Hi, I am Bethany. I grew up in a small town in southwest Quebec, near the American border. Since we lived in the bush, I spent a lot of time outside playing with sticks and leaves, and collecting dirt from the potholes on our long lane. I would go out diligently with my beach bucket and shovel to scoop up the fine, sandy matter that blew into the shallow wells. I also acquired a strainer so I could sieve out the undesirable pebbles. My dad helped me to drill holes in the top of my empty bubble containers so that I could shake out the “magical dust” that I had sieved. The worst days were when my dad grated the lane to fill the potholes, and I would have to wait a few weeks to go out and collect more stock. I guess, looking back, it should come as no surprise that I became a soil scientist.
This is a picture of me at a restaurant on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. 2019
When it became impossible to go collecting because of the weather I would pester my mom to teach me how to knit. Back then, she was really into knitting blankets and I was really into wanting to learn. Knitting was the first craft that I learned (age 6) and the first knit project I made was a bookmark. And that year, everyone (even my grade 1 teacher) got a wobbly, knobbly bookmark for Christmas. My grandma was so happy she put hers on the tree. Or maybe she put it on the tree so she wouldn’t have to use it!
This is the first Swedish weaving project that I did. It is a table runner. 2019.
My mom is a sewer, quilter and used to be knitter and her mom, my Gram, wasn’t big on crafting but, man, could she bake AND cook. My dad is a woodworker who makes wonderfully unique pieces out of recycled and reclaimed materials and his mom, my Grandma, is a bit like me. She likes to do a bit of everything. Her motto is to learn as much as you can because it is light to carry and you never know when it may come in handy.
In high school, I was the granny of my friend group. I think other kids thought I was weird but I liked what I was creating (during that phase was cross-stitch and baking cookies). When I got a sewing machine for my 15th birthday I was over the moon. There was no doubt then, kids thought I was weird. I can’t even remember how many pairs of boxer shorts and pajama pants I made. It seems all my friends got them for Christmas.
These are cards that I made for friends. Circa 2013.
When I started CEGEP (weird school in Quebec that is between high school and undergrad) and during my bachelor’s, I would give myself an hour every day to eat dinner, turn on a mindless tv show and crochet or knit. I can’t even remember how many afghans or hats I crocheted, or Izzy dolls I knit (check them out here: http://www.hpicanada.ca/izzy-dolls/) but it was a great way to destress and be creative. After my undergrad I was diagnosed with a nerve problem in my hands which effectively shut off my creative outlets. Since I now had a limit on how much I could do with my hands each day, I transferred my creativity from crafting to cooking. Since we all gotta eat, I figured why not get creative? Two birds, one stone.
Izzy dolls that I made during high school and CEGEP. 2006-2008.
When I started out, I was not a good cook, not even close. I was cocky and I thought, “Hey, how hard could this be? Just throw stuff in a pot and sprinkle in some spices that smell good.” Yeah right! Even my boyfriend at the time, who ate everything, did not want to eat my food. It was probably the first time I really failed at something creative.
Cooking was and still is essential, and I was still not a very good cook when I started my Masters. I knew how to make a few things but could never on a whim whip something up without a recipe. The more I cooked the more I learned and the more comfortable I became in the kitchen. When I started my Masters I was a vegetarian, and had been for about 5ish years. In the final year of my Masters I went vegan and so I had to learn how to cook in a different way. I was already used to tweaking recipes when baking and cooking gluten free since Megan, my roommate and blog-host, couldn’t eat gluten. She was a great guinea pig for my v-gf creations J Once I got the hang of cooking and baking vegan it was easy to de-glutenify it since we found an all-purpose mix to replace the flour. And although, even now, not all my attempts cooking and baking are successful, I’d say that about 98% of the time I get a thumbs up.
The first headband that I made. 2018.
When I finished my Masters, I moved to Ecuador. Moving to a new country with a very different culture and language is not easy, but I found comfort in what I recognized, food. Even though many of the spices and specialty foods were not available I was able to use my creativity and funnel it into the food I made (I was also lucky that I had thought ahead a bit and brought some of the spices that I really enjoy using). I still remember the day that I found Thai curry paste. I was so excited that I actually did a little dance in the grocery store! My creativity outside of the kitchen stagnated a bit once, but once I got a job at a local school my creativity was put to good use creating fun bulletin boards and other miscellaneous for our new media center.
This is the first quilt top that I have ever made. It was part of my 30 under 30 challenge. February 2019.
During my life I have tried so many different creative outlets. I tend to get really excited about something new, go out and buy supplies and maybe a book, and then figure it out. I will master it/practice until I am happy with the results that I am getting and then move onto the next challenge. Types of crafts I have tried:
- Spool knitting
- Friendship bracelets with embroidery floss
- Hemp bracelets
- Gimp bracelets
- Punch needle
- Cross stitch
- Filography (card embroidery)
- Swedish stars
- Swedish weaving
- Painting with acrylics
- Sewing- new fabric and upcycling old clothes
- Latch hook rugs
- Candle making
- Tin punch
- Headbands and hair ribbons
- Stained glass
I would like to try weaving and spinning next. There is actually a local chapter where I live that teachers those who are interested how to spin. More recently, I have really gotten into DIY cosmetics and aromatherapy. We shall see where it takes me.
The year everyone got tatted snowflakes for Christmas. 2012.