November 17th to 20th, 2016.
Join me for the last event in my Vancouver studio!
Last event in my studio? Yes indeed. We have made a big move . . .
I've been though lots of changes in the past 5 years. I met my husband, and I’ve moved 4 times.
The latest move is going to be the last one for a very long time. We bought a house. A first for both of us. I had a condo in Vancouver before, but this is … different. Really different. We chose to move to a small, (what some would consider remote) community on the east coast of an island on the west coast of Canada. Courtenay, for those of you who know the area.
I grew up at the very bottom is this Island, so for me it’s like a very small full circle. I was born in Vancouver, grew up in Victoria, moved to Vancouver, as an adult, and now, at (dare I say) middle age, moved back to the Island.
I'll continue to create vintage & salvaged reworked jewelry, just at a slower pace. Sales will be though my website, and the very occasional market. So keep up with me here on this site, or on my Instagram or Facebook.
So long Vancouver, it's been fun!
We are absolutely blessed to have an early spring here on the wet coast. Crocuses start poking their heads up in February, followed by daffodils and tulips. Now, in mid-april, we are deep in our annual cherry blossom season and even have a cherry blossom festival to help celebrate it. This year marks the 10th year of the festival.
Certain streets in some neighbourhoods in Vancouver are absolutely ethereal right now. Trees planted over 50 years ago are very generous with their blossoms and now is the time to drink it in before the wind carries all the lovely petals away - also a glorious sight!
It's a little too late for this season, but did you know you can become a cherry scout for the festival? I so want to put that on my resumé! Sigh, next year...
Until then, enjoy the glorious blooms!
My husband and I will be taking our annual trip to England as of Feb 4th, so I will be out of the country from Feb 4th to Feb 20, 2016 back in the studio Feb 22nd, 2016. Any purchases made between Feb 4th and Feb 21st will be mailed out after Feb 22nd, 2016. Thank you very much.
Christmas 2015: Please contact me for local Vancouver pick-up available until December 17. Otherwise your lovely new jewelry will be shipped out within 3 business days, with NO guarantee of arriving before December 24th.
On holiday from December 18th to December 29th. Anything purchased during that time will be shipped out after December 29th.
Even thought the title says fellas, this technique works for anyone trying to find that perfect gift for their special someone.
Since I sell at a lot of artisan markets (aka "craft fairs"), and I also attend a lot antique fairs, I've participated in this sneaky technique several times as both the surpriser and the surprisee. Quite frankly I'm astonished that this doesn't happen more often.
First step; keep your eyes peeled for any upcoming artisan markets. (If you live in Vancouver, Got Craft has a great resource page for several really good ones here).
The whole point is you need to attend the market with your significant other, so chose a date that works for both of you. Now, it's possible to pull this off on your own, but if you can enlist some help from a friend, it will probably go a bit more smoothly.
Next; casually suggest that she invite one of her good friends along. Say something like "Hey, you know who would love this kind of thing? (Insert name here)". Your lady will think that is very thoughtful of you (bonus point!).
If you have the friend's number - text said friend in advance and alert them to fact that they will be basically be playing "wing man" in this subterfuge.
Still with me? OK - arrive at the market and immediately check your coats, scarves, umbrellas, etc. It's amazing to me how many ladies try to shop at these events while hauling around a giant winter coat and wearing chunky infinity scarves. Observe a busy Got Craft market below... See what I mean?
Plus it will be hot and you will get sweaty. Trust me - ditch the coats!
Now is the time for your to PAY ATTENTION. Most people will want to do a round of all the tables first before making any decisions on purchases. Pay attention to what she oooohs over the most. Does she pick it up? Does she try it on? Does her friend tell her it looks amazing on her? Most importantly - does she come back to it more than once?
Now here's where the sneaky part comes in. Probably, she will be humming and hawing over weather to purchase it or not. She will probably walk away and think about it. Now it's your GO time. Hang back as the ladies walk away, or even step behind her as she's trying to decide and catch the person's eye who is selling the object. Mouth something like "can you put that aside?" while making some kind of gesture that you will return for it.
If there is a risk that she might impulsively buy the object herself, make the sneaky suggestion that she should probably think it over. Suggest taking a break, grab a coffee, step outside, etc. Hang back while her and the girlfriend walk off ahead and tell the artisan to put the object aside and that you will be back as soon as possible.
Do not feel shy about doing this - I've had this happen many times so I have no problem setting something aside for you. I've even had someone drop their credit card on the table as they walked away and whisper "wrap that up!" Did I then use his credit card to charge thousands of dollars in an elaborate scam? Of course not. That would be unprofessional, oh, and against the law. We are artisans and business people, not scammers, so don't be afraid to leave your credit card with us.
Photos: [stu-di-o] by jeanie
Now all you have to do is excuse yourself (bathroom break?), and return to the table to pay and pick up the gift you now know she will love. Or, arrange to send the friend off to pay and collect while you make sure your lady is distracted with something else.
Part of the fun can actually be seeing how disappointed she is if she comes back to buy the piece herself! OK - slightly fiendish, but think about how thrilled she will be when she opens the gift and discovers it didn't "get away" after all!
And the bonus in all of this is that she will LOVE how much trouble you went to to pull one over on her.
So - get ready for holiday market season. And check the list below to find out where I'll be ready and willing to participate in sneaky subterfuge with you this 2014 holiday season...
Photo: Kris Brownlee
Eastside Culture Crawl
November 20 to 23
Thursday and Friday 5pm to 10pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm
Studio 201 - 1000 Parker Street
Delbrook's Holiday Bazaar
November 29 & 30th
10am to 4pm
Make It Market
December 4th to 7th
Thursday & Friday 11am to 6pm
Saturday 10am to 7pm
Sunday 11am to 5pm
December 13th & 14th
10am to 5pm
Maritime Labour Centre
I was recently very chuffed to find out I'm featured as a part of the November gift guide in our very own national Lou Lou magazine! And so happy to be in such great company along with a few other local Vancouver designers (some of whom I know personally - fun!)
The issue goes live November 1st, but here's a sneak peak a couple of days early
The One of a Kind cuff featured has already been snapped up, but I still have a wonderful selection of other amazing cuffs available. Please check the "bracelets" section website for some of them.
Or visit me in person at one of my upcoming markets this holiday season. First up (and for first dibs) is Vancouver's super fun arts event of the season: The East Side Culture Crawl. Studio 204 at 1000 Parker Street will throw it's doors open once again. Looking forward to a rocking good time & hope to see you there.
If you can't make it to the Culture Crawl, check out my events page here for the two other holiday events I'm participating in this year.
Please note the deadlines for shipping if you are purchasing for Christmas gifts:
Christmas shipping to the USA: Please purchase and pay before December 9th.
Christmas shipping within Canada: Please purchase and pay before December 11th.
Vancouver area pick up available until Dec 16th.
The question I hear most often at markets and events is “Where do you find all your stuff”? Clearly, I can not reveal my sources or I’d have to keeeeel you. My short answer is “all over.” (Seriously, when you get asked that question 100 times at an event, you need to stick to the short answer).
The long answer is that I’ve been sourcing vintage goods for nearly 10 years now and I’ve built up some pretty fantastic relationships with my vintage suppliers. Some I’ve been able to visit in person, others have been though lengthy exchanges via the wonders of the internet.
One way to look at it is to say my designs break down into two categories.
Category one: Jewelry made from components that I have hunted and gathered in person at vintage fairs, antique stores, etc. These components are often one of a kind and will end up as an OAK: One of A Kind piece of jewelry.
Category two: Components bought on-line or in person from one of my trusted “bulk” vintage suppliers. I know this sounds like an oxymoron at first, but it’s not. Though limited in quantity, many pieces that are now considered vintage (over 20 years old) used to be mass manufactured in large quantities. The costume jewelry trade was absolutely massive from the early 1920s up to about the 60s. Think of all your grandma's old rhinestone brooches!
Those stones (made in places such as the former Czechoslovakia, West Germany and Japan) were made for high end costume jewelry manufacturers. This is how I’m able to find and buy more than one stone at a time for matching earrings, etc.
One of my favourites are the vintage glass rhinestones, especially the good-sized ones. They are getting harder and harder to find in perfect condition. Glass doesn’t really “age” the way metal does. Unless the glass gets chipped, it looks as pretty as the day it was made. I find new settings to put the stones in and voila - a pair of earrings that looks brand new - but are actually made with vintage stones.
One of the interesting things I’ve stumbled upon in my quest to unearth more variety, are vintage glass stones that were coated on their back side with a metallic finish. I'm assuming this was originally done to help reflect light back out through the faceted glass. Unfortunately, over time, this coating gets worn off and scratched, rendering the stone rather unattractive and basically useless.
Until one of my vintage suppliers offered up this neat trick: try soaking the stones in vinegar and salt!
I was skeptical to say the least (especially since I had to buy some stones to try it out first).
But holy heck does it ever work great! I find it best to let the stones soak overnight and then the old metallic finish slides right off - leaving a lovely transparent stone in it’s place.
I use an open-back setting with these stones so you can see the light right through them.
And voila! Vintage rhinestones saved! I especially love these gorgeous two-tone stones. The teardrop shape is called amber/sapphire and the oval is called ruby/jonquil - though I've taken to calling it pink champagne.
So when I'm not making jewelry out of recycled and vintage materials, I enjoy ... making other things out of vintage and/or recycled materials. Hello my name is Christi and I'm obsessed.
Outside my studio at 1000 Parker Street in Vancouver is a treasure trove of recycling. There's 4 floors of artist studios, so when anyone is doing a clean up, stuff ends up on the shared loading dock outside. It seems that 9 times out of 10, someone brings said "stuff" back inside to re-use in a glorious circle of recycling.
There are a few upholstery businesses in the building and I have found lovely roll ends of fabric out there - one of which ended up being my table cover for at least a year. (mmmm... tweed). My latest score was a couple of fabric sample books that had drop dead gorgeous fabrics in them. Like, high-end hotel, super-rich fancy people's kind of fabric. Even though the samples were pretty small, I grabbed them. The timing has coincided with the purchase of a new sewing machine in our household, and I couldn't pass up free fabric to practice with.
Most of the samples are about 1 foot square or less, not a lot to work with. But I have recently been on a mission to learn how to make zippered pouches after long admiring one in my possession made by Sugar and Candy. I thought these samples had just enough fabric to work into a smallish zip pouch. See the above for a very scientific photo taken purely for, erm, size comparison and no other reason. (Please note he is a larger than average, rather handsome cat).
When you do an internet search for "simple zippered pouch tutorial" you’ll turn up here's about a ga-zillion results. After sifting through those results, here's the posts that I actually ended up using.
I found this tutorial on So Sew Something. I immediately related to her easy, breezy style. (Direct quote "I rarely measure"- Yes, my kind of lady!) Because I'm working with random thrift store found zippers and weird odds & ends fabric, I can't rely on a pattern for consistent results. Also, eww, patterns.
Then I started to get a bit fancy and decided I wanted to make more complicated pouches so I turned to etsy. It has a treasure trove of sewers who will sell you a PDF sewing pattern of just about anything you can think of.
Then I found Indigo Bird Design and immediately fell in love with her design aesthetic. I bought this boxy zip pouch tutorial - again, very well laid out and easy to follow. I was excited to learn how to make those pretty, boxy edges I’d admired in other zippered pouches.
But now that I’ve got a huge pile of much smaller fabric samples to blow through, I’ve gone back to the original simple zippered pouch which I can now whip up like some kind of magic sewing wizzard.
Which brings me to . . .
There seems to be a stash of extremely cute zippered pouches accumulating in our project room. Any friends who have visited the house recently have left with a "parting gift" of a zippered pouch. They may not have know that they wanted a zippered pouch upon arriving, oh but they left with one.
So if I'm giving away these adorable lil pouches to my friends and family, why not give them away to my gorgeous, intelligent, faithful customers?! Right?!
Not all of them are perfect, some have a slightly wonky character. But they are all adorable, recycled, lined and you can, you know, put stuff in them!
All summer long (or until I run out of fabric): With any purchase from either my website (in Canadian $) or my Etsy site (in US $) you will receive one FREE adorable lil' recycled fabric zippered pouch!
I will select a random cutie, but if you have a colour preference, let me know and I'll do my best to make it happen.
Each piece of jewelry will come wrapped in tissue in it's own separate organza gift bag inside the zippered pouch. Just in case you are buying the jewelry as a gift and want to keep the pouch for yourself (shhhhh... I won't tell).
What will you keep inside your zippered pouch?
I love making these and am happy to share them now that I know how to make them easily. But I know soon that creative itch will need scratching and I will be looking towards expanding my repertoire. Maybe one day I can tackle some bigger projects - but in the meantime if you need a majorly cute and well designed bag - check out Paco and Lupe, my new handmade handbag crush.