Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two more sleeps

I'm Kelowna-bound in just two more sleeps! I'm so excited to touch base with my family for a week.
I'll be spending five nights at my sister's house in Kelowna and then I'm hopping on a Greyhound bus to Vancouver to spend two nights with my brother before returning to Jasper by train.

Without a tree in my house or any decorations, I've been finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit. It's also been difficult because I started crafting and preparing so early that I've been done for weeks and have even had my presents in a suitcase for the last few days.

The influx of Christmas cards and treats at work have helped, but I'm still in need of a holiday pick-me-up. I'm hoping I'll get just that when I start my journey to Kelowna, and if not then, when I enter my sister's house and see the tree, decorations and, of course, presents... oh yeah, and my family!

Christmas has been a disjointed holiday for me in the past eight or 10 years. Since moving out of my parents home at the age of 17, I have had Christmas in Kelowna, Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Gold River and Yellowknife, and not one of them included my entire family. 

Last year, I was in Yellowknife. I spent the morning and afternoon with a few friends, making a monstrous brunch and watching movies. Then in the evening I went to Ian's parent's house for dinner.

The year before that, I was in my hometown of Gold River, but I was the only kid to go home, so it was just me and my parents. We had a lovely dinner together, but again, we didn't partake in any other holiday celebrations.

So anyway, I'm excited for this year because at least I'll see both my sister and brother, and I might also get the chance to see my parents for an afternoon while I'm in Vancouver. Having lived all over the country the last few years, I haven't had a ton of opportunities to spend time with my family, so any chance I get, I try to snatch it up. After this visit, I think my next opportunity will in the spring when we try to get the entire family together in Vancouver for a few days. Fingers crossed we can coordinate our schedules to make it work!

Anyway, happy holidays everyone. I hope you are all surrounded by the people you love... and the food that you love!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The apartment photos just keep coming

The living room continued.
Enter the kitchen for some boot soup. Nom nom nom.

If only we had comic books.
Cozy in the bedroom.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I present to you...


That's right, my store is open for business. So far, there are 14 items up for sale and there should be more soon. I actually have two more cozy headbands made, I just have to take the photos. I also have two cute baby headbands with flowers on them, I just don't have a baby to model them. (I'm thinking I'll use a round fruit of some sort. That might be cute, right?)

I have Ian to thank for all of the lovely photos that are already on the site, including my Pickled Yarn header. I also have to thank him for helping me brainstorm a new name. I'm happy that, in the end, I was able to ditch Space Gerbil Accessories. And without Ian, I would never have reached Pickled Yarn. I was tapped out at, "I was thinking I want something with pickle in it."
So anyway, a huge thanks to Ian!

Also, thanks to my friends who encouraged me to open up a shop. Since posting my stuff on Sunday, I've already had a few people favourite my hair clips, so I can only hope that leads to sales.

In other do-it-yourself news, I just got the The Bust DIY Guide to Life in the mail from Amazon, so I'm excited to dive into that to pick out some more projects to tackle during the winter of DIY. One idea I particularly love is the Spice it Up spice rack, which is made out of an old suitcase. You mount it on your wall, so it opens like a door and you put a few shelves inside. It's one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

The book also has all kinds of great gardening tips that I intend to read before I start my community garden plot in the spring.

So as you can probably tell, I am super pumped on creating and doing things myself right now. It feels so awesome to constantly be accomplishing things without the help of others. (Although, as I've already said, Ian's been a fantastic help in getting my shop together.)

Anyway, I hope everyone is wrapping up all of their Christmas crafts and making them into beautiful packages for their loved ones. I know that's what I've been busy doing. And I'm almost done. All that's left is my Christmas baking, which I hope to do this coming weekend. Fingers crossed I don't burning anything!

Happy holidays everyone.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Etsy. Etsy. Etsy.

A felt flower hair clip ala me!
Breaking news! That is unless you’re my Facebook friend, anyway.
I’m starting an Etsy store. For those of you who don’t know, Etsy is “your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies” online. In other words, it’s the biggest online shopping time-suck since eBay.
As you all know, I've dubbed this the winter of DIY, so I've been crafting up a storm. And because I’m so proud of my many creations, I’ve been posting pictures of them on Facebook and Twitter, which has led to all kinds of positive feedback, including friends asking to purchase my goods.
I thought that was pretty exciting on its own, but when one of my girlfriends asked that I make two hair clips, two magnets and two headbands for her, I realized there might be more to this idea of selling my goods than just targeting my friends.
I was also inspired to dive headfirst into entrepreneurship after meeting an amazing jewelry-artist in Jasper, who sells her goods in a few stores in town. We spent an entire day crafting together last weekend and she told me the money she makes through jewelry sales allows her the luxury of travelling for a month a year.
Cozy wool headband handcrafted by me!
Now that sounds pretty good, right? I mean, I’m crafting anyway, I might as well make some money while I’m doing it. Plus, I’m making more than I could ever use myself.
It’s not like I need 15 different felt flower hair clips. I’m sure I could live with just two or three select colours.
I also don’t need a dozen wool headbands to keep my ears warm this winter. I figure if I make two, one to match each of my jackets, I’ll probably get by just nicely. And the same goes for brooches and purse embellishments. So anyway, I made the decision to start my store on Monday afternoon. That evening,
after work, I went home and crafted for hours to ensure I’ll have
enough items to get myself off to a solid start.
I plan to have the store open this weekend. So far, my largest set back is deciding on a name. It’s such a big commitment. I don’t want to chose the wrong thing, or regret my choice when I think of something better.
Another hair clip. (My favourite.)
I was thinking Space Gerbil Accessories.

I’m kidding.

I didn’t honestly give that an honest thought. Although I still haven’t thought of anything better than that.
So anyway, I have my fingers crossed that inspiration will strike in the next couple of days, allowing me to actually launch before it gets so close to Christmas that people don’t want to order gifts online.
If not, Space Gerbil might just have to do.
Anyone out there have any better ideas? I'd gladly take any suggestions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sneak preview No. 2

Ian is a sicky this week, so we haven't been able to work on our photoshoot. So instead of making you wait for us to complete the entire thing, which might take awhile, I figured I would give you one more photo to hold you over.

Here we are on the opposite side of our living room. I'm doing the Twist to the music that's not yet playing. You may have also noticed the interesting heads next to the record player. Ian made them. The fellow with the green tongue and horns is Death, the purple dude is Plague, and the red and green guy is War. There is also one more that you can't see: Famine.

UPDATE: Winter of DIY 
I know I haven't posted any DIY projects lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing them. I've been a busy little crafting bee, but most of what I'm making is for Christmas, so I have to keep it a secret.
I do have one thing I can show you, though. I went to a Christmas card making workshop on Tuesday night and in four hours made 15 cards.

This weekend I'm planning to make these adorable felt moccasins. The pattern looks fairly manageable and I'm definitely in need of some cozy slippers to wear around the house.

Love, love, love!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apartment photoshoot preview

My friends and fam have all been asking to see my new pad in Jasper, so I decided, with the help of Ian's camera gear, knowledge and mad skills, that I would have a little fun with the photos. So instead of just taking some straight pics of our apartment, we're giving you a taste of our home life.
Well, sort of anyway.

Here's a shot to peak your interest. Keep your eyes peeled for more in the very near future.

So this is our living room. The puzzle is all Ian. I'm forbidden to place even one piece. The ball of wool is all mine. Although, it appears Ian's allowed to touch that... or throw it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Unicorns in Jasper

As I was driving away from the scene of a fire at Jasper Park Lodge today, I saw a herd of elk digging through the snow to find something to eat. The sight made me think of this YouTube video, where a tourist thinks he is seeing a unicorn, which is actually an elk.
"I thought unicorn was so extinct, but unicorn live in Banff."
So funny, and so worth watching, even if you've seen it a million times.

Anyway, here are a few photos of the "unicorns" I saw today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Starting to look like Christmas


The snow is out of control in Jasper. I haven't seen this much since I was a kid living on Vancouver Island. The only difference is, in my hometown, it would rain immediately after the snow storm, so the snow would turn to disgusting slush. Thankfully that's not the case here. And it has me in the Christmas spirit, which means, it has me planning my vacation!

On Monday, thanks to my lovely sister, the planning got a lot easier. I received an invitation to spend Christmas with her, my brother-in-law, his family and my own. So, of course, I immediately RSVPed, which means I'm Kelowna-bound on Christmas eve!

This was my adorable invitation:

With the location secured, now it's time to kick the winter of DIY into high gear. I'm hoping to at least make 80 per cent of my gifts. So that means I'll be spending my evenings with a needle and thread, wool and a crochet hook or felt and a glue gun. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A delicious weekend

It was a weekend of great flavour. On Friday, Ian and I made Mediterranean chicken with balsamic vinegar, tomato, red onion and feta cheese on top. Along side it, we served quinoa salad with corn, red onion, red pepper, leeks, carrots, lime juice and salt and pepper.
Then on Saturday we made fried chicken and waffles -- one of Ian's favourite meals. It was my first time trying it, and I have to say, although I was a little bit skeptical, in the end, chicken and waffles with syrup and ketchup is quite a delicious meal. Try it! You don't know what you're missing.

Aside from cooking delectable food, it was also a productive weekend. We went out for two hikes, one of which took us to the a gorgeous viewpoint where we posed for numerous photos, including this one:

Behind us is Pyramid Mountain. It was a gorgeous day for a hike with just a few clouds in the sky. It was a bit chilly at first (-20 C), but by the time we reached the halfway point, we were both sweaty and out of breath. It was quite the climb, but so worth it for the payoff of a gorgeous view.

The weekend didn't end there either. I also made some time for crafting. I even finished my first sock monkey! Because I was a wuss (until last night) and hadn't been brave enough to use my new sewing machine, I did all of the sewing by hand. It took me an evening to make (as opposed to a couple of hours), but I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out.
What should I name him?
* Please ignore the fact that one leg is significantly wider than the other. It was my first try after all. *

To top off my tasty, nature-filled, crafty weekend, I went to Jasper's annual Christmas craft fair, which was totally amazing. There were a huge number of vendors with all kinds of goodies, both edible and non-edible. I ended up buying a pair of feather earrings, a felt change purse, a tortiere and homemade perogies. It was a pretty good haul.
We ate the perogies tonight and they were well worth the $5 for a dozen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have no new crafts to report on. I've had visitors from Yellowknife sleeping on my couch/futon for the last three nights, so I haven't had much time to do anything besides work and drink beers.
I did manage to accomplish one thing, though. I signed up for Pinterest and even started pinning.
I feel like that site is going to be a major time-suck. But what on the Internet isn't? Right?
Anyway, so far I have been pinning things that I want to craft and things that I would like in my home.
If you want to follow me, here I am!

Since I don't have much to share. I thought I'd take this opportunity to post a couple photos of my gorgeous new home.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

DIY: Autumn-inspired dresser

So I bought a heinous dresser when I first moved to Jasper, with the intention of refinishing it and I finally got around to it this weekend. I spent Saturday evening listening to Risk (an amazing podcast, that everyone should check out) and sanding the crap out of the thing with my first ever power tool -- a palm sander. I went through two packs of sandpaper, inhaled an unfortunate amount of dust (I'm still blowing brown, gritty snot) and found myself sufficiently exhausted by the time the job was done. Then Sunday, I spent the entire day priming and painting.

Here are the before and after photos:

The only thing I wish I could fix is the chunk missing from the corner of the orange drawer. I'll attempt to figure that out asap. All things considered, though, I'm pretty happy with the results.

And that wasn't even the only project I competed this weekend. I also made some cute fridge magnets.

The cloud I found on a blog called Happy Serendipity. It was a brooch, but I thought it would make a cute magnet. To make it, I used hot glue to affix one magnet to the back of the cloud and then another one on each strand of buttons, so it can hold numerous things at once.

The green and orange felt rose buds were on a blog called You Seriously Made That? But they were fish hook-style earrings. I also made some that will become stud earrings, but I thought they would also do well as colourful magnets.

So, that was my weekend. Oh yeah! I also went to see The Mahones Friday night. We even had the band over for a few drinks after the show. It was quite the evening. I didn't end up in bed until 5 a.m., while Ian and the band were up until at least 6:30 a.m. With that in mind, I'm pretty impressed with my accomplishments this weekend. I'd say it was a pretty solid start to the winter of DIY.

Canadian Girl

For the last two years I’ve thought my goal of reporting from every province and territory was pretty unique, but since arriving in Jasper, I’ve realized I’m just one of people many who want to see and experience everything Canada has to offer.
That couldn’t have been more evident than when I interviewed Bonnie Ste-Croix, a folk singer originally from Quebec, but now living in Halifax.
Ste-Croix, like me, has lived all over the country. Before Halifax she was in Vancouver and before Vancouver in Banff, and so on.
When she was planning to relocate to Halifax from Vancouver a year and a half ago, she started thinking about the number of times she’s driven across our great country. With those thoughts in her mind, she had a revelation, “It’s like all of Canada is my hometown.”
And with that epiphany came an idea. Ste-Croix set out to write and record an album that would represent her many hometowns, something she successfully completed and released in September.
Canadian Girl has one song for each province and territory and each of those songs has at least one guest artist from the corresponding province or territory. 
Guests include, Natalie MacMaster (Nova Scotia), ShariUlrich (British Columbia), Stephen Fearing (Ontario), Leela Gilday (Northwest Territories) and Dominique Dupuis (New Brunswick).
Now all of that is pretty cool, but it gets cooler. Ste-Croix went to each province and territory to record the song associated with it. She travelled 7,849 kilometres by car and she took 12 flights, taking her from coast to coast to coast.
This woman is my hero. If I could sing or play an instrument, Canadian Girl would be my dream project.
But since I have no musical talent whatsoever, I guess I’ll just have to stick with my own goal and make my way around Canada as a reporter. The upside of doing it my way is I have more time to really immerse myself into the cultures and traditions of my new hometown.
I just hope that by the time I’m finished my journey, I’m still young enough to remember where I began.