barbi defazio family creativity joy life wellness dog lover seeking zen

Spring, Are you coming?

We are having some temperamental March weather which is always a bit hard to take for me. I am so done with winter by this point. Physically, mentally, generally. I have a joke about myself; I was not born in the right hemisphere. And I am pretty sure this true. Winter is not my thing. I basically prefer to hibernate. I walk around cold all the time but very thankful for my very warm winter coat. My introvertedness comes out in full force. I basically want to stay in my house until winter passes. I have to make sure to take supplementation; Vitamin D, Omegas, etc. I am generally run down by the beginning of spring and so will get sick. This year was no different. Next year, I vow to make sure I am regularly taking all the supplements I need to. And will be buying myself a light for light therapy. I can slump into not doing much for myself and not much in general. As you can imagine, A recent snowstorm, freezing rain and a surprise dump of a good amount of snow then more freezing rain is not really appreciated by me.

Now what do I do to recharge myself? I create! And in many ways. Yesterday, I spent a most wonderful day at a Vintage Clothing sale with my bestie and we had a most fun, recharging kind of day. Giggling and laughing. Meeting a sweet friend working in one of the awesome booths. Finally met an online friend in person. And having random conversations with strangers. These strangers are the like-minded kind which is always fun to connect with. I love seeing and talking with the unique, creative souls that these kind of activities bring together. I find this very energizing too.

Also energizing is being creative with clothing and so 5 “new” pieces have made their way into my closet. With each piece I could envision at least a couple of fun outfits. These pieces say me at this moment in time and I think will say this for a long time. In my 40s now, I have never felt more myself and so my clothing choices have evolved with my mindset shifts. I am showing my fun, funky, colourful, creative self and have so much fun doing so.

Here are the photos! My 12 year old daughter was my photographer. I think she did pretty great job with her not-knowing-how-to-pose mom. 🙂

Photo of A skirt of many colours
A skirt of many colours. Styled here with a simple black t-shirt. But visions of colourful tanks and t’s with colourful flip flops fill my head.
Photo of a 80s bubble skirt
80’s Bubble Skirt. Found in the for $2 clearance bin!! Styled here with a simple black t-shirt. Envisioned with fun or simple tanks and t’s for casual looks. And corsets, strapless tops, or a “man’s” style shirt tucked in to create a more “event” kind of look.
Photo of a Black and white polka dot tunic
Love at first sight! I have a thing with Black and White. And polka dots just make it fun! This will be used as a tunic such as here and as a summer dress.
Photo of a red rain jacket and black purse
Another fall in love at first sight piece! It’s is red nothing really more to say. 😉 And the purse, is just some more shiny goodness that had to come home with me. Now I just need a fun, funky shiny hat.

Thifting Fun!

I love Thifting! or finding new uses for something I already have. Sometimes, I grab cool, still useful things from the garbage. Yes, I do! My dog even knows what is going to happen. I can hear her, “oh, here she goes again. Now we gotta walk back home with this thing.” My chair I am sitting on, that was tricky and heavy. lol Fun shelves. Stools that are now side tables. Chairs I have a thing for. And have been known to be cut off from bring more home. Hee, Hee.

So many times I see good stuff at the curb on garbage day, it makes me sad. And makes me wonder how we could improve that … hmmm…

Ok! Back to my subject for today. Basically, I don’t need the new shiny thing every time I need or want something. In fact, I find mixing it up gives life and energy to my spaces. I like things when they have a story. Always love things to be different not the same as everyone else. Eclectic would be a good word perhaps.

So I have a washi tape addiction and in generally scrapbooking, art, crafting supply addiction. Who doesn’t?!?! 😉 And I was finding my glass jars cumbersome when I wanted to find a certain washi tape or ribbon. I would just end up dumping out the contents of the jar everywhere. So at Value Village just looking around one day I found 2 of those coffee pod holders and I thought, “hmmm… I wonder if those would work?.” So they came home with me. And although it’s not perfect. (I have another idea brewing in my head). It’s a lot better than the glass jars. I can rotate them around to find what I want. I don’t have to go through a big pile. I can hang the ones I use a lot off the side with hooks. And each section holds a quite a few rolls easily. I can even see finding some sort of long cylinder container that could fit in the section for future storage of say paint brushes and other supplies. Yes, I also like to change things up! And will have lots of ideas for an item. 🙂


Photo of Planner and Notebook

I sit here in my lovely home, it’s quiet expect for the dryer churning. Dogs are having their morning nap having done a round of playing. It is very cold out today so we may or may not get a walk outside. I tend to want to hibernate in winter and if it wasn’t for the dogs, I would likely never go outside until I had to or was made to.

Now this cold, the season of winter and the new year make an wonderful opportunity. The opportunity to sit and contemplate with several hot cups of tea, a new planner and notebook. And course, colourful pens! Which are a must!

2016 was a year of upheaval for our family. However, also came was some really good realizations…

  • It paused my creativity – or so I thought at first.
  • It felt like an out of control whirlwind at times, too many times – do not want to repeat.
  • I can over-think, over nurture, use up all my energy – need to alter this.
  • Still managed some awesome moments and times with friends, family and like-minded people which was energizing – I would like to repeat.
  • I also wanted more – Much more.

So Hello to 2017! One of the big realizations was to show me how I create best or better yet the environment in which I create best. For me, it is a lot of solo time to clear my head and let it flow. Being able to sit uninterrupted is very important to my workflow. Distractions stop the energy and interrupt the flow. Being organized is also very important for me. 2016 threw everything off; routines, habits, energy, and at times even joy, … basically life in general. However, these moments always lead to lessons if you are paying attention. I always thought I didn’t really need routines or detailed plans. Wrong! So wrong! I so need them to keep my life “stuff” on track. Stuff like: Meal planning and prep, exercise routine, calendar in order, family members responsibilities clear … and so much more! And it all involves creativity!

I think I can sum up all of this with one word: Clarity. I need a clear vision and plan. Otherwise, I am like a butterfly fluttering awesomely but in all different directions. So as sit with my wonderful planner and empty notebook this is what I realized I am seeking … Clarity.


clarity |ˈklerədēnoun –  the quality of being clear, in particular:• the quality of coherence and intelligibility: for the sake of clarity, each of these strategies is dealt with separately.• the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound: the clarity of the picture.• the quality of being certain or definite: it was clarity of purpose that she needed.• the quality of transparency or purity: the crystal clarity of water.

FYI: Here is the link to the Desire Map Planner: and for the Code and Quill Notebook:

My Nan

nanandthegirlsThis is my most favourite photo of my Nan taken by my mom during a visit. We live in Ontario, all of both my husband’s and my family live in New Brunswick. So our visits are not as frequent as perhaps we would all like but that also makes them extra special.

My Nan on this day lovingly cooked and baked for our arrival. Was both affected by the loud young children’s noises (not being around young children very often) and thrilled by them. She commented often about how smart my girls were (and continued to do so as they grew). She loved how much 2 year old Cara could talk and talk and so clearly. Then came likely to regret that comment, when Cara answered her question of, “Why aren’t you eating the lovely homemade meal I made you?” She had made a very Maritime meal of fish cakes, beans and freshly baked bread. So Yummy! But my lovely Cara has never been one for fish, even to this day. Beans are stretching it too. So she says, “Well, if you made chicken and potatoes Ida ate that!” Nan handled that pretty well considering that in her day that would have been incredibly rude for a child to say. So my mother, myself and Maria just carried on. And I believe, other choices were gathered for Cara. Maria who would not say such things and so benefited from her sisters frankness with more choices for lunch.

I love this photo from that day because she was happy, excited to be cooking for us. Serving her love on plates and in tea cups. My mom captured a great grandmother’s love and sense of pride. I love her and my girls smiles. The energy is such beautiful one.

These visits, some years ago were always filled with tea and food, conversations and wildlife. Lots of time spent, looking out her windows. She rented a small home on a lake which would attract a variety of animals. There were tears when eventually we would have to leave and not be returning for some time. Of course, as children grow, a family’s schedule is taken up by school and activities. So our trips have gotten a little less frequent but all have been cherished.

A few short years ago I started to notice my Nan aging at a great pace it seemed. Easily and, perhaps a bit painfully, seen from the space between our visits. By last year, it was very clear she was not going to be able to continue her very independent life. And after falls, and the realization she wasn’t able to care for herself as well as she needed. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which came after a previous Breast Cancer diagnoses. She moved into a care home close to her son and in a location more convenient for everyone to check in on her and visit. Her previous homes where located in beautiful rural New Brunswick but also very isolated. I remember her saying how she missed her car. And I totally get that! She loved to take solo drives out and about driving wherever her heart decided to go. I can relate, my solo time in my car with tunes cranked is a such cherished time for me.

I was wondering as we started to move into winter how she would do. Unfortunately, my fears were well founded. She started to become sick on and off, her fierce stubbornness started to work against her, more falls started to happen. Then a recent hospital stay for pneumonia of which she recovered. But with this stay also came the realization she was in a very fragile state. Her next move would be into a nursing home not back to the care home. Upon hearing this I wondered if she would go along with this change. And I don’t think she did. She rapidly declined and I think decided her time was done here. Yesterday, I got the inevitable call, from my mom, that Nan has passed away.

This coming Sunday would have been her 89th birthday. She did not want any service just cremation. She wanted her ashes to go back to her home in Nova Scotia, where she grew up. A long side her family in a little cemetery. Our little family here in Ontario will celebrate her life by having tea and hot chocolate in her tea cups and cake on her plates while sharing our memories of our times with her. Just as she loved to do … Food, tea and conversation. ❤

Bloom with Joy – Choose Joy Art Journal Page

This one paused me for quite awhile. I was so happy with the background.


However, the lettering was an experiment gone awry. I tried to use Pebeo Fixation Relief and their Mirror Effect Leaves for lettering.

I found the blue too much for my liking. So I tried to add blue, of course lead to green. Wasn’t feeling it. So then I tried glazing and promptly forgot about it on my page … overnight.

Photo of Glazed page
Glazed page

It, of course, dried so from there really for me things just got “worse.” And I was not liking this page. So next was more glaze but with white this time to knock every thing back a bit.

Photo showing Addition of White
Addition of White

I tried a couple things here and there.

At some point, you just have to let go after awhile and so I stopped here:

IMG_2603-1 IMG_2604-2

and so moved on to the next weeks video. 🙂

… I have missed you.

Photo of Fluffy Bud Emerging
Fluffy Bud Emerging

Summer will always have my whole heart with it’s sun and heat. But Spring is a very close second. I love the coming out of Winter (the very last on my list of seasons) to Spring. I love how emergence is all around me. Squirrels are running around with loads of energy, the birds are singing, the light … Oh, the glorious light! Wakes me up and entices me to come out of my warm wintery cocoon. I feel rejuvenated and alive walking out in the spring air, in the light and finally free of heavy boots and jacket that weigh you down. I find myself taking photos of sprouts and buds that all around and capture my eye. Yes, it is a big shift for me.

The other thing that seems to happen for me, is a refocusing, reprioritizing. Ideas, goals, and projects start to go off in my head. And it feels great! This year especially. Winter has been a bitch to be honest. It gave us a crisis which caused panic which in turn caused a regrouping and strategizing … lots of adjusting. And challenge, oh boy, Challenge! Which always bring growth so in the end it is a good thing. Growth, I welcome. I love it, in fact. Lots of good, good things come from growth. It can be hard, confusing and can knock you off your path but you always end up in a better place. If you allow, challenge will lead to lots of lessons, builds your strength, reminds you to acknowledge your own power and skills, and if you really listen, you will hear reminders to take care of yourself, to slow down … to Breathe … to be Present.

So Greetings lovely Spring, I have big plans for you this year!




Fly High Art Journal Page

Love, Love, Love this one! It came together so easily. Heaven to me is when I am in that magical, lovely, so awesome creative flow with all creative cylinders firing feels so light, magical and freeing. The place to be for me.

It all started with the map. A map I had gotten out of a neighbors recycle bin sometime ago because for some reason it seemed like a waste and it was calling to me. When you like to do mix media, art journal pages and many other creative outlets, the things that end up in the stash of this “will great for something” is endless. 😉

So as in Donna Downey’s Inspiration Wednesday video I chose to collage instead of painting, in fact I used no paint at all on my page. A fun change and was inspiring! I used the found map cutting it to fit then found a gelli print from my stash that caught my eye then from there finding pieces that spoke to me in my big basket of “will great for something”. And old stamp image from my stash of Close to My Heart stamps, a new Smash brand post-it, a white dough butterfly imprinted, twine … and kinds of good stuff that caught my idea in my stash and seemed to want to be on this page.

I also love the message that appeared in this page. The idea or thought that you do Cherish all the wonderful things of life: the day, the moment, the ones you love, family, life then you Fly High! You go off and find yourself, your way, your own passion, or whatever you may need to find or do or feel. Then you make your way back to the previous to check in, recharge, love and with lots of new knowledge, passion and soul fuelled to enhance all. At least this is what I like to do. 🙂


IMG_2382 (1)


Chaos Art Journal page

I will be honest. I did not like this page. Not one little bit, not at all. I kept thinking during the painting then paint drippage stage, why did I try to follow along?? I don’t like to do that. I like to just go for it! Follow my inspiration as it develops. Find my way to the zone…

I was inspired by Donna Downey’s Inspiration Wednesday video. Choosing colours that I typically do not use. I like how she used a letter stencil with Liquidex spray paint (now on my creative supplies wish list). I really liked her page; the numbers, the washi tape, drippage  All good stuff! But after the paint had dried I struggled for awhile. Finding bits of this and that in my stash but having a hard time deciding so it got left on my desk for a couple of days.

I needed some items at Staples one being a letter stencil. They have washi tape too and I always peek just in cause I see something that catches my eye. Just kidding! Something always catches my eye and I always seem to find one in my shopping bag. And just now seeing Donna’s page again so I can reference it, a Very similar washi tape. Oh the brain is a great thing! Because once that got home and set on my desk, Bam! The inspiration hit me! And off I went finishing the page in no time.

I did want to feature a quote on my page so off to my Pinterest boards I went and this quote jumped out at me. I didn’t really think that much about it in the process of creating especially where I was happily in the zone. But once completed, I took it all in and smiled. Oh boy! Does this quote belong here! The page first off was slight chaotic in the beginning. Life has thrown in a curve ball and has had moments where it has felt chaotic. So this quote, had a calming effect. True it is.

IMG_2377 IMG_2378 IMG_2379 IMG_2380

Freedom Art Journal Page

Another of my words of 2016 … Freedom!!!

This is week 2 of Inspiration Wednesday by Donna Downey, see this post for the details. I didn’t burn my page as she did but I am going to keep that in my mind for another page as I  think that would be fun! I had to do color because that is what I do. Donna had a more white with the burnt edges which looked beautiful. I did use molding paste again. It is really lovely what it can do. I pressed some Donna Downey stamps into the paste and used a palate knife for texture. Then went through my basket of stuff-for-something-one-day. Also through my scrapbooking stash.

A theme began to show itself; a window, a stamp, heart, old sheet music, a sheet music embossed butterfly that didn’t work in another project. Flight, taking off … freedom! The quote too falls into this theme. “All of our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions.” Good stuff. Been thinking about perceptions and talking a lot about this with my girls. What we perceive is through our life experiences, our lens and so is everyone else. Our perceptions can keep us from doing what we truly need and want to do. A bit of a theme has show up in my life, the concept of everyone’s perception will be different even if all attend the same event. It is quite amazing really. Perception is as unique as each person. So Freedom from perceptions that do not serve seemed to appear on this page.

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