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Keep it Simple, but Significant

5 Ways to Live a Simpler Life

Inspiration, Tips, How ToLesley Pocklington2 Comments
  5 way to live a simpler life by Swell Made Co. Photo by Sarah Dorweiler.

5 way to live a simpler life by Swell Made Co. Photo by Sarah Dorweiler.

Life is complicated. It just is. But it can be less so with small, but significant changes. Living a simpler life (or minimal) is not about deprivation, it's actually the contrary. It's about being intentional and making room for the important things in life. Here are some ways you can embrace simplicity too. If you're like me, it may be a slow and steady process with the challenges of family, careers and relationships. Even an ongoing one, but once it becomes habit you'll see a huge changes in your life. Because it's the little things that have a big impact.


“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
- William Morris

1. Declutter

The first way (and one of the hardest ways) to embrace simplicity is to declutter. In all aspects of your life. Physically (stuff, stuff, stuff) and emotionally (yup, that baggage). For the last 15 years, I have been practicing minimalism in a way that works for me. It's truly different for everyone. No, I don't have stark white home. Yes, I still struggle with having "stuff" because I have a family of 4; but I am intentional and thoughtful about what comes into my home and have mastered lettings go of things that serve no purpose or bring no joy. I haven't read any best-selling books about it (although, I'm sure they're great). I just put it into practice whenever I can. Moving many times and living in efficient spaces (small) will force you to really consider what's worth having around. Take it one step at a time until it becomes second nature.

Start with one room and work toward the whole house. When buying things, ask yourself if you really need something. Think about how your choices influence your own peace of mind, but also the greater world around you (ethically and environmentally). Less is more. Quality over quantity. All of those things are true. Having less stuff makes space for gratitude and focus.

Once you practice decluttering in a physical capacity, you can apply that same mindset to your emotional space. This one is much harder for me. Letting go of old habits and relationships that are toxic to your well-being requires a lot more strength than letting go of physical things. Often because this type of clutter has been taking up space for far too long. So long, that it clouds judgement and the respect you have for yourself. It's okay. The same concept applies. If anything (including things) evokes negative emotions or makes you cringe, let that shit go. You'll thank yourself. Good vibes only, right?

2. Get Outside + Move

Get outside! It's one of the simplest way to disconnect from the complications of life and reconnect with nature. Being in nature has been proven to provide benefits for our physical and mental health. From the physical activity involved to the clarity and focus it provides for your mind. Trees and fresh air have the power to bring a sense of comfort and calm and restore our energy in the simplest way.

Once it becomes habit, you'll crave being outside to just be. To breath and to listen to nature (and yourself). There is so much beauty in our own backyards, we just need to seize the opportunities to enjoy it. You can walk, run, meditate or do yoga. Do nothing or anything, but try it outside. Find the things that move your body and heart and stay with them. It might be a struggle at first, but pushing through to see the benefits is well worth it. 


"Simplicity makes room for the important things in life. It's up to you to determine what's truly important. Then, let the rest go."
- Lesley Pocklington

3. Eat Well

Another simple way to be kind to yourself is to fuel your body by eating well. It doesn't have to be complicated. Some of the most delicious meals have only 5 ingredients. There are tons of cookbooks and blogs out there that tackle this fresh and simple approach. Keep it simple when it comes to nutrition and eat what truly makes you feel incredible. French fries make me feel incredible for about 5 minutes, it's true; but filling my body with nourishing food most of the time is a habit I just can't give up. 

4. invest in real life

This is another one that's hard for me. When I moved from a big city to a smaller one, I had a bit of an identity crisis and loads of FOMO (fear of missing out). Once I realized that simple human connections were far more important to me than visiting the next Instagram worthy restaurant (spoiler alert - the food is never as delicious as the cool wallpaper), all was well in the world. As much as I like to visit new places, I'd rather keep it simple and have an honest and real conversation with a pal over coffee or wine. It's that simple! Trust me, your heart and mind will be far more grateful for genuine experiences. 

It's so easy to get caught up in the world of social media when you view life from an unrealistic lens. Step back and see what's real and truly important to you and invest your energy there instead.


"Out of clutter find simplicity."
- Albert Einstein

5. Slow down

Being busy all the time is overrated. We all know that, but somehow (like social media) it's easy to get caught up and pack your days full of appointments and activities. Even multitasking (which I used to be the "queen" of) has been proven to be ineffective and bad for your mental health. It's not an intentional or enjoyable way to live. So, slooow down and give yourself and your mind some space. Savour the moments and simple things that make life good.

That's why I love stationery so much. The slow, intentional act of writing a note is so rare and special these days. If you feel good about sending a note, just think about how the person on the other end feels. Just as good, I bet! 

Whatever brings you joy, you should do more of that instead. If you're feeling over committed, it's okay to simply say "no". In short, practicing simplicity is to not do anything, own anything or be around anyone that you don’t love. If it makes you feel bad (or not good) it has no place in your mind or life. Once you practice this kind of kindness towards yourself, it will flow into everything else. It's a process and a journey, but so worth it. Thanks for reading!

Swell Made Co. was created out a desire to simplify, but enhance my own life back in 2014. Since then, I have made a commitment to slowing down and making sure intentional choices flow into my business and personal life. Have you found ways to simplify your life? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to share in the comments or get in touch!


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The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home

Tips, Plants, DecorLesley Pocklington1 Comment
 The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography.

The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography.

Plants make people happy and do us good. It's true! Actually, it's scientifically proven. If you're an urban dweller like me, plants are a simple way to connect with nature on a daily basis. Houseplants bring beauty into our homes by elevating spaces, but they also help us feel creative and rejuvenated. Best of all, common indoor plants are capable of cleansing the air in your home.

NASA's Clean Air Study suggests that plants are capable of naturally removing common toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia and benzene (found in paints, glue and other household items). While it might seem like magic, the higher oxygen levels naturally provided by plants have been proven to improve health and well-being. So, which plants are best for cleansing the air in your home? While, any plant will do, here are some of my favourites that are easy to love and care for if you're not a green thumb. If you're a plant killer, perhaps you should check out our Plant Lover collection. 

 The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co.

The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co.

The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home:

  1. Snake Plant
  2. Boston Fern
  3. Dracaenas
  4. Bamboo or Lady Palm
  5. Philodendron

There are many more air cleansing plants out there. Just ask when visiting your local plant shop or florist, these are great to get started and can be found commonly. Keep reading below to learn more about each variety.

 Snake Plant - The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography.

Snake Plant - The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography.

1. Snake Plant

The snake plant (sansevieria) has incredible air-cleansing qualities removing four of the five most commonly found household toxins. The snake plant (also called mother-in-law's tongue) is super low maintenance. It requires low to moderate light and low water making it a breeze to care for. Ridiculously easy.

2. Boston Fern

Hang this dramatic fern (nephrolepis exaltata) in bright light and it will happily help cleanse the air in your home. Large and leafy this beautiful fern does require quite a bit of moisture even though it's considered easy-going. From this list, this plant requires the most care. Just give it regular mists and you'll both be happy!

3. Dracaenas

There are 40 different kinds of dracaenas plants, so they're easy to come by. Red-edged and cornstalk are well known vareties. Another power houseplant, it removes four of the five most common toxins found in the home. Place it in a spot with bright to indirect light and water moderately. Keeping the soil moist, but not soggy is key to caring for this plant. 

 Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant (#plantgoals). The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Lauren Mancke.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant (#plantgoals). The Best Air Cleansing Plants for Home. By Swell Made Co. Photo by Lauren Mancke.

4. Bamboo + Lady Palms

Bring the Bamboo or Lady Palm into your home for a bohemian or tropical vibes and some serious air cleansing plant power. With a penchant for formaldehydes, benzene and carbon monoxide, these plants are more than just pretty. Plus, they are natural humidifiers as well. Easy to care for bamboo or lady palms require bright to indirect light and moderate watering. They can grow quite large given the space (larger pot) to grow.

5. Philodendron

A common variety of the philodendron plant is the sweetheart plant with its adorable heart-shaped leaves. There certainly is much to love when it comes to this plant, with it's cleansing abilities and it's super low-maintenance nature. It can trail and creep around your spaces, which makes it even more endearing. Like most of the plants listed here, it requires bright to indirect light and moderate water.

All of the plants mentioned above thrive best with well-draining soil, so the roots don't drown/rot. Happy houseplant hunting and loving!


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How To | Style Your Shelves

How To, DecorLesley Pocklington1 Comment
  How To | Style Your Shelves by Holly Young and Swell Made Co.

How To | Style Your Shelves by Holly Young and Swell Made Co.

Styling shelves can be a daunting task to get just right. I know. In my living room I have some beautiful, classic built-ins (I live in a century home); but styling them has always been a challenge. Thankfully, my friend Holly was up to the challenge! Holly Young is an Ontario based artist with a love for home décor and anything mid-century modern. Trained in fine art and interior design, Holly's home has been featured on Apartment Therapy and her work was recently featured on Little Green Notebook. We have a lot in common when it comes to home style, but Holly has a way of making it come together effortlessly. She's going to take it from here with her tips on how to style your shelves. Enjoy!


5 Tips for Styling Your Shelves by Holly Young

When Lesley asked me to share a few shelf styling tips with you I was on board. We have built-ins in our living room and they really pull the entire space together. You may require help from a friend or expert, but when you get it right you will just know. I kept ours the same for three years! That is an eternity in the world of design. If you don’t do anything too trendy, they will look great until you decide to change them again.

1. Declutter

One of the simplest ways to freshen up your shelves is to declutter. Go through your items and edit, keeping only things that are meaningful and complementary to your style. Switching things up from room to room is an inexpensive way to get a new look without breaking the bank. I was able to see the potential from all of Lesley’s accessories and collectibles as soon as I entered her home.

2. Group Things

Re-arranging items and grouping similar pieces together will make all the difference. The hardest part is finding the time to take everything off of the shelves and dusting it. Lesley’s aesthetic is modern and classic. Lots of neutrals mixed her favourite graphic combo of black and white. Most of the colourful accents used here are sentimental souvenirs and travel photos. A few family portraits are mixed in and add just the right amount of personality. 

Grouping items in threes is so simple and effective. I did this with Lesley's vases and other items. Varying the height of pottery, plants and photos helps your eye travel around and not focus on one element. Movement gives a sense of flow and balance. 

3. ADD GREENERY

My favourite décor item is a plant. Thankfully, Lesley had so many beautiful pots and plants to choose from. The more variety you have in your pots and plants, the better. Variation of size, shape, colour and height of plants will add visual interest. Plus, plants are a healthy choice for your home. They help you feel at peace and they purify the air in your space. 

   Style tip  - Add a variety of greenery and fun pots to your shelves. 

Style tip - Add a variety of greenery and fun pots to your shelves. 

4. LOOK WELL READ

Before I started styling Lesley's shelves I asked her if she had more books. The bottom cupboards were filled with them. They just needed a place to shine. I chose a few that had a similar colour palette and took off the book jackets to reveal the typography and colours.

When you are placing your books, mix it up. Stack three on one shelf and stand a few on another. This will add height so everything is not linear. Mix it up with horizontal and vertical groupings. Use things in different ways. Instead of having the woven bowl Lesley bought in Panama stand up, I simply put it on a low shelf (on top of books) so the pattern could be seen at eye level. I also moved a little black chair and made it a book end. 

5. GIVE IT TIME

If you have just moved into your home it may take you a few months to collect and curate items to use when styling your shelves. I am a big fan of mixing vintage finds with store bought accessories. Some of my favourite things in my home cost only a few dollars at a secondhand shop. As you are drawn to and collect items, you'll see what your true style is.

I used almost everything Lesley had in her shelves. I added more greenery, books and switched up some white pottery with darker tones so they would pop against the white back drop. They were simple, but impactful changes that complemented Lesley's style and highlighted meaningful pieces in her home. Happy styling!

Holly Young

   Style tip  - Add groupings of books. Mix it up with vertical and horizontal groupings. 

Style tip - Add groupings of books. Mix it up with vertical and horizontal groupings. 

swell-made-co-styling-shelves-4.jpg

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Podcasts & Coffee | Summer 2018

Podcasts, Round UpLesley PocklingtonComment
  Podcasts & Coffee | Summer 2018 by Swell Made Co.

Podcasts & Coffee | Summer 2018 by Swell Made Co.

Ahhh, summer. A time to get your summer reading list in order for those lazy days where you can dive into a good book; but what about podcasts? I can give you plenty of reasons and opportunities to listen to a good podcast this summer. Just think! Road trips, long walks or runs, lounging on the beach or by the pool. They're all perfect moments for listening to a good story or learning something new. Take a little time for yourself this summer and enjoy on of my favourite podcasts in this edition of Podcasts & Coffee. If you didn't catch the fall edition, you can read it here. Happy summer listening!


  Podcasts & Coffee by Swell Made Co. A round-up of summer podcasts.

Podcasts & Coffee by Swell Made Co. A round-up of summer podcasts.

Summer Podcast Round Up

  1. This American Life
    Probably the most popular podcast to ever exist is This American Life. And for good reason. Host and Executive producer Ira Glass takes an entertaining approach to journalism that's built around a plot. Basically, stories — with compelling people at the centre of them. You'll experience stories that are funny, provoke big feelings and present interesting ideas. They even call the episodes "little movies for radio." You can catch a movie on Netflix called Come Sunday that was adapted from an episode of This American Life.
     
  2. The Fridge Light
    Produced by CBC, join top food writer Chris Nuttall-Smith for an obsessive, fascinating journey through the hidden stories of the things we eat. Each episode chows down on one food phenomenon, revealing the unexpected cultural ingredients. Part science, part business, part psychology — always fresh and delicious. My favourite episode documents the rise and fall of the oddly fascinating drink Orbitz.
     
  3. TGIM
    TGIM or Thank Goodness it's Monday is the essential podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. Produced by Shopify, this podcast brings you inspirational stories of people who are harnessing their passion and creativity to build incredible businesses. I just wish there were more episodes!
     
  4. Ear Hustle
    Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison from those living it. Shared and produced by prisoners of San Quentin State Prison in their media lab. A partnership between inmate Earlonne Woods and artist Nigel Poor, the co-hosts deliver difficult, funny and always honest content about the US prison system.
     
  5. A Piece of Work
    From listener-supported WNYC Studios and MoMA, A Piece of Work is everything you want to know about modern and contemporary art but were afraid to ask. Hosted by Abbi Jacobson, this podcast takes the pretentious stereotype out of art and helps you demystify famous pieces and the artists behind them. 
     
  6. The Simple Show
    At Swell Made Co. we constantly seek ways to create a simpler life. You know, to make room for the important things in life. So, this podcast speaks to me. Some things feel complex. The Simple Show makes them easier to understand. Listen to friends chat as they break down big ideas and resurface feeling more enlightened. 

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Love It | Rainbow Curves

Love It, Decor, InspirationLesley PocklingtonComment
 Love It | Rainbow Curves with Swell Made Co.

Love It | Rainbow Curves with Swell Made Co.

I have been swooning over this dreamy style for a while now. Curves (or rainbows, or arches), a combination of feminine and nostalgic colour palettes, an ode to retro styles and Wes Anderson films; this whimsical, geometric and elegant aesthetic is popping up around the globe in hotels, restaurants, shops and living spaces.

Where minimalism and luxury meet, you'll often find pastel hues, velvet, curved cane pieces, brass and almost always terrazzo (another one of my favourites). Curved features appear in architectural details, fixtures and furniture reminding me art-deco, but with a new and modern approach. Biasol, a Melbourne based interior design firm, creates jaw-dropping examples of spaces in this style which you'll see below and on Pinterest.


Here are some of my favourite things to bring curves, arches and rainbows into your home without the commitment of a complete transformation:

  1. Kusko Mirror found at Black Rooster. A statement in itself, this curved mirror with gold-finished iron frame and a black chiselled marble crown will become a true focal point for any room. 
  2. Mini Porta Ring and Dimi Earrings by Tiro Tiro. Using traditional craft practices, Tiro Tiro makes covetable jewelry pieces for everyday use. These adorable concentric arch pieces are available in 14K gold or sterling silver. 
  3. Rainbow Patterned Velveteen Throw Pillow Cover by Swell Made Co. A super-soft throw pillow cover for snuggling and brightening any room with its rainbow inspired pattern.
  4. Brass Arch Card Stand by Ferm Living. This little brass arch explores using geometry as a focal point. Place it in your space to hold cherished photos or notes. 
  5. Unfold Rose Room Divider by Ferm Living. A piece of furniture which is at once a decadent aesthetic and a practical design solution. It creates the feeling of an extra room in a small apartment but may also add a luxurious vibe when used as a decorative element in a larger space. It has curved milled grooves and a high-gloss finish that combines an elegant look with a minimal décor.
  6. Gold Rainbow Curved Keytag by Swell Made Co. This gold acrylic keytag will brighten your day with its adorable rainbow inspired shape. Perfect for the eternal optimist.
  7. Stacking Planter by Area Ware. This simple curvy planter discretely integrates both a planter and saucer into one form. And it's stackable.

Thanks for reading! And as always, I've rounded up a few examples below of this stunning style over on Pinterest. Give Swell Made Co. a follow to see more. Click the images below for original the sources. 


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How To | Freshen Up Your Home for Spring

How To, Giveaway, Decor, TipsLesley Pocklington2 Comments
  Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh | Freshen up Your Home for Spring GIVEAWAY.

Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh | Freshen up Your Home for Spring GIVEAWAY.

Spring has sprung! Or, has it where you are? Here in Ontario, Canada, it's still a bit too cold to feel like spring, but warmer temperatures are on the way. It's never too early to freshen up your home for the spring after a long winter. Say so long to flu season and winter mittens, and hello to more time in the sun and the breeze from open windows. 

We've partnered up with our friends, Lovefresh, to give you 5 easy tips on how to do just that. Freshening up your home for spring just feels so good. Plus, we have a fun giveaway to help one lucky person get ready for spring. Keep reading for tips and giveaway details below. 

  Spring cleaning the green way with Lovefresh.

Spring cleaning the green way with Lovefresh.

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Home for Spring

  1. Lighten Up
    The first way to get ready for spring is to lighten up! Truly. Put away wintery decor items and heavier linens and swap with bright and lighter items. Just like you would with your wardrobe (buh-bye winter gear), opt for things that will feel fresh and keep you cool in the warmer months ahead including bed linens, throws and even towels (like lightweight Turkish towels). Feels better already, right?
     
  2. Add Greenery
    Whenever I see bunches of tulips outside neighbourhood shops, I know it's spring and can't resist taking a bunch home. Springtime is all about new growth and greenery. Bring the outdoors in and add plants and flowers to your spaces. They help clear the air and your mind. A little greenery does wonders to make your home feel springy. Plus, with longer daylight hours, more humidity and warmer temperatures; your plants will thrive. You don't need to be a green thumb to care for simple house plants such as succulents, cacti and low light plants like monstera, ferns and snake plants. 
     
  3. Declutter
    Feel lighter by simply decluttering your home. It will bring peace of mind too. Get rid of (or put away) any items that are taking up space and aren't serving a purpose. As mentioned in our past post about Wabi Sabi, clear the clutter and curate items in your home. Get rid of the items that impede you from enjoying your spaces. Less is more. 
     
  4. Add New Throws Pillows or Paint
    The quickest and most cost effective way to overhaul your home decor is to add new (or swap out) throw pillows. New colours, patterns, textures and fabrics will instantly change the look of your space. It's a fun way to try something new in your space without a big commitment. For tips on how to style throw pillows, read more about that here. Swell Made Co. has some sweet options for your spaces. 

    If you want to go a step further and are feeling ambitious, give your space a new coat of paint. Whether it's the whole room, or a feature wall. Nothing changes a space so dramatically (and quickly) as a new paint colour.
     
  5. Clean Green
    The urge to do some spring cleaning is real. After all those winter months spent indoors, give your house a good clean the green way. Using products like Lovefresh's line of green cleaners helps maintain a healthy home and do good for the planet too. Lovefresh's line cleaning products is all natural, non-toxic and scented with the loveliest essential oils.  And they're made in Canada. 
  Throw pillow covers by Swell Made Co.

Throw pillow covers by Swell Made Co.

Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh Giveaway - NOW CLOSED!

Now that you're inspired to freshen up your space for spring, we're delighted to offer this giveaway with our friends from Lovefresh, a fellow Canadian brand that brings you natural and sustainable goods for the home and body. 

What You'll WIN:

  • An art print of your choice from Swell Made Co. - Value $24-32
  • A throw pillow cover of your choice from Swell Made Co. - Value $48-52
  • Marble and Granite Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15
  • All Purpose Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15
  • Glass/Mirror/Stainless Steel Cleaner by Lovefresh - Value $15

How To Enter
One entry per person. Open to Canadian and USA participants only. Giveaway closes at midnight EST on April 17, 2018. A winner will be drawn at random on April 18, 2018. Good luck and happy spring from Swell Made Co. x Lovefresh!

  Cleaning products for a healthy home from Lovefresh.

Cleaning products for a healthy home from Lovefresh.


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Confessions of an Entrepreneur | Taxes

Small Business, Confessions, TipsLesley Pocklington2 Comments
  Confessions of an Entrepreneur by Swell Made Co. | Taxes

Confessions of an Entrepreneur by Swell Made Co. | Taxes

It's that time of year. Dreaded, dreaded tax time. I'll confess, as a small business owner this is one of my biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to running a business day-to-day. Bookkeeping, accounting, finances -- they all just make me want to curl up on the couch and take a nap. To be even more honest, for the first year of business; I had NO IDEA what I was doing when it came to filing taxes because it turns out running retail business versus (and in addition to) a freelance, low overhead, service-based business is a lot more complicated. So, any flow I had when it came to tax time needed an overhaul and a reality check. 

It turns out, it's not all so bad. Once you have some systems in place, it's not only easier; but crucial for keeping track of the financial health of your business. Staying on top of bookkeeping every month (I personally can't get more frequent than that) will not only help you see trends and help you create goals for your business; but it will make tax time a breeze (sort of) because you're already organized. That's key.

Here are some incredibly useful tips from my friend, Julie Middleton. Julie provides small business support with bookkeeping that helps you set informed goals and focus on your customers (what you do best). From working with Target (remember Target Canada? Sniffle.) to TD Bank, Julie knows a thing or two to keep your small business on track.  

  Tips for getting you and your small business through tax time. By Swell Made Co. and Julie Middleton, Bookkeeper.

Tips for getting you and your small business through tax time. By Swell Made Co. and Julie Middleton, Bookkeeper.

Julie is going to take it from here. I suggest you pay attention, kids. If you still have questions and are operating a small business in Canada, you can get in touch with Julie

How to Make Tax Time Less Painful

As a small business owner, you can file your own taxes; but it often saves money to use a professional accountant. An accountant has the expertise to maximize your deductions and minimize your taxes. Here are some bookkeeping tips to reduce the cost for an accountant to file your taxes and make tax season less painful:

  1. Find out what your accountant needs – Talk to your accountant to get a clear understanding of what they need from you. Do they want the physical receipts, or a summary? Do they have forms for you to complete in advance? What is their turnaround time? Setting up expectations early on will save time for both of you. 
     
  2. Be as organized as possible – Group expenses together and label them with categories (home office, inventory purchases, travel, etc.). The less time the accountant spends figuring this out, the better. It's wise to figure out a system and find tools that work for you early on so it becomes habit. That way, you can track expenses/sales on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis -- giving you a snapshot of your business throughout the year. Not just at tax time, but it will certainly make tax time less painful. You can go the DIY route and use tools like QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Wave Accounting or even a good old fashioned spreadsheet. If you have the option of outsourcing your bookkeeping, even better. 
     
  3. Take advantage of tax deductions – As a small business owner, you can write off a huge variety of expenses to claim tax deductions. Track business expenses such as inventory purchases, insurance, travel, media/advertising costs, meals, capital property, etc. Don't forget about home office expenses (if your home is your principal place of business or if you meet with clients in your home) such as internet, heat, power, water, and mortgage interest. You can also expense vehicle usage including gas, parking, and maintenance. Here is a great infographic with the top tax deductions for small business owners in Canada. 
     
  4. Summarize your expenses – Add up each expense and double check your results. Keep a spreadsheet with the totals and include this in the file you are sending to the accountant. If you use accounting software like Wave Accounting, FreshBooks or QuickBooks, print a profit and loss statement for the year.
     
  5. Don't forget your personal tax receipts - You need all your personal stuff too! Gather all of your personal receipts for childcare, RRSP contributions, medical/dental, T4s, etc. 
     
  6. Know your business and the deadlines  - Sole proprietors and incorporated businesses will need to provide the accountant with different information (and may have different tax filing deadlines). Know what kind of business you have, and when your deadlines are. Not only does this include the annual income tax deadline, but keep track of dates for HST remittance, instalments (if you utilize them) and RRSP contributions. 

If you are filing your own income tax return, TurboTax is a great tool that will walk you through the process for free (up until you file the claim). So, if you're comfortable with DIY, the tips above still apply to keep you organized and in the know when it comes to your small business. Finally, grab some wine and snacks to get you through the process. It helps!


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Love It | Wabi Sabi

Love It, DecorLesley PocklingtonComment
 Love It | Wabi Sabi Style with Swell Made Co.

Love It | Wabi Sabi Style with Swell Made Co.

Move over Hygge (we're still loving Hygge over here, though), 2018 will be the year of Wabi Sabi. Wabi-Sabi is a way of living that values finding beauty within life’s imperfections and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay. What does this mean for your home? Wabi Sabi is quintessentially simple and comfortable. Embrace the not-so-perfect (wrinkles, cracks and dents are beautiful), organic and natural elements in your home. The concept and style of Wabi Sabi blends with minimalist and Scandinavian styles seamlessly.  

Wabi Sabi Style

  • Organic Materials and Earthy Hues - Embrace organic materials that are meant to last (wood, wool, clay/pottery, bamboo or linen, stone, woven grass, etc.). Natural elements and hues bring the outdoors into your home along with a sense of calm and tranquility. 
  • Minimalist - Clear the clutter and curate the items in your home. Buying fewer, quality and meaningful possessions is key. Our spaces should inspire, rejuvenate and bring peace. Get rid of the items that impede you from enjoying your spaces. Less is more. 
  • Beauty and Utility Coexist - The best designed products combine form and function. Beauty and utility coexist. Whether it be a broom or a spoon. Fewer beautiful pieces in your home that serve a distinct purpose will help you simplify and bring happiness. 
  • Embrace Imperfection - Wrinkled sheets? No problem. Wabi Sabi style embraces the imperfections of life as beautiful and natural. Relax and keep it simple. 

Here are some ways to bring Wabi Sabi into your home along with Swell Made Co.

  1. Gold Leaf (11x14) Art Print by Swell Made Co. Embrace the beauty of nature with this art print. 
  2. Handmade Large Tote Basket by Mur Lifestyle. No two are alike. Made from dried palm leaves, this handmade basket is up to the task of holding anything in your home.
  3. Palo Santo Incense. Available from Woodlot, Palo Santo purifies and cleanses the air with the natural and energizing scent of Palo Santo wood from Ecuador. 
  4. Brass Measuring Spoons. Perfectly imperfect brass spoons look beautiful, but serve a purpose in your kitchen.
  5. Gold Rimmed Pottery by Akai Ceramics. One of the simplest and beautiful ways to bring Wabi Sabi home is with handmade pottery. Adorned with a gold rim, these pieces are meant to last and they have a little panache. 
  6. Saludo Wooden Serving Spoons from The Citizenry. Handmade in Mexico, these Tzalam wood spoons are perfectly formed by hand in the Yucatan. An effortless combination of design and natural elements that will be treasured for years to come. 
  7. Black Coffee Pot by House Doctor. Get comfy at home with this porcelain French press. This Danish brand values personal and informal housewares that are made to stay.  
  8. Black Wishbone Chair by Rove Concepts. The perfect combination of naturalness and practicality is the Danish wishbone chair. Minimalist and organic, this Danish chair complements the Japanese style of Wabi Sabi. 
  9. Walk in the Woods (11x14) Art Print by Swell Made Co. Celebrate life and nature with this art print. Better yet, get outside and walk in the woods. 

Wabi means something like simplicity, humility, and living in tune with nature; it describes someone who is content with little and makes the most of whatever he or she has, always moving toward having less. Sabi, on the other hand, refers to what happens with the passage of time; it’s about transience and the beauty and authenticity of age. Practicing sabi is learning to accept the natural cycle of growth and death, as well as embracing the imperfections that come with this progression. Together, wabi and sabi form a feeling that finds harmony and serenity in what is uncomplicated, unassuming, mysterious, and fleeting.
— By Julie Pointer Adams, Oprah.com

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