Dear Miss Potter,

May 16, 2014 § 2 Comments


I do love the Beatrix Potter books and I admit that it is mostly for the sweet watercolour illustrations, even though the stories can be quite rivetting. Animals in human clothing never cease to amuse me and Miss Potter captures the whimsy of it so well.


Lately, I have decided to take on a new project: up-cycled stuffed animals. I picked up a pile of unwanted wool and cashmere while thrifting and then felted them to make them washer/dryer friendly.

IMG_9749Then I proceeded to procrastinate over actually beginning the work for a few weeks…about a month or more. With no real deadline (like a baby due-date or kid’s birthday), motivation was hard to come by.

BUT! Today, I have triumphantly began working on this project. No online patterns were quite what I liked and I was feeling inspired by Miss Potter, so I took out a Peter Rabbit book and used the pictures as models for my own pattern making. Holy smokes. I have not made many patterns, and never for a 3D animal, and so this proved to be quite the mind bender. After a few hours of drawing, cutting and taping (I only have letter size paper!) I feel quite accomplished!


I still have no idea if it will work out correctly, but I have high hopes… :S

I hope Miss Potter will be proud!


‘Something Old’

May 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Seems everyone has a little bit of retro in their weddings nowadays. Maybe its just fashion cycling, but I like to think there is a bit more behind it – I liked including that ‘something old’ because it gave more meaning and connection to such an important day.

I didn’t want a traditional veil, but didn’t want to pay the prices I saw in stores for cute vintage hairpieces. Armed with an idea and a seam ripper, I found my mother’s wedding veil and started to take it apart (with permission of course!).130915_CorinnaDan_Wedding-84 130915_CorinnaDan_Wedding-103 130915_CorinnaDan_Wedding-109

First, the base of the head piece was completely in tact from when my mother wore it, but just with a little whitening to spruce it up a bit. Then instead of centering the head piece on top of the head as my mother had done in the seventies, my hairdresser helped me pin it so it wrapper around the back and part of the front of my head. With the base in place, I had taken a piece of mom’s veil, which was then pinned exactly where we liked on the day. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous about it all working out, because the wedding day was the first time we had tried to put all of these pieces together, but Christie did everything so perfectly!

And I couldn’t have been happier with another DIY done from the wedding list. It just took a little persistance and help from friends.

Thanks for everything!!



Whimsy in the little things

January 21, 2014 § Leave a comment


I feel as though what to do for the centerpieces is a MONDO decision when it comes to big events, like a wedding. A lot of thought (and usually money) is involved – in my case the most I spent on the centerpieces was time.

Going with a rugged theme with a family picnic feel, I really wanted to use pinecones. I had seen a lot of painted pinecones, mostly as Christmas decorations, but with a few changes to colour, they can be used for any season. They have a flower-like look, have playful feel and they are free! I began collecting them off the street and at my university campus – coming home with a backpack or sweater full of them when I had a particularly good find. I was always on the look out.

Many of the large pinecones were scattered and left as-is, but the smaller ones we glue-gunned to shish-kabob sticks (from dollar store) and then painted them a variety of the colours we were using in the wedding. They went in up-cycled tin cans which we had glued some repurposed wall paper testers to the outside. The pinecones were kept company with baby’s breath and azaleas.


Table cloths were various colours of fabric I bought discount then accented with strips of burlap. I read a lot of blogs trying to find a place to get burlap, because it is not cheap at fabric stores. Turns out, most coffee shops who roast their own coffee give away their used burlap coffee bags. Done.


Then just add food!

Scones with clotted cream and jam

Fresh corn on the cob and blue berries

Amazing cake from a high-end grocery store – what a steal!



January 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

heart stringsOutdoor weddings don’t require a lot decoration when the location provides the beauty and atmosphere we could never dream of being able to create ourselves through rustic pines, ocean views and mountains fading in the horizon. For our reception on Bowen Island, BC, we just wanted to add a few special touches to the natural beauty that was already there and of course, it had to be hand-made.130915_CorinnaDan_Wedding-486

I had seen beautiful mobiles of paper cut into different shapes and sewn together at my favourite store on Granville Island, Paper-ya. I looked at them and I declared, as so many crafters have before me, I could make that! So began hours of cutting out hearts from patterned paper and sewing them together. On thing that saved some time was that I found some antique gold heart foils which were basically all ready to be sewed. That was just one of the kinds of items I found for crafting at this great shop called Urban Source on Main st. They have all sorts of left over industrial bits that can be repurposed or up-cycled.


Inside the clubhouse, the walls were well-rustic, but just needed a little adornment. Dan and I love maps, (who doesn’t?!) and I found a vintage collection of global maps in Salvation Army. I ripped out map after map and folded them into fans, then taped the fans together to form a full circle which could then be hung on the walls. The great part was that the antiquated colours of the maps went perfectly with the kinds of colours we were using throughout the wedding 🙂 Loved it.130915_CorinnaDan_Wedding-545

Mason jars at work

November 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

hand-painted drift wood signage

hand-painted drift wood signage

Here is the follow up post to display the mason jar syrup dispensers from the previous post in all their glory at our wedding reception. We had a little lemonade stand set up out on the deck, complete with painted drift-wood signage.

lemonade stand 2

There were two dispensers; one with plain syrup and the other with flavoured syrup. This one is raspberry (which I bought on sale from Chapters). I heard that this one flavour was popular enough to be stolen and monopolized by one of the tables for some time.

lemonade stand 3

Here is one the drinks fully mixed with our handy-dandy paper straws (also from Chapters – super cheap!). We still have some left over and they are fun to bring out every so often.

We also gave guests the option of iced tea or lemonade. There was a really ugly painted sign underneath the lemonade stand and it is being covered by those lovely crepe streamers we got from dollar store hung on a string. So easy!

lemonade stand 4

More wedding DIY photos to come 🙂

Back in the saddle with mason jar syrup dispensers

August 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

I will fill you all in, making a long story short, but I have not posted in about a year and I have some good reasons why. In September I started a 12 month, intensive teacher certification program AND in December I got engaged and basically all of my crafting energies have been focused on this one event coming up in…3 weeks now! Holy smokes.

With the help of friends, family and pinterest (oooooh guilty pleasure) we have succeeded in pulling off a DIY wedding of the century! Well, we may be biased. I have determined to post these creations to share with you all the various projects we took on. Here are just a few: sewn paper heart banners (for that whimsical feel), repurposed map circular fans (for wall decor) and pump-top mason jars (for dispersing syrups for the iced tea and lemonade stand).

Today, I will be filling you in on the pump-top mason jars, which were one of my fav DIYs so far. The DIY we based ours off of can be found ugly duckling transformations blog.

pump-top mason jars

Here it is!

The pump dispensers were quite difficult to find. I planned to go to the shop Soap Dispensary on Main St., but they were closed that day. Then proceeded a mad dash down Main, trying to find a store that sold dispensers. After asking MANY storekeepers I made it to Urban Source. Aaaaaaaw! (angels singing) I love them. They did not have dispensers, but they said to check a hairdresser’s shop because they usually sell them for the big shampoo bottles. Of course!  I presented the dispensers to Dan with pride and our mason jar crafting night was on it’s way.

Basically we followed Ugly Duckling’s DIY, but with a few modifications. Since we wanted to use these dispensers for syrup which would be added to drinks, the sealant we used for attaching the pump and metal lid need to be food safe. Since Dan works at a marina shop, it was easy for us to find an alternative. We used a putty (which smelled hideous! but worked) which was ‘water safe’, which works for our purposes. The putty is mixed to be moldable and then once in place it will dry to be hard.


Here is basically what we used. Probably this would be findable in a hardware store.

Here it is online.

To make a hole in the metal lid for the pump we used one of the machines in the marina workshop. The hole was bigger than needed, but the putty filled the gap easily.

We are really looking forward to making our syrups and adding them to our iced tea and lemonade stand at the reception. I will have to post pictures after the big day.

Probably we will be needing to put labels on these jars to say what kind of syrup is inside. Any suggestions?

bamboo fever

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every prefecture and every city in Japan has its “famous” things. Usually, these things are food related, Hiroshima and Osaka have their rival styles of okonomiyaki, Kyoto has a special kind of mochi. Well it seems every where there is a special mochi which my elementary level taste fails to differentiate but always appreciates. Mmmmm, mochi…I am getting sidetracked.

Anytime you go travelling in Japan, people want to know if you have done or tried such and such famous thing. So it would be criminal for me to live in Fukui for two years and still not have visited the bamboo doll museum. It must be done. So, about a month back, I had my chance.

The museum itself is quite small, but as you walk through you can watch the artisans working on their craft and learn a thing or two about how these dolls are made. I took a few pictures in the workshop.

This guy was slicing bamboo into fine strings to be used for the dolls hair. He was very friendly and wanted to explain what he was up to in his broken English.

Little bald bamboo heads.

After geting bamboo hair.

Though it is hard to tell in the picture, the flowers on this bamboo kimono are carved on. Actually, in order for the carving to be raised, all the bamboo surrounding it is shaved down. Wow!









Here are some ladies with wooden hair. The one on the left with the various colours of bamboo would be quite expensive, possibly around 5000 to 10,000 yen ($50-100 US). The ladies on the right are classic Fukui style holding the characteristic daffodils which come out every February on the hills by the seaside.

After the workshop is the museum itself. I can`t imagine how much some of these dolls are worth, but the photos are free!

And, my personal favourite:

The hair is amazing and the look carved into the face goes so well with the whole image. In the museum there were many framed magazine articles about this doll, so I must not be the only one who is drawn to it.

After all the bamboo adventure, we went through the souvenir shop. I wanted to buy a doll, but turns out I have expensive tastes and the only ones I liked were at least 10,000 yen. Ouch! So, I left with a nice set of chopsticks. How very practical.

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