Go Big or Go Home

June 24, 2015

Recently Minted reached out to some of us Blogpodium attendees if we would like to review their site and product! Well...they didn't have to twist my arm in the least. I have admired Minted for their cards for quite some time, and to be frank, was a tad jealous of ALL the other bloggers who got to order Christmas cards and art with Minted. Little did I know that Minted also sells art created by independent artists. Being a mom of a daughter who loves to draw and paint, I know how much work, time, energy and soul does into a piece. Being able to support an independent artist is really important to me. So I did not skip a beat!

After browsing their artwork site, which has oodles of fabulous artwork by independent artists, I found one that caught my eye. I love black and white artwork, particularly sketches, and this piece reminded me of my European upbringing. You can choose your size, frame colour/type OR simply order a print. I ordered a 30 x 30 inch sized print with a black frame. It came matted, framed and ready to be hung within a few days of ordering. And Minted doesn't even skimp on packaging, I loved what I saw when I unwrapped the artwork!

The inside of the box!

All I had to do was find the right place for it.

This large art piece fills up this nook in my daughter's room/guest room beautifully!
She arrived home a few days ago from travelling and studying in Europe for 7 weeks, so the timing couldn't be more perfect. In the fall when she goes back to school. If she likes this piece she can take it to create impact in her suite! When you live in a rental place, sometimes if you are discouraged from hanging art because of nail holes, a large piece can create a lot of drama with just one nail hole.

Thanks Minted!

* I was given a Minted product for review. The review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

XO Barbara

Lately: In The Garden

May 25, 2015

H e l l o o o o !

Again, let the blog slide. I have to admit I have blog posts constantly circulating in my head, but I never actually sit down to write, or photograph. I am lazy like that.

What I have been busy doing is working on the yard. Again, bad blogger me, did NOT take photos of the back yard when we moved in. It was seriously an overgrown disaster. Since I LOVE gardening, we negogiated a discounted rent if we took care of the landscaping. The landlords tore everything out last summer and I had a blank slate to work with. There were a gazillion raised garden beds that were poorly planned out in the back yard. They were haphazardly built, sloping here, sloping there -simply an eyesore. I tore them all out and using the topsoil the landlords dumped in the back yard, starting creating flower beds. My ever so awesome hubby rebuilt the garden bed behind our shed! We laid grass seed down on the patches that were left after the raised beds were ripped out. Again, no before photos.

My mom who has the utlimate green thumb has been guiding me and supplying me with about 75% of the plants in all the garden beds. She simply divided up most of her perennials last fall and early this spring. I think I may have spent only $200 on the whole yard, and that is to buy annual bedding plants, lavendar, and vegetables seeds and plants. I spent most of the spring babying veggie plants on my kitchen window sill only to have some dumb animal dig them up when I planted them in my garden. Without my Henry around anymore, the cats and racoons think they can use my garden beds as their toilet. Tips anyone? My mom says orange peels deter cats. Thoughts?

This past long weekend, I spent most of it weeding, moving plants and planting annuals and vegetables. We still need to work on the sad state of our lawn and build a fire pit area.

WARNING: Photo heavy post. 

I bought these two resin Adirondack chairs for $15 on Craigslist for our lounging area in the back corner. Hoping to create this as a fire pit area.

 Little basil seedlings - easy to grow from seed!

 Hubby is in the way (this is real life baby)... but this area needs some primping...need new cushions, or recover the ones we have? Need an umbrella and to hang up our strings of patio lights.
Note the fire pit waiting to be used, my plan is to use some of the bricks we pulled out of the ground where the previous tenants made a slapdash patio that was overgrown with weeks. Hoping to use some to create a pad for the fire pit in the back corner of the yard.

That's the yard folks! I have put a lot of elbow grease into the space. Love watching things grow and transform. I can not WAIT until school is out and I can focus on my LIST of to-do's!

XO Barbara

Progress Report: Master Bedroom Roman Blinds

April 6, 2015

The snail's pace decorating is still happening over at our house. But my Roman blinds are hung in the master bedroom!!  Cue the music!

Using Neo Toile by Robert Allen from Tonic Living - my favourite source for fabric - and some blackout lining, the blinds are perfect! The bonus was the fabric matched the wall colour, which was chosen by the landlord and painted just before we moved in. Using my tutorial, I am so pleased with how they turned out!

Our bedroom had mini venetian blinds that did not block out the street lights very well.  With blackout lining almost all the light is blocked, only the sliver along the edges is illuminated. That will get fixed with drapes. Hoping to pop into Ikea really soon to grab my favourite go-to curtain.

This room is hard to photograph as it is north-west facing with my neighbour's house blocking any western light. This is the best I could do....I have no tripod. If I waited until the room was done to my liking to show you, you would never get to see. 

This photo was taken just after we moved in. Boring windows, large room, no personality.

Here is today.

Being a bit OCD in the fabric department....I made sure that the pattern repeat lined up along all three windows. You can't really see, but I was careful to line up the Asian pagoda houses across the three windows. I can't wait to add an extra layer with drapery! Then I would like to find an area rug for under the bed and something at the end of the bed, like a bench or a chaise to give this room more personality. 

XO Barbara

My Go-To Curtain

March 17, 2015

Recently a commentor asked me what drape I buy at Ikea. I had mentioned in my post that I was heading to Ikea to buy my "go-to" drape. I almost always use Ikea's Ritva drapes in white. Ikea's white isn't really a true bright white but a off-white. The weight of the fabric is perfect, the thickness of the fabric filters light, so they don't need to be lined. I also like how the hanging tabs are hidden in the back, so the drape looks like it's pleated. And you can't beat the price point at $29 CDN. Ritva drapes are so versatile and customizable. 

Since we are renting...still...I am not spending money on getting custom drapes made. Ritva curtains have moved from house to house with me. As much as my dream would be to buy yards and yards of some fabulous Schumaucher just doesn't make economical sense, not to mention I change my mind, so paying several thousand for fabric that I might not like in a year, isn't worth it.

A good drape needs to hang right, one thing I add to my Ritva curtains is drapery weights in the hem, just at the corner.  It is what creates a good "hang". You can pinch pleat, add trim, fringe, etc to give it a complete custom look for mere pennies!

Here are some ways I have used Ritva curtains in my home or spotted around the web.

 My living room in my previous rental home. I sewed black stripes onto the curtains.

 source: Design Crisis

Our games room in our previous rental home.

In my daughter's room in our previous home.

And I have them up in 4 rooms in our current home, which I hope to take better photos of real soon! 



February 23, 2015

Woah, that's the longest break from my blog I have ever taken. I am finding Instagram so much easier. To write a decent blog post takes time, have to take photos with my camera which requires me to edit and upload onto the computer. I am just too dang lazy. Also I have been really thinking about my blog, what I want it to be, do I want it to go anywhere, and if so,  do I need to simplify my name, or just use my name instead of something else? I had dreams of venturing into design, hence the name, but I can't see myself actually enjoying the business aspect of it, so that is not a reality anymore. Maybe I should just be hodge:podge, as that is what my blog is full of, a mix of gobbly goo. Or should I just be my name, like other bloggers? Or is that just so yesterday already? 


What do you see my blog as?  I do enjoy showing everyone that renting shouldn't limit you design-wise. I loved interviewing fabulous Canadians in my So Canadian, eh? series, but that was soooo time consuming.  Not sure what my niche is. Would love your two bits.

Even though I left my blog stagnant, I have been busy with a few projects. I am almost finished custom roman blinds for our master bedroom! Hoping to head to Ikea to get my favourite drapes to add an extra layer to the windows!

I have been adding a few blue and white bowls to my collection.

Can't help myself.

And this lamp came home with me from Target, which by the way is leaving Canada. Waaaaah!. Only now that they are exiting our lovely country, are their shelves fully stocked. That was not the case for the past 18 months. So sad, really. 

I have been trying to decorate slowly, not make rash decisions. I really want our home to feel like a home and not a showcase for a photo op. I want it to reflect who we are, and not fill it with trendy things. I don't want it to look like thousands of other bloggers homes, which frankly I find so boring and lacking any design aesthetic. So with that in mind, I will practice slow blogging as well. Why fill this blog with "filler" posts?  I want to be filled with authenticity and inspiration. 

And my 5 year blogiversary came and went in October. 


I feel I have come a long way with in those 5 years. Life has changed, my priorities have changed but I still enjoy blogging even if it is every once in a while. I have had many exciting opportunities land on my lap, met fabulous people (many who I can call a good friend now) and have felt the whole world open up! Being a mom to one still at home, moving this past summer and teaching Kindergarten/grade one has kept me busy. So glad that I have many friends that have stuck by, thank you. Hugs and kisses to you all!

A Favourite Space

December 23, 2014

Growing up I wasn't very sentimental, but now as an adult, I am getting more so. contacted me asking me if I'd love to share a favourite thing or space! Porch is a home network that allows you to find the right professionals, get inspired, and manage your home….for free!

There are so many favourite things around the house, but one of my favourite spots in our house is our living room. It feels even more fabulous during Christmas, with the tree and all the decorations scattered about. I love the vaulted ceilings, the hardwood floors, my throw pillows, the artwork, my old piano and the light that filters into the space. There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa by the twinkling lights and feeling so at peace in a space.

My tree is covered with ornaments from Prague and ornaments from Ikea that are a nod to mine and my husband's heritage, along with handmade ornaments my children have made over the years.

Love my old piano. It is horribly out of tune and old, but it was the one my parent's purchased for my sister and I when I was eight. I practiced countless hours on that piano, and now my daughter plays.

The artwork is so meaningful. The Eiffel Tower photo was taken by my husband on one of his many trips to Paris, the artwork on the right is a print of a famous Czech artist (don't ask me who though!) and the middle piece was a copper etching my daughter did in grade 5!

I love, love this piece of art painted by my daughter of the Big Sur, inspired by our trip down the California coast. 

And if anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, I have a "thing" for throw pillows. I LOVE to sew throw pillows. A few of these have been around for a while along with some new additions.

And the coffee table was the coffee table that I grew up with. It was a teak coffee table that after a decades of use needed a fresh coat of stain. I chose to stain it with an opaque stain. Still love it after all those years.

Pop over to Porch where you can read my feature on their site!

XO Barbara
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