My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “January, 2016”

Let’s Talk Day

If you’re like me, you give to a lot of charities. I donate to Veteran’s charities, as well as charities that research diseases that have affected those close to me, (cystic fibrosis, cancer and MS.) I’ve done the Terry Fox Run and a number of charity 5K runs. Most notably, I volunteer for charity events at the school to raise money for community foundations such as Toys for Tots and the Women’s Shelter. However, I notice I don’t have as many opportunities to give support for mental health research and wellness programs. Solicitors don’t call or come to the door for donations. I don’t see donation boxes in my neighborhood that support mental health causes. I don’t even see many commercials raising awareness for it, (although to be fair, I don’t watch a lot of TV either.)

Bell Canada (not a sponsor,) has been trying to change that with their Let’s Talk Day. I mentioned it last year, so I thought I would share it again and encourage you to talk to the people you love about mental health. See the details below for how you can participate in 2016.

Today (January 27th, 2016,) Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every text message sent, every mobile or long distance call made, every Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook image shared. You can also Tweet Let’s Talk at @Bell_LetsTalk or by using #BellLetsTalk

Please visit to learn more about the anti-stigma, care and access, workplace health and research work Bell is funding.




Art Assignment 42: News Photographer

I used this article from The Star about a student at York University who received accommodations for her exams without disclosing her mental health diagnosis. I was drawn to this story because I work with students with special needs in a high school. Recently I have been setting up the exam accommodations for my students, (for example, alternative testing rooms, assistive technology, and so forth.)

I  was especially struck by a researcher in the article who identified, “the need for faculty to have more information about mental health and the accommodation process. Faculty said they really do want to help students in crisis but don’t know the limits of what they’re supposed to do.” I work constantly to educate my coworkers on how to best help students with special needs.

In photographing this, I had to be careful not to include any pictures of the students for privacy reasons. However, I wanted to show how much effort we put into accommodating students’ needs in my high school. Not easy to show without the students, so I took these pictures of some posters outside our extra help room.



Students: read these posters and believe them. #theartassignment

Art Assignment 41: Present Perimeter




I call it Pop Up. #theartassignment


Thyme Roasted Pecans


Some of you might have seen this recipe in my last Art Assignment post.


I thought I should type out this recipe to make it easier to read.

Thyme Roasted Pecans


4 cups pecan halves

2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a bowl combine salt, oil and thyme.
  2. Add pecans and toss to coat.
  3. Pour onto a lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Cool and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

The last time I made these was over Christmas. They are salty and sweet and my family loves them. These pecans also look great in a mason jar for a hostess gift.



Found Recipe: Oatmeal Cookies

So in my last post, I added some of my own recipes to a recipe journal I found. Now I’m going to try one of the recipes that were already in this cookbook.


I decided to try making the oatmeal cookies. This recipe must make a small batch as it only calls for 1/2 cups of flour and rolled oats. There’s also no egg, which is unusual. Maybe the person recording this recipe had an egg allergy.

I gathered my ingredients.


I combined the dry ingredients in a bowl.


The I creamed the butter, shortening (used here instead of lard,) and the sugar.


I added the dry ingredients and the boiling water with the cream mixture and stirred until just combined.


Then I added dark chocolate chips because they make cookies better.


I scooped the batter onto a lined baking sheet.


Then I baked then at 350F for 10 minutes.


Weird looking but not bad tasting.


Because of the lack of egg and the low flour content, these cookies are soft, like too soft to pick up, have to eat them with a fork soft.


If I was going to make these again, I would either tinker with the recipe to make the cookies a bit more firm, or I’d make them crumbly and serve them as a crumble topping for ice cream.


Art Assignment 40: Object Empathy

So when we moved into our house, I found this book on one of the basement pantry shelves.


It looks like someone started a recipe book. This book is beautiful and sad. It’s both weathered and unfinished. Check out the gallery below to see the recipes I found inside:

I wonder who started this recipe journal and why they left it behind when they moved? Did they abandon it or was it forgotten? Does the original owner still wonder where it went? I guess most people in my situation would just throw this book away but I just couldn’t bear to do it. It’s been sitting on the shelf with my other cookbooks since we moved in. Now I have a reason to use it.

Here is my fix for this sad book: I’m going to add my own favourite family recipes into this book.


That already looks much better. I better finish up this post so I can keep adding posts to my new/old recipe book.

For the curious chefs out there, I will be trying one of the original recipes in my next post.

Year in Review

Using the Tagxedo website, I have created some word clouds for each month of my blog in 2015. This is an interesting exercise because it lets me see what was on my mind in each of these months. For example, in February I was doing a lot of artistic and creative projects. July contains a lot of words related to my anxiety because this is when I was weaning myself off my antidepressants. In September I see more school words in my cloud and in December most of the words are about cooking. Across the clouds my most common words are design, art and creativity. I am so pleased that most of my clouds are about positive things in my life. 2015 was a good year. I hope 2016 is just as creative and fun.



























So I think I’m done with New Year’s resolutions. I struggle to make them and I rarely keep them. Then I end up feeling terrible about not keeping promises to myself. Making a plan that spans a whole year , no matter how well-founded, just doesn’t work for me. My life is too changeable.

This year, I think I’ll celebrate my Resolves; the great things I did for this whole year.

In 2015 I did at least 10 minutes of yoga every day. I love the way it makes me feel and I only need 10 minutes in the morning to get my day started.

I completed every Art Assignment from PBS Digital’s YouTube channel The Art Assignment.

I learned more about how to be a good wife and partner. My husband and I worked as a team and had a lot of fun too.

So those are my Resolved Resolutions for 2015. I think I’ll do this again next year.

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