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Short guides to Small Cities and the Magic of Mysteries

by Paige

Good Tuesday morning everyone. I am so happy to be here this week! A big hug & high five to Grace for inviting me to do some showing & telling.

I bet like me, you are all excited to read about what her keen eyes have spotted at this year’s ICFF and Stationary/Surtex shows. In keeping with the theme of exploring for things undiscovered, I’ve decided this week I’d like to share with you my two favorite small towns, a la big city guides, a bit about their mysterious residents, and some afternoon DIY, recipe, and before & after projects.

Ta Da! = Burlington, VT USA + Kelowna, BC Canada


Why these towns? I was made in Kelowna, B.C., Canada and spent 17 years growing up here. After leaving, traveling, & studying fine arts in Vancouver, BC, I moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design for product design. I lived there for 4 years and adored it, but after a while I started to yearn for air free of hot summer garbage and grocery stores with parking lots. So I wandered up Massachusetts’ way and then, in large part due to the ‘mystery’ I’m about to discuss, ended up in Burlington, VT where I spent 5 good years. I have since moved back to Kelowna and am enjoying rediscovering my home town.

And the mystery of which I speak? One of the reasons I feel so attached to these places… lake monsters.


Kelowna & Burlington are two of the only 10 or so cities in North America that can boast lake monsters as neighbors. They are both on long, wide, and deep lakes, perfect conditions I’ve read, for the perpetuation of prehistoric species. Of course no one has ever seen one up close (conveniently no one with a camera that is), but Kelowna at least, has built a flourishing souvenir trade by perpetuating the myth of the elusive icon we call Ogopogo. Burlington has Champ.

There’s a lot to be said for the importance of being open to the seemingly impossible. As a believer, I’m a lifer. I used to be a bit embarrassed to admit to this, but recently found a quote from Albert Einstein that made me feel better: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

So according to Einstein, my equation would look something like this:


The mysterious pull of these two beasties, to which I now know to owe much of my idea power, is just one sparkly facet of these two small city gems that have captured my heart. I’ll be back tomorrow with where to find the best grits, goods, and gifted makers in both places. And I’ll see you later today for a bahh-licious DIY project. I hope you enjoy!

My very best,

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  • I never knew about Ogopogo but now I want to visit your town. I’ve lived in Burlington on and off for 20 years and it really is a place full of mystery and wonder.

  • even though my family laughs at me, i am firmly convinced of the existence of lake monsters. like you, i’m a lifer. and thank you for the quote. i will use it in my arsenal against unbelievers.

  • Thank You for the quote. It was just in time!
    i’ve never stopped to believe in mysterious creatures and miracles, but today i needed this reminder:)

  • Thank you for this inspiring blog. I’ve not encountered aquatic monsters in Manhattan, yet, but I’m open to them. I’ve seen everything else.

    I look forward to your updates and tips!

  • I think lake monsters exist! And I would be BEYOND excited to see one.

    I’m also continually amazed at how many ppl are from Kelowna. I visited my friend there a few years ago and now it seems like I always run into ppl from there. So cool!

  • yaaayyy!!! you amaze me Paigey!

    & your little cracker guy is like a bowl of soup monster. (perhaps a relative to a lake monster)??

    Very nice work.

  • Yay for Burlington! I was so excited to see this post. I have lived in Burlington for 10 years and absolutely love this city. Yes, we are tiny, but we are still a “city”. I look forward to your future postings!!

  • I live about 4 hours from Kelowna. My husband continually mocks the Ogopogo. He says it’s too cute a name for a monster. So he calls it the Fluffywuffy.

    And that’s my story.

  • I was so surprised to see K-town mentioned in my design*sponge email this morning!

    I too am a Kelowna girl – fleeing at age 19 and only to return for short visits. I’m very much looking forward to your post tomorrow.

  • Living in Mission BC it is nice to bump into an almost neighbour. Kelowna is beautiful and like to visit almost every summer. Glad to hear you came home!

  • Paige, I am a big believer of our Champ, there was just a possible sighting in B-Town. Check out the free press website. I will send you a picture of a painting I just did of Champ peeing.

  • Great stuff! Grew up in Montreal near Lake Champlain and spent 3 years building a graphic design business in Vernon, near Kelowna. I’m now on Van Island and the more frequent whale sightings keep me in awe… Cheers!

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