background

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Menno

As some of you may have gleaned from my postings, I am a Mennonite.  I love my heritage, the food, love for family, hard work ethic and the food!  Recently my husband and I were interviewed for a short blerb for our local MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) website.  Here's the story:



Folks from all over the globe are fans of MCC BC but the 500thperson to like “Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia” on Facebook lives right in our neighbourhood: Abbotsford resident, Justin Ott.
Justin was born and raised here and attended South Abbotsford MB church during his childhood. He and his wife Monica (who hails from Mission and grew up at Cedar Valley Mennonite Church) have been married for 6 years. They now attend Northview Community Church.
Justin’s family has a multigenerational connection to MCC.
“MCC helped my grandparents come from Paraguay to Canada,” he says. “I think because of that, MCC has always been a big part of our family’s lives.”
His “Oma”, Gratel Matis, came to Canada from Europe via Paraguay with the help of MCC. Mrs. Matis remembers living in Germany, waiting to begin their new life in a new country. They each slept on an MCC blanket and had another to cover themselves with. She also remembers that they were fed by MCC. When they arrived in South America, MCC also took care of them there, helping them get started. A family from Yarrow, BC eventually sponsored her and her husband, Ulrich, and so they came to Canada.
“We are very thankful that MCC helped us,” she says. “MCC was very good to us.”
Justin’s grandmother instilled an appreciation for MCC in her family. Whether they were living in Vancouver or in the Fraser Valley, where she lives now, Mrs. Matis always volunteered with MCC. Justin and Monica do the same, shopping and donating to the MCC thrift shops here and also attending the annual MCC Festival for World Relief.
When they’re not doing that, the Ott’s have a variety of things that keep them busy. They have a gorgeous yellow Lab named Roofus. Justin is an outdoorsman and competes in Olympic-style weightlifting. Monica loves gardening and creates beautiful jewelry pieces from recycled materials. They are expecting their first child in February, which will make his “Oma” a great-grandmother, which she is very excited about.
Social media is also a part of their lives; Monica markets her jewelry on Facebook and has a blog and etsy store as well. Justin sees MCC BC’s Facebook page as a useful tool.
“Facebook is a great way for us to see updates and be informed of upcoming events,” he says.
You can “like” us too: Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia on facebook!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Heirloom Dinning Set RefinishedI



I recently inherited my  late grandmother's dinning room table and chairs.  At the time  my husband and I lived in our 700 sq foot condo!  So it sat in my parents basement storage for 2 years waiting for our house!  I loved this table and chairs!  I remember Sunday  Faspa with the family at this beauty!  Justin and my parents went to work on the table top.  It had some wax damage and general wear.  They sanded and then used a furniture stripper to remove the old stain.  Revealing beautiful mahogany with an oak trim.  Once all the old stain was off they used a dark walnut stain on the entire top.    
The chairs were a little ruffed up, but still solid.  I sanded them a little and used the same walnut stain to refresh them. The fabric on the seat is not original to the set, and was badly stained!   I found the lovely olive and cream fabric at Joanne in Bellingham and had them reupholstered.  I did attempt to do it myself but..... that was too stressful!    

I am in love with the finished set!  I feel honoured to sit where generations have gathered over food, fellowship and love.

bench makeover


I picked up this sweet little bench for FREE!  And as much as I loved it in all it's chippy paint glory, I decided that I needed it to be a Caribbean Blue.  
After a light sanding and one coat of paint it now sits pretty in front of my barn red potting shed!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

OOAK Vintage Octopus Necklace


 OOAK upcycled necklace. Vintage Navy Blue beads showcase an octopus on the high seas! 

I LOVE this guy!  He is so intense and fearsome!  

seeing the forest for the trees


This lovely little forest is right down the street from our home.  It is Roofus and my favourite place to explore!  The  beautiful fir and cedar trees and hundreds of years old, filled with song birds and tower over you.   
I noticed that some of the larger trees are marked.  Not sure what it means... sure hope they are not planing to take these beauties down!

Handmade Pearl Necklace

A lovely pewter rose strung on gray freshwater pearls.  One of my new favourites.  


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

silver shabby bracelet

Vintage bits and new bits combined make up this OOAK shabby chic upcycled bracelet.   



OOAK upcycled necklace, tippy toes and pearls


OOAK upcycled necklace. A stunning vintage pendant with a sweet ballerina, hung from hand wrapped freshwater pearls. Chain and findings are 14k gold.

Surprised by nature

Went to pick some flowers.... just about grabbed this little guy! 

OOAK upcycled necklace, vintage gold bow

OOAK upcycled necklace. A stunning gold tone vintage pendant is hung from a 14k gold chain. 
I must admit, I'm glad this one hasn't sold yet!  ;)  Making ooak jewelry is hard, I want to keep them all!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Handmade necklace - filigree pendant


A large filigree heart pendant with a pop of pink on a long gunmetal chain. 


Thrifting - June 9/12


Two sweet vintage does and flowers from a friend! A wonderful way to spend a Saturday!



OOAK silver upcycled charm bracelet

OOAK upcycled bracelet. A vintage inspired heart locket is the focal on this bits and bobbles bracelet. 

OOAK upcycled Matryoshka Doll necklace

OOAK upcycled necklace. A large antiqued vintage bronze Matryoshka Doll hangs from upcycled vintage cherry red beads! 

With the 2 inch extender chain, this sweet necklace can be worn at a number of lengths.

OOAK upcycled mermaid necklace

OOAK upcycled necklace Pink Freshwater Pearls are hand wrapped, a silver, vintage inspired mermaid hangs from an upcycled vintage rhinestone pendant.


Pickings - June 2/12

June 2nd's pickings!  The gnome cookie jar is ridiculously cute!  If it doesn't sell at my next market it might just find it's permanent home on my kitchen island! 


sweet Bambi


OOAK upcycled necklace. A sweet Bambi pendent hung from upcycled vintage forest green beads. 

A good problem to have

This Large Antiqued Vintage Bronze Feather necklace has quickly become one of my favourites!  Only problem is it seems to sell out so fast I can't keep one for myself!


FREE! - June 2/12

Found this sweet chair in the lobby of our old apartment.... for FREE!  One thing I like better than thrifting is picking this up at no cost!  Pretty sure it's mid century modern style, but it's the floral fabric that drew me in!  What have you scored lately? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

OOAK upcycled vintage necklace


OOAK upcycled necklace. Vintage creamy beads with a mauve leather rose. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Organic Gardening



This is what our garden plot looked like when we moved into our new house in Dec 2011.  After HOURS of weeding and tilling the soil, we now are the proud owners of a veggie patch!    My brother in law  was a huge help in the creation of our garden, since this was a first go around for me.


Snap peas, carrots, beats, onions, spinach and romaine on the Rt, pole beans, squash  and tomatoes on the Lt!  We will be planting more as the weather warms up.


Interview with Delish Magazine - May 2012

What is the story behind your business?
I haven’t always loved art. In fact, I was a tomboy growing up, most of my time was spent climbing trees and playing baseball. But I have always loved treasure! Items that have a history have captured my interest since childhood. Where did it come from? What was the person like who owned it? With Opechee I am able to incorporate history into a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. Upcycled vintage skeleton keys, chandelier crystals and old buttons, all find new uses as upcycled jewelry accents.

Where and when do your craft your goodies?
Each upcycled piece is handcrafted in my little country studio. Under the watchful eyes of my yellow lab Roofus I transform pre-loved items into unique eye-catching designs. As I also have a full time job, most pieces come to life well after the sun has set.

What will you be selling at Scout?
I’m thrilled to be a vendor at the Scout Handmade & Vintage Market! At my booth there will be one-of-a-kind jewelry, necklaces with upcycled vintage skeleton keys, vintage beads and crystals, rings with vintage buttons, matryoshka doll earrings and bracelets made with vintage bits and bobbles! I also have a line of handmade stuffed critters! Little owls, bears and bunnies made from upcycled vintage fabric and vintage Mother of Pearl buttons. What once was an old man’s suit is now a one of a kind critter! (All vintage fabric is washed and pressed before use!)

Why do you like these events?
Handmade and vintage markets are my favourite. I love meeting other vendors who enjoy vintage as much as I do, and the look on customers’ faces when they walk into a world of vintage is just priceless! The vibe is like nothing else!

What is next for you personally and professionally?
Opechee will be at the Old Farmhouse Market on June 23rd, and at Art on the Farm on August 18th. During the summer months I will be busy tending my organic vegetable garden, hiking with my husband and yellow lab Roofus and riding my vintage cruiser! I will continue designing and creating upcycled jewelry and also working full time at the Abbotsford Hospice Society.


Scout Handmade & Vintage Market - May 25th and 26th

I was so pleased to be included in another event presented by the lovely ladies of Birch and Bird!  Scout Handmade & Vintage Market was a wonderfully successful event!  Thank you ladies for all your hard work to make this such an anticipated market!  And thank you Sharalee for the AMAZING coverage!

We had hundreds of vintage lovers and treasure hunters!  None of which were disappointed!
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography



 Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
Upcycled button and Chrysanthemum hair pins.
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
My little booth!
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
I'm pretty sure I handed out 300 business cards that weekend!
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography

Arial view of my stuffies!
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography


Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography
The crowds were like this the WHOLE time!  AMAZING turnout!
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography

A sweet shot of me and my beautiful cousin/helper Meagan.  So happy she was there with me! <3
Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography