Creative Fun With Friends

Being creative is a mood changer. A super charger. A happy maker. Add food, friends, and a couple of drinks to the mix and you’ve got yourself a fantastical afternoon of innovative fun:)

This particular get-together was a bit of a last minute idea. We had less than a week to pull it together and every single detail of our gathering had changed from our original plan and guess what? Everything flowed flawlessly regardless of all the changes (of course it did, we had wine😉 )

craft day-bunnyWe had no previous wreath making experience, nor were we die hard crafty people. We were just a handful of girls who wanted to kick back, relax, and experiment with some craft supplies. Our intention was to create this cute little bunny wreath.

From start to finish, we each created something totally different and unique. This is what we took home with us:

Sometimes the craft store doesn’t carry the right size wreath or you can’t seem to find the decorations you absolutely need to carry out your vision. Follow thru anyway, you just might surprise yourself. Life doesn’t always work out the way you intend it to. Ride the waves and enjoy the time you have to play. In the end you’re likely to have created something totally unique, even more beautiful than you had originally planned.

Thanks for a much needed, super fun afternoon Ladies!:)

 

Creative Play – Fondant Cake

Diaper Cakes and Baby Shower Fun

Creative Play – Paint Nite

Paint Nite2

Have you had the opportunity to experience a Paint Nite yet? Huge shout-out to the creative genius that inspired this hot new trend!! WOW!

Allow me highlight the brilliance of this event.

Your ticket gifts you with an evening of laughter, friendship, memory-making, and PAINT!

Here’s what you can expect at a Paint Nite event. You enter the host location preferably with your paint clothes on and sign in. At your table you will find the treasures your creative subconscious yearns for; a canvas, a table easel, an art apron, paint brushes, a cup of water (do not drink! It’s for your paints!) and 2 plates. Your plate becomes your palette and you’re ready to get started (Supplies likely vary per project, I’ve only been to one….so far!)

Could it possibly get any better?! Yes, it does! Throw in some cocktails. Maybe even some appetizers. Indulge.

Once the lesson begins, a master art teacher guides you through the featured painting step-by-step. Now, of course I can’t speak for all teachers, but ours – Candace – radiated awesome! She was FUN! She was engaging and patient. She had a great sense of humor and kept us giggling all evening. We all absolutely loved her. She also happens to have impeccable taste in music. Every now and again, I would completely lose myself in my project. I’d get out of my chair and stand to paint, the music would take over and I’d catch myself dancing a little… wishing I could dance a lot…reminding myself to remain focused:) Music AND Painting. YES! Candace and her music made for an extraordinary evening.

At the end of the night, you are left marveling at the natural talent you didn’t even know you had in you!

Now get this…your Paint Nite staff takes care of clean up. That’s right. Your ticket buys you an evening out, a FUN evening out, the unveiling of your creative talents, your supplies for the night, an artist ready to help should you get stuck, and you don’t even need to worry about the clean up. From start to finish you’ve completed a masterpiece within a few hours. Brilliant!

Right now, there is a 35% savings coupon code on Paint Nite. If you’ve ever considered attending one of this fabulous events, I highly recommend you do. What are you waiting for?! Get out there and get your creative play on:)

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Creative Play – Diaper Cakes and Baby Shower Fun

Ok guys, so here it is….the re-opening of my sacral chakra. The beginning of a new beginning. The project that reached deep inside my blah and pulled out something that resembled my spark and I have my daughter-in-law to thank for that. Thank you Tara for the providing an opportunity to be a part of ‘showering’ a young lady with a dynamite party.

Tara had come up with a brilliant idea to use diaper cakes as centerpieces. I don’t know why but I honestly thought making smaller cakes vs one giant cake would be more challenging….challenge accepted! I called up my trusty crafty sister-in-law and we were on it! She helped me to lay the ground work. Roll the diapers, tie with elastics, and bunch them all together like bundles of coins (yes, I work in a bank, it’s what I do). Once you’ve reached your desired width, take a large elastic or use cord to bunch them together into a circle. Then move on to the next layer repeating the process. Thank you Vicky!

We had decided to focus on a blue green theme for the shower so those are the colors I scouted for ribbon ideas and BAM! Easy!

I found some small bears and gifts to add to the cakes and voila! I fell in love❤ a new hobby maybe?!  I’d do another anytime!

The only minor thing I’d change is I might have reversed the bottom and top ribbons so that the polka dots weren’t hidden behind baby treasures. Otherwise…for a first attempt….I couldn’t be happier!

Tara was busy pulling everything together; location, food, games, prizes, invitation lists, her list was endless. And I have to say, hats off to her. She went above and beyond to make this shower special and memorable for Mommy-to-be. I don’t think I’ve seen a more dedicated host.

Our Momma-of-honour is using owls to adorn her nursery. hmmm….scouting….scouting…..and check it out! How adorable are these? These little cuties can be found on DIY my Party on Etsy.

invitation.jpg

But the shower was still so far away and my creative juices were flowing….I had some onesies for a project I intended to use for another craft and now I had this uncontrollable urge to paint! I picked up some wooden letters at the dollar store and came up with this decorative idea.

baby shower

We had made few more trips to the dollar store for green plates, blue polka dot napkins, green cups, streamers, balloons, blue tablecloths, and the decorating was complete, this is the space we managed to create. Check out the prize bags…LOVE! She even managed to turn those into an adorable decoration!

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I only helped with decorations, my part was small but meaningful. This post only covered my own projects and creative process. The magic of the day was meticulously planned and carried out by Tara and others.

Let your creativity SHINE!!

Creative Play -Fondant Cake

Actively exercising my creative juices has a way of waking my feel-good like nothing else! This little gem of a discovery has really amped up my joy de vivre after a too-long spell of blah. It’s made such an incredible difference that I’ve decided to make it my personal challenge to tackle one creative project every single day. These projects can include small efforts like a small drawing, journaling (which I try to do every day anyways), taking pictures, whatever peaks my interest. Too often I’ve talked myself out of creative play for any number of reasons ranging from insufficient time to insufficient talent to insufficient supplies to insufficient knowledge. No matter how you want to call it or what you want to name it, any excuse boils down to insufficient belief in self. Creative Play is ever accessible. Whatever projects or activities you take on are entirely and infinitely your choice.

The Fondant Cake is not my first project since taking on this challenge. I will post the others at a later date. For now, let’s get started with Cake!

This was my first attempt working with fondant. Not bad:)

The 3 tier turned out best. The 2 tier got sat on by my cat. No, she didn’t sit directly on the cake! She sat on the box I had stored the cake in. She busted up the bow – good thing I had no idea how many ribbon pieces I needed….I had just enough left to fix it. Some of the icing moved a little but overall for a first attempt, I can’t complain.

I’m not gonna lie…this was not an easy task. This project took over the better part of my week. But, I had made a commitment to creativity and I had 2 special birthdays coming up! Yes, that’s right. I took on the fondant challenge and insisted on making 2 cakes, not one! If you are looking to take on fondant, here are a few tips. Tip#1, Invest in a Wilton “Roll-N-Cut Mat”. I learned this tip a little later than I would have liked. This mat would have helped me a lot with my ribbons.And the rolling….truth: there were a lot of curse words flying out of mouth while I was trying to work with the fondant on my flat icing sugared surface. When I started using the mat, I felt like I’d discovered gold. Tip #2, I got my supplies at Bulk Barn and saved BIG compared to craft stores. Tip #3 homemade marshmallow fondant tastes good, bought fondant tastes bad. I’m so glad I decided to make the fondant. Here’s the recipe I used.  You can color it using icing coloring. Tip #3, you don’t need a whole lot of supplies. I made do with my mat and a fondant smoother. That being said, the next cake I take on – should I ever decide to – I will purchase a fondant trimmer. For these cakes, I used my pizza cutter….it didn’t work well. They may look the same, but I’d be willing to bet the material of the cutter is vital for success.

Then I simply followed along with this tutorial as best as I could.

That’s it! Masterpiece complete:)

Here’s to you and your creative play:)

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Tug of War with Depression

peekIt’s been a while since I’ve posted. Truth is, I’m being stalked…it’s this pesky relentless little thing sometimes referred to as depression that seems to grab hold of me from time to time. That monster has the power to shake me up and tear me down. Sometimes I can slay that dragon like the superhuman I am. Sometimes the fight drains the ‘super’ right out of me. Sometimes it lasts a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a little longer, sometimes a lot longer. My battle is mild compared to the wars others fight with this demon. When I am struggling and I smile, it’s a joyous moment. I am not wearing a mask. There are moments that grab me, usually when I am with people, simple genuine moments of joy that gently kiss my spirit. There are a number of things that have the power to uplift my soul during difficult times if only for a short while. Kindness is the one gift that packs the biggest punch. Random Acts of Kindness, carrying them out and / or witnessing them has a definite impact during trying times. The challenge for me, is accepting these gifts when I find myself in the grips of despair.

Fortunately, I don’t live in this space, I only visit periodically from time to time. Those visits teach me the importance of compassion, thoughtfulness, and kindness. It is in that place that I learn the ugliness of self-sabotage. It is there I learn the importance and the impact of sharing kind hearted, loving words of encouragement to those around me. It is thanks to those darker moments that I am generous with compliments and smiles.

When I am in a good place, I am feeling hopeful and alive. My time is spent with a focus on staying positive and seeking out the gifts of every day bliss. Joy comes easily. These are the moments, days, weeks, months, time I relish. Appreciation and gratitude abound! I’ve come to recognize the importance of Creativity and Passion in keeping my spirits up. When I’m putting genuine effort into doing the things I am truly passionate about, I soar! It’s easy and powerful and real.

I am on a mission to play with my creativity and reignite my passion. My blog will reflect that mission. Renaming my blog “Mixed Bag of Nuts” might be suiting:) It’s time to get creative, mix it up, shake it up, stand tall, grow fierce and just have fun.

Embrace your awesomeness:)

Authentic Forgiveness

forgiveness

When we can recognize ourselves in others and we can accept that all of creation is connected, we learn the meaning of authentic forgiveness.

Authentic forgiveness is the ability to let go of grievances; criticism, objections, judgements, guilt, blame – and turn those grievances into acceptance.

Accepting that life is sometimes unfair. Accepting that most people are not going to fall under our idea of ‘perfect’. Accepting that everyone is perfectly who they are. Accepting every mistake (yes, even the big ones!) as an opportunity for correction, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity for growth.  Accepting that what might be right for you is not necessarily what is right for the next person. Accepting that things are rarely as they seem. Accepting that what may seem like an injustice may actually come to be a blessing. And finally, accepting that God’s plan for you may be different than what you had planned yourself.

Ego plays a dark role in all our lives. It’s that annoying little voice inside that tells us we are inadequate, that we need to prove ourselves to everyone around us, making us believe that we are somehow better or that we don’t quite measure up to others, leaving us questioning whether we are failures or too good for our own good. Ego’s will is to keep us feeling separate and alone. Ego is our greatest deceiver.

The truth is that we are all sharing this experience together. We all fight the same battles, the only difference is in how our problems and challenges present themselves and how we react to them. Consider this for a moment: All problems stem from separation.

If this is true, authentic forgiveness / connection is the answer to every problem. When authentic forgiveness is achieved all that is left is absolute love and acceptance for all that is.

We will do anything to protect and care for those we feel completely connected to.We will make time for them. We will smile and acknowledge them. We will make sure they are fed, clothed, and loved. We will swallow our pride, let go of our ego and apologize when necessary. We will allow them to make mistakes, even if sometimes we are hurt in the process. When we feel connected, when we let go of judgments, blame, and grievances, we accept. We accept every person. We accept each moment. We accept our circumstances. We love ourselves enough to learn from every person, each circumstance and make change when necessary.

In a world of connection and absolute forgiveness, no one is left behind. Everyone is cared for, fed, and provided for. Everyone is loved and accepted exactly as they are.

All blessings and miracles in the world are visible from this place of absolute truth.

May your day be filled with love and miracles!

 

I Saw The Sign :)

ImageIn beginning the “Living Your Best Life” vlog series, my intention was to post every week. It was important for me to post these exercises via vlog verses blog in order to convey my sincerity through the process. My daughter recorded and put together the first take which was a ton of fun. Two weeks later when we were getting ready to put together the second video, her ipad suffered a tragic and sudden death. I turned to CJ’s ipad. After finally being able to piece 2 videos together, his ipad crashed. We looked into recording on our pc, however the internet has taken a turn for the worse allowing us only short periods of use at a time. As much as I am looking forward to sharing this process with all of you, I am able to recognize and accept that this little series will fall into place at the right time and apparently that time is not right now. I apologize. For anyone interested, I am willing to share the process through writing. If you are in the area and would like to go through it in person, I am willing to take that journey with you. I want you to see the light within yourself and let it shine out and onto the world around you. I want you to learn to fully embrace the beautiful spirit that you are. Decide what it is that is deeply important to you and move in that direction. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop. Be gentle with yourself. Every single moment is a brand new beginning. Here’s to your joy!

PS I dedicate this title to you, Tanya lol

Finding the Gifts in Juvenile Arthritis

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Juvenile Arthritis is a pain in the ass joints. My son CJ was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when he was 9 years old. The diagnosis took my husband and I by surprise though it shouldn’t have…Arthritis is a prominent disease in both our families. The thing is, when we think of Arthritis we tend to think of it as exclusive to adults. People don’t talk much about Arthritis affecting our children. CJ complained a lot about pain. Mostly when he was asked to do something like take out the garbage (!!) We thought he suffered from a case of laziness. But it was natural for him  to complain only when he was asked to do something…when his joints caused him discomfort, he would sit down with his legs up and watch TV or play video games to give his legs a rest. Otherwise he was out climbing trees, riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, or getting his chores done. The Doctors believe the pain had probably been there since birth, so the pain he felt was “normal” for him.  He never questioned it. He knew that when he was sore, he was tired and it helped to rest and so that’s exactly what he did, naturally. We only ever really needed to ask him to do something when he was ‘having a lazy day’ on the couch.

CJ had been training in Taekwondo since he was 7 years old – 2 years before his diagnosis. He loved it. He was determined that one day he would earn his Black Belt. Although the Arthritis did rear it’s ugly head a few times during practices and he missed his first tournament due to a flare up, he didn’t allow it to slow him down. He learned the true meaning of perseverance, and indomitable spirit.

CJ had always been thoughtful and compassionate of people and animals. Suffering the pain of Arthritis as the flare ups worsened actually made him even more so. He was driven and moved to “help people who couldn’t move their arms or their legs”. When we came across the Walk To Fight Arthritis, he was so determined to help that he took off down the road knocking on doors trying to raise funds. He ended up doing much more than that!

As people opened their doors to him, he shared with them his story which prompted many to share theirs as well. I will never forget the excitement in his voice as he threw open the door saying “Mom! I met more people who have Arthritis! I didn’t meet anyone my age with it, but lots of old people! And I raised a lot of money! Someone even gave me $20!” He raised $1800 that year and he only had 9 days to do it. People were so generous and CJ found a sense of connection with others in sharing his story.

Every year CJ sets a goal to beat last years donations. Last year he achieved that goal. CJ also sets a goal to keep moving toward his Black Belt.

In December 2013, CJ tested for his Black Belt. Part of the testing was to write an essay of his choosing. CJ’s wrote about Taekwondo and Arthritis. He wrote about the obstacles and the challenges he faced on his journey to becoming a Black Belt. He also wrote about the gifts that he has found in Arthritis – He knows who his true friends are. He has become more compassionate and caring toward others. He feels a sense of accomplishment contributing in the community. He has learned that by being himself and sharing his story, he has achieved what many adults do not; authenticity. He has learned to live by the tenets of Taekwondo in every day life; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

On September 15th 2013, CJ was presented with The Ontario Youth Award for his efforts with The Arthritis Society. This is the first time this prestigious award has been presented to someone in the Ottawa area. On December 7th 2013, CJ earned his Black Belt and although it is considered a great honor to be tested by a Master in Taekwondo, the Master singled CJ out telling him the honor was HIS to have been a part of CJ’s journey in Taekwondo because he emanates the essence of Taekwondo in the Dojan as well as out in the community.

When life presents you with a challenge, learn from it, find the gift in it, and kick it’s  joint ass:)

If you are interested in helping CJ reach this years goal please visit his donation page here

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Living Your Best Life – Part 3

If you are waiting for your ideal life to materialize, it’s time that you realize your life is waiting for you!

Here’s where change happens! This week we are going to take the first step to living life on your terms.

What are you hoping to take from the “Living Your Best Life” series? My best life starts with you…I love blogging, I love putting together the videos. My passion is helping you discover yours. My reward is sharing in your journey so please keep in touch. I would love to hear from you:)

Embrace your awesomeness!!

Living Your Best Life – Part 2

We’ve finally fully completed and uploaded Part 2 of Living Your Best Life! I hope you are as excited about this little adventure as we are:)

“Living Your Best Life” doesn’t have to feel like some grand gesture or mission impossible. It’s simply about living every day on purpose – making each day significant. Sometimes even putting it that way can sound a little daunting. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be.

Through a series of videos, I would like to take this journey with you – from surviving each day to fully enjoying each day, going from content to being genuinely happy.

“Life’s Journey is surely not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways totally worn out shouting WooHoo! What a ride!”

Here’s to making every day count! Please keep in touch, if something in these videos has struck a cord with you or you notice changes in your life as you take this journey with us, we want to hear about it!

Embrace Your Awesome Self:)

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