hi, i'm justine, the one woman behind tuk + milo. i am a sewist, an entrepreneur, and an early childhood educator.
i grew up in the okanagan with my mother + older brother. we lived at the top of a dead end street in a town with only one stop light. my father lived in vancouver + visited us almost every weekend. my mother worked as a high school art + drama teacher so our home was always filled with art with one or more creative projects on the go. growing up my mother also danced in a local belly dance troop; this was my initial introduction to sewing. i loved helping my mom design her costumes + going to fabricland together to pick out fringes + gorgeous coloured textiles. she was particular about her sewing machine, but thankfully she graciously let me use it. she taught me how to thread it + to read basic patterns. my skills improved every year during the dance competition season + in october when i sewed my halloween costume. i eventually saved up my money + purchased my own machine, funny enough it's the same one i use today.
after graduating high school i was unsure what to do in my life so i decided to travel. my friends moved away to go to college and i went off to europe + south africa. when i returned from south africa my mom had sold our house + we moved to salt spring island. my brother had finished music school in nelson + was now living in montreal. i was nineteen, living at home + in a new town. i worked hard at a local cafe for a year + saved up to move to the city.
it's my tenth year living in vancouver + just this past november i walked across the stage at the queen elizabeth theatre + graduated from the early childhood education + care program at vancouver community college. it only took me ten years from graduating to figure it out, haha. it was a two year part time program + in those two years I learned a lot. my partner + i decided to split to work on ourselves + he moved to toronto for a year. we came back together stronger than ever + each of us had a better idea of the path we needed to follow. the year spent apart forced me to become more comfortable being alone + to look at what made me happy in my life. my sewing machine became a staple on my desk as i started sewing again. friends were having babies + i was a broke student so i would make them gifts. i was very proud of what i was able to create so i decided to try to sell some of my creations. i've always been fond of drawing + sketching, but my ideas come to live better in 3D than on paper.
i'm a daycare mom monday - friday to 25+ children at a local centre in east vancouver. these kids inspire me daily + i am so happy with my decision to work with children. it's very hard work but i always leave work happy even if it's been the most challenging day (i'll write more about my ece work in upcoming posts).
tuk + milo has changed in the past few years but has now evolved into something that i am deeply passionate about + hope to continue as i grow. a huge thank you to everyone who has supported tuk + milo along the way, I couldn't have done it without you!