Photo of front lawn and lake of cottage property. Photo Couresty Random Acts of Creativity

Life is beautifully, wonderfully and insanely busy.  It makes me grateful for the zen times when my squirrelly brain takes a much needed hiatus.

Meditation or yoga may be the relaxation drug of choice for many but mine is art.  I create to calm.  Fortunately, I have two friends who feel the exact same way.  We are the Crafty Girls and we LOVE our Cottage Getaways!

Our getaway this fall was essentially 3 days of continuous art.  Paula, Lori and I ate, drank, and created every waking hour.  It was amazing!

We all learn from each other, having three completely different backgrounds when it comes to the creative realm.


Paula is first and foremost a photographer.  Her company, Purple Door Creative, is becoming a powerhouse in the local real estate and business industry.  She can make any house look compelling and her marketing campaigns are fashion-forward.  She is also incredibly talented with painting and papercraft being her most visited creative outlets.


Lori is a professional artist.  She paints incredible pictures and is a colour savant.  I once asked her to mix a flesh colour for me.  She took several colours and within a minute had mixed a sample of paint that perfectly matched her inner arm skin colour.  It was impressive!  Lori’s company, Be A Part of the Art With Lori, has some great timelapse videos on her Facebook page of her work in action.


My background is much more crafty.  I am a knitter, crocheter, card maker, painter and general crafter.  My mother passed along her skill of handicrafts to me and I am grateful for everything she taught me.  I have an art room full of every type of crafting material imaginable and can literally get lost in creating a beautiful card for someone dear.

The Crafty Girls Cottage Getaway requires that each person arrive with a craft idea and supplies.  We spend weeks researching activities and run ideas by each other first to ensure manageability.  The activities are challenging but produce art that is beautiful, functional where possible,  and always high quality.

Our three crafts this session were:  Fluid Acrylic Pour Paining (Paula), Paint Nite (Lori) and Origami (Lisa).  Stay tuned for pictures and explanations of each activity.

But wait there’s more!  We have exciting news!  We are planning to create a Crafty Girls Cottage Retreat.  Four to six women would be housed and dined with all craft supplies and instruction by the three of us included.  All skill levels will be accommodated.  We are currently working out the details but will be announcing our first retreat soon!

Creativity changes and challenges your brain.  What better way to be creative than with friends, food and lots of wine?















Water covered rocks photo on the shore of Lake Simcoe. Photo Courtesy Purple Door Creative

Being a crafty girl has so many benefits; great friends, great conversations, great food, and great creative challenges.  The Crafty Girls Cottage Getaway (CGCG) was created for those exact purposes.

The first activity in our three day craft-fest was fantastic and earned Paula the much anticipated THREE GOLD STAR rating!  You can get all the messy details of our first craft, The Dirty Pour, here:

Lori’s craft was next on the docket.  We were originally going to keep our activities secret until the actual event but we decided that we would share in advance just in case research was involved.  When Lori first mentioned her craft, she feared it was lame compared to ours and had lamented to us on our Facebook event page about the vast lameness of her choice. Boy, was she wrong!!


Lori had decided that we were going to paint rocks.  There is a much larger story here but I will get there in due time.

Photo of shore of Lake Simcoe. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Rocky shore of Lake Simcoe. So many crafty options!

At the end of Day One, as our Dirty Pour paintings began their long drying process, we headed out to collect our supplies.  Our portion of the north shore of Lake Simcoe is very rocky so we were presented with an enormous amount of choices.  I should probably mention that, at this point in the day, we might have imbibed in a few cocktails and were feeling quite giddy following our painting successes.

Water shoes donned, we combed the shore looking for the perfect rock.  We found thousands … literally.

Photo of rocky shore of Lake Simcoe. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Rocks on the north shore of Lake Simcoe, including shells, crayfish parts and lake glass

Wading into the water, we looked for rocks with flat surfaces that would provide a nice painting surface.

Feet and legs in the water of rocky lake bottom. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Water shoes protecting feet from the slippery algae on the rocks.

Paula, of course, had a plan for her rocks.  She was thinking ahead to find specific sizes and shapes for her creative ideas.  Lori and I were more like aquatic magpies, merely searching for the pretty rocks.  Eventually, while Paula continued her seriously stony search, Lori and I turned to throwing rocks and taking selfies.  Kids these days!

Layout photo of throwing rocks and taking a selfie. Photos courtesy Purple Door Creative
Lori and I goofing around. Everyone loves throwing rocks in the water!

We left our rocks on the dock to dry overnight and settled in for an evening of great food and great wine.

Photo of rocks drying on a dock. Photo Courtesy Purple Door Creative
Rocks left to dry overnight on the dock.  Wine time!!


After a satisfying sleep and tasty breakfast, we hit the craft tables early.  We had collected a silly amount of rocks but brought them all up to the cottage for potential painting.


Now for the story behind this activity.  Lori lives in a town called Hastings, a smallish community outside Peterborough in Ontario.  Two Hastings residents wanted to do something special for Canada’s 150th anniversary and created a town-wide activity called Hastings Rocks.  The tagline is FIND A ROCK, PAINT A ROCK, HIDE A ROCK.

In May, Eric Farley and Lynn Rogers launched a Facebook page where they encouraged people of all ages to paint rocks, attain a number for the back of each rock, and hide the rocks a few days before Canada Day on July 1st.  Ultimately, the goal was to have 150 rocks in total.  When a participant found a rock, they were encouraged to tag a photo of the rock and post it on the Hastings Rock page.

Here is a link for more information on Hastings Rocks:


Lori was given numbers 103 through 112 for our rocks prior to the CGCG so we were handed the task of painting ten rocks in total.  Unsurprisingly, ten rocks turned into fifteen rocks and then fifteen turned into twenty rocks.  It was incredibly hard to stop painting our Canada-themed stones!

Here are our offerings:

Photo of three painted rocks: hockey sticks, inukshuk and white maple leaf with red polka dots. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative.
Lisa’s three Canadian-themed painted and numbered rocks!


Photo of three Canada-themed rocks Haida whale, beaver and moose rocks for the Hastings Rocks event. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Three of Paula’s amazing rocks. Just the beginning ….


Photo of four painted rocks for Hastings Rock Canada Day event. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Lori’s amazing rocks! Check out that curling maple leaf.

These rocks were numbered, sealed, and put into the pool of rocks for the Hastings Rock Event.

Photo of eleven painted rocks for Hastings Rocks Canada Day event. Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Here is the full offering for the Hastings Rocks Event!

Somehow, we managed to slip in more than the required 10 rocks.  Lori had a brainstorm …

Photo of Tim Hortons Coffee cup inspired rock painting! Photo courtesy Purple Door Creative
Bet you can’t resist trying to roll up the rim on Lori’s Canada-themed coffee cup!


In the days leading up to and following Canada Day, we were thrilled to see pictures of our rocks that had been found.  It was also amazing to see all the other painted rocks as well.  Some people chose to keep their rocks and replaced them with one of their own, others re-hid them and some just chose to love their new-found Canadian craft.

Photo of Canadian-themed rocks from Hastings Rocks Facebook Group page. Photo courtesty Lynn Rogers
Profile Photo from Hastings Rocks Facebook Group Page showing just some of the art that would eventually be hidden. Can’t get more Canadian than this!


Of course, we were not done painting rocks after our Hastings Rocks were completed.  Painting rocks is very addictive! I just had to have one of Paula’s Moose rocks.  I decided to paint some goldfish and lily pads on one to keep all for myself.  Paula also painted a beautifully colourful turtle.

Photo of team and purple moose painted on a rock. Photo courtesy Random Acts of Creativity
Paula wanted to make a moose in her favourite colours! Well done!
Photo of goldfish painted on rock. Photo courtesy Random Acts of Creativity
Goldfish rock painted, sealed and ready to hide out in the garden!
Photo of painted rock turtle. Photo courtesy Random Acts of Creativity
Paula painted this turtle for my garden! It looks great among the pink and orange flowers.

Last, but not least, is the face that Lori uncovered in this small rock.  It has found a home nestled along with the river rock in one of my gardens.

Photo of a rock with a painted face nestled in amongst garden river rock. Photo courtesy Random Acts of Creativity
Rock face hidden among the garden river rock.

Lori’s craft was deemed NOT LAME and was given the coveted THREE GOLD STAR rating!  A friend of mine was  even inspired to paint rocks with her lady friends during Canada Day weekend.  Thank you, Hastings Rocks, for giving us such an inspirational craft!

This, of course, made me (Lisa) very nervous about Day Three.  Stay Tuned!













Creativity with Toilet Paper Rolls


Whenever I decide to contact a Community TV station for a science demo or put together a few easy experiments to do with kids, they all involve three things:

  • Science
  • Art
  • Easily found objects from my home or dollar store

Toilet paper rolls are plentiful in my house, especially when all the girls are home.  I save every empty roll.  Every. Last. One.

Although there are some really fun science experiments that can be done with toilet paper rolls, I would like to focus on art in this post.

Even though I consider myself to be an artist, I am not proficient at painting or drawing real life objects.  Fortunately, I have carried over my finger-painting skills from when I was a child.

As a kid, painting with your whole hands is fun mostly because its messy.  As an adult, finger-painting makes us feel like a kid again!  It is essentially play.

Play is one of the best things we can do for our brain.  It’s really difficult to think about anything other than the paper when your fingers are coated in brightly coloured paint. Play makes the time fly and we feel a certain sense of accomplishment or exhilaration when we are done.

If you are one of the finger-painting squeamish, you could use a toilet paper roll and some watercolour paper.

For the picture below, I cut the bottom half of a roll into a hula fringe, with each piece being about a centimetre wide.  After fanning the hula skirt out 90 degrees from the roll, I dipped the fringe into paint that I had poured onto wax paper.

Swirling the fringe around on a piece of paper creates a pretty circular pattern. Once I was I happy with the affect, I dipped the toilet roll paint brush into another colour of paint for more swirls.

I added  blue, green, and purple swirls but I wanted more shapes.  Dipping the end of the paper tube into black paint allowed me to stamp circles all over my paper; that was the start of some serious black paint improv.

Several  finger swirls, dots and circles added some interest to the paper.  Afterward, I grabbed a white gel pen and grease marker and decorated the black shapes.  Some final loops and crossed with a black pen and I was done!

This piece of painted watercolour paper met with the sharp edge of a paper trimmer and became the background for a greeting card. I love creating art out of everyday objects like toilet paper rolls. They are like snowflakes.  Each one is different and equally as beautiful.