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  • Writer's pictureElana

showered with love

Introducing my first guest blogger: Jordana Zur! *****************

Hello Soul Diver readers!

My name is Jordana, and I’m Elana’s younger sister. She has honoured me with this week’s blog post. Hopefully I will do Soul Diver justice – she leaves big shoes to fill!

As many of you may know, Elana is not alone in her journey to leave what’s expected to find out what’s right. I was called to the Ontario Bar last year, and just as soon as I became a lawyer, I also became unemployed. While I have been working hard to find the right employment position over the last year, I have also decided to take advantage of this time period and become FUNemployed, as we like to call it.

Elana and I have an older sister, Tamara, who is engaged to be married on July 7, 2013. As the bridesmaids, we decided to use our free time wisely and throw Tamara a bridal shower at the end of May. And what a bridal shower it was! Elana and I put all of our creative efforts into making it a truly special day for our beloved Mara.

A great resource for the funemployed is Pinterest, the online pin-board with pretty pictures and links to crafty creations. It can also be a person’s worst nightmare as a vehicle for procrastination. (“I’m only going to scroll to the end of the page… which loads new pins, which I will now scroll through…”)

Elana and I took to Pinterest and created a secret board with ideas for Tamara’s shower. We went crazy pinning themes, food ideas, decorations, and the likes. We decided on a Scrabble theme, since Tamara and her fiancé Will are serious Scrabble competitors. We saw pictures to adorable centrepieces and decorations, most of which were available for purchase online or at Michaels stores.

One of the lessons I learned was that Martha Stewart must be a rich lady, since she charges $21.99 for a pack of crepe paper flowers that you can make yourself for $0.99 and a little help from my friend YouTube.

Above: Martha’s paper flowers, available for sale at an exorbitant cost. Below: my own beautiful, less expensive paper flower creations.

While Martha Stewart may have made a product for consumers who can’t spare the 90 seconds to watch the YouTube video and make these flowers themselves, I had the time to experiment with this project hands-on. It made me realize how much more satisfying it can be to make something from nothing, to create something with your own two hands. And that was only the beginning…

We designed and printed the shower invitations ourselves. We relieved certain paint stores of their coral and mint green paint swatches to punch our own flower confetti. We collected twigs from the backyard and glued on wedding-themed words in Scrabble tiles for the centrepieces and food tables. We used paper doilies and pink ribbon to fashion mini-gowns. We used Scrabble letters to label the finger foods and desserts. We made personalized advice cards for our shower guests to share their advice for a long and happy marriage, along with a photo-album-turned-advice-book for our lovely bride. We had one of Elana’s amazing friends (hi Erica!) make Scrabble themed cupcakes. We printed pictures of Tamara throughout her life for a “Guess the Bride’s Age” game. We printed banners, cut ribbon, glued paper and stamped stamps until we felt like honest to goodness Martha Stewarts ourselves.

(See below for a photo journey of the decorations and foods from the shower at the end of this post.)

One of the advantages of being unemployed and penniless is that you learn to be much more resourceful and imaginative when faced with obstacles. Everything we did for this bridal shower involved some aspect of hands-on creativity. All my life, I have been taught and trained to cultivate my intellectual capacity and productivity. While I still enjoy academic pursuits, the past year has allowed me to experiment in arts and crafts and hobbies of a tactical nature. I improved in my crochet abilities and difficulty of projects. I learned calligraphy and artistic lettering. I made handmade gifts and gift cards for special occasions. Lately I have observed that my generation seems to be returning to these sorts of artisanal vocations – for example, dye cutting, press printing, crocheting and knitting, stamping, sewing and textiles, painting and sketching, jewellery creation, ceramics and mosaics.

Whether it’s because of the grim job market, the overqualification of young professionals, or any other influence, we may see a return to a simpler time when occupations involved trades, skills and crafts. Perhaps we are beginning to value the feel of something in the hand, something we created rather than purchased with money. I for one am happy to have found several crafts that provide relief and satisfaction outside of my professional vocation. It was a pleasure to be able to create a bridal shower for my sister, as opposed to merely pulling one together.

Another benefit of all of this hands-on craftiness was the time spent with Elana and those loved ones who helped us bring this shower to life (here’s lookin’ at you, Hannah). So rarely do we get sufficient time to enjoy the company of our family and friends, so rare are the opportunities to sit at a table and engage in arts & crafts while sharing the news of our lives. It was a blessing that Elana and I were able to come together (geographically and temporally) to prepare for the shower. I miss my sister on the West Coast and am so thankful to have such an inspiring, caring, hilarious friend in her beside me.

Tamara would tell you that all of this time spent preparing for her shower was tough on her – plans were made, phone calls and get-togethers and errands all on her behalf, but not including her. We were working on a project for Tamara’s benefit but she had little to no involvement in its execution. However, once Tamara walked into the room and absorbed the amount of effort put in by her sisters, friends and family, I can only imagine that she realized the extent – the breadth and depth and intensity – of our love for her.

Hours and hours of preparation and work, countless glue gun sticks, innumerable Pinterest ideas, and a hefty amount of creativity went into making her day as special as possible. All of our efforts were for her, to shower her with attention and admiration, to congratulate her on this important milestone, to give her our best and most heartfelt wishes of luck and happiness… to tell her how much we love her. Every minute spent in pursuit of the perfect bridal shower was a reflection of how much we value her love and friendship… and every minute was well worth it.

We love you, Tamara, and wish you all the best in this exciting time in your life.

the invitations, advice cards & date night ideas treasure box

our shower gift to Tamara & Will

the crafty decorations and delicious food

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