On the final day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

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Meet Charlie, one adorable munchkin growing up in the very beginning stages of his own chocolate factory…

He’s not really supposed to be our focus, but really, his adorable little face (not to mention his name) says it all, as he watches his mom fold and cool the… yum! mouthwatering, lick your lips and drool just a little, chocolate!



We stumbled upon Jon and Helen by accident… we almost missed them!

How did we not know that our little town now has its very own chocolatiers?

And of course they have helpers to clean up after them too. After all what is a chocolate factory without taste testers?

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Betty has the BEST job!

They welcomed us in with warm smiles and jokes and we right away felt at home in their spacious, brightly lit farmhouse, little bits and pieces of chocolate and its history everywhere – from cookbooks and tools, to the row of turmeric plants they want to experiment with.

We sat over steaming, made-from-scratch chai lattes, and chatted about the history of chocolate and all its wonder.

 


And while Helen cooled some chocolate and let us taste an experimental chai kind they’re trying out, Jon pulled out an ancient chocolate pot and told us all kinds of tidbits about the decadent cacao bean and how it was discovered.

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Not a single boring second!

We sat spellbound, most of the time trying desperately not to drool, as Helen and Jon took us through their process, goofed around a bit with us,

chocolates-11and talked about their dreams in the future of growing their own cacao plants somewhere, and making chocolate straight from scratch with all kinds of natural ingredients to put in it.

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The natural things
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Helen showing us the cacao bean – we even got to taste one!

We can’t say enough about this lovely family and what they’re doing, and are so thankful for the opportunity to sit in their kitchen with them and taste the delicious chocolate they make.

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Here is our interview with them:

Tiff: Tell us what inspired you to become Chocolatiers, and why you love it so much?

Helen: We’d rather enjoy a high quality bar of craft chocolate than a fine wine or fancy cheese (and that’s saying a lot). There’s so much flavour variation from different types of cacao and different growing regions. It’s such an enjoyable experience to let a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth and savour all those subtle differences. We studied chocolate and chocolate making while we were in Vancouver, and decided we wanted to start making our own.

Tiff: Tell us about your vision for Lucky Pheasant Chocolate and what kinds of things you have in the works now and in the future.

Helen: Right now we’re just getting started and working on trying out new flavours, but our ultimate plans are to open a bean to bar chocolate factory here in Grand Forks.

Tiff: Give us a glimpse into the history of chocolate and the cacao bean and how chocolate has come to be what we know today.

Helen: It’s a fascinating history – we could go on about it for ages! I mean, who was that first person to open up a cacao pod, remove the bitter beans from the sweet white pulp inside, and think ‘I bet I could roast and grind these into something delicious!’ mesoamerican people were the first to discover this way of processing the beans. Cacao was so valuable, it was even used as currency by the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs. The Spaniards brought it back to Europe where it was consumed as something similar to hot chocolate, mostly by royalty. In 1847, Joseph Fry first developed the process known as tempering, which is basically how we got to the chocolate bars we know today.

Tiff: We’d love to know more about your family, and what a day in the life looks like?

Helen: Oh my goodness, mostly total chaos! We’ve got two very energetic little ones. Betty is almost five, and Charlie is 3 and a half, so they keep us very busy. It seems like almost every day is different. We started a small farm when we moved here in 2017, so we spend almost all of our summer days outside on the farm, or floating down the Kettle River. Winter is when we get to focus on our chocolate plans. Next year, we’ll put the farming on the back burner so we can dedicate more time to expanding.

Tiff: Why did you decide to live and set up your business here in GF?

Helen: There are so many things! We love the sense of community. It really feels like people here are looking out for each other. It’s also so unbelievably beautiful here.

Tiff: If someone wants to purchase some of your delicious bars of chocolate, where and how can they do that?

Helen: Right now they’re available at the Kettle Valley Food Co-op, and we’ll be hitting the farmer’s market circuit next year. We’re also on Facebook (The Lucky Pheasant), so we can be contacted that way too.


There you have it folks! We bid you all a merry Christmas, Grand Forks! If you are craving chocolate now, like we are, contact Jon and Helen! It truly is some of the best chocolate we’ve had – and we’ve had a lot!

To all the entrepreneurs we’ve met in town, thank you so much for allowing us to have a peek at your process! We know there are more of you out there as well that we couldn’t get to! Good job all of you for making our community as friendly and full of life as it is!

On the 13th day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

Meet Jason and Sofi.

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They’ve recently moved to town and are the proud facilitators of the Travelling Rainbow Market we’ve added to Grand Forks this past summer. You can tell by their hand knit outfits that they’re people of the land and full of passion for all things natural. They’re all about family and that’s what we want Grand Forks to be all about too!

 

Not only are they out and about setting up markets that sell fresh local produce and local products, they also are busy little bees making beautifully unique candles, and all things leather, including wallets and bracelets, belt buckles and rings.

They’re not so hard to find, and you can find them setting up their booth at most craft markets in our area, so look them up!

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Here is our interview with them!

Tiff: Tell us what inspired you to make and sell the goods that you do?

Jason: Our main motto is “Made through us, not by us.” Meaning our creative process is done through us, giving homage to the Creator as we are a part of creation. We’re also inspired by the idea of creating something that makes someone else happy. And that’s what it brings it all back to, spreading the love and happiness.

Tiff: We know you’ve been very intentional about your lifestyle for your family. Tell us how that came to fruition and why its important to you.

Jason: Growing up in the city, watching our parents going day in and day out, with only the illusion of achieving something, but working hard for 40+ hours a week, and making someone else richer. In this life, all we really have is time. Time is our only true currency, how are we spending it?

For us, working at something you don’t enjoy is not satisfying for the soul or physical body. So, living a simpler lifestyle and taking care of basics, you enjoy and appreciate the luxuries in life as they are presented to you. Spending time as a family is most important to us and with entrepreneurship, we get that opportunity, to be together more often than if we were working a 9-5.

With living an ‘alternative lifestyle’ or what we like to call it, a ‘simple’ lifestyle, we have also had the ability to travel and live life in multiple locations around the earth. In our travels we have met some of the most interesting people, talented artisans, and have experienced some wonderful situations.

Tiff: Give us a peek into the work involved in preparing your goods for sale?

Sofi: We have no set schedule, that’s the beauty of creating art. Some days we multi task, doing multiple projects, or some days we dedicate a whole day to one task.

Tiff: Why did you choose Grand Forks to live?

Sofi: When we decided to leave our jobs in Toronto, I worked in the corporate financial industry and Jason worked as a carpenter downtown. With only faith, we set out to travel west. We left our home in Toronto, sold most of our belongings with no initial plans, just a dream to give birth to our daughter on Salt Spring Island. On travelling through Canada, we were referred by a friend of a lady that lived on the mountain, to a small town of Grand Forks. We stayed here for a few weeks and fell in love with this little town. But at the time we continued our journey to the coast and had our baby on Salt Spring as planned. Through opportunity, we returned later to GF. We love the mountains, being close to nature, a huge contrast from living in the big city of downtown Toronto.

“I choose a community of trees over a community of buildings. And I know I don’t see this alone.” – Nakho Bear.

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living in GF?

Sofi: For us, not only is it being close to nature, but also the people we’ve met. Being social people, it’s important for us to create relationships with people. Its a quirky town, but it’s got some really good people here.

Tiff: If someone would like to purchase any of the items that you make, where can they find you?

Jason: You can catch us on the market circuit here in the Boundary, including the Travelling Rainbow Market Indoor Pop-ups events. You can also find us on our social media outlets, under Great Spirit Designs – we’re on instagram and facebook, as well as

https://greatspiritdesigns.weebly.com/

We are also super excited to announce that we will be offering different craft workshops at Kettle River Crafts. Here is a list of a few workshops we will be hosting:

tie dye,

leather bracelets,

moccasin making,

soy candle making as well as a series of workshops called “Brojects”

 


So, go get your last minute gifts or stocking stuffers through Jason and Sofi! And stay tuned people! ONE MORE POST!! Our GRANDE FINALE coming up next!! Don’t miss it!

On the 12th day of Christmas, GF gives to you…

Meet Lizanne Eastwood, your local book fairy.

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Let me ask you this. What is Christmas without BOOKS!! Especially beautifully artistic, picture books with stories that pull you into a whole new world of wonder and fun and adventure.

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Lizanne is passionate about literacy, and so she’s chosen the perfect job – bringing little ones the joy of reading. The books she’s selling are amazingly colourful and enticing. She has so many things to offer you, everything to do with the world of literacy, including

puzzles,

puppets,

and games

all the things that will draw your little ones into an imaginary world. A world we all need in order to develop our creative side. A world that we’ve lost a little bit in our love for electronics.



Here is our interview with her:

Tiff: Tell us a little about you and how you became passionate about literacy – specifically literacy for young children.

Lizanne: I grew up in a family that valued reading and treasured books. We all had our own bookshelves, and Christmas or birthdays always included books as gifts for the kids. I don’t remember when I learned to read, but I know that it was before I attended kindergarten, so I must have picked it up from watching and listening to my siblings reading, watching my parents enjoy books and being read to. We were a household rich in books and all sorts of reading materials. I was the type of kid that my mother had to keep trying to get me out of my room where I would be reading and to go play outside. Usually I would just take a book outside with me and find a quiet place in the yard to read!

My siblings and I all started working at our local library when we were 14 and I worked there all through high school and university. My favourite job was sorting and shelving children’s books. It probably took me longer than most people because I needed to look inside every book, enjoying the illustrations and text. As an adult I still get a lot of enjoyment from children’s books, so as well as working at our local library, having a homebased business selling Barefoot Books keeps me really immersed in all sorts of wonderful children’s literature. I truly believe that the more children are read to, especially before they even start school, the more likely they are to have successful outcomes, not only in school but in life!

Tiff: What are Barefoot Books? How are these books unique and special from other children’s books?

Lizanne: Barefoot Books started 25years ago as a home based business by two moms. The wanted to share books that celebrated diversity, beautiful art and writing as well as sparking the imagination. Their books are often heirloom quality, which I really appreciate. The books that Barefoot Books carry encourage mindfulness, critical thinking and helping children figure out how they can make a difference in their world. The collection has expanded to include cooperative games, which celebrate play over competition, activity cards that develop awareness of healthy living; yoga, mindfulness, gardening and cooking and bilingual books in both French and Spanish. I especially like the stories in the books come from all over the world, making it a great way for kids to celebrate other cultures and diverse families… These books help teach empathy and an understanding and appreciation of what others are going through.

Tiff: We’d love to hear, from your perspective, why books are a wonderful gift to give? What are some of your favourite books that you have available?

Lizanne: I love that the collection contains classic fairytales and rhyme books as well as a bunch of new books that are focused on STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, and math), which are important things for children to be learning right now. Books and games are such great gifts to give because they are meant to be shared. Children and adults, cozily reading together or playing with puppets and boardgames just speaks of quality time to me.

Barefoot carries a line of large lap books that I just adore. The “Who’s in the Garden, Forest or Farmard” are fabulous books that just beg to be read together. “Listen, Look” and “I took the Moon for A Walk” are gorgeously illustrated and inspire curiosity about the natural world. It’s hard to say what my favourite books are, each one is so unique and perfect in its own way. They recently came out with a new book called The Barefoot Book of Children. This is a beautiful book that portrays children around the world doing everyday things and big ideas that make childhood so special. It’s a great read-aloud or explore on your own kind of book. I like that Barefoot includes end notes in many of their books that extend the learning with activities and facts.

Tiff: Why do you choose to live here in GF?

Lizanne: Of course my answer has something to do with books! I grew up in Toronto, and after University I really craved a back-to-the-land, small town lifestyle, I was inspired by the Little House on the Prairie series! I wanted a safe place to raise my children, and a place I could garden or know who was growing my food, I wanted to live somewhere you could walk down the street and recognize and greet everyone you saw, a place where people know and care about their neighbours. I have definitely found that in Grand Forks. Also, I am attracted to the natural world and I love that no matter where you are in Grand Forks you just need to look around and see beautiful vistas changing with the seasons.

Tiff: What is your favourite part of GF?

Lizanne: I have always appreciated the saying that you are really privileged if your career reflects your passions in life. I have totally found that here in Grand Forks. Working as a parent-child Mother Goose trainer and facilitator, programming at our library (Storytime!) and selling Barefoot Books have all allowed me to indulge in my passions; children, parenting and books. Lucky me! Meeting families at these programs and watching the kids grow into amazing teens, and then leaving town only to return to start their own families, I think that is an awesome privilege! I just love everything about small town life!

Tiff: Please tell us where/how we can purchase Barefoot Books for friends and family this Christmas?

Lizanne: Craft fairs are done for the season, but people can contact me through email (lizanneeastwood@gmail.com) or facebook. I always have loads of stock on hand and can place orders as well. My goal for this upcoming year is to turn a small corner of my house into a book nook, somewhere people can come and see the books for themselves, and people can go online, look at what Barefoot has to offer, and hopefully ask me for recommendations. I love talking about books! I also do home parties or fundraisers for any organizations that might be interested. If you see me out and about, just stop me and ask what books might be right for you.


There you have it folks! Go buy a beautiful book from Lizanne! and stay tuned for our next entrepreneur! We only have two left – but you won’t want to miss them! Especially our grande finale…

On the 11th day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

Meet ranch girl and firecracker, Rebekah Tebrinke.

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She’s all about home on the range, chasing cows, and raising her kids right,

but in-between those things dear to her heart, she’s also running two businesses! She’s full of welcome to those who might pop in to visit PV Ranch Getaway (three little guest cabins on the river at the ranch).


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The Second Cabin – plenty of space!

She’s all about doing business right and efficiently, and you can find almost anything you need for a party from PV Ranch Party Rentals. Or you can put the two together and find yourself the perfect venue for a wedding, reunion or party!


 


If you’re looking for some peace, or some beauty, the cabins are cute and cozy and nestled back against the Granby River, just far enough out of town to feel like you’re getting away from it all. Each one has its own name carved out of wood by master carver Ray Hughes.

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The view from the cabins in spring

The PV Party Rentals business carries everything from elegant white tents, to chairs and tables and dishes – even tent heaters and twinkly lights! All of it is kept in tip top shape, and managed by both Rebekah and her mom Gwen Pauls.

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Becky checking lights for rental

Here is our interview with Becky:

Tiff: Tell us what PV Ranch Getaway is all about? What types of services do you offer?

Becky: PV Ranch Getaway is made up of three cabins, a few RV sites and a big beautiful area right on the Granby River, in the middle of a working cattle ranch. It is a place for you to vacation, whether if it’s for a week or one night, to enjoy solitude, the river, the cows, or the mountains. I also run a party rental company, PV Ranch Party Rentals, with everything from tents to tables, dishes and linens, making the cabin area the perfect venue for weddings or family reunions. If you book both of our businesses we give you a discount on the party rental items!

Tiff: What inspired you and your family to start sharing your ranch with other people in the ways that you do?

Becky: When my grandparents started the ranch, they became part of a ‘family ranch vacation’ program, where families could sign up and come stay in the home and experience ranch life. I always thought it was such a cool idea, as I love living on a ranch, and even more than that, I love sharing it with others, watching them learn, or experience things they don’t normally get to in their day to day life.

Tiff: What are your favourite winter/Christmas activities to enjoy at the ranch, that guests can enjoy too?

Becky: Winter is NOT my favourite time of year, but I love Christmas time! My favourite will always be when family comes to visit. We love to pack all the kids up and adventure out to the back property in search of the perfect Christmas tree! The trip always includes a truck pulling sleds, and lots of snow fights! I also love going out and doing regular chores all together, it gives a new joy and fun to the mundane kind of chore, like feeding the cows and checking the calves.

Christmas isn’t just a day for me, its the season, everyone feels in the holiday mood during the whole of December. I am blessed beyond belief with my life on the ranch, and now it is so exciting being able to have guests come and experience whatever they can.

Tiff: I know you were born and raised in this beautiful area, however, why did you decide to stay and raise your family here too?

Becky: It was always my dream growing up to be able to stay on the ranch and raise my own little family here. I was so excited when my husband was on board and we had the opportunity to move into my grandparents original farmhouse. I love that my kids are able to experience the same things I did as a child, from the chores to the open spaces and learning how to drive a tractor. Most important is being able to raise them with family surrounding me and them.

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living in Grand Forks?

Becky: I absolutely love living in GF! I love being able to walk into any store or down any street and more than likely running into someone I can say hello to! I love the small town feel that even when you don’t really know someone, there is usually always a smile and a hello anyways. I love knowing the history, learning new things that even growing up here have taken me forever to learn, and meeting newcomers to the area that love it as much as I do. Christmas time just adds a little extra feel and love to it all, and families coming home for the holidays allows me to catch up with old friends. Every year so far we have had families rent our cabins to have a special ranch holiday! I love seeing the cabins lit up with lights, and kids running around loving the snow and sledding, the cows and horses, the hot tub and stars.

Tiff: If someone wants to book a stay in one of your cabins how can they do that? What are some ways that a person could gift a PV Ranch business to a friend or family member?

Becky: We love having locals come up to stay for a night here or there, or have their visiting family members stay with us. To book with us just send me an email at pvranchgetaway@gmail.com, or give me a call! If you are unsure, we always have time for you to drive up and take a personal tour through the cabins. Trust me, once you step inside and experience the cozy feel of them you will want to book a night! You can find us on Facebook at PV Ranch Getaway, or look up our website at www.pvranchgetaway.com. My phone number to book a cabin or party rental item is (250) 442-5525.


So go book yourself or a family member a stay! It’ll be worth it!

Stay tuned for our next entrepreneur!

On the 10th day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

We met Sandy Jo Lewis in her lovely, brightly lit pottery studio and gift shop attached to her house near Doukahbour Beach.

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As we chatted, her hands were busy folding and kneading clay, finishing up some details on some pieces she’s ready to pop in the kiln for baking.

All around us were lovely and elegant dishes, mugs and even necklaces. She talked about her journey as an artist from watercolour and painting to working with clay, and how much delight she feels over using new textures and designs.

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She’s been in Grand Forks for a while now, and her expertise shows in the gorgeous designs and colours she’s put together on her serving plates, the little details she spends hours perfecting, even the tiny bee you’ll find on the bottom or inside of what you buy as her signature.


Here is our interview with her:

Tiff: Tell us a little about you and what inspired you to start creating pottery?

Sandy Jo: I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing something. Drawing, painting, anything creative. But it was painting with watercolours that really set me on a more serious and confident path. I continued painting for the next 12 years while living on Gabriola Island. There was so much creativity on the Island, it was hard not to be involved in other art mediums. I belonged to a group called the Palette People, and after moving to Osoyoos hoped to join another such group. The Painters and Potters met in a building shared with the Art Gallery there. On a field trip with my sons class, I thought it a great time to do just that. Join another group! I became the newest member of the Osoyoos Potters Guild that day. 18 years later, still love getting my hands mucky.

Tiff: Do you have specific styles you love most when you are creating things? How would you describe your style and why do you love it most?

Sandy Jo: Hmmm. Most of my pieces are hand built, not thrown on the wheel, creating my technique. And even though I enjoy working on the wheel, I find hand building more creative, more satisfying. Then again if I put more time in on the wheel I may say the same thing about the wheel. If delicate is a style, I think that would be mine. And yes, I love how light my pottery feels in my hands. Incorporating my love for painting, this time using underglazes instead of watercolours, some of my pieces are adorned with birds, dragonflies, and maybe flowers – chickens even! I make my glazes and choose them for their versatility. I wanted glazes that not only compliment each other, but also go well with my hand painted pieces. And then there are the textures. The glazes, I think, are beautiful on their own. But, throw a texture or two in and it’s a brand new look! I love how you can take a piece of clay and turn it into art, functional art. The creative possibilities are endless and I love that if I break a mug or a bowl… I can go make another one.

Tiff: What are some of the different pieces that you typically make? What are your most loved pieces?

Sandy Jo: I like to make multi-functional pieces. Large, small, medium trays. Large fruit bowls or the tiny bowls. I really enjoy making my wee plates. I end up with a basket full of these different hand painted designs (most of which are only for the wee plates) and a magnitude of wee glazed plates. Kinda fun watching people search through them for that specific one. Mugs are a must! Again, big and small. Wine coolers, apple trays, utensil holders, spoon rests, plant pots, bird houses and feeders. Just to name a few. Making pendants for the first time this year… we’ll see how they go over.

Oh gosh. My most loved pieces?! That’s almost like asking which child I love more. They’re different, with different personalities. I love most of what I do because of the differences. Just when you think, “Im going to make another just like this,” It comes out slightly different, maybe more beautiful, maybe not. But even the imperfections are what make that piece perfect. Don’t get me wrong though, there are times I open the kiln and wonder what the heck I was thinking. I have my very first pieces in my home. Using them every day. I love them the most I guess. if I have to. Because they are where I started.

Tiff: How is pottery different from the dishes that we find at a big chain store like Home Outfitters?

Sandy Jo: Some years ago, before moving to Grand Forks, I had a table set up with my pottery for sale. A woman looking over my pieces, commented on a particular pot. “I can get this same thing at Walmart for half the price.” The first thing out of my mouth was that she was wrong, because I don’t supply Walmart with my pottery. I should have said nothing. It is true, you can find some lovely pieces in big chain stores like Home Outfitters. But they are usually shipped from somewhere overseas, and mass produced in factories. Potters, like myself, produce unique, original pieces made by hand in their studios. The time put in is priceless.

Tiff: Tell us why you’ve chosen to live and work in Grand Forks.

Sandy Jo: I was born and raised in Edmonton. I moved out to BC at the tender age of 23, where three years later I met my husband. We have been blessed to live in beautiful areas of BC. White Rock, Gabriola Island, Osoyoos, Summerland and now Grand Forks. For us, small town living is the ultimate. Some of these places were a bit hard to leave at first, because of what they offered, and their beauty. But Grand Forks has pretty much everything we have looked for in a small town. Coming home and rounding the corner as the valley opens up always makes me smile. Some of the friendliest people live here. The beauty, the rivers, Christina Lake, but mostly its the people we have met here, in our church and around the community. There is the pace of a small town. Its slower and easier to breathe (not counting the wildfires). It’s not for everyone, but since we’ve been here, my sister-in-law and her husband have moved here, my step daughter and her family, and good friends have also fallen in love with our little valley. Of course, nothing and nowhere is perfect, but this is our greener grass.

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living here in GF?

Sandy Jo: First, I love running into people I know. I can walk, or ride a bike pretty much everywhere here. Oh and you can’t forget the Grand Forks International. So much fun. I love that my family and friends love to come visit and float the river and experience our little town. Sometimes there is so much going on in this valley that you just can’t do it all. A good and bad thing. But location, location location. That’s a pretty great thing too.

Tiff: Please tell us how someone can purchase your work for themselves, or as a gift this Christmas

Sandy Jo: I work from my home. I have a studio I show from and work in. I don’t have regular hours, so the best thing is to phone first if you’re interested in coming in to take a peek. You can reach me at (250)442-5583. I’m also in the gift shop at the Art Gallery.


Stay tuned on Saturday for our next entrepreneur!

On the 9th Day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

Come with us now, into the dangerous,

magical,

colourful world

of Savanna, Justin, and Alf’s BoardRoom Cafe!

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Maybe you’ll get lost there and never return, but you won’t be sorry when you open their door and find yourself surrounded by boardgames of all shapes and sizes, treats to make your eyes pop, hot and tasty food… and the sound of fun drifting about in every corner.


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Perhaps there’s a mystery to solve, or a world to save, or just some laughs to be had with friends. In any case you can leave the boring, the mundane, and the work outside and step into a world of play.

 


Regardless of your motives, the exotic lattes and teas will surprise you, the atmosphere entice you and the people, well… the people will just fill you up with cheer.

 


Savanna and Justin have created an idea more than a place – and it’s all about what makes up the best parts of the words family and friends. Go there yourself, and see!

And while you’re there, pick up some Christmas gifts – there’s a plethora of games to choose from!

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Here is our interview with them:

Tiff: What was the inspiration behind starting a board game cafe? What is your favourite part about what you do?

Justin: Board games were a family tradition that transformed into a mutual passion in our marriage. That passion combined with Savanna’s experience in hospitality… it made sense to mix those elements together into something that was our own. Alf brings years of business experience, administration skills and ties to the community that are invaluable. When we all decided to partner up, it truly became a family affair, and that makes it even more special for us.

Our favourite part of what we do is the sense of community we feel. Our customers are what make us get up every day.

Tiff: Tell us why you think life is better when you play board games? What is your favourite game?

Justin: Life can get pretty serious sometimes, and it’s easy to get caught up in being busy. Playing often gets overlooked as we get older, while spending our time ‘being adults’. We think it’s really important to hold onto that playful part of life, because it can be gone before you know it. We work hard, but it’s just as important to us that we play hard as well. That’s exactly what we often end up doing on our days off. It’s hard to pick a favourite game, but a few favourites include, Through the Ages, Great Western Trail, Fluster, Catch Phrase, and Heaven & Ale.

Tiff: Why did you choose to set up shop and live in Grand Forks?

Justin: Savanna was born and raised in Grand Forks, and after being away and travelling the world for 20 years, we decided to go back to some roots and settle down. Alf built the cafe building in 1991, and when it came up for sale it was too serendipitous to pass up. We had dreamed of doing a board game cafe for years, and with the support of family we were finally able to do it.

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living here in GF?

Justin: Our favourite part of GF is the sense of community. The feeling that ‘we’re all in this together’ lives here and no one thinks twice about helping each other out. This was not only very apparent during the flood, but we get to see it every single day.

Tiff: What types of Christmas gifts can someone buy at your store? 

Justin: We have over 200 games, puzzles, gift cards (in any denomination that never expire) dice, hoodies, play passes (for future play), bumper stickers, geeky earrings, keychains, magnets, ornaments and more. We also have a promotion going on all of December where if you give bucks, you get bucks. For every $50 you spend in gift cards, you get 5$ for yourself.


So if you’re looking for some holiday cheer or some Christmas gifts, head on down to the Board Room Cafe – you can find it on Market Street.

Stay tuned this Thursday for our 10th entrepreneur! We’re working our way up to 12… and maybe even a bit beyond with some of the cool businesses we’ve found irresistible!

On the eighth day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you

Buttons and Ribbons and Bows, oh my! Meet our classy craft store owner, Melanie Leslie and her beautiful helper Sydney.

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Together they’ve created a beautiful and well organized space, where every type of scrapbooking tool and craft you can imagine has its place and sits in it so prettily.

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Several items of their own designs are displayed tastefully throughout the room and there’s plenty of space for you to browse about the cute little tables and desks.

 

We had a lovely chat with Melanie while Sydney took the time to entertain the littlest one of our crew. They were busy colouring while Melanie showed us some of her handmade Christmas cards and talked about the excitement she feels at contributing to our community, the welcome she’s gotten at moving from a bustling city to small town.

 

Kettle River Crafts doesn’t just offer you supplies – but also all kinds of events! Every kind of thing from classes and birthday parties for kids to adult scrapbooking days or do it yourself time. If you have a chance take yourself down to their store to check out their calendar full of fun things to be part of.


Here’s our interview with Melanie:

Tiff: Tell us a bit about how you became passionate about all things crafting?

Melanie: I think I have always loved paper, glitter, stickers and things like that. I think I was 9 when I was shown a rubber stamp for the first time. A lady at a rubber stamp store in Coombs, BC stamped a unicorn stamp into a rainbow ink pad and embossed it with glitter! Need I say more?

Tiff: We know the Kettle River Crafts is brand new to Grand Forks, so please explain the vision for your space and what types of things you have available in your store?

Melanie: I wanted to create a store that was interesting to look at overall. Shopping is an experience for me and I love to see, touch, and try things. My favourite kind of store is one where you see something different each time you walk through it. We sell primarily paper crafting supplies, but work with many suppliers, so can usually get you special orders as well. I also have a real love for decorating and home decor, so you never know what neat pieces you may find. We order in small amounts though, so make sure you pick it up when you see something you like!

Tiff: What are some unique gifts that folks can find at your store? Can classes be pre-purchased as a gift?

Melanie: Our gift items change all the time! Right now we have cute decor pieces like lanterns and wall art and some beautiful stationary sets. You can also purchase a gift certificate that can be used for classes as well as merchandise.

Tiff: Tell us why you’ve chosen to live and set up shop here in Grand Forks?

Melanie: We were looking for a more affordable, quieter alternative to the Okanagan, and stumbled on Grand Forks. We fell in love with the city on our first trip! Having only been here a few months, I was already missing my crafty friends back home and figured the easiest way to find that connection here was to open a store!

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living in Grand Forks?

Melanie: That’s hard to pick a favourite! We love the lake, the rivers, the people, the small town vibe…. oh and the cost of real estate!

Tiff: What are your store hours?

Melanie: We are open Tuesday-Saturday 10-6pm with an extra hour on Fridays. Stop by and check us out or chat with us about your crafty projects. Like us on Facebook to see new classes and products first, and you can also drop in and craft in our space any time there isn’t a class booked.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you

Our very own little bohemian, April Ace.

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She welcomed us into her cute little yoga studio and spa, The Little House of Bohemia, with a smile and a welcoming hello.

She’s set up a very cozy space, with soft lighting and small peaceful accents here and there where you can feel at home and relax into your own body and mind, letting go of all the busyness we get caught up in daily.

April’s offering a whole bunch of different yoga practices, everything from relaxation to strengthening.

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She showed us one of her favourite yoga poses, and watching the grace of her movements in the quiet atmosphere she’s created makes you automatically relax. Around the corner she has a small spa room, where she can massage away your troubles, but mostly April is all about helping you connect your thoughts and your body, so you can reach a place where you’ll be at peace with who you are.

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April is bringing a very unique experience to Grand Forks, where you can spend time on your yoga mat exploring your breathing habits, strengthening your body, enjoy a therapeutic massage, or even buy some biodegradable body glitter to brighten up your day.


Here’s our interview with April:

Tiff: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher? What is it about yoga that you love the most?

April: I was asked more and more often if I was a teacher, and where my classes were held. Even though my own practice helped me maintain and aid in alleviating the aches and pains that the stresses of the job brought about, after years of working in spas and the service industry, I knew I needed a career change. And yoga was the answer!

Tiff: Tell us about your studio, what are the things you offer?

April: The Little House of Bohemia – Studio and Spa, offers a Mecca for well-being. I am very pleased to be able to offer yoga 90 minute classes with a focus on alignment – I offer a dynamic yang-energy class twice a week for those who enjoy more a physical along with a mental challenge. I also offer a yin class twice week, alongside a yoga Nidra class. Yin is a slower paced class that is restorative, Nidra is a shorter, 30 minute class that induces a state of relaxation. Some find it meditative, while others use it as an opportunity to nap ;). My spa services currently offer pedicures, waxing, Thai-yoga and therapeutic oil massages. I am also thrilled to carry and use Whish and Glitterazzi. Along with these products I have local products featured in the studio space seasonally.

Tiff: What is your vision for Little House of Bohemia? How do you see it enhancing the community of Grand Forks?

April: Having grown up in Rock Creek, my family and I were very involved in farming and community events. I was very shy and insecure as a teenager, and like most individuals I developed “body-issues”. I knew food restriction was not the answer, and so in secret I found my mom’s yoga books she had from the 70s. This began my practice of yoga. Yoga has always been able to ease each of my transitions, has made me stronger in my body and mind, and has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle. I would like to share and offer what yoga/mindfulness can offer each person who seeks refuge from whatever ails them. I know a small town can be difficult. I also know that cities and travel can be difficult too! My practice has always been there for me – and it can be there for you too!

Tiff: Why do you choose to live and work in Grand Forks?

April: I lived in Victoria for 13 years. After being a farm girl for most of my youth, I soon became drawn to the glamour of burlesque And even here I found that my yoga made me stronger as a performer. The ocean was beautiful, but as the years passed, I missed the warm and mountains of the boundary. And I missed my family. After much contemplation, I made the move last year, and am very happy to be reunited with my roots, friends and family!

Tiff: What is your favourite part of Grand Forks?

April: I love, love, love that Grand Forks feels like a made-for-tv movie! It is so picturesque and quaint and community based!

Tiff: How can people purchase your goods? If someone wants to purchase yoga classes or spa services for a friend, how can they do that?

April: Purchases can be made either in person/onsite or online at www.littleboho.ca or you can get a gift certificate too!


So wander on downtown to April’s space when you have a chance – buy your friends or family a massage, or a certificate to a class.

Stay tuned Monday for our next entrepreneur!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, Grand Forks gives to you…

One very talented artist, Kayla Sebastian.

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Why do we call her an artist rather than just a chef?

Because her food not only makes you salivate over every bite, it’s creative, colourful, and each plate or board is her palate where she keeps designing new things to entice us with.


Kayla is most definitely not a camera hog – and we could tell she was a little uncomfortable being in the spotlight. Her heart is really back behind the counter in her kitchen, creating her masterpieces, but she did graciously allow us to catch her behind the lens, so we can share with you all about how she’s been pouring her love of food and company into her bistro and bake shop, the Wooden Spoon.


This beautiful chef has a cool head on her shoulders, deals well with the chaos of a very busy kitchen, and was a delight to talk to. Though she was super busy she took the time to sit down and chat with us, and we had a lovely time talking about where her heart is.


So take a meander into her space when you can! It’s a beautiful, eclectic, and welcoming cornerstone of our little community. It’s a busy hub where people stream in and out of its doors day after day, meeting over coffee and lunch and all of Kayla’s masterpieces.

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The walls are peppered with art from local artists, the lighting is cozy and modern, and everywhere you look is a mouthful of deliciousness you can’t wait to get inside your tummy!

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The famous Wooden Spoon Wall

Where else can you get delicate china tea cups, alongside big fat mugs of every size and colour? The corners of Kayla’s bistro are filled with antiques and the shelves are overflowing with goodies.


Most of all the air is full of chatter and the sound of satisfied customers. The staff are cheerful and friendly and if you return, they will soon be calling you by name. What a great way to start out your day!

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Kayla and front of house manager Alyce laughing over a cup of coffee.

Here is our interview with Kayla!

Tiff: Tell us what inspired you to start a bistro? Why do you love to create beautiful dishes and share them?

Kayla: I had never worked in a breakfast restaurant, and my experience in kitchens was predominantly dinner service, but on my days off or mornings off, I spent almost every day for over two years searching for the best breakfast spots to go and try! When my husband and I moved back from Australia, I quickly realized that Grand Forks was lacking a hub for breakfast. A building became available, and four weeks later the Spoon was open!

I’ve always been a creative person – the food industry is a perfect outlet to pursue an art talent in the kitchen. I love touching, smelling and playing with food. Creating new dishes fulfils that excitement and the customers constantly remind us how much they appreciate new, creative, and forever changing food!

Tiff:  Tell us what makes the Wooden Spoon such an integral part of Grand Forks? 

Kayla: I honestly don’t know the answer to that question! I think as an insider, I don’t know what makes us special, because we’re just doing a job that we happen to truly love. Maybe that’s what makes us special? It comes down to a vision, and to constantly come back to that, and remind ourselves ‘what can we do to make us better’, or put us a step ahead in the food industry to create a ‘want’ for people to come and dine. Grand Forks has always been special to me growing up, and I’m forever grateful to be able to feed people in this town that I looked up to as a child, or a favourite teacher or my best friends’ parents. It’s a feeling of accomplishment every day!

Tiff: We love visiting over a hot cup of coffee in the cold winter months, tell us what its like to be at the wooden Spoon during the Christmas season and what’s happening there (special food, drinks etc.)?

Kayla: The Christmas season is always pretty full on at the Spoon. The front side of the business always runs smooth and we get to enjoy the laughter of our locals while they dine with out of town family. The back of house is somewhat more chaotic, with us hustling around getting ready for dinner parties, and breakfast/lunch functions etc. In the month of December we have an event almost every day…some days two or three! We are doing a 12 days of Christmas deals this year! Something new every day!

Tiff: Why did you choose to live and work in Grand Forks? Tell us a bit about you and your family.

Kayla: Yay! Glad you asked! This week is super special for my husband and I! Lots of regulars know our little girl Avery, who happens to be turning two December 1st, and I am in such awe of her. Lessons I have learnt in life the last little while have not come from my idols, or entrepreneurs, they’ve come from a two year old, who has continually shown me to love out loud, be in the now, play and that work is not my number one love. It’s family. 12 days of Christmas deals starts with a deal from her, and it involved cookies!!

TJ and I moved back to our hometown June 2013, and we’ve managed to create a pretty perfect lifestyle in the valley. Grand Forks offers that amazing hometown feel, and when you make that corner coming down Spencer Hill, the feeling of home overwhelms you with comfort. You can’t get that anywhere else.

Tiff: What is your favourite part about living in GF?

Kayla: The perfect four seasons, the small town feel, and the people are pretty fantastic. I love how tight knit we seem to be, and everyone knows everyone.

Tiff: If someone wants to give a Wooden Spoon gift to someone on their Christmas list, what can they purchase and when?

Kayla: You can always call in, or come chat with the girls out front, and they can make a certificate up for you! We also have new Wooden Spoon shirts that just arrived yesterday for purchase, and new coffee beans from a local roaster in town! (Juggernaut Coffee!)


Head to the Wooden Spoon for a gift certificate this Christmas! Or buy some coffee and a t-shirt from them!

Stay tuned this Thursday for our next entrepreneur!

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