Idea Pouch For On The Go Creativity

You never know when that genius spark of inspiration will appear. In bed, picking up groceries or in the doctors waiting room it’s rarely at a convenient time. Fear not! Here is a practical, totable Idea Pouch to store a notebook, writing sticks, iPad, or whatever will fit.

I made this Idea Pouch for a friend’s birthday using a PDF pattern from Michelle Patterns. I’ve sewn a couple of Michelle Patterns and find them straight forward and easy to understand, also her instructions include pictures!

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ABC Bees: An Urban Honey Experience


When my pal Jolene invited me to attend an ABC Bees Home2Hive bee tour with her I said yes right away. I love learning about how things are made, especially if they’re pretty much in my own backyard and who doesn’t love honey!?

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: There are three kinds of bees in a hive: Queen, Worker and Drone.

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Stampede style inspiration throwback

In YYC the Calgary Stampede is a big deal. Have you been? If not it’s definitely an experience. This year the Stamped runs from July 3rd – 12th. The downtown is transformed with brightly painted windows, hay, and reclaimed wood boards.  Plaid shirts and cowboy hats abound! And the Stampede grounds are where all the action is.



calgary stampede Indian village

Since this is my 5th year in Calgary and my 4th year Stampeding I’ve been around the hay bale a couple of times. Dressing up cowboy style is always fun. I love the challenge of dressing in a theme. Trying to infuse your own style into an outfit while not looking like a costume can be a challenge. Do you really want to look like a cowgirl cliché? Of course not! That’s why I’m sharing two past posts I did on how to dress for a stampede/rodeo.

In 2013 white was on trend and that hasn’t changed for 2015. Get inspiration for how to accessorize your white lace dress/skirt or even what kind to buy. There are so many different styles! What I’m obsessed with… White lace dresses.

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Once you have your outfit you’re going to need a cowboy hat. This is a must as it completes the ensemble and helps keep the sun out of your eyes while watching the rodeo. A little cowboy hat creativity will show you two ways you can customize a run of the mill hat. Give your chapeau a little pizzaz and you’ll never get lost in the crowd.

cowboy hat deco diy


Remember, you’re beautiful and no matter what you choose to wear, confidence and a big cowgirl smile will always be in style during Stampede and beyond!

A Swapping we will go! Part 2

So here is part 2 of my swapping adventure with The SWAP Team. I’m going to share all my sweet finds and give you my 5 tips for a successful swap. If you want to know more about The SWAP Team and the two Calgary Co-Chapter Directors Stacey and Vanessa, check out part 1.

Tip 1: What you wear to the swap is just as important as what you’ll take away. Your outfit should be something that you can easily try clothes over. While there were change rooms I found it was much quicker to just find a clear space and try stuff on. I wore flats, black leggings, a tank top dress, and a long sleeved button up shirt I could easily take on and off. (check out my pic in part 1) I also wore minimal make up. No one wants to find a foundation or lipstick smear across their “new” shirt.

All 3 of these tanks are quite long, I just have them folded. Perfect for layering!


Tip 2: Don’t forget to check out the men’s section! My friend Jolene actually clued me into this. She wasn’t finding any plaid shirts in the women’s section so she went to the men’s and scored a nice red and blue number. While I wasn’t lucky enough to find another plaid shirt I did come across these two raglan sleeved tops and a sequined skier tee from Zara Man.


Tip 3: Be prepared to dig! Even thought clothes are hung up and sorted mainly by style you’ll still have to look through all the racks thoroughly. Heck, we were sitting on the floor pulling t-shirts out of the bin. You never know what you might find at the bottom. I even went through some racks twice. A swap can be very hectic and things can change quickly. Taking time to look might be the difference between you finding that perfect dress or not.

I love the floweyness of this Asos top and a good pair of Nike gym shorts will come in handy.


Tip 4: Try to imagine the possibilities. During your clothing swap search always keep in mind that with a few small tweaks an item can look like it was made for you. If it’s missing a button sewing a new one on is easy. Or you could even change all the buttons for a different look. If a pair of pants fit great but are too long hemming is a quick fix. Taking in a side seam or shortening a skirt is another way to tailor your finds. The Plaid skirt below fits great on the waist but is a tad snug on the hips so I’m going to let out the seam about a 1/2 inch for the perfect fit! If you have lots of those t-shirt DIY’s on your pintrest now would be a good time to find some oversized tees to experiment on.


Tip 5: Be picky! After going through your closet and donating all the clothes you don’t want anymore it would seem foolish to haul home a bunch of stuff that really doesn’t work for you. Try everything on and bring a friend for a second opinion. Make sure to look for wear and tear, open seams, and stains. I always make sure to look under the armpit and down the front. Sometimes these things can be easily fixed but if you don’t have the know how or the time for repairs I’d pass. If you don’t like to dry clean or hand wash your clothes make sure to look at the labels. Just because they have been previously worn doesn’t mean they wont shrink!



I had to fit in one more tip and that’s Treat others like you’d want to be treated. Yes, you need to be speedy to snag that perfect sweater but that’s no reason to elbow and knock all the other sweaters off their hangers! We should all be their to have fun and share in our love of fashion. Happy swapping!

A Swapping we will go! part 1



On Sunday September 22nd I got up bright and early to attend The SWAP Team’s Take Off Your Clothes event. Armed with a coffee, my best swapping outfit and some pals to get second opinions from I waited patiently for the doors to open, anxious to get my swap on. This is the first time I’ve attended a clothing swap but with my love of thrift stores and scoring a bargain I knew I would have a great time!

The SWAP Team, founded in 2007, is a non-profit run entirely by volunteers. They currently have chapters in Montreal, Boston, NYC, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, Northampton (MA) and Quebec City. The SWAP Team is all about promoting eco-friendly and socially conscious clothing consumption and all the clothing left over from the swap is donated to local charities! For every item in excellent condition brought in you get one ticket to exchange for a item of clothing or accessories found at the swap. The only cost is the price of the ticket $15. So the more you bring in the more you can walk away with! Luckily we were supplied with X-large bright green totes to haul our goodies in!


Stacey Savage and Vanessa Erickson are the awesome Calgary Co-Chapter Directors and I was able to ask them a couple questions about how they got involved with SWAP, tips for swapping, and their fave spots in YYC.


How did you first get involved with the Swap Team?

Stacey My first encounter with the SWAP was in October 2010. I was invited by my now Co-Director, Vanessa to come and volunteer on event day. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew after my first day volunteering that I needed to get involved in a more substantial way. The next event, Spring 2011, I was on The SWAP Team as the volunteer coordinator. From then on out, Vanessa and I took over the event as Co-Directors, and this years event marks our 3rd SWAP as the official YYC Team.

Vanessa  I met the previous SWAP Team Calgary Director (and now VP of Operations), Necole Hines, at a girls night at a mutual friend’s house. We started talking and she explained that she was hosting the first ever Take Off Your Clothes event in Calgary, and I offered to volunteer. I spent the whole day in the sorting section literally amazed at the quality and the overwhelming quantity of clothes that were coming through the door, we had so much fun going through it all. After the first event, I became Necole’s Co-Director, and later brought on my best friend, Stacey Savage to replace Necole when she took a position as VP of Operations with The SWAP Team on a national scale


What items are most coveted at the swap?

Stacey I find people typically go pretty crazy over the shoe section, the Jeans are a pretty hot item too. This year we had a phenomenal jeans section, there were so many great pairs that it’s easy to see why. Typically a good pair of jeans will set someone back over $100, so to be able to snag some for “free” can never be a bad thing!

Vanessa It really varies, but I would say the items that draw the most attention are vintage, unique or high-end items. We get a wide variety of people that attend, which means we get a tonne of variety in the items and the preferences of the people who attend. We find a lot of people going “Can I pull this off?” “What if I shorten the hem on this? “What if I belt it?” – people start to get creative and they step out of their comfort zones with the clothing, probably because it’s free!


Are there any swapping no-no’s?

Stacey SWAP is a pretty freestyle event, we have everything from women changing in the middle of the room, to running around trying to show your best friend a great find that you know would look amazing on her. We don’t have a lot of “no-no”s per say, but we do like to encourage a friendly environment. We realize letting hundreds of people loose on free clothing can be risky, but we definitely promote a “be nice to your fellow SWAP’ers” mentality.

Vanessa The only thing I can really think of is putting something into the swap that you’re not prepared to get rid of. Because we can’t control the types of items that we get for each swap, we always try to warn our attendees, “if you aren’t willing to get nothing for it, don’t put it in the swap.” This way people can avoid feeling disappointed if they don’t find something of equal or higher value. We don’t guarantee that you will get your pieces back if you can’t swap-up. This being said, it’s rare when this type of situation comes up, because we really do get some great items for swapping!


What is 1 tip you’d give to someone wanting to host their own home swap meet?

Stacey 1st tip is to be ruthless with your own closet, and encourage your friends to do the same. We ALL have those pieces in our closets that have been hanging there for years… we glance at them once and a while and invision the perfect outfit to go with it, but let’s face it… if you haven’t even put it on in the last 8 months, chances are you’re not going to. The best way to have a successful swap is to trust the process and get ready to purge your closet… trust me, it’s so refreshing!

Vanessa Invite your friends to bring friends, try to get as many people involved as possible. You will end up with more variety in terms of sizes, styles, etc so that you can make sure everyone walks away with something that they’re really excited about!


What is your favourite color? 

Stacey My favourite color for fashion really changes with trends and seasons. This season I find myself being really attracted to a lot of army greens, and deep ox bloods and burgundy’s. I love fall fashion, so I’m really excited to fill up on chunky sweaters and scarves… I have a bit of a scarf addiction, I’ll admit.

Vanessa My favourite colour is green – it’s the colour of grass and emeralds (my favourite jewel!).

Where is one of your best loved places in Calgary?

Stacey We have so many local boutiques in this city where there are always amazing finds. I will say that I do love to be thrifty when I can, so Feisty Consignment on 17th avenue is a staple for me. They are ALWAYS restocking with amazing finds, barely worn items, great shoes, etc. It’s a must for anyone looking for great items at a reasonable price.

Vanessa One of my best loved spots in the city is the Blackfoot Farmers Market. Last year, my sister and I made it a date there almost every Sunday to grab a delicious lunch from Three Greek Gals, pick up fresh produce for the week and my guilty pleasure… taste testing all of the Simple Simons pies! She’s heading to New Zealand in a week, so sadly, I’ll need to find a new friend to go with, or fly solo 🙂

If your interested in my tips for successful swapping and what items I scored stay tuned for A Swapping We Will Go part 2!

5 reasons you should check out the Calgary Reads book sale!


This is my second year volunteering with the CBC Calgary Reads book sale. After seeing the humongous selection of books last year I was hooked. I’m an avid reader and this is right up my alley! If you haven’t been yet, and you live in or near Calgary, I highly recommend going. But if you need a bit more persuasion here are 5 reasons you should check it out.

1. There is a huge, and I mean ginormous, selection

I was awe struck when I saw how many books there are, and that’s after volunteers weed out all dirty/old/worn ones. The books are well categorized too. Fiction on one side, non fiction on the other, and then sorted into groups such as art, travel, humour, ect, ect. I can almost guarantee everyone can find a subject that would interest them.


2. Your supporting an amazing charity

All of the funds raised go to Calgary Reads which is an early literacy initiative devoted to changing the lives of struggling grade 1 and 2 readers and their families in Calgary and area schools. Increased literacy in Children can boost their confidence and academic achievement and also enables curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. Happier and healthier kids turn into happier and healthier adults. Yay!

3. You could meet that someone special

Ok, this one might seem a little far fetched but I heard a story on CBC Radio 1 about a couple that met at a Calgary Reads book sale, he asked her out for coffee and they ended up getting married! Maybe you might connect with someone over your shared love of sports trivia or vegetarian cooking. Maybe you might reach for the same book, your fingers touch, and sparks fly. Hey, you never know!


4. It will help you stay young

Confucius says “you cannot open a book without learning something.” Patty Berg, founding member of the LPGA says “Always keep learning. It keeps you young.” So therefore read a book and stay young!

and if reading doesn’t appeal to you….

5. Book crafts!

If the thought of cutting into a book send shivers down your spine skip this one. There are some books out there that might not get chosen to read but have very pretty covers or would be perfect for that craft project you’ve been meaning to try. Why not use a book to make a lamp, clutch, or table runner. there’s even a book all about making crafts using books!


So do I have you convinced that you should head down to the Calgary Curling Club from May 10-12? If you want more information about the hours, address, or how you can get involved next year check out the website. or follow them on facebook or twitter!


Looking at the haul I brought home I think I might be spending a lot of time on the deck this summer with a book and a cold beverage.

Right on Target


This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to go for a tour of one of the new Calgary Target stores a day before it opened. This one in Market Mall, as well as the stores in Chinook Center and Forest Lawn and seven other locations in Alberta will be soft opening May 7th. The Target in Shawnessy will open May 14th and the grand opening for all is scheduled for May 24.


It was quite the experience to be in a new store in which no one has shopped in. The “team members” were all busy with final touches, looking sharp in their Target red and khaki outfits. The layout is totally redone from when Zellers previously occupied the space and it’s all shiny and red and white.

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Target carries a lot of great brands such as Papyrus, Mossimo Supply Co, Dyson, Apple, Kitchen Aid, Sonia Kashuk, Pixi, and tons more. They also do limited time collaborations, Roots and Sam & Libby, and are planning to do more with Canadian designers. I was quiet impressed with how fashion forward the maternity collections are.


Nate Berkus Collection home accessories


There are lots of ideas and products for organising.

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Unicorn bank anyone? When I went to a target in the states years ago I bought a set of Simply Shabby Chic sheets in a cabbage rose print and they are still my favourite! They’re great for summer as they always feel nice and crisp. I’m so excited that Target still has this line!


Our tour guide, John Morioka Sr. Vice of Merchandise, told us that Target is testing these bright beauty displays in Canadian stores. With three rows of every beauty product imaginable I’m sure they’ll be a hit.




Mr. Morioka is explaining about how Target tries to stay freah and on trend with their products. They have an Expect more. Pay less. brand promise which is sure to please plenty of new customers.




You might be wondering, like I was, why there are no lights on in the ice cream freezer? Simple, the lights come on as you walk by! How cool is that? Sorry about the pun. Lol

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These cereals, a target exclusive brand, include chocolate chunk hazelnut biscotti and French vanilla almond crunch. Yum!


This packaging is designed by textile designer Orla Kiely. Another Target exclusive.


Because who wants a sales person hovering around you. When I need help I’ll just summon someone with the press of a handy button.


This has got to be the cutest gift card ever!

So who’s excited to go see what all the fuss is about? I’m definitely stoked to go back when I can actually purchase instead of just looking at longingly.

You can learn more at their website or follow them on facebook or twitter

What is your favorite thing you’ve purcheased at Target? Or what are you looking forward to buying?


I had such a informative and fun time on the tour. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the cute things I saw!