Behind the Art: Happy Day Penguins

August 30, 2018

This delightful little card was designed for my brother-in-law and his wife when they got married four years ago (see the DIY I did for the wedding, plus my camera drama on the big day). 

If you've been a fan of the shop for a while, you know that I am a sucker for penguins and enjoy making cards and art prints with penguins on them, so it was only natural that I make a wedding card with penguins on it (LGBTQ+ penguin wedding cards are available). 

They have since become a popular little couple, taking trips all over the world; just recently leaving on a trip to London (England).


Read It: Glow Kids

August 27, 2018

I learned about Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D. during a conference about childhood anxiety from the Institute of Child Psychology. It provided a lot of invaluable information for my day job, but also made me realise that there were some things going on at home that needed to be attended to. One of the things that was mentioned a bit was screen time, and Glow Kids was a book that was recommended on the subject. I went to the bookstore as soon as the conference was done.

The book starts off with some interesting information about addiction and the way that our brains work (some of which I had also learned at the childhood anxiety conference), and a little bit of Kardaras' own history with video games and tech addiction. Then it moves into some serious information about video games and aggression (I had always been one of those people that doesn't like to put the blame on television or other forms of media for a child's behaviour), to how having tech in classrooms isn't really as educational as we thought, and, by the end of the book, into what we can do about it all.

Keeping in mind that Kardaras is sharing the worst of the worst when it comes to screen addiction, I was able to quickly see that a screen/tech detox was something my husband and I needed to do for our son. His behaviours were nowhere near the children that were being described in the book, but there was potential in the future and it scared me.

I was never one to want my child to need a screen in his face all the time. I have never given him my phone in the car, or on shopping trips, etc., but that doesn't mean that other people didn't do that for him when I wasn't around, or that I didn't let him have the tablet to watch a movie or play game while on a longer road trip (at the age of 3), or at the end of the day while my husband and I were making supper. I admit that my child had more screen time than I ever wanted to let him have.

We went through a detox like the book talked about during a particularly difficult time for him in school and at home, and, as hard as it was to go screen free, we found that it really helped him to take that break. But it's something that you can't relax on or you'll get back into it, and it takes some looking at what you do as well as an example for your child. I am far from perfect myself, and will say that I am addicted to my phone.

We have entered our second detox as we prepare to go back to school, and this time we are really stressing that he find things to exercise his imagination. It's okay to be bored. It's through the boredom that you are able to figure out something to do to pass the time, and next time you won't be as bored because you'll know what to do. 

I myself am trying to put my phone down a lot more and read, paint, or watch a show or movie without being distracted by Twitter or Instagram. It's hard and takes a lot of focus. So, as an adult, if I find it difficult to focus on not focusing on a screen, I can only begin to imagine what it's like for my son. This book brought about a pivotal moment of parental learning that I wish I had had sooner, but I'm glad I didn't have it too late. It was the push I needed to move beyond the screen.

*Believe me, I get the irony of you reading this on your phone or computer right now.


Waskesiu 2018: Treebeard Trail

August 19, 2018

We took our annual trip to Waskesiu at the end of July this year, and, while we were there, we did things a little differently than we had in the past. One of the differences was a hike on a trail that we had never been on before, and I'm pretty sure that it is now our favourite. Well off the beaten path (you have to take a dirt road around the lake), it doesn't seem like it is a trail that is walked on very often, which makes it all the more amazing. 

We grabbed a pamphlet at the beginning of the walk, and I read as we reached each marker along the hike. We learned about the importance of forest fires and how it gives birth to a new part of the forest. The decomposition, the flowering, the seeds released during the fire, everything has a purpose. The pamphlet was quite fascinating, really, as it talked a lot about trees; the animals that live in them or near them and how they (trees and animals) help each other; the purpose of underground springs; how each bird has a specific, unspoken contract, for a niche in a tree. I could go on, it really was very informative.

While we didn't spot any large wildlife (thankfully) on the trek, we did see a lot of different kinds of mushrooms and mosses, as well as trees and plants in different states of growth and decomposition (queue the pamphlet learning), and developed even more of an appreciation for the world that we live in, and the efforts to keep it safe and healthy.


Our 3 Favourite Stationers

August 10, 2018
As someone that creates stationery, I am drawn to other people that also work with paper...fellow stationers (I Googled that, it is a real word). I seem to enjoy work that is similar (punny), but also quite different from my own. Some of the artists have a more realistic style to their artwork, while others take on more words with simple images. I hope you will enjoy their work as much as I do!

I ordered some Christmas cards from Heather Buchanan a couple of years ago. They were fantastically written puns related to rappers (I gave one to each of my girl friends and they loved them!), and the artwork was incredibly realistic. I have enjoyed watching her work through her Instagram account. Her most recent paintings of people eating food is amazing!

Julie Ann is constantly coming up with new, socially relevant ideas for her cards that often have a hilarious little kick in the nuts at the end (raise your hand if this birthday card would be relatable for you or someone you know), and knows how to write it perfectly and succinctly with images that tie it all together.

I picked this card up from an Urban Outfitters for a friend a few years ago for her birthday, and shortly afterwards discovered Seas and Peas online to order some Christmas cards (my father-in-law is a big fan of Christmas Vacation). 

Seas and Peas is puns done right (which, as I'm sure you have figured out at this point, always make me laugh) and, like all the others that have been mentioned, definitely have their finger on the pulse of society and what is popular at the moment.

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