Reflect and Re-Set for 2020

In all honesty, by the time Christmas arrived this year, I’d hit a wall. These past few months have been super busy as I pushed through my first Christmas season with my new youtube channel and did all the normal preparations for Christmas. My house was a disaster and I wasn’t as ready for our big Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal, as I usually am. In fact, Tim and I were still pinching perogies on Christmas Eve! When the dust settled, I knew that what I really needed during this holiday season was some time to relax, reflect and recuperate from the crazy hours I’d been pulling since mid November. When I finally slowed down and began to take stock of 2019, I was blown away by all the blessings!

When life is busy, it is so easy to lose sight of all that we have to be thankful for. It seems that the obstacles in life are what garner the most attention. When we zoom in on the challenges and storms we are going through, there is no room in the lens for all of the blessings.

I’m all for New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting, but I encourage you to stop and reflect on 2019 before forging ahead into 2020. Like me, you might be surprised at all the great things that happened in 2019.

So Thankful!

I know for sure that there are so many more blessings, but here is the list I came up with this morning! You’ll notice that some are big and some are little or at least seemingly less significant things, but I can assure you together they make me feel super thankful!

  • December 2019/January 2020 ~ We renovated our upstairs landing so the kids would have a place to hang out with their friends. Our prayers were answered and our house became the place to be! On any given night we might have up to 10 teenagers over. Love having them here! So blessed that the kids have such awesome friends and that they choose to be here. So nice to know they’re safe!
  • January 2019 ~ I had a huge personal/spiritual revelation that I believe eventually led to my daughter’s healing
  • Shelmerdine’s Shopping Spree ~ First time clothes shopping there. Went with $50 gift card and spent $52 of my own ~ walked away with over $500 in clothes! I love great deals.
  • March 2019 ~ Discovered Pastor Gary Keesee and his Faith Life Church app which has totally transformed the way I think.
  • April 2019 ~ trip to Mexico with free upgrade to massive 2 bedroom suite with a panoramic balcony with a private jacuzzi (rents for $750/night) Wowza! It was incredible!
  • May 2019 ~ After approximately 30 years on night shift, Tim got a permanent day position. He now works three 12 hours shifts per week and no lost time for sleep recovery! It’s awesome!
  • May 2019 ~ Eden proclaimed that she was depression free for the first time in 3 1/2 years
  • June 2019 ~ Got last minute Carrie Underwood tickets – 2 tickets for under $100 – 6th row centre stage ~ Amazing show!
  • Summer 2019 ~ 3 girlfriends and I decided to set-up a weekly pickleball game throughout the summer. We have been friends for many years, but would often only see each other once or twice a year. Our games are full of flubs and lots of laughter. I’m so thankful for my pickleball gals and all the fun!
  • Home Outfitters ~ dropped in to see if there were any great deals on housewares as they were going out of business. Shocked to find clothes and shoes as well. Got over $700 of shoes, boots and clothes for $87….score!
  • September 2019 ~ Having an amazing year at school. One of the nicest groups of students and parents in my career and an incredible student teacher as well!
  • September 2019 ~ Eden is medication free and completely symptom free! Yay!!
  • Eden changed schools for grade 12. Scary decision, but for the first time since grade 6….she loves school and has made so many great friends there!
  • My dad is over 80 and has hardly been sick a day in his life. In December he became quite ill with a UTI. It was so hard to see him sick. I am so thankful that his spark is back and he feeling so much better.
  • December 2020 ~ Shay and I upgraded our phones and were forced to give up our total internet plan ~ to our amazement….we are going to save over $50/month! There was a pretty incredible deal if I were to change #’s. I wasn’t keen, but it was about $500 worth of savings so I went for it. I had asked for a number that would have the same last 4 digits as my current #, but it wasn’t available. I was disappointed and picked another. Got home and was having issues with the new number. Evidently it was some how still in circulation (a problem the phone company could not even explain). They said they’d have to give me another number. This wasn’t a big deal because I had only given it to one friend and my immediate family. The one and only number they offered….had the last four digits that I originally requested but was denied. Yay! May seem insignificant but not to me!!
  • Feeling so blessed with awesome kids, a great husband and incredible friends old and new.
  • The Source Church Ministry, Pastors and of course our church family.

You may be asking how I remember all this stuff. Well, I must confess, I literally count my blessings! I keep track because when times are tough and I’m up against something difficult, I can always reflect on all that God has done for me and know that he is and always will be there. Some may call it coincidence and that’s fine, but I know he’s behind the scenes working on my behalf. You can’t make this stuff up!

What I know is this, the bible says to “Seek first the kingdom of God and all good things will be added unto you”. (Matthew 6:33) .  

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. It’s what you do in those situations that makes the difference. Over the past 3 1/2 years, we have seen our share of difficult times, especially as we navigated the stress of Eden’s depression. However, it was during this battle that I finally came to the end of myself, my abilities and my endless striving to figure it all out. It is in this place of desperation that I sought help. When I looked for help beyond myself, I not only found answers, but peace and great favour. I’m truly a work in progress and constantly have to realign and re-set, as it is so easy to fall back into my old habits, but when I truly seek first to know God, his kingdom, his heart and how he operates….life is better! So. Much. Better.

Re-Set for 2020!

Keep it Simple: Daily Routines are Key

As we head into 2020, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I believe that 2020 is going to be the best year yet. As I set my own goals for the coming year, I can’t help but think about how so much in life is about the little things. It is the little daily habits that make all the difference. Some days I don’t have more than 5 or 10 minutes for devotions/meditation, but that simple daily habit has the potential to totally change my focus, expectations, motivation and energy for the day. On the days when I’m not as pressed for time, I can sometimes spend the first few hours just re-charging my spirit. There is no better way to start your day. I’m not always faithful, but daily Yoga is another game changer for me. Even if I can only squeeze in 15 minutes…I feel so much better. If I have to make dinner, I can choose to make salad or pasta. It really comes down to a simple choice. I still have to put in the effort either way. I have so many different salad recipes, I can honestly say that nothing beats a great salad in my books. Remember, it’s the little decisions we make and our ability to discipline ourselves to stick to our daily routines. Just take one day at a time.

Goals:

Lofty goals can be overwhelming and end in aborted missions. Your goals have to stretch you, but make them achievable too. When I started my Youtube channel BOWhemian WRAPsody, it was super overwhelming. I absolutely hate having my picture taken, let alone be on video. In fact, this is so far out of my comfort zone, I truly believe it was a God inspired idea. Not only was it a stretch for me to be on video, but also difficult because I had absolutely no idea how to tape, edit, publish or market my channel. I knew my fear could stop me in my tracks, so I had to set very specific, measurable goals that were achievable. Starting something new is often the hardest part. Everyone has good ideas and concepts, it’s the follow through that is hard. My initial goal was to publish 60 videos in my first year. I figured that was a little more than one per week. It was still a scary commitment, but I knew it was achievable too. I launched my first video in June and published 55 before the end of 2019, obviously far exceeding my initial goal. The key is to not give up before you truly get started. Don’t make your goals too hard to achieve.

Multi-Tasking:

For me, multi-tasking is key. I have a 35+ minute drive to work. Instead of listening to the radio, I capitalize on the time by listening to apps and podcasts that feed my spirit and attitude. Look at your list of goals and aspirations and try to figure out how to get the best results for your efforts! In 2020, I’m determined to end my struggle with digestive issues and sleepless nights. In addition, I would like to drop a few pounds. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that daily exercise would have a positive impact on all three. If I listen to something uplifting while exercising, I would actually be working on 4 goals at once! Here is the key….I don’t make the goal so crazy that I give up before I ever start. Make it achievable. I know I can 100% totally commit to 15 minutes per day. On days I have the time and energy, I will obviously do more, but I function better on a successful track record. If I were to say I’ll do 45 minutes/day and miss a day or 2, I’ll feel defeated and am apt to throw in the towel. I look at it this way. 15 minutes is nothing really. In fact, probably not enough to make much difference, but if I am not doing anything right now that is 15 times as much as my current activity level…that seems pretty fantastic! Don’t compare yourself to others. 15 minutes might seem comical to someone who sets working out as a priority and dedicates significant time to their exercise program. That is not me. I hate working out. Period. I’m not going to lie. I love activity ~ volleyball, pickleball, tennis, bike riding, etc. but I do not like exercising for the sake of exercising. Yoga might be the exception. I really do enjoy Yoga.

Summary

Your goals are your goals. No one else’s. If you want to succeed, make goals that stretch you, but don’t break your spirit when you fail to live up to standards that are beyond your capacity. Make them achievable. Invest time in devising a daily routine that you can stick to. It is the simple daily habits that make all the difference when it comes to making lasting changes. Figure out ways to multi-task to capitalize on your time, energy and efforts. Many of the little things we do, can serve more than one goal.

Positive results aren’t about luck. It’s about forward thinking, planning and of course, execution. You’ve got this! Make the right choice right now, in this moment. Keep it simple and go for it! Happy 2020!

It’s All About the Paper!

This paper makes a statement all on its own. It’s like “chalkboard glam” or something! For this design, I use a layered iridescent white ribbon topped with a very narrow black and white polka dot ribbon that blends beautifully with the paper. I add in a few strands of iridescent curly ribbon, iridescent present stuffing, wire snowflake garland and an inexpensive snowflake ornament. If you’ve been following my Youtube channel you already know that decorative wire garland and shredded present stuffing are two elements I use all the time. Both are MUST buys. They are super inexpensive to use because you only use about 5″ or 6″ of the garland and a few strands of the stuffing. Both elements a great for adding finishing touches that create more interest and dimension in the design. Check out this one minute tutorial to see how it’s done!

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas: Pom Poms, a Star & Candy Jars!

Cstmas cracker upcycle
Christmas Cracker Decorations

Love this candy jar Christmas wrapping paper. It has just the right amount of sparkle and colour without being over the top! I decided to use a traditional satin ribbon in this design. There is no wire in the ribbon, so I opted to knot it and forgo the bow. Instead, I pull in some silver netted ribbon. This is a great element because it really holds its shape nicely. I rarely wrap or tie bows with it, but rather gather a small strip in the center and tie it where I’ve scrunched it together. In essence, this process creates a bow. It is tied in place with ordinary silver curly ribbon. The other elements I use are green wire pom pom garland and Christmas cracker decorations. My sister in-law always buys crackers (from Costco I think). The ends of the crackers have ribbon and these cute little wires with balls at the ends. Every year they are slightly different, but always the same concept. I collect them from all of the guests and use them for all kinds of projects. Anything with wire has amazing potential…I love to create designs with a 3D aspect to them and these little gems are perfect.

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

READY, SET, WRAP! Candy Style

When it comes to wrapping cylinder gifts…candy style is my #1 technique to tackle them, especially when they are long and skinny. This is one of my favourite ways to wrap stocking stuffers. I’ll often end up adding items like dry shampoo, body spray, etc. The key to wrapping gifts candy style is all in the paper you use. My “go to” paper is the double-sided foil paper from Dollarama. It is super pliable and the double-sided feature makes the ends look great! I also use this technique to wrap stocking stuffers that will fit into a toilet paper roll or cut down wrapping paper tube. In fact, I bought some specialty gel pens for a stocking stuffer this year and a wrapping paper tube was the perfect disguise. Try out this super simple form of wrapping!

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas: Off-Set Focal Point

In today’s holiday gift wrapping tutorial, I demonstrate how to incorporate an inexpensive floral pick into my gift wrapping design. The one I use is quite long, so I off-set the focal point to accommodate the length. I’m quite drawn to asymmetrical designs and will often do this, especially for oblong gifts.

I am very committed to reusing any supplies I can. This particular ribbon has been used for several years and still has the gift tag attached from last year! I love how the glittery polka dot pattern on the ribbon compliments the colours in the paper so nicely. The final material I use in this design is 1/2″ metallic ribbon.

The key to this design is not only the off-set focal point, but also the use of a ribbon shredder to create thin slices of metallic ribbon. I love the “messy” look of thinly shredded ribbon. Although you could curl it as well, I often just mess it up!

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

READY, SET, WRAP! Placemat Pizzazz

I’m so excited to share this gift wrapping idea! I saw this silver placemat at the dollar store several weeks back when they first put out the holiday collection. I immediately saw its value for adding interest and expanding the size of the focal point on larger presents. I often find it hard to make a large gift look great because no matter what you embellish with, it just seems too small for the large surface area of bigger gifts. Although this particular present isn’t huge (just slightly larger than the diameter of the placemat), it still created a very dramatic look. I love how the design on the placemat almost looks like tiny hearts.

I chose to use a plain white paper because the placemat itself makes quite a statement. I wanted to bring in a splash of colour with the ribbon. As I was creating this look, I kept feeling like it needed something more. I am generally a “less is more” kinda gal, but I definitely broke my rule in this design. In addition to the silver placemat and red/silver ribbon, I also used silver elastic ribbon, black ribbon, DIY white paper ribbon, a red bell with silver ribbon, white netting and wired decorative garland. It may seem a bit over the top, but I really felt like the design could handle multiple elements because of the size of the gift.

Check out my latest video to see how I pulled it all together. I have found a few other styles of placemats since picking this one up and can’t wait to use them in future designs…oh the possibilities!

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

Happy Wrapping!

READY, SET, WRAP! Wintery Woodlands

In today’s gift wrapping tutorial, you will see how contemporary elements can be combined with more natural looking embellishments to create a classy Christmas gift look. I found this awesome silver/white woodgrain paper (at Superstore I think??). I feel like wood grain and silver aren’t really an expected combo, but the paper made a great starting point for this wintery design.

MATERIALS:

  • woodgrain gift wrap (silver/white)
  • green canvas-like fabric ribbon
  • white iridescent curly ribbon
  • silver wired snowflake garland
  • floral pick (pine sprig)
  • DIY white clay gift tag/ornament with DIY wood grain stamp to emboss the surface (If you wish to make your own, check out my previous post.) Otherwise, use a purchased gift tag or store bought embellishment….just be sure to stay true to the design.

Procedure:

Find the middle of your ribbon and wrap both ways across the gift (cross formation). Tie a knot with the bottom piece of ribbon in the knot. (I hate the look of the bottom piece being completely flat along the top.) Lay the cut wire across the knot followed by the white ribbon and sprig of greenery. Tie to secure. Loop the ornament and tie to secure. Use the green base ribbon to tie a traditional style bow over the embellishment to hold in place. Play with the design to create dimension and a balanced look. Have 57 seconds? Check out my latest video tutorial to see how easily this look can be created!

Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

DIY White Clay Gift Tags

I love the look of salt dough ornaments and have certainly used salt dough for projects in the past, but I was intrigued when I came across this recipe from Tips From a Typical Mom. It’s unlike any recipe I’ve ever used, but I had an ample supply of both cornstarch and baking soda, so thought I’d give it a whirl. Although the ingredients are different, the procedure reminded me of my favourite cooked play dough recipe. The dough is super easy to make and very user friendly. I opted to bake my ornaments/tags, but she suggests air drying as an option, as well. I love how the colour turns out to be a very pure white and I didn’t have any issues with the dough itself.

White Clay Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup water
  • You can add food colouring if you want….but why would you? White rules!
  • Materials:

    I used a variety of cookie cutters for the tags. I just picked up the two green ones from Michael’s and they are pretty cool because they cut the shape and emboss the surface at the same time!
    • rolling pin
    • cookie cutters
    • DIY homemade woodgrain stamp (see video)

    Procedure:

    Place the ingredients in a pot and stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Stir constantly to avoid scorching. When it appears smooth, like mashed potatoes, remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth to cool. Knead it on a smooth surface (I use my silicone mat for this.) Add more cornstarch if it is too sticky to work with.

    Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4″ thick and use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make a hole at the top of each tag/ornament.

    This is when I added texture to some of my shapes using my DIY wood grain stamp. I love the subtle look of the wood grain on the plain white ornaments. Of course, this step is optional, but it was easy to make the stamp and could probably be used with different mediums (although I haven’t yet tried it). When using the stamp to imprint the dough, you do not need to add much pressure and don’t worry if you apply it unevenly. The imperfection is what makes it look great!

    Bake for 30 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

    Once cooled, thread a string through the hole. If you opt to use the ornaments as a gift tag, just write your message on the bag with a Sharpie! So cute! These gift tags could easily be reused for immediate family. If you opt to “gift” them, you may want to add the date to the back, as they make a nice keepsake.

    Leave your email to the right and see my most current posts as they are published. Check out All Things Christmas! and BOWhemian WRAPsody in the side bar for previous Christmas ideas, recipes, tips and tutorials! Don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel as well….BOWhemian WRAPsody. Follow the link to see all of my holiday gift wrapping videos!

    Holiday Gift Wrapping: Stars & Frosted Berries

    For this design, I opted to go with a plain black wrapping paper. The paper has quite a flat sheen and works nicely with the shiny black ribbon. To finish off this elegant look, I simply trimmed down a Christmas Floral Pick and secured it with wired garland.

    I’m always looking for ways to create an impressive look on a limited budget. I recommend purchasing one or two Christmas Floral Picks per year. I usually buy them on sale… often at the end of the season. This makes them affordable to include on any gift, but you can also opt to reserve them for immediate family, so that you can reuse them. I have a limited number of these, but am amazed at how I can completely change the look of a gift by varying the ribbon and paper from year to year.

    Finally, I used decorative wired garland to secure the floral pick to the bow. The garland not only adds interest and dimension, but the wire is very handy for securing the floral element.

    Check out my latest video to see how easy it is to pull this look together!

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    Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas: Cork & Black

    This is a super simple gift wrapping design, but the fun is in the unexpected. Such an unlikely Christmas look…plain black paper dressed up with dollar store metal ribbon (love this) and a cork snowflake. The design is anchored with a plain canvas looking fabric ribbon that draws on the cork colour. The lesson in this look is really just about thinking outside the box. Black and brown are not typical holiday colours, but I think it’s the simple colour scheme with a variety of textures that makes the design so elegant. You really have to pick up some of that metal ribbon…such a cool embellishment!

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