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February 2016

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Totsapalooza: being hip and happening with your kids

The 2016 Small Print Totsapalooza was hip and happening as kids dancing their little hearts out, ate delicious cupcakes, made innovative crafts and costumes, and listened to great storytellers.

On Feb. 6, the Revival Nightclub near College and Ossington hosted a different type of dance party, catering to trendy young urbanites in the two-to-eight year old bracket.

The annual event is run by Small Print, a local non-profit dedicated to children’s literature and providing opportunities for kids to take part in literary programs. By providing indie dance music and a cool way for families to have fun, Totsapalooza is dedicated to little readers and provides fun ways for children and authors to interact and have fun with the kids.

“It is always a whirlwind,” said Shana Hillman, board member of Small Print Toronto. “At the end, instead of beer bottles, it is cheesestring wrappers that are left on the floors. It is an opportunity to hang out with your kids in a really cool way.”

“Small Print is about doing interactive literary events with children. All of the events have a component where they get to interact and create, which helps innovate kids to become storytellers.”

Totsapalooza attendee, Aurora, playing dress-up.

Finding Winnie was one of eight children’s books sold at the event and was read by author Lindsay Mattick, the granddaughter of Harry Colebourne who discovered the real life bear, Winnie. Her son attended the event as well and took part in the reading.

Finding Winnie started from a personal place because it is in my family,” said Mattick. “It has been incredible to share the impact of the story I wanted to share as a mom.”

Finding Winnie is a story about Colebourn, the Canadian war veteran, who found Winnie, the bear that inspired the classic tale of Winnie the Pooh. Winnie was a black bear found in White River, Ontario in 1914. Colebourn brought him to the London Zoo, where he met a little boy named Christopher Robin.

“This experience for me is a dream come true. [Totsapalooza] is a very awesome event. It embodies so many things the kids should be doing dancing and enjoying books,” said Mattick. “I think as a parent, we all want to teach our kids to appreciate and be aware of great books and stories.”

All of the storybook authors at the event were Canadian, and parents, and their kids, had an opportunity to meet them first-hand. What made this particular event unique is that it catered to a specific demographics — kids and parents who were interested in the indie scene.

Being an indie parent means you are invested in preserving the tradition of books in place of Ipads, supporting local music and literature, and rejecting large corporations such as Disney in favour of smaller enterprises. Snacks were provided by local vendors, in addition to craft beer for the parents. Totsapalooza featured Bellwoods, a local indie band that graced the stage in the afternoon.

“It is an event with indie music, craft beer, and no Disney content in site,” Hillman said. “It definitely gives them exposure to an audience, and a chance to directly connect to their customers and future fans.”

Author, Lindsay Mattick reading to the kids.

From crafts to dancing to dressing up in costumes and taking fancy photos, Totsapalooza had something to offer everyone big and small. The event was an overwhelming success and is worth attending in the future. My own daughter didn’t want the Totsapalooza party to end and we will definitely be returning next year.

Blaze up! Six business looks for the winter

Are you going to a job interview? An important meeting with a client? Maybe even a work party? In this uncertain weather, it’s hard to commit to heels and a pencil skirt. Instead, try a blazer with a patterned or brightly coloured shirt.

But, blazers are a bit boring and dull, aren’t they? Wrong! The blazer is the perfect accessory — it can be incredibly professional, powerful, sexy, and it can have as much personality as the person who wears it. Here are some options for those of you who think the only way you can wear a blazer is with a pencil skirt or a well-tailored power suit.

The free falling blazer: This type of blazer has a classic notch collar and boyfriend styling, making it the perfect accessory for both a business meeting and a night out. It is perfect for women that are petite or who have curves, because there is no need to button it up. Let your blazer hang loosely, and professionally.

Le Chateau, $89.95
Le Chateau, $89.95

The academic: Nerdy is in! Try your hand at some tweed, corduroy, or a blazer with some coloured elbow patches. This look is clean, professional, and adds just a bit of cheek into your wardrobe. Your colleagues will see you as smart, clean, with a little bit of edge.

Zara, $89.90
Zara, $89.90

The vest: Some may say the vest is “out of fashion”, but I say otherwise! Pair it with a blouse or a funky longer shirt. Wear it open for a more relaxed, artsy look, or button it up with a skinny tie for a chic business look. For women with a bit of shape, a blazer can be daunting — the sleeves are either too small, and then if they fit your arms, the shoulders look like they swallowed you whole. The vest is the perfect compromise.

Convey, $258.00
Convey, $258.00

The crop: Not all blazers have to look…well, like blazers. This cropped and zippered jacket works in a business setting or an afternoon with friends. It will make you look chic, elegant, and put together. The best part about these neutral coloured blazers is that you can pair it with a high patterned legging or pant and heels for a more polished look.

Additionelle , $120
Additionelle , $120

The pattern: Luckily, there are a lot of options for those who may not like the traditional blue, black, or brown suit jacket. This type of blazer is a lot more feminine, and features a strong collar and a zipper instead of the typical round buttons. This type of blazer would look amazing with a pair of dark jeans and converse shoes, or a pair of fitted black dress pants and heels.

Judith and Charles, $237,50
Judith and Charles, $237,50

The wild: Need a little more colour in your life? Try one of these multi-coloured blazers. I don’t suggest wearing them with a patterned shirt, but they are the perfect compromise for those with a bit of a wild and fun side. It looks professional, but doesn’t scream “I live in a cubical.”

Aritzia, $90
Aritzia, $90

Do you have a favourite blazer in your closet? Describe it or send in a picture using the comments below!

“Whip them out”: breastfeeding in public

“Whip them out. I will breastfeed anytime, anywhere, any place,” mother and breastfeeding advocate, Jesse Tallent said.

Despite the fact that breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beautiful acts between a mother and her new-born baby, women often feel insecure and ashamed about feeding their child in public. This is something Tallent correlates to society’s misconstrued beliefs about breasts themselves.

“Breasts are used to sell burgers or cars,” she said. “Women are often shamed for breastfeeding or for being too confident and showing too much skin.”

Too often are women reported on social media for posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their child. These pictures are then removed for being “pornographic” or too revealing. This is something that Anne Kirkham, a spokesperson for the Le Leche League of Canada, a national organization that promotes breastfeeding and offers resources for new mothers, says is increasingly common.

“We live in a society that sexualizes breasts so much,” said Kirkham. “When you show your body in media, it is so overly sexualized. It may take awhile to come to terms with it in a new way.”

Similarly to many other women, I decided to breastfeed my daughter when she was born. At first, it was a bit painful, and it was a bit difficult to get my newborn to latch on. But, once I got past those awkward stages, breastfeeding became a time of bonding. I genuinely felt empowered, like there was a stronger connection between myself and my daughter.

At the same time, I felt like it was necessary for me to stay home to feed my daughter. Breastfeeding in public made me uncomfortable, but I was beginning to feel a bit isolated at home. I decided to start slow, by finding a community of moms who were nursing and willing to share in that experience.

“Seeing other moms’ breastfeeding is empowering,” said Kirkham. “When you start to recognize other mothers’ breastfeeding, you may feel more comfortable yourself.”

Other mother’s take this shared experience to a larger platform. Tallent regularly posts photos of herself breastfeeding on social media and hosts online support networks. The goal? to help women gain confidence when breastfeeding in public and to help break through sexualized trends attached to breasts itself.

“My advice to other moms is to take to social media and find a local support group like La Leche,” said Tallent. “Mothers being more open-minded about breastfeeding has taken to social media and has started a movement to change body image.”

Forums such as breastfeed without fear, normalize breastfeeding, and boobies are for babies provide safe spaces for mothers to proudly and openly share this new stage in their lives.

Most public areas —like malls or restaurants — offer a designated nursing station or area for mothers who want to feed their babies. But the whole idea that breastfeeding should be equated with a public washroom is questionable. Is the act considered a bodily function needing to be concealed, or are people genuinely as uncomfortable with the sight of a breast as the sight of a sexual organ?

When my daughter was a bit older and had finished breastfeeding, we were out with a friend who had a newborn baby. He needed to be fed so we went into one of the nursing stations. It was on the other side of the washroom, completely separated by a wall. The sound of the hand dryers was irritating the babies and the washroom smell as difficult to handle. The mothers looked miserable and I will never forgot how ashamed my friend felt as she kept apologizing that we had to be in that space.

Of course, there are nursing stations that are more welcoming and not exclusively attached to the washroom. A private nursing setting can even be helpful for breastfeeding mothers who are more comfortable in an isolated setting.

“I’ve used a nursing room at a mall. It is hard to get him to feed in public because he is so curious. Sometimes you run into other moms too, which is great,” said Tallent.

Another common issue is the general expectation that mothers should cover their babies with a blanket when they feed in public. Kirkham reports this is a common concern for new mothers.

“A lot of mothers complain that their babies get too hot under the blanket or swat at it which distracts the baby and makes the feeding difficult,” she said. “People should think about what it would be like for them to eat under a blanket.”

Tallent was pressured to use a blanket while breastfeeding at her own engagement dinner when her son, Rylan, was two months old. Rylan, she explained, needed to be fed often, but was struggling to latch. A woman she didn’t know approached her and tried to put Rylan’s blanket over his head.

“She was trying to help, but it was inappropriate.” said Tallent. “I had to go into a bathroom to feed him because she wouldn’t leave me alone.”

Most women are unaware that legislation exists protecting mothers and their newborn babies under the Code of Human Rights. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “you have rights as a breastfeeding mother, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from breastfeeding your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to ‘cover up,’ disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more ‘discreet’.”

As a mother who previously breastfed, I am glad these rights are being protected. I can only hope that society becomes more accepting and that people can learn to view breasts less as sexualized objects and more as a means of providing for a new life. That amazing and natural phenomenon is what truly makes breasts sexy. And that is something we should all embrace.

 

The SAD reality of the winter blues

Does grey winter skies and snow storms give you the winter blues so badly, you feel like you don’t even want to get out of bed? If so, it might be more complicated than the weather. You may be one of many sufferers of Seasonal Afffective Disorder (SAD), a subtype of seasonal depression.

University of Toronto assistant professor and director of CBT Canada, Greg Dubord says, “SAD is often dismissed as the “the winter blues”, and seen as an excuse people living with Depression are accused of making for their condition.”

Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects people seasonally. Harsh Canadian winters and more research into SAD has led many people to come to understand this mental disorder and to learn how to combat it. It can be a real struggle for those who feel unmotivated, constantly exhausted, and depressed in the wintertime; yet, these feelings (or symptoms) are often dismissed as a change in the weather.

What is it?

SAD is a form of major depression that occurs in one specific season, and was formally name in 1984 by Norman E. Rosenthal at the National Institute of Mental Health. Most people experience seasonal depression in the winter, though some people have the disorder in the spring.

Seasonal depression is considered a subtype of major depression, but differs from the traditional mental disorder because it arises at a specific time of year and returns annually. According to the Mood Disorders Council of Manitoba, two to three per cent of Canadians suffer from SAD compared to less than one per cent in the United States. Women experience symptoms more commonly than men.

What are the symptoms and signs?

Common physical side effects include fatigue, insomnia, oversleeping, food cravings, weight gain, anxiety and “a heavy “leaden” feeling in the arms and legs.

But, it’s the psychological effects that effect people more commonly. According to Dubord, these include “feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day; feeling hopeless or worthless; losing interest in activities once enjoyed; having difficulty concentrating; feeling irritable and/or anxious; having difficulty getting along with others; avoidance of social situations; being hypersensitive to rejection; and having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.”

Bright light creates serotonin, which is absorbed by the retina and through the pituitary gland. The lack of this specific hormone also causes drowsiness and exhaustion. When a person isn’t exposed to a particular amount of light, it can cause depression or SAD.

What can you do about it?

“Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), in combination with light therapy, is considered the best overall treatment for addressing both physiological and psychological vulnerability to SAD,” Dubord says.

A combination of methods helps to manage the symptoms of SAD which includes traditional major depression therapies as well as specialized light therapy. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients recognize and isolate certain thought patterns in order to challenge or alter them. It is commonly used to treat mood disorders.

Other methods of therapy include exercise, improving sleep patterns, making sure to have social interactions, and planning outdoor activities to get fresh air and enjoy oneself. Planning winter trips to sunnier destinations can help if that is possibility and actively. Possible outdoor activities include ice skating, snow shoeing, a winter walk, and a sleigh ride.

Thanks to some great technological advancements, products exist that can help alleviate symptoms of SAD. A light box, for example, helps to regulate the internal body clock by providing light at any specific point the person needs it — the morning for example.

A light box is a fluorescent light device that produces a light intensity of 2,500 to 10,000 lux at a distance of 1-2 inches. The common length of time for light box therapy is 30 minutes, ideal for a morning routine. Light boxes can be found in the form of an alarm clock, desk lamp, a floor lamp, and a ceiling light.


Which stigmas prevent people from pursuing treatment?

The “winter blues” is a common term used when someone feels down during the snowy season and is often mislabeled for SAD. This confusion causes people to misunderstand the severity of their symptoms.

“Like depression, there is a stigma associated with SAD that interferes with people’s willingness to seek diagnosis and treatment.”

The fact that SAD only arises at a specific time during the year, and then its symptoms virtually disappear, exaggerates the stigma.

Whether you are experiencing the “winter blues” or seasonal depression, know you are not alone.

Why not use tolls and fees to fund green projects?

Over the last few months, the City of Toronto and the Ontario government have made some amazing announcement focused on green energy, infrastructure, and public transportation. The most recent announcement was made Tuesday: the Ontario government released $750 million in funding (in the form of a green bond) for environmentally friendly, low-carbon infrastructure projects, the majority of which would be dedicated to transit in the GTHA.

These investments are a good thing. A great thing, even. This city and this province must invest in infrastructure and transit. But, where is this money coming from?

A green bond is a great tool to raise capital for projects with environmental benefits, but eventually the bond holders need to be paid back. Investors provide funds for these projects and the government guarantees a return for each investor. When asked by Women’s Post if there was a plan to pay back these investors, this was the response given:

“Ontario’s Green Bonds rank equally with Ontario’s other bonds,” a spokesperson for the Ontario Minister of Finance said in a written statement. “Payments of principal and interest will be a charge on and payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Ontario and not tied to the revenues of any particular projects.”

Luckily, the maturity date for the green bond is in 2023, which means that the government has time to educate the public on the need to come up with the revenue for these investments. And it will be interesting to see what forms of repayment they create.

Tolling — while under both the provincial and municipal responsibility depending on the road — would be an ideal form of revenue. Ontario is starting a pilot project in the summer that will allow single-occupancy vehicles to use the High-Occupancy Vehicle lane meant for carpooling. Vehicle owners will be able to purchase a permit and pay a toll for its usage. This is the first time a responsible government has risked their positions to do the right thing.  Toronto is a long way off, with only a handful of councillors willing to stand up for the revenue tools Toronto needs to pay for the capital projects the city has committed to.

The money collected from these tolls can be used to fund the  the relief subway line which will provide an alternate east-west route to the Gardiner. Council has to make the bold move to call for other user fees – tolls, carbon tax, parking increase – so that property owners won’t carry the full burden of our capital deficit.

Both the city and the province are trying to find money in the budget — which amounts to shuffling through the same insufficient funds that caused our infrastructure deficit.   Toronto councillors will need to show the bravery their province counterparts have demonstrated in committing to high occupancy toll lanes.  The obvious solution is to use existing green projects such as tolling, congestion fees, or even a carbon-tax , to fund infrastructure investments.

The biggest problem facing all levels of government is that most Canadians want the infrastructure but they don’t want to pay for it.   The province is doing an amazing job ensuring that transit and green infrastructure is built, but Canadians have to start doing our part.

Let’s support the use of tolls, congestion fees, carbon taxes – whatever our council might bravely suggest — and start investing in Toronto’s long-term future.

Men’s activist group causes international uproar

UPDATE: The gatherings in Toronto (and around the world) have been cancelled, according to a tweet and website post by Roosh V. “I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend on February 6, especially since most of the meetups can not be made private in time.”

A highly contested men’s activism group has revealed there are at least three group meet-ups scheduled in Toronto. The location of these meet-ups has been removed from the website, returnofkings.com, but founder and rape-legalization advocate, Daryush “Roosh V” Valizadeh confirmed the location in a comment asking about the Toronto meetup.

“I merged 3 hosts into the Queens Park location because all of them submitted central locations that were near Queens Park. I think the turnout will be over 20, so you may have to split up into 2 or 3 groups and then re-join later.”

The group is garnering negative attention after Roosh V’s announcement that he is organizing gatherings in 165 locations in 43 countries around the world, all happening on Feb. 6.  The groups are known as “tribes” and the purpose of the initial meet-up is to try and create more permanent men’s activist “tribes”.

The event has garnered outrage worldwide in the media and on social networks. Roosh V removed the locations of the gatherings from his website, citing scheduled protests in a few of the larger cities. He had previously specified the Toronto location as being at Queen’s Park, and later confirmed this fact in a comment inquiry.

“I have created a private Central Command for meetup hosts and other trusted insiders to device protocols that allow all meetups on Saturday to proceed as planned. I will publish protocols for meetup attendees here by Thursday,” Roosh V writes. “Not a single meetup will be cancelled. We will not be intimated by the actions of the lying media and leftist political establishment.”

Thanks to the international press, every country and city labelled as a location for one of these meet-ups has the opportunity to take action and make it known they do not condone this hate speech. At the same time, it appears that Roosh V is enjoying all of the attention. However, on Feb. 1, he tweeted “Number 2 trending topic in all of Australia. This is the first time a man stood up to their puny establishment.” Roosh V has also tweeted several threats to Australian authorities, indicating that he will sneak into the country via boat because “the border is like swiss cheese.”

The opinions, writing, and actions of Roosh V clearly denote the inner-workings of an unstable man; yet the fact that men support his beliefs is troublesome. The nature of many of the articles on the website are violent and even go so far as to threaten anyone who wants to disrupt his worldwide event.

“I will exact furious retribution upon anyone who challenges you in public on that date,” he writes.

Roosh V’s meet-ups also potentially delegitimize other men’s groups. There are groups that exist to help single parents (including dads) or men who have experienced abuse, but by creating an exclusive group that is violent and works to facilitate hate speech deters from these goals. It can also makes men feel less comfortable gathering without being seen as anti-feminist.

Hopefully, these meetings are a bust due to international pressures and Roosh V will instead seek much-needed medical help for his deep-set hatred of women. In the meantime, let us celebrate the massive solidarity that both men and women have demonstrated to rid the world of misogynist, exclusive meet-ups — including people such as Roosh V.

Groundhog Day: The fluffiest holiday of the year

Every year, thousands flock to the birth place of the infamous “Groundhog Day” in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see if the little critter has a shadow or not.

One question begs to be asked about this tiny weatherman and surprisingly is never questioned when Feb. 2 rolls around each year. What exactly is Groundhog Day and why is it celebrated?

In 1887, Groundhog Day was popularized in Punxsutawney by German immigrants when a groundhog was proclaimed as a new weather diviner — he (or she) would tell them whether winter would continue for six more weeks or if spring was on its way.  The custom maintained that if the groundhog had a shadow, winter would continue. If no shadow appeared, spring would arrive shortly.

This funny custom derives from the Celtic Pagan tradition called “Imbolc”, a celebration that occurs annually on Feb. 2. The festival celebrates the end of winter at a time where the last of the winter stock was depleted. Families and friends would share their food and enjoy the last days of frigid temperature.

The Catholic Church adopted the tradition in the form of Candlemas, which celebrates Jesus’ first visit to the temple. As with most holidays, it traditionally involves a feast. In Germany, it was customary that the clergy give candles on this holiday and depending on the length of the candles, winter would be longer or shorter.

There are also many song verses that explain if it were sunny on Candlemas, winter would continue and if it were cloudy, spring would come.

“If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.”

We can thank the Germans for determining that the shadow of an animal (specifically a hedgehog) could be used to predict the coming of winter instead of actual weather. Upon immigrating to North America, there were no indigenous hedgehogs on the continent, so German settlers decided the groundhog would be a worthy replacement.

Groundhog Day was an instant hit in North America and remains so to this day. There are tiny parading groundhog weather diviners at several locations across the continent, with a few special rodents in Canada.

Wiarton Willy is the infamous Canadian groundhog, located in Wiarton, Ontario. He is an albino groundhog and spends his days munching on grass and hanging out. He works one day a year and takes his profession very seriously. It is hard work walking out of his den and looking at his shadow — or lack thereof.

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam is the resident weather rodent of the east, with the recently deceased, Winnipeg Willow as the western representative. Brandon Bob in Manitoba and Balzac Billy in Alberta are also contenders for the title of chief groundhog.

This year, a weather catastrophe occurred when the groundhogs did not agree on whether or not winter was coming to an end. Wiarton Willy saw his shadow whereas Shubenacadie Sam did not. People were lost on whether to put their winter coats away or not. Punxsutawney Phil put an end to the debate when his shadow did not appear. He remains the number one source for the day.

There is nothing wrong with wishing and hoping for the end of winter. In Canada, it’s what keeps us alive. But, do we really need an overfed groundhog, or an animal of any kind, to tell us what science and meteorologists do every day?

While saying that…their track records are probably the same.

Happy Groundhog Day!

 

Ontario raises over $700 million for green transit

Tuesday, the Ontario government announced $750 million in funding (in the form of a green bond) for environmentally friendly, low-carbon infrastructure projects, the majority of which is dedicated to transit in the GHTA.

Proceeds from the bond will help fund eight projects that will improve transit, education, health care, and employment across the province.

“Effectively combating climate change requires smart investments in environmentally friendly infrastructure projects such as improving energy efficiency and building more public transit,” Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said in a statement. “Green bonds give all Ontarians the opportunity to invest in climate actions that will protect the environment, strengthen the economy and improve everyday life.”

The funding will go to the following projects:

  1. Eglinton Crosstown LRT: $402 million for things like constructing electric powered transit vehicles that produce near-zero emissions.
  2. York VivaNEXT Bus Rapid Transit Expansion: $100 million to improve access to public transit.
  3. Go Transit Regional Express Rail: $200 million to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using electricity instead of diesel in trains. The funds will also be used for LEED gold-level certification for all Regional Express Rail stations and facilities

Green bonds were pioneered by the World Bank in 2008 as a tool to raise capital for projects with environmental benefits. The government guarantees a return for each investor. The maturity date for paying back the bond is also quite slow — Ontario priced a $750 million bond with a maturity date of January 27, 2023.

This is the second green bond Ontario has issued. The first bond was issued on Oct. 2, 2014 in the amount of $500 million.

Ontario is the first province in Canada to issue green bonds.

D.I.Y Craft Projects: How to glamorize your wardrobe on a budget

Do you have an old pair of jeans or a t-shirt that you love, but they are looking a bit plain or out-of-style? D.I.Y fashion projects are a great way to revitalize your wardrobe while saving money! It can also turn into a fun afternoon with friends.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few fun D.I.Y projects that will leave you walking away with some great new pieces for your closet:

http://luneblog.com/

Bleaching your shirt with a funky phrase: Bleach can be a pain to work with, but it also has serious craft potential. Transform a simple, plain t-shirt or tank top into an original one-of-a-kind piece of clothing by creating your own quote or phrase.

  1. Place a flat sheet of cardboard inside your shirt. This will provide an even surface for your design and will stop the bleach from bleeding through. With a piece of white chalk, sketch out your design. Don’t worry if you need to smudge out chalk lines. They wash out once your painting is done.
  1. Secure your shirt by folding the sides under the cardboard, using elastics or clips to keep it from slipping. Prepare a small bowl with non-diluted, fabric safe bleach. Have your towel on hand to wipe up any drips.
  1. It’s time to make your design permanent! Dip your brush in the bleach and drag it on the edge of the bowl to eliminate dripping. Use steady strokes to trace the chalk lines of your design. For an even bleach line, you will need to reload your brush every two inches. You will quickly see your design appear, like magic!
  1. Continue to trace your design until you reach the end. Take a break, and return in a few minutes once the bleach has had time to react with the fabric of your shirt. Are there un-even spots or light areas? No problem. Simply go back in with your bleach filled brush and even out the design.
  1. Once you’re pleased with how your shirt looks, let the piece sit in the sun for an hour or more. This will allow the bleach to process and lighten. Depending on the cotton content of your shirt, the color of your design will range from dark red, to orange, to pink, all the way to white. Rinse and hand wash your shirt, and hang to dry. Your design is now permanent, safe to wash with like colors, and ready to wear.

Adapted from http://luneblog.com/

 

DIY-2

Studded converse shoes: Converse are a pretty hip shoe, but their plain-Jane style can get a bit boring after awhile. Here is a way to glam up your shoes on a budget and also cover up any mud stains if you have a lighter colored shoe.

  1. You’ll need around 40 studs per shoe for a 7.5 size shoe and some E6000 glue. This strong glue will ensure those studs stay on despite the rain and much it may travel through.
  2. In a well-ventilated area glue your studs onto the outer edges of your shoe, working your way from the bottom to the top. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before wearing them. Save a few extra studs in case you lose one at some point. If any are going to fall off they’ll probably go in the first day or two!

Adapted from http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/11/make-your-own-studded-converse.html

D.I.Y cut-up back: There is nothing sexier than a shirt that reveals a bit of your back. SweetCandyLine teaches D.I.Y lovers how to covert a regular tee into a masterpiece using a pair of scissors and a little bit of ingenuity. Watch the live video to learn how!

Posted by SweetCandyLine, adapted from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTO_Atwt8ThyDAvLrvAZ7kQ

DIY 3 headband12

Celtic headband made from old t-shirt: Here is a great D.I.Y that uses an old t-shirt to make a beautiful headband. It is a great way to recycle old clothing and create inexpensive accessories from your hair.

  1. Cut a strip from the t-shirt and stretch it until the material is thin.
  2. Cut the strip into two parts.
  3. Tie into Celtic knot (pictured above)
  4. Tie the headband together and as an extra option, cover with another piece of material to hide the tie.
  5. Enjoy your new hairpiece!

Adapted from http://www.jsonline.com/features/fashion/Old-T-shirt-becomes-DIY-headband-bracelet-230900631.html

 

Add-a-little-bling-to-your-collar

D.I.Y CD Bling Collar: CDs are becoming a thing of the past and this D.I.Y provides a creative, easy, and seriously fashionable way to re-use the groovy tunes.

  1. Place CDs in hot water for five minutes to remove plastic covering.
  2. Cut CD in half.
  3. Remove plastic coating on the CD.
  4. Cut up CD into pieces (be careful not to hurt yourself).
  5. Use crazy glue to stick the pieces onto a collared shirt (or make a shape on another shirt).
  6. Voila! Here is your new blinged up shirt!

Adapted From http://followfashion.nl/diy-fashion-report-pimp-je-kraag

 

 

Building community

The Women’s Post office is a hub of activity, but unlike most media companies our work revolves around the stories we write and the charity work that our publisher, Sarah Thomson, is focused on at Civic Alliance and the Transit Alliance. Readers will notice that while we carry the usual fashion and passion stories we also write about city building – creating strong healthy communities. We believe that the future is shaped by the passion and commitment we put into building community and that each one of us has a duty to give back to the community. And we hope that you the reader can share in our passion.

This year the Transit Alliance is working on a series of seminars focused on educating our public servants at the municipal level with the goal in to update the entrenched procedures and processes that are no longer competitive or productive. The focus will be to share new ideas, and new ways to structure our large infrastructure projects in order to ensure efficiencies.

To that end our first seminar on Feb. 16, 2016 will involve a lot of terrific infrastructure leaders donating their times to moving our region forward. With the help of terrific leaders like Bert Clark, CEO of Infrastructure Ontario and Bruce McCuaig, CEO of Metrolinx who are both committed to building our communities. Tickets are available here.

The Transit Alliance will once again host the Toronto Region Vision Summit in April our goal is to develop a 50 year vision for the entire region. If you would like to take part early-bird tickets are now on sale here.

The Transit Alliance is also working on a series of education campaigns. Each campaign is focused on a key issue essential to unlocking gridlock and creating stronger and safer communities. The campaigns cover the need to fund infrastructure with user fees like tolls; the importance of the smart relief subway line; and updating our safety standards for road hardware and making our roads safer.  If you would like to help the Transit Alliance, or take part in our initiatives, please become a member here.

This year Civic Alliance will be focused on educating the public on the environment and the importance of lowering our carbon footprint in housing, as well as the use of electric vehicles.

We hope you enjoy the work we are doing and will join us in our effort to build a safer, stronger Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.