Poetry: 10 More Things To Live By + 1

January 28, 2014
I've mentioned before that I really enjoyed writing poetry and other forms of creative writing back in my high school days. It's been a very long time since I have sat down and let my thoughts flow freely from my heart. Perhaps that is something that I should do more of this year. As I was looking through my old dossiers of writing, I was taken in by 10 More Things To Live By + 1 that I wrote in Grade 10. It must have been part of some sort of assignment that was given to us by the teacher, and I guess I really enjoyed it because this is the second one that I wrote. Anyway, it was interesting for me to look at what I thought were important things to live by when I was 15-years-old. I thought they were quite profound.

10 More Things To Live By + 1

1. Make two goals: One that takes a few days to achieve and another that takes a lifetime.

2. Believe.

3. Drink Water. It has many good uses; the best is drinking.

4. Take time to smell the beauty of the world.

5. Don't over-work yourself. When you get really cranky it only annoys you even more.

6. Don't be anything you're not meant to be. Be comfortable with yourself.

7. Listen to others. Sometimes they have good ideas.

8. Be careful what you say. It may come back and bite you in the butt someday.

9. Travel. Get to know others and yourself.

10. Clean up after yourself. Your mother can't go everywhere with you.

11. Listen to music. It expresses feelings you sometimes can't show.

(edited 2014)


Listen, Look, Love: January

January 27, 2014

My husband and I enjoy listening to music from Rdio while we are in the car. We have had a love affair with the music from The Great Gatsby since last summer, and I have recently started listening to this song again. It's such a fun song to dance to, and I love Q-Tip.


Greta Hodgkinson was the first ballerina that I ever saw perform Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She was absolutely breath-taking, and started my love affair with ballet -- specifically Swan Lake. Since I first saw this photograph of her preparing for her performance as the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, I haven't been able to take my eyes away from it. She is simply beautiful.


This amazing dress from  Cushnie Et Ochs Spring 2014 collection is to die for...and so is the price. What a beautiful collection.


5 Things: Favourite Valentines 2014

January 22, 2014
Check out these amazing Valentines from some other shops on Etsy. They are so fun and unique, and each shop has other fantastic Valentines available. I've already purchased the little puppy and rabbit Valentines for my son to give to the other children in his class -- I hope he gives me one too :)

Don't forget to enter the shop giveaway!


Hair History

January 19, 2014
My hair has gone through quite a few changes throughout my life. I was one of those babies that was born with very little hair, and what strands I had were what they call "fine". During my early years, my mom kept my hair quite short with the hope that it would thicken-up as I grew older. There are so many photos of me with scraggly long hair once I was at the age where I could decide if I wanted my hair cut or not. I went through phases where I would grow my hair and then chop it all off. Usually by the end of the school year I had had enough with my hair and *snip* *snip* it would be gone -- I even experimented with perms a few times in my later elementary school years.

The longest my hair has ever been was around the middle of my back. I got tired of it during my first year of university and chopped it all off, and since then I have experimented with various lengths. Usually when I would cut my hair I wouldn't go past my chin or ears, but when I graduated from university I took the plunge and went as short as I have ever felt comfortable going -- shaving my head has crossed my mind, but I'm not ready for that. It was the best time of my life because I could wash my hair and run out of the house. After I gave birth to the Little Boy I cut my hair into and asymmetrical bob, and I have since been working on growing that out -- after making it symmetrical again. Which length I will go to, I'm not quite sure. I've played around with the idea of growing it out for Locks for Love, but, with my history, something tells me I'll probably get tired of it and snip it all off, again.


Adventures in Potty Training

January 14, 2014
Potty training your child is hard.

Potty training the Little Boy has been one of the hardest things that we have had to deal with as parents. Give me a tantrum any time and I can take care of it head-on, but potty training is one of the most frustrating things because it is one of the things that you have least control over. You can pay attention to the signs, but unless your little one sits on that toilet there are going to be lots of wet pairs of pants being tossed in the laundry hamper every single day.

I approached the subject of potty training with my son's teachers at school during the summer of 2013. They encouraged him to sit on the toilet along with the other kids, and he would pee on the toilet, but it was never really consistent enough -- he was just over the age of 2 at this point. They told me that I could give it a try, if I liked. One night I decided to put him in underwear and see what he would do. He peed 4 times in the span of 15 minutes, and I quickly put him back in a diaper. He was not ready.

Just before Christmas 2013, I approached his new teachers -- as he had moved out of the toddler-age room to the younger preschool room in October -- and asked them how they thought he would do. He was consistently sitting on the toilet and going to the bathroom for them every day, but at home he was reluctant to sit for us and would usually only pee in the evening just before we got him ready for bed.

My husband and I talked about it and we thought it was time to push our son to wear underwear and use the toilet on a daily basis. I saw it more as a push for us than for him. While his teachers at school were very good about keeping a schedule for using the bathroom, we did not do so well at home and I thought that we would do a better job in helping him learn how to use the toilet if we no longer had the safety of the diaper ourselves.

We took the plunge again just after Christmas Day, and it started off quite well -- although he was very reluctant to give up wearing his diaper. We ended up having to go to the doctor to get him checked-out for an earache, and it was also where we had our first accident. After we were done at the doctor's office, we headed over to my mom's house to visit with my grandma one last time before she went home -- and we had our second accident. We had a total of 4 accidents that day. Which is not awful at all considering it was his first day of wearing underwear, but we were still having trouble with getting him to sit on the toilet and pee.

A lot of times at work if a child is struggling with wanting to go to the bathroom, we will make a potty chart and provide stickers for them to stick on the chart after they use the toilet as a way to encourage them and make the experience more exciting. I mentioned that approach to my husband, and we decided to print off a chart and purchase some stickers -- we went with Cars stickers. The Little Boy responded really well to the sticker chart, and he would even try to go pee again after getting a sticker just so he could get another sticker. We used the chart until he didn't even mention getting a sticker anymore, and only put a sticker on when he remembers it. The sticker chart worked perfectly for us.

The next step was the elusive #2. It took a lot of coaching, but we finally completed our mission this past Saturday, and it has been smooth sailing ever since.  I am so grateful that he finally took this step.

I know that we are not out of the woods yet. The road to being fully potty trained is a long one, and there can be any time in the next couple years where he might regress and start having a lot of accidents. We're still at the point where we need to remind him about going to the bathroom, especially when he's playing and having a good time. But we encourage him and let him know that his toys will still be there when he gets back, or we tell him that we can pause his movie and go for a quick bathroom break.

Potty training your child is hard.

Breaking our son of the habit of using his portable toilet is probably one of the most difficult habits that we will ever have to help him get through -- God willing -- but with a little persistence, some ingenuity and a lot of patience, we will soon be Potty Masters!



January 12, 2014

This past Saturday was the annual fundraiser event for the local art gallery where artists, performers, musicians and restaurants from around the area get together for an awesome party -- I shared my experience last year, too. This year I tried boar bacon and tomato jam from Congress Beer House, and a chocolate pate from Calories -- both of which were absolutely delectable.

I also enjoyed listening to music from Minor Matter and Powder Blue, and when I first arrived I caught a performance from Ball and Chain Theatre. When we weren't listening to music or watching an act you could find us in the photo booth, checking out the art installation from Laura Payne, or adding to the art installation that guests were invited to help create. At the end of the night we danced away to music from The Gaff, Charlie Hustle & Mr. Fudge.

LUGO has become a tradition for my friend and I that we hope will continue for many years. It's such a fun was to support the arts, as well as local artists.


Valentine's Day 2014 Cards and Art Prints + Giveaway

January 11, 2014
They're here!

The new Valentine's Day cards and art prints are now available in the shop.

This year I was inspired a lot by my son, his books, toys and movies, and the things we say and do together -- the I love you x 15 card was inspired by a little game we play where we say "I love you" to each other as many times as we can, and as quickly as we can. I hope you will find some love and inspiration amongst these cards and prints, too.

Now here's the fun part:

Purchase a Valentine/Love card from the shop and you will be entered to win the little art print you see in the photo above -- "A Little Fall of Love"

For an extra entry, take a photo of it to share on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Tag the shop and use the tag #elleseevalentine so that I know you have shared your photo. I can't wait to see your photos!

Contest closes February 14, 2014 at 12pm EST.


A Little Inspiration for a Little Boy's Room

January 08, 2014
We recently moved the toddler bed out of the little boy's room and moved in my childhood twin bed. He is very excited about his new-to-him bed, but it made me realise that it is time to give his room a little makeover. I'm really inspired by spaces that are fresh and crisp with pops of colour. I like the idea of using wallpaper, or a stencil, and having a cluster of art near the bed -- it wasn't hung near his bed before in fear that it would fall on his little baby head. I also like the use of fun, whimsical elements. His room is much smaller than a lot of the rooms that are pictures, but that's why they are just inspiration.


DIY: Make Your Own Watercolour Party Invitations

January 06, 2014
We just finished celebrating my Mom's 60th birthday this past weekend. To celebrate we invited friends and family to a party. I made the invitations myself with a little bit of watercolour paint and our lazer printer. I wanted them to be simple and fresh with only a splash of colour. So, of course I found some inspiration on Pinterest and went to town.

I used: 
5x7 card stock paper
Thick paintbrush
Lazer printer

I started off painting the card stock paper with the colour of paint that I decided to go with, and then let it dry. I used a smaller paint brush in the beginning, but it wasn't giving me the effect that I wanted so I grabbed one of my thicker brushes to use instead. After the paper was dry, I popped it in the printer and printed off the information that we wanted the guests to have.

If you made your own wedding invitations, then this should be a snap, otherwise there will be some trial and error with where you want the words placed on the paper. I recommend painting a few extra pieces of paper just in case!


Shop Update: The New Wave of Product Photography

I finally buckled down and started working on some new shop photography. It was a plan of mine to start working on it early last year, but the backdrops that I came up with did not make me happy and so I moved on. 

By the end of the year, something was tugging at me again to change my photography. I loved the look of the wood, but the paint colour behind my artwork and cards always looked different no matter what time of day, what season, or if the sun was hiding behind clouds. I needed uniformity, and I found it in two pieces of wood; simplicity at it's best. My product photos have started to go...

I like not only how the colour is uniform, but the scale of the artwork looks better. It looks more like a 3.5"x5" print than 5"x7" or larger. Next up is all of the cards -- we'll see how long that one takes me :)

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