May 20, 2018

Sunday Diary ~ May 20, 2018

This week was full! 
Yet, I feel I just sort of glided through it without noticing the passing of time. Do you ever experience that? Weeks that you reflect on and suddenly don't remember what you did, who you saw, how you felt....

I only had work two days of the week, which likely has something to do with it. I always lose track of time if I don't have a structured schedule. I worked a day with my seniors and a day with the wedding photographer I work for. I also spent a day working on my research assistant work with a colleague, and I took a day on Monday to unwind and force myself to do a bit of "nothing", after the turbulent Mother's day weekend feels.

~ Went to my brother's high school art program graduation this week! It's the same specialized program I graduated from, and I am so proud of him and excited for his upcoming university adventures. Here's a fun compare and contrast image for you from my graduation to his.....

~ Spent an afternoon running errands with my step mom and got my new place WAY more settled feeling. Some face cloths, some throw pillows for our couch, a little adorable cabinet/cart that will soon be my art supply storage, but for now homes the record player and our modem so that they aren't just sitting on the floor in the corner! I found it at a thrift store in dire need of a hardcore scrub, but it was cheap and fully functional and worth it!

~ Cucumber Kombucha is my latest favourite flavour - this week I'm brewing up a cucumber and cilantro batch, I can't wait to see if it's as good as the cucumber alone! It's been really fun brewing kombucha these last few weeks - though I admit I'm one of those scaredy cats who constantly thinks I've managed to make mine mouldy. I never have, not yet. It's hard to do but the scoby always looks SO WEIRD that I worry anyway! Ha! Do any of you brew your own kombucha?

~ I bought a camera! And sold my old one. My aforementioned photography boss works with Canon and I've been stubbornly holding onto my Nikon for 4 years. He finally convinced me to buy his extra Canon off of him, and I found someone online who bought my Nikon for his fiancé who wants to get into blogging! I'm SO glad it's going to good creative use and staying in the blogging world ;) Haha. Be on the look out for new and excited photography adventures....

Today, I am off to the farm in the middle of the city - Riverdale Farm. I'm excited to see the baby animals that come with spring and the blooms in the ravine. Last year the entire side of the hill was covered in a carpet of tulips and it was remarkable!

Hope you are also having a great weekend - and a lovely long weekend if you get tomorrow off in your part of the world, too!


May 14, 2018

Gallery Chat: Transitions

When you open the door to the universe, welcoming change, sometimes it feels like you've opened a pandora's box and the universe begins throwing all sorts of surprises at you. Here, you want change? Have more than you asked for! You want an inch? I'll give you a whole dang mile!

Transition periods can be tumultuous and fulfilling and devastating and beautiful. Moving has been so good but also so difficult. Everything takes a little longer to do as you figure out a new space and a new routine. Everything takes a little more mental energy and I'm left feeling super exhausted all of the time. That's not to say Im not also thriving - having my own place feels amazing. I leave my door and walk down the street and just smile. It all feels like a big, full-body, full-spirit sigh of relief.

Mother's day was sort of tough. While I got to spend it with some beautiful people and celebrate some wonderful mums, my grandma was taken to hospital and things aren't looking great. Not terrible, and I'm waiting on more results before I make any mental conclusions myself, but it's a curveball nonetheless. I got home and felt OK, but also not OK. It feels as though I am in a funny tight-rope, limbo position emotionally. My room mate came home and found me fresh from a little cry prompted by not being able to open the new compost bag (but really about everything else). She promptly brought out the chocolate and made me tea and gave me the biggest hug. I'm so grateful to be living with this gal.

Spring is also in full swing - another transition period. The city is exploding with blooms and gardens are just so full of newness to explore. I thrive in this weather and this season and I'm so glad and hopeful to grow alongside all the flowers and trees, fill out this apartment and this new routine with beauty, and persist despite the growing pains of transition periods.


Eyes have always been a subject of interest to me - my high school notebooks are covered in endless sketches of eyes. All of my paints are at my parents' house still, so I had some fun trying this out on photoshop today. What do you think?


Gallery Chat is a recurring post series where words and imagery collide, sometimes unrelated but emerging from the same mind in the same place in time nonetheless. In this series I explore topics and ideas that are on my mind as well as my more recent art works that I want to share with you on House of Ell.

May 10, 2018

Apartment Inspo: Styling a chocolate brown sofa

Let me tell you a little story about a couch.

It's really a classic story: you have a beautiful sofa, and you arrange to have it brought all the way across the city, only to lug it down (or up) a narrow stairwell, giving yourself false hope that it made it through the front door, only to find that it will not and can not fit the rest of the way into the apartment or house.

You scuff up all the walls with whatever colour your couch is, you get some fingers stuck between cushion and wall, you get sweaty and sad. Yep, we all know this story.

I was given the most beautiful chocolate brown sectional from a gloriously generous friend of my parents' and I couldn't believe my luck - until it didn't fit into my new place. My fella and I had spent the whole day moving, we hadn't had dinner yet, and were feeling so defeated. We dragged ourselves away from trying, couch back into the truck bed, and went to pick up his dad. When we told him what happened, his dad said "Why didn't you just take it apart?". At this point I was hangry, defeated, and thought that was a ludicrous idea because the couch was so beautiful and I didn't want to 'take it apart'. Turns out he knew exactly what he was talking about (it's just undoing 3 bolts from inside the couch!) and helped us to do it the following day, once I was a little less hangry and a little more open to the idea. This simple trick made the couch the perfect size to just GLIDE right into my place (well, it felt like gliding compared to the day before). Man, did we ever feel good getting in after all of that.

I love chocolate brown couches - to me they are the ideal colour of sofa for the purpose of living on them. The risk of spilling wine or dropping chocolate on them feels, well, less risky. That said they're a bit tricky to match with other colours because they're so. deeply. decadent. So, I have some ideas:

~ Orange accents: Pinterest loves this idea. When you search chocolate brown couches on pinterest (and google!) you get a heck of a lot of orange. Sometimes I find this a bit too stark of a contrast and a bit too seventy's for me, even though I love 70's colour schemes, this one's not for me. That said, with the right combination of citrus-y oranges, whites, and a hint of green or turquoise, I actually really like how this looks. It's colourful and bright.

~Textured Neutrals: I love how beachy and light this looks. I also just love an un-cluttered, calming design for spaces meant to be comfortable. We're in a basement so I was nervous to have a dark couch. Turns out it does not feel dark or imposing or cramped at all, so I no long feel we NEED light neutrals for our pillows and blankets etc. They're certainly nice nonetheless, but I can't help but wonder if maybe my room mate and I are more colourfully inclined than this in the long run....

~Fun Patterns: This is the style my mum and step dad have gone with their couch, and I've always loved the way they've styled their living room. They have pillows made of old, recycled saris. We have a 'little India' in Toronto and it's the best place to go for such beautifully ornate and special items. I don't want to veer too much into any cultural appropriation or misuse of traditionally important and meaningful motifs, though, so that's one consideration. I also don't want things to get too busy. But my room mate did suggest that, with items like these, the busy-ness becomes more subtle when you have so much of it.

What do you think? Do you have a preference from these 3 options? I know I've got some design-minded folks following along and I would LOVE to hear your input and any ideas you have!


May 9, 2018

The Big Move: First Updates

It happened! I've officially made my big move into my new apartment. It has been an exhausting process but an equally as rewarding one so far.

Last week my fella and I borrowed his dad's red pick up truck for some of our big items - including a chocolate brown, beautiful sectional sofa (which didn't fit in the doorway at first, but we found a way!), and we got most of my stuff moved over the course of 2 days. I kept some things at my parents' because I was only doing my official move-in later in the week, as I work from home so often and we didn't get internet up and running until this Monday.

By Sunday evening my room mate Kami and I were both settled in and both stayed the night in the new place. Both of my sets of parents helped me build my bed (thank you guys!) and so while I was surrounded by boxes, I had an idyllic comfy spot to land in after a long day. My coworker gave me the advice that you start with the bed, for exactly that reason. Even if you're not done unpacking, exhausted from moving, overwhelmed by it all, you can lay down and feel at peace.

Kami said it best when I asked her "How is this all feeling for you so far?". She responded with "It's a little anti-climactic, but in the best way. It just feels right." I can't agree more. Kami has been my best friend since middle school and we've lived in different cities on and off for 6 or 7 years. It's such a fantastic feeling to be living together in the same wonderful city now. We're going to have a lot of fun (and she puts up with my weirdness, so that's always a big ol' bonus... as seen above!).

Our new place is right across the street from the city's big big cemetery. This may sound creepy, but if you hail from Toronto you know it's a beautiful and peaceful spot where people walk, ride bikes, and enjoy some nature in the middle of the busy metropolitan city space. Right now, Toronto has been taken over by blooming blossoms on our trees - one of our parks is famous for it. We got to enjoy a couple on a walk home from dinner through the cemetery the other day. So, so lovely. Especially living in a basement apartment now, it's great to have nature so close by.

And here's a little peek at my bed room so far. I'll be arranging and changing things around, but for now this is my little quiet corner with my sunshine mirror for some cheerful vibes. Gotta have my sunshines around!

I can't wait to update you all on my decor progress and whatnot over the course of the next several weeks (or forever.... I have a feeling I'll always be having fun with this space!). Stay tuned :)