October 11, 2011

grout musings

I suppose I should be making entries a bit more frequent, no? If I’m going to claim to have a blog and one with substance at that at. Ah well, here goes.

I’m moving in exactly 11 days into a new house in a new “town” (I put town in quotations because it’s technically not even a hamlet it’s that small). I am ecstatic about it for several reasons, mainly that it’s a bigger house that I foresee as our forever home. One that we can have start a family in, raise kids in, and retire in. I’m quite happy about it all. We’ve been working our behinds off getting it fixed up to move into. It was a foreclosure so it was in rough shape for a 4 year old house. We had the carpets replaced and the whole place painted because the walls and floors were so gross. The family before us had 5 kids and essentially let them do as they pleased in there. During all the hours I spent cleaning the floors and walls and every square inch of that place, I thought alot about how I’m going to raise my kids. These things come up as you’re cleaning toothpaste that’s been on the grout for who knows how long and permanent autographs off your solid oak cabinets

Part of me worries that I will be what I call a Nazi parent. You know those parents. The one who’s kids aren’t allowed to do anything for fear the monsters will mess up their home or embarrass them in public. My dad was a bit of a Nazi parent. His famous saying was “Remember who you are and who you’re with”, which was his one-line reminder for us to not embarrass him while we were out. He also instituted things like an 8 pm curfew when I was 13 and only being allowed to go to places that a had a land-line to call him at once we arrived. Looking back, I appreciate his fervor for discipline and well-behaved kids, however it was a bit mislead perhaps. He took things a little over the edge more often than not, but I know his intentions were good. My mom was almost the exact opposite. She was more relaxed, more laid-back and generally just didn’t care about appearances as much. We appreciated it and loved her for it because we felt we had more freedom and I personally felt like I disappointed her less. That being said, we used her for all we could get. We knew if we just angled a request the right way we could eventually get anything we wanted. We understood that we could get away with murder if we wanted to and often took advantage of that. My teens were spent pretty well doing what I pleased, when I pleased, with no one to answer to. I went through grade 12 with a curfew of 2 AM and no groundings despite coming home drunk and harboring my under-age drunk friends as well. 

I love both my parents unconditionally. They are human and therefore do everything in line with their own upbringing, experiences and personality. I could not have had 2 more opposite parents. They disagreed on everything when it came on how to raise us. Everything. One would say one thing, the other would contradict it. Dad was the disciplinarian who never let us do anything and Mom was the friend who would say yes if we just whined enough. What worries me is that people say you end up becoming your parents. I honestly don’t want to be either of my parents when I have kids. I can see the positives from both, but I know the negatives and don’t believe that one was ever more right than the other.

So as I get my new house ready for a home and dream about filling it with little monsters, I still face the question: What kind of parent do I want to be for my future kids? It’s a big question but one that I know God will give answers to. Hopefully I can figure it out partially before I bring any kiddos into this world.

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

August 18, 2011

Bee’s Knees

via Pinterest (original link no longer exists!)

Amen. Seriously.

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and I ran across it again while perusing through my Pinterest boards. It really struck a cord with me. I think some background info would be helpful to explain why this hit home…

Year round I work with preschool aged children with special needs; this summer I worked at a summer camp for children with special needs. It’s called Camp Bonaventure and it’s with the Between Friends Club of Calgary (a little promo in there!) and it’s been the most eye-opening, rewarding, selfless, heartbreaking, tiring 8 weeks of my life. My summer consisted of making these kids smile and feel like they finally belong in a society that still chooses to reject them for who they are. Some of my favourite kids I have ever met, I met this summer. They had disabilities that left them blind, delayed, with limited mobility or functioning at a toddler’s level.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg for many of these kids. It has resounded with me in such a powerful way and I loved my summer.

However; I also worked my butt off every day for these kids.  I was exhausted at the end of my day – I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained from my day. We dealt with things like changing diapers, chasing kids who liked to run, aggressive behaviours and reasoning with many kids who didn’t have the ability to reason. But it was all worth it and it will always be worth it.

How does this quote relate? I made a commitment to myself, to these kids and to my team to serve wholeheartedly and without fail this summer. I said to myself “I am here to make a difference and to work as hard as I can for someone else’s benefit.” I set a goal for myself to put my needs and wants second to these kids.

I promised to work hard.

How many of us pray for things from God, but fail to realize that He still expects us to work at our goals in order to succeed in His name? Our expectations become askew – we expect that since we prayed for God to make something happen, it will suddenly happen for us. I know I do this. I think everyone’s guilty of it. The part we forget sometimes is that He expects us to work hard at everything we do. Everything. We must work hard in order to earn what we ask for and in order to earn what we want.

“Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food; 
   play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.”

– Proverbs 28:19 (The Message)

Clearly we don’t all work in a garden. I mean that would be a cool job, but not everyone gets to pick tomatoes for a living! This verse lays it out perfectly for us: Word hard, you’ll be rewarded. Be lazy, no rewards. These rewards tie right into the prayer requests we have for God.

A tangible example I can think of is if you needed a car. Yours broke down and had to make the trip to the mass car grave. You shed a tear. You pray and ask God to provide a new car for you, for it to be the right price for you and not a total clunker. 

Now you have two options: Option 1) Keep praying and asking for God to provide a car for you. All the while you borrow you parents car and make no effort to look for one. When your parents ask when you’ll get a car you respond with “I’ve been praying about it.”  Option 2) You keeping praying to the big G, but you also hit the newspaper, Kijiji, Autodealer, used car dealerships, ads anywhere and go and look at 10 different cars. 

Another example? You get up in the morning and pray to God that he provides you with energy for the day, and to have a good day. You get to work late, slack off all morning while you tool around on the Internet, take an extra long lunch break, spend the afternoon tooling around some more and talking to your partner on the phone for 30 minutes and leave early. And you eat that coworker Joe’s last piece of birthday cake too.

Does any of this seem totally ridiculous? Both examples probably sound extreme, but I have h0nestly witnessed situations like these and have been guilty of them too.

I personally want to be known by my character and that includes my work ethic. So shouldn’t we honor God by being hard workers and putting in 100% every day? I really feel that we are called to be diligent and hard workers every day we head to work and in any aspect of our lives.

So Gordon B. Hinckley had it right: Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work!

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

(p.s Sorry if this post is incoherent and sort of jumbled; it’s late and it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I feel like I’m getting rusty here.)

July 17, 2011

Plato for inspiration?

Hi all!

It’s been a while since dabbling in the blog world. Life has gotten hectic over the last month or more, and honestly I was just lacking the oomph to write anything. Hopefully I found something that works out to a good post…

I use Pinterest and came across this quote this evening:

Normally I don’t like to look to philosopher’s quotes for inspiration – I find most of them to be different than my belief system, and sometimes just too plain worldly. As I was looking through photos of yummy desserts and lovely shoes (Pinterest seems to solely be made up of women who love pretty things!) I came across this photo. I first noticed it because of the design layout and font choice – it’s visually interesting, which I love. I read this quote and instantly thought to myself “What a true and sobering reminder.” 

We all get caught up in our own worlds and I know that we’ve all had that moment where our world is more important than anyone else’s. Your sense of entitlement takes over and anyone who doesn’t meet your expectations is instantly a bad person, a loser, a jerk, etc. You know that moment. You’re at the gas station and the cashier who serves you is rude, short and acts like you’re wasting their time. You take offense to their attitude and service and sum them up to be a worthless skeeze bag who probably has this job because they can’t hold a real job. 

 We get so caught up in our own selfishness that we can’t see past it to see that these people are just like us. They have bad days, they have problems in their lives, they have relationships and family. They are making their way through life just the same as me. I know I sometimes treat them poorly and think they’re worthless because of their actions, but thankfully God grants me the wisdom now and then to realize they are just like me, and He gives me some of His grace to give to them. We are all truly fighting a hard battle that’s called life. Some of us are fighting it alone; some of us with a Father to guide us. I know this was a helpful reminder to treat everyone around me kindly, no matter the circumstances, because I don’t know what their story is.  I hope this can be encouraging to you as well to push yourself past you, to see into others.

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

June 2, 2011

creature of aesthetic pleasure.

I’m finally sitting down to put some words to the proverbial paper on here. The week has been busy and I’m looking forward to the weekend. My sister is staying with us while my mom is out of town, so I hope we can watch a girly movie and just veg out for a while.

The Lilac Festival on Sunday was a delight! I ran into an old friend and got to catch up for a little bit. Isn’t that such an topper to a great day, seeing an old friend? It sure is for me. I also managed to pick up a print from a local artist, Chika Ando, which is too adorable not to show you! 

Image via Chika Ando

I also finally got a pair of earrings from Cloud + Lolly, an Edmonton based accessories designer. Their stuff is too cute to pass up, so I got a pair of bird earrings. I saw their stuff at a Market Collective previously and coveted all their stuff but alas did not purchase any. So now I have some of their jewelery and am more than pleased with them!

My finds from the weekend tie into my current find of this week: a “new” set of night tables and dresser! I’m so beyond pleased with them – we found them used via Kijiji (seriously, the people who invented this site are pure genius!) and scored them for a great deal. After a year of nagging, the hubs finally agreed to letting me get some different bedroom furniture to replace the gross early 90’s pressed wood with gold handle ones we’re rocking now. The dresser needs a bit of work as the drawers stick quite bad, and unfortunately all the pieces are too big to fit in our bedroom! The Hubs solution is so router down the size of the table tops on the night stands because the overhang is like 3 inches all the way around. They’re over 2 feet wide a piece! And the dresser is just over 6 feet long – they are MONSTER pieces! But so worth it =) The photo isn’t great, but it gives an idea of what they look like!

We’re planning on adding a bit more cream to the all over colour because they’re too dark still for my liking. 

To add to our list of finds this week, we scored a patio set for cheap from a golf course that’s redecorating. It’s a small glass table with 4 white wrought iron style chairs. They’re lovely! I’m thinking of painting them a robin’s egg blue.. Not too sure yet =) And we are also finally getting a bedframe!! Hooray! Unfortunately this one is just from Ikea, not a great find haha. But it’s a white wrought iron frame, so it’s going to match the look I’m ultimately going for in our room. 

I’m so happy that all these home decorating ideas are finally coming in fruition. Sometimes it’s hard for the hubs to understand why I want to put nice things in our home and decorate it so have a hard time finding compromise on it. He sees the things like having a deck, or new crown molding as the important items in the house. I do too, but I also want our house to reflect our personalities and be welcoming to our friends and family. I’ve been itching for months to get creative in our house and make it our own. We painted part of the kitchen/entrance way about a year ago or so but nothing since then. A large part of it is that I’m a very visual person and my environment affects my day to day attitudes and such. So for me a home that reflects who I am is the ultimate comfort because then I know it’s truly me through and through. I want to know that I feel safe and happy when I walk in my front door because of my husband and also because of my home. I’m super visual, so having interesting and inviting decor makes my home that much more cozy to me.

Speaking of home, I need to write out a meal plan/grocery list for tomorrow’s hunt. Wish me luck!

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

May 29, 2011

Breathe in, breathe out.

Hello all! I’m trying to get a quick post in before I’m off for the day. This week has been a busy one with my mom’s birthday and my little brother’s high school graduation. It was surreal to be at my brother’s graduation dinner – it sort of made me nostalgic for when we were kids. I also love that we’re both adults now, so hopefully we can be friends rather than siblings who fight all the time. 

Here’s a pic of the graduate and his obnoxious older sister ;)

Another really strange thing happened this week too actually. My parents were able to put differences aside and we had a family dinner for my brother’s graduation/my mom’s birthday, not one, but two days in a row. I’m pretty sure this is a sign of the apocalypse. It was great because I actually can’t remember the last time my parents spoke to each other and didn’t tear a strip out of one another and have it end in my dad walking away. My wedding didn’t even go as well as dinner this week did. Part of it made me sad though because it just re-emphasized the fact that my family is broken and nice family dinners are a rare occasion that are to be enjoyed in full. It was probably one of the best nights of my entire life, hands down. It just reinforced the fact that I want a solid family and will do whatever it takes to ensure that my marriage is solid as a rock for my future children.

On another note, I’ve been working away on my visual journal and it’s been a great lesson in creativity. It’s really forced me to push through the creative blocks and to make it a priority. Here’s a couple pages so far =)

Well, my lovely husband is waiting for me so we can go to the Lilac Festival! Have a great Sunday everyone! =)

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

May 23, 2011

today and i’m alive.

Image via BHLDN

It’s been 48 hours and I am still here on earth. Safe to say that the Rapture did not occur. I knew it wasn’t going to, but secretly I was excited to think that I was going to get to heaven with my family and friends and finally meet Jesus! But hey, we all know that will come eventually right? =)

In better news, I inadvertently had a 5 day weekend this week which was a super relaxing surprise! Partially. I was sick on Thursday and then didn’t go to work on Friday at the request of a parent so I wouldn’t get her kids sick. Which was fair enough! So I spent Friday holed up in the basement with movies and my art journal. I drew and cut my way through Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Kick Ass, and Youth in Revolt. 3 movies that I enjoy the heck out of! The first 2 more so… Actually Scott Pilgrim is up in my top 10 movies.

The best part of my weekend was getting to see my best friend and sister-in-law. Coincidentally – they are the same person! Bazinga! S and her boyfriend C, came to our church with us on Sunday morning to take in the good word with us, and then had some lunch at our house. Just some good old hot dogs and chips to celebrate the summery weather =) Afterwards we decided we wanted to see Bridesmaids so we drove to Calgary to catch it. Unfortunately it was sold out when we got there! So we decided to hang out around the mall until the next showing. Which turned out to be a lot of fun! We shopped a bit and looked around mostly. This is going to sound silly, but I was so, so pleased and flattered when S told me she wanted me to be her matron-of-honour at her wedding someday! It’s a ways off, but I was just tickled pink because she was my maid of honour and I just love her to pieces! We both have a million wedding ideas already, so we’re storing them for when the day comes and we can plan a dream wedding for her!  After getting a light dinner we decided we should get our tickets for the movie; only to find out that it was SOLD OUT. We felt really dumb for not buying our tickets when we were trying to get ones to the sold out show. We made a group decision and went to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Which turned out to be really great! S, that just means we need to make a date to see Bridesmaids ASAP.

In a similar vein to the matron of honour convo, I confessed to the hubby on our way to the movie (we were in a seperate vehicle from S and C) that my “dream” is if S and C got married and then moved to our town, then we could have kids the same time and S and I could be stay-at-home mom’s together and our kids could be best friends! And if my brother in law D and his wife A would move to our town and all have kids together. It would be perfect to me! I told S this while we were browsing Williams & Sonoma and drooling over all the cupcake kits and she informed me that was her and C’s plan all along – to move to our town after they got hitched! Well. I just about died from happiness right then and there in the store with a cupcake liner in my hand!  I often feel quite isolated out here as we don’t know anyone in town yet. So the idea that my very own family wants to live here some day just makes me grin like a fool!

I am so, so blessed that I married into a family I absolutely love with every fibre of me. They are just great people through and through and I seriously couldn’t ask for a better family. And absolute added plus is that my sis in law is also pretty much my best friend. It’s awesome!

And on that happy note, I say good night to all and have a great Tuesday! I want to post a couple images of my art journal so far, so hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

May 19, 2011

Indie Fixx/Feed Your Soul

Good evening to all. It’s a bit late for this post but I really wanted to share some more inspiring internet finds with you all.

This is a really cool site I found as of late and I was so excited about I wanted to share it with everyone I possibly could. It’s called Indie Fixx, which is a lifestyle blog all about indie design, crafting, cooking, etc. It’s a great mishmash of inspiring artists, DIY projects and recipes, and the ability to buy artwork/clothing/jewellery/decor through their Galleria which is like an online mall. It’s a daily treasure trove of exiciting things to look at, to read about, to add to my list of projects. I’m an instant fan and wanted to share! They also have Flickr groups, a book club, a quarterly online magazine called Joie. I just cannot say enough good things about this site!!

Another exciting project they run is called Feed Your Soul: the free art project. 

Basically what this is, is a place to download free art that you can print off a frame to decorate your abode. The art work that is up is totally awesome. I’ve already taken advantage and printed off a few of the pieces with future plans to put them up around the house. I encourage you to take a look and get some free terrific artwork for your home! 

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

May 18, 2011


My palette as of late!

I’m currently sitting here after a lovely evening of drawing and painting, watching some reality tv about prison and drinking a tea. Overall, pretty good place to be for a wednesday night.

I undertook the project of a visual/art journal this week and I am beyond excited about it! I finally have the art itch back and it’s consuming my waking days.  I find myself rushing through dinner and other obligations to hide myself in the far corner of the basement in my newly declared impromptu “studio.”  

Isn’t there a part of everyone who wishes they could do what they love for a living? I know part of me always pines for a life where I can paint, write, and cook all day yet somehow make a living off of it all.  I recognize that these are ambitious ideas and that few people are able to catapult into the arena of success via artistic endeavors. But one is allowed to dream, right?  I mean before I get ambitious and lofty I would have to become great or even genius at my practice. And for my own reality check, I am neither at my work yet. I’ll continue to persevere even if only to inspire myself and close friends/family (if they even like my work). Besides, I told you all and myself that my intent for my art is for me and me alone. Focus on that; the rest will come in time.

In other life news, I started reading Little Women this week. I’m thoroughly enjoying the classic and will now bid adieu to curl up in bed next to my hubby with it. Escapism is my favourite past time I think ;) Whether it be books or art!

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo

May 16, 2011

My home, my canvas.

Sparrows in Vintage Yellow

I’m anxiously waiting to make my new duvet cover from an excellent fabric by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit. I ordered it a week or two ago and I just want to make it into a beautiful bedspread already! Here’s a clip of it via Hawthorne Threads, who I ordered it from. If you’re looking for designer fabrics at a reasonable price, they are great! And seeing as the Canadian dollar is pretty good right now, the exchange rate is still good. I’m just waiting for our finances to free up a bit so I can get some gray fabric for the reverse. I’m planning on making a double-sided duvet, one side in gray, the other in the patterned fabric in a striped pattern. (The fabric is only 45″ wide, so I have to do some sort of pattern) I also got enough fabric to make matching pillow cases to go with. 

I’m on a new kick for decorating our house. We’ve been living here for over a year and a half and some areas still look like we just moved in. It’s a bit depressing actually. We painted our entranceway/kitchen this nice deep royal blue shade about a year ago. We love it but haven’t done anything else to the rest of the house. I’ve been crawling the internet looking for DIY ideas and I’ve totally been inspired to make my own home decor rather than look for it in a store. I love the challenge and the ability to custom make something that is just for us!

My other home project is this can decor idea I found through Ready Made.

I’m thinking I’ll be making ours blue inside and cream on the outside. That’s not set in stone but it goes with the colour theme in the house.

Aside from home decorating ideas, I’m also embarking on an art journal as well. I picked up a journal for it and a book to get some ideas from to start with. Hopefully it becomes a book of expression and freedom for me!

Now, I need to get back to my top secret project which I will not be able to reveal for about a month! =)

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xox

May 15, 2011

A new day – Part 2

Image via Poppytalk

So now that I have some time to actually organize and put my thoughts in a coherent form, I’m excited to share my second journey with whomever reads this little blog!

I’ve always been interested in art and it has been near and dear to my heart since I was a kid. I didn’t receive any “formal” training until late high school at the recommendation of a very encouraging art teacher (Mr. Crooks – you’re the reason I’m still doing art!). I even had intentions of attending a fairly prestigious art school on the west coast, and was accepted for studies there but for a list of reasons didn’t attend the school. I regret it to an extent, but also look at my freedom I have with my art now and am thankful that it’s never become a burden or a task to me. 

That all being said my second journey isn’t nearly that exciting to most, but to me it’s absolutely thrilling! I’ve made a conscious decision to re-direct my free time back into my art work and into crafty-artsy type projects. This is where I find alot of my quiet time and feel at peace with my life. My artwork took a backseat to my life shortly after a 6 month push to get a 15 piece portfolio done for my school application. I was art-exhausted. I’d spent 20-30 hours a week working away on the perfect pieces that defined me as an artist to a board of discerning artists and teachers. I needed a break. Then I met my would-be future husband. Those who have had those relationships know how quickly it’s easy to ignore everything else in your life for the new found apple of your eye. Sadly, 3 years later, I’m just getting my art back into my line of focus. I’ve done a couple of paintings here and there, but it’s taken a real effort to get back into it. 

Part of it is due to my new medication and efforts to overcome my depression. Actually, the majority of it comes from this change. Being depressed made the idea of putting a pencil to paper a lot of work and defeat that I couldn’t handle. I knew I wasn’t at the same skill level I was prior and I didn’t want to see failure on paper. At least to me it would have been failure. The last couple months have changed this outlook and I’m realizing that I’m not painting and drawing and crafting for anyone else’s praise but my own.  I mean I feel self conscious about the fact that some of my paintings are hanging in my own house. My lovely husband encouraged me to put them up but I feel embarrassed by it. I’m not an overly proud person and the last thing I ever want to appear is pretentious or arrogant. So I’ve made the amends with myself that my art is for me and no one else. If someone else sees it, well okay that’s alright but I’m not about to boast if for the world. 

So who cares if it sucks? Who cares if I try a project and it comes out miserably? No one will know but me! And I’ll learn from the mistakes and frustration and errors, and move on to make something better.  Those that knew me in high school knew that my ideas were always a bit off the beaten path (the rain boot series anyone? 3 rain boots later…) so I need to learn to accept that my ideas may fail at first. That it may take a few trials to finally figure out works. 

I’m happy and content with my art life. It’s part of who I am and I’m starting to realize that it defines part of who I am. I am a visual person who wants to see visually appealing things. Hence why having a decorated home is important to me and to make my clothing choices to be unique. I like visual interest. Hopefully I’ll be making some more visual interest in the future!

Now off to paint some cans…. (my mind is planning as I type this!)

Real gold fears no fire,

Torrie xoxo