Weekly Photo Challenge – Smile

Billie was the second dog I ever had in my adult like (so not counting my family dogs). I rescued her when she was 3 years old from a very abusive situation. I had her for an amazing 13 years and she was a totally amazing dog – in fact even people who were not “dog people” loved her. She also was the first dog I ever had who actually smiled – and yes, this is her smiling! She smiled a lot and often, and I like to think it was one of the many ways she used to show me how much she appreciated being rescued. I loved her so much and miss her dearly. She is forever in my heart and now rests in peace after a long and wonderful life. xoxo ❤️img_8732

The Art of Growing Food

There’s something to be said about growing your own food. And that something is, “Do it”!!!

To me, growing a vegetable garden is a form of art. It is a well-known adage that “we are what we eat” and that we are all walking canvases. I also have as soft spot for yard art and let’s not forget that when we cook, all our wonderful produce becomes part of our culinary art… So when you put it all together, growing food is indeed an art form!

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It is also one of the ways in which I contribute and give to my family, since the more food we grow the less we need to buy, and the more money we save. Growing your food also saves the planet by bypassing any need for packaging and no gas is used to bring it to your home, and of course you know where your food came from and the love that went into producing it.

 

My process starts with the seeds; some of which I have collected from the previous year and some I buy from a trusted source. Then my man preps the garden beds, and then when the soil – which we build and nourish throughout the year – is thawed and the weather is warm enough, the garden gets planted. All of this is very exciting to me as I love to watch everything grow as I water it throughout spring and summer. By the time fall comes around, all the preserves have to be done and the shelves and freezer get stocked… total gratification is how it feels. I hope to encourage everyone, no matter what size of space you have to give it a try, whether you live in an apartment, have a patio herb garden, a backyard garden or, like us, a farm. The picture above is the seeds I have recently planted; they include lettuce, peas, basil, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe… and there is so much more on the way. Stay tuned to watch my garden grow!!! xoxo

365 Day Challenge

Here is some progress on my “Wink” project, which consists of reading a Tarot card every morning, doing research to learn about that card and then drawing a sketch based on that inspiration (and the whole series is also based on my well-used cup cozy). At the end of the year, I’ll be putting all the pieces together to create a solo art installation for 2019. As it implies, the project is growing daily as I am continually learning and having fun with the discipline it takes to commit to doing something every day.

Over the past 3 months, I have been inspired to bring the whole concept one step further and create a Contemporary Art Tarot Deck with accompanying guidebook, which will go on sale in 2019. I have a lot of work ahead of me to accomplish this but I am enjoying every step of this creative venture. Look out for my Daily Tarot page on my website starting end of April, where you will be able to shuffle a 3-card spread, or a card of the day, as well as book a Tarot reading via email. For now, I will share another four pages of my sketch book. Stay tuned and watch it grow! Xoxo Laura

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Favourite Place

I have to be honest and confess that my Favourite Place is where I live: Cortes Island, BC, Canada!!! It is one of the many islands on the West Coast region on the Salish Sea. I live on 33 acres, tucked in between two provincial parks – one of which is Kwas Park – and on the banks of two white sands lakes, Gunflint and Hague. And then there is Hanks Beach, a lush forest trails that leads you to the ever-changing sea. I take advantage of both Kwas Park and Hanks Beach on a daily basis where I get to see all sorts of wildlife, very few people, and to experience new levels of tranquility every day. On top of all this visual enchantment, I share this beautiful place I call home with a very supportive community with an abundance of talent. The bounty never ends…

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What’s Up in the Studio!

Spring is in the air, which means it is time to get back in gear at the studio with lots of exciting times on the horizon. I just started teaching my “Creative Sessions” with my art student Nola McPhail, in our new studio space at the Linnaea Education Center where we’ll be spending the next five month working in many mediums to create an art installation of all our work at The Co-op Cafe, from Aug 15th to 31st. We are very excited for the opportunity to share what we have been working on for the last year and half. Over the next months, I’ll be sharing some of the progress and more info.

All this means a lot of studio time for me this spring, especially because I am also preparing to host and curate the annual members’ show for our local gallery, which has “Space” as a theme this year. It will showcase all the talented artists of Cortes Island and will run from July 27th to Aug 5th. I look forward to working closer with the members of my community as well as creating my biggest painting to date; you can expect to hear a lot about this show and the full season ahead at the Old School House Art Gallery.

As you know, I love to create with as many mediums as I can possibly learn. Over the last two years, I have been working a lot with textiles: naturally dying, spinning, knitting, and weaving. Maybe you have heard of India Flint, an eco-dyer who has very inspiring techniques (to visit her website, click here). I was recently invited to participate in one of her art shows planned for 2019, called “Garden of the Hearts” – a community art project hosted by the h.ART group at the former Onkaparinga Woollen Mills in Lobethal, South Australia – where each participating artist will embroider one line of an original poem (written by the artist) on a specifically-measured piece of material (preferably made from natural fibres) which will all be stitched together by India Flint to create her art installation. This is a very exciting event to be part of amongst over 250 other artists from around the world, and the first time I submit to an event in Australia using my beloved techniques of stitching, dying, and writing… love it!

So this is what’s up in the studio these days, along with my 365-day challenge “Wink”, which will be featured in another post later this week. Stay tuned, exciting times ahead!!!

Weekly Photo Challenge – I Would Rather Be!

As I am writing this post, I am sitting on one of the four BC ferry rides that will take me to a day on the town in Campbell River. Now don’t take me wrong; I appreciate the fact I can live such a deeply rural life on one of the most beautiful West Coast islands, on the shores of  Desolation Sound and have such good service at my disposal. And as much as I am glad to be home from my trip and the scenery I am sailing through is stunning, I Would Rather Be back in a wood-heated hot tube at La Carolina Lodge in Costa Rica!!!

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Six Petals Retreat – Costa Rica

My Six Petals Retreat was an amazing experience! I was so happy to land at the La Carolina Lodge – a wonderful 172-acres resort nestled in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest. I spent a luscious seven days of self-care with a full menu of Pilates, yoga, meditation, delicious food created on site through a “farm to table” service, wood-fired hot tubs, and microdermabrasion facials and massages by the river.

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The owners of the lodge, Bill and Karen Harrell, have created a family of Ticos (an affectionate nickname for the people of Costa Rica) with so much talent that they are happy to share with the guests.

Alejandro, a local guide and cowboy with an impressive knowledge of medicinal plants and animal husbandry (he tends cows, pigs, horses, and chickens) as well as serious gardening skills, took the ladiesimg_8283

horseback riding (I opted out due to my neck issues), and he also took us to Rio Celeste where we tracked a tapir and saw a family of monkeys. We also saw sloths, parrots, toucans and so much more on the vast property that is so incredibly well taken care of…. and the colours of the tropical flowers growing lushly everywhere blew my mind! Every evening before dinner, the retreat facilitator Teana would read us a poem or passage by Thich Nhat Hanh or Susan Piver to give thanks to the kitchen crew for the incredible dinners they made us night after night.

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We all sat together and enjoyed the sumptuous meals and appreciated all the work that went into them – growing, harvesting and preparing rice, black beans, veggies, cheese, breads, fruits, chocolate, coffee, and meat! All grown on-site alongside 5000 pineapple plants! I found it all to be very inspiring considering I arrived home just  in time to get started on our garden planting season.

We did 3 hours of yoga, Pilates and meditation every day, as well as went on walks and enjoyed each other’s company.

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On International Women’s Day, Teana organized a day of silence and it was a pretty great way to share our support with the marches around the world as well as a learning experience to go within; we also went on a beautiful walk to the lake on the property where we enjoyed the amazing view and went boat paddling. We supported each other all day and gave thanks to this earth we share – it really was a beautiful experience.

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I’ll never forget this journey I got to share with one of my best friends Maura, as we celebrated our birthdays, met new people, indulged in some well-earned self-care, and brought home so many memories and a new modality practice. xoxo

I invite you to check out all my photos on my Pinterest account here.

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Links to the retreat and the lodge: Six Petals Retreats and La Carolina Lodge

 

Bon Voyage!

On March 3rd, I will be off to San Miguel in Costa Rica for my first trip in a long time with my best friend to celebrate our birthdays!!! We will be attending a retreat in a tropical paradise, facilitated by Six Petals Retreat (check out their website!)

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Continuing with my goal to become the healthiest version of myself, I am embarking on a well-earned Pilates retreat and my physical health in sunny, tropical Costa Rica! Of course I will be keeping up with my daily art practice based on my morning tarot reading and the ensuing sketch. There is much to look forward to and I’ll share when I get home as there is no internet service so no screen time – another perk of the retreat is to take time out! But trust me, I’ll be taking lots of photos. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of winter, spring is right around the corner, promise! On the West Coast of BC, we had a lot of snow and rain filling our wells, our creeks and our lakes to prepare us for the upcoming gardening season. Still, some blue skies have started to peek through the clouds, bringing us hope and a reminder of the weather to come. This is my first trip leaving Canada in two decades so I am pretty excited and thankful to my man for making it possible… In the meantime, remember to stay warm and I will see you on the other side! xoxo

Pranamat – What’s That?

I am happy to announce that I recently joined the ambassador program for Pranamat! You will hear me chat about it every once and a while and since you might be asking yourself “Pranamat, what’s that?” So here is the answer – Pranamat is a portable massage & acupressure mat that releases back pain, improves sleep, boosts energy, and most of all, helps with muscle ache & migraine headaches. I have been using my set for two months now, and I cannot believe the difference I feel on a daily basis. I use my mat twice a day: once in the morning for 15 mins and once in the evening for half an hour. I also use my Pranamat when I travel (and I can’t wait to use it on the plane to Costa Rica!!!), while I do my knitting, and when I am working on my computer.

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You may not hear me speak about my disability very often but I suffer from degenerated disc disorder, which causes me a lot of neck and back pain as well as serious headaches, along with other effects to my physical health. Since using my Pranamat, I live a more fulfilling life and I haven’t had a single migraine headache! I am not saying it took all my pain away, just that it made it more manageable. And because I am so happy with the results, I decided to join the ambassadors program because I have firsthand experience to its amazing effects and the relief I feel. I honestly believe in their product and if I can help one other person manage their pain, I would be thrilled. So I invite you to check out their website which I linked below and if you’re interested in the product please feel free to use my 10% off also below (every little bit helps). As you may know, my goal this year is to give myself a lot of self-care, build a new art installation, and be the healthiest version of myself I can be; this will take a bit of a time investment, as well as a strong desire and willpower. But I am worth it and so are you!!!

xoxo

Laura Balducci

Pranamat info:
website: www.pranamat.com    –  10% off : LAURA10