Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade Holiday Wreath...Silver and Blue..

I had the kind of custom order come in that I always really customer said that I could do whatever I would like!
Knowing she and her husband's favorite hockey team (Maple Leafs) and the fact that they just had twin boys, I decided to do a natural greens wreath with a blue and silver colour scheme.

I lined up the greenery on the deck (the weather was fantastic so I did this whole project outdoors!). I used a mix of white pine, cedar and spruce.

I then assembled all of the adornments for the wreath...the 'picks', ribbon, balls etc.

I made this wreath from 'scratch'...adding the greenery to the wire wreath frame with florists wire...cutting and putting together every bunch to place on the frame. Tools required include: florist wire, garden snips (for the greenery), wire snips (or an old pair of scissors), wire wreath frame (I got mine at Michaels).

I LOVE the creative process of rearranging bunches to get just the right fullness, trying picks and ribbons/bows in different spots and just the overall  'trial and error' that makes home made items as much fun to make as they are!

Here is the finished product....

I am really, really happy with this piece.....if you'd like to see more, please pop onto Facebook and check out/"Like" my page, Rustic Retrievals or, follow me on Twitter, @ructicretrieval (no "s" on retrievals). I'm also in the midst of setting up a shop on Etsy, so definitely keep you eyes open for that as well!

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Oxygen Mask"

One of my recent posts was about looking back and reflecting....this post is about looking forward, planning and truly LIVING every single day.

Quite a few people are already talking about resolutions for 2012...but I have decided to start them now....immediately! Those of you who know me well, know I do not sit still all that well and what better way to keep moving then to keep pushing forward, set new goals and really focus on something that I hope is so very important to all of us..."Oxygen Mask".

I use this analogy quite often...when I'm out presenting to my work groups, when I'm speaking with friends...but, like a lot of us, a lot of the time, I forget to actually implement it myself. I was on a flight the other day and like every good airline steward/ess says during their pre-flight..."Please put the oxygen mask on yourself before trying to help others". Such a small sentiment but with such HUGE meaning!!

You MUST take care of yourself (mind, body and soul) before you can even begin to take care/help others! 'Oxygen Mask' is my #1 resolution...take care of myself before I can take care of others!

Like these 2 quotes say...see each day as a new beginning and begin each day with a deep breath (put on your 'Oxygen Mask' and the air begins to flow)! If the 'going gets tough' throughout your day, take a step back and "just breath".

A part of the 'Oxygen Mask' and taking care of yourself, is knowing yourself. Knowing who you are, what you stand for, where you want to go in life and how you want to get there, strengthens you in so many ways. The stronger you are in who you are (when you have your 'Oxygen Mask' fully on), you can begin to truly live every day of your life...and help others.

A HUGE percentage of everyday well being is you approach your day-to-day and everyday life..this is the oxygen flowing into that mask. This quote says it all.....

.........."then be" your own 'oxygen mask' and LIVE every single day of your life to the absolute fullest!

Giving Thanks..

I can't believe my last entry was in February...yet, I have no idea how it is already almost December! The past 17 months have been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least, but tonight, as I sit in my new/old home/cottage, I wanted to sit down and get everything 'out there' and reflect on how thankful I truly am...

It all started last Grama, who had been ill for some time, passed away in August 2010. I had been to Kenora to see her in June and we had had a WONDERFUL visit...she truly was and had always been such an amazing woman for so many reasons! I will never, ever forget her, "All Night Children", Coronation St, the Camp, our Sunday phone calls or her voice saying, "Goodnight Tootie" (her pet name for me).
November 2010 rolled around and while I was away on a business trip, my dog Charlie, was hit by a car. He/we were very lucky, even with a badly dislocated elbow and damage to his face....I'm just so happy to say that one year later he is out running again and is pretty much back to his old self! This picture was taken just a few days before his accident.
Then in December 2010...we lost my Godmother. The woman who helped raise me since I was 8 weeks old...she saw every first day of school, was at every major milestone...she really was a second Mom. Whether we were baking and getting flour all over the kitchen or at the lake, getting sand all over the cottage...she just let us be who we were/are and was behind us, supporting and loving us every step of the way. This is a picture of her, her husband and me at my birthday.

Don't get me wrong, there has been some amazing things happen this year too...friends having babies..true miracles; I'm lucky to have a job I enjoy and I inherited a great caseload of people to work with and I sold my loft and purchased a new home in August 2011 as I was more then ready to have a yard for Charlie to run in, a garden and a fresh start.

On August 24, 2011, I received a phone call I will never forget and this day will forever be etched in my mind. A severe storm system had rolled through that night (and it was only a few days after the Goderich tornado) and at 11:35pm, I got a call from my Dad who said, "the house is on fire". Every possible emotion rushed through my body at that moment and as cliche as it sounds, time stood still....My family home, the house I grew up in and that my parents had lived in for 33 years was gone..absolutely destroyed in minutes. It had been struck by lightening and my parents had had a matter of minutes to get out and thankfully, they did make it out. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face as I write this...and they are flowing even more when I think about dog's son, my parent's dog...who we lost that night in the fire. He had made it out with my Mom but we figure he went back in inthe darkness to get my Dad.....a truly loyal and loving companion until the end. He was such an amazing had to smile everytime you even just looked at him....
You are probably wondering where the "giving thanks" part of this comes in....but through all of these things/events that have happened, I have grown and matured as a person, our family has grown closer and stronger, friendships have continued and have also strengthened, new lives have been born...and most of all, my perspective has really, really changed. At the end of the day....the people in your life are all that matter! As long as you have a network of people around you, to love, care for and be there for, life is complete! I am so very, very thankful I still have my parents...and all the wonderful memories of those that have passed on...but also for the newer memories made as we all got together to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us. Family and friends have always been a priority in my life...but now, so much more then ever.
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