How this affects my art

So I’m still awake after having woken up at 4:30AM today. I was a little in shock after discovering the majority of items that I own in my kitchen alone that are plastic and that I actually don’t use. I have accumulated 4 bags of items that I do not want or need or use and this includes:

1) Endless tupperware, mugs and cutlery
2) Plastic bottles that once were for baby boy
3) Sippy cups, because thankfully he can drink out of a normal glass without breaking it
4) Plastic measuring cups and teaspoons and a plastic flipper thingy

In order to recover from my kitchen I went and tackled my closet again and came up with:

1) Another almost full bag of clothing ( I just dropped off 3 bags yesterday to a Mom in need) that I had to fight with myself to let go of. I tried to convince myself I still liked to dress like a teenager.

I also started rummaging through my bathroom things and got too overwhelmed after realizing that almost every beauty product I own is plastic and that although I tried to avoid the ones full of ingredients I hate, I was still hanging on to some.

Let’s back track a little. I have sensitive skin. Back in high school I had the kind of eczema that left me with the worst skin (I still have scars today) that oozed, pussed, bled and itched and not even drugs could fix it. Later I realized it had a lot to do with stress, what I was eating and what I was putting on my skin.

This greener life is not something I decided over night. It has been years in the making.

I used to be a hairstylist (and for some of the lucky few I still am) and I would cut and colour every day. But the fumes started catching up to me and my asthma kicked in to the point where I was waking up every night unable to breathe. My doctor told me I needed to find a new profession. My hands were itchy from the latex gloves I wore regularly and even though I did enjoy doing it, my heart also wasn’t in it – I saw how much water was wasted, how much crap got rinsed down the sink and I thought of all the fish and the beautiful oceans. I also realized I wasn’t happy being a part of a billion dollar industry that fed off of making women feel like all that mattered was how they looked.

I quit and got into photography and film-making.

But before I did, I was huge into the industry of beauty. Not only did I do hair but I also did make-up. And all of these products that I invested in are still in my life. Sitting there looking at me telling me that I have so much to create and do and make with them.

The dilemma I am having is with the fact that I am an artist. I literally create in every. single. way. possible.

I am blessed with the fact that if I want to do make-up on someone, I can. If I want to do their hair, I can. If I want to colour someone’s hair rainbow colours, slather make-up on their face and take their picture, I can. I think I’m alright at it. I enjoy it. It makes me feel happy. Or it did.


The downside is the fact that over the years I have realized that some parts of my art are not really that friendly on the environment. And I can’t just ignore it anymore.

On the plus side, it makes me want to be more creative with what I can do. I find myself asking, what products are out there that can still achieve the same way of creating that I’ve always enjoyed? What can I do to continue creating art while still being aware of what I am purchasing and being conscious of the environment?

While I realize this change won’t happen overnight, I am looking forward to the discoveries I make. I look forward to all the new ways of creating.

So even though I panicked for a little today, I see this as the most incredible and wonderful challenge there is. I’m excited to see just how this will affect my art and my business.

Here are some links to some of my work for those that care:

Getting rid of unwanted items

I woke up this morning at 4:30AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I did what any normal Mother would do at this hour and started cleaning. Not right away of course, I mostly tried to force myself to go back to sleep, but when that didn’t happen I started cleaning.

Anyway, I decided that it would be a good time to go through my kitchen items and get rid of things I don’t need or want, which involved mainly duplicates of things and plastics. Since I’m trying to live a plastic free life, this is a small baby step to get there. There is a great facebook group in Ottawa called Freecycle Ottawa which is where the majority of my unwanted articles go. Other times, I post on Kijiji where I scour the ads looking for people that are in need of things.

So much of what we have in our homes never gets used and ends up in storage, either in the basement or in our closets. My parents are hoarders. Organized hoarders, but hoarders none-the-less. It’s nice because once in a while I’ll be needing something and I know that I can probably go to them and they will have it, but I look at their home with all of the unused things inside of it and it motivates me to continue down my own path.

This process of getting rid of things and downsizing has been ongoing for the last year, but I reckon a few more 4:30AM mornings and freecycling will make the process much quicker.

20150217_A dream lived greener getting rid of unwanted items and plastics


– Dream Greener


The beginning

This will be the first post of many as I document my process of living the life my heart longs for.

My desire to live minimally and more consciously began long before I even realized I had already begun to adopt the lifestyle.

When I first left home at the age of 14, I had one backpack and a garbage bag. Since then, I have moved over 29 times in my life, lived in 2 continents and about 6 different cities. Traveling was (and still is) a passion and because of it, I understood what and how to pack the things I needed into one bag. Now, with a child, we obviously have accumulated more things, but before my son came a long I enjoyed being able to fit my clothes in one suitcase and two decades of my belongings in just a few boxes. My aim is to not only to get back to that, but more…

This blog is not just about me living more minimally. This is a life long journey to live a more sustainable, greener life. This means to me, living a zero waste life. It means becoming incredibly conscious of how I spend my money and on what. It means making my words and my feelings in direct alignment with my actions. I realize now that this may mean that I may not have a lot of people to walk beside me, that I may be lonelier but I know in my heart that if I do not pursue this path, that I will only become more miserable and I will resent myself for it.

Over the past few years, particularly since my marriage ended, I have become more aware of consumption. Years before that, I studied earthships. A few years ago I came across plastic manners, and stopped purchasing anything that came in a plastic bottle. Then I stumbled upon, Zero Waste Home (I love her – a family of four living a zero waste lifestyle since 2008), My Plastic Free Life, Food is Free Project, Tiny House Living, and Trash is for Tossers and many more inspiring stories of people and families living a minimal lifestyle with similar goals of consuming less, living more and reducing their own carbon footprints.

As a self-employed, full-time single Mother of one beautiful baby boy, I realize this will come as a challenge, but I know I can’t keep living the same way I have been and still be happy in the long run.

The truth is I have had dreams of opening up a store with a cafe and a studio, but every time I sit down to write the plan all I can see in front of me is everything I need to purchase and everything that will end up in the garbage. Even though 90% of what we (Dream Love Grow) makes is upcycled, I still can’t shake the feeling of discomfort. I was never a fan of retail – the BUY! BUY! BUY! SALES! SALES! SALES! The pressure of making people waste their money on items that aren’t really useful and that don’t last. I hated it partially because I don’t buy a lot of things. If I do, I try really hard to buy from a thrift shop, a locally owned business or ones that are transparent in their efforts to be sustainable. I don’t buy Christmas presents for people and if I give them anything, it’s a piece of art.

Making art for me has always been a need. It was a way for me to express myself. Over the years, my art form has changed to more digital: video and photos. It meant less canvases and paint purchases. More water saved. Less paint down the drain.

The more time passes, I realize I am changing in every way. I struggle with it, but I am changing. I am in business, but my values are changing.

I live in a city (Ottawa) that I have seen grow into a mini America. The forests I used to play in as a child are now box retail stores. And while the restaurant industry has become more diverse and Ottawa has a culture here that is beginning to emerge, I have been left feeling like I don’t really belong. Being a Mother and having an amazing opportunity to work for myself while taking care of him, has really changed me. I have focused on the simple things: cuddle time in bed, hanging out with Papa, cutting newspapers up, having him help me wash vegetables, reading stories, going for walks outside and looking and staring at the moon and the stars. I am not on welfare. I do not have thousands in the bank but I am rich beyond compare. I have a certain freedom that the typical way that society wants us to be, will never fulfill for me.

I plan on building upon that freedom. I plan to live simply.

I have slowly been taking the steps to move towards this lifestyle and the more that I am aware of it, the more I am becoming consumed with consuming less and focusing on living more. This past year I have:

1) Begun downsizing everything from clothes to kitchen things.
2) Searched for a smaller apartment in order to have less things
3) Got rid of most of my son’s plastic toys and now just have a small box of toys and books
4) Spent less on material items and on clothes
5) Created most of my art work with items and paints already on hand
6) Purchased mostly in bulk from Kardish, Rainbow Foods or in the produce sections at the grocery store, searching hard for products from Canada.

I have not been perfect. I eat out. I still buy items wrapped in plastic. But I know I can and will do better and even though I have been able to save money, I know I can save more money to do the things I love with my family.

I am documenting everything here so that I can see my progress and my change. I may only be one person, but I am enough. I have always dreamed of being self-employed. That dream has come true. I have always dreamed of being a Mother. That dream has come true. I have many dreams and aspirations and I still want to do everything I love, but this, this is my journey to a dream lived greener.