Saturday, May 29, 2010

Creative Caravan and Yoga Outreach Vancouver!

The Creative Caravan is proud to support Yoga Outreach Vancouver!

Good News! Our scarves are selling well at the Yoga Outreach Vancouver retreat this weekend, and a portion of the proceeds goes to bringing yoga classes to people in need in the Vancouver area.

From the website:

Yoga Outreach is a Vancouver-based charity. Our mission is to identify, develop and deliver healing and life-affirming yoga programs to people who can not directly access these resources. Yoga Outreach partners with volunteer teachers and facilities and organizations to provide free yoga.

Yoga Outreach teachers share yoga with underserved adults & youth in diverse settings including recovery centres, shelters, health care facilities, correctional institutions, public schools, youth at risk programs and more. We provide training to support teachers in delivering classes throughout the Lower Mainland community, and often provide facilities with equipment.

As a practitioner of yoga, I am really happy to be able to support this kind of community yoga programme in the Vancouver area. Yoga has brought so much colour and life affirming goodness into my own life and I am filled with joy knowing others who usually wouldn't have access to such a practice can benefit because of Yoga Outreach. Yoga Outreach Vancouver, you'll be hearing more from me once I'm down on the Coast!!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Istanbul Eats and My Naramata!

Thanks to all of you who voted for me in the Istanbul Eats Photo Contest. As many of you know I love taking photographs but I've never really done anything with them in terms of entering them in contests or going about getting them published. But I am hoping that will change in the future!

So thanks to you for voting, and thanks to Istanbul Eats for holding a contest, and thanks to MyNaramata for again boosting my confidence with a mention on the website!

Thanks again!

23rd May 2010
Photo Prize for Melanie Mehrer New or Updated
A Naramata-based artist and photographer has won a prestigious people’s choice award.

Melanie Mehrer entered the Istanbul Eats Photo contest with a shot of Shanghai noodle makers she took while living and travelling in China.

Istanbul Eats is a website that promotes dining in the Turkish city, a city Mehrer lived in up until recently. Mehrer’s photo of noodlemakers in Shanghai won in the international photo category.

Some background on the photograph:

Mehrer participated in New Year's eve festivities in Shanghai's oldest temple in 2007, and she took the photo on the way out of the temple that night. "Outside the gates was a huge foodie night market selling auspicious things Chinese people ought to eat to ensure good luck, health, wealth, happiness and long life. These noodle soup makers were making extremely long noodles, the culinary symbol for long life. The noodles must be sucked up one at a time and eaten, not bitten, Otherwise long life might be cut short!"

In recent years, Melanie Mehrer has lived in the Middle East, Turkey, Shanghai and Taiwan.
Since December, she has been in Naramata off and on taking some time to get reacquainted and appreciate her old hometown from an artist’s perspective.

Photo below: Sisters Rene and Melanie preparing and selling kebobs in Istanbul.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Gifts in the Garden" Shop is Now Open!

Our backyard experiment is now open for business!!

Once you get past the cute little dog (who also doubles nicely as a customer alert button...)

You are invited to walk across the front lawn and follow the red arrows into the backyard.
Our house is well known in the village because we have a tree growing through the roof.

Follow the arrows past the pond.....

Ta Daaa! Here we are! The Backyard Garden Gift Shop!

My Mother's Christmas Stockings. As of today, there are only 220 days, or seven months and six days left till Christmas.

You better hurry!

My Dad's serving board and spoons made from reclaimed Okanagan Forest fire wood. He's gone fishing today so not much wood work is happening while the sun is shining!

My glass pieces- silkcreened, cut and assembled, and fired twice in a glass kiln.

Upcycled Kuchi Jewelry pieces. (We call it Gypsy Jewelry!)

Rene and I found a place behind the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that sold these bits and pieces by the pound. We went down with our pliers and spent a few hours digging through little bits of metal to create these. Made from the discarded belts of Nomadic Belly Dancers!

And last but not least, our scarves!

The shop will be open whenever we are home and the sign is out. Today is the first day we are open and we've so far had nine people come through. So far no buyers but it certainly has been social! I see more coming. Got to go!

See you in the backyard!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Cutting Edge!

"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music."

~Julia Child

Dad's cutting/serving boards! The wine glass is perfect for a long baguette!

Martha Stewart inspired my Dad.

Well, sort of. Around Christmas, my mother bought a Martha Stewart Magazine and I had a flip through it. I came across an article on vintage cutting boards, and a light bulb went off. My Dad loves to work with wood. I'm sure he could make these in his shop, and he's been looking for something new to do since retiring.

Martha's boards!

I showed Rene and together we showed Dad. He didn't seem too interested at the time. Sigh. Oh well. And the magazine hit some kind of old magazine pile, ready for whatever my mother does with her old magazines. That is, until a recent trip to Granville Island in Vancouver.

Vintage cutting boards made from all kinds of wood.

Rene, Dad and I wandered through the market as mom perused the veggies, and Dad spied some uber-expensive cutting boards.

"I could make these!" He muttered under his breath, turning the rustic-looking cutting boards over, checking out the workmanship. His eyes glimmered, and we knew he was inspired!

Thank you, Martha Stewart and Granville Island Market.

I think the pig serving boards are awesome!

Back in the Okanagan, Rene and I studied Martha Stewart’s article and Rene drew out some cutting board templates as Dad located some reclaimed wood from the Okanagan forest fires of 2003. The fire burnt the trees, but left the inside wood intact and quite dry. Perfect for planing and making cutting/serving boards!

This picture (CBC) was taken from the other side of the lake, looking over towards our side of the lake. Our house is about ten km (as the crow flies) from this image. The fire devastated the area, but it's quickly growing back. There is a lot of dead wood up there that can be taken out to make room for the new growth.

The cutting/serving boards are made from the wood you see burning here. Reclaiming the burnt wood and helping the environment at the same time!

Notice the funky shaped spoons. My Dad is a symmetrical kind of guy so I'm proud of him for taking a page from his daughter's book and making it a wee bit wonky!

So here are a few of my Dad’s pieces, with more to come. They will be for sale in our Garden Gift Shop (A high-classy version of a lemonade stand! Blog to follow!) And Rene and I will tote them around to the few markets we get into before we leave for overseas. I hope they sell well. I think my Dad’s stuff is brilliant!

Now to figure out a name for his product. Hmm......


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Istanbul Eats! Photo Contest!

As some of you may know, I've been named as a weekly winner in the Istanbul Eats International Photo Competition, and now it's time for the public to vote! I am up against some stiff competition, but would love to win this photo contest! Voting is limited once per email address not per person. Please spread the word! Get your office to vote! Your mother! Your kids! Your limitless amount of friends! ; ) (Shameless promotion is now finished!)
From Istanbul Eats:

With the submission period now over, it’s time to choose the winners of our 2nd photo competition, which focused on portraits and images of people working in the food business. The Istanbul Eats editorial team is going to choose winners from among the finalists in both the Turkey and international images groups, but we also want to give our readers a chance to vote for their favorite photos.

To do that, we’ve set up two Flickr photostreams where you can see the finalists:

International Portraits-------This one!!!!!!!!

Turkey Portraits - if you are interested!

After you’ve taken a look at the photos, decide which one you like best from each group and send your vote to
istanbuleats3 [!at] (please only vote once). Voting will be open for one week, so you have until Tuesday, May 18 to vote.We will announce the winners soon after.

My Photo: Click here to see it at Istanbul Eats!

This was taken in Shanghai a few years back. It was December 31st, and all of my friends were busy paying ridiculous prices to get into Expat bars they had been to every week of the year. I asked if anyone would like to go to Longua Temple with me to ring in New Year's Chinese style, but no one would come. So I got on my trusty bicycle and headed down myself.

This photo was one of the photos I took on the way out of the temple that night. No meat was sold inside the temple, but outside was a huge foodie night market free-for-all selling auspicious things Chinese people ought to eat for things like good luck, health and wealth and long life. These noodle soup makers were very good at making extremely long noodles, a symbol of long life. My Chinese friend Shirley told me they should be sucked up one at a time and eaten, not bitten, Otherwise your long life might be cut short!

For a complete view of the Chinese blog I wrote, you can go to this link at Commontales.

Thanks again, Istanbul eats!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Make It! Vancouver Show!

Make it! Is like a Mullet, Craft fair in the front,
Party in the back!

Okay, you have to give them credit for a creative slogan.

The Booth! We think it might be the second tallest there. Today, we are going to Pull a Taipei 101 and unveil some little bamboo sticks on the top to make ours the tallest!

Rene and I are heading down to the Croatian Cultural Centre for our second (and last day) of Make it! Vancouver's Handmade Revolution. If you have the chance to stop by, Please do! It's a great show, (juried, so it's not your grannie's craft fair!) and Rene might even buy you some handmade nipple covers from the lady across the way. I'm partial to the daisies, myself. Okay, that was a joke, but seriously, you can visit us, and you can buy your own nipple pasties there if that's your thing!

The bamboo fence! How much do we love this?

The organizers, Jenna and Chandler, have been super awesome. The advertising has been super amazing. Our scarves were even on Vancouver local TV a week back. Our set up was seamless and organized. Professional crafters, professional organizers, and us in the middle, constructing our booth for the very first time.

The scarves on the table, waiting to be mussed!

One valuable lesson we both learned: When trying to construct anything, see if Chinatown has it first. We spent an afternoon trudging down train tracks in the Vancouver East Side trying to get to a Home Depot we could see on the other side of a long chained fence. I don't really like giant box stores. The selection makes me nervous. We were exhausted by the end of the day, having visited various parts of the store and had worked out a plan of weaving bamboo into a giant lattice which we would used as a backdrop and hang the scarves. But then, we went to Chinatown!

More scarves!

We were looking for a basket, but when we saw that magical piece of bamboo 'fencing', bolted at the junctions and folding up like an accordion, we knew God was looking out for our craft booth! 24.99 and a basket later were were good to go. Thank Goodness we bought it. We can tell you now our display couldn't have worked without it. Did I mention neither of us have a car? That's right. We managed to get it all into a taxi yesterday. Lucky for us the Taxi driver seemed more amused than annoyed!

Gypsy Jewelry. Rene and I hung over a big box of bits of metal for hours to construct these babies behind the Grand Bazaar. Upcycled jewelry, made from the belts of belly dancing gypsies. I'm not kidding!

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Vancouver; today is cold and cloudy, possibly rainy. We are hoping this means more people will be in the craft faire Mode today.

The forms I drew out and my Dad spent an afternoon cutting and sanding down all the edges. Thank you Dad! These are fantastic! I'd like to find an oval mirror to put in the faces so people can see what the scarves look like on.

Day Two! Hopefully we will see you down there!