Rock On - A Birthday Event

Posted on by jemma Radick

My good friend Amy and I had blast collaborating on a joint birthday party for our two kids, who both turned five within a week. I say birthday party – but I have to admit that Amy and I both got a little carried away – and this turned into a full fledged EVENT. Collaborating with another creative mama was crazy fun – and it quickly turned into a creative project that included set design, styling, art direction, event management, catering and DJ-ing. 

During the course of planning the party, we had many late night and early morning text conversations that went something like this:

“Stage, Paparazzi, VIP badges?”
           “YES! Face paint, dress-up station, temp tattoos?”
“I’ll order blow up guitars and echo mics for all the kids.... Oooooo and punky hair colour!”
            “secret Pinterest board started – check it out for stage ideas”
 “We should have a band name or two.....”
            “Jake and The Ankle Biters”
 “Mia & The Music Machines”
            “The Pip Squeeks”
 “The Treble Makers”
            “OK, Snacks - pop-rocks? BBQ?”
 “Sno Cones! With tequila for the grown ups!”
            “This is going to be epic....”

And so on. It was a real treat to work with Amy on this creative project and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. For the many people who (very rightly) think we were flat out crazy to put this much effort into a kids birthday party, I have to direct you to this fabulous article by Sasha Emmons of She says: “...scratching the itch to create makes me happy, and that happiness bleeds over into every other area, including how patient and engaged and creative a mother I am.”  This perfectly sums up the way Amy and I both feel about the efforts we put into creative projects. We create because it’s fun, and makes us happy and as a result - we are able to be more engaged with our kids.

Here’s a breakdown of how we put it all together:

All of the kids came in their best rock star outfits and we accessorized and added some rock star glam. Many of our fabulous party mamas and papas helped the kids with styling as they arrived applying face paint, hair colour, tattoos and helping the kids choose guitars, mics and other instruments. Without the help of our friends - we would have never pulled all this off. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Coloured Hairspray, temp tattoos, inflatable guitars, echo mics –
  • Fabric sashes, boas, sunglasses and accessories – dollar store, and Fabricana
  • Face paint done using snazaroo paints – Michael’s


We were lucky enough to borrow a professional pipe & drape system normally used for trade shows and events – and this really made our stage impressive. One of our party papas built the wooden stage from pallets and plywood, and together with Amy - designed and built the chalkboard behind the stage from plywood, chalkboard paint and trim (The chalkboard was inspired by this project and this project). We borrowed lawn chairs from everyone we knew, decorated the stage area with colourful lanterns, sequined tie-backs and Christmas lights - and Amy made ridiculously cute cardboard speakers as a prop. A couple other party moms & dads volunteered to help be security, producers, DJ’s, and vocal coaches (thank you!).

We asked all of our guests to share with us in advance their kid’s favourite music – and so had a very special playlist for the kiddos to lip synch to on stage. This included a WIDE variety of tunes – including “We are young” by fun., “Closer” by Tegan & Sara, "Thriftshop" by Mackelmore (radio edit of course), and my favourite “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr.  It was pretty awesome to see all the kids rocking out to their favourite music.


I made personalized VIP passes for each of our rock stars, and the kids were so stoked to arrive at the party and be given a backstage pass with their face on it. A great keepsake too. Amy made some fabulous hand lettered posters and props to designate the different stations.

In addition to the great photos that Amy took – we had the pleasure of having the event documented by the lovely and talented Karen Gentleman. She did an amazing job capturing the spirit and energy of the party, and it really helped Amy & I relax and enjoy the moment, knowing that Karen was our paparazzi. Our three way collaboration on set dec, styling, art direction & photography was incredibly fun, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. If you’ve been thinking about having some family photos taken – I can’t recommend Karen enough. She has a rare talent for capturing people’s true spirit in photos.


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The Power of Creative Collaboration

Posted on by jemma Radick

I truly believe that creative collaboration is the single most powerful tool in the design world. Through collaboration, we can elevate our work to a level that cannot be attained by any one individual. In Environmental Graphic Design, multi-disciplinary collaboration is the name of the game – as this work exists at the intersection of Graphic Design, Interior Design & Architecture (among others). When these different disciplines some together to shape a space, to create an experience – it can be truly amazing. 


The Story of Medicines project was shaped by many talented hands, all contributing their individual expertise to the creation of the whole. Without them, the project would not exist. This was truly a remarkable team effort – and I wanted to take a moment to express my most sincere gratitude to this amazing team.  

SmartDesign Group: Lissa Nunweiler, Ashley Mindorff, Kirsty Lawson, Rainbow Poffinbarger, Allan Dieckmann, Scott Andrews,  Krista Schultz, Gino Burich, Eric Amberg, Kirsten Hwang, Edwin Garcia, Nareman Zareei, and Emily Woeste

NGX Interactive: Thomas Hepburn, Leigh Byblow, Jessica Doig, Andre Bussanich, Justin Williams, Patrick Gorry, Eric Mui, Kathleen Bedford, Marta Mazus and Maria Capellades

UBC Properties Trust: Nick Maile, Carrie Johnson, Crystal Roche

Saucier + Perrote Architects: Gilles Saucier, David Moreaux, Marc André Tratch

Hughes Condon Marler Architects: Bill Uhrich, Craig Lane, Paul Fast and Rachel Lacey

From the UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences community: Bob Sindelar, Jimi Galvao, Jamal Kurtu, Janis Horne, June Chow, Arti Maharaj, Brian Rodrigues, Arun Verma, Kathleen MacLeod, Tamiz Kanji, Barry Gee, Raman Dhaliwal, Jayakumar Surendradoss, Mark Kunzli, David Grierson, Pavan Dhillon, Raman Dhaliwal, Amy Phillips, John Van Drunen. And last but certainly not least - Louanne Twaites and Steve Dove

3DS: Three Dimensional Services: Michael-John Bailie, Reg Wilford, John Gleadle

Tripped On Light Design: Joseph Scott

Adrienne Mason

Bear Studios: Chris Wilkinson, Jamie Erickson, Sumeet Vats

Ledcor Group: Jason Smith & Bruce Dale

 **If you’re reading this and notice that I forgot a name – please let me know! 


UBC Talk & Tour - April 25

Posted on by jemma Radick

I'm incredibly excited to invite you to join me for a Talk & Tour of my latest project: The Story of Medicines at the award winning UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences building. Co-organized by SEGD (Society for Environmental Graphic Design) and the TAA Canada (Themed Attractions Association of Canada), the evening will include a moderated discussion of the project, a tour and some drinks & nosh. It's happening on Thursday, April 25 from 6-9pm. More info & to register here:

 *Photo Credit: Ema Peter. All images property of SmartDesign Group. 

*Photo Credit: Ema Peter. All images property of SmartDesign Group. 

The creation of The Story of Medicines was a fantastic collaboration between the Architects (Saucier + Perrotte Architects / Hughes Condon Marler Architects,) Interactive Team (NGX Interactive), the Faculty, Fabrication team (3DS) and SmartDesign Group. My role was of Lead Creative & Project Manager from the initial pitch at the RFP stage - through stakeholder engagement, concept, design development, tender & CA, fabrication, install and launch.

For an onslaught of gorgeous photos and full descriptions of the work, view the case studies here:  

The Story of Medicines
Signage & Wayfinding
Donor Recognition

Nesting 2.0 - The Nursery

Posted on by jemma Radick

I had a great time preparing a nursery for Baby Bea. I am a huge believer that nurseries should be decorated to appeal to the parent using the room, and not necessarily the baby (who'll never notice anyway). The palette I used is apricot, grey & taupe and the room features a mobile of hand-sewn fabric birds on branches.

The tutorial for the birds was first seen at Spool, and a pattern is available here. The branches are spray painted white and hung from the ceiling with fishing line & eye hooks, and the birds are nestled on each branch with yarn - which also forms their little bird feet. I used Rock 'n Romance fabrics (available online from Sprightly Fabrics). The tree decal is the "tree with birds" decal from Decor Your Wall on Etsy, and was quick and easy to install.

The collection of fabric hoops above the change table was inspired by this post at The Purl Bee - hoops were sourced from Michael's Craft Store, and the fabrics were the same Rock & Romance fabrics used for the birds. I also recovered the rocking chair with Grey Circle Tile fabric from Joann, and sewed a dead simple pocket curtain from a fabric called Zen, from Moda's Good Fortune collection - purchased from Bs Fabric Shack on Etsy. The built-in shelves are simple white laminated boards with decorative mouldings tacked to the front of each shelf to give it some depth - I included a desk at little kid level to give a place to read or play - a simple white ikea chair completes the corner. This grey Gislev rug from Ikea completes the room. I Love the whimsical feel in this room - and enjoy my (seemingly endless) time here with our newest addition. 

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My Finest Creations

Posted on by jemma Radick

In all seriousness - my finest works of art are my children. They inspire (and infuriate) me everyday. This spring we welcomed to the world Beatrice Harlowe Radick - born February 19, 2013. Our little family is now complete and we couldn't be happier. 

Beatrice: As-Built Drawings

I'll be off on maternity leave for the next while, mixing up creative projects and parenting in as many ways as possible, and hopefully inspiring my 2 daughters to find the creative in the world around them.

Let them eat cookies! Pretty cookies!

Posted on by jemma Radick

Christmas craft #2 has been a doozie to pull off. It all started 4 months ago when I saw this pin in Pinterest - gorgeous edible ink stamping on the cutest little cookies! I've been thinking about it ever since, and decided it would the edible component to my xmas goodie bags this year. It all came together over 3 weekends, and I've learned a lot of new techniques & tricks along the way. 


First - the cookies. I really wanted a yummy tasting cookie - since royal icing isn't known for being all that flavourful on it's own. This is when I found a fabulous blog called Bake at 350 - Bridget is a cookie genius, and has a delightfully irreverent attitude about baking, which I love. I stumbled across her Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookie recipe - and knew I'd found my winner. The recipe was simple and easy to follow, and I loved that it didn't need to chill for an extended period of time before baking as many other recipes I'd found. Once baked - I stacked the cookies between sheets of parchment paper in a big tupperware container and froze them until I had time to get to step 2. Bridget's advice about freezing was great - I went one step further (or lazier) and just froze them between the parchment paper, and the next weekend, just took them straight from the freezer for icing. No problems at all - the defrosting step was unnecessary. 

Now for the icing. I had never made royal icing before - or ever tried the "flooding technique" before, and man was there was a learning curve - but in the end I got it down. It wasn't long before weekend #2 had stacks and stacks of drying cookies all around my kitchen. Great recipe here, and step by step instructions for flooding here. I also found a great tip for filling icing bags with virtually no mess - Karen from Karen's cookies is another cookie genius. After icing all those cookies - I was out of time, so I carefully stacked the dried cookies between parchment again - and back into the freezer they went. 


Finally the stamping. The fun - and extremely messy part. I headed over to Michaels and bought some Wilton "Dab-N-Color" and some rubber stamps that I liked. I found out quickly that this type of edible ink doesn't work very well with the clear plastic cling stamps - you've got to use rubber stamps or else the ink just wicks right off and makes a giant mess. This is one of the stamp sets that worked well for me. The trick was to saturate a paper towel with ink, and use it as a stamping pad - experimenting along the way onto paper to get the right ink coverage. Warning - this process is really messy - by the time I was done, my fingertips were black. I looked like I'd been running a letterpress all day!


Once I got the hang of the technique - the rest went quickly, and since every screw up still tasted so yummy, it wasn't heart breaking if I broke a few along the way. Once stamped, the cookies needed to dry again overnight. The next morning I found that on a few that I'd been a little too heavy handed with the ink needed a bit of blotting with a paper towel. Once that was done they were ready for bagging and sharing. Yay for cookies that taste as good as they look.


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Let it Snow! Glitter playdough - a recipe smackdown.

Posted on by jemma Radick

For Christmas, I can't resist making a few little crafts to share with friends and neighbours. My criteria for a suitable craft is that it needs be: fairly low cost per piece, useful or yummy to eat, fun to make & something I've never tried before. 

This year, I wanted to make one gift especially for the little people in our lives - and it had to be something that my daughter Amelia (4 1/2) could easily make with me. When I stumbled upon a Pinterest recipe for glitter play dough that looked like snow - I knew we'd found our craft. I found two differing play dough recipes - and so we made both and compared!

The first we tried was a no cook recipe. It was super easy - we made it all at the kitchen table, and it was easy for Amelia to help with just about every stage. It was fairly low mess, and easy to work with. 


The second was a more commonly found quick cook recipe  - this was a whole other adventure. It had to be finished on the stovetop, and made a hideous mess, and awful smell. Once cooked it was a sticky, slimy mess that required double the kneading of the no-cook recipe. It took me twice as long to clean my pot as it did to make the play dough. Yuck. 


Once both had cooled, we rolled them into 'snowballs' kneading in more glitter as we went where we felt it needed a bit more sparkle. Both recipes gave us similar results - once cool, neither was sticky, both were easily pliable sparkly white play dough. The quick-cook version didn't smell very nice - but the consistency was the same. Rolled in a little extra glitter, these were the cutest little snowballs. 

**Note - I tested the consistency again 1 week and 2 weeks later for both recipes, and both were still in great shape.

Our last step was to place each snowball in a jelly jar, add a label and embellish with a ribbon. The jelly jars used are 4oz (125ml) decorative jars from Bernardin - found in most grocery & hardware stores with the canning supplies. 


I've made up a free printable for the labels - which you are welcome to download and use. 

All Star Breakfast: Marvelous Mochi (Isobeyaki).

Posted on by jemma Radick

Living in Vancouver means being surrounded by a plethora of fabulous food from cultures around the world - we are spoiled for choice. My favourite by far is Japanese, so when my good friend showed me how to make Isobeyaki (toasted mochi, wrapped in nori and dipped in sweet soy) I was over the moon. 


Mochi is a dish traditional served on new years day & children's festivals - as it's extremely labour intensive to make from scratch, but I buy pre-made mochi cakes and it has become one of my favourite weekend breakfasts.

Here is a little run down of how to make this at home yourself. 

First gather ingredients, you'll need pre-made mochi cakes, a package of nori sheets, a good japanese soy sauce, and brown sugar. I usually get my supplies at Fujiya - the mochi is found in the refrigerated section. 

First, set you oven to broil with the rack positioned at the middle rack. (you can also use a toaster oven - but I find most aren't hot enough).

While your oven is heating up, break your sheet of nori into thirds, and pour a few tablespoons of soy into a small dipping dish, and stir in a generous teaspoon of brown sugar. Set aside.

Once the broiler is ready, place your mochi cakes onto a baking sheet, with plenty of room around each one, and place under broiler. You'll need to watch these carefully - as they toast, they'll puff up like balloons. Once the top sides are toasted a golden brown, turn over and toast the opposite side. This can get a little tricky - as the cakes become soft and very sticky under the heat - use a pair of long handled tongs.

Once both sides are toasted, remove from oven and immediately place each cake onto a strip of nori. Watch out - these suckers are nuclear hot, and very sticky in the middle! Roll nori around mochi, and place on plate along side sweet-soy.

Now it's ready to eat, dip in soy and enjoy along with a piping hot cup of coffee. Pure heaven. I hope you enjoy it! 

City Lights + the Symphony

Posted on by jemma Radick

I had the pleasure of attending the 85th birthday bash for the Orpheum Theatre. To celebrate, the VSO performed the score to Chaplin's City Lights. Of course Chaplin was fabulous, and so fun to see it in a crowded theatre - the VSO were amazing, so perfect that it sounded like a recording. I had to keep reminding myself to also watch the musicians, it was so easy to be swept away by Chaplin's masterpiece.

 Chaplin's City Lights

Chaplin's City Lights

Concert details, and info on the Orpheum & Vancouver Symphony Orchestra here.

Rainy Day Art Science Experiment

Posted on by jemma Radick

Rainy fall weather has arrived - and what better way to make the most of it than to make art and an epic mess? For this one, I invited all the neighbourhood kids over to make a mess with us. Colour vinegar with food colouring, and apply to plates of baking soda - and voila, you have a piece of art and a science experiment all in one.