The Results Are In!

Well, readers . . . we did it!

Tonight, the news landed in my inbox that my story, “Living Bigger, Looking Closer” won 2nd place and $500 in a local Vancouver writing contest! I am thrilled and so thankful for all your help in voting for my story over these past 2 months. It’s been quite the wait to see how it would all turn out, and this is a terrific ending to the story.

Thank you for being a BIG part of this process. It’s been really wonderful to share it with you.

And while I’m giving you an update about the contest, I’ll also mention that for those of you wondering if the We Make Stuff book my boyfriend is featured in will be going to press, YES! The final dollars came in at the eleventh hour. Thanks to all of you who contributed to that as well. You can check out a behind-the-scenes video of the book being printed at the printers from their website (and order your copy if you haven’t yet!)

So as you can probably imagine, it’s been a great couple weeks for the two of us with our creative pursuits.

Now I find myself asking, “What will I write next?”

My Vancouver

Vancouver, my muse

 

 

A Poem for Peggy’s Cove

Evening drive to Peggy’s Cove. Bright green houses and Adriondack chairs. Picture by the water before the sun says goodnight. Watch light disappear, fall in love with the way ocean splashes rock splashes me. Get lost in rugged mist of east coast bliss. Where there is beauty, there is danger. My friends and I, precariously close to the edge. Always sitting by the edge. How much we know each other by our silhouettes. Black against oranges, pinks, and blues, there’s something about these summer hues. Hot tea in thermos, sipping warmth, wiggling our toes. Hair all over the place. Let it fly with the wind. Let me be still and feel everything.

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Story Update: Keep Voting!

Dear readers,

This is a quick update to let you know the status of the story I submitted to a local Vancouver writing contest that I posted in early September. The good news: I made it into the top 10 thanks to your votes! I know some of you have been tremendously faithful in voting for it every day. Like, literally every day. That means a lot!

So the voting isn’t over yet though. The semifinalists have until Oct 30 to get more votes for our stories, and then the top 3 will be revealed. I hope your stamina for voting isn’t exhausted yet . . . just another 2 weeks, we can do this!

Here’s the new link to my story where you can vote for it once a day.

You guys are the best!
~Charlene

We Make Stuff

The artist’s vocation is to send light into the human heart. – Robert Schumann

We Make Stuff Vol. 2 compiles 100 artists working in Vancouver and celebrates what they make. Celebrates the vocation of the artist—a vocation often misunderstood and under-appreciated. There are painters and chefs, breakdancers and filmmakers. Musicians and poets, social entrepreneurs and swimsuit designers. They’re your friends, your family, your coworkers, your bosses. And they show us that there are so many ways to make something beautiful and meaningful in the world because our culture needs that. You and I need that.

An example of the beautiful two-page spread for each artist. This artist is my coworker whose art hangs in the Vancouver Public Library!

An example of the beautiful two-page spread for each artist. This artist is my coworker whose designs are hanging in the Vancouver Public Library for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

My artist-boyfriend is also in the book, and I know I am rather partial but I do think he makes beautiful paintings. This book is a great way for him, and 99 others, to share their art with a wider audience. To spotlight the artistic vocation. To join with others who are making stuff and to inspire others to look at our world in new, fresh, and hopeful ways.

But making a full colour coffee table-style book isn’t cheap. They need to raise $38 000 by Oct 15 for the book to even go to print.

There’s only 3 days left of their crowdfunding campaign and they still have $14 000 to raise. Will you consider giving to this project so that these 100 stories can come to life? The soft-cover edition is only $35. It also makes a great Christmas present for your art-loving friends & family! (Note: If they don’t raise the minimum $38 000 by Oct 15, the book will not go to print and you’ll be refunded for your contribution).

Let’s send some light into the human heart! Contribute here.

Distress-It-Yourself

Well, it’s that time of year I bring you another Pinteresty-style post. And yes, it has to do with picture frames again. That’s what my DIY projects tend to be. This time, I tackled distressing a picture frame.

I wanted some art for my bathroom as I’m still decorating after over a year of moving into my apartment. So I did some antique shopping in Fort Langley and bought this old print and picture frame.

original printI liked the print, especially the postcard text behind the birds. It fits perfectly with the old handwriting on my shower curtain. But I didn’t like the sickly sweet pink of the wood frame. So I distressed it, thanks to these helpful “how-to” instructions I found here and here.

Since I wanted a dark brown colour to be the old layer of paint that showed through, I started off by repainting both pieces of the frame, applying two coats. My old acrylic paint set I got for Christmas one year came in handy so that I didn’t have to buy all the supplies.

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My kitchen table work space. The turquoise frame to the left needed some touch-ups so I did that at the same time.

IMG_0266IMG_0268After letting the paint thoroughly dry, I rubbed the edge of a candle along the frames because this prevents the next colour of paint from sticking to the brown. It also indicates which parts of the frame will peel away when you bring out the sandpaper. Don’t be shy with the wax. If you want a really distressed frame, rub away. You can see the path of my wax below.

IMG_0315 I painted the two pieces again in the main colour I wanted the frame to be.

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I mixed a large amount of white, a pinch of yellow, and some dark purple to get this purply grey colour

IMG_0319I only did one coat of the purply grey because I was going to be sanding some of it off anyway to have the brown show through. Next, I took a piece of sandpaper and started rubbing the frames. I was surprised how easily it took off the paint in the places where I had rubbed the wax!

IMG_0323The last step was to apply some clear varnish to seal in the paint. I borrowed a spray can of my dad’s which gave it a semi-gloss look.

IMG_0328IMG_0325And voilà! The funny thing is now I don’t even think I’ll hang it in my bathroom. I like it more for my hallway or living room.

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My antique corner, minus the Times Square frame I also repainted. You could say I have eclectic tastes!

So that was my bout of craftiness until next year. Any Distress-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Yourself) projects you have on the go?

A Visit to Storybrooke

In anticipation of the season 4 premiere of Once Upon a Time tomorrow, I took a trip to Storybrooke/Steveston to get my first look at this seaside fishing village where the show is primarily filmed.

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a street in Steveston

I’ve been watching the series since day 1 and am a big fan. Usually shows start derailing after the first couple seasons, but I’ve been impressed at the level of creativity and comprehension it still has, despite the many plot twists and odd mix of fairytale and Disney characters from old & recent times, like Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Hook, Ariel, Mulan, the Wicked Witch, etc. And now Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff from Disney’s 2013 hit Frozen will join the motley crew of characters in Storybrooke this season.

Kristoff and Elsa

Sven (reindeer), Kristoff, and Elsa

Storybrooke Library and Clock Tower

There’s really one one main street in Steveston and that’s Moncton Street where all the shops are. It’s actually called Main Street in the show.

Main intersection

main intersection in Moncton Street

Here you can see the Nikka Fishing & Marine building they use for the derelict Storybrooke Library that gets a clock tower and boarded-up windows added to it in the show.

Moncton Street

Nikka Fishing & Marine

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Storybrooke Library and Clock Tower

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Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) strolls Main Street in Storybrooke

Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop

I was surprised to discover that Mr. Gold’s pawn shop is actually a woman’s store called It’s Posh!, an upcycled souvenir shop. The only indication of its other identity is this sign in the window.

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Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer

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Side view of It’s Posh!

Granny’s Diner

It’s surprising how different a TV show can make a place look. Although Granny’s Diner looks quaint enough, it seemed much more charming in the show. Then again, I didn’t go inside (it was closed) so not sure how that matched up. From the window, it loos like it has the same outdoor patio chairs inside as out, rather than the benches of the retro diner. In real life, this place is called the Cannery Café.

Cannery Café

Cannery Café

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Inside Granny’s Diner

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Outside Granny’s Diner on set

Here are some other shots I took of Steveston that you might recognize from the show:

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