As women, wives, and mothers we all have the tendency to throw ourselves into the various roles we play. We take care of the needs of everyone around us and put our needs on the back burner. All too often we lose sight of our passions and dreams, our talents and skills, and our individuality simply because everyone else’s needs come first. When we eventually get the time to think about our own needs and wants, it’s likely we are either too tired or we don’t even remember what our needs and wants were to begin with. This happened to me and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only woman out there feeling it. You’re not alone and it might take time, but you CAN change your mindset and your lifestyle. It’s up to YOU to reconnect with YOURSELF. This is what I’ve learned and what I’m eager to share. This is my story.
I was in a marriage that was traditional in every sense of the word. I did everything a “good” wife would do, take care of the house, take care of the kids, and of course take care of my husband. I cooked and I cleaned. Don’t get me wrong, a traditional marriage can be great if there is an equal partnership and both peoples’ needs are considered and met. Both of your passions, hopes, dreams, and desires also need to be supported. But mine were not.
I have three small children whom I absolutely love, but as most of us come to know, one little human is a tremendous amount of work, and I have THREE! It literally took every ounce of energy I had to care for them every day. With no emotional or physical support, I became completely lost. Then, the marriage fell apart. I was alone with my thoughts. “What was wrong with me? Why did this happen? Why didn’t I deserve a life like everyone else seemed to have? What do I do now? What do I even like anymore? Who am I?” I laid on my bed for weeks, depressed and crying. Completely lost, I tried to decide what I was going to do and who I was going to be.
I remember my life before getting married and all the things I enjoyed doing. Instantly, my thoughts went back to my teenage years. I was in a shop class at school; it was my absolute favourite class. I LOVED the fact that I could take a piece of wood or metal and turn it into something beautiful, something unique, and something mine. Taking the time to plan out the project, measure the material, cut, sand, and the satisfaction that came with all the pieces fitting together perfectly is a joy I adore. When it was done I can remember sitting back and thinking how FANTASTIC it was that I made that all by myself. I was good at it too, in fact I was so good at it that I always received a higher mark for my projects than any of the boys (sorry Mike Holmes, Martha takes the cake on this one)! It was because I truly loved what I was doing, I was passionate about each piece I made, and I put my absolute best effort into what I was making. It’s why building became such a big part of my life. It was literally like a spark had ignited in me (good thing not around me, because with power tools hanging out, well, it COULD end up bad). I had found my happy place. More than that, I was proud of myself for the things I was doing.
Fast forward to my 29th birthday, a single mom of three, trying to figure myself out. As a birthday present to myself, I decided to buy myself some power tools (every 29-year-old woman’s birthday dream, I’m sure). I got a compound mitre saw, circular saw, drill set, sander and router. I looked up some free plans for a project online and got to work. All the feelings came flooding back to me and I soon realized I had found my escape. My spark came back and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve been busy making things for my home; I got good enough to start making things for other people and eventually started a small business.
Every time I finish something I feel proud again. I’m proud of myself for constantly pushing and challenging my skills to see what else I’m capable of. So naturally, I didn’t stop at wood. I have found the same pride in many other projects that I tackle and the best part about it all is that my kids get to be involved as much as possible. They love doing things with me but more importantly they see that doing these projects make me happy, and that makes them happy.
Today, I have grown to be so confident with who I am and what I can do, I’m not afraid to take on a challenge. It’s now a part of my daily life to discover what’s out there in this world, and tackle every experience I can. And so should you. Go outside, figure out what you’re passionate about, embrace it and challenge yourself. Find your spark and let it give you the confidence we all seem to be lacking. It’s time for you to take control of your story; it’s time to write a new chapter in your book.
Have you ever had a place that you could step into that instantly filled you with the warm and fuzzies? I did and this is my warm and fuzzy story. It also happens to be the reason why I have such a strong love for building and crafting. This is the reason I do what I do.
The hardware store. Yes, you read that right. The hardware store is one of my absolute favourite places to go. Not because I’m some hard core power tool junkie, but because as soon as I get through those doors, the overwhelming smell of lumber hits me like a tonne of bricks and all of a sudden I flashback to some of the best memories of my life. Those memories you would do anything just to relive for one more day.
My grandpa owned a window and door manufacturing company that my brother and I would visit every Saturday. The shop was closed Saturdays so the only people around were my family. My mom was huge into the craft sale scene (it was the 80’s and homemade crafts totally dominated what you could buy in a store) so my dad and her would use all the tools to create anything and everything she would sell at the local craft sales. The factory was absolutely huge! Naturally, my brother and I would treat it like a giant playground. We would skateboard, bike, rollerblade, or any other activity that popped into our head at any given time. But when my cousins joined us well, that’s when we really had fun. That’s also when we really got into trouble! We would play hide and seek, tag, we would get rides from our grandpa on the fork lift, and my favourite activity of them all, make random stuff out of the scraps of wood (this is where you go “aww”).
The secretary’s desk held the coveted key that unlocked the soda pop machine, it obviously wasn’t hidden very well because we would take the key, open the machine and take endless amounts of soda pop. After we each took our share of pop, we would head upstairs to the break room and raid the cupboards of all the workers’ snacks. My favourite were these marshmallow, chocolate covered cookies with red jelly filling. When we found those, we were in heaven! It was pretty much the equivalent of an adult winning the lottery. Grandma would pack a huge picnic lunch and spread it out over the entire conference room table where we would all eat lunch together. Whether or not she knew of our treasure hunting escapades I’m not sure, but we ate Grandma’s lunch with the rest of the family.
At the time, Grandpa was making a lot of windows and doors solely out of wood so there were stacks of wood frames and piles of frame parts stacked sky high. I can also remember playing in giant piles of saw dust where the workers would cut and drill. It filled the entire shop up with the smell of wood! To this day, when I get even the slightest scent of wood the memories come flooding back and I’m reminded of the sweet times we had and the love of family. It reminds me why I’m doing what I do.
My "A-ha" moment
Have you ever had an “a-ha” moment? Knowing everything I‘m doing now is because of this moment, I hope many of you have experienced this, if not, I hope you get the chance to. And maybe it’s not an “a-ha” moment that makes you completely change your career or lifestyle. Or maybe it is who knows? When or if, it comes I wish for you to embrace it and fly with it. Run with it and see where it takes you. I hope this story resonates with a few of you because this is my “a-ha” moment.
I have always had a special place in my heart for trying new things, especially challenging things because you never truly know if you are going to like something (or be good at it for that matter) until you try it. I have the tendency to overwhelm myself with having too many projects on the go simultaneously because, like many women who can relate, my brain seems to go a mile a minute jumping from idea to idea and it’s like I don’t know how to slow down or at the very least, do one thing at a time. Ladies, am I right, or am I right?
So here it is, my “a-ha” moment. It was a Saturday morning and I found myself in a real predicament. I was in the process of refinishing my kitchen cabinets and had all the doors off their hinges, spaced out around my entire house and drying with a fresh coat of paint. The night before, I was learning to do pencil sketching because it had always been an interest of mine, so half drawn sketches, pencils and sketch pads covered the kitchen table. But why stop there? I also decided I had the ambition to make homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast that morning because my kids absolutely love them and nothing beats homemade cinnamon buns. I usually only make them about once a month but I was apparently feeling generous on this chaotic Saturday morning. While I was rolling out the dough to prep for the filling, it hit me. THE moment. I looked up, looked around and I just burst out laughing. What the heck was I doing?! I’m making home made buns with a house full of painted kitchen cabinet doors with art and drawing covering pretty much any space that wasn’t already occupied with a wet door. I thought to myself, is this normal or am I completely crazy? Don’t answer that, we’re all thinking the same thing. This was most definitely not the first time I’ve put myself in a situation like this, just the first time I actually truly realized I was IN a situation like this.
People have been calling me Martha Stewart my entire life so I’ve decided to embrace it, the first step is admitting it right? And here we are. I’m here to show other women (like you!) how I do it, and to help you realize that you can do it too! I’m here to show women that we don’t always need to rely on others; we are fully capable of doing things on our own. You just have to take the time and make the effort to learn it. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to teach, develop, share, and grow…with you. Everything from crafting and cooking to gardening and building to who the heck knows what else! I’m excited to start this journey, I hope you jump on board and come along for the ride!