Craft Time at Clevelands House

Help Me choose a craft—tree, sticks or words

Craft Time at Clevelands House

It's no secret that I love being creative. And now that my sons are getting older, I get to share this passion with them. Watching their pride when they create something—whether it's a playdough snake, a painting or a model car—is amazing. I really try to make each project we make together have meaning. Whether it connects us to an event, a passion of theirs or a vacation, it's so special to have a story connected to each piece. That's why I am so excited to be holding a craft workshop during the YMC Family Weekend at Clevelands House this summer (Aug 23-26). 

Clevelands House is a family resort in the heart of Muskoka. It is the kind of place that creates memories to last a lifetime and the perfect spot to create a piece of art that captures the fun, beauty and joy of family time. Parents can join me for a craft workshop to create a piece of art together with their kids. 

Here is where you come in. I always have a ton of ideas and such a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Help an indecisive girl out! Check out the craft ideas below, which one would you enjoy creating most with your child? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

1. Family Tree

Using real branches, create a tree on canvas. Use paint and tissue paper to create leaves and flowers {you could do one for each member of your family}. You could also add a craft paper bird perched on a branch.

2. Stripey Sticks

We will take a short nature walk together for each person to choose a stick. Paint your special stick with craft paint using your favourite colours and patterns using the shape and detail of the wood as a guide. Display them all together in a vase at home so memories of your summer holiday 'stick' with you.

3. A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Use letter stickers on canvas to spell words that represent your holiday {family, beach, golf, friendship}. Paint over the words with craft paint. You can use a solid colour or get creative and paint stripes, or another pattern. Remove the stickers to reveal white words, a perfect reminder of summer fun!

Okay, spill it! Do you vote tree, sticks or words? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!


Join us at the YMC Family Weekend at Clevelands House!

Register ASAP by calling 1-866-645-1902 or via email at [email protected].

YMC Members get 20% Off—Make sure you mention YMC when you call to get your discount.



Is DIY a Dirty Word in the Design World?

DIWhy The Judging?

Is DIY a Dirty Word in the Design World?


Why is this such a dirty word* in the design world? Time after time I see tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates criticizing DIY.

Fine. Not everyone likes it. I get it. What I want to know is, why do people have to put something down if they don't like it?

There are loads of things related to design {and otherwise} that I do not like. I am a love or hate kind of girl. But, I know people out there reading my tweets or my posts do like something that I may hate, so I do the mature, respectful thing and try to keep my mouth shut. I don't feel that the need to express my negative opinion about something is more important than potentially hurting someone's feelings. And trust me, when you insult certain things in social media, someone is going to feel hurt.

How about this idea:

So why the insults about DIY? Why do some designers, decorators, or design bloggers feel the need to bash it? Does it make them feel superior? I have news for them all: there is no superior. Only different. Different talents, different skills, different styles. All amazing. All worth celebrating. And there is room for everyone. 

There will always be people fortunate enough to afford and hire interior designers, decorators, and stylists {in fact, I just started taking clients}. However, for those of us that can't, great design is becoming more access able thanks to TV, magazines, blogs and books sharing the tricks and tips for how we can do it ourselves.

For me, DIY is an opportunity to express my creativity, to take something and make it more than what it was, to add pretty where there was none. It is usually budget friendly, which makes beautiful design more accessible to me, and others like me. And there are a lot of people out there like me. DIY can be hard work and I take great pride in every project I create for my home. 

Are there crappy DIY projects? Of course there are. Just like there are poorly designed rooms.

But remember this: they are all something special to the person that created it. 

Here's an idea: if someone truly wants the world to know her design style it is just as effective—and way more respected—to share what you love instead of judging what you hate.


*I know DIY is an acronym but 'dirty acronym' doesn't quite have the same ring to it as 'dirty word.'


Zack's Dream Room

Zackie + Elmo

Zack's Dream Room

Twitter has the amazing power of bringing people together. Often it can be because of trivial things like a reality tv star's current antics. Sometimes, though, it unites us in a much more powerful way. 

I will never forget when my friend Heather told us all that her sweet little son Zack was gone. We all wanted to help her. Even though there was no way we could take away her pain, many people added Elmo to their avatars to show that their hearts were breaking too. They did this because Zack loved Elmo. And they loved Zack and Heather, even though some of them had never met them in real life.

When Heather decided to create Zack's Dream Room in honor of her son, I knew I had to get involved. Heather inspired people to donate $50,000 to transform two isolation rooms at York General Hospital. I offered to help paint the room, along with the super talented Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and Ryan Durrell. Leigh-Ann and I met with Heather and visited the rooms and wow were they plain. Not a place you want your child to be when they need to heal. We started asking Heather about Zack. As soon as she mentioned bubbles, an idea was born: Elmo blowing bubbles across the room and in each bubble, a picture of Elmo doing the things Zack loved to do: playing the drums, eating fruit loops, having a bath. 

On a sunny weekend in May, together with Heather's amazing family and friends, Zack's dream came true. We created his dream room. I feel so honored to be a part of such an amazing project. 

photos courtesy of Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and Nelson Cardosa