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

Meet Jason and Sofi.



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!


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


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.


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.


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



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.


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).

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.

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.

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

Come with us now, into the dangerous,


colourful world

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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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 fourth day of Christmas, Grand Forks gave to you…

If you close your eyes for a small moment, and imagine yourself sitting over a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee, you will have an idea of the fun we had with creator of Juggernaut Coffee, Katie Mitchell.

We didn’t get a chance to write down our interview with her, so this post is a little different from our others, a little more informal just for a change of pace…


We arrived at her small farm on a cold afternoon to a very friendly welcome, and a somewhat chaotic atmosphere (she has one pair of cute little two-year-old twins, and two dogs – need I say more?).

Katie was right in the middle of roasting us our very own fresh batch of beans, outside on her porch, and it was such a delight to experience her at work.

(No, this is not how she normally roasts her coffee – it was an experience reserved just for our pleasure, as her brand new coffee house and workshop is under construction at the moment.)



As she turned the handle on the big pot full of coffee beans, we chatted about how and why Katie chose coffee as her business.

Katie has a background as a chef, and this new venture into coffee roasting is just the kind of sensory experience you might expect a talented chef to excel at. Fragrant steam rose up in the air as we watched, and Katie paid close attention to the process even as we discussed her business with her.

She casually mentioned

  •  the weight of the pot, (it changes apparently)
  • the changing smell, (from a grain smell to a coffee smell)
  • the sound of the popping, (there’s different kinds of popping that happen during the transformation!)
  • and the colour of the beans

all things she pays close attention to as she roasts! It wasn’t long before our mouths were watering at the tantalizing aroma that wafted through the air.


One of the things Katie is most passionate about, is the fair-trade, ethically sourced business she does with small farms in Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Honduras.

Her suppliers go directly to the farmers and ask them what they want to sell the coffee for. It means Katie pays more for her coffee, but the quality is better, and knowing where it’s coming from and that she’s being fair is what makes the whole thing worth it for her!

In her workshop huge bags of organic beans sit, ready to be roasted – and they’ve come all the way across the world, from little farms (some where she’s their only client!) that she knows, personally, get a competitive price for their product. She urges everyone to know where they’re getting their coffee from, and that the people who are producing the beans are getting paid what they should.

“Coffee is a commodity,” she said, “people are always trying to undercut the price of it.” Working with small farms, and a supplier who carries the same values as her is the only way she’ll do it.



When we asked Katie what inspired her to start Juggernaut Coffee, she chuckled. “I was buying so many green coffee beans that my supplier asked me if I was already running a business. I told him no. I just have twins. I’m that tired.”

But the conversation got her thinking, she said. She had wanted a business that allowed her to be home with her kids, that she might be able to do “out in the wild” as she put it, on her own turf, as she loves the solitude and freedom of rural life.


With a very handy husband, who knows the ins and outs of construction, and her own chef background, knowing how to navigate health codes and organic certification, it was the perfect opportunity. There is no other roaster in Grand Forks, and there’s always an appetite for great coffee.

“Coffee is appealing,” She said with a smile, “because it’s dynamic and always changing. Conditions are always changing globally, as well as in Grand Forks, we have the challenge of adapting and consistently getting a high quality product.”

When we asked Katie what advice she would give to coffee lovers – she said “Don’t keep your coffee in the freezer! Only buy what you need. Drink it within a week to get the best out of the beans!”

You can buy Juggernaut Coffee’s different blends (Dark and Espresso) from the Wooden Spoon, Jerseyland Organics, or contact Katie on her instagram account @juggernaut.coffee, or call her at (250)442-3430.

What a great way for you to spend your Christmas morning! Over a freshly brewed, freshly roasted cup of coffee!! Yum!

We highly recommend Juggernaut, what a great business to support – a local business concerned with ethics that support other far away local businesses!

Stay tuned this Thursday for our next entrepreneur!!


On the second day of Christmas, Grand Forks brings to you…

Riley Friesen, owner of Knotty Oak Designs, works in a cute little corner of her house, where the light streams in from a small window to the side and bounces off of a large wooden desk. It’s a beautiful, cozy space, just right for getting creative. gfshoplocal-11

Her tools and bits are placed here an there with beautiful rounds of wood propped up in all the corners and free spaces of the room.gfshoplocal-10

Riley welcomed us in to do a little snooping, and talked with us about how she’s worked her way up from painted signs to the challenge of wood burning. But that’s not all she does. In a big beautiful chest on the floor next to the desk are all her crocheted pieces, everything from blankets to tea cozies.

This young mom and entrepreneur was a lot of fun to talk with, easy going and casual, curled up in her chair as she worked, making us feel right at home as we chatted.


Her designs are beautiful, full of geometrical shapes and simple, clean lines that catch your eye. She’s hard at work at the moment, getting ready for the upcoming Christmas craft show, where she’ll share a booth with yours truly, Kettle River Bath and Body! Come on out and find us there if you can!

Riley is currently beginning a new project for all those of you looking for Christmas gifts – a subscription box of goodies in partnership with Kettle River Bath and Body. Come and catch a glimpse of what it’ll look like and pre-order one for yourself or a loved one!


Here is our interview with Riley.

Tiff: Tell us about the different things that you make?

Riley: For the last couple of years I’ve been really into Pyrography, and using my burning tool to create some cool stuff. This year I’m working on more decorative pieces, where in the past I did a lot of signs that seemed to be on trend. I’ve also got bamboo cutting boards, cork hot plates, and wood disk magnets, and, of course, Christmas decorations! There there is my first love… crocheting. It’s my wind down time after a day. Kid goes down to bed, make myself some tea (or wine if it’s been a day), curl up in my favourite chair and start creating. I’ve always loved slouchy toques and big chunky Infinity scarves, so I’m doing a lot of that this year.

Tiff: How did you get started doing what you do? What inspired you?

Riley: I have a lot of Artists in my family. Both my Nanas are amazing painters, my dad and my Papa do woodwork, and my mom is so darn crafty she could put the rest of us to shame. So I think I got my creative side from all the wonderful people I have in my life to look up to. My mother-in-law actually taught me to crochet about 10 years ago… she taught me to knit, but I’m an instant gratification kind of person so once I started crocheting I never picked up the needles again. Wood has always been around me. I grew up in the bush and my dad is a carpenter. So creating something out of wood runs in my blood.

Tiff: What is the most satisfying part of making the things you make?

Riley: Other than the creative outlet which I so desperately need in my life, probably people’s reaction. I think if you stare at something long enough you actually start doubting that its any good. But when people are stoked on your work, it definitely gives you a little spark to keep pushing on and creating new pieces.

Tiff: Where can someone purchase your handmade items?

Riley: The GFSS craft fair is on Saturday Nov. 24th, and I’ll be there selling. I always welcome custom orders too. People can find me on my facebook page: Knotty Oak Designs, my instagram account @knottyoakdesigns or just email an order to knottyoakdesigns@outlook.com I’m hoping to get a website up in the new year!

Tiff: Why do you choose to live in Grand Forks? And what is your favourite part about living here?

Riley: My husband and I grew up in Vernon, and we loved the freedom and security it offered. We spent 3 years grinding in Northern Alberta and knew that before we started a family we wanted to settle down somewhere that somewhat resembled ‘Old Vernon’. Bran had spent a lot of his youth boxing in GF so he took me for a visit and I fell in love. Within 6 months we had bought a house, left Alberta, and made GF our home.

My favourite part is probably the sense of community and security. I love the comfort of knowing my son can grow up somewhere he can be free. He can ride his bike around town with his friends, or meet buddies in town and I don’t need to worry. (He doesn’t do that yet though, he’s only 7) I also love the lifestyle in the boundary. We are so lucky to live in an area where you can go and adventure in your backyard. There is never nothing to do… and for the most part its free. River days, camping, campfires and friends that have become family. That’s what GF is to me. Plus… I got Nana and Papa to move to Jewel Lake… just sweetens the pot.

So we’ll leave you with the option of contacting Riley about your Christmas needs, and maybe stopping by to say hello at the craft fair!

Stay tuned for our third entrepreneur this Thursday! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover over the next few weeks before Christmas – lots of wonderful people coming your way! Keep your eye out for our blog posts twice a week til we’re done this series!

Grand Forks days of Christmas

I have a little gift for you now that Christmas is on the horizon. It’s a charming little package, buildings boxed together in fun little squares, one wide market street and a couple of schools spilling out children, as they laugh and play and grow. You’ll find it sprinkled here and there with colourful maple trees and all kinds of houses, big and tall ones, short and small ones, all of them nestled between two rushing rivers. This gift is ready and waiting for you to explore, and it is called Grand Forks.


In the next few weeks, I’d love to show you little parts of it – mainly, it’s new and young entrepreneurs. Why, you ask? I could tell you all kinds of statistics to support why you should shop local, I could try to convince you with numbers. You might have heard them somewhere, you’ve probably read them. It goes something like this: money spent at a local business generates 3.5X more wealth for the local economy than when you shop at those big box stores.

But this is the heart of what I think: Grand Forks is worth unwrapping.

I want you to see it as a Christmas gift.

And I want you to experience the joy of being part of something – the warmth of connecting in a place where people wave and say hi to you on the street. Where business owners know each other and do their best to help each other out. Where things like floods and fires bring out the everyday heroes and everyone sticks together to get each other through to the other side. Where you can make a difference by investing in it.


Maybe this year you could forgo the big shopping malls and the easy, no thinking kinds of gifts that are so quick to be forgotten, and instead shop local. Yes, that is my challenge to you: shop local.

Because when you do, you’ll only make Grand Forks warmer. More appealing. More investable and stronger. A town worth unwrapping and one where you just might find a home.


Stay tuned for our first day of Grand Forks Christmas gifts on Thursday!


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