Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Whozits and Whatzits Galore!

Well, there is sure a lot happening these days.  I can barely catch my breath!  As I wrote yesterday, we have our new shabby chic line in Mercedes Lane.  Well NOW we also have a selection of our seaside jewelry and nautical gifts in '2nd Chance' - a wonderful, boutique-style thrift store where various local artists and crafters will be featured in their new 'Artist's Corner'.  I am thrilled and honoured to be the very first artist to be showcased there.  The lovely manager, Melanie Abela, had asked me if I could put together a little display for her store with a variety of my handmade, seaside items, so this is the finished product...

As I was bringing my tray of treasures to 2nd Chance, I was suddenly reminded of a song from 'The Little Mermaid'...

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has ev'rything?

Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Lookin' around here you'd think
(Sure) she's got everything

I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs?
I got twenty...

Funny the things that go through one's mind, yes?  Anyhow, Melanie was delighted with my display of nautical 'whozits and whatzits'.  Yay!  In my 'Mermaid Treasure Collection', I included an oyster shell tealight holder, a beach in a bottle keychain, a beaded, mermaid bookmark, an aqua bead and silver charm bracelet, a hand-formed ceramic pendant and two pairs of earrings - one gold, beaded pair and another that dangles and sparkles inside a little glass bottle.  That one is my favourite and, most definitely 'mermaid-approved'. 

If you haven't been yet, I highly recommend that you visit this delightful store and check out their awesome deals.  It is a great resource for all you Pinterest fans out there and anyone who loves to recycle and upcycle!  2nd Chance is actually putting on a series of 'Creative Reuse Workshops' for anyone wanting to learn how to breathe life into gently-used objects by turning them into something new and inspired!  In fact, they have one coming up soon on May 7th where you can create one-of-a-kind bags, pouches, purses, envelopes, and gift wrapping - all out of thrift store t-shirts!  You can check their Facebook page for details or drop into the store to sign up for the workshop - in the Heritage Mall beside Serious Coffee in Parksville, BC.  Sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to recycle.  Plus, when you shop at 2nd Chance, you are helping to fund their 'Workability Program' - a non-profit charity which supports people with physical, medical, mental and emotional barriers so they can have a safe, meaningful and productive life within an environmentally sustainable community.  So shopping there is a 'win-win' for everyone, wouldn't you agree?

Have a creative, resourceful and inspired day!  And say please hi to Melanie for me!

Micki @ A2Sea Creations

Monday, April 17, 2017

Old to New and Back Again!

Strange title, you may be thinking.  I agree.  But it should make sense soon enough. 

Up till now, we at A2Sea Creations have been creating everything and anything beachy - from 'Mermaid Treasure' to the ever-popular 'Message in a Bottle' to our 'Beach Wedding Ring Bearer's Box', to mention just a few.  We've even added a new, quirky and quaint twist to our 'Seaside Earrings'.  But we have really created new waves these days and steered our boat off course a little from our usual coastal persuasion.

For as long as I have known of its existence, I have been a devoted fan of shabby chic décor.  I have always veered toward the antiquated, anyway.  I especially love European architecture with its curly-cue flourishes and time-worn peeling paint.  If only those ancient walls could talk!  Anyhow, with my bent toward dated treasures, shabby chic just seemed to fit right into my wheelhouse.

We have not steered our ship completely away from its original course, but we are not going to fight against the tide of our new passion either.  The name of our new line is 'Chic Boutique' by A2Sea Creations.  At the moment, we have just a couple of shabby chic products in our online gift shop, but I am also very excited to announce that we have a few more of our new items in a wonderful local shop called Mercedes Lane on Craig Street in Parksville, BC on Vancouver Island.  The shop is chock full of 'yummy' ladies fashions and gorgeous shabby chic furniture and home décor.  I don't expect I will come away with a profit seeing as I can't seem to resist the temptation to indulge myself when I'm in there.  It is certainly my kind of place.  The moment I grace its threshold, I am hooked.  Ah well, a girl's gotta shop, right?

I am attaching a few photos showing some of our 'Chic Boutique' treasures.  Feel free to 'pin' them if you like and we are also open to suggestions of what else we could create. 

It is such fun to turn something old into something new and then distress it to make it look old again.  Seems like a funny pastime.  But it is certainly fun and rewarding.

Be sure to check out Mercedes Lane.  You will love it!  Say hi to the girls from Micki.  And take a moment to 'like' them on Facebook

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catching Up and New Treasures

I just realized that my last blog post was last August.  Oh my!  Apparently, blogging is not my strong suit.  Not that I don't like to write... I do!  But my writing has taken a turn in another direction.  I have been encouraged by many a friend, over the years, to write my life story.  So that's exactly what I started doing.  I have seven stories written and I am working on three more.  I get distracted easily so working on more than one seems to work best for me.  Should I ever be published, I will be sure to blog about THAT because I will be too excited not to!

As for my life at A2Sea Creations, it is still going strong.  I just finished a humungous order for the wonderful 'Newfoundland to Nanaimo Gift and Souvenir Shop' on the Nanaimo Harbour.  Ninety items... whew!  Here they are...

And here is a close-up of the new nautical bottles I designed especially for the 'Newfoundland to Nanaimo Gift and Souvenir Shop' - handpainted by yours truly.

I never tire of creating new, nautical treasures.  I wonder what I will make next?  Who knows?  Sometimes I don't even know myself! 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A2Sea Creations Loses a Ship Mate

Well, a few of you may know that my co-partner Cheryl has left A2Sea Creations.  But there are no hard feelings, whatsoever.  In fact, Cheryl and I are still the very best of friends and always will be. But with her gone several months of the year, it is no longer practical. However, I am sure she will keep on collecting shells and such for me.  She is the 'Sherlock Holmes' of finding nautical treasures.

It's difficult to believe that we started A2Sea Creations together six years ago!  The time seems to have flown by and that is probably because we have had so much fun creating things together.  They say that 'laughter is the best medicine' and I believe it!  We have certainly done our share of laughing together.  Cheryl does this 'thing' with moon shells... well... you'd have to see it to understand.

I recall our humble beginnings, creating at my kitchen table.  What a mess that made!  Then we moved to my guest room.  That was fine until I had guests!  Finally, we moved everything out to my workshop.  My husband, David, kindly allowed us take over the space and reduce him to a very small corner... the only spot that isn't messy, I might add.  Bless that dear, patient man.

Cheryl and I did the craft markets for awhile... it was fun, but not lucrative enough for all the work it entailed.  This is a photo of Cheryl pretending to be 'Vanna White' at the Errington Farmer's Market.

We tried a few more markets... one was, what one might consider, a disaster!  We were invited to bring our wares to a local marine swap meet.  Sounded like a great opportunity, right?  Wrong!  We were the only ones there that sold 'girly stuff'!   Everyone else was selling things like greasy boat parts and motors from the tailgates of their trucks!  LOL.  But the upside is, it had motivated us to make a whole bunch of new and different nautical creations and get some experience in setting up a craft table.  I always try to find the positive spin on things.  Plus, I got to hold a parrot that day!

Cheryl and I eventually made a decision not to do any more markets once we started selling our handmade products in local gift shops.  That is, until I talked her into doing one last one... 'Etsy Made in Canada Day'.  Being the team captain of the Vancouver Island Etsy Team, I felt it would be a good thing to get involved in, as this was a 'first'.  I helped promote it and we had our own table as well. Although it wasn't a huge money maker for us, we got to meet several of our VI team members in person, which was lovely.  Out of that came some great friendships and connections.  And again, it motivated Cheryl and I to create some new beach treasures.

It has been a wonderful 'nautical ride' with my friend and co-partner, Cheryl.  Although it wasn't always 'smooth sailing', we learned a lot about what to do, what not to do, what sells, where it sells best and, above all, we had a great time working together.  This is a photo of Cheryl and I displaying our wares at the Newfoundland to Nanaimo Gift and Souvenier shop on the harbour in Nanaimo, BC. The photo below was taken by the local newspaper after we had raised over $10,000 for Japan for the earthquake / tsunami disaster relief in 2011, with the help of the Vancouver Island Etsy Team and other local artisans.  

The Newfoundland to Nanaimo gift shop is our best venue for selling our creations and, if you haven't been, it's well worth visiting. It is a wonderful shop chock full of nautical yumminess and many fabulous items made by local artisans. Say hi to Esther for us and tell her we sent you!

Thank you Cheryl for making A2Sea Creations so fun, for making me laugh, for giving me confidence, for believing in me, and for being so unafraid to try anything.  You've been an awesome 'ship mate', a wonderful travelling buddy and I will always be thankful for you and our friendship.  

Love... your 'ship mate - Mickers'.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cheryl and I are thrilled to announce that our seaside products will once again be for sale at the The Quilted Duck Gift Cottage and Boutique in Nanaimo, BC.  And it was very affirming to be told that they like all of our items and asked us for some of everything.  Fortunately, Cheryl and I had almost enough inventory to fill the order so I only had to make a few things, create brand new tags for our magnets and mermaid bookmarks, and spruce up my earrings by placing them in new, crystal clear bags.  I am really happy with the result.  Sometimes it's those little special touches that make all the difference!

Be sure to check out the Quilted Duck, say hi to Heather and ask to see our products!  (It's a good thing I don't work there because I would be bringing something home everyday!)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking back on 2014

As I ponder 2014, there are so many things that made this year so special and memorable.  Nothing particularly elaborate or impressive.  But special, nonetheless.

What I have learned personally is the true value of friendship and the need people have for one another.  In this day and age, we have more ways of communicating than ever, and yet, many of us... (dare I say most?) are glued to our mobile devices and online social networks.  Thanks to the internet we can connect instantaneously and yet, there are still so many lonely people removed from vital human contact and companionship.  I am a prime example of computer excessiveness.  But over the last few months, I have found myself pulling away more and more from the computer and craving physical connection.  I made a point of inviting friends to our home over the holidays and I must say, I am all the better for it.

At the beginning of the holidays, I was feeling inexplicably down in the dumps.  I could not pinpoint the reason, really.  Perhaps it was a combination of not being able to visit my Oregon family this year, missing my dad who passed away not long ago, and my business partner taking off to her winter home, hence, missing her friendship, laughter and the joy of creating together.  Throw in a couple of funerals into the mix, a little menopause and blam!  Who knows?  Anyhow, for whatever reason, I could not get into the spirit of the season.  A friend commented how she was concerned to hear that I had only just put up my Christmas tree on December 14th, as she knows how early I normally have everything decorated.

Anyhow, I needed to somehow change how I was feeling.  Who needs a 'grumpy gus' at Christmas?  So I threw myself into spending time with friends and doing a few special things for people.  I enjoyed a fabulous Christmas tea with a couple of my gal pals at our favourite cafe in Qualicum Beach... Cafe Brie.  Another time I made some Christmas goodies and little gifts for the staff where I work.  I invited a neighbour over who I knew was going to be alone over the holidays.  Anyhow... you get the idea.  What I soon discovered was, I was feeling better; decorating, baking, and becoming my old self again.

So the moral of the story... when I start to do things for other people, I stop thinking about myself so much.  When I concentrate on finding ways to make others happy, I can't help but become happier myself.   Humans need each other... we need connection, we need purpose, we need to make a difference.  When we reach out, we change.  It's simple, really.

On that note, my hubby and I were invited out for a Christmas Eve get together, as well as a Christmas day brunch with friends.  So we were blessed by others as well. 

As for A2Sea Creations, we are now into our seventh year.  Who knew?   In September, we were heavily involved in the first ever 'Etsy Made In Canada Day' held in cities across Canada.  It was a privilege to take part and to meet so many wonderfully friendly and talented Vancouver Island artisans.

Cheryl and I have learned a lot over the years and have been blessed by our wonderful, loyal customers.  We also value the friendships we have made along the way.  We would like to take a moment to thank Esther of Newfoundland to Nanaimo and Patti at the Parksville Tourist Centre for continuing to carry our seaside creations and appreciating our work.  It's been a pleasure ladies.

Happy New Year to all of our friends, family and customers.  We wish you all only the best life has to offer.
 Micki of A2Sea Creations - Etsy Made in Canada Day
Cheryl of A2Sea Creations - Etsy Made in Canada Day

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vancouver Island Etsy Shop Feature - Roxanne Rose-Bouchard

• Tell us about who you are and how you got started doing what you do. Did you gain formal training? Where?  If not, how did you develop your art?  
My name is Roxanne Rose-Bouchard. I got my start about 25 years ago, making costumes and stagewear back on the mainland. I went to Kwantlen College in Richmond, BC where I studied the fashion arts and clothing technology for 3 years.  We moved to Vancouver Island in 1992. It is here I developed my own line of clothing. I use natural fibers that I dye and hand print myself. I used to wholesale to small boutiques across Canada and one catalogue company, with the help of an agent in the FX Fashion Centre in Vancouver.

• Tell us about your studio. Do you have a room or workshop especially dedicated to your art? Or is it the kitchen table or a corner in your child's playroom?
I have a studio/workshop beside my house where I design and create.  I also have a retail area where customers can come in and browse.

Roxanne's philosophy...  "A messy workshop is a busy workshop!!"

• Tell us about your processes. How do you work? Do you listen to music or need quiet?  Is it sporadic or do you dedicate set hours to work?
I love to listen to music while I work! I used to have dedicated work hours, but now I have a full time job working on a boat, as well as working on my craft. I would like to go back to my art full time as soon as my husband recovers from his illness.

• What are the toughest challenges you find in keeping consistent hours?  What other challenges do you face in your work and what ways have you been able to address them?
I don’t find it difficult to keep consistent hours as I love to work as much as possible. I do find it difficult to find enough computer time, however.  Hours disappear so fast!

• What types of materials do you use and why?
I like to use natural fibers because I (and many others) love the way they feel and the way they perform. I am able to use greener methods of dyeing, painting, and printing.

• Where else do you sell your work?  
I sell my work out of my shop, Etsy and at craft fairs. I also sell my work at Oceanside Village Artist’s Gallery on Resort Drive in Parksville, and at Nancy Durham’s in Saskatchewan.

• Why do you think people should buy handmade?
Handmade items are much more special and unique than mass-produced items.  Quality is usually better. Buying handmade helps to support local people rather than large corporations.

• What goals do you have?
My goals are to be able to make a living doing what I love to do. I want women to feel beautiful in my clothing and love the garments as much as I do.

• What are some of the items you sell in your shop?

  Have you been in the news or featured elsewhere? 
Over the years I have been in the newspaper a number of times. I was just featured in the current issue of Oasis” magazine that is put out by the Parksville Qualicum News.

You may also find Roxanne in the Vancouver Island Lighthouse Country  business directory.