Canada

Hello Wonderful! An interview with the wonderful Denise Corcoran aka Thrifty By Design


Hello Wonderful!

I'd like to introduce you to another wonderful person! Today we are going to get to know 'community catalyst * crafter extraordinaire * upcycler of things' Denise Corcoran aka Thrifty By Design.  Denise has such a bright and bubbly personality and I really admire her mad crafty up cycling skills. I think you'll really enjoy this weeks Hello Wonderful! and I especially connected to what Denise had to say about friendship and ‘but’ people. 


Who are you, what do you do and where in the world are you?

My name is Denise Corcoran aka Thrifty By Design. I call myself a ’community catalyst * crafter extraordinaire * upcycler of things’. Why not! I love meeting people, making stuff and turning ‘junk’ into fabulous things. And showing other people how to create crafty items on a limited budget, in a short amount of time and with very little know-how. I’m based in North Vancouver, BC.

What do you believe in?

Group hugs, talking to strangers & the power of that first cup-o-joe in the morning. In all seriousness all those things can turn any rainy, grey day into something wonderful. The power of positive thinking & always seeing possibility has this way of proving you right. 

When do you feel your most wonderful?

I love meeting new people, getting out & about plus chilling at home making ‘stuff’. I also adore my Crafternoons (upcycling workshops)! Crafting with strangers can be such a fabulous experience. I’ve crafted with people of all ages, skill levels… The best part is when someone comes to one of my upcycling workshops and they go on about how they’re not creative or crafty. Then they try one of the projects, they make new friends and then they leave with something they’re super proud of. And most of those people tend to come back for another workshop. That’s pretty wonderful when you see someone who goes from being ‘uncrafty’ to a craft devotee in under 2 hours. Crafting & upcycling is addictive!

What is something wonderful that has happened that would have never have happened if you hadn't made a mistake or a wrong turn somewhere?

I had the worst year ever in 2009. Wow! It was a doozy. My Dad nearly died, my Mom had health issues then it ended with my partner of 11 years dumping me. But from the worst comes the best. So many great things have happened because of the hardships I endured. You realize that you need the valleys to appreciate the peaks. I’m pretty darn happy these days and it’s because of those heartaches. You survive them, dust yourself off then keep moving yourself forward. That’s a pretty wonderful thing to realize. So now I take chances, put myself out there for things, take leaps of faith because ya gotta. That’s the stuff of life. My most favourite thing for feeling wonder is traveling on my own to somewhere new. It forces you to meet people, trek around & let the adventure unfold… In the past few years I’ve gone to Berlin, Havana, New York & more by myself & they always end up being inspiring trips!

What is the earliest time in your life that you can remember experiencing wonder? When was the most recent time?

Oh man I have the worst memory EVER. It’s been proven! So earliest time experiencing wonder… Can I give one related to my crafty stuff? If yes that would be going to the Sechelt dump. That’s around the time I started upcycling and repurposing ‘junk’. You can either buy stuff from the Share Shed (I refinished many $1 chairs from the dump) or trek around the wood pile. It’s like being a kid in a candy shop… So much kewl stuff you can turn into new, funky pieces. Why buy from Ikea when you can have a one-of-a-kind item!

The most recent time was just before Xmas. I was asked to be interviewed for a segment on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition. It was about last minute DIY Xmas crafts. It was a blast! The next morning I was thinking about it and realized being on the CBC talking about my crafty, upcycling passion was on my bucket list without me realizing it. And I got to cross it off! So kewl when things just happen out of the blue and you realize just how big a deal it was to you. Those experiences are the things that fill me with wonder. You live life, you do what you do then bam! You’re on the CBC talking about it. Or making DIY ornaments on go! West Coast. That’s darn yummy icing on an already delicious cake!

Who are three wonderful people you think we need to know about. Why are they wonderful? 

My parents are pretty darn lovely. They’re fun, supportive and always there for me. I have craft dates with Dad (we’ve rewired so many thrift store lamps it’s not funny!), baking dates with Mom. Dad also lets me film insightful videos of him - he’s Irish & has tons of personality! He’s given dating advice which was hilarious since he’s been married for 45+ years.

My boyfriend Roly is the happiest, most joyful person I have ever met. He always sees possibility. He’s fun, gregarious & always talks to strangers. It took me a long time to find a partner like him. I’m in awe of how he came into my life when I least expected & was everything I could ever hope for in a partner. Funny how you get what you want but not in the way or the time you expect. And ya just gotta go for it!

My BFFs. There are two many to mention but I have friends from 20+ years ago up to friends from the past few years that just are da bomb. As I get older I tend to avoid the ‘but’ people and surround myself with likeminded souls. The ‘but’ people are the ones you tell your dreams to and they say ‘you could do that but…’ whereas these days I have BFFs that cheer me on & help move me forward. And vice versa. 


Thank you so much Denise! You can find her wonderful self and her work online at her website Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Pinterest. Want more wonderful? Check out the other interviews in the series here

Have a wonderful day!


Hello Wonderful! An interview with the wonderful Sarah Clement


Hello Wonderful!

I'd like to introduce you to another wonderful person! Today we are going to get to know artist and illustrator Sarah Clement.  Please enjoy the interview below and then make sure you check out her current 30 day challenge on her Instagram account. She is creating specimen drawings in jars and I am in love with all of them! 


(portrait by  Julie Nicole )

(portrait by Julie Nicole)

Who are you, what do you do and where in the world are you?

I am a nature lover, artist/illustrator, adventurer and dreamer. I live in Vancouver, on the beautiful Westcoast of Canada. I spend a lot of time drawing, taking photos and observing the world around me.

What do you believe in?

I believe in the power and necessity of creativity. I think everyone has a creative spark in them, but it is a choice to nurture that spark or not. If I am not nurturing that spark, I don't' feel like myself. For me, I feel that creativity is a lens through which I view the world.  I try to find the beauty in the details. I gain a lot of inspiration from nature, and though observing the world around me I slow down and really pay attention. As much as I am a perfectionist and can find myself getting totally obsessed with the details, I think it's important to zoom the lens out and change your perspective. Which brings me to another thing I believe strongly about. Fear, and looking at it square in the eyes. Getting outside of your comfort zone opens up possibilities you never even knew existed. It's a constant struggle to remember, but I really do believe that all your dreams are waiting on the other side of fear.

When do you feel your most wonderful?

Well, I'd have to say that I feel the most wonderful when I'm swimming in the ocean. At one of the awesome beaches on the Sunshine Coast where the water is clear, clean and there's an amazing sandbar. Other than that, I feel wonderful when I feel like I'm taking care of my body through yoga or running, feeding my creativity with art-making and feeding my soul by spending time with amazing friends or family.

What is something wonderful that has happened that would have never have happened if you hadn't made a mistake or a wrong turn somewhere?

I remember struggling a lot with the decision to go into the design program at Emily Carr after I finished my Fine Arts diploma a t Langara College. It really wasn't the right fit and it was a very emotionally challenging year for me. I felt like I needed to follow that path (it seemed much more practical!), but at the same time, a part of me longed for something else. Had I taken a wrong turn? I ended up jumping ship and heading back to the Fine Arts program where I got to draw, printmake and explore my art more. It was a good move. Yet, had I not taken that year of design, I wouldn't have the met some of the most awesome, wonderful, creative friends a person could ask for. Friends who are still an immense source of positivity and inspiration in my life. I don't believe in regrets, and really there are no wrong turns. 

I love observing light and shadow in the world, like the way the sunlight can travel thousands of kilometres to the plant at the windowsill and cast a pattern of tangled leaves on the wall. The shadows define the light, and the light defines the shadows. So it is in life. 

What is the earliest time in your life that you can remember experiencing wonder? When was the most recent time?

A lot of my fondest memories from childhood are of being outside. Whether on an epic camping trip or just going in a hike through the forest around my Dad's house. I don't remember a specific moment, but I've always been in awe of the natural world. 

Every summer, when I go swimming off the Sunshine Coast I swim to the sandy bottom and look back up to see the light stream down through the water. It is there, suspended, weightless, free that the beauty and interconnectedness of the world becomes more clear, and I am wide-eyed with awe.

I found a great quote (and a very fitting one!) the other day:

"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world".-G.K. Chesterton

Who are three wonderful people you think we need to know about. Why are they wonderful? 

Patrick Watson, Musician

Ok, well I don't know him personally, but I feel like his music invokes a sense of awe. Especially when his music is paired with Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating 'The most astounding fact' video. Check it out here.

Andrea Wan, Illustrator

My friend, illustrator-extraordinaire: Andrea Wan. She makes fantastical, surrealist images that are both thought-provoking and beautiful to look at.

Carson Ellis, Illustrator

 She's an illustrator based out of Portland, Oregon and she makes the most wonderful art! So beautifully composed, great use of pattern and colour.

Clement_gazelle_prisms.jpg

Thank you so much Sarah! You can find her wonderful self and her work online at her website and Instagram. Want more wonderful? Check out the other interviews in the series here

Have a wonderful day!


Hello Wonderful! an interview with the wonderful Michele Mateus


Hello Wonderful!

I'd like to introduce you to another wonderful person!  Today we are going to get to know my friend Michele Mateus.  Michele is another super star I met through Papergirl Vancouver! When we first met to talk about the project she made a reference to never nudes and I got a feeling that we could be friends. I was correct and as well as appreciating great tv shows Michele also loves chocolate, creativity and creating change.


Hello Wonderful Michele Mateus

 Who are you, what do you do and where in the world are you?

I am Michele Mateus: mother to a human and fur baby, wife to a pretty cool guy, community engagement professional with a freelance photography & graphic design business.

What do you believe in?

I believe in good chocolate! I believe in nourishing friendships and being honest with people and myself. I believe you can be the change you wish to see in the world, even if just by taking itsy bitsy steps. 

When do you feel your most wonderful?

Various things make me feel pretty wonderful: a yin yoga class, a cuddle on the couch with my husband accompanied by a good movie, tasty wine & salted chocolate, having my hair done (it barely gets brushed these days!) and listening to Jazz with a good cuppa tea.  But what really makes me feel wonderful is looking at my son in awe of what I co-created with my husband, feeling his cute little hands while he hugs me and hearing his adorable giggles. 

What is something wonderful that has happened that would have never have happened if you hadn't made a mistake or a wrong turn somewhere? 

This is a hard one. I might have to come back to it. All the comes to mind are some very personal ones that I think might be too much to share here. 

What is the earliest time in your life that you can remember experiencing wonder? When was the most recent time?

Wow you have stumped me again lady! Not sure if it is mommy brain or my age, but I am having a hard time remembering back.

(photo credit Alyssa Kellert)

(photo credit Alyssa Kellert)

What is the best thing to do when you’re just so fucking over it already?

Eat Ben and Jerry's!

Ever given yourself a haircut? 

YES!  Thankfully I have curly hair which helped mask the crookedness of it : ) That was when I was about 12. 

Ever given a friend a haircut? Did it work out in the end?

I have! I think it was ok. Also another curly head. This happened about 6 years ago. 

Do you believe in ghosts? Not sure, but I did have one experience since my mom died that I really did feel her presence. Though I hate to think of her of a ghost.

Ever seen one? I am not sure I have seen one, but I am sure my dog does as she barks at random nothingness all the time, and we always say she must see dead people.  

Ever eaten one like Ms Pac man? Nope

Who are three wonderful people you think we need to know about. Why are they wonderful? 

My Grandmother: she was a force to be reckoned with! She had eight children, raised them in Brasil and in her late 50's moved here with her youngest (she already had two that came before her), not speaking a word of English, but worked hard to make a great life here for herself and her family. She had a strong work ethic, good sense of humour and could out cook anyone! My grandmother was also cooking or sewing, only to take breaks for eating, sleeping and watching Dr. Who!

My Mother: She came to Canada when she was 23, with a baby (me!) and also not knowing the language, though she worked hard to learn it and integrate herself into Canadian Culture. She had a hard life but she was always heard laughing and telling jokes. Like her mother, she was an amazing cook and when we were growing up our home was always full of our friends waiting to eat her tasty treats, from enchiladas to her home made reese's bars. Sadly she died at the young age of 49, and our son will not know her, but I look forward to telling him stories about her and my grandmother.

Side stepping from people that I actually know I think that Tina Fey is pretty wonderful! She is pretty damn funny and her book Bossy Pants made me laugh a lot, and another thing that makes me feel wonderful is a good laugh! 


Thank you so much Michele! You can find her wonderful self and her work online at her website and on twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

Have a wonderful day!