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Dreamcatchers in March

We’re in for a special evening.  Melinda Black, an accomplished artist, raised on the Blackfoot Reserve, has graciously agreed to come and teach us about dreamcatchers – and then show us how to make them.  Other than the ones the kids have brought home, and the bits and pieces I’ve learned from them, I don’t know much about them.  But I do know that, for Melinda, they are inspirational, healing, and empowering.  Those who’ve been lucky enough to work with her say that the experience is profound.  I’m so excited!

Melinda also has an employment and training program for women fleeing domestic violence.  Proceeds from this event will be going to her program.  In addition, we’ll be collecting women and childrens’ clothing as well as non-perishable food items.  If you would like to bring any along, we’d be very grateful.

If you haven’t come before, please consider attending this one.  It’s good in so many ways.  Good for you, good for the community, and good for other women who are struggling to get back on their feet.

Registration is simple.  Just pop over to the right and click whichever button suits you best.

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Pleasure and Success

When Cheryl and I started Wine, Women and a Paintbrush several years ago, we had a few reasons beyond our combined need to make something of our insatiable appetites for creative projects.  One was that we’d noticed that there are a few things missing in many womens’ lives that our creative evenings could address.  One of the major ones is PLEASURE.  I think that we typically get so caught up in the doings of our lives that pleasure is a side-effect, if we are lucky, rather than the point.  And, very often we miss it all together.  It makes me think about when my oldest was playing hockey in the community, on a relatively competitive team, and watching him was always a conflict as I wasn’t much of a fan of the fans.  Fortunately, A New Earth came out at the time and Eckhart Tolle pointed out that I could choose to “enjoy” (be in joy) the moment.  It forever changed how I watch my kids in sports.

Anyway, back to the point…

We all need a reminder of how great we are.

I think that we’ve forgotten about the importance of pleasure.  And we hoped, by putting together introspective and engaging creative activities, we could give women a place to make it a point – at least once a month.  What’s interesting is how difficult it can be for us to do that.  Our last project was about self-love and acceptance and it was a challenge to say the least.  Women are experts at finding our flaws and hopeless at patting ourselves on the back – at a deep level anyway – the Louise Hay kind of “I love you Lori” way.  But it’s a process of getting comfortable with that adjustment, paying more attention to what’s good and less to what’s wrong.  (And then being okay with allowing it.  We’re sure okay with the self-criticism.)  And noticing when life is pleasurable as well as actually making pleasure a priority.

All this stems from a post I read today  by Laura Garnett – you can read it via the link below – that links a need for pleasure or positive thoughts with success.

I found this excerpt fascinating..

But this isn’t a new idea. Napoleon Hill addresses this in his famous 1937 book Think and Grow Rich in which he discusses the power of the mind and how those that believe that they will be rich are.  His point was that what you think, you can make happen.
Further proof: There was an eye-opening study done back in 1979 (cited in the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor). It took a handful of men who were 75 and had them behave as if they were 20 years younger for a full week. They lived in a retreat center where every detail of the facility was modified to appear as though it were actually 1959. The magazines were dated 1959. They wore badges saying that they were 20 years younger and their conversations were confined to events and topics that they dealt with in the late 1950s. After one week of acting younger they were tested on every aspect we assume deteriorates with age: physical strength, posture, perception, cognition and short-term memory. The results were remarkable: most of the men had improved in every category. They were more flexible, had better posture and even improved hand strength. Their average eyesight even improved by almost 10 percent as did their performance on tests of memory. In over half of the men, intelligence, long thought to be fixed from adolescence, moved up as well. They also looked, on average, three years younger.
Read more:

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optimism, laughter and gratitude

it never fails that, on the days where i’m filled with challenges and issues of my own, that the universe gives me something else to think about, some perspective. nothing that is going on in my life even compares to the adversity this woman faced and yet she filled her life with laughter and optimism, and continues to at 108 years old. inspirational and a beautiful reminder about how i want to approach life.

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Our Inaugural Event on “The Island”

Our picture in the Cowichan Citizen - paintbrushes in one hand, wine glasses in the other

We had a great group of women gather at the Art House in Shawnigan Lake for the first ever Wine, Women and a Paintbrush event on Vancouver Island.  And, how lovely that Lexi from the Cowichan Citizen just happened to find us and popped in to see what we were up to and take a few pictures.

We painted with bright colors, stamped and journaled on paper and then cut out shapes from multiple pages to use in a mandala-like design.  Our pages were full of supportive and positive words to ourselves to start the new year with an uplifting message….and all would be hidden within the small cut out shapes.

Demo piece in the early stages

Once we had our designs pasted in place we then had fun doodling with pens around the shapes.  While the precess was the same for everyone, not one turned out like another.  It always amazes me how our uniqueness is expressed in each finished piece.  This one was the finished sample I shared with the group:

Everyone had a great time and as usual the time slipped by so fast, we could have gone on for much longer.  Good thing the next one is only a couple weeks away on February 17th at the Art House again.  This time we will meet in the evening starting at 7pm.  Hope you can join us in the fun.

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What do you have planned for Valentine’s Day?

Do you get all elaborate for Valentine’s Day?  Do the ones you love get special heart shaped food?  Do you slave for hours over the perfect dinner?

Tins of decadent chocolates?  A romantic evening out?  Wouldn’t these eggs be fun to make – for someone else, or just you?  A little reminder of love as you, or they, start the day.

I wondered where Valentine’s Day originated so checked Wikipedia and discovered that it was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD.  Originally it began as a way to honor Christian martyrs and eventually transformed into a celebration of romantic love by Chaucer and his cronies in the 1400’s.  Now, of course, it’s become slightly materialistic – as opposed to heartfelt and handwritten – and apparently the average North American spends about $126!

At Wine, Women and a Paintbrush evenings this month, we’re taking a slightly different approach.  We think that the holiday is a wonderful reminder about love in general, and, in particular, is a perfect time for a little narcissism.  (I also looked this word up on and found a whole bunch of negative associations!)  Whatever you call it, I think that  most of us don’t spend nearly enough time in caring for and honoring ourselves – especially as compared to time we spend doing so for others.  So call it what you will, give it a more positive spin if need be, but please make the time for yourself!

So, whether you’ve poured your heart into the perfect Valentine’s Day for someone else or not, come join us for a little post Valentine’s celebration of you.  We have a messy, imperfect, fun-filled evening/afternoon (in Shawnigan Lake) planned – and you deserve it!

It’s happening February 17 in Shawnigan Lake and February 22 in SE Calgary.  You can register right on this page or click over here to learn more or buy a 3-pack for some savings.


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Did you make a resolution?


I haven’t really decided about resolutions.  Though I think if I did the above are a great place to start!  Some say they work as long as they’re properly designed (intention, commitment, support and all that).  But, on the other hand, considering that the 3rd Monday in January has been identified as the most miserable day of the year (since it’s when we realize we have “failed” yet again), I’m loathe to set myself up for what may well be inevitable disappointment.  I think there are ways around it.  Positive, inspirational approaches to it that give us direction – which, according to many, but in particular here via Chris Guillebeau, is critical.  Chris takes a tongue in cheek approach to an important subject – if we are not in charge of the decisions in our lives who is?

I think that resolutions are essentially that – choosing the direction for the new year.  So that, when it’s December 31, 2012, and I’m reflecting on the year, it will be satisfying that I followed my heart and took what control I could – because, of course, there will always be unexpected bumps in the road.

So, that’s what we got up to at January’s Wine, Women and a Paintbrush.  Twenty women explored what they wanted to bring to 2012 – a word, a way of being, a mantra, plans, people, goals and dreams that they knew would bring joy and fulfilment to the year.  We provided a whole lot of materials – from cardboard to beads to wire – and they created.  And tasted some lovely wines, cheese and pate.  And we were all reminded that it’s necessary to also focus on what’s important to us as it’s very easy to get caught up in everyone else’s needs.  So we don’t let our days, weeks, months and years – life – get away from us.  Because here’s the thing – and a quote I love.

                                             it’s your world.
                                             shape it or
                                             someone else will.
                                                        gary lew

Here’s a little pic of our January gift ….  (we’ve decided that it’s fun to give handmade surprises!)

And one of the completed projects ….

Whether you make resolutions or set intentions or choose words or whatever, or don’t, remember that auto-pilot, as Chris says, and as is so easy to slip into in the midst of all the responsibility, leaves way too much to other people.  Here’s to a soul-satisfying 2012!

Oh and by the way, this is really good – it’s a Chai liqueur that you can find here.

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Who is teaching our girls about self-worth?

I’ve been watching my young daughter and her friends falling into this way of feeling/being and I feel so frustrated by it – this video sheds some light on the matter.  And, while I understand the need to put women leaders in place as a productive measure, I think it starts with us.  With reminding our girls about how important they are, their innate value and worth, what they have to offer that goes well beyond a pretty, made up face, or a skinny body.  We need to help them with that when the environment pushes back, when they are the only ones not succumbing to the expectations of beauty first.

Please watch this – it’s illuminating and important for us, as women and parents of girls to be conscious of.

And let’s not forget the boys.  This doesn’t serve them either.  Though they are encouraged to respond to this very messaging, I bet it, in their hearts and souls, crushes them.

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Have you been bitten by the crochet bug?

Just found this great link via Poppytalk and had to share.  Everything crochet!  I did make the prerequisite Granny Square poncho for my daughter – 7 years ago, when she was too young to have an opinion about her clothing.  Actually it was pretty cute…  Anyway, I haven’t tried anything since and can’t seem to figure it out again.  I’m thinking this could help, especially as  those who love it tell me it’s as simple as pie.

          HOWEVER,  please, please, please DO NOT MAKE THIS!   There must be something else you could do with your time!