Monday, November 28, 2011

"Shop Local" 2011 Great Gabriola Gift Ideas

Living on Gabriola, known as the Island of the Arts there is never any shortage of great local gift giving ideas... With the holiday season approaching so quickly, here are just a few of our favorite picks for 2011...

New Society Publishing.
New Society Publishers, is now a 20 year old company who’s mission is to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society. They employ approx. 12 island residents. They offer a wide variety of books & some fabulous green building books & cookbooks – that we have in our personal collection. This is an easy shop with their online catalog there is an extensive list of their offerings – making gift giving easy!

Is there anything better than waking up to a coffee on Christmas morning, well only if it’s Gabriola Island’s Red Roaster coffee. Their beans are organic, fairly traded and ethically sourced. The coffee is roasted here on Gabriola in small batches & delivered locally to your door, or pick up your pre-order here at Coast Realty in the village. As a micro roaster they are able to custom craft blends for you!

North Road Sports
A hit for everyone in the family! Great outdoor clothing, shoes and gear, with exceptional quality.

Personal Training
Gabriola has a variety of fitness classes and personal training. Lesley Standerwick is one of the exceptional trainers we have on the island, consider giving the gift of health this holiday season with a gift certificate & help that someone special start out the New Year right!

Childrens Books Illustrated by Gabriola’s own Diana Bonder
Watch your childs face light up as they turn the pages and walk through the land of fairy tales & whimsy in one of the amazing books illustrated by Diana an award winning bestselling Children's Book – this gift is sure to give hours of enjoyment to both parents & children alike. Diana also does commissions, imagine a painting of your kids in a fairytale - it's a gift that will last a lifetime.

Feedlot Studios
For those with a creative flair. Mariko is an exceptionally talented ceramic artist along with a brilliant teacher. In her creative studio, she is offering a variety of workshops and open studio. Having had the opportunity to spend time in this amazing sutdio – I can attest that anyone receiving a workshop this Christmas morning is in for an amazing treat!
For those who are creatively challenged, Mariko is brilliant at getting you past your own clay inhibitions, but the studio also features a wide array of her work available for sale… I have to put a plug in for her very unique & whimsical mugs.

Pages Resort & Marina
With over two hundred titles, our unique book and marine charts store specializes in local Gabriolian writers and illustrators, Gulf Island publications and a wide selection of cruising guides.

Gabriola Elementary School Craft Fair December 3 @ Gabriola Elementary
This is an exciting opportunity featuring a variety of island artists so you can do your shopping all in one place! In addition to the craft fair the famous cookie walk is a great way to support school activities, while avoiding the Christmas baking – but be early the cookies disappear quickly & the doors open at 10:00 am. There is also the very popular silent auction table with all sorts of some of the best the island has to offer, and because the money is going to such a worthy cause, you can feel good about your Christmas shopping!
If you're there please stop by my Knotty by Nature table to see some of the creations that I've been putting together for the Christmas season.

If you have a GREAT local shopping idea to share, please send us an email to: – we’d love to hear about it.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Ok, another bragging & proud daughter moment...

I was at the newstand yesterday, when I remember that the newest issue of Cloth * Paper * Scissors was out, I was curious as a year ago they had a contest for designing minature mixed media homes which Randi had entered. I immediately opened up the magazine to find the home sweet home feature section, and noticed that after hundreds of entries they narrowed it down to 95 homes that they featured in a 7 page spread - and sure enough mom's house made the cut (page 79 bottom row 2nd one in).
(No surprise to anyone who knows mom, that even in her crafts her love of real estate is evident - as per the home sweet home.)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

A collective of 12 artists got together this year to do a Christmas exchange, as a result they have created a very special 12 days of Christmas Package that will be up for Silent Auction at the Craft Fair at the Commons, December 3. The surprise - the 12 gifts are wrapped, they range in items from ornaments, card collections – but that’s all I’m giving up!

This silent auction item will have 12 gifts for you to open, each made by a local artisan. What a great way to lead up to Christmas, as a Christmas gift, or maybe it will complete all the shopping you had to do – all while raising money for PHC. Artists who have contributed to this Christmas Package include; Karen Aaker, Tina Lynch, Julie Sperber, Diana Bonder, Randi Lynch, Brenda Reid, Mariko McCrae, Christy Wilson, Lindsay Godfrey-Stocking, Jane Reddington, Jennifer Lynch, Tammy Hudgeon.
Hope you have as much fun bidding as we all have in creating & sharing!


I’m often asked why I think Gabriola is such a special place and I can truly sum it up in one word – community. It’s amazing how strong the sense of community is, and it’s a little bit almost overwhelming the generosity of this special place we call home.

My Dad (aka my hero and best friend) was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer this year, it was a complete shock to the family and to my Dad. We have been overwhelmed by the support for the family in this difficult time, and feel fortunate that we do have the opportunity of time.

My sister wanted to have something positive to focus on during this time, and I’m very proud of her, last week she signed up for the ride to conquer cancer, a 2 day 200km cycling event from Vancouver to Enbridge. Within a couple of days signing up, she was inundated with friends, family & community that wanted to take the ride with her. There are many others that offered their support to help make this long ride a little easier by; running a training program, graphic support, artwork donations, financial donations in benefit of cancer research, and the list goes on…

I’m truly amazed and humbled by all the people of Gabriola and their amazing generosity, we are so grateful for being part of this community.

Please take the time to check out her personal page for the ride, Team Papa.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Creating your landscape with Topographics

In 2001 we purchased our "older" home on Gabriola, with the awareness that it was going to be a home that would require an addition and substantial upgrades. We've really enjoyed the process of transforming our house, for us it was worth doing the renovations because we could do most of the work ourselves and we loved the neighborhood. For the last 10 years we've spent most of our time, effort and money into creating a suitable living space for a family of four, but we've spent a limited amount of time creating the "landscape". We took down some trees, leveled some areas and did some rock work, but it was a haphazard approach to say the least.
That all changed when we met Cameron and Laura-Jean Kelly a few years ago, and learned that they were landscape architects. After talking with them, my husband I decided that it would be great to have them help us create a plan for how we could develop our property. It seemed to us that it was easier to change a rock wall on a drawing then to move it in reality. Cameron and Laura-Jean worked on drawings, first they marked it out in its current state, then they gave us the drawings to show us how to develop it in stages. The end result will be a property where the outdoor "rooms" flow together. It will likely take us years to create this, but it will help to have a vision and we're looking forward to the process.
The kids were also invited to contribute their ideas to the design, so we're still working in the "deer tea party" section.
If you're looking to develop your property, I would recommend contacting Cameron & Laura-Jean.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Islands Trust | Zoning Bylaws…

Gabriola land use & official community plan is done through the Islands Trust, a unique form of government, created by the province in 1974 to control unbridled development and “preserve and protect” the islands.

The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia generally, in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia.

Land Use planning involves using many different tools to achieve long term stability in the development of the island land base. In the Islands Trust Area, the focus of all long-range planning is the preservation of the environment and community sustainability. The Zoning Bylaw for Gabriola can be located on the Islands Trust website at:

Also of interest, in 2008 there was a profile done on the community which can be viewed online at: