Monday, November 30, 2009

Steveston Christmas Craft Fair

It was Saturday, November 28th. I entered Steveston Community Centre's parking lot with great trepidation. The annual Christmas craft fair was in progress. And, as always, a great number of eager shoppers had beat me to it.

Why would browsing through a room full of lovingly crafted creations inspire fear in me, you say?

Probably because I was entering the Net Shed not as a shopper, but as a blogger. Instead of a bag, I had a camera slung over my shoulder. Plus a few hastily printed business cards. My plan was to take photos of some of the crafters and their products for my Steveston blog, which features events and people around the village.

Alas, I was beset by doubts. What if the crafters said "no"? What if they grew hostile and kicked me out the door? What if they worried about having their ideas stolen? What if ...

To make matters worse, it was strictly wall-to-wall people in the cavernous building. How could I get close enough to the persons sitting behind those tables laden with rows upon rows of treasures? I spent at least half an hour meandering up and down the aisles before summoning up enough courage to identify myself to a slim blonde. She graciously agreed to have her photo taken and helpfully pointed out a nearby table where I would most likely be just as lucky. From then on, it was like pushing a set of dominos down as one vendor after another gave me the nod. I grew bolder and began to really enjoy chatting them up.

As I walked away from the fair, I was struck by the talent of the Christmas craft fair participants. But, more importantly, I was impressed with their friendliness, courteousness, contagious enthusiasm, and generosity - with their time and creative ideas.

This blog entry is dedicated to all of you who took the time to pose and smile for me!

Sandy Bahrich - Firefly Notes
Sandy’s nostalgic magnets drew me to her table. Of course, anything with the Eiffel Tower stamped on it would, because I absolutely worship the City of Light. Sandy does more than magnets, however. Check out her site and be amazed.

Andie Froese - Andie's Artefacts
The first thing I noticed about Andie was her friendliness. The second was her obsession with hieroglyphics. The third thing was that she made great jewelry. Hm, a winning combination, don't you think?

Dixie and Tracy - Lil' Bling
The array of hair clips for little princesses on Dixie and Tracy’s table made me wish I still had a baby in my arms. But only for a split second! I couldn't help but admire the patience, care, not to mention eye-crossing concentration that must have gone into every single item in their collection. If that’s not a labour of love, I don’t know what is!

Shannon Stewart - Plain Jane
If I have to think of a quality that characterizes Shannon’s Swarovski crystal jewelry, it would have to be understated elegance. Less is always more!

Angie Kehler - Crafts & Greeting Cards
Want to make your Christmas more festive? Angie’s cards and bags are just the thing to make your holiday glitter and sparkle.

Melanie Kalley - Kalley Kandy
I am not a candy type person but Melanie insisted I try a piece of her honey almond nougat. And boy, was I glad she did. How do you describe an airy lightness with just a whisper of sweetness melting on your tongue? Oh, I guess I just did!

D.S.Mercer - The Pen Guy!
If fine handwriting ever returned as a art form, Duglus would be well ahead of the pack. His pens felt so solid and wonderfully heavy in my hand and glided over a paper like a dream.

Elizabeth Holloway - Stampers Plus
Elizabeth gives stamping classes and participates in craft fairs. I admire her industriousness and high energy level.

Marlene Martelli - Kooky Mom Creations
Who knew that insulated bags could look ultra chic? I wonder if an iced coffee would stay cold in one of those adorable bags.

Table of Diane Ison - Stampin' Up!
Although I didn’t get to shake hands with Diane, I met her rep sitting behind rows of lovingly crafted cards. Keeping track of them all must be mind boggling.

Mika and Andrew - The Steveston Cookie Company
Their custom designed cookies depict seagulls, boats, and other things that spell pure Steveston.

Mandy Wong -
Mandy designs objects with felt. Don’t those cupcakes look good enough to eat? Pure eye candy with zero calories.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Of barbershops and hair salons

How many hair salons and barbershops does it take to keep Stevestonites well groomed?

Over a dozen!

Which is a high ratio for a community that is bordered by Bayview Street on the south side, Steveston Hwy on the north side, No.1 Road on the east side, and Seventh Avenue on the west side.

Here's a list of those responsible for making us the best coiffed community in the Lower Mainland:

Steveston Barbers

Alen's Golden Scissors

Amy's Hair & Beauty Studio

Remark Hair Design

Salon Vogue

Ship N Shore Hair Studio

Hair by Lenny


Inter Beaute Haircare Salon

And let's not forget ARRZ 2, Ask Hair Studio, Gentleman's Chair Barber, Salon Six, H2O Hair & Nail Co., A-Styles Hair Salon, and Steveston Hair.

Did I miss any other hair tamers?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Those icy blustery winds must have blown more than dried leaves away.

Where a witch had perched now snuggled two gingerbread cookies.

And the happy ghosts welcoming committee has graciously made way for Santa and his puffy Christmas tree, which leaned sideways like the Tower of Pisa.

In a blink of an eye it seemed, someone had peeled off the orange and black trappings of Halloween and brushed swaths of Christmas greens, reds, silver, and whites on store windows. Talk about turbo charging the start of the shopping season!

And if those seasonal colours fail to get your engine warmed up, there are signs aplenty to nudge you in the right direction.

What are you waiting for? The call to shop will only get more intense. Get the old credit card out and charge out the door, because it’s that time of year again…

Friday, November 13, 2009

California dreamin'

As our days grow darker and cold and moisture seep through our thickest coats, do you yearn for summer past?

Yes, you remember… Those joltingly bright afternoons. And riotous shades of blues, purples, yellows, reds, and whites spilling out of every window box, tub, and tidy garden.

Neither do I.

Thank goodness I had the foresight to grab my camera when I headed out for a walk in Steveston on August 29th. Here are a few shots that might transport you back in time. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sweet offerings

Has it been a week already?

Just last Saturday, I saw this scarecrow poised to welcome young visitors at somebody’s front door:

As I continued on my Saturday walk, I was struck by the strength of the local merchants’ Halloween community spirit.

One store's facade was dressed up with great exuberance:

A sweetshop owner popped a friendly witch in the window:

A Japanese restaurant posted a welcoming committee at the door:

While a Greek counterpart graced its exterior bench with an expertly carved honest-to-goodness pumpkin:

Another merchant stuffed three orange plastic bags and painted happy faces on them, but the result was no less striking, don’t you agree?

And last but not least, a craft store sported a giant spider on its front wall to suggest the darker, more sinister side of this celebration:

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Steveston, coffee is king!

Yes, you can get a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or a mug of beer in Steveston. But one sweep of the neighbourhood would tell you that Stevestonites are hard core coffee drinkers.

There is the iconic Starbucks

The well respected Blenz Coffee

And the up-and-coming Waves Coffee

But what makes Steveston truly unique is the proliferation of the smaller local favourites such as Steveston Coffee

And Bean and Beyond Cafe.

And let's not forget Alegria Cafe & Giftware

and Cannery Cafe

and Oasis Cafe

The scattering of beans from one end of the village to the other is a good thing, too. It's not that such healthy competition would benefit your pocketbook - because their prices are pretty comparable - but because parking is always at a premium. Especially on sunny days. With coffee houses dispersed throughout the village, those with caffeine craving can satisfy their addiction just about anywhere.

Know the best way to enjoy a steamin' cup?
• Seated on a boardwalk bench while watching the might Fraser River go by
• Sprawled on the grass at Garry Point Park with your nose in a good book
• Walking your dog with a cup in hand - until you need to get the old plastic bag out