mug up for Canuck Place: color, coffee and cheer!

December 2, 2013, Michaela Evanow, 16 Comments

I’m joining She Loves Advent Acts of Kindness this year (you should join too! it’s not just for bloggers!) It just so happened that this story came to be on December 1st. It’s a big group effort, a load of love and kindness from BC folk.


On our first visit to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, I went to the mug cupboard for a hot cup of tea and noticed that the cupboard was full of old, forest green mugs. They are small and oh so boring. And yes, ugly. Although Canuck Place is a children’s hospice, we, along with many other families in BC, go to Canuck Place for respite care, where we have 24 hour nursing, meals provided, a room with a view (if you stay in house), and time…to rest, to read, to write. You can read a slice of our story on SheLoves Magazine or Converge Magazine.


But back to the mugs. I’m sure they were donated years and years ago by some company, but there was very little beauty in that cupboard. I scrounged around for a bigger mug and found it, chipped and hiding in the very far corner on the top shelf. Obviously it was someone’s mug they were protecting. I don’t know about you, but I can’t drink tea with less than a cup of water. I’m done before I can walk up those creaky wooden stairs. Also, since all the mugs looked the same, one was never sure if a mug was actually their own.

In a place like this, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and other warm drinks are sipped often. There are always cookies in the jar, waiting to be dipped, and hands waiting for warmth (especially when it’s drafty in this old heritage house!)

My hope was that we, as a community of British Columbians, mamas, families that have been affected by sickness or life limiting conditions, could come together and gather some beautiful ceramic mugs for Canuck Place.

It was a simple request. It’s offering beauty and comfort in the form of a handheld object. I know there are so many needs out there. But I saw this need and I knew I was going to fill it, whether on my own or with help.

I posted about it while we were in the hospital and received quite a few offers. Some came through, others didn’t. So I started begging for mugs from my mum and a few friends. One box was shipped from Victoria, another was full of Anthropologie mugs.


Things began to pick up speed. Taralyn, a Vancouver blogger, who happens to be a mama too, contacted me and ran with it. Mug Up was official in the blog world! She offered to paint some ceramic mugs at a pottery studio. She joined forces with another blogger, Taslim, and together with the studio they dropped off 60 mugs! Each mug was hand painted with love by kids and their mamas. The pottery studio, Create-it Emporium, generously offered a discount on all mugs for Canuck Place. People from all over ended up donating money towards mugs. It was a group effort, and I’m so humbled and amazed that my simple request, thrown out on my blog Facebook page, garnered such attention.

unpacking mugsunpacking donated mugs and mugs from the pottery studio.

create it emporium hand painted mugs for Canuck Placesome Canuck Place family favourites.

hand painted mugs for Canuck Placebeautiful, inside and out!

hand painted mugs for Canuck Placea volunteer sips her coffee during Sunday brunch.

hand painted mugs for Canuck Placecolorful morning coffees for this family.

hand painted mugs for Canuck Place

hand painted mugs for Canuck Placetea time for this volunteer!

donated and hand painted mugs for Canuck PlaceJay, Florence’s papa, having the first sip in one of our new mugs!new mugs for Canuck Place!

Canuck Place mugsI had so much fun unpacking all the mugs, wiping the cupboards clean and bare, and then running all 70+ mugs through the sanitizer. Hot from the wash, I placed each one in their hope, so thankful for all the time and effort put into all the mugs–new and gathered.

Thanks again to everyone who donated mugs, sent mugs from afar, painted mugs with their kids at Create-It Emporium…thank you to Joanne from Create-It, Taslim and Taralyn and all the other moms involved.

Everyone is really thrilled with the new mugs, from kitchen staff, to nurses, volunteers to families. People keep coming up to me, and thanking “Florence’s mama.” So, my dear Flo, thank you for being such a brilliant little angel. Your smile, your spirit, your beating heart make this world a gorgeous place.

Cheers, my darling.

Thank you for supporting Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.



  • Reply cold brew May 23, 2017 at 11:12 PM

    All the mugs are amazing .. Great work!!

  • Reply Paige December 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Hi Michaela,
    Your blog popped up on my facebook newsfeed because a friend had “liked” it & I am so grateful that I clicked on it — procrastination during exam season does have some benefits! Anyway I just wanted to comment on this post especially because I was a volunteer at Canuck Place in the kitchen & with the kids for several years up until I moved to Ottawa this year. I broke a fair number of those green mugs in my time there & was always grabbing the odd big mug that would come through (& quickly disappear) for times when I would have tea — I’m totally with you on not being able to drink a small cup. What a wonderful idea, a wonderful story & what a wonderful writer you are. I look forward to picking up a shift or two at CP over Christmas & having a cup of tea out of one of these beautiful mugs.
    All the best to you & your wonderful family & I hope you have the happiest of holidays!

    • Reply Michaela. December 10, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Paige, this is so wonderful to hear! I love it. Thanks for sharing with me 🙂 we will be in house again this year, so maybe we will see you. Thanks again. This brought a smile to my face.

  • Reply jack nash December 4, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    I love this that someone see’s a need and fills it… I am inspired by this… thanks team!
    Great job.

  • Reply lanette December 3, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Was just at Canuck place tonight and when I opened the cupboard to get a cup of tea, Voila! Beautiful mugs! It brought a smile to my face. Thank you!

    • Reply Michaela. December 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      🙂 so happy to hear this!

  • Reply Bethany Olsen December 3, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I totally hear you on the importance of the big mug. This is such a cool idea and I love that you did it!

    • Reply Michaela. December 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Yes! I’m glad to hear this Bethany! Tea just isn’t tea without it…

  • Reply Angela December 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Makes me want to come back early from my maternity leave! So beautiful. I love the shot of the open cupboard. Thanks to everyone who donated ♡

    • Reply Michaela. December 3, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      this is so sweet to hear Angela. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Bev Murrill December 3, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    Michaela… what a cool idea…isn’t it awesome how people pick up on a great idea and want to be part of the difference makers. x

    • Reply Michaela. December 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      it’s amazing how people want to be a part of things like this. it’s been such a big blessing to me!

  • Reply Arlene Holland December 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Hope you had a special place for the angel to watch over families.
    ( In the box from Victoria or box’s ) Merry Christmas to all .

    • Reply Michaela. December 2, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Arlene, you bet! It’s in our room, and it’s here to stay! thank you SO much for your box of mugs and gifts for CP.

  • Reply idelette December 2, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Love this so so so much, Michaela!

    • Reply Michaela. December 2, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      thanks Idelette, for sharing and loving 🙂

    Leave a Reply to Paige Cancel