Rebranding a Marriage: Writing a mission statement

mission accomplished weddingIn our age of extended courtships, the wedding is so often seen as the endgame – “mission accomplished!” But marriage is just the beginning. Writing a marriage mission statement will help keep the story of your marriage on track, goal oriented, and inspiring. This installment of Blank Canvas Living’s ‘rebranding a marriage’ blog serial is all about laying down a clear path for bringing your dreamy ‘why’ vision statement into reality. Continue reading

Rebranding a Marriage: Writing a vision statement

golden circle marriageAfter doing all that wedding paperwork, you may as well get on the same page. Writing a marriage vision statement will help keep your shared ideals front and center as the living room is slowly overrun by golf equipment – last count 53 clubs plus bags and accessories – and/or when your wife gets laid off and commits to writing – a vocation as lucrative as golf is cheap. Continue reading

Rebranding a Marriage: Change the game this Valentine’s Day

valentines symbols loveMarried to a man? Congratulations. They’re really quite durable and can put up with a heck of a lot. And it’s always nice to have something warm and solid to lean against whilst one ties one’s shoes. Married to a woman? Double congratulations. Through the grace of our exotic majesty you are invited to bear witness to the sublime… and that’s just before breakfast. Continue reading

DIY trick ‘and’ treat Halloween panties

halloween underwearTreat tonight’s date to a naughty trick with these devilish DIY bad girl panties. A sexy, full-on naked, first impression leads to a very spooky, downright scary surprise. Caution: may cause long term trauma when dealing with a first time face-to-panty explorer…

She lifts the hem of her angel costume and beckons him closer. In the dim light of the party host’s bedroom he can see she’s not wearing any underwear.

“Not a natural blonde then, eh?” He chuckles at his joke. He can’t believe his luck. It’s easy, too easy.

“Crawl to me, slowly,” she orders.

Dropping to his knees, he obeys. Closer, closer, his heart beating faster, faster, pounding to the tempo of the Halloween music booming below. Now his head is bowed at her white stilettos. He follows the curve of her bare, sweet smelling calf with his lips, his tongue. This is his first time. Anticipation is ringing in his ears. Now up her thighs, spread just wide enough to take his cheeks between and squeeze, gently, as he rises towards his prize.

But suddenly everything is wrong! Cold, so cold and horrifying! He’s face to face with a swarming mass of scorpions!! He cries out, falls back, traumatized down to very gut of his manhood.

“Holiday birth control at its finest,” she laughs, and walks over him back down to the party.

What you’ll need to make your own DIY Halloween panties:
1 flesh coloured thong (La Senza)
1 package creepy critters (Dollar Store or Walmart)
flesh coloured thread

Arrange plastic insects/scorpions/spiders into a… um… suggestively pubic simulation. Sew to secure in place. And because this subversive craft is all about ‘subtlety’, chose critters that match your natural… um… hair colour – cockroaches for blondes, scorpions for brunettes. Oh, and that green beetle fellow if you’re in the mood for a Brazilian rainforest surprise ~wink.

nerd panties

Note: This technique can also be used to DIY the most frightening Halloween underwear of all… Microsoft, Star Trek, and Noam Chompsky certified NERD PANTIES!! Although I think the scariest thing here is that I actually own all these pins.

Funerals, peas, and a red lipstick kiss goodbye

red lipstick kissWhen my grandfather’s heart stopped this past spring, he used his one last moment of decision to kiss my grandmother goodbye. In a church full of black, she wore her favourite deep red skirt suit to his funeral. She curled her hair, coordinated her makeup, and stood tall and graceful in a scene of unimaginable bravery. Theirs was one of the true great love stories, sustained over half a century by affection, faith, courage, and generosity. There would be space and time for grief, but my grandmother chose that day to celebrate the life and love of her extraordinary man.

What came as a shock to us all, especially to my strong, beautiful grandmother, was that there would be only five short months of space and time before she too would pass – the very day before what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary. Neither would have to spend an anniversary alone. My own extraordinary man and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this August. I’ll always be grateful to my grandparents for offering their unconditional love and support when we got married just 5 short months after meeting.

I wouldn’t tell anyone what I was planning for my part of my grandmother’s eulogy, only that I was bringing a prop. I knew was already taking a risk with my leopard print leggings, but since she’d once showed me a snakeskin print tunic/pants outfit from the back of her closet, I figured I was in good company. When it was my turn to speak, I took a step to one side of the pulpit and up at the front of the church, in full view of friends, family, two Reverends, and the entire congregation, I carefully applied a good thick gloss of bright red lipstick.

Appropriate? Sure! We all laughed, and then of course, I completely fell apart describing how my grandmother always used glamour, not as a mask, but as a celebration of the way she saw the world – and her family – full of promise and wonder, and worthy of the very best she could bring to the table.

Peas and mushrooms recipeIn a literal sense, what a table! Using the delicious and ingenious strategy of cooking healthy dishes (like their famous peas and mushrooms) they teamed up to keep their love story alive and well far past its genetic due date – telomeres be darned! This Thanksgiving weekend was the family’s first without our dear Matriarch and Patriarch. While the gift of the Quebec cottage they built with their own hands will stay with the family (thank heavens!), their Ontrio home, with all its comforting smells, sounds, collections, and textures, is being dismantled for sale. And individual objects, once separated from their context, begin to lose their meaning.

I am a woman who lives through her senses (through rarely common-sense), and this Thanksgiving I gave thanks to my grandparents the best way I knew how. I made their magical peas and mushrooms (my version above). My kitchen was filled with the smells and tastes of tradition. I added some sauteed onions for some next generation flair, and melted in enough butter to have horrified my grandmother. But time stopped for those few hours, and the unfathomable concept of loss was made tangible. Grief took a physical form, as it had with my lipstick, but in doing so became a celebration.

This morning, my man slept through 5 snooze alarms and by 6:30am I was ranting at him for risking being massively late for a 7:30am dentist appointment. Seeing his pensive face (because who likes going to the dentist anyway), I caught myself. To lighten the mood, I threw a sock at his head from the 3 day old pile of unfolded laundry on our bed. He whipped it back and it got me right in the neck! But when the mock battle subsided, I lifted my face to his, closed my eyes, and waited for our sacred ritual – because you never know how much time you have. Gone was the warrior with impeccable aim, here was a husband, giving his wife a kiss goodbye.

Two-part DIY belt transforms into full set of bondage gear

diy bondage gearBring home the Wild West with this easy to make two-part DIY belt that converts into a full range of bondage gear: handcuffs, legcuffs, hogtie cuffs, gag, and collar. Having this naughty, ever so stylish, secret bound round your waist will let you schedule your own rodeo events whenever, and wherever, your fantasies take you. Why pay for admission to the Calgary Stampede when all the best rides are just a hogtie away? Let the cowboys keep their rope for tying up cattle and lassoing unruly cowgirls. Animals like you and I know that Western bondage is best played with furry cuffs made from nylon webbing.

DIY bondage suppliesSupplies for this easy artistic bondage DIY project:
1/2 m fabric (Walmart short pile cow print faux fur shown)
1 1/2 m 25mm (1″) brown nylon webbing
2 black nylon side release buckles (25mm)
2 metal rings (1 1/2″ diameter)
safety pins/lighter/thread/scissors/sewing machine (or hand sew)

DIY Instructions:
1) Cut nylon webbing into 4 equal pieces and adjust lengths with safety pins to fit desired submissive’s wrists and ankles. See pic of how cuffs will work and measure accordingly. DIY bondage instructionsMake sure you leave enough excess webbing for belt (when both cuffs are buckled to each other end to end).

diy bondage handcuffs hogtie demo2) Securely sew webbing as marked by safety pins. Cauterize ends of webbing with lighter, being careful not to melt surrounding webbing.

3) Cut 4 rectangles of fabric – 4 inches wide with lengths determined by webbing between buckle and ring + 1/2inch hem allowance on either side. Hem width edges, fold over, and sew wrong sides together along lengths. Turn right side out and slide over buckles to cover webbing.

4) Practice changing BDSM sex toy modes according to the illustrations and pictures in this post. Just like training for any rodeo or bondage technique, practice makes perfect!

Important Notes:
-If you want to switch domination and submission roles, or go out to find new limbs to bind, you can use the pictured figure eight cuff variation to accommodate an infinite variety of wrist and ankle sizes in these homemade furry handcuffs and legcuffs.
Soft DIY bondage handcuffs and leg cuffs

-For the latter variation, and belt configuration, fabric tube can be pulled over buckles for style and comfort.

-Fabric tube can be rolled in over itself if bunching occurs in belt configuration.

-Play safe! …but not too safe ~wink.
calgary stampede beltdiy bondage furry handcuffs legcuffsdiy bondage furry cuffs hogtieddiy bondage gag and collar

Famous Valentines: Quotes about Virginia Woolf by her husband Leonard Woolf

Virginia Woolf, a prototypical Blank Canvas Thinker, and self proclaimed “explorer” from birth, found in her husband, Leonard, a patient motivator who loved her with an understanding and forgiveness that speaks of a joining of two souls on a level beyond most modern concepts of marriage. While Virginia innovated the novel form with stream of consciousness and progressive female-centric values, Leonard set up Hogarth press in their Richmond house, both to publish his wife’s work and as a way to finance her literary explorations. When the interviewer in this wonderful youtube snippit asks Leonard why he stopped writing his own fiction, Leonard replies in what may sound to some a simple practicality; but coming from a man worthy of mental partnership with one of the most creative intellectuals of the 20th century, his answer, “one of us had to give it up,” (delivered surprisingly matter-of-fact) is heart-wrenchingly poetic.

On his wife’s genius…
“She had a combination of imagination and intelligence which is extremely rare, I think.”

On his wife’s magic…
“Every now and then, she would do what I call ‘leave the ground’ and give the most fantastic account of a perfectly ordinary thing which had happened or which she’d seen.”

On his wife being (occasionally) the object of ridicule…
“She dressed, I think, very beautifully, but rather unlike most people – and walked about in this curious way.”

Many scholars consider Virginia’s 1941 river suicide a sacrifice for love, to save Leonard from further anguish. But why don’t they understand – why didn’t Virginia understand – that any man who would chose to put on hold the chance at his own greatness for the woman who needed all of him, would have (with that same matter-of-fact grace) spent the last of his strength dragging her back up on to shore. For his true greatness will always be in helping his wife endure hers.