It is so exciting that Christmas is just around the corner! Soon we will be able to relax and spend much needed time with family and friends. The houses are filled with festive decorations, happy twinkling lights and perhaps even Christmas trees that are dressed and gleaming with beauty. Delicious savoury dishes and the sweet smell of cookies and cakes will be wafting through the house. Soon, excited children will be eagerly waiting for Santa and their chance to discover the wondrous gifts that were left for them laying beneath the Christmas tree.
Yet there are many families who wish all the best for their children – twinkling lights, festive dinner dishes, wonderful presents – but are unable to provide those things for many reasons. There are those who have many material things, but have no families to share it with. There are those who are even less fortunate and are freezing in the Toronto streets with nothing and no one at all.
We hope that even with all the festive excitement we may find at least a little bit of time to reflect on those who are less fortunate and to find it in ourselves the desire to help in whatever way we can. We are all connected in one way or another. Every small act of compassion opens up our heart and makes us more aware of true love for our neighbors and the Divine nature that connects us all.
The Nutmeg organization is an amazing team of very generous and openhearted individuals who provide free, fun and safe soccer training and educational sessions for under-served children and youth in Toronto. We were honoured to be part of their final class of the season and to see the excitement and pure joy of the children as they received their Christmas snack-packs and presents from Santa that were generously donated by those involved.
Giving does not have to be difficult. It does not have to be material or elaborate. It can come in the form of the smallest gestures and a few kind words. Sometimes the smallest things matter the most and have endless effects. Giving sends ripples of love through the universe that touch so many people.
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
– Luke 6:38
We would like to thank all our Designed To Life customers for indirectly contributing to this cause. Remember, giving with an open heart makes all the difference, and with your support, we can help and support others.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas!
It’s that time of the year… Red Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday! Crazy sales! Unbelievable deals on merchandise! And on and on and on.
There will be no such sales or deals on our Designed To Life website.
In fact, I would ask that you, dear reader, take a pledge not to buy anything unnecessary this weekend at all.
Avoid the crazy line ups, the mad parking lots, the packed streets and highways of people losing their mind for a special discount, forgetting their humanity and treating fellow human beings with discontent and disrespect.
Take this time as an opportunity to remember your true Divine Nature.
It is quite strange that all this madness occurs around the time of Thanksgiving (celebrated in the United States of America). This should be a day to give thanks for the gifts that we receive throughout our lives, recognizing how lucky we might be to have the food on our plate, a roof over our heads, etc. while many still live in poverty in the metropolitan cities around us and in other parts of the world.
Over the next few days let us transform the sale frenzy of this time, give thanks for the gifts that we receive and help those who are less fortunate than us.
So instead of trying to score a crazy deal on that electronic appliance, share the wealth of your heart with some one else. Spend the time with your close loved ones, reach out to an old friend with whom you may have lost contact, forgive for a misunderstanding, help someone in your community, or donate to your favorite charity. Give to others freely from the depths of your soul.
Do not forget your Divine Nature in this time of frantic consumerism driven weekend frenzy. Remember that you are more than your physical body, open your heart to those around you and share the greatest gift of all – Love.
Spring might finally be around the corner! Err, somewhere… Spring? Where are you? But during those cold winter months we did not sit idly huddled in warm blankets, oh no! We have been working hard on multiple fronts with the goal to update and solidify our brand look and identity.
One of the most important features in presentation of any product, is packaging!
Over the last year we listened to the feedback of our customers and this year our packaging will be feature a short description of the design which appears on the t-shirt, so that you don’t have to rack your brain and remember the fine details of symbolism that is present in the design.
Our biggest hurdle yet has been the designing and building of a multi-functional display that will help us showcase our products better at various marketplaces throughout the year.
This first project is well underway and you can follow the process on our Instagram feed.
While all this is happening our spring and summer has been completely booked! We are gearing up for our first outdoor marketplace on May 6th. Here is a quick list of event in which we will be participating this spring/summer, hope to see you there!
The leaves are falling and it is getting chilly outside. So there is enough time to do one more outdoor event this year before winter will start flexing its muscles! This time we will be setting up tent at the historical Ashbridge Estate in the East end of Toronto. Here are the details:
Date: October 18th, 2015. Hours: Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Admission: Free Location: Ashbridge Estate (1444 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4L 1E1) Map:Click Here
Thank you to everyone who came out last Saturday to the first Etsy: Made in Canada show in Niagara. Your attendance is what made a beautiful day even better for all vendors who set up in the Heartland Forest to showcase their handmade goods.
For such a special event we decided to do a T-shirt giveaway at the show, and finally have our lucky winner!
Congratulations to …
Dear Janet, we will be in contact with you very soon.
To everyone else who stopped by our booth, we would like to say a Big Thank you!
We are happy to have met all of you and sincerely hope you will continue to follow us on our journey in changing the world for the better, one positively infused T-shirt (or print) at a time.
“Change your thoughts if you want to change your circumstances. since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
Big on Bloor Festival was a lot of fun and a great experience for us doing our first outdoor festival. But we are not done yet, as another outdoor event is just days away! Here are the details:
Etsy: Made In Canada (Niagara)
Date: September 26th, 2015. Hours: Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Admission: Free Location: Heartland Forest (8215 Heartland Forest Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2H 0L5) Map:Click Here
“What is Etsy Made in Canada?
Etsy: Made in Canada is a national grassroots initiative celebrating the crafters, collectors and artisans in local communities across Canada. Powered by our community leaders and supported by like-minded partners and community support organizations across the country, Etsy: Made in Canada marketplaces will pop-up in 33 cities on September 26, 2015.
Etsy artisans will sell their handmade wares and vintage goods to local buyers in the markets, each of which will represent the spirit of the local community.”
We will be setting up our tent in the Niagara region, for this nation wide event organized by the Etsy community, and offering our unique and one-of-a-kind products for sale in person. We would love to see you stop by and get to know us in person.
It has been a while since my last post, but we’ve got BIG news! We are less than a month away from being part of our first two-day outdoor festival in Toronto. Details below:
2015 Big On Bloor Festival
Date: August 22nd – 23rd, 2015. Hours: Saturday 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm Admission: Free Location: Bloor Street West (between Dufferin and Lasdowne) Map:Click Here
“BIG on Bloor Festival is one of Toronto’s best. BIG on Bloor is a two-day, car-free summer street celebration of arts, culture and small business. Now in its 8thyear with up to 80,000 people attending on Saturday, August 22 from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. and on Sunday, August 23 from noon until 6 p.m. in Bloordale, Bloor Street from Dufferin to Lansdowne.
Over 50 original hands-on cultural projects have been commissioned especially for festivalgoers to participate in. Make something, learn something, engage and enjoy hundreds of distinct musical and theatre acts, art projects, games, poetry, architecture inventions, one-of-a-kind exhibitions and shops. Let the kids run safe in Susan Tribaili Parkette with PlayByNature. Savor Bloordale’s abundant and diverse food offerings and be introduced to the Bloordale community with improved streetscape, parkettes and community art.”
We have been preparing tirelessly these past months to make this event extra special. Working on our tent setup, lighting, printing more stock and new designs! That is right, new designs! As part of this event we will be releasing three new t-shirt designs and offering paper prints as well. So come on out for some weekend family fun and street entertainment, stop by our tent to say hello and enjoy the festival.
“Behold the Heart that has so loved men … instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude …”
— from Revelations of Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
Brief history and background info:
The sacred heart of Jesus Christ is a symbol that entered the world through the mystical experiences of many Roman Catholic nuns to whom the pierced Heart of the Saviour appeared in visions. Among them were Saint Lutgarde, Saint Mechtilde, Saint Gertrude and Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque who contributed to the expansion/propagation/spreading of devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Yet it was Saint Mary Alocoque who perceived, through many supernatural visions of Christ’s passion, the symbol of the inflamed pierced heart, encircled with thorns. This vision is known as the “great apparition”, which occurred during the octave of Corpus Christi, in June of 1675.
In this vision Jesus entrusted Saint Mary with the mission of propagating the new devotion. Through her perseverance Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11, 1899.
“And He [Christ] showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made Him the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source.”
— fromRevelations of Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque
The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart.
Heart: The heart is the center of being, both physical and spiritual. The heart represents compassion, understanding, love and charity. It also represents the temple of God, His Divine Centre and dwelling place. The heart is the spiritual center of a being. The pierced and bleeding heart alludes to the manner of Jesus’ death and reveals to us Christ’s goodness and charity through his wounds and ultimate sacrifice.
Crown of thorns: A crown is a symbol that represents sovereignty, victory, honour, dignity, reward, the highest attainment, dedication, completeness, the circle of time, of continuity and endless duration. For Christians it is also a symbol of the righteous, blessing and favour, and victory over death. Yet the crown that was placed on Christ’s head was made of thorns to deliberately parody the crown of roses worn by the Roman Emperor. The crown of thorns has thus become the symbol of the Passion and martyrdom of Jesus Christ.
Cross: This is a cosmic symbol from the most remote times that is better than all others. It is a world centre and therefore a point of communication between heaven and earth and a cosmic axis, thus sharing the symbolism of the cosmic tree, mountain, pillar, ladder, etc. The cross represents the Tree of Life and the Tree of Nourishment. It is also a symbol of universal, archetypal man, capable of infinite and harmonious expansion on both the horizontal and the vertical planes. The vertical line embodies the celestial, spiritual and intellectual, positive, active and male aspects, while the horizontal line personifies the earthly, rational, passive, negative and female aspects of the archetypal being. The two lines combined into the cross form the primordial androgyne. The cross also expresses the dualism in nature and the union of opposites and represents spiritual union and the integration of man’s soul in the horizontal-vertical aspects necessary to full life. In Christianity the cross is a symbol of salvation through Christ’s sacrifice. It is redemption, atonement, suffering and a symbol of faith.
Flames or Fire: Transformation, purification, renewal of life, power, strength, energy. Fire facilitates change or passage from one state to the other. Fire manifested as flame symbolizes spiritual power and forces. Fire and flame both represent truth and knowledge as consumers of lies, ignorance, illusion and death.
Light: It is the manifestation of divinity, of cosmic creation. Light is a symbol of life, truth, illumination and a source of goodness. Radiance emitted by light symbolizes new life from divinity and the power of dispelling evil and the forces of darkness. It also embodies the aspects splendor, glory and joy. When illustrated the straight line usually represents light and the undulating line is symbolically heat; light and heat are symbolically complementary and polarize the element of fire.
The sacred heart is a symbol of great self sacrifice and unconditional divine love for all beings captured in the actions and deeds of Jesus Christ. When our love and compassion overcomes and sacrifices our own ego, our spirit will be liberated and transform our entire being into a holy one. If we align ourselves with meaning of the Sacred Heart and the liberating vibration of Christ consciousness, this great symbol can become a gateway for us to change the world through our expression of unequivocal, genuine love. So let us love one another unconditionally.
Christmas markets are popping up all over the city this holiday season! And we have the pleasure to be part of, and will be appearing at, two local Christmas markets this year in the GTA. We will have some special holiday creations for sale (more information will come closer to the date of the events), we will be debuting a new t-shirt design, as well as, feature our current line-up of goodies! So without further ado, here is what you need to know about the upcoming Christmas markets:
2014 Winter ArtFest Date: November 29th – 30th, 2014. Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Admission: Free Location: Neilson Park Creative Centre (56 Neilson Drive, Etobicoke) Map:Click Here
“Join us at Neilson Park Creative Centre for Winter Artfest, an indoor art and craft event with almost 60 artists and artisans showing and selling their original work. You’ll find fine art, pottery, jewelry, soaps, woodwork, lotions, and more! Great for holiday gift ideas!”
Fair December (9th Annual Unique Craft & Gift Sale) Date: December 6th – 7th, 2014. Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Admission: Adults: $4 | Seniors: $2 | Children under 12: Free Location: Queen Elizabeth School (60 South Service Rd., Mississauga) Map:Click Here
Fair December will be celebrating its ninth year, bringing over 50 talented artisans together in one creative hub for you and your family to explore and enjoy. Shop for ceramics, felted scarves, fragrant soaps, stained glass and many more unique hand-crafted gifts. There will also be a silent auction and a café where homemade sweets and savouries will be offered for sale.
Fair December is hosted by the Queen Elizabeth Public School Council, and made possible through the volunteer efforts of parents, staff and students — with special assistance from “The Blister Sisters” forThe Weekend to End Women’s Cancers benefiting The Princess Margaret.
Proceeds from the event and silent auction will bedirected to the following beneficiaries:
One Walk to Conquer Cancer (Benefiting The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) – visit the “Blister Sisters” page to make a direct donation
Queen Elizabeth Public School Council
Two weekends packed back to back with holiday cheer! Come out, find us and say hello as we take part in our first two Holiday Markets this year. Each venue will have much to offer and you can get your Christmas shopping done early!
For more information on the upcoming events visit these website links to learn more about Winter Artfest and Fair December marketplaces.
The 2014 Holiday Season is approaching and fast! This means that cold snaps and snow storms, tobogganing and hot chocolate, Christmas and holiday cheer are also on the way! During this hectic and sometimes crazy time, we are often searching for something special to give a loved one for Christmas and through the act of giving show them our love and appreciation. We often find that special gift in an online store, but the last thing we want is for it to arrive late!
Luckily Canada Post has already provided us with suggested mailing dates to ensure that your holiday package arrives on time. Here is the information that you need to know:
Regular Parcel – December 11th Xpresspost – December 22nd Priority – December 23rd
To the United States:
Regular Parcel – December 8th Xpresspost – December 16th Priority Worldwide – December 22nd
Rest of the World:
Air Parcels/Packets – December 1st Xpresspost – December 8th Priority Worldwide – December 18th
When shopping online keep these dates in mind and may all your Christmas gifts arrive on-time this holiday season! Otherwise, we will have to have a friendly chat with Santa about these suggested mailing dates!
Since the last post some exciting updates have taken place to the website that you may or may not have been aware of.
Over the past little while our website has become more secure. Designed To Life has acquired a Domain validation SSL certificate. What does this mean? A SSL certificate is intended to ensure the identity of a remote computer and also prove your identity to that remote computer. It is the best way to protect user data and defend against identity theft, as sensitive information is encrypted and remains private. The data between you and our servers is now encrypted with 128-bit (up to 256-bit) encryption of customer data. Both 256- and 128-bit encryption are industry standard for data protection. Most online stores have this SSL encryption in place.
How do you know that a website is secure? Just look for a lock symbol (which you can click on to obtain additional information about the security protocol) in the address bar and an additional letter ‘s‘ in the website’s full web address (eg. https://www.designedtolife.com). These signs denote that the page you are viewing is secure.
This is an important first step for us before we setup our official online store, as we hope to sell our designs directly from this website in the future and establish our brand identity online. The acquired SSL certificate will help you know that when you visit designedtolife.com the information that you share with us is secure and encrypted, so no malefic outside source may be able to intercept and steal that information now or in the future should you decide to share private information with us to make a purchase on our site. Once the shop is set up, sometime in the not so distant future, we will still continue to use PayPal to securely conduct transactions as an additional measure to protect your information and data until we will be confident in the best security of our own site.
Security is important to us and so is obtaining your confidence in our site and brand identity, so that we may live up to our followers highest expectations. But in order to achieve that high standard preliminary steps must be taken. Slowly, but surely, we have been taking them. So good news all around for everyone involved! Woo hoo! Alright, time to move on…
In other news, we have been actively searching and researching for information to start of the Symbology 101 series and will be releasing a first post soon. The symbol of the Sacred Heart will be the first to be examined, as it will be used as one element of a new design that is in the works and which hopefully will be completed before Christmas time. But that is not even the end of it…
Christmas time is shortly approaching and that means we will be very busy with prepping for the Christmas shows, but more on this at a later post.
To conclude, lots of exciting and wonderful things are happening, but there are just not enough hours in the day to get them all done fast enough! Other responsibilities often take top priority. Nevertheless, we keep moving forward!
Until next time, may peace be forever present in your hearts.
For some time now I have been thinking about ways through which I could explore my mission of creating positive change in the world through my God given artistic talent. The idea for a blog series came to mind – why not explore the hidden meaning of symbols?
As an artist, the subject of symbology and symbolism has always fascinated and filled me with wonder. How magical that a single symbol in its simplicity could contain a web of complex ideas, thoughts and messages, which, more often than not, we take for granted and we overlook the deeper meaning. Unraveling the mystery behind such symbols can sometimes be a real adventure and does have its rewards. But why do it?
In the introduction to my work on the website’s about page I briefly touch upon the importance of symbolism and how it affects our being at an energetic level. But why would this matter? Are we not just random particles that happen to arrange and evolve over billions of years to form what we now call life? I believe that it is not so. I believe that we are all beings of energy condensed to a slow vibration occupying a material world in the manifested, magnificent, magical, grand and divine cosmic play. It is because of this belief that I am who I am, and I am inspired to create spiritually charged designs. May the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present Divinity lead and guide me on this wonderful journey.
“Concepts and words are symbols, just as visions, rituals, and images are; so too are the manners and customs of daily life. Through all of these a transcendent reality is mirrored. They are so many metaphors reflecting and implying something which, though thus variously expressed, is ineffable, though thus rendered multiform, remains inscrutable. Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth.” –Heinrich Zimmer
My hope with this series is to dive deep into the veiled world of symbolism and learn the meanings behind various symbols. In the process of educating myself I hope to share my knowledge with my audience so that it is not only beneficial to me, but to others as well. Hopefully over time, as I create new works of art, I will be able to compile a repository of information that would further inspire me to create meaningful, insightful and positively charged designs that could be shared with the whole world. As an added benefit, my audience would be able to directly look into the sources of my inspiration and know specifically what my intentions were, as well as, the deeper context behind the creation of a particular work of art. It is my hope that aware of the design’s intent and meaning, similarly minded individuals would share and carry forward into the world a small spark of positive change with other people.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – The Teaching of Buddha
As I wrap up this post, I would like to encourage my audience to stay engaged, give me feedback and constructive criticism on the ideas that will be presented, as well as suggestions for future symbols that you would want me to explore. On top of that, if any one has suggestions or great references (books/videos/online resources) to deepen my understanding of a particular subject, those resource would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to reading your comments below.