What We Love: Spring 2022

April 17, 2022

I asked for this backpack from Terra Organica to be one of my Christmas gifts last year as I was looking for a new bag that I could wear on my back and was made in Canada with more conscious materials. I have used it a few times already this year, and love not only the depth of the bag, but the depth of the pockets inside. There are two that are perfect for a cellphone, one zippered pocket on the inside, plus another zippered pocket on the outside. I look forward to using it this summer while exploring and travelling.



I first heard this song on the radio while I was driving to work one morning. As I'm sure you've experienced before, the drive to work can be a hard one knowing you have a whole day to get through before you get to be at home again. But when this song started to play, it was so beautiful and calming, and I felt like I started to notice little things that we often don't see when we're so focused on this drive. 

It gives me the vibe of when a protagonist finally completes their task at the end of the movie, when they step outside and lift their chin up to feel the sun on their face for the first time in a long time. Or when you ride a bike down a long hill and feel the wind on your body. It's such a beautiful creation of sound.


This tiny crotchet dog is by no means the only adorable creature available in the shop Fairy Toys World, and I am in absolute awe of all of them. Anna has an amazing ability to create such tiny items, and their little faces will make it so difficult for you to choose just one. I am drawn to this little fellow because he reminds me of Ivan :)

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Now He Is 11

April 03, 2022

 


How did we get to this point in time? I know talking about how quickly time passes is incredibly cliché, but looking through the birthday posts over the years, in preparation for this one, really makes me wonder what has happened to all of the time.


We celebrated another quiet birthday with pizza and a movie (Encanto). and he decided that this year he would like two lava cakes form Domino's Pizza for his birthday cake. I don't mind the quiet, but I know that he is looking forward to being able to have some time with friends.


This past year he has been building up his independence even more, and has started to ask what he can do to help when we are cooking supper, or when he sees us working around the house. We have talked more about little things that he has to start doing for himself, or be aware of for when he starts to take care of himself. He took a stay-at-home course through Zoom that brought up things to remember for safety when you are home alone -- like turning off the stove, etc.


There are so many building blocks and nuances that we are now working with, and I know it can be really overwhelming. I like that he has a group of friends that he can go to so that he doesn't have to worry about all of that all the time. He's in the middle of being a kid and being a teenager, and that can be a difficult place to be. Now is when we start to see all that we have coached him through really come to the surface.


As with each year that passes, I am curious to see what comes next. Everything with this kid is an adventure, and it's one I look forward to every day.


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Behind the Art: Keep Your Head in the Clouds

March 27, 2022

 


Originally designed as a card for a customer (back when I did custom work), I liked the sentiment behind this phrase that I decided to make it into an art print. I liked the idea of not being ashamed to daydream, and to have dreams for yourself that seem so far out of reach that they are up in the clouds. Sometimes it's nice to not have to worry about being grounded!


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Weekend DIY: Office Closet Makeover

March 20, 2022


The office closet has been a source of frustration for many years, so I decided to tackle a makeover back in January to make it exactly what we needed. The closet originally had the builder-grade wire rack at the top where you could hang clothes and store some items on a shelf, and we added a couple of shelves to make the space more usable for storage.

As the shop has evolved and required more space for storage, the closet hasn't been able to keep up, and so everything crept out into our working space. It became really hard to work in the office because it was starting to feel cramped. I won't get into how much stuff was actually shoved into the closet, but I was shocked after clearing it all out.

After the items were cleared out, the shelves removed from the wall, the holes patched, and the walls prepared for painting, I got to work painting the entire closet (including the ceiling) a lovely jewel-toned green -- it's the same colour as the footstool in our living room, and I am absolutely in love with it! 

We decided to use the white shelves that we had previously put into the closet, and bought a few more to maximize the storage. When we got the shelves home, we noticed that the ones we already had were a bit shorter, and thought that we must have had them cut to fit the space (we just didn't remember). Luckily, a friend of ours was able to help us out, and trimmed a few inches off of each shelf for us so that they would fit perfectly.

Once everything was hung up, I got to work going through all of the stuff that had been in the closet, and organizing the space (which is currently one of my favourite things to do!). I love the feeling that I get when I open up the closet. It's a secret pop of colour when you open the door, and it's nice to have everything for the shop in one place -- no longer scattered about the room. I am inspired for the next project!

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The Shop is 11

March 13, 2022


I can't believe that I forgot the shop's birthday was at the beginning of this month! Maybe it's a testament to how busy I am (haha!), or maybe it's because the shop is 11 years old and I've just forgotten about it after this many years. 

Though I must not have truly forgotten, because I've been designing and preparing some new birthday cards these last couple of months (probably in anticipation for the shop's birthday), including this birthday card with a rainbow on it. 

I had a lot of fun playing with the thickness of each line of colour in the rainbow. Playing around with the design of the card is something that I've been having fun with recently. I can't wait to show you what else has been swimming around in my mind lately!

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Curly Hair: My Cleansing Products

March 06, 2022

I gave up on using shampoo to clarify my hair when I realised that it was causing my hair to dry out, and made it so I was having to start all over again to get moisture into my hair. For a while I was just washing with conditioner, but then my scalp started to get incredibly itchy and I knew that I needed something to clean up the build-up as cleaning the hair is not really the purpose of conditioner (it's just gentler on my hair).

I use a formula of 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (with the mother, of course) and 3/4 cup of warm water (water temperature doesn't really matter, I just like the feeling of warm water on my scalp). I work in sections and scrub it into my scalp as I pour it over my hair. Once it's all been used up, I give my scalp a good scrub, twirl my hair into a clip, and let rest for a few minutes as I prepare my shower.

Right now, I am doing this once a week as I am finding I have more buildup and dry scalp during the winter months. In the summer, I tend to do this once a month.


It took a long time for me to find a conditioner that didn't have coconut or aloe vera in it, and was simply a moisturizer (without proteins). This is the conditioner that I wash my hair with every time I'm in the shower. I apply it to my hair and then use the scalp massager below to really work it in and cleanse my scalp and roots.


Because I don't use products with cleansing agents, I have to do it all manually, and this scalp massager helps me to get deep into my roots and scalp without rubbing off my finger prints. Honestly, the scalp massager has been a game changer for me, and I don't think I could go back to cleansing my hair with just my fingertips.
 

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Behind the Art: Feels Like Home

February 27, 2022

Sometimes I like looking back at my early card designs to not only understand how my work has evolved, but to also appreciate the level of simplicity that I used to have. Not that most of the cards I make now have become overly complicated, but, comparing Feels Like Home to this thank you card, there's a way to draw and write that I used to have that I just don't do anymore, and I don't think I can go back. All that to say, it's not a bad thing that my designs have changed, they are still part of Little Shop of ElleSee; they're still simple, but just different. 

This design was created to invoke the feeling that you get when you think about home, especially when you've been away for a long time, and how the people in your life make you think about that feeling; the feeling of being warm and safe (of course, only if that is how you feel in your home). I like to visit those feelings that can't be touched by a long, complicated message, or even on that is intended to be funny. Sometimes you just need three words and a little drawing. Simple.

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Inspired by Reggio Emilia: Part I

February 20, 2022


I heard the words "Reggio Emilia" for the first time many years ago from my first room partner. I knew that she wanted to "implement Reggio Emilia", but I had no clue what that meant as I had just started learning what it even meant to be an early childhood educator. 


She gave me a textbook to read through called Working in the Reggio Way: A Beginner's Guide for American Teachers by Julianne P. Wurm, but I didn't end up looking at it until several years later when I found it shoved on a shelf along with the textbook Authentic Childhood: Exploring Reggio Emilia in the Classroom by Susan Fraser and Carol Gestwicki.


I had already completed my schooling when I sat down to read through each textbook, but I still did not know what the words "Reggio Emilia" meant, and had only heard whispers from the folklore that follows them around in North America. 


I quickly learned that Reggio Emilia is, in fact, a city in Italy, and there is so much more to adopting the philosophies behind the program that has developed over nearly 80 years than simply switching out plastic toys for natural materials, making lovely presentations to encourage children to play, and taking photographs of what they are doing.


While there were aspects of it that intrigued me, like setting up the environment to be engaging enough to act as the third teacher, I still didn't quite understand everything that was involved; there were always little pieces that I understood, but I could never quite get them to fit together to make sense of the puzzle. 


As I've been going through everything again, I have started to realise that the work I have done on my journey to understand anti-racism and anti-hate has helped me to understand that putting myself aside (my beliefs about children, my own traumas, etc.) is a necessary piece of the puzzle.


Through this work that I have done -- and, believe me, am still learning -- it is easier for me to understand that seeing children as capable means so much more than helping them learn how to do up their own zipper, or clean up their spot at the table; it means that I see myself as a collaborator with them, not just the person that is telling them what to do; it means asking questions in a way that gets them to think a little bit deeper and come up with ideas and solutions themselves. 


It's been a slow process, and has taken a lot of learning and reflection, but, with the help of my room partner, we are starting to understand how we can put the philosophies of the Reggio Emilia approach into place in our classroom.

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What We Love: Winter 2022

February 13, 2022


My husband noticed this little fellow from the shop Misfortunes by Noa Geffer hanging out on my computer screen one day and decided to get it for me for Christmas, and I love it so much! I really don't know what I like about it, but I find it so endearing. Maybe because it is such a strange interpretation of a dog, and I find that the colours and the ear remind me of Ivan, and because it makes me laugh, but in a fun way. It's so sweet.



I first heard Dear Rouge when they opened for Lights back in 2018 for the We Were Here Tour, and was recently reminded of them again when Stolen Days showed up on a playlist I was listening to. I love the quality of their sound, and how they give me a vibe of 90s punk rock.


I find this little rainbow ceramic serpent from the shop PearsonMaron to be such a creative and wonderful interpretation of the rainbow. Not only do the vibrancy of the colours remind me of skittles, but I love the combination of a snake with the shape of a rainbow...which is essentially what they look like as they move along the ground. So cool!!

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My Curly Hair Journey: 1.5 Years

February 06, 2022


Y'all!! The amount of growth that my hair has done in the last year is unbelievable. The way my roots have started to curl and lift...beyond exciting!

When I got my hair cut to clean it up back in September 2021, my hairdresser let me know that there had been a lot of new growth and so we decided to cut the ends up to match. It instantly looked thicker, and it, surprisingly, didn't need to be cut very short to meet up with the new ends. 

I have kept up with staying away from coconut and aloe vera, which has proved to be quite difficult, but doable (I'll be sharing my routine and products soon, so stay tuned!). Right now, for the winter months, I have been doing a clarifying wash with apple cider vinegar weekly, and making sure I add a lot of moisture to my hair.

These photos were taken the morning after wash day. I had just sprayed them with water, scrunched them up again, and let them dry. These are the first second day curls that I thought looked better than wash day, and I was so happy to see some of the holes in my hair slowly being filled in on the side of my scalp.

It is no lie when they tell you that it is a long journey when you first start doing the work to care for your hair. My hair has changed so much, my routine has changed so much, and it can be a lot of work sometimes (a lot of the time), but I love the evolution of my hair so much. It's worth it!



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Behind the Art: Bridges

January 23, 2022

 


Several years ago, I created a map of the city I grew up in that had a few of the places that stand out (to me) as places that would be recommended to visitors. They are the places that many locals would tell you are the first to pop into their minds when asked about something that stands out in their city, and they are places that I like to go myself. 


In the middle of this map, I put the South Saskatchewan River as the riverbank is one of the things that Saskatoon is most known for, along with the bridges that help you go from one side of the city to the other. Since I drew the map, the city has gained a few more bridges, and so I created the Bridges art print to showcase the beauty of the bridges that help residents across the river.


Starting in the north end with the Chief Mistawasis Bridge and going all the way to the southern part of the river and the Gordie Howe Bridge, I drew the seven main traffic bridges that can be found in the city (yes there are a few more). I tried my best to pay attention to the details of each bridge, but still keep the simplicity of all of the other pieces of artwork that I have done.


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Weekend DIY: Front Entry Makeover

January 16, 2022

When you live in a small house that is trying hard to use up every inch of space, sometimes you end up with strange little places (I never said they did a good job designing the use of every inch of space). For years we had this weird, useless niche in our front entryway that I could never figure out how to decorate or utilise. Then it dawned on me that we can use it as another place for hanging our coats and storing hats, shoes, etc.


We purchased a panel of beadboard that we used for the length of the niche, put 1/4" round trimming where it joined with the other walls and the ceiling, sealed it up, and applied a couple of coats of paint. After the wall was finished, we set to work making the shelving units and the coat hooks. The niche is not very deep, so the shelves could be no wider than 6 inches. It makes it a bit difficult for storing larger items, but hats and other smaller things can still fit.


We eventually found a glass pendant light that we really liked and added it to the space. After having lived with the whole thing for almost 2 years, I can't remember what it was like before we put it into place. It's honestly weird seeing the photo of the space before we added the beadboard and shelves, but that just shows how much we needed a space like what we created. 

It's made it easier to use our front closet as more of a storage space, and has helped make up for a lack of storage overall in the house. Looking at what it does to the space and how it has added to the house also makes me so happy and love our home even more, which is the ultimate goal when doing small renovations.

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My Korean Skincare Routine: Cleanse & Prep

January 09, 2022

When I started the journey of learning about Korean Skincare about a year and a half ago, I did not start off with the double cleanse, but with just a gel cleanser. I have never had a lot of luck with cleansers as I find that they tend to dry out my skin, but as time has gone on, and I have learned more about the reasons behind double cleansing, I have added the oil based cleanser into my routine.


THE MAKEUP REMOVER & OIL CLEANSER



My skin has always hated oil based products, but when I decided to start doing the double cleanse after learning that it is the best way to remove make-up, sunscreen, etc. the Green Beaver Co. Sensitive Skin Makeup Remover became an instant favourite. This is one product that I will never substitute with something else. I does an excellent job of removing my make-up (including my waterproof mascara), and has not irritated my skin at all. 


I do this step every night regardless of make-up as it also cleans off my sunscreen. I noticed a huge difference in my skin after implementing this step, and it made me realise that I should have been doing it all along.


THE WATER BASED CLEANSER



Initially, I was using the gel cleanser from Cerave, but decided to try some of the Korean brands instead after the bottle was empty. I was anxious to try a foaming cleanser as they typically dry out my skin, but so far the Pure Fit Cica Cleanser from COSRX has been working really well. It does create a gentle lather as you rub it on your skin, but it doesn't tend to get overly bubbly and settles down into more of a paste as you rub it around.


This step is important as it cleans off the things left behind on your skin that cannot be cleaned with the oil based cleanser. I use this cleanser every night as my second step.


THE TONER



While the next step is typically exfoliation, it is not something that I do every day and I will get to it in another post, the next thing that I do after cleansing (on a non-exfoliating night) is apply Pixi Collagen Botanical Collagen Tonic to a reusable cotton pad, and then wipe and pat my face.


The toner was another product that I was anxious about because I had bad experiences in the past with alcohol based toners, but I know it is an important step because it helps to clear off any residue and dirt left behind from the cleansers.. Thankfully as time has passed, people saw the need for alcohol-free toners like this one, and I have absolutely no problems with it.


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Life Lately: Farm One Forty

January 03, 2022

The weather has finally afforded us the opportunity to go outside for the first time in a couple of weeks. We were asked by family friends if we would like to join them on a hayride at Farm One Forty, and we didn't pass up on the opportunity. Not only did we get to visit with friends, but we also got some hot chocolate by the firepit and the chance to see nature in winter (I will never pass up getting to be around horses).

The best part about it all was getting to learn about the work of Farm One Forty and how they are taking farming to the next level, while still keeping it old school and making it easily accessible to the public. I grew up visiting cousins on the farm, and that provided me with experiences that my child has not had many opportunities to receive, so it was really nice to be able to show him with a little piece of what life on the farm can be like.

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