Why I Do What I Love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

In the Spice Rack is a labor of love for me. On this day of celebrating LOVE, I want to share with you the WHY.

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I’ve mentioned briefly that my life has not gone at all the way I planned. As I entered college, I had a definitive plan – get my 4-year degree, then a Masters and possibly a doctorate. Write music, play and sing all over the world. Teach. I never planned on getting “rich,” but music was my passion. I lived and breathed music and I was pretty good at it.

I did not anticipate a lengthy list of things that would stand in my way. My teacher left my university and I never really connected with a mentor after that. I experienced a horrible time with depression. A diagnosis of fibromyalgia came when I was around 20. School and life circumstances left me burnt out, sad, lonely, and broken. I had many surgeries, culminating in a partial hysterectomy at age 25. I made myself small inside, because I didn’t think I deserved my dreams.

However…

Today I look at these obstacles as rare gifts.

The gifts give me the opportunity to think outside of the box, and to use my creativity as a tool.

It is not easy for me to do things differently from people around me. I compare myself to others, and ask myself, “Wouldn’t it be easier to go get a regular job?” It would offer stability and structure. But, I would not be happy with this choice long term. I would be building someone else’s dream.

I am doing this because it is my life’s work. I want to inspire you to do the same. I want to live an extraordinary life. I want to share my dream with you.

My Dream

I view life like a spice rack.

You can start off with the same basic ingredients, but how your mixture will taste depends on the herbs, spices, and flavorings you put into it. Your mixture will be different from your neighbor. You might add more or less orange flavoring, with pecan sprinkles on top and a dash of cinnamon.

I have a lot of friends who also make jewelry, but we all do it differently. Even if we all made the same items, they would be put together differently! We each speak to different people’s hearts. There is room for everyone!

I want to help people reach their own unique dreams.

I want to simultaneously fulfill my dreams.

What sorts of things fill up my Life Spice Rack?

  • Music is still a big important part of my life! – listening to and sharing music that I love!
  • Connecting with people in my community – Part of this for me is being involved at my church, Downtown United Presbyterian Church
  • Writing poetry
  • Creating crafts and jewelry
  • Playing board games, video games, and role playing games
  • Learning about the world and different cultures
  • Eating organic food in the right combinations and amounts
  • Learning what exercises my body can do, and trying to push my boundaries when I can!
  • Using personal care products and cleaning products that are safe for my body – I am extremely sensitive to chemicals.
  • Writing stories that give lessons and entertain
  • Writing music!
  • Playing the violin and singing
  • Helping and caring for others

Soon, I am going to announce my next step and I want you to come along with me!

Stay tuned!

And have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Love, Cori!

Recycling Old Crayons into New Heart Shaped Crayons!

I have been reading for years on blogs and Pinterest about people who recycled crayons into new crayons in fun shapes. I wanted to try it for myself! Here are my results!crayon hearts 1How I did it:

Most of the steps should be done by grown-ups. I will note which parts are kid-friendly!

1. First, I purchased or found at home a mold that would work. I tried two different molds.

Here is an Amazon Affiliate link to the one I purchased and the one I preferred: Wilton 2105-2588 Bite Sized 20-Cavity Heart Dessert Shell Pan

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This pan has a non-stick coating which actually works great for this project! And the heart indentation is fabulous, too!

I also tried a silicon heart shaped ice cube tray from IKEA – the hearts were quite cute, but not as pretty as the Wilton-pan ones! I also pretty much ruined the silicon tray, as you can see.

ikea heart

2. Find crayons! I reused crayons from my childhood.

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3. Remove the paper from the crayon. You could have older kids do this with their nails, but I don’t recommend it, unless you want to give your kids a very time consuming project and potential paper cuts.

I used an X-Acto Knife to cut the paper off, as if I was peeling a carrot. (In this same way, you could also slice shavings off the crayons to put into the molds.) This part is definitely for grown-ups if using a knife!

4. Next, I broke the crayons into pieces. I went with larger pieces – break the crayon into half, and then each new piece into half. This can be hard, depending on the crayon and size, so use the knife if needed. You could cut them into smaller sizes if you desire, or use crayon shavings. I used big chunks because it was less time consuming.

5. The Kid Part! Sort your crayon pieces into your mold.

crayon hearts 2

I put mine into 2-3 color combinations – reds and oranges, oranges and browns, yellow and greens, blue and greens, blue green and yellow, purples and reds… you get the idea! FYI – I made a few with rainbow colors and they ended up looking like a mushy brown mess.

You want to fill them loosely to the top for a nice thick crayon.

crayon hearts 1

6. Silver, Gold, Bronze, Fluorescent, and White crayons make excellent accents. Put these on the very bottom of the mold to utilize them the best!

gold

7. Put your tray into a pre-heated oven set to 250 degrees F. Melt for 10-12 minutes. You may need to adjust the time depending on your oven and the crayons you use, but mine were completely melted within 12 minutes.

8. Let your new crayons cool completely.

9. Turn your mold over onto a flat surface. Crayons should slide out easily. I only had to give a gentle tap a couple of times.

10. Enjoy your new crayons!

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Ways you can enjoy your new crayons

  • Use the wide surface to make pattern rubbings.
  • Give them as party favors!
  • Lines aren’t always meant to be followed – color outside of the lines with your wild new crayons!
  • I used them as marketing! Since crayons were a commodity I had on hand, I paired a new crayon with a Valentine’s Day printable and a business card. Voila, marketing!

DSC_2165DSC_2166Love, Cori!

P.S. I have some of these for sale in my shop right here!

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crayon bags 2

30 Day Push Goals!

Fly free!

A friend of mine invited me to join Chalene Johnson’s 30-Day Challenge.

I have been feeling unmotivated and lacking real focus. Doing things 30 days at a time appeals to me, so I said a resounding Yes!

We are now on day five, but you can join in any time. It is free, and will totally “PUSH” your boundaries.

I am already making new friends and getting refocused on my priorities.

Love, Cori!

Staying in the Safe Zone

Cori inthespicerack.com

January 2013

The Safe Zone – I don’t mean feeling physically safe.  (That should be a basic human right!)  No, in this context I mean the zone we might stay in to stay emotionally comfortable.

Each person has their own codes and ethics, morals and rules to live by.  We learn these from our families, friends, environments.  As we grow, we give ourselves tune-ups, expanding our definitions and pushing our boundaries.

In the past, I found myself in a deep rut, bound by a safe zone.  I couldn’t move! I felt that no matter what I decided, someone would be hurt or upset.  But, not “moving” meant stagnation, which was unhealthy.

To solve this issue, it took a lot of very tiny decisions on my part, until I felt able to make larger ones. To be completely honest, the biggest change in my most recent life was my father going into the hospital and then passing away. This moved me from inaction to complete action. I knew what I had to do.

I don’t drive very much due to anxiety. One time while I was working in Pittsburgh, I drove myself to get dinner at a fast food place, and on the way home, I experienced hysterical blindness. My eyes were completely open, but there was nothing but a curtain of black in front of me. It did not last long – thank goodness! After a few seconds, and a car honking behind me, my adrenaline kicked in and I was able to get back to the hotel. This scare put me off driving for many years. I would drive a mile away to the grocery store, but that was about it.

When my father went into the hospital, I started driving there every day to visit him. It is a 15 minute drive, and fairly straight forward, but I still had the occasional panic attack. There was no question in my mind though – not going was not an option. I HAD to be there, and I had to do it myself. My dad was my inspiration. After all of the things he’s done for me in my life, it was the least I could do for him – to show up!

In a way, I needed this huge life altering change, but I wish it had been for different reasons.

Before that happened however, I was making other changes.

  • Contacting friends on Facebook that I hadn’t talked to in a while
  • Taking walks outside
  • Choosing what I wanted to eat
  • Deciding what to eat before I was hungry, instead of waiting until I was starving and then scarfing everything in sight
  • Instead of eating when I was stressed, I would create something

These changes were so hard for me at first. Taking a walk consisted of 2 minutes walking up and down the driveway. That was all I could do! But, soon I could do 5 minutes! By June when Dad was in the hospital, I could walk all over the hospital without falling over. This was huge for me. I still had to stop and rest sometimes, but I could do it!

In December, I was invited to a caroling party. We walked up and down the street in the snow, stopping at various houses and even a restaurant to sing. It wasn’t until I was heading back to our base that I felt truly exhausted. A few years ago, this would have been impossible for me. Even Skotte was impressed at my stamina!

These challenges have been extremely hard for me. Without the support of medicine that aids my anxiety and fibromyalgia, friends/family who help and listen when I need to vent, and my willingness to be connected to the world around me, this new adventure would not be possible.

If I can do it, so can you!

Some of the huge changes I thought I had to make to get out of my emotionally safe zone ended up not being needed at all. I could have made them, and had some of the same results. There really is no one way to accomplish things in our lives. However, you have to find out what works best for YOU!

But the first step is being willing to do it!

Are you ready???

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December 2013

Holding one of my Christmas presents from Skotte

Love, Cori!