

It was a super FAB Sunday morning event! We finally had a sunny day so the sun was streaming in. The table was set up for about 12 participants - we crafted and made new friends. We had the 3 C's - coffee, cookies and collaging! It was so much fun!

There were vintage books, print outs, patterned paper, etc.

This is the start of my first collage... Everything started with the vintage pic of a shower. Ya never know where your inspiration comes from and where it leads!

And here I am with Danielle... Was so great to connect with her and Erin from Collage Collage. Two lovely peeps making the world a bit brighter with what they do and share.

Huge thanks to Erin from Collage Collage for setting up the event and for Danielle for sharing her awesomeness... And to my new BFFs - I'm so glad I went and got to meet with you. You can never have enough crafty peeps!


Springtime Crafternoon with New Westminster Public Library

I started April with a super awesome Adult Springtime Crafternoon with the New Westminster Public Library. We had 12+ participants join us to upcycle Mason jars into vases, reusable packaging, etc. I am loving partnering up with New Westminster Public Library. They are so great to work with! We've already lined up another crafty date for December!

Here's an aunt and niece duo... These two were tons of fun and helped inspire other participants.

We had tons of Mason jars plus a few thrift store vases needing some refashioning. Here's a funky vase wrapped in scrap yarn and decorated with beads and buttons.

A few completed projects - paint, decoupage, ribbon and buttons made these pretty darn swanky.

Another finished project... A bit of paint, a bit of decoupage with jute and an old clasp to add a bit more pizzazz.

The group's finished projects... I always love seeing the variety of results in the Crafternoons. Participants styles, colours, etc. Each DIY is always unique and one-of-a-kind.

And people always surprise me with their ingenuity and how they use the materials supplied. This lovely thrift store vase was decorated with shiny tape and buttons then the bottom was wrapped with jute. So kewl!

Our mother and daughter date... Emma even serenaded us on the piano for a bit!

And my new crafty peep, Sharanya. She's been to three of my upcycling workshops. She's so sparkly and fun. Here's a Mason jar update she made for her mom.

What a fun upcycling workshop! And it's made me want to upcycle more Mason jars! Just wait to see my next DIY I'll be posting soon... Cheap, easy and awesome!

Big thanks to New Westminster Public Library for hosting another FAB Crafternoon. Want to join me for an upcycling workshop? Find my upcoming events on my website at www.thriftybydesign.ca.


An exciting TBD milestone

The other night I decided to update my TBD website and CV. Holy smokers - it had been months since I updated either of them! There was so much to add... Upcoming Crafternoons, recent interviews plus miscellaneous info here and there.

Once I had updated my CV, I counted up my upcycling workshops. Wow! Since my first Crafternoon in September of 2012, the following has happened:
  • I've facilitated 80 Crafternoons throughout Vancouver;
  • I have 8 upcoming upcycling workshops for 2017 with more to come;
  • There were 2 crafty book events;
  • 2 guest events;
  • 1 Crafting with 'Crap' night class;
  • And 1 demo.
I haven't added up the DIYs I've written for various online publications or TBD interviews yet. Maybe I'll do that next!

But the biggest milestone is that I realized I've crafted with over 1000 participants these past few years. How kewl is that?! Who would have figured that back in the day when I was trolling garage sales, thrift stores and the dump for upcycling projects that it would lead me on this crazy, crafty, awesome path!

So a huge thank you to all of my crafty peeps, partner organizations and fellow makers - you guys rock! Thank you so much for being on this adventure with me! Let's continue to kick craft butt together! xo


5 things to do with unwanted furniture

It's surprising I know but some people actually throw out old furniture. It's sad but true especially when there's so much that can be done with dated, broken items. And tons of people and organizations that would love to take your old pieces.

So here are 5 easy to more labour intensive options for diverting furniture from the landfill.

1. Give it away or sell it
Want to make it super simple? Post your item on Craigslist, Freecycle or Facebook for free! Someone will come and grab it in a jiffy. Or if you think you can make some money from it then put a price on it.

I picked up this swanky chair for free through Facebook. I'm still reupholstering the top part but the seat is looking FAB. I got sidetracked in my refinishing adventures once Roly immigrated here but I'm getting ready to be uber crafty soon.

2. Donate it
These days it's super easy to donate to your local charity or thrift store. In my hood, I have the Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and two Salvation Army thrift stores.

The Lions Gate Hospital Thrift Store is perfect for those smaller pieces. You can find them at 128 West 15th Street.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore will take those larger items - tables, dressers and couches. You can find them at 340 Lynn Avenue.

And of course the Salvation Army will take your larger pieces of furniture. One Sally Ann is at 241 Lonsdale Avenue and the other one is at 1451 Fell Avenue.

3. Leave it somewhere
By leave it somewhere, I don't necessarily mean your sidewalk or alley... You could if you live somewhere with a lot of passerby traffic and know it'll be picked up fast. But really there's nothing worse than a discarded couch sitting on the side of the road for days after a rainy day or two. Yuck - who would want that?!

This chair I scored at the Sechelt dump for $1. Bonus points for reupholstering it with thrift store fabric. Depending on where you live, there are places you can just leave your old furniture and let someone else enjoy it - even make it beautiful again!

4. Fix it up and keep it
Why not take one of your old pieces and refinish it... Maybe a quick sanding or paint job is all it needs. Or just making a minor cosmetic change like updating the drawer pulls. I refinished this $6 dresser from the Gibbons Recycling Depot years ago. I shabby chic-ed it then added new brass drawer pulls. Love it!

5. Repurpose or reenvision it
This is a fun option when it's a broken item or super dated and you're not sure you can use it for its original purpose. I paid $1 for this wooden piece. I believe it was the top detail of a cabinet. I sanded then oiled it and screwed in hooks.

It's now hanging up in my living room. I might add old cards or use it for keys, etc. It's a lovely addition to my living room and walls of kewlness!

So there you go! 5 things you can do with unwanted furniture before you even consider the landfill. Or just don't consider it. Reuse - repurpose - reenvision. All the kewl kids are doing it!