Not Afraid To Use A Gun (staple,spray,nail,caulking)

0powertoolI grew up in a small, somewhat remote mountainous town in BC. Yes…I am a girl and an only child. Growing up being inside with my mom was not a favorite pastime but being out with my dad was. In some ways I was a tomboy…snowblowing…taking care of firewood….helping him if needed, as he built or remodeled something and helping him in the garden. He was an extremely handy man, who took pride in all aspects of his life. Among the many things he taught me was, it didn’t matter if you were a girl or a boy, it could be accomplished. He also taught me, to challenge myself. Be the best I could and even then, that was not always good enough. For these life lessons, I thank him as they still stick in my mind as I look and start any project. You know the old saying….If you don’t find them handsome, you must find them handy! Well, I guess he must have been handsome because I married him. Being a new wife, I started off trying to be the amazing cook, baker and sewer. Buying, decorating and even a little gardening to show him how diverse I was. After children came, I sewed cute quilts and made Halloween costumes that won prizes. I went all out and threw over the top birthday parties. Trying to be unique and not just have a plain old cake and loot bag. I spent hours going above and beyond for my kids to have an amazing mom,  they would never forget and no one would compare to. Part of all this creativity came from living in such a small town. We did not have big stores with huge varieties. If I saw something in Parent magazine, I had to create it myself. When it came to larger projects in the home, I would wait endlessly for my ex husband (notice the ex….guess handsome doesn’t get you everything) to accomplish them…or more like acknowledge them. In the beginning, my dad would show up and rescue me, by completing the things I wanted done. But sadly, my dad passed away 9 years later and I was on my own. My first experience with a larger project actually happened out of frustration and anger. When my first child was born, I bought a portable dishwasher for $25 at a garage sale. My reasoning being it would sterilize bottles and toys I brought it home and decided if we removed the small end cupboard, it would fit perfectly. It would even look like a built-in model. Four years later, my daughter was born and there shockingly, was the dishwasher in the middle of the kitchen being rolled around from spot to spot, as to not be in our way! My ex husband was a logger and we all kept logger hours. Early to bed and extremely early to rise. At about 4 am one morning, I handed him his lunch bag, smiled, and softly mumbled under my breath today is the last day I shall stub my toe on that dishwasher. As the truck pulled out of the driveway…..out came the skill saw. I had no clue as to using one…especially on a countertop. Would it work? Would it chew up the counter? Would the blade fly off? OMG…fear! I plugged it in and then slowly pulled the trigger…whrrrrrrrrrr.  I  stood there for quite sometime…pulling the trigger and staring at the counter.  Well finally I thought…it isnt going to cut itself…and I heard my dad’s words….anyone can do it! When he arrived home that night………TAAA DAAA!! Dishwasher had found its forever spot and the cupboard looked just like it had before he left, only a little shorter. That day…there was a twinkle in my eye, a twitch in my fingers and thoughts in my head…many thoughts. Just like my dad had taught me….there is no gender….just do it! After that, I never waited or ever asked a man to complete a project I wanted0powertools2 done, ever again. I also learned, I am demanding, impatient and picky. I have a vision. I know what I like. I can and will create it.

On any given weekend, take a trip to the local DIY center such as Lowes or Home Depot and you will see first hand the significant role that women are playing in the home renovation field. Aisle after aisle, men and women are in a gender wars over who is doing more! The number of single female home buyers is on the rise almost surpassing males. I am not sure if they are trying to save money after investing in a home or this has become the “bra burning” of the new millenium but, more and more women are tackling their own home renos. For some home renos simply means painting a room, hanging new curtains, picking out new lamps or deciding what flowers to plant but to many other, no matter what age, it involves installing new lights, plumbing in a toilet tub or shower, putting down new flooring, building and removing walls or even adding a whole new kitchen. They are not licenced carpenters or contractors, merely mothers, wives,women and even grandmothers. Online, videos, websites and even blogs are there to show you step by step techniques on any aspect of renovations. Free DIY mini courses are offered at the local DIY centers. There are even schools that now teach young girls “life skills” such as word working, mechanics and welding. They are actually teaching them confidence and independence. They are learning their capabilities have no bounds. It has been noted that women often succeed at many typical “male gender ” jobs due to their attention skills, especially to the fine details.

Today, I now live in rural Ontario. A trip to town is 30+ minutes, so we don’t go until we have a list. Factor in the price of gas and it just may not be worthy of going. A major draw back to living rural is the lack of trades people handy. To call a service man ends up being rather pricey to come from town. So, we learn how to plumb and do a little electrical work. Far cheaper and usually faster to go and get the part ourselves. If I can read, listen and understand…I can learn how to do it. My dad’s words still flash through my memory…anyone can do it. I also suffer from a powerful sickness. I have “junkitis”. I am addicted to junk. I love to paint, transform and revamp. As soon as I see something I love, my first thought is…what can I make from that? Do I have other supplies? Do I have the tools? No need for knowledge, that’s what the internet is for. There is no “I can’t” in my vocabulary. Things I want…things I need and things I long for, are with in my reach by being an avid DIYer. By letting my own fear of handling tools frighten me, I was putting so many projects in the back of my mind like a memory or a dream. If men can learn to become amazing cooks, handling mixers…then why can I not become a great carpenter handling a drill? After all is it not the same machine…with different attachments?0powertool3

The market for women and power tools has exploded! Small, cute and pretty tools are everywhere, in all major stores, DIY home centers and even dollar stores. To make sure your husbands or boyfriends wont be touching your tools (after carefully cleaning them and putting them away properly) check out a line called Tomboy tools. They offer everything from pink drills to pink jumper cables and everything else in between! They even offer a “party” similar to the old Tupperware parties. While you sip a crantini and snack on appetizers, you can browse their display. Listen to their pitch, then place your order with your graceful hostess! Times have changed! I myself will take a Tomboy party over a candle party or plastic dish party any day.  The tool industry has found a new niche, catering to the up and coming DIY woman! So don’t let fear stop you from trying new and exciting things, or even saving a few bucks. The feeling of accomplishment is over whelming. You will be beaming from ear to ear full of pride and self-esteem.  Now get out to the DIY  home center and buy your first gun…no permit required!

Confessions of a Junkie

1hoard2 Repurposing ….creating a new purpose from anything that one has deemed as trash.  Everyone, everywhere is finding a new reason to repurpose trash. Calling it from Trash to Treasures. Some do it out of love for the earth.  One less item in the landfill is one step closer to keeping the earth safe and green. Other do it to save money. Why pay for something new when there are perfectly good things to transform or use from another’s trash. Some call it art. Using their creative imagination, they turn garbage into amazing masterpieces. It is definitely a talent for others. Works of art to display proudly in their home, garden, yard or even in galleries. But one of the biggest reasons for repurposing today is because it is a hot, new trend. Everyone is just soaking it in. It is one of the biggest businesses out there. Using discarded items to make a buck or two. People are opening up little shops in their garages and sheds out in the country. Storefronts in town. Selling online. Creating auctions. They blog about it. They tweet about it. They have fancy websites to market it. Facebook pages to like. They offer how to classes on weekends. Turning all kinds of discarded items into beautiful purposeful items that the world will oooo and ahhhh about.  They show endless ideas on fabrics and covering, paints and stains, waxes and oils. Everything you want to learn about transforming garbage is only a click away thanks to the internet. I have to admit, I too, have fallen in lust with all this junk. I started many years ago (not saying how many, as to keep my age hidden) finding things to transform. In high school, I aspired to be involved in the fashion world. I scoured over magazines looking at trends, then heading to the local thrift shop to find tossed aside clothing to transform into “runway” magic. I was born an only child and given a princess life. My parents would just look at my creations and shake their heads, wondering what had gone wrong for me to want to dress like this.  At the age of 20 I bought my first home. My very own space to rip, remodel, add, delete, paint, create and decorate. Soon I married and had children and my life suddenly changed from Cinderella he princess to cinderella the floor scrubber.  Let’s be honest, not my best choice but out of all the sorrow and hardships I gained 2 beautiful children that make me proud today. I could no longer afford to do the remodeling I desired. I longed to create wonderful spaces with beautiful things.  I wanted to be different. So, I started collecting (or hoarding, as my husband calls it today). Thinking as I gathered each piece, one day this will be beautiful, then putting it in te shed. As my kids grew, time got scarce with the busy schedules and the money became even more scarce. After almost 20 years of marriage, collecting and hoarding…. I divorced.  I needed time to heal myself and find my identity again. All my passions had slowly been drained away from my soul. I did not find pleasure or joy in much of anything. To smile was hard…well at least mean something. Most of my happiness lived in my shed. Slowly things improved. I started to feel alive and wanted to find my spirit I use to have. I started to look at what I had allowed myself to become and didn’t like it. On went the thinking cap and the creative juices started to flow. Everywhere, the kitchen, living room, bedroom, walls, floors, cupboards, yard, garden and clothes. One by one I started to take from my shed and create unique items for my place. I was back into the land of living and loving. At one point, my friends would joke that I could almost build a new house from all my “special” finds in the shed. I eventually moved across the country in a 5th wheel and was forced to leave my treasures behind….I said goodbye to the antiques, frames, galvanized buckets, metals, windows, doors, porcelain sinks and beautiful gardens. I started junking out here in Ontario soon after arriving with minimal items. At first, i was broken-hearted. Seeing all the items left behind that I would like to have once again, but this time having to pay much more for them. Now I look at junking as an adventure. Been there, had that, done that….now onto new, bigger and better creations. More than ever now I am able to take full advantage of my passions. Create with my heart and give my soul satisfaction and my spirit an uplifting.  Try new things. Spread my wings and know that whatever I try..the good …the bad…the ugly…i made it and others out there will appreciate and  love it too! I believe in me and all you Junkers and artists should too! Show off your wares and creativity, sparkle and magic, as now is the moment. The world is addicted to any and all repurposed items. Like a drug…we want it and need it and will do anything to get it. Everywhere we go, we see things and then thoughts flood our head and our hearts race wildly while we ponder up ideas of creation.  We seek out blogs. We pin like crazy addicts going through withdrawal. On Facebook we like, like, like. We hunt down auctions, flea markets, thrift shops and yard sales, trying to attain that one score of the year. With glazed eyes, we do drive bys. Garbage days…late at night scouring the streets and dumpsters,  in hopes of grabbing that one cast off item that no one lese has snatched up yet.  With a crazed and determined look we quickly scope out the spot and stop. Quickly we try to figure out how to get it in the car and sneak it into the house without anyone noticing (especially our spouses). We hide things in closets, baskets, drawers, boxes, sheds and garages, or if like me…add it to the garden or yard in hopes of him not even noticing it till I can make what I really desire out of it! So in reality, we are addicts…junkies. All obsessing over discarded treasures. Soon J.A. (Junkers anonymous) will be holding yet another weekly meeting. Remember though, the first step to recovery is admittance and I shall be extremely proud to stand up and say…Hi I’m Tami, also known as  Junkyjoey and I am a junkie!

Rural Women Rock

1valueA briefing of my history is required for this blog, to fully understand my purpose and goals. I grew up in a very small town, deep in the mountains of BC. I got married, had children, got an education and unfortunately got a divorce. I eventually met my husband, who was from Ontario and decided it was time to shake my safe little world up a bit and move. So, clear across the country we came. The only safety I had was him. We purchased an old farmhouse (1879) in a small hamlet called Chantry. Population 25. Well, to my surprise, I was not able to continue nursing as my license didn’t meet Ontario standards. Here I am, a few years later in the same exact spot i was the day I moved here. Struggling to find work in a very rural area and having no luck. So, I have come to the conclusion i need to get creative! I have recently started a Facebook page called Junkyjoey, along with this blog, trying to show my talents to the world. I offer paintings, photography, cooking, baking, repurposing, inventing, planning, organizing, staging homes and gardening. But, the hidden agenda to both of these, is to show that rural women are more than just housewives. I want to empower women and give their self-esteem a growth spurt. Show their value through the many talents they express. In Canada, 1 in 5 women live rural. 2% of those women are on farms. 47% of those women living rural, are aboriginal. They face many more challenges than those living in an urban center. Isolation, lack of accessibility, employment opportunities, public transportation, child care, lower wages, as well as not being able to access high-speed internet, allowing them to further their education or support a viable online business.  For those women living on a farm, they hold many titles, not just farm wife. They help with crop production, crop preservation, providing food, livestock care, doctor, vet, child care provider, elderly support worker, book-keeper, secretary and the list goes on and on. For many women though not being able to financially contribute to a household, is a loss of independence. Therefore, women have become more creative than ever, looking for a means to make their own money.  With the help of the internet today, women sell their wares everywhere They have pages on Facebook, websites, followers on twitter, etsy, eBay, pinterest pins, blogs and more. I’m hoping to show more women that by promoting their talents, they will experience personal growth, self-worth and find meaning and value. They will embrace diverse cultures and build upon others ideas. They will  broaden thier already creative lives. By sharing, they offer others a place of support, as well as a place to maybe heal themselves. I always believed that if I share what I know, and you share what you know, then we all know the same thing and have both gained knowledge. 1rural1More and more rural/small town women are becoming writers, painters, inventors, Junkers, antiquers, photographers, gardeners and many more things. Lucky for them, the world is soaking it all in. They want more, they crave it and seek it.  Where else could you possibly create wonderful works of art without pressure, but at home. The internet has become a way of life for many women who would not be able to reach a market otherwise.  From here, you can offer your paintings, books, photography sessions, pictures, eggs, organic vegetables, preserves, fresh honey, dance lessons, old furniture turned new, creative garden containers….the list is truly endless. To practice any art, in any shape or form, is unique to only you. It is a way to make your self, heart and soul grow.  So do it!!!  Take a look around your daily life and see all the talent you possess. Show it off. Take pride. We as rural/small town women need to start embracing, empowering and believing in ourselves. Show our sparkle, magic and creativity. Give us a challenge and we shall over come it. October 15 is International Day of Rural Women…..but why wait for just one day….lets celebrate it everyday!

Heart and Soul of a Farm…….Food

0farm2Now as a new comer to farm country, I have come to respect and appreciate the word farmer. It has a whole new meaning to myself now. I myself am not a farmer, but on a daily basis I watch all my neighbours go by endlessly from sun up till sun down on their old and rickety tractors.  Moving hay, manure, planting, irrigating, cropping and everything else in between that a farmer must do to keep it going. It doesn’t matter if it is hot and humid or blowing cold freezing rain…they go by faithfully. And, just like clockwork, they faithfully provide us with wonderful, robust, gorgeous fresh food. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh tomato sandwich. Or a bowl of fresh peas straight from the garden. With all the knowledge in the world today, thanks largely to the internet, more and more people are realizing the value of fresh food. Grown by yourself or the local farmer selling his at the farmers market or roadside stand, it is worth the purchase. More people are deciding to try their hand at gardening, raising chickens, a pig, a cow or goats to give their families the best and most wholesome food possible. I have come to the conclusion I am NOT a farmer. I tried my very best last year to plant a garden, but hey its darn hard work! Actually where I had decided to put the garden , it received beautiful sunlight, unfortunately it also received an enormous amount of water from rain and a creek running through our property. Out of 30 stalks of corn I had an abundant amount of corn…about 4 lol ! And even then, they were the size of mini corn in stir fries. My zucchini (one of my most favorite vegetables) were smaller than the tomatoes. If you wanted to have some crisp fried zucchini…well  you wouldn’t have to slice them. More like zucchini poppers they were. So I shall forgo the garden and just continue to stop at the roadside stands along the county roads I drive.  One of my favorite ones is near a small village called Newboro. They offer year round fresh eggs. In the spring an abundance of fresh asparagus. Throughout the summer radishes, green onions, tomatoes, peppers including hot and burn your ass off hot ones. Then comes corn season. Nothing like a Ontario Corn Roast , gathering friends and family. I had never been to such a thing and have come to enjoy every aspect of them. Good food, good people, good conversation late into the evening. When fall arrives, pumpkins, squash, zucchini and Indian corn are in abundance everywhere out here.  There are also a couple of organic farms within my area raising everything from vegetables, free range chickens, turkey, beef, pork, artisan bread, bison, wold boar, cheese and honey.  They offer drop in service or large quantity orders delivered. The have internships teaching others about greenhouses, seedlings, crop management, organic weed and pest control, irrigation, marketing, hand tool use and season extension methods. Truly a labour of love to be an organic farmer. Small “fast food” wagons are popping up offering all these organic and free range products as opposed to the normal chip wagon out here. Life is changing and people are realizing the need for a more healthy style of eating and are willing to labour hard or pay the price to give their family the best options in food.  Even if the farm is not organic, the process and work involved to own a dairy farm or any farm, along with cost is enormous. Equipment is not cheap and neither is the acquiring of animals.  The abundance of crops for farm families are preserved by the women, offering year round fresh and delicious tastes.  An abundance is often shared with family, friends and neighbours.  One of the best thank you I have seen is the super bowl commercial by Dodge Ram….”God Made A Farmer”. It truly depicts farm life. It is a dying breed due to cost, rules, regulations, disease and profit.  Every day I go to work, I pass a farm with a huge sign outside it saying have you thanked a farmer? Well I have and the next time you go to the store or market and have the urge to complain of prices, stop and wonder the path this food took to get here. As you sit down to dinner with your family……thank a farmer.

contact-form][contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="1"/][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="1"/][contact-field label="Website" type="url"/][contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="1"/][/contact-form]

After Christmas Blues……..

seld revy8Well the New year is upon us in full force and many of us, like myself,  have been so busy prior to Christmas. When it’s all over…..Crash! The post-Christmas blues set in. Living in a very wintery province, spring is still far off. Much to early for the excitement of gardening so for now it remains tucked away as a memory.  Along with the New Year comes a new start. Time to reorganize. Create spaces that are functionable. Find new ideas to add interest to your home’s storage. So let’s take advantage of this slow time of the year to catch up on any type of indoor projects that have been put to the side due to the holiday hub bub or have only been fleeting thoughts in your head. Get out the books, blogs, Pinterest sites and Facebook pages for some inspiration and start creating! For myself, trying to create a small business of an artistic nature is my spring time goal. From photography, writing, repurposing, painting, wood working to pottery, anything is an open option.  My first step accomplished! Learning , writing and publishing my very first blog. Would love to hear how everyone is filling those stormy winter days…….and chasing away those humdrum blues. Thanks for sharing and reading my very first blog…….hugz

The building of self esteem and worth of women through creativity and imagination