Category: East Retreat

2017 Fall East Retreat

Our 2017 Fall East Retreat is over and I already can’t wait for the next. This was such a special weekend filled with connection and self-reflection and not to mention all of the beautiful work that was created.  I love finding little treats for my guests and I found the cutest little pumpkin chocolates at the Provigo in Aylmer.

Our first project was string art. Sarah and Dom are working away at hammering all of those little nails into their boards.

Steph decided to make it easier on herself and made a mustache.

Andrea Warren was the guest artist for the retreat and did a paint pouring class. She was a total treat as usual and getting to use all of those Golden products was so much fun!

Mary & Steph playing around with some colours.

Sarah being very precise with her paint.

This is one of the paintings before and I wish I had of taken the after because once it dried, it looked completely different. Not an art technique for control freaks as you have no idea what you will end up with, but I thought it was part of the fun.

Of course there were many breaks for food, delicious vegetarian meals cooked by the famous Angelo (a.k.a. The Unicorn).

Some of which were cooked in our new dutch oven. I’m pretty excited to have many more meals cooked in it.

We spent the Saturday working on Soul Books which allowed everyone to play with paper, washi and all kinds of embellishments.

We took a little lunch break…

and got right back to work.

The last morning we were supposed to go do yoga over at Natalie’s but everyone wanted to continue working on their soul books so I invited her over to work on hers as well.

My cousin Steph, who is also the massage therapist for the retreat, was all done the massages by Sunday so was able to relax and get her art on.

Miss Mary, who came all the way from Waterloo and is always such a treat to have.Retreat withdrawal is the worst so I think I might start having some art days in between to invite attendees back to house for gatherings and creations. Hope to see you all at the next one in the Spring! XO

Post Op East Retreat

Just a little look at the Spring retreat in Luskville, Quebec.

Here is Crystal Beshara doing her thing, showing the girls how to paint gorgeous water coloured wreaths.

The girls working hard in the cold.

Hanging out in the house doing some embroidery.

Along with the view and some wine.

Moving on to our canvas project.

Loved how they all turned out!!

A delicious vegan buddha bowl made by Angelo.

Lauren came all the way from Red Deer and taught a little masking tape transfer class.

Group photo before Lauren heads back home.

I wish I could do this once a month!! See you in the fall!

Guest Artist for East Retreat – Crystal Beshara



Crystal Beshara of Paint The Town, has almost 20 years experience teaching art not only all over the fine city of Ottawa, but all over the world.  Whether she is teaching in Mexico, Greece, France or in a neighbourhood pub, her goal is to openly share her trade secrets and bring art to the people!

Crystal loves the idea of making art more accessible – even to those who have never held a paint brush before. She feels that experiencing the joy of making art connects us more deeply to the world around us, giving us a new lens on life.


Come join Crystal at the East Retreat out in Luskville to create your very own whimsical WILD WREATH in this easy, step by step watercolour lesson inspired by Mother Nature.

Wreath Workshop without wording

Speaker Found for East Retreat!

We are very pleased to announce that Renee has finally found a speaker for the East Retreats close to home. So close in fact that they are neighbours!  A mutual friend recently introduced them and they quickly discovered they had much more than their street name in common.



Natalie Fraser has been studying spirituality, culture, religion and mental health through many alternative avenues for over twenty years. She has often used the arts and nature as vehicles to explore and share healing in these areas with a very diverse range of people. Natalie has been trained in and offering acudestress with Dr. Brian Bailey as a rapid means of self discovery, release and self healing. She also does individual counselling and has spent ten years offering life skills, conflict resolution and effective communication skills to diverse groups. On her journey she has also become a yoga instructor, a wedding officiant, voice teacher (for Ottawa Bluesfest), drama teacher, actor, director and much more. The focus for her life journey is self discovery, healing, service and creating with the good of all, always present as she lives her life from love.


Natalie will be opening up the retreat on Thursday night with a Burning Ceremony:

“One of my favorite ceremonies is the Burning Ceremony. It’s a wonderful ritual that honors any intention to let go – in a concrete way. What are you ready to release? You may be ready to release an emotion, thought or belief about your situation. Write these down on the strips of paper. At the ceremony we will light a fire, share if we choose and then as the papers burn, imagine that you are being released and are now free. You will have a second opportunity to ask for something you want to manifest in your future. I will end the experience with song.” – Natalie Fraser

Reiki treatments at the Thousand Islands Retreat

This is a first for the East retreat, but I am excited to announce we will have Reiki treatments given by the lovely Stephanie Farrell!!  She will also be attending the retreat so you will really get to know her  philosophies and beliefs.

Stephanie Farrell


Stephanie is a registered student member of the Canadian Reiki Association, currently completing her practicum to become a registered practitioner.

April East Retreat – Soldering 101

All of the information is up for our East retreat happening April 9-12th.

I just wanted to let you know about one of the amazing classes we will be having at the retreat:

Soldering 101

Learn the basics of soldering your own jewelry.

Instructor Mary Heinrich Aloi, owner & shopkeeper of Vintage Inspired Lifestyle Marketplace in Burlington, VT,  will walk you through learning how to make pendants with two pieces of glass, silver solder and any graphic design that you love in between.   You will bring home a finished pendant.

It will open up a whole new world for  you!

Soldering 101

Mary Heinrich Aloi, the owner & shopkeeper of the gorgeous Vintage Inspired Lifestyle Marketplace on Flynn Avenue in Burlington, Vermont has been involved with antiques, art and crafts for over 25 years.  She has taught classes in various forms since her marketplace in Burlington’s South End Arts District opened in November 2011.  She loves working and living in the same neighborhood where she grew up.  She is the sweetest thing ever and I am super excited to have her come visit up here for once.  For more information on Mary, check out her website HERE!

Post Op – Beyoutiful Souls East Retreat

Last weekend was our first ever East retreat held in little ole Aylmer, Quebec.  There were tons of things to do to prepare for this fun filled weekend but it was all worth it.  Gateau Neo even put some little butterflies on all the cupcakes.

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The adorable Stephanie from New Leaf Wellness was first up on Friday night to give us a reminder to “BE HERE NOW” and how important loving ourselves is.

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After our talk it was time for some tea, treats and decoupage to get ready for our weekend of creating.

Here is Brittany looking for some awesome images.

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Saturday morning’s body movement class was orchestrated by Jen Boyes-Manseau (her website is in the works).  So great that I was able to capture her excitement to be sharing National Women’s Day with a group of creative women.

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She warmed everyone up through this sacred circle dance and I think everyone was a little apprehensive at first but ended up really enjoying it.  (Isn’t the old stage beautiful?)

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Leila and my daughter Milah hanging out after the dance having a chat with the group.

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Not sure who took this photo with my camera or that I even noticed it was taken but I decided to work on a painting I have had in progress for months trying to get past the ugly stage, haha.

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We also had the lovely and talented Andrea Warren come by on Saturday afternoon to give a little image transfer lesson and share some Golden goodies with us.

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Look at all the fun stuff on the table.

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Unfortunately Natalie couldn’t join us for the entire weekend as she has a baby at home but was able to come for this one class.

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Nat playing with some products.

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Making our leather bracelets as a keepsake for the weekend.

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I asked the girls to share their favourite pieces from the weekend and one of Brittany’s was her bracelet.

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Jen had two and one was the canvas she created in the image transfer class, so pretty!  She was also our resident masseuse for the weekend so I am sure everyone appreciated greatly.

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Kathy with her cool tree of life.

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Eliza liked the way the front and back covers of her art journal turned out.

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Sarah’s first time doing mixed media and just took to it like moth to a flame.  She didn’t even want to stop to eat.  Check out how amazing her mermaid piece turned out.

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One of Jackie’s favourite’s ended up being one she hated earlier in the day.  So important to keep working past the ugly, haha.

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This was Brittany’s other favourite.  Amazing quote, I think I will be using that one for my next art journal page.

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This is what our spray table looked like part way through.  It was so pretty Sarah asked to take it home.  No doubt to use in her art.

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There were pretty cool paintings scattered throughout the entire venue but by far my favourite was the series of plump characters that were displayed in the dining room.

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Cameras were set on a timer so we could all get in (except for Milah and Leila who were off minding the store for me)  This photo kind of makes me sad as it signified the end of the retreat and back to reality.

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Who’s in for next weekend???  Haha, kidding.  I am, however, already planning for the fall retreat, probably October.  I am thinking more, cabin in the woods perhaps, so it feels even more like a vacation.  If I can find the right spot.

Thanks for an amazing time ladies!!  It was great getting to know you all that much more!

Sacred Circle Dance for East Retreat

In honour of International Women’s Day Jen Boyes-Manseau will offer an introduction to Sacred Circle Dance on the Saturday morning of the retreat.  Absolutely no dance experience is required for this fun, delicious and accessible practice of embodied creativity.


“On International Women’s Day let’s explore and celebrate the feminine in ourselves and in the world.  We are strong and rooted and yet as supple and flexible as a willow branch bowing down to the river.

We are strong, powerful, serious and supportive as well as vulnerable, gentle, giddy and in need of support.  Together let’s weave a moving circle, and explore a range of simple dances — ancient and new — that help us in our journey to piece together an ancient knowing of what the feminine is, how we experience it in ourselves, and what it contributes to our world.”


At the root of all my work, as celebrant, educator, facilitator, doula, sacred arts practitioner and mother, is a strong desire to reinvent the role and purpose of the arts, and to explore its potential to encourage balance, healing and transformation.  Our technocratic, info loaded, capitalistic society holds certain assumptions -­‐   more and bigger is better, we know because we have studied it with our mind, read a scientific study on the topic or googled it, and the non-­‐artists of the world should leave creativity and artistic expression to the professional artists. For me, art and the practice of creativity is a way of life, a way to search for meaning and explore what it means to be human.  It is a cord in my instrument that I must pluck each day or wither.  Does this make me an artist?  Perhaps.  I would say that it makes me a human being creatively engaged in the art of living.