November 25, 2015

Sneaky Bathroom Waste & Sustainable Solutions

1. Toothbrushes
It is general knowledge that oral hygiene is a (modern-world) necessity. Think about it. When was the last time you didn't own a tooth brush? You've probably owned one since your parents bought kitschy kids ones for you to try and encourage you to brush. We don't think twice about the toothbrush as an object - we focus more on its function. A toothbrush is a big chunk of plastic that you use then throw out then replace. Even if you replace your toothbrush only once or twice a year, imagine how many years you have or will live, and how many chunks of plastic that will equal to. That's a lot of waste.

Solution: Bamboo toothbrush (this is my personal choice!), or toothbrushes with replaceable brush parts

2. Soap containers
Not only can liquid, antibacterial soap have negative effects on your health, the containers that the soap comes in are an added, unnecessary waste in the bathroom.

Solution: A good ol' bar of soap. Handmade, all-natural soaps are even better!

3. Razors
This one is very much like the toothbrush issue. As long as smooth and hairless legs, faces, armpits, what have you, are a cultural norm, people will buy razors. Buying new razor blades instead of new full razors each time is a good start, but that's still a whole lot of waste created.

Solution: Electric razors, waxing, and hey, if you have the budget and time for it, what about a more permanent solution like laser hair removal? It may seem frivolous now but in the long run, that's actually a lot more sustainable.

4. Toilet Paper
Did you know that the toilet paper industry in the US destroys 7 million trees annually? All of those trees just to wipe your butt. That's excessive.

Solution: Recycled toilet paper - no, don't use it twice (PLEASE don't do that!). I mean the kind that is made out of recycled paper. Also - use a little less when you can!

5. Cotton Swabs/Makeup Wipes
Q-Tips are also in the mix of one-use bathroom items. At the end of the day, don't remove your makeup with cotton or wipes, it is another habit that seems like "little things" but adds up when you use them daily.

Solution: Use face cloths. I know there are concerns about germs and whether it's clean enough, so just have enough that you can use one every day and just throw them in the laundry at the end of the week!

What small changes are you making in your life to try and live more sustainably and create less waste every day?

November 18, 2015

Art Fart: Touch me in the Sunrise

It's been a sick week for me - a mountain of kleenex later and I am still a snot factory (is that TMI? my bad). The plus side is that I get to stay home (so as to not infect the general public) and sleep and make things. It's been a long while since I have been able to sit and concentrate on art for hours and hours without interruption. I have had some of the ideas in this image, mainly the hand pattern, for a while and I'm glad I finally went for it.

I also recently acquired a whole pile of vintage playboy magazines which I am really excited to be using - the content is sometimes hilarious, and often quite beautiful. Something about hazy, gentle nudes is a breath of fresh air. There is something nice and subtle about vintage playboy shots, even if they are somewhat pornographic.

Anyway. I hope you don't mind some boobies.


November 14, 2015

A Thought or Two: November, Paris, Loss.

November has not been a cheerful month so far.

I thought it would be a fabulous month - I'm a part of some group art shows this month, which was exciting. Lots of work, which is also exciting. My birthday, and my sister's birthday, and subsequently lots of celebration. There was a lot to look forward to.

But it hasn't really shaped up to be a wonderful month at this point.

A friend of mine from highschool passed away, and we all found out November 2nd.
We hadn't been a part of eachothers' lives for a year or two, but in grade 12 we had a majority of our classes together. They were bird classes, so we had a lot of time to bum around and we spent a lot of time together. There was tech design class, which was first period, so I would start every day with a little dose of his silliness and constant joking. Then there was photography, where we would often slack off in secret in the dark room and sometimes even work very hard in the dark room, making chemical, photo magic happen. We would go on adventures in the nearby ravine to take photos for assignments and end up climbing trees and fences and really exploring. It was difficult to hear of someone who had once been an integral part of my every day, suddenly gone.

There was another young life lost in my neighbourhood, someone who had gone to my elementary school but was a few years older, with a tragic accidental shooting which you don't hear much about in Canada because there aren't usually guns lying about in homes. So it was really shocking for everyone in my neighbourhood.

And now Paris.

Some of you may know I lived in Paris in 2014. It was strange to wake up this morning and be so thankful that I was home, waking up in my cozy bed with my great boyfriend and sunlight pouring in through the window. Thankful that I wasn't in Paris, that I didn't stay, that I didn't go live there now. I woke up thankful, but scared. Scared that I could have been. Scared that I know so many people there, thankful that they all are safe and alive. Sad that so so many people were not so lucky. Scared to think that this sort of tragedy and death happens almost daily, in places less close to my heart. Scared for what conclusions the world will jump to in the wake of these attacks. Scared to what conclusions will be drawn fairly, scared of what this all means. Thankful that I have never known such fear, and that even now, my fear is but a fraction of the fear felt by anonymous others who I find myself caring deeply for, now.

I guess I have been having a lot of thoughts surrounding death and life and gratefulness and what really matters in the world. It's not altogether gloomy - there is a lot of beauty in appreciating the fragility and worth of life. There is beauty in reaching out to those you love and telling each other how much you do love each other. There is beauty in realizing what's important to you - in prioritizing and not letting the little, insignificant things irk you. There is beauty, sometimes, because there is also the ugly.

I'm sorry that this post is a bit of a downer/dumping of all that has happened this month. I've been making some art to meditate on these happenings and create something I can feel good about. This is a collage I made today For Paris. Some of the photos are actually mine, from my time living there. It's nice to reflect on nice memories at times like these.

Rest in Peace, all of November's dead.

November 8, 2015

Logo Designs: Taking Comissions!

In the last few months I have been asked and given the opportunity to design some logos for a variety of people around me! Some for non-profit start ups, some for bands, some for personal logos, and for a variety of other projects too. I really enjoy the process and the problem solving, so I thought I would open up the doors to taking on some logo commissions!

Above is a collection of some of the logos I have done. Can you tell I like circles? Ha! I would be thrilled to discuss your project with you and hear what you're thinking for your logo, whether it is similar to anything I have here, or if it is completely different. I would love to help you get the logo of your dreams for whatever project you have in mind! My prices are fair and my process is quick and inclusive, I love to get to work and get feedback, and I love to work together to turn your ideas into a visual piece of logo goodness!

Send me an email at katia.engell(at) with any questions and if you are in need of a logo and would like a quote.


November 3, 2015

Creative Crush: Manjit Thapp

Manjit Thapp is an illustrator based in the UK. I stumbled upon Manjit Thapp's work on none other than instagram (that's normally how it happens) and was immediately drawn to not just double tap, but to actually check out her website (which doesn't normally happen).
The sense of design in Thapp's illustrations is divine. The balance of colours, the way her lines intersect and overlap, and the geometry - I am so into all of it. It has been a long time since I have looked at pieces of art and thought: I want to turn them into a room and exist in it. Do you ever get that feeling, when something resonates with you just that much?

Take a look at more of Thapp's work on her website.

Who have you been crushing on lately?

November 2, 2015

~*Halloween 2015*~

David Bowie and Michael Jackson hope you had a happy Halloween!

We had a lot of fun dressing up as these two pop icons in their distinctive, colourful outfits. There's something about putting on a wig in particular that really brings me out of my self and makes me feel in character. Also having a partner in crime (a smooth criminal at that... ha!) makes dressing up and Halloween so much more fun!

We started the night with handing out candies at my parents' house, then went to a party at my friend's place. Where we listened to some music (only a little bit of Bowie and MJ though, I'm afraid) and chatted with some other characters including a Troy McClure, a Canadian Tuxedo guy, some tennis players, a batwoman, and more. It was lots of fun!

What did you dress up as this Halloween?


(ps. Both of these costumes were almost completely thrifted! Except the shoes, which we already owned, and the wigs which were our only non-thrifty purchases!)