Tag Archives: DIY

Women in the Canadian Armed Forces

By: Valerie Chalmers

Throughout Canadian history women have actively participated in war from the home front to the front lines. The percentage of women in the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular Force and Primary Reserve combined), the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army range between 12.4% and 18.4%. Women enrollment in the CAF sits below 20% for a variety of reasons. The CAF have implemented a variety of initiatives for employment equity and earlier this year the Canadian Armed Forces launched a program to give women the opportunity to learn about military life before they decide to join.

“War has impacted Canadian women’s lives in different ways, depending on their geographical location, and their racial and economic status. Pre-20th-century conflicts had great impact on women in Canada — Aboriginal women in particular — whose communities could be dispossessed and devastated by colonial militaries. Women were interned in Canada during wartime — that is, detained and confined — because their background could be traced to enemy states.” – The Canadian Encyclopedia

Canadian women have had a consistent presence throughout the various wars our country has been involved in. During both the First and Second World Wars women organized home defence, trained in rifle shooting and military drill. In 1941, 50,000 women enlisted in the air force, army and navy. Throughout different divisions they were trained for clerical, administrative and support roles as well as cooks, nurses and seamstresses. Women’s involvement expanded when they began to work as parachute riggers, laboratory assistants, drivers and within the electrical and mechanical trades. Women also worked to maintain our home economy by volunteering inside and outside of the country, producing and conserving food, raising funds for hospitals, ambulances, hostels and aircrafts. Women have made considerable contributions to Canada’s military efforts, despite this it wasn’t until 1989 where all military positions were opened to women.

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Recommendations for a Very Good Bath: Finding Your Chill Zone

Jennifer

I’ve gained a reputation (in my house) as someone-who-takes-baths-very-seriously. I wasn’t always a serious bather; I showered almost exclusively from the ages of 12 –25, but the bath has recently become the most important part of my self-care routine. I’m on a one-bath-per-week minimum these days, and it’s an actual ceremony. It’s ~a dance~

Bath GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

I flip the laundry basket upside down and drape a towel over the hard plastic so that you can’t see the hard plastic (ambiance is Very Important). I strategically place my computer on top so it’s at the right height to watch in the tub, from where I’ve watched all of the classics: Gilmore Girls, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Grinch (in season). I have a book too, or instead, probably something with feminist undertones, really. If I’m reading, the 8tracks playlist hastags like ‘Chill’ ‘Jazz’ ‘Winter’ ‘Relax’ or ‘Piano’.

 

I have a Very Big mason jar full of icy lemon-water or green tea, set in the front-left corner of the towel that’s draped over the laundry basket. I pull out one or two essential oils – maybe rosemary, then lemongrass, or maybe lavender, then bergamot – and I put them on the edge of the tub where they wait for me until I’m ready.

I flick the lighter and light the end of a Balsom Fir incense stick from a box that I was gifted by a friend at Christmas two years ago. I take a second to reflect on the almost-empty box. I know I’m going to miss the smell. It’s woodsy and it makes me feel like I’m outside. I light a candle or two, too.  I drop in the special combination of essential oils (the rosemary and lemongrass or the lavender and bergamot) at a rate of 10 drops per oil, and I hop in. For the next hour I inhabit a territory that I like to call a “chill zone”.

 

Chill•ŸZone noun The mental and/or physical space or state in which you are most comfortable, relaxed, zen, clear-minded, and peaceful.

 

Ideally, an act of self-care will allow you to spend time in your “chill zone”. I’ve bestowed this name upon a room before, but it isn’t always a physical space. It could be sitting on a bench taking deep inhales and exhales of fresh air. It could be drinking black coffee and starting a new book. It could be drawing in your journal while sitting beside a Vanilla scented candle. It could be watching a movie with your cat. Maybe it involves using something that a loved one gave you as a gift. Maybe it’s eating a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese with lots of Parmesan shaved on top while you listen to Amy Winehouse. Your “chill zone” is your own space and it’s up to you to find it and spend time there. For me, it’s a Very Good Bath, and I suggest that you give it a try.

 

 

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 – DIY Water Blob

Yes, you read correctly. I said Water Blob. You may be wondering, what is a Water Blob? I wondered the same thing myself. I won’t keep you guessing any longer. I give you, the WATER BLOB:

If you don’t have a pool but are still looking for a fun way to keep the kids (and maybe even yourself) cool and entertained, you may want to check this out! Maybe your kids are tired of little kiddy pools and want to upgrade to the latest trend in backyard fun! Here is the link for the tutorial on how to make this awesome blob, from Homemade Toast.

http://www.homemadetoast.com/2013/07/how-to-make-leak-proof-water-blob.html

It looks pretty simple. It also looks really fun once it’s all done! Here is a video of a how-to and the finished product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=034S8Uri7fY

Does it remind you of the days when your parents had a water bed?! Happy blobbing!

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

From My Hands to…?

bead 1As with about 95% of the population, I am too busy. Too busy to see my friends, too busy to cook enough healthy meals, too busy to know if I managed to remember to put my clothes in the dryer… Just, too busy. Do you ever feel that you have so many things running through your head that you wish, for a moment, you could find some zen and peace and quiet?

I think the only time I really find that place is at the end of the day, when I’ve picked up my beading, and the tiny droplets of glass beads tell me what to make out of them. At that point I am instantly transported to my happy place and can – quite literally – feel the day’s troubles melt away.

LEEDM.D.1960.0119At the risk of sounding too rhetorical, my love and fascination with beadwork – and why I consider it so much more than just a “hobby” – is the sensation that when I sew these tiny glass beads together to form a piece of beaded fabric, I am participating in a tradition that goes back thousands of years. When I first started learning different stitches and techniques, I couldn’t read enough about the evolution of beads and different styles and uses of beadweaving in different cultures. Ancient Egyptian, Grecian, Native American and then modern Art Deco and Art Nouveau: it was all so fascinating!

jewelry2Today I’m so fortunate that I have the opportunity to share what I love to do with others. I sell my jewellery online and at shows. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that someone will pay me real money for something I’ve made, but still think it’s pretty neat! Nothing gives me more pleasure than to hear someone say “Oh, that bracelet is SOO Aunt so-and-so; she’d just love it!”. I sometimes wish I could see the journey a piece takes: from inside my head, to my hands, and then shipped or traveled or given to it’s eventual owner. I’ve been able to send earrings to Norway, to Australia, and to all corners of the US and Canada. I truly believe that there is something magical about handmade goods. I know it sounds crazy, but I put a lot of heart (and blood, sweat and tears sometimes!) into every piece that I make. Sharing that, along with thousands of years of ancient tradition, is – for me – the neatest thing about handmade goods!  “From My Hands to Yours”

bead 2

 

Creative Corner – Monday, March 30, 2015

Silk Tie Easter Eggs

Nothing says Easter quite like a decorated egg. This beautiful tradition goes back centuries and has been reinvented hundreds of times. Martha Stewart herself has no more than 47 methods on how to transform an ordinary chicken egg into a work of art! easter edd

These silk-dyed eggs are a new one for us, and an easy way to use up Dad’s old ties! Do you have any Easter Traditions? Post them below! We’d love to hear from you 🙂

gt_botegg01_vert egg1

Creative Corner – Monday, March 23 2014

Spring Furniture Transformations

spring trans

Spring is a time for transformations: grass goes from mushy brown to bright green, trees begin to leaf, and gardens everywhere start to reveal shoots popping up from the earth. Spring is also a time for cleaning, organizing, and getting to projects that may have fallen by the way-side in the winter. Here’s hoping that today’s Creative Corner post inspires you to transform a piece of old furniture into something new and beautiful!

Our favourite: This adorable and extremely practical pop up potting station!

 

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 January 26, 2015

30 DIY Scarf Tutorials

From Flamingo Toes Blog

Let’s face it: Winter Sucks. It’s cold, windy, and waking up to a dark sky in the morning is not fun.Quite possibly the only positive about winter is all that time spent hibernating can allow for some pretty intense crafting.

IMG_5402
Four Piece Circle Scarf

So our Creative Corner for you this morning is designed to help cure some of your winter blues  and perhaps provide some much needed neck-warmth while you’re scraping off your car!

Check out the full post here!

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