Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Like Chocolate and Cheese

I have heard my own Mom use the phrase many times over the years when talking about the differences between my sister and I. Melissa was a quiet, reserved, mellow, typical little girl who never talked back or got in trouble (unless she was with me, and I got in trouble, in which case we would BOTH be punished, unfortunately for her) where as I on the other hand was her opposite- a loud, sometimes saucy, hyper, strong willed and stubborn tomboy!

"They are like chocolate and cheese!" She often said. I didn't really understand what she meant until my own boys became adolescences. It was then they really started to develop their own personalities, a distinct set of likes, dislikes,  and beliefs, and the words of my own mother came back to me. How can two boys born to the same mother be so completely different?

Kaleb, who will be 12 in just a few days, is in many ways your typical boy- rambunctious, athletic, full of energy, happy, and loud. He loves sports of all kinds, playing not watching, because he simply can't sit still long enough to watch a full game! He plays on the volleyball and table tennis teams, runs in a track club, and takes part in every extra curricular sport available. He has to date broken 3 bones, and asked to still play ball with his casts on. He goes through more running shoes than I am convinced any other kid his age does (10-15 pairs a year, I kid you not) and has more grass and mud stains on his clothes that even Mr. Clean himself could keep up with! He is in all ways a boy. Except when it comes to school. Where as many boys are nonchalant about their grades Kaleb strives for excellence. If there are a bonus marks offered, a solid 100% will not do. He loves to learn, and I am convinced that he will speak fluent french by high school. He likes the same things nearly all boys his age likes- sports, video games, electronics- and his style blends in well with his team mates and friends. He is my all star!

Keenan is, as I said, his polar opposite. A firm believer in standing out in the crowd and not blending in with it, his style is very much his own and consists of a wide variety of band shirts, black ripped up jeans, leather jackets and too big flannel shirts. In a room full of teenagers you can pick him out in an instant. He strongly dislikes sports and sport teams- they are far too main stream - but has taught himself various forms of martial arts.  He is very firm in his beliefs concerning organised religion, gay rights, discrimination, and many, many other controversial topics and is ready to voice his strong opinions at any time, with any audience. He is creative and artsy- can draw, paint and write. School work is the least of his concerns and as long as he can pull off a pass he is happy. He detests French to the point where I had to make a fuss to have him taken out of the class and into something different during his first year of high school. He loves music and plays the guitar, a little drums, and the bass in the school band (all self taught!)- the one extra curricular activity that he will take part in. His musical tastes range from the 70's and 80's classic rock to new age heavy metal.  He is a natural musician and is in his element on stage. He is my rock star!

There are many, many differences in my two boys, but several similarities as well. both boys are caring and empathetic, and neither would hesitate to pick up for someone who needs it, and are strongly against bullying. Both are "mama's boys" who talk to me about everything and anything knowing that there is no judgement. Both are comedians who make me laugh everyday.  Despite their many differences they are both wonderful boys who make me proud.

Which brings me to the conclusion that although chocolate and cheese are quite different, they are also alike in one way- both are yummy!

                                                                       Until next time....

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Christmas Crafts

So, Christmas is long gone, but since I wasn't blogging during the holidays, and Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year (I think I was an Elf in a past life!), I decided to share with you a few of my Christmas crafts this year!

Let me start by saying Pinterest is the best idea ever! I love it and get so many of my ideas there, some are near exact duplicates but most I give my own twist, which is what I did with these word blocks and outdoor posts.

I made a lot of my crafts for a Christmas Fair which myself and a friend of my organized as a fundraiser in our small town, I was happy that it went over very well, raised a nice sum of money for the volunteer fire department, and my own sales of crafts and merchandise from my small home-based business made a significant profit of as well, which was a great financial help for this single Mom of 2 when Christmas shopping!

Snowmen Families made with 4x4 posts. These were customized for my customers. 

Christmas tree ornaments inspired by the Disney  movie Frozen.

Refridgerator Magnets made with pieces of driftwood. 
More Snowmen :)

My favourite Christmas crafts are centrepieces and home decor. I like to use things around the house that we have no use for and turn them into something beautiful, which is what I did when making this centrepiece.

This fireplace centerpiece was a birdhouse that my son had made years before at school but hadn't finished it, as well as an old set of wooden candle sticks that I found at goodwill for 50 cents!! (Another love of mine- goodwill and yard sale shopping for makeoever projects, but I will get into that another time.)

Since the holidays I haven't done any crafting. I have been dealing with a "down plase" of my bipolar and the energy just hasn't been there. However, I am feeling much better now and plan to start crafting again real soon, and I will, of course, post each and other one. 

Until next time... 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Nice to Meet You!

Welcome to the chaotic world of the Mad Crafting Mama!

Crafting is actually somewhat of a new concept to me, and is one that I came upon somewhat accidentally as an outlet for my energy during a "manic" phase of what has been diagnosed as bipolar disorder. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. 

Last Spring I started to experience extreme anxiety, followed by mood swings that swung either into a deeply depressed state or to an energetic, motivated, highly optimistic state. It was not the first time I had experienced it. In fact, I could recall as far back as junior high having similar feelings and mood swings. However, this time was different and I knew I needed to see someone. I won't bore you with the details of sleepless nights, hours and hours of crying alone in the dark, or feelings of total and utter despair. Fast forward several weeks later....after having seen a psychiatrist, starting on a cocktail of meds that aimed to keep me "balanced", and beginning to feel somewhat normal again. It was Summer, the kids were out of school, and the fun could begin.

 It started with a tiny piece of driftwood that I found on the beach. It was an odd shape, smooth, light and pretty. Instinctively, the wheels in the brain started turning and I knew I could make something out of it. I hadn't crafted in years, and when I had, it was nothing fancy! But I just knew I had to make something out of this little piece of wood. I was super excited to start (I would later realise this extreme motivation was part of the manic stage) and collected more and more pieces of driftwood on the beach that day-little pieces and big- and I could hardly wait to get home and get started. To make a long story short, the next few weeks consisted on several trips to the beach to collect more and more driftwood,  as well as to the craft store to buy more and more paint, hot glue and magnets, and by the time it was all said and done I had painted more than 300 pieces of driftwood and turned them into fridge magnets! 

Weeks later when my "manic" phase passed the driftwood was forgotten, which for anyone who is familiar with bipolar disorder, this is not unusual. As fast as I had become completely engrossed in it, I dropped it just as quickly. However, the phase had introduced me to a new part of myself that I would come to truly enjoy- the crafter- and I moved on to different projects, mainly working with wood. 

While this introduces you to the crafter in me, you have now also met the bipolar me. The illness is one that I have had to struggle with over the months since my diagnosis, but every day I try with everything in me to not let it consume me. I have bipolar, but it doesn't have me. 

                                                         Until Next Time....