Tag Archives: Creative Corner

New BEE-ginnings

This past Spring I had the pleasure of witnessing, in action my daughter Emilee’s leap of faith into a new “out of the box” career in of all things BEEKEEPING. A far-cry from her post-secondary schooling in graphic design. Her new bee-ginning, like Emilee herself, happened in unique layers…… of research, coincidence, serendipity, a chance meeting and an interview that sealed the deal….her indomitable spirit and all those moments added up to her now working for the largest apiary in Niagara.

Beekeeping on such a large scale, is not easy to say the least, holding her own in a male dominated field, she comes home physically exhausted as beekeeping involves a lot of heavy lifting, sweaty as the suit covers you from head to toe, smelling of smoke which is used when opening up the hives, on rare occasions with a bee sting and …………. the happiest I have ever seen her!

As Spring brings graduations and the promise of new beginnings for graduates, let Emilee’s story demonstrate that your dream career and future take time to materialize, just be patient. Sometimes, it turns out that what you have gone to school for you don’t see yourself doing for the rest of your life, and that is okay. Emilee had to find the strength within herself to find her passion, redefine herself and have the confidence to pursue the career she wanted. She had to face set backs, and trust me there were a few, and continue to pursue her dream of working with bees and making an impact on the future of our environment.

My hope was to raise a socially conscience, independent young woman, and watching her through this process, I realized I had. A part of that for me was letting go, knowing she would be okay.
As a parent, it was sometimes difficult to watch her experience this process, and not try to make it “all right”. I was her sounding board, cheerleader and realized the best support I could give her through it all, was to let her figure it out on her own. She did.

Through her process, I have come to not only truly appreciate the Honeybee, but I am now a wealth of random facts about them. Honeybees are important pollinators for flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and unfortunately they are disappearing from hives due to colony collapse disorder, Which is why it is so important to build up the Honeybee population. My personal favourite: They do a little bee dance, which is their way of communicating to the other bees where the food source is – the dance is a map on how to get there!

This past spring I had the pleasure of witnessing an incredible leap of faith, and our bee population is better for it.

Creative Corner: Coffee Recipes

Ah, coffee. If you are like me then you are obsessed with coffee, and look forward to drinkin’ that delicious cup of joe every morning. In the summer, I am especially obsessed with iced coffees. Oh goodness, I could drink 10 of those a day (but they ARE loaded with sugar and cream, so best to keep it as a special treat!). My favourite is the iced coffee from McDonald’s (and hey — only a dollar for a medium! I love Dollar Days!).

You may be thinking, how creative can this blog post be if it’s just about coffee? Well, I found an article on Buzzfeed on 14 Refreshing Recipes Every Coffee Fanatic Needs to Try. And the recipes are delicious and coffee-licious and I am going to try some of these (specifically the coffee toffee) and have endless amounts of energy! You should too!

Drink on, coffee lovers!

Creative Corner: Hummus!

If you’re anything like me, you love hummus. You could eat hummus with EVERYTHING. I am just such a big fan because eating vegetables raw and on their own is the healthiest way to go.. but I hate it. I don’t mind eating vegetables with dip, but more often than not, I’ll be dunking my vegetables into dips that are jam packed with fat, preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Enter, HUMMUS – or better yet – homemade hummus to the rescue! Hummus is wonderful because it contains lots of fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

So, if you’re bored of the classic way to eat hummus, click here for an amazing list of different hummus recipes to try! It’s super easy: all you do is combine the list of ingredients (only 5!) and blend. Optional: you can make your hummus thinner by adding water to the mix (one tablespoon at a time until you’re happy with the consistency).

Creative Corner: Watermelon Shark

I was having trouble thinking of a Creative Corner for this beautiful Monday in July. I searched through DIY sites for a fun summer project, but nothing was catching my eye. Then I stumbled upon a  “make your own watermelon shark”. Yep, a watermelon carved into a shark. Well, I love watermelon and I’m pretty sure July is the month of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so I thought, why not share this with you all?

It is summer after all and watermelon is a delicious and easy snack for everyone to enjoy! But maybe just cutting it up into triangular slices isn’t enough anymore. Why not get extra creative and carve your watermelon into a shark for your next family BBQ?

Check out this article for the step-by-step guide on how to make your own Watermelon Shark (http://makezine.com/2015/07/11/make-shark-fruit-bowl-watermelon/)!

PS: If you want an extra treat, run to Bulk Barn and get some little candy fish and throw them in there! Yum yum yum!

Creative Corner: Fresh Homemade Salsa

One of my best friends came up to visit me this weekend and we had everything planned out – dinner at Burrito Boyz when she got here, Beechwood Doughnuts for breakfast, lunch in the Falls the next day, and sushi for dinner that same night. It was then that we realized… that’s a lot of eating out, which generally means less consumption of healthier food and vegetables! Our solution? SALSA. It’s a great snack to have when everything else is closed at night and it’s guilt-free! So, as soon as she got here, we went to the grocery to pick up our ingredients: tomatoes, white onion, green bell pepper, and lime. I’m sad to say that I totally forgot about cilantro (but it still tasted amazing). We decided to whip up a batch of salsa to snack on before getting dinner. This is what we used:

  • 3 cups of tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup of onion (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Note: You can add more salt and/or pepper if you’d like!

We skipped jalapeno peppers because neither of us can handle spicy foods and as I mentioned before, we forgot to pick up cilantro!  All you have to do with your fresh, tasty ingredients is put them altogether and stir. We tried it right away, but decided that it needed to sit in the fridge for a bit. I figured it would help set in the flavours a little better, while my friend was a little worried that it would get really watery. We both were right – the flavours were bold and fresh, but it definitely got very watery. The plus side was that the liquid was jam packed with, yes, FLAVOURS. It was absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and tomatoes are in season during the summer months! It’s a great way to enjoy and add a variety of vegetables into our diet.

One final note: if you have any leftovers, try putting your salsa (strained) into a frying pan with two or three beat eggs. It makes a delicious omelette!

salsa

Creative Corner – Giant Jenga

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend! If you live in the Niagara Region you know that the weekend was full of rain, lightning, thunder, and grey skies! For me that meant doing some shopping, some cleaning, and binge watching Mad Men! But, I’m hoping Canada Day and next weekend will be hot and sunny because I want to play some outdoor games! Two summers ago I took it upon myself to make a backyard game for my friends and I. I decided I was going to make “LIFE SIZE JENGA”! Now, it’s not actually life size, just big. After some researching and an awkward trip to Home Depot, Giant Jenga was ready! My friends absolutely loved it and it we have some pretty hilarious memories of us playing it at the cottage!

Here is the tutorial of how to make Giant Jenga yourself:

http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/08/make-this-giant-jenga.html

I went to Home Depot and bought and cut the wood there. Unfortunately I didn’t do the math right and all my pieces were an inch too long! So my friend let me use her table saw and I cut an inch off every single piece (don’t make the same mistake as me, or just tell Home Depot what you’re planning on doing!). I didn’t bother sanding the sides but if you have kids this is an important step. Slivers aren’t fun!

Mine was bigger than this and stood about 5 feet tall from the ground (you can make it any size you want). The fun thing about this project is you can be creative with the blocks. In the tutorial, they pained their blocks different colours. I painted different rules and challenges on my blocks (example: do a cartwheel, only use your left hand, etc.) to make it really interesting. I guarantee your friends and family will love this game!

Have fun!

Creative Corner-Father’s Day DIY Ideas

OK, Father’s Day is this Sunday, and it’s time to stop procrastinating!  All ri
ght, I may be projecting, but I can’t be the only one out there who tends to leave gift ideas to the last minute. I found this great site via Pinterest (of course), which offers some great DIY ideas, and links to printables. For the traditionalists, there’s even one for a tie! Go forth and craft!

36th Avenue

Creative Corner – Monday, April 6 2015

Creative Spring Cleaning

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I know, I know cleaning? Creative? The two don’t necessarily go together. Unless you can think of ways to creatively hide all the salt and mud and dirt that has been tracked throughout the house all winter long. I’m not creative, especially when it comes to cleaning – so you can just hide it under the rugs like me!

But thankfully for today, this Blogger is. And she’s come up with some wonderful ways to clean your floors and keep your garbage from smelling…well, worse than it would without her tricks! Check out the full post, and find the 25+ Spring Cleaning Hacks here!

Creative Corner – Monday, March 16th 2015

Homemade Avocado and Honey Face Mask

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of avocados. I love eating them with a touch of honey or making batches and batches of guacamole. But, my eyes are bigger thanavocado and honey my stomach when it comes to avocados. I will buy five or six at a time and when avocados ripen, they all tend to ripen at the same time! Putting them in the fridge will help extend their freshness, but only for a limited amount of time. Recently, I had two avocados left and both were very, very ripe. I ate one and could not stomach another one. Now, I know that avocados are jam packed with vitamins and good fat, so I figured that I could probably mash them up and make a face mask out of the last one I had!

So at this point, I figured that if I am going to put all this green stuff on my face, I might as well add more ingredients and get the full effect. After searching on Google for about five minutes, I found this wonderful recipe from Nutrition Stripped.

Here are the ingredients:oats

  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

I had everything in my house already, except for apple cider vinegar so I substituted that with some extra lemon juice. All you have to do is mash up the avocados and combine all of the ingredients together. Start with washing your face and then put the mask on. Make sure you are careful around your eyes as with any other face mask.

You can visit Nutrition Stripped for the explanation of benefits for each of the ingredients. I absolutely loved this mask – the scent of honey was quite prominent! I also found that the lemon juice was very refreshing, but you don’t want to add too much because lemon juice can dry out your skin.

My skin felt very soft after I washed off the mask. I also noticed that my skin looked very healthy and my complexion was better too. I finished off with putting on my favourite moisturizer (Vitamin E face cream from The Body Shop) and my face felt like it was glowing for the rest of the day!

Creative Corner – Monday, March 9, 2015

International Women’s Day

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What did you do on International Women’s Day? Well, if you’re looking for ideas for next year, take a look at this great list compiled by Seeds and Stitches!

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We particularly love #6 and #10!

#6: Join in with the Craftivist Collective footprint making. Stitch a thought, quotation or lyric onto a printed fabric footprint and either keep it for yourself to remind you to stay on the right path, or give it to someone to encourage them to be their best selves and leave a positive mark on the planet. You can even leave your footprint in a public place where members of the general public will spot it.

 

#10: Make a vat of popcorn and watch a film that passes The Bechdel Film Test with your daughter (if you have one) or friends and talk about the female protagonist and what you liked about her.

 

 

 

Creative Corner – Monday, February 23, 2015

“Date Night” In a Jar!

date-night

Ever stuck for a what to do for a date night? Well, instead of staring at each other blankly repeating “I don’t know what do you want to do?” why not make a couples “Date Night in a Jar!” This genius idea is courtesy of the “Ray of Sunshine Blog” and can be seen in full here!

Check out a small sample first:

Pink Sticks: Activities Outside the Home – $$
Hotel stay for the night
Dinner and a movie
Progressive Meal (drinks at one restaurant, appetizers at another etc; )
Pool/ Darts at a Local Dive Bar

Orange Sticks: Activities Outside the Home – $
Picnic
Iceskating
Go See a College Sports Event
Go for a Scenic Drive

Green Sticks: At Home Dates – $0
Crosswords and Breakfast for Dinner
Make a Dessert Together
TV Series Marathon
Homemade Pizzas and an Italian Movie

Creative Corner – Monday, February 9 2015

Creative Valentines Day Cards

It’s that time of year! Stores are full of red and pink decorations and chocolate and heart shaped things are everywhere! Whether you’re a sucker for February 14th or a bit more cynical, it can still be fun to get crafty. Check out these adorable (and strangely addictive) Valentines Day card ideas!

card4For the Traditionalist: an adorable pop up card with pink hearts!

card1

For the Colourful: a bouquet of rainbow coloured balloon-like hearts!

card3

For the Nerdy: the cutest possible Valentines Day pun

Craving More Crafts? Check out these!

 

Creative Corner – Monday, January 19th, 2015

DIY Body Butter

body

When temperatures dropped last month, I noticed how dry my skin became. It got to the point where my hands felt like they were throbbing and it really started to hurt! I needed to figure out some sort of remedy. I searched online and found products upon products that claimed to cure my dry and cracked hands within a week. I ended up landing on a page that turned to natural remedies rather than products that had chemicals in it that we couldn’t even pronounce! So, over the holidays, I experimented quite a bit and made a few batches. My dad, who has very deep cuts on his fingertips (from his skin cracking), was a very helpful guinea pig! He would give me feedback and now I have come up with my favourite combination. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 3/4 cups of unrefined shea butter
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa butter
  • 1 cup of beeswax
  • 1 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • optional: essential oil

Put all of your ingredients except your essential oil into a double boiler and let it melt. If you don’t have a double boiler, it is super easy to make. Add a few inches of water into saucepan, place a glass or metal bowl on top of the saucepan and voila! Just make sure that your bowl fits snugly on top of the saucepan. It should look similar to this:

temo

After everything is melted together, remove from heat and stir in your essential oil. This is entirely optional but if you would like to add it in, add in about 25 drops. This is just a suggestion as some may like their body butter more scented than others. Personally, I love the smell of the cocoa butter and it really dominates over the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, you can add some lavender oil which is great for helping to soothe and relax.

weAfter you’ve added your essential oil, let the body butter cool down a bit. You can then pour it into the container that you want to use. If you want to speed up the process, you can put it in the fridge after at least 20 minutes. This will help the shea butter in your product maintain a smooth texture since a drastic drop in temperatures will result in a grainy texture. Your body butter will solidify and you’re ready to go!

This recipe is fun and versatile because you can switch out one butter for another. For example, if you don’t have cocoa butter, you can just use more shea butter! You can also mix it up and use different butters such as mango, avocado, or sweet almond butter. You can also opt to use a different type of oil such as grape seed oil or jojoba oil instead of olive oil. Also, if you find that this recipe is far too soft for you, you can add more beeswax! You can also take away some of the beeswax if you want a softer butter.

I personally like to use this body butter right before bed because it is a little greasier than store bought products. However, it is all natural and I know exactly what is going into it and it’s such a great feeling knowing that you made your own healthy product! Also, the skin heals the most overnight and while you’re sleeping, so this body butter will give it a bit of a push so that it can recover faster.

Tips:

You can buy shea and cocoa body butter in most health food stores, but you can also find great prices online. Wherever you decide to buy it, make sure you buy the unrefined butter. This means that the product has not gone through any transformations and therefore, holds all of its benefits. If you dislike the nutty scent of shea or the overwhelming chocolate scent of cocoa, you can just add essential oil. Usually, the refining process eliminates the scents and alters the colour of the butter to make it more aesthetically appealing but unfortunately, the consequences include a significant decline in the good stuff that you want to be using! Don’t forget that the colour of these butters vary so if it doesn’t look exactly like these photos, don’t worry! On the left is shea butter and on the right is cocoa butter.

shea cocco

Creative Corner – January 12, 2015

Skating or Tobogganing Party

and

Hot Chocolate Bar

If you’re as tired of this winter weather as we are, we don’t blame you for wanting to fly off to Florida! But we are Canadians after all, so there’s something to be said for embracing that white stuff out there!

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We say, grab a sled or strap on some skates and host a Tobogganing or Skating Party! And to warm up after, throw together an adorable Hot Chocolate Bar, never complete without mini marshmallows. Have you got any creative ways to beat this Winter Weather? Let us know!

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Check out these free printables from upcycledtreasures.com