Throw Blankets and more…

I’ve had the same fleece throw on my bed since my kids were babies, and even though it is fraying at the edges, and been washed so many times you can see through it, I have been reluctant to toss it. Call me superstitious, but I swear it holds good energy.

It is an eyesore, so I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement, and then just this week, Redbubble added Throw Blankets to their line of products. A blanket bearing my own personal design: how enticing is that! I’m particularly fond of the Hibiscus Vintage Quilt Pattern featured.

Redbubble has other home decor items to get excited about too, like these floral throw pillows:

or this white on green duvet cover:

Thanks for indulging in me this moment of shameless self-promotion. To see what else is new, just click on the ‘Shop‘ tab on my site.

Spring Means Flowers

It also means that winter, for the most part, is behind us, and for these snowbirds, it is time to go home.

Here in Texas, wildflowers are popping up along the roadside in shades of neon orange, purple, white, and yellow.

I have been busy photographing and editing the images to create new designs.

I have also been inspired to revisit photos from last spring. The featured image is one of Ric’s and was taken at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. last April. Daffodils are such a symbol of renewal and hope!

I love how this version of the daffodil image turned out. It makes for stunning home accent pieces.

Here two more floral designs that have popped up in our shops.

To see the full line of Spring florals visit us at KnutsonKreations (Society6) or KnutsonKr8tions (Redbubble).

Shopping Saturday

I promised I wouldn’t inundate this site with our new adventure, however, the thrill of seeing my own designs on products merits sharing.

Trouble is, I want to buy everything. So far, we’ve purchased a mug, a tote bag, a carry-all pouch, leggings and a t-shirt. We’re pleased with the quality of products, and can safely say the images on the site are true to colour.

When my youngest turned two, I applied for a part-time job at a local dress boutique. I wanted to get out of the house, and hoped to earn some extra income. If you’ve worked retail, you know where this is going – most of my pay checks just covered my purchases.

Now imagine being able to acquire products bearing designs you’ve created! Have to put things on hold till we’ve made a few more sales, Ric keeps reminding me, but he’s just as bad.

For two years, I’ve been amassing photos, and playing with the images to create art. Now that art is coming to life!

Five years ago, I was forced to give up my career. During that time, getting better was my number one priority. Opening to my creative side has a been a big part of the journey. Constantly, I have asked the question: What can I do? It feels like that question has been answered.

Resilience

(Note: To see more products and reviews, visit the KnutsonKreations page.)

Envisioning the New Nest

Decorating, for me, begins with an inner vision: a sense of what I want to create.  I am not trained in the language of design, so have no idea whether the look I am after is contemporary, or shabby chic, or whatever.  Since we sold everything off last summer, we get to start fresh with the new house, and my imagination is working overtime – so many possibilities.

When Ric and I came together – after divorces and kids – we had an eclectic array of furnishings, which we tried to replace or update from time to time, but which still amounted to a mishmash.  He was reluctant to let go of pieces that reminded him of lost relatives, typically things that made no sense with any design plan.  I had managed to acquire a number of hand-me-downs from thoughtful friends, which also lacked coherency.

bc005f1fa250c02a63aa59bc61e3f23cNow, with a clear slate, I am envisioning a home that will be reminiscent of our travels, and convey a light, airy spirit.  Nothing formal – formal has never defined me – and definitely something that reflects my newfound love of colour.  Is watercolour retreat a style?

“Don’t shop at the Brick,” my daughter (the one with the interior decorating background) warns, when I tell her I want separate pieces that meld well – and its of colour.

shopping“This isn’t going to be a traditional home,” I tell Ric.  He is looking up beds and dressers, all matching.  I’ve already picked out a pair of blue side tables I want for the bedroom.

Sea-foam blast is the colour of the couch I’ve selected.  “And there will be orange,” I inform him.

His eyebrows raise, but he is willing to concede ownership of the decorating to me.  “I’ll take charge of the appliances, if that’s okay,” he suggests.

Fine by me.

“Do you care if the washer and dryer are different makes?” he asks looking up from his online research.

I think he’s catching on.

(All images and products available from wayfair.ca)

 

 

Dream Shopping

Dreams illustrate the themes being played out in waking life.  (Interpretation of dream messages is always personal, so keep that in mind while reading.)  Last night, I dreamt about being in a store, within a mall, initially with a group of friends, and then on my own, staying behind because I felt that something needed to be finished.

When considering a thematic approach to dream messages, always look for ties to current life situations.  Apart from a recent trip to a mall with a friend who was willing to push me, I have not gone mall shopping for over two years.  So, the context (as with most metaphors) is not literal.  Even when well, I prefer shopping out of need over browsing for recreation.
So my connection to shopping is that it is a necessary means to an end. th-1

To what end am I “shopping” now, I might ask myself.  Off the top of my head, I would say I am looking for some understanding of my current life situation.  Who am I now that my profession, role within the family, and ability to socialize are gone?  I am shopping for a new sense of self.

In the dream, I start out with a group of friends, which reflects a time when I was very socially active.  Friends are mirrors that help us see ourselves, support our esteem and growth, and are often representative of our goals and aspirations.  When I became ill, many people moved on, as they do in the dream.  It is at the moment (in the dream) when I run into a former colleague, a man I admire for his commitment to others and the compassionate way in which he deals with students, parents, and others who come to him for guidance.  Dreaming me was shocked to see that he is a shadow of his former self, moving lethargically and needing to be helped along by others.  I want to hug him, but am overwhelmed by what I witness.

Even as I type this, I realize he is me:  I was the compassionate teacher, always looking for a solution, mediating turmoil.  This must be how my colleagues view me:  someone they only barely recognize and no longer know how to relate to.  It is certainly how I see myself.

In the dream, it is ego that lets everyone go on ahead, compelled to finish something up – intending to catch up later, but as in life, everyone is gone by the time I am ready to join in, and when I finally do, I am an awkward outsider.  Story of my life.  The question that arises for me is whether the dream is representative of my feelings of not belonging, or the reality of being a loner?  I have never been afraid of letting go of the crowd to pursue individual interests – while gregarious and outspoken around others, I have a strong introspective impulse too. Maybe, I have just never reconciled my feelings with the reality of my actions?

What is it, I wonder, that I need to finish up?  The setting for this part of the dream is the dressing room:  the place where to try on outfits, privately, before going public.  When I shop for clothes, I want something that is both stylish (fits in) and comfortable (puts me at ease).  Not long ago, the doctor told me it was time to start socializing again – an important element in wellness, she advised.  Last week, I heard from three people who have been out of my life for quite awhile, all of whom were unaware that I’ve been sick.  It sent me into a bit of a panic.   th-4

“I am afraid that they are expecting me to be something I no longer am,”  I explained to my therapist.  “I can’t be that old person any more.”

Emotionally, I am vulnerable, and don’t feel as if I can handle further rejection.  I am metaphorically hiding in the dressing room – waiting for a more confident self to emerge – coming to terms with the fact that I don’t like who I see when I look in the mirror, and none of the “clothes” I try on “fit”.   I have not yet come to a place of acceptance, and it is holding me back.

I do catch up with the others in the dream, and my colleague is there, silent while his spouse does all the talking.  She is talking about changing her identity (obviously a topic I’ve been dealing with) and when I say I can relate, she totally misreads me.  I am caught off guard.

This reminds me of my attempts to socialize – the silent (almost invisible) disabled self, compensated for by my fore-mentioned gregariousness, who worries that others misread me.
Isn’t anyone else noticing how pathetic I am starting to sound?

Dreams also use humour to illustrate meaning and help us laugh at ourselves.  The more I work on this message, the more I am seeing it:  I take myself way too seriously.

After all, everyone shops.  Not everyone misses out on life because they are obsessing in the dressing room!  Damn!
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(For more on dream interpretation, read this article and others here.)

Retail Therapy Revisited

A younger version of myself loved to shop – shoes, clothing, or anything on sale that I thought would brighten my life, at that moment.  “At that moment” we all know to be the key to impulsive buying and what retailers count on.  Credit card companies also love the retail therapy phenomena.
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Six years as a single mom, living on a minimal budget and barely paying my bills woke me up to that rude reality and taught me:  if I can’t pay for it now, I don’t buy it.  Ever calculate what you actually pay for an item bought on credit with only minimal monthly payments?  It is mind-boggling.  My children and I came to appreciate hand-me-downs, and none of us regret the lesson, by the way.
th-5Since I’ve married Ric – an extreme retail enthusiast – my thrifty ways have loosened somewhat, but I am still a practical shopper, always looking for a bargain, and thinking things through before purchasing.  Which is why I love online shopping.

I can browse sites, compare prices, wait a day for that inevitable mark down, and put things in my shopping cart until I am sure of a purchase.  It is amazing how with time and distance, a “gotta-have-it” dress becomes a “what-was-I-thinking?”.  I buy most everything online now, as most stores have easy returns, low-cost shipping, and more selection than I’d ever find should I be able to get out to the actual mall.  Even with the low Canadian dollar, it is worthwhile to price shop, as U.S. prices tend to be better (duty and taxes taken into consideration).
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A favourite site of mine is well.ca.   I shop here weekly for personal care items, cosmetics, household cleaners, gluten-free products, baby needs, gifts, and so on.  The site features weekly sales, and often offers free product samples.  What I like most is their emphasis on organic and environmentally friendly products.

Lastly, if you are not already doing it, make your shopping count by subscribing to a pay back site such as ebates or  swagbucks.  Think of it as modern-day couponing.

Online shopping may not have the same therapeutic impact as hands-on, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Just make sure you keep track of what you are spending, all ways!
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Meal Planning Mayhem Managed

We have a food dilemma.  My body is so sensitive to what I put in it that  every time I make poor choices, I suffer.  While the solution may look simple from the outside, it is not.  These are the challenges we’ve been facing:

I prefer a vegetable based diet, with legumes or beans as my protein.  I love international dishes and go for a satisfied palate rather than a full stomach.  Dairy, gluten, and shellfish are no-no’s for me.

My husband is a meat-lover, despises beans, thinks of vegetables as a side (after starch) and is adverse to curry.   Apart from bell peppers he has no food intolerances, and likes high fat, high sugar food. He’d eat hamburgers daily.

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He does all the shopping, and most of the cooking, due to my current state of health.  Did I mention that he is also mobility challenged, and apart from looking after me, runs a full-time business?  Meeting both our needs has been a problem.

Our former solution was to order out most nights, usually with leftovers the next day – not recommended!

Over time, we are learning to cope by implementing a few changes:

  1.  thWe’ve hired a teenager, who comes to the house two afternoons and chops vegetables, and other basic prep.  Some days, with my supervision, she will make soups, or simple meals, which has been very helpful.  Otherwise, she leaves chopped up produce in small bags in the fridge so that we can use them for smoothies, or cooking. This works if there are groceries in the house, and I have planned ahead.
  2.  th-1Loblaws, we have discovered, now offers online shopping.  For a $5 fee, we can select our purchases from the comfort of home, and pick up the filled order at a location and time we specify.  This has been a great help for my husband and allows me to participate in the process.  (Ontario, Canada)
  3. 1455205163_Vietnamese_Noodle_Bowl_WEBChef’s Plate is a food service that delivers meal kits (up to three per week).  The meals come packaged with all that you need to cook your own dinner along with a step-by-step recipe card.  Meals are selected a week in advance, and there are choices that accommodate food sensitivities, which is very helpful for me.  We usually choose one for his palate, one for mine, and an agreed upon meal.  The meals are healthy, tasty, and always satisfying.

Meal planning can be difficult at any stage of life, whether single, juggling parenthood and work, catering to different food needs/tastes, or aging.  Add disability and dependence on others to the mix, and it becomes an all-consuming (pun intended) problem.

Happy to say, we are making headway.

 

Shopping 2016

“If I could write a prescription for lifestyle changes,” my doctor told us on the day of my diagnosis, “I would say no Costco, or any big box stores for the next two years, and only twenty minutes tops for groceries.”

If you are a Costco addict like me, you can feel the pain.  Of course, I defied her, that’s the kind of gal I am.

“They do have ride on carts,” I told my husband.   He complied.  The doctor was right;  I cried all the way home.  It isn’t just the size of the store, it is the quantity of merchandise, the noise, the crowds, and the need to be always on guard for people around you.  I was rattled to the core.

Doesn’t mean I don’t still long to shop at Costco.  Just means we have adapted.  Now we shop together using text messages:

Him:

IMG_8759
????
Me:  I don’t eat enough bread to make it worthwhile, but thanks.

Him:  Perrier or almond milk?

Me:  I’m okay for almond milk.  Perrier, I have two bottles.

Him:

IMG_0281

Me:  No thanks, Honey, had them before and didn’t eat them.  (I don’t tell him we still have three boxes of cookies he’s bought from other stores – he means well.)

Him:  Tuna?  Rice or pasta?

Me:  Pasta.

Him:  Stuffed peppers?

Me:  Ha ha. (It’s an inside joke – we have lots of them concerning impulse buys at Costco.)

When I suggest that I wouldn’t mind seeing if they have anything interesting in the clothes section, he mysteriously disappears.  He comes back a few minutes later with:

Him:  Wine Gums?

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Here’s the thing about shopping this way.  It puts me in a quandary.  He knows damn well that I want wine gums, and he also knows that we are trying to eat healthy and avoid junk food.  If I say yes, or whatever you want, it becomes my fault if he buys them.  If I say no, and he doesn’t buy them, well now that he’s put them in my mind, I might be disappointed.  What I really want is for him to take responsibility and make a decision!  (And I want the wine gums.)

Shopping the 2016 way is very complicated.