The Collective Series: Stephanie Ouellette

Stephanie Ouellette loves thought provoking design, cooking for people with allergies or food aversions. She lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and two busy little boys. She is a photographer and Made Collective’s creative visionary.

What started you on a simple and thoughtful journey?

My journey started at a very young age and was influenced by my grandparents who believed in a simple way of living. We grew up in a small rural community with my grandparents just up the road. I remember when I was twelve, my grandmother telling me she had stopped buying things made in China because they were not paying or treating the workers fairly. That has always stuck in my head. They loved seasons, gardening in the summer and warm fires in the winter. They taught me the importance of slow and thoughtful living. In my late twenties, I was unwell and in search of more natural alternatives for my health and well being. I learned about the harsh reality of the food and textile industries and changed the way I bought things. Becoming a mother and starting Made Collective have also influenced my journey, not only the way I buy things but the way I think about our space and time here on earth. 

Do you have a morning ritual/routine?

I didn’t have a morning routine until my son Tavik was born. I love sleeping in, so in the past by the time I got out of  bed, I was rushing around with no ritual or routine. Think: pure chaos. Now I’m up at 7 am to start the day with my boys. We get up have breakfast together then the boys play and I check the social media world. After that we have a morning home school routine and after read lots of books together. I’m fortunate and thankful to have this time at home with them.

Favorite Hot Drink? 

Right now I love a ginger/lemon hot drink made with fresh ginger and lemon. Ginger is great in the winter because it has a warming effect and I’m always cold!

What’s your favorite season and why?

Summer! I love being warm. I love going to the beach. I love eating vegetables and fruits just picked from the garden. I love leaving doors and windows open to enjoy the warm breeze and outdoor sounds. I love the sound of the waves crashing from the beach. I love walking barefoot (everywhere if I could). As I embrace seasonal living I’m learning to love all seasons. 

What does beauty look like to you? 

I find beauty in the everyday. When I did family and wedding photography I was always interested in shooting the ordinary or in between moments. The moments you don’t even notice are happening, but when you look at them in a photograph they bring you so much joy. That is true beauty to me. This year I had to say goodbye to my grandmother. In the last moments I had with her,  I saw so much beauty. It’s hard to explain but beauty is all around us. We just need to look, feel, taste, and smell it. I guess we need to use all our senses to really know beauty.     

Ways you weave love into your home? 

I am trying to weave love into our home by practicing characteristics like love, patience, kindness, peace, gentleness, and self-control. This is easier said than done. I am also trying to bring rituals into our home and routines so my children feel a sense of calm and stability. Also, being present with my children and really listening to what they are saying and doing. 

One practical home good you couldn’t live without? 

This was the hardest question for me. My answer: I don’t know. I would love to think I could live without all of it and adapt to whatever I had. One thing I love is my hand thrown pottery mugs. I made some and some are made by my potter friends. I love having tea parties with my boys using them. 

Something that you are currently reading, listening to, or podcast? 

I have five books on the go right now. Not very thoughtful I know! I ordered a few books for myself at Christmas, and I am having a hard time trying not to read all of them. I also have a few books from the library. I’m almost finished making space, clutter free by Tracy Mccubbin. I’m still in the middle of Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs. I love music but right now I am in a world of children’s songs and old repeats from my twenties. I just recently listened to https://onbeing.org/ and they have a ton of great interviews. I also love https://www.dearseekers.com/ based out of Toronto because she speaks to many inspiring women. 

What does your ideal Sabbath look like?

My ideal sabbath or rest day would be to wake up from the sun’s heat with my babies snuggled in close with nowhere to be. Homemade crepes and good coffee for breakfast. Pack a picnic lunch and a great magazine or book and head to the beach for the day with my family. Dinner with friends and a campfire with specialty smores. Staying up too late catching fireflies and spinning under the stars until you fall over. Watching the sky and saying ridiculous things you only say really late at night.