Mini Spring Show pics!

arOka Vintage was definitely the star of our Mini Spring Pop-Up Show.  With a very well put together booth and a gorgeous school themed photo booth, Dawna Graham showed off just a taste of what arOka Vintage is capable of.

arOka Vintage is situated in Port Moody and with a shop filled with true antique finds, the store is a mecca for anyone wishing to host a vintage themed wedding.

Working together with arOka, sweet earth photographics took the photos for our guests using the ‘old school’ props.  The photo booth was well received and everyone received their photos shortly after the show.

On the main floor Pure Magnolia along with Spark Jewelry had dresses, accessories and jewelry to try on. 

I learned a lot from bcdj and their great packages are custom made for the style of each couple and they run their business sustainably.    The Shark Truth let couples know of their fantastic honeymoon prize of a trip to the Galapagos Islands for those wishing to forgo shark fin soup.  EP!C gave away tickets for the upcoming show on Mother’s Day weekend and Arbonne International offered earth friendly make-up.

Jim Walton offered  handmade and repurposed jewelry and table number holders from sterling silver cutlery.  His jewelry is exquisite and what better way to reuse family antiques then have Jim mold them into new items.  arOka Vintage now carries Jim’s jewelry and can be found in the Port Moody store.

Fairy Cakes offer vegan cupcakes made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients.   Their shop on Fraser Street allows them to be very accessible to discerning couples.  One of the very yummy cupcakes pictured above sits on the beautiful ceramic wares of eikcam Designs.  Often found at Fairy Cakes is Zimt Artisan Chocolates who offer a very healthy and yummy alternative to wedding favours.

Our donation recipient for this year is The Vancouver Food Bank and we are very grateful to make a financial contribution to their cause.

I again want to thank the very dedicated team of vollunteers who help set up and manage the fair every year.


Raw Chocolate Favours

Can you imagine a chocolate that is actually good for you?  Well, technically it is the cacao that is good for you being high in anti-oxidants.  Cacao is a superfood with many health benefits.  Cacao is also reported to increase the feeling of love and can ‘open the heart chakra’.  What better way then can you say, “I love you” than with the gift of chocolate and a chocolate that everyone can eat. 

Let me introduce to you Emma of Zimt Artisan Chocolates.  A Vancouverite with a commitment to veganism ( coming up on 6 years), the raw food movement,  and of course, chocolate.  Emma drew on her passions to bring Zimt into being with a purpose of providing a local, accessible, healthy alternative unlike any other chocolate option.

Zimt Artisan Chocolates are the perfect wedding favour.  Made without dairy, with fair trade ingredients, diabetic friendly and produced locally, the petite chocolates are the best wedding favour; one that is consumable.  Zimt also has 9 different varieties of bars and any of these can be made into a mini for weddings.

When Emma began Zimt last year she had always dreamed of running her own business.  After learning about raw food and committing to healthier lifestyle she decided to begin her own chocolate line in late 2010.  She spent the following summer working in the kitchen to perfect her chocolate, her brand and her packaging.  She chose the name Zimt, meaning “Cinnamon” in German to honour her first language and her heritage.  With support from her family, especially her grandmother, Emma works hard to produce a line of chocolate that is eco-friendly and ethically made.

Zimt Artisan Chocolate is an exhibitor at The Grassroots Wedding  Mini Spring ‘Pop-Up’ Fair this weekend.  Come by and taste it for yourself.

Locally inspired accessible Art.

Bird on a Wire is a mecca for all things local, but most specifically locally produced art.  From their website, “We are the ‘Yes’ store for artisans and those looking for locally made arts and crafts”.  Besides Bird on a Wire being amazing in itself, why are we interested?  Art is accessible, art is affordable and for the couple who has everything art can purchased as part of your wedding registry.

Karen opened Bird on a Wire in October of 2010 with 42 artists.  Now the store boasts 150 artists and acts also as a community meeting place for knitters and crafters alike.   Karen’s mandate is to change starving artists into thriving artists and she is doing a very fine job indeed.

When Karen was first inspired to open her business it was to answer a calling to build community through creativity; to create a space where “dreams can flower, where one can stir the imagination and feed the soul”.  What I also love about her vision is that she wishes to keep alive traditions and techniques from the past.  The store contains upcycled, recycled and handcrafted wares from a wide range of artists and artisans.

For couples, Karen will set up a wedding registry and that beautiful piece of art that you have spied on Bird’s wall can be yours.  Art can move quickly though so keep abreast of the “spotlight on artists” series through the store’s blog and website.  Karen keeps on top of local artists and is always visiting local galleries and artist’s own studios so the store’s walls will have something to match anyone’s tastes.  I currently am impressed with Lori Bagneres’ crow paintings such as the large one pictured above. 

It is not just art that should entice you to visit.  The store supports many diverse artisans from fabric artists, jewellers, soap makers, ceramic artists ( Grace Lee of eikcam is also shown above), wood workers and so much more.  I personally always search for locally produced goods when purchasing gifts.  Ask your family and friends to do the same.  Why register at Home Sense or The Bay when you can choose to support your local community and receive one of a kind creations.

Karen’s suggestion for your art choice, “buy it because it moves you” and not simply as an investment. With the criteria for the art work present being produced within a 100m radius of Vancouver and of good quality, you are sure to be investing instead in your local community.  With all the cutbacks to the local art scene it is up to the community around to support our local artists and artisans. 

The store is constantly growing and in the long term we may see more Bird on a Wire creations popping up in the city.  That can only be a good thing. 

I would like to thank Karen for sharing her story and the inspiration behind Bird on a Wire.

article by Shona Dion, sweet earth photographics





DIY Spring Decor

One of the reasons for wanting to have two shows this year is to display seasonly-themed wedding decor. Using repurposed vintage bedding and lace curtains this handmade fabric garland will be on display at the Mini Spring Pop-Up Fair.  To reflect the West Coast spring colours, yellow is our main colour theme at the upcoming show on April 21st.

Cutting fabric rounds of 3-4 inches and sewing them in mixed colours of 10 circles each we are creating beautiful and easy fabric garlands.  Each bundle is knotted along the string to ensure they all stay neatly in place.  All fabric used was collected from thrift shops and given new life.  The wonderful thing about this type of garland is that it can reused to decorate almost any event post-wedding.

The paper pinwheels are cut from pages in an old German book that was marked for recycling.  The text and font are quite exquisite.  The pages are folded accordian style and then 2 sheets are glued together to create the circle.  When cut in different dimensions and used together in a display they create a lovely backdrop. 

All handmade elements and many more will be on display at The Grassroots Wedding Fair Mini Spring Show

Article and photos by Shona Dion, sweet earth photographics.

Handmade, Repurposed, Burlaps Coffee Bags

Starting today on our handmade burlap gift bags for all of our guests.  Saltspring Island Coffee graciously gave us their extra burlap coffee sacks.  We shall make good use of them.   We visited their Richmond store and picked up a nice bundle to start with.

We are not like other wedding fair where you receive swag bags full of advertising material.  As we are a homegrown event we try to give all of our guests their own wedding favour as they leave.  In the past we have given away flower seeds and macaroons.  This year we will have a handmade 3D paper heart in our little handsewn bags to give out. 

I will give a shout out now to all my little crafty helpers who really go above and beyond the call in helping me pull all the DIY elements together.

Custom, Locally Sourced and Sustainable Wedding Registry – Union Wood Co.

Union Wood Co. only opened its doors six months ago and already the little wood shop on Railway Street is going strong with custom orders of locally produced furniture from salvaged wood.  Many of his clientelle include young couples looking to furnish their first home with unique pieces that have the added bonus of being eco-friendly.

Owner Craig Pearce bided his time until the perfect space became available in his neighbourhood to open Union Wood Co.; a business that combines a viable wood shop with four full time employees and a store front to sell both hand-crafted furniture and collected vintage and repurposed items.  All the wood used to create the store’s one of a kind pieces comes from locally sourced lumber which would otherwise be lost in the demolition of Vancouver’s older buildings.

Craig knows the value of rescuing this wood not only for its quality, but for the history that each piece brings with it.  Everything has a story.   Wood rescued from the R.C.M.P. Stables from 110 East Cordova waits in the wood shop.  Metal parts are also upcycled when found which include repurposed old sprinkler pipes to metal tables bases and antique hardware.  Craig collected, salvaged and ‘treasure’ hunted for years to bring true vintage, non-reproduction objects to the store.  The only items the store sells that are not antique are the light bulbs, but the cages to go around them are all originals.  Hand-sewn aprons from old army tents and pillows created from old sails are also found at Union Wood Co.  and all of this creating/treasure hunting can be followed via Union Wood Co.’s blog.  By the way, did I mention that he is also a full-time fireman? 

What struck me the most while visiting Union Wood Co. is that this enterprise stems from Craig’s passion for  history ( or obsession as he states it ) and his desire to breath life back into discarded items.   The store itself is fully furnished by the past with old barn boards fitted on the back wall, a large marine spotlight hangs over the service area, old racks, rebuilt tables display the collected treasures and all are for sale ( except the barn boards).  Craig calls himself a bit of a hoarder and can’t seem to throw away any wood scraps which is great for the store as he created beautiful solid butcher blocks, door stoppers, other items as the wood inspires him.  Waste is kept to a minimum.  Currently in the shop is a rescued block of wood from an old airplane hangar with bolted metal screws that is just waiting to be made into a coffee or side table perhaps?  I asked Craig how he knows what each scrap of wood will become and he can see almost immediately how the wood will evolve.

What interests us the most at this time is the new addition of a wedding registry.  To the couples who have everything Union Wood Co. offers a non-traditional registry that will enable guests to contribute to a custom designed piece or a credit towards an item found in the store, but beware, all items are one of a kind and stock rotates rather quickly.  If a custom designed piece is what you are interested in Craig and his team will set up a consultation, set up an account for guests to contribute to in amounts that you are agreeable with and you will be that much closer to your goal of owning a stunning hand-crafted, locally sourced, one of a kind furniture piece.

Thanks to Craig and Otis for my tour and for chatting with me.  Union Wood Co. is a very cool shop and I love that being green is just a part of who they are.

 Article by Shona Dion, photos by sweet earth photographics

True Vintage Inspirations

Finding vintage table settings and decor is like  treasure hunting.  It is a dedicated pastime which requires a commitment.  Not all of us have time to dedicate to the search.

For those couples wishing to add vintage elements to their wedding need look no further than Aroka Vintage.  Dawna Graham researched and collected for 2 years before opening the first Aroka Vintage in New Westminster.  Aroka Vintage is now located at 2231 Clarke Street in Port Moody in a beautiful old house that is a storefront for not only the incredibly tableware and vintage decor collection, but also a treasure trove of true vintage finds and local artisan creations.  This collection includes themes for 1930’s inspired weddings, place settings of fine bone china for up 150 guests, furniture, a harvest table, quirky novelty items such as antique bingo cages, chalkboards, table settings and more.

Aroka’s new website will be up in April 2012 with photos of this extensive collection.

Dawna Graham has a unique love of vintage and has a passionate, undying love for the past.  She is captivated by the stories that objects leave behind.  The store is still evolving but trust that only true vintage items are found in Aroka.  No reproductions and no claims are made on items unless Dawna is 100% certain.  Aroka Vintage will always offer authentic finds and this will never be compromised.

The few local artisans that Dawna carries in her store have vintage elements in their creations whether the jewelry be reworked or repurposed or items found made into new.  “Inky & Boots“, “Secrets From the Cove“, ” Whatever Lola Wants…” are a few of  the artists Aroka Vintage carries.  “There is no labour of love” without the upcycling and handmade element in the items she carries.

Dawna herself creates handmade treasures such as an updated 1970’s chandelier revamped with vintage piano sheets or vintage watchpocket faces sitting atop of pinwheels made from antique music sheets.  Everything she creates for the store must also include making something from something old.

By late spring and summer Aroka Vintage will be host to bridal shows, tea parties and small weddings.  With a working kitchen,bathroom and a large backyard along with Dawna’s vintage decor the space will welcome a myriad of visitors. 

Aroka Vintage only has wedding dresses that have passed inspection by Dawna.  All items in the boutique ‘bridal room’ have been scrutinized, are nearly flawless and are professionally cleaned.   Dawna specializes in her vintage finds and does not carry dresses that may compete with other bridal stores.  Her only compromise is carrying the vintage inspired handmade creations of Pure Magnolia.   

The lace gloves and stockings, purses, hats and feather fasteners are near mint. The bloomers, jewelry, handkerchiefs and pillows are all unique finds.  Aroka also has formal dresses which can be worn by the bridal party or simply because of a love of vintage.

For those couples who are truly inspired by history and a love of the past, vintage themed weddings are not merely ‘trendy’, but a true reflection of oneself.  For those who have a commitment to hosting a wedding that is eco-friendly and handmade, then take a visit out to Aroka Vintage in Port Moody or come and see the wonderful display Dawna will have on hand at the Mini Spring Grassroots Wedding Fair on April 21st, 2012!

article and photos by: Shona Dion,